Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai under attack

Shocked, disbelief, frustrated, disgusted, grieving, anger, fear - these are just some of the moods and feelings that I have gone through the past few days!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

True Religion - Love for Humanity

"Rather than converting people from one organized religion to another organized religion, we should try to convert people from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation and from cruelty to compassion." - Mr. S. N. Goenka, the principal teacher of Vipassana at the "Millennium World Peace Summit" New York.

That's such a lovely thought! and that is what I truely believe religion should do! Religion is to liberate man from all suffering and bondages, not to create suffering or to shackle man. True religion is to serve humanity and spread love and compassion, not to evoke hatred.

That reminds of the lines from one of my favourite songs from the movie Anari, lines I truely believe in..

"Kisiki muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar

Kisika dard mil sake to le udhaar

Kisike waaste ho tere dil mein pyaar

Jeena issi ka naam hai"

And this brings me back to the poem of Abu Ben Adhem (May his tribe increase!) by James L. Hunt. The spirit reflected by Abu Ben Adhem continues to inspire me today and will throughout my life! His attitude captures the essence of religion!

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,

And saw, within the moonlight in his room,

Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,

An Angel writing in a book of gold:

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,

And to the Presence in the room he said,"What writest thou?"

The Vision raised its head,

And with a look made of all sweet accord

Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."

"And is mine one?" said Abou.

"Nay, not so,"Replied the Angel.

Abou spoke more low,

But cheerily still;

and said, "I pray thee, then,Write me as one who loves his fellow men."

The Angel wrote, and vanished.

The next night

It came again with a great wakening light,

And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,

And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest!

You show your love to God by loving his fellow beings! "Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.”

However we have buried this true meaning under layers of rituals and doctrines created by us and not by God. Saadi, a Persian poet from the 12th century very rightly wrote “To give joy to a single heart by a single kind act is better than a thousand head-bowings in prayer.”

Friday, August 29, 2008

Power to transform the world

We do not need magic to transform our world.
We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.
We have the power to imagine better. - JK Rowling

How true! The power to transform the world, to make changes, to make make the world a better place lies WITHIN US... We need to search for the Good and The God within us and bring it

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Childhood Dreams

I have been reading about Randy Pausch and listening to videos of his lecture since the past couple of weeks. I even read the initial pages of his book during my last visit to Crossword. (I am considering buying the book!) Dad just showed me a ppt version of his lecture with pictures; saw the strong emphasis on achieving your childhood dreams! I was actually transported to my childhood, when I suddenly thought, “What were my childhood dreams? Why don’t I put them down”… As I have often said in my blog, have put down whatever I could think of, will keep adding to it…

- To be a Doctor to help poor people and to find medicines or cures for incurable diseases (maybe then to me being a doctor was the most noble profession)

- To keep improving my general knowledge and to win GK quizzes

- To participate in science exhibitions in school and to represent my school

- To become a scientist - to do experiments! (I even bought this Experiment Kit, and my Mom used to get irritated as I dirtied the house with iron filings and tried testing the litmus paper on any thing that I could get hold of)

- To be excellent in hurdles/high jump and to improve my sports skills in general ( I wanted to be good at races and wanted to learn basket ball) I wished I could participate in the Olympics!!!

- To be a part of the Secret Seven or Famous Five – (to set up a club like Secret Seven that solves mysteries) well I did set up a club called Secret Six, though it defintely did not turn out to be as fun as the real one...

- To travel around the world (I was so inspired by Travel around the world in 80 days!!!) (I have managed to travel to the UK, to London, Scotland, Stratford upon Avon and Oxford)

- To read as many story books as possible (especially all the classics)

- To have a personal library with the world’s largest collection of books (and yes of course all my favourite books) (the library should be made in wood – wooden shelves and flooring, a fireplace, a huge cosy arm armchair, thick soft carpets, heavy curtains that keep out all the disturbances away while I am reading my book on my armchair with my cup of hot chocolate!!!

- To have a magical fridge always full of different flavours and varieties of choloates and icecreams

- To go to Disneyland

- To eat all the yummy goodies that the witch feeds kids in Hansel and Gretel (including her house!!!!)

- To watch all my favourite cartoons and to have a collection of them

- To design affordable, yet safe and good homes for the poor

- To create employment opportunities for the poor

- To offer free basic clothing to all poor people, especially kids and women

- To play in snow

- To be transported to a magical world of friendly elves and fairies

- Wished that Pandora had never opened that box...

- To visit Salsburg and Captain Von Trapp's Palatial House and all the places that Maria has travelled to with the kids!!

- To meet Kiran Bedi! - Well that's the one dream that I can say for sure that I have fulfilled! I was invited to attend a conference where she was the key speaker! I must hav been around 18 then...

- To learn classical dance (love Kathak for its swift movements and Bharatnatyam for the expressions and hand/finger movements)

- To learn the play casio and sitar

- To work for United Nations

- To be able to study at any of the world's leading institutes like World Schools or Oxford (and yes to get a scholarship to study at these places)

- to have the entire Barie doll collections

- to have the entire World Book series

- to have a bicycle of my own (This was an other dream that I fulfilled, Dad promised me that he would get a biycycle if I came 1st in class and that was exactly what I did and Dad kept up his promise)

Monday, August 11, 2008

India struck Gold at Olympics!!!


I know that it is a pity that we could not win a Gold till now... but now that we have it makes me so happy and proud!

I hope this is beginnin of many more Golds to come!!!

Congrats Abhinav Bindra!!! May you be an inspiration to all Indian sportspeople!!!

When the Indian flag was being raised and our National Anthem was played - oh that moment was so touchin and inspiring!!! Oh how proud you must have felt!! I am really envious of you!

Congrats to Saina too for proceeding to the Quarterfinals and defeating the fourth ranker! You are playing well... keep improving!!

I hope the government takes note of this feat and makes best use of this opportunity to promote sports in India!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Low Cost Housing - Homes for a Better Life!

This is something that I have thought of but fill in soon...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Freedom Writers

I saw a beautiful movie today 'Freedom Writers'. It's a brilliant film , so inspiring and touching! This film should be shown to all teachers. As teachers they should realise that no student is inherently a bad student or 'unteachable', its just that students are different and need to dealt with differently. It is the teachers job to identify what will motivate the student and use the right method to get the student to discover himself and to get him to appreciate the importance of learning and thereby to get him to learn.

The movie reinforces the belief that nothing is impossible if we have the determination and motivation to go on. And that teachers can make such a big difference in the lives of students and play an important role in moulding them into responsible and caring citizens of the world!

Have pasted below some of dialogues I liked from the movie.

Marcus: No, that don't fly Ma.
Erin Gruwell: First of all I'm not anybody's mother.
Andre: No, that's not what it means.
Eva: It's a sign of respect... for you.

Erin Gruwell: But to get respect you have to give it.
Andre: Bullshit.
Erin Gruwell: What?
Andre: Why should I give you my respect? Because you call your a teacher. How do I know that your not a bad person standing up there?
Eva: White people wanting their respect like its for free.

Erin Gruwell: Does anyone know Homer's the Odyssey?
Andre: I know Homer the Simpson.

Miep Gies: You are the heroes. You are heroes every day.
Miep Gies: But even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways, turn on a small light in a dark room.
Marcus: I've never had a hero before. But you are my hero.
Miep Gies: Oh, no. No, no, no, young man, no. I am not a hero. No. I did what I had to do, because it was the right thing to do. That is all.

Erin Gruwell: The evaluation assignment was to grade yourself on the work you're doing. You gave yourself an F. What's that about?
Andre: It's what I feel I deserve, that's all.
Erin Gruwell: Oh really? [pause]
Erin Gruwell: You know what this is? This is a Fuck You to me and everyone in this class. I don't want excuses. I know what you're up against. We're all of us up against something. So you better make up your mind, because until you have the balls to look me straight in the eye and tell me this is all you deserve, I am not letting you fail. Even if that means coming to your house every night until you finish the work. I see who you are. Do you understand me? I can see you. And you are not failing.
Erin Gruwell: Maybe we should talk about art. Tito's got real talent, don't you think? You know something? I saw a picture just like this once, in a museum. Only it wasn't a black man, it was a jewish man. And instead of the big lips he had a really big nose, like a rat's nose. But he wasn't just one particular jewish man. This was a drawing of all jews. And these drawings were put in the newspapers by the most famous gang in history. You think you know all about gangs? You're amateurs. This gang will put you all to shame. And they started out poor and angry and everybody looked down on them. Until one man decided to give them some pride, an identity... and somebody to blame. You take over neighborhoods? That's nothing compared to them. They took over countries. You want to know how? They just wiped out everybody else. Yeah, they wiped out everybody they didn't like and everybody they blamed for their life being hard. And one of the ways they did it was by doing this: see, they print pictures like this in the newspapers, jewish people with big, long noses... blacks with big, fat lips. They'd also published scientific evidence that proved that jews and blacks were the lowest form of human species. Jews and blacks were more like animals. And because they were just like animals it didn't matter if they lived or died. In fact, life would be a whole lot better if they were all dead. That's how a holocaust happens. And that's what you all think of each other.

Gloria: If you look in my eyes, you'll see a lonely girl. If you like at my smile, you'll see nothing wrong. If you pull up my shirt, you'll see the bruises. What did I do to make him so mad?

Eva: In America, a girl can be crowned a princess for her beauty, and her grace. But an Aztec princess is chosen for her blood. To fight for her people as Papi and his father fought, against those who say we are less than they are, against those who say that we are not equal in beauty or blessings.

[while playing the Line Game, in which Erin makes the class reveal that they have more in common than they care to admit] Erin Gruwell: Who has been to jail or a juvenile hall? Sindy: Does a refugee camp count?
Erin Gruwell: You decide. [Sindy stands on the line]

[following Erin's impassioned speech about the Nazi Holocaust]
Tito: [raises hand] What's a holocaust?
Erin Gruwell: Who here knows what the Holocaust is? [all keep their hands down except Ben, the only white kid, who sheepishly raises his]
Erin Gruwell: Who here has ever been shot at? [all raise their hands except Ben, who lowers his]

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hemingway on Luck...

"To hell with luck. I'll bring the luck with me." - The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
In a valley of flowers where butterflies flutter their lovely wings around…
Sunshine peers at you through bright snow white clouds
Where the sunbeam bends down from the skies to kiss tender petals
The blushing flower radiates the light of happiness
Butterflies flutter from flower to flower sipping the nectar of love
The multitude of colours on their fluttering wings fills my eyes with twinkling stars
and lo the brightest of ‘em all, is a little fairy… with a golden wand in her hand
spreading the magic of spring and joy… come my fairy come…

Friday, May 2, 2008

Explore... Dream... Discover

Came across these few lines that I thought was really inspiring...
"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."-Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Come Alive with The Sound of Music


Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens;
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens;
Brown paper packages tied up with strings;
These are a few of my favorite things.
When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

Whenever I am down in the dumps or feeling miserable I simply hum these lines and lo! It makes me feel so much better! These revitalizing lines are from the movie Sound of Music - a movie that is such an important part of my childhood memories. Sound of Music is my ‘feel good movie’. Just watching the movie or even humming its songs can do wonders to my mood.

Set in the backdrop of World War – II the story is about Maria who is training to be a nun. However suspecting that her real call lies beyond the walls of the Abbey, Mother Superior asks her to go out and experience the outside world for sometime. She is sent to the house of a retired navy captain Von Trapp to be a governess to seven children. Maria is both excited and tensed at the prospect. On one hand, she has to deal with Captain, who ever since the death of his wife, runs his house like a dictator – ‘as if he were on one of his warships’! While on the other are bunch of seven naughty children deprived of love and enjoyment. The story that follows is that of how Maria captures the hearts of the children and Captain alike through music and her enchanting ways.

Sound of Music captures Austria at its best; you are left wanting more of the breathtaking views of the Austrian landscape. And you will love the lush locations, glimpses of the baroque city of Salzburg and not to forget the palatial house of Captain Von Trapp (which has now been converted into a museum!).

The character of Maria has been etched out so beautifully. I am a big fan of Maria! As the song sung by the nuns at the Abbey goes, “How do you solve a problem like Maria… how do you catch a cloud and pin it down…. How do you find a word that means Maria…???” To describe Maria in one word would be just next to impossible - frank, honest, sincere, loving, lively. She speaks her mind, stands up to her words and likes to live life on her terms. She detests rules that do not make sense or restrain your freedom. In contrast to that Captain Von Trapp is calm, rigid, restrained and elegant.

The movie has been interspersed with moments of fun and laughter… these include the pranks played by the kids on Maria – the frog jumping out of Maria’s pocket, Maria’s entry at the dinning table, she checks her mattress for spiders or Maria’s blunt remarks like “the poor wouldn’t take them…., (were you this much trouble at the Abbey) oh! Much more…, only during thunderstorms Captain”. Among the children it’s the younger boy, Kurt who adds most to the humour element.

So many scenes just touch your heart… one such scene is when Maria is taking the children out for shopping to Salzburg and Gretel, the youngest child drops a tomato, how Maria through her gestures tells her that she need not be sorry. The evolving relationship between Maria and the eldest daughter Liesel is so beautifully depicted. The film also shows various emotions and dilemmas that a teenager passes through. Infact the movie appeals to people of all ages - children, teenagers, parents everybody can relate to the movie.

The movie has music that elevates you and touches your soul. Most of the songs fill you with positivity and cheer. You really want to sing every song you hear. ‘The hills are alive’ makes your heart want to, beat like the wings of the birds, to laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over stones on its way, sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray!

“I have confidence…” will pump in loads of confidence for you to take on the world. Do-re-mi is the light, fun song that you can always teach your young cousins with actions et al and they are bound to love it! Other lovely songs include the soothing Edelweiss, the endearing puppet show and goodbye ‘cuckoo’ song. You also get to see some enthralling dance sequences at Ball Dance and in the chirpy romantic number ‘You are sixteen’!

The last one hour of the movie is comparatively grim and depicts tensions during the World War. The strong sense of patriotism of Captain forces him to leave his own beloved Austria instead of bowing down before the invading Germans. The last scenes of the movie have moments of tension when you wonder what would be the fate of the Von Trapp family if caught by the Germans. Even the background score has been used effectively to create the required mood.

Produced by Robert Wise, the movie has brilliant acting especially by the lead actors Julie Andrews, as Maria, Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp and Peggy Wood as Mother Abbess. The movie won many Academy Awards in 1965.

However as a child there were certain portions of the movie that I felt dragged a bit – when Captain Von Trapp, Uncle Max and Baroness Schroeder are driving down to Salsburg, the long chat between Captain von Trapp and the Baroness as they stroll in the garden and the scenes where Captain and Maria confess their love for each other. However today when I understand those dialogues, with more patience to pay attention to them, I have begun to appreciate the same!

Overall Sound of music is a movie that exudes optimism and inspires you to ‘Climb every Mountain till you find your dream’! It fills into your heart and mind the strong belief that ‘When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window’!

The beautiful story of how Maria brings back music and happiness into the lives of the Von Trapp family, Sound of music is and will always be my all-time favourite!

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely,
I know I will hear what I've heard before.
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Why I write...

I write to express my opinions, feelings and desires. I can express my joy and share both happiness and sorrow through writing. I write to voice my dissatisfaction, angst and frustration and to express pain or disbelief.

I write to record significant experiences; experiences that touch me or events that move me. I can then come back to events or interesting moments, days, months or years after they occurred. I write to forget unpleasant people, situations or things.

I write to capture and pin down fleeting ideas before they vanish from my mind. I write to let my mind travel freely and come up with crazy ideas. I write to refine ideas. Writing gives shape to and helps mould my ideas and thoughts. I write to visualise my dreams and wrench out my hidden fears. I write to face issues I have been avoiding. I write when in doubt and when I am seeking answers or to search my soul. I write when I want to be sure of my words and to ensure that I use the appropriate words.

I write to ask for forgiveness when I have made a mistake or hurt someone intentionally or unintentionally. I write to thank those who have made a difference. I write to appreciate beauty around me. I write to raise concerns and applaud achievements. I write to admire and acknowledge brilliance and virtue and to deplore vices around me and within me.

I write to keep in touch with touch with old friends and relatives and to make new acquaintances. I write to communicate at work with colleagues, clients, suppliers and the media. I write to share information and to ask for information. I write when I want to reach out to many people at the same time.

I write to comment on happenings around the world and to contemplate on life. I write to celebrate the joy of living. I write to ridicule the irony of life. I write to express and share the joys of travelling and discovering new places, people, cultures and cuisines.

I write to improvise my writing skills. And yes of course, I write for the sheer pleasure of writing!

Friday, April 11, 2008

dil ki udaan

mera yeh dil deewana
jaane hai kaise rukta na
iski udaan..

manoo hai koi panchi yeh
ude hai jo gagan mein yeh
phaila ke pankh

armaan iske haaroon zalakte boli mein
ghule hai jaise rang saare holi mein

(just keyed in somethin tht came to my mind... may keep refining it.. :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I am finally done with the Fountainhead (Better late than never..) well but I am not going to review the book here or comment on my opinion about it... just am quoting some of her brilliant evocative, lines ..

"The people has come to witness a sensational case, to see celebrities, to get material for consversation, to be seen, to kill time. They would return to unwanted jobs, unloved families, unchosen friends, to drawing rooms, evening clothes, cocktail glasses and movies, to unadmitted pain, murdered hope, desire left unreached, left hanging silently over a path on which no step was taken, to days of effort not to think, not to say, to forget and give in and give up.

But each of them had known some unforgotten moment - a morning when nothing happened, a piece of music heard suddenly and never heard in the same way again, a stranger's face seen in a bus - a moment when each had known in a different sesnse of living. And each remembered other moments, on a sleepless night, on a afternoon of steady rain, in a church, in an empty street at sunset, when each had wondered why there was so much suffering and ugliness in the world. They had not tried to find the answer and they had gone on living as if no answer were necessary. But each had known a moment when, in lonely, naked honesty, he had felt the need of an answer."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

All Girl Squad

Here's an interesting article that I found on BBC World... Kudos to the All Girl Squad from India!!! I wish them all the best in their endeavor to establish peace!!!


This World meets the first all-female unit of United Nations peacekeepers, who have been based in Liberia for six months

Do women make better soldiers, especially in war torn countries? As a trial, the UN recently deployed a unit of Indian women to be the first ever all-female peacekeeping force in the West African country in Liberia. The women are part of India's Central Reserve Police Force, and were hand picked from across the country for this mission. They are experts in crowd control and veterans of many conflicts in India, including Kashmir and fighting in the north-east of India.
Conflict in LiberiaLiberia is recovering from 14 years of civil war during which child soldiers roamed the streets and sexual violence was common. Today the presence of thousands of peacekeepers keeps it stable, but rape is still a major problem.The UN is experimenting with all female units because female soldiers are seen as less threatening and more approachable in post conflict situations, where populations are recovering from years of violence and fear. In Liberia this is of particular importance because the country has experienced an epidemic of sexual violence against women. But will the presence of armed Indian women patrolling the streets empower local women, or will the culture shock the Indian women face - in their first visit out of India - stop them from interacting with local Liberians? This World accompanies the women on their mission. If they are a success, they could be the first of many women soldiers to wear the famous UN blue helmets.