Sunday, December 15, 2013

Is Love a Crime?

Been thinking about the recent judgement regarding section 377, an archaic law introduced during the British rule, and wondering why do we have a problem with love? Whether it's the moral policing that keeps occurring across the nation or the family structure with their boundaries of love and marriage defined between certain communities, religious beliefs, language, caste, orientation, and so on, why do we humans have so many prejudices?

Who are we to judge that a consensual act between two adults of the same gender is criminal, whereas marital rape isn't? From time immemorial, we seem to be having a problem with love. Love marriages were frowned upon but entering an arranged marriage and sleeping with a perfect stranger on your wedding night was acceptable. Love is like a dirty word. Doesn't exist. Something to be frowned upon. We are a nation of over 1.3 billion but sex doesn't happen. Babies are not an effect of procreation, it's god who gives us babies. We are in a perpetual state of denial about love and sex.

Back to section 377, it's sad that the individual rights and freedom of the (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) LGBT community are at stake not only in India but as per reports all over the world. Even in countries like France, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Been hearing the term "unnatural" quite a bit  and wonder what gives us the right to define an act of mutual consent between the same sex as unnatural. If someone has a different orientation from your own, does that make it unnatural. What's definitely criminal and unnatural is when force is used. If it's rape, child abuse, that's a crime. Then why is an act of mutual consent being considered a crime?

Another argument that keeps coming up against LGBT rights is that it's against our culture. If culture dictates that it involves disrespecting our fellow human beings, we need to do away with such culture. Whether it's the system of sati, caste system and child marriage, reformers have fought these social evils. Where is the sanctity of this so called culture that persecutes minorities based on gender, social strata, religious beliefs, orientation and so on. Even our mythological tales and carvings in our temples such as Khajuraho depict that the LGBT community existed and were accepted even in ancient times.

So why did we become so intolerant? What makes us so insensitive towards the choices and preferences of other individuals, if it doesn't match our own beliefs? When will we learn to live and let live, and let love that transcends all boundaries such as nationality, religion, color, caste, orientation flourish?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Few Good Men

As the Tarun Tejpal controversy creates such outrage and spirals out of control in social media, I begin to wonder. It's shameful and though it terrifies us, depresses us, makes us question our beliefs and morals, aren't we in some way responsible for allowing such acts to happen in alarming frequency? Right from the time a child is born, the conditioning and discrimination begins. This divisiveness is not just restricted to the nationality, religion, caste, skin color, or the language one speaks but extends to gender, class, wealth and power too.

Folks are quick to blame the not so fortunate literates or those from the so called lower classes (yes, these class distinctions still exist in this land of an ever increasing gap between have and have-nots), but what do they have to say when the educated of our land with degrees from IITs, IIMs, and even Oxford, Stanford and Harvard engage in horrific misdemeanors and criminal activities such as corruption, exhortation, and exploitation of others. Can we really blame and pinpoint one social class when crime extends across all boundaries? The perpetrator can be from any background.

Now onto powerful men like Tejpal! History has been filled with powerful men who have choices! Some of them choose to use the power bestowed to them responsibly, whereas some misuse and twist it to meet their own desires. Aren't there thousands of Tarun Tejpals out there? In recent weeks, news of the judges and lawyers exploiting interns have rocked the nation. Now what makes them commit such acts? Does the heady sense of power intoxicate them and make them feel like they can manipulate and control anyone. And when they get away with their misdemeanors, does it make them more brazen that they continue their acts without fear and a care in the world as if they are kings of the world.

I think the need of the hour is to set up proper and adequate committees for every sector and organization to address any kind of issue, even those concerning folks at the top. After all, absolute power does make some folks immune to the system and that can be dangerous.

And do we really need a comparison with the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky episode as I've seen in some tweets? While I am not here to preach on the morality and personal integrity of a person's character, and why they choose to cheat on their partners, wasn't that a case of mutual consent? It cannot be compared to this Tejpal incident where the young journalist repeatedly said no, but yet he persisted. For more on the case, check this link:

Hasn't it always been like this? Just as in the animal kingdom where the beasts stalk their prey, in the human kingdom, the rich and powerful prey on the weak or vulnerable sections. Some fight back, some don't.

As reports state, Tarun Tejpal's introductory speech during the THINKFEST 2011 had the lines, "You're in Goa, so eat, drink, make merry & sleep with whoever you want." What about consent, Mr. Tejpal?Irony is one of the taglines at the THINKFEST 2013 stated, "The beast lies within us."

While these beasts exist, it's also important to differentiate between the beasts and the few good men that exist on this planet. With similar incidents of molestation and abuse being reported in the media everyday, a friend of mine was lamenting that he's ashamed and scared of being an Indian man. I get that. It's important not to cast everyone in the same mold. We need to remember that for every beast out there, there also exist a few good men and men can be victims too.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blue Blood

Waking up to social networking updates and news about the royal birth and that too a male heir to Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, I smile. Hate it or love it, the lives of the monarchy continue to fascinate us. Quite reminds me of the movies I've been watching in recent times about the nobility and aristocracy of England.

A movie that stayed in my mind was "The Duchess" based on the life of Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, who was quite a fashionista and created quite a scandal in the late 18th century. Keira Knightley does a brilliant job portraying the character of the Duchess and the trials and tribulations that she faced for not bearing a male heir till much later brings out the social prejudices prevalent. Not so different from the mindset of majority of our population in our nation where giving birth to a son is still paramount and female infanticide is pretty common.

This obsession with giving birth to boys reminds me of a whatsapp group conversation with our friend, Ashwini last week. The lengths people go through to have a male child. Apparently, since male baby causing sperms die very quickly, they work best only on the exact day of ovulation and the closer it is deposited to the cervix, the better the chances of fertilization, so there are techniques to get there. Several other superstitions abound such as eating asparagus before coitus (am too influenced by Sheldon  from TBBT these days) and not eating strawberries as they can cause a girl child to be born. Phew!

Back to the royals, the conservative nature and rigidness of the royal customs were and still are a sharp contrast to the infidelities and betrayal played out in their lives. Guess it was a kind of rebellion against very strict protocols. In modern times, it seems to continue going by the tabloid gossip of royal lives such as Prince Charles, Lady Diana, Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson and now Prince William and Prince Harry.

Our obsession with the monarchy remains even after we realize that all those fairy tales we read about finding our Prince Charming and living happily ever after is not so true. It sometimes takes a few takes before happily ever after such as in the case of Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee for whom King Edward abdicates the throne. If you watch the movie W.E. based on the life of King Edward VIII, you realize that it was not quite happily ever either. W.E. is a must-watch brilliant movie for those interested to get a sneak peek into the lives of royalty and is produced and directed by Madonna.

Talking about royalty, wonder why we still cling on to old institutions such as the monarchy that are inherited and not merit-based even in these times of so called democracy? Is it because there is something so romantic about the royal lineage that we hate to let go of archaic conventions our minds have grown so used to after reading all those stories of kings and queens across the world and spanning centuries?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Who or What Inspires Us?

LinkedIn sends me a mail to get inspired by the most followed Influencers. I go through the list and see the names of a few bigwigs and smile. Oh well, now are they going to dictate who should inspire me? :)

Are we supposed to be inspired by only folks in the rat race and who've made huge sums of money judging by the list? Social media does have a way of pandering to people's egos and hyping things up to such an extent that you start to believe in it. However, if you delve a bit, you will find that it's all about visibility and often the achievements are hollow and there is no real depth or quality to it.

Am I supposed to be admiring Ambani or Mallya for their ill gotten wealth and ways of flaunting it through monstrosities like Antilla and yachts and high flying calendars even in cases where their employees have not been paid for months while they live the high life or the majority of people in our nation live in dire poverty? It's not in their business interest after all to part with their wealth especially when there are loopholes in the system where they can avoid payouts to those who deserve it. Isn't it the job of the government to look after the welfare of its citizens? Why should these big folks care as long as their names make it to the richie rich list every year?

It's like the music channels these days that keep playing such horrendous music till it's drilled into your senses and you start believing that it's top of the charts although the lyrics make no sense or the music is plagiarized from another popular number and at times even outright non-melodious. Or those endless movie promotions that keep being replayed on television channels and celebrities on social networking sites who promote it even though it may be the crappiest movie ever made and you go and watch based on their feedback and once you do, you realize that it was a huge mistake. After all, in these times it's more of driving up a hype, ass-licking, and doing favors for people rather than honest and quality feedback.

It's like I shout out all your so-called achievements from the rooftop and you do the same for mine. Or was it you scratch my back and I'll scratch your's? :) Oh well, these days you don't even have to shout from rooftops; all you need to do is broadcast it across social networking sites and there you go, it's creating a  breed of self-obsessed, attention-seeking, narcissistic individuals. This attention-seeking is like a drug and at times often promotes mediocrity and cheating one's way to so-called success like all those voting contests that you come across. The more the votes, and that is what determines the outcome of one's success. And sorry, you may send me repeated requests but am still not going to vote for anyone's child on any social networking site. I wouldn't know what to judge and isn't it unfair on some other deserving candidates whoever they are just because I am an incompetent judge? :P So hate me but still not voting.

I watch the news and see more self-promotions happening even in the aftermath of the Uttarakhand tragedy. The army, locals, NGO's and some extraordinary humans doing some amazing work and helping those affected without shouting it out from the rooftops and there you have our politicians squabbling and boasting about flagging off relief material when isn't it their duty as public servants to ensure the welfare of the citizens? Do they need to spend funds that could be used in rehabilitation work in running large newspaper ads promoting the so-called relief work that their leaders are engaging in?  And then you get to know that the stuff flagged off is rotten or hasn't even reached the folks who require it as the trucks are still stuck in some other state. Politicians have ceased to surprise me these days with their insensitive and incompetent ways.

Back to influencers, even though I do admire some of the famous ones such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Azim Premji, and the Tatas for all their charitable contributions, it's still my low-profile colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and some extraordinary strangers who I've met that amaze and inspire me for their large hearts with so less resources.

Ordinary folks who are wealthy in their thoughts and deeds and who are making a huge difference to the lives of others every day. The ones who teach impoverished kids for free, undertake campaigns and promotions to provide them access to free education, school kits etc, the ones who work with orphanages and differently abled people, the folks who help slum dwellers day in and day out, those friends who help the homeless, and women who have been violated and abused, striving against all odds despite having access to limited funds or welfare. At times they even face a deep risk to their lives by helping others and yet that does not deter them from their chosen path.

Those nameless faceless folks who shy away from the limelight and public praise. They may be your neighbor, colleague, friend, acquaintance but each day they tirelessly thrive to help others. I do know that we live in times where the shallow world of social media and the material wealth folks accumulate will continue to dictate who the achievers are and who we should admire, but for me it's these folks who quietly go about changing lives without a care for rewards or praise who are the real heroes!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hong Kong and Macau

It's been some time since my last vacation. Should have written this 5 months ago but now all that post-vacation excitement has worn off and am back to my pining for another, may be it's time to relive the past until the next one, whenever that is. :)

Juin had been inviting me to visit them for ages so finally decided this was it and there began our plans. Well, don't quite know where to start and how to describe a city. There's always so much more, an eclectic mix like any other city in the world, yet each city has it's own unique charm and brand and Hong Kong is no different.

It was a fabulous 7 day trip exploring the sights and sounds of Hong Kong and Macau, getting to stay with Rahul, Juin, and Aanchal at their fabulous apartment in the mountains of Repulse Bay overlooking the South China Sea. A view to die for. :) Maybe, I should let the pictures do the talking.

 The apartments at Repulse Bay overlooking the South China sea

Repulse Bay beach on a sunny winter morning

What I loved about the place is despite the crowds, in a city which is as congested as any Indian city, the public transportation system was so efficient whether it were the buses, MTR (Mass Transit Railway), ferries across islands...everything seemed to function like clockwork.

Some places to visit are the Peak for the fabulous panoramic views of Hong Kong city. We went twice: the first time for night shots and the second time for day shots and though it was a cloudy, foggy winter day, it didn't detract from the beauty.

My favorite was the trip to the Ngong Ping village to see the Big Buddha and Lantau Park. To get there, you can take the MTR till the Tung Chung station. Once you reach, it's walking distance to the Tung Chung Cable Car terminal. We did see several trekkers hiking across the Lantau Country Park to the village but I would recommend that you take the cable car because it not only saves time if you are on a short trip but the cable car ride by itself is an experience. The Standard Cabin costs around HKD 135 and the Crystal Cabin around HKD 220 but since we were there around New Year's, the holiday rates were a little higher and it cost around HKD 280 for a round trip by the Crystal cable car which is definitely worth it. You get panoramic views of the Airport, the Lantau country park, the South China Sea, the Tung Chung Bay below, and a fabulous view of the Big Buddha and the Ngong Ping village as you approach it.

 The cable car ride to Ngong Ping Village  

View of the airport from the cable car

 Across the South China sea into the Lantau National Park area

View of the Park from the Glass-bottom of the Cable Car

First glimpse of the Buddha from the Cable Car 

Gateway to Ngong Ping Village 

Almost there after the steep climb of several steps

View of the Village from the top 

Happy to be there after months of planning

Another place worth visiting is the sky100 observation deck located on the 100th floor of ICC, the tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong that offers a breathtaking 360° panoramic view of the city and the Victoria Harbour. We wanted to be there to view the fireworks on Dec 31 midnight, however it was booked for a private party, so we did an afternoon visit and got to view the last sunset of the year.

It was also fun exploring the streets of Wan chai and Kowloon and getting harbour shots of the skyline from the ferry. So had my fill of skyscrapers this vacation. Nature appeals to me more but the views from the harbour and the peak were just too fabulous to miss. For night clubs and restaurants, there are several around Wanchai and Stanley but my personal favorite was Soho where you have one of the longest escalators and you can just step off any exit along the way to visit any of the popular restaurants or night clubs.

Macau is another attraction you would not like to miss since it is just an hour away from Hong Kong by turbojet ferry. If it's just for a day, all you need to do is carry your passport, go to Sheung Wan Ferry Terminal, to book yourself a ticket to Macau. There are ferries plying almost every 15 minutes to half an hour during the day and one hour throughout the night so even if you get late while returning from Macau no worries. It costs around HKD 148 by Economy Class and around HKD 298 if you are travelling Super Class. Queues are there everywhere but immigration is efficient and a breeze. Visa on arrival at Hong Kong and Macau. Once we arrived at Macau, we negotiated with a cabbie to take us around some attractions and then drop us off at the Venetian. If you have time, there are buses plying from the terminal that take tourists around but Joy and I neither had the patience nor the time and we wanted a customized itinerary to suit ourselves because we knew exactly what we wanted to see and what we didn't want to see thanks to Aanchal's extensive inputs that she wrote down for us knowing what we liked. Some of the places to visit are at the Senado Square, that's the heart of the historic central part of Macau (if interested in history).

Ruins of St. Paul

The cannons at Mount Fortress. These canons were used once when the Dutch invaded Macau in 1622.

Museum of Macau

You can also visit the Macau Tower for some panoramic views of Macau city. By now, Joy and I had quite enough of panoramic views especially after the fabulous Ngong Ping village tour but decided to go for it  and quite enjoyed the bungee jumping ruckus that we got to view from the top. :)

We were lucky to get an interesting tour guide/cab driver who had some stories to share. He had swum across the China sea to Macau decades ago and made that his home. Throughout the tour, he had some interesting anecdotes about his life, the gambling, how it had taken a toll on the locals, the politics, the transition from the Portuguese to the Chinese. It was quite entertaining listening to his perspective and way of life. We finally bade him farewell at the Venetian.

Besides the rich Portuguese history that reminded me a lot of Goa, the mainstay of Macau are the casinos that are everywhere. There are around 33 casinos all across Macau such as the MGM Grand, Sands Macao, Casino Lisboa but due to lack of time we decided to visit only one and chose the Venetian. If gambling's for you, the hotels are all very grand and nice but somehow all these artificial man-made creations were not my idea of fun or beauty after the wonders of nature and the historical aspects of Macau.

After a nice Portuguese lunch at the Madeira and walking and exploring the grand corridors and shops of the Venetian for a couple of hours, we decided to head to the terminal to get back. Almost all the hotels have free shuttle services every hour so we just hopped onto one to take us back to the terminal where we could get a ferry back to Hong Kong. Macau has much more to offer so I would advise staying at least one or two nights to explore the islands.

Loads of folks told us to visit Disneyland but decided to give that a skip coz we had no interest in visiting some American fantasy land in Hong Kong and miss out on the local flavors. If we had kids, we might have gone, but the idea of wasting a day to see man-made castles and disney characters, and amusement park rides really didn't appeal to us but if you are interested, you should definitely go. I am a very fussy traveller and before each trip I do a lot of research on the internet, talk to people who may have visited, and then plan where I would like to go and what I would like to do and Disneyland was a big no for us though I do know people who had loads of fun.

Another thing was shopping. We were quite fed up of seeing the same clonish designer boutiques that are now dotted all across the world. Every MTR station had a glitzy mall above and I can understand why people asked us to go shopping but then again what can I say! The handicrafts and local wares of Nagaland appealed to me much more. Read this interesting line on Twitter today posted by Anupam Kher and thought of Hong Kong though it's applicable to every city where these same clonish malls exist: "One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greed." For us a vacation is about the experience, the people you meet, and the local flavors, sights, and sound. Until my next...the Konkan coast beckons.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jiah Khan

Jiah Khan's suicide got me thinking. It's hard accepting lopsided relationships and it's true life's not fair. There are millions who go through unrequited love but does that mean one needs to resort to suicide? If a relationship doesn't work for you, shouldn't you just gracefully exit? We are so fixated on that one particular door that sometimes we fail to see the million other doors waiting to be discovered and explored. Isn't that true for so many of us?

I do agree it's sad that her life had to end this way. Similar to everyone else, when I first heard the news, I thought it was the pressure of living up to people's expectations and her dwindling career fortunes that made her take this drastic step. Been reading several articles, the ones that stayed with me were posts by Ramgopal Varma and Gul Panag. Reading their views, I kept thinking to myself was it worth dying for because she was still so young and had so much to live for.

Then as the day progressed, more news came trickling in about the suicide note, her dreams, hopes, despair, and a volatile, abusive relationship. He did sound quite an ill-mannered, brute of a ****head and deserves to be punished for abetment of suicide but still wondered was there really no other way out but suicide? Couldn't she have walked out on such a loser who showed her no respect? Living in modern, cosmopolitan Mumbai, weren't there options available for her to move on? Was she a prisoner under some bondage?

Aren't relationships all about adding some value to your life? Since this was clearly not working and he was abusive and insulting, wasn't it self-destructive on her part to stick around? I know it's tough at that point of time when one's mind is in turmoil and denial with all kinds of conflicting thoughts but the sensible thing to do would have been to walk out. Guess it's easy to think of possible solutions here, but then again how would we react if we went through the same intensity of the pain or emotions unless we put ourselves in her shoes! And that intensity or obsession called love can also be a dangerous killer where all good sense flies out of the window.

Reading her letter, it is sad thinking about the mental and physical trauma she had to go through at the hands of a clearly delusional and dangerous psychopath. And it's scary to think that there are so many of these psychopaths out there. They roam freely among us in all stratas of society. It's a gray area so nobody wants to acknowledge that such people require psychiatric care and counselling because that will mean admitting there is a problem. Some are so dangerous that they should be locked up. Even parents look the other way and treat it as bad temper or immaturity when their offspring is actually a threat to society. Though this is violent and unacceptable behavior, there is a thin line so it's still not considered a crime. Having known and heard of so many friends, acquaintances, and strangers who have undergone similar abuse and trauma, wonder if there is some way we can reach out and help such folks caught in these hopeless situations. Shouldn't there be awareness created of such offenders?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The last few days, amidst all the brouhaha about scams, IPL, politicians etc etc that we are inundated with in the news, there were two folks that caught my eye even amidst controversy. Well, not many will agree and am sure everyone has their own conflicting views which they most certainly are entitled to, but here's my take.

The first was Neha Sambri who wed Ankit Chavan, the cricketer accused of spot fixing during the IPL. Every article I read used strong terms to denounce him: disgraced, tainted, accused. On social networking sites, there were a lot of tweets and updates questioning her decision to go ahead with the wedding and some even mocking her foolishness. I think she displayed amazing strength of character on her part to stand by someone through the tough times and not just abandon him the moment controversy struck. Whether it was the right or wrong decision, only time will tell but I felt it was a nice thing to do in this self-centred, fast-paced world. After all, life is filled with ups and downs and the people who stand by you through both the good and bad times are the ones who really matter.

The other was Michael Douglas who faced a lot of flak and tons of brick-bats for his "cancer disclosure" but it takes guts putting yourself out in front of the world, cutting through all the BS, and telling it the way it is, right or not. There have been conflicting stories and statements issued by his spokespersons but that didn't stop the humor and judgement about his revelations on my timeline. Irrespective of how and why a person catches a disease, be it cancer or AIDS, I feel they need our support. Having seen my near and dear ones go through the suffering, may be I am a tad too sensitive when I hear the word "cancer" but oh well that's how I feel. It was brave of him not to sugar coat his experience and hopefully the awareness created may help save other lives in future.

While on that topic, some optimistic news I read here. Hope there will soon be a cure for this dreaded disease.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's a VIP World

The ongoing developments of the recent brawl where two techies were beaten up by Ram Charan's bodyguards just reiterates that this nation is of the VIP, by the VIP, and for the VIP. The techies are too scared to even file a case though there are pictures showing the brutality of the bodyguards but it's not hard to figure out why. It's a VIP land where commoners are bullied into submission, the cops fail to protect you, and the judiciary doesn't provide justice. Instead, the guilty can go scot free, whereas innocent folks are made to look guilty or facts are twisted as is being done in this case. From the time this incident was reported, every day there’s a new twist. Made me remember this incident that occurred last year where his VIP dad's entourage bullied us off the road.

We were on our way to Novotel for a friend's farewell dinner and were waiting in this unusually long queue of cars near the Hitex Exhibition Centre around 2-3 kms from the hotel, when we heard these loud blaring sirens. We turn around to see this fleet of VIP cars hurtling towards the queued cars, and cops in motor bikes telling everyone to get off the road. Many started arguing and Joy refused to move as there was no space due to the long line of cars ahead of us, but these burly mean looking bodyguards appeared and started knocking on the windows demanding that we get out of there. There followed a loud, heated argument and things began to turn a little nasty, so I convinced Joy to reverse and move out of the way. We finally reached the hotel 15-20 minutes later to find that it was Chiranjeevi's cavalcade that had shoved us off the road because he had to attend a music launch hosted by Maa TV. Was telling Joy thank goodness he moved coz if not there may have been a similar incident as the one involving those two techies.

This incident raises a lot of questions. Do our politicians and stars deserve such royal treatment? Is it right for them to get such privileges when ordinary citizens have a struggle commuting through those same roads? When they are so incompetent at their jobs, should we elevate them to such undeserved status thus moving them even further from ground realities.They are elected to power to bring in improvements and positive change, but end up using the system for their own benefits. How can we expect them to understand citizen issues when they don’t face the same because they are bestowed with special privileges. Roads are cleared for them even for non-emergencies such as a music launch or dining out at Chutney’s. Do they truly deserve these benefits especially since they are blatantly misusing the power and authority bestowed on them?

I personally feel that the only vehicle that deserves special treatment on the roads is an ambulance carrying a patient. Last Friday when we were on our way to dinner around 7:30 in the evening, we were in a traffic jam around a km away from the busy Jubilee Hills traffic signal, when we hear sirens. We turn around to see this ambulance stuck because there was just nowhere to move in that peak hour traffic. We wondered how a path could be created for the ambulance to cross that busy stretch, which was choc-a-bloc with cars. Joy asked an auto guy to help clear the way and it was heartening to see how in a couple of minutes, a crowded jam-packed stretch was cleared to give the ambulance passage. While our screen heroes and politicians disappoint and act like privileges are their birthright, it's the extraordinary citizens who are the real heroes everyday.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

Suffering from finger fatigue these days and thought I would keep away from writing this weekend but the string of quotes on my timeline across networking sites forces me to write my thoughts on this gimmick called "Mother's Day". Seriously, what's with the commodification of the "Mommy"? The most hyped and abused term these days. On one side, you have folks singing odes and on the other it's the vile that's spewed using that name. As someone said on my Twitter TL today: "Made Mom read the TL. She was so happy reading those Mother's Day tweets. Until a tweet containing 'Motherf******' popped up.

I've known folks who revere their Moms to an unrealistic infinity quick to use such terms. Isn't it a sham? I know most of us love our Moms but is it also fair to "commodify" Moms as hyped by our movies from time immemorial and now continued by these marketing campaigns to sell their wares? Even Anna Jarvis who first conceptualized Mother's Day was disillusioned with it's commercialization in later years.

Mom or not, aren't we all humans with a mix of virtues and vices? No person is truly perfect and especially not that scheming Mom, a son absolutely adores, but who is quick to defile and harm a new woman entering his life. Or the ones who may have knowingly abandoned their kids. Am not talking about the folks for whom circumstances may have forced them to abandon their kids, but the ones who don't give a damn after producing one.

Thinking about it, it's their choice after all whether they want to abandon or keep their kids and who knows we are not saints either before we judge anyone, but don't we need to be a little sensitive before going around posting inspirational photos such as: "I've got the best Mom in the world". It not only creates unrealistic expectations and do you mean the billion other Moms in this universe are not good enough? How do you define "the best"?

Also, what about the Dads? Even though there is a father's day, I never see so many odes being written to them. I've seen some amazing Dads, including my Oz bestie's hub (will not name them lest I embarrass them) who may put even some Moms to shame so why elevate only a mom - child relationship to a godly one? I know that someone may spew that dialogue of not knowing coz I've not experienced carrying a child in my womb for 9 months. However, I love my Mom and Dad equally and am grateful to my Dad for the most amazing childhood and for all that he has given me. It would absolutely not be fair to put down his care and affection just coz he did not carry me in his womb.

Even if Joy and I did decide to spawn kids, which we still don't, and are happy about our decision seeing the current state of affairs in the world, I know we would be mature enough to accept the love from our kids rather than have this superior mother-child bond that overshadows all relationships including the one with the dad. Each relationship is special in it's own way and I would not like to put down one over the other. I know many of you will not agree with my views but that's okay. My views are meant to reflect what I think and feel and doesn't aim to please . :)

For me, every relationship is special, and every day is a day for my loved ones be it my Mom, Dad, aunts, uncles, extended family, cousins, friends, and so on and not just coz some moron somewhere wants to peddle their wares or elevate a certain relationship to an unrealistic pedestal.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Graffiti on the Balcony Walls

With so many things driving me up the wall the past few weeks, "crazy me" had to go and find a wall to get crazy. Yeah, when the going gets crazy, the crazy get going! :)

Was grocery shopping after work last week when I happened to spot a box of crayons at the store and had a sudden brainwave. It's funny how ideas and thoughts strike at the strangest places. It's been a childhood fantasy to scribble on walls but since I never did at that age, maybe now was the time for a balcony wall makeover. A school friend who was staying with us over the weekend was reminiscing about the lovely view of the Kanchenjunga that we took for granted in our boarding school years in Darjeeling. That brought back memories of ladybirds we would gather into glass jars and daisies that we would collect from all over the countryside. Felt a wee bit sad as am still trying to come to terms with the view of the lovely yellow mustard fields which I enjoyed the first few years now being replaced by the debris of this construction site. Well, living in Indian cities what else can I expect, so maybe scribbles can add some cheer.

Anyways, when you are inspired, inspiration arrives from several places. I thought about the graffiti wall they had in the old, homely, cozy Flurys before they went and got a "makeover" to this now snooty, cold, and impersonal establishment. Remembered the "Before I Die I want To" scribble board at Truffles Cafe where guests can write their fantasies and wishlist. Another inspiration was this blog I stumbled across a few weeks ago - a stranger who scribbled on the kitchen walls of her beautiful home. Next, I went through several web sites for some interesting one-liners (so far I've got 12) and with my tools all set, I began my handiwork.

After a week of scribbles, I do find it outright amateurish and kiddish but console myself that at least my plants don't have to look at drab walls. I've been terrible at it and don't remember when was the last time I used crayons. May have been Class IV or Class V after which we must have progressed to water colors. It's still work in progress coz the only time I get to scribble is around midnight or at dawn before the sun wakes up, but will keep at it whenever I get time because for now the balcony walls are my canvas. :) Also, nobody's seen my scribbles yet. No, not even Joy coz he rarely steps into the balcony and if he doesn't, am not telling. :P However, the conclusion is that I should avoid my own art work in my next home WHENEVER WHEREVER that will be.

I remember EL James mentioning in one of her interviews that 50 shades was an output of her mid-life crisis so may be this is kinda my output. Her mid-life crisis made her millions, my scribbles on the wall won't make me a penny, but oh well. :D Was telling some pals that scribbling on the wall may even be a way to diffuse the sadness, anger, and frustration that I feel at the distressing news events thrown at us everyday. Are the people inhabiting this planet getting loonier or were they always this way? Oh well, enough said!

P.S. If you do come across some interesting and funny gardening quotes, please share. I have 3 walls to scribble on.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ochre Walls and Blue Shuttered Windows on my Mind

My balcony's been on my mind and once something's on my mind, it's like a bug that refuses to go away. With all the construction work going on right opposite our building, there's always some residue of rubble or cement that greets me when I step out. It's coated all over the grill, the floor, the walls, and even my plants till I give them a good wash morning and evening.

It's very, very, very annoying but I can't do much except wait for the work to complete before I can go ahead and paint my balcony a lovely, deep shade of ochre. Since there's absolutely no point cribbing and feeling sad about things beyond my control decided it was time to make the best of limited resources. Woke up today morning before the sun did and decked the dusty grills with some bottles that I've been hoarding.

Now all I need to do is fill these bottles with a couple of money plants that trail and entwine across the grill and that should add some cheer. Meanwhile, I dream of ochre walls and blue shuttered windows...maybe it's the call of the meditteranean. Oh well, someday.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


A peek at the new batch of plants delivered by Fingers crossed they survive the harsh summer. Love them already!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Flop DIY Projects

Got quite a stash of bottles last night so decided to put it to good use in some DIY project. My first thought was to hang the bottles from the balcony grill but after reading umpteen instructions online realized that cutting off the base of the bottles was a little too complicated for a beginner like me so chickened out. Then tried hanging  them from ropes secured at the top, but after entwining them with the clothesline shaped like a tangled basket, still didn't feel secure so dropped that idea. Next, tried putting them in old handbags and hanging them on the railing but felt it may snap so gave that up too.

Guess it was just not my day. Gave up the creative buzz in my head and went back to simpler methods. Oh well, there's always a next time.

Also, while browsing through a few pages for DIY, chanced upon this site Was pretty kicked about it because finally I get to order plants online and though they do not have herbs and other organic saplings yet, saves me the trouble of lugging indoor, outdoor, and some flowering plants. There were around 9 pots that I had retired for the summer but now that home delivery's available, got online and placed my first order. Now waiting for the beauties to arrive. Fingers crossed. :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Serendipitous Sundays

Waking up on a Sunday morning to my plants is the most joyous activity right now in my life. Other days, its the hustle bustle of life where I am rushing through one chore to another but Sunday mornings are sacred.

So was shuttling back and forth tending to my plants, listening to melodious old songs wafting out in the background on Vh1 when something stopped me in my tracks. Happened to glance out of the dining room window and saw the sky change color in a matter of a few seconds from a dull grey to a bright orange. Was spellbound. My first instinct was to hunt for a camera but then decided to savour this moment in solitude instead of uploading just another sunrise pic to this already crowded digital world.

The beauty of the sunrise seemed to have eclipsed all other tasks so I sat back and watched the sun, in peace with the world for a few minutes till the doorbell rang and the maid woke me up from my utopian reverie. :)

So back to my rambles about my plants. The latest plant that I am fixated on is coriander (dhania). I've been reading several blogs on how to grow dhania and decided to try growing them at home. So here's a peek at the weekly progress of one of the dhania plants.

Still in the germination stage but hope by next week there is more progress. If all goes well it's going to take another 10-15 days before I can begin using my own home-grown produce and then I can get more ambitious in the gardening arena and venture to other produce too. :)