Friday, November 29, 2013

Another birthday gone..

Another year has passed. Reached what some would call a milestone.

It was a day mixed with laughter, peace, joy and actually even a little negativity but nothing that could kill spirit.

Things turned out to be okay after all. Maybe not as perfect but still just okay.

Started off with breakfast with a dear friend, followed  by attending a college friend's wedding, lunch with parents, dinner out with friends after which they came home to relax & enjoy some more..

So all in all, it was a good day. Met people, cut cakes, laughed a little and there was hugging!

Like I mentioned in my last post, I don't have bucket lists to mark milestones. Other than wanting to travel more, after the past couple of years, all I really want is to have a fuller life. A life I can fully let myself into..

which is to say,

I want to have more life in my moments than moments in my life.

Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Choices and expectations

This weekend seemed like the most stressful one in recent times. Like I mentioned in the last post, my birthday is coming up.. I kept stressing over whether to celebrate, where to celebrate, what to wear etc. Last week was spent in going to the mall trying on clothes and looking at dresses online. Shopping for an occasion almost never works. I get so confused that I either end up buying them all or none at all. This morning, I decided I won't stress out over having a perfect time on my birthday. It's my state of mind that will make it perfect after all.. not the location or the outfit. I mean, I really won't mind if I am only just by myself but at peace. It will still be worthwhile. (FYI, I can now imagine the stress people go through at their weddings)

It makes me think whether choices, plans etc. are really an illusion. Last year, I had the best time ever. I did make plans but none of them worked out. My dress tore at the last minute. The party was delayed. Someone I was close to at the time did not wish me all day. But in the end, all of us ended up having the best time of our lives. My friend had bought me a dress as a birthday present which I donned for the day. The party was late but that only meant more guests could arrive and those that were already there decided to crash at my place than go back home. I got the awaited call quite late but that time made it possible for me to be wished & blessed by that someone's mother too.

So, it feels like it does not matter what you want. More often than not, life gets in the way and makes it worthwhile. Choices / Decisions feel like an illusion at such times.

Or maybe we need plans. Safety sake. Sometimes they are going to work out. Sometimes they just won't.

A lot of times, unplanned or unexpected things bring more joy as they have the surprise element.

All of this reminds me of a quote I once read,

"The expected is what keeps us steady. It's the unexpected that changes our lives forever."

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I cannot believe I haven't written here for a whole month!

I have just been running out of things to write about.

October was a month that brought a lot of changes to my otherwise boring routine or rather, the lack of it.
I had been in my shell for almost a year now & decided to slowly try and find a place for myself somewhere than waiting endlessly for something great to happen. So, it started with me taking a random decision by accepting a project to keep myself occupied. It led to me being super busy & stressed instead, but atleast the stress was directed differently so I'd like to think my decision wasn't a bad one.

In the middle of all this, I spent a few nights at a friend's place and we stayed up talking all night the first night I was there!! It's nice how some people just seep into your life like they've always been there and staying with them seems as comfortable & natural as living by yourself. Better too! I feel lucky to have such friends..

Spent a weekend in Goa with my parents. It was our yearly religious trip but this time, it was slightly more relaxing than all the times we have been there.

I took some photos in my dad's phone..

This is where we stayed :

It's called "Bhakt Niwas" and is temple accommodation but the building looked so vibrant & royal that I could not resist taking pictures..

And this is the temple building :

Who'd say it's a temple!!! right?

Somebody was in a mood to pose for a picture ;)

Doesn't he look like he's winking at the camera?  :D

I tried taking pictures of the sunset across the landscapes from the train on the way back.. but it was an AC train so the windows were shut.. 

Some of the photos look like they are painted on canvas because of the settled dust on the windows :D The last one looks like it's from a dream..

I think I prefer travelling in Sleeper trains (with the windows open and lots of people).. they have a different feel altogether.

I started attending & performing at Open Mic, Prithvi Cafe.. it happens every fourth Tuesday of the month. My first time there was quite nice. I met someone new, read out one of my poems, listened to others perform and had a good time. The second time around, it was a bit dull. I read out some of my short poems but was shaky for some reason. Also, it got over very soon.

Navratri just came and went by .. it wasn't as fun as last year and that was the same with Diwali.

On one of the days, a friend & I had gone to Worli Seaface post dinner .. and we came across people were bursting firecrackers, lighting sky lanterns.. it was so lively & colourful!!

People lighting sky lanterns..

A small boy lighting one more sky lantern

In the air..

A family lighting chakras..

I love these!!! Can look at them all day :) This one was clicked by my friend.

And this dude was bursting fireworks in his hand !!!

Wrong person wearing the superman tee :D

So many sky lanterns.. there were more!!

So it was a fun evening..
In other news, my birthday is coming up soon ..I had thought of making a bucket list but dropped the idea..
I know what I want to do pretty much.. worry less and take the train out of the city more often :)

Until next time, cya! :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Europe! #HappyTravellers

A lot of you would already know how often I keep travelling to places - I don't miss a chance to pack my bags and get, set - go! It goes without saying that travel contests always excite me.. So, as soon as I heard about the Indiblogger "Happy Travellers" contest (sponsored by Yatra Holidays), I knew I had to enter this one.

Travelling opens your eyes to so many new things, ideas and people.. I've always loved exploring new places and have visited a lot of places across India (except for the East of India, yet to go there).

I've never had an opportunity to travel out of the country. Not even to see my own brother after my visa was rejected for the second time!! I want to see many places across the world. Places like Bali interest me for their rich culture while the whole of Europe excites me for it was home to so many artists- writers, painters, musicians etc.

It's really very hard to pick on one place but if I absolutely had to.. it'd be Europe!! I'd like to travel across that whole continent! :)

I have so many travel stories to tell. I was going to do a post on it but this contest came up and I thought I should enter this first :) Well, so what I have experienced is that, travelling is not just about seeing places. It's the whole package. Firstly, the journey does matter to an extent i.e. the people you meet during your journey, the food etc. and this is different for each person. As for seeing places, apart from just seeing the place, it is the stories about the place, about the people who lived there once is what interests me more.

So, what would I do if I go to Europe?

Setting foot itself would be a magical experience. 

Italy is the first country I'd go to..

I am very fond of European architecture (Medieval & Victorian in particular) and simply love looking at the buildings in South & Central Bombay.. so I'd like to explore the European cities on foot as much as possible, looking around and taking in as much as I can. I've heard of places in Italy where they rent cycles too so I will avoid carrying a lot of luggage with me. Of course, if I have family & friends with me, cycling wouldn't be possible.

Florence, Pisa, Verona, Venice, Rome and Milan are some places on my list..

Tuscany is known for its scenic beauty, countryside landscapes.

Most of Florence (in Tuscany, Italy), I've heard, is like an art exhibition. It'd be a thrill walking around the squares (or the piazzas) looking at works of art on display.

Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy.

Imagine living in a city where all of it is like a museum .. so beautiful!!

I'd visit the cathedrals & churches there .. just for their elegant structures!!

Next up would be to go and see some of Michaelangelo's masterpieces.. :)

David (Michaelangelo)

The Piazza della Signoria was where the original sculpture of David by Michaelangelo used to be.. but in 1873 they shifted it to the Accademia Gallery. Now, there's a replica of the original sculpture at the Piazza della Signoria. Michaelangelo's house, Casa Buonarotti, has a few of his sculptures too including "Madonna of the Stairs".

Madonna of the Stairs (Michaelangelo)

I'd take a walk on the Ponte Vecchio bridge just to look around at some jewellery, maybe even buy some..

Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Florence, Italy.

And for the food, I've heard that the San Lorenzo market is one place to go to, to explore the variety of food. I am a vegetarian though so might have limited options here! :) Can always explore the famous wines & cheeses of Tuscany here.

Next I'd go to Pisa to see the leaning tower! Have heard of it so much..

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy.

Next city I'd go to is Verona.. Though it's not a very renowned city, with three of Shakespeare's plays set there, this city arouses some curiosity.

I'd like to see Romeo and Juliet's house :)

Juliet's balcony, Verona, Italy.

I'd also like to see the Basilica of San Zeno which is the most famous structure of Roman architecture and also the marriage place of Romeo & Juliet :)

Basilica of San Zeno, Verona, Italy

The next place is Venice.. and the first thing I want to do here is explore this 'city on water' on a gondola ride.. Would love to take a tour of the canals, the bridges. Have also heard that one can cover most of Venice on foot in a couple of days time. So that's something I'm keen on doing.

I want to walk around Saint Mark's square (Piazza San Marco) and visit the museums.

Would like to see the famous Rialto bridge.

Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy

Looks so magical. I think Venice in the night would look more beautiful.

There is an Accademia Gallery (museum) in Venice too, which is host to many works of art.. worth paying a visit to.

Rome and Milan are the next cities on my list.

Rome for its fabulous architecture..

I'd like to visit the Roman Colosseum.. Also, having heard of so many Roman Gods, the Pantheon is also one place I'd go to.

Roman Colosseum

Inside the Pantheon, Rome

Would also go to see the world's oldest shopping mall.. Trajan's market! :)

                                                                        Trajan's Market, Rome

Not much of a fashion person, Milan (Italy's fashion capital) is the last city I'd head to in Italy.

Would stop at Duomo, the world's largest gothic cathedral. And then go to Castello Sforzesco, a castle in Milan! :)

Duomo, Milan

Castello Sforzesco, Milan

Castello Sforzesco, Milan (at Night)

Everything looks so beautiful in the night!!

Have heard there are plenty of parks in Milan too. Would be nice going there for a stroll or just relaxing with family & friends during a lazy day- picnic basket and everything! :)

So that's about Italy.. The other countries in Europe that have caught my interest some time or the other are France and Greece.

Paris in France for its Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the apparent romance that flows through the city..

Eiffel Tower, Paris at dusk (I like this picture of the Eiffel Tower)

Eiffel Tower, Paris at night

The Mona Lisa (Leonardo Da Vinci), Louvre Museum, Paris.

Greece caught my attention when I was watching the movie "Mamma Mia!" starring Meryl Streep. Also,  Greek mythology is very intriguing.. they have Gods & Goddesses for everything!! :)

The Island of Skopelos, Greece (where the movie Mamma Mia was shot).

Santorini Island, Greece

Santorini, Greece (at night)

Would also like to go to the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany.. almost every country in Europe!

Travelling is exciting.. and every person's journey is so unique as we all see things differently.

Had written a short poem on this. 

Posted it for the Twitter #HappyTravellers contest (which I won, btw! :) ) but had to cut short the words owing to the 140 character limit on Twitter. Posting it here again just so that there is a full version of it online..

I've always wanted to go to Bali.. also Greece, France and Italy. 
See new people & places.. look around & meet new faces.

So it's Bali and Greece for its culture, France and Italy for the art. 
And so many more places in the world, I don't know where to start!

I love how each place carries a story, of the people who lived there once.. 
How some places are so beautiful, an example of nature's brilliance!

I want to see Juliet's balcony, and also Romeo's abode.. 
Where there used to be true love once, I wish to walk down that road!

I want to take a boat around Venice, and take the gondola tour.. 
I want to then go to Pisa and take pictures with the leaning tower!

For what good is this life if we cannot see, the beauty there is in the world?
It exists in people & places of God, waiting to be unfurled..

If I win this contest, I get to go to Singapore or Thailand. And if that happens, Indiblogger & Yatra might just make one of my dreams come true.. of travelling out of the country!! :) So really keeping my fingers crossed..

P.S: If y'all want to participate, here's the link :
You might want to hurry though, it closes tomorrow (9th September 2013)!!

P.P.S: Images have been Googled for, obviously :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

on taking decisions

A lot of times, I take too long to make a decision and often, beat myself over it thus get stressed. 

Over time, I have learnt that one can look at one of these parameters while making decisions :

1) Importance

Look at how important making this decision is to you. Is it life altering? Will it significantly change things? 

If yes, does doing it move you towards your end goal/values? If yes, do it. If no, don't.

If it is not life altering, look at the 2nd parameter.

2) The Happiness Advantage

Does this make you happy? 

If yes, does this also contribute to the happiness of others who may be important to you? If yes, do it. If no, you may still do it but if it is instead causing them harm in a way that it is hindering their spiritual growth or obstructing their personal goals, don't do it.

If it does not make you happy i.e. sucks the energy out of you, don't do it.

If it does not significantly affect your happiness, don't waste much time on thinking over it because it does not matter what you choose to do. Take a random decision and shift focus to  yourself or if you can, decide not to take a decision at all.

"Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on."
- “Stairway to Heaven”, Led Zeppelin (Source: Nissim's blog)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

just because

sometimes you have to brush thoughts or memories aside, put them away in a corner of  your mind because you aren't sure what emotions they might stir up.

lately, I have just been brushing a lot aside.. as i can't figure out what a lot of things might bring up. some things are hard to brush aside but i think it is slowly getting easier. I stay on it for some seconds and then allow the thought to pass away. it's also with other thoughts. it's like- nothing is really important "right now".
sometimes i may find something interesting that grasps my attention - a good blog, bits of the tv shows my parents watch, the ads that come in between, something in a music video, a few lines of lyrics of a song i always listen to but never paid attention to before.. i carry these as i go along. maybe it's all part of something that's still getting created.

as for thoughts- they are just that. thoughts. they come, they pass away. none that important as to grasp my attention and very few as strong as to take over me. i feel spurts of peace. so maybe it's a good thing.

i wish to have less of these thoughts and more of the stillness or perhaps, the "fullness". the things that catch my attention. my heart.

i'm smiling more often than before.

Monday, July 22, 2013

vipassana - looking forward

Just last week, I received a confirmation for the vipassana meditation course that starts day after tomorrow. It is 10 days of meditation and the testing part about this course is that you aren't allowed to speak to anybody during this period. No phones or emails either. And in case you are wondering, this has nothing to do with religion, caste or belief in God. It is just a technique that helps you live & transform your life and it's open for all.

I have been struggling with a lot of things over the past few months so thought this will really do me good to cleanse my system. After doing some research on the course on various blogs and websites, I learnt that it helps you to focus on the present moment and to see things "as they are" which is what "vipassana" literally means. I need to learn to focus on the present moment so much!

Seeing things "as they are" is so important because a lot of times, we perceive things as per the stories we have built around them in our head, completely ignoring their true form. This is something I must learn to do all the time.

There are some rules of vipassana that I already follow though.. one of them is to always speak the truth. Now, I do almost always speak the truth when it comes to others but this involves being true to yourself too and a lot of times, we don't realise it but we aren't true to ourselves or to the present moment. The other rule is to lose the importance of 'self' or 'ego'. This is something I have been practising since quite sometime now as it helps to accept/transform dark thoughts such as anger, resentment, revenge, jealousy etc. Everyone has a dark side and it is important to embrace it all the same. Just the other day, Reeti & I were discussing how we almost naturally think of what is good "universally" and not just about what is good for ourselves. Sometimes, though, the ego can get the better of us and we need to work on ourselves again.

So a lot of spiritual healing & cleansing awaits us. I am doing this with another friend of mine (Alisha) so that's some comfort. Though I won't really get to speak with her, it's nice to have someone you know around. Worried about the nights as I am not used to spending nights alone especially in an unfamiliar place. Hope they put me in with someone. A partition is okay too. I should just be able to reach out to someone!

Excited and nervous both. Wish me luck. Might blog about the experience once I get back! :)

To know more, visit

And for the course schedule (for the Mumbai centre), click here:

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Don't remember when I reviewed a movie last.. but this particular movie deserved a review -- not because it is worth a watch. In fact, I wouldn't really recommend it unless you're a film critic. But just because it left us feeling doomed. Like we didn't know what happened in those two & a half hours! (Thank God movies aren't 3 hours long anymore..) This review will not tell you how the movie is or how I rate it. This should not be taken as a base for whether you should watch the movie. Perhaps you'd like reading it better after you come back from watching it.

So here's my take on Raanjhanaa.

The first half of the movie is mostly about Kundan Shankar (Dhanush) pining for the unattainable Zoya (Sonam Kapoor).  I found this to be a sort of a power play where Kundan gives Zoya power over him by loving her even though she does not feel the same. Zoya uses this power without fully realising it. Love, when obsessive, can be destructive. The audience naturally sympathises with Kundan because "all is fair in love & war". Well, it's not. There are a lot of questionable/objectionable scenes in the movie such as Kundan threatening Zoya that he'd slash his veins if she does not claim her love for him. And the one where he almost harms her, driving her into a river and leaving her in the waters alone when he finds out that she loves someone else (Abhay Deol). After which he slashes his veins again, by the way. The scene also made for a movie poster :

The first half also includes scenes where Bindiya, Kundan's best friend is handled roughly. Kundan is Bindiya's childhood love and yet he makes her do things she doesn't entirely approve of but later feels happy about.. because it makes Kundan happy.

I think all the women in the movie are handled roughly by the lead men in the movie at some point or the other in an acceptable manner. So it feels like an irony when we learn that Zoya's lover (Abhay Deol) is an activist who fights for social causes.

The second half of the movie is mostly about revenge & violence. It's about Kundan taking revenge on Zoya, then paying for it by being involved with her activities & work and oh yes, Zoya slashing her veins, she feeling jealous of Kundan's growth, her taking revenge over Kundan.

The problem with the movie is .. all of this is shown to be legit. The obsessive love, the rough handling of women, the slashing of veins, revenge, violence.. all of this is shown to be okay. Like it's acceptable. Like this is how love is.

There is enough proof of this on social networking websites with status messages like "Finally a true love story!". People who strongly feel this way should introspect.. Because such movies make you work less on yourself and treat your behaviour to be acceptable (just because it is out of "love"). But, this isn't love. Love is wanting to see the other person happy even if it means sometimes curbing your emotions because you don't want the person to see they hurt you.. because that'd make them sad and you don't want that.

The good thing here is, Kundan realises that he wants to help Zoya, he wants to let her be happy. He wants to do the right thing so he helps her out by talking to her dad regarding getting Zoya married to her lover (Abhay Deol). But he fails when he reacts impulsively almost always (before doing the right thing) e.g. when he first hears about Zoya being in love with someone else, when he first learns that her lover is not a Muslim. It does happen so in life that you want to be strong & want to do the right thing but you push yourself so much to do it that you end up doing the wrong. In the movie though, he does the wrong every time. Rest of the time, it feels like he is paying up for what he did wrong. It's like a cycle.

Consequently, a lot of innocent lives get hurt / taken away in the end.

I feel they should have shown a small 'alternate reality' segment at the end of the movie.. something along the lines of the Butterfly effect.. just one segment at the end. Something like- "What would have happened if Kundan had just decided to be a friend & helped Zoya unite with her lover or decided to go his own way".

With regards to acting, I wouldn't say much about Sonam. It's cliche now to say that she doesn't act well. Sadly, it's true. She will make a great model perhaps but she isn't a very good actress. She may try working on it some more if she wants to make it. Abhay Deol has acted fairly well but not as good as he was in DevD or Oye Lucky Lucky Oye or Ek Chaalis ki Last Local. I feel his part didn't do justice to his acting potential. He is a good actor, otherwise. A lot is said about Dhanush's acting in the movie but I felt like he played the part well because it came naturally to him. He has a mediocre personality and he played the part of a mediocre Benarasi guy. Plus, he was shown to be the son of a Tamil priest. That covered up for his South Indian accent as well, in certain parts of the movie. So I don't see reason to glorify his acting in the movie. I found it average.

I like Kundan's friend Muraari's character in the movie. He's shown to be straightforward plus he always stands by him. Just as a good friend would.

Bindiya is both innocent and strong. It is actually Zoya's character that is most confusing. They have shown it with respect to Kundan (how his love makes her manipulative) but not as an individual. They could have worked on that more.

The good tidbits : I like the Benaras backdrop of the movie. There is so much colour and tradition. A couple of the tracks are really good too. I was hooked to "Tum Tak" for a long time because of the variations in the song. The track takes me to Banganga waters in Walkeshwar (Mumbai) for some reason.. "Benarasiya" is also a pleasant track. Some of the dialogues are really funny/catchy like the one they show in the trailer: "Vitamin humse khaao aur aashiqui inse ladaao". I like the warm colours of the movie (in the first half i.e. Benaras).

Here's Tum Tak for you :

I like the music from 1:27 to 2:46 :)