Sunday, August 28, 2016

What should we learn from RIO 2016?

Ethiopia is a small country in the African Continent. The area of Ethiopia is somewhere around 426,371 sq.mi where as India is 1,269,346 sq.mi...precisely double the size of Ethiopia. Now coming to the population, by 2015, the population of Ethiopia is 99,465,819 and India by 2016 is 1,293,057,000 (source: Wikipedia). 

Let' stop there. Making it to the team of Olympics in such highly populated nation like India is really tough, considering the competition that one needs to face. But let us focus on the economics of the two countries. The nominal GDP per capita of Ethiopia is $739 and India is $1820, which again makes India higher in the number. 

Let us see the sports budget for each nation- Ethiopia has a proposed budget of $11 billion for the FY 2015-16 (read here). For India, the proposed sports budget is 1592 Crores (Rs) which is $15.92 billion (read here). So, when compared to this small nation of African continent, we are above in everything including the GDP, budget allocation for sports and you name it, we got it in our country. 

But, what makes me sad is, Ethiopia sent 34 players and out of whom, 8 scored medals and their total medal points is 12.
where as India sent 118 players and scored 2 medals with a total medal points of 3. 118 players means, the perfect team to set the records straight. But 2 medals?

WHY? WHERE did we go WRONG? 

I will not blame the players here. Because, the players shed their sweat and tried their level best to make it to the top. We have witnessed it in the games and we can't sit behind the computer or the television and blame them for not making it to the finals. 

But who is at the fault? I say the system. At least in my perspective, I was always told that education is the way to make it to the top. Whether I played or not, nobody cared. Whether I wanted to be in the arts or not, nobody cared. Whether I received good marks in the subjects or not, everybody cared.

Parents, school and the peer pressure, everybody is responsible. We brainwash the kids that education is important but never do we tell them to achieve in the field of their pursuit or interest. We fail to realise that even sports is a form of education. Excelling in physics or mathematics or tennis or music is the same. Not just least pursuing interest itself is more important. Not everyone can be a topper. But if the students are given proper encouragement or guidance, India can produce excellent sportspersons.

When small nations like Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Colombia, Jamaica and others can produce sportspersons and achievers, why not India?

We have abundant resources, freedom, democracy, liberation and every possible means to pursue what we want. When we look at the crisis of other nations, we should be thankful to be residing in a nation that gives us the freedom that we deserve. But in each Olympics, our hopes diminish. 

Every time, we make this resolution to build stadiums or playgrounds and provide platforms to the kids and by the year end, everything becomes a paper trail and vanishes in the shredders. 

Seldom do we see those stadiums becoming real. Let us just reflect on this and see what we can do to represent ourselves at least in the next olympics. 

My many congratulations to the winners and let us produce more players and winners. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

The wrong side of Feminism

Feminism- According to Feminism means- The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

Fair enough. Every woman and man should advocate for equal rights. I repeat- every WOMAN and every MAN. But when it comes to feminism, many people misuse and more than often, abuse the term. I am a firm believer of feminism. But I also advocate for men's rights; for, we all are equal and we all contribute for the existence. After all, we all CO-EXIST.

But, whenever I see many self proclaimed feminists, I feel scared and also pity their half baked knowledge of the whole concept. Let me explain you certain points that are voiced out by women very wrongly.

1) Male bashing-

Here, feminism is not male bashing. Just by thrashing men and generalizing or calling all of them as male chauvinists/rapists or abusers doesn't make you a feminist. No, all men are not abusive. In fact, just like women, many men suffer in their daily lives and struggle to make the ends meet. There are many men who also advocate for equal rights and respect and help us all grow. Generalizing doesn't make women heroes and it wouldn't bridge the gap. So, no, feminism is not about male bashing. When we talk about feminism, we should talk about bringing up women's rights, but not male bashing.

2) Body lovers-
I see many posts on how women are very comfortable with their bodies and how they want to voice out their opinions. Let me tell you my story. I am size 14, with love handles that pop up from my clothing. I do face comments from many people and sometimes, uncanny suggestions as why don't you exercise or go on diet! But hang on. I face these from women most of the times. And now, that doesn't mean that I have to go all public showcasing my body or exposing my love handles or flaunting my cleavage. If I wear a dress, I wear it with dignity and elan and make sure, I earn respect than shout out loud that "here is my cleavage and here are my love handles, do whatever you want". No. This is not feminism. Every woman is entitled to wear her choice of dressing. But she has to wear it because she fell in love with the dress and herself not because she wants to prove to the world that showing cleavage or love handles or extra muscle is ok. I PERSONALLY feel, it is wrong. I give compliments to random women on streets for how beautiful they are. Beauty should be seen; Not forced upon. If you have cleavage, show it with dignity, don't flaunt it force it on others. Wear a bikini, no matter what size you are. Adore and love your body, because it is yours. Not because, you want to shut others. 

3) Period mongers-

This is something new that is grossly emerging in the era. Women show up in bloody clothing because they are on periods and also to make it loud and clear that- it is ok to have them. Let me tell you something.
I suffer from Endometriosis. I have been having excruciating pain since I was a teenager and I have been vocal about it. I tell my employers and colleagues (male and female) upfront about how bad my situation would be during those 2-3 days of the month and how I need some rest. Fortunately, all my colleagues and bosses have been extremely good with me and always cared for me. I am talking about my life in India, a decade ago. Yes, men do understand that we go through pain. We need not prove it by showing up with bloody clothing. These are sensitive issues and men are definitely sensible enough to understand. Women are strong by nature and we need not prove time and again so loudly that, "though we are on period, we can achieve heights". A strong woman would never do that. She will silently make her path and for her painful periods are just passing clouds. I underwent multiple procedures in my life and nothing has stopped me ever. If I have to achieve something, I need not yell saying I am on period. 

4) Social media dysentery-

Many women take it to social media and stink it with their verbal diarrhea on posts about men. Enough I say. Just by using slang words or cursing certain sections of society by using your feminist attitude doesn't make you one. A true feminist will advocate for the rights and paves way for many others than show dead ends. Social media is a brilliant platform to voice your opinions and thoughts. 

5) Competitors -

Most of the times, we hear words are if given a chance, women will go ahead of men. again, this is not a competition bewteen genders. Feminists do not create wars or competitions. Feminists give opportunity and show paths. We are not here to compete with men. We are here to advocate for women. 

Let us not be those fake/loud/irrelevant feminists. Let us be responsible and sensible towards all genders. After all, we all co-exist and we need to understand each other. More power to all. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What's wrong with you news writers?

I worked in News papers, Radio and Television. I understand how we are time bound and can not afford to cross the deadlines. But just when we are under the gun to produce a 300 word write up because we need to fill the empty space or because it is our job, many journalists come up with random nonsense that doesn't deserve to be even penned down. One such recent write up that I came across is this. The article talks about a Telugu film Director who supposedly vanished from India and deserted his family and how wife is struggling to make the ends meet. Do you know what is wrong with this write up?EVERYTHING! This shouldn't be existing in the first place. Honestly, I do not know the director in person and no one associated with him. But when I read the news, my heart sank, for, the writer just filled in using his imagination and came up with this short film script jeopardizing the life of a Director and his family. Here are my thoughts about it.
VN Aditya- Pc- Google.

1) "VN Aditya deserted his family". Really? Did the wife lodge a complaint? Were the kids seen crying for help? How can one decide if a family is deserted?

2) "His wife recently vacated the apartment and shifted to a cheaper place, as they could not afford the rent". Did she tell you? And by the way, what's wrong in renting a cheaper apartment? There are presidents who were broke financially. Every person goes through financial crisis and need not always lead a lavish rich life. I personally know couple of directors who live on daily wages or contractual assignments. One of the directors I interviewed, in fact, sells fish to make a living. Not to forget, he is an award winning director. But he feels proud of what he does, because, he does it with dignity. Does it make him any lesser? Not at all. I started a column called "Focus Light" in ,specially to write about lives of such talented pool in the industry. If we write about someone, the piece should give life to the person, but not destroy his career or personal life. 

3) "Rumors in the industry claim that the director is not fending the needs of his family and his wife joined a school as a teacher"- His wife joined as a teacher? You know what, I salute that lady, who, instead of ditching her husband/kids during the financial crisis, owned it up and is fending for the family. You want to talk about women empowerment? Ask her to be the chair of your discussion. My respect has multiplied for VN Aditya's wife, because she must have seen the phases of richness, and now, she is leading this simple yet dignified life by teaching the generation. 

4) "The director was recently linked to a popular Tollywood singer". Now this is where, things get dirty and ugly. After deserting the family, throwing stones on the wife, the writer left no choice for the director and hooked him up with a tollywood singer. Let's assume, they have! How does it matter to any of us? I am sure, that singer might also be having a life of her own and this writer just toppled her life too in few words. 

If you, as writers, do not have anything to write, please do some research and come up with articles to benefit the society than write these pieces of junk and destroy families and hopes on journalism. 

Here is a fitting reply from VN Aditya explaining how his family is fine and the reasons for him to be in USA.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Pretty much me

I like to jump. 
I like to run around. 
I like to experiment. 
I like to experience. 

I live every moment. 

I live moment by moment. 
I live my life, 
But I can die a happy death. 

I love myself, And I am not a narcissist. 

I love the free spirit in me, but I am not a freebie. 
I love everything around me, but I am not an extrovert. 
I love solitude, but I am not an introvert. 

This one life taught me a lot. 

My mind, my body, my soul. 
I am living my life. 
And I can die a happy death. 

Monday, May 09, 2016

Like Anne...

She wants to Kiss Peter, hold his hand, lean on his shoulder and look at the sky. Is it wrong because she is just 14? Anne Frank, in her diary describes the intimate details of her life with Peter that she shared in the Annex, the only tiny space where she found her world. Anne was this regular teenager who was exploring her body, her mind and her circumstances. In the age of war, hiding and tiny room to rest a body for few hours, Anne had this endless world of thoughts.

When I read "The Diary of a young Girl" by Anne Frank, my mind was racing with thoughts. In the age of whatsapp, messengers, emails and technology, we can't even spend an hour without communication. How did Anne survive in the hiding for so long? With 8 people around and a schedule to even use the toilet flush, how could she manage to expand her wisdom? At 14, I wasn't even sure what was happening with me. I was hardly aware of my world outside, forget about my body. But Anne, in 1944, unleashed an era of new age women. 

Now, coming to the point, Anne asks Kitty, her diary, if talking to Peter and holding his hands was appropriate. She also mentions how nice it was to have him around her and just be with him and look at the sky. Anne contemplates if it is good for her age and what if her parents come to know about holding hands. 

As I was reading this beautiful story, the last page abruptly ends without any warning. The end note mentions that Anne died in the hands of Nazis as dreaded. 

I felt very bad for Anne. She dreamt of becoming a journalist. She was an ambitious, beautiful, ferocious, romantic young girl. A Perfect amalgam of all elements to be a beautiful woman. But she died of a dreadful death that no one can fathom. But ,did Anne live her moments? I say yes. 

We don't know when our life will end. We don't know how it will end. We don't know if we can ever have those sweet nothings that we deserve. Like Anne, I have a rebel in me, who loves to live her life. In recent times, I started living it. I lived it. I believe in doing what I like and what's good for me. Being selfish is a different thing. But, knowing what one likes and fulfilling it, is something that we all are entitled to. 

Like Anne, I want to live my life. Like Anne, I want to explore my thoughts. Like Anne, I wish to become what I like.... if only I live- to live those!

Like Anne....

Friday, January 22, 2016

10 tips to lose up to 10 pounds in 10 months without dieting

It scares us to see the needle of the weighing machine touching the higher numbers. Few extra pounds from lazy snacks and sodas over movies increase weight without our notice. We all wish to get rid of those love handles or the arm fat or have our cheek bone reappear. At the same time, we all love to eat. Losing weight is in for us but dieting is not just for us. However, by following these simple steps we can lose up to 10 pounds in 10 months. It’s a slow process, but it will keep our body stable and healthy.

1) Drink lemon and honey mixed water first thing in the morning. After you brush, before you enjoy your coffee, grab lukewarm water and mix it with fresh lime and one spoon honey.  It will keep you fresh at the same time cuts on the extra fat.

2) Bike or treadmill for 5 miles. Get on the exercising bike or on your treadmill and bike or walk for 5 miles. Put on your favorite series on your i-pad and entertain yourself for 20-30 minutes while you burn the calories.

3) Eat good breakfast. Make sure your breakfast has protein, calcium and some vitamins. Drink one glass of milk (lukewarm or hot) and munch on some nice biscuits or cereal. And yes, grab a fruit.

4) Eat lunch after 4 hours of breakfast. Eat your favorite lunch (preferably warm) after 4 hours of your breakfast. Do not stuff yourself. Make sure you eat just to suppress your appetite and give you some energy.

5) Have green tea after 4 hours of lunch. Green tea is very refreshing and can be your best companion when you want to lose weight. Make sure you drink warm green tea and feel refreshed.

6) Have supper after 4 hours of green tea drink. Yes, have supper, not dinner. Having light meal in the night helps in your digestion. Eat your favorite meal and stay light (not hungry).

7) Avoid sweets on weekdays. Make sure you maintain zero sugar policy for the entire week and have 1 or 2 cookies or pieces of cake during weekends (if you crave for some). Most of our food contains sugar. So, avoiding extra sugar is always helpful.

8) No to sodas. Say no to sodas strictly for 10 months. If you need some fizz, then have carbonated water instead of any sugary drink.

9) Drink lots of water. Drink plenty of water. Water helps in releasing of toxins from body and keeps you fresh. 

10) Take stairs if you can. Avoid elevators. Stairs can be your best friends when you are not dieting as they can burn some calories.

At the end of the day, stay healthy and stay happy.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Cruise muse

After many deliberations, budgeting and most importantly, leave approvals, My husband and I decided to set on a cruise. As cliche as it sounds, we were against Bahamas, Alaska and Mexico. We both wanted to explore some place that's different. Thanks to my Co sister in law, when she mentioned Jamaica, we immediately gave a high five and started shopping for the journey. I was informed that, the group has decided to wear a Red dress for the formal dinner. So, I pretty much tried every possible Red dress in every store. Of course, I bought it from the very first store that I visited in the very first week of purchasing the tickets! But, I have been trying till the last day of shopping. 

I made sure, I packed 10 dresses for all days and nights on cruise along with matching shoes and clutches and jewelry. My husband did the same (sans jewelry and clutches) and we ended up with 2 full bags.

Finally, we made it to the airport and officially, our vacation began.

Our flight to Miami was fun and we checked into the hotel. We slept as if there's no next day. We were joined by our family and friends the very next day and we all visited downtown Miami. The weather was warm and we enjoyed our quiet stroll along the beach side. Since, it was Christmas, the roads were well lit and there was holiday mood. 

The full moon added beauty to our trip and we slept in bliss.

The D Day- We checked into the port and the immigration was smooth. My husband, as usual, carried every possible document on earth. But, we were asked to show just our passports and were whisked into the cruise. 
Carnival Victory

As we stepped in, there was a party mood inside the cruise. With music and drinks and on-board passengers, I couldn't believe a world like that ever existed. 
We were ushered into the dining hall as our staterooms were not ready yet. The dining hall was full of food. Something that we all dream of. From Chinese, to Deli to Mexican to Mediterranean, you name it- they got it. Passengers were filling their cups with unlimited iced tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Kids were glued to the ice cream dispenser. I wondered if I would fit into my clothes after I disembark. But, I thought of taking one meal at a time! 

After we entered our staterooms, we were greeted with beautiful towel arts. For all the five days, our janitor, Jana, decorated our rooms with beautiful towel arts. 

The room was clean and crisp and we made our way into the balcony. Oh yes, we paid few extra bucks for the balcony!!!
View of Miami harbor and other cruises from our balcony
On day 1, we pretty much toured the entire 11 floors on the cruise and discovered various activities. We were so tired by the end of the day that, I slept like a log. I woke up the next day around 10ish and made my way to have breakfast. The plethora of dishes welcomed my appetite. I attended some shows with my friends and dressed up for the formal dinner night. Oh by the way, we have assigned dining table in our room and our timing for dinner is fixed for all the five days. The very first day, our servers Sugiartha and Roman understood our taste and brought us Indian food. From day two, as soon as we sit on the table, we would have our food within 10 minutes. A variety of Indian delicacies including saag paneer, Dal, Sambar (you heard me right), Kootu (you bet) and punjabi kadi. It was a royal feast. Along with the Indian dishes, we would order what was on Menu and satisfy our tongues. 

Sugiartha, Roman and Antara spent good 2 hours with us all the five days and helped us in several ways. Managing a group of 18 passengers and their tastes and needs is not small. They remembered our names and were there for us on all nights. The dining room will groove to nice music at exactly 9.30 pm and we would all dance. A little calorie burning after hogging down tons of food. 

From Left- Sugiartha, Antara, Roman
Some dance moves after the meals

During nights, we would attend comedy shows. The first two days, it was Roman, who entertained us with his witty notes. The last two nights, Derrick Eason entertained us with his punch lines. 
Comedian- Roman

Comedian- Derrick Eason
We thoroughly enjoyed the shows. The lounge would be full with people standing at the door and aisles. So, we stood in the long queues 30 minutes before the show and made our way into the lounge. It was adult comedy after certain time and we totally enjoyed those 30 minutes.
Apart from Comedy shows, there are deck parties, live music, photography, ladies pamper parties and casino for great gamblers.
We can pick and choose our activity or just stare at the roaring-yet-peaceful sea. Our cruise Director, Brian Austin, gave timely announcements about the shows and let me tell you, I became a huge fan of his voice. 

Cruise director- Brian Austin
Singer Maria

The first stop was in Cayman Islands on Day 3. We were greeted by fleet of tour guides who were ready to show us the islands. We went to the 7 mile beach which is a good 20 minute ride from the port. 

After basking in sun and relishing fresh coconuts, we came back to the port to have some lunch. Then, we split into two groups. The other group went to do activities such as sea-trek where they descend 30 ft into the sea to see the corals. My friends said, it was one of a kind experience. I couldn't venture due to some health problems. So, I enticed myself with shopping on the island. Cayman islands is huge in Tanzanite sales and diamonds. I shopped for myself and my friends and families and enjoyed my tour in around the shopping centers. Thanks to the city planning, the shops are next to the port- a good 2 minute walk. So, I enjoyed till the last minute and made my way into the cruise again. 

The second stop was in Ocho rios, Jamaica, on Day 4. We were received by Mark from Marks tours, who was pretty much our guardian for the next 5 hours. He is a very well read man with good IQ. His English is commendable and he is a driving encyclopedia (if something like that exists). 

The first stop in Ocho Rios was at Dunn's Falls. If one can hike a bit, then it is a paradise. Again, because of my health, I couldn't get into the water. But, I totally enjoyed walking on the steps and taking pics of my family and friends. The walk starts from the beach and one would go against the falls. Like climbs the falls! 

Dunn's falls also have a small shopping area. 
Our Picasso from Jamaica
So, we bought a painting, some souvenirs and of course I was offered the famous coffee beads chain (lol). 

The coffee is a must try and it costs somewhere around $4. It is better to carry cash. After our purchases, we rushed to the car and proceeded to our next stop, Blue Hole. 

Blue Hole is another paradise on earth. It is an epitome of beauty and nature. The falls, the depth of water, the rush..everything can only be experienced. 
Tour Guide- Robert
Our tour guide, Robert, made sure, we were safe and
 helped us in ascending and descending the falls. 
One can do a dive from the rocks, But depth of water is nearly 28-30ft and there are multiple holes (deep waters) at most of the places. So, it is better to follow the guide and wear proper gear. 


After the Blue Hole trip, we rushed to the cruise. Of course, we made a quick stop to relish the Mango Ice cream. But it was like a blink and miss pause. The terrains to Blue Hole are quite rough. The small roads are scary and bumpy with two cars almost rubbing their doors in opposite directions. Also, there are multiple "brownie" sellers en route to Blue Hole. Jamaica is a beautiful place which reminds us of the fresh and nascent life. It brings us closer to the environment on a different level. Jamaicans still have the innocence and you can't ignore their "Yaman" greetings. Peace and Respect are their food and water. 

We boarded the cruise and spent two more nights and finally disembarked on 31st december. My 2015 is filled with lot of memories and lessons from Caribbeans. If time and money permit me, I shall revisit them :)