Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A black out of humanity?

-By Swetha Amit
“An eye for an eye makes the world go blind.” A saying by Mahatma Gandhi which is nothing less than reality. The movie Black Friday advocates the above statement. A shocking truth about the Mumbai 1993 blasts reveals it all.

Tracing back into this not so pleasant memory lane, brings back the nightmares of the horrifying incidents that still remain fresh in the human minds. That sunny afternoon on March 9th seemed to portray the normality in the functioning of the busy Mumbai city. A group of office goers grabbing a bite of the roadside chaat; a sweeper exchanging a cheerful greeting with his fellow mate. A vendor calling out loudly to the passers and other people bustling about to get back to their busy schedules. Not a soul realized that the next minute of a normal peaceful day could change events to a tragic ending.

The sudden loud explosive sound in the BSE continues to echo in the ears of people even today like death bells. The man made volcano disrupted the numerous lives causing a mental anguish amongst millions. It was ironical to see the smiling faces a second ago portray an extreme form of misery and anguish. Individuals were seen holding their loved ones in their arms, with a helpless and a shocked expression. One question continued to linger in their minds”Who is the cause for this mishap?”

Chaos and turmoil was what engulfed the bustling city as the blasts occurred at several places on a continuous basis. Even buses, cars and scooters weren’t spared. Popular hotels were ripped apart in a second. Alarm, fear and insecurity set in among several localites. The feeling of one not being safe even in their own homes took a toll on the uncertain individuals. This unexpected series of events baffled the police as they set on an immediate mission to catch the culprits behind this criminal offense.

The prolonged process involved nabbing the gang of terrorists one by one. It was a ruthless act to elicit information out of those stuttering mouths, by using their families as a stake. Wives and children of otherwise cold blooded criminals are weaknesses that stir the emotions within them. It’s an irony that such family loving people could cost other’s kith and kin an eternal separation by their felonious act. It’s even more astonishing to see such acts being justified as revenge of past events using the name of God, by these human terrors.

Torturing those criminals in the cold cells was indeed a severe punishment for causing an irreparable psychological damage to many. While the bottom of this case was got to, with 100 out of the 122 being convicted, nothing can compensate for the loss of precious lives. It was like revenge after revenge, leading to a lot of bloodshed in the process.

Deceasing innocent lives alienates the principles of non violence and brotherhood preached by our father of the nation. It makes one wonder what wars actually emphasize? Power or the fact of ‘might is right’? Does it always have to be a sword in answer to a sword? Man made communalism eradicates the secular nation left behind by our freedom fighters. It is this difference that causes the never ending murders, bomb blasts and terrorism in our country. Is it all worth it? Where are love, care and the humane feelings? Do they still exist? In other words, does Black Friday depict the black out of humanity?

Something to ponder about.

Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors choice


Friday, February 23, 2007

Be positive

-By Swetha Amit

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS is the most DEADLY dreaded word which is tagged with a social stigma. People want to run a mile away from such infected patients who are not only shunned but also looked down upon. It is estimated that there will be about 9-10 million individuals afflicted with this condition.

It is true that some people contract it because of multiple partners and many others are innocent victims due to ignorance. Women and children fall under this category. It is disheartening to see them being treated as outcasts; they suffer from ignominy and shame for no fault on their part.

A clinical definition is that its collection of symptoms and infections in humans resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by the human immune deficiency virus (HIV).This transmission can come in the form of anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.

This dreaded disease has no cure and results in costing more than millions of lives across the globe. A spread of awareness through various educational mediums is bound to throw more light into this darkness plunged area. This will help in improving knowledge with regard to measures for protected sex and other methods that will hold back this dreaded enemy creeping into our healthy systems. India and other remote parts are especially in need of this learning method, as many are found to be lacking in information in this department.

Certain preventive measures include:

Promoting sex education in all educational institutions in the rural and urban areas.

Improving the screening for and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Improvement in the hygiene factors in the surrounding environments. Organization of several campaigns to de-stigmatize AIDS which would reduce the public hysteria about this condition and help them gain awareness and more knowledge.

Encouraging interventions, such as massage therapy, music therapy, yoga, spiritual care, homeopathy, Indian ayurvedic medicine, light therapy and many other methods, will help in relaxing and soothing the agitated minds of the affected.

Ignorance of these aspects has increased the number by millions as several HIV patients are traumatized with their conditions. It is indeed a sad plight to watch such individuals go through turmoil physically, socially and psychologically. Counseling such patients indeed takes a toll on the counselor as it proves to be a challenging task. Society due to misconceptions about this condition being contagious, often outcast and discard such patients even if the victim happens to belong to the same family. Its irony to see that, when such people need the utmost love and care at this time are treated as untouchables. In spite of several films made on this subject, the audiences still remain stoic in their attitudes towards their fellow humans.

Is it not enough that they are undergoing through enough turbulence? Is it not our duty as human beings to show a little consideration and HUMANITY?? Can’t we once place ourselves in their shoes to actually realize how it feels that our days are numbered and one loses the pleasure to living this beautiful life? Because of unclean habits and carelessness, one ends up throwing their lives away for good. An eternal separation from their loved ones is enough to cause a dent in ones mind. Can’t we not give them sympathy, affection and care in their last few days?

AIDS patients needn’t be treated as outcasts. They needn’t bow their heads in shame. They are as ‘NORMAL’ as we are except that their life span is shortened. They needn’t be subject to shun and spite. All they need is love and care. Sadly; even the educated class in spite of being knowledgeable refuses to bring out their humane nature in such critical circumstances.

And why only on Dec 1st, on world AIDS day, why not tell ourselves and everyday that they have a right to live as much as we do. In fact more as, “life is short so why not make them enjoy the most of it in that little time.” Let us spread the message across, more importantly, "Prevention is better than suffering".
Written for www.msn.co.in


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Being Yourself

-By Swetha Amit
“Be yourself”; is a common expression by millions to others, in several occasions as a confidence boosting factor.

However this notion is gradually turning alien with the present generation. It ultimately leads to what psychologists call as “identity crisis” at a much later stage. The current youth seem to emphasize the importance of "fitting in" with the “cool” crowd. The craze of being seen at the “right” hangouts with the “right” people has engulfed these not so innocent minds. This “right” fever has spread like wildfire across these freshers. The constant need for a sense of belonging seems to have surpassed even the primary and basic requirements of the youngsters. The new era of obsessed networking has precipitated in robbing them of their vibrant spirit. Wanting to be a part of the supposedly trend setting gang, has lead to false beliefs of only activities such as partying and drinking, being considered as the “in thing”. The twenty something age groups are enticed into such actions either willingly or unwillingly for the fear of being jeered at by their peers. A question that crops up in ones mind is” how far will they go, in the desperation of seeking acceptance among their pals?”

Friendships and acquaintances certainly help in eliminating feelings of isolation, loneliness. It promotes the “feeling good” factor among individuals, in turn enhancing healthy community living. However, the theory of drawing a limit or defining the cost of acquiring something is applicable in this context as well. This is the common problem faced by the youth, who are unable to draw that line or rather define the "cost” of wanting to belong to their respective reference groups. Is it at the cost of rebelling against their parents? Is it at the cost of letting go one’s principles, values and morals? Or is it at the cost of sacrificing ones integrity and individuality? And even if one is prepared to incur these costs, there is no guarantee that relationships formed in this manner will last long.

The above concept is slowly catching up in the adult world as well. These grown ups tend to get entangled into the complexity of group dynamics of several communities. Whether it is clubbing or consuming hard drinks at parties, this older aged segment is no different from the juveniles. Bitten by the bug of peer pressure or fear of growing too old has left them feeling like releasing their teenaged soul seemingly trapped inside an old physique. It apparently leaves them with no choice but to let go of their values at least for that particular moment.

A late realization dawns upon such humans about the loss of their “real” personality by the false prestige of the show culture. . A loss, to the extent of questions like” Who am I?" or statements like "I don't know myself anymore “, often work like under-currents in the turbulent minds of such confused souls, leading to diminishing self esteem and confidence levels. This increasing global phenomenon of retrieving one’s self back is what drives the distressed individuals to therapists, depending on them to restructure their battered persona.

Hence, “being oneself” is of immense importance in order to prevent such miseries of regret and hatred.” Being you” formula is a very simple one which can be followed by not only the youth but also adults who get entwined in such quick sands of life.

It emphasizes in accepting yourself in every way. Be proud of the fact of what you are, regardless of unwarranted mean comments of others. It is about sticking up for your principles, interests, values and integrity. It is also about standing up for yourself in any given situation. It is about focusing on your positive attributes and not dwelling on your negatives. It is about counting your blessings in every aspect. Focusing on your inner strength can avoid the external desperate dependence on others appraisals. Failure of gaining acceptance by certain groups does not embark the dead end of life’s journey. It is not about being carried away by superficiality of any sort. Neither does it involve imitation of any other existing personality. It is about being able to conduct yourself without any qualms and inhibition. Holding your head high and rising above these petty norms will fetch others to follow you and not the other way around. It’s all about loving and respecting yourself as a certain quote says.” Love yourself first and everything else falls into place."

Written for www.msn.co.in


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A MAJOR set back?:Jai Jawan

-By Swetha Amit
In this era, entertainment seems to dominate the media coverage. It’s a shame to see real news taking a back seat. The bravery of Major Manish Pitambre is one such instance.

He is the one who lost his life in a terrorist encounter. Major Manish H Pitambare got information from his sources about the terrorists' whereabouts. Taking immediate steps, he attacked the camp. His valiant act of killing Hisbul Mujahidin's most wanted terrorist 'Sohel Faisal’ in Anantnag, cost him his life.

Such a man indeed deserves a noble farewell, by performing the due rites needed of such an honorary individual. India and the news channels seem to be forgetting, that they and the 'celebrities' are leading their page 3 lives thanks to the soldiers who are fighting across the borders. While such people are enjoying the ‘cool’ comforts sitting inside their air conditioned homes, there are jawans fighting against terror in the biting cold. If not for the magnificent protection of these army men, words like ‘safety’ would be alien to us citizens. Is it not our duty to even think of these brave warriors for even a minute?

Media which hypes up lives of the stars and other socialites, fail to even acknowledge the presence or absence of the REAL heroes. While the same channels cover an elaborate section of an actor pleading for his life as being the only bread winner for his only daughter, the families of the tragic real life superheroes who sacrifice their lives for the country, leaving behind their 18 month old daughter and wife find no place in the national news. Don’t such people have feelings too? After all no one can replace a son/husband/father.

It’s high time such courageous acts are given its due position and importance and not just the engagement ceremony of two stars or gifting exuberant, luxurious vehicles to one another. Such acts of valor by our jawans indeed deserve an applause and appreciation. These warriors are no less than celebrities in any manner. Respect and appreciation shown to them for their unselfish acts deserve nothing less than our salute. As Indians, let us pay tribute to these departed souls and may they rest in peace.

Jai Jawan!

Written for www.msn.co.in


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mesmerizing Maldives

-By Swetha Amit
Its six months since I got married. As clichéd as it sounds, time flies. Tracing into the memory lane of this half yearly period, brings back pleasant encounters with the sun and sand, not to mention my soul mate on a romantic island. My honey moon in Maldives was indeed an unforgettable experience.I had heard lots about this exotic location haunted by foreigners all through the year and was looking forward to this trip.

As I reached this mesmerizing destination, my expectations were far from being dashed. It was love at first sight as I rode on the waves in a speed boat to the resort tucked away deep into the ocean. The massive lagoons of different depths and varied shades of blue and the exploration into the underwater coral garden made it an ideal tropical destination. However these islands had more to it than what meets the eye.

Situated to the South West of Sri Lanka, Maldives consists of about 87 exclusive resort islands and Male being the capital. Dhivehi is the language spoken in most parts, however one can converse in English to make themselves understood and their stay easier. Fishing and tourism play a major role in contributing to the economic industry. A false belief of being stranded on an island with nothing much to do by many, is unfounded as one is faced with the options of various water sports that can be accessed by tourists at their respective resorts.

As I walked along the waves, I felt a strange bond with the ocean which seemed calm on the outer face, yet a deep mysterious tinge to it which made me want to explore this mass body of water. I extended my step further and was amazed to see the flora and fauna of the water kingdom that literally took my breath away. Zillions of fish, with all shapes, sizes and colors were seen swimming in groups that emphasized the community living of these species. A whole lot of coral reefs made their enchanting mark in the ocean.It was a wonderful time, taking a romantic moonlight walk by the sea with the waves crashing upon our legs.

A fun filled adventure followed the next day as the sunshine enabled us to ride a water scooter on these friendly waves. It was followed by yet another wild expedition in the form of Parasailing. It was a feeling of "being on top of the world" as we glided against the clouds looking down at our new found friend. A glass bottomed boat trip and snorkeling gave us insight into the marine aquatic life.

As the trip ended, I looked back at the still waters, and made a silent pact of revisiting this place. This exotic location is a must visit for sea lovers, especially with a like minded and compatible partner. It definitely ensured the most memorable experience altogether that makes me want to go back there to relive those moments.

Written for www.msn.co.in


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bride in her new home

-By Swetha Amit


An Indian bride is a theme that has popularized several television soap operas. The conflict in the minds of these coy beauties and its causes has been portrayed to a large audience,who lap it all up with fervour.

Most women have undergone this phase or yet to experience this novel feeling of being a newly married. An insight into the emotions that flow like currents in the mind of the "girl turned woman”, provides a useful tool for us individuals to empathize with the feminine gender. Fear, apprehension, nervousness and pressure of living up to people's expectations, understanding her husband and others exhibit the normalcy of such feelings. Also the fact that one is no longer the carefree lass as she was in her own home; sudden shouldering of responsibilities, adjusting to a new place and people are the common thoughts, running through the newly wed. At the same time, wanting to spend time with her spouse alone, during the initial years of marriage is something which isn't unusual for such women. These formative years of the marital union are essential in building a strong foundation to strengthen this sacred bond.

Apart from these internal tensions, external pressures exist in the form of relatives on either side. Uncles, aunts, grandmothers, grandfathers and the whole paraphernalia of family members, tend to scrutinize every action and reaction of the newly wed. Commenting on her appearance and the lack of knowledge of certain practices, pressurizing her to comply with the age- old traditions and customs, do not make things any easier for the new member.

The tendency among the Indian society to be critical of the wedding proceedings seems to be indispensable and an integral part of the system. Almost everything from the food, arrangements, wedding venue, guest list, clothes, jewellery, and photography are not spared. Unfortunately, the minds of such people do not rejoice the celebration in the union of two souls. It is indeed a joyful occasion for the two families getting together by the institution of marriage. And not a critic's association to pinpoint faults at every given opportunity, by making scathing remarks at a concerned person/family.

It is indeed a daunting task for a bride to adjust to an entirely different environment, in a short span of time. It takes a while for such a woman to deal with new people who are different from the family she is used to, in her formative years. It is a challenge that she’s expected to deal with people of myriad types, as Psychology says, each individual is different from the other. It has emphasized the reality of human relationships to be complex and diverse. Despite this well known fact of diversity, it is common to see comparisons made knowingly or unknowingly between the new entry and other existing individuals. This is usually with regard to their accomplishments as to who is a better singer, dancer, cook, educated,exposed, or posesses better knowledge. The "better” list just goes on, endlessly.

It is most often not realized that the woman undergoing turbulence in her mind, while entering a new territory, should be made to feel comfortable in more than one way.Efforts in taking that little extra care with their words, statements, gestures, would go a long way to create a positive impact on the new entrant. It is a pity that existing members do not for a minute think; to try and make things easy instead of difficult for the pretty, yet confused bride.

It is a sad plight present even in the modern day scenario;which has remain unchanged since time immemorial.. This is no longer an era of the dark ages. The above cognitive process has been traced back to our great grandmothers. Their eventful stories and experiences of being “Bahus” have been a great source of learning for us contemporary women. This has in turn should motivate us, being the present generation to bring about a change in the marriage and family system. Scope for awareness is abundant with education supposedly broadening the thinking planes of people. Unfortunately,we fail to realize that marriage isn't about the cut throat competition taking place in a corporate world. It isn't about comparing individuals or viewing the new addition as a threat. It’s all about welcoming the new member into their fold and initiating them into their family ,being generous with the allowance of time;to settle down.

In fact many psychologists specialized in the field of marital counseling, emphasize that marriage from a family’s point of view is all about loving the new bride,accepting her the way she is and appreciating her for her qualities, would provide a soothing balm on her nerve wrecking emotions. Putting her at ease,as a first step will earn her unconditional reverence and respect.

Let us begin now, and open out a new perspective for people to understand and empathize with brides and make them feel welcome in their unfamiliar surroundings. After all she’s a bride in her new home,and is there to stay for life, isn’t she?
Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors choice


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lo(ve) Behold!

-By Swetha Amit
Spring has arrived. Birds looking at one another coyly chirp their flighty duets. Trees seem to bloom with colorful flowers and evergreen leaves. It’s bright, sunny and devoid of any tears from the usually moody clouds. The skies seem to celebrate this lovely season as well, with the sun giving its brightest smile.

Heart shaped balloons waving out to the crowd below, mushy cards, lovable little soft toys, and red roses glowing all over; love is certainly in the air. It’s a pleasant sight to see couples of all age groups hushed up in their own rosy world. Whispering sweet nothings, small romantic gestures of presenting a small card or a gift has caught up like a viral fever amongst these twosomes.
Cakes, candies and candles seem to lighten up the whole environment. The energetic, vibrant red color seems like a carpet of passion that has embraced these souls into one. Cupid’s arrow has certainly struck the world bringing in the most sought after emotion LOVE. Yes Valentines Day has arrived once again, only to spread the message of romance all over.

February 14th embarks the most romantic day of the calendar. A legend behind this day is about a revered person called St.Valentine. Many stories are believed to be the cause for the origin of this beautiful day. It is said have originated in Rome. Romans were said to have employed only unmarried men in their army which was opposed by this individual. Some say that Valentine was in love with a girl to whom he wrote letters from jail and was crucified on this day. This holy priest was known to have advocated this deep feeling which is celebrated world wide every year.

The valentine virus is catching up in the Indian subcontinent, depicting the positive influence of the western world. An opportunity to express true feelings for the significant other has been grabbed with much awaited eagerness. Teenagers are excited and nervous about the prospect of confessing feelings to their ‘crushes’. The slightly older age group of the young adults plan their parties or romantic candle-light dinners. Youngsters are seen carrying flowers, chocolates and valentine message cards all around. Moonlight walks by the beach, springing surprises with exuberant gifts or a catching up with a romantic flick exhibit the tender moments of these loved ones. Proposing to their prospective partners propels many to symbolize their love into the institution of marriage on this blossoming day.

Age certainly is no barrier when it comes to expressing this deep emotion by careless whispers. It’s a pretty picture to see the old aged reliving their youthful days again. Walking down the memory lane evokes the wistful thoughts of those fond times together. Cooking a tasty meal or playing soul ballads indeed can melt even the hardest of hearts. Such soft melodies bring a slight smile to even the grumpiest grandpa or a grumbling grandma. Cruising down the park or spending time alone can indeed rejenuvate these matured citizens to the fullest. A day which conveys the extent of how much one loves the other.
While people part of a cozy twosome enjoy this blissful day, there are others of the singles club who feel left out of these celebrations. Love is a feeling which can be extended beyond just ones significant other. Family and other single friends can spend this day together with as much pomp and joy as the others. An all girls/guys day out or a family dinner can work wonders for these otherwise ‘low feeling’ individuals.

The utmost care and the unlimited supply of romance can extend beyond just the V day. Why only on Feb. 14th and why not on all 365 days in a year. Telling others of how much they mean to us eliminates the ‘being taken for granted’ and insecure feelings that occurs as sudden spurts in ones mind. If only this ‘love struck’ attitude spreads like wildfire, the world is devoid of evils hounding the humans. Lust, greed, anger, jealousy, hatred and terror can easily be conquered by spreading this message of Valentine.

Love, don’t hate, embrace and not attack are certain principles that can be applied amongst our human clan. Spreading love all over will ascertain more peace in the world and promote a healthy binding between varied cultures and continents. If only the significance of this selfless emotion is understood will there be an end to terrorism and killings of the innocent. So let us all gather and spread this motto of “make love and not war.” Some day the earth will turn out to be a better paradise than a world of living hell. Happy Valentines Day.
Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors choice


Koffee without sugar?

-By Swetha Amit
Time for yet another cup of coffee, in this case cups.

Back on air is the lively tete talk with Karan Johar, ‘koffee with Karan’. The show is very popular for its laugh riot and witty talks with the celebrities. It is an appealing program which is popular among the youngsters. Bringing together the several Bollywood personalities indeed provides an action packed drama on small screen. The second part promises some even more sizzling star pairs which is awaited eagerly by all.

It started off by bringing in Kjo’s favorite people who go way back to his debut film and his first hit. The famous trio coffee beans in the form of Shahrukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerjee were all set to add flavor and their own aroma to the show. It seemed like the host was with his family as he considers them to be. It began as a discussion about the media created cousin rivalry which was denied by both the actresses. Discussing and dismissing all those rumors, it seemed like the reunion of the Kuch kuch hota hai stars after 10 years.

Kajol was at her bubbly best, almost replaying her role in the movie with tongue-in cheek comments. Shahrukh retained his cheeky self and appeared pompous at times, while Rani remained her quiet self amidst all that idle chatter and giggles.

The rapid fire round provided some interesting moments and evoked certain hilarious responses. The program consisted of drama, gossip, glamour, masala and spice-all ingredients needed to go with a good cup of hot coffee. What this coffee cup lacked was the main ingredient being the essence of sweetness. The excessive digs at times proved to go slightly overboard which wasn’t funny every time.

The further episodes are expected with more exciting star pairs. Will this show continue to provide bitter coffee or will it be a case of coffee without sugar? Time will tell.
Written for www.msn.co.in


Friday, February 09, 2007

Backwater charm

-By Swetha Amit
Pitter-patter raindrops of the seasonal monsoons welcomed me into their divine abode. As I set foot into this paradise, my feelings were no less than being on seventh heaven. Pearl like water droplets spread out in abundance on this evergreen plain carpet. Driving down the smooth roads from Cochin to Kumarakom, I could see the coconut trees waving out a cheerful hello with their long leaves. Wanting their “new guest” to feel at home, they gestured me to quench my thirst with their hard fruit coolant.

Little did I know, I would encounter more enchanting experiences from this magical endeavour.I eagerly awaited the famous backwater cruise from Kumarakom to Allepey.I reached this beautiful retreat tucked away behind the green cascade of grassy curtains. The water sparkled with a purity portraying its inherent glow. I seated myself on the boat, which sailed across this channel accompanied by the boatman’s chirpy chatter about the place. Transit into this different world, taught me the simplicity of things that could bring about exuberant elation. It gave me a vision of the scenic countryside which seemed like an artist’s picturesque creation coming alive.

White ducks were seen swimming along in groups. Their playful ‘quack’ jibes at one another could amuse a delightful watcher. Birds with their musical voices formed their own orchestra. The sporty kingfisher did its graceful jives to catch a fish, in turn mocking at the fishermen below. Weeds and long stems seem to pop out in patches, adding vibrancy to the colorless stream.

Cruising further, I encountered old bridges towering above, along with other trees which shielded me from the occasional glare of the sun. Small thatched huts adorned the banks, providing a homely touch to this otherwise wild habitat.Fisherfolk ventured out to catch fish for their evening supper. Flashing their wide grins at me depicted their innocence which touched me for some strange reason. It instantly made me take my camera to capture their spontaneous friendliness as memoirs of this adventurous escapade. I also got a glimpse of other boat house rides with passengers getting a feast of this backwater beauty. Glancing at these placid waters made me wonder about the ironical, stark contrast of nature’s personality. On one side it provides a soothing balm to the wrecked nerves and on the other hand, wrecks the same nerves by lashing out for some unknown reason.

Nearing my destination, I was shown the famous Kerala’s yearly boat race point which was a popular source of entertainment. The orange radiance of the sinking sun caught my attention as it bid farewell to rise in the other side of the globe. My journey too ended as I thanked the boatman for the unforgettable ride and prepared for yet another transcend in Allepey.I looked back at this charming backwater with admiration which seemed to twinkle back at me. It felt like paradise had kissed earth leaving me feeling on top of the heavenly world. After all it’s a part of Gods own country isn’t it?

Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors choice


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cracked up

In this superficial world,people are out to criticise each other with respect to physical appearance and mental make up.Extends upto ones credentials and the inherent talents posessed.The important aspect of invividuals having a golden heart or hale and healthy life doesnt seem of any significance to either the young or the old.The below forward should dawn a realisation amongst many that, nobody is inferior or superior to others.Maybe matrimonial columns especially can learn from this short story.The worth of an individual is measured by what he/she is and not by their culinary skills/nightingale voices,coloured or blemished skin/crooked nose or their designation/profession.In short,though all of us are cracked,we are also backed by our own positives.Sooner this is learnt,the better the progression of the society.

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the House, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of it's own imperfection. And miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said. The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw. So I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house?

Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them,instead of trying to put them down or compare them with others. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Cling till divorce do 'em apart?

-By Swetha Amit
Marriages are made in heaven, but broken on earth; and it is perceived as a claustrophobic living hell by most youngsters today. Is it really a devil's abode as many portray it to be?

A further insight is given to this alarmingly growing 'marital phobia’. The twenty something adults are apprehensive about their independence being enticed away with a lifetime commitment. Space and privacy are the two most common connotations uttered by the contemporary youth, in relation to marital ties.

Many may find the concept of a marriage, an exciting prospect of walking down life’s journey with their soul mate. However its the term "wedding "that acts as a block of iceberg in this warm and cozy institution.Inlaws and par aphelia of relatives, adjusting to the new family and meeting each ones demands is enough to frighten these singletons away all their lives. In the recent trend, numerous newly wed couples are facing a rocky road situation which is on the verge of a dead end in the form of divorce.

Several reasons are cited for marital breakups. Amongst the prime ones being, authoritarian- parenting skills which are accompanied by clingy behaviour. This is due to the over-possessiveness of parents and immediate siblings, resulting in the intrusion act. This takes place in spite of one choosing a separate course in their lifetime journey. The growing trend of working woman has stimulated the need for economic stability and independence. Avoidance of excessive dependence on parents and the anticipated clash of values have precipitated the nuclear family lifestyle. Curtailment of this new found freedom, despite living away from family, causes frustration ultimately leading to friction between the couple. A marriage is a huge change that occurs in everyone’s lives.

Parents get wistful seeing their little ones grow up and starting a family of their own. A feeling of parting with their own kith n kin is quite natural for the elders. Insecurity is known to creep in between the parents in law and the respective son/daughter in law. Afraid of losing their beloved ‘child’ to the spouse is a nerve wrecking emotion, which propels the inability of the aged to let go.

Children are all like little saplings which have been nurtured by the parent plant. Time has come for them to find their roots in a different garden and start a family tree of their own. Privacy and intimacy is what a honeymoon phased couple need during their initial wedlock years, especially when time is the scarce element with couple concentrating on their careers. How many of the relatives understand this?

Knowingly or unknowingly, family and siblings tend to intrude on the quality time spent by spouses. Late night frequent calling, insisting on a daily tele-talk, probing for confidential information related to financial aspects, demanding reasons for the lack of response to messages, inquisitive non stop questioning of the ability of the woman’s housekeeping, criticizing the culinary skills are some ways one could cause strained relations. Undue expectations of the bride/groom to comply with formalities and keeping a check on it can drive the modern day man/woman wild and crazy.

What starts of as an expression of view point to either of the spouse, blows out of proportion like a bomb blast. This explosion strikes as a thunderbolt in their otherwise blissful life. The husband/wife is often forced to act as a stressed-out mediator between a furious, complaining partner and non-understanding folks. Further instances add fuel to the fire ultimately extinguishing the spark between them forever. Families of both sides need to steer clear from this kind of behaviour.Afterall one likes their breathing space don’t they?

Is it fair to come forceful on the new member? Is it not the duty of the older generation to let them lead their lives? Being wise and mature, one should realize that no force of nature can change the bond of a parent-child relationship.

As an educated head, one should explain the sanctity of a marriage to the younger ones in the family circle. Parental affection is eternal. Hence secure feelings should prevail. By clinging and demanding more, one could drive them far from their affiliation circle. It would also plant seeds of disrespect and hatred in the new family member towards them. Why look at the new entry as a threat? Why not look at them as an opportunity to expand your windows of love in your heart? Why not look at them as another child sent by the almighty? Why not look at them as someone whom you could generously shower blessings on?

Isn't the happiness of your children/family member, the ultimate goal? As a parent/family member, one should encourage a couple to spend maximum time with each other. Levels of comfort and open communication must be encouraged to prevent any disharmony or misunderstanding. Allowing them time to adjust to a new phase in their lives will nurture only respect and admiration. Burdening them with undue pressure and being a nuisance will only lead to resentment.

Instead of creating a bridge that distances the couple, why not bridge the gap between them by stepping aside? Parents are almost like God. Why act as Satan’s creation? In other words, why cling till divorce do them apart?
Written for www.msn.co.in
Appeared as Editors choice


B'day(Aby) Baby

-By Swetha Amit
Today(Feb 5th) is the birthday of the new Guru of bollywood.His success proves that hes not failed to Miss (the) world in more than one way.His never say die attitude in his new role is an extension of his personal life.The initial string of flops faced by junior B never made him think Bas, itna sa khwab hai?

Harsh statements made by the media for not matching up to his legendary dad has been taken in his stride,telling himself,"Abhi kuch na kaho".Dismissing a lot of flaks and critics,his will power made him take Refuge(e) in chanting Om jai jagdish hare.

His boon was granted in the form of Yuva,after which Aby baby has been on the Run.His flooding offers kept him on his toes, which made him do a Naach on the Zameen.

His bespectacled look in Dhoom,made his fans applaud and say Tera jadoo cha(l) gaya.Popularly known for his Shararat on the sets, has in turn made this Bunty aur Babli(bubbly).His debut in singing "Right here right now" has made him the Sarkar of the Indian hip hop and not a Bluffmaster.

So Abhishek,wishing you a very happy birthday from your well wishers.Aapne Dus bahane karke legaye hamare dil.

All the best for your future.Phir milenge because we believe in the motto of kabhi alvida na kehna.Looking forward to seeing you Dhoom(2) again.
Written for www.msn.co.in


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Master of the game:Tribute

-By Swetha Amit
Sidney Sheldon has been one of the popular authors who has created a rage in the world of books. His bestsellers took the readers on a flight from reality. A trip to the figment of his imagination delighted several book lovers. A novelist whose write-ups were most sought after by all, especially the women segment.

It is a sad plight to hear that this 89 year old writer breathe his last on Tuesday. This mishap occurred due to complications from Pneumonia at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. May his soul rest in peace. His fans will always remember him for his wonderful works.

A tribute to this revered distinguished man.

This well renowned author was indeed a master of the game in his field. He had the ability to grip the reader by his novels. He has invoked the memories of midnight with the saying” Tell me your dreams."

His belief in the Sky is falling had brought the Stars (to) shine down. Of course his Doomsday conspiracy and rage of angels prove that nothing lasts for ever.

His Naked face portrayed that there wasn’t a Stranger in the mirror looking back at him. His perseverance through Morning, noon and night has helped him come up with the best laid plans. Breezing through the Sands of times, this thriller genre writer has shown his real side to his fans with the book titled, The other side of me.His adventurous streak took us to The other side of midnight.

So If tomorrow comes, will there be another Sidney Sheldon?
Written for www.msn.co.in


Friday, February 02, 2007

Hunger pangs

-By Swetha Amit
Can we imagine a day without those mouthwatering cereals, aaloo parathas or a buttered toast? Can we visualize the absence of dal-roti, sabzi-chawal, samosas, piping hot jalebis and the gallons of milk? Can we foresee a life without these delicacies that cater to our taste buds, for even a single moment?

Skipping one meal a day leaves us feeling irritable and cranky. Complaints about headaches and low energy levels are often voiced out by us. The human body nudges us for its regular supply of vitamins and minerals to regulate its daily functioning. Not a single day can go by without such nutrients, can it? Enhancement of a healthy living has emphasized the concept of eating the right food from our birth. Importance of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner has been recognized, in order to stay healthy. This knowledge has precipitated the duo- parental roles of being bread winners in certain segments of the society. Providing their children with 3 square meals, for physical and mental strength, has become the prime goal for couples.

However, there lurks a world of drought -stricken lands in certain corners of our subcontinent. The minimum availability of a drop of water or a morsel of rice depicts the gloom cast over these remote places. A conspicuous contrast exists between our bright healthy world and the dark, unhealthy one. Some states of this nation suffer from the extreme case of hunger pangs.

The condition of ‘Malnutrition’ is seen to be increasing at an alarming rate across India. Several parts of Orissa, Maharashtra and other states are engulfed with the horror of this dreadful condition. The plight of these worn out and unhappy faces are enough to cause ones heart to bleed The loud cries of young infants and toddlers seem to yearn helplessly for a drop of milk. It is indeed a pitiable condition to see such innocent faces suffer from pain and anguish. It is indeed appalling to see mothers look on with distress, unable to provide their new born with even the basic requirement.

Its grieves one to see the staple diet of such habitants being that of a hard roti and one chilli.This reflects the negligence of the rural areas, where the minimum requirement of children up to the age of 8 is about 300 calories. It’s sad to see the death rates rising at an alarming rate due to hunger and severe drought conditions. It’s shocking to look at young ones who are supposed to be the epitome of health and well being, portray a pale, starved look. Shrinking of muscles due to continuous starvation leads to the diminishing activity of the brain. Cases of families losing their children, due to this problem are growing in numbers. Unemployment, poverty and the unhygienic conditions worsen the situation. This ultimately leads to the gradual diminishing of our human clan in these parts. To worsen matters, lump sum bribes are demanded out of these poor dwellers. The food sent to them apparently fails to reach them. It is reported that these meals apparently get stolen for fulfilling the selfish motives of the black market. Mismanagement of the various schemes results in an absence of accomplishment of such tasks. The angry cries of these helpless folk don’t seem to reach the right ears.

Is it fair to see such misery prevailing in our mother land? Are we doing anything to save our fellow humans from drowning into the pool of hunger?

Entertainment, glamour and page 3 labels are seen to dominate the leading news channels. Where does it leave room for portraying the plight of these communities? A film release is given a royal treatment in the headlines. The harsh reality escapes the minds of the audience who take a flight into the make believe world of films. Awareness could come about if half the publicity and hype is given to such issues.

Today is the era of increasing incomes and higher slab brackets for payable tax to the government. Yet it’s a shame to see such hard earned money go into the corrupt world of unlawful practices. If only such monetary gains are used to resolve these grief stricken problems, will India become what it was before the foreign invasion. It was a land of riches and prosperity with not only with fodder in the fertile soil; but also wealthy in terms of cultural values and heritage.

Inspite of the upcoming growing economic trends and foreign investments, some parts of India still remain poor. So the next time we waste food, or grumble about "bad" lunch or dinner, lets think of these hapless have-nots who struggle to have even one square meal a day. Let us contribute in our own little way to build a healthy nation.
Written for www.msn.co.in