Monday, January 29, 2007

Lord of the inn(r)ings

"Action speaks more than words."


This philosophy has worked wonders for Sourav Ganguly who has made a tremendous comeback into the ODI team. From a roaring start in his first test series, this Bengal tiger has conquered the hearts of millions. His spectacular innings of 98 in the Pepsi cup, has knocked his critic's comments about his degrading form.His dismissal from first class cricket had evoked mixed responses.


The left handed batsmen chose to remain silent, taking in his stride the harsh words hurled at him by the media. Relying on his "never say die attitude" has indulged this Prince of kolkatta in assuring his fans of a definite comeback. Seeds of self confidence, determination and hope have certainly borne a fruit of regaining his magnificent form. His return has brought in a new ray of hope for our team, who now possess a radiant glow and undaunted usage of the bat and ball. It has lead to the strengthening of the top batting order. His rock solid innings and aggression has indeed been recognized once more.



South paw is here to stay and conquer the world (cup).Lets hope that the team enters the finals again this time, only to snatch the title of "world champions" from the kangaroos. A difficult task, but with Dada around, the word impossible says "I am possible”, in this case "it is possible”. Those, who were applauding in glee over his departure from the team, watch out for the roar of the royalty. This embarks the return of the king (Prince) who is definitely the Lord of the inn(r)ings.


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Thursday, January 25, 2007

A (10) million dollar question


-By Swetha Amit
Karle karle ek sawaal......karle karle ek dhamaal?


Back on screen is the renowned, popular yet brainstorming starry show "Kaun Banega Crorepathi."Replacing the phenomenal Big B(ee) is the crass and cheeky baadshah of mosquitos,Shahrukh Khan.A new look to the show starts of with a wannabe hip hop song.A little jig by the specimen khan along with mini skirt clad girls, almost equals his look in the metrosexual lux ad.


What is supposed to be an intellectual quiz show, sadly turns out as a disasterous Bollywood inserted dialogues saga. The sophisticated and polished "sure,confident,lock kar diya jaaye" is substituted with a cocky "freeze kar di jiye"accompanied by unwarranted,irrelevalant comments, by the desperately attempting comedy khan.It seems that this new host has nothing to boast of.Pressures of bringing in a new feel to the show and being constantly and consciously compared to the legendary superstar, appears to have got into him.Trying to coverup his stress levels drives him to do his little hyperact to the extent of giving a hi -five or massaging the participant.


A show which consists of an energetic livewire seems to electrify the screen and the minds of the learned.Shudh Hindi is abandoned for bits and pieces of a linguistic mixture.Sort of trying to bind the coastal and hilly areas into one?


It is true that the former distinguished quiz master is irreplacable.A huge contrast is conspicous between a knowledgable,wise,humourous person and an overreactive,impulsive, jumpy one.It totally removes the charm of the game, causing a brain stimulater to become brain dead.Talks of Shahrukh trying to crow over the crorepathis are buzzing around across the nation.Will this baazigar actually succeed in his new gamble?Will he erase the images of the shehenshah imbibed in the audiences, by his new act?


A (10)million dollar question indeed!


Written for www.msn.co.in

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dhoom again Hrithik


Kaho naa pyar hai.....in this case kaho na "happy birthday to Hrithik Roshan".(b'day on jan 10th which is today).


This Krrish has made everyone realise Dhoom machane ke liye koi mil gaya.Inspite of only one or two releases every year,we still retain this Greek God in our yaadein.His innocent eyes,yearning for his fans appreciation seem to ask :"mujhse dosti karoge".His mindblowing performances make the audiences kabhi kushi kabhi gham.


His perserverance proves that hes yet to attain his lakshya(aim).Time will tell or will he let his acting skills do the talking?We will wait and watch as na tum jaano na hum.

Heres to the new superhero of Bollywood.Happy b'day Hrithik and fans are waiting for you to Dhoom again!!!

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Return to innocence


-By Swetha Amit
Children’s day....which falls on the 14th of November every year, happens to be the birthday of India’s first Prime Minister...Pandit Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. This revered person was known to love children immensely and was fondly called “Chacha Nehru” by them. It was desired that his birthday be celebrated all over as children’s day.


Childhood is a stage in our lives that makes us walk down the memory lane and look back at those nostalgic days with misty eyes. It is a phase with a carefree attitude, devoid of worries, shouldering responsibilities and stress. It’s also the most treasured stage that would make us return to innocence at any given point in their lives.


The beginning stage from birth till we attain puberty indeed consists of fun- filled days. We can recollect instances where we were given attention by everyone, from family, relatives to all elders as we were considered their little darlings. A great support system existed in the form of our favorite grandparents when we were scolded by our parents for trivial issues of either having stolen a chocolate from the fridge or upsetting a carton of milk. Immense amount of time was spent with our grannies and grandpas by listening to their stories, hearing about their childhood days, playing cards with them and going out for small walks in the neighborhood parks. Ironically, the same people whom we loved spending time with at this stage are considered as nagging nosey parkers by us in the next stage, of adolescence, indeed embarks the strange twist in life.


It was a phase when we had lesser tiffs with parents over petty issues like not doing our homework on time, watching cartoons or playing outdoor games for a longer duration than intended. A stark contrast to this is the relatively serious issues in the later stages - which consisted of arguments with relation to the opposite sex, parties, alcohol or our clothes. It reflected a pampered self indulgent age which consisted of our demands being met. Our little minds then could think of nothing beyond than having this birthday party with a huge big cake, inviting all our friends, playing games, and blowing balloons.


A stage where we didn’t bother what we wore ate or spoke. We could eat as much as we wanted without having to worry about gaining a few inches around our waistline or worrying about the jeans not fitting us. A blemish free life; where numerous varieties of chocolates were eaten without thinking twice about a zit appearing on our nose. A carefree life; where excuses were made for whatever we spoke in haste as we were considered ignorant little imps who would squeal and shout in glee.


An age where we had the maximum number of friends and did not have to worry about “fitting in” with the crowd. No issues like wearing the right outfit, listening to the cool music or being seen in certain “hangouts” were even means of evaluation for our peer group. Fights with friends were usually over petty issues were immediately patched up, unlike the complexed ones that exist in our later years.


“The more the merrier” was the concept of the 8 year olds to play games like hide n seek, Kho-Kho and other outdoor games with both genders. We could also recollect moments of playing with dolls and indoor games like ludo, snakes and ladder. Reading the various comics, fairy tales and Enid Blyton series were past times for this age group which took us to a different world altogether. The enchanted woods, magical lands of the faraway tree, whizzing away on a wishing chair, the elves, fairies and wizards, mythological tales, comic tales of the Tinkle, the various cartoon characters stimulated the young curious minds to seek more information from this enriching hobby.


A phase where we didn’t have to worry about facing board exams, competitiveness, coping up with higher education pressures, dealing with ones sexuality, fighting with a friend over a short term crush, jealousy over another persons attractive appearance or dealing with feelings of inferiority.


However in the present scenario, it is seen that the concept of childhood seems alien as kids are forced to grow up too quickly due to the certain circumstances. A lifestyle of the dual parent working exposes them to the feeling of independence and handling of responsibilities at an increasingly alarming rate, wiping out their carefree young days. The advent of technological advancement has precipitated the exposure to adult sites, which have enhanced the worldly wise knowledge onto the little minds at a rapid pace.


Use of mobile phones,ipods,access to American sitcoms on television has robbed the innocence out of this beautiful stage, depriving them out of the enjoyment of the a stress free phase. It seems that from the age of three, kids are given the direct promotion to the puberty stage as the facts of life are known to them before the age of 12.Also, the pressures of the academic institutions today where exams are held even at a kindergarten level, invariably cause the anxious parents to drain the children out of their energy levels.


It is true that our erratic lifestyles leave us with very little time for ourselves to enjoy the little things that once made us happy. Whether it is munching our favorite flavored ice-cream cone, accompanying our kids on a ride in a theme park or building a castle by the sea side with the little ones. A feeling of self consciousness engulfs us as an inner voice conveys that we are too old to do such things anymore.


The fast paced life of the metros and other places have left us hard pressed for time as well. Increasing levels of competitiveness has robbed us out of our childlike enthusiasm and our youthful appearances. Psychology says,” there is a child inside everyone which refuses to grow. Allow that child in you to come out once in a while and retain that young glow.”


Are we really succumbing as victims to the aging factor? Are we deliberately avoiding small things in life that give us pleasure and replacing them with alcohol to gain a feeling of “being high”? Are we forcing ourselves to age faster than we should? In other words, are we responsible for killing that little child present in us?


Something definitely to ponder about.
Written for www.msn.co.in

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Don't say cheers


-By Swetha Amit
Alcohol, a simple yet a dangerous word. What starts of as a coax for a small sip or a peg as a social obligation ends up as a regular and addictive group activity at parties and get-togethers.The current economic incentives has made these hard drinks more affordable. The gradual change from the traditional to a more cosmopolitan culture across several metros and small towns has made social drinking the “in thing”. This intoxicating drink has gained its popularity over giggly wild teenagers and has retained its brand equity among the adult segment as well.


It is a shocking plight to see the ill effects of the so called liberalization among the school and college crowd that attracts these youngsters to alcohol like bees swarming towards honey. Seeing their parents and other elders consuming beer or wine socially, precipitates these young minds to see such drinks as a harmless substance. Yet they are curious to find out the reason for banning of their consuming such beverages by parents without being given a rational explanation. These curiosity levels which grow within them as they hit their teens push them towards this habit. The trend of pubs, night clubs and discos with bartenders has spread across this generation like wildfire and has enamored the youth to find solace and false highs by this act. Oblivious to the hazardous consequences of excessive cosumption, multiple drinks on the rocks indeed turns into a rocky counter for these victims of peer pressure and "social acceptance."


Adults who are seen partying till wee hours, after the tension filled corporate life, also find hard drinks as a soothing balm to their ever increasing stress levels. It’s also perceived as temporary getaway from the woes of life. Whether it is breakup with a loved one, tiffs with a boss, firing from a job, tequila shots indeed help such frustrated souls to call the shots for a short span, escaping into a “flight from reality” mode. Sadly, this supposedly responsible citizen clan let themselves fall prey as remote controls to the electrified mind which is whisked away by the numerous bottles of whiskey. What starts of as a few moments of pleasure, ends up in an alarming dependence of the humans to this devastating stimulant, thereby resulting in destruction to one self and society.


Several studies have found alcohol as a depressant slowing down the activity of the central nervous system. It actually blocks some messages trying to enter the human brain which alters the persons' vision, sense hearing and perception. Large amounts of alcohol consumption can result in alcohol poisoning resulting in breathing difficulties, unconsciousness and can prove to be fatal.


Over the recent times, news channels have flashed headlines of several drunken driving cases which have cost the lives of many innocent and not so innocent victims. Drinking and driving which were rendered as two separate words in the dictionary are continuously brought together by individuals, thereby creating a negative revolution. Spoilt rich kids after numerous pegs, driving their fathers’ hard earned luxurious vehicles, have reduced the status of the slum dwellers to being homeless overnight.Filmstars and celebrities who render a certain social responsibility to their audiences ironically end up reducing their fan number by indulging in rash and speedy motor accidents. Such mishaps cause scars both physically and psychologically to the affected ones and their families.


In spite of the vast improvisation in the educational system, it’s disgusting to see the upper class segment indulge in such low class selfish acts. Is it fair to let someone suffer the consequences of their irresponsible actions? Is it fair to cause damage to other cautious drivers on the road due to the inability to control ones alcoholic mind? Is it that difficult to let their inner voices in their minds assert themselves to prevent them from indulging in more than one glass of beer?


We all know that it is not sensible to mix drinking and driving. Yet our swaying minds allow us to do so. Why is it hard to apply the principle of” prevention is better than cure?” Should one do irrational things to learn its ill effects the hard way? Is it not our duty as responsible mature citizens to ensure safety and security to our environment? Can we not think of the long term consequences before treating ourselves to a few moments of pleasure? Its pure irony that few seconds which seem as a very short time period seems never-ending when we realize the negligence of our intoxicated act.


Let us therefore spread this message and bring about a realization that anything which is consumed within a certain limit is fine. The minute anything goes beyond the realm of reason is dangerous. Rehabilitation of substance abuse is something one should not have to go through if they steer their self controlling minds in an assertive manner. Next time one wants to indulge in excessive drinking and then drive, remember the chance of costing somebody a scar for their life. And someday you could be one of the traumatized victims as the saying goes” NOBODY IS INVINCIBLE”.


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

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Friday, January 05, 2007

R(i)ose above the thorns


-By Swetha Amit
Relationship is like a rose garden, be it a parent-child, husband-wife, grandparents-grandchildren, teacher-student, boss-employee or between friends. Thorns in the form of misunderstandings, anger, irritation, jealousy and EGO are present in plenty. Just like we hold a rose with determination and pluck away the thorns which prick us, can we throw away the thorns that disrupt our rosy relationships?

Communication which comes as a package with human relations, should be emphasized as a crucial factor in maintenance of harmony. An idea, thought or a viewpoint can be put across effectively if one concentrates on the way it is presented to the other person. Being assertive, yet polite, can work wonders for a message to be conveyed to a single individual or a mass of audience. Soothing words, keeping the sensitivities in our minds along with a pinch of thoughtfulness is a very good recipe to liven up millions of hearts, the failure of which would lead to a venomous encounter. After a point, its us who regret the words uttered from our lips. Before we utter them, is it not fair to think before we say something?

From our earlier experiences, we can recollect the numerous clashes with our loved ones over trivial or major issues. We temporary convince ourselves that we don’t' care. It’s realized that we are fooling no one but ourselves in the process. It is us who choose to carry this emotional baggage of not being able to forgive to hold a petty grudge. Why? Is it because of our so called NATURE? Is it that difficult to let go of our destroyer called ego which causes nothing but sorrow? Can humans not modify their nature even a little?

Unfortunately, by the time, such faults are realized; it is in our old wise age when it might be too late to make amends? Our last few days on this earth is filled with REGRET and a baggage which we carry even when our soul attains MOKSHA.


Such a long wait needn’t be necessary if we learn to encounter what we really feel and want, rather than letting our king sized ego rule our inner voices. Do we not feel at peace if we've gotten rid of the baggage of forgetting and forgiving what someone has done? Once we try and forgive lightness engulfs us as we start to feel like we're rising above to a higher divine level.In other words,it enables us to R(i)ose above these petty thorn like baggages.


It sure is true when they say.” Forgive and Forget is divine."
Written for www.msn.co.in

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This(Dis)Abled


-By Swetha Amit
There are people in this world, who can sing, dance, do a little jig, speak, hear, touch, feel and smell good objects. Such lucky individuals indeed are given the luxury of normal functioning of our human body.


Can we imagine a plight or a day when even one of these little activities are not being accomplished by us? It could be due to reasons like a small twist in the ankle disrupting our regular exercise routine, or a fracture in our arm which is put to rest for a couple of weeks. Such minor accidents cause us to depend on others for even the most trivial things that we are used to doing by ourselves.


Can we imagine a stage where the pleasure or independence of doing such trivial tasks is taken away on a permanent basis? It would result in feelings of frustration, anger, diminishing self esteem, depression, helplessness, and not to mention the fear of being ridiculed or not accepted by others.


There are such individuals in this world for whatever reasons, who are born with some kind of malfunctioning with one or two of their organs. The term”disabled”is often attached to these set of people who face the brunt of being on a wheelchair,blind,with hearing aids or unable to talk or utilize their intellectual capacity. Sad but true. However a day during every year is allotted to these not so blessed individuals to create an awareness all over and is called” world’s disabled day” which is celebrated on dec 3rd.


The consideration and the sensitivity of treating and behaving towards these people are looked into with tremendous insight. Do these people get shunned away from the bustling activities of the society? Should such individuals be looked down upon? Are we any superior or are they less inferior to us because of their so called” abnormality?”


An interesting fact to note here is the spectacular balancing act of the Almighty. Such human beings who are deprived of any one of their organs are automatically gifted with a special talent or the extra strengthening of the other senses. For instance, a blind person is often seen to possess a talent in pottery or craft work. Or they are blessed with voices that title them the nightingale of the nation. Example of a famous singer who is blind includes the famous Stevie Wonder who has won millions of hearts with his melodious and fast faced tracks. Some people who are unable to communicate possess the art of lip reading and prove to be excellent actors with their ability to change several facial expressions.


It is often observed that, these unfortunate beings feel the need for normality like any one of us. Their levels of pride prevent them from basking in our pity. All they need is our support, not sympathy.Inclusion, not seclusion.Frienship, not hostility. They want to be of help, not a burden. They expect our sensitivity, not harshness.


It is seen in many parts of the world that their own families treat them as an outcaste or a load saddled for a lifetime. Can one imagine the feelings that undergo within that person.Helplessness, anger, several questions rummaging in their heads asking God” Why me?” Is it fair to let our fellow humans go through such misery? Deep inside, they feel the need to be taken away from this world? Is it not hard heartedness on our parts to rub salt on wounds by reminding them of their problem every single day?


Are they not entitled to enjoy the worldly pleasures? Should we consider them insignificant? Remember that nobody is inferior as every one of us posses an inherent special quality that make us unique in our own special way. Nothing is permanent either. What if we lose our functioning due to a sudden mishap in our lives that scar us till death does us apart.


Therefore, let us create awareness amongst the human clan in order to raise the levels of acceptance, love, understanding and support of these disabled individuals. Let us make them feel that life is a deadly paradise instead of a living hell. Just like trees spread their branches to bask in the sunlight, let us spread our arms and engulf these beings into one converting their disabilities into their powerful abilities and ableness.


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

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Brown beauty


-By Swetha Amit
A trip to Matheran, a hill station two hours from Mumbai, also gave me life’s finest learning through a ‘gentle’-man of the animal kingdom.

Being one of the unique hill stations where a motor vehicle isn’t allowed, you had the choice of going on horseback or trek. Choosing the former option, I stumbled upon a beautiful brown horse named Goldnut, which would take me through the unexplored woods during the rest of my journey. My initial inhibition of the safety and stability with which this sturdy animal would make this trip memorable, vanished into the thin air as soon as I mounted on him. I found my fears unfounded as a feeling of trust engulfed me that minute and this marked a beginning of a strange friendship.

As the journey progressed, the curiosity about my newfound friend increased, to find out more about Goldnut’s life. I asked his young 12 year old owner more about this magnificent creature and from there began a ramble of a story that gave me an insight about the life of a horse……

Goldnut was separated from his mother at birth, the eternal separation which probably made him stronger in more than one aspect. He began training from the age of 3 and was seen galloping in the race circuit of Mumbai within a couple of years. It didn’t take long for the cheering crowd to recognize the achiever in him which motivated them to put their stakes on this champion. His fast and furious nature accompanied by a competitive streak across his personality emerged him as a winner, which ensured his position and mark in the race courses. This young victor indeed made his master proud by winning numerous medals.

He probably realized that the failure of his never say die attitude would reduce him to a slave bought by another man for fulfilling his selfish motives. As he continued to succeed offers to purchase also increased. However, his master who realized the conspicuousness of Goldnut, once he lets him go, withdrew him from race world after a few years and brought him far from the maddening crowd of Mumbai to the hilltops of Matheran. This endured the horse with the tranquility needed during its last few years.

Today, Goldnut stands proud on the hillside, as he looks back at his glorious racing days with pride and fond memories. There is a great transformation from the once energetic, impulsive, volatile and young creature to a gracefully aged, mature, stable and a wise horse which provides its rider the feeling of stability and safety.

As the story concluded and it was time to depart, I was amazed at the resemblance of its life to that of humans. Just like a man who works hard in a fast paced commercial city, retires to the solitude of the hills during his old age, the horses are no different. As the famous saying goes,” Maturity comes with age”, it was evident in the case of Goldnut.


Written for www.msn.co.in

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Salaam namaste 2007

After large doses of rocking,rolling and a load of bashing,New Years has finally dawned.2007 seems to look promising already,smiling upon millions and beckoning us to bask in its positivity.


High expectations have already set in amongst many,with the hope that '07 is more of a smooth sailing expedition than a bumpy roller coaster ride.Prayers to the supreme power above us is said with a pure intention of protecting us from evils like kidnapping,brutal slaying,terrorism and most importantly the wrath of nature.And also to seek well being in more than one aspect.


Whether it is the functioning of the day to day chores,the profit soaring of the corporates,the bull race of the stock market to make sensex reach great heights.Or whether it is marital harmony,career growth,passing examinations and lastly good health which is ultimately the biggest wealth,indeed forms the wishlist of many which is posted to the Almighty.


It was one of the best new years for me.The first one after marriage especially,marks its speciality of being the most memorable one.Spending it with your like minded soul mate is the best gift anyone could ask for.New Year's eve was a night of massive celebrations,partying and gyrating to the lively music.The next day started with bowing our heads to the creator,preparing a sweet delicacy and feeding the homeless on the street with Mumbai's favourite Vada pav.


It gave me immense fulfillment to see those hungry, cold eyes lighting up with a small sparkle and expressing gratitude,as I handed over the food packets.A feeling of sadness also engulfed me, as I wondered why them?Aren't they children of God,as well?Do they also not deserve to have one square meal a day?


As I pondered over it, I then recalled the law of karma.Everyone pays for what they do.They suffer their bad deed and thoughts as punishments handed out by our supreme parents above.Maybe these present poor and needy are paying for their previous undesirable actions.Seeing their pitiable state,one should learn to prevent themselves from indulging in acts that would result in dire consequences in their following karmic births.And may this realisation bring about angelic actions amongst us and end in receiving loving showers of gifts rather than reprimanding acts of the Almighty.
My lunch that followed could not have been more staisfying that day.. with the thought that I had fed at least a few hungry stomachs.It was one meal that I really enjoyed and relished for more reasons than one.


It has been a great start as my hard work is slowly on its way to the goal of recognition.One of my travel articles on "Matheran" titled "A hilly encounter" has been published in the Indian Express suppliment.And its available virtually as well.It has made my family immensely proud.Hopefully with everyones good wishes,I hope to continue my writing with lot more improvement of each write-up,along in the days to come by.


And with Jai Matas blessings, I pray that I make a mark in this field.It will certainly create a difference in people's lives,by getting a psychologist's perspective on several issues.It will surely enable them to combat their feelings which are hurled like a ping pong ball in life's game of table tennis.Life is like a battlefield with the unkind, bloodshed of words that pierce like a sharp arrow wounding our feelings. It will help in facing the war-like situations;coping with ever increasing stress levels, peer pressure and cut-throat competions as the famous saying goes"Pen is a mightier weapon than the sword".


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