Showing posts from 2009

Adios 2009

Every year seems like a lifetime and 2009 was no exception. A fabulous beginning only made me look forward to the year with a child like enthusiasm ready to explore the world and life. Change is inevitable and it amazed me as I discovered more and more as to how the only thing that was constant in life was change. As you plunge into different realm of things your personality too undergoes a transformation that dawns a realization on you a tad too late.

1st Quarter: January marked a trip to Chennai after a period of 4 months where I had a great time catching up with friends whom I hadn’t met in years. Professionally, my counselling was going well and earned a reasonably good name with the trustee. While February and March were stoic and steady, a few social get together managed to spruce up the lack lustre days. April perked up with a trip to Lakshadweep Islands. The exciting prospect lay in the fact having read about the same place back in our Geography lessons and actually visiting it…

2 states — the story of my marriage

-By Swetha Amit
Cross-cultural conflicts are no mystery to the inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent. It is a ever-present reality. Chetan Bhagat’s latest book “2 states — the story of my marriage” deals with this issue. Partly autobiographical, the tale of two people belonging to two different states and communities is weaved together with instances from the author’s own life to come up as yet another bestseller.

Chetan Bhagat’s fourth book is the tale of a Punjabi lad Krish and South Indian lass Ananya and how they fall in love and get married. However, things are not simple as that. From being classmates at IIM Ahmedabad, their relationship traverses the stages of friendship, passion and love to the decision to get married, but they have to overcome the ultimate test, staunch opposition to their union from their respective parents. Whether their love proves strong enough to win over their families is what forms a major part…

Shadows of the past: Bittersweet or haunting

-By Swetha Amit
She tossed her mass of curls behind her shoulders as she looked at the mass of waves crashing on the shore. They seem to be restless, underlying with currents just like her current state of mind. It’s been six years she thought. It seemed like a long time ago yet the memories came flooding back to her just like it all happened yesterday. Who would have thought that she would return to the same place which depicted traces of her past? As she stared at the stormy sea, her mind took a trip down memory lane as an image of her bubbly twenty one year old flashed in front of her.

Naive and oblivious to the realities of the world, she had lived in a world of her own. Blissfully and madly in love, she envisioned nothing except flowers, candle light dinners, sunset and long walks by the sea. Little did she realize that the candy floss romance she was engulfed in would ironically lead her …


26/11: A day Mumbai will never forget. It was a normal Wednesday where the city was wrapping up after a hard day's work. Little did they realize that the night would turn into a gruesome ordeal prolonging for the next 2 days leading to the loss of several lives. A city which was shaken up completely after this catastrophe. An incident that led to anger and anguish. Will this disease called terrorism ever end? One ceases to wonder time and again as such dastardly acts are eliminating humanity all over the world.

A year has elapsed though the scars are yet to heal. Paying homage to those who are no longer with us and a tribute to the heroes and unsung heroes who fought a valiant battle those 3 days. Jai Hind!!

Dazzled by Lights

Lights across the city makes one feel like they are in a Fairy Tale. What with the load of goodies, sweets and crackers, it’s time for yet another celebration. Diwali is easily the most awaited festival. The same brings back fond memories of our childhood days where bursting crackers was accompanied with delightful squeals, new clothes brought out great fervour in our homes and sweets were devoured with no consideration for our waist lines.

As we grow older the sweets are pecked by the health conscious ones while others continue to feast on them with no qualms of adding a few pounds. Not to mention fireworks have lost their fans due to the throbbing issue of child labour being involved in manufacturing of the same. However despite all this, the festival has still managed to retain its charm for many.

It’s truly an occasion to meet friends over a hearty lunch or a game of cards with vivacious music in the background. Not to mention the numerous productions of Bollywood slated to hit bi…

Living jewels of the Arabian Sea

-By Swetha Amit We have often wanted to have a Maldives experience without travelling outside of India. A little net surfing and we spotted pictures of the Lakshadweep islands, which looked to be exactly what we wanted – a quiet, seaside getaway. And when we finally managed to vacation there, we were certainly not disappointed; Lakshadweep has all the ideal elements of a great beach holiday — gleaming corals, shimmering sand, and fantastic underwater experiences.

We landed on Agatti Island, and were greeted by the gentle sound of restless waves in the lagoon, smiling resort staff, and offerings of tender coconut water. The resort, owned by island locals, consisted of not more than 19 rooms and provided a pleasing contrast to the crush and crowds of city life. Our rooms overlooked the sea which was an exquisite green in colour.

We didn't know too much about the islands except what had appeared in our school geography textboo…

Happy B'day Bapu

Our father of the nation-fondly known as Bapu!! What didn't he do to attain freedom for his nation-innumerable hunger strikes and protests? He was perennially at the receiving end of insults and flak. Yet that didn’t deter him from appearing calm on the surface with a smile which stated that nothing could shake him. Today a national holiday is being declared as Gandhi Jayanti. In honour of his birthday a certain quote comes to my mind “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

Considering the numerous terror attacks and political troubles brewing across the world, one can’t help but wonder about this thought provoking statement. It has led to a blackout of humanity altogether that words like peace and harmony seemed to have dissolved like sugar cubes in milk. The only difference being that it does not leave a sweet taste behind.

As I remember him fondly today, I can’t help but wish if only half his principles were put to application, one wouldn’t cease to witness nightmares o…

Jai Mata Di

Once the world was filled with darkness making all its anxious inhabitants wonder if they would ever see daylight again. True to their earnest prayers, a power emerged with a sole purpose of attaining victory over evil after an arduous battle of 10 days. These 9 nights symbolize a ray of hope which exhibited the destruction of all the vile forces that were once present.

Though our life isn't devoid of any sins or wickedness, what matters is that we continue looking for that silver lining even when the dark clouds prevail. It signifies happiness and prosperity along with hope. Meanwhile it’s the time to chant Jai Mata Di all the way-a tribute to the beautiful and powerful Goddess who indeed did bestow daylight upon us.

On a Musical trip...

There are some evenings which are flamboyant and give you the peak of luxury. And there are others which exhibit such simplicity and tend to remind one of the saying that its simple things in life which bring you joy. Last evening was probably one of the best I’ve had in the recent times.

A friend had invited us over to view his magnificent screen at his place which had sound effects similar to that of a multiplex screening. Added to which his passion for music of all genres propelled him to exhibit his huge collection of Bollywood numbers over the years. Right from the 60s to the recent fast tracks, the musical trip indeed made us walk down memory lane. Playing some of the old songs led to a discussion of how music kept changing and reinventing itself every 10 years. The nuances of the yesteryears actresses’ beauty, grace and poise were greatly admired, not to mention the soulful tracks that evoked feelings of nostalgia. It sort of reminded me of going through old photos and reliving …

Something to look forward to

Holidays are something which never fails to evoke excitement amongst all age groups for various reasons. Children get an off from their classroom lectures and the boring black boards; College kids from their droning lectures and working professionals from their corporate drones. A day off, probably sounds like a magic wand which promises to bestow its best and relieve one out boredom and routine. It’s even more of a treat when such days fall near a weekend which makes it into a delightful long one propelling one to make plans with immense zest. Thanks to festivals and birthdays of renowned leaders, we have been blessed with 3 continuous 3 day weekends. First one is eid, second Dussehra and the third Gandhi Jayanti.

These are days of relaxation, partying or just catching up with friends. With movies releasing in plenty, it proves to be a vacation of visual treats with the hope of such flicks being good ones or a laugh riot entertainment. Or it’s probably time for some to bag pack and d…

‘Gaali’: A sound message

-By Swetha Amit What a 3 hour film manages to convey with immense melodrama, the same impact is created in 15 minutes leaving the viewers stunned. Not surprising as their attention span is retained all through with a question of “what next?” playing in their minds. It sort of reminds one of a T 20 game of Cricket which is nothing less than a fast paced thriller with the scales tilting on either side at any given point.

Kiran Motion Pictures and Indian Ocean pictures’ ‘Gaali’ is one such film that will evoke tremendous cerebration amongst the audience. The movie revolves around a chance encounter of two characters (G.K.Desai and Usha) on the streets of Mumbai after dark. An interesting conversation prevails between a man who has lost his love and a call girl. A flurry of abuses follows with the language depicting immense vulgarity which is typical of such class of individuals lurking around the s…

An unfortunate tragedy

12 hours since the Chopper went missing, the alarm bells starting ringing furiously. The panic button was pressed as the mystery of the disappearing chopper along with the Andhra Chief Minister raised several pertinent questions. Was this on its way to become yet another Bermuda Triangle aspect? As the clock ticked away, the hopes faded along with the dim lights of the twilight zone. The 60 year old politician was declared no more this noon along with 4 other casualties.

What seemed unfortunate about the whole thing was the fact that the Chief Minister was apparently on a surprise visit to check drought relief in the villages. It’s sad that a person meets such a tragedy on his way to do a good deed. While others' who are on an evil mission to destroy cities through terror and bombings aren't met with such obstacles. Instead innocent lives are preyed upon with the former getting off the hook easily. Is this what one call's the irony of life?

Meanwhile hope his soul rest's…

Simplicity drives away insanity

'It's the simple things in life that keeps us from going crazy'! Came across this while going through one of Ruskin Bond's books who happens to be one of my favourite authors. His descriptive style of writing is indeed appealing to the readers, transporting them back to the lush green planes of Dehradun where most of the authors' works are based on.

Coming back to the thought provoking statement above, I couldn't help but think that how true and pertinent it was. With external issues existing in abundance in several aspects of our lives, resorting to the simplest things acts as a stress buster not to mention the immense solace that it provides. Since my professional life consists of a great deal of cerebration, resorting to simple things becomes a necessity. Here are a few things which work wonders for me and makes me feel like a magic wand has just cast a spell on me.

Catching up on a movie: This is usually a must do every weekend/week day at times either on bi…

Ganpati Bappa Morya

It’s that time of the year again when many prepare their homes for the arrival of the elephant faced God!! In Maharashtra, it’s a ten day festival where the lord is treated as a revered guest, pampering him with his favourite delicacies and a royal treatment.

One of my favourite Gods, he has always come to my rescue even in the most trying times. During my bouts of low especially my weekly visit to Siddhivinayak temple never fails to lift my spirits. It enables me to look at things with a positive outlook and makes me realize everything’s just going to be alright!! Though I thank him for whatever he has given me in my life, I look forward to tomorrow to show my immense gratitude for having stood by me always. Truly the one who removes obstacles; his blessings have ensured a smooth ride especially with regard to my travel plans.

Thank You Ganpati Bappa for everything. 2009 has been good so far. I am praying that you always stand by me through thick and thin.

Travel list

Just back from an amazing vacation which enabled me to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Learnt a lot about several species of fauna present in the jungles of Africa which was overall an intriguing expedition altogether. This trip has only propelled me to explore the world further and indulge in adventurous activities. Penning down the 2nd list of places I would really want to visit someday below.

Starting with Domestic travel and around:

Leh and Ladakh: Been hearing several people heading there on a trekking expedition and the whole prospect sounds exciting enough to go explore the Himalayas.

Andamans: Havelock Island indeed has received rave reviews and it boasts of having one of the best sites to dive. Having gotten into Scuba diving recently, I would love to explore the underwater world out here. Who knows I might even bump into a shark.:-)

International Travel:

Nepal: Another trekkers' paradise. Who wouldn’t want to explore this side of the great Himalayas?

Sri Lanka: Was here…

Spirituality with a bit of a thrill

By Swetha Amit
Published by: Harper Collins Price: Rs 325 Classification: Fiction The popular author of The Alchemist comes up with yet another bestseller, in the same genre as his usual fiction-with-a-moral. With the Cannes Film Festival as a backdrop, in The Winner Stands Alone Paul Coelho weaves together the lives of four individuals who are each driven by passion, obsession, greed and ambition.
Igo Malev is on a quest to bring back his errant wife who left him for a wealthy designer. Unable to come to terms with her desertion, he is intent on winning her back -- even if it means destroying the world around him. Simultaneously, the book also delves into the parallel stories of three other individuals, equally fiercely determined to prove something to themselves and to society.
The author’s focus is on the shallowness and superficiality of the glamorous and glitzy world of showbiz. He delves deep into the human psyche and…

Wildlife Safari

Vacations are always rejuvenating and make you feel like a new person altogether. The unexpected travel always leaves you with an exhilarating feeling. It was always on my wish list to visit Kenya and its famous wildlife safari. Something I had only heard about or seen on Discovery channels. Now that I'm actually leaving tonight for the next ten days it still hasn’t sunk in yet.

I am really looking forward from the monotony and regular routine that past few months have been offering. Hopefully I come back to update my blog about the exciting escapades and adventures of having ventured into the wild!!

Friends indeed

So many quotes on friendship come to my mind on this day.

Years have passed and so many things have changed. However it’s not to an extent that I don’t remember my pals-old and new ones who have influenced my life in some way or the other. Despite the differences, they did make a mark.

So heres wishing most of them a very Happy friendship day!!!

A 'Whale' of a time

I came across this news yesterday. The story proved to be a touching one on hearing about the sensitivity of the Whale in coming to the rescue of a drowning diver.

Mammals/animals can indeed surprise humans with their gestures. One would have heard numerous instances of a dog rescuing an eight year old or cats proving to be a source of comfort. Even monkeys for that matter extending their warmth. Whoever said creatures don’t have a heart? Such incidents like these only prove them wrong.

It’s sad that such species are hunted and are on the verge of becoming extinct slowly. If only one would take efforts to preserve them as they truly deserve to be, the gratitude factor is sure to be met. Kudos to the fauna kingdom and the marine mammal.

The Book Launch

It isn’t everyday that one would even think about stepping out of the world of words to meet the creator of the same in the real one. While reading a book, one tends to get lost in the characters and events of the literary piece to an extent that the author’s name remains a hazy spell. One would occasionally make up an image of the writer based on his/her writings and forget to place a face to the name.

Yesterday was one such occasion to get the pleasure of meeting a debut author of the newly released fiction ‘The Wish Make’r- Ali Sethi along with a renowned writer and winner of the Crossword-Vodafone award-Amitav Ghosh. The former was apparently a student of the later in Harvard. The event started off with a welcome speech and the excerpts reading from the book by the Author. An interview commenced after that where Ali Sethi shared his experiences during the process of creating this piece of literary fiction. Questions posed by the audience were graciously obliged with the conversati…

Mistaken Personality

Ever seen a quiet person huddled in a corner in a social set up observing the scenario around him/her in an intent manner? Or ever come across a friend/family member who prefers to get subsumed in the literary world or their thoughts?

Such are the kind of people others always seem to find weird, eccentric or lost in their own world. Sometimes the same are mistaken to be as ones who are arrogant or aloof. Parents/friends/relatives are found to always want to bring such people out of their 'shell' and be a people's person. Anxiety levels result in despair where one starts to believe if something is wrong with such people who Psychologists term as introverts.

Introverts are those who prefer to spend a lot of times by themselves rather than others. They seem to want more space than others' to channelize their energies into something more intellectually stimulating. It’s sad to see others labelling them as someone who needs to 'get a life' or ridiculing them for not b…

The truth about Cats and Dogs

It’s an irony to note that how certain living beings possess the inability to speak our language and yet do wonders without actually speaking. It’s certainly true in the case of pets be it cats or dogs.

Stress, loneliness and depression are no strangers to the human body and mind. Busy lifestyles of people have made it quite difficult for them to give time to themselves leave alone to others. The concept of a ‘friend in need’ gradually diminishes with this lapse in the time factor. And those possessing a large circle may not always be blessed with a non judgemental stance even while talking about a problem.

Such instances make humans drawn towards their furry companions who love them unconditionally and are great listeners. They show their understanding in their own way like a soft touch or a friendly lick. It may surprise one to note how much better they feel after this and works even better than an anti depressant drug or a visit to a shrink.

While it may not always be feasible to poss…

Stressing on exercise to combat stress

Fitness has become a rage across the globe accompanied by 'feel good' factor which has undoubtedly become a fad amongst varied age groups. Adolescents are anxious about fitting into their jeans, young adults about not wanting to gain that extra inch around their waist line, men wanting a la Arnold body and the older set of individuals combating ailments like cholesterol and diabetes.

It’s proved innumerable times that workouts apart from enhancing one’s physical appearance also improve mental health to a great extent. Stress has indeed become an everyday monster infiltrating into our regular regimes. The increasing levels of which results in several complicated disorders such as anxiety, depression and hyperactivity. While meeting personal and professional demands, it’s important to make a little time for yourself and get a little exercise.

Else life becomes an irony where slogging away even one's health for money will end up in utilising the same cash flow into medical expe…

Reminiscing Kargil War after 10 years

-By Swetha Amit
July 4th may mark the Independence Day of the United States of America and a long weekend for both the Americans as well as the Indians residing there. However it gives us Indians here a reason to cheer as well with immense pride and gusto as this day embarks a moment of the mother of all battles. Conquering Tiger Hill was no piece of cake for our valiant soldiers as they fought with resilience and fervour at a position which was at a disadvantage.
Unfavourable weather conditions, surrounded by the enemy on all 3 sides and wounded severely, our Indian army indeed proved their grit and valour. July 4th 1999 indeed is a date that deserves to be imprinted in the history books and minds of every Indian as this war is the embodiment of the subcontinents' victory of the Kargil War.

While one holds thei…

Mixing Cricket and Political Terror?

-By Swetha Amit It is said that the true essence of anything is snatched away when diluted with some other flavour. While it is seen in the case of perishable goods, one cannot ignore this aspect with regard to current affairs as well, especially when it comes to areas like Sports, Politics or Art.

It is no mystery to millions that Pakistan has been subjected to dire straits on a constant basis. What with the terror activities resurging at an alarming rate, this neighbour of India no doubt has received a lot of flak. To an extent where hatred has developed in the minds of many and quite a few have shown their disdain towards Pakistan with respect to Cricket. The beginning of the T 20 World cup exhibited several individuals writing off Pakistan, be it as an underdog team or one which didn’t deserve to win.

Yesterday’s victory after 17 years undoubtedly has brought in a cheer for a country which h…

Streaks of immaturity

-By Swetha Amit What began as a casual conversation ended up as one that instigated thought provoking questions within me. After the exchange of the usual pleasantries and polite inquiries, the topic somehow took a turn that delved deep into the human psyche. Being a Psychologist, human behaviour, thoughts, actions, words uttered never fail to evoke fascination and curiosity. A few experiences narrated by those conversationalists made me realize how common such instances were and probably occurred in most people’s lives including mine.

One of them chose to narrate an incident in a social set up. Apparently amidst a group of friends, discussions taking place range from tongue in cheek remarks to intense ones which give rise to pertinent points of heated arguments. And if it is not ended amicably, it could result in a lot of resentment and bad blood, especially when unwarranted labelling happens.…

'The Color of Paradise':An eye-opener

-By Swetha Amit Life comes in varied colours. How humans perceive them in different shades is what makes it interesting and mystifying at the same time. Some view it as a spectrum of the rainbow. While others view it in black and white interspersed with shades of grey. It’s surprising to note certain not so privileged individuals’ ability to view it as a reflection of paradise even if fate did not seem fair to them. These are ironies which make one marvel at such optimism and pity those possessing the grey shades of bitterness and pessimism.

Majid Majidi's‘The Color of Paradise’ is a simple yet endearing story of a visually challenged motherless boy and how destiny unites him with his father. The film starts off with 8 year old Mohammad waiting for his father eagerly to go home for summer vacation. As the boy reaches the village, he is received with immense affection by his grandmother and h…

Lasting impressions of the Literary world

-By Swetha Amit
Books are indeed mans best friends as they say. Reading is a means of either getting away from reality or plunging into the same in a different manner.

While some prove to passing clouds, there are a few which tend to reign on your mind causing a downpour of thought processes and a hurricane in your cognitive space. There are a few which make you cry, laugh or think. Nevertheless they tend to leave lasting impressions which changes ones perspective of themselves or the world. The below are a few ones which have had that impact on me but may not necessarily apply to the rest.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- This book by John Boyne was made into a movie which released last year. The book depicts a poignant tale of friendship across barriers set in the background of the dreadful holocaust. A tale of innocence weaved into horrors and an appalling depiction which makes one wonder if i…

Moms are the best

-By Swetha Amit Many may dispute about the concept of Mothers’ day. Their arguments categorically state as to why only the second Sunday in May should many express their unconditional love to their mothers. And why not every day in the year. While they aren’t entirely wrong, it does take one special occasion or the other to make one feel how much they are cherished in another’s life. If going by the same argument, one can apply the same logic to birthdays and anniversaries and celebrate the entire year. Yet it wouldn’t be the same.

This can also be looked upon as a break from the mundane routine one is accustomed to. What with scurrying around from pillar to post and professional demands round the clock, it tends to leave one hard pressed for time for near and dear ones. At times like these, one longs for that particular day to unwind and do something unique to make it up to their loved ones. W…

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

-By Swetha Amit The title is catchy enough to induce interest in one to grab a copy of the DVD instantly. It certainly isn’t a bed time story as the film leaves a long lasting impact to an extent of rendering a sleepless night. Based on the novel by John Boyne, The boy in the striped Pyjamas is a tale of innocence and friendship interspersed with the horrors of the holocaust.

Eight year old Bruno (Asa Butterfield) finds to his dismay that his family had decided on moving from their beloved home in Berlin to the country side. Explanations seem to evade him and his questions are met with a lukewarm and a rather reluctant response. The fact he is able to comprehend is restricted to that of his Commandant father having gotten a promotion and being asked to shift his work premises. With his father busy on a new mission, mother bustling about her new home, sister Gretel on the brink of puberty, Bruno …

'The Assassination of George Bush': Power play

-By Swetha Amit

One quick glance at the title is enough to suffice curiosity within the prospective readers. Perhaps it’s the catchy headline that instantly grabs the attention with utmost interest enough to flap through the pages.

Varon B K Sharma’s write up on the same is a work of fiction interspersed with events pertaining to real life scenarios and occurrences. The book deals with a common disease prevailing in many parts of the world and has confined millions into its sphere of fear. And it’s the same dastardly syndrome which has enticed the innocent and not so innocent into its jaws of death. Terrorism is that illness which seems to have no cure as one hears of such heinous instances across the world.

The globe has witnessed several horrors in the form of brutal wars, the appalling holocaust and other catastrophes which make all the five senses bleed with horror. Yet this remains to be se…