Thursday, December 31, 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 at an age where appreciation of such places was at its peak. Not many have explored this place although its counterpart namely Andamans have been frequented by many. This trip gave me my first tryst with the underwater world. Never did I think I would plunge deep into the ocean only to experience a fairy tale like world out there. Scuba Diving was a surreal expedition which propelled me to take up a certified course back in Mumbai.

II Quarter: This stage was one with a lot of realization, growing up and another wonderful experience in the wild. Watched several movies and developed different perspectives on it. I turned a year older in June and also realized who were actually genuine and who weren’t. It was a phase of disappointments and dejections but also a time where new friends came into being. It was then I realized that they were probably God sent and were there to stay. Unlike those fair weathered ones who blow into your life like a breeze only to head into a different direction for good. Instilling my faith back into friendship and confidence into my personality, I was all set to enjoy some great moments. My trip to Kenya was the highlight of this quarter. Having visited my dream destination, I couldn’t have asked for more. The ten day trip was a real thrill and a fabulous tryst with wildlife. Observing them in their natural habitat, it was interesting to learn about their behaviour and lifestyle. Kenya was the true jewel of East Africa and makes you want to visit the place again.

III Quarter: A phase which seemed like two sides of the same coin. Exciting as I was still recovering from my Kenya trip, socializing was at its peak, met different people and realized how different I had become as a person. I was more confident of myself, attained peak fitness levels and altered my appearance by straightening my hair. Started parting a great deal and developed immense interest in House music. My interests increased and so did my frame of mind that I began to feel indifferent to a lot of things. However it turned to be sober as I realized how I had outgrown some people. A lot of restlessness crept in with confusion and stress. Such that I was down with viral fever. I’m still in the process of discovering drastic changes that have occurred and the sudden inertia that has engulfed over me. While the last two months have been a phase of brainstorming, cerebration and sorting out life’s dilemmas a good break came in the form of Goa and the Sunburn festival where I really let my hair down and partied the hours away.

As this year comes to an end, I look back to see immense change in my personal, social and spiritual self. I hope to resolve a few issues, get more focused on my professional front, maintain and work on my fitness levels and try and become a better person. So heres starting the new years on a positive note hoping that “aal izz well” as the song goes in the latest Bollywood flick called ‘3 Idiots’.
Happy new year !!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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 of the narrative.

The book is divided into acts pertaining to unique experiences of the protagonist in the cities of Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chennai and Goa. With doses of subtle sarcasm, Bhagat manages to provide an interesting perspective to a common problem faced by youngsters today, familial opposition when marrying out of community and interstate. The reluctance of people of different states to bridge cultural differences between them even as India progresses towards becoming a world power is subtly brought out.

Straight from the heart, the book proves to be realistic in a hilarious way. The author's slightly wicked sense of humour underlying the narrative at various places serves to exhibit real-life situations with authenticity and sincerity — “When people land at Chennai airport, they exchange smiles and proceed gently to the car park. At Delhi, there is a traffic jam of people hugging each other to death.” Also, one cannot ignore the delightful caricaturing of typical Indian stereotypes.

Written in a simple style similar to his earlier works, this book is bound to appeal to the masses as one can easily relate to the storyline and incidents described in the book. Those who enjoyed reading “Five point someone” will like this as well. The book proves to be an easy read — both on the minds and the wallets of the readers.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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 to open her eyes to reality? It forced her to grow up like a sudden growth spurt that one faces in puberty accompanied with a feeling of being alarmed and dishevelled. All seemed well as he too appeared equally caring, considerate and sensitive. Appeared! Didn’t someone say the world’s a stage? No doubt it had some great actors in it who would allure their fans into a surreal world temporarily. The field of the reel life was driven by wealth and ambition. Real life was no different as these needs of an individual far surpassed those of love, affiliation and compassion.

It was that fateful day when he had received a mail welcoming him to the shores abroad. Overseas is what he was obsessed with for reasons unknown to her. Better opportunities and prospects was what he kept mentioning repeatedly. Yet she didn’t seem convinced and deep down she realized even he wasn’t. The question of family pride, reputation and status was what propelled him to develop a child like fascination. Heated arguments began to grow as tension surmounted one fine day only to be sealed with a frosty goodbye. After which she never heard of him. Leaving her vulnerable with a broken heart,it made her wonder if she would ever mend its shattered pieces again. He seemed like a sudden gale of wind which swept her off her feet only to throw her mercilessly into the dunes of depression. Three years she pined for him with a slight ray of hope he would come back. Yet not a word or a call, which made her realize gradually about ruthlessness that prevailed in abundance around her.

Deciding to pick up lose threads of her broken confidence, she was more than determined to weave her personality back to what it was. With immense difficulty, she pursued her studies and career growing into a beautiful, smart woman who had grown to realize the ways of the world.
As she opened a new chapter in her life, bliss knocked on the windows once again as love entered like a fresh fragrance of spring. Having tied the knot she was whisked away to a surprise destination by her partner. As she landed there, her eyes widened as a whirlpool of thoughts spun around her cognitive space. Mixed feelings arose as she feared the prospect of ruining her honeymoon. How strange life was as it took you around circles making one land up in the same place yet as a different person with a different state of mind. Deciding to sort out things once and for all, a walk by the sea was what she resorted to.

Should she let the shadows of the past haunt her just as she was beginning a new phase in her life? Or should she let them remain as bitter sweet memories? The past taunts one only when they allow it to. What if they refuse to allow it to enter their minds? Should one succumb to such evils when immense effort has gone in to rebuild their entire persona? Why let such a beautiful phenomenon be burnt by the flames of the yesteryears? One fails to climb wonderful steps into the vivacious future due to being held prisoner by the chains of the past. Why deprive one of the simple joys of living due to a few black clouds? As she looked up at the sea, it strangely appeared calm, just like her state of mind now. Feeling lighter and happier, she decided to go back to her husband only to turn around and seeing him in front of her.

Where have you been all this while? I was looking for you. She gave him a wistful smile and said she was looking forward to her new beginning. As she looked back, the waves had receded and so had her shadows of her past.
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