Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happiness is everywhere around you

She was waiting at the office boardroom to meet the Editor of a leading daily. She was nervous. Not that she hadn't faced an interview earlier. She was happy beyond words. Having managed to clear the written test, and being called for a face-to-face interaction within a week, she knew she was just a few steps away from claiming the offer. After an hour long wait, she was finally called in by the Editor to have the 'interview.' Little did she know that her interview would be more of a conversation, if not anything else. Half an hour  through it, she was told that her application would be processed further. She still wasn't ready to believe that she was being offered the job in a while rather she assumed she would have to go through another round of interview before the final verdict came. Soon, the HR walked into the boardroom with a white paper in hand. She handed the paper to her and said this is your offer letter. She just glanced through it. She wasn't upset with the pay that was being offered. She was rather happy that she finally managed to secure a job after months and months of trying. She signed the necessary documents. The HR handed her the offer letter. She left the Editorial office of the leading daily with a smile on her face and a tear trickling down her cheeks. She was happy to have bagged the job in her first meeting itself.  Happiness was this.

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She was sitting in the audience with her mother watching the annual function of her school. Class XII meritorious students were being honoured for their outstanding performances. Seeing the seniors taking away trophies and medals, she felt her adrenaline rush. She knew that she too would want to see herself there one day. Her trail of thoughts broke, when her mother asked her if they would too be called on the dias, when she clears her Class XII. She looked at her mother and simply smiled. A smile that reassured her mother. Four years later, she was standing on the same dias with medals and trophies that covered her from head to waist. Her parents were called on the stage. As she walked away with her medals and certificates, she stopped by to hug her favorite language teacher. The teacher looked at her parents and said, 'we are proud of her.' Her parents replied, 'we too are proud of her.' She saw her parents beaming with pride. Happiness was this.

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The day had arrived. Sleep eluded her the whole night. She was just imagining the moment that was about to enfold in a couple of hours. She had been anticipating it for whole nine months. She had been away from her husband for a long while. He was there beside her now. She knew the time was here. She woke up early morning, and ate what the doctor had told her. She arrived in the hospital at the stipulated time- 9:00 am. She got herself admitted in the room. Half an hour later, two nurses arrived with syringes and hospital gown. She was now a patient of the hospital. Her operation time was 2.00 pm. But she was taken only after 2.30pm. She was nervous. It was her first time afterall. Her doctor calmed her down. Minutes later, she was in the Operation Theater. After two doses of anesthesia, she was asked to lie do. She doesn't know what happened after that. The only thing she knew was a mild cry that she heard. Next, the doctor asked her to 'look up' and see 'her son.' The shining eyes had a glimmer of hope with them. She tried to put up a smile on her face. That was it. The moment had arrived, finally. She was a mother now to a little life. Happiness was this. 

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Happiness is never limited. It comes as we proceed to newer surroundings. A simple smile at a passerby, a comforting hug to a friend who is down and out, the thought of getting your first job, the idea of being able to write and publish your first book, the proud moment to gift your parents a foreign trip; instances are many but the underlying idea behind all is the happiness that it brings along. 

Happiness is proportional to the amount of time you spend in channelizing positive thoughts around you. It is not something that you would want to limit to yourself. Derive happiness from the little things around you. Make others happy through your gesture of gratitude. The joy of making someone smile through your gesture is something would give you immense happiness. Have you tried it yet? 

What's happiness without a bit of sharing? #ShareHappiness http://CokeURL.com/96jnc.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Conflict of a Wavering Mind

I was sitting on the chair staring at the blank word document. Not sure of what I wanted to write, I simply started scribbling whatever I could fathom. Two lines down, I realized that I have too many thoughts in my mind. And, to give shapes to those thoughts, I would have to sit down, think, re-think and then finally 'pour' them out on the document.

But, what exactly then would I write on the blank document? Wouldn't it be better to keep it white and plain, without the scribbling? Or, if I do happen to phrase the perfect sentences, the perfect similes, the perfect idioms, the perfect storyline, will those 'perfections' depict the inner battle that I am going through right now?

Right now, where I sit and write, it is quiet. Except for the ceiling fan making the intermittent noise, the shrills and laughter of the children playing down, the sound of the temple bell hinting at the evening prayer session being over, the usual honking of vehicles that just went by, the clattering of utensils on the terrace of a Men's hostel right opposite to the building where I stay. This surely does not tantamount to 'quiet'. Or does it?

Often amidst this quietness, I find myself lost in trance. A book open in my hand, my eyes loitering on the lines that tell a tale. But, my mind, is definitely not absorbed in knowing where the tale is heading to. It seldom happens that I can watch a debate on TV, read a page of the book, write something, without veering into a different zone altogether. I have tried meditation. Only, tried. I have tried keeping my thoughts at a single point of reference. My mind has failed me and I have lost the count.

My fingers are aching already though I have hardly written something meaningful. My eyes are hurting, not out of staring on the blank document but out of innumerable tears that have been flowing out of them like a waterfall. My shoulders ache too. Not just out of the prolonged seating on the soft couch, in front of the laptop, but also because of things that have taken the form of 'concern' and have refused to elude me even for a second.

I want to go in deep slumber. Forgetting there exist clouds of concern. I want to, for once, shred the slightest trace of uncertainty that has been hovering in my mind. I want to slide past each day, without a hint of doubt. I want to reassure my inner self of the strengths that I possess. The strength that is way more tenacious and hard to belittle than the weaknesses that have crippled me from within and without.

I want to BE all this. I want to visualize what I think. I want the positive to take control. But how?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Event Preview: Draupadi Kuravanchi- a play by Kattaikkuttu Sangam @ Narada Gana Sabha, Alwarpet, Chennai




The Kattaikkuttu Young Professionals, a theatre company based out of Punjarsantankal Village near Kanchipuram Town, set up and run by Kattaikkuttu Sangam, will be performing Draupadi Kuravanchi. The event has been scheduled from March 13-16 at Narada Gana Sabha Hall, Alwarpet, Chennai. 

The event is being organised in collaboration with Shraddha (www.shraddhatheatre.com) and aims to showcase Kattaikkuttu in an urban setting and in a venue which normally chooses to host ‘classic’ art forms only. The team at Shraddha is trying to set a precedent for future performances of Kattaikkuttu in the urban sphere. They first saw Kattaikkuttu at a fundraising event and loved the energy from the young performers. They wanted to bring this unique experience to a wider urban audience in Chennai.  

Kattaikkuttu is a traditional, highly intricate and raw form of physical theatre which uses song, dialogue, music, dance, make-up, costumes, drama and ritual. Performances are high-energy, intense events that recreate the mythical world of kings, gods and sages in stories from the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. In addition to the traditional Kattaikkuttu repertoire, the Kattaikkuttu Young Professionals Company explores the boundaries of the form through reimagining traditional plays and producing innovative artistic work. Directed by Perungattur P Rajagopal, the company is famous for revitalising Kattaikkuttu as a contemporary form of theatre. The Company members are from disadvantaged backgrounds and include girls – a historic innovation in a theatre that traditionally was a male-only prerogative.
                                        
The Play, Draupadi Kuravanchi, tells the tale of Krishna’s and Draupadi’s dark quest to subvert the plans of the hundred Kauravas to eliminate their cousins, the Pandavas. It features the ritual of trance that empowers Draupadi-the-Kuratti to engage her enemies’ minds through psychological warfare while playing on their inner-most secrets and confronting them with their own sacrificial deaths on the battlefield in a horrific, fraternal, future war. The play shows us the ambivalence of the iconic Draupadi ― a caring, auspicious mother carrying her baby on her hip and a vengeful goddess demanding the sacrificial death on the battlefield of those who have humiliated her.     

The Play, Draupadi Kuravanchi, normally an 8 hour production, has been reinterpreted and reworked into a 90 minutes version by Artistic Director P Rajagopal, to adapt to an urban audience and venue.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Event Preview: Wine Wednesday by Tasting Pleasures @ Hyatt Regency


I like on the table, 
when we’re speaking, 
the light of a bottle 
of intelligent wine. 
~Pablo Neruda

Are you a wine connoisseur? (And, you are a woman too) Then this event is for you. Tasting Pleasures, a gastronomical tasting program, is organizing Wine Wednesday, in spirit with the International Women's Day. 

The event will include an interaction with Sommelier, Martine Isembrat and will be followed by a documentary on Sommeliers. Of course, the event will also have a tasting session where a wide variety of Indian as well as International wines will be served. 

The event is taking place at Hyatt Regency, Teynampet, Chennai on March 11, 2015 from 7 p.m. onwards.

What are you waiting for? Go grab your seats now! 

Cheers to a shining evening filled with wine and dine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March, the month of exams- Down Memory Lane

The year, 2015 has 'march'ed into its third month. It is that time of the year again when the children go crazy memorizing the 'prescribed' chapters of each subject, slated to come in the final examination; while the parents go a level up in ensuring that they dedicate all the time in the world to their children so that they do not venture into a different territory of their own. The CBSE Class X and XII board exams have begun and I couldn't stop going down the memory lane of how those years were for me as a student. My younger brother is appearing for class X while my cousin brother is appearing for class XII examinations. If you think, I played the 'counselor' sister or plan to play that role in helping them surf through the tide of board examination, then, let me tell you, I have no such plans. 

The idea behind this post is to take you all down the lanes of the classrooms, and examination. We all have several memories etched in our hearts with respect to examinations. More so, when it comes to board exams. Memories of sleepless nights, the fear of appearing for board exams for the very first time, finishing the syllabus on time, practicing at least a set of 10 sample papers from U-Like or Together were a daily routine for many of us. But attached with those fear and anxiety were several of our aspirations and the support of our parents and teachers, who made us sail through the tough tide of examinations. 


Like any other student, I too have had many memories with respect to examinations. Some good, some not so good. I remember waiting eagerly since Class V till Class VIII for a letter that arrived in the mailbox with my name and addressed printed on it. The letter would be sent every year, before the final examinations. It came from NIRULAS, then the most happening place to have some mouth watering ice creams, delicious pizzas and shakes — until the likes of McDonalds, Dominos and Pizza Hut took the shine off it. Nirulas had a ritual of awarding the meritorious students. Students who secured above 90% marks in their final examinations were given a free ice cream. When I say free ice cream, it was not merely a cone and two scoops over it but their all time favorites- Banana Split, Chocolate Fudge, etc. I was lucky to have it till Class VIII every year until my grades dropped to 80s from Class IX and the letters too stopped, much to my disappointment. :-(

With the exam time also came the rigorous buying of new pen sets: one blue and one black, new pencils, sharpeners, scale, eraser and what not. Everything new. The excitement of packing the new geometry box was always something to look forward to, if not anything else. :-D The only sadness that I can associate with examination is probably the limited number of hours in front of TV, or outdoor activities; and, who can forget the festival of colors, always falling either before Maths or Science exam. The eagerness to step out of the house to play with the colors and have a gala time was always missed unless there was plenty of time between the festival and next exam. :-D 

Two instances which I recall very succinctly with respect to my board examinations are- one, the morning of my Political Science exam. This subject was something I detested to the core and the fear of failing in that exam was such that I ended up crying right before entering the exam venue. Though my teachers were kind enough to talk me out of it and cheer me up, I was too numb to even think about how the exam would go. The second incident I can recall is that of the night before my Sanskrit board exam in Class XII. It was India vs Pakistan world cup encounter. I was fully prepared to watch the match at night despite the fact that I had an exam the next day and that my mother is a Sanskrit teacher, who was eyeing me with great attention. Yes, I did watch the entire match :-)

Do you guys remember any such incidents from your exam time? Leave your comments below. Would love to read them :-)

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Facebook Page is READY!



Yes, I have finally made a page on Facebook. 
Like and Share.
Read and Comment.

Indelible Musings now has a Facebook Page :-) 

Going by the way social media has taken the world over, it was necessary to spread my blog's reach. I hope you continue to like, share and comment about my blog posts. 

Your likes and comments are my motivation! 

The page already has 108  Likes! :-) Yippie! 

Have  you like it yet? Click on the top FACEBOOK link! :-)

Blogger Avijit Roy's brutal murder in Dhaka shows your "personal" space is no longer "personal"

This image is said to have been circulated by the Extremists. It shows, Avijit Roy lying dead in a pool of blood on the street, and his injured wife (standing) seeking help.




The death of a US-based blogger Avijit Roy on the streets of Dhaka while he was returning from a Book Fair in the Bangladesh capital along with his wife, was a spine-chilling and gory incident that rattled me to the core. When I first heard of the incident on NDTV morning news, I was not just taken aback but also scared like never before. I am not here to make any commentary about his death, neither an analysis nor any talks about what we learn from this or what our leaders should do etc. I am merely writing this post as a fellow blogger.

The fact that Roy was killed for talking about religious fundamentalism, extremism and what not on his "personal" blog is not just ridiculous but also throws light on the fact that your personal life is no more personal. You are arrested for writing a status message criticising your government. You are arrested/threatened/killed for sharing cartoons of your political leaders. You are arrested/threatened for saying anything negative about your political leaders or religion. You are arrested/killed/threatened for writing, sharing, or talking, about anything in your personal space. This is probably the worst way of breaching privacy and curbing your freedom of expression. 


As a blogger, I was scared even to write this post. Who knows from where I may receive a threat? Who knows from where I may be chastised for voicing my opinions? Being a woman makes it worse for me. But the killing of Roy is something that should not be limited merely to protests and then subsequent arrest. Tomorrow, another blogger like Roy may be hacked to death for voicing his opinions in his personal space. The need of the hour is to find a solution towards how a person's personal space is not breached by such acts. As human beings, we have a right to voice our opinion in favor or against some incident/act that we find is unlawful or deserves our attention. 

Source: AFP/Getty Images
A blog is a platform which is supposed to showcase our views/opinions; likes/dislikes. Giving our thoughts the medium, and space, blogs are now an integral part of our lives just like how our personal diaries are. No one is allowed to make us ponder over what we have to write or express in our own personal space. What we are writing in a public platform is open to criticism and even worse consequences. Criticism is and can be taken with open arms. But dire consequences are something that will not go down well with any sane person. 

There was a sense of fear, sadness, anger that engulfed me when I was listening to the news reporter talk about how Roy was killed on the streets of Dhaka, while he was returning from a Book Fair. News Reports say he had come to Dhaka to attend the Book Fair. I wonder, when his wife comes to senses, will she be regretting making this trip? Had they stayed back in the States, Roy would have probably been alive and getting more such death threats (merely). 


Chennai Food Guide's 10th Anniversary Celebration- Fun, Food and a Lucky Draw Hamper!

I know I am a bit late in updating about this event, which happened on February 28th. The 10th anniversary celebration of Chennai Food Guide took place at The Westin, Velachery, Chennai on a Saturday night. The night was as expected filled with anecdotes from the food industry, the food group, and how it has evolved over the years, the whose who of the food industry in Chennai and also those who have made a mark and done some generous work by utilising their culinary skills to their best.

The event began with a few introductory glances into the transformation of Chennai Food Guide from a social network group to a full-fledged platform where each member eats, breathes and talks only about food. The brainchild of Mohammad Ali, CFG has now taken another step towards a venture called The Food Consulate, where you will get to test, enhance, transform as well as share your culinary skills with a varied set of people. Going by the efforts that Mr Ali has put towards making CFG reach where it is now, I am sure The Food Consulate will also a grand success churning out the Masterchef from each one of us. :-D

The event also had a Food Quiz, which made me shamelessly realize that I really need to abreast my knowledge about Food. It does not just come down to only eating out, tasting, reviewing restaurants. A connoisseur of food or a food critic should be up to date with every item on a food menu, to every ingredients and what its counterparts are called in different countries, to what goes into making what and so on and so forth. Basically, the quiz reminded me (at least) about how poor my knowledge is when it comes to food. :-( Better Luck Next Time! :-P

The food on the menu at The Westin was not just grand in its spread but also grand in taste. I am sorry I cannot recall what all I ate... (You can say that I am concealing from you the fact behind how many extra pounds I gained that fateful night) :-P So, while I was busy gorging on the delicious food, someone shouted in the crowd, "Is there anyone named Sneha?" Any guesses? Why was I being called? I had won myself a lucky draw hamper!!!! *A Big Thunderous Round of Applauds*

You want to know what I won in the hamper? I shall leave a picture for you to decipher. :-D Oh, we were also given CFG Goodie Bag, which contained loooooooots of items.. That too, you can have a look in the picture and find for yourself :-D

P.S.: Did I tell you? While I was entering the event, a beautiful lady at the ticket counter handed me my coupons, but not before asking whether I was the same Sneha Bhattacharjee, who had written a post talking about the CFG anniversary in my blog, and how all of them had read my previous post about the CFG anniversary and were looking forward to meet me in person!!!! How cool is that? Afterall, someone really made the effort to click on the blog link and read it :-) ;-)  

My day was made! :-D 

All in all, I really hope that I am able to be a part of the 11th anniversary in a bigger and better manner! :-D And Win the Bumper Hamper! :D Which was won by my friend, T! :-)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Book Review- A House in the Sky By Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth.” On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road. 

Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda converts to Islam as a survival tactic, receives “wife lessons” from one of her captors, and risks a daring escape. Moved between a series of abandoned houses in the desert, she survives on memory—every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity—and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark, being tortured.


The book, 'A House in the Sky: Memoir of a kidnapping that changed everything', is vivid in every detail it speaks about. The trauma, torture, despair that the author has to go through the 460 days, and comes out of it bold and strong is commendable. As you turn through the pages of the paperback, you'll find yourself in a cinematographic experience. Word by word and scene by scene detail of the 460 days spent by the author as a captive in Somalia, is no less than a movie. It makes you wonder that such horrendous acts do happen in reality. Reality is harsh, and the book explicitly shows that. It is hard to grasp the truth that the narrative enfolds before you. You are left amused not only by the narrative, which has been lucidly written but also by the fact that the author has to go through every detail of it once again while writing it down for the readers. You cannot but applaud the courage with which the author comes out of the situation. From sexual abuse, to ill-treatment, hunger, physical atrocities, there is nothing that she hasn't gone through; at one point, death seems better to her than surviving the ordeal, which seemed never-ending. Yet, she pins her hope on everything. Her hope doesn't disappoint her in the end. In trying to free her, her family does go through a financial setback, but the joy of coming together with them after the release felt like 'home', 'shelter', 'secured.' 

A powerfully written story of courage, resilience, and grace. As of September 2013, the book is a New York Times bestseller. It also won the 2014 CBC Bookie Award for Best Canadian Nonfiction and was nominated for the 2014 Libris Award for best non-fiction book of 2013. 

P.S.: I think it can be turned into a motion picture if the story is projected well.