Friday, November 1, 2013

Diwali - The Festival of Lights

Diwali's definition for me had always been cleaning the house, decorating it with lights, colorful rangolis, preparing sweets and savories at home and bursting crackers. And every year I would eagerly wait for this festival and start planning months before about how will i work towards achieving all the above and when Diwali is over i really feel sad on why it has ended :)

This year is no different and Diwali is now just around the corner. With my usual ways I have been waiting for the festival season since a couple weeks. A midst all this I happened to attend a Diwali party last weekend which was held in a lavish farm house located on MG Road in New Delhi. I love parties help in open grounds, though i get to attend very few and since this was one of my kinds I was excited to attend it. I was pre informed about a performance by one of a leading pop artist during the coarse of the party.

I reached there with my husband and one of his colleague and his wife at around 6' o clock in the evening, people had started to gather and some performances were on. But this was not the pop star but kids performing on the tunes of Illa Arun's "Aa ra ra Aa ra ra aayo re maro dholna". Dressed in pink ghagra's and Blue gota patti chunris, these little girls looked really beautiful. Nice dance steps and wonderful co-ordination kept me mesmerized and I did not move or spoke a word till they finished their performance. That was when my husband told me those girls were from an NGO. A sudden sense of proud feeling rush through my mind and I really started feeling so privileged to be part of this show where i get to applaud these wonderful kids.

Soon the next performance was announced and a group of 10 boys and girls were on the stage now taking positions. These kids did not follow a dress code but wore the best clothes they had and belonged to another NGO that supported their studies. The music started lights were now dim and the song was Shankar Mahadevan's "Mai kabhi batlata nahi andhere se darta hu mai ma". Immediately my mood changed, this song has always touched me emotionally and this time i saw these kids perform, who i thought were orphans and I could not control my emotions at all. The kids were all excited and were performing well. But I could not just keep my eyes on them due to this strong emotional feeling going across my mind. The song ended and when my husband told me they were actually not orphans but underprivileged children who were studying via these NGO's that support them was when I could gather some strength. We managed to talk to a couple kids on the snack counter, and I felt really happy to see them all very excited and happy believing it was their show today. We congratulated them and felt proud for them.

At the same time, an announcement was made for the NGO stalls that were arranged in the backyard amd we decided to visit the NGO stalls for sure to buy some goodies and help the kids in our own little way.
Post dinner we visited the stalls and witnessed all Diwali goodies that the kids had made with their imagination. We really appreciated all the creativity and hard work these kids have put into those goodies and went on to see every variety they had. We finally bought candles, diya's and Ganesha Lakshmi idol from some of the stalls. One of the stalls sold hampers which had 1 hand made Diwali greeting, 1 designer diya and 1 colored diya. We bought that too. That greeting card is the best diwali gift we got this year. Returning home from the event, we went on to decided that from now on, every Diwali we will purchase these goodies from the underprivileged people only and with all the diwali electric lights in our house we will also lit diyas more to support them. This way we might end up making at least a couple more poor families celebrate diwali with cheer.

Thus my definition of Diwali now has 1 more parameter to it and we will try to adhere to this gesture every year.

Happy Diwali !!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Ant and the Grasshopper

"I heard this story from a friend and loved it, publishing the same, since i feel it will be a good read."

One fine autumn evening n the hills an ant was busy finding food and carrying it in her mouth to her ant hole slowly and steadily. While she was walking towards the ant hole, a grasshopper who was hopping, dancing and chirping and having a gala time saw her tiered and doing all that hard work.

He asked the ant, why are you struggling that much dear ant, come sing, dance and play with me, it will be fun.

The ant nodded and said no dear grasshopper, this work is important for me and I need to complete it, you please carry on... and the ant moved towards her destination.

Days passed and the chilling winters came in. All the land was covered with snow and there was no sign of grass anywhere. The grasshopper started becoming sick since he could not find food for himself due to the weather conditions. He went to the ant and told her, I did not realize that the winter will be here soon and did not work towards arranging my food for winters and today i am very sick can you help me.

The ant shook her head and shut the door on the grasshopper.

My dear friends, this story teaches us a lesson that hard work and savings pay in the end. But the story does not end here.... Out of several grasshoppers that died in the winters, one grasshopper survived and he reproduced an offspring who was not just another grasshopper believe me, he was no less than a 21st century human being. He was a king of good times. had all interests of a 21st century teenager and loved partying to continue with the family lineage. He was the charm of the surroundings and lived as if there was no tomorrow. He met high society people and had connections with the media giants. On the other hand the successors of the ant family still lived their life almost similarly, by collecting food for the bad times.

Chilling winters came in again and covered the hills with snow and made the grasshopper, dehydrated, mal nourished and sick. Bu this time my dear fellow toastmasters history did not repeat itself. Instead poverty made the grasshopper a celebrity. The huge media giants surrounded the grasshopper from all side and presented an ultimate showcase of his conditions. Suddenly the Breaking news popped up on all channels comparing the poverty struck grasshopper with the ant. On one side was the picture of the grasshopper sick, weary and malnutritioned and on the other hand the ant in a silk gown. Live footage was shown for this ant in a silk gown looking down from her balcony. The footage also covered the ants daily lifestyle where she had a king size breakfast with Spanish omelets and French toast and sandwiches accompanied with juices and fruits. Her lunch was Mexican and Thai cuisine.   

The impact became so much that the entire country got involved in the rights of rich and the poor. Social networking sites were all jammed with likes for the grasshopper and dislikes for the ant. Opinion polls started on the news channels and sms’s were exchanged. Finally the finance minister came out with a proposal for the ant and a grasshopper.

With all this going on the ant was really taken aback and suffered a setback. Even in the hospital she was not able to relax due to the agitations and fight for the rights of rich and poor going outside the hospital. With all this going on and being a calm and thoughtful person the ant declared to give half of her wealth to the grasshopper.

This story is a true reflection of our times..... Hard work and savings do not pay but smart play and networking pays off. Pulling the string will make you grow ahead off your peers. Leave the ant and leave the grasshopper, and analyze yourselves. Think and act.

An encounter with "Richard Parker"

As a child I loved watching cartoon films and serials. Jungle book was a favourite entertainer on weekends and I was always astonished to watch "Sher Khan" roar. His persona and his attitude was always an attraction to me as a kid. Lately I saw a feature film with my old favorite Sher Khan in a lead role and this time he was called "Richard Parker". What a name isn’t it? :)

Not going much into the details of the name here, my friends, I am going to take you today with me on my so called adventure trip to meet Richard Parker in person this time.

On a bright sunny winter morning of an extended weekend we decided to spend time a bit differently. After a long research and discussion, we decided to go out on an excursion and explore wild life photography. I had a hidden intension to find Mr. Parker there as well, but i did not disclose my intension to anyone. We packed our lunch packets, picked the camera and left for the excursion to a wild Life Sanctuary.

Reached early by 10 AM and decided to take the jeep that would guide us through the sanctuary and keep us safe from wild animals too. As we started moving into the so called jungle, we saw a small pond with a few white and beautiful ducks that we captured and moved on, a bit more into the jungle and we found migratory birds, although they were not many but those few that we saw were just beautiful and we had not seen such birds earlier. We kept clicking pictures and moved on. One very obvious observation that we all had was the scarcity of trees in that area. We could really see plains often instead of a green jungle that we had expected. Suddenly we saw a jackal strolling near a tree finding shelter to sleep. I had always learnt that a jackal was a clever animal and he finds his prey with all his brains. But this poor jackal looked slim and malnutrition. We moved on and in some time reached a place where we saw variety of deers and Neelgai, our guide told us they are called so as the male ones have a little blue blemish near their nose area. This was a beautiful site as they were running and playing around although as our jeep approached they tried to run into the jungle. These beautiful animals were spending their day together playing although we did notice them being malnutrition as well. Half the day was over but my desire was still a desire. Richard Parker was still no where. We had our lunch in a shade and discussed the living condition of these animals. Although they are in a jungle but still, it seems they do not manage to get good diet and the main reason we could derive was deforestation.

Anyhow we moved on a bit more into the jungle to find Parker but although we saw few other animals we did not find him. We decided to start returning back and I was really sad of not meeting my childhood fascination. Suddenly the guide made us look towards our left and about half a kilometer away we saw him, Yes Richard Parker, and although I was happy to have found him i was scared too. The image i carried of him in my sub conscience was of a self confident animal with great attitude who can kill anyone for his prey and rules the jungle.

Driver took the jeep a bit towards Parker and with all my nervousness on I pulled out my camera to get some good shots of my dream friend/idol ?? When I zoomed the lens and saw him in my camera, I could not believe my eyes. He looked gloomy, very tired..., deprived of food and clumsy.

After clicking a few pics we decided to go back. But on our way home, instead of being excited of a successful excursion that day. We had several thoughts rushing through our minds.

*In such a big jungle, we could find just 1 tiger that also was not in best of his spirits.
*All other animals looked malnutrition and less in numbers.
*Lack of trees and habitation around to keep the wild life conserved.

I will leave you all with this thought and would urge all of you to do your bit to save our forests thus saving wild life and also nature. Let's plant trees and respect animals and not kill them.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


A young boy in his early 20's seeing out from the trains window shouted...
Dad look the trees are going behind... Dad smiled and me and my husband sitting nearby looked at the boy's childish behavior with pity, suddenly he again exclaimed... "Dad, look the clouds are running with us!" I could not resist and said to the old man... "Why don't you take your son to a good doctor" .. The old man smiled and said... "I did and we are just coming from the hospital, my son was blind from birth, he just got his eyes today..." Every single entity on this planet has a story. Don't apply judgment until you have the facts clear. The truth might be very different than what you anticipated....."

Let's now put this story into our real lives and take our work life first...

I remember when I was in a junior role in the beginning of my career, I really felt that everything required for a project was something we were doing ... all the testing, setup, meetings etc. and the senior’s were just aligning and realigning tasks. But now today when I have stepped into a lead's role is when I realize that a lead has so much responsibility and ownership attached to him that he plays a key role to the project.

On a lighter note, one of my school friend told his manager he loves India from the bottom of his heart as a consequence he was never considered for an onsite opportunity. :)

These days online shopping is very prevalent, and a major sector of our society i.e. we IT professionals, who are so busy in their daily lives that we don't find time to go out shopping with our families and we rely on online shopping. Believe me my experience on this front has been really bad. All the bed sheets, dresses and wall pieces that i had ordered from these portals looking at the pictures came out to be really not worth the cost. However the pictures were really eye catching. All the meal deals offered on these portals in reality made us pay more than what we could have paid if we went to the restaurants on our own. 

Cricket, our favorite sport, and we sit with our family to watch our Indian team play a match and applaud them, but at the same time we even criticize the players for a bad shot or a misfield... but then we should first realize what it takes to be there on the pitch and play with pressure in your head that the entire country is looking up to you.

Another example is KBC... few days back I saw a participant who came down to 80,000 from 25 lakhs for a wrong answer. We all called it over confidence, but do you really feel it was that? Or good sportsmanship that the boy displayed ? I now leave it to you to decide.

Your parents might not be using ATM cards and online portals to pay their bills, pension and manage household today and that would really irritate you too but isn’t this just a generation gap, where they are not used to the new techniques and technologies. Believe me, if given an opportunity they will manage the household better than you can you remember those picnics, trips and birthday parties they organized for us in our childhood... when we do that now, we realize the efforts that go in that. Don't forget to put that extra bit to prove you love them and care for them and also strive to respect their independence.

We crib when we hear of hikes on Petrol, Diesel, Railway tickets, but did you ever think that they were done to benefit us? See for example:

Estimated earning for coming year is : 1000 crore
Estimated necessary expense is: 700 crore
So our Government has surplus of 300 crores for subsidy and other welfare schemes

Lets assume it spends 500 crores on subsidy and welfare schemes
Now government will cover this loss by publishing more currency worth 200 crores.
Articles are limited in the country, people will have more money to buy them, and prices will rise. Riches buy them at any cost but poor will suffer.

But if our government spends 300 crores  only and cuts down on subsidy. Now government will not publish currency. Thus no one suffers that much and no Inflation.

I will leave you all with you thinking hats on and would pass this message saying, please do not apply judgement until you have your facts clear.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Eid Mubarak!

Tried preparing Qimami sewaaiyaan this morning and celebrate Eid festival today. My mother cooks it better but still sharing the recepie for all of you, if you want to try.

Time taken: 20 mins

Sewaiyaan: 1/2 kg
Sugar: 1/2 kg
Desi Ghee: 2 table spoon
Cloves: 2 pods
Cardamom: 2 whole pods
Saffron: 6-7 threads soaked in warm milk.
Badam: 8- 10 finely sliced
kishmish: 10 grms
Milk: 1/2 kg
water: 2 cup.

Crush the sewaiyaan a little. On a slow flame put a pan or a kadhai and add ghee. Once it is a slight warm add the cloves and cardamom, toss for a sec and add the sewaiyaaan and gentley keep stirring them till they become golden brown. Now add sugar, toss for once and add water. Once the water comes to a boil start adding milk. You do not have to add the entire milk at once instead add some stir, once it evaporates add more and keep adding and stiring. Add saffron milk in the end with the dry fruits. After 10 mins of this process, check if the sewaiyaan are soft, if not add more milk and keep stirring. Once all the water and milk evaporates. Sewaiyaan is ready for you to taste. Chill and serve cold.