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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Conversations with Friends: Can we stop being judgmental?

This summer vacation in Kochi, I caught up with some old friends and we exchanged real life stories – of pain, struggles, heartbreak. 

One friend began her conversation like this, “I filed for divorce. I couldn’t stand the cruelty any more. I thought that filing for a divorce would ruin my happiness. But I feel happier now, than I have ever been in my whole life. I am able to enjoy my life fully and freely, without any fears and with total confidence.”

I felt the happiness in her voice. And for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel sad to hear the word ‘divorce.’

And then she said something thought-provoking, “People around me make comments when they see that I am not suffering, lamenting or ashamed of having filed for divorce. They make assumptions and shallow comments about me even after knowing all that I’ve been through...why is it that we have become an ‘educated’ society that thrives on comparisons and wants to see others ‘unhappy’ – i don’t understand it.”

Good point.




If we cannot empathize with others, can we not at least stop judging them or resenting them for their happiness? They have gone through pain, struggles and heart breaking moments.  

Does it help any one to feel happy about some one else's pain?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

That Most Important Tip To Remember While Writing

Deborah Chester shares a tip on her blog, which she attributes to her teacher who used to say over and over, "Trust the process" when you are writing.



Most importantly, don't give up. Have faith. Keep writing!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Book Review: I too had a love story by Ravinder Singh

I don’t like reading mushy romance. But Ravinder Singh’s book ‘I too had a love story’ got me crying.

The book is a spell-binding, honest tale of Ravin’s love story with Khushi – the girl he loved but couldn’t marry.

Ravinder Singh’s narrative resonates with honesty, passion and an innocence that is rare among today’s Indian writers. He tells you of how passionately a man can love and respect the woman he loves and how desperately he can fight for her life in the midst of life threatening crises.

Most Indian love stories end predictably. Ravinder Singh’s story is not like that – I had tears flowing down my cheeks when I read Khushi’s last words to him in a moving bus. I could personally relate to that surreal experience of saying good bye forever. It has happened with me but in a different context.



And then, what broke my poise was the last chapter.

There’s a sentence he writes where his father tries to persuade him to marry another girl. Ravin’s reply is this: “To think of another girl, I feel like a whore.”

Another sentence that made that brought the tears to my eyes, “Because I survived, I died every day.”


Whether you believe in love or not, Ravinder Singh’s book ‘I too had a love story’ is a MUST READ. The story of Ravin and Khushi reveals the touching and authentic side of what happens to a man’s life when he loves a woman truly, madly and deeply.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Chandrettan Evideya Malayalam Movie Review: Anusree is the showstopper, Namita Pramod is such a disappointment

I had no great expectations when I went to watch Dileep’s latest movie ‘Chandrettan Evideya’ especially after reading reviews that said the film has no uniqueness and no ‘emotional’ impact. When the movie was over, I realized that the movie reviews are wrong. 

[Reviews of other Malayalam movies I enjoyed: Sukhamo DeviElsamma ennoru aankutty, Bangalore DaysMumbai Police, Anju Sundarikal]

Chandrettan Evideya Malayalam Movie Review: The Story
Chandrettan Evideya is a light-hearted, humorous family entertainer that Sidharth Bharathan has put together. 

                                               [Image credit: Kerals.com]
The story goes like this:

An avid columnist on classical dance forms, Chandramohan (starring Dileep) works at the legislative assembly in Thiruvananthapuram and his wife Sushama whom he fondly calls as “Sushu” (starring Anusree) works in Thrissur.

They are happily married till Sushu visits a “naadijothisham” expert in Tanjore. He reveals that her husband is likely to have a marital affair because the love of his previous life, a famous dancer, is about to enter his life in this birth. This piece of information rocks Sushu’s life.

Sushu, who is armed with all the instincts and intuition of a dedicated, loving wife, tracking her husband's activities more closely to find out if he is having an affair.

Chandrettan Evideya Malayalam Movie Review: The Characters

Dileep does justice to the character he portrays as “Chandramohan” and this is one of his few movies in recent times that I enjoyed watching. But the “mental interactions” he has with the “poet” from his previous life takes the fun out of the plot altogether, appears forced and artificial.                              
The show-stopper of “Chandrettan Evideya” is Anusree, whose first movie “Diamond Necklace” had caught my attention - where she acted as Fahad’s wife and she did a fantastic job of it.

Mark my words, Anusree is an actress who is going to deliver some brilliant performances in Malayalam cinema. She has an amazing sense of timing, handles humour with effortless ease and her dialogue delivery is excellent. 

Namita Pramod is a sensation among my friends, especially on Facebook and Twitter. As an avid movie watcher, I have always been disappointed by Namita. In every film that I have seen of hers, she plays ‘Namita.’ You get the feeling that she is clueless about the character she is playing. Her dialogue delivery is artificial, her body language is graceful but her performance is nothing worth writing about. [MOVIE REVIEW: How Namita Pramod's lack of acting is most apparent in the film 'Vikramadityan']

Chandrettan Evideya Malayalam Movie Review: The End

The story of “Chandrettan Evideya” is nothing new  but the treatment that Sidharth Bharathan gave it has raised many eyebrows and brought many smiles. 

Sidharth Bharathan has won the hearts of many women who probably gave him a standing ovation in their minds for the way the movie ended. 

That’s what has clinched this family-drama-comedy into a winner.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

How to Work, Love and Play like the Danes

What if you could move to a country that made it the norm for working parents to take it easy and spend more time with their kids? 

In Brigid Schulte's book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One has the Time, she explores how different Denmark is from the rest of the world, particularly when it comes to parenting, leisure and sharing of household tasks by men and women.

Denmark: Parenting comes first, Productivity second 
The Danish economy is one of the most competitive in the world and it is also has one of the most productive ranking with one of the highest standards of living in the world.

                                         [Image Credit: http://www.pexels.com/]
Consider this:

Denmark has one of the longest paid parental leaves and one of the highest rates of mothers who work in the labor market in the world.

Danish men do almost as much housework and child care as Danish women. They are more involved in house work and child care unlike men in any other country in the world.

Danish mothers have the most leisure time of mothers in any country.

Denmark's Happiness Formula: Leisure First
The very structure of Danish society is set up to support leisure. 

The Danes believe that meaningful work can be done without working all hours and sacrificing yourself. [Also, read : There's no woman on the moon and What My First Job Taught Me and Why I didn't learn from it

Now connect the dots...

And here's what we can learn and embrace from the Danes:
  • Six weeks of paid vacations
  • Flexible work options [Also, read: Keep Cool]
  • No one works till 6 pm or 7 pm just to show they are there
  • Govt-sponsored mothers' groups put together by nurse educators
  • Adult education is a norm in Denmark, with classes that are affordable and subsidized.
  • Being ambitious at the cost of sacrificing family time is not something that is appreciated. [Do read: The Secret of Success
  • Hygge – the Danish essence signifying happiness – is all about living in the moment. 
  • The simple, lovely things – that’s what the Danes embrace 
And now, tell me: what's your secret to maintaining a happy work-life balance in your life? 

NOTE: These brief points are taken from Brigid Schulte's book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One has the Time.  READ her book to know more.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Keep Cool about Calories, Heartbreaks, Confidence & More

It's May 2015 already! And look what's been keeping me busy!

In case you'd missed my earlier posts, here's the one on Dad's 70th birthday and the birth of my niece, Aishani.  

Hard to believe that the months have flown and we are at the peak of a scorching summer that is bound to last for the next two months!

Here's my "Keep Cool" summer round-up of posts that I enjoyed reading:


                                                                        [Image credit: Morguefile] 

Andy Mort talks about how to maintain our focus and his second post is about how to see confidence as a continuous journey that never ends.


In another humorous take, Sangeeta also talks about our eating habits and how festivals perk up our calories...she answers a relevant question: So, what really is 500 calories? 

And for all those who have experienced life-shattering heartbreaks: Vishnu's latest e-book cuts out the fluff and tells you what happened when the greatest love of his life crumbled. 

He's been through it, got what it takes to bounce back and wants to help you do the same.

The return from heartbreak is never easy but you can come back a stronger, calmer and more loving person than you were...do read Vishnu's post here.

I am sure you've also done some fun things this summer...it may be your reflections, observations or something you've read or some one whom you've met and had an interesting conversation with.

Do share it with me here...would love to know what your summer's been like.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dad!

It's Dad's 70th birthday today. 

Dad has been my idol and my ideal throughout my growing years. 




Everything that I am is because of my father's love, trust and sacrifice.

                         


Dad is some one whom Mata Amritanandamayi Devi referred to as "A man in whose footsteps God walks like a shadow...instead of the other way around. God walks behind him, because in every action, your father is God-like, he leads the way. God is bound and bonded to your father. In your father's presence, Amma (referring to herself) will stand up to show respect. He is such a great man."


 
Happy Birthday, Dad. We love you and it's not just us - every one who has been touched by your love and compassion loves you too!

Funny How a Baby can Change Your Life

It's funny how a baby can change your life. 

The only thing I care about right now is keeping this baby happy. 

A baby brings out the best in us....we become less selfish, more caring.

You spend hours just gazing into her face and begin to search for yourself in this little individual. 

She becomes your Universe, your everything.  You wonder what your days will be filled with when it's time to stop changing diapers, singing lullabies,etc.  

That's how my niece, Aishani makes me feel. Can't wait to watch her grow up.


 

Love you, gal! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beat the Heat: 8 Ways to Stay Cool and Fresh Through Summer

Stepping out on a summer's day isn't easy. It's so harsh on a woman's skin. 
The older you are, the more you need to care. 
What worked for your skin five or ten years ago may not help now - you have to discover new and easy ways to learn what benefits your skin. 
These are a few of my favorite things:
1. Drink water throughout the day. Fresh juices and milkshakes also help.
2. Lots of coconut water. Yummy, nutritious and your skin just shines.
3. Lots of baths.  
4. NEVER step out without a sunscreen. I have tried out so many different brands and nothing worked. Till I started using Vichy SPF 50. It has been good so far.
5. Avoid eating fried stuff during summer.
6. Pamper yourself with more fruits. Have lots of papaya. It brings that glow on your face.
7. You can also try Fab India's Haldi and Chandan pack. It feels delicious on your skin, smells hmmmm and your face feels so fresh afterwards.
8. Lots of Vitamin E cream (try Fab India Vitamin E cream). 

                                      (Image: http://petalsfromtheheart.blogspot.in/ )
For more skincare tips, check out this post on Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer and do share your skin care tips too, I'd love to hear from you!

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