Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How to Stay Strong No Matter How It Hurts

Something in life always happens to shake your faith and make you confront your pain in all its rawness. You don't know where to go, whom to trust and talk it over with and it can break and toss you apart. It can hurt like hell. 

But there's one AMAZING person in my life whom I have not learned from - that's my mother. She has undergone tremendous pain in life. What I still haven’t figured out is, how did she remain so strong? [Do read: Five Ways to Take Charge of Your Anger]


Being Rooted to the Self
Unlike me, my mother is positive, confident and in control in crises. Little things delight and enchant me, the big things tend to overwhelm and break me. But that’s not how my mom is. She handles crises with ease, going with the flow and being rooted to her Self.

No Need for the Approval of Others
My mother doesn't feel the need to turn to others, even those closest to her, for comfort, solace or advice or love. She stays anchored in her harmony. In crises, I seek the approval and attention of those whom I trust. I tend to want their approval. Clearly, I am not there yet. My mom isn’t like that. She has a strong inner compass that teaches her to be emotionally self-reliant.

Power of Prayer                 
She never shows any anger, pain or fear to me or to the world outside. She never complains. But I know that she prays all the time, with love and confidence, not fear or uncertainty. 

Funny Side Up
At a time when my mother was not well and hospitalized, those who came to the hospital to visit my mom were stunned to see her ordering tea and snacks cheerfully for everyone. She laughed, joked and made light of the situation.

But I am not like that. When faced with challenging situations, I crumble. I turn to those whom I trust for support, but often feel misunderstood later. What I need to learn is this: You can't win the confidence of others when you don't feel confident about tackling your own crisis. You need to DECIDE TO BE STRONG without depending on others. 

We need to be strong for our own sake, no matter what it takes, no matter what people think or say, because no one else can experience our pain or our strengths the way we feel it. The transformation has to happen from within along with the awareness that each of us are divinely protected. We need nothing more to stay strong. 

How do you stay strong when faced with a crisis? Share your happiness mantra! [If you liked reading this, do read my post on The Secret to all Happiness]

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Secret to All Success is Keep Yourself Happy

                                                                                                             
Mother of a three month old baby joined back for work. She sat on her desk, unable to focus on anything but the thought of her baby. She placed  on her desk a tiny framed pic of her three month old baby. The more she looked at it, the worse she felt. She couldn’t work. So, she put the pic away and she set to work. That day, she learned the most important lesson in her life – No matter what your situation is, keep yourself happy.




One of my former friends from law college (a class topper, super achiever, excellent in arguments, etc) wrote a Facebook post after watching a very inspiring Malayalam movie called ‘How Old Are You?.”

My friend wrote that after watching the movie, her husband said she is like the protagonist in the movie – she had everything going for her but she is a failure because she has no career.

She also wrote that moms who stay at home CHOOSE to make sacrifices for their family’s growth. They let go of career opportunities and stagnate within but they deserve at least respect from their spouses and family members.

I can understand that she feels hurt. And here’s what I think:

1.     You SHOULDN'T have to justify your choices to your family.

2.    Those who truly love you will always treat you with the love and respect you deserve. Those who don’t, it’s a tough test to deal with it. You’ve got to understand it’s NOT your failure in anyway. 

3. You cannot control how your family members treat you. Focus on the relationships that make you happy.

4.     Happiness has very little to do with how others whom you love treat you. It begins and ends with how you feel about yourself.

We are people doing different things in life. Whatever causes us unhappiness, be it something some one said, or a difficult situation you are going through, there is one powerful mantra to take you through this: BE HAPPY ALWAYS!

EASY TIPS TO SPICE UP YOUR HAPPINESS QUOTIENT

Here are some little ways to spice up the happiness quotient:

1.  Keep a little 'Gratitude' notebook that records every little thing that makes you feel happy. Fill in as much as you can every day with the little, happy details - it could be a compliment, a lovely article you read, a dress you are wearing, a tasty dish some one shared with you.

2. Listen to music, talk to those who make you happy and focus on the relationships that help you thrive and support you when you need it.

3. Find ways to appreciate whatever is making you experience happiness every day.

4. Sometimes, do something unexpected. Surprise yourself. Maybe you can visit some one you love but haven't caught up with for a long time can help. 

“What is happiness, really?” Differs from person to person. What makes you happy? 

By the way, that mother of a three month old, that’s me. 

[The title of this blog post is taken from a quote in The Law of Attraction, The Teachings of Abraham, by Esther and Jerry Hicks]

♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all individuals who are finding ways to focus on happiness in their life and on their spiritual path.  I am grateful and I appreciate you for reading this post. ♥♥

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bangalore Days - Movie Review: Fun Filled Entertainer, Nivin Pauly and Parvathy Menon are the Show Stoppers

Anjali Menon's "Bangalore Days" is a fun-filled, entertainer. It revolves around three cousins whose lives change when they shift to Bangalore. The film is directed by Anjali Menon who has worked in films such as "Ustad Hotel" and "Manjadikuru."   If you have seen the two movies mentioned here, you will have high expectations from Bangalore Days. You won’t be disappointed. Not one bit.
 So, what makes this such an engaging movie that we can connect with?
It is not the actors, actresses, the music (nothing refreshing, tried too hard to sound officially retro! ) or even the story line. It’s the emotional edge, the reality tucked into dialogues, expressions and situations. 
Bangalore Days: STORY
"Bangalore Days" revolves around three cousins Arjun (Dulquer), Kuttan (Nivin Pauly) and Divya (Nazriya Nazim). Besides the lead actors, the film also includes Fahadh Faasil, Isha Talwar, Nithya Menon and Parvathy Menon in good roles. significant roles. Other supporting actors who add a ‘zing’ factor to the film include Sajid Yahiya, Vijayaraghavan, Prathap Pothen, Kalpana and Praveena. The supporting cast is near-perfect.
Like most cousins,  the three cousins share a close bond since their childhood though their parents are at loggerheads, typical as it would be in any family. As they grow up, their relationship becomes stronger and firmer. When they all move to Bangalore for various reasons, the story takes you through how their life in Bangalore changes them.
So, this brings us to a question – can cities change people?
Bangalore Days indicates a clear YES! The change is not merely a surface change but one that brings forward a deeper, emotional connect. Admit it, haven't you changed when you moved from the city of your birth to the city of your choice? That change is beautifully rendered in Anjali Menon's 'Bangalore Days' and it even resonates with the supporting characters because when children change their ways, the parents change too. 

Bangalore Days brings to life this beautiful, bitter sweet metamorphosis we go through while embracing maturity and adulthood.

Bangalore Days: CHARACTERS & PERFORMANCES
You have Arjun (starring Dulquar) – who is rugged, lovable despite his roguish nature. Good body language and style displayed by Dulquar Salman. But it is the country-like innocence of Kuttan (starring Nivin Pauly) who wins your heart! He is the stickler for upholding “Kerala’s culture” and is shocked by the sight of smooching couples in Bangalore. His cousin teases him when he cites Kerala culture, by asking,
“Entha Keralathil aarum umma vekiley?” {Poor translation: Don’t couples in Kerala ever kiss?} And Kuttan says, “Never in public.” 

You begin to feel happy when ‘Cute Kuttan’ loses his heart to this cool , half-Malayali girl whom he spends the night with……playing Antakshari, by the way. He is the decent Malayali guy whom every girl would secretly love. Admit it, you would, despite the oil-slicked hair, the hesitation and a slight lack of confidence, you will like him. Because good guys can never be not liked. Even by the so-called, self-glorified bad girls.

Then there is Kunju, whose proper name is Divya (starring Nazariya). She is the girl-next-door with dreams and aspirations but she is quickly married off before she can make her dreams come true. All because the family astrologer says so. Don't smirk. Education and literacy, by the way, has nothing to do with common sense. You probably know that already!

Divya finds a way to see a silver lining in every struggle after marriage. There are some lovely moments in the film but I felt that Nazariya did not do justice to the character ‘Divya.’ This is because she looks, moves and behaves like a much pampered child (not even a teen!) than a woman. Nazariya’s acting feels like she is acting and trying too hard. 

There is Kunju’s ‘restrained’ husband (starring Fahad) who is so work-focused, restrained and still not recovered from a past relationship that you want to throttle him for his insensitivity. The way he eats, drives a car, moves around the house –everything reminds you of an intolerant perfectionist. Fahadh, being a fine actor, gets the nuances perfect too.
These three cousins have their weaknesses that make them deeply vulnerable, flawed people but they strike a chord with us – the audience – because we have them too.
But at the end of the film, there are two impressive actors whose performances still linger in your mind. It is Nivin Pauly and Parvathy Menon.
There is tremendous maturity displayed in Parvathy Menon's acting, voice rendering, dialogues and expressions –  the sparkle in her eyes, the mischief in her smile, the pain in her bubbly voice and the love she feels for a man whom her mother would obviously disapprove of. She makes you feel raw, exposed and you know you may have felt all of these things at some time too. 
What makes RJ Sarah stand out is that she does not play the victim, she carries herself with remarkable exuberance as a real star – confident, intelligent and poised. And she is in a wheelchair. 
Who cannot but fall in love with her portrayal of RJ Sarah? I LOVED it!
Sometimes a movie goes beyond what it conveys. It becomes a part of what you feel during and after you have watched it. So, that’s one more reason to go and watch Anjali Menon’s “Bangalore Days” – it rocks!
P.S. Take all your cousins with you. They will love you for it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Lots of candles, lots of happiness

I am grateful to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for everything. I am who I am because of You, Swami. 

Thank you for this beautiful life, Dad and Mom – you are my living Gods. Geethu – I know that I haven’t been the ideal sister at anytime but I will make it up by being a fantastic, super aunt to my boy Vihaan. Thank you for bearing with me, love you molu.

Chanu, you are my strongest and toughest critic and my pillar of strength. A Taurean trait, maybe?  Your motto is, “Sweat the small stuff and learn the hard way. No short cuts.” Thank you for sharing your life with me. It can’t be easy living with some one who forgets to put the ‘salt’ in the salt mango tree :D

Lots of love and hugs to my parents-in-law and to my sister in law Nandini for their acceptance, love and understanding as always.

Cheers to my all law college friends – amazing, crazy guys and girls – but I won’t dare to say one name over the other. I could get sued! Love to my Twitter and Facebook friends. All of you are fantastic, full of zest folks and you make life so much fun and interesting  – I love you all!

I HAVE to mention some amazing friends but I will keep it strictly to those who have been real game changers in my life – the folks who really take out their time daily. 

Anubhuti Rai and Juhi Mohan – LOVE YOU two! We have cried together, laughed at the maddest things, shared the most amazing times together. When we get together, we are totally outrageous and yet so sincere about what we strongly believe in.  We had the best of times together. Love you both, lots and lots. Grateful to God that we three found one another and have an entire lifetime to share together.

Anupama Prakash – You have positive energy, grace, poise and confidence. Best of all, you have a heart of solid gold and a great sense of humor that I enjoy reading/tweeting/observing. I can SO connect to the Gemini in you. I truly value this “earth angel” in my life. Stay that way.

Anna Varghese Puthuran: Deeply moved by your protective love and concern towards me. I dunno what I did to deserve it but thank you and I want you to know how much I admire you for being bold, original and beautiful. In this world, there will be many Swapnas' but only one ANNA VARGHESE PUTHURAN. You rock, gal. Love u! 

Arvind Balasubramanyan  –  Every time I have a doubt that I place before Swami, it is you who brings me His answers through your writings. Thank you for writing about Swami and inspiring millions of devotees to keep the faith. I wish I could write like you, Brother Aravind. 

Mohammed Ashfaque – Rock star friend & great human being, thank you for always saying the kindest things, sending in your prayers and being in touch always! You are like part of the family!

Magesh – You are such a positive, wonderful person. The goodness is just there to see. Thanks a ton for staying in touch with us.

Mani Karthik – Thank you for always inspiring, listening and giving honest feedback. You are an amazing human being with infinite kindness and patience. One of my favorite quotes is ‘Compassion is a verb’ and you live it and you truly put it into practice. Thank you, I am grateful to you. You always inspire me.

Manju Suresh – We are so alike in our thoughts, devotion and spiritual goals. The moment you think of me, I am thinking of you. The moment you want to talk to me, I am calling you and vice versa. We have the power of the ‘SAI’ connection. I can just feel it!

Neelamji –  Thanks so much for being there to perk me up! Grateful for the advice, attention and care you always give me.

Piyush Nigam and Priya Nigam – There is so much I have learned from the two of you. I am truly grateful for the opportunity you gave me to work at Veda and make a meaningful contribution in a very small way. You are both wonderful people and gave me the freedom, confidence and opportunity to break boundaries and to soar high. I also want to thank every colleague I have worked with at Veda – thank you all!

Sumit sir: Thank you so much for the trust and confidence in me. I do not know what the future holds because life is so unpredictable. But I want to let you know: Your prayers and blessings ALWAYS mean a lot to me, I am grateful for it. It truly overwhelms me, makes me humble and proud to be working directly with you. 

Suja Pradeep – You have been an AMAZING friend. You went out of the way to get things done for me when you didn't need to. Thank you for everything. 

Vishnu’s Virtues – Your blog has had a positive impact on me. Your perspective comes from a place of personal pain and having overcome it, you know exactly what one is talking/writing about. Keep writing and inspiring.

So, now let me thank you - dear reader and friend - for always inspiring me to keep writing. I seek your loving thoughts, blessings and prayers. I am grateful to you for being here with me today.

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