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Happy Jig! Best Compliments in 2010

Just because I am always smiling, it doesn't mean that I am always having fun. Life is a roller-coaster ride, with some awesome, happiness-filled moments and those that make it difficult to hide your tears. Still, it always feels good to look back at the year that was. 

For me, 2010 is the year that brought me more compliments than I've got in my life, me thinks. When things go wrong, I come back to read these words, not to feel 'egoistic' but to feel happier and confident.

So, here I am sharing with you some of the compliments that made me happy!
In 2010, the best compliment I've got is directly from Baba who told me, "I am happy with the work that you have been doing. Very happy." It meant a lot to me because I was always having doubts, "Does my work matter? Does it help anyone?" Swami's words intensified my efforts on Law Is Greek and I dedicate that to Him.

If at any point, you think that I am showing off, forgive me.  That is not the intenti…

2010 - A Mixed Year

For me, 2010 has been a 'mixed' year.
Here are some of the things I did and enjoyed doing in 2010 -
1. Getting to conceptualize a site with absolutely no idea of what it entails. 2. Travelling with my husband and kid in tow. 3. Changing career tracks midway. 4. Writing two manuscripts at the same time. 5. Spending good time with those I love back home. 6. Got a whole new wardrobe in Western and Indian wear!  7.  Having conversations with top directors, CEOs, CXOs and top lawyers as if I talked to them all my life. 8. Learning to segregate friends from colleagues. 9. Renewing the relationships that were not growing before. 10. Committing my life's ups and downs to Baba's Will and Omnipresence in my life.
Here are some of the things I didn't particularly enjoy in 2010:
1. Discovering 'professional' friends who were not really 'friends.' 2. Not having enough time to spend with my parents. 3. Not being there for my mom's and my mom-in-law's birthday. 4. Not hav…

Twinkle twinke little star

There are some people whose life feels so precious, perhaps because of the closeness and love which one feels towards them or their own contribution to transforming our lives in a remarkable way, Shivam has been one such experience in my life.

I love and miss Shivam deeply, more than words can say and with more frequency than my heart beat. 

Many Indian myths say that a good soul that has passed away can be seen by the loved ones  through a twinkling star in the sky. More than belief in the myth, it is for my own solace that  I look to the night sky to find such a twinkling star. The stars in my eyes turn into something that resembles rain when I think of him and all that could have been.

Tonight, I will not cry for Shivam. He has seen too much of it in the last two years.

Tonight, far from the skies, I want Shivam to see my smile. In a way, beyond the sky and the stars and the logic of life-death, it is God who decides life and death. We, mere mortals who can go to the moon and live ther…

Christmas 2010 - Let's Celebrate!

Christmas is one of my favorite seasons. I call it a season and not a festival or an occasion because it is not something you celebrate for  a day and then forget about the next day. It stays with you for a whole new season, bringing you hope, excitement and dreams of new beginnings. It takes you back to the good times that the year gave you and your loved ones. It brings you closest to those whom you love and care about. Anyone who has celebrated Christmas would know that it is totally unlike other festivals. It begins with one sentiment - love and that's why there is a feeling of magic and anticipation in the air when people sing Christmas carols and sing together, burying their otherwise egoistic differences and conflicts.

Wish you a very merry, happy xmas!

And hey, don't forget to bite into that yummy piece of plum cake - its just too delicious, so don't skip it!

On the way...a dash of fun

This October, my parents had taken me to Guruvayoor Temple as it had been three years since I went there. I love going there. On our way back, we were really tired and we stopped at a small teashop to have tea and pazhamporis. It was yummy. The tea shop overlooked the waters and there were chinese nets all around. Some fishermen were in their canoes, waiting for some fresh catch. I showed Adi how beautiful it all looked and he was so fascinated, seeing so much water around.  He didn't want to come away and I was tired but excited to see my little boy's joy too. Dad said, let me click your pic together and Adi was saying something to Dad in the process....now, that is this pic.

My Heroes in Action

My two heroes are in this pic.

Sanand and Adi love to play cricket. In college, Sanand used to love playing this game and it used to irritate me because it meant he would spend less time with me:)


A Friend from another Place called Twitter

Most people ask me what it takes to be popular on Twitter. I say that straight from the heart tweets never fail. It inspires, motivates and yes, it brings you friends on Twitter like nothing else does. 

It was purely curiosity that got me glued to Twitter two years ago, but I nearly gave up tweeting till Sekher came along the Twitter path.

It was June 2, at around 4 in the evening. I remember it because I had reached Kochi from Delhi that evening and a friend from Twitter introduced me to Sekher through a tweet. What followed was a series of funny, engaging tweets. I found myself looking forward to these witty, Mallu conversations all the way from another continent, which is where Sekher was at the time. It was like discovering a younger brother, far away somewhere.

For two years, and continuing, the tweets were usually about food, what sis Simi made for dinner and things like that. Twitter is not always about marketing your stuff. For me, it isn't. For me, twitter is special becaus…

German Christmas Market: What Fun, What Learning

At the German Christmas Market this morning, it seemed as if the Who's who in Delhi were there. Of course, we were an exception:) The German Market had caught everyone's imagination, I believe. There were hundreds and hundreds of Indians in the queue, mostly with kids who seemed excited as if they were going to visit another country. To be honest, I imagined myself treading off to Germany myself, not knowing what to expect and not knowing why I felt so fascinated. There were foreigners everywhere. They had that hippy, badly dressed look while we Indians were decked up to kill..whom, i have no idea.


Women were dressed like Bollywood stars, so many diamonds flashing all over the place and of course, the most expensive sunglasses being sported by women. Indian women, I must emphasize. Well, believe it or not, there were more Indian women with kids out there who were really basking in the sun with pitchers full of golden colored German beer and drinking from it as cooly as I drin…

A Memorable Sunday Morning Indeed

This pleasant morning, we went to the Supreme Court early morning, where my husband had an early morning conference. Jyotiraditya, whom we call Adi, played in the lawns right in front of the Supreme Court. Truly, it was a beautiful sight and experience. The splendor of India's greatest and supreme institution that safeguards and upholds the Rule of Law and delivers justice with soverign power, cannot be described in words. Not everyday can one get this golden opportunity, to soak in the sun and enjoy such beautiful, peaceful moments in front of the country's iconic institution.

We sat and played a lot under the trees.  Birds were singing. It was so quiet that we sat for at least three hours, playing, talking, singing and finally, reading chapters from Bob the Builder, a book that Adi has taken quite a fancy to.

Then, we went to the German Christmas Market, at Nyaya Marg.

Rakta Charitra 2: Suriya at his Best, Title Could've Been Somethingelse

I can't remember the last time I watched a Ram Gopal Varma film. It is only because I adore the Tamil star, Suriya that I decided to watch the Ratka Chartira 2. The theater had just about fifteen people, and with that number, just two women. To be honest, that felt sad but I think the title could have been a lot milder...I was really very hesitant to watch a movie with this kind of title because I thought the content may be worse...but I had some sense of faith in Suriya, knowing the kind of films that he has done before.

The first part of the movie starring Vivek Oberoi was quite gory but not as bad as I expected it to be. I was quite impressed with Vivek Oberoi's body language and portrayal of the character he represented. He seemed to bring that character to life and that wouldnt have been easy. A lot of hard work has gone into making that character work in this movie.

Having said that, I'd say Suriya outshone Vivek Oberoi.  The dialogues he has are few but his eyes are s…

Book Review: Family Baggage by Monica McInerney

When I saw the nicely packed brown suitcase on the blurb of this novel titled, "Family Baggage," I knew I wanted to go on and find out what else is in the baggage. Some books are like that. They hint secrets in a simple, non-violent way. This book did, too.

Initially, I felt disaappointed. It seemed to be about Harriet Turner, a young woman in her thirties, who is taking a bunch of old people on a themed holiday tour that is based around a popular UK serial. It seemed to go into logistics of travel, not bringing the characters to life at one go. There were times when I wasn't sure whether I was reading a traval itinery but as the book progressed, it became a journey of one insecure woman whose family background is the baggage. Her relationship with her parents and siblings is deep but clouded by the presence of a dynamic, super confident foster sister, Lara. Lara is just perfectly poised and beautiful. Everyone adores her and the world seems to revolve around her, while …

5 Bizarre Things That I Did This Week

My life is seriously turning bizarre. Here 's a recap: I spend a whole day with a bunch of flirtatious young Italians who kept clicking my photographs while I was trying to talk some sense into them about India and they would keep asking me ridiculous questions to keep me talking every time I stopped talking. Finally, I gave a bow and walked away becafuse I was wondering whether they think I am mad. Not that India doesn't have mad people in the country, just look at us - the kind of mad people we elect to positions of power. There was a really high profile meeting in one of Gurgaon's five star hotels and I got to know about it pretty late in the day. So, here I go, wearing my worst looking orange-peach kurtha and jeans that look torn, to the hotel. Obviously, the people out there were dressed to kill but they probably thought I am fashionable because they talked to me like a normal person while I wanted the ground beneath my feet to swallow me up! Of course, it was worse th…

India's Demographic Dividend

The winter chill has begun to set in Delhi, early morning mist wraps us all in its cold. Feels great to wake up and have steaming hot coffee before the rush to work that paves the way for a very hectic, exhausting day.

In the last three weeks, I've met over a hundred people, top brass entrepreneurs, students, educators, academicians and so on. What strikes me about these people, irrespective of age, is their energy to make things happen and their passionate belief that India is on the cusp of a golden, super power era. 

Today's young teenagers and youths that we see around us are the nation's treasures. I'm not kidding. By 2050, no other country in the world will have such a young, vibrant and talented pool of youngsters. Most developing countries in the world are facing the problem of low youth population and increasing number of aged population for whom their governments have to provide social security and many other benefits. These governments are worried sick about h…

Putting Compassion into Practice

I watched Anjali, a Tamil movie directed by Mani Ratnam. Raghuvaran, acting as the father, is brilliant. The film also has actress Revathy's finest performance as a mother oif three children. A mother who struggles to explain to herself why she has a child who is not normal  and yet she loves this child more than the other two. And yet she finds herself unable to express that love easily. It's a film that parents and children should watch together.

Also read: It is brave to be different from the others. We all can dance when we find music that we love.

                                             [Image: Gratisography] The movie's story revolves around a happy married couple with three children. They live in a respectable society, have a good life and yes, part of the typical young middle class. The rude awakening to their stable life comes in the form of a child. That is just the beginning. Their youngest child is not 'normal' (starring Shyamlee aged barely 2 years a…

Book Review: The Other Hand by Chris Cleave

When I began reading, The Other Hand by Chris Cleave, the pure beauty and brilliance of the language coupled with the all too powerful narrative of two women from two different worlds stopped me in my tracks. One part of me wanted to devour the book because it seemed like a confluence of literary-cultural fusion but the other part of me wanted to savor every moment of the book, make it stretch to sweetness and pain, as much as possible.
The story is about an illegal Nigerian immigrant who reached England, in search of an English couple, Andrew and Sarah. The emotions, thoughts and conversations that continue buzzing in her head make her as real as you and I. When she lands up at the door of Sarah, it is the day the Englishwoman has just turned widow. “Most days, I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming…A pound coin can go wherever it thinks it will be safest. It can cross deserts and oceans and leave the sound of gunfire a…

Diwali Greetings

Happy Diwali to all of you, dear friends.

At my end, we did a quick lighting up of the house with decorative lights, and watched our kid's eyes light up and that was just the best feeling in the world. He played with his friend (neighbor's kid) called Ansh till ten in the night and enjoyed a lot.

Today, we will light the diyas together. I have a fetish for candles and diyas and bought a beautiful collection of assorted types from the market that is nearby. Evening will be for lighting the diyas, giving gifts to adi's friends and of course, doing the Lakshmi Puja which I like to do myself.

So, dear friends, I wish you a very Happy, Prosperous and Joy filled Diwali.

The Answer Is......

I was in an introspective mode when I put up the following update on my Facebook update: You all know me so well coz u r my friends, yet sometimes you know me not at all. Here is a question: Who's the most important person in my life? How do you know?Nothing would have prepared me for the interesting responses I got from my friends. However, only my dear friend @ksekher from Mumbai got it right instantly. Sekhara, u r a genius:)Most people chose my four year old son Adi and/or Sri Sathya Sai Baba as the most important person in my life. Even those with whom I don't speak about Baba seemed to choose Baba as the most important person in my life.  Many of you gave me logical, correct answers. Fact is that you forget I am a simple, sentimental woman. All that logic goes over my creative head. All that I know is to love and write. So, here I am, sharing my thoughts with you on a query that I got so much interesting, insightful feedback on.To a great extent, that is true but the thin…

Adi as a Hunter

I was so thrilled when I found this old pic of Adi. He had to dress up as a hunter for a sports day cultural event in school. It took ages to get him into this costume because obviously, he wasn't too thrilled about it initially.

Then, we got him excited by describing the adventurous life of a hunter (personally, I don't endorse hunting) and we got him ready for his performance in school. 
While he was performing, my heart was beating so loudly that I feared everyonelse in school would hear it too:)

Old Pics Dug Out

In September 2010, I went to Kochi, my home town and spent some weeks there. I used that time to dig out old snaps, mostly childhood pics. As usual, I forgot to take mine from home but thankfully, I didn't forget to take my hubby's pics. I scanned many of our family pics, they are old and therefore, not very clear. However, I thought I will upload my favorite ones anyway.
Here is one of my favorite pics. This pic is of Sanand (my hubby) and his sister Nandini. What I loved about this pic are their expressions. The sweet innocence of children cannot be hidden away because it just glows in their young faces. Loved this pic and I wanted to share it with all of you who are kind enough to spend time visiting this blog.

Exploring Possibilities and Discovering Opportunities

In Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, I liked some case studies that the author delved into. There were many interesting case studies about ideas and products that worked their way to success. In particular, there was one case study about Lionel Poilane, a French baker who came to be known as the ‘best baker in the world.’
Not content about being just another family baker, he set out doing extensive research, analysis and worked very hard to understand the baking techniques of the French. He found out a very simple method of baking bread with just flour, water, starter, sea salt and then had the bread baked in a wood fired oven. Though his work of simplicity was initially rejected, it became the ‘in’ thing to have. The result was that every restaurant worth its reputation in Paris serves Poilane bread. His company ships loaves all over the bread and according to Seth Godin, this amazing young baker-turned-innovator sold over $10 million worth of bread in 2001.
Another interesting example is of…

Why Boring is Risky But Being a Purple Cow is more Profitable and Fun

You are bound to be glued to Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, not just because of its snazzy cover with white and purple patches, but because it redefines fundamental marketing principles to make your ideas work remarkably. This is a book worth reading and revising, not just for its unconventional critique of marketing and advertising but the passion with which it delves into case studies and hard facts, without sounding over the top or dead pan boring. Best of all, Godin drills into readers one hard hitting truth: ‘BORING IS RISKY BECAUSE BORING IS FAILURE.”
Seth Godin cites Peppers and Rogers, in their book, The One to One Future, where they state that it is cheaper to keep an old customer than it is to get a new one. He is right. We know the difficulties that we face to get people interested in a product.
I liked Godin’ detailed explanation of Moore’s idea diffusion curve. What he identifies is that the curve comprises of the innovators, early adopters, early & late majority and laggard…

Promises to Keep After the Trip to Puttaparthi

This is a very personal post. Read this at your own risk but please don't ridicule my beliefs. I am trusting you to honor what I am writing here as you would if I were a part of your family. On this understanding, I seek your permission to begin.

Close your eyes and imagine a place on earth where thousands and thousands of human beings radiate bliss, love and peace. Actually, it is hard to imagine such a place even with your eyes closed. For me, it isn't that difficult. From the year 1987, I have lived in such an atmosphere and been nourished by the tremendous power of divine love and energy, not of a miracle man alone but of every human being out there. Believe it or not, when thousands and thousands of people gather together in a spirit of unconditional love, the energy and radiance all around such a place can make impossible things happen just by the volume of it.

Maybe I am not talking sense because you need to visit Puttaparthi to believe that this place is for real. Peop…

The Big Chill Cafe, Khan Market, New Delhi

Isn't she a sexy lady? That is the menu I am referring to, of course. What did you guys imagine I meant?

Well, if you are visiting Delhi, don't miss eating some of the delectable cheesecakes and yummy stuff at Khan Market's Big Chill Cafe. There is always a huge rush but it's worth it, folks.

Malayalis and Guruvayur Temple: Isn't it Time to Change Ridiculous Norms?

For me, a visit to Kerala is never complete without a visit to its most popular and revered temple, the Guruvayur Temple. Right from the time I was a kid, my parents visited this temple at least twice a year. So many legends continue to sweeten the experience of devotional ecstasy that one feels at this holy place, where the little Lord Krishna is worshipped and pampered as the deity named "Guruvayoorappan."
The famous playback singer Dr. K.J.Yeshudas is an ardent believer of Guruvayoorappan but the temple has stringent rules about permitting only Hindus to enter. That reminds me of the famous devotional song that Yeshudas sang because it resonates in the hearts of every Malayali,:
"Guruvayoor ambala nadayil oru divasam njaan pokum, gopura vaathil thurakam, njaan gopakumaraney kaanum."
Sorry for the poor translation but this means, "One day, I will go to the Guruvayoor Temple, the door leading to the sanctum sanctorum shall open someday and I will see the young…

Robin Hood Review of Malayalam Movie Directed by Joshey

When I was a kid, I had heard so much about the heroism of Robinhood - The Prince of Thieves, the robber who stole from the rich so that he could share it with the poor. However, when I opted to watch Joshey's movie, Robinhood - The Prince of Thieves - I had mixed feelings about the way the protagonists were depicted.

The story revolves around Ventakesh (starring Prithviraj) who is a Physics professor but that is just his disguise because after midnight, he is a professional criminal who robs huge sums of money from a bank's ATM. The Assistant Commissioner of Police (starring Jayasurya) is baffled about the increasing number of incidents, following which the bank appoints a private detective called Felix (starring Naren) who happens to be the ACP's enemy number one. The private detective has a great time, flirting with his lady assistant (starring Bhavna) and becoming a great friend to the neighbor, yes, the Physics Professor.

The plot is so obvious and amateurish that i…

Sufi Paranja Katha Directed by Priyanandanan

The theme of Hindu girl falling in love with a Muslim man and converting to Islam has been explored in so many Indian movies. However, this is the first movie directed by the National Award winning director Priyanandanan that I watched and it is called Sufi Paranja Katha (The Story Told by a Sufi). The story revolves around a beautiful girl called Karythiyani (starring Sharbani Mukherji), who is the heiress of a reigning, upper caste Hindu family.

Right from the beginning, her beauty is intoxicating, to the extent that even her maternal uncle, who sees her as a daughter, feels disturbed and uneasy in her presence because she is so seductive and innocent. She falls in love with a Muslim trader called Maamooty (starring Prakash Bare) and she runs away with him. This is where the story really begins because it captures her journey into his life, and more importantly, his religion and society.

Despite being a staunch Muslim who is loved and respected in the community, Mamooty receives a…

Elsamma Enna Oru Aankutty - A Review of Lal Jose Movie

When my parents and I opted to watch Lal Jose's 'Elsamma Enna Aankutty,' we never expected that Padma theater in Ernakulam would be packed with college students, families and batches of girls. We just wanted to watch a movie that seemed to hint comedy and entertainment, with stars like Kunchako Boban and Indrajit. Of course, I must confess here that I've always liked Kunchako Boban's movies and I see them again whenever shown on TV.

This movie is beautifully shot in the hilly ranges of a village near Idukki. I am not a photography expert but the landscape's scenic beauty is truly breathtakingly remarkable.

The protagonist is a young girl called Elsamma (starring Ann Augustine), who dons various hats in her struggle to make an honest living to support her three sisters and helpless mother. She works as the village's newspaper girl and her close friend is Palunni (Kunchacko Boban), the milk delivery boy.

Right from the start, their conversations are typica…

Simple Dental Tips From Reader's Digest September 2010

Readers Digest (September 2010) gives us simple tips to take care of our teeth and I am sharing some of these tips because it is useful to all of us:

1. If you are a parent, it is essential to take your kid regularly for dental check ups to a qualified and well experienced pedodontist. Ask the pedodontist to show you how to make your child brush his/her teeth properly. Ask tips on how to choose the paste and brush for your kid. Those are little details but important, nevertheless.

2. Use floride toothpaste and brush twice a day. Ideally, you must spend at least 3 minutes brushing your teeth and ensuring that all the nooks and corners of your teeth are brushed properly.

3. Avoid consuming or giving candies and soft drinks to others because it exposes the teeth to sugar, leads to acid formation and dental caries. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after drinking colas because it can damage the teeth enamel due to etching.

4. If you eat anything that is sticky and tends to cling arou…

Kerala: An Enchanting Temptress

To me, Kerala is an enchanting temptress, a palette of different cultural and regional experiences. The cosmopolitan culture of Kochi is totally different from the traditional, time honored traditions of Palaghat or the warm hospitality of Malabar or high business, commercial and political melodrama that is a part of Kottayam with its mostly Christian influence or the slighly rigid, no frills life that derived its sustenance from the government based structure and culture of organized life in Thiruvananthapuram. Each place has its own beliefs and cuisine that are distinct and ethnic and different from other parts of Kerala.

My friends and cousins in each different city of Kerala teach me something interesting and sometimes disagreeable about the place and its people. It would be wrong to say that every city in Kerala is perfect. That is not true at all but each and every place in Kerala offers a distinct cultural experience. Of course, it could be true of all cities and places in Indi…

Freedom is a Priceless Gift, So is Personal Space

There are some little things in life that we can change. My parents, from their conduct, taught me this. I want to share it here because I see the lack of it affecting the sanctity of relationships across families and friendships.

Give Personal Space, Don't Give Advice

Lets face it. We are educated, grown ups and we don't need people telling us how to do things. We have a fairly good idea of how to manage our private spaces and there are people who can step in to help us when things go wrong or when we ask them for their advice. Too many relationships are spoiled by imposing one's own perceptions on others, whether it is in family, friendships or even at work places. The simplest and most effective solution is to give each person his/her personal space, respect that space and don't give advice unless it is requested. Sometimes, your intuition can tell you to break that rule but giving inputs all the time and giving advice all the time are two different things that requ…

We are Family!

Last week, we went to watch the KJo movie 'We are Family.' The movie is a remake of the popular Hollywood flick, Step Mom. We knew what to expect in the movie so it wasn't something so great to write home about but it was a good film to watch.

My four year old loved the movie. From start to finish, he was so engrossed in the family drama. That night, Adi hugged me tight and said, "Amma, please don't die, please don't. I have no body to look after me or love me if you die. Please dont have an operation."

That night, he kept saying in his sleep, "Please don't die, Amma. Please don't die."

It struck me then how this film can impact the emotions and vulnerable side of kids, something the movie makers never even hint about because the trailers show the happy, fun side of being a family. In India, most families go to watch movies with their kids, so shouldn't the film makers have either suggested an age limit for kids or something? For pr…

Agnidevan Directed by Venu Nagavally

This movie is one of my all time favorites. The story is gripping, intense and involves a family drama and the conflict between two brothers who share the legacy of "Ezhuthupura" or the writer's workshop, that is a family tradition and their role as the main writers and publisher of a daily newspaper come to the forefront of their rivalry with each other. While one brother (starring Devan) has a clinical, business oriented attitude to growing the newspaper industry that he heads, the younger brother (starring Mohanlal)feels very emotional and passionate about the craft of writing and reporting. He gives everything to enriching his relationships and cannot understand how to approach it with business goals because writing, in itself, marks tradition, legacy and so much more in their family of distinguished writers.

Perhaps no film has captured the conflicts facing the writing industry in Kerala, which has some of the best writers and reporters but a clear history of forcin…