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Showing posts from September, 2017

Significance of Gayatri Mantra: Can ladies chant the Gayatri mantra?

Like all working mothers, there is no "ME" time once I wake up. But I chant the Gayatri mantra almost all the time - while I am making the morning tea, washing the dishes, putting the clothes to wash, whatever chores I am doing I chant the Gayatri along with it. The good thing is that it fills me with amazing, joyous energy. Laughable as it may sound to many of you, the energy sounds that form the base of the Gayatri Mantra are believed to provide a powerful aura of protection to those who chant it regularly. 

Now, it always amazes me when I get queries from women asking, ''Can ladies chant the Gayatri mantra?" and I can't help but ask, "Why do you think women can't chant the Gayatri mantra?" The next question that comes my way frequently is this, ''Can ladies chant the Gayatri mantra during their periods?" and my answer is the same, "Why can't they chant the Gayatri mantra during their periods?"

[MUST-READ: Who can cha…

Onam Special: 9 Things nobody tells you about celebrating Onasadya with a true Malayali spirit!

Last Sunday, there were several Onam community celebrations across Delhi and Noida. After my amazing Onasadya which I enjoyed with thousands of simple devotees in Prashanti Nilayam, I had no doubts which one to attend this time. I know this sounds silly but I like to keep things pretty simple. Fancy stuff - nooo!

See this Onam pookalam below - it was so lovingly made by a few Tiruvalla Christian families. The home is that of a Christian too who gave his unoccupied home for the Onam celebration. We tend to go crazy on social media about religion, the right to eat beef and so on. What amazes me is that not one person expressed an interest to cook a non-vegetarian dish for this Onasadhya, which had mostly Malayali Christians! To me, this is the spirit that Malayalis always had - to actually care for others, to show respect to another's faith whether they endorse it or not. [READ: Happy Onam celebrations - Revisiting Memories]

If this spirit doesn't capture the simplicity and essenc…

A Dad's advice to the daughter he loves: Be yourself, remember you are special and treasure your strengths

Just a week ago, Dad gave me a very emotional pep talk at the Bangalore airport. The good thing is that whenever I feel emotionally vulnerable or stressed out, I replay Dad's conversation. It lifts me up and instantly brings a huge smile to my face. That's my Dad - yeah! 




As a teenager, Bangalore used to be one of my favorite cities though the garden city was not as ''global'' and ''vibrant'' as it is today. It was a pretty cool place to go shopping for stylish accessories, not that I could splurge and go crazy with shopping but I could do so on a limited budget. So, I used to look forward to our summer trips to Bangalore, from where we would head out to Whitefield. 

The busy, broad streets, the scent of street food and the vibrant atmosphere had always perked me up every time I reached Bangalore. Be it heading to Puttaparthi or Whitefield, my parents and I have traveled to Bangalore so many times that it became a kind of ''routine'…

This Investment Banker from London left his high flying career to lead a simple life in Puttaparthi

''Hey, you are Swapna, right?''

For the first time in over 30 years during my frequent visits to Puttaparthi, I was asked this question by a stranger. I was taken aback because this is a very unusual occurrence for me in Puttaparthi. My parents and I were about to sit down for dinner when the stranger walked over to us. 

"I am Rakesh Menon, your husband's friend from Class 1,'' he said.




Phew! Of course, I have heard about Rakesh Menon from my husband though the two friends have not met each other for over two decades. 

''Heard so much about you and now I finally got to meet you....the year was 1997. Sanand couldn't stop talking about you and I have heard so much about your romance...,'' Rakesh was smiling as he said this.

I was literally squirming - it does feel a little odd to hear about my romance in front of my parents and my very curious 11-year-old son. But Rakesh Menon has this amazing way of making everyone feel at ease, especiall…

Life in Puttaparthi: This Japanese lady I met in Prashanti Nilayam left me mesmerised

I met a Japanese lady inside Prashanti Nilayam, as my mother and I were waiting to meet someone. The lovely lady had a serene look that completely made us feel serene too - you believe in energy vibes that people carry around them, right? I do - there are people who exude amazing positive energy vibes that can instantly lift you up. This Japanese lady, whose name I do not know, is one such a person.



                                                    [Image: Radio Sai ]

''You can go inside and ask for the person you came to meet,'' she told us.

Her voice was soft, sweet and melodious. She looked poised, graceful and so lovely, especially when she speaks. It reminds me ever so gently that there are real people in this world who know how to speak respectfully and lovingly, without treating you like some one they can use later on in life. A majority of people, especially on social media, use such aggression to prove their point of view as superior,  that when I meet people w…