Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ode to Authenticity


I am

I am what I think

I am what I do of what I think

I am what I think about myself

I am what I think about what others think of me

I am what I have learnt, heard, seen and felt

I am what I like and dislike

I think, do, become

I have become

I am


Friday, 26 December 2014

Blog Picks~ Top Seven Of 2014

As the year speeds by and nears its end, time for a recap and pick of the Top Blogs in various Categories. Versatility tests a writer fully and I keep expanding my range.  2014 has been a year during which I have noticeably evolved as a person. The Blogs possibly reflect this..Here's a sample from each category.

A) Humour~ why not tee off with a dash of humour? Even serious topics when narrated in a lighter vein make for interesting reading.

God, my Robot Anita and I

Anita, my personal robot keeps arguing with me on just about anything our minds can grasp. This time it was about whether God exists or not.

'Look, I am a child of science', she said with pride. 'Made in a sophisticated laboratory and powered by the wonders of technology. I believe what I see, what science can prove. My master is the one who created me. I don't believe your God exists' (See Blog Link for more)

B) Storytelling

1) If There Was Ever A Braveheart, He Was One
Thirty seven years ago, on Oct. 22, 1976, the small town of Vasai was for the first time privy to the joy of a modern cinematic experience. The Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna starrer Hera Pheri was the popular film with which Sapna Cinema was thrown open to the eager audience of Vasai.
The Cinema theatre was leagues ahead of any other in this far flung Western satellite town of Mumbai (then Bombay)

2) Tip Toeing Her Way To Success
The sun had not yet risen, the skies were mellow. The golden sands of the beach were inviting..she hesitated for a moment. How pristine, undisturbed is the beach, unburdened by any feet on it. Swept clean by the change of tides the night before and unsullied by tourists who would come in later in the day. How dare I be the intruder, thought she?
She then gingerly tip toed with her arms swaying to maintain her balance.

C) Linkedin Posts

1) 3 Key Elements Of Personal Branding
It is well known that a strong presence across Social Media platforms is vital in building one's Personal Brand. What and how we communicate gives a sharp focus to the way we are seen by the world. In my view there are three key elements that are integral to each person's brand. 

 Ahh! The Joy Of Telling A StoryAs I let loose my creative flair
Weaving a plot out of thin air.
And the words, they keep flowing
Wrapping me in their magic. 
Wonder which brings me more joy..
The story or the joy of creating it?

D) Spirituality

1) My Spiritual Journey Answered All My Questions
'We are spirits, in a material world' ~ Rock Band, The Police
We are born into this material world where our perceptions of our surroundings are ruled by the senses, what can be seen, felt, heard and smelt occupy our minds the most. As a natural consequence, we spend a majority of our lives pursuing objects and pastimes that please our senses. As our desires get fulfilled, new ones give birth in this unquenchable cycle.

E) Poetry

1) In Nothingness Is Everything
I am
I am this
I am that...

In order to read each Blog, click on it's title. 

Wishing all of my readers the best of this Season and in the New Year!

Why not Connect on other Social Media Platforms?
Let us discover common interests.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

When It's Party Time

Yes, the drive was pleasant, along Marine Drive, and the evening was young. The skies were a riot of colours painted by a sun which had just set. My mood was sinking too. Oh God! Only if I could have somehow avoided attending this party.

Dare not invite the wrath of wifey! (the party was hosted by my brother-in-law). What was the occasion? Well, do the months of December and January require reasons to party? Besides, this was the big Party night of the year~ New Year's Eve. No, don't get me wrong~ am not a spoilsport at all. I do not grudge others having the time of their lives or drinking themselves silly either.

It is just that I happen to be on the other (the right?) side of fifty which has reset my preferences. Also, I have been a teetotaler for half of those fifty years now, yes, twenty five years. So hanging around forever holding a 'mocktail', as it is referred to, in my hand does not exactly thrill me. While the clock whizzes by for guzzlers it c r a w ls when I am not the one laughing out loud without reason. (Hey, if you like your drink, don't give me a dirty look. I enjoyed mine in my youth too.)

I kept myself in circulation and said Hi to the people that I had to. Aha! Why didn't I think of this before? The door to the balcony was so inviting. I quietly made my way past the action. The music sounded less threatening here. Below me, Mumbai was at my feet. Marine Drive (or The Queen's Necklace) facing the Arabian Sea offers one of the most majestic views of the city at any time of the day. At night, the necklace sparkles.

After a while I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see a familiar face. "Hi! Have I seen you before?" I asked her. She smiled and said 'Think, think..we have met not once but twice. You are the Writer, right? No wonder, this party must be suffocating for you!'

I immediately reassured her.'Hey, that's not the case. Just came out for a breather.'

'Not to worry', she giggled 'I am bored to death too. By the way, I am Shania. If I recall, you are Vijay, right? We met at Sunil Uncle's wedding and then here at the house warming do.'

'Wow! You amaze me. Let me guess~ you must be my Bro-in-law's cousin's wife's third cousin's niece's closest friend.'

'I like this. Even I am terrible at remembering just  how am I related to whom!' Shania laughed. 'Where's your poison? Oh, so we are both aliens here! SOS~ Suffering Outcast Souls. Lemme think...look, these guys are barely into their second or third drinks. This is going to be one long haul. Many hours till midnight too. So, why not sneak out for some fresh air?'

I was hesitant 'If these guys figure out, they'll be annoyed.'

'You think they'd notice. Even if World War III were to break out, they'd be the last to know!'

She held my hand and led me to the entrance. We had to jostle our way through. The thump of the music was deafening.

As we emerged from the building, she waved her outstretched arms in the air. 'Ahh! to get away from that claustrophobic scene'

The entire road was abuzz with cars and youngsters turning it into their party zone.

I sighed and said 'It's only slightly better here.'

Shania hailed a Taxi and gave him directions. 'Just watch'

We alighted at a stretch where the action had thinned out. We sat on the parapet overlooking the sea and the waves crashing into the huge tetrapots. I could smell the salt in the air. Shania began shivering in the pleasant chill. I gave her my warm jacket. 
She swung around to sit facing the sea and I followed suit.

I watched her face, the glint of 
the bright city lights in her eyes.Leaning back, her hair being tossed around by the breeze, she admired the sky 'What a lovely, clear night. I love watching the stars. The moon's also so,so beautiful!'

I thought to myself that the bonding between us happened so quickly. She was less than half my age but that hardly mattered. We got along so well! I smiled.

She waved to a hawker and we feasted on salted peanuts.
'Care for some coffee?'

'Look, I'm not in a mood to go over to a coffee shop'

She waved to another street vendor 'Try this~ delicious South Indian Coffee!'

That it certainly was.

We sat there quietly just watching the city go crazy. All of a sudden things quietened down, many well lit rooms in the tall skyscrapers went dark..only to be followed by the blast of firecrackers, hoots, shouting and whistles. Oh yeah, it was midnight.

She shook my hand and wished me 'Happy New Year!!'

Wishing her in return, I ran my hand through her hair and said 'You are such a simple chirpy kid. That's a rare breed. Stay that way.'

Walking on the pavement, the city  on one side and the sea to the left, we headed back to frenzy.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Happy Days Are Here Again

(Picture Courtesy the PM's website)
The extraordinary sweep at the National polls and the initial euphoria has quietened down. It has been six months of the NDA Government in power under PM Narendra ModiFew leaders had raised the expectations of a resurgence as he has done in his short stint at the helm (and even before it began).

A couple of my friends, whose intellect and knowledge I deeply respect, had questioned me on Facebook recently. It is all right that Modi is drawing in huge crowds at his meetings in India and abroad, but is he delivering at the ground level or are these just photo ops? Is the common man actually benefiting from all this? I promised them that I would reply via a blog post and here it is.

Let us first highlight his achievements (I say Modi's achievements because it is more or less acknowledged that his is a one man show, no doubt backed by a able team). So much dependence on an individual presents its own risk is another matter.

When the Union Budget was presented there was a lot of criticism that there was no big bang reform announced therein. The Budget happened to be just an exercise in consolidation. As the Finance Minister has reiterated, reform does not necessarily have to be big ticket reform: small changes on the ground well implemented are equally effective. The long overdue Diesel price deregulation allowed the Oil marketing industry (state owned companies) to breathe easier. They had been saddled with thousands of crores of red in their balance sheets on account of under-recoveries due Government dictated pricing.

Simplification of licencing for industry is rapidly taking shape as is the much awaited GST (Goods and Services Tax) that will usher in a uniform and stable tax environment in country. Land reforms, another key area is also being looked into with urgency. Most importantly the domestic and foreign investors have got the message that it will make life for businesses easier- industrial growth had choked in the last few years.

Focus is also on reviving the SME and MSE's- a badly neglected area which is so critical for boosting employment among the semi skilled. Emphasis on good infrastructure should provide the right support too. One indicator of this is Modi's ambitious vision of Smart Cities (from scratch up) alongside newly built national highways and a mind numbing target for scaling up of solar energy. Modi also knows what technology can do for rural India- thus internet connectivity is on top of the agenda.

The development focus is not just an elitist plan. The Swach Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India) envisages a toilet in every Indian home. A bank account for every citizen scheme has been a massive success- millions of accounts have been opened and this touches the underprivileged section of society- banking for all also aims at shifting from a cash economy.

Many of these are proposals- what are the signs that the tide is indeed turning?
Firstly and importantly, the FII's (Foreign Institutional Investors) have come back in droves. The massive monthly inflows from FII's have been the biggest proof that they are buying Modi's vision. The Equity markets have rallied to an all time high (BSE Sensex @28,000 ) up from 20,900 a year ago. And if the analysts are to be believed Indian markets are in a structural bull run and are likely to go further up. This has whetted the appetite of domestic investors too (individual as well as institutional). The (AUM's) Assets Under Management of Equity Mutual Funds have scaled record peaks. Corporate heads too have expressed confidence in the the policies and are eager to get back into expansion mode.

This has had a curious side effect too: investors have shifted their attention from safer assets such as gold and property and have placed bets on equity. The result is that the property market has cooled down and erstwhile stratospheric prices are at last headed downwards. Fund raising for Start-Ups has never been so easy- a slew of e-retailers have fetched big ticket funds for expansion.

At the Government level, Modi's no nonsense functioning style has earned him many admirers ( a few from the opposition benches too, much to the ire of their respective parties). His non corrupt image and impeccable work ethic has set the tone for his ministry and officials. He has personally assured them that they need not be afraid of 'reputations', if they faced an obstacle from anybody, however influential, they could approach him. This kind of openness was unheard of in New Delhi. His presence and effective communication on social media has raised his already immense popularity by a few notches more.

There will always be critics and skeptics.

There is, of course, a time lag between investment, expansion and results to show up- especially on employment opportunities. What one must understand is that he took charge at a time when the country was reeling under years of misrule and was ridden with one damaging scam after another. All this set back the image, the business environment and finances of the country by a decade. Modi, therefore, did not begin on a plateau: the climb has been all uphill and to his credit he has not harped on the past but energetically focused on exciting possibilities.

'But the corruption and ineptitude at the ground level is the same. I still have to pay the same bribes, the attitude is still unfriendly."

Just as a corrupt PM cannot justify me compromising on my principles and ethics, a honest PM cannot ensure that all his countrymen take his cue and turn the leaf.

History is not created in a day. Shouldn't we allow our visionary PM some space and time for his grand dream to unfold? Transforming a nation as complex, diverse and vast as India poses a mind-boggling challenge. Modi seems to have an appetite for such a challenge.

"Ache Din Kaise Aayenge?"
The NDA's campaign revolved around 'Achche Din Aane Waale Hain" (Good Days Are Around The Corner)
The above presentation by Puneet Bhatnagar and his Creativity Mission India, asks the pertinent question~ How could we bring about good days?

I think this should answer those who still have doubts..
As far as I am concerned, Happy Days Are Here Again.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Life Is...

Life is...

...the pitter-patter of the rain on window panes

...the rustle of leaves as the trees sway

...the feeling when a child smiles back at you

...walking amid the bustle of the city streets

...birds flying in tandem into the sunset

...the trail of a jet as it fades faraway in the blue sky

...the smell of the soil after the first rain

...the chirping of birds at dawn

...a long drive on a country road

...the view from a mountain at dusk

...that feeling when what you were thinking of actually happens!

...a dark blue night sky sprinkled with twinkling stars and a crescent moon

...sitting on a beach wishing the sun would never dip into the ocean

...a woman's warm, beautiful smile

...the thrill of achievement against all odds

...the fluffy white cloud in a light blue sky

...the warmth that kindness brings to the heart

...a riot of colours on a dynamic canvas

...hearing your favourite song at a cafe, ever growing love

...quietening of the mind to hear the soul sing

...priceless, every reason to live it fully

...the thrill of these words pouring out on my screen

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