"Beauty with Brains"

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dedicated to you


This is one of my self-composed poems... deadicated to my Love... Gulrez... Just trying to say it loud enough... I Miss You baby!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

And not so quite.. Flows the Ganga!!


The sound of waves hitting rapids and breaking banks and brimming with energy and the spirit of adventure... that sure sounds like a not so quite river! And well.. that is exactly what we were greeted with upon reaching the rafting destination - Rishikesh! For all those who want to re-define limit and re-discover themselves... the best place to be is the camping banks of the Ganga at the outskirts of the city in Rishikesh.

And all this becomes even enjoyable when you're accompanied by the love of your life.. and so the love for life does increase... but that is exactly when your fears find a a new high too.. the fear of jumping into 80 Ft. deep ice-cold water and almost loosing your senses... yet..when you're able to conquer that fear and come out on to the raft.. safe but shivering.. that is an inexplicable feeling of triumph..

So there I was.. with the love of my life.. Gulrez... who is the one who mateialised the idea of a rafting trip. As we reached Rishikesh at 6.00 am on Saturday, the wind howled and the chill reached our bones.. which was eventually conquered by some tea... and the hero of the lot.. who was till now sporting shorts and a Tee, got to the car to change into more decent covers... tea sessions were followed by a walk on the, until-then-deserted streets of the small town.
So it was only after an hour's patience that we got to our camp escorted by the camp incharge.

And then began the real adventure - loads of sand and the river running by... camping tents... a beach volley court.. all delightful things to make a weekend worth the effort.
So after getting into more comfortable clothes and relishing a breakfast, we set out towards Shivpuri, the place our rafting had to begin from. After reaching this place and getting into the required gear - life jackets and helmets et al - and gulping down instructions from the tour guide - we were all firmly seated on the raft. This moment on, we were all at the mercy of the water looming in the front and the back.. and practically everywhere else.

We were headed to the rapids and were instructed by the guide to stay calm, and as it turned out, the first swish of the chill and the water got all of us in something short of panic.. but the fear factor was too exhilarating for anyone to scream...

After hitting the first rapid - which was on a rather low tide, we were all happy of the fact that we managed to sail through the first ordeal in the white waters without a shout.

And so, after 3 rapids, came the big one - the Golf Course as it's called - was as large as its name. It left all of us drenched and asking for more - it did evoke a couple of screams - some real ones and some fake. But all of them equally loud!

So we reached our camp at the stroke of the afternoon sun and were all famished... but since lunch was to be served in another hour so we had our share of fun in the water - and I had never known that playing and floating in water can be so much fun. We then played beach volley ball and one of us ran down to get the ball everytime it repelled down the inclined beach sand.

This exercise was followed by a scrumptious meal which was relished without talking as all of us were struggling with our hunger pangs.

The real fun was yet to come.. to our delight...
After lunch we again set out on the raft for some more small and big rapids and rowing forward as our guide would instruct us to... this time.. we all floated on the water upon reaching a calm stretch of the water. And then we reached there - the cliff.. the moment which re-defined limits and fear for me at least.

The water was, as I mentioned, 80 Ft. deep and we reached the place which was meant for cliff jumping.. it was 35 Ft. higher up the water level and from the raft it looked like peanuts but when we reached the top of the cliff and looked down on the green icy water.. it sent shivers down the spine and we were suddenly on double minds whether to jump the wagon or not!
But we decided in favor of it and Saurav Da was the first one ot jump, I followed and after me it was Gulrez. A moment before I jumped, I asked myself.. ARE YOU CRAZY? And I thought.. Yeah.. Maybe I am.. but who cares.. and within a split second, I jumped. By the time I re-surfaced after touching some life under the water, I had one thing pretty clear in my mind that I can do anything in the world if I can do his without the heart ceasing to beat. It was an out of the world experience. It didn't last long though.. it ended when we touched the surface and saw that we were still living and breathing. But it was surely worth it! Jumping from 35 Ft. into that water was no joke - although that is exactly what we made of it initially.

The day drew to a close when we rafted away from the cliff and onto quieter water stretches - simply rowing, and talking and basking in the sun. After reaching the camp, as we all were tired, it was time for a quick shower and a cat nap. So off we headed to the showers and then back to our tents. We woke up in an hour with renewed energy and to the sun going down the horizon... with the sun rays kissing the water a glistening good-bye for the day. Yes.. it was a sight to behold.

Dusk came with a chilly breeze and some soft (and hard) drinks by the evening fire. A lavish Bar-be-Que was laid out and a gang of hooligans joined us at the camp side. We played Dump-charades and sang songs by the bon fire. The evening concluded with a dinner where table talks continued and we went back to our tents laughing, talking, singign and shivering.

Tomorrow was to be another day...

And another day it was.. we woke up to a cool morning breeze setting on the hills and after an elaborate breakfast, we were on our way to the rafting banks again.
And today, while we were on a different route, I was going to be sitting in the front seat of the raft - which meant double the amount of fun. The rapids were going to be higher today as he tide had changed it's course. So we hit the rapids with renewed force this time and at all instances, my heart would skip a beat because the water would come gushing in the wave and hit me directly on the face - and everywhere else too. We were all soaked and shivering yet again and everytime we would dry up in the sun, we would be approaching another one of those huge rapids and get drenched. We again went through the course of hitting waves and singing and this time, racing with the other rafts occupied by the hooligans' group. Gullu and Saurav Da went a step ahead and did body surfing this time.. they jumped in the water near one of the rapids and then went with the flow. As they put it, it was even fun than the popular by now, cliff jump.
I got my share of floating when we were on one of those stretches where the water calmed down.
The sound of rapids was deafening at some points and while we approached them, the anticipation would rise and the adrenaline would do a somersault - it was only after those gigantic waves would hit and go that all would come to a stand still - for some time at least.

So after about 2-3 hours, we reached our camp and all of us were shouting hunger - we all took our turns in taking a shower and reaching the dining table. But before that, Gulrez had yet another thing up his sleeve, this time it was a sand bath. He covered himself with sand so only his face was visible and after getting quite a few reactions and comments from the rafts passing by, did he finally get out and took a shower.
Our lunch meant that we were almost done with the fun.. but yes.. one thing was still to come.
After the lunch, we went for rappelling and although it did prove to be a lot of fun since all of us, except Saurav da, were doing it for the first time, what brought our soaring spirits down was the fact the the rock we were to rappel from was only 35 Ft. high. The drop did not provide any adrenaline rush or a kick. But yes, it was a good experience for beginners to learn how to control the dissenter.
This was followed by Saurav Da and Gullu Climbing the hill and then rappelling again and that was that. It ended there. We were driven back to our camp and after a brief interval of packing, we were on our way back to Delhi - most of thinking of coming back again. Some future day.. I'd be back to the same camp... to live life on the edge once again.
The rafting trip was over but the impressions it left on all of us.. are still fresh and the fact remains - I had the time of my life.. in the lap of mother nature.. and I owe it to Gulrez!! Thanks Love!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A writer's blo(ck)g!!

After some time, I finally made up my mind.. and here I am.. wiping the virtual dust off my blog and some real one off the keyboard.
It's painful to see your dreams of making big as a writer diminish day after day and finally reach a stage where it starts biting dust and that feeling of self-betrayal gnawing at your heart to take you to realisation of what you have finally made of your ambitions.
Is fate a silent spectator or is it the one playing the game? Well, I think hiding behind that won't help.. because deep inside me, I know that I lost sight of my dreams somewhere along the line and today, I confess it to the world... on this platform... where I had set out to be heard.. to be read and to be a writer in my own right! I blamed my luck when I lost the golden opportunity to work with Indian Express.. an invitation from the editor was treated ever so lightly and turned aside for the sake of laziness... and then I blamed the nepotism in the industry for not having enough room for the aspiring journalists and not getting noticed after various attempts. And today, here I am, a successful Project manager helping writers across the globe, get their work published in the right form...! And here, I see the writer in me let out a sigh and say - had you ever done so much for your own self, you would have been one of them.... Marred by my own laid back attitude and my failure to take enough initiatives, I stand today at a Cul-de-Sac... a dead end for my aspiration to be known as a writer. An intellectual who made no matter how small - a contribution to the world.. something peple will remember her for. It has started suffocating me now.. I want to breath out and breath in some freshness for the writer in me before it succumbs to oblivion!!
I hope I reach out to myself... amen!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Love Don't Cost a Thing... Really!?!

If you think money can't buy Love... think again!!


Boy meets girl... the oldest and perhaps the most exciting story in the world. But it can be a perplexing one too. The old, sedate days of lengthy courtship and long engagements seem to be over. Are moral standards changing? Is going steady a good idea? What makes us fall in love with a person anyway? Well... do we have some provocative answers!!

Come February and (oh! You got it!) love is in the air, on air, on cards and well, everywhere. Young hearts are in full swing from the beginning of the 'magic month'. The huge rush on card shops and gift galleries can give you an idea of the number of hearts leaping forth to fall in love! And of course, how can we miss the 'notorious' red roses... priced at unimaginable prices yet sold by the minute. You think it's crazy? Well, Shakespeare did say that love is a discreet madness. But is it the same love that we are talking about with these darling buds of winter? Do they actually understand the true nature of the most potent force in the world? Unfortunately, most of them believe in the Bollywood/Hollywood created myth – physical beauty and poetic passion, two hearts in stardust beating as one; the chase, the capture and the surrender. All that maybe a thrilling part of attraction and courtship but it's not and never can be love. Love and a physical embrace become almost synonymous in young minds; both create ecstasy. So that brings us back to... what makes us fall in love?
Well, as unfortunate as it is, the discreet madness has been successfully turned into a not-so-discreet business. The feelings are now viewed with more of a commercial aspect than anything else and 'Love' is the commodity sold at the drop of a hat at any price you're willing to pay. Cards, stuffed toys, jewels, or anything that shouts expense can be the ideal valentine gift to woo that special someone. The question remains, does the gift act as the catalyst or is it all one has to offer... do we fall in love with the person or the gift...?
Answer that question and you'll have more questions... if it's the gift, then why drag love into it? If it's not that, then why should it be so highly commercialised that one loses touch with the feeling behind the day one celebrates.

Looking at the hype around the much-awaited Valentine's Day, one can easily judge the extent to which consumerism has increased and how vulnerable these consumers are to anything they are led to believe.
It's time that we realise that love does not exist in gift galleries and card shops, the best thing you can gift the one you love is a piece of yourself and for that, all you need to shell out is the true feeling of being in love.
Love, which is an abiding desire on the part of two people to produce together conditions under which each can spontaneously express his/her real self; to produce an intellectual soil and an emotional climate in which each can flourish, far superior to what either could achieve alone.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

LIFE'S LIKE THAT!!

This is one of my favourite pieces - it's a poem written as a response to another poem.... penned by a friend.. which was totally contrary to this... unfortunately I am not able to locate a copy of that but.. here's my piece... you can imagine the other one as an absolutely negative perspective of the same things.... The other one was titled - "This is Life"... and so this one is titled.. LIFE'S LIKE THAT!!

Principles
are made to make life easy
then they are broken to make it easier..
every end marks a new beginning
broken, yet.. to be mended again


Promises are necessary reassurances
and attempts do often succeed
pains can find condolences,
when divides increase love's greed...


Yes trust is the wheel of life
and true that souls are attached
but when goals call for trust to strive
what remains will remain unmatched!


Principles will always be there...
Promises have no aftermath,
Trust is a vaccine for broken hearts
'Coz honey.. Life's like that!!


Reality exists, it's never constructed
and the eyes of faith shall see
that false belief is due to misunderstanding
when hatred is not meant to be...


If beauty lies in the eyes of beholder,
so does any doubt
and opportunities if ever missed
chances of success are stout!!


Look into smiling eyes
and you'll find a loving gesture
as nothing but the solution lies..
in permanent fixture...


Long live the desire to live..
with a ray of light on every path
Hope is an undying attribute
'Coz honey... Life's like that!!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

South Africa - A Fiesta Called Life

It’s easy to fall in love with a country that offers an extraordinary variety of leisure options: including game reserves, cosmopolitan cities, mountain resorts, pristine beaches…lions and diamonds, ancient forts and tribal dancers, flickering camp fires and more. The scenery is magnificent, the climate sunny and mild and the country’s hospitality is legendry. Like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, South Africa’s contrasting landscapes slip seamlessly into each other. Wide seascapes and giant mountains, sheer cliffs and deep tranquil valleys, luxurious forests and endless spaces, plunging waterfalls and rolling hills, dense bush-land and open savannahs: such are the landscapes that colour South Africa’s wonderous vistas and host the country’s abundant flora and fauna.

Be it the climate, the scenic and cultural diversity, the enormous Kalahari with it's wild surroundings, the magnificent Cape Town, the spectacular beauty of the Victoria Falls or the world's most unique and popular resort- the Sun City - it all beckons people from over the world who want to celebrate life... So here we go..."Namukelekile" or "Welcome"... to South Africa!!


Places to visit

The most talked about place is no doubt the Sun City which owes it's fame to the many events like the Miss World Pageant and other Award functions being held there and obviously to the remarkable ambience it has. Apart from that, Cape Town is very popular since it has so much variety to offer to tourists. Another upcoming place is the Garden Route which takes you through lovely scenery, rocky shores, mysterious forests, breathtaking mountains and lakes and vast open vistas. Moving further, Durban can be described as a wholesome family destination. It's tropical climate and the refreshing waterfront makes it a hugely enjoyable place round the year. One can go on and on like this as South Africa is not about a few places; it's a complete package offering everything!

The Wildlife

Wherever you go in South Africa, you're exposed to a great deal of wildlife. You can find wildlife reserves throughout the country. And they are all home to lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalos. The famous Kruger National Park is a must visit – not only because of the animals but also because of the experience of being there, which is unforgettable! It’s a huge place – 400 km l9ong and about 60 km in width. You’ll find game lodges, safaris and much more. It is the most interesting place to go. And well, that’s not all – there are many more parks that offer unimaginable experience of the wilder side of life!

Some Travel tips

Although South Africa is a safe place but it is advisable to be sensible and avoid walking into dark alleys alone but hey – don’t let any of that caution ruin the fun of being in the most sought after destinations of the world.
South Africa enjoys an enviable climate – the winter is mild and the summer nights are pleasant. However, for people from India, it is advisable to visit SA in June – July when the winter breaks in South Africa – they’d love it there! It is a fantastic weather and people enjoy the visit even more. But for those who want to see the blooming flowers and scenic beauty – September-October is the best time of the year…which further proves one thing – South Africa is an all season destination…! So pack your bags and get going…the wild is waiting to be explored and the grandeur of the Sun City is waiting your foot fall!!


Based on an interview with Sarel Opperman, Marketing Manager - SA Tourism, India




Monday, June 27, 2005

My Masterpiece...

Ode To Motherhood


Nine months of love and hope waiting for a bundle of joy
Days and nights of smiling tears looking for the lovliest toy

Of looking at the mirror and saying, "yes! at last, I'm here..."
"I am a complete woman now" and shedding a happy tear

She's beaming as she feels her own flesh and blood...
Moving in her body and soul and growing like a bud

Her skin glows with happiness and she smiles to herself...
Realising that being a mother is a beauty no man can delve...

Of feeling deep inside that a life is already born...
though the world will see it later in the form it will adorn

She wants to breath the cleanest air for her baby to be fine...
'coz she knows to create a life is a blessing truely devine

The blessing of being a woman, a privilage beyond compare...
to bring another life to life and nurture it with care...

She plans and plans for days, how gentle she would be...
to the delicate gift of nature which she was soon to see

She waits and waits and waits but the time just doesn't arrive...
when she'll hold her dream in her arms and feel more than alive

Then comes the day at last for the baby to see this world...
as the nine months have elapsed and it's time to be unfurled

She finds her hands trembling as she touches her baby now...
'coz she wonders as she looks on, '..what to do and how..'

She then looks at the baby girl and breaks into a smile...
"Mama knows not, what to do with you, Good Lord! you're so fragile..."

But then her pride takes over and she holds her warm and snug...
she sheds a little tear of joy and gives her doll a hug...

Then enters an over-whelmed father, saying it aloud...
Thank you for this little angel...my joy knows no bound!!