Tuesday, July 28, 2015

APJ Abdul Kalam: a lesson my father taught me as a child is still my guiding force

India's former president Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam has an important lesson to share with us. This is what he says -

While I am with you I would like to share an important message my father Janab Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen gave me a lesson when I was a young boy. What was that lesson? It was just after India got independence. At that time panchayat board elections took place at Rameswaram. My father was elected panchayat board member and on the same day he was also elected the President of Rameswaram Panchayat Board. Rameswaram Island was a beautiful place with 30,000 populations. At that time they elected my father as panchayat Board President not because he belonged to a particular religion or a particular caste or spoke a particular language or for his economic status. He was elected only on the basis of his nobility of mind and for being a good human being. I would like to narrate what took place on the day he was elected President of Panchayat board.

(Source: oneindia.com)
I was at that time studying in School. Those days we did not have electricity and we used to study under ration kerosene lamps. I was reading the lessons loudly and I heard a knock at the door. We never used to lock the door in Rameswaram in those days. Somebody opened the door, came in and asked me where my father was? I told him that father had gone for evening Namaz. Then he said, I have brought something for him, can I keep it here? Since my father had gone for Namaz, I shouted for my mother to get her permission to receive the item. Since she was also on the Namaz there was no response. I asked the person to leave the item on the cot. After that I continued my studies.

I used to learn by reading aloud in my younger days. I was reading loud and fully concentrating on my studies. At that time my father came in and saw a tambalum kept in the cot. He asked me "what is this? Who has given that?" I told him, "somebody came and has kept this for you". He opened the cover of the tambalum and found there was a costly dhoti, angawastram, some fruits and some sweets and he could see the slip that the person had left behind. I was the youngest child of my father, he really loved me and I also loved him a lot. He was upset at the sight of the Tambalum and gifts left by some one. 

That was the first time I saw him very angry and also that was the first time I had got a thorough beating from him. I got frightened and started weeping. My mother embraced and consoled me. Then my father came and touched my shoulder lovingly with affection and advised me not to receive any gift without his permission. He quoted an Islamic Hadith, which states that, "When the Almighty appoints a person to a position, He takes care of his provision.

If a person takes anything beyond that, it is an illegal gain." Then he told me that it is not a good habit. Gift is always accompanied by some purpose and they are dangerous that way. It is like touching a snake and getting the poison in turn. This lesson stands out always in my mind even when I am in my seventies. This incident, taught me a very valuable lesson for my life. It is deeply embedded in my mind. Even now, when a person appears before me with a gift - of whatever shape or color - my body and mind shudder.

Even as I am now in the 80th orbit around the sun, this bit of childhood inspiration has a special significance in my life. Often the unique lessons one derives in the early days of life are the governing force that steer the value system in all thoughts and actions.

So, do not be carried away by any gift - especially which comes with a purpose. Through that, one definitely loses personality - greatly.

- APJ Abdul Kalam

Monday, July 27, 2015

How Do I Enjoy Life?

So often I hear people who either complain, 'life is such a problem. How do I enjoy it?' or are surprised by the easy way I enjoy mine, 'you have this zest for life. Don't you feel frustrated ever?'
This post today is dedicated to the people who do any of the above. 

It is not false that yes, I enjoy my life and I try my best to do it to my full capacity. Like every human being I also feel disoriented at times. There are times when I feel life gets unfair like when I lost my grand maa in 2011. I sobbed uncontrollably. And also in difficult times when my optimistic self was threatened and I resorted to prayers. 

But in a general, usual way I am hopeful, positive and I do enjoy my life. 

(Source: covermyfb.com)
How do I do this? Is my life different from others? Maybe yes. Because I have chosen to make it different. I have made the choices that have made my life convenient to me. 

My friends usually use the word zest for me. And I believe this zest comes to me naturally, as I am an Aries. So I have an advantage there. I am born energetic and born positive. I simply can not sulk. 

But beyond this energy and positivity, what I am today is consciously and carefully crafted by me (with support of family and friends) over the years that have taken me through various ups and downs. 

I have had a failed relationships. Not sure if I mentioned it on the blog earlier but yes, it was a failed, bad relationship. It was a traumatic time for me. 

I struggled hard in my career. I studied from a local, private engineering college and hence faced hurdles in getting my first job. When I finally got it at Infosys, I struggled there to continue with it since I hated coding. 

Then there were stressful days when my family tried everything to get me married but I simply couldn't say yes to anyone and things got really bad between me and my father. 

So basically I have lived a life we all live. Ups and downs, good times and bad times. 

But my story takes a turn in the way I look upon these incidents. 

During retrospection, I think of all these times as building blocks. I am glad I had that relationship because it taught me so many things and that is why I was able to make a wise decision (of marrying my husband) in marriage. Good that I worked in the IT for years even though I never liked it, I can now pursue my interest. Else without having experienced IT first hand, what if after marriage I was craving to work there? (it would have been terrible, if I imagine it). Work life balance is so difficult to achieve in corporate jobs. 

All these incidents, all those people who were mean to me in one way or the other, have taught me a lesson or two about life. 

And I try my best to impart this knowledge, that is accumulated through these lessons, to you all through this blog. 

How do I manage to stay positive when bad things have happened to me? 

First, I know and I know it very well that I want to live. I do not want to die. I have dreams and I want to follow thy dreams

Second, I want to live happily. I do not have a choice here. I have to stay happy else I get restless and I can not do anything, nothing at all. 

So what does one do in such a case? 

(Source: Pinterest)
Find the best in everything. Forget and forgive and get rid of the grudge

Even in negative situations, I try to look for the best for me. Ofcourse, when such things happened, I was upset. I have cried million times but just because I cry one day does not mean I keep crying everyday thinking about it. 

I refuse to become a puppet of sadness. I have made smiling an integral part of my life. 

I understand life is not in my control. But unless a loved one is taken away (something I can not reverse or repair in anyway), I think I will keep finding the good in whatever life brings to me. 

This, according to me, is the best solution to keep up the spirits while playing the game called LIFE. 


Monday, July 20, 2015

Ask Womanatics: How Do I Make The Decision of Finding The Right Partner Through Arranged Marriage

Question: Hello Ma'am, I am a reader of your blog and your answers on Quora. I am writing to you to seek your advice on finding the right partner through arranged marriage

I am a 26 year old male and a post graduate student in Prosthodontics. My parents have started to look for a match for me. It will be an arranged marriage. I am a little confused as I do not know what girls in general prefer in men and how should I decide who is the right partner for me? This confusion arises from the fact that I have never been in a relationship. 

I am a dentist but in the future I would like to start my own business in medical field. My elder brother is a doctor too and he married a Physiotherapist. He suggests that I should find a girl from my profession. 

There are still two more years left for my post graduation completion and in parallel I am researching the market for my start up business. These are the questions that run in my mind right now: 

1. Should I marry the girl in the same profession? 
2. I want to tell all my future plans to the girl before marriage. I am a simply yet ambitious person who is so far focussed in life. Should I tell her my plans? 

I hope your answer helps me in making a better decision. 


Answer: Dear Reader, 

I feel so happy after reading your question. 

(Source: Buzzquotes.com)
1. You are so positive about marriage. This is not easy to find in today's time. You want to make a good decision which means that you are ready to make the commitment and that you are not taking marriage as a just-another-thing. Good! 

2. You are an honest person and you want to tell all about your future plans. Awesome. Stay this way. 

The second question is easy to answer. YES, tell her all your plans before hand. I say this for two reasons. One, this will help you in filtering out the prospects. What is the girl is not interested in marrying a business owner? If you tell her about your plans before hand and she approves of it this means that you will have a supportive partner when you make the leap. Two, telling your plans upfront is also better because this will help her in sharing her plans with you. 

Infact when you meet the girl, tell her your future plans and ask her if she would like to join you in your venture or how can she, being your wife, support you in the process. This can help you a lot in making the decision. 

Coming to your first question. I can't comment on this as I have mixed views about it. Yes, having your partner from the same profession helps in some way but it also poses problems in others. 

Same profession helps in better understanding of each other's work areas and this leads to a common ground of discussion for the partners. You can talk endlessly about your work to her. But if you have a hectic schedule in your profession, you may want to marry a person who does not have the same hectic schedule so that the kids are taken care of. Or if your wife has long working hours, you should take up a job that is less demanding. 

I do not really know how it works with Dentists. So, keep this part of kids into consideration and decide. You are anyways going to be an entrepreneur, so marrying a dentist is like marrying somebody from the same as well as different profession. So, you can look for a dentist in my opinion.  

Now how do you know if she is the right partner? 

In arranged marriages, this is the trickiest of all simply because you do not get a lot of time to know the prospect. And if the girl is an introvert or does not open up easily, it will be very difficult to know what she really thinks about you and your plans. 

So first of all, buy some time in hand. Tell your parents that you can not just go and see the girl. You want to talk to her first. If you like her on phone and you feel you guys have a similar thought process, then go ahead and meet her. 

When you talk to her, make her feel comfortable and tell her that she can trust you. Talk to her about her dreams, her future plans and her expectations from her partner. Share the same about you. 

It may take many conversations to get to know her and so if her parents or yours do not allow for too much of talking on phone, join her on FB or email. You can email or chat with her. Point is that you should try to know her before you say a yes or no. 

Eventually, I have learnt that it does not matter if the other person is introvert and you are an extrovert or vice versa. Or if she likes Salman Khan and you adore SRK. What matters the most is that both of you should be ready to support each other in their most important areas of life. 

Finally, marriage is a gamble. You put lot on stake and if you win it is a lottery, nothing like it. If you lose, you lose all. So, take a calculated risk. Find out what is most important to you and ask her if she is ready to support you in your endeavors. If she says yes, she is the one. :) 

Also no decision is ever right or wrong. How you make the best of your decision decides whether it was right or wrong. Similarly, it is not about finding the right girl. A right can become wrong if your marriage fails and vice versa. Also, the onus of a happy, successful marriage lies not on her but both of you, together. Enter matrimony with the intention of making it work and tell her the same. This commitment will decide whether you both are right for each other or not

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Goa Diaries: When a Pleasant Surprise Went Unpleasant

It was our day two in Goa. South Goa actually. We had taken a car on rent for the entire week so that our beautiful family feel might not be disturbed by an unknown person. Moreover because my hubby is more comfortable at driving with me by him than he by a driver.

It's being monsoon time in Goa, our trip advisor had recommended a few off beat places in Goa since we wouldn't be able to enjoy the water sports.

DoodhSagar was one of those. We took the map from the hotel and set off. What a wonderful weather, what bursts of rain, what greenery and what Goan music! I fell in love with the music. 

Mansi, my eight year daughter, gave a wonderful explanation that perhaps we all loved those songs because we didn't actually understand them and therefore were fancying our own respective meanings. 


(Pic Source: Flickr)
Well the ride was fabulous, a long long drive comprising of around sixty kilometres! 

We reached the place called Spice Gardens. There we met a chap named Kisna who tactfully discouraged us by telling that the way on to DoodhSagar was closed during monsoon n we couldn't go any further. We could however enjoy an elephant ride in the gardens. He was distracting us from our decided plan.

Negotiations went on, first we had the suggested ride which we enjoyed along with kids and then he told that we could somehow be transported to the desired place if we really really wished to. 

We foolishly agreed to be transported by an evening train that would drop us a few kilometres away from the destination. He assured to go along. 

Having had lunch in the jungle restaurant we patiently waited for the train not actually knowing it was an illegal enterprise we were venturing into. 

The Delhi to Goa train swallowed us in. He ushered us in the reservation coach with no tickets n himself went out of sight!!! 

Mansi was scared beyond limit while we failed to assure her that Kisna uncle might be there in another coach n he would certainly be answerable in case we were interrogated. 

It was half an hour ride n my daughter remained on pins n needless throughout. Even the most refreshing glimpses of beautiful waterfalls on the way n a number of long tunnels that might otherwise fascinate her...couldn't set her at ease. 

The ticket checker came, casting questioning looks at us. We candidly admitted we had none n narrated what was the scene. 

He smiled! 

Asked us to get down the moment the train stopped...we were like puzzled what was happening. 

It was a big game perhaps. 

Any-ways we did get down. Kisna the villain stood smiling too! 'arrey Mansi baby dar gayee? Darne ka kuch nahin. We are going to enjoy.' he explained grabbing her arm. I grabbed it back at once for he had already caused so much anxiety to us n couldn't be trusted. 

We kept walking actually on the railway track for two kilometres or so with a bunch of other fools like us. 

The tunnels were threatening indeed with tumultuous waterfalls all around making a deafening sound! We were guided by nothing but our mobile torches. Kisna appeared n disappeared at intervals. We felt like somebody was playing a trick upon us n we had no other option but to follow him n laugh at his silly jokes. 

Sheer adventure! 

Sheer ecstasy!

Rain poured profuse in fits n starts. We were drenched indeed. We felt like shuddering n shivering at the same time. 

Aah! What a view! What an awesome glimpse of nature! We were swept off our feet the moment we beheld the much talked of DoodhSagar! 

Kisna read our expressions intently like it was he the real lord Kisna who had procured the scene by his magic! 

'Ab boliye madam Ji! '

What to say! We were dumb with pleasant surprise at the mastery of God who had created such magical things! 

Sixty minutes flew off in the twinkling of an eye n we were like...no going back please!But...wait a minute! How the hell were we to go back??? 

He had said not a word about it! 

And where the hell was he? 

Aah! He had not only been carrying our group but a few more, all duped the same way! 

More n more people kept pouring in sight along with the bouts of fresh train that made us quiver like leaves in gust of air. A few ladies carried infants in their laps that kept crying out of cold...pathetic!!! 

All clothes dripping...shoulder bags damp n heavy. Dusk time. The awfully beautiful scenery around acquiring darker shades...

At last seeing our helpless faces he, the hero for the day did disclose what lay at the back of his mind. 

"Why you all afraid? Kisna won't cheat you. Madam maza toh aaya na?"

I couldn't disagree though I hated him at the moment. Kids gave him a wry smile. They knew we badly depended on this man. 

To our shock we were told that approximately half an hour or so more there might be...might be...mind it...an engine which we needed to board at once if we wanted to get back to the place we had parked our vehicles!!! 

By the way...did we actually remember the place where we had parked our vehicles? 

A few crazy heads were still indulged in the favourite pass time...selfies...to be uploaded on Facebook...lying literally on the track and what not! 

(Maya with her family)
We held our breaths for we could actually see an engine whistling from distance. Kisna made us run this way, that way, which way not? The trickster.. the cheater! 

It was just an engine and we were perhaps more than thirty! 

Babies cried badly, rain didn't show any mercy, we were really really scared lest one of we four should be left behind! 

I couldn't imagine the other precious three but myself. 

What if it was actually me? 

Would I be the same nature lover after the day? 

Would I be dancing in the rain amidst such awfully beautifully fantastically magically unreal surroundings? 

Omg! No! 

My hubby pushed me onto the engine first of all. I pulled Kashish, my son. While hubby ji was helping Mansi to reach me, the terrible ride began! A man with family who was still to board assured my hubby that he would have Mansi land safely by her mom n he should try for the other entry. 

Mansi faded with panic n so did we. 

The engine was full of sweating n terrified couples with kids. Kashish stood out resting himself on nothing but an iron railing. 

Me...? Don't even ask!

I had no railing in front of me to depend upon! Just a tool box, outside the engine with Mansi in my lap! Our blood went frozen. The damned engine was gathering speed n I couldn't really hold on without a support! 

Was a doomed day this kind? 

Did devils come nowadays in your life with such names as Kisna? 

'Where the hell is that bastard?? ' I asked Kashish. 

Kashish looked at him as he stood just next to him! 

'Kya hua madam? Kyon dar rahe ho? Kuch nahin hoga. Aap meri jagah pey aa jao railing pakad lo. Ek ghante ki toh baat hai!!!' 

He could see how panicked we three were. He somehow managed to usher us inside the engine where the women with infants stood alarmed. 

I looked for some biscuits to offer to the child but I found them all a saggy mess in my bag. 

My hubby all this while stood the other side leaning on the railing with few more adventurous souls taking pictures of the scenes around! 

Oh! And we couldn't see him from where we were. Didn't call him fearing it might lead to unbalanced feet. 

After an hour that seemed no less than a year of agony and exertion we halted with a rude jerk..

I, as a rule, don't ever curse anyone but I did curse him. I told him bluntly he was so reckless a man who couldn't be forgiven. 

'Madam adventure ke liye ghar se nikle the na? Puchiye Mansi baby se. She enjoyed or not. DoodhSagar toh mast tha naa?'

I did not know what to answer him or not. Doodhsagar was beautiful but he had turned it into a nightmare for us. 

Note: The above post comes from Maya Khandelwal. She has earlier contributed posts like Our First Meeting, The Gap, Love You, Oh Daddy and A Wrong Number, A Good Kiss and A Great Love

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Must Watch Short Film 'Blind Devotion'. It Will Bring Tears To Your Eyes

I recently watched this short film and I couldn't stop myself from sharing it here on the blog. 

The short film is titled 'Blind Devotion' and is based on a couple's story of dealing with a spouse's blinding vision. 

The couple in the movie is happy and much in love. Everything is perfect unless the wife starts to go blind. Her vision is diminishing and she knows one day she will go blind. She does not even tell her husband about her deteriorating vision and instead tries to deal with it on her own. The loving husband, puzzled, tries to figure out what is going on with her. 

Finally, when he learns he decides to do something amazingly caring and loving for her without her knowledge. 

Now this is the kind of devotion everyone seeks in their marriage. And such devotion emanates through true love.  Watch the film below. 

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ask Womanatics: What Should I Choose in The Guy ? His Job (My Dream) or Love?

Question: Hi Surabhi ma'am, I have a confusion. Please help me out of it. I am a civil services aspirant. While preparing for the exam, I fell in love with a guy who is also an aspirant. Things were going smooth between us until now when my parents started looking for a match for me. 

My parents are not aware of my love interest and nor I can dare to tell them because I know they will not agree since my lover is of different caste, different state and more importantly he is job less right now. He asks me to wait till he gets a job but time is running out. 

There is a match my parents have found for me. He is an IAS officer. I have always wanted to marry a civil services guy. This person is IAS and my lover is job less right now. 

I am confused about who should I marry. A job with IAS (that also fulfills my dream of marrying a civil services guy) or my lover who does not have a job right now. 

Please advise. 


Dear Reader, 

Thank you for writing to me. I am also a little confused while reading your question. But my question is not about who you should choose. It is more about whether I should guide you on the basics of life and the things that are truly important or I should just let you take your own decision and tell you what is good right now. 

Since you have not yet told your parents about your lover and you do not even intend to do so (most likely because you know they may never agree), this means that you are not in a mood to marry him. Had you been, you would have taken the steps in that direction. I also understand that when a girl gets married or she is looking for a match to get married to, she first wants a security. So, in this case you may not be totally interested in marrying your lover (because he is jobless) and that is understandable. 

But getting ready to marry a man simply because he is an IAS does not seem to be a wise decision either. While I believe your parents would have done a background check and they would have picked a good guy only but still being good or being an IAS do not guarantee a happy marriage. For happy marriage, one needs good mutual understanding, trust and respect. 

You may give some more time to your lover (if you really want to marry him and if you think your parents would agree for him if he gets a job) if you share the above qualities with him. But if you are not sure about your lover, talk to this IAS guy. Get to know him. Do not get carried away with his job. Job hardly plays a role in marriage. Judge him on more concrete parameters and then take a wise decision. 

Hope this helps. 


Thursday, July 9, 2015

How I Found True Love In Arranged Marriage

I have a small announcement to make. I am thrilled to share with you that my story of finding true love in arranged marriage has been picked by a reputed online magazine Elite Daily. Here is an excerpt of the post that I had written. 

Last week we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Ours was an arranged marriage and I had not even seen any of his picture before saying yes to him! Sounds so backward eh?! Wait till you read a little more and you would realize that this is a modern tale of love in conventional settings. I didn’t see his picture because I didn't care to see as I was besotted by him when I began to talk to him on phone and converse with him on emails. 

It was the beginning of 2009. I was holidaying with my friend in Manipur without informing my parents. I had called my sister at the hour of departure that I was leaving for a 4 day holiday in Manipur with my friend and before she could say anything, I switched off my phone and sat on the ATR that took off from Kolkata. With this short trip I intended to leave behind the emotional bruises of a failed relationship and also to get some relief from the mounting pressure of arranged marriage that had been dangling over my head. 

For the past five years, Papa had been bringing proposals for marriage and I somehow couldn’t seem to settle down with any of them. I would talk to them, once or multiple times depending on my interest generated, but none of them fitted well in my frame of ‘life partner’. It was difficult to explain this concept of ‘my kind of life partner’ to my increasingly restive parents but I was determined to not give in to their irrational demands. I knew I would rather stay single and stay abroad than marry someone against my wishes. Coming to Manipur was such an impulsive decision to gain some sanity. 

Read more here
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