Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Please don't wear heels, and Don't dance!

Knee story - Part 3
I am happy today, in fact extremely happy and as they say happiness knows no bounds; it holds so true for me at this moment. Guess what? I am sure if you have read the last couple of my posts, you'd have guessed it right. I am talking about legs and knees these days. I must have looked at my knees more times in this month than I might have done in my entire life. So here we go, it's positive news from my doctor and I wish to share with the ones who are following my posts, the ones who are facing medical emergencies or a trying health condition. It's a feel-good post as I am not a doctor but a strong believer in the process of self healing through positive mindset and attitude. The body listens to you, it's your friend, a true one! You spend all your time with it, it's your temple. So if you have the faith it'll work with you giving you the results that you have visualised. Your visualisation has to be powerful, the very best that you can think of. After all the mind is fertile, put it to good use.

Last evening I had to go for a review to my doctor, my elder one came along. We reached the clinic at the appointed time and met Dr. Maheshwari. My son was happy to see him as he already knew a lot about him thorough our conversations. I am happy to see my children showing interest in my recovery, they even remind me to do the exercises. Appreciate the thoughts of 11 and 8 year olds, as a parent I feel blessed. Who doesn't like to be cared for!

Doctor asked me how I was, I told him that I felt superb! He then examined my knee and asked me to bend it. I tried but it didn't bend completely. It was but natural, as I hadn't bent it for the more than one and a half months. By now it was stubborn, anything stubborn needs to be tamed. Which I will and soon. Being a wife, mother, teacher and trainer; above all being a woman this comes naturally to me. I asked him if I could do some yoga, he gave me the permission for that but told me to do the exercises on a bed rather than on the floor. He also advised not to do anything that'll strain the knee much like the Suryanamashkar. He told me not to wear heels and not to dance. I had a hearty laugh, where in the world was I going to dance? Only wish that I had was to be able to walk properly. Needed my mobility back. 
I had a few doubts and concerns that I got cleared from him. I shared a few things I had read on the internet, to which he said, "If you all read everything on the internet what will we doctors do? We'll lose our jobs! On a serious note, each case is different and each patient is different. That can be evaluated, diagnosed and treated by an experienced doctor only." I couldn't agree more, being a trainer I could share my content with anyone but what I deliver and how I deliver it is completely driven by me. Each one of us has vitality that's attached to one and only that self. No one can take it away. That's the value we create for ourselves.

I guess he read my thoughts and told me to take operation off my mind. He reinforced that if I was 20 and very active in sports may be he'd have but not as I was not eligible for that honour. Honour? Again he spoke about Sachin Tendulkar, looks like he's a big fan of the legend. He said, "Even if Tendulkar came to me today with that injury, I wouldn't suggest an operation as he is now retired and at the most would do some coaching." What an example! but I loved it. Tendulkar is called God, who wouldn't like to hear stories of the God! So what if it was just an example to make things clear to a novice.

He told me that the thought or fear was out of the knee but the mind had to be cleared.  So true, a lot of things happen because they occupy a great deal of space in our minds controlling our thoughts. One needs to work on the mind first. He said that I'd be fine in 100 days and then I could wear heels and dance as well. In the meanwhile I had to do a couple of exercises with weights. I could swim or do some cycling on an exercycle. So no more medicines this time and he wrote Better on my file. I started showing him a few exercises basically yoga poses that I was planning to do. He told me to see his online videos that had some exercises, then I realised I was actually behaving like a very happy child, thrilled with what was to come. Felt a bit embarrassed as some patients were waiting but in my heart of hearts nothing else mattered but the feeling of being able to move around without any bondage! I believe that the willpower is a muscle that can be strengthened.

I walked out of the clinic with my son having the Nile sized smile on my face. I am only keeping the walking stick  just as an extra support if need be as the Mumbai weather has forgotten to update itself, we are having extended rains. Today am bending it like Beckham and spirits touching the sky. Feeling thankful and loving myself for being 'gutsy'. I keep showering praises at everyone, once in a while a bit of self praise is okay I guess!

Now on mission 100!

PS Pictures are taken from Google

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sailor's life

Receiced a forwarded message on my whatsapp and I felt it being so true. Sharing it here with due credits to the author, poet or sailor. Salute to him for beautifully expressing his thoughts and sharing a page from his life, speaking not just for himself but the entire fraternity.  I know they are men of a few words and many can never express what they feel with words. They are the action speaks louder than words people. They'll do, you have to feel! It wasn't just like that the sailor's girl was called the queen. He'll treat you like one. As a sailor' s wife and a blogger I have covered many aspects of our lives from a woman's perspective. It's heartwarming to hear from the sailor in his own words. I say that every word is true and deserves it's weight in forget gold, may be platinum if any value could be attached to it. It's priceless to say the least!

An ode to the true Sailor

My life moves in a circular direction. I come back home to go away and go away to come back.
I have no address except for the name of the vessel yet my passport shows one. My home is elsewhere, where my heart belongs.
I am not like any other man but yet I am the most ordinary person at heart.

I cannot go through the daily mundane stuff of the ordinary man and yet the ordinary man cannot take the pain I go through.
He cannot live away from his home, love and life for months on end.
He cannot be the helpless son, lonely husband or the yearning father.

He will never know the frustration of staying awake for days and many times not getting rest at all, working round the clock.
There are no constant time zones we stick to.
The ordinary man will not know the lonely cabins I come to after work, where as he comes to a house full of people.
He gets to eat what his mother/wife cooks and gets to be hugged by his children daily.
I only see them growing in pictures, he gets to hear them and see them daily, whereas I have to be strong and do my duties.
My wife must be silently wiping her tears, braving the pain & consoling the kids that father will be home soon.
Her hands must be longing to hold mine, her heart must be longing to love me, her lips must be longing to tell all that happens during the day, her eyes longing to look into mine.
Whenever she looks at couples on the way to market, she must be turning her eyes away and consoling herself that just few more days.

I am an ordinary man away, doing my job. I tell everyone to understand that I need to be away.
I am not a Casanova, I go to the shore to step on land because I've not felt it beneath my soles for long.
I am a very lonely man.
The biggest fear that grips my heart is when my family needs me I may not be around.
I fight myself daily, I fight these surging thoughts, I tell myself-not now mate, duty calls.
I look forward to the day I meet my folks at home, pray for their safety and wellbeing and hope they are happy.

I only want them to know, while I stand tall at the bridge, that I love my family and I am proud of who I am and what I do.
The ordinary man I am inside, I shall always be.
But the man I am today, no ordinary man shall be..

My sailor's ways

After being married for 12 years, when I look back so many things unfold that once got me upset were actually his ways of sensitising and preparing me for our lives ahead. I have been like a princess for him from the day we were introduced for marriage, I say introduced as it was an arranged marriage.
He had seen my house and my room during our courtship days which were about 6 months.  In our culture the girl goes to her husband's house only after marriage. So I hadn't seen his. But when I went there our room was a replica of my own at my parent's house, but bigger and more luxurious as it was going to be for the two of us, with stars on the ceiling that lit bright in the night. I could look at them when he was away on work. He got his house renovated before our marriage and a lot of ideas were taken from mine so that I was comfortable and the place had an element of familiarity. I literally felt at home!

My first Karwachauth was during our courtship days. He was home then, my mom in law asked if I would like to follow the ritual which I immediately answered in the affirmative. He called again to tell me that it was never a compulsion, he thought I might not be the girl who'll fast with no food or water. I told him that I loved all the festivities connect with it moreover it was a celebration of our love, which was blossoming then, I'd fast for sure. It was evening almost 10 pm and he hadn't come to see me. I was so very upset visualising all the romance of the festival that our Bollywood films brought. I did the rituals with my mother. He could have come over and made it even bigger than DDLJ but he chose not to as I'd be alone the next Karwachauth.  He didn't want me to miss him thinking of how it was the first time. It did happen that he wasn't home the following year and I celebrate the festival with my mom in law. He called and hearing his voice mattered the most to me.

He has had his ways of making a girl who was cocooned and everything provided for, into a Sailor's Queen. When I go down the memory lane, just like today being the Karwachauth and he busy onboard into a long manoeuvring, I realise how smart he has been preparing me for things without ever dropping a hint. Some of those incidents caused misunderstandings or tiffs but he made sure that I learnt or discovered things on my own. The more I learn about him the deeper my love becomes.
Many sailor' s wives, fiancees and girlfriends follow my blogs and so many write back to me. I felt like sharing a few cherished moments from my life. A sailor has his way of doing things, just be with him with all your love and understanding, you'll be his forever queen!

Love is not looking at each other but looking in the same direction.
Happy Karwachauth, be blessed!

PS Mehendi pic courtesy Nisha Siddarth, a Sailor queen.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Online Reviews - the good, the bad and the ugly!

Knee story - Part 2

If you're booking a weekend getaway, buying a new microwave, or trying to find the best barbecue grill in the neighbourhood, you may first check a few online reviews on your smart phone or laptop and then take your decision. I guess we don’t wait to find our answers we look up online instantly, these online ratings are an example.

We don’t want to remember things in fact we have stopped memorising anything , be it a password or a phone number. I remember before my first mobile phone I could easily remember phone numbers of my friends and relatives easily making more than 30. Not just that but also their birthdays and much similar information that I don't feel the need for anymore. My smartphone has certainly made me dumber in the memory department if not elsewhere. I was talking to a colleague the other day while he was going through presentations sent by students for evaluation. Did see that they lacked originality, the reason is not that they are not imaginative, these days people don’t want to spend time working around things, no one wants to reinvent the wheel.  What you get as a result is  an add-on of what has already been attempted. But who knows while trying they may come up with something that can actually save the planet! Some great inventions and discoveries have been accidents just like some smart people may have been a result of an accident!

Influence of online reviews
We for sure know that one shouldn't believe every review he or she reads. Yet nearly 80 percent of consumers trust online review sites as much as personal recommendations, according to a study by BrightLocal, and almost 75 percent say positive reviews make them trust a business more.
Only about 25 percent believe information available on rating sites is unfair, based on another survey by Maritz Research. As you might predict, both studies found older baby boomers are less trusting of online review sites than the younger consumers, the internet generation who have grown with their smartphones and Google Baba. Instantly logging on, reading and valuing reviews as well as contributing to the sites with their opinions.

My take
I have never really cared about reviews as I feel they are personal opinions of people and a lot depends on their own personalities and liking. Movies are a classic example, what one raves about and the critics giving a 5 star rating may be one of the worst that you have been exposed to. Whereas the one film that you loved thoroughly hardly managed to get a single star. Ratings are there for almost everything, you name a business there is a rating for it. Not just businesses but a corporate office may be rated too. There are many rating sites mushrooming but the bigger players are more trusted such as the Tripadvisor, Zomato or the Glassdoor. When you travel you should make your own memories, the destination is not as exciting as the journey itself. People’s views are helpful but they should not be a deciding factor. People have herd mentality, one thought might result in a biased opinion.  I also have learnt that there are paid reviews, what’s their sanctity then? You must try things and make your own reviews, if reviews are to be used they should be used as references and one must read a few references before coming to a conclusion good or bad.
I recently wrote about my experience with orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Mahesh Maheshwari. While at his clinic on my second visit being extremely happy with the treatment and positivity I got from him; we had a little chat as there wasn’t another patient after me. I discussed my concerns, he had read my blog too and he thanked me for the positive words I had for him. I told him that it wasn’t a rating or a review it was my own experience and I felt that it could help someone somewhere just like I had read a couple of similar experiences. Those stories helped me cope better with my injury, the recovery looked very hopeful. He said a few things that justified my reservations about online reviews.
Reading my blog he said, “I am obliged. I passed my 12th in 1982 and was a meritorious student. It was possible for me to enter any profession. I chose to become doctor. Today I think it was a correct decision. I have 3 businesses listed on Google. If possible please put reviews in them. Some of the patients did not pay my fees and posted negative reviews. Nowadays good doctors and teachers don't get their deserved due respect”.

Infact hearing this I learnt even doctors were reviewed and people used these reviews as references. Everyone must use a second or third opinion if there’s a need, that’s taken. Sometimes a review should not point the sour grapes. To review someone needs a lot of maturity, one has to be impartial and should know how to critique. It’s easier to criticise someone but critiquing is an acquired skill.  I told Dr. Maheshwari that he brought in so much of experience and the way he spoke told me that he knew his job well, where did the reviews come into picture? I have been in the people’s industry for more than two decades and can understand people to some extent.
Dr. Maheshwari did agree with my take on the reviews and he added, “More than experience and professional qualifications, I am happy to say that I have been honest and advise my patients whatever I am likely to advise my family members.  I empathise with my patients. Whenever a special request comes for concession from the needy I never refuse. In last 25 years have treated more than 1 lakh patients and many families still approach me with full faith. This has been the most fulfilling part of my career. Unfortunately I am not competent to satisfy all!”

A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.
~Marshall McLuhan

Probably he was referring to the negative reviews; I understood where he was coming from. During our chat I told him what I did and how training, learning and empowering others was something close to my heart and I did programs towards this personal mission. He told me that if I found someone who really needed his help but was poor or under privileged, I could refer the person to him and he’d certainly look after the treatment. I loved what he said and was thankful to him; it’s an empowerment when you can be of help to someone. It made me wonder whether reviews made an individual or was a person more of a whole lot of other smaller essential elements that added to his personality. It is said that the average man's opinions are generally of more value to himself than to anyone else. Nothing can replace you as a person; each one has his own vitality that cannot be replicated. Reviews and ratings won't add up to making that personality!
I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!
~Theodore Roosevelt

PS Pictures are taken from Google, with due credits!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

World Tourism Day 2017

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
― Marcel Proust

According to UNWTO, the United Nations General Assembly announced the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Tourism can contribute to all the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.  It can fulfill each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set up by UN. Not only does the tourism sector spearhead growth, it also improves the quality of people’s lives. It can bolster environmental protection, champion diverse cultural heritage, and strengthen peace in the world.
World Tourism Day 2017, being celebrated on 27th September, presents a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism towards development among public and private sector decision-makers and the international community.  At the same time;  mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
The UNWTO Secretary-General annually sends out a message to the general public to mark the occasion. Many tourism enterprises and organizations, as well as government agencies with a special interest in tourism, celebrate the event with various special events and festivities. This year the message is to celebrate World Tourism Day by taking the pledge to Travel, Enjoy and Respect the Environment.

Different types of competitions, such as photo competitions promoting tourism, as well as tourism award presentations in areas such as ecotourism, are held on World Tourism Day. Other activities include free entries, discounts or special offers for the general public to any site of tourism interest. Government and community leaders, as tourism business representatives, make public announcements or offer special tours or fares to promote both their region and World Tourism Day on or around September 27.

We at the Apeejay institute of Hospitality have been celebrating the World Tourism Day as a day of Community Lunch. The students get dishes from their regions whereas the hostlers make their traditional food at the institute kitchen.  The delicacies are then served to their fellow students, the institute staff as well as the hotel HODs. The celebration is ‘quite a spread’ of the rich cuisines from across India. Everyone not only relishes the sumptuous meal but also learns about the different cuisines of India. Recipes are exchanged between the attending members, people sharing the ‘mother’s secret recipe’ which generally remains within the family. One gets to see and sample dishes such as avial, neer dosa, poran poli, Sindhi kadi, dal pakwan, dal bati churma, gatte ki sabzi, salli murg, biryani, thepla, chhole puri, Goan fish curry, masale bhaat, chokha and sattu to name a few. This activity of community lunch not only creates a bonding between the diners but also people get inspired to learn more about the different regions and their cultures, often prompting them to travel. The main idea of tourism is to create harmony and understanding, isn’t it? It is said that wherever one goes the place becomes a part of him or her somehow. Travel brings power and love back into your life.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
~Mark Twain
This year, we organized an elaborate program in addition to the community lunch, wanted to use it as a platform to understand sustainable development and drive the message home to our students, staff and guests to travel more, enjoy the destination, it’s culture and food. And respect the environment while doing so. We decided to add elements and events that’d do exactly the same. Mr. Pramod Dalvi, Vice president, Public Relations, Kesari Tours, was invited to be the chief guest for the event and address the students. Mr. Dalvi brings with him four decades of rich experience in the Travel and Tourism sector. He delivered a very powerful and enriching speech, which was accepted very well by one and all present. Am sure everyone is motivated to travel more hence forth. Mr. Ravi Rawat, General Manager of The Park Navi Mumbai, also addressed the audience. He emphasized on the importance and impact of tourism on the hotel industry. This was followed by the Vice Principal of the Institute Mr. Shirish Bokde, who spoke about what tourism meant to him and what he wanted people to start doing from their end. The Cultural program put up by the students was next in the list of events. The finale was the poster designing competition where we received many entries from the students. 
A day well spent amidst good food, enlightening talks and entertainment. 

PS Some pictures are taken from Google, with due credits