Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Why I love the blue...

 “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
 – Jacques Yves Cousteau

There is some strong magnetism that the Sea has on us. In fact don't know why we call the earth the green planet when it actually is blue. 70% of the earth is covered by the sea. Supporting all kinds of life - flora and fauna. Complete in itself.... yet mysterious!
 The depth of the sea carries secrets that no one knows, this depth has many effects on the people around. The impact can be contradicting. I have grown up in a sea port town, though I was born in the hills. Looking at the sea always gave me some kind of pleasure, mystique that can't be expressed in any words, don't have the vocabulary to match the mighty Ocean. But it has made me laugh, find my answers and a lot of the times I have cried my heart out... looking at the sea! As a little girl I would go with my naval dad to the sea, while he attended to his work, I would drown myself in its vastness. I did sail a couple of times on short voyages lasting 3-4 days. I would go through the thrill and adventure on the first day and somehow that would change to gloom from the second. On the third day I would long to see the land and the sight of the approaching harbour would be like an oasis in the desert.

About the mood changes and the impact of the trio, sea - tides - moon, my mother experiences that, just the other day I saw a bit of swelling on her feet and I asked her what had happened, like always her answer was it was amavasya (no moon night). I tried finding it out and this is what I learnt; the moon's gravity (along with that of the Sun) causes the tides which indirectly also affects life on Earth. Through the tides the moon slows down the spin speed of the Earth and this in turn makes the Moon recede from the Earth.The only known major effect is the tidal effects in the sea. Other theories, that it affects people's moods, and so forth, have never been proven. Somethings are never proven but people experience them....I have also heard that the moon (specifically a full moon) causes labour. Is there a scientific proof? there can't be, but go to a maternity ward and have a chat with the nurses, chances are 9 out of 10 would say that its true. I was born on a full moon night and so was my brother. Its a coincidence again, that my elder one was born on a full moon night too. Some also believe that the trio have  spiritual effects on people and animals. Animals can sense a lot of natural processes (calamities).

I used to read the Skin Diver Magazine, that covered the different diving locations around the world and gave information about the sea and the unique features of that area. As well as list all the dos and don'ts while diving there. I dreamt about those seas and my diving adventures. Used to, eagerly wait for the subsequent issues of the magazine.Now, it's all thanks to the internet we have access to so much of information. Reading about the mystique of the oceans is always eventful and makes me wonder we are just a little drop in the mighty Ocean.

The Ocean is like that man whose charismatic persona makes one addicted to. Desirable yet so aloof, mysterious and full of zest. Isak Dinesen, a Danish writer has beautifully described the significance of the sea, “The cure for anything is salt water–sweat, tears or the sea” . Somehow this is one of the greatest quotes that I have heard ... how true!  A man wins his battle by the salt... sweat or tears! Sea water is a cure for many ailments and I have experienced it.

It was around 2002-3. There was a little growth on my ankle, didn't really know what it was. Thought it would disappear the way it came in the first place but that didn't happen. Went to a hospital and met a specialist. He told me that cutting it would make a scar so he asked me to come for chemical peeling. I was okay even with the cutting of that growth, more than me the doctor was concerned about the scar, ...yes I wasn't married then! But scar or no scar... it didn't matter to me. Went for about 8 sittings, twice a week. but nothing happened and once out of irritation I told the doctor to have it removed which he did. With that scar, I went to Goa. I was sitting at one of the beaches there and saw the men riding the waves...Felt like stepping into the sea, I just couldn't resist… finally gave in. There was a bandage on my ankle for the cut but I jumped into the water and swam quite a bit finally riding the little waves! Didn't know how 3 hours passed by. Just the next day I noticed the wound healing and it healed so well. Since then I have been telling almost everyone who I meet about the healing properties of the sea water. Yes the Spas the world over use this to their advantage, for some its the USP. The natural rich mud and salt is believed to give the waters of the Dead Sea certain curative and beautifying properties that are used by the Spas for various treatments and relaxation techniques.

 “A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
Have seen a lot of diving adventures of Jacques Cousteau (11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997), He was a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the 'Aqua-Lung', pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. He lived literally in the sea and understood it so well, that's how he could say that he made love to it. That’s the kind of impact the sea has on us. The gypsy heart longs for a little cottage by the sea.... what bliss!


I'll keep with my promise of writing about Abhilash Tomy in my posts till he is back from his historic voyage.
(Abhilash Tomy is attempting to be the first Indian on a solo non stop unassisted circumnavigation of the globe)

He is certainly experiencing the blue... the vast one at the moment and taming those waves, this is what he said, 
"Tired after an hour of struggle with the genoa which opened up in 30 knot winds. It was beating like the devil held by its throat. All under control. Need to check in lighter winds AOK. Meanwhile, winds have been touching 35 knots after 24 hours of being steady at 20 knots. Wasnt a bad day yesterday- did a 200 mile run!" 

'Winds gusting 45 kntos. I cant beleive Cyclone Nilam had only 50 knots tops"....

The lone ranger can be tired a bit but the spirit is certainly very high! Keep up Sailor!!
 To know more about Lt. Cdr Tomy and his boat the Mhadei, follow the link below.

Current position of the Mhadei

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Let my hair be straight

Women and their mane
Always attract attention,... in vain!
If they have wavy hair, they'll love the poker straight look
and if they are blessed with great straight hair, 
Wavy curls is what they crave!

I always liked straight hair though I have a wavy mane. As a kid, would ask mom why did my hair curl so much when I just wanted them to be obedient and stand on 'Attention' at my command. She'd always tell me how nice my hair was,  what thick and  fabulous curls I had but; that was hardly a consolation! Anyway, didn't leave them loose much as they had to be worn as braids or two little ponytails with the red ribbons, part of the grooming prescribed for school. 

When in college in the late 90s the perms were in and every girl  liked to have them, It added volume to the hair apart from making it look wild and dramatic. I never tried that as my hair hardly was any different from remotely permed. Then in the early 2000s, came the poker straight, coloured and  highlighted hair. Every other girl sported that look. I liked it but felt it  looked like being a part of the local 'band'. Every girl looked the same and somehow the uber straight hair didn't look natural. But I just couldn't resist trying it once. 

Finally, I summoned enough courage to try the straight hair look, in 2004  went to my neighbourhood salon and told the lady there that I would like to straighten my hair. She agreed and told me the charges for different hair straightening products, she used the best available. She told me not to wash the hair for the next 48 hours. I went to work with that kind of sticky straight hair. A few of the people told me it looked nice but one of the colleagues, who never chewed her words, always gave her frank opinion told me that it wasn't that great and that my natural hair was far better. Anyway, couldn't do much then it was a mixed bag of feelings. Went back to the salon for the hair wash. Guess what? Like the dog's tail 'the best available hair straightening product' didn't do anything much for my hair, they hardly got any straight! The lady told me that my hair was thick and stubborn so didn't pick the result. She said that she'd try the second time, of course at no extra charge. I went to her that weekend too and the whole process started with some not so pleasant smelling solutions and gels. Went through the ordeal as it was like walking around having half of the mustache shaven.

The result was straight hair but it did break quite a few of my strands, luckily my hair was really thick so didn't become that noticeable. But I had achieved that straight hair look that I had always longed for! To be frank they didn't somehow feel natural but who cared... everything 'in' and in trend doesn't have to be natural or comfortable. Why would women wear stilettos then? I felt 'In' with the trend!

After that disastrous episode I haven't gone for using any chemicals or straightening products on my hair. What I do now is, if I need a different look, say hair to look better behaved then I oil them well the night before, shampoo and condition them the following morning. That  relaxes them a bit and while the hair is still wet, I  cover them with a silk scarf, heat the iron (the ironing box used for ironing clothes) and iron the silk scarf. It gives instant straight hair and it doesn't look as if the hair has been asked to remain straight at gun point. At no extra cost one can get great looking straight hair. They'll remain so till the next wash. 

If you can't handle the iron yourself, seek someone's help. There are many products available in the market that can be tried, if you don't mind experimenting and treating your hair to some new fragrances, I am not saying that they'll be pleasant always. Many brands offer gels, mousses and hairsprays that need to be applied on wet hair and the effect will last till the next wash.  If the hair isn't too stubborn then a blow dry can also make it straight. Alternatively, one can use the hair iron to straighten them. Yet again the effect lasts till the next wash.

Some women I've heard use the rolling pin on wet hair, rolling the end and pulling it down hard so that when the hair dries it remains straight. Some even swear by using heavy books such as a couple of encyclopedias. What they do is lie down on the floor comb  their wet hair and place the weight on them within 30 minutes the job is done. Latest in my list of know how is the use of cloth clips. Stand near a clothes line with wet and nicely combed hair, divide them into small sections and clip each section to the clothes line, again give it a half an hours time for the desired result. Some kitchen remedies are the use of curd regularly on hair, don't blame if you start  smelling sour permanently. Not a regular idea but it seems protein makes the hair look straight, rather it makes them stiff... so use the most potent protein that you can get your hands on. Haven't tried them though, but they seem to work fine.

Just in case, you are living in Mumbai and travel by the local train you don't need to do much just wash and condition your hair and stand at the door of the train (foot board actually), I know its not supposed to be done but half of the train travelers are hanging on the outside. If you are into that kind of antics, the air hitting your hair is the natural blow drier and the result is straight hair on the go!

Women would love it if there was a product, trustworthy enough and that promised straight hair without much fuss.

Submitting this post as an entry to the Indiblogger- Sunlik 'The straight Hair Experiment Contest.

These pictures have been take from various websites, if anyone has an objection to their use here, they'll be promptly removed.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

In love with the idea of being in love!

Was watching 'Jab tak hai Jaan'. In fact watched the movie twice. Something that I heard from my English teacher in school, came back to my mind and made me think. Can't recollect in what context she had said that, "people are in love just with the idea of being in love". I guess there was a story in our English textbook  while explaining it she had said that. I have thought about it quite often but was never able to really understand what it was. While I saw this movie I kind of get what it meant.

As young girls, I think we were in the 8th standard then, we used to have a library hour every week, where the entire class would go to the library and read books, look at the magazines and newspapers. We got our hands on a few Barbara Cartland books.  
Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland,(9 July 1901 – 21 May 2000), was an English author, one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century. As Barbara Cartland she is known for her numerous fictional romantic novels, but she also wrote under her married name Barbara McCorquodale
We used to read the last few pages of the book and all of us would be in love with her hero, the character in the novel. Our library had about six of her books and we had read all of them. It was a group activity!

Then was the time for Mills and Boon, 10th standard vacation reading. We had a long vacation after the 10th standard and the Mills and Boon series was what most of the girls read. Again there was this hero, from each story that we would be in love with. I guess this is true for most of the girls that age. Read quite a few novels, in fact we had taken membership at the local library and could easily finish about two novels each day. Was such a major time pass activity. I guess the boys that age used to be out doors playing cricket, football or tennis. They had their own set of activities and hobbies to manage. Yes that generation didn't have the social networking and no phones. So it was different growing up then, the present generation, Y or Z  can never even imagine that kind of life.

Yes MBs (as we used to call the Mills and Boon) were passe by the time we did our 12th standard and went to college. During that time, we read different books may be the classics by Jane Austen, or the contemporary ones like Danielle Steel, Agatha Christie or Robert Ludlum. The most popular among the girls was Danielle Steel, we just loved her novels. 

Danielle Steel (born August 14, 1947) is an American novelist, currently the bestselling author alive and the fourth bestselling author of all time, with over 800 million copies sold.Based in California for most of her career, Steel has produced several books a year, often juggling up to five projects at once. All her novels have been bestsellers, including those issued in hardback.Her formula is fairly consistent, often involving rich families facing a crisis, threatened by dark elements such as jail, fraud, blackmail and suicide.Steel has also published children's fiction and poetry, as well as raising funds for the treatment of mental illness. Her books have been translated into 28 languages, with 22 adapted for television, including two that have received Golden Globe nominations.
Then this generation of women, got into the career mode followed by family mode. Some of them found their men just out from those novels that we read or pretend that they were those characters with a little difference here and there.
For me, all time favourite has been, Something wonderful by Judith McNaught. This is certainly not the best book that I have read but it somehow remains a favourite. The story is of Jordan and Alexandra. Jordan was my idea of a perfect man. I read that book many times then one fine day gave it away as it was becoming more of a distraction in the house. Going through the nitty gritties of an arranged marriage, at the pre- stage the ideal that I kept looking for was 'Jordan'. I guess that is what,  in love with the idea of being in love is. 
Jab Tak Hai Jaan, again not the best movie that I have watched but it did answer a few questions for me and that's how I liked the movie. Yes my 'Jordan' did watch it with me.


I'll keep with my promise of writing about Abhilash Tomy in my posts till he is back from his historic voyage.
(Abhilash Tomy is attempting to be the first Indian on a solo non stop unassisted circumnavigation of the globe)

Here's a hero, in the real sense and not from the novels who is set out to challenge his own capabilities.

To know more about Lt. Cdr Tomy and his boat the Mhadei, follow the link below.

The current position of Mhadei

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Are men really from Mars and women from Venus?

Have often heard the saying, Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. I haven't read the book though, by the title Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus by John Gray. It was always on the back burner and still remains so! May be one day soon I shall grab a copy and read it. In fact ever since the arrival of my lovely kids, my daily habits, hobbies and desires have gone through some drastic changes. Not that I am complaining! Life with spouse and children is completely a different ball game but I haven't really read a good book in the last 6- 7 years. Most of the reading is of the articles, blogs, journals etc. But never a hard core fiction or whatever one can call them.
Also, have heard that, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus but they suffer on Earth!

I am certainly not an expert on the subject but yes I do have a Martian in my life.... actually three if the little Martians can be counted to the list! My first experience with this Martian was when we met for the first time, almost eight years ago. Yes, we liked each other, when we got talking he spoke only his negatives. I wondered how someone couldn't think of anything positive in him, quite contrary to the general expression by most of the men. They try to impress the lady, may be this Martian had marriage on mind so he hit the nail on the head. If it struck it was good otherwise I wan't the one!.... must have been on his mind. It did work and we are married!

Something that I learnt from people in my own friends' circle and not to mention that I kind of deal with the early 20's age group by virtue of my profession, For the last 10 years I have been  teaching the under graduate and post graduate programmes. I also work as a counselor so I have got opportunities to be part of this distinction, helping the people from these two planets to cope with each other. That has been a learning for me. They come with their issues and they bring the solutions as well. I am just the facilitator, may be a sounding board. Its just that I give them my ear and they happily find their own solutions and walk out of my office happy!.... what they do afterwards is again their look out.

What I have experienced is, when you ask a very 'Happening and Eligible' bachelor about his plans to settle down. He is quite uncomfortable with the question and the quick answer is that he doesn't want the commitment, he is rather scared. People, (read it as other Martians) had told him how difficult marriage was and  how awful the inmates of the Venus were. Now, there can't be generalizations. All relationships are different, each one is unique and special in its own way. If X Martian has undergone some experience with Y Venusian (sounds like Venetian blind!) The remaining alphabets won't go through the same. That's logic isn't it? I know at least a handful of such people, how I wish they didn't fall prey to these generalizations.

Just the other day, a girl I know, may be she should be called a spinster, had some doubts in her mind that she wanted to clarify with her women friends. She wanted to know if the person that she was going out with was the one for her. Everyone in a relationship, married or not were advising her. I felt that all relationships were unique and no amount of canvassing would help. There is a saying, "Shaadi ka Laddu, jo khaye woh pashtaye, jo na khaye woh bhi pashtaye". So where does good sense prevail?

Relations are more of understanding, mutual respect and to accept each others differences, as women think differently from men. Men will talk straight and women will look for some emotional 'awe moments' in them. They are genetically designed to read between the lines and they do a lot of that; whereas men will go by what is being said, this can be a little point of difference. It is this point that generally leads to the fall out or may be a break up. Toilet seat can lead to a furore, whether it has to be kept up or down. Life is certainly not that bowl so prioritizing is the key. 

Ten common complaints that are easily misinterpreted (According to John Gray)

Women say things like this
Men respond like this  
"We never go out."
"That's not true. We went out last week."
"Everyone ignores me."
"I'm sure some people notice you."
"I am so tired, I can't do anything."
"If you don't like your job, then quit."
"I want to forget everything."
"That's ridiculous."
"The house is always a mess."
"It's not always a mess."
"No one listens to me anymore."
"But I am listening to you right now."
"Nothing is working."
"Are you saying it is my fault?"
"You don't love me anymore."
"Of course I do. That's why I'm here."
"We are always in a hurry."
"We are not. Friday we were relaxed. "
"I want more romance."
"Are you saying I am not romantic”

I am sure all of us at some stage have had these kind of exchanges, can't call them good conversations really isn't it? The other day came across a little not pad left behind my someone. Checked out the contents, there were little notes written here and there and something that caught my attention was the three words ILU and the name of the person written in many different ways. I asked my hubby, how come he never did this, to which he smiled and said that he didn't really know what that meant. Asked me if I would like something like that. I thought to myself not really but yes we 'Venusians' (somehow I am getting used to this word now!) would love to see them once in a while. At heart one never really grows up and these little surprises are a feel-good factor. No matter where we come from, we can't and we shouldn't suffer on earth!


I'll keep with my promise of writing about Abhilash Tomy in my posts till he is back from his historic voyage.
(Abhilash Tomy is attempting to be the first Indian on a solo non stop unassisted circumnavigation of the globe)

Here's one Martian, who has made the Mighty Ocean his home and like a crusader he is gradually scaling his path (say voyage) to creating history for India and the Indian Navy. Found something apt for him and his tribe, 

“There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't sit still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin, And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest; Their's is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.”
― Robert W. Service

To know more about Lt. Cdr Tomy and his boat the Mhadei, follow the link below.

The current position of Mhadei

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Fasting and feasting

I came across a lot written about fasting. My source of information was the Facebook. The reason why I choose this topic is that people like to comment and form an opinion, no matter whether they qualify to do so. We have an opinion and we look for people around to impose it on. Then there's the herd mentality, one opinion and thousands endorsing it.

I am in no way critising anyone, its just the thought and a few misconceptions that I am talking about. I respect ever individual for their thoughts and expressions but in no way do I accept the ignorance and little information that's used as a weapon to hide inadequacies. Here's the incident that inspires me to think and write about.Women especially the North Indians fast for Karwa Chauth, which generally falls in the month of October - November every year. They don't even have water till they see the moon in the evening and first offer water to the moon. This is believed to be for the long life of their husbands. This year Karwa Chauth was on 2nd November. When women were fasting, a lot of people were talking about it and discussing the occasion / ritual in their own way. Some of them were of the opinion that the women were after getting expensive gifts from their husbands. As the ritual is to wear new clothes and adornments of the married women. 

There were some who said, "Our celestial accountants are working hard today . . .adding life to gentlemen whose wives dutifully deprive themselves of food and water". Some people felt that it literally meant bitter pill (karwa Chauth). And some thought that it came from the Yash Chopra movies and had a lot of glamour  attached to it. In reality its just a day of fasting and the remaining 364 days were spent finding faults in their better or bitter halves.Some of them said that it was a hypocrisy a high drama. Some women wanted expensive sarees and jewellery  and wanted to be pampered by their husbands and in laws. Women are career oriented these days and earn, may be as good as their husbands, they can very well buy what they wish to.

This definitely could be from their own experiences. Men who feel they are adored one day in the year and the wife is after them for the remaining days of the year. Its their own personal equation with their spouse. What they experience is what they express. I have nothing against this and I am certainly not being a bra burning feminist here.
Now these are the people who don't follow the ritual, What I ask is if you don't walk the path how does the road to the destination matter to you? How can you write a travelogue just by sitting at your comfort desk?
In India, fasting is an integral part of our culture. I am not talking about superstition here, neither am I talking about any religion. Its just a part of our culture ... period! I am an educated woman, come from a liberal family. Was always given the right to choose my own path and decide my own journey. I made all the choices in my life! 

In the Hindu calendar (Me being a Hindu) would like to add here that fasting is done on many occasions by both men and  women, young or old. Hindu sages learnt the importance of fasting thousands of years ago and they believed it to be a healthy way of living. Scientifically speaking also, it is considered to be good for health as one gives rest to the stomach and the digestive system. There is a kind of  rest to the body and its vital organs and  its not deprivation of any kind. But yes, one should be physically fit to fast. Even in other religions there's a mention of fasting be it Ramadan or lent. Hindus Fast during Shravan, Navratri, Puranmasi, Ekadashi, Chaturthi, Janamashtami, Shivratri to mention a few.

There are many ways to fast, some take only water, some take fruits and fruit juices some even have a few roots such as potatoes and sweet potatoes but they don't have any salt. If you look at these food groups they are good for one's system and also kind of give rest to the digestive machinery. One learns to control their mind and the urge to indulge (even when a fabulous spread of some of the best food is laid in front of them). Its about controlling mind and body. Also a bit of detoxification of the body. 

Biodun Awosusi  (Yahoo contributor network) has to say the following:

  • Fasting Promotes detoxification
  • Fasting Rests Digestive System
  • Fasting Resolves Inflammatory Response
  • Fasting Reduces Blood Sugar
  • Fasting Increases Fat breakdown
  • Fasting Corrects high blood Pressure
  • Fasting Promotes Weight loss
  • Fasting Promotes Healthy diet
  • Fasting Boosts Immunity
  • Fasting May Help to Overcome Addictions

I have seen my mother fasting, she still does for various occasions and so is my mother in law. I started to observe the occasional fasting when I was in college and after my marriage I try to observe the fasts that are meant for the married women. I fast on Mondays, that I have been doing for very long now. Again no one asked me to its just that I like following it and being in touch with my roots. Like the other women of my generation I like dressing up be it a skirt, shorts or our very own saree. I love interacting on the social media just the way I love my occasional drinks.  Where is 'putting an act' here. I guess unless one knows the reason behind such rituals there's certainly no need to dissect the others who follow them.  

Fasting for occasions like Karwa Chauth is also a kind of social function for women, where they gather and celebrate the occasion. In the olden days, it was a day of rest and celebrations for the women folk. It was very different from the way the festival is celebrated now, with over the top emotions and whole lot of drama. My mother in law told me what she was told by hers and that's what I try to follow. Most of the fasts conclude with feasts. We Indians are a nation of hopeful people. We celebrate and indulge, for us everything is king-size. That's how we are and we should be proud of who we are! Please note that when I say "I" its not just "Me" but many women of my generation.


I'll keep with my promise of writing about Abhilash Tomy in my posts till he is back from his historic voyage.
(Abhilash Tomy is attempting to be the first Indian on a solo non stop unassisted circumnavigation of the globe)

The officer has completed one month of his voyage, he says 30 days gone and 150 to go. I would put it slightly differently, 1 month down and 5 to go. So everything is manageable and fits in the fingers, in just one hand. 
Talking about fasting, I am sure Tomy too exercises the aspect of fasting and feasting. He must be judicious in his use of the allotted ration, that he is carrying with him to last the entire voyage. Also, the kind of self control that he posses has to be commendable. He needs to plan and eat wisely, no overdoing  and of course no under doing either. Just the right amount of calorie intake and best use of his energies. He sure must be meditating to overcome the occasional frustrations that he might be facing being all my himself on the voyage.

To know more about Lt. Cdr Tomy and his boat the Mhadei, follow he link below.