Remember why you started..

The world is ready to bring you down, tear you to shreds. Days that will question how you got here? Why did you make the decision you did? and most importantly were those life changing decisions right after all? You reach a point where you self-doubt, your decisions, your will power, your self-worth and everything in between. So what do you do then?

Well, you need to stop sulking, stop with the self-pity and remember why you started! Be it your job, your love life, your passions & dreams. Go back to remember why you started in the first place. There was always risk involved, you knew that dint you? You still gave it all you had, you believed well, maybe this could work. You believed in yourself that hell yeah I will make this work. But somewhere all along, you let their stupid, baseless talks get into your head. You went into denials of not wanting to try at all.

The perfect relationship?

You started doubting if this relationship was even worth your time, you started doubting your choices, he’s too arrogant, doesn’t get you, too clingy? But weren’t these exactly the very things you had grown to love?  Did you ever imagine how life would be if he dint bother to text you? call you? didn’t bother to know how your day was going? You’d complain about that too, wouldn’t you!

The job that pays the bills & more

You got the job you were vying for? You got your expected salary and then you started finding flaws in the system, boss too adamant, workload too much, work hours too bad… how about all the bonuses you got, how about the time your boss stood up for you before the management, the time your boss did say how valuable you were. It may have been for their own ulterior reasons, but they did want you right?

Dreams that never let you sleep….

So you made elaborate plans, very sure you’d make all of them work. You planned, decided, asked for help. Burned the night lamp at odd hours into the night just too perfect your script or to simply make your art flawlessly beautiful. But then you received rejection email(Okay, way too many) and then you began to self-doubt you way into denial.So you stopped writing, your stopped traveling, you stopped doing the very things that made you feel alive.

So here’s a thing we should all do, snap out of it! Snap out of the endless cribbing and complaining that we so love being involved in. We are a privileged bunch of people, we have so many things that are working for us and we should be proud of where we are today. we have achieved things, we have stood against all odds, we have made our families proud just by doing what we do. We have at some point made ourselves proud too. So let us not stop here. Let’s keep going, let us keep making this work no matter how difficult the struggle.

So let’s take a step back, clear your head and think of all the reasons we began this journey in the first place. Then, just have a go at it with EVERYTHING YOU GOT!

Those things about 2016..

Well now,didn’t we all love 2016, NOT! It was definitely not on top of our favourite year’s list. It deserves every bit of our sarcasm, because come on, it did more than just give us a hard time. It would be wrong to say that it was a bad, vengeful, disgusting year! It was just a very overwhelming and confusing year. I hope it wasn’t just me that faced the wrath of this wretched year? Well, lets just say if 2016 was a person, she would be bloody hell interesting, just a whole lot of chaos, mess, indecisive, misjudged and basically hated by all!

So here are 5 things 2016 taught me…

Lesson No. 1: Do not listen to crap
SO we have all been here, we listen to a lot of shit from some completely irrelevant people, we put up with a lot of shit in the name of just patience. Well not every situation demands a reaction. Some situations just deserve stoic silence. But well, lets just face facts, there were way too many times you wish you had spoken, asked the person to shut the hell up and listen to you and you didn’t! Too many underlying reasons, important relationships at stake and just a lot to loose ends in general. But haven’t we all learnt that we need to improve, we need to be better versions of ourselves every chance we get, Let’s begin then?
Lesson No. 2: Plan your life
Way too many wasted days is how I personally would like to describe my year. Get up, plan it, plan it down to the T! You deserve this, you deserve your time, you deserve your attention, you deserve every bit of planning that would bring you a day closer to your goals. Unleash your pen, book ,pad, iPhone, scribble on your hand for all I care,but PLAN. Plan your priorities, plan your perfect vacation, plan your actionable for your perfect goals. As soon as your break it down, you’d realise it isn’t that unachievable after all. Break it down to each month, highlights you’d need to focus on each day! Lets do this guys, you and me, in it together

Lesson No. 3: Go a little crazy..
YEAH, I know this needs no introduction to you.  You have done plenty  of it in 2016 already, but who said all of 2016 was sucky right? Maybe all your going crazy, discovering yourself, challenging your boundaries was one of the best things 2016 could have gifted you. Maybe 2016 was a year of self discovery for these very reasons and honestly lets promise each we wont ever give up on that! Because self-indulgence is the best kind of indulgence. So go on that solo trip of it means that much, go take your parents on a trip if that is what makes you happy. Sit at home every saturday and do absolutely nothing or just go crazy partying every weekend. Do whatever the hell it is takes to make you go a little Harley Quinn! Because hell, we all know life is too damned difficult anyways to not have a little fun. So don’t challenge your sanity, live on the edge a bit! Unwind love…

Lesson No 4: Be open to new experiences

If there is one phrase to describe how 2016 felt,’One helluva ride’. It felt like those times when you know you drank too much, you had a great time, the best in  long long time, and yet it gave you the worst kinda hangover, you called some wrong people up, you upset some, you entertained some. What would you call that experience good?NO.. Bad?NO.. but it was just something.It was a special night and will always go down in history. Precisely how we feel about last year don’t we? So you met new people some really interesting ones and you can’t describe how it felt, it felt like how every first bite of doughnuts taste when you are immensely craving for it. Does that mean doughnuts are good for your health? HELLL NO! they just taste heaven freakishly amazing. Met new people, broadened your horizons, challenged your own belief systems, imbibed some new cultures, there was so much for everyone in 2016. I hope our new year gives us many more such engaging intriguing experiences. 2017 we are up for, just be a little ehhhh…sublte.

Lesson No 5. You Survived, where’s the virtual Hi-Five?

And if there is the simplest way to describe life in a sentence’ It Goes on’. So many changes, so many events that shook you from your soft haven and that enviable comfort zone. It didn’t feel right at first, your walls started to collapse, your gods started to crumble, your life started to fall apart like papyrus scrolls in water, right before your eyes and all you could do was watch! But where are you now? Still here aren’t you? The war is over, the survivors are all that counts, your life is all that matters.You survived through times you thought were impossible, doesn’t it ever make you wonder love, what you are capable of? You were capable of being the captain of the boat in the roughest of the seas, you were capable of making it through the day when it just wouldn’t stop raining crap, you made it through the night when they walked way. You made it through it all, you ll continue to, I promise.

So rub off that war dust, put down your weapons, you don’t need them anymore. Just live, love and experience. Because I don’t know what else there is to life besides these!

Because expression of love differs…

It was their anniversary. She wanted to make it a memorable one for him. ‘I’ll never be able to outdo him’ she thought. He’s too perfect. So she decides to bake a rainbow cake, something she has done before. Excited and overwhelmed she begins.An hour before the anniversary, devastated and disappointing at the failed attempt, she sighs at yet another effort she realized would go unnoticed. It wasn’t like he would not appreciate, it was just that she was never good enough, never good enough for him. She begins her anniversary day by this beautiful extravagant cake he arranged for her. He feeds her the cake, sings ‘you look wonderful tonight’ and kisses her worries away.All this as she tries to hide her fingertips stained with food colors, still over weighed by the fact that she ll never be good enough for his love.

So he loves you like there is no tomorrow. Bringing flowers, sending cute texts randomly, taking you to your favorite eatery joint, listening to all the videos and songs you force him to and actually making an effort(despite hating alternative music). He listened to it all, he read every article, tried to make sense of your conversations when you ranted about all your work problems, family problems and everything in between.

And just like that everybody started to see perfection. This grand perfection in your relationship that you failed to look at. By no means did it ever mean,that he isn’t or wasn’t ‘The One’. He definitely is. But how tiring is it to be overpowered by the very person you love? How tiring is it to constantly compete to prove to yourself and the world that to are indeed really trying hard?

We are living in the generation, where people are more often than not, very strongly opinionated. Maybe to a fault. Is this right, is this wrong, well who knows? But ever wondered how does it feel to be overweighed and burdened by love. The happy kinda love the best kinda love. And no, nobody’s being ungrateful here, the point I am trying to make here is the fact that some people’s efforts go unnoticed.

There will always be that one person in the relationship, that struggles more, that puts more amount of efforts.The one that has been struggling to stay up till later in the night, the one who reminds herself to text while she leaves, the one who tries to remember the dates and the anniversaries, the one who tries to remember the first song he dedicated.

Does that make you scorn? does that make you feel like this person isn’t putting efforts? Let me clear this out for all those people who think they are the only ones putting efforts. So here goes…

We are the ones who are too forgetful to call, doesn’t mean we didn’t want to

We are the ones who go silent when hurt, doesn’t mean you are right

We are the ones who have been trying to remember events using calendar reminders,

we are the ones who have only just begun to go out of the way to make your day special,

No, we don’t text 9-5, no we don’t call every night, No we don’t go ‘baby’,’darling’ honest all night,

No, we don’t remember every little detail about our first kiss, doesn’t mean it wasn’t special

Yes, we are too weighed down by our insecurities, doesn’t mean we don’t fight them each day, for you!

So please do give us the benefit of the doubt. We are the ones who wouldn’t shout and scream of all the efforts we are putting in. Some people are just effortlessly the perfect partner in the relationship. Maybe all it takes is 10% extra effort to be that best girlfriend/ wife/ husband ever. But please for the love of god do remember,there is that underdog partner who is probably putting in 100% efforts just to be sane and normal in a relationship. And yes, they loose every time before your extravagant efforts, they really do. Doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. So please give it a thought every time before you pull them down by saying, ‘You are just not trying’ They probably are, what’s discouraging is their efforts being wasted like it meant nothing.

Open your eyes and see the world, there are people trying too hard to just be a part of your life! We are the ones struggling each day of our lives to be the best possible version of ourselves, this means different things to different people. Interpretations vary! Don’t judge the whole world on your scale of right and wrong, black and white. Because greys exist too!!!

Cry too often?

Most of us believe tears are a sign of weakness. More often than not, they are quite the opposite. We women believe in so many things. We do so with sheer passion. We believe men must ask directions, we believe women are better organizers, we believe that men who can see a women doing better than themselves still exist.We know of many inspiring women. We know of many empowered women and yet,we have often be accused of being feminists! Well , yes we are feminist! Please also do note by feminist we do not mean sexist, we mean gender equality.

But why is it that we look at tears as a sign of hopelessness and depression? Why are tears only associated with a moment of vulnerability in the negative sense?

Let me tell you a story!

I know of a lady.A typical Indian woman by all means and that I say in the most proud way possible. She is bound by rituals and traditions and yet she argues with me about how every ritual has a scientific meaning(*not all though*). She confides in me about her fears, she confides in me, her struggles. She cries many a times while narrating a story.She cries if she cant hold a argument. She cries when she is hungry!Oh,she cries at the drop of a hat! It always annoyed me, I often told her to hold her emotions in a much conducted fashion.

And yet,she has braved a multitude of things in her life, it astounds me. They say that some people suffer more than others, I really don’t know how true that is. But as a first hand witness to her life I can say this, she has managed to brave difficult medical situations with her children, she has managed to learn to live with a chronic physical ailment since she was only 36. Today she is 53. She has learned to walk more than thrice in her lifetime. She has supported her family and continues to do so with a persistent zest.

It has now dawned on me, that maybe tears are her venting. Maybe tears are her respite. She isn’t weak until she gives up right? She continues to go through life each and everyday and continues to lecture me and inspire me to do better things in life. It still baffles me sometimes of how she can manage to shed tears when she is hungry and the food isn’t ready! This coming from a brave woman who has almost literally seen her own child on the death bed.

 

She to me is the epitome of what we woman are made of. We are strong individuals who are so emotionally vulnerable in the most beautiful way possible. We are perfect in our heads, we are self validators when there is no one to praise you. We sometimes look at the mirror and smile at ourselves, because we think ‘Oh,I am looking pretty today’. Yeah we stare at ourselves more than we should, yeah we love purses, bags with unseen ferocity and yet no amount of clothes ever seem to be enough in our over flowing wardrobes. Yet, yet, yet we are the women who can hold her man’s hand in the moment he lost his self respect. We are the ones who can manage houses with the right dash of diplomacy and firmness. We are the women who would prepare two types of meals just to cater to everyone needs. We are the women who have grown to become entrepreneurs, CEO’s, inspiring millions and an excellent homemaker in the same regard.

We are who we are, beautiful, proud , sensitive. So my dear ladies, give yourself the much needed break, go for a spa, enjoy a quite walk by yourself, watch your favorite F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode or just simply lie in awkward positions and stare at the ceiling or better yet,read your favorite book. Don’t forget to praise all the men in your life who continue to support you while you are out there to take the world by storm in your glorifying beauty, with them around life is a little easier. And above all dear women, don’t be afraid to shed a tear! Because you see, its okay to cry to often!

 

 

Even death could not take this martyr off duty?

But, when you brood on any supernatural topic enough, that’s when the crazy juices flow! That’s when you hear something that is stuff of the legends, stories in forbidden books, fables your parents wont tell you! But nonetheless these things happen…Secrets have a way of getting out..don’t they?

Baba Harbajan Singh, martyred Indian soldier continues to live on, in more than just memories. I promise it will surprise you as much as it will spook you. They say, superstition has no bounds, they say people can loose their minds over superstition. Surely you wouldn’t expect the Indian soldiers & Chinese soldiers to continue to pay respects to a dead man like he was still amongst them?

The man who lived on..after dying.

Baba Harbajan Singh, an Indian soldier who continued to make India proud through his years in the service. India has always been proud of its soldiers and will always continue to be. India has also always been too intertwined in a multitude of superstitions and rituals. But what if I told you that these two come together? What if I told you that this is soldier continues to live on(Supernaturally though) in the same area he was posted during his last years.(*Now let that sink in, lets explore the story*)

Who was Baba Harbajan Singh?

Well, when it all began, he was just a proud Indian army soldier like a thousand other soldiers. Born into a Sikh family in Punjab, he went on to become a soldier in Amritsar and soon joined the Corps of Signals. He was posted into the 14 th Rajput regiment, he was later posted into the 18th Rajput regiment where he sadly lost his life(*or maybe not?*). He died on 11th September 1967, at the young age of 27. It was a great loss to his family and to the Indian army.

How did Baba Harbajan Singh lose his life?

On the  paper records of the Indian army says that he lost his life during a combat happening in the year 1967. Volatile situations between the Indian army and the PLA during those years were a common sight in Nathula pass region. It was during one of these combats, that Baba Harbajan Singh lost his precious life. This is the official story, this is the story that all the records,  facts and even soldiers will tell you!

And then you go on to hear the stuff the legend tells you, the stuff folklore continues to bring life into. All those supernatural things..but what if I tell you that our very own soldiers continue to treat the presence of Baba Harbjan Singh in a very life like manner?

The myth and beyond…

Legend has it, Baba Harbajan Singh was faithfully carrying some necessary supplies to an extreme remote outpost. He was supposedly leading a few mules that were carrying the supplies. During which an accident occurred, owing to which he drowned. They say his mortal remains were found after a 3 day search. What’s going to perk your ears up, is the fact that it is believed that, he himself guided the Search party to find his mortal remains.

Baba Harbajan soon came into the dreams of a Soldier and apparently asked him to build Baba  a shrine. This is where the Saint(Baba) status started to associate with the then ‘Harbajan Singh’. He has been also known to grant his followers and believers wishes.Over the years the legend of Baba Harbajan Singh has grabbed the attention of many skeptics and believers alike.

The current scenario that will awe you..

Baba Harbajan Singh is believed to continue to haunt the region even today. And no, he does not scare the shit out of soldiers, on the contrary, the soldiers of the area consider him very much a part of the regiment. Story has it, that even the Chinese soldiers pay respects to this great soldier, it is said that the Chinese also keep a chair empty for Baba Harbajan Singh during flag meetings. Indian soldiers believe that at times of war, Baba warns them at least three days in advance of an uninvited impending visit from across the borders. That’s not it! Baba is said to visit the soldiers rooms at night, there is always a bed that’s kept vacant for him, and many have reported ruffled or used bed sheets, boots and clothes in the morning.

That awwww moment in the ghost story?

Even a ghost soldier has to go home alright! Baba Harbajan Singh has train ticket booked for him every year on 11th September. He is believed to visit his home town, the berth is reserved for him and goes empty the whole journey, nobody can take his place. The local soldiers contribute some money and send it to the family of Baba Harbajan Singh.Some even believe that Baba continues to draw a Major’s salary even today.

Its amazing to see such fascinating and unbelievable things happening. Is it a true story, or just another hyped folklore? We’ll never know. But what will continue to amaze us that India is full of these mysteries that we so dearly believe in, that makes us who we are! And no, not saying that we need to go all superstitious and do crazy stuff! Just saying that we belong to a very very interesting land and we have so many stories to tell!!!

Where has everyone’s time gone?

Authentic and Bold

We would love to exercise more frequently, but who has the time? We would love to read more, but where’s the time for that? Don’t even think about something as crazy as learning to play a musical instrument, or learning a new language, or photography, or writing that book you’ve always thought about writing, or any of the other hobbies you might dream about pursuing one day. Maybe in retirement, but certainly not now. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

“People are too busy to…” Fill in the blanks, a ton of things apply. The book business is in decline… people are too busy to read books. Golf is in decline… people are too busy to squeeze in an entire round of it. The market for boats is a fraction of what it was ten years ago… people are too busy for a hobby that takes an entire afternoon…

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Vicious Circle: Book Review

Vicious Circle , A beautifully written story that captures the true essence of what revenge tastes like in all its sinister ways. This story, a sequel to ‘Those in Peril‘. Its a roller coaster ride that you experience with the hurt and vengeful characters.

The Plot:

Hazel Bannock, billionaire owing to the windfall of her first husband, shes pretty, smart and sassy, everything you can expect from Wilbur Smith’s masterful character development.She is however, short lived. She meets a disastrous end and it breaks your heart, you may end up thinking about it more than you should! Hector Cross, the co-founder of Cross Bow security, the best character in the book and Hazels beau. He loves Hazel Bannock like a guy would love a girl only in the books.(*excuse the pessimism*).

After the death of his lady love, Hector Cross is like a rabid dog, thirsty for the vengeful end of those who killed Hazel, also to protect is beautiful daughter Catherine Cayla. This journey begins with Hector and his partners at the Cross bow security firm going over the details of that fateful night.

What follows is pure drama, carefully and tactically unfolding through the turning of the pages.Hector cross uncovers, that the snake is in the family of the Bannocks.The book has a book within it! In my opinion that’s the best part of Vicious Circle. It is pure evil,gut churningly sinister. It defines the word evil defines the pure sadism that Smith has wonderfully laid to his readers.However I admit, its not for everybody. It may be too gory, graphic for the weak hearted(*nothing wrong with that*). While hector takes you on a journey from London to Abu Zara to the mystical Africa(Yayee moment for Wilbur smith readers)

Carl Peter Banncock is a character so well developed by Wilbur, it takes you back to the timeless books like When the lion feeds, The Sunbird (Only for the character essence). Carl is like the child of Satan himself. The acts of Carl depicted in the book makes you question humanity, or the total lack of it. He leaves you with a shuddering memory. Carl will continue to be one of those characters you will refer to, when you talk of the worst villains ever written.

The negatives, if I have to list would be that, this isn’t on top of Wilbur Smiths writing style. Jo Stanely is one if the most underdeveloped characters and fails to do what she was meant to. The love angle that Smith tried to weave, for the first time sadly failed.

The end, well this is the tricky part. There are two evil branches to the tree of vicious circle.One might feed your satisfaction purely for the level of sadism being brought to an end. However, the other evil was much predictably given a bizarre end that may not go down well with the readers.

Summary
All in all, it is a good read. There is a certain way that Wilbur smith tries to hold your attention and he does so effortlessly. However given his other books, this one does not quite reach that mark.

I would rate this book :