Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Do you believe in miracles?

There’s a heart-warming story doing the rounds on the internet. It is about a little girl and her overseas benefactor. A foreign tourist travelling by train happens to spot a little girl wearing a pink bracelet, living with her family near a railway track. He manages to click a picture of the family though it is only a back shot with their faces not visible. He puts his friends on a mission to track the little girl with the intention of funding her education. In a country where more than 20% of the population are below the poverty line, and a third of them live in slums around railway tracks, finding the little girl seems quite next to impossible, doesn’t it? Nothing short of a miracle could do the impossible.

But, the miracle does happen, and the girl is tracked! Not only is her education funded by her overseas benefactor but her family is also sent aid to relocate to habitable surroundings and have a steady source of income. Incredible, isn’t it?

What were the chances that amidst the burgeoning poor population, this little girl would be spotted by the foreign tourist? What were the chances that he would decide to donate to a noble cause right then? What were the chances that he’d manage to click a picture of them that very instant from a moving train? What were the chances that she lived there and was not merely passing through the place? What were the chances of ever finding that girl again- the one in 1.25 billion? What is this, if not a miracle?

As it turns out, the girl who had been studying in class 3 had to drop out due to her financial condition. Did she send out a secret prayer asking for help? We might never know. But if she did, then her prayer sure was heard and answered.

Miracles are not meant to reaffirm your faith in God or turn an atheist into a believer. But they do make you trust in your own ability to call out to the universe for help when you desperately seek something, and believe, that in some mysterious way you might be granted what you seek. We might have read umpteen stories or witnessed events that are nothing short of a miracle. But can we believe that miracles can happen to us?

Perhaps, miracles occur more often than we’d like to acknowledge! The birth of a child is a miracle, waking up alive each morning is a miracle, in fact, every breathe we take is a miracle! But, we don’t count it as one, unless it has changed our life in some way.So go ahead in believe in miracles. You never know when one might just happen- maybe when you are least expecting it to!

Has something miraculous happened to you today? 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Review: The Madras Affair by Sundari Venkatraman

The Blog Tour

I have literally grown up on a staple of romantic novels, hungrily chomping on anything and everything that has love printed across it, whether in bold prints or fine! Reading ‘The Madras Affair’, I realized that I will always be a sucker for romance and that one can never be too old for it…Ever! This ooh-so-endearing book by Sundari Venkatraman had me in ‘hook-line-and-sinker’ from the word go!

Whether it was the nubile Sangita and her 'will-she-won’t-she' moments, or the sexy Gautam causing you to shamelessly salivate over his blue eyes and hot body (much to the amusement and/or suspicions of your hubby hovering around!) or the steamy scenes towards the end that almost sets your senses (and body) on fire, The Madras Affair scores on all fronts! The story is so real, the settings are so live and the characters are so believable that it is hard to stand aside and take a third person view of the story. Surprisingly, you will find yourself becoming a part of the story as it unfolds, you'd perhaps assume the form of Sangita or Gautam or any of the several other characters binding the story together.

What I also liked about the story is that it doesn’t rush you through the delicate affair; rather it takes its own pace and form- allowing the characters to guide the story forward. I also like the way the characters interact with each other and the beautiful way the author has brought them together. For instance, there’s a scene where Gautam meets Sangita’s son Sandeep for the first time. That scene is so vivid and rife with emotions that it brought tears to my eyes just reading it! There are several such delicately handled scenes that manage to make you smile, or bring a lump to your throat or create a palpable sensual excitement as you read through.

If you are die-hard romantic, this is one book you must pick, and allow yourself to curl up on the couch, on a cold winter night, covered in a warm comforter, with a hot cuppa in one hand and the book in another! Bliss!


The blurb-

Sangita Sinclair was not always this successful & passionate lady, heading the NGO “Penn Urimai” for downtrodden, abused and homeless women…

When Sangita catches the eye of Gautam Sinclair she is a simple, homely girl; utterly unaware of her charms & capabilities. She has the devil’s own time in overcoming her inhibitions, hesitation, and her family’s orthodox and outdated rules before recognizing her love for Gautam.

Will Gautam be able to solve Sangita’s Dilemma or will she be forever trapped in her past?


Genre                 : Romance
Get your book at : amazon.com | amazon.in | amazon.uk | amazon.ca | amazon.auFlipkart
My rating            : 4/5 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Through the glass wall..

She stands across the glass wall and looks out for him. Though the glass is opaque, they have always been able to see each other through it. She calls for him, softly, and then calls again, a little louder. But there’s just an eerie silence that scares her. He has always come when she called, didn’t he?  Perhaps the glass is sound-proof now. Perhaps he can no longer hear her croon. The glass was once so delicate, she thought they’d break it someday. The shards would have torn through the skin of their souls, and yet she had not been afraid. He hadn’t been afraid either.  

She reminisced about the times they would take on different roles, like characters in a book. If she’d call him 'this', he’d call her 'that'…and then, they would magically turn into these characters. They’d speak in alien tongues and mimic various personae. With him, she could be anything she wanted to be and so could he. But the best of all was, that they could be themselves in spite of the characters they donned, never having to resort to pretence. Masks sometimes have more truths hidden under them than transparent veils, don’t they?  He'd flirt a little and make her blush, he’d pull her leg, and make her laugh. She would laugh long and hard until her jaws ached, her stomach hurt and her eyes overflowed with tears! No one had ever made her laugh so much before! They had shared their joys, their triumphs and their apprehensions. They didn’t have to find solutions to problems, it was just about the sharing.

He had a way with his words, contorting them into a labyrinth, before letting them fly into a world hitherto unknown. It was under him, that she had metamorphosed from a caterpillar into a butterfly; learning to let her words wander into realms she’d never dreamt of before. If her words ever wandered away, he gently catch them and hand them back to her. But more than anything, he had made her look deep into the abyss of her soul and find that part of her which had somehow been lost.

Where was he now? Why wouldn’t he answer her call? She would never know. All that she knew was that she’d never give up.

She stood facing the glass wall for some more time. No luck. She’d have to come back again tomorrow, and perhaps yet again another day.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Are you driving your partner away?

We have all been in relationships… we sucked at some and we triumphed at some, some of them lasted for a while and some fizzled out sooner than we expected. Some of us finally found a perfect partner while some are still struggling to get a grip on things. If relationships can be summed up in one word- I’d say, they are tricky!

What is it that makes relationships tick? Why is it that some people suddenly start playing hard to get- they keep you at arm’s length, cancel your time together more often than it would seem courteous, do not bother replying to your calls, even make you wait for replies to your text messages, while you keep wondering if they are as committed as you are? Confrontations lead to fights, and you seem to drift further apart than getting closer!

And while you sit alone on your couch, phone in hand, twiddling your thumb, wide awake at 3 am in the morning, they are probably happily snoring away oblivious to your agony. Well, you’d be surprised to know you aren’t alone! You have plenty of company!

I have been on both sides of the relationship. I am guilty of having ignored some people, and I have had my fair share of being ignored too!

Being in a relationship isn’t half as fun as it is supposed to be. Especially when your partner is not as involved as you are. Here’s what I think tips the balance in most relationships-

Being too available-

Being available is good, it shows how committed you are. But by being available all the time, you have effectively proved to your partner that you aren’t going anywhere. You will be available at their beck and call, anytime THEY need you. To top that, you will readily forgive them, irrespective of what they do! You will buy any excuse they give you because you fear to lose them. And somewhere along the way, you have lost your dignity and become their slave. While you’d like to think of it as a good thing to be forgiving and caring, they probably think you have no self-worth or you are insecure. And trust me, insecurity is such a big turn off!

There was this guy, P, in college, who would always be around me, like a puppy! (Sheesh! I feel so wicked saying that!) He was good looking definitely, but I hated the way he kept tagging along wherever I went! He would offer to drop me home, pay my bill at the canteen, and even carry the books I borrowed from the library (the books used to be really heavy). But, I wished he’d leave me alone. I remember my reluctance to go out with him even if we were going out in a group, or even take his call! He wasn’t a bad person at all, and I couldn’t put a finger on what bugged me about him. On the other hand, I had a serious crush on a senior and I would keep trying to find reasons to talk to him. My heart would skip a beat when he stopped to talk to me (no, not me actually, to the entire group), and I would struggle to speak, leave alone say anything intelligent! I would keep approaching him for help, and he was quite helpful too, but we never progressed to even close friendship! Looking back, I think, he perhaps felt the same way I felt about P. Too needy!

That’s the big lesson- stop looking so needy.  Stop sucking up to people. People don’t appreciate things that come easily to them. Human nature is such that it values things that come to it after a struggle as compared to things it gets easily.

If they are not returning your calls, stop calling them. Go out with other friends. And if they suddenly make plans for the two of you when you have already made plans with your friends, have the courage to tell them so. Don’t cancel your plans, just because they badly want to go out with you. Men and women alike, respect people who make their own decisions and stand up to it.

Of course, this does not mean you have to be snooty all the time. Give only when you feel they deserve it. Give when they appreciate all that you do. Give when they give too. Giving makes relationships better and stronger and works only when it is two ways.

Being sickly sweet-

When you are in a bad mood, what do you reach out for? Do you grab a bar of chocolate and a bag of chips or do you eat a bowl of broccoli? Broccoli is a known stress buster, but would you really eat that when you are stressed? We look out for comfort food, don’t we?

 The same holds true in relationships. People are not looking for goodness all the time.  Being too sweet, too forgiving, too devoted, too caring, just scares them off. Sometimes, it is important for them to see your wicked and naughty side, allow them to woo you and ask for forgiveness before you forgive them, be wild and you’ll have them knocking at your door. It is more comforting to have someone challenge them than someone who doesn’t need to be worked upon at all.

Being a nag

(men don’t do this too often, yea, some do! But perhaps women would relate to this more…)

Don’t overdo the sulking parts, the crying parts and the nagging parts. You nag for every little thing, sob at every given opportunity and keep complaining. ‘Why didn’t you answer my call?’, ‘what were you doing?’, ‘do you really love me?’, ‘is football more important than me?’…you go on and on. And not knowing how to stop that, the poor guy starts pulling away from you.

A friend keeps complaining that her husband is no longer interested in her. He often goes off on weekends with his friends, not bothering to include her in his plans, and they have frequent arguments about whether he really loves her or not! Common, right?

I think, men fear and hate being trapped or sucked into an emotional whirlpool. They value their independence. Just because they enjoy football as well as being with you, doesn’t mean they have to deal with the pressure of choosing between the two each time and being bullied into making choices.

Learn to draw boundaries. Let the guy enjoy his freedom and have his space. He’ll be glad to have someone who values his choices. He’ll be glad to have someone who does not seek to control him. This is something men look for in a woman and it could influence his decision to commit to you long term.

Relationships need to be nurtured with care. Things don’t work out if one partner is more giving than the other or one person completely dominates the other. Mind games weaken relationship and unless each partner respects the other as a person and provides space to the other to grow and live independently, the affection can get very suffocating.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book review- Shikhandi and other tales they don't tell you.

Sexuality has become a much debated topic these days. Homosexuality is a taboo, and the so-called upholders of morality of the society would not hesitate to pick up cudgels against anyone who dares raise a voice in favour of it. Was our society always like this? Was it always a crime to come out openly and admit one’s sexual orientation?

Apparently, not. Our ancient civilisations have rarely been moralistic about sex. Neither has discussing about sex ever been a taboo. In fact our epics are replete with stories about homosexual relationships, transgender encounters and queer behaviours.

Devdutt Patnaik’s ‘Shikhandi and other tales they don’t tell you’, is based on this premise. It explores ancient stories from literature in India and also from around the world, which shows that queer behaviour has been accepted as normal in societies since time immemorial. His collection of 30 stories capture the essence of ancient Indian society’s approach to sexual behaviour.

The collection begins with the story of Shikhandi, who was born as a girl but raised as a man; struggling with a dual identity of a man trapped in a woman’s body and who beacme a man to satisfy her wife. There are stories of men who become women, and women who become men, of men who create children without women, and women who create children without men, and of creatures who are neither this, nor that, but a little bit of both. Stories such as Vishnu, who became a woman to enchant the Gods, demons and hermit, Mahadev who became a woman to deliver a devotee's child, Chudala, who became a man to enlighten her husband, Narada, who forgot he was a man, Samavan, who became the wife of his male friend, Krishna who wore woman's clothes, and many more stories that give us an alarming insight into the unique Indian way of making sense of queerness.

With patriarchal systems gaining prominence, codes of conduct, behavioural attitudes, morality and puritanism began to take root, laying the foundation for a judgmental society. What was normal became against the norm!

What is refreshing about the stories is that the author does not impose his own judgement or prejudice about the relationships neither does he thumb his nose at the order of things. But he does manage to take us back to the times when queerness was not frowned upon, and the society was comfortable with the idea of it, making us contemplate on the ignorance and rigidity of our thoughts right now.

My rating- 3/5

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review- Many Lives, Many Masters

Many religions talk of reincarnation. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and even followers of minority religions like Kabbalah, believe that our souls are indestructible and re-inhabit the earth again and again assuming different bodies and identities.

In his book, Many Lives, Many Masters, Dr. Brian Weiss, details a past life hypnotic regression therapy with a troubled patient Catherine, which changes and challenges the way he has looked at life until then.

This particular case turns the author’s life “upside down”, transforming him from merely being a psychologist who believed in standard textbook treatment backed by scientific methods to a believer and practitioner of past life regression as a more holistic approach to the treatment of a patient.

The recollection of the past lives of Catherine make a vivid and compelling read. It is intriguing how a past life can influence the issues that we carry in this life. It is even more fascinating to know that the answers to our present life traumas can lie in resolving unsolved issues with a past life. Every experience that we undergo, be it traumas and pain, or happiness and peace, they are all rooted and recorded in our mind. The author says, “The experience is necessary to add emotional belief to intellectual understanding. But the impact of experience always fades to some degree.” With the help of past life regression, it is possible for a person to recollect the memories of their past life and learn the lessons that would help them progress in their present life. 

Life has always been a puzzle of sorts, people often wonder what happens to them after they have passed over. Does the concept of a heaven or hell really exist? Are people really reborn? If they are indeed reborn, how long does it take for them to do so? What happens in the in-between state, or the time between two lives? The author attempts to find answers to these and many more questions through his patient Catherine.

There are also messages that are conveyed by master spirits through the hypnotised Catherine, revealing to us the way to live fruitfully and knowing our purpose in life. The lessons from the masters also forms an inspiring part of the book.

Life is indeed not as simple as we think it is. Irrespective of whether you believe in an afterlife or not, you should read this thought provoking book. If you are a believer, it will take away your fear of death and teach you how to make your present life better. It will change the way you look at yourself and at others. It is quite a relief to know that one is not meant to have to all the answers, we are just supposed to learn our lessons and move on. It also teaches you not to compare your life with another, because each person is learning a different lesson.

And if you think this is a figment of someone’s imagination, you still risk losing nothing reading it. You don’t have to believe all that is written here, but you will learn to appreciate the intricacies of life along with lessons on living to be a better person.

My rating: 3.5/5

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Review- A Dog Eat Dog Food World

This has to be one of most intelligent books I have read in a long time! Add to that the generous heap of humour- nope, not ‘in-your-face’ kind of humor, not slapstick humor, but the classy Wodehousian kinds…AND immaculate grammar (I haven’t seen people use such grammatically delightful sentences these days either!!), and before I forget, there’s almost the entire Philip Kotler…dipped in gooey chocolate.

The writing is smooth, the ideas flow uniformly, uni-directionally, and that is so important because one can tend to go all over the place especially when humour is such an integral part of the book and gets incorporated along with a story and lots of management lessons! The author gives us some great insights into his characters and life at the same time, tinged with subtle sarcasm and classy humour.

The story is enjoyable, in a certain ‘have-been-there-have-done-that’ or ‘have-experienced-that’ kind of way- be it as the dumb boss Spike, to whom even concepts in plain English sound like Swahili, the poor subordinate Jerry who’s suddenly thrust into limelight, except without any light, or as Tyke who is intelligent enough but yet, not enough to make any sense to his boss! And then there’s Tom the rival, unwillingly dragged into the game of one-upmanship and his even more unwilling subordinate Jasper. People who have seen the ugly underbelly of corporate life will tend to nod their heads assertively at every scene.

The plot is hilarious to say the least, Kotler would probably now be wondering why he didn’t think of such an innovative and humourous way to teach us his principles! Be it a satirical face of the society or the basics of marketing management, the plot smacks you hard on your head before leaving you to contemplate in solitude and then…contemplate some more!

I’d say pick up your copy right away, and savour the delight of some exceptional writing, but leave the hot coffee behind, lest you scald your behind, laughing long and hard. Yeah, that’s what this book is, a complete laugh riot!

Title- A Dog Eat Dog Food World
Author- C.Suresh 
Price- Rs. 150- in paperback, Rs.99/- on Kindle
My rating- 4/5
You can buy it on Amazon or download the e-book or get it free on Kindle Unlimited.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Snug on the white settee,
He reposes,
Slumps against its silken head,
She lounges nearby,
Reclines, props up against him,
Cozy, together, in love.

The lights dim,
A candle burns in the distance,
Its glow surreal.
The cool breeze,
Tickling the wind chimes,
Their jingling laughter,
The moon
Peeks from behind the clouds.
Wafts through the air.

And yet they remain,
Cozy and yet so restless,
Together and yet far away,
Connected and yet unplugged,
In love but not with each other.

They lie unaware,
Of the moments that pass unnoticed,
Of the moon, the breeze, the jingle,
Of the presence
Of one another.

Romancing a different universe,
Through the device they hold in their hands,
Devoid of each other,
Oblivious to the drama,
That plays around them,
Of precious moments slipping by.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Some people, I tell you....

I’m in the middle of an interview, and I can see the light flashing on my mobile telling me there’s a call from a neighbour in the apartment. I cannot take her call and so I continue with work. Once I’m done with the interview, I pick up my mobile to call her back. There are 6 missed calls from the lady. I suspect something must be very urgent, so I call right back.

Me: Hey P, I’m sor…

P: (In an angry tone) How many times I called you, why can’t you take my call?

(Okay, it is no rocket science to know that if someone hasn’t picked your call, either they are busy, or they are ignoring you and don’t want to pick your call, and in both cases, your question becomes irrelevant!)

(Yea, the angry tone did amuse me, because I don’t remember being in any kind of answerable relationship with her ever!)

Me: Sorry P, was busy with an interview, couldn’t speak to you…what’s up?

P: But you could have messaged me saying you were busy…

(Seriously? She couldn’t let this be?)

Me: No, I couldn’t, because I was recording the interview on my mobile. Can I know why you called?

P: Yeah, I’m also busy, I’ll come to the point.


P: Your younger son called my son “fatso….

Me: What????? You called me at office to tell me this??? See, I’m sorry, I’ll teach him not to call people names. Okay, I got to go now, bye.

P: He also called him a girl.

Me: Yep, noted, I’ll talk to the little one. Bye..

P: You can’t hang up…how can he talk to my son like that? It affects my son’s morale. He should have common sense….

(Now she had begun to get on my nerves…)

Me: That’s a 5 year old you are talking about, P, they are kids for god’s sake!! And I’m sorry again… I said I’ll talk to my child.

P: That’s what’s is so worrying, a small child should be taught what to talk and what not. In fact I called him to our house yesterday evening and he said I have to go to a party, he didn’t have to go anywhere, I know. He lied. Can you see how over-smart he is?

Me: That’s enough P, We did go a party last evening. See P, we shouldn’t be getting into this, let the kids handle it their way. They may fight today, they are friends tomorrow and we end up looking like fools.

P: No, I don’t agree, I will protect my child if people make fun of him. Are you denying that your son called my son fatso?

(Oh dear, this was not about to get over so soon..)

Me: I am not denying anything. Kids are capable of doing or saying anything. All I’m saying is let’s not drag ourselves into this. Why don’t you call all the kids and try to find out what happened.

P: I just spoke to your elder one half an hour ago and he accepted that his brother had called my son as fatso and girl.


Me: Are you sure you spoke to my elder one today?

P: Yes, do you think I’m lying?

Me: No P, of course not. Did you call him up or speak to him personally?

P: Personally…

Me: Are you sure you spoke to MY son, maybe you mistook someone else for my son.

P: What nonsense, I know your kids.

Me: The elder one is in Kanyakumari right now, for a karate tournament…he will be back the day after tomorrow.


(I’m enjoying the silence.)

Me: Hello?

P: I think I have an incoming call, I’ll speak to you in the evening.

Me: Sure.

She’s not done yet. In the evening, she brings her sons to my house and summons all the kids.

(Seriously? How old is she??)

P: Did S call R as fatso?

(The heavy voice scares the kids and all fall silent.)

Me: Were you all playing together today?

Kids: Yes aunty.

Me: R is your friend, isn’t it?

Kids: Yes Aunty.

Me: It’s not right to call anyone names. They feel hurt. Don’t do it again, ok?

Kid 1: R’s mother told us some months ago that R is fat and so make him run and exercise. But he doesn’t run, so G told him 'are you a girl? Why aren’t you running?'

Kid 2: And we thought by irritating him and by calling him fatso, we can motivate him to run. We thought he will feel bad and start participating.

Kid 3 : R is a bully, he keeps pushing everyone. Today he pushed S from the slide and he hurt his knee. Since he couldn’t hit him back, he called him fatso out of anger.

Me: I get it. You did it out of good intentions, but it is still not ok to call anyone names. Come on now, say sorry to R and go out to play.

(Time for “an egg on the face” moment… she had called a 5 year old , liar, someone without common sense, and all that without verifying the truth..., she herself had effective lied, and behaved like someone without any sense, leave alone that which is common!! I wondered, if she'd have the guts to apologise...)

P: No need. We know how to take care of our kids.

(She turns to her kids and warns them not to play with the other kids and drags them home.)

I don’t know what to say!

Monday, October 12, 2015

First Impressions...

I happened to watch a reality show last night. The contestants had an option to choose their partners. They would be shown AVs of two individuals and had to make a choice of partner amongst the two, relying solely on their introductions. The first guy was a confident sounding, good looking hunk, and the other a more homely, or rather what you’d call husband material. The first lady choose the homely guy over the hunk. Then walked in a second lady and was given the option to choose between the hunk and another guy who spoke of how being a dad was his greatest achievement ever, and needless to say, the daddy got chosen by the lady. In walked the third lady, and the guy giving competition to the hunk was a man mired in controversy. And yet again, the hunk was rejected and the other guy got selected for “being honest.”  When it happened again for the fourth time and the fifth time, and it was evident that people were reluctant to choose him, the hunk was finally given a choice to choose among two women. The sad part was when neither of the women seemed happy to be his partner, but one of them had to relent because he had the right to choose!

Poor guy!

I couldn’t help but notice how slowly but steadily his self-esteem had begun to crack under that tough, confident avatar he wanted to show to the world. That made me wonder what was so unlikeable about the guy that six women rejected him in a row!!

Positive attitude v/s arrogance-

People love individuals who have a positive attitude but when that attitude borders on arrogance, it can repel people more strongly than the like poles of a bar magnet!

The hunk went on and on about his achievements and though he probably intended it to be a statement of his winning capabilities, he came across as being completely arrogant.  

God’s greatest gift to mankind-

Yea, there are people like that! People who think they are god’s greatest gift to mankind and without them the human race would almost be extinct!

This guy behaved like one of those kinds, heaping mounds of praise upon himself and listing what he would hate in his probably partner. No one likes a perfect person, because people believe there is no one who is perfect. If you are a human, you are bound to have your shortcomings. Perhaps that is why even a guy with seemingly questionable character got picked over this hunk, just because he was honest enough to admit he had his short comings!

Also, nothing puts off people more than telling them, don’t be my friend if you don’t have these qualities. It is like putting a pre-condition to a relationship. Some might feel being frank is a good thing, but again, there’s a thin line between being frank and being rude.

Confidence v/s over confidence-

Confidence can be a great quality in a person. It makes people around you appreciate you more, but when it starts hovering on the ‘over confidence’ side, it can be really damaging. Over confidence often reeks of insecurity, it more like the fake smiles people sport to hide their hurt, or the excessive talking people do when they are lying or hiding a truth.

It was no wonder then, that simple looking guys got picked up over that good looking hunk, people who didn’t seem to have achieved much got picked over this guy who had won lots of competitions, humble dads and committed boyfriends got picked over this single-and-ready to mingle guy, even guys with questionable character got picked over this seemingly perfect hunk.

I am not saying, the hunk is a bad guy. He could be one of the best. Maybe all the women made wrong choices by not choosing him. But that is price you pay for making the wrong first impression. It’s good to think highly of oneself. But if that doesn’t translate to others thinking the same about you, then you have failed miserably.

Yea, I know there could be another debate about “I don’t care what people think about me”. And that is fine if you aren’t competing. But when you stand in a competitive field, be it a reality show or a job interview or are making that all important sales call with a new customer, first impressions do matter. 

A lot.  

I met a group of virtual friends for the first time yesterday. I tried to think of what kind of first impressions people made on me. For instance, I thought of Sid who quietly went about charming his way into everyone’s heart, making everyone comfortable, seeing to it that everybody ate well, being ever so gentle and yet never over bearing. He was easily the apple of everyone’s eye! Then there was Vidya, motherly, gentle, sweet, witty and caring. She spoke less, but whenever she did, I loved her more!

First impressions do matter. They often get etched into people’s minds. How they interact with you after that, depends a lot on that first impression. And I think the key to making that awesome first impression is by being you.  Not trying to be someone you would like to be, not imitating someone else, not coming across as fake, not being arrogant or bitchy.

I wonder what kind of first impression I make on people. 

Hmm…point to ponder.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Silent Screams...

When a young girl jumped off a building last week, taking her own life, she had apparently researched "89 websites" to find out different means to die. She had considered all the ways of committing suicide, speculating the success rate of each and then zeroing in on jumping from the building. Her Google history showed searches about jumping in front of a train, consuming poison, overdosing on sleeping pills, hanging by a rope, electrocuting herself, drowning etc. She even contemplated about the way she would jump from the building- diving head first or plummeting down it. 

Just reading these gory details, brought a lump to my throat. That a person could be so desperate to end her life, that she saw no other option, no other reason to continue living, was saddening.Could she have lived if someone had heard her silent screams for help? 

Studies say that most people who die of suicide wouldn’t do so if they knew there was an alternative way, something that they cannot see, but if anyone could make them see it, they would understand. They go through enormous amounts of suffering loathing, hopelessness and isolation and all they want is for the pain to stop.

They aren’t asking for help, they aren’t screaming out aloud, so how are we to know if a loved one actually needs help? But just because they don’t ask for it, doesn’t mean they do not need it. Most people lead quite normal lives, and leave their family and friends shocked when they kill themselves. The onus is really on each one of us to spot the warning signs.

Warning signs-

If a loved one says things like, “you’ll be sorry when I’m gone”, “I’m stuck”, “I’m better off dead,” “If we meet again,” I wish I hadn’t been born,” “I can’t see a way out”, whether said casually or seriously, could count as a threat. It is a clue that the person could contemplate suicide.

If someone’s harming oneself or talks about killing oneself, writes a lot about death and dying, seeks out information about ways to die, it could point to major  warning signs about what is going on in their minds.

You have all the more reason for concern if the person is moody, depressed, has previously attempted suicide and suffers from substance abuse, alcohol dependence, bipolar disorder, or family history of suicide.

Another potent warning sign is the person getting their affairs in order, like making a will, giving away prized possessions, calling or visiting unusually to say goodbye, and behaving like they are not likely to see them ever again. Some people may suddenly become happy or calm after prolonged depression, and it could mean that they have decided to end their life.

Some might tend to get withdrawn from family and friends, stop socialising, express hopelessness or worthlessness, guilt, shame, or self-hatred.

How you can help-

If you spot warning signs in someone you care about, do not ignore them. Talk to them. Don’t worry if you read it all wrong. It is better to talk before it is too late than keep quiet thinking about consequences. Ask them if they are harbouring suicidal thoughts. Many people feel that talking about suicide may give them ideas. But the opposite is true. Talking about it gives them hope, it tells them that someone knows their state of mind and is willing to listen and help. Also most people are willing to seek help, they just don’t know how.

Let the person know you are listening. Let them vent their anger, frustrations and despair. Sometimes just talking about it to someone who can lend a sympathetic ear can help them unburden.

Let them know you care. It is important to let the person feel loved and wanted. It is important to let them know that their life matters to you.
Let them know there are alternatives. Let them know things will be better and these are temporary feelings. Tell them to hold on.

Help them talk about their problems. Once you know what’s bothering them, find out how you can help. Don’t be judgmental. Be sympathetic and accepting instead. They need to know that whatever is bothering them is not the end of the road. It is just a road block and they can get around it with help.

Never argue with them, or emotionally blackmail them, or lecture them on life and its values, or give advice. That is the last thing they want to hear.

If you are not confident of talking, involve a psychologist, or a crisis line. Never leave the person alone. And make sure they have no access to potential means of suicide, like pills, knives, razors, guns, etc.

A healthy lifestyle change like proper diet, medication, exercise, good sleep and positive reinforcement will help them get back on track. 

Here's an emotional TED talk video by Mark Henick, who has "been there, done that" and survived. He says,  "90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental illness at the time of their death. And with medications and psychotherapy, these treatments work, and so we need to make these treatments more available to people in a more informed way." 

I think, you need to see this...


10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. But I think everyday should be one. In whatever way we can, if we can work towards creating awareness, to remove the stigma surrounding suicide, and help more people to call out for help, we could really save precious lives. 

THAT moment...

What do you call that moment, which isn’t quite “the one”,
It’s the one right before it…the penultimate, before the final one…

That moment
      when the steed stands high up in the air, at the cusp of the finish line,
      the race is not yet won, but in a moment it will be fine…

That moment
       When you are holding your partner’s hand in yours, the ring nearing her finger,
      You aren’t yet man and wife, but in a moment you will be together…

That moment,
      when you feel the baby’s crown just about to emerge, the bundle of joy will arrive,
       it has not yet seen the light of the day, but in a moment, it will cry…

That moment,
       when you are standing with your arm outstretched, eyes on the award,
      on the tray, not yet in your hand, but in a moment you will be honored…

 That moment,
         when you see your loved one gasping for breath, perhaps his last ever,
        he is here now looking at you, but in a moment will be gone forever…

That moment,
        when a final glimpse you catch, as slowly chugs the train
        you behold her now, but know, that in a moment, will never see her again…

 THAT, is the moment, most intense of all….
        when the heart beats the fastest, and the breath is as good as gone,
         The fleeting moment that is lost, before you chanced upon…
         it is not your moment of victory or joy, neither of grief or pain or fall,
         The biggest moment of all is the one…you hadn’t thought of at all.    

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