Crazy little thing called… Fear

So. You’re insanely afraid of snakes. In the unlikely event that you’re faced with one, your fear will paralyse you – you can’t move, you can’t breathe so you just stand there – and with one bite, BAAM, you’re dead.

We tend to discount just how much our fears determine the way we live but the truth is they are with us, in every step we make, like the shadows that are bound to us. We even let fears dictate our actions, unwittingly making them come true. Don’t believe me? Just look around you or simply look deeper within yourself.

The guy who’s scared of commitment is the one that picks flaws in a relationship and does all he can to destroy it, bypassing happiness in the process. The woman, who’s terrified of abandonment, acts possessively and ends up driving those very same people away.

Interestingly enough, fears reveal more about the person than you’d think – I’m scared of people not loving me, not being good enough to be cared about.

Any shrink worth his salt would say all three of the above suffer from deep rooted self esteem issues. The best advice he can give? Just get over it. That basically sums up how to deal with fears – you can either let them consume you, control you or just break away.

Society plays a deep role in instilling and manipulating fears – Sagar Chabbria, a 24 year old man says his greatest fright is that of failure – not succeeding in achieving what he needs to, while one of 22 year old Gayathry Latheef’s fears include not being able to have her own children.

Me man – I bring food, you woman- you make babies – the stereotypes associated with Stone Age men and women have been so deeply ingrained, that you can see them even in the 21st century.

Losing a member of a family, suffocating and then dying are among the few common yet paralysing fears that people face today. Some of us manage to overcome our fears – by taking them on for a reality television show or by seeing them come true and continuing to survive. Then, there’s a third unfortunate kind that spends their lives hiding behind these ever strengthening shadows. So which one are you?

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Published in: on December 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Things I’ve learnt

My views – From the playful to the profound

  • Chocolate is the world’s most multipurpose food aphrodisiac – drug – dessert. The list is endless.
  • You can never stop loving someone you’ve truly loved. You can only pretend.
  • We never really change. We’re always who were were and are going to be.
  • Men will always try and manipulate you. Jokes are always on about how women never win arguments, but the truth is the men don’t try because they’d much rather make you feel bad about what you’ve said, later and then use it against you.
  • Couples in the 21st century, love each other with conditions and convenience. A tragedy because love without “if you do this for me”, truly makes you a happy person – ask any parent.
  • We rarely learn from our mistakes. We take people for granted and then when they start to forgive you, we do it again.
  • The more you run to men, the more they run away from you.
  • Wearing cap sleeves can make anyone look fat – even Heidi Klum
  • The people you grow up with have your back  forever. No questions asked.
  • Pizza is the best comfort food on the planet. Second only to greasy Chinese.
  • Once an asshole, always an asshole.
  • Every girl wants to be Carrie from Sex and the city. Every boy would like to be as suave as Mr.Big
  • The person you love will not wait for you forever.
  • Tell your family you love them often, they’ll be gone before you know it.
  • No matter how old or mature you get, your younger sibling will still be able to annoy you as much as he/she did when you’ll were little.
  • If you pretend to smile, you do begin to feel a little happy…try it.
Published in: on December 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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For you

Memories aren’t special because of what happened during them, but rather because of the people that make them with us. There’s a lot to be said for bonds that link you, transcending borders and years. These links are the one’s that mark your life, kind of like the lines on your palm.

Sometimes, there are no explanations as to why you’re drawn to someone without reason or logic. Why, in spite of fights, time and space coming in the way you still turn to only them in times of need. Sometimes, it feels like you’ve known them for eons and they are here to continue a relationship from a past time. and often, we trust them and love them against our better judgement, and that’s when they show us their loyalty.

A few people have played strange roles in my life -sometimes I’ve run from them, very often I’ve missed them but above and beyond all of this, I’ve always gone back to them. Family, you’re kind of forced to live but these people you love because of and in spite of what they bring to your life.

Once you’ve felt the strength of these bonds, that seem bigger than yourself you cannot settle for the superficial. Thank you to those who have been there for me, tolerated my nonsense and loved me even though you didn’t need to – this is for the original skinny, Big B, my chinki eyes, my co-cougar, meredith from a few seasons ago, the other skinny and the one that calls me lil one.

Published in: on December 21, 2011 at 9:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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The streets of Mumbai

A city has the potential to be a friend, a lover, a protector or the greatest antagonist that ever was and Mumbai (Bombay) can be all these and more in one single day. Walk through the streets of the place I’ve called home, lived in and lost in with this series of articles dedicated to the city with ephemeral moods but a lasting spirit. Plunge into it with…

 Cruise along the Causeway

Jewellry

Tousled haired foreigners with backpacks wander through the street, stopping when they see something that catches their eye. What follows is a raucous party of loud voices, in different languages. Each trying to convince the other that he should be listened to. That’s Colaba Causeway for you.

Senses have a tough job here as the sounds are overwhelming but the sights even more so. Clashing colours, stupendous shapes and thrifty trinkets all make their appearances. It’s difficult to mistake this street market as simply a typical tourist trap, which it is but locals swear by it as well.

Says avid shopper, Gayathry Latheef , “Shopping in causeway is fun because you never come back empty handed and you find everything you need in one street, from food to clothes to accessories and even, eye-candy.”

Mojris- For men and women

Formally known as Shahid Bhagat Singh road and informally as Colaba Causeway, it is as visited as its high profile neighbours, the Gateway of India and Taj Mahal hotel and palace. Gregory David Robert’s Colaba was one of intrigue, romance and drugs; the qualities that attract many who expect to relive his encounters.

It’s also just a street, where buyers meet sellers and relentless persuasion follows.  A curtain of jewellery, bronzed, silver and gold flutters in the air, alluringly, nudging you to enter the street. Café Mondegar one of Colaba’s oldest restaurants is Iranian owned and almost always full, is the first on the street.

As you walk along, it’s hard to escape the shouts of, ‘Miss, buy this. It’s the best quality’ but if you listen carefully you can hear that the prices for the locals and the prices for the unassuming foreigners differ as the vendors try to make a quick buck off those who don’t know better, a feature at almost every touristy location.

For the clotheshorse, there’s plenty to choose from. Whether its designer knock offs or indigenous outfits, it’s all out there and within grasp if you know how to spot what you like effectively and acquire it with smart bargaining.

Stalls that sell perfect replicas of perfumes, designer watches and sunglasses tempt those that want to look stylish but don’t want to pay the full price that comes with it.

Belts

Moving on, shops sell idols of Indian gods as well as hookah’s act as a metaphor for this street, that’s one thing in the day and a diametrically different one at night.

As day turns to night, this shopper’s street transforms, with visitors telling you that they’ve been propositioned by young women and drug peddler’s, surreptiously and sometimes, openly. Cafe Leopold, one of the iconic restaurants, been here since the 1800’s has a formidable reputation that goes beyond just serving delectable vegetable samosas.

Rainbow coloured

The streets of Mumbai are ever changing; one minute something is forever and the next it isn’t there anymore. Much like Colaba causeway, a quaint, busy street in the day unrecognisable from its night avatar.

Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 11:10 am  Comments (1)  
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Gateway to Mumbai

A man pretending to hold the Gateway up between two of his fingers while posing for a photograph, camera-toting photographers trying to sell heavily photo shopped images of the monument and women selling miniature versions as keepsakes. These and more shenanigans are daily occurrences at the Gateway of India, Mumbai.

The Gateway remains a wry observer, seemingly oblivious to the crowds that gather around it but the imposing, yellowed gate with its four domes and weathered inscriptions gives away its age. It always evokes a second glance from tourists who gather to admire its beauty, locals who come to admire the sea breeze after a hard day’s work or just passer’s by.

Even with all this activity, there’s still always a hush around it. It’s almost like it’s a wise old man, whose reputation precedes him. He’s seen it all, he’s done it all and so you can’t help be awed in his presence. That’s what the Gateway if India is to Mumbai. Revered. It has seen Mumbai through everything. Bloody murders, bomb blasts, terrorist attacks, pick pocketing and run of the mill con artists. It has been witness to decades of celebrations; a romantic proposal by the sea and even just a day’s outing for a family. Candlelight vigils to protest against atrocities commemorate a day or an event; it’s seen and heard everything. It keeps everybody’s secrets. People say that they make unique memories at the Gateway and the truth is, everybody does. On March 31st 1911, the foundation stone of the Gateway of India was laid making 2011 its centenary year. For 100 years it has seen the city develop from an English colony to the financial capital of an independent nation, from a trading town to a bustling city; it has seen kings, sailors, fishermen, lovebirds and tourists pass through. A passageway to Bombay in the old days, today it sits and watches the streets of Mumbai as the city scurries along at a mind boggling pace. Even though it was famously inaugurated in 1924, its foundation was laid way back in March 1911 to commemorate the visit of the then King of England, King George V and his Queen, Mary to Bombay, as the city was formerly known. From 1911- 1920, its construction was interrupted to build a seawall and reclaim land, forcing construction to resume only in 1920.

The Gateway captures Mumbai’s all encompassing spirit and diversity. It brings together the architectural style of the two most at odds groups, Hindus and Muslims. With an arch that is an ode to Muslim architecture and decorations in the Hindu style it acts as a mirror to the streets that accommodate groups of people who are drastically different from one another but live, breathe and die side by side, in the same salty air of this cosmopolitan city.

The Gateway was meant to be accompanied by an esplanade but lack of funds forced a delay and change in construction. A sign of things to come perhaps because Mumbai is infamous for projects that have been abandoned midway or shoddily done because of cost constraints, like the Worli Bandra sea link that took double the time it was meant to, to be built because of delays caused by lack of funds. The roads of Mumbai are notoriously bad, repaired every year and disintegrating with the first monsoon showers.

Back in 1911, acquiring 21 lakhs (29,358)for a monument was a big amount and it was borne largely by the Government of the country and contributions from rich business families of the city. The Sassoons, a wealthy business family donated ten lakhs () towards the construction of the Gateway; a tradition that dates back to the 17th century wherein rich families of the city would donate money to develop their city and even today, they play an important role in the functioning of Mumbai.

It’s often debated whether it’s government that keeps Mumbai running or the dozens of rich business families and their connections. It is no stretch of the truth that the rich and the powerful have security that could rival that of the Government in our country and on many occasions, the whims of the rich have overpowered what is right and legal.

Salman Khan, a much loved film actor ran his car over a sleeping man and injured three others and was shockingly found not guilty of culpable homicide nor was he jailed in this case for even a few days while incidents of rich kids being involved in hit and runs scarcely make the front pages of newspapers. Even when they do, somehow follow up stories neglect to occur.

It’s often been described as the city of dreams; that big city where millions from under developed parts of India come to pursue greener pastures.

Very few go on to attain these dreams, like Dhirubhai Ambani who amassed his great fortune after relocating to Mumbai in 1958. He went on to feature on the Forbes list of the world’s richest men. The majority of movers however have to satisfy themselves with working in factories, as taxi or car drivers and maybe even domestic workers.

Says driver Kartik Yadav, “ Mumbai promises greener pastures but when you reach here it’s an entirely different story. It’s a struggle, it’s a fight to survive but the more you give this city, the more it gives back.”

It may promise greatness and the stars may cloud your eyes but the city is as unruly ass the waves of the ocean that can take you down as easily as let you ride on them.

At the end of the day, it is simply a stone archway but what makes it ever so important is the fact that in a city that’s constantly changing, fluctuating and sometimes struggling to survive, this 100 year old Gateway is still standing.

It’s witnessed bloody murders, bomb blasts and broken hearts. It’s seen crime, crowds and catastrophes. It’s been witness to the whims of the rich and the wails of the poor and even though Bombay has changed to Mumbai and it’s people labour everyday with themselves to survive in this land, the Gateway remains constant, forever.

Published in: on July 31, 2011 at 9:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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The grocery store of the masses- Bhaji Galli

 

A whizzing of flies is in the air. They sit atop the coconuts that stand in the very first stall of the lane and if you listen carefully, almost sound like a welcoming jingle.

Being able to hear them is rare as the noise of the street is so overwhelming that it becomes difficult to even hear the voices in your own head. It is after all, in every sense of the word a street vegetable market, Bhaji Gallli where vendors and buyers come together, burgeoning stalls and bargaining voices.

Oversized and overused umbrella’s shelter the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables from the harsh Mumbai sun and the even more relentless rains but flecks of mud nonetheless make it to a these wares. Flecks that are sneakily wiped off when the customer’s backs are turned.

More than 60 years old, this long meandering lane at 17, Shankar Seth Road, Bhaji Galli, offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in small stalls along with a quirky peppering of items such as metal vessels, plastic wares and oddly enough, a little shanty selling only fancy ribbons.

The smells in the air are confusing, there’s a whiff of garlic here, the smell of wet leafy vegetables there and somewhere in the midst, the scent of juicy plums.

You can find ordinary Indian vegetables and fruits here but as you venture into the heart of the market, exotic wares like Celery, rosemary, thyme, cherry tomatoes and purple cabbages make their presence felt.

The vendors have a kind of brotherhood, nobody slashes their prices beyond an accepted rate and most customers have their favourite sellers.

The stalls on the street are rented or even bought. Om Prakasah from Uttar Pradesh was attracted by the lure of the big city and came to Mumbai seeking fortune. He has his fields at home but decided to get into the fruit business and has been a fruit vendor at the market since ten years. “ You need a BMC license to own a stall here, which I don’t have so I rent out the space for Rs.6000 (₤ 84) a month.”

The opulence of the vegetables and fruits and the simplicity of the market and its lower middle class vendors form a sad paradox. Little boys younger than even 14 wander the lane offering their lifting services to customers, customers who only want the freshest fruit and the greatest variety in vegetables while the boys can scarcely afford even half a fruit.

As the vendors shoo these little men away and turn their backs, they dip into the somewhat spoilt fruit basket and wander away with a stray litchi, grins of accomplishment on their faces.

Much like the women who feel they’ve struck a great bargain and the vendors who think the same. It’s a continuation of the streets of Mumbai, where the rich remain rich, the poor remain poor and they both like to think they’ve outsmarted one another.

 

 

Published in: on July 23, 2011 at 7:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Brand “value”

Brand value

Often we salivate over what fabulously wealthy celebrities are wearing or carrying. Then we realise the closest we’ll ever get to them is in a photograph.

Burberry. Hugo Boss. Roberto Cavalli and many more. All selling their merchandise at a 50 to 80 percent discounted price.

This is not a dream sequence, which you have to unfortunately wake up from, it’s a reality and its situated about two hours away from central London.

Bicester village, a small pretty village located in Oxfordshire, is an easy train ride away from London and once you’re there dozens of high profile shops are at your disposal at Bicester outlet shopping center.

It isn’t a typical mall, it’s a street with cobbled floors and little shops all over the lanes and bylanes. It has an old world charm about it making the experience even better.

It is literally a haven for those aspiring to get big brands at cheaper rates.

“Its definitely worth the travel and the money, not only is it a shoppers paradise, its beautiful. Perfect for a day of fun!”- Ramya Menon

You may wonder why everything here is so much cheaper but many shops have “no tax” signs plastered all over them. The goods are probably last season but when you’re buying something that’s branded, it lasts you forever so all in all it’s a pretty good deal.

Then we come to celebrity aspirational value.

Public figures become fashion icons for many people, we want what they wear and we want to live the way they do. It has shops selling clothes, lingerie, jewelry, electronics,  shoes  and accessories

An outlet mall like this gives those people the opportunity to live like their favorite celebrity. You have something that connects you to them and a good buy makes a shopper really happy.

It’s perfectly possible for one to buy a Burberry bag in the 100 pound range or even a watch from Guess for the same amount.

You won’t get the service you get in an actual store, the merchandise may not be as prettily arranged and you have to dig deep and look hard but once you find something, it’s a real bargain.

I asked a visitor why she came all the way to Bicester and she said,” One in a while the travel is worth it because coming here having the opportunity to get goods at such a discounted price makes the celebrity lifestyle more attainable.” – Nimmy Chowdhary.

Christmas is around the corner and this place is perfect for a gift to make someone smile. What makes it even better is that more 130 brands have shops here which have at least a 60 percent discount all year round.

Directions- http://www.bicestervillage.com/en/plan-your-visit/getting-here/getting-here

Opening times-

Mon- fri – 10 am-8pm

Saturday- 9 am-8pm

Sunday- 12 pm- 6pm

Published in: on December 4, 2010 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rehabilitation is for Quitters

image- http://www.photobucket.com - user- noctiss

It begins with one taste. It creeps up on you like a predator upon its quarry, leaving you no place to run or hide, all you can do is give in. You take one bite and it’s like you’ve lost control over all your senses.

It doesn’t matter that your dignity is gone; all that matters is that you get some more. Just one more taste of that thing that drives all your senses crazy. It’s luscious, it’s unsettling, it’s satisfying, and it’s uncontrollable yet it gives you the greatest pleasure as well as the greatest pain.

Then the only thing that matters is this insatiable desire, the madness that it evokes and race to submit yourself to it completely.

The only people that can identify with this are those with addictions. Addictions come in different shapes and sizes but they all do the same thing to you, they consume you and leave you wondering where the real you got left behind.

My addiction was my relationship.

From the outside it was perfect, we’d been together 3 years….and had made it through the most tumultuous times, mentally and physically intact.

Year one was the universally accepted honeymoon period. Year two was the roughest, lying, cheating and breaking hearts. And I didn’t do either.

But we survived, after a lot of effort we lived through our third year together. Then it happened.A day without seeing him meant I would be the nastiest woman around.

I began to overlook all his flaws ,his convenient lies that I could see through and forgave everything so I could have my fill of him.

When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t recognise myself anymore. I didn’t look much different but the person I was looking for just wasn’t looking back.

It was wrong, painful and worst of all it was tearing me apart. I couldn’t figure out whether I was addicted to him or to the pain that he put me through. Was being masochistic my big flaw?

Smoking, drinking, drug addiction and an unhealthy relationship….all begin innocently and end badly. Ironically, the cigarette is the one that burns but it’s the human that goes to ashes, the bottle doesn’t bleed, the liver does. The jerk didn’t cry, I did.

Then I stood up. I walked away. It was the hardest thing in the world. If addictions were supposed to be easy, they wouldn’t be known as addictions. Living a life without the support of something that made me whole was unthinkable.

That’s when I realised Rehabilition IS for quitters. It’s for those people who want to quit being victims to their own stupid choices.

It’s high time you start being the predator.

 

A story of a woman- as told to the author.

Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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PMSing? Try Prozac

Image courtesy - sweetcrazychick1228- http://www.photobucket.com

It’s that time of the month again. Women all over the world at one point in the month act almost crazy, they have mood swings and nobody knows what triggers them off.

Men, don’t be shy and run away from this. This could be a likely solution to your problems on days your girlfriend, wife ,sister or mother are acting unbearable. You can actually offer them a solution instead of thinking up ways to kill them.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham believe they have found the magical formula that could make the stressful days before a woman’s monthly period a thing of the past.

The answer is Prozac.

The anti depressant has been used on laboratory rats and it apparently proves that a small dose of Prozac could drive away Premenstrual syndrome blues. The researchers now want to start a clinical trial to really check the effects on human beings.

The researchers go on to say they would like to help the millions of women and their partners that suffer from this monthly problem.

Sorry for being a party pooper but what the heck?

There are some women who have intense pain during their period and for them there exist painkillers. Some suffer from intense mood swings for two-three days before it comes along but I don’t believe the answer to the problem is popping in anti depressant pills, no matter how small the amount.

PMS can sometimes be a serious impediment in living a normal life but it can be checked with changing your lifestyle and eating healthier. According to some doctors, Prozac should be used as a last resort.

Also, many men are moody and irritable all days of the year does that mean a pill should be invented that keeps their mood swings under control?

Woman deal with their period and accompanying problems from the moment they hit puberty and I strongly believe the feminine race is built to bear much more than the supposed “stronger” sex. All the women I talked to, agreed with me.

As a woman, I feel I am perfectly at easing dealing with a few days of mood swings rather than resorting to popping pills to ease a temporary problem.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and after more than eight years of dealing with my own mood swings and those of other’s around me, I know when to expect them, what they mean and how to deal with them.

Prozac, I don’t need you!

*I’m very interested in what the rest of you women and men have to say about this finding. Please comment and let me know 🙂

Published in: on November 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Inside Aladdin’s cave

People looking for their stolen jewellry

A row of plasma television sets, an array of mobile phones, computers and a sparkling display of jewellry.

It really was like being inside a modern version of Aladdin’s cave except in this case, his cave was open to the public and they could claim what they thought was theirs.

What I’m talking about is an event organized by the Metropolitan police of London together with Brent council (the council in charge of an area, Brent in London) called Aladdin’s cave.

All items that had been stolen in the past 10 months and had been recovered were put on display for residents of the area to view and claim as their own.

Before any would be criminals get ideas and decide to head down to one of these, be warned that the police know everything.

“Well essentially we’re trying to restore property that’s been recovered by ourselves to its rightful owner. Its very difficult sometimes because unless its got a serial number that’s unique to that particular item of property and unless its recorded on our crime record its very difficult to hand it of to the owner.” – Detective Robert Arrowsmith

They offered crime prevention advice to residents and allowed them to register all their present belongings into the police system.

Special UV pens with invisible ink that could only be seen through UV rays were given out to residents making it easier for them to mark and identify their belongings if ever lost.

A stall set up by Victim support, an organization that offers help, advice and counsel to victims of theft was at the event along with Brent Anti Social behaviour team, that helps the police deal with crime.

This initiative is commendable and attracted a crowd of more than 350 people.

It reunited a little boy with his play station, among other satisfied people .I personally have never been to an event like this before.

If only police all over were as creative and concerned about the people they had to look after, the world would be a better place.

It’s idealistic to hope for that but events like these are a breath of fresh air, when all we ever hear on the news is about crime and tragedy. They shows us that there is life after crime, you may be reunited with things that you lost and there are a host of people to help you prevent and deal with mishaps.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 9:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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