Jul 29, 2015

I am glad your dream is over, Bhagwan Chowdary.

Today, a man's dream finally ended... and I could not be happier.

Every year, we see sickening images of the mass animal sacrifice held in Nepal during the Gadhimai festival. A country with strong roots to a religion of tolerance suddenly goes insane in the name of that same peace loving religion, with devotees from Nepal and India literally running through herds and chopping the heads of living lifestock including goats and buffaloes. Estimates from the 2009 edition stated that nearly half a million animals were killed in 48 hours. Last year, 2.5 million worshippers killed nearly two lakh animals during this festival. I use the term festival because that is exactly what it is considered - a joyous occasion for the entire family.
"The World's Largest Animal Sacrifice", as they proudly claim.


What has always been truly amazing to me is the history behind this festival. 
A feudal landlord, Bhagwan Chowdary, from over 250 years ago, found himself locked in a prison. In his dreams, The Goddess Gadhimai appeared and told him his worries would disappear and prosperity and wealth would appear if he did a blood sacrifice in her name and built a temple for her. So what does the landlord do the moment he gets out of prison? He consults the wise man of the village - a local healer (oh, we doctors! Can't we ever do anything right?!) - and goes ahead with the mass slaughter. And the descendants of these two have been starting the proceedings every year ever since, striving to bring prosperity to the land by filling the streets with blood. 

Or to put it more succinctly, religious bullshit.

Jul 24, 2015

Quote Challenge Day 3 - If you light a lamp for someone else...

We all carry our own demons. Hidden behind the facade of a smile that falters when nobody is watching or a mind that seeks to be occupied in work to hide from itself, we exist. We need to hide these demons from everyone else. We need to keep the appearance of being perfect even as we are crumbling within. I know I have carried my fair share. And there have been moments when the thought of me getting the better of them seemed near impossible. But I did. And my secret was something that in the end was surprisingly simple.

I knew how tough a struggle I was going through and I knew exactly what I wish I could have received during my worst moments - a shoulder I could lean on, a heart I could trust, a voice of empathy. And I knew that just as I missed having those around me, there were surely others too out there battling their own inner demons.



My last quote in the 3 day Challenge is:

"If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path."

Over the last three years, I set a goal to help those who I felt needed the same. Each year the goal reflected in the blog's mission revealed during the blog-o-versary:


It helped me stop focusing on my own pain as I was too focused on making them smile or just being there for them to voice their pain without judgement. I needed them to trust once more. I needed them to believe in themselves again. And slowly, in helping them, I found myself turning the corner as well. In making them laugh, I was laughing too. In consoling one, I found that I was consoling myself too. In helping them accept their scars and move on, I had slowly done the same for myself, I found.

In the end, moving on from our personal falls in life was a lot easier once we realized we did not have to be alone when we got up again. That there would always be someone who would be there when we needed them... and who would raise our spirits in return by showing us we were needed.

Not everyone needs money or favours. Most of the souls you come across in your life just need you to show them you care. That they are worthy of friendship; of love.
Remember that.

Jul 20, 2015

I can see all that you tell her #1000Speak

I can see you tell her that she should not be friends with certain other children because they are not of your kind.
I can see you tell her how she should hate them because they fold their arms differently from you during prayer. 
Chosen by Blogadda as
one of the Tangy Tuesday
I can see you tell her how a ten year old boy is her enemy because five hundred or a thousand years ago, somebody else did something bad to someone else somewhere else.
I can see you instill fear in her of the consequences lest she choose to actually give them a chance at being friends rather than heed your warnings of a blanket hatred.
I can see you warn her that love for another man should never enter her heart until the day she is assigned a breeding mate by you, her parents.
I can see you warn her against daring to dream a dream for herself, one that may waver from the path you have drawn for her.
I can see you warn her of the closed doors of the house that await her should she dare go against the rules you have laid down, rules that seemingly differ from house to house across the world.
I can see her face fall and you ignore it as you hold steadfast to the goals you have set for her destiny, an unspoken tax you have levied from her life.
I can see her weep alone in her room, her tears failing to wash away the pain in her heart as she struggles to understand, a child filled with love trying to make sense of a world that is handcuffed to the hatred of the past.

I can see all this.
Image source: here
And all I want to do is reason with you. To tell you to give her a chance to live. To allow her to make her choices even if it does match your visions of her life. To accept that perhaps, just perhaps, love can erase the differences that exist between the barriers you have erected for her based on deeds done by men long dead. To accept that she is capable.

And all I want to do is reassure her. To tell her that she has just one life so live it happily. To love and care for people rather than hate them without even knowing them. To be vigilant and judge people based on their personalities and character traits instead of invisible delineations made by someone else. To let her know that even if she falls in her journey, that it is okay; that she is not sullen. That it is a normal course on the road to life. That greater people than her have fallen, often harder, and risen to become legends.

I want to tell her and I want to tell you all this. But I do not have the words and I cannot find the means as I watch you imprison her, your own flesh and blood. 


Image Source: here

For I am just a dog. And a cat. And a rat. And a mouse. I am just a cow. Just a hen. Just a fly and a gnat. I am just every other animal on this planet, living beside you. 99% of the living population on Earth. And I - every one of me - knows that you are wrong. That these invisible lines that you draw caging your young within do not really exist.  That you are there to guide her, not enslave her. That it is not she but you who must accept that love and compassion for one another is the true path forward, not hatred.

Jul 13, 2015

Quote Challenge Day 2 - Sail away from the safe harbor

What ambition did you give up on because failure would have hurt so bad?
What dream did you allow life to subdue?
What scared you from doing what your heart once aspired for?

Think about those questions today. And if some memory stirs within your mind, follow that train of thought and see where and why it halted. It could be not chasing the career you were really good at. It could be giving up on a vocation that made you happy. It could be just telling someone you cared about what you thought of them.

And now ask yourself one last question -

Do you still wish you could do it?

If so, today is as good a moment as any to start. It is the nature of life that we get set in routines expected of us and give up on the life goals we once grew up with. Safety in the mundane, I consider it.
Except that is not who you are. You are capable of so much more. Yes, it is scary to take a step away from normalcy and be viewed with raised eyebrows by everyone around you... but then it is also the first step to you rising above the crowd. More importantly, it is the first step to being true to yourself.

It is something I always tell others and I share it with you too now - If your teenage self met you today, would he/she be proud of what you have become in life? If not, what can you do to change his/her perspective of you in five years?

Take a chance. You may fail... but you may also succeed in achieving a life goal that, at this moment in your life, you have labeled impossible for yourself.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things 

that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. 

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. 

Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Jul 9, 2015

Quote Challenge Day 1 - The light at the end of the tunnel

'There will be light at the end of the tunnel.'
It is a phrase we have often heard as we grew up, a cliched motivator for times when we are down. The concept was to inspire people to hang in there awhile longer. Give time a chance to find a solution to what ails you. 

Sadly in today's world, with all the gadgets and doodads that exist to save our precious hours, we conversely find ourselves succumbing more frequently to our inner demons. Where earlier we could drown our sorrows for the most part in work and life, now we find ourselves being held hostage by the abundance of free moments, wallowing in our memories and allowing them to crush us by reminding us of the dreams that have been shattered. Time, always the most assured healer, is ironically the villain of the piece too when the heart that is at unrest is left alone, often even though the person is right in the middle of a crowd.

They say we are a generation that is impatient. That we cannot wait and we demand results. That we are too impatient to even wait for the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps we are but then how is admonishing us for it going to be helpful to a heart that is broken and seeks relief? 


My quote for Day 1 of the 3 day Quote challenge is not, in fact, 'There will be a light at the end of the tunnel.' It is something that got me through my worst moments in life and brought me to a stage where I could achieve so many dreams I did not even imagine possible for myself.

My quote for today - "The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is."


My policy and one which I ask others with broken hearts and dreams to follow is simple - don't wait for a healer to come and fix things in your life. Know that you yourself can be your own healer. 
  • Accept that you may have lost this dream, be it a coveted job or an affair of the heart. 
  • Remember that you are a wonderful person who had a life and had dreams and ambitions even before this setback that has fazed you. 
  • Realize that there are a million more dreams and life goals that await you and each of them will help not just in the process of healing you but in making you the true champion you are capable of becoming.
  • Stop focusing on the tunnel. Look beyond, identify the bright light and focus on it until the true irrelevance of the tunnel becomes clear to you.  
  • Above all else, stop convincing yourself it is the end of the world. It is not. It never is. 
This world is full of amazing moments, achievements and goals that you don't even know you are going to achieve yet. So stop believing that a failure or two is the end of who you are when the truth is that it is just the beginning of your beautiful journey to a successful life. 


Author's note:
Aseem tagged me for the 3 day quote challenge. The rules are as follows - 
  1. Post one of your favorite quotes (different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
  2. Nominate 3 bloggers to challenge them.
  3. Thank the blogger, who nominated you.
Thanks Aseem. Away from the usual contests for prizes that has been filling my blog recently, it is nice to get back to writing from the heart. As for tagging people, everyone is free to take this up. Just send me a link to your posts in the comment section so that I can check it out too.

As for the quotes themselves, well... each quote I have chosen represents a part of my life. Somewhere in the course of these ten years in the blogosphere, they have appeared in the blog at defining moments. 

The quote above is from my post on Suicide Prevention from 2014 - 'This is Not How My Story Ends'.

Jul 6, 2015

10 reasons why buying an Air fryer is a great idea


"Air fryer? What is that?"
Considering the product has been in the market for awhile, it is quite surprising that many are still unaware of the existence of the sleek kitchen gadget. Others who are aware of it talk of its high cost as a deterrent to buying it, even as they keenly ask those who have purchased it for more details. 

The simple fact is that the air fryer is indeed a bit of a game changer in the marketplace as far as cooking is concerned. Available at rates ranging from Rs 7500 - Rs 10,000, it is priced on the higher side. So it is worth the investment? Having used it for a bit at home, I would have to say a resounding YES to that.
Why? Allow me to elaborate. 




1. Fry, Grill, Roast, Bake
In a nutshell, those are the things that you can do with it. 
Or to give you a more visual image - chicken tandoori, chicken drumsticks or wings, roasted chicken, rack of lamb, fried fish, tempura prawns and other seafood, samosas, pakoras, koftas, kababs, brownies, lava cakes, cheesecakes, muffins, pizzas, crispy veg fries, french fries, calzones, quiches, garlic breads, parathas, meatloaf et al.


Chicken Tikki 


2. No Oil!
No more debates on transfats and saturated fats. By using hot air as its single cooking medium, you have in a single shot eliminated one of the most common grouses that has plagued health conscious folk for decades - oil. As a cook too, you don't have to deal with greasy stains and dishes anymore.
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