While I was in Pune, a dear friend of mine went through a particularly bad and abrupt relationship breakup after being in a committed relationship for years. Neither party really was at fault... circumstances and differences in certain religious equations which were unacceptable to 'the elders' were at play there.

Heartbroken, the two did split so as to respect their parents wishes. I met the girl a few short months later in town while walking down the street. It should have just been a superficial 'hey, what are you doing here? How is studies? Okay, got to go.' kind of conversation. I really am not the one to actively pry even if I was privy to details about people's relationships.

But she just seemed so despondent that evening. There was not even an attempt to put up a fake smile on the face just to maintain appearances. So standing there in the middle of the pavement, I asked her how she was doing.
It was as though the floodgates had been allowed to open. We stood there that day for over half an hour with hundreds of people walking past us as she told me how betrayed and lost she felt; how her life which had seemed so perfect a few months ago was now completely off track.

You can read the rest of the post here


In a financial world where the stock market fluctuations tend to be unpredictable, I have always preferred the security of mutual funds over individual stocks. You get to be a part of the market while simultaneously being buffered from the extremes of rises and falls. Sure, we all would love a good quick rise in our portfolio but trust me, you don't want to be at the receiving end of a lower circuit fall.
I started investing in stocks around 2007, I think. Over the years, I have watched the markets rise, fall, soar and even crash. It has been a steady learning curve. But I am happy that I invested systematically all those years ago. The biggest gains I have got financially even today remain via mutual funds with well over 100% returns on investment overall and around 20% annually.

The one thing I sorely missed was true guidance, as I would read up on various funds by myself and try to gauge the market mood. That is where it is handy to have allies like FundsIndia on your side today.

You can read the rest of the post here


At the start of the century, the United Nations had set up a Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for the various countries of the world. Two of the key goals they looked to achieve back in the year 2000 was to halve the number of people in the world without drinking water and sanitation by 2015.
The sad aspect of this goal for India, seen as one of the key beneficiaries owing to its huge population, was that had the goal been achieved, that would still have meant that over 330 million Indians did not have the basic necessity of clean water.

That, in a single line, encompasses the struggle we face today. 

The fact of the matter is that simply providing an option for water alone is not enough either. The source needs to be sustainable and potable, ready to use for the population of the area. And sadly, that is where we have faltered even after all these years. Most of the areas that have been provided a rudimentary drinking water source find the source invariably contaminated by agricultural run off, sewage and sadly their own human and household wastes. They thus end up easy victims to outbreaks of gastroenteritis and cholera, both water borne diseases. In fact, even today, over 20% of all communicable diseases in our country remain water related. Diarrhea alone causes over 1400 deaths every single day. The truth is that,  even from a financial point of view, the economic losses faced because of lack of proper sanitation facilities far outweighs the amount required to provide it in the first place.

You can read the rest of the post here



Every time I return to my hometown after an extended work schedule, my smile grows wider as I watch the landmarks pass by one after the other, indicating that I am reaching my house. (Of course, the converse holds true as I leave but we will leave that sorrowful face for another day!)

There is no denying it - in our house, we transform. Outside at work or even in the streets, we are lost in crowds of hundreds; just another brick in the wall. But once that foot crosses the threshold of the front door, our demeanour changes. We relax as take our shoes off, finally get a chance to freshen up after a long day and relax. It is our castle, where we can finally be ourselves.

But what if I told you that I was looking for "a castle within my castle"?
You see, even within the house, there are endless distractions and interruptions that can ruin those moments that you are looking forward to. Yes, we love everyone at home very much but sometimes, don't you just yearn to have some time to yourself? Your "me" time or even "us" time with your significant other, without the noise of the neighbours' arguing above and below you or relatives barging in.
Imagine it: Everything you need available at an arm's length, be it the latest novel, a new DVD movie you want to watch or just a cold drink as you reminisce on life's endless possibilities. No distractions. 
Sounds good, right? I thought so.

So here is my concept for that "Castle within the castle" room.

You can read the rest of the post here


Even before I had completed Parul's post, I knew I wanted to be a part of the #8PhotosOfHappiness tag. I have always been the go-to guy for pictures, right from my school days when I would be hounding everyone for the camera roll negatives so that I could get a pic to the present day when I keep reminding people to Bluetooth or NFC me the pics I wanted.

So when the post asks us to choose 8 photos of happiness, it was a tough choice going through literally thousands of pictures. Tough, but heart warming.

1. The easiest way for the surgeons to unwind after a hard day's work in the OPD and operation theater was to just whisper one word to each other - "ABS".
ABS Dhaba was the nearest food destination from the hospital where we all resided. Situated literally at the border between two states, they served the most awesome Chicken 007 (that the Andhra girls especially loved because of its spiciness). We have so many fun memories of just coming there late at night and laughing away the blues.

You can read the rest of the post here


23 billion dollars. Or 1469470000000.00 rupees as per today's rate, according to Google.
Keep that number in mind. We will get back to it.

Do you remember the atmosphere that greets our cricket opponents when they walk into Eden Gardens in Kolkata? The greatest cricketers of our generation all talk of how intimidating it is to be there on the field, the gladiatorial cry of 1 lakh spectators making their allegiance felt? Can you picture it from your TV viewing memories - Eden Gardens packed to the rafters, screaming for Sourav to step down the track and deposit the insipid spinner's cricket ball into the stands?


Image courtesy: Wkitravel
Now imagine that you have 22 such stadiums side by side? Is your mind able to draw that image of Kolkata - can you comprehend the unbelievable sound of 22 lakh spectators, screaming simultaneously "Sachiiiiin Sachin!"? You can see them all? Good.

That's how many people get tuberculosis in India in JUST ONE YEAR. 
ALL the people in the first three stadiums will be dead before the end of the year.
You and I are no strangers to the word 'tuberculosis'. We have all heard about it. Caused by a particularly hard-to-beat bacteria and spread easily by cough droplets from an infected patient, it thrives in countries like India where the population density numbers, socio-economic status and hygiene are all in its favour. For centuries, it was considered incurable and fatal. The disease affected and entered via the lungs, but could also find its way to other corners of the body, be in the brain, the spine, the joints or even skin. Owing to its particularly resistant nature, a regular antibiotic course of 7 days did nothing to it. When drugs were first available to treat it, the course of medication ranged from 18 to 24 months. 
Image source: Nature

You can read the rest of the post here


Image source: MagpieTales

This was how it would end, she had foretold. I did not believe her. 
I had faith that they would be more... human with her.
"You see your innate goodness in the humans, Lord. But it is the very audacity of believing they are built in your form and thus Gods themselves that will lead them to savage me." she had said, apprehensively. Nonetheless, she had ceded to my will and accommodated them.

I gaze at her now - a withered husk of the woman she was - and realize how right she had been. My favourite creation... my gift to the humans. 
I bend down beside her lifeless form one last time, struggling to silence the guilt within me. I manage just four words before the first tear runs down my cheek.
"Forgive me, Mother Nature."

Author's note:
The above vignette is linked to:
1) Magpie Tales 281 where you write based on the image. 

2) Blog-A-Rhythm's Wordy Wednesday for the word prompt "Audacity"



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.

You can read the rest of the post here


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...