Archive for January, 2015

Come, Fall In Love!

Ever wondered what is Love, the four-letter word that has often – like a magic wand –  created allurement, enchantment and even upheaval in the history of humankind? Well, for those who have felt it at some point of time (and I’m sure most of us have) know that love is probably the closest we could come to magic! It’s never-ending, it’s eternal, and even if it hurts, we would not mind going an extra mile to make it happen…

Love is an enchantment!

Love is an enchantment!

Love is an enchantment!  The soft rose petals, the clear blue sky, beautiful melodies, never-ending dreams, the smile of a baby, crystal clear waterfalls – Everything wonderful, everything magical… that’s love!

Love is the eagerness we have hidden inside us – the reservation made for that Special person. Love is that one word that liberates us from all sorrows and pain of life. It’s about promises, vows and beliefs. When life gets hard, when things change, its true love that keeps us going…

Love is exhilarating, limitless and divine. So, believe in love, fall in love, get out of it, learn, celebrate it and make it worth! Never let go of love. The whole world is made up of it. Just live with it unconditionally!

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Life is… Celebration!

Motherhood has made me a better person. The statement is cliché no doubt but true! It has not only made me more sensible, motivated and a better manager, but has also helped me see the world with the eyes of a child. That’s a refreshing feeling for sure. As my little one grows up, bit by bit, every day, i could see him get so incredibly excited about everything, and so do I get the energy to participate in the joy of life. It’s fun to be around him and kids of his age.

Celebrating life

Celebrating life

For kids the word celebration doesn’t mean ‘grandeur’ but it means life itself! Even eating a whole bunch of different fruits can be like celebrating every piece of the fruit they eat. I’ve learnt over the years, it is such a wonderful concept to celebrate life with our different actions. That is what life is – celebration and vice-versa!

In fact, think of it, this whole universe is a celebration of existence. Everything in the universe celebrates life in its own unique way. Why does a flower bloom? Why does it give fragrance? Why is it beautiful? The mind always asks these questions. What is the reason for this, or for that?

While everything in the universe has a rhyme or a reason, at the core… It is for fun, for joy, for pleasure, to celebrate life, its richness and multiplicity. In my yoga classes, we were asked to celebrate life with movement and breath. When you celebrate breath with every breath you take, and be mindful, you can imagine how alive you can feel by just breathing.

The same thing which yoga taught me in so many years, my six-year-old educated me in no time. So, with him, I have started to celebrate everything – the sun, the rain, the snow, a smile and a frown … and celebrate life in different ways: in the food I eat, in the air I breathe, in the people I meet, and in almost everything I do. And I pray that we have a lot more enlivening, carefree and happy moments together for many more years!

Connected, Yet So Lonely!

Remember the famous poem by Mathew Arnold, ‘To Marguerite’. In case you don’t, here are the first few lines…

YES! in the sea of life enisl’d,

With echoing straits between us thrown,

Dotting the shoreless watery wild,

We mortal millions live alone.

Sounds familiar, right, this timeless poetry? If Arnold belonged to this day and not in the 19th Century, we could have attributed the poem to his views of the modern world, where we are all celebrating ‘connectedness’ but at the same time encouraging ‘retreat.’

Thank you Social media. You have so many ‘connected people’, albeit full of lonely hearts!

Connected lonely hearts

Connected lonely hearts

I cannot single out any networking platform here, because a networked world, those without Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Skype ans many more, is becoming inconceivable to most of us, and I am not an exception to this rule too! And, despite criticism, debate and declamation … the medium is here to stay.

True to what our grandparents said, “Decades ago life was simpler and much better…” a phrase we were often tired of hearing, a new study by the University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross too shows how online social media, rather than making us feel connected, contributes to loneliness and reduces overall life-satisfaction.

Technology has undoubtedly progressed and though it has changed the tools we have to reach out to others, it has not changed our deep psychological need to truly connect with others. For example, we now live in a world where it is considered normal to broadcast what one is doing and thinking every few hours. However, this doesn’t fulfill our deepest and most basic need to establish an emotional connection with another person. At its most fundamental level, this connection is not about reading or sending updates of activities. Sometimes words do not even need to be exchanged. Spending a lazy Sunday afternoon in comfortable silence with a close friend can mean more to us than a mass of comments on our Facebook or a series of tweets.

Another study from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that when interacting directly with friends on social media, especially in the case of Facebook – whether posting messages or pictures on wall, tagging photos or ‘liking’ things, feelings of well-being and sociability increased. But when they passively consumed content on Facebook, the opposite was true, where researchers found that increased internet use led to a decline in communications with friends and family, and increased depression and loneliness.

I too believe, social media has the potential to create a dangerous illusion of being connected. We pay attention to numbers on Facebook and Twitter, and often fool ourselves into thinking that we’ve satisfied that need to form relationships with others. In my experience, people who I know who feel the most lonely, usually have a wide and active set of “friends” on various social networks. They’re the ones who have hundreds of people liking and commenting on their photos, yet they feel that it’s not enough.

Fundamentally, I believe the technology and our use of it isn’t really bringing us closer together (Remember: the rule doesn’t apply to business or brand building). In fact, it may be driving us farther apart, as we know more and more people, but know less and less about each of them.

However, I would want to conclude by saying, I am thankful to my online friends, who are real friends offline too!

Happy New Year 2015 – Cheers To A New Beginning!

To all my friends and followers, my New Year’s wishes for you… May your heart be light and may you be blessed with good health in 2015. May the New Year find you surrounded by loved ones and you find the joy in small things and in whatever you do.

Happy New Year 2015 - Cheers To A New Beginning!

Happy New Year 2015 – Cheers To A New Beginning!

On this day, a year ago, sitting on my couch at the balcony, I was wondering as why we celebrate January 1st as the New Year’s Day. The date of the New Year seems so fundamental that it’s almost as though nature ordained it. But New Year’s Day as Jan 1 is only a civil event. Of course in school most of us have fairly read about it, but I wanted to revive my knowledge. As I was reading some facts on the web, I also chanced upon an old book on astrotheology gifted to me by my grandfather on my 14th birthday. The pages of the book turned yellow but it has enough information that can refresh our memories!

Let me take this opportunity and share with you a bit of this knowledge. While there’s no astronomical reason to celebrate New Year’s Day on January 1, our modern celebration of New Year’s Day stems from an ancient Roman custom, the feast of the Roman god Janus – god of doorways and beginnings. The name for the month of January also comes from Janus, who was depicted as having two faces. One face of Janus looked back into the past, and the other peered forward to the future.

For people in the Northern Hemisphere, January is a logical time for new beginnings. At the December solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, we had the shortest day of the year. By early January, the days are obviously getting longer. This return of longer hours of daylight had a profound effect on cultures that were tied to agricultural cycles. It has an emotional effect on people even in cities today.

The early calendar-makers may not know, but today we know there is another bit of astronomical logic behind beginning the year on January 1. Earth is always closest to the sun in its yearly orbit around this time. This event is called Earth’s perihelion.

People didn’t always celebrate the New Year on January 1. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, circa 2000 B.C. That celebration – and many other ancient celebrations of the New Year, following it – were celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, around March 20. Meanwhile, the ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the autumnal equinox around September 20. And the ancient Greeks celebrated on the winter solstice, around December 20.

There are numerous types of Indian New Year’s days celebrated in various regions at various times of the year. Ugadi is celebrated as New Year’s Day in Karnataka and Andhra pradesh. Gudhi Padwa is celebrated as New Year’s Day in Maharashtra. Bestu Varas is the New Year’s Day for Gujaratis and falls on the day after Diwali.In Bengal, the new year is celebrated in mid-April on the first day of Baishakh as well.

By the Middle Ages, though, in many places the new year began in March. Around the 16th century, a movement developed to restore January 1 as New Year’s Day. In the New Style or  as per Gregorian calendar, the New Year begins on the first of January.

Just like the one face of Janus that looks back into the past, and the other peers forward to the future, I believe new year is a time (and an opportunity) to reflect on the past, while looking to the future.

After all, it’s a new beginning, as noted author Lucy Maud Montgomery makes a statement: “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”