Love

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

happy new year

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
― 
Neil Gaiman (more…)

Some more love!!

BLOG OF THE YEAR 2013 AWARD!!

Blog of the Year Award 2 star jpeg

It has been raining awards in my blog. 🙂

Its not that I am complaining…..in fact I am enjoying all the love & appreciation that is being showered on me by my friends of the virtual world/ fellow bloggers. This time it is the Blog of the Year, 2013 Award. First Michelle from Book Chat (my 1st star!) & then Stephanie from S. J. Thomas Book Blurbs (my 2nd star) has been kind enough to nominate me for this award. I was not expecting this one at all. And thanks to both of you for the nice surprise & the honour too! 🙂 (more…)

Love or addiction?

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 “If you are cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you.” 
William Ewart Gladstone

I live in Assam – the land of refreshing tea. My hometown Dibrugarh is one of the tea-growing places of the state. I have grown up in the smell of freshly plucked leaves as well as the smell of processed tea leaves coming out of the chimneys of the tea factories. So it is obvious that I drink love tea – the smell as well as the taste. In fact our whole family cannot think of a day without a cup of it. We have tea early in the morning & in the afternoons and also in between this- any time is tea time. 🙂 In most of the Assamese households this holds true. Also, it’s customary in Assam to offer a cup of tea (and also betel-nut) to our guests. In our home, the moment a guest comes in, our father gives us a shout to prepare the tea. 😛 In the old times when in villages, they cooked in firewood, they used to put a kettle on the fire all the time, so that there is no delay in serving the tea to a guest. 

(Trivia – Assam tea is manufactured specifically from the plant Camellia sinensis var. assamica. This tea, most of which is grown at or near sea level, is known for its body, briskness, malty flavor, and strong, bright color. Assam teas, or blends containing Assam, is often sold as “breakfast” teas.)

Like the rest of my family members, I too start my day with a cup of milk tea – I have to. Over the years it has become a kind of routine to head sleepily towards the kitchen after I get up. I go on a kind of auto-mode. The other thing is even if I want to I cannot skip this routine. Some days due to reasons like – forgetting to re-stock my milk/tea leaves supply, early morning travelling, etc. – I have to skip my morning tea and then I have to face the worse….a nagging headache. Even after having 2-3 cups later cannot compensate for this.  And today was such a day. I hate to start my day like this and to top it all today is Monday (I hate Mondays!).

Because I experience this headache, which takes a whole lot of time to disappear (even after some late tea or a tablet), whenever I skip my morning tea, I decided to Google around to check if I have become addicted to this beverage (which I love and will hate to part with). And I found out some interesting information –

  1. Caffeine in tea can make us addictive and if we try to stop having it, we can suffer withdrawal symptoms – headache is one such. But then, for most people, moderate doses of caffeine about two to four cups of tea a day — isn’t harmful. 
  2. Heavy daily caffeine use – about four to seven cups of coffee — can cause Insomnia / Nervousness / Restlessness / Irritability/ Nausea or other gastrointestinal problems / Fast or irregular heartbeat / Muscle tremors / Headaches /Anxiety, etc.
  3. Tea is also said to be a healthier drink than water (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5281046.stm)
  4. Tea contains low to moderate amounts of caffeine, much less than coffee. The smaller amounts of caffeine make tea a good alternative to coffee for people seeking to minimize the adverse effects associated with heavy caffeine use.
  5. There is some preliminary evidence that regular tea drinking may slightly lower the risk of heart disease.
  6. There is some evidence that black tea may reduce stress and promote relaxation. Tea also contains L-theanine, a chemical known to promote relaxation.
  7. Tea, like most natural plant-based foods and beverages, is rich in antioxidants. There is some evidence suggesting that these antioxidants may have a protective effect in the body, such as protecting against various cancers, although there is no strong evidence that tea can actually treat or prevent cancer.
  8. The antioxidants in tea, the same chemicals often being touted for their health benefits, can actually bind to iron. It’s possible that this could make your body absorb less iron, although the evidence on this is still uncertainty. People at risk of iron deficiency can minimize this risk by consuming tea after a meal, rather than before or during the meal.
  9. Although tea itself is relatively safe, there have been a few cases of tea being contaminated by pesticides or other harmful chemicals. This risk can be minimized by buying from a reputable tea company that knows the source of their tea.

Interesting find, right? From the above it is quite clear that with my daily intake of a maximum 3 cups of tea, I definitely don’t run into great risk. And tea is definitely not yet my addiction.  So is there any tea addict lover out there to join me for a cuppa? Do share if you have anything else – good/bad/ugly – to share in this regard.

Till then, enjoy your cup of tea!

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Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assam_tea

http://www.squidoo.com/is-tea-good-for-you

http://coffeetea.about.com/od/caffeinehealth/a/Caffeine-Headaches.htm

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/tea/

http://www.teablossoms.com.au/assamteainfo.php

Images: Google

Shoe fetish

cos-heart-made-of-shoes-mdnWhy do women love shoes?

This is an eternal question that the men-folk have been wondering about since ages. It is another one of those ‘women mysteries’ that men would never understand & it’s better to be left alone. And like most women, I too simply love shoes, of all kinds – flats, ballet pumps, wedges, flip-flops, slippers, jootis, mojris, heels, stilettos (even though I can’t wear them comfortably & without towering above everyone else around me). I love my clothes too but then shoes are special. After all they are a girl’s “sole-mate”. No matter how many pairs a girl owns, the moment she comes across a new gorgeous pair she feels that she needs to take them home with her, for there is always room in her wardrobe for another pair.

“Funny that a pair of really nice shoes make us feel good in our heads – at the extreme opposite end of our bodies.” Levende Waters

Now, a man can do just fine with a single pair of dark dress shoes and a pair or two of casual sneakers and maybe a pair of sandals. But for a woman, depending upon a dress or skirt’s length/cut/style/colour, it will need matching footwear. And she would still need practical sneakers for exercise/travelling and flats for mundane trips that don’t require dolling up. Put simply, women’s fashion, needs more shoe options.

“Shoes are the quickest way for women to achieve instant metamorphosis.” Manolo Blahnik

As I cannot speak for the entire woman fraternity, I am trying to put down my reasons for love of shoes. And here they are (in no particular order):

  1. My shoes never fails me- no matter how much I have gained weight or lost (which is very rare), they will always fit me.
  2. I can repeat my shoes guilt-free and pair them with many outfits.
  3. After a tummy full of delicious meal, I don’t need to hide my feet (and shoes); unlike my tummy which tries to come out, in full form, of the fitted top/dress.
  4. They are reliable, in the sense that they have the ability to full together an outfit
  5. They look the same at 10 am and 10 pm (unless I have made my way through some mud/dirt puddles)
  6. For every occasion I have a different choice – sneakers for exercise/travelling, ballet pumps/ flats for a casual day out, heels for an evening or special occasion, etc.
  7. I think shoes have a lot of power in them. They influence the wearer’s stance, posture, and overall physical demeanor. They make us feel taller, steadier, faster, sexier, capable of great feats.
  8. For me not diamond but shoes is my best friend  for I can buy “n” pairs of shoes but the same cannot be said for the Solitaire(s). (Yeah I know, I am a low maintenance girl and can be pleased with cheaper things in life 😛)
  9. I am a size 7 and pretty shoes my size is difficult to get. So once I manage to find a pair I love, I find it hard to fight my temptation.

Ummmmm…that’s about it I think. Right now I cannot think of any more reasons. I may add them later if I remember any other.

By the way, has anyone had the same strange experience as me that while our shoes seem comfortable enough in a quick turn around the shop, but when we actually wear them for real many of them rub, produce blisters or even tilt us at such an angle that we are prone to falling over? And hence, I actually wear just a few pairs, in fact the same ones, of my entire stash.

As I wind up, I leave you with a quote to ponder upon and some facts about shoes to enhance your general knowledge. Have fun!

Momma always says there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been.~ Forest Gump

Interesting shoe facts:

  • In Biblical times, sandals were often given to seal a bargain or an oath.
  • Superstition says that to dream of losing a shoe predicts an illness.
  • In Japan it is customary for a person entering establishments or homes to leave there outdoor shoes at the door and slip into a pair of slippers.
  • Shoes all over the world were identical until the 19th Century, when left and right-footed shoes were first made in Philadelphia.
  • In Hungary the groom drinks a toast to his bride out of her wedding slipper.
  • Average no. of shoes owned by a man= 12 and a woman = 27
  • Average size of footwear of a man = 9 and a woman = 6
  • Fetish of collecting high heel footwear is called Altocalciphilia.
  • First fashionable boot made for females was designed for English Queen Victoria in 1840
  • Women have more foot problems than men for one singular reason – – high heels…..oops!
  • In Illinois, you could be arrested if you have smelly feet in public places like a restaurant or movie theater.
  • Shoe shopping should be done in the afternoon; not the morning. Science shows that the foot actually swells during the latter hours of the day.
  • The highest heels that were the “norm” in Europe were six inches in height. They were popular among the very elite in the 1600’s. Servants had to hold the arms of their mistresses in order to help them maintain balance while wearing the shoes.

 Are you a shoe lover yourself?

What is it about them that make them so special?

I would love to hear your shoe stories. Share them right away!

shoes-blog

Images: Google

LOOTERA ……. stole my heart

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Are you writing a story? Yes.

Is there a boy in it? Yes.

Is there a girl in it? Yes.

Are they in love? No.

Are they about to fall in love? Don’t know.

Lootera is a ballad that touched all the right chords of my heart and I shed some tears too…..not because of how it ended but because it is what love is & should be. It touched me in a way very few movies has ever had. It’s a love story that has many layers. It is a story which says love can also be as grim and grey as snowy evenings. And that life itself can be as frail as autumn leaves.

It is like poetry in motion. The story is simple, subdued ….it’s like someone painting a landscape ….of love….in its own sweet time…..every stroke of paint being applied with no urgency to finish it….and the story takes its own sweet time to whisper love in your ears & awake it in your hearts! You want to fall in love…. just because it’s so pristine and surreal.

 In Lootera love happens at first sight, at least for Pakhi, the daughter of a zamindar, who lives a sheltered life under the wings of her doting father. Pakhi is a young, naïve dreamer whose heart is first stolen and later broken by a man, Varun, posing as an archeologist. Love, fleeting at first and then full-blown and physical, blossoms as furtive glances, frequent dinners, car rides, informal painting classes & asthma attacks, allowing the two to explore each other’s feelings.

 Pakhi Varun were very different from each other. Pakhi is at times shy, revels in stealing glances and gazing at her beloved. She was impulsive too & had weaved a dream world of her own around her whereas Varun was someone who had his emotions in control no matter what the situation was, he seemed quite realistic too. He is soft-spoken, respectable & was full of chivalry. He had this smoldering intensity in his eyes at various occasions, which said a lot more than his words could. At a point when he had to make a choice, he did not shy away from putting his gratitude towards his uncle, who had raised & taken care of him as an orphan, in the forefront as against Pakhi’s love. But even then they fell in love….they were destined to. There isn’t really anything substantial that happens to warrant an intense relationship between them.

Kaagaz ke do pankh leke uda chala jaaye re
Jahan nahi jaana tha ye wahin chala haye re
Umar ka yeh taana-baana samajh na paaye re
Zubaan pe jo moh-maaya, namak lagaye re

 But falling in love is not easy. When Pakhi confronts Varun, and begs him to acknowledge that he also loves her, he keeps quiet. Love is not easy for him. There is too much holding him back and he cannot say yes even if it is just to please Pakhi.

Patte jo shaakhon se toote
Bewajah toh nahin roothe, hain sabhi..

Even the sweet bond of love shared by indulged Pakhi and her doting, zamindar father was heart touching. How he equated her importance for him with the parrot that had the King’s life in its heart was heart touching for me. For a father, his daughter is always his princess & his life is hidden in her well-being.

 Later in her life, Pakhi’s inner turmoil, when she was torn between her love for Varun who was also the cause of her loving father’s heartbreak and eventual death, was painful. The pain percolated from the screen to my heart.

Mujhe chhod do mere haal pe
Zinda hoon yaar, kaafi hai!

Hawaaon se jo maanga hissa mera
To badle main hawa ne saans di
Akelepan se chhedi jab guftagu
Mere dil ne aawaaz di
Mere haathon, hua jo qissa shuru
Usey poora toh karna hai mujhe

Qabr par mere sar utha ke khadi ho zindagi
Aise marna hai mujhe!
Kuch maangna baaqi nahi
Jitna mila kaafi hai

Zinda hoon yaar, kaafi hai!

The best scenes in the film don’t have dialogues, in fact there are no catchy lines that any of the characters say—the lighting and cinematography used are breathtakingly beautiful without ever seeming odd or out of place in the story or setting, the music propels the story forward along with the brilliant acts of the supporting casts. The details of the era were, also, carefully looked into. The antique oil lamps & candle stands, the hand-pulled ceiling fan, Chinese cutlery with intricate designs, well dressed & well groomed men & women, drinks after dinner as they sat for a sessions of poetry, theatres, radio playing songs which resonated the entire household, ….all of these created the mystique atmosphere of the film. From the rural landscape of Bengal to the sun rays spreading all around to the pristine white snow in Dalhousie to the last leaf on Pakhi’s tree, everything was aptly picturized. Subtle & slow is what defined everything.

Lootera is the kind of film you will remember long after watching it. I would love to go back & watch it again & savour all the moments it had that touched me to the core. An absolute must for those who love romantic films or are romantic at heart. This film is a gem!

My favourite scenes from the movie:

  • Pakhi playing with the switch of the light when electricity reaches her place for the first time. Her eyes & the smile on her face reflected her innocence.
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  • Pakhi’s first glimpse of Varun from the window of the driver’s seat. Her eyes said it all…… love had happened to her … at the first sight.
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  • Pakhi and Varun are sitting by a tranquil lake. There are silences and whispers in their conversation. There is no romance between them, but the promise of it exists. They are seen sharing their dreams and long conversations. Pakhi confesses that she wants to be a writer, spinning stories in her Dalhousie home. Varun, in turn, has the soul of an artist and wishes to paint a masterpiece someday in a place near Manali.
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  • The glance that Varun gives Pakhi when she says that she will teach him to paint, if he does not know how, because in order to keep the class going on one has to teach the other. She reveals that she can paint landscapes well except for leaves and then he ends up painting some funny leaves. The scene is so endearing.
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  • In her quest to stop Varun from leaving, Pakhi reaches his room at night. The scenes that follow are so aesthetically done. Nothing is evident but then you understand it all.
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  • In one of the flashbacks, Varun is seen sitting on the bed, after their night together & Pakhi scribbling on her notebook writing a story. The way he gazes at her as she writes, is so much full of love. And then he whispers questions to her which she enjoys answering. It is scene that melts the heart.
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  • Varun telling a sick & dying Pakhi (wearing dark circles under her eyes, untidy hair & a pale face), who questions his intentions, “Haan, aaj kal itni haseen jo lag rahi ho tum”.
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  • Varun trying to put up the leaf he has painted on the tree in spite of his injury and Pakhi’s realization when she realizes the reason behind the last leaf not falling down.

………………..and many more…..

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Images: Google

For the love of love

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A few days back, I was watching an episode of Life Mein EK Baar – When Angels dare! aired in FOX Traveller In this series, 5 divas had packed their bags for a South African adventure in exchange for their busy city lives. The 5 divas were – Spanish beauty Barbara Mori, of the Kites fame; make her Indian TV debut with her new friends – Yaana Gupta, Archana Vijay, Diandra Soares and Kirat Bhattal.

The girls enjoyed various activities in the entire series – from experiencing life inches away from a deadly shark to giving free hugs to passers-by; from an emotional tour of Nelson Mandela’s prison island (Robben Island) to an adrenaline pumping sky diving lesson; from flying in a Gyrocopter to playing with cheetahs; from seal diving to club hopping and attending tattoo conventions to Quad biking over sand dunes in South Africa, from cooking traditional African food to bonding over concerts. I had watched almost all of the episodes of the series. The episode that I liked the most was the giving of free hugs to passers-by by Yana and Barbara.

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Yana & Barbara in Life main ek baar…when angels dare

Barbara and Yana inspired by a YouTube video about free hugs decides to paint the town with love by hugging passersby, one and all! At the beginning of their quest, no one seemed to be interested in the free hugs. But the 2 girls went after each person and almost begged them to allow them to hug them. Soon many of them bowed down to the wishes of the two pretty girls. And then the hugs flowed all over the street. What fascinated me were the facial expressions of the people who were being hugged – from an uncertain frown to a broad smile. The hugs were tight and warm and the positivity and goodwill of the 2 girls seemed to percolate to each person they hugged. And soon, the street they were standing was flooded with smiling faces. 🙂 This made me realize that we have a little puppy in each one of us – who loves to be hugged, petted, have someone caress us gently as we lie peacefully. Love is something we all long for and want…. maybe because we want to feel good about ourselves and happy too, that we have people in our lives who care for us and love us. The world will indeed be a lovely place if we display our selfless love for each other without any inhibitions… and do it simply for the love of love. 🙂

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

~ Dr Leo Buscaglia

Images: Google