A mother helps India Win over China!!

Mothers have always and will always play a pivotal role in our lives. And behind every woman’s(including man) success, is a woman and most often than not, its a mother. So crucial is the role of a mother in shaping the fate of its children that she holds the power to either create a God or Monster out of them. And because she will always be the first of the many to surrender her life for the well being of her children, she will always rightfully command a soft corner in everyone’s life that is irreplaceable. Moreover, she can also be your trump card if you want to succeed at anything even if that includes getting a leave at work due to a reason that involves your mother or even better, winning a Miss World…..

Such were the nature of events that transpired in China that hosted the Miss World, 2017, that even the audiences were in complete unanimity with the judges in declaring Manushi Chhillar as the Miss World, 2017. If you are still wondering how does a mother help Manushi win the most coveted title, I would encourage you to keep reading.

It was the final round and a deciding one too, where among st all the contestants that participated in the initial round only 5 proceeded, as is the standard norm. They were the goddesses from England, France, India, Kenya & Mexico. Each one of them were asked a question to gauge whether there was anyone among the 5 who had a perfect blend of brain and brawn.

Stephanie Hill, Miss England

Question: ”If you speak in front of all the leaders of the world, what would you speak about?”

Answer: ”If I got such a chance, I would like to address the inconsistency in global healthcare. There are vaccines and medicines available in the world. This crisis can be solved.”

Aurore Kichenin, Miss France

Question: ”What has been the world’s greatest invention and why?”

Answer: ”The greatest invention in the world is transport. It enables communication with all the countries.”

Manushi Chhillar, Miss India 

Question: ”Which profession deserves the highest salary and why?”

Answer: ”A mother deserves the highest respect. It’s just not about cash but also the love and respect that you give to someone. My mother has been a huge inspiration. it is the mother’s job that deserves the biggest salary.”

Magline Jeruto, Miss Kenya

Question: ”Cyber-bullying is one of the greatest problems in the world today. How would you solve this?”

Answer: ”Cyber-bullying is one of the major problems in the world today and it should be ended.” (with a bit of fumble here and there. Her nervousness got the better of her)

Andrea Meza, Miss Mexico 

Question: ”What is the most important quality that a Miss World should possess?”

 Answer: ” It is Love–the love that she has for herself and expresses to the world.  Miss World should be someone who can talk to everyone and meet everyone.”

Now wouldn’t you agree that the world couldn’t have a better representative than someone who respected the countless contributions of a mother that goes into making this world a better place for all of us. Even the dragon couldn’t help but stand in awe and appreciation to this 20 year old who is a perfect embodiment of grace with consciousness and who hailed from INDIA!!

 

Tripping over Paradise

Ever wondered what Paradise looks like in real. Everyone of us have various versions or connotations on Paradise. For me though, I have always loved the idea of living in the woods. A place that has unending lush green landscapes. A place that has valleys with flowers of various hues blooming throughout it. A place where the lakes are so pure that one could gaze through its depths right from above. But, barely did i know that I was just a step away from embracing my dreams ……and how!!

After having heard about Kashmir Great Lakes and after being awestruck by its beautiful pictures, I and a friend had decided to try this trek. Little did we know about what we were getting into. The websites had provided enough caveats about the difficulty of the trek. But being a fitness enthusiast, I wasn’t really concerned about it. But was my lack of concern really justified, only time would tell!! Having made all the necessary arrangements, we were ready to face the truth.

Kashmir survives mostly through its income from tourism. However, lately though, that has taken serious beating, the major reason being the geo political tensions. It was a huge risk and our actions were treading on a very thin line between bravery and foolishness. We landed in Srinagar and were on our way to the hotel. We had observed that numerous army personnel were stationed at every corner of the street that seemed bizarrely vacant. The situation did send a chill to our spine. We however found refuge in the hotel where the staff seemed friendly. After having spent a day and half, we were on board to our camping site that was stationed at Sonamarg. Upon arriving our campsite, this is what was exactly waiting for us:

IMG_20170714_173520

Some of us including me took our time to grasp the marvel around us while the others had instantly reached for their cameras. We had only begun to pray that our batteries and memory cards don’t get exhausted before this trek ends.

IMG_20170715_091905

IMG_20170715_110049

Our eyes feasted to its hearts content at the landscapes, gigantic ice laden mountains and valleys that were as pure as crystals.

IMG_20170715_133239

The entire trip was nothing short of an art exhibition, Mother Earth being its curator.

IMG_20170721_080750

And like any great artist, she had reserved the best for the last……THE LAKES!!

IMG_20170717_131827

It was Day 3 of our trek. And while we were in a completely different dimension, back home things were looking pretty good at the stock market. We were scaling at a record high of around 32K. But that was not the only thing soaring new heights. We were warned that the third day would be the most difficult day of all, for we were gonna scale the gigantic Gadsar pass. That would put us at 13,750 ft high. We were excited but equally terrified too because Day 1 and 2 had been physically very enduring. There was only one way to do it – SHUT OUR MINDS, KEEP OUR HEADS DOWN and TO KEEP WALKING. But that was easier said than done. Barely an hour after we started and after having covered only 20% of the incline, we were panting our lungs out and our legs had started aching beyond tolerance. There goes an adage that never grows old, “Never challenge the mountains. RESPECT IT!!”. We realized the gravity between every letter of those words. 3 hours had passed and we finally reached at the top. We had fallen down on the ground refusing to move by even an inch. Suddenly we heard some trekkers who managed to gather some energy and scream at the marvel that awaited. We had seen it in pictures but to witness it for real was one of life’s greatest blessing. Readers, Behold! I present to you KRISHANSAR and VISHANSAR – the twin lakes conjugated besides each other with majestic mountains covered under fog. A visual delight reserved only for those who braved to scale at 13,750ft.

IMG_20170717_102909

But that wasn’t the end of it. In our journey ahead we had seen many more. Here is a glimpse of the same:

IMG_20170718_180923IMG_20170719_143837DSCN0136DSCN0164DSCN0169DSCN0170

IMG-20170805-WA0003IMG-20170813-WA0001

Highlight of the trek!

There were two things that had moved us so deeply that it only raised the level of experience we were having:

  1. The LAKES?? Not exactly. The places we were trekking on happened to be not only beautiful but were also very close to the Line of Control which demarcates the border between India and Pakistan. And considering the relation we share with Pakistan, we have our ARMY JAWANs patrolling over these borders. We all considered ourselves to be very fortunate to be able to meet them for real.  At first we were a bit scared as most of us had never met an army personnel before. But we all were in for a surprise when they greeted us warmly and with utmost respect. We still remember those faces that lightened at the mention of most of our origins from Mumbai or Pune. And the conversations that transpired in Marathi had lightened the atmosphere. They were very courteous enough to offer us water. At one of the checkpost, the jawans had gone ahead to offer us with kashmiri tea also popularly known as KAHWA. These jawans had their posting in some of the most odd places where temperatures dropped below zero. For their daily supplies, they were supposed to travel for around 20 kms to collect them. But they were very proud of what they did. However, as a citizen of this country, I couldn’t help but ponder if our country was doing enough for them.
  2. Then, there was this one thing that really put us off to the extent that we were annoyed at its very sight. Every time we would pass by a lake or a valley, we would observed litters of plastic wraps all around. It was very upsetting to look at the garbage around. Considering that plastic takes an infinite time to decompose, how wise is it to engage in such an act! Its one thing to feel blessed to have a beautiful place like kashmir within the boundaries of our country and its another thing all together to not do anything to ensure that we maintain it for generations to come. I was lucky to do this trek under India Hikes that ensured that any route we had taken, we made sure that we not only kept it clean but also we would make it cleaner than it was before. And to ensure this, all of us were given eco bags to collect the trash.

 

The final day had arrived!

We were instructed the day before to rise at around 4am only to be able to begin our trek at 5.30. And we were all bang on schedule!! It wasn’t as dark as we imagined it to be. Dawn had broke and we spearheaded towards the finale.

Descent…..more Descent and ………….even more descent!! Does it ever end? These were some of the many thoughts doing its rounds. It was almost 4.30 hours past since we left our campsite. With just a short break in between, we were all spiraling downwards, unwilling to take another break and to just get over with it. I along with my co trekker had just spoken on almost everything under the sun; topics that ranged from the passion we shared for running, our workplaces, our last trek experiences(mine being none) and et cetera. And even though we ran out of topics, our course just didn’t seem to end. Our toes were screaming in pain, our water repositories had almost diminished and our motivation was beginning to lose its fuel. We couldn’t take it anymore. Who knew that a descent could be so punishing. But it wasn’t exactly the course that was taking a toll on us, for we had seen the worst of worse courses before. It was the excitement and expectation of returning back home that made us impatient. We had waited for this moment for so long. Those 7 days in the wilderness. Never had we ever imagined that we would be lucky enough to witness MOTHER EARTH in the way we did.

Each and everyone of the 17 of us, out of the 23 that had begun the trek initially had changed from within in leaps and bounds. From the outside though, we had roasted beyond recognition; lost a few kilos and inches from our waist and the best of all, most of us rediscovered new endurance limits that we all were proud about.  Just then we could hear the sound of vehicles passing by. We realized we were getting close to the end of our trek; we were getting close to CIVILIZATION. But if you ever happened to ask any of us if we ever did regret to do this trek, we would all scream “NO” at the top of our lungs. For we had all just been to PARADISE and back. We all had a story to tell. Our losses were minuscule in comparison to visual delight we encountered. And at present even though this paradise is embroiled in a lot of controversy, it is worth defending. KASHMIR – a paradise within our reach!

 

You just earned yourself a dance with the devil boy (El Niño)!!

All hail the Almighty and burning ball of helium,
Who seems to have blown its regulator on Cool, Hot and Medium!

You have been throwing unbearable heat waves like the tantrums of a teenager;
Have you forgotten your sole purpose of being a life giver!

Your heat waves have made the geysers rusty;
In a water scarce city like ours people are dying thirsty!

Afternoons seemed to have preponed and now begin at nine,
You finish your count and you say aloud, “Ready or not here I shine!!”

People here will still continue their task coz its a busy Metropolis;
Even if you still thought of making this city another Heliopolis!

Never have we prayed harder to Zeus, the God of Rain;
After all our requests to you seems to have gone in vain!

We can’t really blame you entirely;
Coz we have treated Mother Nature with cruelty!

Afforestation and rain harvesting is the need of the hour;
We better get our act straight before it’s too late to save this beautiful planet of ours!

For karma is already in play and we shall reap what we have sown,
This is only the beginning, for our acts have raised the little child from hell “El Niño”!

A Tryst with the runner in me!!

I took a look at the time. It showed 17’25”. I was on my last lap towards completing my targeted 3K run. The sun showed no mercy in proving to be my greatest nemesis. My legs were screaming in agonizing pain. The heart pounded loud enough to mute the surrounding cacophony.

While every part of me started giving up, the success of this challenge depended solely on my mind. It kept reminding me of how important this run was. That my attempt to run a 10K in June required me to not quit. And since I was almost nearing towards my finishing point, it made no sense to give up. My mind created an illusion around me that this was not a drill, but I was actually running the 10K i dreamed of completing this year. That I was surrounded by spectators on the sides and was running in the midst of many other participants like me who woke up this morning only with one intention i.e. to complete the 10K.

And thanks to the law on energy that worked in my favor, I began to feel a surge in my energy levels. My spirit replenished and my feet began pounding the ground hard enough to gain momentum. I regained a level of consciousness that turned my whole being into one force that was created for a single purpose. And I ran, not thinking about anything but just knowing that neither the sun nor the distance was gonna stop me from completing my run and reclaiming my dreams that even I CAN RUN!

I checked my time and pressed the stop button. It was 19’00”. Makes me wonder that all the vertigo I had gone through happened in a span of 1’35”, though it felt like a lifetime. Quite an INTERSTELLAR episode!! Come to think of it, as punishing as it may sound, I feel it was quite an experience. There is a saying, “You know you are on the right path the moment you come upon it because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you ll ever need.” And so is my case. After having completed that run, nothing else came in my mind but just that I needed to better my timings and build an endurance to be able to run even more. After all its an endurance sport!!

Stubbornly in love with u!!

They Kissed!! The groom had overcome every obstacle thrown by the audiences gathered around them, which apparently formed part of a very notorious ceremony in every Christian wedding. The couple had waited for long and the audiences stood no chance from stopping them from giving a perfect culmination to the most awaited event of their lives.

Everyone gathered were a witness to an evening that had some great music, dance, performances, lip smacking cuisine and great decor. “Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, life gives you a fairy tale.”  And this was one of the most significant chapter in the story of their life. A chapter they had dreamed about ever since they fell in love. Not only dreamed, but also discussed about it a million times; sometimes even fought over their choices; it could have been the decor or venue or theme or a million other things. And here they were pronounced as man and wife, having struck an item from their bucket list.

The bride happens to be a very good friend of mine. Having worked with her for a couple of years and having shared every tiny secret, joy & sorrow; we shared a great bond. And so my happiness knew no bounds when she broke the news of her wedding to me. What makes me even more happy is that she was getting married to her knight in shining armor with whom she was in a relationship for half a decade. She would always tell me that she would love to marry this sailor. Anyone who knew this girl could sense that she was already been struck by the cupid. And since we know that its not everyone’s cup of tea to take your love story successfully towards one of the greatest milestone of its journey i.e. WEDDING; it fills my heart with gratitude for having witnessed this relationship survive every storm on its way and for having witnessed the joy in their eyes while committing to grow old together till death did them apart and even beyond.

Like Alex Hitchens says, “Basic principles(for being in a relationship). There are NONE!!” All of this only teaches me one thing that a successful relationship only requires two people to be stubborn beyond reason – to be with each other no matter what.

Escape into your BLISS!!

We can live a very successful life and still be unsatisfied and unhappy or we can live moments doing things we love, then no matter even if our life isn’t long enough, we can still feel grateful. Life is suffering; but in the midst of this suffering if we have something that can make us feel better, we can at least keep moving further. That something could be any art. But you need to have a divine connect with it. What I mean by having a divine connect is that the very act of doing it should itself give you so much satisfaction and happiness that you don’t need anything else to feel fulfilled. Even if it doesn’t earn you money, it absolutely doesn’t matter. It could be an act as menial as cleaning and still it would be fine.

I am no Master SHIFU to teach you how to get INNER PEACE. I am here just to share my experiences that have taught me how to keep moving ahead, no matter how bad your circumstances may be. I consider myself lucky to find that something that keeps my mind in peace; something that makes me feel safe because I would still have something even after having lost everything; something that channels my HULK like rage without harming anyone during times when I have felt cheated, manipulated and dejected; something that makes me want to still see the better side in everyone; something that makes me want to forgive and give people another chance and moreover something that’s makes me ESCAPE the negativity in this world and feel so content that I would like to keep giving; and make this world a better place to live in. That’s why I like to call myself an ESCAPE ARTIST.

It may take you a lifetime to find what you love or if you are lucky like me, you may find it even quicker. You will need to keep searching for it. You will need to keep introspecting within yourself. You may need to visit your childhood days to find what you really enjoyed doing. For me it’s Capoeira that’s my elixir that brings life to my day. For those who are unaware about Capoeira, it’s a martial art that has its origins in Brazil. But how did I realize that this was exactly what I was searching for?? Since Childhood, I had always been a very studious and academic oriented kid. I was so focused on making a career that nothing else mattered. I did well with my academics; became a Chartered Accountant and landed a job in a multinational company. But even after having everything in place, I could sense a feeling of incompleteness. That something was not right. That I was not doing enough. That this path was not the one. The beauty of life is such that in moments like these when you realize that you are not on your destined path, things begin to happen for you.

After a few months I had seen a video on Facebook about capoeira. I was so amazed by it that I began researching about it; Only to realize that it happens around the same locality I lived in. I was so thrilled and excited about the whole idea. It did bother me for a while if I should really venture into it, because it could also turn out to be dangerous for me. I am a diabetic and Capoeira happens to be one of the most deadliest forms of martial arts that involves a lot of acrobats, handstands, bridges and so on. If I do not exercise caution, I could hurt myself and because diabetics do not recuperate quickly, I could be in a big problem. But because I was convinced from my heart, I didn’t want to overthink on it and got myself registered.

Right now it has been almost a year and 4 months. I got my second Cordao (belt) very recently. Very much in love with life. I may be many things but I love calling myself as a CAPOEIRISTA!! Practicing few hours a day has become my purpose to live. I don’t expect myself to be the best Capoeirista in the world because I enjoy only just playing it. Sometimes it puts a huge toll on my body. But it doesn’t dull my spirit. And because I have found something better, I urge everyone reading this to start your journey to discover your bliss and then escape into it!

So keep searching for what you love and remain in love with it!!