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Virtual Vicinity - The Pandemic Perspective

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...their faceless identities empowering the subtle more than the substantial… Their tours were not actual but virtual! I t's been a ‘trying’ time for most of us. I mean in both parts of speech. Exhausting and experimental. I was losing a semblance to my preferred self and succumbing mostly to domestic drudgery and at times to depression and distance. Then one evening, almost a month ago while I was talking to my brother (referred to as Big B going forward), he introduced me to a WhatsApp group. Initially, I was not really keen on joining it as it sounded like something unusual and not-really-heard-of-before. After all, a Taurean to the core, I am stubbornly resistant to change and take a while to accept the unconventional. ‘National Park Challenge,’ the name by which the group goes, is an international group consisting of members with shared interests, to say the least. My first thought...it's just a group of fitness aficionados. Then working around it, I tried to figu

Designed or Destined?... A Lockdown Tale

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…a virus...challenged our potential…(and) intimidated our very existence as ‘social beings’...(but) “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they are capable of…” I t’s been a year. Though the first 7-8 months of blogging were difficult, defining, and yet gratifying, very much like nurturing your own child, the last four months have suffered distraction and distance. In fact, even right now I feel like the way Malala Yousafzai (well-known author of the book ‘I am Malala’ ) felt on her twelfth birthday, which she spent in Haripur. She was upset and certainly missed a cake, a couple of companions and a celebration. Yet she made a wish and so did I. Strange and at times, surreal is how I can describe my past few months. Most of you might prefer to concede to having a similar experience. While we were busy enacting our so-called remarkable roles in the absurd theatre of life, a virus ( coronavirus ) invaded our domain. It not only challenged our potential but exposed our petu

Gastronomical Gratitude

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...we need to go back to our grandparents, re-examine their lives as a whole and then try reconstructing our own on those very principles that pervaded theirs. B esides politics, these days the next issue which is being talked on, diligently discussed, argued about and fought over for finality, is food. Every day, you will come across articles, messages, videos, advertisements and whatnot, about the way you should deal with your gut. Be it something as understandable as managing your bowel movements or something as incomprehensible as the workings of the solar plexus, some information or the other is being served up perpetually. Then again, most of the knowledge that is gained is contradicted with a new set of ideas and guidance even before one has properly taken to it. Mind you, each time it is said to be supported by more advanced scientific research and even further delving into the Ayurveda and other systems of medicine. And so, what happens to a person like me? I am left baffl

Mango fish and a cook's heart

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Fancy feeling the fervour of cooking? Then don’t just satiate your taste buds but let the spirit of your kitchen brighten the hearts in your home. Set about with this sumptuous Mango Fish recipe. H ave you ever experienced the ecstasy of being able to cook something delicious, nutritious or even otherwise? If you have, then you are no stranger to the alluring sizzle and warmth of your kitchen. My two kids are always peeking inside the pantry to conceive a dish or meal that mom could cook that day. Once an image pops up, they are ready to deliver it to mom so that I get moving on my part of the project. The most familiar way my kitchen wakes up every morning, and I enjoy it. Sometimes, my food cravings also drive me to the kitchen to prepare something. If I watch a good cooking show or a food tour, I almost always spend an experimental and engaging evening cooking for my family. Being the heart of my home, I love my kitchen to be alive and animated every day. Hundreds of no

I’ll Just be Happy Today!

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Cherishing the simple stuff of life, staying close to nature, using a positive vocabulary, hanging out with the right kind of friends, rejecting retirement, inculcating new hobbies to boost the brain and the brawn can add to the inventory that holds the secret to a-century-and-still-batting league. A s I had mentioned in my previous article , a steady purpose and a somewhat slow pace seemed to be the secret makings of the successful life-stories of centenarians. But research reveals that there are many other cogs in the wheel that engage to make the motion that is likeable and long-lasting. Vigorous veterans mostly rely on a plant-based diet. The emphasis is on fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and low consumption of salt and sugar. Two other aspects related to food are also watch-worthy. They stop eating when they are almost 80% full. To facilitate such discretion they use bowls and plates of smaller sizes that can hold smaller portions. But that should not steer you into

100 Not Out!

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Why would you wake up tomorrow? Why should you take it a little easy? B eing a teenager who was fascinated by the ‘carpe diem’ concept (seizing the now), popularised by poems like Robert Browning’s ‘ The Last Ride Together ’ and as a woman who still binge-watches on shows like ‘ Little Things ’, the present and the little are all that matters and makes sense. It’s a different thing that tall talk mostly remains idealistic when it comes to implementing them for real! Anyways, I saw a video this weekend, which once again activated my brain cells and tugged at my heartstrings. It is about people. They are frugal in number when compared to the vast population of the world. They have been leading happy and healthy lives for as long as a hundred years or even more. I was intrigued. Sounds nice but like an oxymoron, right? As we all know, various researches are being conducted to study the conditions conducive for physical and mental health favouring life and longevity. Out of the inf

The Shutter Story

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A photograph is just a moment captured. It is alive in its stillness. Be it a place, a person, an emotion or an event, a photograph is the only way to cling on to it, physically or otherwise. O ur friend who furnishes photographs for our articles is, by profession, a wedding photographer. But as any creative space cannot be constricted within the confines of common understanding, so is hers too. Her shared album of photographs is an alluring array of instants that exhibits existence in its entirety. It was on a leisurely evening as I was going through her album, I perceived, almost impetuously, the potency and the promise of a photograph. What is a photograph? Just a moment captured. A tick thought beautiful and worthy by the photographer and turned into truth. The little while, as a matter of fact, exists only through the photograph. The link to the past and the license to the future. A medium that enables you to travel through time. Take a look at the above photograph. I

An ‘August’ Affair!

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Engaging your child with artwork can be more effective than you ever thought. It is emotive and expressive at the same time. A ugust was an assault of activities. We were moving. To pack my world into boxes and bags was itself a challenge. More daunting than the previous time. On top of that, it was vacation time for my kids. With an explorer on the loose and a terrific toddler in tow, working my way through was barely feasible. I was running out of resources to fittingly engage my little one when a proposal popped up to my rescue. I was wrapping the goodbye-gifts for our near and dear ones. I called my son. I asked him if he too would like to make ‘little somethings’ for whosoever he wanted. Just tokens of love to be presented before he parted. He considered the suggestion for a while. After all, it meant relinquishing his extraordinary exploits in favour of sedentary and organised occupation. Somehow he seemed convinced. I think it gave him a sense of importance. Little did I

What is your Freedom?

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Freedom is a purely personal prerogative. It is inclusive and unique. To each his own. W When the fervour of the celebrations and the big questions of the nation got mellowed into the rhythm of quotidian life, one evening, quite unexpectedly, I found myself inclined to ponder on the word 'Freedom'. It's contemporary relevance in my life. In our lives. So much has been spent and so little saved of this abstraction, which is, by the way, the most potent emotion, that for a moment I was incapable of even having a thought on it. But then the urge to look at it simply, without its baggage, swelled up within me. I felt that for the unborn child, release from the amniotic sac and into a blurred but beautiful world was freedom. An unsteady crawl and an ardour for the unexplored could set a baby free as did school and friends to one in his growing up years. A movement beyond the familiar walls is the first taste of freedom that one can relish, I realised. As years yield

Unfamiliar Friends

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There are many friends around us. We are unfamiliar with them. Let’s unravel them to appreciate their importance. A s I was browsing through the chapters of my childhood , one of them stood out. "Friends." Perhaps due to its peculiarity and distinctiveness. Coincidence, if you may call it, around the very same time, the celebrations of 'Friendship Day' were going on in full swing. My daughter was coming home every day, almost for a week, with 10-15 friendship bands and rings! Happy to have so many friends and hell-bent on making more. Good for her, I thought. My chapter on friendship is, I must admit, a little different. Of course, it includes my friends from school, neighbourhood, college, tuition, university and so on and so forth. But it reaches beyond that. It is inclusive and expansive in its own way. It nourishes and nurtures itself out of every life experience that it encounters. And before I sound poetic and redundant, I’ll try to explain what I intended

Chapters from Childhood

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When did you last visit your childhood? L ast Friday, I went to an exhibition. I had read about it in the papers. It promised fun and nostalgia but with a difference. Conceived and created by an aspiring artist, Aahel Iyer, it was called the 'Playschool'. What a memory-inducing name, I thought! The moment I entered the hall, a splash of colours, bright colours dazzled my eyes. I’m sure you’ll agree that colours have their own way of affecting the mind. Mine was immediately swept away from the subtle shades of my present to the effervescent and energetic hues of my childhood. There were quite a few interesting installations, coloured art pieces and impressionistic presentations, if I may call them, in the exhibition. I was very keen to know the story behind each one of them. A tag, which included more than just a name or a title, was attached to every exhibit. The purpose, I believe, was to offer a vignette of that particular memory of the artist. Another thing tha

Without Water

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Are we heading towards the Third World War? W hat did I see? An arid land, dry and dusty. The brown predominates the landscape and the lustreless green is hardly there at the fringes. Right in the middle is a bottle, announcing itself as the elixir of life - “water”. Next, I see a giraffe, necking in, as if, to get a hold of the bottle. But immediately, by suggestion, is contested by another animal, an elephant. What follows is a remarkable replication of the finest move of a game called soccer. As the bottle is flung high in the air, my mind, almost spontaneously, gets ready to relish some more excitement. But oh! The very next instant, I am flustered. Taken aback to see the game turning brutal. The ghastly grip of the giraffe on the trunk of the elephant is gruesome to the point of being monstrous. Wasn’t a giraffe a harmless, peaceful neophyte animal? My school-book knowledge was getting all mixed up and thwarted! A giraffe puts up a fight only to defend or when attacked.

My Dot

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I am happy the way I am. I will not let others decide how I should look or appear. "B adi mushkil baba badi mushkil Gore gore gaalon pe hai kaala kaala til" ~ a song from the movie Lajja , (a 2001 Bollywood drama) in which Madhuri Dixit had performed. I am a big fan of Madhuri Dixit. Her distinctive dance moves and animated expressions seriously make many skip a heartbeat. This song from the movie Lajja, is even more special. Because there’s Me in it somewhere. My parents were ecstatic to have me as their firstborn. "How gorgeous she is... and her dot... the most heavenly brown that can ever dwell on an earthling!" Conch shells were blown as Baba picked me up towards the slit of light from heaven to declare… "She is a princess, born to live happily ever after!" The breeze slightly ruffled the curtain to ratify the blessing that imprinted itself on my heart. Well, that’s the dramatic start that my dot had! Adorable, in the eyes of the happie