Have you seen anything like this? A touching story told through a sand animation. Wow!!

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Each of us is a vital thread in another person’s tapestry; our lives are woven together for a reason. – Anonymous

In the mad rush of day to day living, it is difficult to look beyond the immediate. But if you can pause for a moment or two, you will appreciate the beauty of looking at the big picture. Like when you walk back from a huge mosaic painting and discover it is not an abstract but an ethereal big picture. You need a few moments to let the whole scene sink in.

A couple months ago, on my parent’s recommendation, I chanced upon Many Lives Many Masters by Dr Brian L Weiss. The basic theme revolves around re-incarnation. Dr Weiss is an eminent psychiatrist who takes on a severely troubled young patient, Catherine. She suffers from acute anxiety attacks and phobias for which the usual prescribed treatments has no effect. When everything fails, hypnotism is what can offer a ray of hope and that is how Catherine “goes under”. Her treatment was a revelation. The “Masters” convey their messages through Catherine for Dr Weiss to propagate. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the messages by the Masters implies that our future is indeed in our own hands. Reading  this book reaffirmed my belief that Justice is truly served. People come in your life for a reason. Kindness begets more kindness. The messages are profound yet direct – like a wise grandfather telling a child in ways he/she can understand. Sounds interesting? Reading the book will be a good idea for you.

Reincarnation has always piqued me and deep down I do feel that it exists. Have you, for instance, taken an instant liking to someone you have just met?  Or instant dislike? I feel our associations in our past lives is what drives us to this instant reaction. Most people experience  “deja vu” – a feeling of familarness when you visit a new place, as thought you have been there before. Feeling the same events are happening again, when it is happening for the first time. How about ESP?  Two people thinking the exact same thing and knowing it too? I share an amazing ESP with my mom and my sis. And with Appu, whom I have not even met! Sachin and I share ESPn as he calls it! We spend our lives toegther and so we have this incredible sense of ESP that is not just ESP! Hence it is ESPn!! Then there is the certain pull I feel towards certain people – to get to know them, be friends with them, a desperate need for being with them. The last it happend, it was for somebody’s pet dog!

A few days back, on my walking route, I saw a lady walking her dog. Most dogs here don’t look up at other pedestrians, they have better things to do. But not this one. He was watching me steadfastedly with a “where have I seen her before?” kinda look.  When I saw him, I immediately thought of Bruno. Bruno is no longer alive, but he will always have a special place in my heart. He even looked a lot like Bruno! So thats why I smiled at him and talked to him softly. His owner was chit chatting with someone else, hence I could not ask to pet him. For days I couldn’t get him out of my head – I think it is safe to say I was besotted! Yesterday, I saw him again and this time he had the “Oh I know you!!” look. Unfortunately, I couldn’t pet him again. Next time I see him, I have made up my mind I am gonna say hello!

As much as the modern world scoffs at reincarnation and all thing paranormal, I do not wish to close my mind on it. It is possible we have not come up with an appropriate measure to study these events. Man once believed the earth was flat, that there is only so much far you can go before you fall into the unknown? That earth is the entity around which the sun rotates? But we know better than that now, dont we?

What do you guys/gals think? If you have any stories that you want to share about something out of the world, I am all ears and waiting! If you choose to put it in your own blog, I will be glad to check it out.

Thanks for reading and the comments!

Does it ever happen to you when you remember a familar old smell which was buried in the recesses of your mind? Something that you haven’t thought of in a long long long time but remember it suddenly out of the blue? And that too in a place which has nothing to do with it? Well, that’s what happened to me today – a very old but cherished smell. I must have been in primary school then. My dad was allocated a bungalow by the hospital he was working with. It was a lovely place. The dining area was a place worth mentioning. Dark and cool with the soft afternoon light streaming in, our dining had the effect of  being lit up from several candles – mellow and soothing. A huge cupboard with sliding doors lined an entire wall. Opening the door of this cupboard had a magical effect on me – the woody smell of the cupboard, the warm smell of Arrowroot biscuits stored in Lactogen tins (ones which can be opened only with a spoon), a slight musty smell thanks to the humidity of Cochin pervades the air. Armed with a spoon, I plonk myself on the floor after having brought down all the tins that had my favourites. And I spend a few minutes slowly munching on all the goodies, taking in the soft afternoon light, enjoying the afternoon quiet. Amma too, sitting around peacefully after having set the little brat for the afternoon nap. Today the memory came flooding back and brought along with it a case of goosepimples. Unlike what they say, diamonds are not the only things that are forever – the sights, the sounds. and how they made you feel will always stay with you.

Rememeber how Shahrukh Khan takes a deep breath, closes his eyes gets transported to the time his GF was alive in Mohabattein? I rolled my eyes then. But I wonder, if there isn’t a grain of truth to it?

Do you guys/gals have any favourite memories? It need not necessarily be of food, but I understand food is what evokes fond memories in most of us. 🙂 Do write in, I would love to hear from you. 🙂 For those of you who worry about taking up too much of my comment space – Long detailed comments are my favourites, so go ahead and knock yourself out! 🙂

My ‘puter Friends …

July 24, 2009

I am convinced more than ever than one doesn’t need to see the person to have a relationship with them. Chats, blogs, forums, telephones – any medium to communicate is a chance for people to connect. People fall in love, make beautiful friendships, find confidantes, find a parent figure, your angelic/devilish twin or even enemies (read blog wars)! Amazing isn’t it?

As much as popular folks scrap the idea of online relationships, I feel they are the truest of all. Most of us folks are very vulnerable. No matter how much we say “we don’t care what others think” – we do. It is stressful to keep up appearances, to create a good first impression, to be yourself especially when you want the relationship to work. I am not talking about romantic relationships – any kind applies. Everyone is judged by their appearance – either consciously or unconsciously. This is where the online medium helps.

I am not saying that online is the way to go rather it is a good place to start. Taking it offline depends on how comfortable you feel with  the other person. This is my opinion. My sis will fight tooth and nail with me on this – you see, it was easy for her. She is cute, loves to talk, athletic and has loads of  friends. I am the exact opposite of her – so you can imagine how difficult it may be for me. 😉

I made lots of friends online when chatting was the in thing. Hell, I am still in touch with some of them after all these years! A couple of them have changed my life- yes! My best friends from school/colleges/work have switched to cameo appearance in my life. An occasional hi/hello mail, a phone call once in a blue moon. Some of the kids from school/college days whom I dint share a rapport with, are my closest online buddies in the present time. We dint click in the past but online we did! Strange isn’t it? People who were my moon and stars once upon a time have turned to shooting stars now. They make a show when you least expect and then you wish upon them for the good times to last. 🙂

And then my dear blogger friends – I cherish their kind words and their encouraging nature. All of us maybe in the same place or thousands of miles away, but we still have a shortcut – from one heart to another. Physical appearances, social strata, income category, marital status and any kind of social differences – all swept aside and only listening to what the other has to say. That is what dreams are made of and is a reality in our little online world. I have laughed a riot, shed a few tears and cheered along with my blogger buddies. 🙂

That explains why I have a special bond with people I meet online – they maybe different in real life but thats to be blamed on society and its  judgemental ways. But deep down inside, we are what we are online.

PS: Differences of opinions expected. Don’t hold it in – I am all armoured for the brickbats! 😉 I hope I see some roses too – love the smell of them! 😉

PPS: And yes, I too am terrified of a future where people only meet online. Nonetheless, I am assured by my training in Psychology that people are social animals. They will take it offline – sometime or the other. 🙂 And a few friendships are gifted to us at birth in the form of family friends! So there!!! All your doomsayings of a future with people glued to the chair and comps are out the window! 🙂

UPDATE for minors reading this post (if any): if you are thinking of taking online friendships offline, please do so with your parent/guardian’s knowledge and/or consent.

Special thanks to ~uh~ for his comment which made me think for the children.

Our 4th of July weekend was going pretty well. We did the things we love to do – long walks, experiments in the kitchen, window shopping. We had our fingers crossed for an uninterrupted weekend. But on Sunday morning, the dreaded call came. From where else but Sachin’s office! Unlike the other weekend calls, this one had Sachin in a frenzy. He worked all day long and through the night, using all the phones lines and laptops that was at his disposal. On asking him, he grunts – virus attack. He heads for work and on his return I ask him as I normally do – How was your day? It has all settled down – he replies.

This is not a virus .. You guys know that right ? 😀

We eat dinner and talks of a walk crops up. As we walked, Sachin got into the journo mode, reporting the events of the day and what had really happened. I am a bit of a techno dummy, so he had to come up with explanations involving the hotel industry. 😉

Sachin handles the network ops of couple of sites. One of them was receiving too many hits – an awful awful lot! Like 12,000 hits in 3 seconds! Most major sites have  something called a loadbalancer. It is something like a waiter who takes your order in a hotel. Basically it seeks to know what you want. Then it passes on that information to a group of servers. (This particular site has 30 servers for its homepage only!! ) When you place an order, the waiter doesn’t cook it up himself, right? He goes to a little window to the kitchen and tells them so and so dishes at Table 6. And its not just one cook who serves up the dishes – there will be a handful of them so that orders get attended to quickly. So that’s is similar to the servers function. The servers help to keep traffic smooth flowing – basically helping the site load fast and without errors.
Sunday  morning, the loadbalancer was running almost to full capacity. Yes, it was the target of Distributed Denial of Service attack. To explain what DDOS is, I will need to explain a little bit about malware. People who don’t have anti virus software installed, in more cases than none, will be the recipients of virus, malwares, bots and the like. When we visit certain sites ( streaming movies, music, etc), unwanted elements get lodged in our computers. Most people have Internet on at all times these days, isn’t it? So the malware file in our computer is easily reached by its Master file which prompts them to carry out commands – like go visit A.com at so and so intervals. So that is what the bots on our computer do. In the early years of hacking, the bots were not so spread out. It would be just a certain group of people who have bots on their systems. It was easy to fix them because all that was needed to be done was locate IP address (IP addresses are to computers what license plates are to vehicles! Unique indentifiers!) and block that particular user. These days, the bots are spread all over through these media-heavy sites. The bots are widespread and if all these IP addresses are to be blocked, then there will be no readers for the site. So more holistic ways to keep the bugs out are planned.

That’s when the cat and mouse game began. Like Sachin’s team found earlier – 3 seconds, 12,000 hits. Several unique features arose. It was found that it was coming from N Korea and from users of a certain browser which is used by very few people. So the site was disabled for people fof N Korea using the above mentioned browser. That worked… only for a couple hours! The Master file figured out it had been blocked. Fresh commands were issued to the bots – visit from the more popular browsers. Now it is difficult to block the more popular sites because that would mean blocking way too many legit users. By this time the loadbalance for the site was just hanging by a bare thread. The targeted audience for the site was for the US. So in a last bid effort to keep the loadbalancer going, the team disabled site to be viewed by the whole of North Korea across all web browsers.

This was a simplistic account of what happened in the recent Virus attack  on the US governmant sites and some other crucial sites. For most of you this would seem like the ABC book – if you have read till here, I thank you for your indulgence. 🙂 This account was mostly written for those of you who use the Internet services but are puzzled bits and bytes, virus attacks, malware and the like. I hope my account as made it all a little clearer. Links have been enclosed for more detailed information.

Holidays of 89…

July 8, 2009

After running so long, my train ran out of steam. Yes, referring to the blogger’s block.  Last night, my dad was telling me that he refreshed the page couple of times but it doesnt show any new posts. I explained that I hadn’t posted any, dint get any appropriate material and the like. Then he said. ” What about Udaipur?”

Unfortunately, I couldnt remember much of the trip. It happened when I was in lower primary. So my dad jogged my memory a bit. So here is what happened:

December of every year, the Indian Society of Anaesthetists holds a conference in different cities.  Along with the conferences, the group arranges for holiday packages for the doctor’s family.  That translates to all of us in a vacation mode! One of our earliest holidays together was to Udaipur. Coming from a warm climate as Kerala, the chill of Udaipur was unbearable. Nonetheless,we had great fun. On the first day, my dad was telling mom that the Maharana of Udaipur will be inaugrating the conference.  He also happened to mention  the king was a fellow student in the days that my dad undertook his medical training. When dad asked us whether we would stick around with him to see the inaugration, he was surprised to see us nodding our heads rather enthusiastically. So there we were, waiting to see the king. People came to the podium and went. Lights were lit, hands were clapped and speeches were spoken. And we were getting real impatient. So we asked dad – why is this King taking too long to come?? My dad explained, he is already there on the stage seated right in the middle. We were shocked – he looked nothing close to a king. Soon, we stirred a huge racket. You see, we were expecting him to have a crown, the kingly robes and lots of jewelry – like Ram in Ramayan. We convinced our dad the King on the podium is an imposter. It amazed us to see how the adults around us were taken for a ride. Thankfully, our holiday plans kicked in right then and we got into better things. 🙂

We met a Kashmiri family. They have 2 daughters and a son. We remember this son, whose  name is Moize.  Cool name isnt it? He must have been around 2 years then, but his cheeks were as red as tomatoes . Moize had a fancy for pockets – he kept looking in our pockets, his sisters as well as his own. Just hunting for chocolates – greedy fellow. 🙂 Thanks to him, we too were checking out our pockets, to ensure he dint take any of our chocolates – all the snaps have captured us in various stages of pocket checking. 😉  We were really impressed by his red cheeks and my mom dint lose this opportunity to get us to eat our veggies. I still remember how she kept chanting eat lots of veggies if you want cheeks like Moize! 😉

Fed up being snapped at! ;-)

Soon holidays came to an end and it was time to board our train. The train was 40 hours late! (Can you imagine the ruckus it would create in our lives if these things happened today too??) We were on the train for 4 whole days! Our folks carried enough bread, fruits and biscuits to keep us occupied. But the novelty of it all soon wore off and Pinky started craving our staple rice and curry. Because the train was so behind schedule, the stations were not prepared for handling the food requirement of the passengers. With every halt at the station, my dad would rush out only to see empty vessels. My sister’s cries would only get louder and louder. She was only 4 at the time and so couldnt for the life of her understand why she was not getting her rice.  Finally, at one station, dad manage to get rice but no curry.  However that was like God’s meal for Pinks. She gobbled it up and then there was peace till we reached home.

Thats when we were told by our extended family that our beloved grand aunt had passed for her heavenly abode just two days ago. Since we were in the train then, there was no way anybody could have informed us. She meant a lot to Pinks and I and she is sorely missed to this day too.

Sweet Nothings …

July 2, 2009

There’s a tag fever going on and I caught it too!! LEB has a Four and some tag waiting for me.  Lets cut to chase:

Four places I have lived:

1. Cochin, Kerala – the wonder years

2. Mangalore, Karnataka – the college years

3. Bangalore, Karnataka – newly married

4. New Jersey, US –  the blogger years

Four T.V Shows I Love to Watch ( only four?!)

1. Mr Monk – the OCD Detective

2. Prison Break – for nailbiting suspense

3. All versions of Law and Order, CSIs

4. Psych, Mental, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives

(The only Hindi serial that I follow is Balika Vadhu from Colors. It has captured me by my heart and soul)

Four Places that I have been on Vacation

1. A little village called Vaikom in Kerala – lush greenery, mangoes, gentle cows and people who love you so much. I miss those summer holidays where it felt just like  Enid Blyton’s “Children of the Cherry Tree Farm

2. Rajasthan – the regal splendor has to be seen to be believed. The camel rides were a hoot! Sis and I on Raju and parents on ShahRukh! 😉

3. Coorg – My first holiday with Sachin was in this lovely land of dense jungles, wild animals and a  beautiful River Kabini. I will cherish the memory of that holiday for the next 7 lives!

4. Atlantic City – The Vegas of the East Coast. I love the fact the fact that until you get into the Casinos, the Atlantic City has a very folksy feel to it. Street musicians and dancers. little stores on the boardwalk, smell of food wafting in the air, cheerful locals, laidback tourists and a general  joie de vivre. And the Casinos, well that is material for another post! 🙂

My Favourite Food Items

1. Palak Paneer – Its been a favourite of mine ever since I can remember

2. Lucknowi Biryani

3. Ben and Jerry’s Chocomint Cookie Icecream – heaven on earth, I swear!

4. A konkani delicacy called Patharvodo made with elephant-ear leaves. (I think thats what its called in English, forgive my ignorance)

Four Websites that I visit daily

1. Google – reader, mails

2. Ibnlive.in – source  for India news

3. Buzz18.in – mydaily Bollywood gossip fix

4. Apni Community – to see Balika Vadhu! 😉

Four Places that I would Rather be

1. Home – wherever that maybe.

2. Bangalore

3. Cochin

4. Far far away from strife.

Four Things I hope to do before Time Runs out

1. See the world and its people

2. Make friends who really matter

3. Learn the classical dance form of Odissi

4. Undo any wrong that I may have done (consciously or unconsciously)

Four Novels I Wish I was Reading for the first Time ( I dint understand the logic of this, so I am making it into 4 of my faves)

1. Agatha Christie’s Poirot series

2. John Grisham’s legal potboilers

3. Joseph Murphy’s Power of Your Subconscious Mind

4. Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy

Four Movies that I can watch over and over again

1. Sound of Music (same as LEB’s, the movie and the songs are just out of the world!)

2. Salaam e Ishq (No doubt it is long but I loved the way the movie makes me feel as though I am in love for the first time all over again! )

3. Parineeta – the Bengali’s are charmers I tell you!

4. Dunston Checks In!! (I looooooooooooooooove the chimp , he stole my heart with his toothy smile! )

Four people, I have no other choice but to tag (*Evil Laugh of Delight!*)

1. Ramesh ( I am so glad, LEB dint tag you! If it is too cumbersome I won’t take offense . 🙂

2. Theishu – And then he got tagged! 😉 I do hope you take this one up Theishu, I am sure you would have lots of interesting answers for us. 🙂

3. Nancy – the tag fever is on for you too! 😉

4. Hitchwriter – Here’s something for to play with! 🙂

Thanks LEB for tha tag. Enjoyed the whole bit! 🙂

Rads just did a very interesting tag and has an open invite at her site. What were the professions that you wanted to be in as you grew up?

Most times I wanted to be either

a teacher – because I loved to write on the blackboard

a doctor – because I loved syringes and to cure people of illness

a social worker – because I wanted to help others be successful

a painter – because I loved colours

And then came the dreaded phase!

I wanted to be a trapeze artist in the circus!! Yes, that’s right!

I loved Enid Blyton. I owned several of her books and among them was  the Circus Series. Whenever I read this series, I was transported to a different world altogether where I was the brave little Lotta, who in a bid to save the circus travelled 100’s of miles on her horse. I knew then and there, I was destined to be in a circus.

I would go to every Circus that comes to my town and be mesmerized by the shiny and skimpy costumes the artists wear. Imagine having bears, tigers, lions and elephants for pets? And not to mention the cute boys! The idea of packing and moving to another place every couple months never ceased to awe me. I so badly wanted to be in a circus but my dad never let me! Whether I grovel, threaten, bawl my eyes out or whatever, my daddy would never entertain the thought of his dotty in a circus. I would be bitter for days.  And then all was forgotten.

Until Rad’s tag brought it all back. (No, no, Silly – I am not going to pick another fight to join the circus. Come on, I am not so bad now!) My dad always said at the time, “You may be upset now but you will thank me later!” And guess what, its about time  …. Thank you so much Appa for saving me from my own foolishness.  If it weren’t for you, I would be in some remote tent, infested with mosquitoes,  wearing only shiny clothes and blogging away my woes ( Yes, I think I would have found some way to blog! ) I do hope that kind of foolishness doesn’t overpower me again. It is the one ambition of mine that I am glad dint work out!! 😉

So what did you all think? Want to take up the tag too? Go ahead, its a free for all!

PS: Those of you who laughed at poor formerly-foolish me, atleast drop in a comment! 🙂

The Right Hand

A world of  normal blokes,

need a ruler for their folks.

Four hands offered to rule

And them all had to choose.


One was Soft and light,

so much so that he took flight,

at the littlest sign of trouble

to preserve the safety of his bubble.


The second hand ruled Tight

with no tolerance for any fights.

Anger , suppression, rejection

were the ingredients of his potion.


The Gentle hand which can grip

as and when he sees fit.

He soothes, calms and prods

his subjects to beat the odds.


The Invisible hand whose magic is unseen

because he guides from behind the screen.

Unaware are they of his guiding force,

they think it is all in their pores.


Wayward would be the wards of the hand

that goes too Soft,  bitterness fanned

in souls of the Tight, tolerance would abound

with the Firm, in Invisible  self-worth found.


Them all dropped the Soft and Tight

They didn’t seem so right.

They rallied between Invisible and Firm for days

and finally settled on Invisible for the race.

Hand_Prints

As part of my undergraduate studies, we had a lesson in child development where they talk about the 3 kinds of parents – Laissez Faire, Authoritarian and Autocratic (The Soft, the Tight and the Firm respectively). The Invisible hand is based on Transformational Leaders. I have used the above categories for my “poem” material. 😀

As always, waiting for comments!

Who do you think is happier – a person who has just about enough to eat or a person wallowing in the lap of luxury?

My answer is – whoever makes up their mind to be happy. Samuel Langhorne Clemes a.k.a Mark Twain  says ” You are as happy as you make up your mind to be ” What a simple yet profound statement, isn’t it? Beauty of it is that you can’t blame another for your state of mind, it is all in your hands. Sachin and I have our little trick to keep count of our happy times. Ever since our courtship days, we would say “This is happiness” aloud and to each other when we are happy/content/at peace or the like. It may sound quirky  but it is probably why we remember happy times more than the scrapes we have been in the last 5 years. 🙂

I wouldn’t want to take away from the simplicity of Mark Twain’s quote with a long winded post. So I end this post with a happy romantic song playing in my heart. Surely you would write in with your thoughts? I would love to hear your “tips and tricks” to be happy. 🙂