Every Wednesday, last period was Bhagawad Gita class. My school was founded by a spiritual leader and hence a period each week was devoted to moral studies. In our primary school days, Gita class was mostly  story time with a cherubic teacher, who had a knack for telling awesome mythological dramas. Other times have the whole class chanting the Bhagawad Gita in unison. It was almost like a free period until we reached secondary school.

We were too old for stories was what we were told. A stern looking Biology sir took it on the burden of teaching us moral consciousness. His Bio classes were extremely interesting but Gita class – how interesting can you make spiritual conscciousness sound to  a class of 14 year olds? It being the last period was also not lost on us – if not for Gita class, we could well be on our way home! Anyways, we had to listen – Sir was strict and could send you to hell with his cold stare. I was a responsible student most times but in Gita class. I have this Endless Yawn Attack syndrome descend on me.

Every two minutes – one yawn! In a thirty minute class, I would have yawned 15 times. And I have a very peculiar Yawn side effect too – when I yawn, I go deaf too. Any noise at the time will not be registered at all! My father tells me I am not the only one with that side effect, but I m yet to meet another with the same peculiarity! Now back to the story – Our Sir knew we were bored out of our minds with all this consciousness talk, so he kept us on our toes err… ears with impromptu questions. If an appropriate answer was not given, we were dead meat! So you can imagine – me with endless yawns and deaf most of the time, chances are I miss more than half of what he says.

That led me to seek more creative ways to draw Oxygen. Keeping my lips tight and fill my cheeks, drop a book and when picking it up yawn quickly, when someone behind me is answering a question – turn to look back and yawn, wait for Sir to turn his back to us. 😀 It sounds so ridiculous and stupid, but what could I do! 😀 Mercifully, my yawns were never sighted and nor was I pulled up for questioning! Maybe my track record in Bio class had him confident about my classroom presence! 😀

Now I bet those who read this till the end, would have yawned atleast once?? 😉 Yawns, like the need to drink water when you see others drinking it, are extremely contagious!

Have a good day folks!

To be a Ghost!

September 4, 2009

Our grandma’s home was just 10 minutes walk from our then house. The way to Granmas was dotted with several interesting places – a wood saw mill, our old nursery school, our family jeweler,  a railway track,  and such. Not to mention  my parent’s friends who also live around there – and for half hour or so, my folks will be talking to them over their wall or gate. Why not come in inside, they ask? No, we have to hurry to Grandmas. 😀 As I wait for the adults to “hurry up”, I look around. And I imagine how it would feel if I were a ghost so that I can go inside and just watch them do their everyday stuff? I find mundane life very interesting – especially if it is not my own! 😉 That is how I got addicted to people watching.

I just love it. Everytime we are at the cash counter, S does all the paying while I feast my eyes on what people around me are doing. 😀 Maybe that is also the reason why I never remember directions – I am always looking at people on the road! The umpteen times I have been elbowed by my sister or cousins when I am out with them, have left me with a  permanent dent!  They furiously whisper – stop staring!! I am quite taken aback – I don’t stare, I only observe!!! Well, if you are “observing” someone who is not in your field of vision, it makes us uncomfortable!! 😀

Can you blame me though?? People are so interesting – even when they do what they think are boring stuffs. The expressions on their faces, their body language, their gait and so on. But oh, they saw me watching them. Now, I can’t look again! Oh, what wouldn’t I do to be a ghost without dying!!

Since, I mentioned Ghost couple of times, I can’t but help treat you all to an all time great song. Unchained Melody, though created by Alex North and Hy Zaret, was eternalized by the Righteous Brothers. The song was also featured in the movie, Ghost, starring the charmer Patrick Swayze and a young Demi Moore at her best. 🙂 See the singer at work here.

“Lawyers are liars” I am pretty sure every lawyer seethes when they are stereotyped thus. I know, because as a Psychology student (studying doesn’t end with degrees, right?), I have often been asked, “So, can you read my mind? “I better not talk to you lest you find everything about me” and such. I have had quite enough of this misunderstanding, thank you very much. Freud humor doesn’t sit well with most psychologists too!

I don’t blame them for such lame comments because people can’t fathom what is it that we study. In fact, it is difficult to even begin explaining. So let me just dive in and begin with one of the most revered experiment in social psychology.

Dr. Solomon Asch  was a professor who revolutionalized the field of social psychology. One of his most noteworthy works are his Conformity Studies. He devised an experiment to measure the effects of social pressure on conformity. It goes as follows:

Dr Asch got groups of students to take a vision test. In each group, all but one were confederates of the experimenter. That is they posed as participants but knew the purposes of the experiment and were told to give answers in a certain manner. There was effectively just one participant in each group.

The experimenter showed every member in the group 2 cards: first one with a single line on it and the second one with 3 lines on it, one of it is identical to the line on the first card. The participants had to say aloud which one of the 3 lines matches the single line. This was done 18 times with varying lengths. The real participant was made to give his answer  the second last so that he will hear other’s answers before giving out his own. In the first two trials, the confederates and the participant give the obvious right answer. The participant is always at ease at this time. However from the third trial on, all the conferedates begin to give same wrong answers. In fact, among the 18 trials, all the confederates give same wrong answer for 12 trials. These are the critical trials because it is at this point, social pressure is being examined. How will the participant react? With him (all males in this experiment) being the last to answer and everyone else around him giving obvious incorrect answers, will he conform with the majority?

Dr Asch’s hypothesis ( a prediction/guess) at the time of drafting the experiment was that participant will not conform to the majority when it is obviously wrong. After noting results from several such groups, it was noted that participants conformed to atleast 37% of the critical trials, 25% did not conform to any critical trial, 75% conformed to atleast one critical trial and 5% conformed to all critical trials!!

This is a sneak peak into the wonderful world of Psychology. For more details on the above experiments, click here. If  you need still more, google “Solomon Asch Conformity Experiments”.

Now please do me a favour – Next time you see a psychology student/ practitioner, grill him/her about Solomon Asch’s experiment and he/she will hold you in high esteem!!! 🙂

PS: If you liked the above article and want more, please rate the post. To rate, click the title of the post and then click on the star according to how you liked the article. 1 for very boring to 5 for very interesting. Those of you lazy to comment, pretty please with cherries and sugar on top, rate!!

There, a Dear Deer!! :-)

August 27, 2009

Life’s little moments are not always perfect but they rarely fail to make you smile.

We recently caught a deer eyeing us from the bushes. She looked so cute with spots of her brown peeping through the gaps in the foliage that we decided to snap a picture. But the lady was in no mood to pose, she took to her heels literally with her tail (almost) between her legs!

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The picture is all blurred but it is amusing nonetheless, no? Just like life’s little moments! 🙂

Have a good day folks!

PS: Thank you Appu, Shivya and Varun for the lovely awards! I have displayed them on the right side of the page for the world to see! 🙂

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

Rooting for Our Land…

August 14, 2009

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It’s eve of the our Independance Day and here is my hearty Happy Independance Day wishes for my fellow Indians in India and all over the globe.

We have come a long way from the early days of our new found Independance. Yet the glory of the India that was before the British Rule is what we seek.

Let us make it a reason worth our season here:

To no longer have a soul on our land who does not have enough to eat, wear or live.

To destroy the elements of communal disharmony.

To spread the wealth.

To feel proud of our heritage.

To see good triumph over evil.

To feel the brotherhood.

To believe in ourselves, our fellow Indians and in our country.

To remember the songs of our land.

To root for our nationhood.

To honour our heroes.

To know here is where we come from and it is where we’ll go.

Jai Hind!

PS: For one of the most meaningful patriotic songs ever made in recent times, click here.

Photos courtesy www.in.com


Telling Tall Tales …

August 13, 2009

As I have mentioned in several posts earlier, my little sister is the living doll that I had always wanted. She played her part pretty well too. Every little thing I told her, she took it to be God’s truth. Well, being the affectionate older sister that I am, she didn’t any other choice.

Sometime in the X’mas hols of my ninth year in this world, our family friends dropped in for a few days. They had kids our age and days were filled with making merry. As is the custom in Kochi, holidays with kids are spent in Children’s Park. It was the amusement park of the 80’s. Show animals, gigantic globe that can be turned if all of us put our might together, rides, swimming pool, chaat guys, ice cream, cars/scooters that you can drive,  and even a traffc policeman!! The guests and us had a rollicking time doing all the stuff that kids do – letting our hair down and going nuts! Soon enough, it was getting dark and parents started herding us all back in. That is when I saw the bookseller with the latest children’s magazine! I got my dad to buy the book. I couldn’t wait till I reach home – no sireee, I had to read the book as I walked to the exit.

Suddenly I was gasping for air. Why, what ehh ?? Why the hell am I wet? Because the dummy was too engrossed in the book to realise that she is stepping into a fountain! Luckily the traffic policeman, pulled me out of the water. I don’t think I have to tell you what shade of beetroot I went. My folks quickly rushed me home. As mom was helping me dry off, my poor little sister, came in all concern writ over her sweet face. “Are you okay, did you get hurt?” By now I have had enough being embarassed at my stupidity. I thought some bravado should help me get back to normal.

So this is what I said, ” You should thank God that I am here, you know. When I fell, an alligator dragged me down and I thought I will be her dinner! Lucky for me traffic policeman uncle was nearby!” I can still picture my sister’s eyes going wide and round. And my dear mom, she got to add another story to the Book of Cookie’s Quirkiness!! 😉

A couple days back, my hands were itching to draw a potrait. So here is my little sister when she was 3 years old. When I sent her a mail asking her to guess who the picture is of – she replied it is of her drawn by me when I was in primary school!!  😀

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Here is one of my most favourite musical lessons! Here you go, have a peek.

So, did you like it? I am sure most of you will. But is a spoonful of sugar enough? I am quite greedy, I would love the whole jar! When I am down, my family rallies around to make me okay, the skies smiles sweetly and the rain does it dance. The musical notes fill the air and so does the smell of sweet honey! Well, it is not like I am the center of the world, but when I am down I pretend it is so and all the little things happens to make me feel better!

But sugar ain’t enough, honey!! A pinch of salt will do the trick for that reality check that we all need ever so once a blue a moon! A box of chilli powder to shoo the evil spirits boredom!! When food get boring, I shake the chilli shaker harder and I guess it is needless to say, we end up hopping like crazy. 😀 A bittergourd once a while to contrast with the good things in our lives. A goooseberry (amla) for that little shock for your brain cells which keeps you on a healthy high. 🙂 Some chilled wine to sit back with, to see how it all turned out.

I have  no appropriate words to conclude with the above ramble but may I share the news I got in my mail today? I have been ranked 66 by Indiblogger. Higher the rank, better it is – like a cricket score, as they say. So, some pinches of salt welcome to bring me back to Planet Earth!! 🙂

I have been MIA for a while now and here is my sweet friend Ramesh’s thought on the same:

Where is the thoughtful train ?
In a station waiting for passengers to get in?
Or, has it slowed down to negotiate a curve ?
Or, has somebody forgotten to refuel it ?
Or, is it waiting at a red signal ?
Or, is it simply pondering on life ?

We’re missing the train for a week now
Anxiously waiting for its charming whistle
Our day seems a little incomplete
For we’ve grown to love its joyful passing by
I know chugging along is sometimes hard work
But then that’s the price for being so thoughtful

Come on thoughtful train, we need you
We miss your “kooo chuck chuck chuck ….”

Thanks so much Ramesh. 🙂 You just gave me my whole jar of sugar!!

Sleeping Child copy

Creating this post took me back to one of my all time favourite music – Sleeping Child by MLTR. Click here for the video and  the beautiful lyrics. I loved playing this song softly while I looked over my sister sleep back when we were kids. She definitely wasn’t a baby then but slept like one. 🙂

Having been recently gifted a Photoshop CS3 by my sweetheart, I P’shopped the original B/W pic (sourced from PhotoBucket) into the above.  The words in the picture are  inspired from our recent visit to see a newborn boy. 🙂

PS: Had totally forgotten about Friendship Day! I am so glad to have known you all. Here’s wishing our friendship grows with each passing day and gives us the joy, fun, strength and courage to deal with life’s mischief! 🙂 Happy Friendship Day!!

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!