Today everyone wants to look attractive or beautiful. What is the definition of beauty? Wikipedia – Humans who are relatively young, with smooth skin, well-proportioned bodies, and regular features, have traditionally been considered to be the most beautiful throughout history.
To achieve this ‘ideal’ beauty, humans are going all out, to cosmetologists more than they visit barbers these days. Obsession with this idea is increasing more and more amongst rich, famous and the narcissists. And they all are. This can be fatal, firstly in the mind then to the body. Today we hear that former Miss Argentina Solange Magnano aged 38, died due to complications after surgery for buttock enhancement. (Read here)
Botox, liposuction, breast augmentation, body contouring, nose reshaping are amongst most sort after cosmetic surgeries. All these became popular just about couple of decades ago and today almost 5 in 10 in the showbiz go for it, mostly women. Not getting into why they deny it too when it is so obviously apparent in some or all. We saw Michael Jackson performing countless graftings not only body parts even the skin colour. Pamela Anderson,Victoria Beckham, Michael Douglas, Marilyn Monroe, our bollywood is no way far behind with Shilpa Shetty, Sherlyn Chopra, Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Esha Deol, Preity Zinta, not to forget Rakhi Sawant to name a few. I see these days almost all of these western socialites be in 20’s or 80’s have gone for some surgery or the other and i can honestly say that they look ugly, disproportionate and seemingly unnatural.
No, I am not entirely against cosmetic corrections, i only cannot understand the obsession for it. May be professionally they need to look ‘perfect’ for longer to stay in race, is antidote for their self-esteem and an extra boost of self-confidence. If it helps, good for them. Coming back to Solange Magnano, she didn’t need the surgery at all, she used to go to gym and worked out regularly. For her twin daughters, she must have been the most beautiful mother and the entire world.
On the other hand have we ever taken notice of those countless physically impaired in need of artificial limbs to merely be able to walk or hold, just to be able to experience this beautiful world in which they survive each day? What does beauty mean to them? I remember the story way back from my school text books – ‘In celebration of being alive’ by Dr Christiaan Barnard ( A blind boy and his friend who doesn’t have a leg are playing happily the push-cart game in a hospital dorm full of children. The blind boy is pushing the cart on which the disabled boy is seated and is steering it as well as guiding the blind boy.) Beauty to them is to make the most of the life with whatever God has given. Undoubtedly, to all the mothers their child is the most beautiful one.
Update: Wrote this article yesterday, not knowing today was World Disability Day. Would like to attach this link Thousands of disabled people celebrate World Disability Day
No matter where we were born, geographically speaking, be it anywhere in this world, the only determining factor of what we are, is our genes. Apart from those genes, we comprise of millions of customs and rituals which were being followed, down the years by our ancestors and passed on to the descendants, and on each transfer somewhat of it was losing. Yes, through each generation aren’t we losing out on those practices exceptional and some not, by reasoning or science, laziness or lack of enthusiasm, lack of peripheral physical or mental? Today how many of us feel it is an imperative to keep the customs and traditions of our family alive? How many of us still have the sense of belonging, the kinship.
In this modern cosmopolitan mechanism, we tend to overlook or even forget those customs, those which were once an integral part of us and fail to pass it on completely since our children are in contemporary settings with largely heterogeneous society, where the mixed religion/caste/race background marriages is becoming more and more common. Parents in such cases prefer not to impose and overburden their children with all the customs from both sides.
I was only born in Kerala but I spent all my life in Delhi, till four years back when I moved to Germany. I must have visited my birthplace around 15 or 16 times in all, being kids we had no choice then, short of being dragged or handcuffed, me and my brother acquiesced each time. It took really long until we grew up to understand what it meant to have bathed in the nearby stream, spread out on paarapuratthu (rocks) waited for our goats to finish grazing, watched my grandmother fetch water from the well, running towards the backyard where the aroma of chicken being prepared filling the entire village, the walks and the thrill to reach the local movie theatre (of course thatched roof) through the paadams (paddy fields), savouring of pazham pori (banana fritters), dosa with chamandhi (chutney), kaapi (coffee) in local chaya-kada (teashop), finding film posters of Mohanlal, Mammutty, the superheroes everywhere, the hours and hours of bus-rides from paternal to maternal homes, the pamperings from relatives, hogging onto chakka, maanga, roasted cashews etc, lighting up the villakku at the dusk and waking up when radio played unfailingly Vande Mataram every morning at 6 am.
My parents followed all the Hindu traditions, customs and festivals, how deeply religiously cannot be measured, but they did so eventhough they lived in Delhi (thanks to temples and large population of Keralites) since they were in their twenties or even before, and we as children have almost entirely absorbed and imbibed all that we saw and heard. Onam, Vishu, Mahashivaratri amongst festivals, Chorunnu, Vidhyarambham, Iruvathattu (naming of baby on 28th day) amongst ceremonies are the prominent ones. I now feel it’s my moral duty to pass all these on to my children, who speak German as first language, English as second, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil yet to follow (not burdening extra languages at this juncture when my daughter has just turned 3). Should I say even the languages/mother tongue is also losing out (I am not perfect in Malayalam, my husband is not good in Tamil :(). The tradition of buying malayalam calendar is definitely over as eventhough I could read somewhat but certainly never could understand the translation of months, zodiacs etc. I am glad as of now and so far so, I have been able to celebrate all the abovesaid festivals and ceremonies along with my children despite the non-availability of all the puja items out here. And I am sure when grow up, they too will realize the beauty, purity and significance of these rituals, their genes and instincts won’t fail them either.
First time I watched Chendavaadyam in a temple, I stood their unmoved obeying the deafening beats of the drums till the end, why and how was I relating to it is inexplicable. Howsoever modern or displaced your identity might have become, your five senses will never desert you. Smell will tingle your neurons, language will resound to reach your heart, the taste buds will perceive it, and sight will finally testify and shout out loud that you belong here.
Just finished designing website for a shoe store. It was a new subject, haven’t designed a shoe website in 9 years of web designing. Call it whatever, I mostly go about to search for that correct dummy picture on the web even though i know it cannot be used for the final design, but for that perfect presentation, i can spend even hours to find one. So while searching some, I came across certain crazy shoes which triggered my search for even more and crazier ones. I really enjoyed watching them so downloaded a few only to share it with you all. So here i go, just sit back and get stunned. Do let me know which you think is the craziest. You may click on the thumbnails to see enlarged version.
If you still think you couldn’t have enough of these, then go to here.Photo credits: yankodesign.com, geniusbeauty.com, montrealradioguy.files.wordpress.com, shoesoftheday.com, 1.bp.blogspot.com, 3.bp.blogspot.com, i26.tinypic.com, photos.posh24.com, kenembijoux.com, mariothetrainer.com, shoeblog.com, lh6.ggpht.com, legaljuice.com, thatshideous.com, 2.bp.blogspot.com, media.paperblog.fr, izismile.com, 1.bp.blogspot.com, cmathre.com, static.squidoo.com, kiana.isay.co.za
Any travel break is welcome especially when the whole year one spends at home, mostly on bed, dragging rather than walking, struggling to keep up with a 3 yr olds incessant demands, wailing away almost every night and many more such combats with a son in the tummy who is hell bent to prove he will be a sure-shot footballer someday. Though we had PhantasiaLand break some couple of months back but it already seems ages now. Although a long holiday is soon nearing (yay! Goa calling) during Christmas and New Year, we still like to savor on short trips too. So we book Hotel Zugbrücke, a four star known for wellness and sports, 180 kms away from our place near Koblenz.
Every year our staff gets surprise gifts from us for Christmas, last year we took all of them along with their families to Hotel Mercator which is just in our town, for one whole day stay, food, drinks, wellness all inclusive. It was great fun and we all enjoyed to the core. So this time over, we planned it differently with different gifts for all like cameras, iphones etc. But Christoph and family gets to spend with us on this surprise weekend trip.
We met at 9.00am at Janses Mattes restaurant situated at a main crossing, thats mostly a meeting point for any road journey for people around here. They were supposed to follow us (not blindfolded) along through the beautiful scenic landscapes which is spread all over germany with the onset of autumn. For them the journey seemed unending as Raj had told them that we were to drive just about 80 kms so the surprise already had begun as they drove for 100 km extra. And we finally reach our destination by 11.00am.
Hotel Zugbrück is one of its kind specially for table tennis lovers, has a bowling alley, a disco, wellness with sauna, swimming pool, whirlpool, babysitting facility, a large kids playroom too. It is such a wonder that this small hilly area produces world class table-tennis players like Lucjan Blaszczyk, Tomas Pavelka, Patrick Baum and Matiss Burgis. So our surprise destination was duly acknowledged by all, kids were already jumping, dying to do so, more into the swimming pool.
We first wanted to have lunch so we proceeded to the restaurant which was connected to the hotel by a channel or sort of bridge. And the buffet had just begun. We opted for the window corner from where we could see a stream passing, the bridge that we crossed was just above that. This explains the name of the hotel Zugbrücke (zug is a train and brücke means bridge).
After lunch we took a short rest and then spent good three hours in the swimming pool area. Kids were having a ball of a time screaming and splashing away. Cappucino was welcome at this point. Now the idea of having the whirlpool out in the open only added to the charm of the wholesome experience with cold mist almost enveloping and the tall trees overlooking you while a glass of champagne just complimented the hot water massages. We just ran out of time for tennis as bowling was booked for 6.30 pm which was absolute fun after 12 yrs approximately. Wondering how much we lose out on smaller joys when we think nothing but work, work and work all our life. With kids we are now reliving those forgotten golden days.
It was time for dinner now. I loved all in the elaborate menu which consisted of onion soup, variety of salads, pork and deer was main course food, knödel, grilled champignons, zucchini, aubergine, rosemarine potatoes, paprika and fettucini, thunfish with teriyaki sauce and many many more. I am not even getting to the dessert area, besides I am still dieting. As the kids were tired and sleepy they had to be put to bed, so I say goodnight to all. I also slept as early as 10.30pm and Raj came back to room at 1.00am.
Got up at 7 in the morning, it was drizzling outside and no one wanted to wake up. We definitely wanted to stay for the Sunday as well, but cannot. At 9am we had to meet for breakfast and then by 11am we aimed at checking out, as a short and sweet, well spent holiday came to an end, kids were seemingly upset. So next time it will be a at least good three days for us, promise :).
PS: Christoph and family however wanted to spend sometime more around the hill top, trekking upto the castle.
Undoubtedly, the most fulfilling experience of my life is motherhood, though it came late but i’m glad and feel immensely honoured that it did come. I find my kids as an extension of me or they are me myself. We are not separate. And i cannot live without or see myself away from them howsoever. Now, something that I fail to fathom eversince is why and how can some parents stay away from their kids and send them to boarding schools? How are they able to bring themselves to do this to their own child who needs them each minute of the day and also when they are asleep. Our child has ONLY US to look upto. How can we part with them? God sent these angels to us to shower all our love to them, isn’t it?
My question to all those parents who send their kids to boarding schools – Is it worth all the sacrifice and loss of being together with your child during those precious, never-to-return childhood days?
Their explanation probably: Well! we feel it is just convenient, cos we don’t have to drive them to and from the school, don’t have to cook for them, don’t have to do their laundry, cut their nails, take them to barber, take them to playgrounds, take them for shopping, teach them traditional values of the family, celebrate festivals together, read bed time stories, see them growing, answer their querries, take care of when they are suffering in sickness. Also because we are too busy and have too much money and we are selfish, heartless, we can be blind to what exactly is going with our child out there. We can further hide behind these words – they will learn to take care of themselves, will get discliplined, responsible, mature, self independent, develop interests in sports and extra curricular activities.
Isn’t doing all these a privilege of each parent. To me it is an experience which is unparalleled. Not only does it strengthen your relationship with your child, it is an adventurous learning journey for the parent too – of patience, of grit, of sacrifice, of selflessness, of humility, of management, and reliving your own childhood. There is nothing that cannot be taught by parents.
Aren’t you doing this to them as they are wholly innocent & helpless? They are still in such tender age where they cannot even protest, they don’t know what lies ahead – A life devoid of parents love, caressing, hugs, kisses and warmth even if it is for just few years, that time is lost forever, the time when kids build that special bonding & trust with you which should’nt in any circumstance be robbed away from them.
From all our experiences, don’t we know that life is already a tough battle, with God knows what all kinds of people they will encounter, what all situations they have to confront, so why can’t we simply pour all our love and be with them so much more specially in those building years to ease it out just a bit from our side for them, from the otherwise cruel world and give a marvelous beginning. And… continue till we rest in peace.
Will end with something profound which i think – Nobody on this earth loves you more than your own parents.
Found some quotes would love to share with you:
You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once. ~Polish Proverb
Your children vividly remember every unkind thing you ever did to them, plus a few you really didn’t. ~Mignon McLaughlin
In bringing up children, spend on them half as much money and twice as much time. ~Unknown
PS: I will try to understand those parents who has genuine genuine disability to take care of their kids.
PPS: Would like to dedicate two songs of my choice especially to all the mothers in this world. Song 1 is apt to the topic I touched. Song 2 is which touches me the most.
Song 1 from movie Taare Zameen Par (2007), experience.
Song 2 from movie Daadi Maa (1966), just dive in.
PT Usha, once the golden girl of Indian track, nations’ pride, once a Padmashri, once a recipient of Arjuna Award, but more than once insulted, humiliated by her own countrymen.
Just the latest, the sprint queen was reduced to tears in Bhopal at the National Open Athletics Championship, after the organizers failed to give her and her athletes a decent accommodation for the stay. Aptly she said “If I get this type of treatment, you can imagine what other athletes get. That is why parents are not encouraging their children to go in for sports and that is why we are not getting any medals at international levels. I feel insulted.”
The last time I remember was when the country conveniently forgot to include her as one of the torch bearer for Olympics 2004, Athens, instead Bipasha Basus, Viveik Oberois were seen running with it. The irony of Indian sport is the ‘use and abuse theory’. It’s not surprising then, that Indian sport barring a few, is nowhere in the international scenario.
Another much recent incident which I remember now what happened with Renu Gora, three time Boxer champion, bronze medalist in World Boxing Championship 2006, who is still jobless, was seen serving tea to the media and other officials in NIS, Patiala. The other girls who get training there were also meant to be washing utensils and obeying the orders of these shameless officials. Now c’mon Renu you are a boxer..show them you are. Will someday Vijendra Singh salvage them from such conditions? Hmm, just a bleary hope.
Another shameful incident when a national level athlete was forced to become a prostitute thanks to all the miseries which led her to poverty,…still remains in jail for not having money to pay for bail.
Such similar incidents must be endless, thousands unheard, living in obscurity in their meagre pension in some stenchy rat-hole of the society. Will there be a saviour someday, a desi superhero for the Indian sport (cricket excluded)? Cricketers these days, after retirement make more money by commentating than what they earned otherwise. Can there be more of Dr. Vijay Mallyas’ to not only encourage new sporting avenues but also to uplift the existing, degenerating ones?
I pray for such a day. Till then, Chak De India!!! We live in hope.
I see my latest topics taking birth from some controversy being discussed on twitter. So this time it is the Mumbai-Bombay dialogue issue which came into news as soon as the movie Wake up Sid produced by Karan Johar released. Had to be Raj Thackeray, the MNS chief who thought it was an apt issue to pick up and time for some footage. Saying Bombay instead of Mumbai was the questionable crime which hurt the Marathi pride according to him. Will somebody please take a poll on how many marathis were hurt!
Well! some people want to throw their weight around or create news so that they remain in news which so ever way..and this time so they succeeded too. KJ took no time to kowtow or else he better as easily forget his 40 crores too. So best solution is to give in to the gundaRaj.. so what if the gesture has only encouraged their guts multifold in gundaism, forever. A disclaimer was then added in the beginning of the movie.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, may be Bombay word was used just for correct creative effect in certain context. Well I anyways don’t expect these blokes to understand creativity. If something were detrimental to the society, to protest makes sense. No one protests movie to be openly abusive titled Kaminey. I refer it Bombay still so many times as in Germany many people are not familiar with the new name.
Why can’t these people use their power in right direction rather than wasting energy in trivial something? How about stopping the monumental waste of 350 crores by the Maharashtra Govt in erecting Chhatrapati Shivaji statue in the middle of Arabian Sea? Can he change the registered movie title Bombay by Mani Rathnam, or Bombay to Goa? Incidentally Bombay was released in the same year 1995 when the changing of names took place.
So finally something so ironic, any case against him or any mumbaikar for that matter will and goes to BOMBAY High Court (the institution which did not follow suit in changing its name). Thankfully mortals can’t get bigger than the law.
ps: Would like to add another fabulous article by Hansal Mehta