Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Celebrated without Celebrations!

We had been to Goa this Christmas, a place known for it's Christmas celebrations. Essentially we were at the right place at the right time. Every year during this season, the roads of the capital, Panjim are flooded with lights and decorations and the whole atmosphere brings in the festive mood into anyone who visits the place.

This year was a not too different. The Christmas decorations were pretty nice. Moving around the city, we managed to capture a few decorations and it gives me a pleasure to share these with you. Beautifully crafted and soberly lighted, these were worth more than these pictures can share.

However one thing that struck me was the atmosphere. The festival looked more of an in-house affair. The streets weren't lighted, crackers weren't burst and still it was a very merry Christmas. Christmas, this year, was celebrated without the celebrations!

There was a statement behind it that said, "We have not forgotten Nov 26". Mumbai was hurt, India was hurt...and WE share the pain! We are not afraid of the anti-social elements, we dare to and we will celebrate. And in rememberance of those whom we lost, we will keep a low note.
On the same note, we, the Citizens of India will welcome the New Year in a grand style as we always do...making a clear statement, "We don't fear you!" But we will not let the celebrations extinguish the fire in us, the fire to change. Let's make a resolution this New Year to bring upon a change, a change in ourselves that says, "I can and I will!"

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year 2009!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Unplanned Weekend!

When at times, plan something and all of a sudden the plan falls crumbling messily, it does leave us hunting in nowhere with a sour taste. But what happens when the opposite of this whole episode takes place?? There is nothing planned till the last minute (make it till the last second), you don’t even know what’s going to happen in the next few minutes and at the end of it, its just a very well worked out plan that leaves you with a sweet taste, wishing for more. And that is what we experienced on a Saturday evening.

We were never a group before; we met on Saturday evening (it was rather night till then) and plans never were made, they just happened and we were enjoying and enjoying like may be we were “singles, ready to mingle”. Not to exaggerate, but if this is not the best that we have enjoyed, it was not anything less than the best either. The only thing that was common to all of us was probably that we were married in 2008. Other than that, probably it was the atmosphere that was created that made the “Saturday night” a wonderful dream.

Now for the cherry on the cream. What happens when you try and try to plan something and nothing gets planned?? So you just go out and hit something and that happens to be the best plan you could have had! After some sweet Saturday memories, we were left with more to wish for, so we met up on Sunday evening. We tried to workout plans but the decisions were just not happening. Then we took a call and went by instincts and Sunday evening turned out to be another sweet happening…and we are still wanting for more!

At such times, it is not the plan neither the place nor something that you do that matters, it is company that you have and the simplest attitude to enjoy at your best that matters. Now that we have both, we definitely are looking forward for more!

Monday, December 1, 2008

“WE are responsible!”

Though this statement may sound very controversial, I stand by it and say, “We are responsible”. Here “we” do not belong to any religion neither to any region; “we” are just the “stupid common man”. We crib at every security check and every nakabandi and when the attack happens, we crib about the security in the country.

Dear friends, please do not feel offended, but it is we who are responsible. We are being targeted and hence it is we who would have to retaliate. We say that the government we elected has done nothing. Then do we believe that the government that we elect again will do anything better? Let us revisit the latest attack. The terrorists attacked, they killed and got killed. In all the mayhem, we had politicians coming to take-out the political mileage out of the issue for the upcoming elections. In a situation where every security person’s value becomes immense, these politicians come around a consume some of the resources that are needed elsewhere. The promise huge compensations, which comes from the taxes we pay and not from their own pockets! Has there been any politician who has reduced his own security for this cause or has there been anyone who has said “I’ll train my men and ensure such attacks don’t happen?” Today, the Home Minister, Maharashtra CM and Deputy CM resign. They will be replaced by someone else. The attacks will still happen and there will be resignations again happening. This is like a musical chair where the terrorists play the music of death blindly and the politicians exchange seats. We demand resignations and get a new face on the chair…to be replaced after another set of attacks??

If we look into who is affected…is it the country’s economy? Or is it the “common man”? Yes, it is the common man who is majorly affected and he is being attacked as he runs the country, he elects the leaders and he is the economy of the country. And time and time again, it will be the common man who will be attacked. It is said that if the government was more proactive in calling the NSG, then the number of casualties would have been lesser. Well, the attack would still have happened! And it will keep happening as long as the “common man” does not answer.

So now the question arises is “what do we do?” We cannot be trained like militants in weapon handling and killing. So the most common of all questions “what can I do?” As a common man, we can take on self-defense tactics. We currently hesitate participating in mock drills and evacuation practices terming them as waste of time. We need to change this! We rush to the attacked site to pat the commandos...little do we realize that we are hampering their execution. We expect the news channels to provide the latest of information "live", not realizing that the same information would be used by someone with a different intention. All I can say here is we (and that includes me as well) need to change.

There can be another attack anytime…let’s be prepared! Let’s learn to save ourself and save our country. And terrorism will die its own death!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

LEAP: Unbound

When you have a busy week and eagerly looking forward for the weekend to have some relaxing time with your loved ones, how does it feel to know that you have to attend an offsite training program thru the whole week? And then when you do not get a chance to sleep much on Friday, you also get to know that the training on Saturday would start when you reach and would continue till dinner time? May be like this?

Nevertheless, the whole team of trainees put on a smile, pulled up their spirits and with an attitude that says "We'll do it, no matter what comes!", left for the off-site training center. It had been a strenuous week and since the whole team was of the same designation level, the week would have been equally strenuous (with a little variation) to everyone. The difference, may be, was that some had no sleep while the others had gotten up early...so there was sleep residing somewhere within everyone. Yet when the camera rolled-on, the shining teeth and bright faces were captured!
A two-hour drive got us to Khandala and then thru the ups and downs (of the hills and missing the route), we finally reached the destination! Far-away from the world...in a world of our own, that was our destination, the Northpoint training academy. Hunger had struck long ago...so breakfast was the first thing to happen. A heavy breakfast led to sleepy heads and we all were pondering how would we stay awake thru the training sessions...but more important was to at least stay awake TILL that time! There were colleagues whom we knew, some whom we had seen but not interacted and some whom we were seeing for the first time, but as the interactions started, we started gelling with each other and in no time the strangers had vanished!
It was the learning time then and our experience tells us (except those who have been studious) how boring "learning" could be and with the fatigue all over us, we feared that the trainer would definitely catch some of us dozing. However it seemed that the trainer was well prepared for us. The sessions included learning games as well as theory part and we got in so involved in all that was happening and all that we reached the lunch break without feeling stressed out...feeling bored was completely out of question. The break was truly relaxing, but not the path to our rooms. That was literally an uphill task! The post-lunch session was noting different...engrossing, entertaining, interesting are a few words that could go with this session that was equally a learning experience.

By the time the day ended, we too were drained out and as the lights went off, we were off to a good night's sleep. The morning was fresh and a view from our room was something like this:
This was 7:00 am on a Sunday morning. Frankly speaking, I haven't seen much of Sunday mornings at home...definitely not so early, but still I am sure that they don't look so pretty. Fresh morning make you feel fresh...some still need the daily dose of their morning beverage.
All of us had a different experience about the Sunday morning; the feel however was the same "refreshing!" This was our second day of training and being recharged after a nice dinner, a wonderful sleep and pleasant morning, we were all ready for the shoot!
Our trainers and facilitators were equally prepared. Involving sessions and interesting discussions continued till the lunch break. While the pre-lunch session involved brain taxing, the second was more physical work. The most amazing part of this session was the undeterred enthusiasm and the never-say-die attitude of all the trainees. It was the "SkateBoard" event. It was good to see that everyone kept putting in their best till the end of the event and never ever for even a split second said "I cant do this". It was also nice to see the no-ego environment; it was never that "this is not my work", instead there was breaking of rules to help other teams finish. Whatever be the shape of the skateboard, the resultant of this exercise gave a very pleasant experience (except for the cuts that a couple of us had).
With the wonderful time that we had, we never knew how the weekend passed by. The training weekend was completely action packed. Each and every person involved displayed a remarkable zeal of enthusiasm. The trainers were kept busy counting scores to find the winners within equal competitors.
The energy levels were so high that the cameras and the photographers started reeling too! (just kidding!!!)
Well, finally it was big LEAP!

And finally a few more that my camera had captured...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In the interim...

After a dozen of blogs last year, I was not able to push for more. There has always been a lot to write about and as usual laziness had its excuse of not being able to find time. Now there is so much to write that I do not know where do I start from.

In the period that I was not writing blogs, there was a lady who was impressed by the blogs I have been writing. She complimented me on my blogs and that is when we started chatting. We became friends and as time passed, we realized that we could hold hands forever. In a period of couple of months, things happened faster than I could imagine and in December, I was officially committed to this sweet lady. That moment was an unforgettable moment. It was the first time that I had seen her after an year (except when we had met to finalize the D-date) and it was the first time that I had held her hand. I had always wished something unique to happen about my marriage and this was just about the thing that I had expected.

Well it was not just about me and her, it was about our families too. They say marriage is a bond, not just between two individuals, but also between two families. Our cousins could not have exemplified this point better. All cousins (most of them) came together on the day before Christmas with a clear motto of enjoying to the fullest. They (my cousins and her cousins) then met for the first time and then they gelled as though they were together since birth and now they are just cousins...no difference...nothing at all! We did wish the families bond together, and what we got was more than we expected. Celebrations were in the air and merriness all around...happiness was glowing on the faces and the couple in making were basking in its glory!

Now as the the D-day is apporaching, we are obviously getting excited...so are our parents, our families...and a group that displays amazing resource of energy: our cousins and friends. Our parents have always been there to back us when we needed. Blessings from parents and wishes from cousins & friends, the D-day is going to be a day to cherish for lifetime! And we take this oppurtunity to thank all those who have been there for us. Saying this, we invite you to our wedding...to witness LOVE being CELEBTRATED!

Do visit our wedding site: http://ash-n-ash.weddingannouncer.com/