As the 65th Republic day approaches let’s agree to not to crib or rant about India but to make this day, the first verse in shaping our country. Speaking Tree invites you to take 26 pledges this 26th January, that will make the crucial difference between what India is and what it can be! So let us get together and be led by action and not rhetoric. Take the SpeakingTree Ipledge now and spread the good word by sharing this with as many people as you can…

http://www.speakingtree.in/ipledge

What does it feel like to be a mother?

This is a more complicated question than one might initially think, because the dynamic between a mother and her child(/maybe a son or a daughter) can differ greatly between sets of people. These little boogers don’t come with an instruction manual, “How To Parent Your Child The Right Way” and most of our parents are just out here, in this world, trying to do their best to give each one of US, just what we need.

In a nutshell:

It is an irreversible and life-altering experience, peppered with alternating and sometimes coexisting periods of unfathomable love, excitement and pride, and unimaginable fear, frustration and heartbreak, which makes you a true parent.

What does it feel like to think, what does it feel like to be a mother? Lets see:

  • There are things about it that are incomprehensible to others unless they’ve had the experience. For instance, I am a guy. Single. Unmarried. 21. And, I JUST LOVE BABIES! Although, crying babies bother me a lot, and I just want them to shut up, sometimes. But watching the same scenario through my mother’s eyes, the crying babies really DO bother me (not in the same way, of course) but now, to think of it, I kinda get intrigued and far more interested in knowing why the baby was crying in the first place and what could be done by me to help the baby alleviate its emotions.
  • Bad news has never affected me much. I am a happy -go-lucky person and since I have no parenting issues to deal with, the world isn’t something that makes me feel bad. I just have to suck it up and navigate. On the other hand, my mother feels differently. She sees herself as someone who needs to help me navigate this world. Anything bad happens, she instantly thinks about me-my father-her parents, her hand reaches her phone, she gets worries about our safety and starts imagining would happen to her if she loses us and  how helpless she is, when it comes to protecting them. (Read> Protecting ME.) All of us, me and Papa, we get worried too. We worry about protecting our closest ones too. But being a mother, you absorb all the pain, not intended for you, not meant for you and which you totally not deserve. Similarly, you when you feel the joys of life, the value of it is not only immeasurable but also shows on your face after a long night’s rest.
  • I am old enough now. Almost reaching 22. Yes, I can openly discuss the correct things about life and how it progresses. Reaching motherhood, your life becomes more complicated because of timing issues and because motherhood changes your body in ways you don’t like/ weren’t prepared for, and can’t fix without a lot of money. Your identity as an independent adult becomes hopelessly intertwined with your identity as “that kid’s mom” and you have to make a conscious effort to balance them and also distinguish them from each other.

Sometimes you want to drink yourself silly, when your kid won’t just sit down and eat their dinner, or stop fidgeting and do their homework already, or when he won’t perform better in his studies. Sometimes your kid will do something that you’ll have to explain, and you’ll be mortified and not have any explanation.
But sometimes, your heart will nearly explode when a sleepy child gathers you more closely around him.
Sometimes you’ll be prouder than you’ve ever been in your life, when your child does something generous or compassionate, that you didn’t direct her to do.
Sometimes, having to enforce that “you’re off the computer unless I personally supervise you” rule is a serious pain in the ass, but you have to do it anyway.

  • You have wiped my butts and noses without thanks, you have got puked on, peed on, etc., without any apology. Your favorite things, got broken. YOUR RULE, got BROKEN. All the restrictions, a very few of which I had, made me actively fight with you, but you still had to choose your battles and hold firm during times when you’d secretly rather not. I did badly after Std 11th – you still maintained your calm and kept making yourself available, kept leaving the door to communication open even when you knew, I was always shy to share. 
  • Every birthday and every holiday is spent by you, making sure everyone else has a good time, and this is EXHAUSTING. You learn to find your enjoyment in theirs, but it still feels a little anti-climactic afterward. You reach in and find energy, patience, advocacy which you never knew you were capable of and not merely because you have to or it’s the right thing to do, but because the bottom line is, you love this family you created, and have a responsibility to them.
  • Being a mom is a largely thankless and exhausting job, but I wouldn’t know it anyway. As I will never get that opportunity, in this life. Being a mother requires a mother to act with responsibility and love, combined. Being a mother creates irrational and very strong attachments which allow families to function consistent with each mother’s unique beliefs, practices, and abilities. Mothers are monolithic as a category only when the health, welfare and/or education of their children are threatened. Therefore, each mother approaches the biological and emotional aspects of mothering differently, consistent with her own upbringing, genes, and immediate environment. Over the past twenty years, I have mostly seen mothers brimming with love, who do everything they can to help their families — and who are child-oriented, family-oriented, and who make significant and wonderful impacts on their children and families.

From a mother’s perspective, nurturing a child and being concerned about that child’s education is often a perplexing experience even while it is often all-encompassing and very satisfying. The perplexing part of it is recognizing and continually learning ‘who‘ the child is (since interests and abilities change over time), and providing the teaching that best suits:

  • what is his preferred method of learning?
  • what will he like — and be like — in the future?
  • how can his strengths be augmented?
  • how to instill a lifelong love of learning in a world which is so rapidly changing in terms of information access?
  • how to balance family traditions/ school/ community?
  • how to be a psychologist/ teacher/ authority/ friend/ coach/ observer/ nurse/ and everything else, when the moment requires it?
  • how to create ample free ‘flow’ time in a world with many interruptions?
  • how to teach character traits like perseverance, kindness, self-improvement,  creativity, love of excellence (however it is defined) and similarly useful and satisfying traits?
  • how to respect play, and individuality, and not interfere in natural processes?

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Being a mother feels different to every mother. Each has a unique relationship with her child/children. Mothers are not fungible. Even if someone else makes a cup of tea, it is not the same thing as when each child’s own mother hands her/him a cup.

Being a mother is using one’s hands to feel a forehead, curl a curl behind an ear, brush a hair out of an eye, do the wash, and perform all the acts and roles of mothering love and generosity which children come to understand, someday or the other that it is connected with being cared for, respected, and nurtured.

Lately, I have done MANY A THINGS, my mother won’t EVER get pleased of me doing. I am practical. I don’t think much, I live for the moment. Hurting my mother has never been my intention, whatever it is that I do/ I have done. I have failed her expectations that’s all I can say. Period.

Now what does it feel like to be a Son?

At some point, not necessarily immediately, because bonding is not an instant thing, but at some point – it occurs to you that you’ll die for a person without ANY hesitation.

When a child takes birth, if a child were to die, it’s possible a mother would not be able to breathe again.
When you have a baby, the baby is you. And then it’s its own being, which is mind-boggling. Separation is a long, difficult, learning process for child AND parents.

You learn how to:
- Act decisively on insufficient information.
- Nurture someone when you’re exhausted and in-pain > emotionally and physically.
- Advocate with people you would personally just walk away from.
- Sacrifice. Your earning potential. Your professional goals. Your health.
- Keep going. Because someone else needs you to be “on.”
- Do without adult love. Teenage romance and all the mainstream melodrama.
- Be separate. Create and maintain boundaries, yet stay closer to each other at heart, NO MATTER WHAT.
- Adjust the way you relate to someone as they evolve.
- Accept love. Assume it, in fact.
- Withstand separation. Avoid responding emotionally to someone’s anger, anxiety, and betrayals.

I don’t think there are enough words in the world that exist to express exactly just how much I love my mother!

She’s right there in the front of my soul,
she can turn me into an eagle, a lion, a tiger, a swan!
A goof or a King!
There’s no underestimating just how much I love her; I surround her like the ocean surrounds the ships!

I never wanted to change the world, until she came along and showed me that she deserves a better world to live in! I feel so honored to be able to say “Will you like to meet my parents/mother?”, to my friends, without it being an excuse to do stupid things. 

No, I will not say that everything I do, I do for good or for God! And no, I will not say that everything I do, I do because I am a sacrificial saint who is in love with people and should be canonized one day! I’ve had enough of those lines! Overkill already! > It will take the love of a son to change the world. There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy than what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father’s dreams aren’t big enough, and sometimes his mother’s vision isn’t long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.

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How can I motivate myself to work hard?

1. All it takes is one step to get you started…

2. Otherwise, you’ll end up like this guy:

3. Think you have a marathon of a struggle ahead of you? Well, these BLIND guys ran 26.2 miles.

4. So start by taking the stairs and stop being lazy.

5. Because others wished they were as fortunate as you are.

6. If you are afraid of failure, get over it.

7. You’ve got two options, either suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret.

8. Don’t make excuses.

9. And don’t wait around for things to magically happen.

10. Face adversity? Turn it into determination.

11. You’re never too young or too old to make shit happen.

12. There will always be obstacles in your way.

13. So learn to embrace and enjoy the journey, even if it’s tough.

14. Because where there’s a will there’s a way.

15. Whether it’s finding the courage to talk to the hottie across the bar … (Yeah! I know why you like this one)

16. … Or getting back in shape.

17. Remember that you’re awesome.

18. And that you can do it.

19. Seriously, you fucking can!

20. Now,

Imagine+a+World_3e25bf_4178676

21. So stop working yourself OFF and listen to what this wolf has to say.

22. Because you’ve got a lot more potential than you might think.

 

What does it feel like to be poor?

According to Amit Banerjee, it feels suffocating. Here’s his story:

I belong to a middle class family and had never seen “real” poverty during childhood. Yes, I had a Hercules bicycle. Yes I was given good education. Yes, I would go to Disney world once a year. Yes, my parents would take me to holidays. I had a TV video game and a huge collection of cartridges my mom bought for me, when I scored good marks.

Then I entered college. My sister’s marriage was planned, dad bought an apartment and had to pay my fees for engineering. All three events happened in quick succession and we were suddenly in debt.

Somehow, we got scammed and got ourselves chained in bank loans and poverty crept in. It was in such a rush that suddenly, I felt jumping from an airplane without any preparation and now you have to learn to fly as you fall. Or you’re dead.

There was this time range of 2 years (2008-2010) I had to fight poverty on my own. Here is what happened

- No money to pay college fees. Figure out a way to earn that thing yourself
- No money to pay for daily transport. Walk.
- No money for entertainment, movies or parties. Ask your friends for a smoke
- No money for anything except basic food.
- Worst, manage all the heckle of bank. They would send “bouncers” to my house to recover the EMI amount and I had to guard my mom. I was once beaten in my neighborhood in front of everyone for not being able to pay the EMI amount for couple of months. I had to sell furnitures, gold, what not.

I told my father its not worth pursuing my education, given the crisis condition. I should take up a job and raise money for the family. My father said – “Son, you can make money whenever you want but you won’t be able to learn later. This is a difficult time, don’t worry. I myself could not study further an had to take up a job at 18, so I can feed a family of 10 people, my brothers, sister, parents. I won’t let it happen with you. We will somehow manage it, just do your thing”

The year was 2008. My monthly expenses were 900-1500 Rs (this includes food) . My engineering fees was 7000 a month and my family is fighting debt. In Lakhs. Each month, the debt would increase because of that education fee. Imagine the condition of a 22 year old guy who has never seen poverty in his life, sitting with friends who would spend thousands on beer parties and live on their mercy.

I was literally beaten and broken because I had no idea how to generate money, while I am still a student.

I gave interviews in a BPO. Rejected.
I gave interviews in part time jobs. Rejected.
Applied for a teaching job. Rejected.
Every door I knocked, I was rejected.
Every relative/friend I asked for money, slammed the door.

There was a time in my life when I had just 10Rs in my pocket, just in case some emergency comes in and I have to make phone calls from a local telephone booth. I would walk in the streets for days because I didnt have enough money to afford a rickshaw. I would eat water when I am hungry and try to save as much as possible. I would work for hours in a data entry job and get paid Rs 1 for filling up forms, that way I earned Rs 80-100 a day. I saw my father giving up his scooter to save fuel costs. I saw my mom giving up family occasions. I saw my sister selling her jewelry. I would cry in the bathroom. Alone. For months.

When disaster comes, it comes with a battalion from all directions, all at once.

My girlfriend left me when I needed her the most. She said – ” You’re yourself in trouble, without a job, how will I present you infront of my family? “

I lost her. I loved her, she was the only thing that made me smile but I lost her. For money. (I know she loves me to this day, but she was helpless too. Its not her fault. Situation was against us. I respect her decision now.)

I have died many deaths in those two years but this was the hardest blow. Losing the love of your life because you dont have enough money. I remember our last meeting. It was raining and we were standing below an asbestos shed, enjoying an alpenliebe as that was the only thing I could buy for her.

This shit was so painful that I almost gave up on everything. Weird thoughts started hitting my mind.

Meanwhile, I got a Govt job which I did not like. I walked away. I was broke, beaten and pushed to the corner but I walked away. Somewhere in my heart I had hope. I knew that this is a bad phase which is not permanent. This too shall pass but I could not allow mediocrity to creep in. I had a dream and a temporary crisis is no excuse on giving up on your dreams and settle for mediocrity.

Here is the resignation letter (some portions have been blurred for privacy)

So what are my options now?

Mission statement: Raise money as rapidly as possible and cover up the debt.

  • Government sector – This is full of horse shit. I mean, you know the kind of shit I am talking about.
  • Private sector – No degree. No experience. No skills. Shitty resume. Bad idea.
  • Part time jobs – Possible but not scalable as they are low paying. Won’t be able to scale rapidly.
  • Business – Scalable but read mission statement again. No money in the first place. How do I start a business without money? Are you kidding me?

Solution: Start a business which does not require initial investment. But this model should be able to scale itself rapidly. In short, the rate of its scaling should be higher than the rate at which the loan scales. Also, their should be some kind of virality associated with it, so that it spreads itself, without me having to spread it.

Weapon: Internet and Time. Let’s get some shit done.

I made up a website with 700 INR. Fuck, I did not have 700Rs to buy the domain name. I bought it again on debt. Here is a bill which is very close to my heart…..(it says Rs 275 in debt)

I didn’t succeed in the first go. I had ZERO technical knowledge on how to build a website. But that was not going to stop me because I don’t have any other option. My survival depends on this and I have to do it, come what may.

My first website didn’t pick up, Account cancelled.

I made up a second one. It didn’t work either. Account cancelled.

I made up a third website. Failed. Account cancelled again,

Devastated, I gave it a fourth try. Countless hours spent in Googling, coding, writing and building it. I remember those days. I locked myself in a balcony and Googled all day long. Nights, days, weeks, toiled like a madman. I suffered from Jaundice and lost 14-20 Kgs. That was the time I realized what hard work means.

First month, I made $1.29. Second month, I made $8. Third month I made $21.

And then some more. And then some more. And then some more………

When a wolf starts smelling blood and flesh around, he becomes a dangerous beast. I had smelled my flesh and now I jumped on my prey with all I’ve got.

Generated $40,000 in two years. (For the curious and those who doubt my story in comments – I didn’t raise it from a single website, there were some small sites as well. Also, I did a good amount of freelancing. This is to ensure I have multiple ways of generating money , should the main site crashes. The site did suffer a major blow but by that time I had solidified my basement.)

Here is a picture of my balcony, where I used to work on my website and other things (yes a CRT monitor and a broken laptop which college authorities had gifted me)

I did not wanted to share stats, but after some people requested it, here goes the journey of the website.

Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records.

Paid off the whole debt. Saved a bit.

Today, I work at LinkedIn. Its like a dream come true for me.

(No I am not an MBA. No I am not an IITan. No I did not go to US to get a degree from an Ivy league university. No I did not get it through campus placement. No I did not make it through employee referral. I am just another average graduate from just another average engineering college. I just did one thing and did it well. Put my heart and soul into what I really wanted to do.)

(I am at the extreme left, red kurta and dhoti. Colleagues are overjoyed on cultural day. More pics here Cultural Day @ Slideshare/LinkedIn Delhi)

But the lessons I have learned in those two years has helped me shape up my character and be a better person. Those were the longest and hardest 2 years I will never be able to forget. Also the most worthwhile time of my life so far.

I don’t waste money now. No show off. Yearly vacations – Yes. Weekend parties – No. No costly gadgets. Dont buy shit you don’t need. Don’t buy “branded” stuff just because every other clueless idiot is doing it. No. Don’t.

Lesson learned the hard way – Be grateful for what you have.

These days, my parents are looking a bride for me. When the girl’s father asks for my salary, I smile and say “I hope your daughter gets a wealthy guy. Because I know money matters. Every single rupee counts.”

When I return home in flight, a part of me cries. Not because I am spending money on travelling which can be done in train. I feel bad thinking someone in this planet needs this money to feed himself. And here I am, travelling in a jet to save time because I am short in leaves.

Lesson: Be kind, for everyone out there is fighting a hard battle.

Edit: Thanks for all the upvotes. Here is sharing the first cheque I received from my website. This was that day when I cried the most. I never encashed it (this is from the second website which failed and account got terminated).

Whenever I am in trouble, I open my archive and see this cheque. This gives me all the strength I need.

Some tips to graduates, students who are yet to enter “real world”

1. Lead a loan free life. Need a car? Wait, don’t jump into an EMI. Save and then buy the car. Avoid banks as much as possible. No credit cards, I don’t need cashback and other things. Want to study abroad? Don’t take huge educational loan. If at all you take loans, have something to fall back on. Money is fire, you gotta be careful. Save. Every month Pay Yourself First

2. Make mistakes. Fail, fail fast and make it public. Don’t drag it on. I wouldn’t have succeeded in this wild venture if I listened to people telling me I write shitty articles. In fact, all I wrote for the first year was pure garbage. But here is the thing. I didn’t stop. I kept pressing on because I had no time.

3. Do not be ashamed of your situation. I could have written it Anonymously, so that my Facebook friends never know how miser my life was. But No. I am not ashamed of the truth. Accept life as it is.

4. Do not compare your life with anyone.

I see a new trend, specially in Quora. People comparing their life with IITans and IIM graduates. As if, IITans don’t have any struggle in life. As if IIM graduates are the happiest people. Trust me, its a myth. They too have challenges, they too have problems in their life. Keeping the expectation of society because you’re an IITan or IIM graduate is no easy feat. The moment an interviewer sees the word IITan on a resume, he himself prepares the toughest questions. If you compare your life with someone else’s, you will not achieve peace.

5. Be very careful when success comes to you easily. It’s treacherous path to tread down. You must see failure before success, otherwise you will not know the value. Lets say you sit in a campus interview and clear it in one shot, take up the job and keep doing it for years, chances are high that you will regret – “Why I did not explore? What for?” Also, do not expect to get lucky everytime. You will be in trouble somewhere down the road, then what are you going to do?

6. Do something on your own. However small or big, doesn’t matter. Do something completely from scratch and learn how to sell that thing. This will teach you life lessons you will use for the rest of your life.

This will also give you huge confidence. I don’t have any fear in my mind. Fear of what? The worst that can happen is that I will lose my day job. So what? I have worked on my own for 3-4 years without any help and have overcomed a huge financial crisis on my own, without a job. So if I am in trouble again, I know how to make my way.

7. Do not make one disappointment the center of your life.

When some incident shatters all the plans, hopes and aspirations, people start considering that pain and hurt to be the center of their lives and continue to live their lives around it.When people start considering one obstacle, challenge or misery to be the center of their life, and stops the very momentum of life, they cannot become successful in life. Nor can they achieve happiness and contentment.

8. Help people as much as possible. My friend Soumen Halder was with me during that tough phase. WE have had many fights. But he was there. When the storm had settled down at my end, he was going through a tough time. I pulled him out and  secured his position at a startup I was working.

9. Do not be obsessed with “perfection”. You don’t need a perfect solution. You need a solution which is “good enough”.

People say “passion” is everything. Trust me, its wrong. Passion is not everything. Noone interviews a passionate musician who played guitar for 20 years, never copied someone else’s music and call it his own.

You should have a Goal. Well, wrong again. How do you know where you are going when you are full of doubts?

I believe, you need a problem. A massive problem. A crisis. Solve that shit and you will have those answers. Most of this comes from experimentation. And to experiment, you need systems.

Big things will happen from many small things. So lets say if you have 10 small things in your pocket, one of them will be big. You don’t know which one is your trump card.

Now this calls for a well deserved rant, take it with a grain of salt.

<rant>

10. Failure is acceptable. Every single person fails. You know what’s not acceptable? NOT TRYING. I see most people giving up without even trying in the first place.

So you hate your job. What are you doing to find something you love? You dedicate so much for your girlfriend, you spend hours chatting in Facebook, you go to weekend parties and then on Monday morning, you are ready with your excuses. Stop pretending. Yes You, I am telling this to you. Stop being a hypocrite to yourself. Yes, I am angry and shouting because I know you’re not giving your 100%.

You keep feeding excuses to your brain everyday. Things like – “I don’t find time to do this. I don’t have 60%, I won’t be able to sit in some campus placement interview, I am a loser. She will leave me, my parents, he is lucky because he has an MBA, I dont have a rich father, recession is coming, not many companies are hiring electrical engineers, everyone is shooting for IT companies. I must get some money to pursue MS from US, otherwise its impossible to succeed…..I am a girl and I cannot survive outside my home because of rising crime against women, I am this I am that….” FUCK..!

WTF dude? WTF are you thinking? You need a massive thrashing from life. Someone must tie you with a rope and beat you up like shit, then you will do it. You dumbass, stop telling yourself those imaginary lies. Stop cribbing over your misery. Stop crying over your weaknesses. JUST DO IT. You’re not a kid who cries over a fucking lollypop. Get off your ass…!!!!!

</rant>

11. Life is hard. Remember that dialogue from Rang de Basanti,

“Gate ke is taraf hum life ko nachate hain, to dujji taraf life humko nachati hai”

I don’t care who you are and how much money you have, life will beat you down to your knees and keep you there if you let it. Be prepared. Value relationships, you will need them someday.

What has poverty taught me?

I got a few questions in my inbox – “If you succeeded in your website, why did you choose a job?”

Here is the thing I have learned from poverty, being broke, establishing a small business from scratch. Money is not everything in life. Neither is your job title. Nor is your MBA degree. Life is much more greater than these petty things. Life is all about the experiences you make. I could have sit at home and pursued my website, earn more money but I would miss out experiences which are far more valuable. 25-35 is that time of your life when you can explore and do whatever you want. If you give up your freedom for money, one day you may have to regret it. You’re going to die anyway, so the amount of money in your bank is useless. Make experiences, not wealth. Money is important and it matters but far more valuable is gaining experiences, inviting challenges, accepting how life unfolds. Live in different cities, work on small jobs, you will see the true color of life. You will never be able to realize this if you sit in your comfort zone. Get out of your comfort zone and do stuff you’re afraid to do, do things you want to do.

P.S: I still cry for her.

Some People you can take inspiration from

When you have empty pockets, you will need inspiration. Let me tell you, I am not the only guy out there. I am just average, there are people who have exceptional stories of their own. I know some of them personally, have met a few and have connected online since 4-5 years.

Here is a small list of entrepreneurs and technology bloggers I know whom you can refer for inspiration (in no particular order)

This list is endless and I can go on and on. More awesome people here
The Best Indian Bloggers
______________________________________________

To the people who think this is a cooked up story to garner popularity, sympathy, upvotes or whatever:

Dude, I didn’t write it for you. Because I know you haven’t been through what I have been. Had you walked in my shoes, you wouldn’t have had doubts over my crying words. I have written this for that soul who is in trouble and needs inspiration. I know that a soul is reading it and I know that soul will one day thank me for this. That is all.

 

______________________________________________

Pal, you didn’t have to write up that last line. People who have suffered/have seen other’s suffering, will need no explanations. :)
A well told story with a GREAT message.

Thank You, Amit Banerjee, for this feel good trip! :)

PS: This is Amit Banerjee’s story which I found and liked on Quora.com

He probably doesn’t even know his story exists here, on my blog. :)

What are some of the best photos that describe Odisha?

Amaro Odisha! :)

Odisha :- One of the most modest places in India, It’s rich history, culture and diversity can well be seen in the pics below.
Here is a view from Dhauligiri, the shanti stupa made by Ashoka  the great himself

In a tradition where paper boats are set sailing on water bodies. It is done in respect of the old sailors who dared the sea to travel to Java and Sumatra to do business.

Mukteswar temple

Our food definitely hasn’t made it to the menus around the world, but the simple taste and varied spices are surely something to be never missed on.

Rasgulla is originally from Odisha. Yes, it’s true.

There is no match for Dahi bara aloo dum. Any odia will recognise it anytime anywhere

Another sweet that ought to be tasted many times. Chenna Jhilli

The Streets of Bhubaneswar, yes it is temple city but its the eastern hub of education and IT

Our monuments define us
Dhauligiri

Once thought to envy Taj Mahal in beauty this is the icon of Odisha.

Puri Jagannath temple, one of the most important destination for Hindus.

A ritual

Udaigiri and Khandagiri. Ancient monastries.

Hirakud dam, longest earthen dam in Asia. It stores the prowess of Mahanadi.

Chilika, largest brackish water lake of Asia.

Irawadi Dolphins are only found in Chlilka only.

During winter it is the house for thousands of birds, including guests from as far as Siberia.

White tigers are found in Odisha, and have been successfully bred in Nandankanan zoo, Bhubaneswar.

Talking of tigers, this is Similipal. A sanctuary for Royal Bengal Tiger.

India’s missiles are all checked, tested and launched live from Wheeler island, chandabali

Our people are also exotic :)
Paika fighters

tribals carrying leafs for livelihood.

One of the oldest dance forms, Odissi.

 

What is the latest fad among Indian guys?

Been through it. Never done it, though! :P

Although, the MAINSTREAM DEMANDS >

  • Gymming

“Yaar aajkal gymming kar raha hu. 2 mahine me body bana lunga, fir bandiya flat.”

(I am gymming these days. I’ll build a good body within 2 months and girls will drool all over me.)

Yes this, and checking into Facebook every single time they visit a gym. Or, that creepy ‘I have been to gym twice in my lifetime and I’m healthier than you are look.’

  • DSLR Photography

You do know the various Firstname Lastname photography feeds that Facebook is plagued with these days, but don’t worry, you can be part of this fad without owning a DSLR. Wondering how, simple, get a friend who owns one and you can become ‘the next big supastaaa.’

“My mom dad telling me to join regular college for good college experience but yaar, I know my carier is modelling only. So I’m working very hard to build good body. Too much competition in this field but my bhuaji knows some big fashion designers so I hope I get break. Maybe I also try for Roadies or Splitsvilla – both my favurite shows – but Raghu takes too much in the audition round yaar.”
(yaar is an informal hindi term for a friend)

This is exactly the cue to get me a barf bag. Anyone?

  • Stone-faded ripped jeans with v-neck shirts showing cleavage.

Ew. In one word, ew.
I cannot even begin to descibe how positively creepy it looks. NO IT DOES NOT LOOK EVEN REMOTELY ATTRACTIVE PLEASE GET OVER IT.

And wearing jeans so low that your underwear shows through. NO THAT IS EVEN WORSE PLEASE BUY A BELT. Nobody cares what brand your underwear is, trust me.

  • Photoshop: Honestly, I thought we lived in a sane world till I saw what self-proclaimed photoshop experts did:

So you think this isn’t creepy enough? Well alright.

People popping out of roses. How very ‘rosy.’

  • Fairness Creams: No love, I’m not kidding, the fair and handsome trend is fast catching on. (Ladkiyon waali fairness creamz mat lagaya karo.)

Oh God, that ad makes me shudder. I never knew SRK would be that creepy. Honestly.

Disclaimer: I love SRK. But this ad…

  • Getting a girlfriend and then acting oh-so-superior:

I cannot emphasize on how weird this trend is. Specially for those who get a girlfriend so that they can boast about it. “Yaar meri ‘bandi’ hai.

Then checking-in at every coffee shop you visit with this ‘<3′
Maybe a picture of your coffee or if you may, your hands held above the table. HOW SO VERY CUTE. (not)

And to accomplish the above point, hitting on every girl they can with cringe-worthy pickup lines, and likes and comments on her pictures.

And then covering up their pathetic attempts at asking a person out with : “We are not like that. We just like to chill. You are being too much serious only. Abeyaar chillax.”

CHILLAX. NO. SHUTUP. Please. The IQ of the whole street lowers when you pass it.

  • Rapists should be hanged.

Okay now is when it gets really weird. This is totally “the in thing” to get a girl, and of-course sound very feminist and stand-out in your social group.

“Yaar lets go to the rape-protests, badi bandiyaan hain wahan.”
(Dude lets go to these rape-protests, plenty of hot chicks to check out there)

’nuff said.

  • Drinking, doing drugs and smoking.

Yes, they are fads. A lot of people do drugs, or drink or smoke, just to prove their ‘cool-quotient.

  • Chetan Bhagat Books:

“Yaar aajkal reading me interest aa gaya hai yaar.”

I once attended a literature festival with my mom, where a guy actually said he’d come there to buy Chetan Bhagat books. I can still recall the look on my mom’s face as she heard this. She was horrified.

If that wasn’t enough, he said that his favorite band was Pink Floyd, and that had happened after he’d read Chetan Bhagat. This was his answer, to the most influential book he’d read and an experience associated with it.

Oh Chetan, you copied my exact expression.

  • Buying expensive things with no sense of what to do with them, mostly showing-off:

I use a galaxy S3, we can whatsapp.
That is the best reason to buy a phone with roughly the same cost as a motorbike.(Slow claps)

Installing a very expensive stereo system in car and playing Honey Singh songs on loop. Way to go.

  • Pseudo-guitar players: Just when you thought Shah-rukh was the dumbest thing you’d ever seen playing guitar in the song Challa without knowing how to…

Yes, some idiot decides to give SRK a break.

And just to get into the whole cool-metal culture, they’ll wear Metallica ‘tees‘ and proclaim loudly to anyone who’ll listen to the sad story of their dreary lives that they can play drums.

Good. So can my little brother, with kitchen-utensils.

 

What was the best part of 2013, in your opinion?

:) Just some wonderful things from around the world. <Not so Mainstream> The best part of 2013 was all that restored my faith in humanity:

The lesbian couple Shannon and Seema’s beautiful Indian wedding in LA,  that showed the world that “love matters, gender doesn’t”.

A group of men protesting the the idea that “women who dress immodestly invite rape.”

Foo Fighters win at the last Grammies, restoring my faith in the awards and proving that good music can be made even in a garage with few microphones and a tape machine.

“For me this award means alot because it shows that the human element of making rock is the most important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning your craft is the most important thing for people to do. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about sounding correct. It’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here (points to heart) and what goes on in here (points to head.)” - Dave Grohl

Malala Yousafzai celebrating her 16th birthday by delivering her first speech since she survived a bullet to the head by the Taliban. Her words inspiring millions around the world.

She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and TIME person of the year.

The large number of Children donating actual stuff (rather than “Facebook Likes”) for the victims of the typhoon in Philippines.

The Japanese six year old who donated his savings.

Children across the world send their own toys and messages.

Benije, the street child who donated all his begging money..

Commuters Push 32-Ton Train Off a trapped woman in Japan.

Never thought this was even possible!

A common man stirs the political system in the world’s largest democracy, India.

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party: India’s first crowd funded political Startup.

On the personal front the best part of 2013 would be, choosing time over money and taking a sabbatical from work.

 

Shall We Walk?

Things I’ve Learned From My Dad

Papa and me! :)

From birth, your parents try to do what is best for you. There will be mistakes made along the way, after all there is no handbook. And for most, it will be a learning experience on both ends. Your parents grow with you. With age comes wisdom. Each parent has his/her own strength and lesson, which they pass on. Each with their own style. Together, they will mold you into the adult you will eventually become. This ones about my dad and the way he has molded me by just being there with me and teaching me his values in silence. These are his universal golden nuggets of wisdom, as I feel it:

    1. Stay fit, eat healthy.
      His number 1 funda! Exercise, do yoga, jog and stay fit. Later when you’re in your 50′s and you have to run along-side 20 year old’s, you can kick their ass, like a BOSS!
    2. Life is what you make it.
      If you are miserable, life will be miserable. Look at the bright side of every situation and circumstance. No matter how bad things may seem, they could always be worse. If you consistently surround yourself with negative energy, you will miss out on everything that is positive in your life. There is always a reason to smile.
    3. Be thankful. 
      When you find yourself in a place that brings a smile to your face, be thankful. Be thankful for all your have, for all you’ve had, and for what has yet to come. Be thankful you are here to see another day. Be thankful for what you’ve lost, be glad you were blessed enough to have those people or moments in your life.PaMa
    4. Discipline is everything.
      Everything has a way of doing. Follow it. Adds to your class.
    5. Be honest.
      Honesty takes courage, lying is an easy way out. Have courage. What is right, is right; wrong will always be wrong. There’s no alternative.
    6. Family comes first.
      These are the people you begin with, these are the people who will be there until the end. The unconditional love they will provide cannot be replaced, duplicated, or imitated. Avoid fights, make up quickly and keep loving!
    7. Work hard.
      If you are a janitor, clean to the best of your ability. If you are a doctor, be compassionate and wonderful at what you do. You get what you put in, nothing more, nothing less. Be proud of the work you do, take pride in your work ethics. Do your best for you. Work hard for everything you do in life, you will appreciate it more in the end, even if it doesn’t pay.
    8. Bad things can happen to good people.
      You will lose loved ones along the way, you might not be credited what you deserve, your boss troubles you a lot. Bad things will happen to everybody. Know that everything happens for a reason, and have faith that it will all work out in the end. How you handle these trials and tribulations builds character. You can make it through anything. It is healthy to mourn, try to never allow yourself to fall apart. For every negative, there is a positive. Focus on the positive. Be strong!
    9. Believe. Keep Dreaming.
      Believe in God, believe in yourself, believe in your loved ones. Never stop, you will wind up a very lonely person if you do. Dreaming keeps us young at heart, gives us a goal to work towards. Not all dreams may come true, but if you’re lucky, you might realize much more is possible than you’ve ever imagined.
    10. Simple is nice.
      Being content at heart, is what matters the most. Never waste anything. Appreciate what you have and be happy with it. If you want better, you’ll have to work hard.HomeSweetHome
    11. Stop judging, start loving.
      You never know what a person is going through until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Be a glimmer of hope, don’t add to their negativity. This is so hard to live by, but try. This won’t always work, but try. Even if this has no affect on the other person, you’ll feel better knowing you tried.
    12. Happiness is a choice.
      You can choose to be happy, and life will be wonderful, even in the darkest hours. Choose sadness and that’s all you may receive. Remember, you get what you put in.
    13. Treat your mother well.
      One of the most beautiful things in the world is a mother’s heart. It is fragile yet strong, delicate yet resilient. Honor, love, cherish, respect and protect her heart. Be there for her, always. ALWAYS.
    14. Don’t burn bridges.
      Solve your problems. You could waste precious time holding onto grudges. You never know when someone you love could be taken away from you. Love unconditionally, forgive, and move on. You don’t have to forget, but it is best to let go. Enjoy their company while they’re here instead of mourning over what could have been once they’re gone. Tell people how you feel, tell them you love them. You will never get the time back, make it count.
    15. Do what you love.
      Love what you do.  Golfingaway!

For all the things you’ve taught me, and for all your undying support, I thank you. It’s the unconditional love, constant encouragement, values you teach and the way you maintain everything, that makes you my hero!

YouandMeWe'reONE

International Anti-Corruption Day

Truth will Win, not immediately but definitely.

international-anti-corruption-day

Read this special post on India’s Aam Aadmi Party, who aim to eradicate corruption and show a transparent account on they money they gather and spend: Why should you support AAP?

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