retirement plan ready yet?

People make their retirement plans pretty extensively….  

Doing some savings- keeping some unfulfilled dreams- making a bucket list- hoping for them to come true in the final stages of their lives.

IMG_1796

I am no different… I have made ’em too.. Although I am too young to make retirement plans- but hard to control one’s mind. 

IMG_1798

In fact, my career has not even taken off yet, but I have made some plans… (Who doesn’t) 😉

IMG_1799

I want to settle down at a peaceful place- far away from the noises of the city- far away from pollution- far away from senseless chatter of people..

IMG_1806

A place where I am woken up by rays of sun and chirping of birds…..

IMG_1853

A place where only healthy fresh pure air fills up my lungs…..

IMG_1870

A home surrounded by trees and not sky scrapers….

IMG_1872

Where people live midst nature, enjoying its gift….

IMG_1904

No country specifically- It may be a small town in Norway or Australia… in the Black Hills or in The Alps….

IMG_1919

So…do you have a retirement plan yet..?? 

#P.S – these pictures are taken in Simla (otherwise also known as Shimla) – INDIA.

Advertisements

Month of March : “In Print”

Month of March

Week 1

Cover Page :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Cover Story :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Week 2

Cover Page :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Cover Story :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Week 3

Cover Page :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Cover Story :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Week 4

Cover Page :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Cover Story :

Sakshi Vashist, Gulf Times

Overwhelming joy of seeing my name IN PRINT.

Thank you MONTH OF MARCH.

The world on my plate : My article in newspaper

People today can travel anywhere around the globe traversing geographical boundaries. And with them, travel their culture and food. The number of foreigners working in Qatar has led to the eating habits of people here being influenced by food from all around the world. Various cuisines and outlets now open in the country have been adapted to serve nationals as well as expatriates from Asia, Europe and America.

Without a question, a dish or a restaurant is selected primarily based on its taste, cost and convenience to eat.

Read more here :

http://www.gulf-times.com/food/235/details/345782/-the-world-on-my-plateoldest member of bombay chowpatty teamA side-bar which appeared in actual newspaper but not in E-version:

FAMOUS CUISINES

Falafel – traditional Arab food – deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, beans, or both; usually topped with salads, pickled vegetables and hot sauce

Samosa – fried or baked pastry with a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, ground lamb, ground beef or ground chicken

Kebab – wide variety of skewered meals cooked over or next to flames

Indian chaat – a mixture of potato pieces, crispy fried bread, gram or chickpeas and tangy-salty spices with sour home-made Indian chili, fresh green coriander leaves and yogurt. Popular variants include Aloo tikkis (garnished with onion, coriander, hot spices and a dash of curd), bhel puri, dahi puri, panipuri, dahi vada, papri chaat, and sev puri.

Sandwich – consists of two or more slices of bread with one or more fillings between them

Spring roll – large variety of filled, rolled appetizers. Kind of wrapper, fillings, and cooking technique used vary considerably from place to place

Croissant – butter-layered yeast-leavened dough rolled and folded several times in succession to give a flaky texture, similar to a puff pastry

Donut – deep-fried from a flour dough and shaped in rings or flattened spheres that sometimes contain fillings

Fresh juice – prepared by mechanically squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents

Milkshake – sweet, cold beverage which is made from milk, ice cream or iced milk, and flavorings or sweeteners such as fruit syrup or chocolate sauce

Steamed corn – kernels taken off a sweet corn cob or cut off and boiled or steamed

Risottos – rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-, fish-, or vegetable-based

Pizza – oven-baked, flat, round bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings

Pasta – made from an unleavened dough of flour mixed with water and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked and served in any number of dishes

Pies – baked dish made of a dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients

Pancakes – thin, flat, round cake prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan

Scones – single-serving cake or quick bread made of wheat, barley or oatmeal, with baking powder as a leavening agent

Puddings – sweet milk-based dessert similar in consistency to egg-based custards, or a mousse, made of bread or rice

Muffins – semi-sweet cake or quick bread that is baked in portions appropriate for one person

Cakes – form of bread or bread-like food normally with a round shape

Schwarma – meats placed on a spit and may be grilled, eaten with bread, tomato, and cucumber with toppings like hummus and pickled vegetables

Barbecued chicken – chicken parts seasoned and coated in a barbecue sauce, then grilled or smoked

Slurpees – frozen flavored drink

Ras Malai – consists of sugary white, cream or yellow colored balls (or flattened balls) of fresh cheese soaked in clotted cream flavored with cardamom

Other Photographs which are not included in e-version of paper:

tandoor three peppers turkey-anadolu yummy snacks at Chilis a-family-at-bombay-chowpatty a happy customer bombay-chowpatty Caesar Chicken Salad - Just Burger - Tasy and Healthy Brunch at Bread and Bagels - beach tower - dafna Breakfast at The coffee bean & tea leaf bread-being-made-at-turkey-anadolu Bread and Bagel carrot cake at Bread and Bagels Chowking - al khor mall Famous small pastries at Turkey A. Egg Benedict at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf papa jones pizza Papa Jones ppl-at-turkey-anadolu food at chilis samosa - indian cuisine Shawarma with hommos at Turkey Anadolu Snacks on display - Java U special menu to cater kids spicy noodles stir fry with vegetables

FEAR : an analysis

It is undeniable that we humans live in constant fear.

However much confident, independent, solitary or loved we are, there exist an ounce of fear within each of us. The fear some share openly, the fear some hide mysteriously, the fear some admit consciously and the fear some know unconsciously..

So what are these fears?

I made a small list of my own here, trying to explore different types of fear found in the deepest corners of our hearts.

1. Fear of losing a loved one

This is the most commonly found fear in humans. Maybe in animals too, but I haven’t thought about that (yet).

Be it a person fearing his/her old ailing parent would die soon. Or a teenager head over heels in love with someone, fearing its just infatuation and won’t last. Fear of losing a loved one stirs up anyone – even if they claim they’re emotionally strong. Losing a child or spouse or parent / grandparent is the most natural fear, and natural because it is defectively installed in us to love our family. The ones who nurture us over the years, the ones who stand by us all along.

fear of losing a loved one

They say break-ups are hard, because even lovers become emotionally attached, falling prey into the fear of losing each other. This type of fear in fact, causes many other issues like being possessive, over protective or addicted.

Fear of losing a friend is also found in many. Some friendships do last long, but some are lost in the sands of time.

2. Fear of being lonely

Man is a social animal, which needs to be occasionally, if not constantly, fed with emotional interactions with others.
The fear of being lonely results in actions like seeking attention from family/peers, be always surrounded by people, or even being a party animal.

All these, and even more circumstances signify that people have a need to interact with others. And devoid of it causes mental imbalance too.

Nobody wants to be lonely. Its i different thing, to be alone for a while – to maybe sort out a problem, or think peacefully. Solitude is essential, but prolonged solitude is harsh on a person.

fear of being alone

Moreover, as there is a saying – with sharing, happiness multiplies and sadness decreases. To be not able to share and celebrate one’s happiness is disheartening, and similarly, not being able to share the burden of a problem or worry also consumes a person from inside.

Hence everyone has a close-knit circle of family and friends, and the idea of losing them is always scary.

3. Fear of failure

Failing to meet expectation, repercussions of not meeting a deadline, losses of a failed project or continuous bad luck/timing – all these are perfect examples of fear of failure.

Giving up a dream because it doesn’t seen feasible, not taking up a task or not taking risks in a project/investment – these also imply that we are scared of failure.

fear of failure

Success matters so much, that we resent on miscalculating and not take an unplanned step. Uncalculated decisions taken without much weighing of matters can cause failure, but it is short-term only. For the long race, it teaches us what not to do which adds on to our experience and wisdom.

Staying on shore won’t fetch you pearls. And staying aboard won’t give you the experience of swimming. So dive in!

4. Fear of being judged

This is fairly common too, in all age groups.

A student might not raise a doubt in class, because he is embarrassed that it might be a foolish doubt and what others might think of him. A high school student hides from his peers that he writes romantic poems, because he fears they’ll laugh at him. A college graduate looks at the mirror before stepping out of his room, because he doesn’t want to be the laughing-stock. A manager doesn’t suggest improvements because he doubts if they’ll be implemented or even considered, and the management might dismiss him saying its a waste of time. A professor throws out a student from his class because of asking an irrelevant question, but actually because he dint know the explanation for it.

fear of being judged

There can be a million instances in everybody’s life, when we act according to others. Because we fear what will others think. How many people have you seen singing in the public openly? Very less right? That’s because they fear they’ll be laughed at, or looked down upon, or be stared at.

We judge others and we are scared of being judged. It’s a vicious cycle which needs to stop.

5. Fear of conscious

A famous person once wrote, I sleep peacefully at night because I have a clear conscience.

If you haven’t borrowed or stolen, why will you fear anyone? Who can harm you, unless you have harmed someone? The inner voice won’t leave you alone if you know you’re guilty.

That is the power of conscience. It’s not in self-control. We can’t shut the constant nagging of our mind reminding us of our sin.

fear of conscience

This fear of conscience, I say, is the best fear. Because it keep a check on us, guarding us from our own deeds and protecting us from decisions we might regret.

If such a fear of karma exists in all of us, this world would be such a peaceful place to live in.

6. Fear of death

The biggest truth of our life is death. Even though death is inevitable, there isn’t a soul who accepts it wholeheartedly. Everyone wants to live just a little longer.

Maybe the old and ailing wish to end their lives, and the ones who commit suicide don’t actually know the worth of this beautiful gift called life, but for the rest of us the fear of death doesn’t go.
Even our cultures and religions don’t preach us particularly to accept death with open arms with a smile on our face.

Indeed, our holy books narrate about the wonderful afterlife, lure us towards the glorious heaven and tell us how angels will take care of us, but these hardly leave an everlasting impression on our minds to fight or curb the fear of death.

fear of death

Maybe I am wrong, but at least I haven’t read anything which tells people to give up the life and be dead instead. The holy books can guide us, how to lead our lives, so that when we die we don’t suffer (in death or life after death). They can even tell us how committing sins will hinder our transfer to the other side of death. But none can teach us how to accept the ultimate destination of death.

Some people don’t travel by airways, some avoid water, some prefer walking than sitting in a machine called car and some just keep bodyguards. All because they love their life and don’t want to die.

To a certain extent, this emotion is justified. We humans make emotional bonds with not just living beings but also non living things. So just the fear of leaving it all behind does stir up some unpleasant feeling.

But how far can we fight death?

7. Fear of future

Got final term exam tomorrow? Or results?
Or a thesis presentation?
Or maybe an appointment with your manager?
Or a meeting with your employees to tell them their allowances are reduced?
Or maybe its your baby’s first day at school?
Or a new collection of clothes releasing tomorrow?

And are you having butterflies in your stomach? Not able to sleep?

Well my friend, then like all of us you are excited and maybe fearing the future.

fear of future

There is one thing to look forward to future – which is a positive aspect. Because you have worked hard for it, and you know nothing went wrong and you did it all absolutely correct. Then you look forward to future, waiting for the fruitful results.

But if you have doubts, you are not confident or you’re confused, you have done something wrong, crossed someone, they you fear your future. Because you worry what hell might break loose tomorrow!

As to how to avoid this, I really don’t know. Maybe with a clean conscience. But then, actors or fashion designers etc they do their hard work, but they fear the critics and audience on day of release. That has got nothing to do with conscience because an unknown factor is judging you and deciding your fate. Conscience has no play then.

8. Phobia

Google can list more than 100 types of phobias found in people.

See here for the complete list.

Some are afraid of the dark, some are afraid of being lonely, and some are scared of crowd. This is a play of hormones in a person’s body, in my opinion.

As far as I know there isn’t a cure of phobia or other types of fears for that matter. And definitely there is a limit to which one can control his or her mind. Lets agree not all of us have a tactful control on our minds and hearts. Then how do we deal with fears?

faith-vs-fear

Faith. Facing the true facts, looking right into the eyes of our fear, and keeping in mind the truth of our living, may help some fight some of these fears. And that is what therapy also does. It makes us believe in ourselves. Believe that we are the sole writers of our fate, destiny, life and death. And come what may, we have the strength to face it.

Live life in each moment with whatever you have around. Maybe lesser people tomorrow, maybe fewer loved ones by your side, but its you my friend who decide the terms and conditions for your life. Tomorrow I may die or I be so embarrassed that I wish to die. But at this moment I live this moment. With no fear. With no fear.

somthing-to-lose

Reaching out through blogs : My article in the leading newspaper of Middle-East

Since I started working as a part-time free-lance writer for Gulf Times, life seems to have taken an exciting new turn..

After the article for working women in Qatar, I have now written about bloggers in Qatar. In this country, blogging is still not considered as a “cool” or beneficial way of social interaction and with my article I try to clear those myths and misconceptions.

Read it here –

http://www.gulf-times.com/technology/233/details/344940/reaching-out-through-blogs

Although Gulf Times did not include photos of all the amazing bloggers I got in touch with, I will attach their photos here as a token of thanks for their contribution.

Alex Klim Andre Snoxall Colleen Morgan Constance Citalan (2) Constance Citalan Dan Adams Gustav Hooriya Hussain Irena Nailya Bentley SteffAJERachelRaquel Citalan Photo by Alex Klim 1 Photo by Alex Klim 2 Photo by Alex Klim photo by Andre Snoxall 1 photo by Andre Snoxall 2 photo by Colleen Morgan 1 photo by Colleen Morgan 2 photo by Colleen Morgan photo by Constance Citalan photo by Dan Adams photo by Irena photo by Nailya Bentley Photo by Rachel - Lamps The Souq

# all photos belong to the rightful owners

I do not know how to do it in Gangam Style.

Till commencement of February 2013, I pronounced the singer of world famous record breaking Gangam Style as Pee-eS-whY, presuming its a band.

Gangam styleBecause now a days, western music influence is so much, every now and then I hear a new name. And, I detest learning a new band’s or singers’ name after their albums feature top lists worldwide. Blaming the youth of today trying to ape the western culture, I move on with my life, not caring enough to listen to a Justin Bieber song. Okay agreed, they have a talent, thanks to a dozen artists they manage to look good, and owing to a million advertising and marketing strategies their albums hit it off. But then I thought why Indian people ignore the talent India already has.

Eventually, over past few years, it sinked in that rappers like Yo Yo Honey Singh ans singers like Himesh Reshammiya and Mika have taken oven the main stream music in India. Very rarely soothing music of A R Rahman falls on one’s ears. And after Slumdog Millionaire and Jai Ho with the Pussycat Dolls, I just accepted that no more can I chose to what I want to listen. I gave in to the trend and my playlist started featuring Eminem, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Beyonce, Wiz Khalifa and I haven’t looked back since then.

But in my heart I always wanted eastern music to be more popular. Then suddenly on a fine 2012 morning my Facebook feed was full of a Korean singer. I looked up to heaven and smiled, I dint mean that eastern too. 😉

Owing to my initial hostility towards change, non acceptance of trends and an oath to discard all YouTube links on FB newsfeed, I did not watch Mr P-S-Y till late December. Even then, it was my Times of India headlines which shouted out the broken world records and Guinness Book acclaim, that I finally Google’d “Ga” which automatically predicted to be Gangam Style and took me to the *dreaded* page of our talented singer Psy.

My first response to that now-opened-link was, “my my really 1 billion views”. Then came a moment of truth, a certain odd thousand people had disliked the video. I knew it even before watching, I will be belonging to this category.

gangam style stats

As much as I expected, my facial expression remained still all throughout the 4 minute video. Maybe my brows lifted a bit when Psy started doing his signature step, but only to wonder why was this so famous.

I then opened a few old videos of Govinda dancing and found those more entertaining than the Korean award winning track. Even when our Shakti Kapoor or Mammootty dance, they create a stir across nation. 😉

gangam stylegangam style

So it left me puzzled. Why do a billion people like it and I don’t…!!!  End of this was, I shut the YouTube tab and declared, I am different from a billion people. Ha!

# writing this post reminded me of the Kolavari song, but that will feature in another post. 

# all South Koreans are my brothers and sisters and I love them dearly.
# People who like bands- yay woohoo, dont mind dude.
# People who like Bieber- I am sorry, I have nothing more to say. You like Bieber for God’s sake, what CAN I possibly say.

Forbes talk about Gangam Style

For my friends who like PSY :

gangam styleCheers!

Are you one amongst them?

are you one amongst themOften, we make choices; a few unsure ones too.

The ones we don’t know where it leads to.

The ones which may be deciding a course of our lives. Or may turn our careers in 180 degrees.

The ones we later – either boast or regret.

.

But my question is, are you one amongst them? Are you in the rat race? Did you take the road less traveled? Or are you aping someone else’s decisions too? Or someone else making your decisions?

Population status of this planet is soaring as I type this, what I wonder is, am I one in a million or just, you know, one in a million?

How do you know? How do I know?

Then I think of our unsung heroes, the ones who died fighting for a cause, the ones who did not get the media/critic acclaim. Or the ones who got an Oscar/Nobel Prize after their death. Weren’t they one in a million? 

What parameter judges our performance? How do we really stand out? If 10,000 people know what we do? Or If we do what those 10,000 people want/expect us to do?

.

Million dollar question. 

Are you one in a million? Or just someone in the crowd who will die in nonentity?