Green Ganesha is Back!

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“Save your litter for the garbage bin dude…”

“Wasting food should be a criminal offence, really!”

“Turn off the tap Sharda bai…

My family, friends and oftentimes, even strangers have been subject to such requests and orders from me for almost forever now. Though family and a few friends have learnt to put up with my requests (rather exasperatedly) over the years, and have even painfully changed their behaviour to align with the ‘green me’, a few strangers have reacted in ways that make for interesting stories to narrate to my grand kids and their kids! (Once, when I asked a lady in the train to not throw her plastic food-wrapper out of the train after finishing her snack, she gobbled her snack and threw the plastic wrapper outside with such alarming speed, I didn’t even have time to so much as blink!)

The other day, while reading about the alarming statistics of non-recyclable waste dumped in water bodies, I was reminded of the ‘Green Ganesha’ campaign that few of us just-out-of-college passionate-to-make-a-difference kids had initiated a few years back. (Click here to read about our very passionate campaign, and here to see the Gyaan Connect video.) Not surprisingly, the message we passed almost five years back seemed very relevant to me even today.

So, with the Ganesha festival right around the corner, I would like to share a few posters we made. You will find a few of these posters on the link I pasted above, while I have pasted one below. I share this with a humble request that you enjoy time with your favourite God with a little more compassion this time 🙂

 green ganesha

 And remember what Margaret Mead once said. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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The Importance of Being Lazy

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Last week I did something that shocked my family and a few really close friends.

I took a week off – from both, professional and household work. Just.Like.That. I decided to take a break. With just one agenda – Do absolutely nothing! Not to travel. Not to learn something new. Not to finish errands. But, to do NOTHING.

They were surprised (‘shocked’, really now, was an overstatement 🙂 ) because I am the kind of person who does not believe in breaks. I am someone who feels obliged to do SOMETHING every moment of life. I think it comes from my paranoia that every moment I do not do something, is a moment wasted. I call it paranoia, coz it really is an unhealthy obsession at times.

So, how did I, the great time-paranoid, think of such an awesome idea?

Am not sure, really. Maybe the mounting life-stress got to me. Or maybe I just realized the importance of slowing down a little. Or maybe the self-help positive messages that the social media bombards at us these days made me stop and think.

However, whatever may have triggered it, the more important question here is did I succeed in this task (Oh god, I think of doing nothing as a task too. I need help!) At the end of the week, I Googled ‘The importance of being lazy’ just to get an idea of what people do, to do nothing. And I found that I was indeed, quite unsuccessful in this very-difficult task. No, I hadn’t just strolled or wandered around the garden or the streets of my city. I hadn’t sat by the window staring into nothingness or the ever-pouring rain. I hadn’t laid on the bed, doing nothing in particular. No, I hadn’t done any of these blissful nothings.

But, the best part is, I didn’t do anything of significance either. So, when one of my friends asked “how was my break week, what did i do?” and I instantly replied “nothing really”, it was one of the life-altering moments for me. I had succeeded, even though just a little bit, in ‘wasting’ my week, by not fretting over things to do.

And I am proud. And I look forward to more of these far and between breaks. They will slowly teach me the importance  of being lazy. Cheers to the lazy in me 🙂

**

Here’s some food for thought, on this amazing concept of laziness.

“O Laziness, mother of the arts and noble virtues, be thou the balm of human anguish.” ~ Paul Lafargue, The Right to be Lazy

This post is dedicated to Simplicity

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It is said that beauty lies in simplicity. It is also said that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. And that beauty is only skin deep…and a lot more…But, the point here is not beauty, the point here is simplicity!

In our every day rumble of proving ourselves – to the world, to family and friends, to self – we often miss out on simplicity.

For me, it is the simplicity of thoughts. Often, I spend a lot of time on thinking how I can make my writing more interesting, or how I can make my brand more interesting. Today was one such day. And, while I was over-thinking about it, I stumbled upon this rather thought-provoking, yet very simple trailer of Kaun Banega Crorepati (a very successful Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire).

For the benefit of those who don’t understand Hindi, the trailer shows a lady from the north-east region of India on the hot seat. (North-east Indians look quite different from the rest of the Indians, physically, and are very rarely considered as ‘Indians’ by some). The host asks which country was Kohima (a north-east Indian region) located in, to which she asks for an audience poll. On getting a 100% response that the region is in India, the host says that everyone knew this (implying that, being from that region, how is it that she didn’t?). To which she very replies, rather simply “Everyone knows Kohima is a part of India. But how many consider it as that?”

Wow! Deserves a million for the answer, I would say!

When Gujaratis get creative!

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I always knew it. And since I knew it, my surprise at experiencing it, was a little surprising!

I always knew that Gujaratis believed food to be the ultimate goal of life. The community was sorted like that. No complicated in-search-of-the-soul, attaining-nirvana-moments, for them. Food did it, so why go further? Just experiment with your food, make a new delicacy every day, and you are sorted for life!

I am a Gujarati. As a kid, I used to travel to my hometown in Gujarat every summer holidays, relishing the food and slumber that was so characteristic of summer holidays for Mumbai kids, while an everyday affair for the people of Gujarat. In fact, just last year, me and my cousins had taken an unplanned detour to our hometown, just to get a bite of the food we so relished in our childhood.

But this trip was different. Totally. I was bowled over by the level of creativity with food…

Here’s a peek at a few innovative delicacies I managed to capture:

Saffronic alochol!

Kesar (saffron) 5000! High-five!

 

Bhaji cone

Hot ice cream, any one? Hot veggies on an ice-cream cone 🙂

 

Are you nuts?

Soda and peanuts!

 

Spoilt for choice

Jeera, garlic, mint, hajma, lemon, date, regular… Spoilt for choice!

 

Desi burger!

Cut to perfection, am I?

 

No wonder Amitabh Bacchhan endorses Gujarat! Wonder what he got as payment for his endorsement…

For me, send me a month’s supply of the above, please 🙂

Shades of Love – VI

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She loved train journeys. Even when they took almost half her day. She cherished that time to listen to music or catch up with friends or simply go down the memory lane and day dream. Day dream, by the way, was her favourite thing to do.

And today she was especially looking forward to her solitary travel time. It was Valentine ’s Day. A day she lived for. Well, not really. But she lived for the idea of romance. And the fairy tale that it was. And it was her 5th Valentine with the love of her life, but only the first one she was actually going to celebrate with him. This train travel was dedicated to the memories she had made with him, right from the day she met him to the day he proposed and to their wedding day. It was going to be a lovely stroll down the memory lane, indeed.

Her day in office was spent in a blur. Her focus was the evening planned with her hubby – a quiet dinner, just him and her. Holding hands and talking about nothing in particular, while the world went by. Oh, how she had craved for this beautiful day with him. Now, only if the clock would do its work and move ahead – it was somehow ridiculously slow today!

Her cell phone beeped. Right she was. Hubby it was! She opened the message with hearts in eyes (yes, she was like that. She was the hearts-in-your-eyes kind of romantic). Only to be disappointed with her fate. “Guddu. Have bad stomach ache. I think I should head home. Let’s celebrate over the weekend.”

Pop! She actually heard her heart bubble burst. She packed her bag and left for the day. Back in the train. “Girls! Can you believe it? He has stomach ache and our date is off. L” She messaged her dearer-than-sisters girl gang. “Aww… no worries girl. Celebrate tomorrow. The weekend is yours.” came the reply. “Ya. Sure. Just disappointed. See ya”.

Maybe I should get a cake at least. We will eat at home, if we can’t go out. “He has stomach problems, if you didn’t get it, dodo” she realised. Another pop.

But she was little miss sunshine right? Her friends called her that for a reason. And her hubby was waiting for her, right? So, pushing the disappointment away, she opened the door to her house with a smile on her face. And the smile stuck there. For a good 15 minutes.

Her house was dark. Only candles lit it up. There were a hundred heart-shaped red balloons dancing on the floor. The dining table was full of even more red balloons, surrounding a heart-shaped, yummy looking cake and a card that said “I love you’. Soft music playing. And hubby smiling, arms open for her to fit there. She realised that her fake smile was still pasted on her face. But it was fake no more. She was radiant and she was smiling. Non-stop.

Her hubby stood wondering. Is the room lit up by the candles or the glow on his wife’s face? His smile widened. “Hi honey. Happy Valentine’s day!”

Love indeed, was a fairy-tale. You just have to wait for it.

Shades of Love – V

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He just did not get it, did he? Gawd, how did I spend three whole years of my life with him, she wondered. Irritating as hell, addicted to work, and dedicated to make her life hell. This is how she summed up her husband. On good days. On bad days (like the current PMS phase), she felt like murdering him. Or take an easier step and just divorce him.

But he just wouldn’t go. She wondered what would finally make him go. She believed she would some day drive him so crazy that he would have no choice but to leave. Yes, he was irritating. But it was mostly her who was responsible for the crazed life they shared. After all, she was the one with tantrum issues.

Thank god for him.

Like it happened at least once every month, they had had a good round of arguments at the start of the week itself. And this time, the ‘I am not talking to you’ phase had carried on through the week. She was pissed with him. But she was used to it. So, life was good.

They had a plan with their couple friends with whom they hung out quite a lot. What better day to enjoy ice-cream than on a cool Valentine’s Day evening. Two couples. Ice-cream. Happiness. With one couple ignoring each other. Perfect.

But, the ice-cream was never meant to be. It was meant to melt away, lonely, uneaten. Ok, to cut the crap, like always, the plan got chucked. This time coz she went off to sleep at the dinner table itself. Tired. And a bit pissed still. Poor hubby never thought Valentine’s Day could be so sad indeed.

The next morning was one of the best ones of her life. She woke up late. Groggy and hungry as she was, the smell of deliciously prepared fish curry hit her senses and jolted her to reality. Her hubby was cooking lunch for her. She tiptoed into the living room, to find a DVD of her favourite Bollywood romantic movie gift-wrapped for her. Mister hubby had been busy all right. Still continuing the ‘I am pissed’ drama, she went for a shower, only to find a cute little top, bundled for her. WOW. Is a person not allowed to stay mad with this man for even a week!

She rushed to the kitchen. “Stop being so awesome ok. And I love the gifts.” “I know. Come, taste the fish and tell me how it is.” “You are only fishing for compliments, aren’t you…” He was never going anywhere…

Kiss kiss

Shades of Love – IV

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“Whoever gets the next card will get proposed on Valentine’s Day.”

And, to her utter dismay, it was her hubby dearest who got that card. She knew it was just a game. But she also knew that the predictions of the card game had an uncanny way of coming true. Sometimes.

The game got over and she instantly forgot about it.

*

It was the Valentine’s Day morning. Like always, she had not thought of anything great to gift to her husband. Yet. Nor had she thought of any cute, special gestures. Yet. Things always struck her at the last moment. If they ever struck her at all.

Seeing her hubby sleep next to her, she wondered if life could get any better. Of course it could. But she realised she was happy with how life currently was. At least at the moment. The peace and the presence of him next to her was still an alien, yet an amazing experience for her.  So what could she do in the one minute she had before setting off to the day’s chores that would make him feel special. And loved. Where were her last-minute-awesome-ideas when she needed them the most!

His phone beeped right then, and she got her super idea. She spent a couple of minutes on his phone, gave him a quick kiss, and set off to tick off her morning tasks.

The day passed by. And all the plans for the Valentine’s Day celebration flopped. Post dinner, they were content to pass time at home, together, doing nothing at all. Just then she remembered. Her hubby was going to get proposed today. The cards had predicted. Her heart beat a tad bit faster now.

“So you didn’t get me any gift today. Did you eat the  the Fruit n Nut I gave you?”

“I am taking you shopping tomorrow.”

“Hmm. Nope, I don’t need anything. So did you get proposed today?”

A playful smile spread on his face. “Yes, actually I did…” Three years back, he had proposed her on the very same day. And now, someone else had come in between…

A skipped heart beat. “What? Who is she!”

“Someone I have come to love. A lot.”

Double skipped beat. “Hmm. Naice ha. How did she propose?”

“She set an alarm on my phone, which said that she was crazy about me. I was waiting to tell her that I am crazy about her right back…”

And she remembered the alarm she had put for him in the morning. Several alarms in fact. At an interval of one hour each. Professing her love for him. Her Valentine for three years running was sweet after all.