Sunday, May 31, 2009

A science question for you (blog marathon post 27)

video

We went to an amazing place today--It was a Science discovery centre. It was tucked away in a very quiet shady lane, and housed in a beautiful medieval Cathedral. I never knew science could be so much fun and could be made to come alive. (Click on the link to know more)

It was all very hands on, very colourful and very vibrant. I couldn't help thinking that while in school, if science had been this much fun, I might have changed my attitude to it. My children loved it and did not want to come away. We were there till the closing time and were the last to leave! They had been enjoying it so much.

The part I loved most were the toys and the puzzles. We spent more than three hours there, engrossed completely in the various exhibits. If you want to see pictures and get a feel of what it was like, click here.

One of the things I bought my children is the toy that you see in the video above. (My son made that video specially for my post)

My questions for you--

1.What is it called?
2. What scientific phenomenon does it demonstrate? (Explain in very simple terms--a kind of 'science-for-dummies' terms)

As always, I shall update the post tomorrow with names of people who gave the best answers.

Your time starts now!
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Here's the update with the best answers as promised (All the names in bold are links to their blogs/profiles):

The winner undoubtedly is Niall Young : Not only is his answer fully right and well explained (I was specifically looking for the term "every action had an equal and opposite reaction") but he also injected his own brand of humour into it!

The first to get it right was 'Just call me A'.

Tys on Ice
also explained it well.

And a special mention to Poonam1 for admiring the hand in the video. :-) Nice to know my son has female admirers at his age ! The hand belongs to my son, Poonam. Thanks for putting a smile on my face. I read out your comment to him and he had the grace to blush. :-)

Thank you to all who took the time out to do this question. Your brains have improved in efficiency by a whopping 10% (Okay, approximately) and that is a great contribution towards keeping Alzheimer's at bay. Well done folks!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A peep into a slice of my life (Blog marathon post 26)

There is bright sunlight streaming in through the window as I type this. It's 7.51 on a Saturday morning and I have just woken up.

The whole day stretches gloriously before me. My daughter has gone for a sleepover at an English friend's place, and son and husband are fast asleep.

Last night we got some rare exclusive time with my son. He had the undivided attention of both his parents. Usually his sister, being younger, female and more talkative (goes with being female) grabs all the attention. If she doesn't get it she ensures she does, by her dramatic, in depth narratives, with action and sound effects. Husband says she is a mini replica of me, almost exact to the words she uses and the gestures and facial expressions that accompany her. Her eyes sparkle with joy. She is so full of life.

My son is the quintessential male. Typical response to "How was your day?' would be "The usual". All men are like that. He is almost as tall as me now and I cannot believe that his T-shirts fit me easily. Now I wear whatever he thinks isn't cool enough for him. They look good on me. I cannot believe that this is the same child I used to dress up and bathe and carry around in a sling and used to be teary eyed (me that is, not him) when he first left home to go to kindergarden for two hours. Now when we go out, he walks on my right and puts his arm around my shoulder to 'protect me'. He scrutinises what I wear and tells me sometimes to change. Of course I don't listen to him. He scowls. Secretly I adore that. He takes after his dad. :-)

I love the quiet I am getting at the moment. I soak it in. In a few hours my daughter will come back and there will be noise in the house. My son will invariably tease her and she will invariably whine and complain to me. I will invariably ask them to sort out their own problems. Then she will get her own back sometimes by cunning, sometimes by acting but mostly by just being her.

Kahlil Gibran said

"Your children are not your children. / They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself."

On this quiet sunny morning, reflecting and contemplating about my children, I can't help thinking how right he is.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Five Fun Friday Questions (blog marathon post 25)

The Cure - Friday I'm in love

Normal is boring. Routines are boring. Being staid and not expressing yourself and withholding what you truly feel is boring. Being like everybody else and saying what everyone else says and doing what everyone else does is boring.

I hate boring. Life is too short to be bored!

The above video is one of my favourites. I like it a lot because it is-- well--not boring! There is so much life in it and so much of self expression. Besides , it is about Friday--and who does not like Fridays?!

Here are a fun set of questions for you that are not boring. They will make you think--that is for sure-, and you do enjoy that don't you? The first question was on BBC Radio two, two days back. The callers had to call in with their answers and what a terrific set of answers we got to hear! The other questions I made up.


I have just discovered ---

One thing that I will unabashedly admit—

One thing that I would never ever do, even if you pay me a million pounds—

Right now I’d rather be ---

If I had to choose between a date with an ex (with no potential to make up) and a new office hottie (who is a dimwit) I’d choose—


Here are my answers:


I have just discovered what new age lingo specifically what the words ‘shotblocker’ and ‘wingman’ mean.

One thing that I will unabashedly admit is that I can mind read, lip read , proof read and love to read and read and read.

One thing that I would never ever do, even if you pay me a million pounds...Errr—for how long do I have to do it? ;-)

Right now I’d rather be reading a book and working on my second book.

If I had to choose between a date with an ex (with no potential to make up) and a new office hottie (who is a dimwit) I’d choose— surely the ex !

Now Go on--don't be boring. Don't read and leave. Use those grey cells and tell me your not-boring answers. :-)

I'd love to know.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Simply irresistible (blog marathon post 24)

A few days back, we were out on a picnic at a place called Lenwade ( which is known for its array of museums, cathedrals shops and theatre apart from its landscape that seems like it has been snatched out of a 18th century English painting ) with friends who were visiting from India. We were waiting for the bus and we had a good twenty minutes to kill. The scenery was truly picture perfect but there is only so much of perfectness you can take and I began looking around in a distracted sort of way, having run out of conversation with my friend, partly on account of having husband all ears in the hearing vicinity and partly because we had been chatting non-stop ever since she arrived which must have been one massive talkathon (If there exists such a thing—if it doesn’t, it gets invented whenever two good women friends meet) of 48 hours even if you discount the time we took to catch up on sleep, which really wasn’t much (the time that we took to catch up on sleep that is, not the talk time).
That was when this really attractive fellow caught my eye. I did not even realise that I had been staring—so gorgeous was he, till my friend nudged me and said “ Gosh, wherever you go you manage to find one.” I remembered my other good friend back in India who used to also be my next door neighbour. This is the same friend that I mention in my book in the ‘Sylvester Stallone’ incident. This friend and I had developed our own system of rating gorgeous guys or movies or even women we thought were worth rating.
We used to often stand on our balconies, taking a break from our routines, sipping tea and idly looking at guys who were taking smoking breaks and as our apartments were situated behind a row of multi storied offices we always had a huge selection to rate.
Her favourite question used to be “Out of ten how much?”
We’d both assess the guy in question and rate him. She always gave 8 or 9 to the long haired guys and I’d give the long haired ones a 3 or 4—i definitely preferred army crew cut to Michael Bolton wannabes.
This one whom I had been inadvertently staring at, was definitely a 9.5. Maybe even a ten. He was that good. I had a mad urge to call up my friend in India but I looked at the watch and realised it would be past ten at night and it was definitely not a good idea considering her husband would be home (Ah the things we married women have to do to communicate to each other) and that too this guy was a ten on my scale, not hers. So I refrained the urge and continued gazing at him. (Come on—we have all done it. Admit it. Nothing to be ashamed of!)
That is when he turned and looked me straight in the eye. An unblinking, unapologetic ,unwavering gaze. I was the first to break eye contact and I looked away, quickly checking to see if anyone had noticed. Fortunately the kids (both mine and my friend’s) were busy eating ice cream. Husband was wiping away a spot of ice cream that my daughter had dropped on her coat. My son, my friend and her friend’s children were oblivious to what I was upto. I was doubly glad that I had opted to not eat ice cream else, like them I might have missed this little moment that was making me deliriously happy like a giddy teenager.
He had turned away by now and was busy examining a car. Typical male, I thought. I don’t know what they find so interesting in cars anyway. He was engrossed in it. And he was examining the bumper of the car. He looked really irresistible, being so absorbed like that.

Then I did something that I just had to. I agree it was a little impulsive of me but I was certain he wouldn’t notice or mind even if he noticed .I clicked a picture of him! Want to see it? Scroll down.



























































































Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It is never too late to follow your heart (blog marathon post 23)



A
Apologies--- have removed this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.
Apologies! Have removed this post as it will soon appear in an e-book. Making it available here would be unfair to my publishers. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A day trip to Greater Yarmouth (Blog marathon post 22)

We went on a day trip yesterday to a place called Greater Yarmouth. It was, to use a cliché, simply great !
There are many attractions at Greater Yarmouth, apart from the beach. To explore them all, a single day is just not enough. This site has already done a great job in explaining all of it. So it saves me the trouble of writing it here.

We did many interesting things yesterday, but the highlight for me, undoubtedly was a visit to the Merrivale Model village which is a remarkable tribute to the model makers skills. It is a miniature model town, replete with every single detail that a town can boast of--a railway, a Church, a musical band, a hospital, a town square, a zoo, a petrol garage, a farm, a village green, a stadium, racing track for cars, bridge , ruins of an old cathedral, a circus and even a medieval castle! The eye for details is astounding. The whole town is laid out amidst beautifully landscaped gardens and it will take you at least an hour to walk around the winding paths and look at the models. Hidden in a little stream is a beautiful mermaid (we were lucky to spot her) sitting coyly gazing at a tight rope walker, walking across the tiny pond. There was even a Sardarji who has settled in UK and his family too! There was a fire happening and the Fire engine had smartly arrived to save the occupants.There are buttons which you can press and the models come alive with movement and sound. I really felt like Gulliver in Gulliver's travels when he stepped into the world of Lilliput.

If you want to know more about this award winning family attraction you can go here --they even have a video which will give you a fair idea of what it is all about.

I am sharing some pictures too.(Click on each to enlarge. )I was amazed at the eye for details when you look in through the windows and took some close-ups of them. The photo which has me in it, gives you an idea of the size of these models which I am sure are all 'to-scale' ones.

Isn't this amazing?












Monday, May 25, 2009

The girl and the cloud (Blog marathon post 21)



I am sorry I had to remove this poem as it is under consideration for publication.© 2009 Preeti Shenoy
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Kindly do not reproduce without permission


Sunday, May 24, 2009

I get by with a little help (blog marathon post 20)

Many of you, especially after my book has been out (and I am so overwhelmed by the response—and grateful too) write in and ask me how in the world I manage to do so much. Many of you ask me if I sleep and if so for how many hours! Many ask if I know some secret that they don’t. What do I say?

I do work late into night.There are morning persons and there are night owls. There is no doubt which category I belong to.
Till about two hours after waking, I am still in a zombie-attains-nirvana mode. Which means mostly I am on auto-pilot and that is indeed a big achievement, as while still in this mode, I do manage to check my blog comments, check my e-mail, pack three lunches (for husband and the kids) and also manage to listen to BBC Radio 2 and cook breakfast. I manage to do it all efficiently (I am told) and by 8.15 a.m a full course Indian meal (ready to be packed into dabbas) and an Indian Breakfast is ready. Of course it helps immensely, that S wakes me up with Coffee (carrying my hot steaming cup up the flight of stairs so I can have it in bed) every single morning. [This moment alone makes me a hundred times grateful that I married the guy. But please don’t let him know this!]

It takes me super human effort to prise my eyes open and take that first sip and even caffeine takes a while to kick in. Years of living with me and my family knows that when I am in this mode, it is best to leave me alone. Nothing they say really registers (only thing registering is the BBC radio two)—the response they get would nine times out of ten, be a glazed look with a neutral wooden expression, much like a drug addict on a high.

I am of course aware of what is happening around me, but it is just that I am not willing to participate—still ensconced mentally in that womb like existence , isolated in the land between sleep and reality with the promise that the morning holds for a whole new day. I have a writer’s notebook in the kitchen, and usually when I am in this state many ideas strike me for writing or for a painting, and I quickly scribble my thoughts, as they occur, in a hasty scrawl ,trapping them before they escape. Sometimes the characters in the story speak to me. Sometimes the visuals in a painting appear in all their brilliance and luminosity.

Later when I am by myself they take shape into paintings, poems, pieces. I simply have to express my ideas—else I’ll burst!

I am grateful that I have a family who totally understands my need to dream—to escape, yet be practical.(okay—most of the time) and friends who are there for me when I need them.

So that’s all there is to my secret.

I just get by with a little help from my friends.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A love letter (Blog marathon post 19)



When I first came across the above lines, I was filled with a sense of marvel, which happens rarely. Then I saw the movie. It is adapted from the ten issue comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd.

There are many brilliant scenes in the movie. But perhaps, what moved me most was a love letter written on a Toilet paper roll from a prison.

It begins with the lines


"
I don't know who you are. Please believe. There is no way I can convince you that this is not one of their tricks. But I don't care. I am me, and I don't know who you are, but I love you. "

It ends with the lines

"I don't know who you are. Or whether you're a man or a woman. I may never see you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope that you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you."


To read the full text of the letter click here

It convinces me what millions of people have felt, experienced and thousands of artists and poets have tried to convey--Love is so powerful an emotion, that it can achieve anything. It does not matter between whom, what gender, what ages ,what time period. Sometimes Love is truly all that you need.

And of course the right words to express what you feel.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Guest Post by Ajay (Blog marathon post 18)

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Usually, most posts of mine for the blog marathon are written in the night, after putting the kids to bed. But last night I was exhausted and decided to put it off for today. But today, my children are at home--they have a school holiday due to some staff training day at their school. Meanwhile I had already got three mails asking why the blog isn't updated and asking if all was fine. That was really thoughtful--thank you to all who wrote and asked.

One of my good friends Ajay (those who read this blog regularly will already be familiar with this name) too asked me the same and I asked him if he would like to write a guest post. His mom is an author and I think he has inherited some of her qualities. He asked me what the deadline for completing the post was and I said two hours. He texts me in 20 minutes saying he has mailed it to me. I couldn't help laughing out loud after reading what he wrote. Let me not keep you in suspense. Here is his post:


Last night, on returning home bruised and battered in the Gurgaon summer, I found my flatmate comfortably sprawled out on his bed, AC working full blast, watching "Finding Forrester". Although both of us had watched the movie earlier, neither of us minded the re-run. So I started watching too. Soon, out came a bottle of VAT 69, ice and soda. As the movie continued to flow on, so did the liquour. Soon the words and dialogues started becoming clearer. The emotions and expressions of the characters started making more sense. (Consumption of liquour does have that effect on some people, I guess :) )


The story of the movie revolves around a gifted 16 year old black kid (Rob Brown) who has got a basketball scholarship into a prestigious NY school. He also has a knack for writing. He befriends a 70 year old best-seller author who had become a social recluse (Sean Connery) after his first novel. The central idea of the story was a mix of Bhagvad Gita and the Ten Commandments of Moses-- Nishkaam Karma and Love Thy Neighbour. Won't reveal the 'climax' and details of the plot though for obvious reasons.


So it was a pleasant coincidence when, having watched a movie about great writers the previous night, I was invited by Preeti today for a guest post on her blog. And a chance to be inducted in the league.


Now with the background done, I am a little bit at a loss for what to say and write. So I'll narrate a joke (which was originally in Punjabi)


Once there were three guys on a battlefront. After a long and exhausting battle, their side had just emerged victorious. In the night there was feasting and celebrations. Given the situation on the battlefront, these guys had to share a tent and bedding. With all the gluttony there was the obvious concern of flatulence in the night which all three acknowledged. So they decided to have a code for whenever somebody needed to fart which was to say "Faujaan aa rahiyan ne" (The cavalry is coming).

In the night, the first guy gives the call Faujaan aa rahiyan ne and the other two duck for covers. Then the second guy does the same. And then the third guy. This goes on for quite some time. Finally the third guy says, "Faujaan ne dere laa laye ne" (The cavalry has set up camp) :)

Hung-over and over-worked at the fag end of the week, please excuse if this jock (joke) doesn't live up to the usual standard of this blog :)

Moral of the story: Shit happens, but think nothing of it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sometimes

Sometimes I cannot believe that you are mine.
Sometimes I wonder what I have done to be this fortunate to deserve you.
Sometimes when you’re asleep, I gaze at you in admiration.
Sometimes something you said makes me smile long after you have gone.
Sometimes I just long to have your arms around me and feel your cheeks against mine.
Sometimes the wisdom in your words takes me by complete surprise.
Sometimes I wonder if you really need me at all, but I know that I need you badly.
Sometimes when I don’t want to face the world, the thought of you keeps me going.
Sometimes I want to go to a place where nothing else matters and I come to you.
Sometimes when you hug me, nothing else matters but just the two of us.
Sometimes I wonder if you are an old soul living in a very young body.
Sometimes I marvel at how the years flew with you.
And just sometimes( once a year) I get to wish you a WONDERFUL Birthday.

Happy Birthday my darling Purvi. You mean more than the world to me.
(My daughter turns 8 today)
© Preeti Shenoy
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Kindly do not reproduce without permission


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What can you think of? (Blog marathon post 16)

Oh my God! 564 page views, 367 visitors, yet only about 50 odd nice people wrote back (see last post)--that is still a 50 short of the 100 mark. (I did mean what I said in the fine print) At least, Nancy of Reflections tried really hard.

Thank you Nancy!!

And to all others who commented too



But it still means that second post on Car adventures will have to wait a bit.
(but watch this space, as they say in those adverts)

And here is today's post for you.



I clicked this picture here in the UK, at a park near my place where there was a fair going on. They had tables where each table was selling different things from different countries. I stopped in surprise when I came to this particular table. I have lived in many different parts of India for nearly 36 years and never once have I come across this strange contraption which they claim is an Indian head massager! (click on photo to enlarge) You're supposed to hold it by the handle, in an inverted position on your head and move it up and down!! I really think it ought to have been named 'U.K.Head scratcher' not 'Indian Head massager.' :) and to top it, each piece costs 7 pounds which is 514.94 Rupees (as per latest exchange rates).

What do you say to that?!
Can you think of more uses for it for Rupees 514.94? :-) Put on your creative thinking hats.I'll give you an unusual use I thought of, provided someone else also does not think of it. If they do I shall surely mention it when I update this post tomorrow with names of those (with links to their profiles) whose uses I think were outstanding. :)

And folks, please also tell me if you like such thinking challenges that I post now and then on my blog.
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A big round of applause for all those who gave very creative answers.

The clear winner who gave the most creative answers is
Guruprasad of Guruprasad's musings and more : He gave the maximum number of uses and very nice ones too.

Only one person gave the exact use that I had thought of, which I thought was quite unique, but I guess he and I think a lot alike. He is

Ajay Chauhan
: I had also thought that it could be used like Edward Scissorhand's contraption and he mentioned Wolverine. The other thing he mentioned about some reflective optical thing sounded good too :-)

Other people whose answers I liked are Geetha , Hunter and Meira.

(All coloured words are links that take you to their blog or profiles)

I can think of a few other uses too which no one has mentioned here. If you are below 18, please stop reading and leave now :-)

1.Two straps can be attached to both and it can be worn as an Outift to the Oscars a'la Madonna's conical bra or Cher's outfit that created a stir a few years back. If you don't know what I am talking about, please google.I am not explaining.

2. A small motor can be attached and it would make a good you-know-what. I am not explaining this too. :-)

3. Tie a cloth around it and put some beads inside it--an innovative rattle. Nothing adult here--stop looking for it!

4.Stick photos on each arm and an unusual photo display frame that would suit a modern minimalist interior.

5. Mixing a large tin of paint with turpentine--This would be vey handy when its arms are closed.

6.Keep it at a 180 degree angle and dangle ties over each arm--Tie tidier.

7.Use an arm to stir coconut oil that has become a solid because of low temperatures :-)

8.Wool tidier. Use each arm to store your balls of wool. Very useful gift for granny.

9.Use one arm to put the rubber strap back into your Hawai chappals when it comes out. Very handy indeed!

10.Keep it at 180 degrees and keep at least three bindi packets on each arm, by opening the bindi packet like a card and placing it on each arm and closing it.

I can think of more--but I am quite sure these are enough :-)

Thank you folks for all the answers! Stay tuned more such thinking challenges. :-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Michael Schumacher and Mommy driver (Post 15 Blog marathon)


Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Three powerful words and five powerful phrases (Blog marathon post 14)

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Death of a parent shakes you up in many ways. Especially if it is unexpected and not due to old age. It knocks you like a big iron bar swung hard across your forehead and makes you see for yourself how fragile life is. (That is what happened to me.)

Death of a young person too does the same. It is the many things that could have been done, that could have been said, that could have been achieved which is most mourned for.

Three very powerful words " Could have been".

Most of us never express ourselves completely. Don't ask me why--I don't know. It's easier to just make a joke and laugh it off, than actually say the words, especially to those who matter the most to you. It is that huge block that stands in between you like an insurmountable castle wall, which prevents you from saying what you feel. Heck--most of us numb ourselves so much and refuse to look inside ourselves that we are not even aware what we really feel and what we really want.

Cherished moments are what make life worthwhile and you will be surprised how deep and powerful is the effect of sincere words, when said to people who deserve it.

So here is a list of phrases that you have to say today, (and yes I mean today) to five different people who mean the most to you. Some of you may find it easy. Some may find it hard. But there is no escape, if you have read this far.

You have to say it (or email it)--and you have to do it today. You can tell me in my comment box who the five people are to whom you will say these phrases. If you don't want to give names, give initials or alphabets or nicknames--it does not matter. But give the names. This is because it will make you think and will take you a step closer to saying it.

Here are the phrases:

1. You've changed my life.

2. I need you.

3.I really love you

4.I'm here for you

5.You are a gem.What will I do without you?

As always I give you my answers:

1.Satish
2.My children and my closest friends C and A
3.Mum
4.Priya
5.Nikhil


Go on.
Express yourself.
Commit in writing.

(Something tells me that Men will really find this exercise that I have given here hard and women will find it easy. Let's see!)


Have you done it?Now, translate that commitment to action and see how you touch someone's life. Words live and are remembered long after the person is gone.

Do it now--it is so important. Don't put if off for later.

Sometimes, later may just be too late.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A song to brighten your day (blog marathon post 13)



The video embedded above really brings a smile to my face each time I view it. It is a remix version of a classic song from the movie Padosan, which dates back to 1968, and is sung by one of the legendary Indian singers, Kishore Kumar. I embed the original video below.
I love the animation in the remix version, the exaggerated emotions, the sexy lady, the young man madly in love with her and the sequence of events that follows.

I really like the meaning in the lyrics too. (If you know Hindi you'd appreciate it. I find it hard to translate the essence of the song into English)

I am sure the song will brighten your day and take you back to that time you fell madly in love with that one person whom you could just not resist.

Have a great Sunday, folks. And don't forget to tell me if you liked the song and which of the versions you prefer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fights in a relationship (Blog marathon post 12)



Fighting Pictures, Images and Photos

Like I mentioned before, one of my closest friends is visiting me from India. Her children and my children are really great friends and have a wonderful time together. They can spends hours and hours endlessly in each other's company and never get bored. When they are apart, they crave for each other. When they are together like they say "Life rocks!". I love the easy camaraderie they share and the grand time and amount of fun they have with each other. The best part is they fight too and they make up just as quickly.

This observation led to an interesting discussion between my friend and me. She said she knew people who never fought. I said that if people never fought it means that they aren't one hundred percent complete in that relationship. I always feel that if a relationship matters to you, then fights will be natural. One cannot have a relationship with absolutely no fights. We express anger because we are comfortable knowing that the other person will not reject you or what you are saying simply because you disagree.

Any relationship--be it spouses, Girlfriends, or couples in love or even good friends, will have its share of times when both don't agree entirely on the same thing. If your relationship is healthy enough it survives and in fact grows stronger because you know that fights can be sorted out.

My friend made a very valid point. She said that what can be disastrous in a relationship is indifference. It means that your relationship (and I am not talking about only marriages) has deteriorated so much that you just do not care. You have switched off and it really does not matter what the other person says or does. That is indeed the sound of death-knell of the relationship.

I am really glad and fortunate that I have friends to whom I can unabashedly say what I feel without worrying about hurting their feelings or without them getting judgemental. I am thankful for them.

It is important to fight in a relationship. Fights are good as they help you resolve conflicts or issues.

But I also feel fights to a relationship is like wind to fire. A little quickens but too much extinguishes it.

Don't you agree?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sometimes you have to do what you have to (Blog marathon post 11)

The alertness, agility and the speed with which this little fellow moved enthralled me completely. I had to capture him on film. I squatted on the dirty ground, which had a lot of ants and flies because of the rubbish strewn around. To get a good picture I had to be almost at ground level, eye to eye with this little squirrel.

This was just outside the Taj Mahal, in Agra , India. I squatted down a sharp pain shooting up my legs because of the unusual position. I was sitting almost motionless, as the slightest jerk would frighten the squirrel.
"Maaa--get up, What are you doing? You can't sit by the side of the road like that," hissed my son.
"Get up, people are beginning to stare," urged my husband.
"Mummy, what are you doing?" asked my daughter.

Of course I did not get up till I was satisfied with my shot.


How can I explain the magic of a good picture? How can I explain the joy it brings me to observe nature, no matter where I see it, in what surroundings and whatever circumstances? How can I explain the challenge of getting a perfect shot, especially with little things like squirrels?

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do--no matter who says what, no matter who is watching, no matter even if nobody else is doing it.

And I am not just talking about pictures.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Math question for you.(Blog marathon Post 10)

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Mathematics--it either terrifies you or makes you ecstatic. You either like it or hate it. Somehow with Math, there are usually no middle paths.

Many people even fear it and I know some of my friends who still get nightmares about themselves being in the examination hall and not knowing a thing on the Math paper, even twenty years after they have left school! Such is the impact of the subject.

I like Math. But the last Math exam I gave was ages and ages back. I got a chance to relive that vicariously as my son has his Math papers tomorrow and day-after tomorrow at a National level examination. He too likes Math and so we have fun revising together and going over the concepts together.
What I really like about the U.K is their approach to education. In India, the Math teachers usually never make it fun. Also the schools really do not encourage any fun activities connected to Math. Here they have so many activities to make it interesting and now with the reach and penetration if Internet and Multimedia, the way they do it terrific. (If you have a child in the school going age you may find this site useful) Look at this activity for instance on Mental Math, which is from the BBC site.



What fun! They have activities like these for every topic at my son's level. For Median,Mode,Averages, Decimals, Percentages, Fractions, Probability, Co-ordinates,Data-interpretation (yeah they do all this at his level. He is 11)--you name it, there is a fun activity, revision bite and a quiz which you can do.

I am giving you a question from a previous year's question paper, that we had fun solving today. In case you don't get the answer (I am quite sure you will--but sometimes it just doesn't strike you) I shall give it to you as an addendum, after hearing what everyone has to say.

Here is the question:

The numbers in this sequence increase by 7 each time.
1,8,15,22,29..................

The sequence continues in the same way.
Will the number 777 be in the sequence? Explain how you know.

Please remember that you are NOT allowed to use equations to explain it, as they have not yet been taught any kind of equations at their level. So you cannot use terms like n, or x etc--as the children will not understand it. How will you explain your answer?

I will update this post tomorrow, giving you the names of two people who explain it best.[Remember I am looking for the best explanations that I think would appeal to a child of that age. So keep your explanations simple and clear. No point copying. Be original and as creative as you can,but relevant too :-) *Don't I sound like a real Judge in a TV contest? Have laid the parameters based on which I will pick the best two* :-)]

Let's see how good a Math teacher you will make!
Go!!
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Update as promised:

Oh My God! What an overwhelming response! And what wonderful explanations. It was really hard to pick whose explanation was the best. So I did a smart thing and delegated the task to one of my closest friends (who arrived from India today with her two children--she will spend a week with me) and to my husband. Both of them sat and read through all the responses. Then they came up with several categories like you see in the beauty contests (Miss. Beautiful hair, Miss, Beautiful skin etc) Based completely on their inputs (therefore my personal bias does not come in) here are the final winners *Drum rolls* *Trumpets* *Curtains rise*

The Bill Cosby award for the most humouros (and misleading) comment goes to

Ramesh of Business Musings.
(He writes a remarkably good business blog and he updates every day with relevant, useful topics, which have behind them the weight of his experience at very senior levels in leading Multinationals)


The Ramanujam award for Mathematical brilliance and for sheer perseverance and interest shown in this post goes to

Ajay Chauhan (He doesn't have a blog--so linked his orkut profile, but he has a great sense of humour and writing comes easily to him. If he starts a blog he will have a great following for sure. ( provided he does not decide to dazzle us all with his math abilities :P He not only answered this question but also answered the question posed by anonymous brilliantly. (I don't know why anonymous is hiding though )


The Manoj Kumar award for patriotism for bringing in the 'Mera Bharath Mahaan' angle to Math, goes to

Prateek Gupta of Ginger and Cardamom
(He was one of the first people who agreed to do the blog marathon with me when I was still dilly dallying and testing waters. He was also recently mentioned in the Pune Mirror as one of the most interesting twitterers in the City)


The Early bird award for right response goes to

Vinoo John of Vinoo
(She too is a participant in the blog marathon. She also went to college with me and we go back a long way. Her explanation was good too)

The true blue Mommy award (as she was the only one who actually put the question to her seven year old) goes to

Geetha
(she does not have a blog and I am not sure if she would like me to link her orkut profile. She has been one of my most loyal readers and is sensitive, warm and kind)

The most simple and Child friendly explanation award goes to

Aadi of 'The God particle'
I don't know him at all and I think it is the first time he has commented on my blog. He was the only one who used figures to explain it.

Thank you to all who explained! I am sure you will agree like true sportsmen that the joy was in the ride not the destination, because we all got there, didn't we? And the post did make you think, didn't it?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Love is like that! (blog marathon post 9)

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This poem is dedicated to a good friend of mine whose Birthday it is today(12th May).[It's already tomorrow in India, but for me it is still today :)] These lines came to me after I had a longish conversation with him this morning, and as I was ironing the washing. Often I find, creativity comes to me when I am doing mundane jobs that involve no thinking like doing the dishes. I jot down my ideas on whatever I happen to find lying around at that time. Later I develop them into sketches, poems or write ups.

Many have appreciated the simplicity in my work, yet they say, there is so much depth and so much power in my words. They ask me if I do it deliberately. They say it is really hard to be simple. Honestly I don't know, because I never think when I am writing. Not consciously anyway. I write sincerely with honesty and I guess that shows!

Here is the poem I just wrote. This one is for you Ajay. Thanks for being there always when I need you.

Love is like that!
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Looking out of my window
I stood glued to the spot,
For I saw love slipping away
Tip-toeing not to be caught.

Wait, I called out,
But love did not listen,
"You tried too hard to hold on,
It feels like a prison"

Wait, I called out,
Give me another chance,
"No," said love,
"You have to book in advance"

I looked for anyone,
Who would sell love in black,
But they all turned out to be fake,
I was completely off track.

I tried calling up love,
But love put me on hold,
"Too busy answering calls,
Please wait," I was told.

Too many people searching,
For elusive,slippery love.
If you find it, hold on to it,
But gently, not so tight now.

Love is like water,
Love is like sand,
It slips out of your hold,
Just as it slips out of your hand.

But when you least expect it,
And when you think you're done,
It walks right back into your heart,
You think its over, but its only just begun.

© Preeti Shenoy

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Kindly do not reproduce without permission

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The possibilities are endless (blog marathon post 8)



In scale and magnitude, in ambition and grandeur, in showmanship and co-ordination, in organisation and splendour, there are very few events in the UK, that match the prestigious annual Norwich and Norfolk festival. In fact, according to Jonathan Holloway, the festival director, this festival is among the top five in the UK. This year it is taking place at multiple venues across the city from May 1st to May 16th. I am fortunate to be living here, that too very close to most of the venues. I have had the opportunity to witness some of the most creative, dazzling and inspiring performances, street theatre and works of Art. For more information and some brilliant photographs which give you an idea about what exactly I am talking of, you must, must see this.

One of the events that I liked, was “Sputnik—a project of possibilities”.( The pictures you see above are the ones I clicked at this event )

It is hard to explain what exactly it is. It is a performance blended with a kinetic sculpture that explores the possibilities of flesh and steel, when it is blended into the imagination. This is what the handout says:

A young woman Jane Janes (click on it to see her blog) seeks to live away from the Earth. “It is becoming impossible to live on the Earth, I have no wish to die, especially not now, but I do have a wish to live elsewhere. Therefore I will develop a machine for living away from the Earth.

If my machine has endless possibilities and is powered by not just my body but my spirit, given the right place and right time, my life could begin again.

Elsewhere.

It is just a question of how you look at things”


The performer on a specially created machine was a lady called Claire Cunningham who really brought Jane Janes to life.

The concept was so different from what I had ever seen before. The Kinetic sculpture when it began to move, and when the wheels began to rotate, setting in motion, many other wheels, and the wing like contraptions began to flutter, along with the music and Cunningham’s performance, you were transported to a world of possibilities.

Later I thought about it. It is amazing how much we can achieve when we open our minds.

Think about it. Most of our imaginations are fettered and bound by daily lives, by mundane routines. Numbed by television and images force fed by Multimedia , i-phones and high speed Internet, somewhere the imagination gets suffocated—mostly it dies. Sometimes it survives.

Carl Jung said “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

Free your spirit. Think about your desires. Look inside yourself.

The possibilities are indeed endless.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Goodness Gracious- Niall and-- me!(blog marathon post 7)

What many of you said about my last post made so much sense. Talking of sunshine one friend who is a big sunshine for me is Niall. I have blogged about how we met accidentally online, and how this accidental meeting led to many many emails being exchanged and which led to a real life meeting in London. (Click here if you want to know more .) Little did I dream then that I would be moving to the UK (and therefore closer to Niall, geographically) and when I knew I was, I was so happy to already have a good friend in an otherwise alien country.

Niall and his family came home very recently (picture on the left clicked when he came home) and we had an amazing time. Niall keeps telling me about how multicultural Derby (the place where he lives) is and how much Indians have integrated into the society in UK. [Many say that the national dish of Britain is Chicken Tikka masala :-) ] Niall also told me about a BBC comedy programme called ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ which was ground breaking in bringing Asian humour and satire to a wider audience. I could really relate to it, especially because I am living here now.

He sent me a few clips which really made laugh. I am sharing one with you. The emdedding is disabled. Therefore you will have to watch it on you tube. This is the link. If you are not able to watch it at work (heh heh--yeah I know many of you read my blog at work) do watch it when you get home. Smiles guaranteed. :-)

A nice way to start a Monday eh?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunshine, shoes and other such things (Blog marathon Post 6)

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Apologies if you have come here looking for a post to read. This will soon appear in my 3rd book called 'A 2nd Jar of Bubblegums and Candies'. I had to remove it as making it available online would be very unfair to my publishers who have placed so much trust in me. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding. Thanks for continuing to read what I write.