When was the last time you prayed for someone?

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I am not sure how many are going to remember the answer to that.
Or may they do, and the said action was during a momentous phase in their life aeons ago.

I am pretty sure however, if the question was rephrased to – When was the last time you grumbled about something in your life; I would have atleast 98% of my friends answer: “As recent as yesterday”. The rest, I call my amazing 2%.

YES we grumble. Whine even. We complain about having a crappy job. We groan about a tough boss. We complain about being single. Or having a difficult spouse.
On a vacation a few days ago, I realised I did exactly that – In a 20 minute conversation with a friend, I grumbled non-stop for almost 15 minutes.

We mutter about the unfairness of life. That we wished we had a second chance. That the in-laws were warmer. Siblings less of a pain in the a**. Relatives simply were saner and maybe had a partial memory loss when they met us.

We dream about and hope for a better us. With straighter hair. Fewer kilos. Whiter teeth. Better skin.
We get jealous. Jealous about someone who went on a vacation and put up pics on Facebook. Or maybe got married. Or had a baby. Or maybe simply just breathed the same air as the rest of us and is yet seemingly happier.

What if we werent such petty people? What if we laughed at challenges, made fun of pain and welcomed a new struggle? If we worried less about how we looked and more about how we made others feel. What if our each day was filled with some insane humour, mad movie lines and ended with some amazing music.
BestieI know of someone who does JUST THAT. She has lived the most of the past 3 years being immobile and in pain. She was someone I barely knew or took the effort to know until I understood the beautiful person she was and the amazing journey she has been on. She has smiled through it all and has been the epitome of strength and confidence. Her home has been a refuge in times of conflict and her calm voice my antidote to all stress. With her, I DONT GRUMBLE. I realise that my life, every moment of it, is a miracle. I am blessed to be me. Blessed that I have her as a friend.

Today she faces her moment of truth. A moment we have been waiting for. She faces her toughest fight as she is wheeled in for surgery today.

So, do me a favour, a good deed for the day if you may- PRAY. Pray to that one God, (whatePrayver you may call him) for my friend. That she fights her best fight. That she comes back, just as I expect her to – with a wicked smile. That after all this, I may realise that God is in his heaven, he is working and all’s well with the rest of the world. That the amazing 2% of my friend circle is still intact. I need her healthy. We all do. Rockstars such as these are very rare. Trust me, I KNOW.

Photography 101: The Fundamentals of Light

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

We’ve talked about the philosophy of photography and offered a two-part overview of the craft, and now we’re ready to dig deeper. As Ming Thein discussed in his posts, light is crucial to this process. No light, no photograph.

Wenjie Zhang, the photographer at A Certain Slant of Light, is passionate about architecture, landscape, still life, and travel photography. Here in part one, Wenjie introduces exposure and three elements: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Next week, he’ll wrap up our light lesson and discuss the quality and direction of light, and more. Much of what’s covered below applies to those of you with SLRs and dSLRs and cameras with manual modes, but we’ll sprinkle in tips for those with cameraphones and point-and-shoot cameras, too.

Introducing Light

At the heart of every photo is a story, and like ink and paper, many elements come together to tell that story. One…

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Aspergers. Or something like it.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult was one of my recent reads. An intriguing account about a boy struggling to cope with his brother’s Aspergers condition.

Its been some time since a book has me riveted. And Jodi Picoult with her unique style did just that and more. She made me wonder.

About the challenges faced by the differently abled. About the prejudice they encounter.

About the many misconceptions that fester.

People with Aspergers may exhibit some or all of the following :

  • Do not pick up social cues and may lack inborn social skills, such as being able to read others’ body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking
  • Dislike any changes in routine
  • Appear to lack empathy
  • Are unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech
  • Have a formal style of speaking that is advanced for his or her age
  • Avoid eye contact or stare at others
  • Have unusual facial expressions or postures
  • Be preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about
  • Talk a lot, usually about a favorite subject
  • Have delayed motor development
  • Have heightened sensitivity and become overstimulated by loud noises, lights, or strong tastes or textures

Hmm…Dont many of us exhibit the same features as an Asperger’s person? (In hindsight, though maybe on a slightly lesser degree)

I have a friend who cant stop talking about Football. Another hates the smell of garlic, to the point of actually leaving the room abruptly.

And well, I dont fare so good either.

I hate large spaces. Huge halls. Wide Banquet Rooms. Large conference rooms. Intimidate me to the extent that I break into a sweat.
I get tongue tied if i meet loud people. (which doesnt help if your boss is a loud talker. Scratch that. VERY loud talker).

At times (which is many a time), I shut down when I meet strangers. Or when I meet someone after a long time. I cant maintain eye contact. OR strike a conversation…Or keep one going. As I said, SHUTDOWN!

I can talk a LOT about Harry Potter. I cant not do something I wanna do. Like flicking a switch on and off 3 times if I feel like. Not being able to make my point, frustrates me. At times, that has also made me shed angry tears. Stare endlessly at the hot guy who works out in the gym across my street. I hate changes in routine..I will walk on the same street umpteen times even though another is a shorter route to my destination. Simply because its a known street. I can be verrrry expressive at times – demonstrating with my face, hands, eyes something that has had me all worked up. At other instances, I refuse to move. Or drop things endlessly. Very often, I fail to notice that someone’s sad. Or looks sick. I just fail to observe that a person I have spoken to for years seems a little off. I cannot offer sympathetic words beyond a point. Or stand tears. And that can make me seem very insensitive. Cold even.

Could I have Aspergers?! Are all of us sufferers?…In varying degrees? Maybe we are all so stuck up in our life that we simply, just fail to notice the symptoms.

We fail to notice that ALL of us have our quirks. And its these that set us apart.

We are all differently abled ourselves, yet do both:

  • Ridicule / Look down upon the others we think do not merit a chance being around  us
  • Try and ape the people we think we need to be like – who may not be so perfect themselves

I am rotund, crazy, illogical me. My various nonsensical traits may not make sense to a lot of people. But they are what makes me, ME. And I am grateful to the almighty for that. As I am sure, are a lot of other people who I entertain with my antics.

Sources:

For symptoms of Aspergers : http://www.webmd.com/

< This one’s for PD…for being miles away in Mumbai and listening to my Dubai woes… for goading me enough to come out of hibernation >

So what am I thankful for ? | Weekly Photo Challenge (Thankful)

A string of dashed hopes & some really low lows sent me into a ‘Count my blessings’ mode lately. The weekly photo challenge couldnt have come at a better time.

And I sat down, scratching my head, wondering :  “So what am I thankful for?”  Lots apparently!

My biggest blessing : Ma!

Well ye, I can hear MADdy shake her head in disagreement : She nags & she worries about me all the time & she loves to point my flaws out & she constantly wonders why her daughter isnt a superwoman yet. But she is the first person that comes to my mind : When I am lost . Or hungry. Or depressed. Or frustrated. Or thirsty/tired/lonely/sick…Take your pick. I am thankful.

Momma & Me!

Friends!

The sort of pals who can make you giggle endlessly, who are as demented as you are, pull you up when you’re down & well at most times, yell at you to cut out the drama or jump right into the middle of one. For creating moments that are unforgettable. I am thankful.

Gossip. Masti. Madness

I am thankful for the little passion I have.The will to try new things.

And fail. Or sometimes succeed.

At times achieve a little bit of both. And still not feel let down.

Tulip (Oil P)

For hope. For every sunset I get to watch.

Its a sign, that I can actually sleep over troubles. And that a new day awaits. A really beautiful one at that!

Sunset @ Sunview

The lost girl | Weekly writing challenge

It had taken an immense effort for her to free the scrap from the deathlike clutch around it.

She now looked down at the photo that had been once crumpled in the frail witch’s knotted fingers.

That’s what Mrs. Brown was to her lately-A WITCH. The epithet changed every other week depending on the latest unfortunate interaction between her & Mrs. Brown.

The most recent one involved her being snooped upon by The Witch exactly when she was trying to catch to catch the eye of the brawny salesman. What followed were a few barked orders and snide comments – that had almost reduced her to tears.

It had been 5 years now. FIVE incredibly difficult years that had seen her – Sarah work as Mrs.Brown’s assistant & general punching bag. The Witch’s moods changed every hour , though her opinion on Sarah remained constant – that she was an ungrateful dimwit. She kept hoping that The Witch would kick her out for she had lost the will to quit a long time ago. One’s will & confidence can only hold out for so long.

She glanced back at the photo in her hand. At the little girl in pink, frowning back at her. The resemblance was unmistakable. This was Harriet Brown. THE Witch as she knew her now. What changed in the past  60 years or so that turned the adorable kid with golden hair into the woman that lay down before her? As a child she seemed to have held on to her father with her little gloved hand. What made her give up on love and relationships so easily that she lay all alone in a hospital bed now? With only a woman who detested her for company?

The nurse’s soft footsteps interrupted Sarah’s reverie.. It was time for The Witch to come out of her drug induced stupor.The questions about lil Harriet’s transformation into Mrs.Brown would remain …unanswered.

(My first attempt at fiction!)

Where is the Karma ?!

A woman you respected all your life breaks your trust & watches with abject fascination as your life descends into a vortex of misery & despair.

The sweetest, most active & wittiest of friends – is relegated to years of pain & forced to endure endless hours of a torpid life.

A father who gave his all – the best years of his life, money and love to his children is shunned by society & family to the confines of an old age home while another who hasnt ever spoken a loving word to his wife or child still gets to enjoy societal approval and a decent home…

A girl who’s never used any hair treatments is still forced to endure the evil menace of hairfall (!) – (that’s MADdy adding her quick contribution)

Leads me to wonder : Where is the Karma?!!

Karma (Sanskrit: कर्म IPA: [ˈkərmə] ( listen);[1] Pali: kamma) in Indian religions is the concept of “action” or “deed”, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect.

Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts.

I was always told that good things happen to good people. And that the rest had to pay for their negative traits – right here, in this lifetime.. That your experiences in life were always defined by your deeds

WHO changed the rules?!

6 Funny Things (Indian) Bosses say (and the thoughts that run through my head when I hear them)

5 years of corporate life & there’s never been a dull moment.

Think your satisfaction at work is defined solely by the money you earn or the job you do?

Well one cannot be more wrong… Job Satisfaction is linked to many other aspects – few as important as one’s immediate job environment. 

One’s workplace and its immediate environment is defined by one’s colleagues with the immediate superior acting as a crucial contributor to the same. (My inner goddess – MADdy  is signaling at me to restrict the gyaan at this point)

I  have had the most hilarious of encounters with colleagues and most importantly superiors .

Remember the time when you hear your boss dish out a line you’ve heard a zillion times & then you hear your alter ego whip out some wisecrack to counter the same? You’ve wanted to blurt the kick-ass rebuttal to his/her oft repeated line but didn’t and instead adopted a zen like facial expression instead?

 Na? Well maybe its just me (!)

Perhaps it all comes down to perspective & how your insane alter ego reacts to a perfectly serious & impressively grumpy man/woman  saying the following:

  1. ( When you join the company – most probably your first day ) “We have an open door policy”

Yeah?!  Is that why Mr. X stopped ranting about the politics at play within this company, the moment he spotted you?!

   2.  “ You are going to go far in this company, I can see it”

HOW FAR? And HOW? Why wasn’t my FAR REACHING Potential not on display in my annual appraisal eh?!

   3. “ Its all a team effort at the end of the day”

Uh Oh Uh Oh Uh Oh…What the hell did I do wrong for the TEAM to be blamed??!!!

   4.  LAST DAY OF WORK : “ You have grown so much since you joined us”

Really? Last I checked, I was still as podgy…If it was not about physical inches , why did I hear the line : “ When are you going to learn (to do things rite) ?”  from you, a day ago?

    5.  “ Get your ass here right now ” (Amazing how it made me chuckle when I heard      these orders being barked to someone else…only to have the same thrown out at me once)

Umm…how does one get ONLY one’s ass to the boss? Do I chop it off and lay it on the platter for you? Or do I enter the cabin backwards –butt first?

   6.  Deadline  : 5 pm…. You finish the project at 2 , and rush for approvals at 2 o clock – Boss is busy, 3 o clock – He is in a meeting , 4 o clock – Meeting’s still on,  4.30 – there are innumerable changes made AND you get to hear something on the lines of :  Why doesn’t anyone honour timelines out here? You really need to speed up your pace of working  ”

This is when my inner MADdy goes speechless & starts singing : My dream is to fly , o’er the rainbow so high!