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Friday, 15 August 2014

Is one day enough for India???

Today, there will be festivities all around. It is the 68th Indian Independence Day. I started the morning listening to the wonderful speech by the Prime Minister of India Mr.Narendra Modi. It was a good start to the day I guess.
PM Narendra Modi

In today's times there is this so called 'fad' of days. Valentines Day, Mother's day, Fathers Day, Friendship's Day and so on.

In such times.. Has Independence Day just become one of them???? I hope not.
The whole year there are some people who are least interested in what is going on in the nation. This one day they come up with pictures and slogans for India. Isn't this hypocrisy?

I have always been a hardcore patriot and if you observe many of the posts on my blog are about India.
and no I haven't posted them 'only' on Independence Day.
I am not demeaning anyone out there. I just feel that one day is not enough to show our patriotism. Don't you feel the same??


I know each one of you my readers, loves India otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.
I just want to say that celebrating Independence Day is amazing. It truly is. But we must not forget that apart from this day, the rest of the 364 days too, we should stick to our patriotism. 

I think the recent elections and the announcement of the new government on May 16, 2014 is one truly inspiring example of what miracles can we all do if we decide to come together and do something.

i won't get into the details of what India is facing today. I suppose everyone is aware of it. From corruption, to rapes, to terrorism to poverty, I think we all know where we stand.

I know my country isn't perfect. But out of the very few sensible movies that Bollywood makes, there is this dialog from a very popular patriotic movie- "Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota.. Usse perfect banana padta hai" which means that no country is perfect. It has to be made perfect.
I think this sentence is very applicable today. It is us who have to make India perfect. And for that the same strong feeling of patriotism that we feel today, should be kept up throughout the year. Only then can our steps towards progression be constructive and fruitful. 

We are not a perfect nation. We have our faults. But we are a nation of fighters. We are a nation of spirit and courage. We are a nation of valor & values and we must never forget that.



Throughout the years, through all the struggles, today here we are. We are standing, Even though we may fumble sometimes, still we are standing. A nation which makes up for almost 17 percent of the world's population.. amidst all the chaos we stand Independent and that my friends means a lot, doesn't it???
so let us all celebrate today's day keeping in mind that the passion for the nation which we feel today, shouldn't burn out for the rest of the year.


Happy Independence Day!
JAI HIND!!!



*Some other posts on India you may like-

Friday, 8 August 2014

Water fear!!

"Swim you naughty girl!!" yelled the coach. I made a face at him. He again yelled the same thing. I made another face. "I will come there and pull your ears!" he said. I made a face again, but this time I made feeble attempts to swim.
I was a kid.. maybe 10 or 11 years old. Somehow there are some incidents in your childhood which teach you something and you never forget them. This is one of them.
When I was in school, my parents used to take me to swimming classes. Forcibly. I never understood why they made me go where I didn't want to.

manasi joshi (me)
I used to dislike swimming.
Moreover, the swimming coach under whom I learnt, was someone whom I thought of as Mogambo. Loud voice and villainish look. I really used to often think he looked like Amrish Puri. (An actor who played a villain in several Bollywood films)

Naturally my dislike to learn swimming increased when he was around.
He was a tough task master. He gave me punishments when I couldn't do what he expected from me.

My parents, no matter how bugged up and adamant I was, regularly took me for these classes.
Everyday, I learnt to make new faces & new scowls at my coach. Swimming? err.. that I was hardly able to learn for a long time.

Still.. after quite sometime, I did manage to learn a little bit of swimming. The fact that I had learnt to swim a bit was more dreadful for me actually.

The reason was that those kids who managed to learn the basics were made to jump into a huge well for further practice & progression.

The well was pretty deep, dark & scary. It creeped me out everytime I looked at it. How the other kids found jumping in that as fun, was something I never understood. They all did it with much enjoyment and enthusiasm.

Soon enough, much to my horror, my Mogambo coach decided that I was eligible enough to jump in that awful well.
I was made to stand at the edge of the well, while Mr. Mogambo himself jumped inside the well.
He yelled at me to jump, assuring me nothing would happen to me since he was already in it.
I screamed & yelled. I moved away from the edge and decided that I can run away now that he is safely tucked away in that big awful well.

But Mr. Mogambo was smart. He knew I'd do something like that. To my utmost horror, two life guards stood behind me urging me to jump.
I closed my eyes. I went near the edge again. Sneeked open an eye & decided I wasn't jumping. But this time, my coach's reflexes were quick. He signalled the life guards and one of them pushed me hard!
I feel down that deep well with a loud splash.
Whilst I was falling down, all sorts of feelings came to me in those few seconds. feeling of fear, feeling of horror and then suddenly I was inside the water. I struggled hard and held my coach's hand. I was alive!!!
That made me happy!
I swam for sometime in the well and we climbed up through the stairs that were attached.

This incident is one I could never forget in my entire life. After this incident, I did not hate swimming classes anymore. In fact today, I love being in water. Today I totally love beaches, lakes & everything related to water. I am a huge monsoon season lover today!!

Not that I became much of  a swimmer but could do the basics easily and without fear.

This incident taught me the importance of facing our fears. Running away is never the solution. We should face all our fears and problems head on. The feeling which we get after we face our fears is simply amazing.
Our problems and fears appear tough but I feel God gives us the strength to overcome each one of them.
He gives us only those fears to overcome and those problems to solve, which he knows we can get through. After we overcome any fear we thought we couldn't or solve any problem we thought we couldn't, we always get the feeling- "Oh! that wasn't as tough as I thought it would be!!"

Like they say- "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger"
I guess that's true after all.

As for the coach Mr. Mogambo, I continued to make faces at him till the last day of my classes. On the last day he gave me a sweet and smiled. That was the only time I spared him of my scowls & smiled back. Haha!!!
Today as I look back, I only laugh at that incident!

Well folks that was the signing off incident for you all in this Monsoon Blog Festival of mine.
I hope you all enjoyed these three weeks.

You can find all the previous posts on this link- http://manasi23.blogspot.in/p/blog-festival-2014.html which can also be found as a tab if you look at the top of my blog, besides the Home and About Me pages. :)

 Thank you for being a part of the celebrations of this season by being my reader. Go out there and enjoy the rain!!!

Au revoir!!!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Prema's Journey...

Hey everybody! Today we have a very special person with us.

Meet Prema Malhotra.  Prema lives in the United States of America along with her family. She has two brothers.

She is just like everyone of us. A slight difference is- Prema was adopted when she was a child.

Prema has willingly agreed to open up to us & share bits of her life.

prema malhotra
Let me tell you, after Prema came to know that she was adopted, her thirst to search for her original parents started. She travelled from USA to India, in search of her roots. She came to know that she was relinquished by her birth mother two days after her birth.

The reason was that her natural mother was abandoned and left alone by her natural father.
Later on she was adopted by her current father & mother. 
Prema then started to feel that she really should meet her birth mother.

The struggle Prema went through to search for her birth mother is something one cannot explain. Did she then, meet her natural mother???
She has done extensive research, travelled, met people & prepared an entire study and written down the details of her journey in the Autoethnographic journey of Intercountry Adoption. Here is the link- http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR18/malhotra63.pdf

You can go through it and find out for yourself whether Prema met her birth mother or not...!

Prema was kind enough to answer the following questions:

Me: Tell us something about yourself. What do you do?
Prema: Currently I reside in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois USA. i reside with my (adoptive) parents. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Justice Studies (formally known as criminal justice) with a minor in Social Work from Northeastern Illinois University. I am currently back to school to earn a certificate in Paralegal Studies. I also currently work with my dad in his accounting firm as an Executive Assistant.

Me: What are your future plans?
Prema: I would want to go into the legal field and work for a law office as a paralegal and I would also like to go back to India at some point for a period of time and do some volunteer work with children. 

Me: Of all the struggle you have gone through tell me any one very tough moment for you
Prema: I think one of my tough moments for me was when I started my birth search. This was incredibly tough because searching brought so many anxieties, fears, and was a very tough moment for me. However, having gone through the birth search process, it has helped me to become a stronger and more understanding person. One of the difficulties was trying to understand the Indian culture having been raised in USA and coming to terms with why I was relinquished. Thankfully through the support I had during the time, I have come to terms with why I was relinquished. Looking at the birth search process, the whole search process had a positive affect on me, because I had to go through all the feelings I went through in order to come to a point of understanding, forgiving, and living my life with deeper understanding and gratitude. 
prema malhotra

Me: Tell me any good or nice memory related to your parents.
Prema: I have so many nice memories with my (adoptive) parents. My good memory with my (adoptive) mom was when she went to India with me during my Root/Birth Search visit in December 2011. It was nice to be able to travel with her and go out shopping and enjoy my birth country. My good memory with my (adoptive) dad has been always celebrating our birthdays together as our birthdays are very close to each other. The best memory together with both of  them is when they saw me graduate with my undergraduate degree. They have seen me go through ups and downs even educationally with studying late hours in the night and always trying to do my best. For them to see me graduate was such a positive memory and to see their smiles and joy was something words cannot even begin to describe. I love both my parents very much and they have always supported me in my life journey. 
prema malhotra

Me: Any memorable monsoon incident related to India? (Since it is monsoon here, right now)
Prema: Though I have limited memories of monsoons in India, I remember when I traveled to India in 2006 with a group of adoptees and adoptive parents, I remember we were on the bus driving through India during the monsoon season. It was so much fun to be able to experience the monsoon rains as I never experienced this before. It was so awesome to see children play in the rain. 

One thing you love about India and one thing you don't?
Prema: I absolutely love Indian food! My favorite vegetarian dish is Channa Bhatura and my favorite non vegetarian dish is Chicken Mukani. I don't think there is anything that I dislike about India.
 I know India will always be my home, a place of where I was born, and a country that is deep in my heart.


MANASI JOSHI (ME)
*MY NOTE
I think it takes an enormous amount of courage to reveal what Prema has shared with us today. Prema's courage and also her strength of character and coming to terms with reality is reflected in the way she calmly answered my questions. It shows that the struggle she went through only strengthened her from within.

Prema is an inspiration in her own way. Her parents too have done a great deal and their adopting Prema has made a huge difference to their and her life.

There are so many homeless children out there. Adopting a child can make some child's future better. 

I am really thankful to Prema who became a part of this post and shared her journey with us. Being adopted is not something that you need to hide. It is  a matter or pride for both- the Parents and the Child. That's the message Prema & her family give us.

Hats off to her & her parents.






Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Smita shares..

Hello people! As the 'feel' week of my blog fest continues, I have for you today a unique personality.
She is tall, smart & intelligent. Meet Smita Poojary.
Let us see what this lanky lass has to say to us!

She answered all of my questions questions deftly and with spontaneity!

smita poojary
Me: Tell us something about yourself. What do you do?
Smita: I did my post graduation in Physics from Mumbai University. I live in Mumbai. I love music, watching movies, playing sports like volleyball, badminton & table tennis.

Me: Tell me one incident from your life from which you have learnt something.
Smita: Actually the incident is quite memorable. I thought of it as something serious but now when I think of it, I laugh. I was in school (5th standard). After the unit test exam, I was handed over the marks of one subject. I was really shocked on taking a look at the marks & my paper. My scores were fine but not upto the mark. Being an intelligent student I always scored excellent & at that time, those marks were not good according to my standards.
I was scared and decided not to show the marksheet to my parents. Days went by & I didn't utter a word to my parents.
But I ran out of luck one day. My mother came to know about me receiving my marksheet through one of my classmates!
I expected my mother to shout at me for not achieving good marks in the exam.
To my surprise my mother didn't shout at me for that. She did however scold me & I did receive a few beatings but that was because I had hidden the paper from her.

After all that drama was over, I learnt from it. That incident made me realize that lying does us no good. We should always be honest with our parents & share everything with them whether it be good or bad.
smita poojary


Me: One thing you love about our country & one thing you don't (since it is August, the 'Independence Day' month)
Smita: The thing I love about India- It's diversity. People from different religions and caste live together in harmony and I also love the amazing Indian cuisine!

The thing I don't like- The weak law system. Because of this the criminals & crooked minded people take full advantage & it is one of the reasons for the increasing crime rate in our country.

smita poojary
Me: Any memorable incident related to monsoon?
Smita: I just love monsoon! Being a Mumbaikar, there can be nothing more stress relieving than a walk at Marine Drive on a rainy day. Add to that the pleasure of eating a 'bhutta' (corn) !!











Manasi Joshi (ME)
*MY NOTE:
Smita is one of the most intelligent people I know. She is usually quiet & can come off as a bit reserved & serious. She isn't that much of a talker and nor is the expressive type but yes, she is a loyal friend and her quiet countenance speaks more about her than she herself does!
smita poojary













Well folks, that was Smita for you. I am sure we all can relate to whatever Smita has shared with us today.
What are you waiting for? So go out and enjoy the rains just like her.

Will be back tomorrow with a unique story & a different person.
Keep watching this blog. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A Chat with Chirag!

chirag aggarwal
Hello everybody! Today we have a very interesting person with us.
His name is Chirag Aggarwal. He is a professional dancer, dance teacher, choreographer, singer and performer. A true artist in all ways. He has performed in innumerable shows, and led many Flash Mobs all over the country. He followed his dream of dancing by moving from his hometown in Amritsar to Mumbai, where he struggled quite a bit and is now a successful professional. In his own way, he is an inspiration to many, especially to those who wish to follow their dreams but are afraid to do so.

He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.
   
Me: How long have you been dancing?
Chirag: I have been dancing professionally for 6 years.

Me: What has dance taught you?
Chirag: Dance has brought out my teaching abilities. Dance has made me more confident, my body language & overall fitness have improved. Since I am an artist, I have grown to appreciate other forms of art. I have learnt to respect all forms of art even more. I have even learnt piano playing lately.

Me: What are your favorite styles of dance to perform or watch?
Chirag: I really like performing the Michael Jackson style of dancing. I also love performing lyrical popping.
I like to watch all dance forms. I really like watching graceful and amazing dancers.

Me: Is there any dance form you wish to learn?
Chirag: Yes, if I get an opportunity I would love to learn any Indian Classical form of dance like Odishi, Kathak, etc

Me: Your favourite dancer(s)?
Chirag: Michael Jackson & Fred Astaire.
chirag aggarwal

Me: What form of dance do you teach?
Chirag:  I teach bollywood, bolly-hop, lyrical popping, locking, Bhangra, freestyle and Zumba which incorporates dance and aerobics and includes dance forms like  hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo and martial arts.
chirag aggarwal

I am a certified Zumba instructor and I also teach Aquatic Zumba (performing zumba in water)



Me: Have you ever used you talents for the good of the community?
Chirag: Yes. I teach dance at various courses in the Art of Living NGO. I also teach dance at Sri Sri University in Orissa.

I have taught dance to quadriplegic and paraplegic patients at various institutions and schools in Dharavi (Mumbai) and many other places like these.
chirag aggarwal

Me:Have you ever danced in the rain? Do you like it?One memorable incident related to rain?

Chirag:Yes of course I love dancing in the rain. One memorable incident is when I was leading a Flash Mob in Pune. It was raining and we were initially just two people dancing in the rain. Slowly a crowd of about 300 to 350 people gathered and we all danced together in the rain. It was fun!

Me: One thing which you love about our country and one thing which you dont? (Since it is August, the 'Independence day' month)



Chirag: I love everything about India. Can’t name anything specific. Of course I dislike all the corruption but since our country is in better hands now, I hope things will soon change for the better.


*MY NOTE:


manasi joshi (me)
I really don’t remember when this was, but once I was in a dance session held by Chirag at the Art of Living International ashram in Bangalore, India. I remember that Chirag had a sore throat and so it was difficult for him to instruct such a large crowd. Even then, he managed to make all of us dance along with him and did not lose his enthusiasm and spirit even for a second and made the session fun. Hats off to his dedication! 
Also inspite of his success his humility speaks volumes about himself.













chirag aggarwal


He has a facebook page dedicated to him. You can catch him there to know more- https://www.facebook.com/dancewithchirag

Catch him on twitter- https://twitter.com/dancewithchirag

Being a dancer myself and having choreographed some songs too, I have written an article on dance on the site AOL secrets. Check it out- http://www.artoflivingsecrets.com/dance-your-heart-away/

Khurshed Batliwalla (Bawa) A very very respected & amazing  person has also written about Chirag. Check this link here- http://bawandinesh.name/chirag-chirag/

Also, I have a video for you, where you can get a tiny glimpse of Chirag's dance!


Today as you read this, Chirag is already making Delhi dance to his tunes!

Well folks that was Chirag for you.  I hope you found his story inspiring. What are you waiting for? Just like him go out there and follow your dream! Enjoy!
Chirag Aggarwal

Monday, 4 August 2014

Sayali says...

Hello everyone! The  "Feel" week of my Monsoon Blog Fest begins. I will have a new person each day, to share their wonderful views with us.
So as an opening post, we have with us today Sayali Dharmadhikari.
Sayali was willing enough to share a little bit of her thoughts with all of us.
Let us see what she has got to say!
sayali dharmadhikari

Me: Tell us something about yourself. What do you do?
Sayali: What do I do? I read, I write, I appreciate art, I am connoisseur of music. Professionally, I am done with Bachelors of Pharmacy from Mumbai University and I am heading to Wright State University in the city of Dayton, Ohio, USA to pursue Master’s in Pharmacology and many would not believe, but I do plan to come back..! ;)

Me: Tell me any one incident in your life from which you have learnt something.
Sayali: Well, this is not some past incident. It’s happening to me right now even at this moment when I am thinking about this question, I am getting calls and whatsapp messages from friends asking for my time and day of flight, planning my farewell along with gifts (hopefully ;) ) my mom is frantically making besan laddoos and going gaga about how she forgot to teach me theplas,  my dad is worrying if my bags would weigh more than 23Kgs and if I would be able to fill the immigration form properly, my brother and cousins are checking in on me, I am meeting this school teacher (Sadhana teacher; all smiles) who is visibly happy about my venture,I am realizing how little time we have, to spend with those people who mean so much to us. I am finding myself trying to grab all the loose ends, at once. 

Oh there are so many things I wanted to gossip, so many lovely dresses I wanted to buy, play lawn tennis on that PS at Korum Mall., wanted to have so many sleep-overs with my friends,wanted to be a part of the “Dhol-Taashe Pathak” during Ganpati festival
sayali dharmadhikari

Not that I am going for an exile..not that I won’t make new friends..not that I won’t go on adventure trips in an altogether new country. But, well, I have just realized that we all should give a few hours of our lives to the people who really want to see us and who cherish our company. Time is short..lives can change in span of seconds..do spend time with those whom you value..!   

Me: One thing you love about our country and one thing which you don't?  (since it is August, the independence day month)
Sayali: The thing I love about my country—
Slowly but surely, the youth is taking charge. Once considered naïve and ignorant, today we are the power. I hope the youth progresses, takes the right path and works wonders. I hope we always strike the right cord and help this nation cherish it’s Independence from malice. I am so glad that today, we know for real that “A pen is mightier than a sword”.

The thing I don’t like—
Illiteracy and poverty.
Some might think, “Oh! That’s such a cliché”
Exactly! And that’s the point. We have let these problems prevail for so long that they have now become a cliché. I think, we need to uproot them at the earliest.
sayali dharmadhikari

Me: Any memorable incident related to monsoon?
Sayali: Well, there are a few I used to enjoy as a child.
We used to wait and wait and run to the terrace at the first sign of rain drops to enjoy the ‘The First Rain’. That used to mark an unofficial get-together of an entire building. Inventing new ‘Rain-special’ games, splashing water and of course, paper boats formed an important part.
There was also this new game I am reminded of- we used to have a competition of spotting maximum number of good-looking umbrellas from our terrace. :D





My Note:
manasi joshi (me)
sayali dharmadhikari
Sayali is one of the most wittiest & well-read persons I know. She has an amazing presence of mind and is calm, focused & dedicated towards whatever she wants to achieve in life. Also she has a unique sense of humor!! 









Well everyone, that was Sayali speaking. Tomorrow, I will be back with a new story from a different  & amazing person... So keep a watch on this blog & enjoy!! :)

Catch sayali on facebook- https://www.facebook.com/sayali.r.dharmadhikari

Friday, 1 August 2014

Fashion Frenzy!

Hello people!! This is the signing off post of the fashion week of my blog fest-

Well quite a few people asked me what was my take on fashion, so umm here is what I have to say-

Manasi Joshi (Me)
"When we think fashion, we imagine parties or weddings or film-stars or models. We hardly ever think beyond that.
The purpose of this fashion week was to make people think a bit more. Like you saw in the previous posts many people shared their take on fashion & all of them had such beautiful answers and viewpoints.
Manasi Joshi (Me)
According to me, fashion is not just about clothing or accessories.
It is much more than that.
I think it is all about the attitude with which we perceive ourselves.

We can wear the most beautiful and costly clothes and still look awful & we can wear the most simplest of the clothes and still look good.
 "It is simple. If we feel good, we look good." I realised that this is somehow very true.
Manasi Joshi (Me)
Of course feeling good about ourselves doesn't mean being over-confident & ignoring our faults. Nobody is perfect. Everyone of us is flawed and that's what makes us human and real. So whatever faults we feel that we have if it is in our capacity to, we can correct them. 
Manasi Joshi (me)

when we know what are our flaws and strengths, somewhere we accept ourselves & get to know ourselves better.The more we are comfortable with ourselves the better we will appear. 

I see so many people trying to be what they are not. Just because someone wore something or wore those shoes or whatever, they try to do the same. Of course it is perfectly alright to do so, but when something doesn't suit you why wear it just for the sake of it? I think people compare & compete too much with each other these days.

Of course it is important to keep up- to - date with the current trends. But that doesn't mean that whatever is
Manasi Joshi (Me)
in fashion currently you follow it blindly for the heck of it. 

Manasi Joshi (Me)
Each one of us is so very unique and so it is very important according to me, that we have our own style.. 

Obviously we all need to have that presence of mind of when to wear what. We can't go glam at work or college and turn up in night clothes at a party, can we??
Manasi Joshi (Me
Manasi Joshi (Me)
Manasi Joshi (Me)
    
So don't hate those quirks in you. That's what make you, You.

I really am not a person who cares "too much" about fashion. But yes a little bit of fashion does do quite a bit of good. For me fashion doesn't mean just the appropriate attire but also how I carry myself and how I feel from within!

Manasi Joshi (me)
I will stick to my words here too-  Dream. Imagine. Be Crazy. Be You.

Like Sri Sri Ravishankar says- "Do everything with a little bit of Style and a little bit of Smile" That's exactly what I follow. 

I think we shouldn't over do the fashion thing.
Be yourself and be fashionable in your own way. We really can't ignore fashion because it is a part of us!! That's all I guess! :)"





Manasi Joshi (Me)

Ten amazing fashion quotes for you:


When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.” -Iris Apfel



“Buy less, choose well.” -Vivienne Westwood



“To me, style is all about expressing your individuality freely and courageously.” -Timothy John

“Too much good taste can be very boring. Independent style, on the other hand, can be very inspiring.” -Diana Vreeland

“Real style is never right or wrong. It’s a matter of being yourself on purpose.” -G. Bruce Boyer

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” ― Coco Chanel

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” 
― Coco Chanel

"Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.” — Lauren Hutton

“I don't do fashion, I AM fashion.” ― Coco Chanel



“Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” ― Anna Wintour

Manasi Joshi (me)

I hope you enjoyed all the glamour this week.

For those who missed what some really amazing gals had to say about fashion, here is the link- http://manasi23.blogspot.in/2014/07/what-is-fashion-gals-speak.html

For those who missed what some really cool guys had to say about fashion, here is the link-


Next week, in the last and most amazing part of my blog festival; the "Feel" section, I will be back with five different & touching stories for you,  from different people, five days of the week! 


Till then, have a great weekend & keep a watch on this blog! :) Enjoy!!