Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kadiyapulanka (Kadiyam) - The land of flowers

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In these Dassara holidays we had a brief visit to the destination of flowers,Kadiyam Nurseries as my kid is immensely passionate about flowers and plants..He is having a peculiar hobby of collecting different flowers from roadside while playing with his friends..Coming to the place,Kadiyam is a small village having 630 flower nurseries,exporting Rs 150 crore worth of production every year to different parts of the country and giving direct and indirect employment to around 25,000 people.An important industry for Kadiyapulanka is horticulture, with the area's nurseries exporting flowers throughout India.Also this tiny village is famous for the flower show, which is held in January every year and is a prominent place for trading of floriculture and horticulture. Besides, the beautiful garden of Jasmine, Roses and many other flowers, are frequented by nature lovers.The nearest railway station and airport are in Rajahamundry.

Here are few clicks..
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The Rose garden
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The Nursery men working..
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Copyright A Homemaker's Utopia

Copyright A Homemaker's Utopia

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Disgrace - J.M.Coetzee

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Reading two books consecutively from the same author is perhaps first time for me..I get easily bored with one author's story and would always search for different tales from different authors and genres..But J.M.Coetzee's writing style captivated my mind..As the Noble prize winning author needs no introduction,I'm skipping that part here..My earlier read was 'Youth' which is a story of an youngster..Surprisingly,back-to-back I picked 'Disgrace' which is a story of a 52 years old man..Somehow,through out reading I was comparing the disparities of both age groups..

Copyright A Homemaker's Utopia
Coming to the novel 'Disgrace',Twice divorced,David Lurie (52) a professor in Technical university of Capetown,South Africa loses his job,career,honour when he forcibly seduces his student Melanie Isaacs..We can not term it as rape but it was undesirable to her..This affair sours,he is denounced and summoned before an inquiry committee..David admits his guilt but refuses to repent publicly..Thus with disgrace he leaves his job and retreats to his daughter Lucy who lives a country life in Eastern Cape..Lucy was a peasant woman by choice..For some time the father-daughter's country life was peaceful but soon the repercussions of Post apartheid South Africa shadowed their lives..

This novel is simply a reflection of the struggled lives under racial segregation in South Africa.Also there were other characters portraited very uniquely:The Dog Man-Petrus,The animal welfare woman-Bev Shaw,Sarah,Rosalind,Melanie's parents and younger sister Desiree..But most of the story revolves around David and Lucy..You cannot come to proper conclusions after reading this novel..It finally leaves you with many unanswered questions..For instance,why Lucy wants to stay back in the country even after facing that much of turmoil ? How can a strong woman like Lucy simply obey the cruel laws of  discrimination ? There was no proper account of the actual race of Melanie though her surname indicates Jews..Anyways we can assume her as Black considering the plot..The best part of this work is,It would not justify one side of the coin..It widely discussed the violence and suffering of people on both the ends.;Blacks and Whites..Lurie himself is not sane in this story,he has his share of flaws and he committed his part of violence..He would be a free man and could act according to his will in Cape Town,a city but country side has it's own rules..One more interesting part from the book was Lord Byron's..David works on an Opera in which he works on the popular poet Lord Byron's affair with a married woman Teresa..Here David's free life style much resembles with Byron's..One more favourite part was,David's revelations in front of the inquiry committee..It's hard to put our feelings in to words after reading some kind of books..Books like this were wrapped with some ugly truths and beautiful lies..After finishing this book,I'm sure this story and characters would haunt you for many days..I haven't seen yet but this book was made into a movie under same title in 2008..

Few lines from the book:
Yet we cannot live our daily lives in a realm of pure ideas, cocooned from sense-experience. The question is not, How can we keep imagination pure, protected from the onslaughts of reality? The question has to be, Can we find a way for the two to coexist?

“When all else fails, philosophize.” 

She gives him what he can only call a sweet smile. 'So you are determined to go on being bad. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. I promise, no one will ask you to change.

Despair..is like a gas, odourless, tasteless, without nourishment. You breathe it in, your limbs relax, you cease to care, even at the moment when the steel touches your throat.

David's words while inquiry,
"Very well,' he says, let me confess. The story begins one evening, I forget the date, but not long past. I was walking through the old college gardens and so, it happened, was the young woman in question, Ms Isaacs. Our paths crossed. Words passed between us, and at that moment something happened which, not being a poet, I will not try to describe. Suffice it to say that Eros entered. After that I was not the same.'
‘I was not myself. I was no longer a fifty-year-old divorce at a loose end. I became a servant of Eros."

Being a father ... I can't help feeling that, by comparison with being a mother, being a father is a rather abstract business.

If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.

He would not mind hearing Petrus’s story one day. But preferably not reduced to English. More and more he is convinced that English is an unfit medium for the truth of South Africa.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Youth - J.M.Coetzee

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This is my first read from J.M.Coetzee..Even before I was half-way through the book,I fell in love with his writing style and ordered a couple of books on the same day..The author J.M.Coetzee is a South African novelist,winner of Noble prize in literature..He has also won The Man Booker prize(twice)..'Youth' is a autobiographical novel,set in the period of 1960's..It falls under the category of a semi fictional autobiography..

Image from Google
Coming to the story:sorry,a habitual mistake..Actually there is no story in this book..It's all about a young man's thoughts and experiences..John from South Africa travels to London leaving behind his trapped mother and feckless father to build a career as an artist..His dream was to become a poet and so he believes that there will be a woman,destined to be part of his life,to bring up the 'flame' and passion within him..Initially he works as a computer programmer for IBM,but he struggles to fit in the practical atmosphere of the American company in UK..Furthermore,London life leaves him completely isolated..Nobody befriends him for his unsophisticated nature and lack of warmth..But he keep searching for his soul-mate who'll find his real charm (?) concealed by his unattractive personality..

Later he leaves IBM and joins International computers..While working there he realizes,that things like art,love,passion and poetry couldn't be produced using brains and perfect planning..These are the sensitive emotions that have to be developed quite naturally when someone completely lost in the process..In that process,one should reach such a blissful state where he couldn't even aware of himself or his existence..However John indulges himself in many relationships with women like Sarah,Jaqueline,Caroline and Marianne etc.There is a big list I don't even remember..:) But he fails to handle those relationships because of his selfishness and uncertainty in taking responsibility..Moreover he is too much conscious and always aware of his thoughts in every move with them..Thus his relationships with women lack the basic ingredient called 'passion'..Now where there is no passion there is no existence for any creativity or any form of art..As time passes by,he realizes this simple fact..
J.M.Coetzee-Image from Google
This book mainly depicts the protagonist's thoughts and uncertainties between 21 -24 yrs age..The central character is a victim of racism and political unrest of South Africa..The novel deals with the struggle in the crucial time of youth where the protagonist actually thinks that he knows everything after merely acquiring knowledge by reading books..But we all well aware of the fact that real world works in a different way..There is another similar character Ganapathy from India who works with the protagonist for the same International computers..These two guys reflect the two sides of  the same coin..

The novel basically deals with the typical tendencies of youth,i.e.limited to a particular age group..But I'm sure whosoever reads this,would definitely go back to his memories of youth..The readers would take a plunge in John's flowing thoughts..We can easily relate with the skepticism and confusion in John's character in his initial years in London..The author completely penetrated through the depths of human consciousness..Somehow,I would have enjoyed this book a bit more if I would have read some world famous poets,though the author has not limited the artist synonym to a poet..You can find some wonderful analyzations about world famous artists,writers,poets like Pablo Picasso,Ezra Pound (seems his favy),T.S.Elliot,Flaubert,Monica Vitti,Henry Miller,William Wordsworth,Satyajit Ray etc..This book is nothing but a journey with a youngster who'll keep your journey interesting and engaging with his memories,confusions and predictions..All you have to do is just keep watching him..very closely :)

Here are few favourite lines from the book:
For he will be an artist, that has long been settled. If for the time being he must be obscure and ridiculous, that is because it is the lot of the artist to suffer obscurity and ridicule until the day when he is revealed in his true powers and the scoffers and mockers fall silent

Having mistresses is part of an artist's life: even if he steers clear of the trap of marriage, as he will certainly do, he is going to have to find a way of living with women. Art cannot be fed on deprivation alone, on longing, loneliness. There must be intimacy, passion, love as well.

Picasso, who is a great artist, perhaps the greatest of all, is a living example. Picasso falls in love with women, one after another. One after another they move in with him, share his life, model for him. Out of the passion that flares up anew with each new mistress, the Doras and Pilars whom chance brings to his doorstep are reborn into everlasting art. That is how it is done

If ever he tries to transfigure a woman, he will not transfigure her as cruelly as Picasso does, bending and twisting her body like metal in a fiery furnace. Writers are not like painters anyway: they are more dogged, more subtle.
                  
Is that the fate of all women who become mixed up with artists: to have their worst or their best extracted and worked into fiction?

In fact he would not dream of going into therapy. The goal of therapy is to make one happy. What is the point of that? Happy people are not interesting. Better to accept the burden of unhappiness and try to turn it into some thing worthwhile, poetry or music or painting: that is what he believes

Russia may have produced some interesting monsters but as artists the Russians have nothing to teach. Civilization since the eighteenth century has been an Anglo-French affair.

Women love artists because they burn with an inner flame, a flame that consumes yet paradoxically renews all that it touches.

But fortunately, artists do not have to be morally admirable people. All that matters is that they create great art. If his own art is to come out of the more contemptible side of himself, so be it. Flowers grow best on dungheaps, as Shakespeare never tires of saying. 

Normal people find it hard to be bad. Normal people, when they feel badness flare up within them, drink, swear, commit violence. Badness is to them like a fever: they want it out of their system, they want to go back to being normal. But artists have to live with their fever, whatever its nature, good or bad. The fever is what makes them artists; the fever must be kept alive. That is why artists can never be wholly present to the world: one eye has always to be turned inward.

America is not England. America is hard and merciless: if by some miracle he bluffed his way into a job there, he would soon be found out. Besides, he has read Allen Ginsberg, read William Burroughs. He knows what America does to artists: sends them mad, locks them up, drives them out

Most of what he reads he does not understand, but he is used to not understanding. All he is searching for at present is the moment in history when either-or is chosen and and/or discarded
s the self he sees at such moments merely what he appears to be, or is it what he really is? What if Oscar Wilde is right, and there is no deeper truth than appearance? Is it possible to be dull and ordinary not only on the surface but to one's deepest depths, and yet be an artist? Might T S. Eliot, for instance, be secretly dull to his depths, and might Eliot's claim that the artist's personality is irrelevant to his work be nothing but a stratagem to conceal his own dullness?To know one's own mind too well spells, in his view, the death of the creative spark

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wild woods

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Image from google
The path was unfamiliar to me...yet I progressed in the distant way
Sharp stones hurting my tender feet..darkness prevailed everywhere
But I was unaware of the pain...I was lost in the beauty of nature around
The birds singing and flowers dancing..
I realized I lost my way out there
this path would take me nowhere 
I found myself in the middle of wild woods
Dear me,I forgot all the wounds on my feet 
All I remembered was the birds singing and flowers dancing

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

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After finishing this book,I immediately tried to recollect the situations and conversations right from the beginning of the story..It never happened with any other book till now..Now the ending was quite clear to me yet so many tired interpretations and perplexities seized my mind..The interesting part here is,the book itself deals with exploring memories of human brain..It concludes that,In the formation of history,all a human brain would do is capturing the reflections formed by the opinions and experiences of the past but not the truth from actual phenomenon..Now here raises the question about the authenticity of History..'The Sense of an Ending' was written by Julian Barnes,the English writer who has been shortlisted thrice from the Booker prize..And finally for the fourth time,he has won the prestigious 'Man Booker Prize' for the year 2011.

Image from google
Few lines from the book,
‘History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.’

History isn’t the lies of the victors, as I once glibly assured Old Joe Hunt; I know that now. It’s more the memories of the survivors, most of whom are neither victorious nor defeated

It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.


If you’re that clever you can argue yourself into anything. You just leave common sense behind


I don’t want you to be a woman of mystery. I think I’d hate it. Either it’s just a fa├žade, a game, a technique for ensnaring men, or else the woman of mystery is a mystery even to herself, and that’s the worst of all.


Some Englishman once said that marriage is a long dull meal with the pudding served first. I think that’s far too cynical

Image from Google
The sense of ending is a story that revolves around the memories and its repercussions.The protagonist,Tony Webster is the narrator of the story who unveils his past,starting from his school days and his three friends Alex,Colin and Adrian Finn..Among the four,Adrian was a special boy in the school..He is highly intellectual,intelligent and philosophical by nature..After schooling,all the four part their ways but they pledged to keep in touch in future...Further Adrian join Cambridge while Tony in Bristol university..In Bristol Tony fell in love with Veronica,but later, with the ill treatment of Veronica's father and brother Jack,Tony gets upset and soon they breakup..Later Tony marry Margaret and the couple have a daughter,Susie..But this marriage didn't last longer and the couple ends up with a divorce..Even after his retirement Tony kept in touch with his grandchildren and Margaret..The life of Tony was so simple..In his own words 'peaceable'..But he actually allows life to happen to him rather than taking control over life..After sixty years,his life (in other words his history) unveils an entirely new panorama of his past..

Some great analizations from the book..
How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.

Had my life increased, or merely added to itself? This was the question Adrian’s fragment set off in me. There had been addition—and subtraction—in my life, but how much multiplication? And this gave me a sense of unease, of unrest.“

Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does: otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. But in life? I sometimes wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that’s something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that, we’re just stuck with what we’ve got. We’re on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn’t it? And also—if this isn’t too grand a word—our tragedy

"Camus said that suicide was the only true philosophical question.”

But my mind kept returning to all those fervently innocent discussions we’d gone in for when Robson hanged himself in the attic, back before our lives began. It had seemed to us philosophically self-evident that suicide was every free person’s right: a logical act when faced with terminal illness or senility; a heroic one when faced with torture or the avoidable deaths of others; a glamorous one in the fury of disappointed love (see: Great Literature).

When you’re young—when I was young—you want your emotions to be like the ones you read about in books. You want them to overturn your life, create and define a new reality. Later, I think, you want them to do something milder, something more practical: you want them to support your life as it is and has become. You want them to tell you that things are OK. And is there anything wrong with that?

The things Literature was all about: love, sex, morality, friendship, happiness, suffering, betrayal, adultery, good and evil, heroes and villains, guilt and innocence, ambition, power, justice, revolution, war, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, the individual against society, success and failure, murder, suicide, death, God. And barn owls. Of course, there were other sorts of literature—theoretical, self-referential, lachrymosely autobiographical—but they were just dry wanks. Real literature was about psychological, emotional and social truth as demonstrated by the actions and reflections of its protagonists; the novel was about character developed over time

This story mainly focussed on the realities of memory,by means of which we often assess the future and later it'll be a history..This book hardly carry 150 pages but the content is very strong..You want to re-read some paragraphs and pages just to understand,what the author actually trying to tell us..The writing style was very much similar to Camus's(though I read only one,'The Stranger' from him)..When you reached the last page,the book leaves you with a feeling of inadequacy..It wouldn't allow you to have an exact feeling of absoluteness..Also the ending appeared very unconvincing for me.But for the readers who enjoy philosophy and psychology related books,it's a must read for them..There is no big story or anything in this book yet the spellbounded narration is the best part..You'll come across some wonderful analizations on memories..On a whole it's a great philosophical and psychological delight for the readers..Happy reading friends.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Animal Farm - George Orwell

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Absolutely brilliant book !!! I usually prefer reading big books,cause they allow me to stay long in their world..Henceforth this tiny book with pages less than 150 was among few leftovers in such category..But after finishing this book,I must admit that it is not quantity but quality that matters..Animal farm was such a gem of political fiction written by George Orwell..It falls under the category of allegorical and dystopian novels.
Image from Google
This book is a panoply of the concrete structure of society and the way it works..Few animals in Manor farm revolt against their master Mr.Jones and successfully establish a society of their own i.e,a society only meant for animals..They name it as 'Animal farm'..They constitute some seven commandments and start living accordingly..Though initially all the animals are free from the tyrannical humans,slowly and unconsciously they become submissive to Snowball and Napoleon (pigs) who are very good at brains..After some time Napoleon uses his secret army of dogs to castaway Snowball and raise as an independent ruler..Under his cruel reign all the animals suffer even more..So as the earth is round,the story again comes to the point,where it actually started..

Few lines from the book,
Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer-except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs.

And yet the animals never gave up hope. More, they never lost, even for an instant, their sense of honour and privilege in being members of Animal Farm. They were still the only farm in the whole county — in all England! — owned and operated by animals.

You can apply this plot to any civilization or culture or community..I feel this story fits well in almost every society,though the author wrote this story representing Napoleon as Joseph Stalin,who ruled Soviet Russia for nearly 35 years..Coming to Snowball who represents Leon Trotsky,he is an intelligent pig who is very devoted to his community but lacks diplomacy and administrative/cunning tactics like Napoleon..Coming to other characters,Boxer,the horse represents the truly hard working people in the society while the Sheep represents the ordinary people who live like sheep..Benjamin(the donkey) and Clover(horse) represent few wise people in the society who know everything but never dare to raise their voice while the dogs represent the army of power..Squealer,another pig appears to be the powerful media which influences the society in every possible way..Among all characters,I loved Boxer very much..The sincere and hardworking creature,finally sent to slaughter house when it turned old..
George Orwell-Image from Google
Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs.The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which

Animal farm is a wonderful satire on the political and social terms..It deals with the friction between high society with brains and the labour class with hard work..It depicts the formation of society in different stages like slavery to democracy and democracy to communism..We can easily relate ourselves with many characters from the book..I loved the final part especially and couldn't stop laughing where the seven commandments of the animals were reduced to only one which says..

"ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS""
And another slogan from sheep like,"Four legs good, two legs BETTER!" at the end..
Truely wonderful write-up..Looking forward to read few more from George Orwell..I strongly recommend this book to every one.Classics are truely gold..Don't miss it guys..Happy reading :)
Later this was made in to an animation movie. Here is the link..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YYEoWAAmDE 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Taj experience

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Visiting Taj atleast once in a life time is almost everyone's dream....mine too..

We happened to visit this great monument a couple of years back..After visiting Agra fort on the first day of sightseeing,we were left with a very little time to pay our visit to Taj..So thought of having a brief visit that day,thinking that the next day anyway we could spend our whole time  there..The taxiwala advised us to take the Mehtab Bagh route then,because it will be less crowdy hence would fit to our time schedule..

With great excitement we were stepping towards Taj..There was a Mughal park,after taking few steps  in the park,as we couldn't see anything,we moved further just waching the plants..And suddenly you know what ? It appeared in front of my eyes leaving me speechless..

My first view of Taj...
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Copyright A Homemaker's Utopia
This view from the Mehtab Bagh,on the opposite side of the river Yamuna,the Taj offers a chance to get a shot with a more rural setting..I must say it was the unusual view of Taj..The sun was about to set then..We spent nearly 1 hour there..I'm lucky to have that wonderful sight..Later we   thanked the taxiwala..

The river Yamuna was completely dry here..
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Second day...On the way to Taj grounds....
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The camel cart
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The entrance 
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Copyright A Homemaker's Utopia
Here you can see some water in the river..
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Copyright A Homemaker's Utopia
The next morning we visited the monument in the Taj grounds,I liked it but I must admit that the yesterday's experience was much better than this..

Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom

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My first encounter with death was at the age of 18..Of course dying is probably not necessary for experiencing the fear of death..One morning,it suddenly stumbled upon my cousin's doorsteps and snatched away her husband who was roughly 27 years old..His pale face and motionless strong body has remained in my memory lane ever since..I felt like someone has slapped me so harshly to wake me up from my dreamy world..From that moment,'Death' was always a dark mystery for me..

Image from google
Later I read few books related to death but somehow I couldn't find proper answers..But in that process,I learned about life..Those books helped me to understand how precious life is..'Tuesdays with Morrie' by Mitch Albom was one of such books..It was a real life story and a memoir of Morrie Schwartz,a Sociology professor at Brandeis University,who was dying from a chronic disease,ALS..The book is all about Morrie's life lessons to his old student Mitch A,the author of this book..I'm not going to write,'Morrie said this and that'..But would like to share few notions related to this book..

Few lines from the book,
Dying,” Morrie suddenly said, “is only one thing to be sad over, Mitch. Living unhappily is something else. So many of the people who come to visit me are unhappy.” Why? “Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it. They’re more unhappy than me—even in my current condition.

My old professor, meanwhile, was stunned by the normalcy of the day around him. Shouldn’t the world stop? Don’t they know what has happened to me? But the world did not stop, it took no notice at all,

He was intent on proving that the word “dying” was not synonymous with “useless.” 

Morrie with Mitch Albom
Death always relies on the way we lived our life..i.e Not with money and all but with peace,happiness and above all with contentment..We often try to cope with tough times and try to accept them,but accepting death is an entirely different thing..But Morrie hugged death as lovingly as he hugged life..For all that was happening to him,his mind was vibrating with a million thoughts..He is the Hero of this book..But somehow I couldn't accept giving the whole credit to Morrie alone..Morrie's family also had remarkable share in this endeavour,since they tried their level best to keep him alive till his last breathe..I felt,like life,death is also a team work..A life couldn't have such a magnificent ending without few loving people around..

Few more lines from the book,
Maybe death is the great equalizer, the one big thing that can finally make strangers shed a tear for one another.

And I suppose tapes, like photographs and videos, are a desperate attempt to steal something from death’s suitcase

But there still seemed to be no clear answers. Do you take care of others or take care of your “inner child”? Return to traditional values or reject tradition as useless? Seek success or seek simplicity? Just Say No or just Do It?

Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.” 

Mitch, if you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.” 

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”  

Later the book was made in to a movie with the same title..

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Choki Dhani - Chennai Bites 2


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When I watched 'Lamhe' in my school days,I instantly fell in love with Rajasthan ..My dream was to see a live performance of any song like "Morni bagama bole aadhi raath ma"..I know..I know..its too much to expect Sridevi dancing there :P..Visiting Jaisalmer was yet my unfulfilled dream..But when we get to know about Choki Dhani,we planned to go there in a weekend..And found that place even more interesting than we expected...There you can see everything related to Rajasthani culture except for the sandy deserts..It was like visiting a typical Rajasthani village..The people there were in their traditional attire..At dinner they served traditional dishes with nearly 15-18 varieties of Rajasthani cuisine...It was a truely nice experience..If you are living in Chennai,then Its a must visit for you..

Welcoming with Tika..
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The dancers gave a wonderful performance..The most enjoyed part for me..
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Katputhli show..
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Image from Google