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The Blind Side


Category – Drama – Motivation and Social awareness; Rating  – 3.5  ; Comment –  True story of a caring strong woman

This movie is based on the real story of the American football player Michael Oher. The crucial role played by a strong woman in the life of a homeless, traumatized young African American boy makes this an inspiring story  –  especially the way the boy transforms into a confident individual.   I can imagine the strength of the woman –   one which can transform and touch the life of other living beings.  The entire movie has multiple scenes and dialogues which slowly builds on the story and the way how the African American boy becomes as part of the American family.

Dialogues were well thought   –   when they go to shop for a dress and the boy gets confused, the lady makes a comment –  ” before you choose something, ask yourself  IS THIS ME? ”   – great message.

Sandra Bullock, who played the lead role got Academy award for her role.   The film itself has got multiple awards and many accolades.  A good watch and inspiring story  –   showcases the strong side of maternal instincts and family values.

Pati, Patni and Rs.10,000 scheme!!


I was concerned that I am suddenly aggressive and becoming a feminist  (do you need to be a woman to call yourself  a feminist?)…….reason???Because all these days, I had been proud that I am very objective and look at both sides of the coin for any issue….but two weeks back, this is what happened……

Our house help came that morning as usual  –  but her face was swollen and she told that her husband hit her because she opened a bank account and moved the money from a private chit fund to savings bank account   –   given that she is totally independent financially and runs her household with two kids by her own earning, i found no reason for her to  let her husband manhandle her……..when I asked her why he hit her, I gathered that it is a common phenomenon………….and I got aggressive and told her –  “nodu, Lakshmi…..if he hits you again, just hit him back”….She looked at me and true to her innocence self said ”  he is stronger than me, it is difficult to hit him back”………

I never thought  before I retorted strongly  “take chilli powder and put on his face if he comes to hit you anymore”………..I was fuming…….Later when I relaxed and thought about my advice to her, I was concerned ……….

What happened to me? Did I always have these wild streaks within me?? I was sharing it with my friend saying that I probably have become wild…and not docile as i think of myself.  Was a bit conscious that I was reacting to an input without much thought………..

And a week later,  I was flabbergasted when i read the front page article in newspaper Deccan Herald  Pati, Patni and ten thousand…………..this is about an innovative (!!??)  proposal from a state minister in Andra Pradesh, India……….the proposal is for to establish a reward system  for women if they beat up their abusive husbands……

While it will take lot of effort to implement such an innovative idea and it is for the government officials to handle this,  this news item made me upgrade my concern to worry  –  an AP ruling minister  is thinking like me or vice versa!!…………danger danger………God, save me and my thoughts!!!!!   :) :)

ps –  if you are yet to watch how the south Indian regional movies portray an AP ruling minister, you will need help from someone who does it to understand  why I am worried and reaching out to almighty to save me and my thoughts!!   :)  :) :)

One Minute Mother – Spencer Johnson


  • Author – Spencer Johnson
  • Category – Self Help
  • My rating – 3 on 5

Yes!  It is a self-help book on parenting!

For me, parenting is a mixture of science and art   –   and you never end being a parent irrespective of whatever age your kids are!!  This short book from Spencer Johnson (author of many “one minute” series) reinforces that there are still few facts out there about parenting which can be put to use effectively in day-to-day parenting.

The book is designed to be a short story where an young mother-to-be goes in search of the secrets about good parenting.   She meets with an elderly woman who is the “one minute mother” and her daughters to collect the wisdom of being an effective mother.    The basics of human psychology are established when the author says “Children who like themselves like to behave themselves”.   This is followed by the sharing of the three communication secrets which helps to be a “one-minute-mother”.

  1. One minute goals  (Goal is a dream with deadline)
  2. One minute praising   (Catch them doing something right)
  3. One minute reprimand (Feedback is the breakfast of champions)

As a parent, it makes lot of sense to develop the sense of responsibility in our children and help them reach their full potential.   It takes lot of effort and  will to persevere through the challenging situations in parenting and keep our sanity.  Johnson highlights the importance of being in balance when he writes “The best way for a mother to keep her sanity is to keep her sense of humor”.   Can’t agree more here  :)

While the following tips hold good for any interpersonal relationships and mentoring, Johnson highlights and fits them rightfully into the parenting tips

  1. Teach children to like themselves and to like to behave themselves.  Enjoy yourselves in that process
  2. Set goals and praise and reprimand bad behavior ( tell them they are good, their behaviour was bad)
  3. Speak simple truth and express feelings clearly
  4. Hug your children and laugh often and show them you love them
  5. Encourage children to do as you do (be a living example)
  6. Pay attention to many little things that make life more enjoyable
  7. It is more important to start right away the right things than is to wait until we think we can do it right
  8. We become what we think about
  9. All things are ready if our minds be so
  10. Anxiety is fear of unknown and fear immobilizes people

The crux of the book remains in the fact that good parenting is ensuring that your children become independent and do right things by themselves.   “When the children are caught doing something right, they want to do something right again (one minute praising). It makes them feel good about themselves. And children who like themselves like to behave themselves. So, instead of behaving for their parents, they do it for themselves”

Given it is a short book  (100 pages +) and written like a story, it is worth spending some time to read through it – helps young parents and also the veteran parents (to revise the facts!!). 

2 states – Chetan Bhagat


  • Author –  Chetan Bhagat
  • Category – Fiction
  • My rating – 3 on 5

It took me three unfruitful visits to the nearest book shop – “stocks are over, please come after two days!”.  While I was getting disillusioned and decided to make the visit to the largest city book store, my colleague lent the book. 

Given that all Chetan’s books had been easy reads, i started reading this.   Ok, now you can skip the next paragraph, as I just copy and pasted the  previous book’s review as it suited this book review (i am getting influenced about taking easy routes!!)

As always, the typical Typical Chetan Bhagat story – starts with a scene where he gives a first hand narration – brings the feel that the author is sharing his experiences with us – immediately makes us feel that we are part of it….well used technique! And of course, he has the right mixture of the popular ingredients –  love, family, corporate world, sentiments and finally, the established well accepted climax of “they lived happily ever after”!!…………what else you need for connecting to the mass of India!! I got connected!! It was an easy read – not much of a challenge for an average English reader, simple vocabulary 

But, should i say “Chetan did it again!! :) Recommended!!”……………….but i want to take a minute…..

There was something in this book which did make me feel that it could have been handled better  – 

Having read all his published books, i strongly felt that Chetan probably is much more intelligent than just to handle this subject by taking a dig at particular community and their ways of life….sure, he did apologize mentioning that he loves south Indian, but i closed the book with a feeling that he took an easy route…he did not put enough efforts to bring out the best of both communities and highlight the cultural gaps!!!  Not sure if it is the expectation which was built within me after his previous books OR the repeated “stock over, come 2 days later” inputs from the book store OR the fact that this book already went into multiple reprints OR the fact that this book is rated as ‘No 1 fiction’  in the book seller’s stand  –  BUT, THERE DEFINITELY IS A DISAPPOINTMENT!

Nevertheless, a good read!   We expect more from you, Chetan!!

What is right?


It was this article on euthanasia which was referred by RK –  it brought back the dilemma and memories!

Author has listed the five stages the dying people and their family go through – Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance

but my memory is clear…………

the first feeling was fear……..it came and set in – ‘what will we do without her ‘

then came –  ‘why me?’  –  ‘there are millions of poeple who are bad and why God chose us to go through this’

the associated anger  – ‘who did this to us? someone has done this to us, is God fair?’

denial  -‘this can not happen to us, we had been always good to all..there is something wrong…this can not be possible’

bargaining -  with the great LORD himself – so childishly – ‘i will never eat icecreams in my life for ever if she gets cured and lives, i will go around the sanctum 108 times with foot over foot…etc, etc’

and the acceptance –  WHICH NEVER CAME 100%….even today, i wish i could pick up the phone and talk to her and update her on the day’s happening, on the new watch i bought, etc, etc.

There were lots of moments where we had to decide  –   the doctors could lay down the pros and cons of each treatments  –  the cost, the pain, the side effects, the probability of cure (it is never 100%)….

The initial decisions were made with the  single focus of getting her back……we never discussed about the side effects, we never discussed the probability which was always less than 100%, we never checked if she was willing to go through the pain of the therapy……..

The days were long, the treatments were tough………slowly, the feeling of desperation was setting in………i could not stand seeing her going through these tough periods of physical agony…

It was one of those days –  I remember it was the day after a painful therapy – she was on the bed and still under pain of the therapy, I was helpless and trying to read a ‘sloka’ loudly at her bedside with a hope that it will reduce her pain – she looks at me and says ‘ do not worry,  I am going through all these as I want to live for some more time and spend all those additional hours with you and B’

I broke down and at that moment decided that I will do whatever I can to increase her life span – B and me were ready to go to any doctor, try all feasible things because she was ready to go through those pains for just being with us for another day.

But there were times where I felt guilty  – ‘ are we making her go through too much of a pain  just for our sake?’  But B had always his positive attitude to reassure. “even if we can extend her life by six months or so, there are chances that there is some breakthrough in the medicine/treatment.  The research is ongoing and there are lot of positive breakthrough in this field..we have to go through this..think of the chance…the new medicine can make her live for another two years and in that time, with all the research going on…there can  be a cure’

Today, when i read the article, i just could conclude that all it matters is what an individual feels  –   never a government or a medical board or a group of activists can decide for an individual on the right to live or die.

It’s YOUR birthday!


It was another “full day”  –  school preparations, con calls, reviews, early morning meetings……….It is in the evening when the kids gave the surprise handmade cards it struck that there should have been some plan to prepare a sweet at home  (dining out is ruled out  –  both from timing perspective and swine flu perspective).

“so, any choices for the sweet?”   –   with a glee in the eye, responds the 6-yr old “can we make that noodles payasam?”…………

the preparation is on and it is all ready ……..

everyone is on the dinner table and the “payasam” is served…………suddenly the 6-yr old gets into a contemplating mood……..and says “actually, it is YOUR birthday…..we should prepare what you like”…….

We smile and respond “that’s fine, we all like this sweet”…………this response gives a comfort and with a smile the little one is on with the job !!  :)

Amma


It never ceases, the feeling of incompleteness  –  never it is 100%  inspite of all the years!!

Though we could feel her  soul, the dream of meeting her one of these days never ceases!….It makes sense to keep reading the following statement(written 10 years ago!) again and again to tell the subconscious mind that she is not physically around, ………but the wild dream of talking to her on a phone or meeting her in person still continues!

We think of all the good things about you ma, all the great achievements you made and just feel proud of you.  You will be always with us, there to support us when we need your strength.  You are only absent physically at the gross level.

You showed us the Power of Love, Strength of Simplicity and Virtue of Patience!

Connections!


When the fourteen year old talked about  anthropology and the connection of races  –  the six year old has to add on to it….”  i know, i know….i am connected to you, you are connected to grandpa and so i am connected to grandpa!”  –   the pride of discovering the concepts and the pride of discussing a topic with the elders make the little one so enthusiastic!!……….so, he adds on……….

“mom, what happens to grandmom?………..is she still connected to you…….you said she is dead?  how do we connect to her?”…..

As though it was a dream,  the answer came “our souls are always connected –  what went missing was the physical presence!”……

Not sure how much the six year old would have understood, but this was indeed a very satisfying answer which made him feel that grandmom is around still!!

Friendship & Expectation


Is there any relationship without an expectation?

As a child,sibling,spouse,parent,friend…… we all have lot of responsibilities – these responsibilities, in turn are indeed the expectations on us?

‘Mother-child’ relationship is supposed to be the best of the all the relationships known (defined) by the mankind – it is selfless with no expectations. Think for a moment – is that how it is in reality? Any average mother expects her child to be well educated, healthy, have a good career and settle down in life. Though all these can be stated as ‘selfless’ expectation………..these are STILL expectations. Even the expectation that the child needs to keep the parent updated about the critical happenings in his/her life is indeed a stressful expectation at times!

Is it feasible at all to get into a relationship without any expectations and also sustain that relationship for long?

Agreed that it is next to impossible when it comes to relatives…where there are always expectations depending on the roles we play. But may be, is it feasible in FRIENDSHIP – a relationship which can probably sustain without expectations ?.

Possible,if we have two individuals on the same page on thoughts, similar economic critera, similar access to the communication channels of the world…and last but not the least – complete belief in each other – and finally surrender to that fact that indeed the other person is what you believe them to be.

How many such relationships have existed in the past? Can it be a reality? to wait and watch…

“Free Hug” Day


It is virtually the last day of the academic year and apparently (!!) coincided with the free hug day – 13th February. The children (who are in their tweens and early teens) declared a ‘free hug’ day at school. Secret notes being passed, messages were sent and everyone informed…..

Of course, this is only within the student community – there is so much care that the teachers and principal should not come to know of it.

Children definitely had the understanding about the concept of free hug day – the hugs are meant to be random acts of kindness, purportedly selfless acts performed by a person for the sole reason of making other feel better – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Hugs_Campaign

But, the children unanimously understand that this is something which the teachers are not going to agree for, not at least within the school premises. No one dares to inform any teachers.

Is it by default that we assume that others are hypocrites – the teachers who preach us about being kind to others, but not understand the act of kindness?

Think about it and if we look for incidences in our life, we realize that most of the time we perceive (it is perception mostly) that some one else is a hypocrite………don’t u think that even the thought of considering someone a hypocrite, while not even giving a chance for them is hypocrisy?

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