Happy New Year

It is that time of the year again. The time when all the events of the past year are rerun on TV. The time when we get into that thinking mode happy for all that had gone wonderful that year and hope for the best for all to come the next year. The new year eve is indeed special in many aspects. It reminds us of monumental concepts like the ever changing time,true friends who have stood for us, with us in our good and bad times, cherishing our family and beloved ones. The new year is the time for the old wounds to heal, long lost relations to be remembered, new desires to crop up, new dreams to get wings and old feuds to be forgotten.

Everyone likes the new year. It is one of those rare days when everyone seem to be happy and positive. Maybe that's what makes it so special. Not to forget the wonderful TV programs and special dinner with friends and family. The new year resolution is an age old tradition which I'm sure is followed for three months maximum. Then the new year is no longer new and our resolutions are comfortably forgotten till that year comes to an end. So this year on this day, the new year eve, I'm thinking to myself,

What have I done different this year?

What more do I have to look forward to?

How have I improved in my personal goals?

What are my achievements?

Most of you , I'm sure must have had the same thoughts. I'm glad that 2013 has been a fantastic year and I have no regrets in spending the time just the way I have spent these last twelve months. Nevertheless there is always a plan for the future. No matter how carefree and in some cases how careless you are, you always have a little plan for the next year. Well, in my case, I have plans-multiple ones. But remember that you do not change overnight just because you made a new year resolution. Oh no! You change over the year only if you set your heart to it.Otherwise , it will just be another namesake resolution that was born and forgotten.

As the new year is around the corner, lets us all make a pledge to

Improve our self in at least one way better than what we were last year,
Make a positive difference in at least one person's life,
Make time for a long forgotten personal talent,
Make time for family and true friends,
Above all remain happy and positive!

Wish you all a very beautiful year ahead :)

Love - Bold and Beautiful

I have added this new channel to my list of channels I love watching - it is a channel called Romedy Now. For all those of you who do not know this channel, this channel broadcasts romantic comedies. You might immediately think that this stuff is girlish. Maybe, but don't guys look for love too? I mean, agreed that fairy tales are a huge hit with girls and fairy tale weddings even more so, but how does a fairy tale wedding happen without a prince? Some of these movies have such predictable dialogues but some are especially extraordinary. And some of these dialogues are straight from the heart if you had any idea of what love is! Hey is there anybody who can say for sure what love is?

The answer for the above question is no. I'm going to go through some of the scenarios to add more mystery to this puzzle.

Scenario 1:

Two happily married couple had everything in life except the thing they wanted most- children. The wife so badly wanted a child that what did the husband do?He discussed with his wife and took in the children of their relatives, educated them, brought them up without any kind of expectations in return. Altogether, they had raised 15 children who are into various successful professions today. The couple had a very happy life. Unbelievable right?!

Scenario 2: 

A beautiful girl falls in love with a guy, lets call him Tim who she thinks is perfect for her. They are together for six years. Meantime there is another guy,Ray, who is equally in love with the girl though the girl does not know. One fine day, Tim just takes off after a silly argument never to return. Ray knows how much heartbroken that special girl is. He knows all about Tim, but never talks about it to the girl, gives the girl a chance to love him objectively after waiting so patiently and finally marries her. They have two beautiful children today.

Scenario 3:

A girl Rina wants to marry the love of her heart. The guy's name is Leo. But due to family circumstances, she is forced to marry another guy. Rina's close friend Meera marries Leo and Rina is heartbroken as she could not understand how her best friend can do such a thing. One day Meera writes a letter to Rina, which reads like this,

Dear Rina, I know how much you loved Leo and how heartbroken you were about not getting together with Leo. I married Leo because I knew you both so well and I wanted to live as YOU with Leo. Can you understand what I'm saying? I'm living as Rina with Leo. I'm doing the things as you would do and I'm living my life as you would live. I decided to live this way because as your best friend, this was the only little comfort that I could give you, the comfort that the two people who you loved most in the world are taking care of each other well.

Love,
Meera.

So what is this love? Love is bold, love is beautiful. Can anyone ever define it in such a way that everyone is convinced with that definition forever? No, that mysterious component, the component which shows the limitless potential of love makes it beautiful and elusive. So the next time you feel true love in the form of a partner or a friend or a family, remember the possibilities of happiness that it offers. You have everything right there and right then.  

I'm Woman

Hethai Abba - The Pride of Badugas

For all the badugas, the hethai abba is a very important festival. The hethai amman is the prime God for badugas and this article registers my experience when I visited the hethai abba yesterday Remeber that this was my first visit and the festival took me by surprise. Badugas are nature worshipers who do not essentially believe in idol worship. For them, the stones and trees are as sacred as their belief in a supreme being. The most striking features of this festival were the ones that triggered this article.

The Madihadda:

Adda means a green valley in which cultivation is not done. Instead the little streams are preserved for local population and the land is mostly used for the relaxation of cattle. The hethai abba took place in one such location. The ground covers a huge area in the middle of which there is a huge temple. The hethai kallu ( mostly seen as the guardian of a village) is placed in the entrance of the temple. The belief here is that sacred stone will protect the whole village from all evil and bring prosperity to all. There is no baduga village without a ethai kallu.

The temple:

The temple does not have an idol for worship. Instead, it has the hethai thadi (walking stick) and the kode ( the sacred umbrella) which are the objects of worship. Badugas from all over the world come to worship there. Prayers are offered in terms of rice, ghee, fruits and the like. Holy chants are chanted when the holy objects are taken out for a routine for all to pray for a short while.

White Magic:

The specialty of this function is that everyone is required to wear costumes in white. The gents wear white shirt, a white dhoti and a white angavastravam ( a towel over the shoulder), the ladies wear sarees and salwars and cover themselves with a white mundu ( draped across the shoulder). It is such a beautiful sight to behold. The white sea of people against the green valley and the blue skies is beyond imagination.

The Paruva:

Badugas are basically peace loving. The traditional annadhanam (food for all) is performed and the entire crowd takes its place at the food line without the slightest fuss. The food is consumed with much relish and gratitude as the devotees feel blessed for having witnessed the grand ceremony of the temple.

The Divine Blessing:

It is said that the white eagle always comes on this day to bless the devotees present at the temple. The eagle soaring forward and backward spreading its majestic wings is such a blessed sight. Surprisingly there are no crows even when there are a lot of food offerings.

There is a lot of folklore around the baduga community with respect to hethai abba. Though one wishes to know the entire truth, there are so many modified versions of such festivals that one finds it difficult to believe all yet believe none. Nevertheless, the grandeur and devotion involved in the ceremony leaves us with no doubt with respect to the power of the temple and the unquestioning faith of the badugas. All in all, it was an awesome experience, one that I would cherish to tell my children.

Time to Dwell

That funny thing called LOVE


Love gives you,

Strength when you are down,
Happiness when you are sound,
Security when you are scared,
Smiles when you are glad
Hugs when you are sad
And hope when you are hurt.

Love is a small package that has a great value which only doubles by sharing. Time is short while journey is long, some might pass through, some might stay with you and nevertheless there is always something worth learning in a relationship.Love is omnipresent. Sometimes you do not know it is even there. Sometimes you take it for granted expecting it to be always there. Either ways love wants to be with you in the form of a parent or a friend or a sibling or a son.

Love  - The more you get, the more you want to get
The more you want to get, the more you want to give
The more you want to give, the more you learn to live.

Love is a universal presence,a timeless phenomenon which can tear your soul apart and heal a broken heart. Love can make the world go round and bring time to a standstill. It can show you dimensions of yourself that you never know existed. It gives you wings to fly and tears to cry. Love is indeed a funny thing.

Reverse Mortgage


With the varying lifestyles and added pressures, it is becoming increasingly difficult to take care of the elders at home. Children are moving out of their home towns in search of better opportunities - higher education, marriage and settling abroad. Most parents are skeptical about joining their children in unknown locations and refuse outright to do so making it difficult to live together. Also if aged parents decide to live by themselves, the financial burden is yet another factor to be considered. If they are pensioners, they somehow manage their expenses. For those without any pension, there is no source of income. 

What is reverse mortgage?

For parents with own houses who want to lead a dignified life after retirement without depending on their children financially, reverse mortgage is a very good scheme. It is basically a financial instrument which came into effect from 2007. It is the opposite of a conventional mortgage. In this system, the senior citizen can receive a regular payment from the bank against the mortgage of his home. The worth of the property is estimated by the bank. Depending on the worth , the bank sanctions the loan in periodic payments.

Eligibility Criteria:
  • The house should be owned and occupied by elders who are above 60 years
  • The life of the property should be atleast 20 years
  • The house should be the permanent residence of the elders.

General guidelines from RBI:
  • 60% of the property's worth can only be taken as loan
  • The maximum tenure for this payout - 15 years
  • The minimum tenure for this payout - 10 years
  • The property will be re-evaluated once in every five years

Points to be noted:
  • The monthly payment received is not an income. It is a loan and therefore no tax payments are required.
  • This type of loan ends when the last surviving borrower of the loan dies.
  • After that, the bank gives an option to the next of kin to repay the loan along with the interest. 
  • If the next of kin is not interested or is unable to pay the loan, the bank recovers the money through the sale of the property. If there was extra amount after settling the loan , the excess is passed onto the legal heirs.
  • In case of loss during resale, the bank bears it.
The drawbacks:
  • The monthly payout is fixed. There is no way to increase that during any kind of emergencies.
  • The application process is long and complicated and the elders might end up not understanding it.
Reverse mortgage is yet to be popular in India. Nevertheless it is a decent option for aged and lonely parents who are asset rich and cash poor. Before getting into any kind of deals with the bank it is always best to research and understand their policies.


Heart

Thinking of marrying your best friend? Think twice!

A marital relationship should be fulfilling as well as long lasting. Your life partner should be your equal partner in every sense - he or she should make you happy and should be able to share things with you and care for you. All that said, it might look like your best friend could be the ultimate choice as that friend will be someone who knows you in and out. With all due respect to long lasting relationships with best friends, here are some of the reasons why marrying your best friend can be a disaster.

1. For starters, a close friend is defined a close friend because of his ability to accept you as you are. But marriage is a totally different ball game where you are sometimes forced to make adjustments and change yourself for the greater good. You will end up blaming your partner for the change.

2. Everyone is entitled to secrets. The liberty of sharing everything is open only with a close friend. And if you make that one person your spouse you will end up having a mental conflict as discretion is a grand part of marriage.

3. To talk without thinking, to act without hesitation is a blessing best enjoyed with a friend. Leave the spouse out of it and save yourself from hundreds of unwarranted explanations later.

4. Even when your marriage is not so sweet on occasions, you will trust your best friend expecting them to listen and offer suggestion. If you make that one person your spouse you will end up bearing the burden alone because no one understands you like your close mate.

5. A best friendship in true sense is a beautiful way to get to know your spouse better because your spouse will automatically trust your best buddy for bringing up issues they are not comfortable bringing up with you.

6. Marriage demands commitment, commitment demands proper planning and discipline. These things are contradictory to the spontaneity factor of great friendships. A marriage can alter your way of seeing your best friend if you are married to each other. It will only complicate your relationship. 

7. Say your best friend was easy going and not particularly serious about anything, the same things which you found relaxing and even endearing in a friendship will stick out as a sore spot as you will term the same traits as 'irresponsible.' It might end up straining your relationship.

8. Last but not the least, it is very very difficult to earn a true friend. In a country like India, the success rate of marriages is higher even if it is 'arranged' and you end up marrying somebody you hardly know. But anywhere in the world, friendship cannot be arranged. It has to happen. And a true friend is one in a million. It is just not worth losing a best friend through any means - marriage or otherwise. 

Facebook Species

Social marketing has a huge influence on the youngsters today.Among them Facebook has a special place and is easily the most popular networking site. It has cut across genders and locations. Even ten-year-olds are familiar with the 'like' and 'comment' vocabulary.

So I'm here to note the most popular types of people found on this networking site.

1. The Photomaniacs

Ok.. you are beautiful..You have a much better face and physique that is the envy of most people. But such beautiful people are obsessed with clicking themselves in various attires and poses and constantly post them on FB as profile pictures. Ok so you need not be like me who only changes profile pictures once in two years. But neither should you be like a photo maniac who changes the profile pictures once in two days or worse still, once in two hours. The whole world knows you are be-you-ti-full. What is the obsession with getting the most likes of every other person on the planet?

2.  The Poster Bunnies

These people have a sweet tooth for emotional posters mainly about love and relationships. Love is this, love is that, love is more this or less that.. we get it, alright! Love is good and everybody needs a healthy dose of it but who wants to be a love preacher? I wonder how much time they spend on hunting such posters.

3. The Commentators

These people have a constant urge to let others know what they are doing from morning till late night.. as if we are interested in their history. Ate idlis for breakfast.. listening to Ilayaraja.. Raining heavily.. Parottas for dinner.. Who cares man! Their verbal diarrhea has modified into finger mania where these people cannot survive the night between two days if they do not broadcast their life all the time.

4. The Emoticons

Some people just cannot post without ample use of emoticons. Feeling blessed ( a halo around the head) feeling happy ( barring all teeth and glaring at anyone who dares to ask why) . There is less content and more emoticons. What are you trying to convey and to whom? I soon have to find an emoticon for sheeeeeesh!

5. The Couplets

These people have no private love life. Their pictures are plastered all through their pages as one embarrassing snap after another is displayed with great relish and no shame , I might add. Hugs, kisses, skimpy clothes, party and booze, smooches and what not.. Yuck! If you are trying to prove that you have a very hip and happening life, I suggest you re-evaluate your opinion of your life. If a couple has a beer together, it does not mean they are happily ever after. It means they are going to have a bad hangover and a bitter argument the next day. Stop giving such arrogant and vulgar poses and start acting your age!

6. The Like-it-alls

These people have a strong belief that they have a duty towards liking every tom, dick and harry's post. They do not think twice about anything. You post anything , they will not waste even a minute before liking it and going forward to the next item on the page. All they can do is 'like'. Even if you ask for an opinion about something they will like your question without actually bothering to share their opinion. They go ahead and like as many pages as they can the result of which the others on their friend lists are constantly badgered to like the same.

All in all, you will have it on your head and conscience , dear Facebook, for discovering a whole new set of species who were unknown till now. 

Happy Birthday!

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