Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Weekend at Nainital

Lake at Nainital on the morning of 25th Dec.'06

It was Christmas weekend and still we did not have any holiday at office except on Sunday, which was a weekly off. Yet, decided to take leave and go for an outing. We drove to Nainital - including me there were five adults and two kids. It was a long long drive but as it was last minute planning, no train tickets were available.

First day was quite pleasant and sunny at Nainital. Second day was cold and chilling but we enjoyed the cold, too. The hotel where we stayed had a nice scenic view of the lake. Soon, I will be uploading some photos of the trip. Have been quite occupied with lots of things to blog, and I won't call this post a proper one !

In the meanwhile, I read a quotation and really liked it :

"Every time something good happens to you, make something good happen to someone else."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Hindi Poems on 'Kritya' - A Journal of Poetry

This post is for Hindi readers and I have also written on my Hindi blog.

The December issue of Kritya - a journal of poetry, has published a collection of nine of my Hindi poems in their 'Samkaleen Kavita' (contemporary poetry) section. Rest of the poems are on this page.
Hindi Poems by Seema Kumar published in Kritya, a journal of poetry

These poems are from a collection of my poems written over the years... right from school and college days and not just all recent ones. The frequency of my poetry writing had reduced a lot with job and hectic city life. But this comes as a motivation to continue writing :-)

I am awaiting comments on the published poems.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Are metropolitan cities safe from corruption and bribery ?

This is a continuation from my last post. When I applied for my passort in mid 2001 at Mumbai, my only aim was to have an identity proof in Mumbai, as I had been studying and then working there. I had completed one year in a working women's hostel while working and they could provide me the necessary residence proof (the most important document !).
After applying for the passport at Mumbai, I waited for the police verification but none happened. I was told by my room-mate, who was working for a travel agency who organised package tours for international trade-fairs, etc., that I myself needed to go to the police station to get the verification done. She was well aware about these procedures regarding passport and Visa because of her job.
After some time passed, one evening, after office, I personally went to the police station with all my documents to get the verification done. I was told by the concerned police officer to fill a form and bring certain documents. I took everything the next time. The concerned police officer again asked me to bring some other documents and photograph. Again I took it the next time. My room-mate told me I should just pay him something and my work will get done. The police officer did not ask me anything openly and I was not willing to offer anything as I had all the relevant and correct documents. Why should I pay him for something that was his job and on top of that they had not even come for the verification. Now I don't remember exactly how many times I went to the police station, and that too, alone, after office, and how many phone calls I made to the police station get the police verification done. Finally, I was told that the police verification was complete and was forwarded.
Again some time passed and no passport came. A few months had passed since I had applied for the passport. In the meanwhile I got a job in Delhi and I moved to Delhi. Still no passort came.
One day, after hearing this story about my passport, an acquaintance gave me the pamphlet of Directorate of Public Grievances, (Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India). This is "an administrative mechanism which facilitates individual citizens in obtaining fair and objective dealing of certain types of their unresolved grievances with specified Central Government Departments/ Organizations, in certain situations."
He asked me to send a written complaint here, which I did. I got a reply from there which asked me to furnish certain documents, which I did. I got a phone number of this department and an e-mail ID of the concerned authority. He asked me to fill the passport application form again and submit at the Delhi passport office. The passport application fees when I had applied in Mumbai was Rs.300/- and now when I was in Delhi, it was Rs.1000/-. However, I did not need to re-deposit any fee and although I had not completed a year in Delhi, still I was told to apply. This time the police came for verification promptly and did not even hint about any money in the form of bribe. My passport finally got made with Delhi address ... after about a year of my initial application.. without paying any bribe !!!
Ultimately, I stood my ground and did not pay any bribe. But I could do that only because I was in no urgent need of the passport. I have seen police verification happeneing of so many other family members and friends and everyone has paid to the police during verification - not because there was something illegal, or something was missing, but only because it has become a norm to pay the police - they ask either directly or indirectly as if it is their right and the only thing that is up to you is how much you can negotiate about it and finally how much you pay them.
Another episode relates to the registration of property. When I bought my house and went to get it registered, I had to pay a certain percentage of the property's registered value at the registration office- again, not because there was anything illegal in the property that I was buying, but just because it is a norm. My peoperty dealer had already told me about it. The officials there openly asked for it and said it was a 'fees' for them and the money gets distributed throughout the hierarchy. I did speak out there, too, but there was nothing much that I could do in this case.
Property deals are generally quite infamous for the corruption, bribery and black money involved. But it was amazing to see how even an important international identity like a passport can be made just by paying some money to the police !! But slowly, I guess, we become immune to these kind of things ... we just take these things for granted and we don't even think of raising a voice againt it. We talk about corruption and bribery that is prevalent in remote areas, in states like Bihar and UP, but what about our capital city and metropolitans like Mumbai ? Are they any less ? Are we safe from this kind of corruption and bribery while living in these metropolitan cities ?
*NOTE : Just in case it is of any help to anyone in need, the website of Directorate of Public Grievances is http://dpg.bharatsarkar.nic.in/

Monday, November 27, 2006

Few words on 'Manjunath Shanmugam Trust'

I was reading this post of Ashish Kumar (founder- Tekriti Software) on his blog. This is about - Manjunath Shanmugam, an IIM Lucknow graduate and a Indian Oil employee, who was murdered by a dealer of an Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) for not accepting bribes and did not turn a blind eye to the adulteration of fuel being carried out by the dealer.
The aim is to spread the word on the activities taken by the Manjunath Shanmugam Trust. Ashish's blog has more information about the activities and the details are available on www.manjunathshanmugamtrust.org. The forms for the Integrity Award being offered by this trust are available here.
This murder of Manjunath was indeed sad and shocking. He paid a very high price for not accepting bribe.
In our daily lives, in our day-to-day dealings with many governmrnt offices, if not all, haven't we all come across officials to whom we have to pay bribe to get even small work done ? And how many times do we have the courage, resources, spirit, time or will to fight againt it, and not pay the bribe and get the work done? Even if we feel angry about it, even if we speak a lot among our friends and family about it, but do we really take any step towards stopping it ? When we are in need to get a certain work done, we go ahead and pay the bribe and get the work done. It is good to see the initiative being taken by trusts like 'Manjunath Shanmugam Trust'.

Talking about bribe, it was surprising to see that even enquiries for Passport are based on bribe and is commonly prevalent. I have personally faced it and the consequences of NOT willing to pay the bribe for the police verification even when I had all the correct and complete documents and certificates with me. But more about some of my experiences in my next post.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

First show of 'Formula 69' movie at IIT, Delhi

The Seminar Hall of IIT, Delhi, was almost full with students and guests by the time we reached there on the evening of 4th Nov.

The show began with the Director-Producer Nitin Das giving a brief speech and while waiting for the actual movie to start we saw another brief comedy movie.


A scene from 'Formula 69'

'Formula 69' is about three friends at IIT-D in their final year, like I had mentioned in my previous post. The dialogues and scenes in the movie have been taken from the events of the daily student life. This not only amuses the viewers and brings about comedy, but students can also relate to the movie.

I will not go into describing the details of the movie. I will only say that it is a low budget debut movie, with no one in this movie or in the making of the movie being from Bollywood or experienced in the film-line. The movie comes with a freshness, simplicity and genuine comedy picked up from student life and if was an engrossing and enjoyable 90 minutes watching the movie. I cretainly enjoyed the movie and the weekend with the movie :-).

This article in The Times of India has more about 'Formula 69' movie.

Seminar Hall of IIT-D before the movie began


A scene from 'Formula 69'

This is a scene from 'Formula 69' and my brother Ashish (on the left) plays a brief role of one of the CBI guys who come to investigate a murder that takes place at IIT-D.


Ashish Lal (Left) with Director-Producer Nitin Das (Right) at IIT-Delhi after the movie 'Formula 69' was screened.


This movie is by 'FILMKAAR Productions' by Nitin Das and more about it on http://www.filmkaar.com/

After the movie was over my brother Ashish introduced us to the Director and Producer Nitin Das, who is also IIM-L passout (and was full of praise about how talented Ashish was :-). When I asked him what was his next plan, he said he would be making a movie with the children from the slums next.

I hope this movie gets the acknowledgement it deserves.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Formula 69 - Film by IIT-Delhi and IIM-Lucknow in which my brother Ashish plays a part

This post is about a film shot in IIT-Delhi, Formula69. It is a science-fiction Film that has been made in IIT-Delhi using a special technique (code named GIn technique). It is a light hearted adventure of three IITians who use their crazy inventions to save the world from a gang of Biochemical terroists. IIT-Delhi dramatics team guys are the star cast and my younger brother, Ashish Kumar Lal, ex-IIT, Delhi, has also played a role in this movie. Nitin Das - IIM Lucknow, is the Director and Producer.

Looking for fulfilling dreams, a pool of talented theatre guys of
IIT-Delhi and IIM-Lucknow started making a movie 'Fomula 69' from January 2006. This movie is now ready and they are trying to premiere it on Telvision. Before that it will be premiered in IIT. They have got coverage from The Times of India, Asian Age, Mumbai newspapaers and magazines and 30minutes show on making of Formula 69 on Aaj Tak TV channel.
As told by Ashish, "This movie would be commercially released but not in cinema halls (the frames per second funda of the camera and the huge investment involved used doesn’t allow us to do that). The movie’s first shot was taken on 22nd Feb, 2006."

Here is an opportunity to watch this movie made by IIM-L and IIT-D guys at IIT Delhi on 4th Saturday at 5.30pm. Below is the formal invitation and details that I received from Ashish and is open for everyone.

*********************************
We are having a secret screening of our recently completed sci-fi film Formula 69.
This is a confidential invitation for you. The details of the exclusive premiere and the film are as follows:

Date : 4th November 2006 – Saturday
Time: 5:30 p.m
Venue: Convocation Hall, IIT Delhi , Hauz Khas, New Delhi
Dress : Compulsory
Entry Fee: A smile (only genuine ones will be accepted)

Hope to see you there.

Ashish Lal
Actor- 'Formula 69'
B.Tech., IIT-Delhi and a Business Consultant
On behalf of 'Formula 69' Group

(Please destroy this invitation after you have memorized it)
*********************************

More about the film (As told by Ashish):

Formula 69 is a sci-fi thriller about 3 IIT students who use their crazy inventions to save the world.

Chatur (Hemant Kathuria), Bhains (Himschwet Gaurav) and Magga (Tarun Singhal) are 3 final year students at IIT D who get involved in a bizarre adventure when their dean gets murdered and the secret formula he was working on disappears. Now the 3 geniuses have to solve the mystery, retrieve the formula and clear their final year exams, all in 10 days.

The film is a collaborative effort by the students, alumni and staff of IIT Delhi. The project is spearheaded by Nitin Das, a pass out of IIM Lucknow. And the film is dedicated to George Bush and Osama Bin Laden.

A short trailer of the film is available on:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1874121292114343258 (final trailer)
*********************************
The Times of India has article on 23rd Feb.'06 in Delhi and in Mumbai on 24th Feb.


Asian Age has the below article on 10th March '06 in its archives:-

*********************************

IITians on the roll make sci-fi film- By Rajesh Ahuja New Delhi

It took Delhi students 17 years to set the camera rolling on the campus again. The IIT Delhi and IIM Lucknow alumni have joined hands to follow the legacy of Pradip Kishen, (author Arundhati Roy’s husband), to attempt a full-fledged film on the campus. But this time, there’s a twist in the tale.

While Kishen’s flick, based on Roy’s novel In Which Annie Gives It To Those Ones, was shot at the School of Planning and Architecture in 1989 and had a splendid starcast, this sci-fi movie will be shot at IIT and will have IIT students donning the greasepaint.

Science-fiction plot

Talking about the movie titled Formula 69 (no pun intended), which boasts of many crazy inventions, Nitin Das, an IIM Lucknow graduate and the creative genius behind the project, says, "I had always been inclined towards filmmaking and decided to call my management career quits. Neither has anyone attempted a 90-minute feature film on the campus, nor has this genre been touched." But why this quirky name? "Coming from IITians, it had to be ahead of its times. It’s set in the year 2010, and the name plays a vital role," he adds.

Casting ouch!

Director and script writer Das affirms that zeroing on the cast was a big issue, but as IIT had a Dance and Dramatics society (D ‘n’ D), things became simpler. "I conducted a nine-day workshop on filmmaking at IIT Delhi in January and met a lot of talented people. Realising their passion for films, I decided to make the film. I auditioned students and finalised the cast."

Let’s talk money, honey

Though the cast and crew don’t want to divulge details about their monetary investment, the group in charge of the film’s marketing says "it is quite something". "What we are primarily investing is our time and talent," says Harshal, a third year IIT student handling the film’s marketing.

Overcoming obstacles

Why haven’t many films been attempted on the campus in the past? Is it primarily due to lack of funds and the right guidance? "Yes, that’s true. It took us a month to get approvals from different departments within the college. First, I had to get permission from the D ‘n’ D Society, then the Board of Recreational and Cultural Activities and finally the dean," says Das.

The students made effective use of technological expertise available at the college. "We’ve made gadgets out of scrap material, equipment available in the labs and some inventions that ex-students made over the years," informs Tarun Singhal, who plays Magga (the bookworm).

Rolling on the campus

"As we have our classes during the day, we rehearse at night. We are only allowed to shoot on weekends and till now, we have shot twice. We made ample use of the campus area and shot in classrooms, lecture theatre and terrace. We are also planning to shoot a scene at the Tughlaqabad Fort soon," reveals Nishant Kumar, who plays the baddie in the film.

Future of independent filmmaking

Das finds the future promising but the present bleak. "Independent filmmaking is in its infant stage in India. People don’t attempt such projects as they fear huge expenses. Films like these are story and talent-driven, equipments come later. But sadly, there are no groups or societies who could provide a sound platform to people with such vision," concludes Das.

*********************************

A short trailer of the film is available on Google here (final trailer) and on YouTube here.

Wish you all the best Ashish and the 'Formula 69' team. I plan to be there at the screening of 'Formula 69'. Good luck to you and your whole team :-)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Diwali and floor decorations like 'Rangoli' and 'Aripan'

Diya lit over the 'Aripan' and 'Rangoli' at the entrance of my house on 'Diwali' - Photo by me

Diwali - the festival of lights ... and sweets :-)
I also like another aspect of Diwali - the rituals of floor decorations. The most poplar and well-known form seems to be 'Rangoli'. In fact the word 'Rangoli' is also often used as a synonym for any kind of Indian traditional floor decoration.

These floor-decorations are a form of Indian folk art and is usually done by the women folk of the house. The motifs are uaually natural or geometric motifs. These floor decorations not only enhance the beauty of the surroundings, it also brings about warmth and hospitality.

This link aptly describes the following about 'Rangoli' and is also true for any other form of floor decoration commonly used in India:-
"Rangoli is a traditional Indian art created to decorate the ground in front of houses and places of worship to attract Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth. Designs are created using decorative patterns marked out on the floor. The drawing of Rangoli patterns is often combined with rituals associated with auspicious occasions, such as major festivals and celebrations. The patterns are usually drawn by the women of the household in villages in parts of India; and in some places it is a daily ritual to mop and clean the entrance to the home and then make beautiful drawings in the doorways as a message of welcome."

It also tells about the different names for different types of floor decoration in India:
"There are different names for this craft depending on what part of India it comes from. There are Alpana from West Bengal, Aripan from Bihar and Orissa, Sathiya from Gujarat, Mandana from Raysatham, Kolam from Tamil Nadu and Rangoli from Maharastra."

Diya lit over the 'Aripan' and 'Rangoli' at the entrance of my house on 'Diwali' - Photo by me


'Diya' lit over an 'Aripan' at the entrance of my house on 'Diwali' - Photo by Rashmiman

I have seen my grandmother make beautiful 'Aripan' on the floor during different occasions, festivals, marriage ceremonies, etc. and I have always been fascinated by the free-hand flow while drawing. 'Aripan' is made using rice paste. Rice is soaked overnight, ground into a paste and then with the right amount of water added to it to make the right consistency, the 'Aripan' is drawn, prominently with the 'ring-finger'. My 'Aripan' is nowhere close to what my grandmother used to draw, or still draws. Nonetheless, I do try my hand at it off and on. I make sure to draw even a small motif on Diwali ... and honestly, I enjoy doing that. This time, I also tried a small motif with 'Rangoli' and the pictures here are of those at the entrance of my house.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A 'Punjabi Dhaba' - Haveli



These are photos of a restaurant, a 'Punjabi Dhaba' named 'Haveli' near Karnal, Punjab, where we went during our journey from Ludhiana to Delhi. Good place for a change.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pictures of an Indian Village



Here are some more photos from a typical north-Indian village. I have been to quite a few villages and have seen that some things typically remain the same or similar, although the exact details might vary. These pictures are of some such things.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Durga Pooja

Durga Pooja, this festival is not merely another Indian festival for me. It evokes a lot of happy memories from my childhood. Durga Pooja used to be the most awaited and the festival with most fun, even more enjoyable than Holi or Diwali.

Having lived very close to the Bengali community and having many Bengali friends, Durga Pooja became an important festival for my family as well. The enthusiasm that went into the preparation of the festival, watching the clay idol of Goddess Durga being made, the Pooja ‘Pandals’ being constructed (every year with a new theme and the competition among the neighbouring areas as to whose was the best), the excitement when we used to go to visit all the other ‘Pandals’ and Poojas in the nearby areas (of course, in our new outfits), the fascination to participate in the ‘Pushpanjali’ (morning prayer offering flowers to the Goddess) and the overall festivity mood used to be amazing - specially on the three days- ‘Ashtami’, ‘Navami’ and ‘Dashmi’ (eighth, ninth and tenth day of the festival).


So far any other festival has not been as fascinating and enjoyable as Durga Pooja. Even when I went and stayed at different places for my higher studies and jobs, I have always missed this festival and the celebrations. Some things leave everlasting memories and memories of Durga Pooja celebrations from my childhood days is among them.

Only when I went for higher studies, stayed in hostels and met people from different communities, states and cultures did I come to know the different ways in which people celebrate during the same time as ‘Durga Pooja’ in the form of ‘Navratri’ and ‘Dussehra’.

This year I went with family and friends to visit the Durga Pooja at Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi. It was certainly not the same as compared to the memories that I have, yet, it was a reminder of those celebrations and it was good. The pictures here are of two separate celebrations at C.R. Park.

Pictures of Durga Pooja at Chittaranjan Park

Friday, September 08, 2006

'The Power of Your Subconscious Mind' - Book by Dr.Joseph Murphy


I have been reading a book that has been highly recommended by my cousin, brother and sister - 'The Power of Your Subconscious Mind' by Dr. Joseph Murphy.
I have just started reading it a few days back but the concept has engrossed me. While reading it, I have been recalling incidents from my life and trying to relate to it and find it to be very true. There are many things in it which we were taught in our childhood and I used to follow. But in our day to day hectic life, we forget about some of the basic and simple things or simply ignore many things. Reading this book is like relating back to the events in my life and also become the positive and optimistic me that I used to be. It is like being inspired again to stop worrying and thinking negative and start being positive and optimistic consciously. I would like to quote some lines here from this book:
"..there are two levels to your mind - the conscious or rational level and the subconscious or irrational level. You think with your conscious mind, and whatever you habitually think sinks down into your subconscious mind, which then creates according to the nature of your thoughts. Your subconscious mind is the seat of your emotions. It is the creative mind. If you think good, good will follow; if you think evil, evil will follow. This is the way your mind works.
The most important point to remember is this: Once the subconscious mind accepts an idea, it begins to execute it. It is an astonishing and subtle truth that the law of the subconscious mind works for good and bad ideas alike. This law, when applied in a negative way, is the cause of failure, frustation and unhappiness. When your habitual thinking is harmonious and constructive, however, you experience perfect health, success and prosperity."
So need to be careful about thoughts and wishes. As the book also says:
"Change your thoughts and you change your destiny."

Monday, September 04, 2006

Color Psychology

Ever since I was in collge, I have been very much interested in color-psychology. As an art student and later as a design student, I found it really fascinating to read about colors and color-psychology. The symbolosim and psychological effects of different colors are interesting fields of study. There might be different opinions and views about these fields, but I still find these subjects really interesting.
It is really amazing how much your colour preferences can tell about you. I had come across a color-quiz on http://colorquiz.com/ and find it quite intesting to evaluate and see the results which are pretty close as far as I have tried. Try it and see. It would be interesting to know what others feeel about this or how correct they find it to be.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Self Motivation

The quotation on my desk today reads:
"Don't let this day pass without doing something to make your dreams come true."
Very motivating ... so I must go back to work and do something that would bring me closer to my dreams. One needs to be self-motivated quite often and that is what I am trying to do :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rishikesh and Haridwar Trip

We left for Haridwar early morning on 12th in our car. We reached Haridwar but found it quite crowded and not fascinating enough to stay. So we continued our journey to Rishikesh. We found a place along the Ganges Bank, at Omkaranand Ghat, near Ram Jhoola, to stay. The view was quite nice and the steps just led to the Ghat and the Ganges which was the most fascinating aspect.

When we reached there and went to the Ghat in the evening, there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky. It was a half circle with the middle part seeming to be partly hidden by the clouds. It lasted for quite some time and I was so fascinated by the view that I took several
pictures.

View of the Rainbow beyond Ram Jhoola, 12th Aug.'06

The Ganges water level was quite high and there was no river rafting possible. The water was quite cold, in fact chilling, but still a bath in the Ganges water was quite refreshing.

On 13th, we went to visit the Laxman Jhoola over the Ganges and the Neelkanth Temple, which was quite high on the hills. We took a rented car but the drive up the hills was very enjoyable and with nice view. However, the disappointing part was that the temple premises and inside the tepmple was quite dirty and was not maintained at all.

The clouds and the hills near Neelkanth Temple, Rishikesh 13th Aug.'06

In the evening, we went to the opposide side to see the Aarti (evening prayer) more closely at the temple there. There was a huge crowd that had gathered on the Ghat and people seemed to be immersed in the musical Aarti and prayer.

People Gathered for Aarti in the evening at Rishikesh, 13th Aug.'06

Early morning (before sunrise) view from the Omkaranand Ghat of Ram Jhoola, 15th Aug.'06


Next day, on 14th, we went to Haridwar again in the evening. Haridwar was really crowded at the time of Aarti, but we could not see. We returned back to Rishikesh the same evening. We left from Rishikesh early morning on 15th. I got up early to enjoy the early morning view on the banks and the view was really beautiful. I had seen the sunrise and sunset even a day before but this view before sunrise was simply fascinating.

More pictures of Rishikesh and Haridwar which I have been planning to post but have not done so far. Overall it was a nice change from and good sightseeing.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Leaving for Haridwar and Hrishikesh

Early morning on 12th, we are leaving for Haridwar and Hrishikesh. Small group and looking forward to the brief trip during the long weekend !

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Flowers After Rain



The summer heat had made all the plants in the flower pots at my house wilt. On top of that, I had been away and many plants dried completely. But just after little bit of rain, it was so amazing to see some beautiful flowers and leaves coming out. I would say, there has hardly been any rain here, but then nature has its own way and cycle.

Some more photos taken are here


Friday, August 04, 2006

Rainbow



Today, after a long long time I saw a rainbow, and that too in Gurgaon where there is hardly any rain. I was sitting on the front seat of the car when I saw and tried to take some pictures from within the car. The results are not very good, but on a little close observation, the rainbow can be seen.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Quotation

I had read this quotation many years back and have recalled it many times in life. Today again I read it and find it so true.
"Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become."
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table,
1858US author & physician (1809 - 1894)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

In the loving memory of Bittu Chacha

Today it is a decade that we lost you. But I feel you are still among us, in our family. Your memory has never faded. We all loved you and still love you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mumbai Blasts

Yesterday itself I wrote the post 'Life is sweeping by' and yesterday evening those Mumbai blasts took place in the local trains ! I came across the news only today morning so yesterday night when I got an sms from my uncle telling 'we are ok' I could not figure out that it was sent with a specific purpose. I have lots of friends and relatives who stay in Mumbai now but fortunately whoever I am in touch with are all safe and sound.
I have personally stayed in Mumbai for about three and half years and travelled in the local trains and it was really scary and horrifying to hear the news.

Life seems to be so fleeting and uncertain when you hear of such things. One fine day, someone goes to office never to return back home .... You come to realize how precious is life and how fortunate are we to have all our loved ones with us. I had a similar kind of feeing when I had heard about the 11-Sept attack in US. People would have left for office, not even imagining that they would never come back home ! We do not know what the next day or the next hour or the next second has in store for us.
Somehow I felt compelled to write a few lines today. After hearing the news, I called most of my friends about whom I did not have any news. One of them had not taken the train and had come back in the car of a friend. One of them was sick and he did not go to office and his wife returned early from office sice he was sick at home... both of them travel in the local trains and in the same route where the blasts took place and the usually the same time and in first class! Another friend had to go to Borivli but did not go. The person who fell sick would not have felt good about falling sick at that time, but his falling sick could well be the reason for his life being saved and that too of his wife's.
I don't know if this is relevant here but I am suddenly reminded of something that I had read many years ago :
We have, each one of us, a task to do, a role to fulfil, a place which we alone can occupy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Life is Sweeping By

Quoting here a few lines for inspiration.
Rest not! Life is sweeping by;
Go and dare before you die.
Something mighty and sublime
Leave Behind to conquer time.
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Sometimes I feel life is so short and there is so much to do, so much that I want to do and know... and there is only twenty four hours in a day !!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

India Gate in the Evening


Last week I went to India Gate with my family guests and their kids. We also went for boating there in the small pool of water that they have. There was heavy wind that evening and water from the fountain made us all wet and the kids loved it.
I had gone to India Gate for a visit after a very long time. Otherwise I see it only as as a passerby sometimes. It felt good to go there as a 'tourist' this time :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Family Time

It has been family time for me for more than a week. Lots of people at my home including kids. In fact I took a leave for two days to be with them and then it was second Saturday, so it turned out to be a long weekend. But the heat is so intense here that outings for a day or two for the guests turned into fever and sickness.

I have hardly got time to spend on the internet, other than in office and in office there has been so much work that I hardly get time for anything. Late working hours have started here as well now. I joined this company when it's new venture had not even started completely. That is why it is now good to see our efforts bearing some fruits now.. or at least approaching towards that.
Even though it was very hectic at home, it was good to take a brief break from work and start this new week afresh.

UPDATE : Some photographs of the outings are
here.

Inside The Metropolitan Mall, Gurgaon

Monday, May 01, 2006

NIFT, Mumbai Campus




These are the recent pictures of NIFT, Mumbai campus taken during my last trip to Mumbai early April. My cousin, who is studying there now took me around the new campus, part of which was to be inaugurated in a few days.

More pictures are here

This new campus is located in Khargarh, Navi Mumbai. This is very different to the temporary campus we had at Dadar, Mumbai, and for obvious reasons. It was located in a part of Tata Mills Compound, till the time the new campus came up. Although compared to the new campus, the old one was quite small, but being located in the center of the city had its advantages as well.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mumbai Trip

I am writing here after quite a long gap. Life has been really busy with all the travelling, increasing work pressure and late working hours at office.
I went to attend the 'Intex' garment and accessories fair in Mumbai on 6th and 7th April. It was after almost four and half years that I went to Mumbai since I had left from there. The moment I stepped out of the aircraft, my palms were moist and there it was... I was in Mumbai !
One thing that I had not liked about Mumbai was the humidity there and specially durring the summer. Mumbai did not seem to have changed much. The spirit of Mumbai, the rush hours, the local trains, the busy lives, all seemed to be the same. Only I felt as if I had slowed down as compared to Mumbai's fast paced life... although personally my life is much more hectic now than it was in Mumbai.
Also got to meet some old friends and relatives there and it was a good time spent with them and all the kids there. My first short trip to Pune during the weekend, specially the bus drive via Lonavala was also good.
Back from there and again a lot of the pending work to take care of that was waiting for me to come back !!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

FIEO - FIIB Training Programme on enhancement of "Presentation and Communication Skills"

I attended a Training Programme on behalf of my company on enhancement of "Presentation and Communication Skills" (23rd & 24th Feb, '06) organised by Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO) in association with Fortune Institute of International Business (FIIB) at PHD House, New Delhi.

Some of the topics covered covered during this programme were :

# Some basics and introduction on Effective Business Communication : This was a general session on effective communication - thinngs that most of us know but need to revise at times.

# Public Speaking (Extempore) - This was video recorded and later on there was a playback of Public speaking and feedback was given by the audience. This gave one the opportunity of viewing one's own performance as a viewer and judge oneself. The intersting fact is that the fear of 'Public Speaking' is on the topmost among survey results… even the fear of death ranks after the fear of public speaking.

# Business Etiquette:- This comprised of things like attire, handshake, personal habits, telephone etiquettes and cross cultural dining etiquette.

# Effective Business Communication:- This comprised of verbal and non-verbal communication, including body language, gestures, etc.

# Good Business Writing :- This also included e-mails which is the most important tool for present day business communication.

# Cross Cultural Business Behavoiur:- This topic comprised of things like Deal-focused cultures, moderately deal-focused and relationship-focussed cultures.

# Cross-Cultural Communication:- This was a very intersting topic for people who are required to do business travel. This would specially be useful for people who are less travelled or for people who would be travelling to a certain region / culture for the first time.

# Two short films were shown on effective communication which were quite interesting and illustrative.

# There were a Role play and a Case Study: These were interactive sesions.

FEEDBACK :
1.) How did you find the Training Programme?

I felt that the topics covered were very relevant and useful. However the whole session could have been more useful and interesting by adding more games / excercises so that the whole thing would have been more interactive. At times during the session it felt like theoretical class. Also the venue for this programme was not appropriate. It was a small warm room and many people present.

2.) How has the training programme benefited you?

Some things were a revision of what we know but tend to forget in our day-to-day lives about communication and presentation. We all know that different cultures have different etiquettes and behaviours. But the way a summary was presented for cross-cultural communication and business behaviour and the role-play related to it was interesting. It would benefit while dealing with people of different global cultures. The public speaking exercise and video playback, self-evaluation and audiendce feedback after that was quite helpful in highlighting the errors and mistakes that need to be corrected during public speaking or presentation.

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Cloudy Sunday Evening


Gurgaon, 26 Feb '06, Sunday

Wow ! What a pleasant weather it was this Sunday. I was tempted to take some pictures during sunset. After a long time it seems I spent a whole day at home. Enjoyed it .. specially with the lovely weather.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Art: 'After Study'


Title : 'AFTER STUDY' (1997)
Rajasthan Lalit Kala Akademi Award at the state level
17th Annual Students’ Art Exhibition, Jaipur, 1997.
This is a digital photograph of one of my awarded artwork when I was in college - this photograph taken now almost eight years after it was awarded. Many thanks to the Fine Art Department of my college who kept this safe in their custody for so many years ... I recently brought it back from my college.
This is a 'collage' made of kite-paper. When I had created it, I had not expected it to last so long, at least not the colors of the colorful kite-papers. Surprisingly enough for me, it HAS lasted so long :-) . The colors might have faded somewhat but very little and is not very apparent.
Looking at this and some old artwork and paintings from my college days I feel like going back to the world of art and paintings and creativity ... maybe sometime in future life when money and job is less important than it is now !!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Art and Creativity

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
- Scott Adams

How true and inspiring I had found these lines when I had read this a few years back and even now I find these lines very motivating.

Till the time one experiments with new ideas, creates something out of a new idea, one might not know the worth of it. We were often taught and inspired in Art and Fashion institutes to think, to create something, keep creating till you are satisfied with some of your work. How a rough sketch from a vague idea or a scribbled life sketch can turn into a beautiful work of art, be it in the form of a painting, a 'collage', a print, a graphic... or any other form of art, used to be so amazing. What a world of difference there is from the initial rough sketches to the final work of art ! Inspiration, imagination, visualisation and creative expression - all form a part of the creative process.

We keep trying to find short-cuts in life. How seldom we remeber the lessons learnt in schools and colleges while going through life !! Yet How true many of these lessons seem to be when related to the practicalities of life. If only we could remember all the lessons learnt !

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New Age Dawn

The evening is here.
The stars light up the sky.
The sun sets
Behind the horizon.
The birds fly back
To their nests.
The night falls
And embraces the darkness.
It is time to rest,
Time to sleep.
Nature rests.

But the city awakens.
Awakens as if
The life begins now,

As if this is
The new age dawn.
As if man has created
Another life
Against nature.

-Seema Kumar
9th Feb'06

Friday, February 03, 2006

More Photos from NIFT Fashion Spectrum, Delhi

It was good to see the Fashion Show designed, choreographed, modelled and presented by students. Good Job.

The confusions and preparations at the back-stage, the glamour of the ramp, the hard-work of the designers ... was a spectator of all this and in some ways participant as well.

Some more photos for the 1st day at Fashion Spectrum are here

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fashion spectrum at NIFT

Today I went to NIFT, Delhi and was reminded about my own days at NIFT.

NIFT Fasion Spectrum is going to start tomorrow till 3rd Feb and today I had gone there as a part of a sponsoring company, Malwa. Not as a student. Looking at the busy students, the preparation for the Fashion show and other events, the enthusiasm, etc. all reminded me of of the days when I was at NIFT.

When you first think about these fashion or design institutes, the fashion shows, etc., its simply gets associated with fashion and glamour. A layman would probably have a very rosy picture about the whole thing. Only when you actully go there or get closely associated with these things, you come to know about the hard work and the sweat, the sleepless nights, the endless effort put together behind the glamour and the ramp.

It specially reminded me of my own Design Collection for the final Fashion Show.... and the sleepless nights spent at NIFT re-stitching the garments for the show after I had received the comments from the Jury. If it would not have been for my parents and grandfather who were coming all the way to Mumbai just to see the fashion Show and my final collection, I would probably not have had the patience and courage to re-do the whole collection in the last 2-3 days. many thanks to the 2-3 friends who helped me with my collecteion in spite of them being busy with their own collection as well.

Later on I don't know how many times the thought had crossed my mind if I could have had a second chance to do my Final Design Collection, what all I would have done. But like someone has said.. Time and tide waits for none. And you always don't get a second chance.

Although I am from NIFT, Mumbai, but have always been associated with NIFT, Delhi, more so because we were from the first batch of Knitwear Design and Technology (KDT) at Mumbai. Being the first batch of this course in Mumbai, we faced a lot of teething problems and we used to look towards NIFT, Delhi for solutions.

Looking at the students today, I felt like becoming a student again ! Tomorrow the Fashion Spectrum begins and I wish all the NIFTians all the best and a great time.
http://niftindia.com/

Monday, January 30, 2006

A page from my Diary

SILENCE

Silence.
But words
Echo
Within my heart.
Darkness.
But my eyes
Behold
Several scenes.
Sleep.
But I dream
I am wide awake.
Voices tell me
“You are an eccentric,
You are a fool.”
I listen with patience.
In silence.
In the darkness.
In my sleep.
And suddenly
I get up
And start running
I know not
Why… ?
Where… ?
What for… ?
Probably because I am
An eccentric ?
A fool ?
Silence.
Darkness.
Sleep.


- Seema
Written on 26th August, 1996
B.V.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Child Birth

Happy Birthday Tejal.

I can never forget this night a year ago.

It was not just another winter night.

I was in the nursing home with my mom and aunt. Sleepy, yet sleepless because of pain. The gynaecologist had come and gone. The nurses kept coming and going. Your heart-beats were monitored. We could hear your heartbeats loud? even before we could see you.

It seemed to be the longest night ever. Every 5-10 minutes, there was a sharp pain. I tried almost evrything that I could think of ? distract your thoughts, breath deep, breathe in ? breathe out ? everything that could possibly reduce the pain. But the pain and the night seemed endless .....

The pain kept increasing. At about 3:00am, my mom called the nurse who injected a needle in my arm for saline drops. We kept hoping that you would come to this world soon and relieve me of the pain but the nurses kept telling us that it would take time? few more hours !!

About 10:00 am and I was getting exhausted and trying my best to be patient. The only question I was asking was? how long? how much more time?? Finally I was taken to the ?Labor Room?? and then started another round of efforts to bring you into this world ? more hours in pain.
I asked the nurses and Doctor if I could get something to reduce the pain but I was told how could there be child-birth without pain !! I only wished the medical science in India was more advanced to be able to provide painless child-birth or child-birth with reduced pain !!

All my efforts did not seem to be enough. I tried all my will power not to scream in pain? but I did? sometimes. My will power was diminishing and I finally told the Doctor I could not make more efforts. She kept trying but prepared for the Caesarian as well? but it was not required. At 1:20 pm on 26th jan '05, you came to this world.

I only remember asking if you were a boy or a girl, heard you cry, felt another sort of pain as the Gynaecologist injected me with an anaesthesia while she continued giving me stitches ? and I was unconscious.

When I regained consciousness, I was on the stretcher, being taken to another room. As I tried to open my eyes I saw and heard my father congratulate me.

The ultrasound report and the doctor had told your size was big. You were thin but tall, 3.4 Kg and with a lot of black hair.

The pain was still unbearable because of the stitches and made me unable to sit. When I tried to sit and hold you for the first time, I was again unconscious.

My colleagues, who were also young mothers, had told me that you forget all pain when you hold your baby for the first time. Yes, the pain seemed never-ending ? but just the sight of you, another life, small hands and feet, small fingers? all a part of you? seemed to be amazing.

At this time I could feel what my mother must have felt when she held me, her first baby, for the first time and what probably you would feel when you have your first baby. As many have said - this pain and this feeling is something only a woman can experience... the experience of nurturing a life within you for nine months and seeing it live and kicking and crying after your encounter with pain.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Quotes for Self Motivation

Photo by SK, 9th Oct'05

Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.

Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.

Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for your convenience, not the caller's.

Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.

Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.

Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets.

Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the one's you did.

Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.

Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.

Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.

Avoid sarcastic remarks.

Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.

Once in a while, take the scenic route.

Always accept an outstretched hand.

Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stillness of the Night

Photo by SK

The flickering light
The stillness of the night
It all reminds me
How silent
Life can seem to be
Without the ones
Who are close
To our hearts.
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Friday, January 20, 2006

How I Wish



































How I Wish

My little angel
My little darling
How I wish
You were here
Just right next to me
Or sitting on my lap
Making all worries vanish
Even if only momentarily...
Just with your
beautiful smile.

How I wish
I could hold your little hands
Hear your laughter
Encourage your efforts to talk
Take you in my arms
And let you fall sleep.

How I wish
You were not
So far away from me :(