September 16, 2013

Khoon

खून

काश के खून भी पानी जैसा होता 
न जमता , न जलता , न काला पड़ जाता 

काश के खून भी पानी जैसा होता 
उन्माद सा बहता , उमड़ता 
बिना भेद भाव के , बिना रंग राग के 
बस अपने आगोश में ले लेता 
फिर एक रंग हो कर लहरों सा झूमता 

काश के खून भी पानी जैसा होता
काश...

- मीनाक्षी

September 14, 2013

Sunlit Hearts - Book Review

Book Title– Sunlit Hearts
Author -  Meenu Mehrotra
Publisher - Vitasta Publishing Pvt Ltd
ISBN - 978-93-80828-78-7
Price -  Rs 295/-
Pages –  238
Genre – Romance
My Rating  - 4 / 5
Snapshot
“ A wound is the place where light enters the heart” -  a quote from the book
Medha, an aspiring writer develops feelings for Nikhil in college but her feelings are not reciprocated. Forced to bury her feelings of true love, Medha agrees to an arranged marriage to Rishi. After sixteen years of sedate and lackluster marriage, she bumps into Nikhil again but this time she is a confident and successful writer and the glamour in her married life is amiss. She could not deny herself getting pulled towards Nikhil and moves with the flow into a passionate relationship with Nikhil. She stands on a threshold where she has to weigh and analyze her feelings as a lover, her loyalties and commitment as a wife, responsibilities and duties as a mother and a daughter. A difficult struggle she undergoes which shook her internally and externally, a tug of war, a tempest too strong to surmount. A woman’s emotions are so aesthetically and profoundly expressed without hinting an opinion of right and wrong, Meenu Mehrotra, the author takes the reader on a deep and intriguing journey of emotions, feelings which stirs the soul and provides an ending on creating peace and beauty with her self.
My Review
A tale of a contemporary woman, discovering herself through topsy turvy journey of love travelling as a one sided lover, a daughter, a wife in an arranged marriage, a mother and then completing the circle by communing with the passionate lover and the ultimate realization, story which covers a 360 degrees reflection of today’s woman.
Medha is portrayed as a daughter and her well being in her marriage is a concern for her father, as a mother of a teenager and the responsibilities to be performed, as a perfect wife for her loving husband, as a lover for her long lost incomplete love, as a friend seeking approval from her friend and above all as a woman who is all of these and carving an identity and wandering for feeling complete within.
I congratulate the author Meenu Mehrotra for portraying her woman character Medha, a contemporary woman with a successful career and a woman brave enough to take her decisions of life despite the stereotypical constraints of society and motherhood. In a typical viewpoint, there is infidelity in marriage that too by an Indian wife but even that is conveyed so beautifully and aesthetically as nothing wrong but a mandatory journey to complete herself and being at peace with herself. It’s a brave attempt and successful too, where like real life, everything is not black and white. The concept of open marriage is brought about and discussed in light and depth between the couples. A wonderful depiction of a woman’s inner thoughts and a brave expression by the writer Meenu Mehrotra who didn’t pollute the love outside marriage with moral rules and where protagonist does not feel guilty for infidelity. I loved travelling with Medha through her journey of discovering herself and connecting the dots towards a soulful marriage.
In the end Medha finds a friend in her husband whom she always craved for and when Medha says coming back to her husband Rishi that “It had taken me sixteen years and a Nikhil to discover him. Rishi and Nikhil, both were a part of my seamless and sacred sky” reflects that Medha does not lessen the importance of her love and feelings for Nikhil as a casual temporary affair but as a needed and important milestone to reach to her destination.
“You never leave someone behind; you take a part of them with you, and leave a part of yourself behind” - A quote from the book
Through her story, a question is provoked in mind about the soul being satiated and happy despite possessing that happy family quotient. Meenu Mehrotra has done a wonderful job by switching to specific viewpoints from the character itself by dwelling into both a man’s psyche as well as woman’s , which comes difficult.
Also I would like to add the story seems very relatable for a Delhite reader with Delhi’s locales and backdrop shown. The locales of NCR are beautified and found a new glamour for the readers since that was the forcing impetus of conflict for Medha being caged in Dubai. The intrigue is maintained so very well that reader gets glued to it, I could not put down the book and finished it all in a night.
The entire journey of hers through travelling and living like a gypsy and coming back home, just like a mirror showed her the beauty lying within and she discovered herself, lost and found woman. I must congratulate the writer for this wonderful novel and look forward to future writing from Meenu Mehrotra.

July 2, 2013

AHA TE AROHA




What is Te Aroha?
Just another resort in Hills, well the answer is no.Beauty, luxury, aesthetics, modern amenities, soulful experience,a perfect combo offering all this...
Te Aroha, is not just a resort but a pristine poem inked in hues of flowers, written in the lap of Himalayas rhymed on the music of rain and chirping birds  sung with clouds  dancing around..... simply breathtaking

Where is Te Aroha?

Feeling is the best memoir…and I had the opportunity to have a memoir there at Te AROHA..a boutique resort in Dhanachauli
located at an altitude of 2300 m with picturesque views of the surrounding Himalayan mountain ranges and valleys

A perfect refuge away from urban hum drums especially for romantics and artisans seeking solitude and tranquility, for a complete soulful experience.

Why Te Aroha Unique?

The flora and fauna, thoughtfully placed choicest pots in marble,terracotta and lime pots, some shaped as frogs, or folded hands in the steps seems like a red carpet to a pristine space. The creator and chairman, Sumant Batra has put his sheer artistry, appreciation for nature, art, literature through this labor of love, which originally was his summer house.



Beautiful arrangements of flowers are floated around spreading joy, colors  and then while you are walking on the steps or a small turn, you will find apples, pears hanging over you head, too fresh and tempting to resist, its infotainment for urban kids generally over loaded with gadgets.




The corporate lawyer, Sumant Batra creator of this beauty ....and a true gentleman has kept his  eclectic collection which takes you directly to your childhood and youth. Preserving the past so elegantly be it comics, matchboxes, typewriter, kettles or movie posters, sewing machines or Machine ke tel ki kuppi all that has a charm enthusing a sense of belonging there.

It’s a place to make a connection with universe, peaceful serene and beautiful.


Quality of service
The staff is so prompt in service and always smiling, it was raining cats and dogs still a young smiling handsome boy came with an endearing smile and tray of hot pakodas and grilled sandwiches and lot of warmth.


Romantic Rooms
Now the rooms, where every nook and corner is tastefully decorated and every artifact is placed with a romantic sensibilities. Generally rooms in good hotels are neatly and beautifully arranged but this one had the personal touch reflecting the aesthetic sensibilities of the creator…be it the bed or the smallest item as matchbox…designed uniquely beautiful.
I found a table to keep knick knacks which was actually a musical instrument turned into a table which kept my 5 year old daughters intrigued, creatively engaged when they tried palying it producing various sounds. The room key did not have a number but the name MORNING SUN. How hopeful is that!



The restaurant offers sumptuous and fresh food and healthy delicacies.
The library possesses eclectic collection of books, coffee table books standing right in the middle. The prime attraction for kids and adults was the recreation hall, erected on the top with wide and clear view of the valley and landscape around and enough indoor games for all age groups. My daughters loved the antique swings and antique collection.

May 31, 2013

Meenaxi's Magic Mantras Series 1-8

  1. It's your choice to feel low or laugh it off thinking others' behaviour lowly! - Meenaxi's Magic Mantra # 1

  2. Perseverance is the greatest talent

  3. Complete forgiveness is the only remedy and the best revenge - Meenaxi's Magic Mantra # 3

  4. Being in love doesn't mean being tamed; instead those arms around you become your wings to fly - Meenaxi's Magic Mantra # 4

  5. Let love be the answer to all the questions - Meenaxi Magic Mantra # 5

  6. Shed all the fear, the next moment is Cheer - Meenaxi's Magic mantra # 6

  7. Why crawl when you can fly, When you can do it, why try ? - Meenaxi's Magic mantra # 7

  8. OLD friends keep you young - Meenaxi's Magic Mantra # 8

April 18, 2013

What’s your Legacy.. Material or Memories?

 

What is our legacy for our children…Material or Memories?
Childhood stays as the most cherished and beautiful phase in anyone’s life. What our kids would reminisce most about their childhood? How our kids would remember us eventually? Let us take a moment to ask ourselves and reflect?
We are struggling day and night for securing a better future for our children. In the process of facilitating them a luxurious lifestyle, pacing up with peer pressure, somewhere, securing in the future , the present itself is getting missed.

Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”    Richard L. Evans 

The early years are the formative years, casting an impression of living a life. Are we setting the right example? These formative years develop a strong foundation of a kid, cultivate into an emotionally secure human being. So the involvement and the attention required from the parents is the most in these years. When we remember our childhood, the most endearing moments are our happy times with our parents…Hence the most precious thing we can give to our children is our time…quality time. We are sacrificing the together time fulfilling the demands of our children with their favorite branded toys, gadgets, video games. Of course high life, better education and secure future is important but where is the limit? Parents are the school for life for children. If we are mentally absent translating our love with material assets, we might not be their idols, friendly mentors than just being their financiers. The balance is important to maintain and actually live a quality life.

As somebody has profoundly quoted:
To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today. Anonymous

Life is unpredictable, and for any reason, we leave this world earlier than expected, then all memories our child is left behind with is the time we have spent with them and developed long lasting memoirs.

Shower your love, and valuable time to let them miss your absence even when you are alive and away. For some grownup teenagers, parents are just walking ATMs, and it’s not merely their fault.
It’s a choice to make, be their financier or be their lifelong mentor, friend and a loved parent. It’s time to get mentally, emotionally and physically involved with your child, , sculpting your tomorrow. That’s the best investment in your kid’s future and one step ahead towards Holistic parenting.

March 29, 2013

Preet Key Phool


प्रीत के फूल 

कुछ शिकवें हैं  
नासूर से, अंगारों से 
दफ्न हैं मेरी सिम्त में 
दहकते सिन्दूरी लाल 
ना छेड़ो इन्हें कि ज्वालामुखी फूट जाएंगे 

इंतेज़ार है तो बस उस बरसात का 
जब ये दह्कते शोले बर्फ़ हो जायेंगे 
इस ग़र्म बेनूर राख़  में 
प्रीत भरे रिश्तों के फूल खिल आएंगे 

-मीनाक्षी 

March 20, 2013

Hope Seeks Despair


I am desperate
For you
I believe
So are you

The rain pours there
On the most dry patch
In the darkest backdrop
The spark Illuminates the most

If there is despair
Hope stays just the next door
When I seek you
Wholeheartedly, insanely
You will appear
Absolutely, Abundantly

February 22, 2013

Tick-Tock, We’re 30 : Book Review



     Book Name - Tick-Tock, We're 30
     Author – Milan Vohra
     Publishr – Westland
     Pages – 412
     Pricee – INR 250
     My Rating – 3/5
     
Snapshot

     Interesting, isn’t it, how someone is always utterly attractive to someone else? For every male tree frog, there is a female tree frog whose dry skin and warts and bulging eyes are the most divine. And to you, Lara Bagai, a karela is a thing of beauty, Nishad comments.·    
So he remembers I love karela. So what?I take it your interest in frogs is purely academic? I snigger.  'I promise you I am not in danger of being madly besotted by one anytime soon,' he half-smiles.

·         The clock is ticking towards Lara’s thirtieth birthday and the whole gang is coming together to celebrate it. It’s a pact they made back then to meet when they all finally turned that age. So far, so cool. What isn’t cool is the other pact Lara had made one tipsy evening with Nishad. To marry each other if neither of them were hitched by then.
·          
·         The last thing Lara wants is to give Nishad the pleasure of knowing he was right about Ranndeep being so wrong for her. Ranndeep, all-male, pro-motor racer whom shed been so sure of at the time. So there was only one thing to do. Lara would have to drum up someone else to pass off as her love interest for now. Enter flamboyant Perzaan, Turkish dude full of surprises. With the reappearance of Ranndeep and the gangs other quirky characters, its a week of audacious hookups and mix-ups. Chances are you’ll be guessing right till the end who ends up with whom, if ever.


My Feedback
                
The story line associates youth, and the plot is appealing on the happenings and reunion of friends on protagonist Lara’s 30th birthday. Some characters and events, and the setup where the gang of friends plan to rent a house in the same society appear nostalgic and easy to associate with. Lara’s meeting with the hero Nishad is interesting and her tryst to convince having another man in her life. The most interesting part is planting a fake Turkish boyfriend as a banker and the sequence of mix up after that.

And the way protagonist Lara is portrayed as a Tom Boyish woman, with a witty sense of humor and her description of her hero with physical details in an aesthetic manner. Especially , the sequence where Lara bumps in to two ladies in the painting exhibition and tries to read and sync their minds. But after mid way , the no. of the characters and their specific characteristics, get jumbled up in mind creating confusion, when the reader feels forced to find a reference about Sita the man, thin Riya, fat Riya, Lara, Nishad, Aunt Nair, Ranndeep, Lara's parents, Faviyo, Perzaan etc.The book offers melodrama, a bit of romance overpowered with non stop mental commentary and everyday sequences with flashbacks all happening in a paced up manner, 

So overall, it’s a light read and I appreciate the sense of humor the most, and the witty remarks splattered all over with dialect idioms and jokes and thank the author having portrayed Lara as today's woman. But the no. of characters and the length of the book, both could have been reduced to do the reading better and enjoyable.

This book review is a part of the Promotion conducted by Women's Web, a leading online e zine for today's women

January 25, 2013

Nakshey


नक़्शे

इक उम्र  खर्च हो गई
मैं वो नक्शा ढूँढती रही
तुझ तक पहुँचने का
तेरा दीदार पाने का
तू मुस्कुरा कर रोज़ मिलता रहा मुझे
उन नन्ही किलकारियों में ,उन बेपरवाह खुमारियों में

तू सामने हँसता रहा , मैं ऑंखें मूँद कर सो गई
मंज़िल ए मक़सूद  भूल कर बस रास्तों में खो गई

- मीनाक्षी ( 24 जनवरी , 2013 )

January 17, 2013


Are You Working ?



Are You Working?

......In any casual gathering, party, meeting, the inevitable question hits me sometimes like a lightening instantly after a name exchange or so in few secs and sometimes it slithers like a serpent after a chat of few minutes of introduction etc.….And now when I get attacked, I am prepared, 
I start with my historical background to earn some respect for my present status of being just a housewife and gradually declare my current status….

So are you working? A woman mostly befitting the 'working' criteria asks!

Oh yes, more than ever! I am working 200%....Although I have worked for 10 years in IT but now as a mom of twins I am working more than I have ever worked and please note that there is pure heartfelt joy in this current work. With no complaints and lot of love as remuneration.

What about you? Are you working? I usually ask to be courteous and feed the ego..

I am an investment banker, a program manager etc…and the answer comes with a proud posture with a dash of pity in those eyes for me.

And the words flow from the working woman for consolation...as I had pressed the agony aunt button in hers...

Hmmm……. that's good, you have taken a big decision or decision is often replaced by sacrifice, a career sabbatical, or being laid back in life….but often after the profound declaration of being a housewife…the discussion takes pauses with courteous goodbyes or other excuses…and I choose to be too dumb to not understand the loss of interest accident just happened.
All I want to ask is
Does a success scale exist where we all women/mothers have to compete, get measured and rate the success of life depending upon the status quotient or how independent as a woman I am?
I may be dependent on my husband for the financial needs for a while or forever but that’s nowhere makes me less independent as an individual.
What I propose as a common scale which can be measured is the smile/happiness in one's heart and one can choose to be smiling and happy woman/mother in life regardless of being employed. 
Moreover,A woman/mother is always working so the question is invalid. 
What are your thoughts?

Public Disclaimer : I do not opine that all women who are working possess that superior complexity syndrome but citing those accidents which I have faced and perturbed me. I have lived the life on both sides of the spectrum and for me personally both sides are beautiful and no cast of being working/non working make me any less.

January 6, 2013

ना आना फिर इस देश लाडो

ना आना फिर इस देश लाडो

पहले 

संजोए थे मैंने हज़ार सपने,आई थी जब तुम मेरी कोख से बाहर 
तेरी वो पहली रुलाई भूल नहीं पाती हूँ , बस मंद मंद मुस्काती हूँ 
बनना है तुम्हें इक डॉक्टर , मानव और समाज की सेवा को 
रखा है इक लाल जोड़ा , तुम्हे दुल्हन सा सजा देखने को 
रोज़ तेरा माथा चूम कर दुलारी, मैं तुम पर बलिहारी जाती हूँ 
तेरी वो पहली रुलाई भूल नहीं पाती हूँ, बस मंद मंद मुस्काती हूँ 

अब

अब सांस तो लेती हूँ मैं लाडो, बस रो ही नहीं पाती हूँ
सोचती हूँ उस काली भयावह रात को , सिहर कर भूल जाना चाहती हूँ

नहीं,शायद यह सच नहीं, बस एक बुरा सपना था
कि तड्पी थीं तुम उस रात एक अदद चादर को
जो ढक सकती मेरी दुलारी की, लहुलुहान काया को और आत्मा को
तुम तभी बस में मर जातीं तो अच्छा होता
की यूँ जलते ज़ख्मों से यूँ ना सामना होता

अब तुम्हारी आखिरी सिसकी को भूल नहीं पाती हूँ,
मैं ज़िंदा हूँ बस रो ही नहीं पाती हूँ
मैं तुम्हारीं क्षमाप्रार्थी हूँ
इस माँ की उजड़ी कोख़, की है मेरी निर्भया को गुहार
ना आना फिर इस देश लाडो , ना आना फिर इस देश लाडो

- मीनाक्षी ( एक माँ ) जनवरी 05, 2013