From banning “Sexy” in songs in 90s to encouraging “Yo Yo” songs! Why??

While watching a show on Anu Malik, there came a mention of the controversy caused by the “Sexy Sexy mujhe log bole” due to the word “Sexy” in 1994. The uproar by the moral brigade then caused them to censor the word and replace it with “Baby”.

21 years from that, here we are today, where the list of shamelessly objectifying songs keeps getting longer and longer. A world where weirdest of bans on personal choices are placed, but, no one goes and stops such publicly offensive songs… hope someday these songs and movies flop and we get back on track with quality Bollywood stuff.

Just a thought!

You can do what you want with 3 simple traits!

Can you academically connect the dots between “Graduation in Microbiology”, “Business Degree in Retail Management” and “Business Analyst – Marketing”? At least I could not. But, that is my background and today I am in “data visualization” field designing “dashboards”.

My movement to IBM as a “Data Visualization” guy led to a key finding in my life – “There is no set career path.. You can land any job you want if you are truly interested in it”.

The reason I decided to write about this was for thousands of those students and job aspirants who feel that they cannot do something because they are not academically trained for it.

There are 3 key traits which will helped me and might help you too –

1. Be Flexible: The speed at which technologies are changing in the current world is breathtaking. Being flexible allows one to adapt to the new job roles which come on the market. It also provides one with scope to shift careers easily

2. Be Relevant: This is the key to success. Be open to learn new stuffs and develop new skills to be relevant in the eyes of your boss/company/industry. This shows your capability to move to the next level in your career.

3. Be Expressive: Unfortunately, humans do not possess mind-reading abilities. So, if you want others to know what you think, you have to speak it out! Not asking you to shout over the rooftops, but, speak in manner suitable to the settings. There are quite a few TED talks related to how to speak and listen which can help you along the way.

If you are reading this, I am open to know other traits or skills which helped you grow and be what you are today. But, the most important thing to remember is that-

Only death can add a ‘full-stop’ in your life, everything else is just a comma

Need to connect to your “PAN” ….

After watching “Hook” today after having watched multiple times before, I had an interesting “mindbuzz”. In today’s world, it is crucial to connect with the “Peter Pan” inside you. Also, do not be a “Captain Hook”.

Every person starts as a “PAN”, but, over the time keeps turning into “Hook”. While being a baby till a preschool kid, I do not think any of us were worried about the time and politics. We enjoyed every moment, even if we get hurt, we cried and moved on. But, as we grow up, we started to become more aware of Time. Statements like “I don’t have time for … <anything>”, “That time has passed”, “There is very little time and much to do” started to fill the spaces reserved for “happy thoughts”.

In those stories, the character Captain “Hook” is a brilliant interpretation of a man besought with worries about time and past coming to get him/her. The crocodile (who had eaten a clock before) coming to kill him is the “PAST” and that tick-tock sound which terrifies him is the “TIME” or “memory of time left”. Whereas, on the other hand, it is “Peter Pan”, the boy who has no worries and enjoys all the time.

So, our entire life, the HOOK inside us is fighting with the PAN. The days of HOOK Victiory are the days when we sit around worried about us & the world. The days of PAN Victory are those when you smile in the face of any adversary. Which ones do you think are better? And is it possible to have maximum days of PAN victory.

So, connecting with the PAN and helping him in your mind is becoming more crucial, as the weapons for Hook’s arsenal are growing by the day. This will also help one to be more creative (let the thoughts fly), be confident in front of the world (let out a loud “CROW”) and fight the issues in their faces (swinging your GOLDEN SWORD).

So, find a happy thought and keep hold of it… I am started to search of mine, when are you starting yours?

“Simplest” Chocolate Cupcakes

At last, after a lot of attempts, I got the mix right and also lost the wavy tops I used to get on my cupcakes and muffins. The solution was too simple… the silicon mould I use was slightly larger than the MW Oven!!! Once I cut the mould from 6pc to 4pc… we have the official looking cupcakes.

After baking them, my cupcakes had cracked tops… thought of naming them Comatose Volcanic Choco Cupcakes, but, the name was too long. (Also, there was no lava in them, so, snip.. snip!

Comatose Volcanic Choco-Cupcakes

Comatose Volcanic Choco-Cupcakes

The recipe below was actually the one for a cake, so, if you want to bake it as a cake.. go right ahead!

Cupcake Count – 20-22 cupcakes (depends on mould)

Ingredients:

  • Maida (Refined/All-purpose flour) – 2 cups
  • Sugar (Powdered & Sifted) – 1 2/3 cup
  • Cocoa Powder – 2/3 cup
  • Butter – 2/3 cup (equal to ~150 gm)
  • Eggs – 3
  • Milk (Room Temp) – 1 1/3 cup
  • Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1/3 tsp
  • Vanilla Extract – 1/3 tsp

Recipe:

  • In a separate bowl, sift Maida, Cocoa Powder, Baking Soda, Baking Powder together (Dry Mix)
  • Mix Butter and Sugar well (silky texture)
  • Add Eggs (one at a time) and Vanilla Extract
  • Add Dry Mix to this (Small portions at a time) alternating with Milk
  • Pre-heat the MW at 170 deg. (Convection mode)
  • If you are using normal moulds, grease them with butter and small amount of maida. This is not needed for Silicon moulds
  • Bake for about 15-17 mins… and they are ready!!!

If you trying them out, let me know. It is not the most complicated bake, but, for starters like me, it is a true relief to see them rise and break through the tops!

Censorship of expression .. the true tyranny by the mindless ones

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Horde of Mindless Offence -takers ( Copyright of Marvel Comics)

For the last entire week, every orifice of media was overflowing with news related to a molehill created by a few mindless “offence-takers” on the “AIB ROAST” videos. It led to the TAKEDOWN of the video. But, the question which pops up in the mind is “Where does this stop?“. This has been taken up by a lot of other artists across the world.

Interestingly, many folks who talked about AIB Roast as “insulting to the cultural values” were posting “Je Suis Charlie” on their FB Walls and DPs. That is the sweet irony of the issue. They want to decided the guidelines for HOW and WHAT is right to express.

Yes, AIB Roast was filled with “cuss” language and quite a few filthy lines. But, it came with a disclaimer and a total right for people to “not watch or follow” it. There have been enough discussions about our lack of ability “to laugh on ourselves” or “to take humour lightly“. But, this takedown has actually touch and started to “cut“on the jugular of the artists.

This video is not auto-playing on TV. It is on YOUTUBE. An user has the right to NOT WATCH IT! Also, allow those who understand and can take lightly watch it. The whole reason to have creativity is to push boundaries and redefine ourselves. Some experiments are not easy on our senses. Related to the same, I came across a beautiful quote –

“The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen” – Tommy Smothers

You can avoid them, disagree, be angry and shout over the rooftop to register your opinion about them. But, you have no right to censor them, creativity is boundary-less!

One of the most interesting feedback on this issue I heard was “such art will have bad influence on the next generation“. My brain was WTF-ing  on this issue. When I see the same people smiling dotingly on their small kids dancing on “Aaj blue hai paani” by Yo Yo Honey singh on that idiot box or see teenagers alongwith the parents around in New years eve dancing to “MANALI TRANCE” in the garden, I feel the true pity on their discriminatory values.

Isn’t Guidance, a core responsibility of the parenting? Rather than blocking the kids or avoiding the topics, better be open to them and TALK! Tell them about why do you think something is wrong or right? Put matters in front of them and discuss… connect with them to learn their thoughts on topics like this.. including “Birds and Bees”. Stop being mindless offence-takers and stop making the next generatopm from being one. Also, agree to disagree…

The final word on this matter is any censorship on art by anyone on anybody other than themselves is wrong. Here is the closing quote to this matter –

“Without free speech no search for truth is possible… no discovery of truth is useful… Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race.” – Charles Bradlaugh

Learning to ignore the buzz (not the mental one)

For past few weeks, I am conducting an experiment on myself, which is currently in trend (Digital Detox) . I was keeping myself away from the various buzzes (FB and whatsapp) for as much time in the day as possible (for FB, I was aiming at zero response days).

And.. it was really interesting to feel that someone like me, who is not a FB addict, also feels similar awkwardness when I started this detox. Opening FB as the first thing in morning had become an unconscious habit!

But, over the period of time, it became easy. I am not saying, like many articles on it, that I started to read books or got a new perspective on the world yet. But, at least I am committing some new mistakes in life (too much gaming at times). Still, I hope to improve more…

A final word – START ignoring the phone notification buzz, it helps you explore more things in life!

WHC Cookies (Whole-wheat Honey Chocolate Cookies) … for pure joy of cooking

This is an amazing feeling.. to have something to make two posts in two days. At last, after ages, my laziness gave way to use of my right hemisphere to do something I adore to do.. BAKE! I do not know how many of you have had that feeling of wanting to do something and not doing it … just for the sake of not doing. It is the most irritating feeling one can have. I have been buying stuff to do this for last one week…. every day I was procrastinating about it. But, then, I was able to conquer myself to create this recipe and do it too.

One of the key changes I made to my usual amateur baking styles is not use Sugar and Maida (at all) and see how it turns out. And the result has been good. So, without further word-gargling, here is the simple recipe –

Ingredients –

  • Flour (normal whole-wheat flour – “ATTA”) – 2 ½ cups
  • Honey – 1 ½ cups (you can add a bit more for taste)
  • Salted Butter – 200 gms
  • Cocoa Powder – 3 tsp
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • Baking Powder – ¾ tsp

What to do with the above stuff –

  • Mix Honey, melted butter, cocoa powder and vanilla extract in a bowl using electric mixer
  • Add this mixture steadily to the flour & baking powder mixture to make a cookie dough (I did it in a food processor and it works, but, you can try kneading the usual way)
  • Cool down the dough for 30 minutes in refrigerator
  • Preheat the oven (Microwave – Convection mode) at 180°C
  • Make small balls from the dough (like the ones we make for making rotis) and arrange on a cookie sheet
  • Bake them for about 15-20 minutes
  • Allow them to cool and then, voila, you are done!

IMG_9903

Hope you find this recipe useful and also hoping that I end up more experimenting in near future…. Chao!!

Qutab Minar… an Architectural Beauty and a Cultural Cocktail for eyes

Being in Delhi for nearly 10 months and not visiting this beauty was quite sinful. So, I decided to wash it off with a visit on a Saturday. For those who are planning to visit here, their multi-lingual Audio Guides available at 100 INR are quite good, it helps you skip the local guides if you want. Best thing is that it is on a tablet with a map which makes moving inside the place and listening to the guide easy, worth a shot.

Now, a visit to Qutab Minar in early morning hours has quite a few advantages (especially if alone) –

  • You get no huddles of people moving around like sheep with the Guides as their shepherds… Pure Solace!
  • You get open spaces with independence of planning your shots… only disappointment could be carrying a few less lenses!
  • You get decent place to park your car! (The indicators outside the complex can be confusing as general parking is indicated incorrectly just before the turn)

Qutab Minar is rich in history. Moving around this place is like eating a Multi-layered cake or Cassata Ice-cream. I prefer not filling this post with historical stuff usually found when Googling it. With the intricate work on stone, this tower and its surrounding buildings are just eye-catching. One of the fellow visitors told me that entire Kuran can be found in the ruins of buildings around and on the tower (note – need verification from my end).

Looking at the carvings on pillars around in the mosque ruins made me feel like walking through Da Vinci code like conspiracies… As it was amazing to see bells and carvings of Hindu deities inside the pillars of the Mosques. That shows the brilliance of the local stone sculptors who were used by the Mughal emperors during their rule to build these places. Then, in the middle of the area stands the IRON PILLAR… with verse written in Brahmi script.

Now, about the actual tower, what it shows is actually how each emperor who worked on it left his mark. One can easily see that three sections on the tower. Every emperor’s time has a different way of constructing it. I was disappointed by the fact that you cannot climb up the tower now. But, the reasons for closure were quite right… and good that it allows the interiors to be protected from various modern inscriptions in Hinglish scripts!

There are some lesser heard structures inside the complex. Two of them I found quite interesting due to the stories –

  1. Smith’s Folly – This is a brilliant example of what happens when you do not follow the client’s brief of a project. Qutab Minar has been one of the lightning’s favorite visiting spot. During one of its visits, it damaged the top storey of Minar. Major Robert Smith was assigned to rebuild this part. With some over-enthusiasm, he built this structure completely non-complimentary to the rest of structure. The Mughal era Minar was topped with a Bengali Chhatri (HINDU) structure. I think RSS would have loved to have it there!  But, jokes apart, it was a misfit and was removed to a corner of the QBM Complex.
  2. Alai Minar – This incomplete Minar stands besides Qutab as one of the usually ambitious projects of Alauddin Khilji. He wanted to build a Minar to contest Qutab Minar in magnitude. But, alas, his death and then later neglect by his children stalled its creation to have a gigantic stony blob. Still, it has a certain beauty about it.

From a photographer’s perspective, early morning hours (7 – 9) are ideal here, as you have a good light and less irritating crowd. Along with the monuments, one can get great shots of birds and squirrels. Also, morning time allows to capture this animals in the best way.

Just go there and feel the serenity and beauty of the majestic Qutab Minar!!

Mrs. Doubtfire .. why I felt it had the best possible ending among modern comedies!

After ages, I revisited one of my all-time favorite movies – “Mrs. Doubtfire”. I was seeing the movie after maybe 10 years. But, this made me realize even more why I loved the film and why I did not find the Indian version satisfying. It was the ENDING of the movie.

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Had it been that Daniel and Miranda move back together, it would have been really a slap on all the discussion about relationships which happen during the movie, especially the one where Miranda and Doubtfire discuss Daniel. Daniel got a better understanding of what went wrong and why.

Their relationship was always a difficult one since start, which was surviving purely on the charm of Daniel’s humour and Miranda’s tolerance. As the tolerance level kept going down, the charm was becoming more ineffective- reaching the breaking point. To think of it, going seperate ways was necessary for them, but, was an issue for the kids.

The way they both managed the kids scenario, where the family continued to be together even if the parents cannot love each other (I mean LOVE.. not LIKE, as they liked and respected the spouses’ personality), was really mature.

And that is what I loved in this comedy. It is rare to see a mature decision being taken at the end of a comic movie, as generally what you get is some type of diabetic cheesy “HAPPY” endings.

I close the post with the beautiful last lines of the movie, which perfectly summarized the climax –

” You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don’t, dear. And if they don’t, don’t blame yourself. Just because they don’t love each other anymore, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever. “

Keeping the KID in YOU Alive

Over last 2-3 years, I have been engaged in an interesting discussion with some of my friends and family. The discussion in which I was the target .. “Why should a grown-up watch cartoons?”..

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avengers

Watching cartoons is considered as a Children’s thing and any adult who enjoys watching them is called out as “Still a kid”. I never understood that logic of it. How does watching cartoons and following Superhero series make someone immature and childish??

According to me, the best part of it… it keeps the Child in You alive, which is quite an essential need for being human today. Also, it keeps your imagination alive. During childhood, it gives you   perspective of hope and faith in good, while as an adult, it gives you the imagination and a kick to ur brain to bring out the best of creative juices.

So, I think books like Harry Potter and Animation Movies and TV Shows should be watched and followed by you if you want the creativity in you to stay up and awake.

Disclaimer: Images have been google searched and are properties of respective companies..