Friday, November 28, 2008



I have been tagged by Daphne,, and am supposed to reveal 6 things about me which the readers might not be aware of ; PLUS tag 6 other bloggers !! That’s fun ( and awkward, too .)

Oh, Daphne, that’s so..o.. sweet of you . Thanks and thanks a ton for including mine amongst your favourite blogs. Only thing that upsets me right now is that I am currently highly destabilised due to a score of things to be taken care of on the family front and that’s why, I am just stealing some time to read, rather than write for blogposts. Wish, could maintain some regularity in postings on my blog like you and other bloggers ! Anyway, I won’t beat myself up for this, as I had promised to myself after taking voluntary retirement that now on I will pursue my passions on my terms, as per my convenience.

Now, coming to 6 things about me... ! My earnest appeal to readers to please, please forget and forgive me for this insane act of BORING OTHERS . This is just to respect the wishes of someone I have started liking so much ... Daphne.

1. I love singing and know that I have a voice quality comparable to that of any of the top, highly successful, professional singers . ( AUDACITY ? ) . I sing ( in my kitchen & bathroom , alas !) thousands of songs from very old to contemporary movies, from bhajans ( invocations to God) to cabaret numbers – virtually, anything that appeals to my ears or soul. But I have not learnt classical or any other form of music till now . ( I have NOT yet struck off from my list of TO DOs “learn classical music ” before I say bye to this world !! Can someone help me get a music teacher ?)
As a child, I had this irrational fear that I can not excel in more than one thing and so, virtually resisted formal training in vocal music, lest I end up doing badly in my academics ( Yeah.. I was one of those so called bright students, you know – in my days, Ha, Ha. – and did not want to bargain that tag for anything else – what a mess-up I did !)

2. Till almost the end of my school days, I wanted to become a Lawyer ( and fight injustice like a – my father was originally a lawyer, shifted to state administrative service after a few years of practice as, with his values, he could not earn enough, it seems ). In fact, most of my notebooks and books carried my name tag as “ Snigdha Mohanty, Bar-at-Law, London ” . But when the actual moment for decision came after the HSC exam – I was swift enough to understand that law was not my cup of tea ( perhaps, it was just a fad and I was not really desiring it intensely !!) . I had a new fad .. Economics ...that too aiming at PG from the best college in my country (Delhi School of Eco) and I joined Arts. Yes, I did manage to do my PG from DSE .

[ Guess what.... my daughter is now doing Law from the best institute in my country – NLS Bangalore . There must have been some intensity in my childhood desire, I guess.]

3. As a child, I was extremely shy and used to keep my face covered with both my palms ( leaving a little gap in between my fingers so that I could see the others , but they could not see my face ) while appearing before guests at home. You know, I used to dread whenever some relative or guest visited our home – my mother would definitely ask me to sing for them and the moment I would be asked to sing .. something would make me feel gagged ... my voice would just not come out !!
I really really used to hate my mom for that at those moments . Now, after I became a mom myself, I realise, how elevated a mom feels when others praise her children’s talent. Sorry, Mother . [ I myself have committed that crime a few times when my daughters were very small. But, of course, taking cue from my own experience, I have later tried to desist from asking my daughters to sing or dance before guests visiting our home.]

4. Even in college, I was too shy and hardly spoke to people, barring a very few close friends. Fast forward 25 years , and my ex-colleagues from Bank would exclaim with disbelief ... to hear that ! I changed dramatically within two years of joining the bank as I started interacting with lots and lots of people in course of usual business and did not realise when I really started enjoying relating to people !! I talk so much now that since last 2 years, I have developed Voice Box problem, sad. Just imagine, among my life-goals to be pursued now , two most important things are : 1st,becoming a guest lecturer in various colleges/institutes to share whatever insights I have gathered on self & leadership development over the years and 2nd,using my singing talent for raising funds for charitable causes . And this voice box problem !! Anyway, I will deal with it .

5. I am very short in height and was very thin ONCE UPON A TIME ( 25 yrs back !!!). Then I grew fat and almost had a complex about my physical presence whenever I used to see tall, smart, elegant looking women executives in commanding positions.... till I actually got important and challenging assignments and I knew ... what people see is not what you look like, but what mettle you have inside. So..o reassuring !!

6. I ridiculously fail at “ being brief” !!! Need any more proof ? And that makes me a dumbo as I lack brevity-the “soul of wit” . Thanks for wasting so much time in reading what a dumbo like me has to say about myself.

Now, coming to tagging 6 other bloggers – as per the rule of this fun game , please pardon me this time for breaking the rule !! I will take some more time for that .

Saturday, November 15, 2008



Each of us will exit this world one day .........! This is known to each of us. Still, how many of us really get prepared for this and plan the way she/he would like to exit ? How many of us give it a deep thinking and decide upon the exact way we would like our last rites to be done and remains/memory to be preserved and exclaim, “ Yeah ! that’s the way to go to my afterlife .”

Well, the manner, place or time of exit is definitely not known to us in advance – but we do know the general pattern of “ last rites”, that our society has prescribed to be performed by our loved ones, ostensibly for the twin purpose of ensuring that our departed soul rests in peace and on the other hand, it helps the grief-stricken bear the loss in the company of so many others. I was just reflecting.. Do I really want it that way ? If I believe that my life, when I am alive, is/should be of my choice, then how come, so calmly, I surrender myself to the priests and brahmins and the social customs, when it comes to the way I go out? Is it just a simple logic that since I have no say over the way I come to this world, I can not have any say over what happens to me after I go out of this world . No, I do not buy this , Sorry !

Of course, one pertinent dimension of the issue could be that the last rites are actually meant not for the departed – but for the bereaved - for helping the near and dear ones come out of the grief of bereavement and facilitating restoration of normalcy by getting them busy with the thousand and one things to be done as per the religious/social customs. May be, at one stage of evolution of our society, this was relevant and required. But why should we follow that now when the frame and context have changed so widely without ever giving it a serious thinking ?

Let me clarify a bit more please. I have no intention of waging any battle against customs or rebelling. Fine, if you want your exit to be observed as per the age-old social customs – it is your choice and must be respected by your surviving family members. My only submission is : what prevents us from going a little out of box and thinking about creative, yet less burden-some, alternatives to traditional funerals for ourselves? Thinking something new about turning these tragedies into more intimate and fonder remembrances, without turning these into burdens on the very people we loved so much and did everything during our lifetime to give them joy and happiness ? Thinking a bit about ourselves too in the sense that we too would love to be remembered/memorialised in a particular preferred way ?

Only a few days back ( mourning is still on ), I have lost my brother to cancer at an early age. He was staying abroad and had such a brave and out-of-the-world positive spirit that he lived ( by every sense of the term) till his last. He never actually made us realise how much pain he must be going through !! Always caring for others and concerned about others – taking all the pains to make your visit memorable if you happened to have visited him, always smiling and going about life as if nothing is serious except that he has to be on medication and a different diet on a continuous basis . Early this year, I had lost my father. About a month back, I lost my mother-in-law. Both had lived their lives well and long enough. But this sudden ( we knew it would come anytime, but never expected so soon ) & premature passing away of my brother brought me so close to “death” [- or, is it simply a passage to another innings in the lifecycle ?] that I could not but pause... and reflect deeply on this moment called “death”, which eventually comes in everyone’s life ... a guest expected most certainly but never awaited with advance planning for welcome !!!

So...... I started seriously thinking about it ... and also have gone through whatever I could lay my hand( and eyes) upon for a bit of research. And I am amazed at my findings from different sources about the plethora of creative alternatives to traditional funerals, that some people( ahead of their time !) across the globe have already chosen for their exit fanfare and the numerous ways the family members have kept the memories of their departed loved ones. I would highly recommend that you read a book “ Exit Strategy- Thinking Out of Box” by Michelle Cromer. I had stumbled upon this amazingly different kind of book recently while sifting through heaps of second-hand books at Fountain area in Mumbai and had picked it up – attracted by its title. Now I know from this book that there are so many others who are serious about exercising own option in matters of last rites like me and not only that, have already tried out so many newer ways – turning this milestone in life to nothing less than a celebration as one enters one’s afterlife !! Undoubtedly, there are two unmatched milestones in each one’s life – one, when you are born and another when you die and both deserve special celebration .

How would you like to stay with your loved ones after death ?

Let me share some of the a-traditional ways in which your CREMAINS ( ashes/ remains after cremation of the body) can be preserved for intimate remembrance by your loved ones :

i. Get your ashes planted under beautiful rose-bushes in the family garden ( any flower plant that you love ) – and spread the heavenly fragrance in the air that your loved ones breathe .

ii. Get sifted into the roots of a tree – like a banyan tree, oak tree or maple tree and live for hundreds of years as a memorial tree, to which your loved ones can visit once in a while.

iii. Get your ashes mixed with Potter’s clay and turn into any decorative piece of pottery or clay animal/bird/object of your choice – which your loved ones can preserve as memento.

iv. Get yourself spread over any natural place you love – like sea, mountain, forest, river etc. – by having your ashes scattered aerially over the place.

v. Get your ashes blown into glass for handblown glasswork and turn into a marvellous commemorative piece of artwork in glass.

vi. Have your ashes packed into jewlry,musical instruments, fishing rods, golf clubs, artwork - for that matter, anything, any shape that can have some space to hold human ashes and can be sealed.

vii. Become a part of man-made memorial reefs in approved environmentally challenged sites in deep sea and help preservation of the environment.

viii. Have your ashes spread across the sky in a display of fireworks.

ix. Have your ashes packed into helium-filled ballons in bright colours with little notes ( like , Bye Dad , We love you etc. ) written on the surface of the balloon and and get it released from a very high-altitude( 26000 feet or so), scattering the ashes in the upper atmosphere.

x. Have a space odyssey by having your cremains shot into outer space with the help of a space craft.

xi. Have your ashes turn into a man-made DIAMOND, so that your loved ones can literally wear you on !

Well, memorial service organisations are there which even do cryonic suspension of your body or only the brain in hopes that eventually medical technology will be developed to revive /reanimate the person !!! Some others also go for mummyfication!!

Truly, the options for how we preserve our remains /memories are limited only by our imagination .

How would you like to have your exit fanfare

Now, coming to the manner of observing the last rites, I believe it is very important to give a serious thought to this right now, decide what exactly you want for yourself and do two things :
a. Clearly write out your wishes, sign and give copies to your family members ; or keep at a place where they are sure to find it after your death.

[ NOTE: Things like whether you would like to be cremated in a traditional manner or would like electric cremation ; whether you would like to have all the rites as per the socio-religious customs for 12 days or you would like it to be curtailed to say 2/3 days with simple puja karmas; whether you would like your daughters/female loved ones to perform the rites ; whether you would like to have elaborate functions for relatives and knowns and/or memorial services in the form of some charity work etc. should be clearly expressed in writing , so that your loved ones do not have to face embarrassment, if any, for deviating from established customs as per your last wishes .]

b. Get registered appropriately your wishes for donating useful parts of your body immediately after your death , if you so wish . Let your family members have copies of the papers necessary to execute this .

Personally, I am going to write out the way in which I would like my own farewel to be organised and keep it at a place where my husband and daughters can find it . That does not mean that I wish saying goodbye anytime soon – no way – not before I try out a few more things I am passionate about ! , Ha, ha !! ). But who knows ??

What about you ?

No Pain No gain Pictures

Thanks Veera, for helping again in giving a link to visitors to my site to see the pictorial story on No Pain no gain, which I have referred to in my last post titled" There always is a purpose " .

To see the pictures,please click here and I would request a re-visit to my original post .

IMP : Pictures are not in correct sequence as per the story, but are correctly numbered( image 1, image 2 etc. ) . Please view the pictures in order of the Image No , to follow correct sequence and correct story.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Been on too long a break, I swear !! Of course, every bit of it was part of a needed schedule of activities and vacation ( grand Europe tour – I will get back on that very soon), which could not have included blogging - so, no regrets. But the fact remains that both I ( only my “writer” self ) and my car have gathered a bit of dust . So, today the first thing I did was to clean my car nicely- flushing all dust & dirt accumulated over close to two months. Next, I thought, I must cleanse myself of lethargy ( yeah-you like it or not, although leisure does rejuvenate, it also brings with it lethargy – inertia, you know !! )

S.o.o. – to pick up the threads again – I thought I would first share a pictorial story -something wonderfully reassuring and superbly thought-provoking- that a very dear friend of mine ( Thanks, Veera ! ) had e mailed to me during my vacation.

Here it goes! NO PAIN.... NO GAIN

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Apparently, this captures a very simple answer to all our troublesome “WHYs” – especially when we feel unjustly wronged for which we do not have immediate convincing explanations. Take the brunt of life as it comes – somewhere at a distance, it will benefit you and in retrospect, you will understand, there was a definite purpose. So, do not shierk or deliberately take short-cuts.

Think of this - every moment and every event is just perfect in nature. Everything happens for a special purpose in this universe. It just so happens that we do not realise it immediately. Trust this and try accepting every experience with gratitude, as something happening as per Divine Will with an ultimate design for your good and soon you would start seeing the opportunity for growth and betterment in each event, in each experience, no matter how bitter, painful, challenging it may appear at the moment. Put in perspective, nothing wrong ever happens, neither anyone commits any mistake in the first place – it is all a part of a continuous learning process . Yes, repeat the mistake – the entire perspective changes – you have failed to introspect and learn. Each experience holds key to many benefits that accrue after a lag, which we fail to foresee and become wary of the present . “Accepting” gives us the fortitude to bear the present and reap the future benefits – if only, we truly believe in the age-old saying that everything happens for good and seize the opportunity for growing as a human being !!

So, be grateful for each moment passed, each experience lived – no matter what ; learn from what you have gone through, grow and move on .... with unflinching faith in divine dispensation and indomitable will to be all that you can be .

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