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Heaven among the clouds!

For anyone living in Guwahati (Assam), a trip to its neighboring state Meghalaya does not count as a “vacation/holiday”. It’s barely a 2 hour journey (provided there is no delay due to traffic congestion) and for those who have traveled there once or twice, the charm of the Shillong Peak and the wonder of the Elephanta Falls start to wane. Hence, on this particular 23rd of Dec, after extensive planning and arriving at no conclusion on where to go for the holidays, we decided to go to Meghalaya one more time. From dreaming about the snow-laden valleys of Manali, it was quite difficult for me to swallow my disappointment and look forward to this trip, but I decided to give it a try.Something is better than nothing, they say.

And was I wrong? You bet I was!

We thankfully did not visit either the Shillong Peak or the Elephanta Falls. But what we did visit was a lot better!

Our family trips are dominated chiefly by food – we have to try out the local restaurants and small eateries.Of course, for me , shopping plays an important part too, but I never dare mention it whilst everyone is hungry and willing to devour anything…!

We spent the night in a beautiful house set in the heart of the city, but away from the humdrum of city life.Houses in Shillong are normally made of wood and they give you a quaint feel.But the one we stayed in was made with cement and bricks – the regular way.As we went inside and navigated through the corridors to our rooms, I was aware of feeling overwhelmingly cold – it was as if the cold was engulfing me and biting my face (the only part which was exposed!).It was like sticking your head inside the freezer and trying to breathe.Thankfully, there were heaters functioning in full swing in the rooms which made it easier for us to bear the cold – only just!

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One place we always visit is Cafe MOT – Matter Of Taste.It’s a small cafe which is located in Laitumkhrah and they have these amazing chicken and mushroom crepes – which are basically pancakes filled with a mixture of mushrooms and chicken and lots of cheese. A cup of steaming latte is a great way to go about it.

DSC05898  DSC02345   Another of my favorites is Cafe Shillong – for its light and delicious thukpas. It’s also situated in Laitumkhrah but one can spot it easily, unlike Cafe MOT for which you have to keep an eye out.

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Pork thukpa

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Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Cafe Shillong is all about good food, good music and just having a good time.All you need to do is get some good company to appreciate what’s around you.On weekends, they invite local bands of Shillong to play while you get to just sit back and relax.What more could anyone possibly want?!

The other integral part of a holiday in Shillong is its breathtaking scenery.As we embarked on our journey towards Upper Shillong, we were struck by the beautiful views and the serenity which came along with it.

a walk to remember - at the  sacred forest,mawphlong

a walk to remember – at the sacred forest,mawphlong

"the road goes ever on and on..."

“the road goes ever on and on…”

The sacred groves or sacred forest is a wide expanse of greenery and the view is amazing.Fortunately for us, it was on a Christmas morning that we visited the place and not a soul was to be seen anywhere.We let ourselves in and went for a stroll at our own pace.I was struck by the purity of the air that we were breathing – I could actually feel my lungs being cleansed and just stood there for a while….just breathing.

Meghalaya is also home to a Living Root Bridge.We visited the one in Mawlynnong. The path leading to the bridge is quite difficult to follow; one has to be careful to not miss a step.But turning around a corner, as I caught sight of the bridge, I stood there for sometime and wondered about Mother Nature – there seems to be no end to the wonders that she throws at you!

Here we were, looking at this amazing bridge which is made of roots which must be God-knows-how-many centuries old,at some remote corner of the world.There is a stream flowing beneath the bridge and since it was a lot dry, we were able to step over the rocks and take a couple of snaps.

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Well, this is pretty much what we did in the 2 days that we could manage.But, we are sure to remember it for a lifetime!

 

Kasturi Saikia

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It’s a Boy’s world!

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Q: If your wife is shouting at the front door and your dog is barking at the back door, who do you let in first?

A: The dog, of course. At least he’ll shut up after you let him in.

A woman’s husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months, yet she had stayed by his bedside every single day. One day, when he came to, he motioned for her to come nearer. As she sat by him, he whispered, eyes full of tears, “You know what? You have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you stayed right here. When my health started failing, you were still by my side. You know what?” “What dear?” she asked gently, smiling as her heart began to fill with warmth. ”I think you’re bad luck.”

 I am tired of coming across jokes of the above nature.It gets me to think – if there are so many things about a girl that a boy finds irritating ,to the degree that they constantly feel the need to come up with jokes of the above nature,then why at all do they want to fall in love with a girl, promise her with all the love and care, swear to make her feel special; only to laugh at her the moment her back is turned?

I will be fair though; I have quite a number of male friends and they have the utmost respect for women and have the highest regard for their female counterparts.They treat me like one of their own and I am thankful to them for their broad-minded acceptance of my capabilities. But, that doesn’t overshadow the fact that there exists an equal number of males who think that the place of women should always be below them, never at par with them.

As a result of my above musings and after thorough consultation with a  number of my girlfriends, I decided to put up this list of things that we find irritating about boys.

Any boy who goes through the list should bear one thing in mind – please read the following with an open mind.you may just learn why you are still single and not at all ready to mingle!

So here goes –

1. There are times when right in the middle of an argument with a boy, when we’re trying to get our point across, there will slowly appear a smile on his face ( more like a smirk) and the look on his face will be one of forbearance, and with a condescending tone he would say ,”You’re just a girl, you won’t understand!”.

I am sure a small slap across that face would do him a world of good.

2. Normally, when a guy wants to participate in the act of teasing a girl, he would do so when he has his other male cronies to support him. Corner this guy and dare him to tease you then and not a word is going to escape his mouth then!

Wolves hunt in packs, so goes the saying!

3.  If a guy has the good fortune of dating quite a number of  girls, he is invariably tagged as a “stud”; if a girl happens to share the equal fortune, she is labeled as a “slut”. Hypocrisy, anyone?

Most of the time, guys revel in doing things like – getting drunk, gambling, smoking pot and running after random girls.And when a girl is seen doing at least one of these things, she is promptly tagged a “whore”! But then,who is a “whore” ? Isn’t she HUMAN  just like you and me, but a little less fortunate than us?Remember – a girl, however bold or “shameless” she appears to be, would never willingly chase after boys on her own account.It is the boy who starts it off, gives her little hints of love and promises, and when things get too hot to handle, backs out and starts to blame her of not being good enough!

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4. Boys should understand the basic fact that their female counterparts do not dress-up with the sole intention of “provoking” or “exciting” them; we do it because we like it and not because we think/hope that you would appreciate it.Period.

5. You tend to forget that a girl is the daughter of a father and a mother who have brought her up, dear as life itself. And when you do treat a woman well, it is just for show. You are like the person who wears a Gucci leather jacket outside and a tattered old shirt inside!

6. You might gift her with diamond rings and platinum ornaments but if you are not kind and understanding, she will still feel misery and nothing else. I don’t know why it is so hard for you to understand things as simple as that? And then they say men are more intelligent than women !

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7.When you see your girl laying her eyes on another boy, you become all judgmental and start calling her names. And look at you, you pretend to be like a brother to your best friend but then when his girlfriend is around, you just can’t take your lecherous eyes off her.

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8. When a boy proposes to a girl and is turned down with words like ‘ No, I am sorry. We can be just friends but I am not really up for a relationship‘, he starts arriving at some massive generalized conclusions in his aborted attempt to diagnose her problem. The most common being : either she is lying about not having any interest or she is gay ! Well, if she is lying, then I am really sorry. ‘Cause she is probably looking for something else in a guy and she doesn’t really think you have it in you. Simple .And if at all she is gay, then what’s the big freaking deal? Don’t we have the freedom to choose our own partner

9. But there is this third possibility which might never have occurred to boys, that girls sometimes prefer to remain single and not indulge in any sort of relationship for as long as she wants. Why, doesn’t she have the right to have some good time all by herself after all that she’s been through because of her previous relationships? And anyway, who would want to commit the same mistake again and again? Every girl loves to experience the joy of being single, a sense of prudery and an air of superiority, for at least once in her lifetime. It’s just that her ways of doing things are different from that of guys, or rather, truer and more sensible than that of men.

I dream of a time when a girl will be able to walk on the streets, confident and free, not having to dread coming across the occasional eve-teaser.

I dream of a time when a girl will not be held responsible for all the wrong things that has happened to her, just because she is a girl and she was supposed to be “more careful”.

I dream of a time when a girl’s strength, will not be judged by how physically strong she appears to be, but in her compassion, her kindness and her ability to turn anything into a thing of beauty.

So in the words of Mrs. Beyonce Knowles Carter –

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Bidisha Chetia, Kasturi Saikia

 

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The Love of a Lifetime!

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What do you do when the apparent “love of your life” leaves you, in search of someone better?

How does it feel when you are in the middle of one of those days when nothing seems to go your way!

Who do you turn to when you need someone, just to be there for you ?

Well, there is not much that you can do!

Nothing !!! Except, take a deep breath, take a good grasp of reality and look around – you are going to find her right behind you, waiting for the second you stretch out your hand for her. She is going to be the comfort you crave for, the little voice of clarity that will help you hold yourself together.

I love my girlfriends! They know exactly what to say to make me feel better. They know exactly what to do to cheer me up!

The world that we live in today is very demanding. We dream big and accordingly, the disappointments that we have to face to realizing our dreams get bigger – on our way up the ladder which leads to our dream career, we often falter a bit. There will always be minor glitches here and there. Yes, we are strong and independent and we expect ourselves to take on our problems head on. But doesn’t it feel so good to just let ourselves flow with our emotions and just unwind a bit when we are with friends! After all, we are only humans—and we sometimes need a pat in the back and a laugh here and a laugh there, just to remind ourselves that it just ain’t all that!

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Also, for us girls, getting ourselves a good FRIEND can actually unburden us a little, on our eternal quest for Mr.Right. It’s a given that we won’t be finding him that easy. There is going to be a substantial amount of deciphering and decoding of feelings, not to mention the heartbreaks and emotional outbursts but having someone by your side, who will always be there with you through thick and thin, really eases the pain by a huge degree.

Your friends are always going to be there for you. They are never going to judge you for your mistakes. On the contrary, they will be pushing you to learn from your mistakes and just move on!

I love the sight of girls huddled together, in a corner of a restaurant or in the middle of a sidewalk, deep in conversation and the occasional shout of laughter that escapes them – a mark of the general exuberance synonymous with the meeting of friends after a long time.

I remember my time in school when all of us girls used to get together and the good times we had – bantering, exposing each other’s “love of our lives” or just sharing amusing anecdotes( I tell you, some the things that we discussed makes me break into a smile even now!) I remember the occasional outbursts of fights that we had, over the silliest of issues – the reasons behind those outbursts cracks me up even now!

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I remember the amazing number of crushes we had on our seniors and classmates and how we used to plan our way into their hearts and if we did manage to talk to him, how we used to dissect all the sentences to pry out the possible hidden meanings behind those sentences!

And I love how life suddenly takes a happy turn, when any of us would mention the magic word – shopping! Trust me, this word is so magical that even when you are in the middle of a fight with any of your girlfriends and have vowed to never talk to each other again, the mere hint of a shopping spree is capable of ending any sign of animosity and things take a turn for the better – almost immediately !

a still from The Sex  And The City !!!

a still from The Sex And The City !!!

I love how sometimes we just dress up – turn out our whole wardrobe, mix and match stuff up and create something which we would never ever be caught dead in!

I love it when even though we are miles apart, we are stuck to our phones, keeping up a constant flow of messages between us, right from the time we wake up every morning to the time we hit the bed!

Above all, I love the fact that no matter how long we stay apart from each other, the second we meet, it always feels like not a day had gone by since the last time we met!

So here’s quoting Marilyn Monroe in high spirits : Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them.

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Written by : Kasturi Saikia

– Picture credits : Bidisha Chetia

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Rest In Peace : The Age of Innocence


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Once upon a time, there lived a king. The king had a beautiful daughter, the Princess. There was a problem though – everything the princess touched would melt. It didn’t matter what it was made of: metal, wood, stone… anything she touched would melt.”

I grew up reading innumerable fairy-tales which would start with the very line “Once upon a time  …” and end with “And they lived happily ever after”. Like so many others of my generation, reading about Snow-White and her seven dwarves and Rapunzel’s long golden hair was a treat that would not equal any other delight in this world. I spent my days wondering if castles (like the one in Sleeping Beauty) really existed and wishing for a chocolate and candy house just like the one in Hansel and Gretel.

Those were the days!

Slowly, the fairy-tales gave way to Famous Fives and Secret Sevens and thus marked the entry of Enid Blyton into my life. Darrell Rivers from Malory Towers was my idol and I wished for a friend like Sally Hope . Reading about Peggy, Nora, Mike and Jack’s adventures in The Secret Island made me want to pack my bags and go in search of an island to spend my days on ! In school we had a huge library and all of us would have a grand time scrounging for Enid Blytons and Carolyn Keenes and Agatha Christies and Meg Cabots and Roald Dahls.

Those were the days when kids behaved exactly like what they actually were – kids !

Remember when we were kids playing outside the city walls ?
Remember when we were kids playing outside the city walls ?

A decade and four years later, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that the children of today are not as naïve and innocent as we were, when we were of their age. A month ago, my school hosted its first reunion and I was lucky I got to attend it. A formal session had taken place and we got to meet and interact with a lot of young students. While being greeted by them and after talking to them for a few minutes, I suddenly realized how easy it was for them to talk to us. There were no traces of hesitation in their voices and they did not appear ill at ease or awkward when we were interacting with them, quite contrary to how we used to feel, at their age. Talking to them, I was feeling pretty warped out myself!

Talking about another instance, one day I was playing with a 12 year old cousin of mine and chatting with her mom at the same time. Her mom was in need of a good makeup artist and I happened to know one from my town. As soon as I mentioned his name, my 12 year old cousin cried out “ Oh, that Gay ?? “  That left me almost dumbstruck. When I got back to my senses, I asked her “how do you know he is gay?” and prompt came a reply “Well, all makeup artists are supposed to be gay, don’t you know that? “
Does she even know what is being gay supposed to mean? No, I couldn’t muster the courage to ask her any further.

Yes, it’s a good thing that the kids of today are well ahead of their age and time and they probably have to be, given how competitive today’s generation has turned out to be. But where did all the innocence go? Where did that naive assurance disappear to, which we were so apt with? What about that wild sense of freedom that had us blissfully unaware of the perils of adulthood? That child-like naughtiness that made us do some pretty crazy stuff, which we now look back at and laugh about !

Today’s kids think and act like adults. I sometimes find myself at a loss when talking to some of my cousins who are barely 12 or 13. I have no idea how to respond to some of the things they come up with. Should I be an adult about it and reprimand them for getting such ideas into their pretty li’l heads or should I just be a kid about it and laugh along with them. The latter is a pretty difficult task for me as my brain still tries to comprehend what just hit it!

A few days ago I came across an old photo album which belonged to my mother, when she was still in her high school. My mother grew up in Shillong, Meghalaya. Going through the pictures in the album; I could actually feel the simplicity of those times, when vacations meant picnics at picturesque sites with beautiful hills and winding streams, straight out of an Enid Blyton book or the occasional trip to nearby towns and cities with family. Looking at a picture of my mother, posing with her friends near a river with the hills in the background, smiling up at me, brought about a strong feeling of longingness that I found hard to ignore. I found myself yearning for those days – when happiness was a continuous state of mind rather than something that had to be sought after.

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When did it all become so complicated?

I remember – as kids, my cousins and I were crazy about Scrabble. During vacations when all of us got together, we used to wake up early in the morning and a Scrabble marathon would start for the day ( as  a matter of fact, it is still popular among us friends and we all get started on the game like kids when we catch up) . And when we got tired of Scrabble, we used to switch to either Monopoly or go outdoors to play a round of cricket or badminton. But you don’t get to see that culture anymore in today’s kids. Scrabble has been replaced by Farmville and so many other computer games (with the internet) that rule their lives.

And talking of the idiot box, it is really upsetting to see how kids of today take pleasure in vulgar, blasphemous and socially irreverent cartoon series like South Park and Family Guy that contribute just one thing to the society: kids now learn obscene words faster than the multiplication tables.
Even Cartoon Network is not the same as it used to be. Gone are the days when Tom and Jerry’s antics used to have us in splits, or Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto used to leave us wishing for more with their love triangle!

A few days ago, I was watching a TV show that focuses on teenagers gone wild, based on true life stories. The sheer intensity of the hatred shown in the part of the actor who was playing the character of a jilted lover, made me recoil in horror. Yes, being a teenager can be a challenge – you suddenly find yourself changing and there is a lot of pressure to be responsible and to “grow up”. But that does not interpret into “be an adult”.

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We all get to be a child only once in our lifetime. That is probably the only time during our entire life when we could get away with anything we did! I wouldn’t want to trade it with anything in the world – just keep it well stocked in some corner of my busy brain, so that sometimes in my mundane day-to-day life when everything else fails to cheer me up, I could just take out some part of it and enjoy it, just by myself.

After all, we get to be a child for just 12 or 15 years, from the day we are born. After that, life is all about achieving non-existent targets, responsibilities and chasing after illusions of happiness. So why not stop being so “adult “about everything and just enjoy childhood for what it is ?

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“It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.”
― Dylan ThomasA Child’s Christmas in Wales

 

 

 

Written by : Kasturi Saikia

– Picture Credits : Bidisha Chetia

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PUMPING IRON : Confessions of a Gymmer

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Having not much to do on a two month vacation post exams (I’m tired of hanging out and doing what I want), I planned to hit the gym. In a way, that was necessary as I happened to gain kilos and kilos while I was slogging away hours and hours for my exams. And  plus , fortunately, I found a nice posh reputed gym located just a few kilometers away from my place (Apparently , that’s the best gym we have in town)

So one fine day, when I finally decided to take the plunge , I walked in, took a month’s membership and got started on my work out. I gym 7 days a week,  3 days of weight lifting and 4 days of cardio. Now , if on one hand, gymming seems like a fun thing to do, it’s equally difficult on the other. You can  feel it once your personal trainer starts treating you like a stray dog. Initially, weight lifting was a complete disaster for me. I would cry my lungs out when I was asked to do a mere squat. And then the huge dumbbells, the chest flyweight lifting, those ginormous machines for abs, seated leg extension and then the pilates,  push ups , sit ups, planks (Damn, planks exhaust the shit out of me ! )  I wished I’d never eaten so much !!!
And now that I get the hang of it, I feel like Angelina Jolie . Fuck, yeah !
So , In case you reckon you’re jobless at home and you can’t seem to refrain yourself from grabbing that last cookie on the cookie shelf , then you’ve seriously got to change directions and head straight for the gym.

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And today , irrespective of how much I have benefited (if at all I’ve benefited), I proudly call myself a gymaholic (I don’t know if that’s the word for one who is addicted to the gym)
But Yeah , it’s true, I love going to the gym. I just love being there. Right from the main gym room to the locker room, I love everything about it. It makes you feel better, gives you positives vibes and finally turns you into your unique self. In fact, the gym is quite a happening place to be in. Let me tell you why.
Before that, you should know that there are two types of women you’ll find in a gym. The chatterers and the mutes (they are also the keen observers ) and I , belong to the second category (sadly, yeah) . I avoid eye contacts while I’m working out  and I’m always stuck with my water bottle.

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People that you come across in a gym are incredibly varied. Some are just big time health freaks, others have issues with their ever increasing and never decreasing body weight and the rest, just come for the personal touch.
And hence, in every gym, you’ll find a set of gym bunnies.Like there are lady gymmers who are perfectly sculpted and have great legs, so much so that it gets you thinking “what on earth is she doing here?? ”
For instance, in our gymnasium, there are ladies who dress like they are at a club and step into the gym as if they just stepped out of a limo and we , the low-life gymmers , standing in the crowd just to get a glimpse of them. Well, this is just my imagination and I have no idea if my fellow gymmers imagine things the same way but Yes, I have definitely noticed one thing. The male trainers seem really enthusiastic about training these ladies. You can see it in their eyes ( Well at least in some of them, if not all ). Their eyes and heart go popping when these chicks step into the gym ( oh, there are numberless stories about trainers and clients hooking up and I don’t want to stress upon them at the moment) while some of them would just follow these hotties around the gym. Trust me, the whole scene is really hilarious.
Why, the male clients are even worse. Y’know , like they say, picking a ‘pilate hottie’. True,you can see them literally drooling over these hotties , trying to approach them across the gym and waiting for the right time to strike a conversation. And then the next thing you know – they are gym buddies.

I wonder,  has there ever been smoke without fire ??!!!

Seriously, gym is fun. Everything happens right in front of you and you get to watch and enjoy every bit of it (and I , the observer , have all the fun watching a lot of things happening around the gym  while I walk from one machine to the other)

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But that’s just life on the outside. Whereas on the inside, life is much more different. And that you’d know once you enter the ladies locker room. The locker room is a place where everybody gets to befriend one another, share their stories and advice one another on what’s right and what’s not. I, on the other hand,at the initial period of my training days, hardly talked to anybody . I would just sit and listen to everyone. All the pretty ladies chit chat about their personal lives and their men.Some of them are divorcees, a few unmarried and some are just not happy with the way things have turned up for them.  And then again, some of them just can’t seem to find a way to resist junk food, some are diabetic, some hypertensive and a few even have to undergo home dialysis every week. The worst part , some of them have massive surgeries to be operated upon them in the near future. There’s one lady who was supposed to get her kidneys transplanted. It came as a surprise to me ‘cause she otherwise looked so fit and fine. Well that’s the spirit, babe !
Then slowly, I began sharing my meagre knowledge on health and medicine with these people. There was an old lady , about 65 or so, who is an ardent gymmer at our gymnasium.One day, while I was sitting next to her in the locker room, I noticed her right swollen foot. I called her and told her immediately what she’s supposed to do, what she needs to take and what she needs to avoid.In the end, she literally thanked me a thousand times ‘cause it seems she was looking for a solution for the past few months (And deep down in my heart , I felt really happy I was able to advice her on that issue ) And now, whenever we meet up at the gym ,she calls me a ‘doctor friend’ (friend of a 65 year old, cool eh? and anyway, you’re never too young for anything )

So you see, different people have different stories and the gym is one of the easier places where you get to relate to them. You socialize, converse, you learn a new thing every day and in turn , you get an opportunity to share your experiences and tell people your stuff which you’ve realized over the years.
And above all, you establish a friendly and a healthy relationship with your fellow gymmers and of course, your trainers which in turn, helps you draw positive energy into your life so you could give that extra push and the extra minute to your work out in order to live a healthy and a happy life.

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Bidisha Chetia

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To Italy , Mio Amore !

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Generally, people who write about Italy either live there or have visited the place several times.
I, on the other hand , have never been to Italy. But I’d invariably longed to travel to Italy, ever since I was 9 or 10. And like all others ( who dream of being there at least once in their lifetime) , Italy lives inside of me.

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When you talk of a place like Italy,  you don’t have the slightest clue how to begin. There are so many things  about  this  place that need mentioning.  Yet, the sheer beauty of this country in Southern Europe inspires me to write  up a whole blog about it. However, I shall skimp and skip a few general things about Italy that you can always Google up and check out.

Why Italy, of all places ???

Well , to begin with, as a kid, I used to watch Football World Cup like crazy ! (Well , now I watch anything and everything that is concerned with F-O-O-T-B-A-L-L, but that’s another story ) I’d stay up all night waiting for the match to kick off even if I had to attend school the next day ( the IST timing for football matches is really sick , it screws up your biological clock sometimes )

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My family was and is still a stalwart supporter of Argentina, Holland and France. And I,  having  the least idea about football then, rooted for the same . But as I grew up , I realized I was falling for the Italian National Football Team and slowly , Italy became my personal favorite.  And there on, I loved everything about Italian football. From Maldini to Marchisio,  from Inter Milan to Juventus  , everything !

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And then I discovered my love for Italian food. As we all know, Cucina Italiana  is one of the most popular cuisines in the world with influences overseas. And like obvious, it seduced my taste buds as well.

Talk of Pizzas (Peperroni Pizza is my favorite, though I have tasted only the Indian version so far) , Pastas , Lasagnas, Cheesecakes and Wine. Talk of all the mouth watering Italian dishes you know of. Don’t you feel like digging in already ? BURP !!!

I always had this dream of visiting Naples so I could taste one of the best pizzas in the Universe in such a way that all the toppings and cheese slide off as I take my first bite . Oh, BUON APPETITO !

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When I was barely 21 , I began dating a guy , who, before we declared our love for each other, that is , while going through the initial flirt phase , popped a friendly question  “Which is the one place you’d go to if we got a chance to travel together ??” And before  I could think of anything, prompt came my reply :

“ITALY !”

It’s been two years since then and we both still dream of being there together, someday.

Hailing from a family where everyone is a movie freak in his/her own style ,  I , just like my brother,  followed the Mafia style .  When me and my brother get together at home, we sit down in front of the desktop and  watch all the Mafia inspired films ever made , totally glued to the screen . The funniest part is, when we love a particular scene , we would rewind the clip and play it over and over again like a bunch of OCD affected people or like the ones who’d lost their short term memory in a traumatic brain injury.
Quite recently, I watched the very famous “Gomorrah” a complete Italian movie based on a true mafia story. Boy, the movie was class apart! I did not care to get the subtitles downloaded . I just kept on watching till the last minute and believe me, I’m still starstruck.

a still from the movie "Gomorrah"

a still from the movie “Gomorrah”

Now I don’t know if this happens to you as well but when I talk of Mafia, I naturally and instinctively think of Sicily (As they say, Mafia originated in Sicily) and while my peers were fascinated and inspired by books like Princess Diaries and Twilight, I would sit and read Sicilian mafia stories and would dream about the rough and tough Mafiosos, the whole night. I even remember reading books and magazines about Italy as a kid  and I’d check out  the airline prices for flights from New Delhi to Rome.

Yes, I was truly , madly, deeply in love with Italia !

And once again, when I think of wild crazy love , marriage and a honeymoon destination, I just think of Rome, Venice, Italian Riviera and Tuscany . Oh  amore, amore, amore !!!

I even dream of making a visit to some of the famous Italian museums in Rome that are packed with treasures that include masterpieces of some of the best sculptures and paintings. I dream of visiting the Italian library, pick books on Italian literature, read about the lives of Italian writers like Umberto Eco, the very famous Dante and so many others. I dream of Italy , in every possible way.

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And last but in no way the least , the sexiest and the most attractive thing about Italy that drives me even crazier is the Italian Fashion !!! ( With Milan being regarded as the world’s fashion capital surpassing Paris, New York and so many other leading cities in fashion )          Image
So tell me about it. Well I believe, to be able to look beautiful is one thing and to be able to do Dolce and Gabbana , Versace, Gucci , Armani and Ferragamo Salvatore is another. Talk of shoes, designs, clothes, perfumes, jewellery or hair, the Italian fashion has had it all. It has indeed given a new meaning to Glamour !

And that, my friend, is exactly how Italy managed to endear itself to me , turned me into a hopeless dreamer , a restless spirit , a stupid romantic who dreams of making it to the country someday for the numberless reasons that connect me to this exceedingly beautiful place.

And I’ll make sure that when I reach there, I shall jot down all the beautiful stuff I’d come across so that when I return, I’d make a mention of them in my upcoming blogs for people and for all you young dreamers who secretly and passionately desire to be there someday.  So here’s to one of the sexiest places on earth :

                                        Amo l’Italia ! I love you, Italy !

 

Bidisha Chetia

6

The 20s and the Big M

 

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You are studying in a college, working hard for your undergraduate degree. Your days are full with assignments, tests, friends and more assignments. You have big plans for the future, and even bigger dreams – spending summer in pristine beaches with your friends, enjoying a cup of coffee sitting in a small cafe in busy Manhattan, shopping in the streets of Milan and Paris and the occasional trip to the Louvre or Madam Tussaud’s. The list is endless and so are your dreams.

And the day comes when you finally receive your degree and the world is just waiting for you to start exploring it. When an aunt pops the question “So, what now?? Further studies or wedding bells?” and Voila! There you are!! Rudely jolted back to reality.

While you have been stealing away into your fantasy world enjoying your delicious dreams, somewhere in reality your future was being discussed in a less appetizing way.

I wonder – is getting married the zenith of a girl’s entire existence? Why is it that when a boy turns 21 he is free to do what he likes, free to chase his dreams? And in the case of a girl, why is it that turning 21 sets off the alarm bells in the minds of everyone remotely connected to her?
You go to a wedding with your Mom and Dad (believe me, it’s even worse if you’re attending a relative’s marriage) and all the old ladies at the wedding would either give you a weird look or walk up to you, smile at you and tell you “You’re next in line, beta”
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Seriously?!

There was a time when girls were expected to get married the moment she turned 21.Waiting for another few years would just accelerate the anxiety attacks of her parents. Although the scenario is not as bad as it was back then, there still exist traces of that belief in some spheres of the society. A few days back, a distant cousin of mine made the mistake of getting engaged to her fiance when she was still pursuing her post graduation degree. It was an arranged marriage. She never wanted to commit so soon but relatives from both his side and hers cajoled her into agreeing for an engagement, giving her assurances like “It’s just an engagement. You can get married a few years later, whenever you decide to”. It’s worth mentioning here that the guy was a few years older than her and he already had finished his studies and was working in a reputed company. The poor girl didn’t get time to process what had just hit her. And within a year she got married and is now safely packaged on the way to foreign shores.

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This is just one of the tactics that is employed to achieve the desired results. First it’s just an engagement. Then slowly, the pressure of tying the knot builds up. And the next thing you know -you are married. And hey! That’s not all. Because just when you stop to assess everything around you and try to adjust yourself to your new surroundings, a voice pipes out “When do we get the good news?!!” Like hell!!!

Even if you are lucky enough to have supportive parents who have given you the consent to “go out there, and have it all”, society will still haunt you until you get yourself a supportive pillar in the form of a husband. A boy of thirty-five is considered to be a “Very Eligible Bachelor”. If he is a doctor or an engineer or has an equivalent successful career to flaunt, he is flocked with offers of marriage. In contradiction, if a girl is thirty five and equally successful, people look at her like she is some kind of a freak. The general agreement is that something must be terribly wrong with her or else she would have not stayed unmarried for so long.

Why do such prejudices exist? A girl of thirty-five is independent, she earns her own living and she is capable of contributing towards the welfare of the family as much as the boy is capable of, perhaps even more. But even such perks are not enough for her to be able to find a suitable boy to marry. The only people who would deign to show some interest are the divorcees or the widowers. Why is it that girls are made to wear an expiry date, which when crossed, the girl ceases to be human and becomes an object, to be judged and ridiculed?

Every girl dreams of getting married. It’s beautiful and the feeling of sharing your life with someone is unique. Getting married is a once-in-a-lifetime moment and it is a big deal ! But like every event in our lives right from growing up, learning to walk and finally completing the transition from a child to an adult, there is a time reserved just for getting ready to take the plunge into matrimony. Being forced or forcing oneself into this life altering phenomena is not at all easy and hence, we deserve to have all the time in the world to arrive at such big a decision.

And what if you just don’t want to get hooked? To be able to live for yourself, to be free from the usual responsibilities of a married life, to be just by yourself and enjoy yourself! Yes, sometimes it seems scary to face the big, bad world on our own but then again, isn’t it better to face it alone rather than having an unwanted person telling you what to do?

Here’s to hoping that somewhere down the line, in the very near future, society changes the way it perceives the “20s and Marriage” and allows women to be just as capable of deciding when to get married and who to get married to, just as it has been allowing the other sex , for many a decade.

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Stop worrying about your messy hair, your eyeliner and your curvy body.One day you’ll find a guy who won’t care about it !!” 

Written by : Kasturi Saikia

– Picture Credits : Bidisha Chetia