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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Congratulations Saina Nehwal!

          India is a country wherein three things are worshiped greatly; politics, bollywood and cricket. These have taken so much importance over the years that other fields are neglected. If some one has good looks, then there is nothing else but bollywood. If someone is good at sports, then there is a high chance that he/she will be dragged into cricket. On the other hand, if someone is playing really good badminton on the streets, then he/she is just said to be lucky for the day. Playing badminton is something every person has done as a child. It is even assumed to be a simple game. Well, firstly, badminton isn't as simple as it looks. Street badminton is nothing like playing badminton indoors. Even though the court is small, there are numerous things to be practiced. Badminton is not just about smashes. It is about the proper serve, high tosses, clever drops and fast smashes which make up an excellent rally. It is a game which requires an exercise of the entire body.
          In a country where academics is considered more important than talent, a small-town girl from Haryana made it to the international tournaments, won medals, received awards and made the country proud. Today, Saina Nehwal became the first ever Indian woman shuttler to be ranked 'World Number 1' in International Woman's Singles Badminton! Being a hardcore fan of badminton and Saina, I am delighted. Of all the women in badminton, she truly deserves this. Badminton has been Saina's life and blood ever since she was 8 years old. Saina dedicated her life to the sport. Her devotion, perseverance, mental and physical strength have been the key values which make her such a world class player.


Saina with her Olympic Bronze medal.

          Saina Nehwal has won Indonesia Super Series (2009, 2010, 2012), Singapore Super Series (2010), Hong Kong Super Series (2010), Indian Open (2010, 2014), Swiss Open (2011, 2012) and so many other tournaments that I have lost count. Not only did she win a bronze at the 2012 Olympics but also many national awards. Saina is the recipient of Arjuna award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Padma Shri. And, of course, another accomplishment added today was the world number 1 rank.
          There are ups and downs in every sportsman's career but that is no reason to give up. That point is the time when they have to get up from scratch and fight back stronger than ever. Saina's matches are filed with such match-changing turns. It is always exciting  to watch her on court. Her brilliant techniques and unbelievable mental energy are the strong points that help her to win the match. If you have seen her matches, then you must have noticed a few things. Saina gives a 'drop' more than a 'smash'. She involves the opponent in long rallies rather than getting points by ending it with a few strokes. She knows the game and she savors it.
          It is because of her qualities of discipline and continuous practice, she has reached such a landmark position. The fact that she has become what she set out to be, gives an inspiration for all the players to keep working and improving towards excellence. Such achievements give hope and positivism about the future of Indian badminton. I heartily congratulate Saina Nehwal on this wonderful accomplishment. I wish her great victories in the future and I await the day when the top 10 ranks will be filled with Indian players. 



Saturday, 21 March 2015

Turning 21!

          Isn't it the best feeling, being loved? My 21st birthday was filled with lots of it. Love from my family, love from my friends, love from all my close ones. It felt divine. I was the happiest person on March, the 19th! Also, all of those who kept a status and changed their display pictures for me, I cannot love you enough. I feel destined to have such amazing people around me who care for me and wish for my happiness. I love you all. So, here's a post for all of you who made my day ultimate!

          It was startling that so many people wished me at midnight. Giving up sleep is no easy task. So my day started at 8 am. I woke up happy with mom and dad wishing me. Then I studied for over an hour. I know, who studies on their birthday!? Apparently I do, but it didn't last long. Then, I met two of my best friends; Priyanka and Suruchi for lunch. We had a pleasant time with good food and some laughs. They gave me a huge greeting card. I was speechless and filled with emotions. It had all my photos on the front and "HBD SHENU" was written in the center with golden glitter. Inside, both of them had written some wondrous lines about me and our friendship. It touched me deeply. The efforts they took for this were clear in the face of it. I couldn't stop smiling about this wonderful gesture!


Inside of the card.
The "A" collage with the mug.

          Post lunch I was planning to take them for dessert but they suggested to go at my home. I didn't exactly get the point of it but I played along. I am never hopeful for anything extraordinary and that's why it took me by a great surprise when I saw my collegemates! There they were; Ruchita, Vidhi and Nilambari, looking at my absolutely astonished face! Excitement took the best of me and left me overwhelmed and yet again speechless. I hugged them and revived soon. And then there was a line of spectacular gifts which sent me back to my surprised and speechless zone again! Vidhi, Nilambari and Ruchita took out this huge outline of an "A". It was a collage made out of numerous pictures! Name any incident and the memory of it I could see there. There were photos of our BSE visit, Ruchita's birthday, Bandra shopping, mall hangouts and of course, the college days. They also included photos from the teachers' felicitation program which was just a couple of weeks earlier. Just everything! If I could cry, I sure would have had tears of happiness.

The paper wall-hanging.
          It didn't end there. They took out this marvelous paper wall-hanging wherein many of my friends had written something about me. It had ten pieces written by ten friends. It was just so cool that I couldn't believe they would make something so artsy for me. It was written by Shweta, Husaina, Nilambari, Pooja, Ruchita, Vaishnavi, Priyanka, Mayuri, Vidhi and Winny. I adored it a great deal. It's unbelievable how a few words from friends can make you so insanely happy! I immediately hanged it up on my study-table and it looked like it just belonged there. Every time I will open my room, it will be the first thing that I will see and it will put a smile on my face in nanoseconds. Thank you so much, girls! The last gift was a lovely coffee mug which was from Vaishnavi, Nilambari, Ruchita and Vidhi. It had New York written on it along with the Statue of Liberty. It was great. My friend, Nilu also wrote a sweet & funny little poem which I loved. Later, we had a photo session which was a must and then we headed to Amul Ice cream. We shared some laughs there and also India won the quaterfinals! After the ice cream treat, Nilambari, Vidhi and Ruchita left. I really missed Vaishnavi and her jokes. I hugged them again and we departed. 

A selfie with Divya.
          Suruchi and Priyanka stayed with me until my school-time best friend; Divya arrived. Divya and I were meeting after quite a long time. So, we talked non-stop. It's funny how we can catch up on everything within just a matter of minutes. Whole days then, narrated in a few minutes now. She gave me a cupcake which was delicious. We walked around a nearby lake for some time. I told her about the concert, my exams, my new books and so on. She talked about her moot in Lucknow, her night out and other funny stories. It's always a delight talking with her. Finally we bid goodbye.




         Now was the precious family time. There wasn't cake cutting because we are not huge fans of cakes or pastries or whatever. Mom put a tilak on my forehead and then I seeked everyone's blessings. Then it was dinner time. Mom had made the most delicious 'Paneer Bhurji', Dad got 'Ras Malai' and my brother gave me a chocolate (which I'm sure mom would have asked him to get.) We all had ice cream later. It was such a merry time.
          My day went by faster than I had thought. It was filled with more people than I had imagined and I loved it. It was filled with happiness and love. I felt so close to everyone, like they really know and understand me. It was an out-of-the-world feeling altogether. I love them. They are my persons.

Group Picture!

          

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Get Inspired!

          Have you ever felt clueless? About yourself or about the people around you or just the bleak possibility of a dynamic life in 20-something years? Have you felt like quitting everything, taking a random plane and just going somewhere, away from the chaos? Have you felt like you are leading a meaningless life with no aims or a burning passion? Just the life of a common man, one dot in the whole universe?


          Well, you are not the only one. I don't know anything about psychology or such sciences of people, but I do know a few things from observation and experience. Every single person feels this way at some point in their lives. There are more questions about everything and comparatively a few negligible answers. Firstly, such phases never last. That is why they are called phases! At that point of time, we feel like we are losers and that there is nothing that can make us feel any different or help us in moving on with our lives. No matter how educated or mentally strong we are, but at those vulnerable moments, we change. We go in a state of mind from where we think that we may never revive. It is like a black hole of some kind. I'm not talking about stress or depression here. Those are the words which people use to scare other people. But what I am talking about is just a higher variation of mood swings.
          For example, exams. Being a student, I am well aware of this phenomenon. When the exams are in a few weeks, the panic begins. After a day or two of rigorous studies, there is a meltdown. I think that I don't know a thing and that I should have studied from the beginning and all sorts of brilliant yet never-actually-implied thoughts. What I do is just keep the books away out of frustration and waste an entire day. But, the next day, I am back to normal. That one day is hard but later does it even hold any significance? That is how it usually is. It is a huge thing when you are near it and a small thing when it passes away. Exactly like vehicles on the road.
          What I do when I am low is that I read some amazing quotes. If the motivational quotes fail to cheer me, then I listen to music or read a book or watch television. Escapism is an art you can learn from me. And there is nothing good or bad about it. It is just a way to feel better and get back on our feet.
Here are some ingenious words:



Thursday, 5 March 2015

Ed Sheeran Concert Experience

          Edward Christopher Sheeran is an English singer and songwriter. This talented 24-year old red head writes the most lovely lyrics and gives them justice by singing them in his magical voice. He is well-known not only for his melodious tunes but also for his humble and down-to-earth nature. There is no wonder that he has female fans (Sheerios) all over the world. And surely, I am one of the many. So, when his concert was announced in Mumbai, I was overwhelmed! None of my favorites have ever visited India. My best friend Suruchi and I were on cloud nine. To have the perfect concert outfit, we started our shopping strides. Clothes, headbands, hairstyles, shoes, makeup, banners, lyrical imprints and so on. Our excitement was quite as much as when a kid gets a box full of chocolates!
          Finally the day arrived. Ed Sheeran's concert was at Mahalaxmi Race Course on Sunday, 1st of March, organised by Fly Music Festival. Suruchi and I were fully geared to witness the best day of our lives, which certainly it was. The musical evening was to start at 6 pm and we reached a tad early by 4 pm. We went to the venue and were shocked to see the long queue for the entry. We were inside the arena by 6 pm and were pleased to view the rocking stage. There was a DJ playing some good music. He was quite energetic despite the frequent chorus of "We want Ed! We want Ed!" from us.     

                         

          The whole time, both of us were having mood surges of extreme happiness to craziness to disbelief and then again to happiness. We were still trying to cope up with the realm of the whole thing. I am so glad to have a friend like Suruchi. She can understand my craziness, passion and love for someone who doesn't know I exist. (That is because she shares this interest.) This evening would have been dull without you, pal!
          The concert finally began by 7.30 pm. The moment came when I saw him for the first time. Ed Sheeran was here, in my home town. I, among others, yelled at the top of my lungs at his first sight. My hands clutched my face, trying to take it all in. He entered wearing kurta and pajamas, carrying India's flag which he wrapped around the mike. He wore Indian clothes! Now I don't know what can possibly be more sweeter than that! His bright blue eyes matched the blue kurta and it felt like watching an angel right in front of me. "Oh I'm a mess right now...", he began and it was followed by yelling, singing, dancing, jumping and lots of fun.

Ed Sheeran performing on stage.
   
The Tracklist
I'm a Mess.
Lego House.
Don't/No Diggity/Nina.
Drunk.
Take It Back/Superstition
Photograph.
Feeling Good/Tenerife Sea
Thinking Out Loud.
I See Fire.
The A Team.
Give Me Love.
You Need Me I Don't Need you/Fancy.
Sing.

          If you view the setlist, you would understand how much all of us must have enjoyed that night. Before it all began, we were all unfamiliar people with different names, class and values. I even had an inferiority complex after watching some girls with their pretty outfits and perfect accents. But once the concert began, when we heard the golden voice of Ed, we were all united. We screamed together. We sang together. We danced together. We cried together. We all experienced such an excellent musician, made countless memories and shared an infinite level of happiness.


          Every part of my body ached because of standing straight for 5 to 6 hours. My stomach growled as I hadn't eaten anything in 6 hours. I was sleep-deprived. And yet, all these things were thrown in the corner for the whole 2 hours of the concert. Even though Ed didn't see me, even though I couldn't go to the airport on his arrival, even though we couldn't get a 'Meet and Greet' session, I felt a connection with him and that was priceless. It was the best evening of my life. I, thank you, Ed Sheeran for giving Mumbai the joy of your vocals. I feel so lucky to witness such an amazing show.
And I would like to say, Ed Sheeran,
Even when your hands won't play strings the same way,
You know I will still love you the same.

Ed posted this photo of us on Instagram captioned "Mumbai".

Sunday, 1 March 2015

A day in the life of a Mumbaikar.

          Yesterday, I traveled by train. For maximum people living in Mumbai, it is not at all a big momentous thing. It is something that they do every other day. From home to office or college and back. I, however, use the rail mode of transport  quite rarely. I had to travel to Mahalaxmi with my best friend, Suruchi to collect our tickets for Ed Sheeran's concert which is today. I am not a big fan of trains but particularly today, they did not bother me as much as usual. Plus, it was raining. Some of us just whine about untimely rains or worry about the seasonal cycles but I love it. I love rains, no matter what. So, it was a pleasant day.
          Trains, I have noticed are a fulfilling place for thinking. There are always so many stations to go by, so many people and an abundance of thoughts. There are people going to office. Some are over the phone yelling at their juniors to get the work done. Some are calling at home to check whether every thing is fine. There are those women and men who sell accessories, utility stuff, fruits and other things. Their marketing skills are quite impressive, like the peculiar way they call out. Then there are college going students who are usually listening to music or reading for their exams or standing by the door enjoying the cool breeze. Then there are people like me, who are engrossed in themselves. Train travelling for me is mostly thoughts and observation. I think about possibly all the things. Like yesterday, I started thinking about friends to what-will-happen-in-ten-years thing to the concert to the USA to creative writing and it just kept on wandering. The train of thought is more amusing than the railway trains. There is no end. And when you are a thinker like me, it is a delight.
          Just to take a break from thinking, I started observing the women sitting around me.You have to be awfully careful with that because there is minute difference between observation and staring! I am not Sherlock Holmes but I do like to observe people even if I get no deductions whatsoever. There was a girl accompanying her mother. She was buying her daughter all sorts of things that the vendors were selling. The girl had her hand entwined with her mother's arm. Now, Indian railways are always crowded and everyone is stuck up close to each other. But they were obviously different. They shared a deep and loving bond. On the back end, I have no idea what people might be thinking about us. Suruchi and I had our earplugs in and were listening to Ed Sheeeran. We were also lip syncing. So that is a weird thing to do in public but we do not care much any way. We were just exhilarated about the concert.
          We reached Mahalaxmi in an hour. I felt gleeful as it was raining there as well. We got our tickets. This was my first concert ever and as it was Ed Sheeran, I  was so much excited about it. When I finally got the tickets in my hands, I was so happy. It was bliss. I have been smiling about it ever since. I cannot wait for today's concert. It is going to be the best day of my life!


Our tickets!

I will be back to write about the exclusive concert experience. :)
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