Who lives it, is who enjoys it!

The Carnival of Barranquilla is an annual celebration that exalts the traditions and folklore of the Caribbean coast of Colombia, long story short, it is a festival as colorful and magnificent as Holi, as big and bright as Diwali and as sacred and divine as Eid al-Fitr.

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If you are an Indian, the thought of any country beating you in the arena of “The Best Festivals Worldwide” is too intimidating; how can such a multi-cultural country, with almost two to three Utsavs (  “ut” meaning “removal” and “sava” which means “worldly sorrows” or “grief” ) every month be behind any country in this field. But sanity prevails and one realizes the importance of every country’s own religion, culture, ethnicities, values and lastly festivals or utsavs!

Diwali is a five day festival that represents the start of the New Year on the Hindu calendar. It honors the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness. Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama, King of Ayodhya, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana from a 14-year exile and a war in which he vanquished the demon king Ravana.  . It is colloquially known as the “festival of lights”, for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, verandahs, and gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls.
On the day of Diwali festival, doorways are hung with torans of mango leaves and marigolds. Rangolis are drawn with different colored powders to welcome guests. The traditional motifs are often linked with auspicious symbols of good luck. Oil diyas are arranged in and around the house. Talking about firecrackers, it beats the “4th of July” in the “Annual Brightness Meter” on this night, young and old, all people enjoy this part, with different types of fire-crackers everywhere, it lights up every single corner of the country.

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Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim festival that marks the end of the month of Ramzan, a month long period of fasting. This sacred Muslim festival marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and also to the month long fasting. Thus, Eid al-Fitr is also known as the Feast of Breaking the Fast. It is believed that fasting throughout the month of Ramadan, gives person a chance to win over his vices and come closer to Allah. Thus, once the month ends the celebrations of Eid al-Fitr begin and continue for around three days. During these festivities, Muslims throughout the world wear new clothes, exchange gifts with their loved ones and various delicious delicacies are prepared especially to mark the occasion. In India the revelry of Eid is not limited to the Muslim community but the joy is shared by people of other faiths as well. Muslims are the largest minority of the country and a significant part of the national social fabric. Thus, all Muslim festivals are celebrated in the country with great regalia, especially Eid al-Fitr.

Holi, known as the ‘festival of colors’ is celebrated on the full moon day falling in the month of Phalguna (Feb-Mar). Various colors and water are thrown on each other, amidst loud music, drums to celebrate Holi. Like many other festivals in India, Holi also signifies a victory of good over evil. As per ancient mythology, there is a legend of King Hiranyakashipu associated with Holi.  The legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap led to the tradition of burning Holika or Holika Dahan on the eve of Holi.  According to the legend there was a powerful king named Hiranyakshyap who considered himself to be God. Hiranyakshyap wanted everybody to worship him. However, against his wishes, his own son Prahlad began worshipping Lord Vishnu. With a view to kill his son, Hiranyakshyap requested his sister, Holika to enter a burning fire with Prahlad sitting in her lap. Holika had a blessing to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that because of his extreme devotion to Lord Vishnu, Prahlad was saved while Holika paid a price for her evil desire.

The part which everyone awaits is playing with colors, water balloons and pitchkaris( water guns). Every man on the street on this day cannot be identified as people go full guns blazing with so many colors in their hands and pockets, every individual face has a unique graffiti of its own, mothers can’t identify their children, bosses their employees.

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Coming to where we started, Carneval de Baranquilla, it is a space of social cohesion, of peaceful enjoyment, cultural diversity, great drawing power and social mobility gravitating around the folklore, dance, music, costumes, and creativity as the most representative artistic expressions resulting in a great party that contributes to the social and cultural development of the community. Second biggest carnival in the world after Rio, proclaimed by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the Carnival of Barranquilla is one of the highlights in South America, four days of endless “rumba” that will leave you unforgettable memories. The Carnival is mostly a dance festival with theatrical and musical performances based on historical as well as current events. Each dance, disguise or chariot has a very special meaning related to culture, history or actuality. One of the celebration’s central concepts is “la Burla” (making fun of something or somebody). For a person from a different part of the world, it surely looks like a big feast, a time when one can forget anything and everything in life and observe and witness the beauty and magnanimity of this four day long extravaganza. For an Indian or I would quote for anybody in the world, it is hard to categorize this mega event as some “x” festival for “y” thing. One would love to be here and one just wishes that “Carneval de Baranquilla” starts having its own version of festivals in every state in the world, just think about “Carneval de India” or “Carneval de USA”, the thought itself brings a huge, wide smile on everybody’s faces!

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Eclipsing teenage, a day at a time!

When you look back in life,  years seem to have drifted like days, to all we know and feel, it looks like everything happened just yesterday and we keep following the old adage which is thrown around in every corner of the world,  “One has to Move on and Life goes on”, but to us,  life looks like a circle, with no corners,  kind of like a mobius strip.
Teenage is a confusing state, you think about everything,  from the colour of your pens to the size of a cow’s horn,from the solid state of water to the speed of a snail compared with a Ferrari and who can forget about Pokémon characters,  Ash,  you still are better than Iron man. 
The most challenging of all,  is how to accept and adjust to societies rules, thinking how grades measure someone’s importance,  how can a single system exist for every individual and still functions well, is the meaning of life to be better than your neighbour or to do the things everybody does already as careers are just a 20th century invention,  and we don’t want one.

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We make mistakes, a ton of them,  without knowing, because of which we start finding perfection in our imperfections, this realization is crucial and albeit the most important one. 
Then the most tantalizing questions of all,  what you want to become in your life,  don’t we want to throw stones at these people who asks these questions, tell me if I’m lying,  how can we just become one thing in life, I want to be an actor, a director, a sumo-wrestler, a musician, a sailor, an artist,  an inventor and a change maker; skeptics, Valar Morghulis!
We know the pain and suffering which goes around in this world, how many people daily die of hunger, poverty and misery everyday; the injustice and discrimination many suffer daily. How even a twenty something individual has the right to cry about frivolous things in life,  I don’t understand!

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Life isn’t fair and to realize this simple fact,  makes one humble; as sometimes you are the pigeon and sometimes the statue!
And, the last of all; if we admit that human life can be ruled by reason,  then,  all possibility of life is destroyed; the very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. Time to throw off the bowlines and catch the trade winds in your sail!

Friends and the Fearful!

So, as I write this, I look at my past and introspect on how many good friends I’ve had, how many best friend/friends I’ve had, and how many are still there with me, tolerating the ever irritating, troublesome and maddening behaviour that I’ve, and it is with great disappointment that the answers to the above questions can be answered by simple binary digits, as in 0 or 1 among the hundreds, staggering figures one would wonder, but don’t we all( at least some of us) have this kind of life up till now, on the social side of it. And we all keep going inwards of the non-existing shell we’ve created for ourselves and keep ourselves away from the world of happiness and joyfulness that is out there, the ever-existing, evolving world of friendship.

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it!

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it!

There are 3 types of people in this world( maybe more, who knows):.

The loners/ lone wolves: Who believe that they are the Gods, and they have the power to control anything and everything and they can do any tasks on their own and don’t make friends or even fail to acknowledge someone’s hand offered for friendship because of their higher than Everest ego. To them, let me tell you that in this world most of the biggest innovations, successes and accomplishments have been achieved in teams or in groups, from Rafael Nadal to Lionel Messi, from Steve Jobs to Elon Musk, from Barack Obama to Narendra Modi, everybody had or have some support from somebody, somewhere. So lads and ladies, relax and be open minded and welcome to this jungle, I hope you don’t need anymore advice!

The fearful: These people are like my friend John, who wants to be friends with everyone in his surrounding but never offers a hand of friendship because of the fear that he might lose them at some later stage or that he is not at their level and his new found friends will make fun of him and he will be the butt of all their jokes. For these type of people, I’ve one advice, just go ahead and make friends, you will figure out who fits your type and who doesn’t and man the population of the world right now stands at 7.125 billion, there are plenty of “Your Type Friends” all around the world, so keep looking and don’t settle!

The philanthropist: Some of you might just be thinking that I didn’t open up my dictionary book before writing this category’s title, I’ve a different definition in mind for this which I think Oxford or Merriam Webster won’t accept. These type of people have lots of friends, they even remember friends from their kindergarten and high school and many other, they don’t do it for the sake of it, but these people don’t mind being a friend with anyone, these people treat everybody alike, from a beggar to a billionaire, these people just don’t care, they think that having friends is just like having food or water, it is something which is an integral part of one’s life and existence. These type of people make everyone happy around them and comfort them regardless of the good times or the bad. They build bridges and help society in many ways other things/ innovations/ accomplishments cannot and I love this type, period!

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood!

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood!

So, I’m now more inclined towards the 3rd type, becoming one and helping people in whatever ways I could, and I hope that you all will be helping me in this journey!

Have a great life ahead!

An Indian in America!

It is hard to find yourself in a place full of strangers, another land, miles and miles away from your own country, a different culture altogether, where life moves pretty fast, you might just miss a thing or two if you aren’t concentrating.I’m talking about the States, the United States of America as we call it, New York and Boston in particular. What happens when you are in a place where the police department is faster than your pizza delivery guy, where most jaw-dropping movies are shot and where there is no darkness, I’m talking about the tall and large digital billboards that lights up all the streets there are.

I was, awestruck; the magnanimity of this place will take over you. It is like watching a five dimension movie, where the whole film is made in a single shot, much like Interstellar and Birdman, do watch that, you get the feel of what Broadway is all about. It is heaven for those who love to eat, it is dope for those who love cars, BMWs and Jaguars are common sightings.It helped me to understand why this location is called the “Hot Dog Republic” in the world, the view from the Empire State Building makes you realize how systematically built the whole of New York is, divided into streets and avenues, much like rows and columns, not forgetting its beauty.You see every guy running over there, from an 8 year old to an 80 year old, for fitness purposes and otherwise, the live their life to the fullest, period.dfsfdsfs

The Central Park is as beautiful as the bough of the myrobalan. The magnificent views over there are breathtaking, visit the Zoo, the Museum of Natural History; with a real T-Rex paralyzing you with terror, you might just shit in your pants after watching it, careful.I love Google maps; I travelled the whole city on my own, just with the help of the maps, from different boroughs to big malls, from subway stations to the Statue of Liberty, one gets astounded by how accurate they are in reality, trust me, I was once being approached by muggers late night in one of the streets, and was scared to death, but then a spark of inspiration came, Google maps; much like Zorro from the cartoon series rescued me, I took a slip road and ran for my life, it was fun.

For those who feel famished and running low on cash, there are plenty of one dollar pizza shops, 99 cents pizza, as they are popularly known. But be ready to shed some weight, because it is better to walk than to take a subway, it gives you an opportunity to look at the marvelous architecture and buildings along the way, from St. Patricks Church to Chrysler Building, from Rockefeller center to the Time Warner’s center.

sunset-brooklyn-bridgeNew York has a beautiful skyline; it is as radiant as a thousand suns. Let’s take you to the Grand Central Station, they should remove the last word from it, because it is hard to even think of the s from the word station, its beauty would refresh the eyes of a man like a crystal pool of water would the desert wanderer.On the technology side of it, every person uses apple products there, not exaggerating, trust me, I’ve seen it from my own eyes, but still I went further ahead to decipher this code, I went to the main apple store, on the 5th avenue where thousands of people gather before any new launch of the product, from an iPhone to a MacBook. I entered the store, and calling it a tech. store hardly makes sense, it is more of a temple where we worship state of the art technological milestones.

More will be up about my visit and experiences in the States, keep an eye on this space.

Murphy’s Law and the Delhi Traffic Police!

Sometimes, it just can’t get enough, and it is the same case with Delhi Traffic Police as it is with you enjoying a date with your girlfriend/ boyfriend, or for all those enjoying their singledom and for the geeks having fun with their mean machines.

It’s been a long day for me, and as I was coming home in the night from college today, in my car, with the hope to arrive as soon as possible and greet my parents with the words Happy Holi, with a huge smile on my face, something happened with me, precisely with my car, which got me thinking and as a matter of fact, which got me to start this blog in the middle of the night, even though I’ve to start studying for my mid semesters which are just a few days away, prepare for tomorrow’s Holi celebrations(as if) and also find out the purpose of my life, which I still can’t find and for me the light at the end of the tunnel looks like a double decker train running as fast as it could and ready to crush me under its age old wheels, machinery and what not.

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Let’s not deviate from the point and let’s try to focus. I love driving fast and mind you there is a difference between the words fast and rash, lots of Indians aren’t intellectually gifted to differentiate between the two, this comes from my deep observation of my best of friends or maybe my friends are dumb and I brought the whole native Indians under the scanner because of no rhyme or reason, my apologies for that!

Everybody must have watched “RUSH”, heard of the guy named Sebastian Vettel or Ayrton Senna and maybe some must have dreamt of becoming a race car driver, I still dream of becoming one, what if I only drive a Hyundai i10, with a engine power no where in comparison to an F1 engine but what comes between our passion and our dreams is the Delhi Traffic Police which we all fail to respect, but I’ve learnt my lessons in the end.

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Nevertheless, I’ve heard a lot about the Delhi Traffic Police, how they are a bunch of lazy officers who act according to their own will, if at all, take decisions without logic, never help a person in need and how easily accept bribes and let go off the defaulters. But sadly enough it all happens to be the other way round in real life, this life, yes in the 21st century and in the year 2015, we were once stopped for over speeding, when my friend was driving his car and the officer offered us two options, first, to either pay for the “Challan” and the second, to have a court case as the last resort, we cried, pleaded, made excuses as we are college students doing a science project or our granny is sick and we are have to see her in the hospital and give her medicines otherwise she will die, but still the gentleman did’t listen to any one of it and was adamant for what the law had taught him to ask for, then my friend tried the last option to get away for less, offering the officer a bribe, which I resented, and he still went forward with, as soon as he made that request the officer out of anger started started shouting at us and to me it looked like another incarnation of Singham, or any other heroic cop from our own Bollywood movies, he even said that he would throw him in jail and he will have to pay a heavy fine. Now here is the thing, a situation which looked so easy from a third person point of view had turned into a crisis situation of sort. My friend later paid for the Challan and apologized to the officer

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Here is another story which I was a part of, which happened today, as I told you all earlier that I was driving back home late in the night around 9 pm, my car broke down in the middle of a heavy traffic area in Dwarka, as just a 19 year old,with low phone battery and with only Rs. 300 in my wallet, I was shit scared, terrified, petrified and stupefied with the situation at hand, with people abusing me for having the car parked at the center of the road, the noise level of honks breaking another record and myself being frustrated at not finding a solution to the problem even after 10 minutes precisely. Here comes to my rescue two officers wearing the uniform as like of the Delhi Traffic Police Officers which to me at the moment had same status as the Batman of Gotham, the Superman from Krypton and the in business Flash. They helped me park the car to one side of the road by pushing it for closer to a mile without me even insisting, gave me number of a car mechanic, and said that “Hum iske liye hi toh hain” with a grin from ear to ear.

I got the car repaired on the same site, and as the car got back into its normal workable condition, these two officers waived at me and being honest, in my whole life I’ve never felt so secure and happy in the surroundings of a police/ traffic police officers.

So, those of you who actually read till this end, what are your thoughts about today’s Delhi Traffic Police?

You know about mine! 😛