Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Newton's Laws- Part 1

New day, New start!

Newton’s Laws of Motion- Ring any bells? Well…obviously, they do. Irrespective of the line of work you chose or the place you studied, you would not have been able to escape Sir Isaac Newton! But how many of you have thought about the relevance of these laws to general life? How do they work outside the constricted domains of physics?

Just to remind you:

Newton’s Laws of Motion

First Law: If there is no net force on an object, then its velocity is constant. The object is either at rest (if its velocity is equal to zero), or it moves with constant speed in a single direction.

Second law: The acceleration a of a body is parallel and directly proportional to the net force F acting on the body, is in the direction of the net force, and is inversely proportional to the mass m of the body, i.e., F = ma.

Third law: When a first body exerts a force F1 on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force F2 = −F1 on the first body. This means that F1 and F2 are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

In this post, I’ll be talking about the first law. It basically states that an object in motion continues moving in a single direction unless it is acted upon by a force. Now think of a day when you wake up and have an argument with your parents/spouse/sibling. What happens?

After the exchange of angry colorful words you might:
1) Not be able to get ready on time.
2) Not be able to eat a proper breakfast.
3) Forget essential items, like keys to your cabin/ lab files, at home.
4) Mess up any important exam/viva/meeting you had.
5) Feel as if it is taking longer than usual on the road. Read Road Rage.
6) Be irritated with anyone and everyone around you.

The list is endless. But what is common to all these possibilities? You are having a bad day.

One thing leads to the other… spoiling the whole day. Coming back home provides no solace. Hence, a bad day turns into a bad week… a week into a month. Slowly, you transform into a grumpy man/woman. See the result of just one fight?

You must be wondering where does Newton step-in? Well, that fight, it was like rolling a marble on a friction-less floor, in the wrong direction. It will keep on moving in that negative direction till you, the force, intervenes. You have to stop that one bad moment from ruining your day. How can we do it?

Think...look ahead...find the right direction!

Suggestion 1:

Talk to yourself.

Everything we say or think has a huge impact on our subconscious. Our words are both a reflection and a formative factor for our own self. What we say reflects our values and the way we appear to others further goes on to reinforce our identity to our own self.

Talk positive to yourself. Tell yourself that you are the best… that you can do things if you set your heart to them… that accepting and apologizing for your mistakes does not make you smaller… that forgiveness is the best gift.

If these high-flying ideals do not work for you, start small. Just a simple “I am looking good today” will see you through the day with a smile. When you talk so much to others, why not talk to yourself?

Suggestion 2:

Know your goals.

To be able to roll the marble in the right direction, you need to know one quintessential thing: the right direction. Think over what you want to do. Do you want to complete all that pending work… or enjoy a day out with your family… or make the day special for a friend… what do you want to do?

Being clear about your targets, whatever their nature may be helps a lot. You do not end up getting lost in the maze that is your mind.

Tell your mind your goals, it will find the right direction. Once found, don’t lose it.

Suggestion 3:

Part from the usual routine

If you feel like you’re always working behind schedule, always waking up a few hours after the alarm goes off… or in general, you’re unhappy with the way your life is progressing…STOP!!!

Try to do things differently. You will realize what you were doing wrong. It might be something as simple as eating your dinner early which might fix the problem (eating late does not give our tiny stomach and long intestines the time to digest it… sleepless night… waking up late and so on). At the end, it is all connected. That is why when we see successful people we find them good at everything… from entertaining people to finding complex business solutions.

Break free from the rut. And enjoy a happy and fulfilling life.

Remember... every new day is a new start! 

One last word:

I know this was a lengthy post… but those of you who are reading these words… I hope you will make the most of them. It was only my explorations on the internet which gave me the idea for this series. If you like it, share it J

Till next week, keep the marble rolling (in the right direction)!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Compliments... Phew!

Compliment: A polite expression of praise or admiration. This is how the dictionary defines it. In my opinion, a compliment is infinitely more meaningful than what this string of words suggests.

Compliments, if sincere, leave you with the fuzzy warmth of feeling good about yourself. Not only do they boost your self-esteem, they build your confidence. And no matter how many times I say that our happiness should be independent of others… the fact remains that compliments are directly proportional to our happiness quotient; the more we get, the merrier we are.

But if everyone just loves receiving them… who gives them? I see no volunteers. This reluctance to compliment others stems from a plethora of reasons. Some people feel that expressing their true feelings leaves them vulnerable. To some extent, I agree. After all, if I am complimenting you, I am letting you peek inside my tiny little heart. Mind you, that involves great risk. It might backfire (as has been happening with me lately). Trust me it isn’t nice when you spend time choosing your words (they have to be perfect… neither too flowery, nor too simple) and the other person interprets them wrong. Instead of the smile you’d hoped to spread across their face, they scrunch it up in a frown. You end up trying to prove the credibility of your compliment which is next to impossible (feelings don’t have documentation).

So here I am trying to understand How to Give a Good Compliment.


1) Mean what you say: I cannot stress the importance of this. Compliments aren’t bought at the road-side stand. They’re precious gifts meant to be given to the right people for the right reasons. If I have compliments on the tip of my tongue, they’ll lose their worth. Contrary to strengthening my relationships with people, they might strain them.

2) Be Specific: Specificity is of utmost importance. For example, “I love the way you look in this dress” is often better than “You’re looking good.” It shows that I noticed the other person enough to realize that he/she has dressed up differently today. It might be a simple change in the way they do up their hair… or the way they wear their scarf. But if you have noticed something good about them… don’t lose it in a stream of non-specific words.

3) Back up the compliment: This is almost equivalent to attaching your identity proof with your college application form. Give weight to your compliment. Prove your honesty. For example, “I love the way you look in this dress. It suits your personality.” This definitely validates your compliment. Personally I think I am lacking in this area.

4) Ask a question: This is a trick question while complimenting girls. In the context of the current example, some girls might be flattered when asked about their wardrobe destinations, while others may make a face. I can just provide an example use it at your own risk! “I love the way you look in this dress. It suits your personality. Where did you get it?”

Though the path to complimenting others is fraught with danger, it is still worth the risk. It triggers a cycle of making others feel good and feeling good about myself. Somehow, people who compliment others attract compliments to themselves. The more you give, the more you get. And once you train your heart to honestly say good things about people, you learn to realize and appreciate the goodness in your own self too. This is where the mind connects with the soul. This is true bliss.

Merry Complimenting!   

P.S. Do not be put down by a few negative reactions to your compliments. You might have to put up with a few fights too. Persevere in your efforts… everything is bound to turn out well!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Girls love to talk. Talks give expression to experiences. And experiences ought to be shared. What follows is a candid confession of a foodie in their own words (I did not even edit it!). Trust me, there is nothing like listening to a food lover talk about food. They describe it as a writer would describe his characters, like an artist paints his imagination, like a performer expresses himself through his dance. They surround you with the aroma, let your taste buds tingle and make your mouth water… with praises of what they ate and you could not. This one should rather be termed as the one-stop guide for food in the Golden city of Amritsar.

Warning: Do not be stumped by the number of delicacies sampled or the amount of food eaten. After all they say, when in Punjab, do as Punjabis do!

At the impossibly narrow Katra Ahluwalia, adjacent Jalianwalla Bagh, a Jalebi shop of no name sells the best in town. Faint-hearted tourists often get pointed towards Novelty at Lawrence Road for the best Chaat (Aloo Tikkis are made with onions and black gram and with the potatoes shallow fried even before they are made into tikkis and fried again – no don’t watch calories here) and Jalebis. But this is the ‘it’ place.

Outside the temple, there are shops selling Badiyan (made from dried Urad dal seasoned with a variety of things, including guava) and Aloo Papad, another traditional treat. I stop to pick up a bundle, and upon inspection, find the papads to be exactly what you’d buy in Benares. The shopkeeper, one Mr. Aggarwal ji, whose family has been in the city for 200 years, offers a plausible explanation: women from UP traditionally settled in this town have been running this thriving home-business.

The rickshaw puller keeps up a constant chat: The best Milk Barfi is to be found at the Longewala Mata Mandir near the Golden Temple, he tells me, and then takes me to Gyan Halwai, opposite DAV College, for Lassi. When it arrives, the frothy concoction topped with cream, in big steel tumblers, is intimidating. I can barely manage a quarter of a glass.

The walled city around the Golden Temple, the oldest part of Amritsar (look here for flights to Amritsar), is vegetarian. So, are some of the oldest dhabas here. Bharawan Dhaba (thus called because it was set up by two brothers) was established in 1912 by Jagannath Vij, well before the Partition exodus made eating out acceptable. According to Vij’s grandson, who now mans this destination, in the earlier days, people would get their atta (wheat) and ghee and other ingredients and merely have these cooked here. Today, of course, this is a bustling enterprise. House special- Dal Makhani is cooked in a copper vessel for an entire night. This place gives you a whiff of nostalgia even if the setting has pastic-y table tops.

The other such haven for food-freaks is Kesar ka Dhaba but I am still in a stupor before the rick takes me to Hindu College, next to which stands another Amritsari favourite: Ahuja Lassi. In the mornings, you can sample their famous Kesar ki Lassi—flavoured with saffron (saffron “threads” are ground and mixed with milk before the yoghurt is set) but even the usual non-flavored glass is creamy and lip-smacking.

Having finally junked the rick, I head out to Lawrence Road for some non-vegetarian treats. The Tawa Meatwallah near Adarsh Talkies has shut down, Beera’s chicken (for tandori style treats) at Manjithia Road is still the best place for fowl, but Surjeet, mentioned in Lonely Planet and a favourite with Bollywood stars, is clearly thriving. Instead of the small fish shop that he started out with near the railway station, there is now a new “restaurant”, air-conditioned, where you can sample Surjeet Singh’s delicacies. We try the Amritsari fish (the Ista version is better), the totally fabulous mutton tikka (instead of the plain tandoori version, this one comes coated in a secret masala having been fried on a hot iron griddle as well after being over-roasted), first-rate tandoori chicken and soft, fluffy aloo kulchas. We are full and not just with Amritsari pride.

Back at Ista, next day is a relatively simple affair: Simple? Well, that’s not possible in this city. A lunch of Chole Kulche gets transformed to a gourmet meal thanks to what arrives at our table: Chickpeas in a curry that can only be attributed to another world — or to Amritsar’s partiality towards delicacies.

 I hope you loved this food blog. Like I said... experiences should be shared! Happy Eating!

Monday, April 1, 2013


Happiness- that mysterious state of being, which forever eludes most of us. We might think of it day in and day out, without results. We might attend wellness camps, laughter sessions and undergo therapy… all to no avail... because happiness is found at that one place where we never bother looking- in our own self.

We always seek happiness in the company of others, in the approval of others. We are over-joyed if someone praises us…ecstatic if someone appreciates us. But is this happiness eternal? No. It is blown to pieces the next time they don’t take notice. Honestly, since when did we become so dependent on others for our daily dose of happiness? If I am all alone in this world… can’t I be happy?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to think over what keeps me happy. Forgive my twenty year young mind for any mistakes, but this is what I found out:

1)   The first and foremost tenet of a happy life is being content with what I have. No way does it mean that I do not want more. Imagine saying no to buying more clothes when your mum is ready to loosen her purse strings! Stupid, I tell you! But yes, if she does say no, I’ll be happy with the things I did buy. Rather I show them off to everyone at home (that includes a mini fashion show for all my spoils).

2)   The second: Not comparing myself to others. Comparisons never brought anyone joy. Never ever. Trust me… I checked it in all the encyclopedias. It might make me smirk, but it never makes me smile. And smirking isn’t a really good gesture. When I can isolate my performance, my grades, my fortune from that of others and compare them only with my previous state…only then can I experience true joy.

3)   The third: Not carrying grudges. I know everyone loves to remember the compliments they receive. But somehow, we’re wired in a way to remember the rebukes and insults for a longer time. Maybe God did make a mistake in this particular neural circuit. Or maybe we made an error in understanding it.  Harboring negative feelings of revenge does more harm than good. We might be able to get back at the other person but in the process, we lose our calm. All the planning and plotting feeds on our energy, our happiness.

4)   The fourth: Doing things my way. No, this isn’t called being headstrong. It is called being… well… just being me. No doubt it is of immense importance to listen to all sides before taking a decision… but it is equally important to do what you love. When you do what you really want to, you work extra hard, this hard work gives better results… better results mean more satisfaction. Someone told me, satisfaction and happiness go hand in hand. There you are. Doing your own thing gives you happiness.

5)   The fifth (perhaps the most important): Establish control over your life by accepting that certain things cannot be changed. Contradictory as it might seem, to gain control of your own self you need to understand that certain things are beyond your control. Identify these things, make peace with them… then be they issues with family or friends, economic problems… whatever makes you pull your hair in frustration. Once you accept these bitter truths of life, you gain control over the things you can and should influence. I never feel nice doing something because someone else told me to. It makes me restless. It makes me irritable. But when I know the rationale behind something and do it of my own free will…there is precisely nothing I love more. If I control what I do, if I am my own master… I am happy.

All these points just indicate the importance of loving yourself. Mind you, it is not the same as being self-centered. You can be kind to others, speak well of others and have strong and healthy relationships only if you are happy inside.

 If you love the person you see in the mirror every morning… you’ll be happy. If you love the shape, size, color you have been endowed with… you’ll be happy. If you’re nodding your head in agreement… you’ll be happy. Voila! If you have a smile on your face… you are happy!!!  

P.S. Did anyone understand the meaning of the picture? If yes, I would love to hear your interpretation before I let you know mine :)