Gone too soon

Watching Michael Jackson’s memorial service brought tears to my eyes. The troubled King of Pop has left an indelible mark on human history. His fame was unparalleled, as was his decline. Those who pointed fingers at him and blamed him did not realize that Michael never really grew up. He was a boy-man, a modern day Peter Pan. His music….the lives that he touched….the humanitarian work that he did….will live on as a lasting legacy behind him.

Let me leave you with the hauntingly beautiful poem that Dr. Maya Angelou wrote for Michael Jackson, which was read out by Queen Latifah at his memorial service.

We Had Him by Maya Angelou
Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana’s Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

Reading the cards

I’ve been fascinated with the occult and divination methods, such as palmistry, the I-ching, Runes, etc., since a really long time. I’m even doing an altered book that has a Book of Shadows theme. A couple of weekends back, while browsing through the bookstore, I came across a tarot deck that wasn’t too highly priced, which was rare, and on an impulse, I bought it. I soon realized that that particular deck was a mistake — the cards were simply not “talking” to me — but I found myself fascinated with the cards.

t-rideroriginSo, within a week, I was back at the bookstore, where I purchased the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the only one that’s readily available here, and a comprehensive book on the tarot.

Around that time, while exploring on the internet, I also came across this really greatwebsite called Learning the Tarot, where author Joan Bunning has a tarot course up for free. It’s an excellent site to read about and learn the tarot.

The tarot is made up of 78 cards — 22 Major Aracna cards and 56 Minor Aracna cards.
the_fool
Each of the Major Aracna cards corresponds to a significant life event, tracing the journey of an innocent adventurer (the Fool, card 0) as he evolves into one that has the world at his feet (the World, card XXI). Each card symbolizes an archetype, a classic role that we or others take on.

I especially loved Joan Bunning’s The Fool’s Journey. Not only does it help you to understand the cards in the Major Aracna, it also holds true about the way we go through life — our cycles of learning…falling, rising, learning…

It’s been fascinating learning about the cards, and some of my daily readings have resonated really well during my day. I didn’t have time to do one for today…but I might just draw a card at night to introspect and reflect on the day gone by.

And we've chosen…

…the Hyundai i10 Kappa!!

i10_collage

I had to stretch my budget for the down payment on the car a bit, but did manage to get the monthly payments to fit within my budget. Plus, I get the latest technology without having to settle for the base model, and it’s such a peppy and fun car to drive!

Got my car loan sanctioned today — that was a real PAIN! I had thought I’d be able to get all the formalities done by 1:30/2:00 and go in to office, but by the time we were through at the bank, it was 3:00! By then my brains were fried, and I was dead beat after signing 48 checks! Am taking the loan from SBI — typical PSU bank — no efficiency in their work, things move leisurely…ugh! But, they offered the cheapest loan…so as they say, you gain some, you lose some!

I’m expecting the car to be delivered on Tuesday. I had initially wanted to get the delivery done over a weekend, but if the car comes in the beginning of the week, I don’t think that will be possible…and honestly, once I know it’s arrived on Tuesday, I doubt I’ll be able to wait until the weekend to go pick it up! Can hardly wait!!

Chitty chitty bang bang

Dontcha just love the movie, and the car, which flies at your command? 🙂

It’s time for me to upgrade my chitty chitty bang bang now! After checking out all of the options in my budget (and there weren’t too many of them, ’cause I refuse to drive a Tata Nano and can’t afford a Honda City!) it’s down to two cars, both from the Maruti stable — the newly introduced Ritz and the tried and tested Wagon-R.

The Ritz is Maruti’s spanking new introduction, which looks really stylish and sexy.

maruti_ritz_front maruti_ritz_side maruti_ritz_back maruti_ritz_dashboard

I had initially discarded it as being too expensive, but after a lot of playing with numbers last night, we did manage to strike the right balance between a down payment that I can make without breaking the bank and an EMI that I can comfortably pay for the next 5 years. So now it’s time to do some research about the car and read up some magazines for reviews and shootouts.

The Wagon-R is a tried and tested car that has won numerous owner satisfaction awards.

wagon-r-duo wagon r_interiors_dasboard wagon r_interiors

A couple of our friends own the car, and have only good things to say about it. The best thing is that I can buy the top-of-the line model without needing to juggle my finances or stretch my budget. To buy the Ritz, not only do I need to stretch my budget, I also need to juggle my finances around a bit. And I still get just the base model of the car.

So, it’s decision time. The spanking new Ritz vs. the tried and tested Wagon-R!

Update: 10 June:

Now, we’ve brought another player onto the scene. The Maruti A-Star.

A-star

It’s a nice sporty car, but hasn’t caught on too well, because people find it a bit cramped. I don’t have any such space issues, since I don’t plan to load up the car with people. Now, we gotta figure out the specs and cost. Decisions, decisions!

LOL catting

I stumbled upon this website thanks to my co-editor, who sent me a LOL Cat birthday card back in April. If you’re a cat lover, this is THE site to bookmark for a quickie stress buster any time you need it. I found some time to check it out yesterday, while I was waiting for a document to hit my inbox. It was late evening, I was tired and stressed at the thought of having to edit two more documents still, but after spending about 10 mins on the site, I felt light and fresh as rain! Some of these pictures will totally crack you up! Here are a few for you to enjoy!

Ever wanted to chase an ice cream van? Do it kat style!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Packing troubles?

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Check out the view!

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Cheating on your diet, huh? 😉

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Finding meaning

Three and a half billion years of evolution has built the need for meaning and purpose into human beings. It is as real as our need to breathe. —- Donna Druchunas

And how do we uncover this deeper meaning to our lives? The deeper meaning of life lies where we choose to dig deeper. Ask yourself everyday what went well and why it went well. If you had a good conversation with an angry friend, describe what about that conversation went well. Did you do something different? Did you respond to a negative with a positive? Try to outline three positive things and the reasons why they went well at the end of the day. Daily practice will help you to build a good foundation for uncovering meaning in your life.

Life mirroring art

I find it hard to sleep without reading these days. It’s probably got something to do with the amount of time I spend staring at my computer. My eyes rebel against the brightness and glare of the screen, demand some rest on good, old-fashioned paper.

I was re-reading May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude. It’s funny how some parts of that book that did not seem relevant to my life the last time I read it have suddenly become relevant now. That’s the beauty of a well-written, meaningful book.

One passage that caught my eye and lingered in my head is from one of her first few journal entries:

I feel too much, sense too much, am exhausted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation. But the deep collision is and has been with my unregenerate, tormenting and tormented self.

That is an eloquent expression of how things stand with me these days. I’m frazzled, irritated, agitated, and desperately need some space.

The results are in…

Just uploaded some pictures from my new Canon 1000D, and I LOVE the results! A lot of the pictures I took were experiments, just to get the hang of how the camera works, but I did try out a few macros and bokeh. The macros I like, the bokeh I’m not too sure about!

It's funny….

…how people see only what they want to see…there may be a thousand places where something is right, and the one place where it isn’t (simply because you copied something from somewhere and so left it as it was) is the only one that everyone notices.

And no, this isn’t a rant about work!

Mad about books

On the last day of April, the month in which I have my birthday, instead of doing some soul searching, I thought it would be more fun to do some “product searching.” Do I hear you ask what that is? It’s just me taking stock of where I spent my hard earned rupees this month! Wanna know what I went crazy buying? Like the title of this post didn’t give it away! BOOKS!!

I bought myself a total of 6 books this month! I’ve never bought more than 2 or 3 from the bookstore, unless I was picking them up on deep discounts, and then I’ve picked up like up to 12 books in one shot! But…we’re not getting into my crazy book-buying habits right now, okay? So, here’s the list of books, and a brief synopis of each!

The first two were thanks to my co-workers, who gifted me a Rs. 1,000 gift voucher to knock myself silly in Landmark! I picked up

The God of Spring by Arabella Edge
god-of-spring

When the French painter Théodore Géricault died in 1824 at the age of thirty-three, he was mourned as one of the most promising artists of his generation. He was also one of the most controversial, endowed with a character marked by Byronic paradoxes. It was the stinging aftermath of an illicit affair with his beautiful young aunt that propelled Géricault into the artistic obsession that would yield his masterwork, The Raft of the Medusa. The God of Spring opens in Paris in 1818, as the upheavals of the French Revolution, the Empire, and the Restoration come to fruition in the aftermath of a naval disaster caused by criminal negligence and tinged with political scandal. Mesmerized by the tales of betrayal, madness, murder, and cannibalism aboard the life raft of the scuttled French frigate Medusa, Géricault takes as his muses two of its survivors. His canvas pits man against nature, its dominant image a doomed sailor futilely raising his hand toward the clouds and salvation.

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt.

From the moment Louisa first catches sight of the strange man who occupies a forbidden room on the thirty-third floor, she is determined to befriend him.Unbeknownst to Louisa, he is Nikola Tesla—inventor of AC electricity and wireless communication—and he is living out his last days at the Hotel New Yorker.Winning his attention through a shared love of pigeons, she eventually uncovers the story of Tesla’s life as a Serbian immigrant and a visionary genius: as a boy he built engines powered by June bugs, as a man he dreamed of pulling electricity from the sky.The mystery deepens when Louisa reunites with an enigmatic former classmate and faces the loss of her father as he attempts to travel to the past to meet up with his beloved late wife. Before the week is out, Louisa must come to terms with her own understanding of love, death, and the power of invention.

The other four books were picked up last week, when I was depressed and needed some retail therepy!

Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble

How do you cope in a world without your mother? When Barbara realizes time is running out, she writes letters to her four daughters, aware that they’ll be facing the trials and triumphs of life without her at their side. But how can she leave them when they still have so much growing up to do?

Take Lisa, in her midthirties but incapable of making a commitment; or Jennifer, trapped in a stale marriage and buttoned up so tight she could burst. Twentysomething Amanda, the traveler, has always distanced herself from the rest of the family; and then there’s Hannah, a teenage girl on the verge of womanhood about to be parted from the mother she adores. But by drawing on the wisdom in Barbara’s letters, the girls might just find a way to cope with their loss. And in coming to terms with their bereavement, can they also set themselves free to enjoy their lives with all the passion and love each deserves?

The Empire of the Indus From Tibet to Pakistan – The Story of a River by Alice Albinia
empires-of-indus

One of the largest rivers in the world, the Indus rises in the Tibetan mountains, flows west across northern India and south through Pakistan. For millennia it has been worshipped as a God; for centuries used as a tool of imperial expansion; today it is the cement of Pakistans fractious union. Five thousand years ago, a string of sophisticated cities grew and traded on its banks. In the ruins of these elaborate metropolises, Sanskrit-speaking nomads explored the river, extolling its virtues in Indias most ancient text, the Rig-Veda. During the past two thousand years a series of invaders Alexander the Great, Afghan Sultans, the British Raj made conquering the Indus valley their quixotic mission. For the people of the river, meanwhile, the Indus valley became a nodal point on the Silk Road, a centre of Sufi pilgrimage and the birthplace of Sikhism. Empires of the Indus follows the river upstream and back in time, taking the reader on a voyage through two thousand miles of geography and more than five millennia of history redolent with contemporary importance.

Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

More amazing than any work of fiction, yet true in every word, it swept to the top of the bestseller lists and riveted the consciousness of the world. It’s the story of a survivor of terrifying childhood abuse, victim of sudden and mystifying blackouts, and the first case of multiple personality ever to be psychoanalyzed. You’re about to meet Sybil-and the sixteen selves to whom she played host, both women and men, each with a different personality, speech pattern, and even personal appearance. You’ll experience the strangeness and fascination of one woman’s rare affliction-and travel with her on her long, ultimately triumphant journey back to wholeness.

The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho
winner-stands-alone

A profound meditation on personal power and innocent dreams that are manipulated or undone by success, The Winner Stands Alone is set in the exciting worlds of fashion and cinema. Taking place over the course of twenty-four hours during the Cannes Film Festival, it is the story of Igor, a successful, driven Russian entrepreneur who will go to the darkest lengths to reclaim a lost love—his ex-wife, Ewa. Believing that his life with Ewa was divinely ordained, Igor once told her that he would destroy whole worlds to get her back. The conflict between an individual evil force and society emerges, and as the novel unfolds, morality is derailed.

Apart from books, I got myself a really cool pair of gladiators. I’ve been on the lookout for a decent pair since a while now, and finally found a really neat pair at my favorite shoe shop — D&A! Don’t have a picture to post yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to add it here!

And I almost bought Bulgari’s Jasmine Noire. It’s EXPENSIVE, and I totally love the smell! It lasts really long too, but it wears very close to the skin once the top notes fade. I had to press my nose to my skin until I could smell it! Awesome smell? Yes! Worth the money? Nah!