A crazy thing called love

While channel surfing today, I happened upon a program called The Great Indian Love Challenge on MTV. The program “tests” the measure of love on TV! Lovelorn contenders are given three tasks to complete to get something special for their special someone; it could be a romantic vacation, a diamond ring or a Longines watch!

In the episode that I watched, Harshvardhan Rane did three tasks to win a diamond ring for his girlfriend, Meenaxi Das.

  • Task one – His body was painted so it looked like Superman’s suit; he wore just the trademark Superman red underwear and cape. Attired thus, he was to go into a crowded mall and sing Hindi film songs.
  • Task two – He was taken to an akhada (wrestling ground), where he had to fight three wrestlers. 10 rounds, 1 minute each; 10 chances of getting pinned down; he had to make sure he wasn’t pinned down all 10 times.
  • Task three – He was taken to a walkway with three arches. The arches would be set on fire – he had to walk from one end of that walkway to the other, while being set alight himself!

Before the third task, Yuvi (the VJ hosting the show), got Meenaxi at the venue, told her what Harsh had done for her and why, and told her what his third and final task was. There was the usual crying and pleading for him to not do it, and he was all fired up (no pun intended) to go through with the task to get her the diamond ring and see her happy.

A round brilliant cut diamond set in a ring

Image via Wikipedia

Like I said, interesting concept; I was hooked onto that particular episode, to see the tasks and if Harsh would be able to complete them. What really struck me as I watched was how much he loved Meenaxi – doing those three tasks wasn’t easy! The first opened him up to embarrassment, the second was the most dangerous – one of those wrestlers getting over-eager, and he could have ended up breaking some bones – the third looked dangerous but was done under very controlled conditions and with all safety aspects taken care of.
The sincerity with which Harsh did all the tasks made me feel all happy and fuzzy inside. During the second task he was tired, he was outmatched, but the thought of Meenaxi, of seeing a smile on her face, made him go through and manage to avoid one pindown right at the end, when he was most tired.

I have just four words to say: Three cheers to love!

Do you have any interesting love stories to share? Something special that a special someone did for you?

Al Pacino's Inspirational Football Speech

Inspiration is all around us — in books, movies, stories that we hear from friends or read in the papers.

I was watching Any Given Sunday recently, and Al Pacino’s half-time speech to his football team in that movie made me break out in goose bumps. I leave you with the snippet that sent “shockwaves” through my system, followed by a clip of the speech itself. Hope you enjoy it!

You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small… On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.

See you with more spiritual thoughts next Sunday!

(Click to read older Spiritual Sunday posts)

A Star Without a Name – Rumi

A Star Without a Name – Rumi

A quick read, with a profound message.

Pleiades Star Cluster

Image via Wikipedia

A Star Without a Name

When a baby is taken from the wet nurse,
it easily forgets her
and starts eating solid food.

Seeds feed awhile on ground,
then lift up into the sun.

So you should taste the filtered light
and work your way toward wisdom
with no personal covering.

That’s how you came here, like a star
without a name. Move across the night sky
with those anonymous lights.

– Rumi was a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic.

My secret garden

Today’s Friday Frame is a spread from my Life 101 altered book.

An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning. An altered book artist takes a book (old, new, recycled) and cuts, tears, glues, burns, folds, paints, adds to and collages it. The artist may add pockets and niches to hold tags, rocks, ephemera, or other three-dimensional objects. – Wikepedia.com

The spread features a window through which a girl looks out into her garden. The curtains were created by sandwiching some sari fabric between the pages. One part of the left page was ripped to create a “pocket” for the collage elements — bird, flowers and a butterfly. The rest of the page has been layered with paint and rubber stamping, with a dragon fly stitched on with gold thread and sequins.

Click on the picture to see more spreads from this book.

Liked this spread? Let me know through the comments!

If you have any artwork or photography to share, please leave a comment, a link back to your blog and your e-mail address, and I’ll feature it on an upcoming Friday Frame!

100 posts!

Image by Rachel Smith via Flickr

Spiritual Sunday #2: Relax With Nature Sounds was the 100th post on my blog, woo-hoo!

As I look back over the posts and my reasons to start blogging, I see how much I, and this blog, have evolved. I’ve tried my hand at blogging a number of times – I had an online diary with a friend and a personal journal on DiaryLand.com, then I moved on to Blogger for a couple of months, and finally ended up here, on WordPress, where I have maintained this blog since December 2006.

There were long periods inbetween when I didn’t post at all; but almost 4 years and 100 blog posts later, Modern Gypsy (formerly known as Mindchatter) has evolved from being a purely personal blog, where I didn’t bother about any reader interaction, to becoming what it is now – a mix of personal and fun stuff, and hopefully, an expanding base of readers!

There’s still a long way for me to go, and a lot that I still need to learn, but I’ve enjoyed the ride so far!

So, here’s a big thank you to all my readers, to all of you who have left comments and encouraged me to continue to write, and to all the lovely bloggers out there who have inspired me and helped me grow!

Meditation Music: Relax With Nature Sounds

Our daily lives can be really stressful sometimes…rushing to work, dealing with deadlines, getting stuck in traffic…it gets hard to just relax and be. We tune out what isn’t necessary to our next urgent meeting, things like nature, bird sounds, watching children play in the park. Doesn’t the stress sometimes make you want to scream?

If so, you’re at the right place right now! Just take out 10 minutes from your hectic schedule and let these nature sounds wash over you and soothe your soul.

Hope you enjoyed this! See you with more spiritual thoughts next Sunday!

(Click to read older Spiritual Sunday posts)

A case for simple living


Where has the happiness gone?
Image via Wikipedia

About a year ago I had written a post titled Jaded Consumerism, where I mentioned that I’ve increasingly noticed that buying material goods doesn’t seem to bring much happiness to me or my friends. Oh yes, there are exceptions — like when I bought my iPhone recently; it still makes me happy! But, overall, we purchase without the joy.

This week I finally gave in to the husband’s constant cribbing and we traded our 10-year old TV for an LCD. That should have brought us (or at least him) a lot of joy…but it didn’t. We bought it, got it installed, he played around with the remote and read the manual, but there was no thrill to the purchase. A TV is a TV is a TV is what I was saying all along, but the husband just wouldn’t listen, would he?

Jokes apart, though, I’ve been wondering about this lack of joy since a while, and then I read an article on NY Times titled But will it make you happy?

SHE had so much. A two-bedroom apartment. Two cars. Enough wedding china to serve two dozen people. Yet Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.”

That was the opening of the article, and I was hooked, because that’s exactly what I had been thinking about!

Strobel eventually hit the stop button on the treadmill, inspired by books and blogs that promoted simple living. She and her husband gave away a lot of their possessions to charity. In fact, “emboldened” by a website that challenged readers to live with just 100 personal items, she went ahead and did just that!

Description unavailable

A case for simple living
Image by eflon via Flickr

I’m quite sure that mustn’t have been easy, and I’m pretty sure that it isn’t something that I could do! But, living simply does have its benefits.

If you can downsize your desires a bit, not bother so much about keeping up with the Joneses, you could end up saving quite a decent amount of money. Instead of spending that on purchasing more material goods, you could use that to travel, to do some volunteer work, or even to help family, all of which will give you infinitely more happiness than simply amassing material goods ever will. And a lot of new research shows just that!

Studies over the last few decades have shown that money, up to a certain point, makes people happier because it lets them meet basic needs. The latest round of research [examines] how to reap the most happiness for your dollar. So just where does happiness reside for consumers? Scholars and researchers haven’t determined whether Armani will put a bigger smile on your face than Dolce & Gabbana. But they have found that our types of purchases, their size and frequency, and even the timing of the spending all affect long-term happiness. One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.

If I could control my spending impulses, there are a lot of things that I’d be able to experience — a trip to Egypt , learning Italian, painting a canvas, going on an African safari — just a few of the things that are on my bucket list.

If you chose to live simple and spend on experiences instead, what experiences would you choose?

You can read the entire NY times article here.

Wandering Wednesday # 1: Journaling

One of my early visual journal entries

Most of us have kept a journal or diary at some time or the other (I know I have!) — and our blogs are, in a way, an online extension of our offline diaries. But just as blogs need to be jazzed up with images, so do physical journals. Instead of just pasting stuff in, though, why not get a little creative? Why not keep a visual journal?

Do I hear you asking “What’s that?” At its simplest, it’s a journal that combines words and images to draw out your deepest emotions on paper. Need more information? Check out these resources:

Don’t think a visual journal’s for you? Then why not try a Creative Journal? The Creative Journal Method was developed by Dr. Lucia Capacchione, a registered art therapist and lecturer/workshop leader.

Creative Journaling is a tool for personal growth, health and healing, creativity development, life planning, and career and talent development. Using drawing and doodling; color and images; creative writing and poetry; and written dialogues, you’ll get to know yourself better.

Hope you enjoy these sites. See you on 1st September 2010 with more tidbits from the world wide web!

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All aTwitter

Once upon a time, I used to read posts about how technology and social media have made face-to-face interactions passé. Once upon a time, I used to shake my head and say “not me.”

Recently, though, I find that I have a very strong relationship with my phone – so strong, in fact, that when I think the husband is ignoring me, I ignore him back…and forget that he’s there as I get engrossed with one application or another on my iPhone.

And today, I finally bit the bullet and signed up on Twitter! Do I hear you ask why now? Maybe because as I was browsing around the Internet today, I finally woke up to the fact that everyone and their cousin was on Twitter. Maybe I thought it would be nice to finally see why even the most reluctant of people are signing up for the service. Or maybe I thought it would be a cool way to keep in touch with breaking news. I’m not sure what the exact impulse was, but there I am, in all my glory, on Twitter!

Wanna follow me? Just click on the Twitter button on the navigation bar on the side and hear me tweet away!

Dagny Taggart, or Scarlett O'Hara, or maybe…

Over at Plinky.com, the prompt was to choose which book character you’d want to be. As I thought about it while idly browsing through some of the answers, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to come up with just one character. I mean, how can I ever let anything be that simple?! So, here are just a few of the characters that I would absolutely love to be!

Dagny Taggart, the protagonist of Atlas Shrugged. She’s smart, intelligent and objective; takes independent decisions without bowing down to the baseness and commonality of society; she’s the epitome of woman as an equal to man without having to shout about it from the rooftops. By extension, I’d also like to be Hank Rearden – who though he knows the value of his metal isn’t able to see the shallowness of character in his mother and wife because he doesn’t think like that – and so wrongly believes that no one else does – or even John Galt, who shows all people who love their work above all else the “light.”

Scarlet O’Hara, the flighty, tempestuous heroine of one of my all-time favorite books – Gone With the Wind. I love her flirtatiousness, her verve and vigor for life. She’s selfish to the core and knows how to use her charms to get exactly what she wants. In love with the idea of love, she fails to see that Rhett Butler, not Ashley Wilkes is the love of her life. (I was lucky enough to not have made that mistake!) But when push comes to shove, she rises to the occasion and through determination, sheer will, and good old fashioned shrewdness, keeps her family together and drags them out of poverty.

Harry Potter, the wizard who was able to survive the dark wizard Voldermort’s killing spell. With the love of his mother as protection, a lil help from his friends, and an inquisitive mind, he’s able to triumph over evil time and again.

Lady Mutnodjmet, Nefertiti’s younger sister, protagonist of Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti. A herbalist, level-headed character who gives up most of her life to ensure that her family’s name isn’t forgotten in the sands of time.

And of course, this list can’t be complete without my favorite childhood characters – Nancy Drew and Mr. Pink Whistle! The first, my teenage hero – the fearless mystery detective – the second, my absolute favorite childhood fantasy – the magical Mr. Pink Whistle, who quietly does good and sets things right. I can read his books even today and still be fascinated by him! (Shhh! Don’t tell!)

So, which are your favorite book character(s)?

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