Monday, October 26, 2015

Is it difficult to make new friends as you grow old?

I remember discussing this with a friend of mine.

How many of us are quick at making friends?

And how many of us find it difficult to talk to new people and include them in our lives?

Was it easier to make friends when we were kids or is it easier now? 

A friend as a kid:

When we were kids all we wanted was someone with whom we could go out to play at any time of the day. We needed someone who was capable enough to pull us out of our study hours and sneak out to have some fun.

A friend as a teen:

As we stepped into our teens, we started looking up to friends who stood by us when we needed a shoulder to cry and hear our tantrums. Sometimes, these were the same who were with us in our childhood and sometimes we made new ones.

A friend later and after:

But as we started working and facing the whole new world, our thoughts changed. We started realising that friendship was much more than what we had ever known. We started looking up to those who were happy when we were happy and were sad when we were not in the best of our moods.

We started judging people and were sometimes hurt by those whom we once felt were our closest friends. As kids, we never judged anyone. There was never a preconceived notion about relationships. The one who shared his lunch or pencil box was our best friend. We didn't have a description of how our friend should be.

As we grew older, our expectations from our friends increased. We wanted them to be more than what they were before. And as expectations increased, the ones who understood and stood beside remained and the ones who didn't, left us.

After a certain period in life, we know the kind of people we wish to live with and sometimes do not want any more acquaintances of accomplices in our life. There comes a point of realisation when we find it difficult to trust in the new people who enter our life and hence, we become slow at making new friends.

But, you never know when you may land up meeting a kind friend in your life. So always keep yourself open to new friendships. It may bring with it a lot of answers to your unanswered questions.

Do you agree with me or do you feel otherwise?
 Feel free to let me know your thoughts.



Sunday, October 25, 2015

"The Walk" - Movie - 6 Lessons learnt !

I regretted watching this movie in 2D. But I'm happy I watched it in the big screen. Joseph Gordon-Levitt starrer, "THE WALK" is one of the finest movies made this year. Directed by Steve Starkey, the 123-minute account of a French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 6, 1974, cannot be missed. Steve Starkey's "ForrestGump" is undoubtedly one of my favorite movies of all times. 

After watching "The Walk", I began writing a review about the movie. But, midway I decided to write about the lessons I took away from the movie. Every scene in the movie was well-defined and articulate. It carried a message and had a story to tell. Some of the lessons that I took away are as follows:

1. It is not a problem if the world calls you mad: 

Pic Courtesy: Google

All that Philippe wanted to do in life was to walk on the wire. His life revolved around the places where he could tie his wire and walk on it. Much to his father's chagrin, he leaves his home at a young age, to learn about his dream from the famous Papa Rudy. When he sees the picture of the World Trade centre for the very first time in a magazine, he knows what he was going to do. When he discusses his dream with Annie, he knows that she might think of him as a mad-man. If you have a dream that will make you mad in front of people, nevermind. You sometimes have to be crazy to make a mark.

2. Never give up even if your hurdles are close at sight:

Pic Courtesy: Google

On the day of the walk, Phillipe faces a number of hurdles. The first being the way he is stopped near the elevator for hours. The time he spends with Jeff under the sheet, the number of times he escapes being caught by the security personnel and losing his costume are the other hurdles that he has to cross before he starts his final walk. He even loses two members from his coup. But he does not give up. He stays strong and focused. He is obsessed with his dream and he is ready to face even the worst nightmare in order to taste success. His determination is tested when a dove comes close to him. He is on the wire, looking at the sky. For once I felt that this was it. But I guess the dove turns away when it does not find fear in his eyes. 

3. Friends and foes can be distinguished when you are in the worst of times:
Pic Courtesy: Google

Annie, Jeff and Jean-Louis stand by Phillipe all the way from Paris to NewYork. The two friends, that he meets in NewYork also stand by him. But, at the last minute when Phillipe really needs his coup to stand by him, two other leave his side. On the other hand, Annie, even though she stands below the building, waits for him the entire night. 

4. Be thankful:

Pic Courtesy: Google

When someone close to you helps you follow your dreams, all they wish to hear is a word of gratitude. Never take them for granted. If they stand by you just because they want you to succeed, then it is indeed a selfless deed. A word of thanks can do wonders. The moment when Phillipe thanks the wire, the audience and his coup is profound. 

5. Enjoy what you do:
Pic Courtesy: Google - The real Phillipe on the Wire

The biggest gift a man can ever get is finding a profession/passion that he enjoys. If he has found it then success is never away. Because only when you enjoy what you do can you eve succeed. Remember the dialogue from 3 Idiots by "Baba Ranchordas", "Bachcha kabil bano, kabil ... kamyabi toh saali jhak maarke peeche bhagegi" (Son become capable, success will follow you, eventually). The minute Phillipe steps his first foot on the wire to begin his epic walk between the towers, all the tension from his face fades away. It is replaced by happiness and peacefulness. 

6. Always respect people like Papa Rudy:

Each one of us must have met a Papa Rudy in our life. They are those people who have lived life in their own terms and learnt some form of art that no book or Google can give you. Respect such people. Either you are lucky enough to have found such a person or they are humble enough to share their prized possessions with you.

Truly and thoroughly, I enjoyed every bit of the movie. My favourite dialogue in the movie is the one by Phillipe, when he stand at the edge of the north tower for the very first time. He says, 

"I find myself on an island, floating in midair on the edge of the void"

And of course, the next was, 
"Carrots are cooked"

Friday, October 23, 2015

5 Museum Thrillers you cannot miss !!

Museums and mystery go hand is hand, like crime and cop. Never does a museum exist without a mystery revolving around it. Every article placed in a museum carries a history with it which makes you go back in time and reciprocate on the life that once was. A life that is beyond one's imagination, especially due to modernisation. For those who love thrillers and mysteries, a museum is a delight. I am someone like that and every city that I visit, I make it a point to visit the famous museums of that city.

My fascination drove me to write my very first novel. Titled as “Columbina”, this book is based set against the most brutal prisons of all times, “Alcatraz”. This prison currently functions as a museum and draws a number of visitors every year. A murder takes place along the shores of this museum. Detective Martin Herd is hired to solve the mystery that would require re-opening the prison’s hidden secret. With just a key found in the corpse’s pocket, Martin has to untangle the chords and find the murderer whose past is buried in the prison walls. 
A number of interesting books have been set against museums. Here is my pick, (Every book mentioned below is in one way or the other connected to “Columbina”.)

The Da Vinci Code: The 2003 bestseller by Dan Brown has every single reason to top the list of museum thrillers. After a murder in the Louvre Museum in Paris, symbologist Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu are summoned to decipher the mystery which in turn pulls them into a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Die.

The Lost Van Gogh: Author A.J. Zerries’s novel revolving around the theft of Vincent Van Gogh’s Portrait of Monsieur Trabuc is a must read. The book is based on a piece of art that gets stolen from a famous museum.

Relic: Set against the popular New York Museum of Natural History, Douglas Preston’s famous novel titled, “Relic” is a thriller that is based on the savage murders of visitors in the museum’s dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. 

 The Bone Vault: In the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exquisite Temple of Dendur, a controversial new exhibit is fiercely opposed by many among the upper echelon of museum donors. Incidentally, a young museum researcher has been murdered and her body is shipped to the Met in an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. This crime thriller written by Linda Fairstein cannot be missed.

The Murder Room: The 2003 detective novel written by P.D. James is set in the Dupayne Museum on the edge of Hampstead Heath in the London Borough of Camden. The Dupayne Museum is an eclectic collection of English memorabilia from the period between World War I and World War II. The Murder Room of the title refers to a room displaying relics of murders that occurred during these years. A murder in this room leads to the summoning of Commander Dalgleish to investigate.

 Which book are you going to pick up next to place in your book shelf? Anyone from above? Do the above Museum-thrillers excite you? Do you love history and the vicious circle that it is surrounded with? They why not pick up, India’s first ever Double Header Book, “Frozen Summer and Columbina”, written by Geetha Madhuri and Me. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fujairah - A weekend Getaway

A long weekend was around the corner and nothing but a relaxing holiday was all we could think of. Recently I had heard from a couple of people of that Fujairah seemed to be a nice place to spend a couple of days incase one wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai. We immediately went to take help from our trusted hotel booking websites ( and Thankfully, gave us a perfect deal and we spent the two days in engulfed in the mountainous terrain. If you are visiting the UAE anytime soon then do spend a day or two here.

Reasons to visit Fujairah:
  • Fujairah is the only city that has a coastline which is different from the other emirates in the UAE. It has a coastline along the Persian gulf. As you drive towards Snoopy Island from Fujairah you will be able to catch a glimpse of Oman from the bridge. It reminded me of a dialogue from one of my favourite films, "Being in two places at the same time"

  • The Hajjar mountains that create the beautiful scenery on the way to Fujairah from Dubai is breathtaking. They are a never ending and transport you to a different period. I remembered the "Alchemist" as we drove away. You could sometimes be lucky enough to spot camels here. We did so !

  • Bull Fighting is another major reason why you cannot just stop yourself from visiting this place. This isn't gory and ruthless like the ones that happen in Spain. Each bull is allowed to fight with it's opponent for a minute and the one that manager to push the other one out of the circle is declared as the winner. This takes place every Friday between 4.00pm to 6.00pm
  • Snorkeling and Scuba diving is available on the beaches in Fujairah. 

  • Masafi Friday Market: Just like an oasis soothes the thirst of desert travellers, the Masafi Friday Market is a treat for people interested in earthenware, plants and carpets. A market set in the desert along the edges of a huge road is worth a visit. Even though this place is called a friday market, it is open on all the days of the week. 

  • Forts - Fujairah has a number of forts built inside and on the outskirts of the city. If you wish to delve into heritage, this is a place where you will find it.
  • Quieter roads, good food, relaxed life! If that is something you wish for a weekend then Fujairah is a must see. 

A Fujairah "3 Day Itinerary"

Day    Itinerary
Day 1
  • Drive from Dubai to Fujairah(takes about 2 hours to reach by car)
  • From Fujairah drive to Wadi Wurrayah(The Wadi Wurrayah Wild life sanctuary is closed now as of October 2015), you can drive to the dam close by. 
  • From Wadi Wurrayah, drive to Snoopy Island which is on the way towards Dibba. You can carry some beach wear as this is a place where you would want to jump into the waters and take a swim
  • On the way back to Fujairah, visit the Al Badiyah Mosque.
Day 2
  • Take a drive to Masafi Village and have a feel of the local villages in the middle east, desert roads and small houses which are rare to find. 
  • Drive to the Masafi Friday Market and empty your wallets by buying some earthenware pots or plants. Do not forget to drink the water from a king cocunut. It is extremely refreshing.
  • On the way to Fujairah, visit the Al Bithnah Fort. It is a 200 year old fort which was later used as an army base camp. Visit this fort after 4.00 pm or before 12.00 pm or else you may find the entrance closed. 
  • Come back to Fujairah and drive to the Fujairah Museum and Fujairah Fort. Climb to the top of the fort and enjoy a view of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. (I personally loved the view of the mosque. It is closed for non-muslims. This mosque is different in it's architecture from the Grand mosque in Abu Dhabi.)
  • Have some lunch :) and drive to Corniche to witness the Bull Fight
  • Spend the evening in enjoying the waters near Corniche.
Day 3
  • Drive to Dibba and spend a day there. We spent some time in Fujairah Heritage village where there used to be hot water springs seen. Unfortunately, these springs are no longer visible.

If you liked my travel Itinerary and wish to get one prepared for your travel do write to me!