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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Am A Stone



I Am A Stone
I am not wax
That can be moulded with little heat
I am not even the metal
That changes to few beats
I am the Stone.. ‘YOU’ cannot change me
I change with time, slowly, naturally
If you try to speed up my change
You will end up breaking me
Even great sculptors that change
The simple stone into great art
Have chipped bits off it
To make it what they think is perfect
Similarly a change in me means
You chip off bits of me
Taking away something that is a part of me
To make me what you want me to be
I may become a piece of art
But then I have lost something that was ‘ME’
  
By:
    Farida Rizwan

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Flight Of a Survivor

PS: I got this in a forward mail and would like to share it with my blog readers.  Though the story is not based on facts it makes a good inspirational story. I can relate to this through the trauma of Chemotherapy.  

An Eagle's life ... !!!
Many times ,in order to survive...we have to start to change our ways...we sometimes need to get rid of the negative memories, habits ,rituals and other past traditions and move forward. Only freed from past burdens, can we take advantage of the present. Eagle is a good example of it....
The eagle has the longest life-span among its species


It can live up to 70 years
But to reach this age, the eagle must make a hard decision in its' 40's


when, its' long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey
Its long and sharp beak bends with age
Its aging and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, become stuck to its' chest and making it difficult for it to soar higher in flight or stay longer in flight
Then, the eagle is left with only two options: die or go through a painful process of change which can lasts to upto 150 days.
The process requires that the eagle fly to a mountain top and sit on its' nest


There the eagle knocks its' beak against a rock until it plucks it out.
After plucking it out, the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back and then it will pluck out its' talons.

When its' new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its' ageing feathers

And after five months, the eagle takes its' famous flight of rebirth and lives for ...
30 more years!
(Creator of the email unknown).
Like the eagle in this story, when a person goes through severe traumatic situations like cancer, they have to make the tough decision. You lose your hair, you go through severe physical discomfort, give up a body part, get pricked with needles but then you get few more years to fly high in the sky. I have been blessed with fifteen years of survival after torture of treatment and feel grateful to everyone who is responsible for my presence here today. Now I yearn to fly high and reach those skies which I have never touched  earlier................

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Finally Brave Enough to Confess I Would Love to Spend Some Time on Myself

There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: TIME.  ~Napoleon I, Maxims, 1815’
The question “If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it?” is very tempting for most of the people. Often, we feel it would be great to have those extra hours to do something close to our hearts. Social commitments and our responsibilities, steal our time without even letting us realize it. When we do something we love and enjoy the most, ignoring what we should actually do, then the feeling of guilt starts gnawing at our happiness.
People often feel they could do much if they had some extra hours in a day. May be because it is extra time we get, the guilt could be locked away when we do something we enjoy. But that is not possible. Our days are made of 24 hours and that is fixed. If we need some extra time to pursue a hobby, passion or spend quality time with our family and friends, the only way out is to stop wasting time. Time is precious. There are lots of inspirational stories written about how precious time is. One of them goes as the follows. A billionaire was rumored to be earning 1 million dollars every second. Once a person asked the billionaire “Is it true that you earn 1 million dollars every second?” The billionaire replied, “Let’s forget how much I earn. You can earn one million dollars every second if you can add a second to my 24 hours”. Everyone knows it is impossible to add even a second to the 24 hours we get every day. But often, we spend so much of time sleeping, lazing around or doing unnecessary chores.



I am no different. I have spent nearly 4,00,000 hours in my lifetime. How many of those hours have been spent fruitfully? How many hours have I truly enjoyed to the fullest? How many of those hours were filled with ‘WOW!’ moments? I cannot count much of positively spent hours in those 4,00,000 hours of time I have spent.
 After my marriage, most of my time was spent learning simple skills that I had ignored all my life. I was an expert in cooking special dishes like puddings, cakes, halwas etc, but I did not know the common everyday cooking which was always done by my Mom. Another hurdle was the change in environment. I had grown up in Bangalore, but after marriage had to shift to Byndoor; which is a small coastal village and  quite different in many ways. I had to adapt to new food, clothing and way of living.

Time was spent drawing water from well, sweeping, mopping, learning to cook sea food, washing clothes along with other tedious household chores which made me unhappy. My Mom always preferred particular brand of bath soaps, detergent powder, cooking oil, hair oil, shampoo, rice and many other products which had become a part of my life. Using local 555 bar soap with some kind of local light brown washing powder did not go down well with me. I would waste so much of time scrubbing the dishes and clothes. The cement floor also required lots of mopping. Change is not easy in an Indian village but then changing me was not easy either. One fine day I had to put my foot down and state that I will not compromise on the quality of products for the sake of price. Anyway it did not save much, because, you ended up using more of those products to clean up clothes and dishes. Also, eating unhealthy food makes you spend on doctor's bills and medicines which at times eats up more than you have saved. So, I was back with my preferred brands, but still had to do all the chores manually.


My childhood was spent trying to prove myself to my family in particular and the world in general. I wanted to be a topper in studies, sports and many other things, so that the handicapped girl tag would not carry on in my life. Due to my efforts I was successful, and no one thinks of me as a handicapped person anymore; but, at this stage of life I feel it would not hurt me if they did. All the fun was lost in trying to achieve something which I do not treasure anymore
My teen years were spent working hard on my studies, improving my behavior and trying to please my parents. I wanted to be an ideal daughter. So, I ended up being married and giving up studies for which I had worked so hard all my life. It was all confusing and I did not know what I was doing. My teens years were something where I had little control over the changes happening in my life. By the time I could think clearly and see the results, I sadly realized that all those hours of studying I did in my childhood and teen years were for nothing. It will not bear fruit, but then learning has never been wasted. Knowledge is wealth I can treasure forever. 
Buying a washing machine was easy but installing one took lot of changes to the house. We did not have overhead tank or running water so the washing machine had to wait till now. Just this October did I manage to finally buy a washing machine (Whirlpool, ACE) Whew! 
For the past 22 years I have spent a lot of time doing unnecessary household chores about which I am not happy. I wish I could have spent that time doing something worthwhile. I don't mean to say that caring for my family was not my duty or worthwhile. but then doing things the tough way and wasting precious time is what I regret. 
Lego toys were big fun
I have spent a lot of happy time with my kids. Those memories will be treasured forever in my mind. We have gone for long walks together, done lots of painting, enjoyed different games and have shared amazing stress free time together. Though being different is difficult, I cannot say I have been unhappy with my kids.
 I cannot say the same about my husband though. He works in gulf and we do not get to spend much time together. After 22 years of married life, may be I am more comfortable with this life-style and do not yearn for a change anymore. I don't yearn for some exclusive time with him at this stage of my life. I did when I was younger and may be I will feel it when I am older. 

After all the useless talk I still have the question from Surf excel matic, “If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it?” unanswered.



It is very tempting to say I would give extra care to my special needs daughter and teach her new words and activities. It is also very tempting to say I would love to spend some quality time with my husband or son. But those tempting sentences would not be true. Those would be the ideal words and sentences everyone expects to hear from me. Those would be the words I say because everyone expects me to say them and feel happy when I do what they expect me to do.
When I look back on the path I have treaded in my life, I sadly find that ‘I’ have been the person who has got least attention, love, pampering and priority in my life. Though I spend all the 24 hours a day with myself, I have failed to care for my own feelings and emotions.
If I could get two extra hours now or if have some hours left in my life at the stage when I find myself starting the last part of Life’s journey, I would love to spend it on myself selfishly. I would read all those books I have been putting off, I would watch my favourite movies all over again without being interrupted, I would play games without struggling to win them, cook food I enjoy, pamper myself with love and attention, AND I would continue my studies again. I have never regretted anything as much in my life as I have on giving up my studies. I always aspired to be an astrophysicist or psychologist. Astrophysics is out of my reach now but Psychology still holds hope. I have already finished two years of my graduation and scored quite impressive marks in psychology even without two extra hours a day. My aim is to do PhD in psychology and do researches about the way people feel when they go through cancer. Cancer has affected my life in a big way. Going through breast cancer at the age of 29 was not a big deal for me when compared to how I felt losing my sister, Mom and friends to cancer. Cancer changes people completely and they emerge something different from the experience. For past fifteen years after my cancer experience, I have counseled and met many survivors and learned a lot about surviving cancer. I would like to further study the feelings and experiences of people who have been through the ordeal. May be I can do something about the way people can deal with cancer. Not only the survivors but even the family of the people who go through cancer need emotional support and help. My own experience will add to my learning experience. These are the things I want to do for myself with or without the extra two hours I may get in a day.
I am brave enough to finally go against what everyone expects me say and say what my heart feels at this moment. The two hours I get will sure be the exclusive ‘ME’ time. I feel I have done justice to others but not to myself. So 'NOW' it is time to do something for myself and feel "There, I have done something I cherish in my life".

Another good story  about time which I would love to share:

Imagine you had an account in bank. Each morning your bank would deposit 86,400 in your private account for you to use it freely. However, everything that you didn't spend during each day would be taken away from you. 
You may not simply transfer money into some other account. You may only spend it. 
Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.
What would you do in such event?
You would off course try to spend every rupee wisely to benefit yourself and people around you.
Each of us is in possession of such a magical account in bank though we can't seem to see it. 
The bank is our life and the account is of time! 
  
Each morning we receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us. What we haven't lived up that day is forever lost. Yesterday is gone forever. 
  
Each morning the account is updated with new time, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time.... without warning. Death is always lurking around the corner.
  
So, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds? 
  
Time is worth so much more than the same amount in rupees. 
Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think. 
  
So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life!


Surf Excel Blue (Free Bucket)When I  used to wash my clothes manually, surf excel blue has been a good partner for me. I wonder what to with those stack of buckets I have collected over the time ;) 



Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Journey of a Blogger



I was born a writer. I always wanted to pen down my feelings and thoughts. It took me long time to get enough courage to share it with people. Usually I wrote for myself and kept my work hidden from everyone.
Few of my friends had account on yahoo 360 [Wiki says : Yahoo! 360° was a social networking and personal communication portal operated by Yahoo!made available in 2005. It enabled users to create personal web sites, share photos from Yahoo! Photos, maintain blogs and lists, create and share a public profile and see which friends are currently online. 360° also featured a 'friends updates' section, under which each friend's latest update was summarized (e.g. blog posts, updated lists or newly shared photos). This service was never officially launched; Yahoo! prematurely stopped developing this service in 2008].
In 2006 I was tempted to start an account of my own to share few of the articles, stories and quotes I had collected overtime. Slowly I started to share my own personal experiences of going through cancer, losing my sister or bringing up my kids. The response and understanding among the readers was very encouraging. Unfortunately yahoo 360 stopped and I forgot blogging. One fine day one of my friend sent me a link to Jeff’s blog. He had lost an amazing friend Jill to cancer and adopted her daughter Katie. It was a very sad situation. Being introduced to blog again was tempting for me to start over from where I had left on Yahoo 360. I began with a blog on my friend Hema and what I had learnt from her. With the blog I decided to name my site, chapters from my life as they were the chapters from which I was learning my lessons. The anonymous author of my life story is amazing. He has made these chapters a big roller coaster ride for me. Whew!
It was tough in the beginning. I had no one to share my blog with and there were no comments to respond to. I was not very much interested in writing blogs either because there was nothing to motivate me. One fine day a thought came into my mind. My blog was going to be there for children and grandchildren to know me. It would be there for anyone who would be interested in knowing my life events. It was going to be preserved that way. Someday, when I am gone and my son is missing me, he will find his Maa in her words. So it will be for my family and friends. That thought motivated me to keep blogging and writing. Slowly traffic went on increasing and I found fellow bloggers who were very interesting and in return I had the pleasure of interacting with them on my blog. Some of the bloggers with whom I connected earlier have stopped blogging now. But blogging has continued.
The big difference to my blogging life happened when I got introduced to bloggers platform like Indiblogger and blogadda. Indiblogger has been a great inspiration for me with their wonderful site and contests. Indibloggers have been constant visitors to my blog page and left behind lots of interactive comments. Blogging has never been same again after joining indibloggers. My earlier blog readers were non-Indians but my introduction to Indiblogger gave my blog lot of Indian viewership. On average Indiblogger is source for 25%-35% of my blog traffic. Winning contests on Indibloggers has zipped lips of people who always accused me wasting my time on blogs instead of doing something fruitful. I can never thank indiblogger and fellow indibloggers enough for the support they have shown for me on the site. For a woman hailing from a small coastal village; indiblogger has been a great boost to the confidence. Every contest I won has made an impact on my life. The first prize of ₹35,000 (after tax deduction) from the Tata Docomo 3G life contest has helped me in the time of my son’s admission in Arena Animation. I could also gift him the laptop from Dell which I won in Intel Appups contest (I love apps♥) to keep in touch with me through internet when he is studying away in Bengaluru. It is always a great pleasure to look into my own life and see how the contest topic touches me personally. The contest posts are again nothing but the chapters taken from my life itself.
Blogging has given me great insight into my life. It has helped me sit down calmly and do introspection of myself and understand what I really need. I may not have shared many of the thoughts that flow through my mind when I sit down to write a blog, because mind travels much faster than what my fingers can type. The thoughts born out for the sake of writing a blog have changed my attitude towards life, family and world itself. My journey through the chapters of my blogging life has been fruitful and I feel I have been very well rewarded for every minute I have spent reading and writing blogs. 
Intel My Favorite PC App IndiBlogger contest winner!                HP Take Flight With Colour IndiBlogger contest winner!                   Winner Docomo 3G Life Contest


                                                        Lets Combat Cancer




Thursday, November 10, 2011

Discover the Magic of Shopping with QVENDO!

Discovering the exclusive the invitation-only Private Shopping Club QVENDO has been an amazing experience for mer. Sorry to say that my financial situation at the moment has not allowed me to shop anything, but the temptations have been lingering in my mind.
Every Mom feels her kids are unique and she yearns to give them things which are exclusive for them. I feel my kids ( two youngsters: daughter 16 and son 20) deserve the best and the products on QVENDO are something that I wish I could buy for them. Last time when I wrote the contest post for QVENDO, I did run amok with my wish list of things. I could not keep away from the site so have been lingering there looking at the products. Recently the site has been updated and there were few amazing products on the catalogue which caught my attention. So, without adding much to the already big list, I decided to create a sensible wish list with the products available now, so that I could sometime actually buy them for my children without having to wait for the lottery. 
I would love to hear from my readers about their own wishlist. This link would help you to create one of your own http://qvendo.com/vip/indianbloggers. This is a VIP link for the Indibloggers. Wow!

Here is my reality Wish List for my family which is mostly for my youngsters.

The Pink Poodle Bag German Couture-Tuning-Krefeld-Blue purse will go well with most of the dresses my daughter and I wear. The colors are cool are soft on the eyes too. That makes place on my reality wish list.
Pink Poodle Bag Celebrity-Challenge-Reese-Ocean

 If not I would go this celebrity purse especially for my daughter. She would love to carry this around proudly. 
Pink Poodle Bag Funkyline-Jungle-Tuesday-Green - 330711BG
Pink Poodle Bag Funkyline-Jungle-Tuesday-Green 

This Tiger skin pattern has always caught my fancy, so this is something I would love to buy for myself. This attractive purse also selfishly enters my wish list. Its vibrant colors would go well with the dark and grand dresses and saris I wear for special occasions.  

Replay Silver, Red, Green Earrings - REW161P
The vibrant green color would make any young face look prettier. So this ear rings makes place in my wish list for my daughter. She has broad round face and big hangings always looks good on her.
Replay Silver Chain - RAC23745

This beautiful jewelry from Replay are perfect match for the casual wear my daughter loves to dress up in.






Luis Trenker T-Shirt Moritz White MenTrue Religion Jeans Bobby Super t Straight Med DrifterT
The Luis Trenker Shirt along with the True Religion Jeans is something every teen would fall in love with.  I think the would be animator would look great in this artistic pair. He could also wear this bracelet and one of the caps  to enhance his style further. 




Luis Trenker Sweater Carlo Black Men

These shirts from Luis Trenkers are something I would love to present to my son . It will  be good on him in the cool winters in Bangalore. They are styled in a way that he can wear them to his college. 





So I have been able to put an hold on my wishes and run amok among the products this time. As my daughter is loving her salwar suits, I have avoided adding clothes for her. I feel so proud of myself. 
My previous post on  QVENDO will give you a look into the style of my youngsters. Click HERE to check out my post. 

Finally there is something I cannot resist adding to the wishlist. 
Replay Jeans Blue, Silver Bracelet - RAB25721
You cannot deny any youngster the pleasure of wearing a Jeans bracelet
Hunter Rubber Boots Original Tall Classic Dark Olive Male/FemaleHunter Rubber Boots Regent Savoy Black Female
The latest Hunters collection is breathtaking .......................













Monday, November 7, 2011

DUMBFOUNDED

I feel sad and lonely

DUMBFOUNDED

I can’t speak now, though I try
If I try harder, I will have to cry
Do not assume I am rude, don’t say I am bad
It is just in my heart I feel very sad

My dreams are not just broken. Look on!
They are dead and completely gone
I can’t face the picture of real you
Oh! This horror cannot be true

The shock is severe and I can’t complain
With pursed lips I am bearing all the pain
Please Oh! Please, don’t ask me ‘why?’
In answer I may just cry

With the pain I am dumbfounded
My silence doesn’t mean I am proud
I feel as though I am chased and hounded
By a pain filled dark cloud………..

Words are lost when there is pain in heart
Emotions run rampant and tear it apart
When I am silent it does not mean I am hard
It is just the way I behave, when I am sad
By :
     Farida Rizwan

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Love of Locks V/S Locks of Love


Love is a two way street: Love your hair and it loves you back!
Art by Farheena
With the launch of the new Dove Nourishing Oil Care Range, Dove and IndiBlogger present the “Love your Hair and it loves you back” blogger contest and I cannot skip writing about my special needs daughter Farheena when it comes to loving the locks. 
 
She  loves her long hair with her whole heart. All of the pictures she draws usually have people with long plaits. She loves to decorate it with flowers too, unlike me. In return her hair loves her back. Other than the occasional dandruff, she faces no threats or problems from her hair. It grows fast, is thick and very smooth to feel. The knots in her long her open up quite easily; though, she makes a lot of fuss about it when I am trying to comb her hair. In her younger days, my family loved to give her different hairstyles with short hair. At the age of 9 she decided she wanted to grow her hair and have her hair flow long enough to reach her waist. I had to give in to her wishes and it was easy to give in, because I myself wanted her to have long plaits.

 Contrary to the city life, our lazy village life doesn’t allow me get professional pampering for her hair. All she gets is the Maa’s oil massage, shampooing and brushing. But that was enough to have her hair on a growing spree.
Everything changed when I decided to visit USA and meet my friends over there. My friend Paula was totally smitten by Farheena’s hair. She loved to comb and decorate it in various styles. She was surprised to know that Farheena had never received any special treatment for her hair. So off she took her to Marie (a very good friend and Paula’s hair stylist) to show off Farheena’s  lovely hair to to her. Marie in her turn ohhhed and wowed over it. Marie loved pampering Farheena’s hair and gave her an amazing new look. Farheena’s joy knew no bounds that day. 















We visited Marie once again after a few months and Marie enjoyed giving Farheena, who now a bit longer hair, a great look once again. All the time when Marie was working with Farheena’s hair, she was telling us about the Locks of Love, which is non-profit charity organization in USA. Locks of love accepts donations of human hair to make wigs for needy children who have lost their hair due to some medical condition.
Farheena is a spontaneous person and once she makes her spontaneous decision she is kind of ‘Salman Khan’ person from the film Wanted. She herself cannot change the decision because it is already done and is in the past. Farheena told me that she would love to donate her hair to locks of love that day, there and then. Paula tried to dissuade her but nothing worked. We needed the minimum of 10 inches hair in a pony tail for the locks of love. That would make her hair real short cropped. I was hesitant with that. Shoulder length was fine but up to the ears did not go down easily with me. But then Farheena being Farheena, insisted and had her way. It was a proud moment for all of us (Paula, Marie, Me, Rayyan and Farheena). She looked prettier and cute with her hair cut short. I could sense she missed her long hair but she knew that they would soon grow back again.  
Having gone bald and yearning for hair during my chemotherapy, I really felt good deep inside me that my daughter had the noble heart to donate her loving hair for the Locks of Love. It was another ‘WOW’ hair moment of our lives.


The rest of her days in USA were spent with short hair. Paula would tell many of her friends how Farheena donated the long black locks to a good cause. Her hair grew fast and was shoulder length in few months and now the amazing hair is quite long, touching the ground when she sits. I wonder how much more it is going to grow.










Her lovely tresses open up and flow like silk all over her back. After a bath, when she sits under the fan for drying it up; it starts opening up and straightening itself so well, that I find it amusing just sitting there watching them. All I need to do is run a brush through it thoroughly after a while and plait it up. It has a good shine and is so smooth to touch. The pictures below will make you believe me!
Farheena has the most beautiful hair I have ever seen and a heart that surpasses the beauty of her hair. I got to know about it when Locks of Love won the battle with her Love for Locks.
Wet after bath 
Beginning to dry

Continuing opening up and drying

I love her tresses so much!

A bit of brushing and  we have a nice shiny plait 

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