In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Always Something There to Remind Me.”

I feel the main reason why music is so powerful is because it has the ability to arouse forgotten memories of the past to such an extent that the heart surrenders momentarily to emotions that one had experienced then. Each song on my playlist takes me back in time, either to very old days of my childhood or to the comparatively young and recent adolescent years.

Being an Indian, I listen to more of Bollywood songs than English. Their ratio in my iTunes playlist must be somewhere around 80:10. I am into soothing, soft and cute romantic numbers, particularly those which star my favorite actors such as Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan.

Coming back to the topic. The songs that evoke lost times. Well, there is a movie in Bollywood called Tum Bin which was released around 2001. This also coincides with the time me and my family had shifted to India permanently (although we came back to Dubai in a year 😛 ) . So even though the lead cast members of the movie were new, the movie became a sleeper hit, major contribution of which goes to the collection of songs in the movie. The soundtrack consists of a ghazal ‘Koi Fariyaad’ sung by ‘Jagjit Singh’, that is considered to be one of the greatest ghazals in Bollywood. Ghazals are a version of Sufi songs that poetically express emotions such as pain in love. I was quite young when the song released and not really appreciative of the complete meaning of the song, yet somehow the music and the voice created a magic that was unforgettable for me. I heard the song first being played on the old music system of our neighbors. I was sitting then in one of the rooms of our house. Our neighbor’s house was barely 2 steps away and so the music from their house streamed into that room very easily. And so I came back to that room every evening to listen to this song. For quite some time, it was played almost every day because I figure that their daughter was in love. You may click the link below to listen to and watch the beautiful song.

To this day, whenever I listen to this song, I am reminded of that house, particularly that room in which I used to sit in the evenings. I reminisce those days when I was 10, and my innocence was untarnished by worldly pleasures. I can still feel the tiny flutters in my stomach when I see the face of my childhood crush (who, incidentally was the son of the same neighbors) in my mind’s eye. I really miss the simplicity of days and honesty of relationships during that period.

So I must sign off now before my boss notices I am not really working. Hope you enjoyed the post (and the song) ! Until next time! Take care….

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First response to a prompt is Musical

Posted in addiction, food, health, modernization, World

When food kills…

There are few things in my life that never fail in giving me an immense amount of pleasure, food tops that list. I am, what most people call these days, a foodie. And to be precise, a fast-foodie. I crave beef burgers, cheesy pizzas and cheesier, saucy pastas. I have tried them all, from McDonald’s to Burger Fuel, Pizza Hut to Papa John’s and Vannelli’s. But I am not proud. I am not proud of sabotaging my health so successfully. I am not proud of losing all sense of control of my diet when I pass by KFC and the aroma of crispy fried chicken pulls me towards the long queue of people waiting to place their order. People who, just like me, have fallen into the unhealthy food routine. Despite my repeated attempts at eating well and keeping healthy, I somehow always find myself eating those fries again. I keep saying to myself, ‘there is a lot of time to lose weight, I don’t need to hurry’ or ‘I am not that overweight, look at her’ but no matter how much I lie, I now know that things are not right. I am glad I have accepted now that I need to take this matter seriously and work towards getting fit. I have been hitting the gym for a year now. I did manage to lose weight to the point that I started getting compliments and I became complacent and started eating the junk again. But I saw a video today morning, a speech which made me realize how people like me are falling prey to the marketing antics of fast foods. The increasing profits of fast food corporations mark the increasing exploitation of people’s health.  The fact that disgusted me the most was how these corporations target young children and teens as a part of their marketing strategy. The heavy presence of their advertisements on TV channels and social media in the form of special offers and discounts never fails to grasp attention. Also, the ease of their availability and feasibility make them the top choice of food for those dining out. Another shocking fact about these foods is that the more we eat them, the likelihood of getting addicted to them increases. They are composed of high levels of sugar and sodium. Ingesting sugar stimulates the brain in some weird way that releases dopamine in the blood. These increased levels of dopamine are responsible for the emotion of pleasure we might have encountered on eating junkies. 
U.A.E ranks 5thin the list of most obese countries in the world.  In this country, 3 in 5 children suffer from childhood obesity. Who is to be blamed? Honestly, nobody but ourselves. It is the parents’ fault that they do not inculcate the right eating habits from the young age and our fault that despite being warned about the associated risks of eating fast food, we still engage in destroying our body. In this fast-paced era, we just do not find time to cook at home, but we have time to come up with all the excuses in the world.
What we need to realize is that this is our body we are talking about, our most prized possession. And nobody would value it till we ourselves take care about it. People can go on marketing, others can go on eating, but if we care about ourselves and our children, we need to take control of our life and be the change we want to see. We can still love eating, but we need to decide the quality and quantity of the food we intake. We need to form a balanced lifestyle and stick to it. We need to find time to do all this. We need to make sure our mind and body listens to us and not the female model on screen bingeing on the big fat burger (which, she probably never even ate in her life, considering how she looks).
The video truly inspired me and I hope to exercise more self-control than before. I would still eat my favorite foods once in a while, but will start exploring new, healthier alternatives that can stimulate my taste buds yet keep me alive for a longer span of time.  Grilled chicken kabobs. Served with hammous. Dinner. Perfect.
P.S: Check out the links I have shared  below to understand what I am talking about.

Posted in addiction, New age, technology

A Cellular Addiction

BAM!!!!!! I sighed in frustration when I looked at my 3 month-old Xperia Ion lying dead on the ground after a fall from the table. This was not the first time. Unfortunately, my cellphone has been sustaining these random injuries for a long time, thanks to my negligent attitude (which also is always  the “hot” topic of discussion with my Mom 😛 ) . I finally succumbed to the necessity of giving away my cell to the Service Centre sulkily. You know what that means? That I had given away half my life. The mere realization that I would not be able to WhatsApp now for the next 15 DAYS caused me so much anguish that I couldn’t savor the delicious Chicken Pasta I had that night for dinner. All I could think of, was how I would manage 2 weeks without my Xperia. It had everything that I needed in my daily life, my contacts, songs, notes, reminders, class time-table, season 7 of Supernatural and so many other beloved Apps that I had downloaded with so much of excitement from the Google PlayStore. And all of this was taken away in half a second. I stared grumpily at the guy smiling at me from behind the Customer Service counter, cursing him under my breath.

I went back home, tired. It was bedtime soon and I was so drowsy that I thought I would sleep as soon as I hit the bed. But I was sadly mistaken. My sleep was disturbed with my unconscious efforts to take my cell from under the pillow and check my notifications, only to realize that I no longer possessed one. Once it was morning, I got dressed for college and boarded the bus. The bus ride, as expected, was very unpleasant because I had to endure one whole hour of gossip in Malayalam ( a South Indian language I very much do not understand) from the girl sitting in the seat behind me. If only I had my cell, I could drown her bellows by the soothing songs on my playlist. By now, you may have guessed how my day would have proceeded. I had to stick around with my friends all the time fearing I would lose them and would have no way to contact them. 😛 .

But then, surprisingly, at the day’s end, I began to realize that I can actually have a very good, stress-free day without a cell too, only if I stop cribbing about it. It was stress-free because I found time to do the tasks I always neglected due to the times wasted in texting friends, and listening to the same dumb playlist again and again. There was no worry now. No complaints from friends that I did not reply to their senseless messages, or did not respond to their annoying missed calls. I had a simple, honest excuse – I do not have my cell. I was finally able to read half of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, which I have been trying to complete since around 2 months now. I also got the time to write this post in a peaceful state of mind. And, I also STUDIED (my mom shoukd read this 😛 ) .

I guess I really had become some sort of an addict. And I guess although this addiction was not killing me, it was definitely killing my time. I just hope I am able to manage my time efficiently even after I get my Xperia back 😛 I now know what famous keyboard player Ken Hensley meant when he said, ‘ It is hard to understand addiction unless you experienced it.’