The Big Fight

They call Life – the ‘rat-race!’ They call Life-‘a fight’; ‘a struggle!’ They glorify fighting for what you believe in and sometimes in all the madness of fighting, you forget what you’re fighting for.

They tell you that you must ‘Fight for love’ and Fight for your dream’ and then ‘Fight to stay alive and afloat!’ And they forget that in the midst of all this fighting, it stops becoming fun and just becomes something you keep doing- pushing your head against an endless wall of pain because that’s what you’ve been conditioned to.

We’re not taught to believe. We’re taught to FIGHT to believe. We’re not taught to love. We’re taught to FIGHT for love. We’re not taught to succeed . We’re taught to FIGHT to succeed.

And then they wonder where all this aggression and anger comes from. Soldiers fight a war at the borders. We fight a war with ourselves every day. We’ve taken out the fun in life, love, relationships, beliefs and friendships… it’s a war and apparently we HAVE TO WIN! Life’s not about the fun of competition or the joy of the experience- it’s a war and you have to fight to stay alive!

Right from childhood , you are taught to fight- fight hard, even fight dirty. This is ingrained in school , at home and even in sports. We don’t spend the same time spending people to respect, to love, to acknowledge, to see… that’s all a waste of time! And so our aggression is fine tuned till it’s almost inherent in every cell of our bodies.

Well I’m tired. I’m out. I’m out of the fight.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working or achieving- this just means I’m going to have fun doing it! I’m not fighting you, I’m too busy propping myself up…I’m too busy ENCOURAGING ME TO BE ME… and I’m not going to fight you because that war is not worth my energy or my time!

I’m done. I win! :)… guess the conditioning takes a while longer to rub off!

 

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The face that I put on

So the writing has been irregular because i’ve just not felt well enough… With ‘The Verdict’ premiere just ’round the corner, it’s been rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal! But that’s not been what has kept me from writing….it’s just incredible and scary new life lessons I have had to learn.

  1. Everyone is an actor. Most people are 2, 3 or 4 faced…they say one thing to you, one to another and something else to a third! And it comes to them more naturally than it does for most trained actors! I was untrusting , as a person, before, but now I don’t even believe you when you give me your word or write it down!
  2. Class does not come from how much money you possess or what you wear… it’s ingrained in your value system, your thoughts and your beliefs. You can’t buy class- not even with all the money in the world.
  3. I care about myself! Every individual sole focus is themselves- NOT you! Your world might collapse…. but they will only worry if the ground under them move… else you are just extra noise…
  4. Just because I’m nice to you …doesn’t mean I’m your friend. It doesn’t even mean that i like you… People will say one thing and do exactly what they feel like. Most people can never more than acquaintances- passing breezes…!
  5. And last but not least- NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR FAMILY. When everything collapses around you, when you don’t have the will to get up and still fight to retain the ‘I don’t need help’ attitude- they are the ones who will help you when you push them away. They are the ones who make you stronger and they are the ones who make you believe in the power and strength of unconditional love.

And thru all the madness and all the ill health, I have smiled through pain and gritted teeth because of the strength my family gives to me. I didn’t ask for it. I pushed them away. I yelled at them for treating me like I was unwell and they smiled indulgently and bought me cake. When I had hours of work left, they took me kicking and screaming out to lunch. When I pulled an all-nighter and was continuing thru the day- they dragged me to bed.

The reason ‘The Verdict’ will be a success is thanks to my family.

They saw thru my smile. they saw thru my ‘I’m fine.’ They love me enough to take me tantrums and all and listen to my fears, put band-aids on the hurt and prop me up to make me the smiling person the world sees every day.

It is thanks to them- you can never tell the face that I put on.

 

When the going gets tough!

So every day isn’t your best day… every day may not be a day you are proud of…it may not be a day you care to remember…it may even be a day you can’t stop the tears.

And as the rain pours and the economy sinks , days become darker and so do outlooks and in between all of this sometimes it’s hard to keep up that cheery disposition; so I have a new theory. I celebrate the wins AND NOW I CELEBRATE the losses as well! Well not celebrate… but I go out and thank God that the hurt is over, thank God that the loss has been felt and then allow myself the POWER TO GO ON and LOOK FORWARD.

Every day is not going to be amazing but our outlook can be. So what if you face rejection, humiliation and hurt- there are days where you also feel validated, loved and empowered. And like every day’s newspaper- yesterday’s news, is just yesterday’s news…! so YESTERDAY’S BLUES SHOULD REMAIN YESTERDAY’S BLUES!

Nothing in life works to a plan…that’s the joy,the journey and the fun…so strap up you are in for a hell of a ride! Why not end a scary roller-coaster or a terrible scare in the ‘haunted house’ of life with an ice cream?

..also always remember YOU ARE BLESSED…. somewhere someone is having a rougher day than you and they may not have the strength that you have. So pat yourself on the back and GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

 

Gotta keep moving, Gotta keep dreaming & FLEXI WORK HOURS !

Gotta keep moving…

Gotta keep dreaming.

As the sun scorches us all (and it’s only the first week of May) and 1/2 the year’s gone by quicker than a blink of the eye…it’s easy for the mid year depression to set in! We haven’t reached all the targets that seemed so easy in January and we’re exhausted. The days are longer, but patience shorter. The day’s are sunnier; but people’s attitudes are gloomier. The days are hot and so is everybody’s temperament! The newspapers are the bearers of doom and it’s easy to get sucked in to the mid year slump!

But instead of morning the loss of the last 5 months; let’s make the next seven …amazing! So here’s my technique to

“Get up and Make the Most of the Day (esp the Monday!)

  1. Start the day with some exercise…get an early head start and get some much needed endorphins!
  2. Treat yourself…a cold glass of juice, a smoothie, cold coffee, mango… start the day with something you love!
  3. Get to work and instead of tackling everything head on…. get your bearings… sit…relax… and then LIST OUT WHAT MUST BE DONE.
  4. 90 minutes in to starting your day, take a 10 minute break to drink some coffee, read an article, browse the net… just STOP!
  5. Eat lunch on time. Everything may not be completed by lunch but other people need lunch too- so take a lunch break!!!
  6. After you’ve taken your hour off you should be ready to take the afternoon by storm… Work thru the afternoon systematically stopping only once at about 3:30 for coffee/ tea and biscuits – again a 10 minute break.
  7. End your day on time. If you have a 9-5 job ; end it on time esp on a Monday else the Monday exhaustion taints the entire week ahead! Choose your ‘must work late’ days…and try and avoid 2 days one after the other because that will affect your work on Day 3.
  8. Get home and unwind. Do what makes you happy. Eat early and then spend the evening relaxing, pursuing a hobby or just hanging out with friends! You did a good day. Yay!

Flexi work hours… for me that;s the newest, coolest trend. Work when you have to and finish your job…it’s not about a 9 to 5 anymore it’s an 11-7 or a 9-4 or even a 10am- 1 pm… Companies are starting to realise -it’s not about the time you spend in the office ; it’s about your productivity and if you are more productive at home or in a shorter period of time or in spurts …well then GOOD FOR YOU!

This I think is incredible…I’ve wandered into so many offices , advertising firms, banks, magazine offices where everyone is either gossiping or on facebook….Sure they’ve logged in hours… but are they really being productive? It’s like when you had to attend a lecture in college and you dozed off…. except that’s what they do for the entire work day. Sure there are the one or two Worker bees who are doing all the work and everyone’s work… but they then get exhausted and their productivity can’t be at a high for 12,15 ,19 hours!

Many companies now make the employees set targets on a monday…a big target that must be achieved by week end and smaller targets which must be achieved daily. How you do it is up to you? If you can do it in 5 hours and go home… well then that’s wonderful…If it takes you till 9 pm at night (because of all the Facebook surfing) well then that’s your prerogative too! The targets are approved by the person they report too so it’s not too easy (you can’t just make one call and go home) and they are actual targets. And then you reconvene on Friday to take stock of all that is achieved.

Flexi work hours can be the best things to happen to a company. And it makes you take responsibility and ownership for your work.It kind of makes you , your own boss and trust me…your the toughest boss you’ll ever get !

And now on to making this week amazing…! See you next week

P.s.-: We had a show last week at the NCPA….With the heat playing havoc with my Multiple Sclerosis and me having small but difficult attacks… it was a tough show to run with 30 odd people on stage BUT they were AMAZING and I WAS SO PROUD!

To My Imps… you teach me

I’ve gotta keep moving,

Gotta keep dreaming …. every day!

Seeing you on stage , made yet another dream come true!

 

Marketing …ME!

Today’s world is a marketing world! The best education, the finest degrees are no match for the smooth, smart talker who knows how to market himself and his business idea! It’s all about suave, smart marketing , networking and great smiles! It’s not even about selling a product or an idea… it’s about selling yourself- believing in yourself so much that others buy into the dream too!

This year is my company’s tenth year running… we started in 2002 october and we’re celebrating our tenth year this year with great aplomb and excitement. 10 new shows, several new actors, a team of Balancing Act Productions’ favourites and loooots of work! And the marketing has begun and I’m actually loving it… When I started marketing 10 years ago…I was selling a show, a concept , an idea …and hoping to God people bought into me…because I was young, unsure and terribly scared. Now 10 years later…I think I’ve got it…I believe in me and my idea and it’s become easier asking people to believe because I BELIEVE! It’s difficult selling yourself when you’re not sure whether you are worth it… but the minute you start BETTING ON YOURSELF…that’s when it’s not such a hard sell… you realise YOU ARE WORTH IT and all you need to do is BE YOURSELF and let someone else see yourself the way you see yourself! Instead of trying to create rose tinted glasses for those you are marketing yourself to, all you need to do is try and make them see the concept or the idea through your eyes!

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I’m not saying every meeting will be amazing….but I’m saying a little self respect and a little belief in yourself goes a long way….! It makes the meetings more fun and makes your faith in yourself stronger.

10 years down…I’ve learnt how to believe….in me!

 

The Royal Touch at the Taj Faluknama Palace Hyderabad

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The Taj Falaknuma Palace was a hotel I chose to stay on on a whim. It had just opened and I was curious! I had stayed in all the iconic Taj Palaces across the country and this was a hotel I had heard amazing things about…so after a show in Hyderabad , we decided to check in for the night at this iconic hotel!Falaknuma Palace is also known as the ’mirror of the sky‘ because at 2000 feet, it was built in the clouds and reflects the ever-changing moods of the sky.

Driving thru the old city of hyderabad you cannot but help see this magnificent beauty in white perched on a hill staring at the bustling city below. Calm, peaceful and detached – a beautiful painting from an era gone by… The chauffeur pointed out the hotel and it was beautiful just looking at it from afar. As you go to the gates, the car is stopped and you have the option to travel by a golf cart type buggy or horse carriage. We chose the horse carriage and enjoyed the horse hoof patter up the walkway to the entrance of the glorious hotel.

Showered by flower petals on our arrival , we were ushered into our suite….If you do choose to occupy a suite, each suite is completely different from the others and is furnished and upholstered completely uniquely. Ours was plush and comfortable and I sank into the beautiful bed, suddenly exhausted after the previous night’s theatrical performance! Choose a historical suite…it is filled with history and perfect in every way!

A few hours of rest , I found out that I was unfortunately running a fever. The hotel staff was very worried- sending me medicines and home remedies. Never one to stop exploring, we were off to eat a delicious lunch at Adaa the Indian restaurant. Fabulous biryani, succulent kebabs and authentic hyderabadi cuisine at it’s best… I was already feeling a bit better.

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And then it was off to the spa- the Jiva spa calmed me down and relaxed my aches and pains and after a quick dip in the small yet perfect pool, it was off to take a champagne tour of this iconic, historical hotel!The stories were interesting and funny. The rooms were well preserved and iconic. Every wall had a story. Every room had history. The Palace had been commissioned by Sir Nawab Vikar-Ul Umra, a Hyderabadi nobleman but caught the eye of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, Mahbub Ali Pasha, Sir Vikar’s brother-in-law, and Sir Vikar had no choice but to offer the Palace as a gift or ‘nazar’ to the Nizam! Later it was used as a guest house to several royal dignitaries heads of state and my very own Great-Great-Grandfather a member of the Viceroy’s Privy Council and a former President of the indian National Congress ( then a High Court Judge) had been a guest years earlier and it was absolutely wonderful to be able to see his signature (the one in red!) in the iconic comment book. Years ago, he had stood where we stood today !

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After a truly thrilling afternoon, we were off to the verandah to watch live dancing and singing of sufi music and qawallis as the sun set on a perfect day. Dinner was at Celeste the italian restaurant and after a Royal bath that had been prepared for us in our room we were fast asleep cocooned in the soft, plush bed. A very filled but truly memorable day…!

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We slept so soundly ,we almost missed our flight…and I was sad that I hadn’t been that well thru the one day we had spent at this beautiful hotel…!

But as luck would have it… I was back again…soon and this time with my whole family…! They loved it as much as I did and I was able to explore and wander around more of the hotel than I did the previous visit!

Would I go back? In a heart beat….! Hospitality that books are written about, incredible beauty and unforgettable experiences… Taj Faluknama Palace has all of that!

Cost-:$600 – $700 a night…well worth it to be treated like royalty!

Best Time to Travel-: October thru to February when the weather is cool , and slightly nippy else it does get more than a little hot in the summers…!

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Universal Studios – The VIP Experience

This was Aditya’s first experience in Los Angeles and in the city of a million dreams and where  everyone either is a star or looks like one it was only fitting that we went to a shrine of filmdom The Universal Studios! This was his birthday gift and we had to do it ‘Divya Style’–first-class all the way! So weeks in advance I signed us up for UNIVERSAL STUDIOS- THE VIP EXPERIENCE! I had been here before and had even seen Bill Cosby walking to ‘work,’ but this was Aditya’s first trip and I wanted it to be magical- The Universal Tour- VIP Experience!

This meant you were taken around the studios with only 10 people, never stood in a line… but here’s where it gets interesting you were allowed access to the prop rooms and sound stages and even a couple of sets which were used for active shooting! To call Aditya a movie fanatic is a complete understatement…He remembers dialogue , the framing of scenes, trivia on the movie and the actors. He can tell you what they wore, what the director ‘said’, what production problems they went through… He LOVES FILM- so essentially this was the perfect gift!

We chose a 10:30 am. time and checked into the VIP section at about 10:15 am. If you drive, they will valet park your car but we weren’t driving. We went to the VIP lounge ordered a quick cappuccino and a juice, munched on a wonderful chocolate muffin and were then given our VIP Access cards- which are just so cool to keep that we knew the day was going to be amazing (yes, we’re silly that way!). And then we were off in our own personal buggy just for the 10 of us where we started our tour with a private tour guide who not only ensured we went through all the attractions of the theme park…he also let us wait just a little longer for that picture perfect moment!

And then while other Universal Studios visitors headed back into the park..we were taken past the CSI Shooting Stages and down Wisteria Lane (where Desperate Housewives was shooting)and into a sound stage where we met technicians and saw where sound is mixed for some of the most wonderful films we have seen.

Then it was off to the Prop Room….though it’s more like a building of props where you have everything from ET masks, to cutlery, to the head of a sphinx and even a Ganesha!!! Fascinating, wonderfully kept and logged and so incredibly comprehensive it’s no wonder that every show and every film can have such an individual flavoring and styling!

We were also then shown the coveted Oscars that Universal Studios had won and then it was time to wander around one of the sets…We then visited and walked around a plane that had been used for War of the Worlds.We saw a small town shooting lot in what could be used for a Western.We walked in to the empty ‘bar,’saw the shop fronts and walked in and around the sets and then went to an active stage being used for the TV Show parenthood. The house with its many rooms and with each room’s individual detailing was a trip to see! It was wonderful how they used perspective and painting to show the other houses on a lane while just shooting in a single, individual stage!

After a hectic morning, it was time for a VIP lunch of salads and fries, pasta, burger and sides. While a musician serenaded us with show tunes we enjoyed a restful lunch and cappuccino ( yes I do love my coffee!) . It was then on to rides and more fun!

The Simpson ride was my personal favourite and after the tour and the rides since there was still a few more hours till closing , I proudly flashed my VIP Badge and got access to the ride once more before we left!

I loved the Revenge of the Mummy and am a sucker for a good roller coaster… The day started on an incredible high and with the VIP Tour just went higher after that!

It’s an experience that I definitely recommend for any movie buff and an experience absolutely catered to you!

Tour Cost- $270 so it does cost a bit… but for a once-in-a-lifetime super personal experience it’s wellllllll worth it! Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY!