I’m never gonna be who I thought I would

All through our lives we’ve been taught to make a difference, do more, be more!

And then it gets to a point- and here may be it’s the impending Birthday Me talking, where you worry- have I actually achieved what I was supposed to have… or was it all just castles in the sky created by my indulgent, loving parents (who btw are throwing a birthday dinner for me tonight- so yay!)… so I decided to take stock!

Well I started out right, topped school, went to Stanford and then I left Stanford prematurely to start acting. Interesting choice!

I started doing films, and started a Production house. One film became seven; the production house put on some truly memorable plays. Each play made me learn to give back to society and be really grateful as to where I was.

I got sick, got Multiple Sclerosis, was told I wouldn’t move but Docs ain’t got nothin on my stubbornness! So up I was and back at work!

I wrote and here I shall boast a bit (allow me, it’s my blog) a truly exceptional play where we toured the world, won numerous World Awards and gave lots of money to a cause I truly supported.

I found a tumour in the pituitary in my brain- didn’t waste a second ,started another company and an Not for profit charity, moved offices.

I have directed TV, commercials, digital, short films and anything that has a story- I have learnt to tell.

I have loved one dog with all my soul and another takes up my heart.

I see my family regularly and it’s still not enough; spend every waking moment I can stalking my husband, who annoys me , infuriates me, challenges me, engages me and loves me.

I’ve not done anything I planned to do when I was a child- but I’ve done so much more than I dreamed of. I’ve lived a life that I couldn’t have imagined because you can’t write lives like mine…

I may not be who I was but I am so excited to see who I will become…so as I countdown the days to my birthday…I’m going to celebrate who I have become with all those who’ve made me who I am on this crazy journey we call life.

P.s. (Palat says)-: You may not be where you think you want to be; but you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now!

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I want to change the world by doing NOTHING!

It didn’t happen to me…

It happened on TV…

And that’s our attitude… Buildings fall. Women get raped. People get murdered. Terror attacks happen. A cyclone devastates…

But it didn’t happen to me!

We want a better world for ourselves, for our future , for the future of our unborn children or our friends’ unborn children…and yet we make the grand gesture of—-wait for it….—–NOTHING!

Let’s cut the crap. Candle light vigils don’t help a girl after she’s been raped- punishing rapists do! Complaining about government organisations when buildings collapse don’t help- -stop paying off people and making substandard buildings! Punish the guilty and punish them quick. Don’t let’s live in a country where you can do wrong…and live a lifetime of sin with your lawyer just taking ‘dates’ for you every time. Let’s stop being afraid of punishment and its consequence. Let’s start being afraid of what will happen if we don’t punish- let’s look at that consequence instead.

Today you weren’t raped…you don’t live in ‘that’ neighborhood, wear ‘provocative clothes’ like jeans and you don’t step out of your house after 2 p.m….but that doesn’t ensure your safety any more because rapists are not afraid of the last- they can rape and then claim they are juveniles or pay off someone and leave the city… Ravage your life, destroy you and then just move and rape someone else. But don’t think about that… because it didn’t happen to you.

Your building hasn’t collapsed as yet…so why worry…it’s not like your life will be destroyed if it did collapse… or your home that you’ve paid so much for might be worth rubble…it didn’t happen to you!

And about the cyclone- well…you tweeted… what else can you do? Oh yes, you hash-tagged it as well!

Let’s read about it in the newspapers.

Let’s gossip about it in coffee shops…

But let’s do NOTHING!

After all it didn’t happen to me. Right?

 

To those who said I couldn’t

Remember when you told me I wouldn’t work again… I was scared of what you could do… but I kept trying and I kept working.

And you… you who told me that I’d never amount to much… Well to some people…I amount to their whole lives… so that’s a lot I think!

And to the ones who said I was hard hearted and would never be able to love… well you got it wrong… I am capable of more love than you can think. You were wrong for me… I was ok.

And to those who said I’d never walk again… I don’t walk. I run :)!

And those who said I won’t be able to….I did. I finished. I moved on. And I started all over again!

To those who said I can’t or I wouldn’t- I can and I did!

When you said I’d leave because it was too tough…I stayed . I learnt. I won.

When you kicked me…I got up and fought just a little bit harder.

When you hurt me…I didn’t waste time on tears… I moved on- stronger, harder and more determined.

And when I was laughed at… I laughed with you… and learnt how it felt and never did it to someone else.

For all those who called me back to tell me that they didn’t believe …I learnt to try and help you see… see the world thru my eyes.

To those who hated me- I tried to make you see me for who I am…. But if you still hate me… it’s your loss not mine. I’m a pretty awesome person (even if it’s just my husband and family who says so!)

I’ve lived. I’ve learnt. I’ve hurt. I’ve loved. I’ve fought. I’ve dreamt. I’ve had heart breaks and I’ve caused a few. But whenever a door shut… I found that if I took a moment there’d be another door wide open and waiting for me.

Thank you for teaching me that life is full of challenges….I look forward to spending the rest of mine jumping hurdles and winning the race…

You may never see me for who I am but you’ve allowed me to see how much strength , talent, love and beauty lies within me!

Keep the Faith

The last week we were having a discussion with friends… a friend of mine proudly said that she was supposed to get very lucky this week…astrologically! She was supposed to ‘win a huge amount of money in a lottery!’ That sounded just perfect to her husband except he said … well she was going to have to BUY the lottery ticket to even have a chance of winning! That would be at least half the battle, if of course, she chose to believe her ‘psychic!’

That got me to thinking… he was right! To win the lottery..you’ve got to buy the ticket! To fall in love… you have to meet someone/ go out on a date/ make a new friend/ find a new hobby/ trust someone new! Any thing that involves any sort of achievement needs a LEAP OF FAITH! From making a friend, to starting a new business, to falling in love, to marriage… any thing that’s worth it -requires you to make the first step! It requires you to TRY! It requires you to BELIEVE.It requires you to PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE and make the ATTEMPT!

You may fall flat on your face- once , twice…. even more! But to achieve greatness, to achieve love, to achieve friendship, to achieve happiness, to win the lottery even ;)- you gotta have faith!

Faith is a tricky thing. We’d bet money on horses, put money on cards …even put money in the fourth cousin’s business idea but we seldom put faith in ourselves. We seem so normal, so usual, so unexciting- we can’t be poised for greatness……… BUT WE ARE! We are each poised for something great. We are each capable of brilliance. We are each capable of crossing boundaries, shattering myths, creating new ideas and touching the sky- if only we had FAITH.

Try, try and try again but keep the faith while trying!

They say you never know it;s going to be the worst day of your life…but then again you never know it’s going to be the BEST DAY EITHER!

So keep the faith , cross your fingers and enjoy every moment- TODAY MAY BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE!

26/11- Moving forward

I had written another post for today and was about to post it when I felt i should write about something that’s been so important to me for the last 4 years.

4 years ago today our city was besieged by terror attacks and for the first time in my life-I was scared, unsure of tomorrow and afraid to step outside. I didn’t sleep for days and when I did, I dreamt of blood, gore, screaming and fear. With the help of my friend Mr. Sivanandan and my encouraging husband – I set about to interview survivors and their families. I needed to find something positive from all the death,destruction and sorrow of that mindless massacre.

And every year , we’ve been going to different continents and telling people about our stories, our survivors, our heroes-names you’ve never heard of, people you’d pass by on the street but people who showed exemplary courage in the face of senseless rage and irrational hate and survived those 48 hours. Every year I’ve re-interviewed a few, re-assessed where they are and asked them how they feel and kept in touch. And telling the stories made a difference- not just to those we told it to…but to each one of us and giving the proceeds away made us feel that we were in some way, able to help contribute to a change.

Men and women died that night protecting one another. People survived using skills they didn’t know they had, calling on bravery they didn’t know they possessed. And we went on. We should have learnt from them. We can still learn.

Instead of inculcating fear, we must learn to live- not to just survive and go but to understand and to appreciate the value of life- yours and the people around you. We must focus on the moment and have faith in ourselves and in others because help can come from the most unexpected sources and it’s never hard to just do good and be nice.

We were all chosen to survive because of those who gave up their lives instead. But life is about making positive changes and trying to make your life count and the only way we can do that is making every moment of our lives make a difference – to ourselves, to those around us.

It’s 26/11 again now…and it’s four years later. Ask yourself- Have you made a change? If you haven’t… it’s not too late…! Next year- same time- I’ll check in!

26/11- Never Forget!

Take a Chance on Change!

To start over…something must end. To say hello… sometimes we have to say goodbye.To laugh again…sometimes we need to have cried!

Divya Palat 

It’s so hard when things are over when we just keep holding on! I realised this when I produced my first set of shows and the run was complete and as everyone was about to go on stage , I was bawling in the bathroom not willing to let go. Since then ,it’s been 10 years and it’s still hard; but the public display of tears has significantly reduced and I’m learning to let go of incredible shows, amazing experiences and new found family to make way for even more incredible moments!

A lot of my girl friends are the same with relationships. Trapped with bad boyfriends, terrible husbands, abusive relationships- they aren’t even having a great time- but they’re scared of letting go- what if there’s nothing amazing in store for them next? What if this is as good as it gets? A friend of mine stayed with his cheating boy friend just because she was too afraid to actually go out and find someone again. “It’s too hard,” she told me ..”to start over!”

But even if we’re unwilling to change, scared to let go and holding on with all we’ve got- Life is way faster, smarter and trickier than all of us! Sometimes despite all our ‘clingy’ efforts , we’re going to have to change, have to let go, have to start over! And maybe the new is scary but may be it’s what we needed all along.

A perfect planner, I hated to lose control till I got sick and then paralysed and then suddenly had to allow nurses, doctors and family control of my choices, my life, my body! Suddenly in a moment, all that I was clinging to- my ridiculous plans, my naive thoughts on my career progress and my life ambitions had to be re-thought, re assessed and restarted overnight! And when you stop fearing the future and embrace the change then suddenly Life is an adventure and you can be part of an incredible journey. Had I resisted change, Balancing Act Productions (my company) would not be in it’s tenth year , I would not be married to my soulmate and best friend, and I’d never have walked again.

Sometimes Change makes all the right choices you were just too scared to make! Sometimes Change gets it right!

Trust!

A Venetian Romance

You haven’t known what romance is unless you’ve been to Venezia….you’ll never truly understand beauty unless you go there. I fell in love in Venezia– it was love at first sight and it was an affair I’ll never forget!

You get out of the train station and Venice is like no other city I have ever seen.Water everywhere and water taxis and Vaporettos waiting to take you to your destination! It was amazing, overwhelming and quite literally magical. You dream about the canals of Venice. You have seen pictures of gondola rides but nothing prepares you for the beautiful energy of Venice, the magical sunlight, the singing boatmen and the energy in the air! There are two stations in Venice and the one that is easier to get to your hotel from is Santa Lucia as this is in the historic centre of Venice as opposed to Venezia Mestre which is in the heart of the mainland.

Our hotel was about 20 minutes by water taxi (which we hired for just the 2 of us…to make our arrival even more special!). There are several Vaporettos (water buses) however that can be easily taken at the station as well.

Our hotel deserves an entire paragraph. The Luna Baglioni , a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, was undoubtedly the BEST HOTEL we stayed at in Italy! I guess they quite literally saved the best for last! a minutes walk away from St. Marks Square (Piazza San Marco) the Luna Baglioni is on the waterfront. It is right in the heart of Venice facing the San Marco Basin and the island of San Giorgio and was the perfect choice. Our room …oh my Goodness our room could inspire poets. With walk-in closets (yes more than one), a magnificent drawing room, a plush bedroom and 2 bathrooms ,we were ensconced in plush fabric and ultimate luxury . Then we saw our own private terrace. Over looking the water with some beautiful sun beds , this was easily the finest position to catch the most glorious of sunsets and suddenly I was sad because we were only in Venice for a night.

I will go back. I must go back and I would only stay at  The Luna Baglioni.

Venice for us was about winding down, relaxing and just staying in the moment and if there’s one place you can do that…it’s Venice. We wandered the cobbled pathways, stopped in numerous cafes and shopped for Murano glass jewelry to my hearts content. Now most hotels will offer you a free boat ride to the Murano glass factory but as that would taken a few hours what with going there and back and then seeing the factory, we both felt our time would be better spent just enjoying Venice at our own leisure. The jewelry was beautiful though and I picked up some necklaces which I absolutely love. I loved climbing the little bridges and walking through every lane and bylane. Exploring new corners of Venice… every time you turned , you could create another picture perfect moment!

Piazza San Marco is glorious. The Piazza is dominated by the Church of St. Marks and a glorious ,old clock tower!  With lots of cafes, some of which have live artistic performances and with fabulous food- Venice is an explosion of your senses. There is beauty absolutely everywhere and inspiration in every step you take. I’d have loved to have visited the Doges Palace which stands so perfectly regal but we had no time and too mush to absorb! There’ll always be next time..that is one thing I’m sure of.

After a leisurely lunch and a warm cappuccino , we decided to enjoy a romantic gondola ride as the sun was setting. With a glass of champagne and a very musical boatman…we headed into the glorious canals of Venice. Hundreds of tourists , tens of gondolas and yet you felt like yours was the only story that mattered, the only ride that counted…Venice can do that to you. It can you feel special again and that’s what the gondola ride did… it made me feel special!

A beautiful sunset followed by a glorious sunrise, Venice is beautiful even when the world sleeps… I can see why realms of poetry and hundreds of sonnets has been written about this remarkable gem….

Here’s to another trip to Venice …

Best Times To Travel-:  May through to October – it’s summer and it’s wonderful…but prices also peak at this time!

Price Factor-:  EXPENSIVE!!! $400- $700 per night for a 5 star hotel and expect to pay at least 30-50% more on food, cappuccinos etc as compared to any other Italian city