Enjoy your life. Keep it simple.

The joys of simple living

the joys of simple livingA new year has dawned, bringing with it the opportunity to make a new beginning. To learn from past mistakes. Even make a course correction if necessary. Many have made resolutions of all kinds, and I’ve made one too.

As with most of us on the planet, my life has been getting more rushed, more stressful with each passing year. My goal for 2017 therefore is to simplify my life, and in the process, discover the joys of simple living. Want to enjoy your life? Keep it simple. That’s what my inner voice is urging me to do.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius had said this, centuries ago. Albert Einstein too had endorsed simple living saying: I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind. Unfortunately, lots of people fail to understand the wisdom in living simply. For many, acquiring status symbols and impressing others with their expensive possessions has become more important than living happily.

So, have I decided to live like a hermit? No, I’m not contemplating retreating to a cave in the Himalayas or anything as drastic. Here’s how I intend to bring order into the chaos. You could too, if you want to adopt simple living for the rest of your life. Continue reading

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An ode to Mummy

Remembering Mummy

Remember the title song of that classic Hindi movie of yesteryear – Chhoti Si Baat (A little thing)?

an ode to mummyNa jaane kyun? Hota hai ye jindagi ke saath,
Achanak ye man, kisi ke jaane ke baad,
Kare phir uski yaad, chhoti chhoti si baat…

(I don’t know why this happens in life,
But suddenly, after someone has gone away,
The mind begins to remember… every little thing… )

The context of the song may be different, but those lines spell out my thoughts so perfectly. It’s been a decade without Mummy, yet I’ve never stopped remembering every little thing about her. I still remember the smallest things she did for us, her children, out of immense love.

Towards the end of her life, she seemed to be getting more tired with each passing day, and yet she never tired of praying for us, her grown-up children, till the day she died. Through her prayers she fortified our efforts as we fought life’s battles, and strove to stay on the right path. Continue reading

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Great Goan: C. Alvares (1924 – 1999)

A tiatrist and a gentleman

great goan c alvaresWhen a handsome, grey-eyed, teenager named Celestino Alvares stepped on to the Konkani stage in the early 1940s to make his debut as a tiatrist, something exciting was taking place in the tiatr world. Thanks to a burst of fresh talent, Konkani tiatr was experiencing a period of rejuvenation and was transitioning into what came to be called the Golden Phase.

Some of the new stars faded away into oblivion in a few years. But some like the immensely talented Celestino shone brighter with the passage of time and continued to dazzle tiatr audiences for decades.

Having started out with singing songs and displaying his acting skills on the Konkani stage, young Celestino moved on to writing scripts and songs for tiatrs and even directing them. Soon, he came to be popularly known as C. Alvares and that’s the professional name be stayed with till he exited from the world stage. Continue reading

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Staying connected in a shrinking world

When a black bear came calling

staying connected in a shrinking worldIn a shrinking world, no-one, not even faraway family is too far away. And thanks to modern technologies, what was once unimaginable is possible today.

For instance, a few days ago, when a black bear came calling late at night at my older son’s house, my husband and I were in a huddle with him and my daughter-in-law about this unexpected visit … in minutes.

a black bear came callingSo what’s unusual about this? Two things. My husband and I were in our house in Navi Mumbai, India; my son was in his own house more than 12,000 kms away in the US. And secondly, as we launched into an animated chat, and my son pointed to where he had seen the enormous black face outside his window and even showed us the muddy mess the bear had made on their door mat, it felt like we were in the same room. Continue reading

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Sermons in stones – Remembering Daddy

A tribute to Daddy

Sermons in stones, grand canyonI looked at the marking “Daddy’s death anniversary” on my calendar this month and thought: It’s eighteen years since I watched him die. Eighteen years? I couldn’t believe it was almost two decades since I’ve been coping with this huge void in my life.

Every year on Dad’s anniversary my siblings and I look back and remember… This year I decided to showcase precious remembrances, and my gratitude to him, on my blog.

But how do you compress the memories of a beloved parent into a few words? How do you squeeze the values you imbibed from him into a single blog post? Seems impossible. Nevertheless, I’m going to try. By shining a light on just one of the many important lessons he taught me… Continue reading

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How much red wine is good for you?

Is red wine good for health?

how much red wine is good for you“What can we get you from Goa?” people I know often ask me when they’re going to my home state. “Be a sweetheart, and get me a bottle of port wine,” I tell them, already feeling lightheaded with the joy of anticipation.

I have to admit it. I love the taste of sweet red wines. Port wine, moscato wine, madeira wine… I love them all. Nice and chilled.

Wine being a once-in-a-way treat for me, I usually never worry about questions like – how much red wine is good for you. But with Christmas just round the corner, red wine sales will soon soar through the roof. So I thought it was a good time to uncork all that wine-scientists have discovered about the good stuff this far. Continue reading

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Between husbands and wives – Part 4

Celebrating Wife Appreciation Day!

it's wife appreciation dayHey folks, it’s that time of the year again. It’s Wife Appreciation Day today. Yippee! Yes, they actually felt the need to have such a day to remind husbands to appreciate their wives – at least once a year – for all that they do for them and the family. Of course there’s that rare breed of husbands who’ll say: Oh, for me, every day is Wife Appreciation Day. God bless these good souls, and may their tribe increase.

Wives cook, dust, clean, nurse, babysit, teach, counsel, comfort, offer moral support; some even work full time to keep the home fires burning, and yet tackle a zillion chores to manage the household. So surely, a teensy-weensy bit of appreciation, even a warm hug, now and then is not asking for too much, is it? Ask any wife and she’ll tell you it’s the small things, the little gestures of affection, that matter most in a marriage. Not the shimmering gold jewellery or an evening out at a fancy restaurant.

wife appreciation dayIt’s true, wives in general could do with a lot more appreciation than they get. Yes, there are some husbands who may go to extreme lengths to shower praises on their wife. And other husbands could sneer that these guys know life would be hell for them if they didn’t pay lavish tributes to their wives, specially in public. But most wives are not such aggressive hellcats.

And what’s wrong with expecting a little appreciation from those closest to us? The need to be appreciated is a basic human craving. No, I didn’t make that up. That’s what the American philosopher and psychologist William James had said. Continue reading

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Learn a new skill. Keep your brain sharp!

You’re never too old to learn a new skill

learn a new skill, keep your brain sharpIt’s true. When you learn a new skill, you not only add an element of excitement to the boredom of your daily routine, you can also keep your brain sharp – at any age! Remember what Henry Ford, the legendary American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, had said? Anyone who keeps learning stays young.

Scientific research has shown that the best way to keep our brain sharp is to learn a new skill. When we practise learning something new, changes take place in the networks of our brain and the density of white matter too increases. More about this later in the post.

Agreed, it’s easier to learn new things, pick up new skills, when you’re young because that’s when your body keeps building new brain cells. When you’re older, though it’s less easy, it’s not impossible.

brian mayTake the case of Brian May. He shot to international fame in the 70s as one of the world’s leading musicians when he played as the lead guitarist for the famed British rock band Queen. But that’s not the point. Brian May was always passionate about astronomy and astrophysics. In 2006, at the age of 59, guess what he did. He completed a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the Imperial College in London! How cool is that?

As for those of you who are still not over the hill, remember that if you live long enough, you’ll get there someday. Aging happens to everyone. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait till you cross 60 to learn new things. Develop the habit of lifelong learning now and you could have better mind power than your contemporaries later on. Continue reading

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Great Goan: Frank Fernand (1919 – 2007)

Composer of timeless music

frank fernandOne Sunday evening in Bombay somewhere in 1963, my family and I were seated on one of the tiered stone steps at the open-air theatre in Victoria Gardens, waiting for the tiatr to begin. (Yes, once upon a time in Bombay, you could enjoy a tiatr alfresco, in the midst of greenery, beneath the stars.)

An announcement over the loudspeakers said they would be playing the songs from the newly released Konkani film Amchem Noxib, and suddenly, the chatter all around stopped, like magic.

It was then, as a little schoolgirl, that I first experienced the captivating sweetness of the music of the great Goan Frank Fernand. More than five decades later, even today, the work of this talented music composer  still continues to cast a spell on Goans across the world. Continue reading

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My Goan mando video: Adeus korcho vellu

A popular farewell mando

goan mando video adeus korcho vellu paoloCan you imagine the agony and frustration of being separated from your loved ones for months at a stretch without any way of communicating with them except perhaps through a letter or two received weeks after being posted? This was what Goan tarvottis and their families had to put up with in the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s. And that was why each time our tarvottis had to sail away on long voyages on British-run ships such as the S.S. Canberra, or Kampala, it was hard for them to bid their loved ones goodbye.

Our Goan mando composers captured those heavy-hearted, emotion-packed moments of parting between tarvottis and their families through poignant farewell mandos. “The time has come to say farewell, Oh how my heart aches…” that’s how one such popular farewell mando Adeus korcho vellu paolo composed by one of our greatest mando composers – Torquato de Figueiredo – begins.

Today in the twentieth century, many Goan young men still sail on American cruise ships to earn a few dollars more for their families. They may still have to put up with the rigours of life at sea, but thankfully for them, it’s a more connected world we live in today.

Enjoy this mando that not only has links to a slice of Goa’s maritime history, but will also let you take a short cruise into the recent past through pictures of some of the iconic ships on which our Goan tarvottis once sailed. Do share the link with tarvotti families you know.

 

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