Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Literary Subscription Box: Fiction Crate, a review

You’ve got mail!

A package actually – oooh even better!

One that’s got a book, a Tee Shirt and some more small goodies. A hand written post card to go with it – Ah, you’ve made my day!

Imagine this being a possibility every month.

We all love pleasant surprises. So, it’s no wonder that subscriptions boxes are increasingly gaining popularity. A box of goodies, tailored to your preference, yet with the element of surprise to make the whole thing exciting and worth waiting for!

There are many genres (so to say) of subscription boxes. Boxes for beauty , hobbies, craft. An interesting one for men that I came across was for Socks! Funky socks that you don’t have to pick, sent to you regularly. How awesome is that?!

I love books, I dream of having my own library, but, book stores are dwindling. More over, the time available to just dawdle around book shelves, trying to find that perfect book has long since disappeared. I seem to forever be fighting with long to-do lists of things to do at work, or at home or planning my next vacation. Honest story of my life. And I love it.


At the end of the day however, I still, like for as long as I can remember, reach out to a book and read a chapter before peacefully drifting off to sleep. It’s also the first thing I do every morning. Just so that I can set the pace for the day, and ensure I don’t wake up to reviewing that to do list.

I recently tried Fiction Crate for my birthday (Yaay birthday gifts!) and I have to say this: Subscription boxes are perfect for (also read – perfect gifts for) bibliophiles like me who are bad at time management. Less choice is more happiness sometimes. Borrowing on Apple’s philosophy, Book subscription boxes send one to few books every month – with some goodies. You can subscribe once, or regularly or for a friend as a gift – completely flexible like that.

A quick pros and cons analysis:

Cons:
  1. You don’t get to choose your book
  2. You may not like the goodies

Pros:
  1. Delivered at your doorstep
  2. Wonderful surprise element (my favourite :D )
  3. Your preference is taken into account for the Fiction Crate Subscription box, so it’s going to be something close to what you would love
  4. Different options available
  5. These would make amazing gifts!

Definitely worth giving it a shot. With the options they provide, you’re likely to go back for more!



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Birthday Series: 2 to go: By a Kindred Spirit

This guest post is by Nisha Misha:

Birthday!!! The very word makes me smile irrespective of whose it is, though the smile does widen when it’s mine. In my family that day signifies “its your day” and have gone through extreme lengths to fulfil that view to make us feel special on that day. My mother taught us to take it to the next level, by counting down to the D-Day one month in advance. As they say, it’s the process that counts.



I recall with fond memories my 13th, 16th 21st and 25th birthday. Anyone who has interacted with me knows that I’m an ardent Formula 1-Michael Schumacher and Tour De France fan and thus most of these milestones were in relation to these two sports. While I know the theme is the one special birthday, I’ve been lucky to have more than one till date. It all started a week prior my 13th birthday when I saw a Ferrari car model (Michael Schumacher) at Landmark. I was ready to forgo my party just so that I could have that and my father hesitatingly relented to my pleas. Any sports fan will understand the unexplainable joy you experience on owning your first ever merchandise. My family and friends increased the bar for my 16th birthday by periodically gifting me things again related to F1 from the previous night till a day after my birthday. For my 21st birthday since we were abroad vacationing I was given the opportunity to attend my first ever Grand Prix though I did not follow it through since we were there only for a day in the city. A week long celebration occurred for my 25th with me meeting all my friends before I left the city to pursue my higher education.

While it does seem that its’ only materialistic things that brings me joy, I completely disagree. It’s the thought that a loved one puts in and how well they actually know you which leaves an impact. Their presence or a phone call irrespective how busy they are indicates you are on their mind. The excitement definitely builds also for the individual gifting you. Case in point, the gleeful look my father had on making a note out flowers on the dining table or my mother placing post-its around the house.

A few of my friends have stated that on reaching 21 or even 18 years the celebrations die down and “its’ just like any other day”. Due to how I have been brought up and believe in -to each their own-, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for them. Having at least 1 day out of 365 solely for us to feel extra special is something I have taken for granted. In my family, till this day irrespective of age birthdays are celebrated and we are there for each other. This is the philosophy I choose to live by not just for loved ones but for anyone, from a birthday wish to a chocolate that I may have on me

Food for thought- when was the last time you experienced that sheer joy and excitement you had during your childhood?  

One day in a year to feel extra special in my view is not being too greedy.

-
Nisha is a psychologist by profession. She and I have been friends for more than a decade, and live to tell the tale ;) She is a tiny person who packs quite a punch! 

                       


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Birthday Series: 3 to go: What is the big deal about birthdays?

This is a guest post by Sindhu :)

In our family, we have this practice of celebrating the first birthday by inviting close friends and relatives. Of course I don’t remember my first birthday but we do have a few photos taken during the occasion. Me in a pattu pavadai with almost nil hair on my head J

One of the birthday parties I remember which happened during my childhood days is my cousin’s. The cake was Mickey Mouse shaped. We filled a balloon with glitters and tied it on the fan. Once the cake was cut, my other cousin burst the balloon and the entire area was filled with glitters. Later I went to buy potato chips for the veg briyani served for the dinner. The shopkeeper gave a weird look seeing me drenched in glitters. The same cousin turned 21 a few days back and all she wanted was a big sized GOT t-shirt.

I lost interest in celebrating my birthday a few years before. It just happened without any particular reason. I turned off the FB birthday notification. Sometimes I laugh by seeing posts on social media such as ‘can’t keep calm it is my birthday month/day’. But who am I to judge them? It is their birthday and their wish to celebrate it the way they want.

Once I used to invite all my friends and neighbours for my birthday party. I used to send gifts for my close friends’ birthdays. Later the practise of gifting someone has stopped completely. In my engineering college, there was a gift shop which had very good collection was greeting cards. I sent a greeting card to my dad from that shop and when my mom called that day, she was almost in tears as the card had beautiful wordings. I was thinking about all this and wondering why I stopped the nice gesture of sending gifts. A gift could be a materialistic thing but it shows how important that particular person is to me.

A birthday may not be a big deal to me but it could be a big deal for some of my close ones and a kind gesture can make their day even more beautiful. So from this year, I have decided to send gifts to some special ones in my life on their birthday. And you know what, even if I don’t consider my birthday a big deal, I am blessed with a few dear ones who make it a big deal J


So what is the big deal about birthdays? 

I for one, am sure glad that she kind of found out :)
Sindhu is a dedicated marketer who always has a smile on her face. She can make anyone feel welcome in minutes, and make a daunting crowd feel like a bunch of old friends. Obviously that means that she has a lot of friends! :) 

Birthday Series: 4 to go: On a night, 29 years ago

"It was around this time, 10:45 pm when father and daughter were happily watching TV" my grandmother remarked out of the blue, as I took some water to her.

"Father? Daddy is sleeping in his room" I said, confused.

"Not your father. Your mother's father"

My grandpas - both of them- had passed away when I was very young. Mom's dad when I was 4 and dad's when I was 2, so they mostly don't figure in my mental recreations of the past.

Then it struck me - twenty-nine years back, she must have been pregnant. Very pregnant!

"And then?" curiosity now piqued.

"And then it was time to go the hospital" [Oh the subtle ways of saying 'Water broke'] She continued; "The car driver had long gone home. We found an auto with great difficulty. Bundled everything up, and off we went to the hospital."

"She had labour pains from around this time till 7:20 in the morning, till I was born?!" Holy crap, how did she ever love me after that!

"Oh no. We got her admitted. And she lay peacefully till morning. The pains started slightly around 5:00 am, and you were born by 7:20" Ha! I knew I've always been nice and considerate like that!

She seemed satisfied with recollecting just that much of that memory, and I've heard the part after that many time, so I let her go to sleep. It was late for her :)

-

I walked over to find my dad deeply engrossed in WhatsApp videos. Those are his current obsession.

In a while though, he looked up suddenly and went "This time, 29 years ago, I was getting on a bus from Trichy to Tirunelveli. You were born by the time I reached"

I guess they didn't have super fast, or even fast busses back then. Heh. It was funny how both of them decided to be nostalgic at the same time.

"When I reached," he continued, "All the grandma grandpas were already there. And you were also there!"

Yaay!

-

I called my sister a little after that. She certainly didn't have nostalgic moments/ memories to share from that night 29 years ago. If she did, that would have been a tad creepy ๐Ÿ˜‚

-

It's wonderful how memories not our own but of us are so precious sometimes :)



Happy Birthday to me ;)







Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Birthday Series: 5 to go: Mean dog

This guest post is by Bharat R.


"God, please make someone gift me the mean dog. If only, I could get that, I will not bother you ever again"

This was the daily prayer routine that I used to follow for 30 days leading up to my birthday ever since I was five. Animal lovers, hold your horses before accusing me of insensitivity. I am not name-calling dogs! Mean dog was no pet animal - it was a toy. A GI Joe combat tank to be precise. Owning all the Joes in the world was my perpetual dream. As a boy, I often got lost in the brochures of the GI Joe product line (there was no YouTube back then). Every year, only the name of the toy that I wished for changed. However, it was always a GI Joe.



I was fortunate to have a family that gave money to buy myself gifts from a young age. I had enough money to buy the biggest vehicle in the GI Joe range every year. If only it were so easy. "Only one GI Joe per birthday", said my mother. Always. Vehicles were not allowed. Not even small bikes. Just one action figure - the average Joe if I may. I used to get around Rs.1500 every birthday, but had only Rs.50 at my disposal to buy myself a Joe. Hours were spent at Connexions (a local store) trying to shortlist that perfect Joe which gave the best bang for the buck. I would not settle for any toy without a lot of firepower. You see, I had to spend a year with just one new Joe. What was the point of having all that money if you could not buy yourself a GI Joe vehicle even on your special day?!


Who doesn’t love a good old birthday cake and a gift to go with it?!

When I look back, birthdays have had an indelible mark on the person I am now. As a kid, I used to yearn for toys that my friends had. I once saw Aditya zipping past on super cool wheels attached to his shoes. He called them roller skates. As usual, I threw a tantrum to my parents about how a pair of skates would not fall under the "toy" category. The call was heeded. I had the license to loosen my purse strings.  Like most presents (other than GI Joes), the skates lay untouched for years after the first 2 days of using them. One summer vacation, a flier gliding around my car park caught my eye. A roller skating rink had been set up in the vicinity. I decided to put my skates to use, 5 years after I bought them. I ended up becoming a professional roller skater, reaching all the way to the national level.

So what happened to all the remaining money I got for my birthdays? "What a criminal waste it would be to spend on dresses or other toys?” I observed.  I embarked on a mission to save money until I become old enough to buy unlimited number of Joes.  That day finally arrived. I was around 15. To my horror, I came to know that GI Joe sales had been stopped. "Action Man" was the new kid (man) in the block. I was devastated. Years passed and the money saved remained in the bank. The magic of compounding made the thousands into lakhs. At least I now have money to fund my college education (of course it's not worth as much as owning Joes). Well. You cannot have it all they say (except for Niranjan who had a sack full of Joes).

Our family had a tradition of inviting my friends home for my birthday. Friends from the neighborhood, friends from school and family members were invited.  Of all days, nature has maintained an impeccable track record of choosing my birthday to mess with. It used to pour. Without doubt. There I was, standing by the door all dressed up, peeping in anticipation for any signs of approaching friends. Mom used to get calls from parents of friends saying they can't make it. "Ah well, at least I get to have the return gifts for myself", I used to console myself. A quick rewind suggests that my birthday has always been a black day. I was born the day B.R. Ambedkar had died. The Babri Masjid was demolished when I turned one. Rain clouds literally made most birthdays black when I grew up. The entire city was in limbo due to a devastating flood two years ago. The state observed a day of mourning on my latest birthday due to the Chief Minister's death. Not exactly a day to rejoice for many.


Notice the damp walls? That’s rain playing havoc on my birthday.

Let's get back to my childhood now. After an anxious few minutes, some friends who lived nearby were nice enough to brave the harsh weather and come home for the birthday parties. Cake time! I have had the rare honor of cutting up everybody from lion king to Donald duck for my birthday (I am a non-vegetarian).


The lion king was no match for my brother and I.

When the singing got over, it would be that time of the year that I was waiting for all month. Gifts.
More friends = more chances of getting GI Joes right? I had a knack for probability theory at quite a young age!  It was the litmus test for the affection that my parents claimed God has for me. Will I get the mean dog? Or the razor back? The elusive night raven perhaps?


Could this be it? Certainly, Niranjan being a proud owner of numerous action figures would know what the perfect gift would be!

No. No. No. Year after year. It just did not make sense. How could nobody gift me what I longed for?
During one of my later birthdays, a friend had given me a big beanbag, but only one GI Joe action figure (not a vehicle). I dared to question why I was presented only one toy. If she were willing to spend a large amount of money for a beanbag, why in the world would she be so cruel in denying me the right to own a GI Joe vehicle? It turned out to be the handiwork of my mother.  "Only one GI Joe please", she has insisted to parents of my friends all along. No wonder my constant feelers to friends about my wish list never worked. Though I was cross with my mother for a long time, I realized later that incidents like these taught me you could not always get what you want and you should learn to appreciate what life has in store for you. 

The games that followed the gifts often served as a balm for the heartbreak of not getting the gift I wished for. My parents used to conduct a lot of fun games and activities among friends. Birthdays would end with happy memories of friends and family.


Some fun with a bun!

Over the years, the cartoon cakes turned into morbid photo cakes (have we all turned into cannibals? Chopping your own head off on your birthday? I wonder who came up with that!) . The house parties turned into boring treats at restaurants. Gifts turned into birthday bumps (the worst part of growing up). Only one thing stands the test of time - the burning desire to own a complete collection of GI Joes with all the guns, missiles and combat vehicles ;-)


You will get your dream ride on the mean dog boys.. Some day!


Or did my mom have the last laugh after I tried to shoot her with the gun she gifted me?



Bharath is an exceptional engineer with Super Powers. Some of them being (definitely not limited to) appearing mortal and endless patience! Let us hope for him to someday get his mean dog ๐Ÿ˜


Birthday series: 6 to go: Being Taurean

Being a May born, my zodiac sign was a strong part of my identity for a long while. 



Studying in a girls school almost mandated being aware of Linda Goodman extensively. I’m not sure how this worked in co-ed/ boys’ schools, so I shall refrain from commenting on that.There was a phase around my ninth grade, where zodiac signs decided whether a friendship would be made or broken. Phrases like “You’re a Leo, we’re going to be great friends” or “He was a Pisces, they would never have worked out anyway” were not hard to come by.

Taurus was generally identified as one of the stronger personalities. However, or despite the fact that, back in school, I was a quiet nobody. There, I said it out loud. When I go back to school, I am known as “Jeffy’s sister” – though she is six years my junior, and it should have been “Oh, there’s Jenny’s sister”. Yet, I was a Taurean. Initially, it meant not too much more than checking the forecasts on “The Week” magazine, or picking the bull when asked to pick a favourite animal. I do have strong memories of being accused of being ‘stubborn’, followed by ‘Just like the bull’. I have also comfortably used my zodiac sign as an excuse anytime I got angry. But, I was a proud Taurean. I owned a Taurus T Shirt for a long time (read almost a decade) and when it had to be decommissioned, I did so only after I had procured a replica. Friends have gifted me mugs which list out the highlights of being a Taurean. On more than one occasion, I have said “Hey, I’m a Taurean!”

As I grew, rationality began to take a stronger hold on my brain. Questions like “Isn’t stubbornness and strongly sticking to one point of view almost the same thing?” did pop up a lot.

On the plus side, it did tell me that I am allowed to take a stronger stance when required. I was supposed to be stubborn anyway! *wink*

Despite the growing doubts, I continued to read predictions and Linda Goodman. Even procured her book on love signs.

Days went on. I went to university. The importance to zodiac signs and their implications dwindled. I did occasionally relate things to that. Rare however. When I broke up with my second boyfriend, I thought to myself (passing thought it was ;) )“He wasn’t a good fit. My first and I were most compatible”

As I started working, the focus shifted to what we can achieve on our own. I was no more the shy teenager. I knew what I wanted, and now I’m close to getting it. It’s long since I claimed a constellation as my identity. The death blow, I think, was when Nasa released a statement saying “They’re astronomers, and not astrologers” – that part went viral and was famous. However, the lesser known detailed explanation that went with it was along the lines of (paraphrased by yours truly) “We’ve found many more constellations. It’s not just these twelve, or one other. However, the Zodiac doesn’t affect the lives of people – rationally or scientifically – in anyway. So we didn’t bother with releasing statements related to it.” Ha! How about that. For the curious lot, here’s a small piece of that cake : https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/starfinder2/en/

I still like the Taurean symbol of the bull, and still do feel that it’s the best among the lot. I think I’m somewhat like my agnostic friend who said he would probably pick the religion he was born into, if asked to pick, simply because familiarity breeds contempt. J Also, it’s a group thing.

Happy Birthday season Taureans out there :D



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Birthday Series: 7 to go : As I turned 40

This guest post is by Forever Young Mr. G :)

One thing that Jenny and I share is the star sign. Both are Taureans. Other than that we both have very distinct personalities and belief systems. That makes me wonder if the entire star sign story is true. Does Linda Goodman books just feel good or a solution to explore who we are? Did we start imitating what was wrote or Linda actually wrote scientifically researched piece. Despite this doubt, I am very attached to my star sign. Never miss an opportunity to read the predictions. 
As Dan Ariely would say I am an irrational man.

But this post is not to raise my cudgels against Linda and the star sign story. This is about my own birthday this year.

On April 23, 2017, I reached 40. Just in case you didn’t know, I share my birthday with the Bard of Avon – Shakespeare.

Coming back to my turning 40. Like Jenny, I also get very excited a fortnight before my birthday. I start thinking who will wish me and what gifts I might get. Till about two years back, I made my birth date known on Facebook. As a result, there would be wishes pouring in from friends, family, and acquaintances. It certainly felt good.

Then I stopped sharing my birth date. And I would urge, if you are keen, to do the same. This will give you an understanding of who is closer to you. If someone can wish you without the need of a social media reminder, then you can be certain that that person has thought of you. Of course they may have some other mode of remembering but somehow Facebook or any other reminder seems very impersonal. Expect the number of wishes to come down, but the wishes you get will be more valuable.

Of course it can cause heartburn. Blame it on the dependence on technology and social media which have made the need to remember things unnecessary. There is a possibility that you might expect some people to remember your birthday but they may not. In this case either the person forgot to wish you or only you imagine that you are close to that person.

But then upon reaching 40, my thoughts were not much about who will wish me. As I lay lazily on the bed, I thought I have probably already lived three-fourths of my life span. Assuming I would live till 65 or 70, what I have left ahead is the period where the body will slowly but surely grow weaker. The body may not remain strong enough to hold the soul.

While is still not the dusk, it is certainly the twilight. I am not sure if I was scared and sad. I think it was just a solemn thought. Though I have had more positive birthdays in the past.

As Eckhart Tolle urges in his book, I think I will try to stay in the Now.

And an advanced happy birthday to Jenny. Make the best of what you have, today. 

-

SriGanesh is a marketer by profession and philosopher at heart. He was my first boss, and since then he's been a good friend, a mentor and a sounding board. He's one of the few genuine, honest, non judgmental people who have survived in this social era. 
You can follow him on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/sriganeshr ) and read more of his writing at http://mystupidities.blogspot.in/ 


Friday, May 5, 2017

Birthday Series: 8 to go: Why I don’t celebrate my birthdays?

I haven't undergone a brain transplant. 
This is obviously a guest post ;) A different perspective from a fellow Taurean who happens to (not) celebrate his birthday today - Over to Rajesh! 

I don’t remember celebrating/wanting to celebrate my birthday after 10th Std. I may have cut a few cakes and all that, but birthdays were never special to me. My birthday is just another day.
We generally celebrate only achievements – don’t we? I am sure you’ll agree that mere survival of three-and-a-half decades is no big feat. Millions of people have done that before and millions will do it later too. So, I don’t see what’s so special about that!

I would gladly celebrate my birthday if I become,

·         As skilful as Sachin
·         As rich as Ambani
·         As popular as Rajnikanth
·         As talented as A R Rehman
·         As powerful as Modi
·         As compassionate as Mother Theresa

In short, the day I become as famous as one of the above personalities, I would gladly celebrate my achievements on my birthday. Anything lesser than that would be like celebrating inconsequential existence, which according to me, is another inconsequential happening on an inconsequential day.
I know what you’re all thinking – he’s never going to celebrate his birthday in this life. The chances of celebrating one in the next few lives are also very miniscule. I can even hear some of you laughing in your minds - yenakku unga mind-voice kekkudhu. But what to do – you have taken the decision of reading through this article and you’ll have to go through the consequences of your decision. No escape ๐Ÿ˜Š

People say that when you aim for the sun, you’ll at least get to the moon. But in my case, even if I aim for the moon, I’ll get to the stars. That too in a distant galaxy. Yes, I am generally that humble.



If you are still reading this article, you might as well have a look at my latest venture – https://www.animatedphotos.org. Or, if you just want to read more rants like the above, you can follow my personal blog – http://www.destinationinfinity.org

Thanks Jenny, for inviting me to write a guest post. I’ll carefully watch this space to see if the host of this blog will drop the idea of allowing guest posts in the future ๐Ÿ˜Š


Haha, that's definitely a different perspective! Rajesh and his wife are a fun duo who are always trying out new things! He has reduced my workload by adding the links himself :)  However, I must mention the commendable work he puts into his blog. He faithfully updates his blog with details of events happening in City. Though he focusses on weekend, he does highlight a few events during the week as well.
His new venture - Animated Photos sounds super fun. I have checked it out, and it looks great! I wish him all the best. 
More importantly, A very very happy birthday Rajesh!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Birthday Series: 9 to go : Lighting the lamp, blowing the candle!

Today's guest post is a poem by the eclectic Varsha Dharan. 




Lighting the lamp, blowing the candle!

What would birthdays be without cakes, candles, cards, confetti and celebration? 

What would birthdays be without family, friends, fun and frolic?

What would it be? What would it be?

Is it celebrating life?  Blowing a candle to strike one off the board? 

Taking a step closer to a probable next birth?

What would it be?

Racing numbers to racing thoughts, racing all the way to the stop?

The timer ticks, the battery drains, the phoenix burns to rise up again!

What would it be?

Being the princess, finding my horse, defending the land I love a lot?

The youngest I will be, the oldest I’ve been, swimming the oceans I am intended to cross!


Ashes to ashes, dust to dust! Finding a purpose to this life I must!

-


Varsha Dharan is one of those few people who managed to grow up continuing to be the bundle of bouncing energy and joy that we've all been as kids. A HR specialist by profession - but far from defining who she is. A social worker, professional dancer, traveller, photographer and of course a poet as well.
She's famous for her double hashtag couplets. 
Her writing induces one to read twice, think thrice and ponder quite a bit. 



Birthday Series: -10: The Birthday Roller coaster

Every year, as my dad's birthday approaches (On April 9th, exactly a month before my birthday) and with all the birthday planning, my excitement for birthdays steadily rises. Post my dad's birthday the excitement specifically directed at my birthday rises. I contain it till it's about 20 days to go, and then I'm jumping.
I'm planning. I'm wishing. I'm dreaming. I'm excited.
As the day approaches though, the excitement climbs to levels that lead to questions like "Is this really worth the hype?"
Or I'm just plain tired from being that excited.
So I get into a state of ; I want to just curl up and sleep.
Like now.
As it gets closer to the date though, the excitement will rise yet again.
For now I'm at "Oh, I don't have anything new to wear for the birthday, apart from that fancy skirt. Meh. I'll sleep in my shorts"


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Birthday Series: 11 Days to Go: My 28th Birthday

This is a guest post by Bragadeesh Prasanna.
I was having so much fun doing this series, that I wanted to share the fun, and get more people to join the party! :)

I have never written a guest post before. Ever. I feel privileged to be asked to write in another person’s website. And it is on a topic I adore. Birthdays. Well who doesn’t love Birthdays? Over the years, I have tried to make myself aloof on my birthday, to just go somewhere alone and reflect. This reflecting thing never worked for me. I found myself in the company of my friends every single birthday.

My birthday falls on the14th of April, which also happens to be Tamil New Year. So every year my birthday is a government holiday and a reason for everybody in Tamil Nadu to celebrate it as well. But on 2014, my 28th birthday, it was a little more special. Anybody who follows cricket would know about IPL (Indian Premier League) and if they know about IPL, they should know about Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the club cricket team of my state and city. I am a diehard fan of CSK. Given the reputation of Captain Dhoni, CSK’s matches are mostly be scheduled on holidays to ensure maximum turn out at the stadium. Whenever there was a match on April 14th , I cancelled all the plans with my friends and I cut the cake at home with one eye on the cake and the other fixed on the television to see the magic unfold as CSK played.

My friends let out a collective sigh of relief when the 2014 IPL calendar came out. CSK vs RCB game was scheduled on 13th April. I was also happy that I could spend my birthday with my friends. It was a Sunday evening; as usual we had brought in bottles of Cola and Chips and settled before the television set. The match was between the so called arch rivals. Royal Challengers Bangalore had some great batsmen in their line up. Though Chris Morris removed the dangerous man Gayle early in the innings, Kohli and AB Devillers notched up enviable half centuries to take RCB to a decent total of 165 runs.

At 9:30 pm CSK started batting. We lost both our openers within four overs. It hurt particularly to see Mike Hussey back in the den as he was always at his best when it comes to Bangalore. CSK as a team always peaked at the end of the tournament. Though we were ready for a loss, it bothered me that the 12 O clock celebration was not going to be the same that year. Soon our local guy Badrinath joined Raina forming a pretty decent partnership. At the end of tenth over, CSK were 64 for two, almost needing 10 runs per over for the remaining 10 overs. When Raina got out to a short ball in the next over, in walked Dhoni. Jadeja shortly joined him.

By 11:30 pm, my mobile started ringing, because a lot of people wanted to wish me first and most of them were ready to stay on the line for half an hour to do so. The match had just gathered full momentum and I was not able to give my attention to both. One friend was hell bent on being on line and the match had reached its penultimate over. Dhoni decided to go big and got out. I was disappointed. He was the only hope we had and I couldn’t keep it out of my voice. My friend said “I will leave you alone for a while Brags. Call me when you are free.” That was the time the whole world was making fun of Jadeja, calling him Sir Jadeja and what not. The last over needed 16 runs for the win. With a six and four in consecutive deliveries, Jadeja brought down the equation to a gettable 6 from four balls. However, some decent bowling restricted him and the last ball needed two runs to win.

Jadeja had different ideas. He tried to cut an uppish ball, straight to the fielder in third man. The moment the bat hit the ball, Jadeja was off like a flash and but completed only one run. We, the audience slumped in confused. The RCB camp was celebrating and that’s when everybody noticed the umpire who had his hand stretched horizontally, meaning it was NO Ball, adding another run to CSK! CSK had won the match! It was one of the most ultimately thrilling finishes by CSK and the celebrations started exactly at midnight. I called my friend with such excitement only to get an earful about how CSK was important than her call. But, what a way to start a birthday!
You can watch the highlights HERE.

The whole of Chennai celebrated my birthday with pomp and celebration in 2014. Much like the match, my 28th year was a roller coaster ride, from losing a job to finding a job again and going on to lead a BPO on my own.


Well how did you celebrate your 28th?

I never knew this! Always nice to be a part of someone’s life a little bit by reading about it.

Thank you Brags for sharing such a fun memory!

Bragadeesh Prasanna lives a young adult’s dream. He’s an author/ entrepreneur. A social media marketer by profession,  Added to which, he is a voracious reader, and is a part of various clubs and groups. He is an active member of the community, and still makes time for all his friends.

His book “300 Days” published about a year ago is a hauntingly beautiful novel. [Available HERE]

You can follow him through: Blog (http://bragadeeshprasanna.com/)  / Instagram (mrniceguy467 )

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Birthday Series: 12 Days to Go: Wish Upon a Candle

[We had a long weekend, and I was busy making a birthday gift for myself ;)]

Legend has it that the smoke from fires take wishes and messages straight to the heavens. Long ago in Greece, people believed that on special days like birthdays, a cake given as an offering to the Goddess Artemis, strongly associated with the moon. The cake was typically round, depicting the moon itself, and candles were lit on it, symbolising the light that came from the moon. When blown out, it was believed that the smoke that rose carried with it the wishes made, straight to the moon herself.

This is a custom still widely followed in many parts of the world.

Variations of this tradition include having as many candles as the age being stepped into, and having to blow out all the candles in one go for the wishes to come true.

Making that wish on the birthday candle is a glorious feeling. We wait eagerly for the song to get done with, and more often than not, one has their eyes squeezed shut - lest the power of the wish escapes through the gaps. I generally tend to repeat the wish at least a couple of times. Mostly three - got to make sure the Gods above hear it, y'know?

I don't remember most of my wishes. Probably momentary hopes and dreams.
However, I do remember that satisfaction right after the wish is made - Yes, I've handed it over to the universe now. It will take care :)

I've been pretty blessed I tell you!

Have you made a birthday wish? Even grudgingly if a non believer?