10 Life Lessons From Harry Potter

I keep telling people to read the Harry Potter books because there are a lot of Fantastico lessons in them. You get the essence of it only if you read. The emotions and reasons behind certain things are clearly given in the books. By lessons I mean deep lessons that could come handy in life. This is where Harry Potter series stand apart from the regular children’s books. It is meant for all. For all those who believe in magic:

Love Surpasses Power – Voldemort wanted to be the most powerful wizard of all times. He believed that power was everything and wished to rule the world until he got in the way of a mother and son. When Lily Potter sacrificed herself to protect her son, that kind of love left a mark. Not the scar. But an invisible protection whereby it was difficult for Voldemort to kill Harry initially.

Courtesy: www.geocities.ws

Voldemort was incapable of love and he believed that love was for the weak. It was proved otherwise.

Takeaway from the book: In current scenario, we see wars, rapes and murders. There is the hunger for power. If there was only love, will any of these problems exist?

Money can’t always buy happiness – True happiness is where love is. When Harry realised that he was a wizard, he had lots of money in his vault in Gringotts wizarding bank. But he found true happiness when he met Ron & Hermoine, received presents from Molly, lived in the Burrow and become one among the Weasleys. They were an average family struggling to make their ends meet; the children using second hand robes and books. But they were rich with respect to happiness and love.

A loving boy informed his mother that his close friend never got presents. Since she makes jumpers for her children, every Christmas, he asks her to make one more for his friend.

Takeaway: I don’t completely say that money can’t buy happiness, but happiness isn’t restricted to money. Spend some time with your loved ones, find happiness in little things. You’ll know what I mean.

Believe in yourself – Harry pours a drop of Liquid luck in Ron’s drink. He sees it and gobbles it down. The matches that were awful for Ron until then, turns out to be fantastic. But towards the end, Ron realizes that Harry had just pretended to add the potion. It was Ron’s confidence and capabilities that won them the cup.

Courtesy: centralvapors.com

Takeaway: Think that you have a liquid luck in a vial and pretend to drink it. Believe that it will be your lucky day. In the end, you’ll know that you are your own luck.

Teamwork – The danger was apparent and the faculties in school had changed. The students weren’t being taught to defend themselves because of the Devil in Pink – Umbridge. To learn to defend themselves, a team is formed. They begin to learn spells, curses & jinxes from Harry and work as a team to conduct the sessions. By the time, the team is caught, they know how to find and evidently the knowledge comes in handy during the battle of Hogwarts.

Image courtesy: darkwizardcatcher09.deviantart.com

Takeaway: If you cannot achieve something alone, form a team and work together. There is no other propelling force like teamwork and unity. 🙂

• All doors do not close at once, there is always a door that opens unexpectedly – Snape is about to die and he asks Harry to take his memories in a vial. None of us saw what was coming, did we?

Takeaway: Whenever you are stuck in a problem and if you have the best interests at heart, you will find a way out. Just think hard enough or believe that you will find a way and it will happen. As Paulo Coelho put it, the universe conspires for you to achieve it.

Never under-estimate a child based on his inability to study – Neville Longbottom is the best example. He kept forgetting things, he was clumsy, timid and a slow learner. He was intimidated by some of the teachers and it made things worse for him. But, he had to be the one to kill Nagini.

Takeaway: Be a friend to children first. Let them feel like confiding in you. Then gradually, build up their confidence. If they are unable to study, it will have a reason behind it. Not every child is the same. You can’t expect everyone to top the class! Stop intimidating them and you will be astounded by what they are capable of.

Image courtesy: moviepilot.com

Depression, if ignored, sucks the life out of a person – J K Rowling said that Dementors symbolize depression. They suck the happiness out of you. We are told in many parts that the worst part about Dementors is their kiss. Once they administer the kiss, the victim becomes soulless; a mere vegetable.

Image courtesy: nerdist

Takeaway: Fight depression whether it happens to you or to a loved one. They will forget to be happy. Don’t let them. Do what is necessary. You do not want them killing themselves or worse, existing without happiness. Understand that it isn’t a mental illness, but definitely an illness that requires care & medication.

With good friends around, problems in life will be easier to handle – The book screams friendship! Ron is the compassionate boy who gave Harry a family. Hermione was the most intelligent witch who had an answer for every question. Their problem was the Horcruxes and they would never have found them all if not for the trio.

There was another group. One was bitten by a werewolf and he transformed into one every full moon. Inorder to make this easier for him, his friends became animagi & transformed themselves into animals too. This was supposed to be very difficult for kids their age. Friendship, huh?

Takeaway: It is pretty clear isn’t it? The books have emphasized the value of friendship over & over again.

If you have to change your true nature to be accepted, you don’t need that kind of acceptance

Luna Lovegood was strange. She had her beliefs, she was called names, kids hid her stuff and played pranks on her. Most of the people never understood what she said, yet Harry respected her. Many of the valuable help came from the most unlikeliest of places, her being one.

Takeaway: If you know someone quirky, let them be. If you are weird, don’t try to fit in. Changing yourself for others will make you unreal, unlike you. After a while, you will feel frustrated. Be yourself & as long as you don’t hurt anyone, you are good. People who love you, will accept you as you are.

Harry Potter! You listen to me right now! Don’t you remember what Cho said about Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem? There’s not a person alive who’s seen it. It’s obvious isn’t it? You have to talk to someone whose dead.

No creature is inferior – Elves were treated as slaves. Harry changed it. He treated Dobby as an equal and he surely proved by his deeds that he wasn’t inferior. In many circumstances, what wizards couldn’t do, Dobby did.

Image courtesy: tumblr.com

Takeaway – I know a lot of people who treat other men or children with contempt, as though they are inferior. People watch quiz shows and belittle the contestants if they don’t know an easy answer. People belittle coolies, maids, construction workers and waiters. You came from nothing and will eventually die. What makes you greater than any of them, ultimately? Think over it.

 If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” –Sirius Black

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

A Conversation Over A Cup of Coffee

Zahir walked up to Emma.

“Hey I am back! What’s up? When did you return?”, he noticed that A Cup of Coffee was placed between them.

Emma looked up and gave a faint smile.

“All good. I came yesterday.”, she said softly

“Hey! What’s wrong? You seem dull.”

“I’d rather not talk about it now. I feel so low.”

“Speak up. You might feel better. What is it?”

She paused and looked at Zahir, teary eyed.

“I was at Arya’s place.”

“Oh! I know. You were dying to go to her place right? What happened now?”

“The first day after I reached her place, she was reading. I was getting all cozy and comfortable. I could easily sync with her like no other when suddenly, we heard a crash. She stopped reading and went to check what was wrong. I heard some quarrel and it began to get nasty. I didn’t know what to do.”

She began to sob like a child and Zahir awkwardly put an arm around her.

“Shh… it’s okay. You need not say if it’s making you uncomfortable okay?”, he said in a soft voice.

She took some deep breaths and continued, “Her father dragged her and threw her into the room. He said something that sounded like no one speaks when he does and if they do, the consequences will be brutal. He locked the door from outside and walked away. After a few seconds, the quarrel resumed with intermittent sound of flesh on flesh.”

“Arya’s mother?”

“Yes. I saw her later. Swollen eyes, bleeding lips, her cheeks were red.”

“What did Arya do?”

“That is what hurt me the most. Nothing. She sat there listening to all the noise. She didn’t speak anything at all after that. Dropped me off here and left.”

Silent tears streamed down Emma’s face and she looked lost.

“It will turn out to be fine, Emma.”

“Perhaps, yes. But what happens to the child? By the sound of it, she has been going through this for a long while. I’ll will her to take me in again. I want to know what happens to them.”

Suddenly, Abhijit walked in and Zahir looked at him, with a twinkle in his eyes.

Emma watched him and said, “I know you want to go. Just go.”

“No. Not when you are in this state.”

“I’m alright. Just grieving for the girl. You should go. Remember, you choose him.”

He looked at Abhijit and then at Emma, “Alright! Listen to me. Next time, you pick Arya and get it over with it. Else, you won’t feel peaceful ever again.”

Saying so, Zahir closed his eyes and worked his magic. Soon enough Abhijit was by his side and the two left.

Hours and days flew by. Many people came and went. Emma didn’t bother. She was concerned about Arya.

She heard Brida whining at times, “I have been stalking Rahul. But nothing happens.”

The Host replied, “Oh! I think that is working. The other day I was in Vijay’s house. He is Rahul’s friend. I heard Rahul say that he kept bumping into you and he felt as though you both were meant to be. He was planning on meeting you soon.”

“Oh come on! You always make fun of me. I have been trying to find him for the last six months. There are more powerful, smart and attractive ones around, why would he even pick me?”

“I am not kidding. Just wait & you will know.”

Emma smiled. She used to stalk people like this once. But she now knew that there was more to a person than his smartness. She waited.


Vijay had opened a beer bottle. Rahul was rummaging through Vijay’s book stand.

“Hey! You have Brida! Fantastico! How is it?”, Rahul was flipping through the book.

“Didn’t read. Got it as a gift. Doesn’t interest me”

“I don’t know. This is the 6th time this week I am coming across this book at the unlikeliest of places. Once I saw a guy reading this at the urinal.”

“Urinal? Ugh!”

“The point is, I have heard that, the books choose us. May be it is a sign. A sign for me to read Brida next.

“Ghosh! You believe in this crap huh? You can take it if you want.”


“Oh! Wait, my cousin asked for it.”

“No problem. Pass me the beer now.”

On the bed, ‘The Host’ lay opened, face down, listening to every word they said.


Arya walked into the library and Emma felt it. She looked up at her and willed Arya to pick her. It wasn’t necessary. Arya was determined to finish her unfinished reading business. She kept Emma in her bag and left. On the way, her phone rang,

“Hellooo” it was someone she liked.

“Yes. I am leaving the library.”

“Oh is it? Alright. I’ll wait here.”

She cut the call. Emma waited with Arya. A few minutes passed and someone walked up to Arya.

Damn these leather bags. Emma thought to herself.

“Hey! Is everything fine?”, it was a male voice.

“Yes. My mother signed the divorce petition yesterday. ”

“Awesome! I am happy for you. You both in fact. You are going to be free!”

“Yes. Finally! By the way, I took the book. That day, after I saw it in your house, I again saw it in the bus. I felt you were right Rahul. The book choose us and so, I had to come back and get it.”

“In that case, I need to get one too. Wait here. I’ll be back soon.”

Emma smiled for the first time in many days. She had been in that library for two years and she spent her time with many readers. She never really tried to understand them much. Depending upon what other books said, she decided whom to choose next. Sometimes she decided based on the conversations readers had in the library. But never once she faced a situation like in Arya’s house. She felt that there was more to people than what met her eyes. This incident had made her wiser and she was ready to face anything that came her way.

“Hey! Let’s go!”, Rahul was back.

Emma wished she could see Brida’s happiness. One day, she would narrate this story to Zahir and also to A Cup of Coffee. 🙂


Courtesy: wikipedia


The Man Who Made Snape Immortal

Last week this day, the Harry Potter Fandom was left speechless with a heartbreaking news. You know what I am talking about. The death of a truly great soul – Alan Rickman.

It wasn’t one, but two people died that day – Alan Rickman and Professor Snape. I, along with many other Potterheads realised that for us, Severus Snape was actually alive through this great actor. The impact was huge considering the weight of the character Snape and the person that Alan Rickman was.

Many celebrities – Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Evanna Lynch etc – shared their experiences with Rickman and it reminded me of the day when Robin Williams died. I know! They are two entirely different entities known for entirely different things, but the weight of the sorrow was the same.

Here is an excerpt from Daniel Radcliffe’s note:

He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that. I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say “if you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day” (Source: radiotimes.com)

This is what Evanna Lynch had to say:

He gave me the loveliest acting advice I’ve ever gotten,” Lynch wrote. “‘People think that they’re watching this’ he said waving his hand in front of his face, ‘but really they’re watching this’ and he pounded his fist on his heart centre.

While this, sums up my thoughts. The moment I heard the news, I remembered these words and with a heavy heart, I told this to my sister.


The harsh finality of death is apparent in these words. We plan things for ourselves and in a jiffy, everything ends. He was 69 when he passed. In eleven yeas’ time, we will have memes that say, ‘Today, Alan Rickman should have been sitting on his arm chair reading Harry Potter.’

Professor Snape

Those vaguely connected to the world of Harry Potter will know that the fans weren’t really happy about the movies. To begin with, most of the cast did not match the book description. Many subtle but important parts that had to be portrayed were not shown in the movies leading to underrating of the series. If there was one thing that the fandom agreed upon, it was Snape.


Courtesy Here

Beginning with a character that was loathed by the readers and movie-goers alike, Rickman did a wonderful job spewing the hatred. The low, drawling, menacing voice, the expression that alternated between suspicion, pure hatred and nothing at all, the acts that revealed that the three protagonists weren’t in his favorites’ list were all well portrayed and there was no other to take his place. When it was made worse by Dumbledore’s murder, Snape was branded the worst villain until the moment of his death!

The truths that were revealed in that short span of time was enough to shake any Potterhead. It just took a short while for the villain to turn into a hero. The face that we loathed suddenly looked tired, helpless and pained with years of unrequited love. Severus Snape had a tender heart, buried deep somewhere beneath the black cloak. The feelings were that of Snape’s. The expressions were that of Alan Rickman’s.

Those who have read the book will agree with me. Snape and Rickman aren’t two different individuals. The latter gave form to the former and when I say Snape’s expressions, I mean Rickman’s expressions. For someone who believes that magic is real, that the world of Harry Potter is real, I believe we lost more than a person that day.

While the entire world was mourning, there were some optimists who came up with a quote said by Albus Dumbledore.


Image courtesy: Here

 That had me thinking. What if Alan Rickman belonged elsewhere? His duty here was to play his part as Severus Snape and to make the character immortal. He left a part of his soul, a horcrux through the character here, and is off to create another. He isn’t truly gone. He is the most bravest and cleverest wizards of his time and unlike Voldemort, he is tender-hearted. Who else would think of creating a horcrux in a movie character?

I raise my wand to a great man. RIP Alan Rickman.


This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

16 Tips to Make Your Year Productive II

Fed up of making resolutions and dropping midway? Then chuck resolutions and prepare a set of achievable and interesting goals. By goals I mean, all those one time things you have always wanted to do.

The list is not exhaustive. You can read the first part of the post here and after reading the rest, decide on how you wish to make a difference in your life this year.

8. Own a Pet – I know lots of pet lovers who have always wanted pets, but never really got to owning them. I love dogs. But due to certain personal reasons, I can’t have one right now. So I have decided on owning a fish once I get a job. It took me a while to realise that this was an option. And here I am telling you, if you can’t own a cat or dog, you have other options – birds, fishes, a beautiful flower bearing plant. I know that the last one isn’t a pet. But keeping one in your room, watering it and watching it bloom isn’t a bad idea after all. A friend of mine did it last year with a marigold. 🙂 You know what? You should so name the plant!
Guys name her Cameron Diaz and say, guess who is waiting for me 😉
Girls name him Dwayne Johnson and say, Oh! The Rock needs me. Gotta go.
I bet you, the Harry Potter fans will name the plant Mathhew Lewis (Neville) or Tom Felton (Draco) 😉
Or they could name him Dobby and whisper threateningly, “Dobby! Get out of my room, now!”

Er… I got carried away. Moving on…

9. Take up a Charitable Activity – There are many kind-hearted people who wish to do something charitable and make a difference. Some do not have the time, some forget, some fear that their hard earned money may be misused. I’d say that we cannot understand the joy of doing something that makes someone happy until we do it personally.Go to an orphanage and mingle with the children. Go to an old-age home and give those aged people your time. Instead of giving in cash, give gifts and most importantly love to the aged and they will see their son/daughter in you. If you feel up to it, add this to your goals list so that you feel a bit more happy at the end of the year.

10. Go Somewhere Alone – I barely do this and I want to do it. And so, I have reason to believe that there are others like me. If you really wish to try this out, start with a place nearby. Go and spend some alone time there and then try a new place the next time. If you still feel like experimenting, do it as many times as you want until you are convinced about yourself. You will learn that you either despise the alone time or that the alone time is growing on you. 🙂 This is how you know yourself.

Walk with Yourself
Walk with Yourself

11. Write Letters –  Have you experienced that surge of happiness when you find a hand written letter delivered to you? There are no intimations that say ‘typing…’, there are no blue ticks involved, no pressures to reply asap. You never know what or when or from whom you’d receive a letter. It is a piece of paper touched, held, and sealed by the writer personally. It carries his smell, the fingerprints, the imprint of pen & ink due to the pressure applied by him, and it is written earnestly since there is no hurry to reply asap. No blue ticks that urges him to write because the recipient knows that he has read the latter’s letter already. Write letters without forcing the recipient to reply fast. :)Sometimes, it will become a habit and this will be the year you began writing letters


12. For Creators – Whether you are a painter, writer, musician or a creator in general, you will have plans to create more this year. But it is possible that after a while the urge wares off and then you leave it. Make it a point to create something every month. At the end of the year, you have twelve of your masterpieces.

Hang a planner in your room and decide on what you will create. Carry a notepad around and jot down the ideas as and when they appear in your head. When you have free time and lack ideas, refer the planner & the notepad and create something beautiful. Don’t let the moss drown your talents.

13. Invest in Something You have Always Dreamt of Owning – If you aren’t interested in traveling, reading or shopping, point 1 could be used here. Is there something really expensive you have always wanted? Expensive things take time to reach you. You might be waiting for ‘some day’ when you will have all the money to own it. Instead, start now. Be it your dream house, car, instrument or an expensive course, start saving for it now! Let the dream turn into reality starting 2016.

14. Experiment! Body Art, Piercing, Hair Highlighting, weird hair styles – We have our body to experiment on. As long as it isn’t anything harmful, experimenting is fun. I’d like some ink, purple hair highlights & a couple more of ear piercings. What about you?

I know many friends who want to get tattoos & hair colors but refrain from them due to pressure from home. The most common reason I get is, ‘What if the guy I’m to get married to doesn’t like it?’

Here is what I have to say. If you want a tattoo, get one. If you don’t want, don’t get one. If someone else wants, it’s their right, let them have it their way.

15. Waiting for Someone Else’s Happiness – All the while, I was talking about our own happiness. There are those wonderful moments when something lovely happens to someone else and we are as happy as they are; A friend finally getting married or committed, a sibling or friend becoming a parent, someone getting a new job or their first salary, sibling graduating and much more. If this is the year that brings happiness to someone special, make note of it. Look forward to it. By the end of the year, you will definitely have some wonderful things to look back to.

16. Finally, For Those Who Cannot Find Enough Time – This is for really busy folks. I suppose you can find some time twelve times a year. Make a minimal & practicable list of things you’d like to achieve. Preferably twelve of them. If you have reading a book, traveling, meeting a friend in your list, according to your schedule, allocate a month for each activity and make it a point to stick to them. Even if you change the order of the plan, ensure that you keep doing something different every month. You will have a memorable year in the end. 🙂 For those who cannot afford twelve things, you can settle for six goals to be achieved over two months each.

You can have goals for anything below the sun, above the Earth and beyond. There is no end. I have prepared a very tiny list that pretty much accommodates the most common goals. It is just to give you an idea. Hope 2016 brings with it a lot of experiences and memories. Hope you keep yourselves busy, peppy & productive throughout the year; And when you look back in the end, I hope you have most of the items ticked from your ‘To-do’ list.

So what are you waiting for? It is already 15th of Jan. Convert your resolutions to goals. If you have more vibrant items to be added to this list, please let me know in the comments. We have many more years to come and I could do with more ideas and goals. 🙂

16 Tips to Make Your Year Productive – I

Fed up of making resolutions and dropping them midway? Then chuck resolutions and prepare a set of achievable and interesting goals. By goals I mean, all those one-time-things you have always wanted to do. You can even do them side by side. Here is how.

The year glides by and before you know, it is December. In the end, you ask yourself, ‘What have I achieved this year?’ and you can’t think of anything much. Deep inside, you know that the year was just okay and you are in the same position you were, when the previous year ended. 365 days whooshed past and you have no clue what you did. To change that, I prepared a list of things I wanted to achieve this year. When I wrote My Bucketlist for 2016, it was well received by the few who read it. That inspired me to write this post.

Resolutions are mostly recurring, boring and general in nature. That is partly a reason for us to stop them midway. Most of us keep resolutions to make a difference in our lives and at the end of the year, we are back to square one. Isn’t it time to change the pattern? Yes! Prepare a list of achievable goals. Things you have wanted to do but never got to doing or fears you wish to overcome! Anything that would be a propulsive factor to you, something that does not require a forever routine.

Why Replace Resolutions with Goals?

Know the difference in this context 🙂

Let's drop the resolutions and pick up the goals
Let’s drop the resolutions and pick up the goals


  • The reputation – Most of us do not take up resolutions anymore because we know it is not going to happen!
  • The Recurring Routine Nature – Most of the resolutions have a routine nature and picking up routines isn’t easy. People get bored when they hit the gym on the tenth day or eat boring dietary food everyday. There is nothing interesting to pep it up.
  • No Defined Plans – To hit the gym regularly, to read more, to meditate, to diet, stop procrastinating are the regular items on the list until the list goes missing. No one defines what regularly means and how to achieve that, what more means in ‘read more’, how to meditate and what dieting means according to you. With no plans, they all vanish into thin air.

Here is an extensive, but not an exhaustive list of goals you could prepare:

1. A Bank Account to Enjoy Life – If you are earning, open a Recurring Deposit account, give a standing instruction so that a portion of your salary automatically goes into the RD account. This will be your account for enjoying life. I have seen many of my friends work a lot, spend carelessly and then struggle for money when they want something they have been dreaming for long.

Now, what is your passion? Is it traveling, reading, shopping or partying? If you transfer enough per month, you will have enough in the end, to go on that trip, buy all the books, go shopping or partying. Did I hear you say that you already have good investment plans? Even then, you need an account for splurging. It is an assurance that you can have fun at anytime! I saved a bit when I earned earlier and used it for a recent trip. Trust me! You won’t regret it. 🙂

2. For Book Lovers – Many of the book lovers do not manage to read as much as they used to. I, for instance, read barely 3-4 books last year. The books I intended to read in 2014 are still pending.
The best thing to do is, to prepare a list of books you intend to read. Keep going through the list and soon, you will find yourself remembering about your goals more often. Movie lovers can do the same with movies.In a year, there are so many moments we waste unknowingly. Always carry a book around so that you can read whenever you get a free time. In this manner, you won’t get bored and you will achieve your goals.

Prepare a list of books you want to read
Prepare a list of books you want to read

3. For Globetrotters and Bikers – Whether you are a Globetrotter or a crazy biker, prepare a list of places you wish to visit. I know that most of the guys prefer impulsive rides. You can have that. Preparing a list makes it easier to decide. But most importantly, like I mentioned earlier, looking at the list urges you to travel more.
When you get tied up with work or studies, you don’t realize that the year is coming to an end. It is in the end that you look back and regret that you didn’t do much that year. The list will be a reminder. When you look at the list, you’ll look at the calendar. The fact that you haven’t covered much of the items will make you go for an impulsive ride or trip.

4. Learn Something New – I decided to learn a new language. You can decide on anything you have an aptitude for. Here are some tips:

  • Martial arts
  • Music or musical instruments – Indian or western.
  • Dance
  • Knitting or stitching
  • Painting of any kind – Pots, Mural, Fabric, there are a hundred options.
  • Craft and DIY tricks
  • A degree in a subject that you are interested in – Fashion, Vedas and Sanskrit have been in my mind for quite some time. But not this year.
  • Sports – I am not listing anything here. You know it better.

    Pic courtesy: via Canva.com
    Pic courtesy: via Canva.com

5. Cook – Ladies and Gentlemen! Cook something new. Not Indian or Chinese! Something very very different whose name you can’t even pronounce! Be it Mtuzi Wa Samaki from Africa or Char Kway Teow from Singapore or Fiori di Zucca from Rome. I have no idea what these are, but you get the point. Later, if you feel up to it, you can prepare a four course dinner for a family or friend. Who else can you experiment on? 😉

Along with this, you may also take up learning actual cooking. It is a goal that will help you throughout your life. Eating is something we cannot stop. It is only natural to know how to cook. A bit of burnt curry a day is better than hotel food for an entire year. It is no rocket science; you’ll pick up with practice.

6. Meet a Friend You Haven’t Met for Many Years – Outside the city! I said that because, you can also check out a place from your travel list. Write down the name of that friend you haven’t met for years. Maybe more than one. Call them up, discuss your plan. Keep in touch with them and discuss your visit more often. By doing this, you have already done half the job. They will remind you, your goals list will remind you and the universe will conspire to make you both meet.

7. Face Your Fears – I am not the right one to say this. I have lots of fears and I am too skeptical to face them. This is for those people who are more daring and who will have the guts to put this down in their goals list. Pick up one of those fears; whether it is facing the public, heights, clients or anything else, decide to go for it and get it over with. Er… I shouldn’t dwell much on this. 😛

Read on to find the remaining 9 tips…


A TV Series & its Books

I started watching Game of Thrones in the beginning of 2015. At first, I was aghast seeing some parts of it but gradually, it got intriguing. With time, I began to judge the characters – love some, hate some, placed some in the clueless category. And George R R Martin never let me rest in peace.

Before I knew, I had finished four seasons and the fifth season fever had gripped the world. I decided I wouldn’t watch it until I read all the books but Facebook was filled with spoilers. I chanced upon the biggest spoiler of season 5 on a friend’s wall and then decided it was better to watch it than to hear it out of the blue.

100 Happy Days – Day 78

Happiness is reading a book after a lot of deliberation and finding it to be awesome!

After a long wait, finally, I got hold of a copy of the legendary series – A Song of Ice and Fire. I am reading it now! 😀

Image courtesy:books.google.com

I always prefer reading the book before watching the movie. It is mainly due to Harry Potter. Had I watched the movie first, I wouldn’t have fallen for the series. The book has the essence of it and ever since I realised that, I am careful about what I watch.

In this case, I had to read it. The series had so much impact on me that I was sure the books would have more. I was right. I am not bored even though I know what happens. There is more to the story than what is given in the series.


A Diary of a Kind

100 Happy Days – Day 76

Happiness is an out of the world Diary

In my previous post, I had mentioned that I received a peculiar diary from my cousin as a gift last year. She knew that I am passionate about writing. being a very thoughtful person, she got me this unique diary. It is called Q&A a day – 365 Questions, 5 Years, 1825 Answers.

This is the note behind the diary

This particular diary has 365 leaves with 5 sections. Each leaf has a question. I must answer these questions every day of the year in the first column. I answer them again the next year in the second column and so on. After five years, I can compare my answers and see the difference.

The questions

You might wonder what these questions are and how could there be 365 different questions. Well, I was astounded when I came across them first. They do have some queer questions I must say.

While some are serious and insightful, some are as simple as ‘what color dress are you wearing today?’ Or this.


And then, you have the ones that would claw you from within and remind you, your priorities.

It had been a while.

Some are for the record of it.


I kept filling the pages until the last two months of 2015 whence, I couldn’t continue. So, I decided to resume writing in there from the beginning of this year. It felt good writing again and hoping to see it filled in the next 5 years.

This diary will remind you of five years of your life. You could compare the answers and know the progress. It might sound strange. But a simple point in it might remind you of a nice event that you thought you had forgotten. This diary will also make a lovely and unexpected gift. I am not sure if this is available in India though. I feel they should make more like these. 🙂

You could also use the five spaces for five members of your family. You won’t be able to use it for five years. But, this is also an alternative. 🙂


Book Review – The Connected Age

Over the last few centuries, the quality of our lives have improved drastically. There have been new inventions and discoveries that we assumed would make our lives easier. Instead, we ended up degrading our environment and we have only become more prone to economic fluctuations. While we are stuck in the quagmire of our own making, where exactly did we go wrong?

The above paragraph and thoughts are mostly taken  from Sudhakar Ram’s book ‘The Connected Age’. As he mentions in the book, the title could mislead us into thinking that it talks about technology. Instead, it gives us an insight into the connection between each other, the connection between us and the planet and most importantly, the connection with the self. It talks about how we limit ourselves by running in pursuit of wealth and by living a mechanical life.

Blurb of the Book


Layout of the Book

He has divided the book into four parts. In every part, he begins from the root of the cause. He has structured his thoughts very clearly as below:

  • How it all began
  • What happened from then until now
  • The current scenario
  • The flaws in the current scenario
  • The solution: What it is and how to achieve it.

More often than not, people always point out the problems. Some of them do give us the solution too. How to implement the solution is what we need. And that is what Mr. Ram gives in his book. He has made a systematic compilation of different ideas from different people, adding his own view points to create a view of both what the world is and what it could be.

A Synopsis

Part 1 describes how we evolved from the hunter Homo Sapiens who depended completely on nature to the capitalist, industrialist, civilized human beings! The author describes about what went wrong from then to now.  The dysfunctions that are causing our destruction. How our thinking has changed and how to bring a transformation in our thinking. He discusses the ideals of the ‘connected age’ , the principles to achieve them and whether they are practically achievable.

He concludes the part with his vision – a highly realistic one – which would take a lot of time to accomplish since the change must begin with oneself.

In Part 2, deals with the Individual Changes that will pave way to the connected Age. In my opinion, apart from the long run benefits, these are a set of practical tips that could bring a positive change in our individual lives too. They could mold us into better people.

When the power is in a few hands and the rest feel powerless, they do not put in their maximum efforts. They feel disengaged. While the powerful think consider this to be good for them, it isn’t since the productivity and participation of the powerless will remain low. Now, a question. Are you engaged or empowered?

This question is definitely a food for our thoughts. If we are in fact powerless, he explains how each of us could develop the personal power. This power is what brings about the changes we desire.

This is followed by a detailed explanation about how we must think beyond success. One of the points that struck me was that, running behind success endlessly might become one of our regrets while dying. He has summarized the top 5 regrets of the dying which is not only an interesting read, but an eye opener to the harsh realities.

For those moulding themselves as per the requirements of the careers they are expected to follow, for those whose, talents are entirely different, Mr. Ram gives a step by step description as to how to discover their true calling. He talks about the education system, its evolution, the current state, its flaws and how it could be modified. With live examples of people who have applied and experimented new methods, he establishes the fact that the current education system of ‘One size fits all’ is not the right method to provide knowledge.

Moving from smaller areas to bigger areas, Part 3 discusses about the structural changes that are required. He talks about the organisational structure and its limitations. How they behave like machines and have no regards for their employees, customers, stakeholders and living beings as a whole. He points out 5 other flaws which are very much valid in the current scenario.

According to him, these organizations have to bring about a drastic change in their methods. He has beautifully laid out actions to be taken corresponding to the flaws he has pointed out. Also, how to implement these actions. He claims to have put these points into practice in his own organisation too.

Evolution of organisations alone wouldn’t suffice. He explains that the market and the government should also contribute to this change. Similar to other cases, he points out today’s scenario, the flaws, the solution and the methods for implementation.

In the final part, which is the Call to Action, he gives the summary of all that has been mentioned earlier. He lists down the necessary steps we need to take right now, to bring about the change. All the while, we have been waiting for a leader to take up this task and begin the change. Mr. Ram calls out to the young generation to act rather than wait for the leader.

Conclusion: He says that he addresses the youngsters who want to create a better world. In my opinion, the book is a must read for all the people, young and old who wish to make a difference. As I had mentioned earlier, nothing can be changed without changing oneself. I’m sure that implementing his ideas in each individual’s life will soon bring about a positive change in us, which would spread across our neighborhood, province, country and the world.

If you wish to make a change, this book is a must read.

Visit to A Paradise

I was out of town for a few days last month. Had gone to Ochira, Kollam for my sister’s admission. A very peaceful and beautiful place with the Sea on one side and the ocean on the other. I got back a couple of days back, after which I fell ill. So I missed a few days of 100 Happy Days due to lack of connectivity there. So, here is one of the posts I wrote then.

100 Happy Days – Day 52

Happiness is Experiencing Tranquility

I have been to Ochira many times as a child and I always looked forward to the boat ride to Parayakadavu. I used to watch with awe, the white squids (or were they jellyfishes?) swimming all around us in the backwaters. I always thought that they were jellyfishes because I never knew back then that there were things called squids. Those things awed me, but their creepiness scared me to the core. I did have the fear of falling off the boat. But, thankfully nothing so dramatic happened.

Around 15 years later, I went there again hoping for another boat ride. But things had changed. With bridges and roads, a boat ride isn’t necessary at all. I am not happy about it. But since we had a motive (admissions for my sister), I didn’t speak my mind. I will definitely go there for my boat ride. 😉

Well, so on our way to Amritapuri, I watched the waves lashing against the shore. At times, the water even splashed towards the road. It was a rare view.

This is the view from the place we stayed. The ornate building is the Amritapuri Ashram. Look beyond that and you can see the Sea. Ain’t it beautiful? There are many inmates who have been staying here for over 15 years. How would life be if we could sit on the balcony with a view so beautiful and read a book with a mug of coffee in hand.


Don’t you want to see the view to the left side? Here you go!


The Ashram is flanked with Sea on one side and backwaters on the other. It is similar to a live wallpaper. You can shift the view as per your mood. If you want to experience some peace, the view of the backwaters would give precisely that. If you want to see some action and some emotion, the waves lashing, the sun kissing the Sea goodnight, move your chair towards the right of the building and Tadaa!

I couldn’t sit and read there. Not literally. I did read some Indirect Tax case laws. By reading, I mean novels. I will definitely go there some day, just to sit and read or maybe to take a walk by the Sea. 🙂

Day 37 – Birthday Surprise

100 Happy Days – Day 37

Happiness is Birthday surprises!

I am a huge fan of Birthdays. There is no better occasion where you can let your loved ones know how special they are. Some times I am in short of money or time, or things simply don’t work out. Some times, I feel like celebrating some people’s birthdays, sometimes I pass. In any case, the joy of planning things, buying them, making them, organizing them is all very much exciting for me.

Yesterday was one such day. Around 15-20 of us had created a group on whatsapp and were busy planning the birthday of a close friend. The plan was to buy 25 different gifts since he was turning 25! We had to make sure that at least some of them were useful, that they were within our budget, that at the end of the day, all 25 did find their way to us and many more. With discussions all day and night, we finally made it!

Cream, Facewash, Wall poster and more…
Gems, candles, Balarama (Children’s comics)
I leave this to your imagination. 😛
Birthday cap, measuring tape, bookmark, Marker, Egg & more 😛

These were a combination of useful and funny things. You can see the cover of a watch – the red one – decorated with bow. We kept an egg with a smiley drawn in it. I really feared that it might break, but nothing of that sort happened.

Hello There Folks! I’m Eggsy 😀

For a useful gift, since he is an avid reader, we decided to get him a book. On various occasions we asked him whether he had any of the things we had decided to buy him. We bought them only after we made sure that he did not have them.

If you have read my blog, you will know why I chose this 🙂

Finally, Something I made with lots of care. As you all know, I love playing with colors. Since we had to give 25 things and one among them is a book, why not a handmade bookmark? I set to work yesterday morning and by noon:


On the front it says,

“Each time you open a book and read it,
a tree smiles knowing there is life after death.”

On the back it says,

“Friends, Books, Work
Books, Friends, Work
Either way work comes last.”

Neither are my creation. You know? From here and there.

I like that combo 😀

After giving him all the gifts, we had some ice cream and chaat. I ended my day with a dark chocolate. It was a day well spent and ended well too when we all knew that he enjoyed our surprise.

You could use this idea for a loved one’s birthday some time 🙂

Day 35 – Watching Harry Potter Movies Back to Back

100 Happy Days – Day 35

Happiness is a Harry Potter Marathon – Sisters only!

How many of you have things that you do with your siblings only? Have you done them together any time recently?

It took me a while to realize that my sister won’t be with me forever. When she was 6 years old, I left for my higher studies and we were apart for 5 years. I came back and slowly we started bonding. We couldn’t do many things together because either of us were busy. We made lists and plans of things we should do together. Now, as we started doing them, the tables turned.

She completed her schooling and in another 18 days, she will leave for her college. It does make my heart sink. But we decided to make the maximum use of the time we have. This is where the Harry Potter marathon enters the scene.

Not exactly the marathon you think. It will not be possible for us to do a 19 hour Harry Potter marathon, watching all the 8 movies in a row. Mainly because, we are not alone at home. It becomes difficult when there are other people. But hopefully someday, we will do it.

Right now, we are watching the movies continuously but not strictly in a row. We stop when we want to, and resume the next day. I had gone to the supermarket, bought drinks, nachos, biscuits, cup cakes, chips etc and filled our cupboard. After midnight, we began watching the movies. Yesterday, we watched until half of Chamber of secrets.


Harry Potter – both books and movies – is an important part of our lives. I was the one who forced my sister to read the books. Needless to say she loved them. We went for some of the movies together. We often talk about all the characters, the unfortunate events. We share the fan fictions that are really touching. Sometimes, we go hours and hours, discussing Harry Potter, the characters, the plot, some revelations. There was one point of time when we kept talking and both of us were moved to tears as though we were talking about a close family.


That is how it is for us. Our close family. Or rather, a friend that brought us close.

Many things reminds us of our siblings. In my case, Harry Potter will be one. This will be a memory she will be taking for herself and leaving for me. We also took an unbreakable vow. In future, wherever we are, we will meet every year to watch Harry Potter together.

I know many siblings who don’t even call each other. It might be ego problems or tiny misunderstandings or sometimes, due to lack of time. But if you were close once, you can be close again. All you need to do is relive those days. Pick those moments you had fun, do those things you did together, give a call, send a message, look at those albums for heaven’s sake. Time is flying. My baby sister is going to college. Our siblings are moving apart. Don’t let them go. Keep them in your heart and keep in touch.

Watching Harry Potter Movies will be our way. What about yours?

PS – I call her Rosta and she calls me Bisista 😀

Day 25 – Chocolates

100 Happy Days – Day 25

Happiness is eating chocolates.

I am wedded to dark chocolates and all other chocolates are my lovers. Nothing can replace my love for chocolates. When I need one, I can’t rest until I get one.

My personal favorite is Bournville Cranberry, followed by other Bournville chocolates and Dairy milk fruit & nut. I’m not a fan of foreign chocolates unless, they are dark. 😉 For those who don’t know, I have read that dark chocolates can cure headaches. You don’t need any other reasons to have them.

I don’t judge chocolates by their wrappers. But the gold coins always excite me. I had forgotten all about these babies until yesterday when Anu (my best friend about whom I have mentioned several times) brought me some of them.


I have always admired the way they made the coins look real. As I child, I thought these chocolates might cost a fortune since they were made of gold. I used to open them carefully and save the wrappers.

Wrappers bring me to my weird chocolate wrapper collection. I consider gifting chocolates to be an act of love. When it happens to be Dairy milk or dark chocolate, it is the ultimate gift people could give me. Hence I used to save the wrappers of all the big chocolates.

Nowadays, I don’t save all. But when I want to remember the reason why they gave me the chocolate, I save them and keep a note inside with the date, giver’s name and occasion. 🙂

Chocolates have a lot of influence on me. As I used to tell my friends, a guy has a better chance proposing me with chocolates, purple flowers or anything related to Harry Potter. I said this around 6 years back and gladly, it still holds true. 😀

Day 16 – Reading Books

100Days of Happiness – Day 16

Happiness is reading books.


This book has been in my to read list for a long time. Now that I am reading it, it’s time to strike it off! 🙂

So, what are you reading today? 🙂

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Some time back, I came across Anoop’s blog where he mentioned that a day without updating the blog is like a year without the rain. I could resonate with his thoughts and so, I decided to go for this meme. I came across it on Preeti Shenoy‘s blog a couple of weeks back and was saving it (The title too) for the future. Alas! The future is here. 😉

As per the meme, I am to list my favorite things with respect to the prompts. Also, I have made a few additions to the list.

  1. Place – Anywhere with my loved ones.
  2. Person – Grandmother
  3. Color – Purple and Black.

    Courtesy: pinterest.com
  4. Food – Pizza and some home made specialties.
  5. Drink – Mostly Coffee, sometimes Coke.
  6. Smell – The smell of rain, books, new clothes and home.

    Image courtesy – beforeitsnews.com
  7. Book – Harry Potter
  8. Movie – The Notebook
  9. Sitcom – How I Met Your Mother

    Image courtesy: funnie.st
  10. Music artist – A R Rahman
  11. Hangout – Coffee Always (Cafe nearby)
  12. Thing to do when bored – Watch Sitcoms/Movies
  13. Genre of literature – Fantasy
  14. Magazine – I don’t follow them much. So comic book, Tinkle. 😛
  15. Texture – Flowy chiffon
  16. Festival – Christmas
  17. Time of day – Evenings
  18. Day of the week – Friday
  19. Thing to learn about – People and languages.
  20. Thing about yourself – Empathy
  21. Lifehack (a time saving, efficiency technique for life) – Sleep (Yes, it saves a lot of time, trust me!)

If you like this activity, you may list your favorite meme too. Do leave a link or comment so that I could read about your favorites too. 🙂

Here is one last scene that is my favorite from HIMYM. Enjoy! 😀

Image courtesy: http://www.reddit.com


Day 30 – Many Questions, One Answer

30 Days’ Book Challenge – Day 30 – Many Questions, One Answer

I had saved the last post for a reason. I prepared this list of 30 Days’ Challenge from various prompts. Since you all know that I am a crazy Potterhead, it would be only obvious that for most of the prompts I came across, the only answer I had was Harry Potter.

So I had a tough time finding prompts that wouldn’t just give the same answer and kept this post for the last. In this, I will do the opposite of what I did all these days. I normally listed the books that I thought suited well for a prompt. But here, I will list all the prompts for which I believe Harry Potter Series is the answer.

Courtesy: harrypotter.wikia.com

And so, the 30th Day of the Challenge is in the name of Harry Potter. Here goes the list:

  1. A Book that I have read more than 3 times – Probably this is why I haven’t read many books. Every time I get a chance I read Harry Potter books. They are so loaded with twists and interconnections that I find new things every time I read them.
  2. My Favorite Series –  Harry Potter
  3. Favorite book turned into a movie – But the movies have only 20% of what is in the books. They don’t talk about the characters in depth. You can never understand Lupin, James, Lily, Ron, Luna, Hermione, Snape, McGonagall, Dumbledore, Malfoy, Hagrid… what am I doing? I can’t list them all. You don’t know any of the characters in detail unless you’ve read the book.
  4. A book that you wish more people would have read – All the seven books. There is a lot you’re missing if you haven’t read them.
  5. Favorite book universe – Hogwarts
  6. Your Hogwarts house – Hufflepuff.
  7. Favorite platonic friendship – Harry and Hermoine
  8. Favorite fantasy book – No guesses!
  9. My comfort books – I am not sure what this means. But yeah I am more than comfortable reading Harry potter. 😀

If any of you are planning to read the series for the first time, a word of caution. The first book is a bit dragging because it takes time for the setting to sink in. Do not stop reading until Harry reaches Hogwarts. You won’t stop after that.

It is amazing, how a little baby with a scar became such an important part of my life.

courtesy: moviepilot.com

However, the other day, a friend told me that he thought that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was overrated. I believe many people think so. Here is what I feel. The Harry Potter series is loved by all and the rating goes to the entire series. Almost all the HP fans have agreed that this book was a bit boring (including me). So, it truly cannot be called overrated. 🙂

Finally, the 30 Days’ book challenge ends. I can’t say I completed the challenge in 30 days. But I did post everyday. 😉 I was unwell for a couple of weeks and yet I managed to post. 😛 Many of you don’t know that I started this blog in 2010 when I used to have only about 12 posts a year. Last year on wards I picked up pace and here I have 30 posts a month! I’m impressed!

I got many blogging friends through this challenge. I came across many book lovers, I learnt more about the books I should read (And I shouldn’t). Many thanks to all of you who encouraged me to complete this.

Lots of Love

Rangelz 😉