Music is my soul

I love music and have loads of collection on my iPod that 80 gb is falling short of. Be it a sufi, a classical, an instrumental, I have myriad genres of music stored on my iPod. Without music, I wonder how life would exist on earth. I am sure everyone of us, listen to radio, at least while commuting in the bus or train. Some are also inspired to sing or learn a musical instrument though we are not trained. Well, speaking of singers or musicians who are self-trained, Kishore da is my favourite.

I am happy to watch this video featuring Usman Riaz, a self taught musician, and his thirst to learn a variety of musical instruments, all by himself listening to the hundreds and hundreds of audios on internet. When I listened to his compositions, I was totally mesmerized and started to search for some more compositions by him. He comes from a family of artists and musicians. Usman started playing classical piano at the age of six and taught himself to play a variety of instruments from the internet. When people say, they download and learn to play the guitar seeing the youtube videos, it still takes me to surprise, how!

Unlike, other areas of learning, music needs a lot of dedication and concentration. I, myself, having learned basics of Carnatic music, find it very hard to follow the musical notes on the internet and request my teacher to correct me when I play out of tune. I confess, two of the western musical instruments I own, both Piccolo, a western classical flute and keyboard, I have failed to play with without flaws and a Tanvajur Veena. But this video talk by Usman is truly an inspiring one. He explains how he had to pause, to get the exact finger position. At sixteen, he played a guitar. He used the knowledge acquired to make his own music, orchestras, paintings and relate them. This does not limit him to compositions, but goes a step ahead body percussion and making films.

He shares his experience of traveling across the globe, one among the 32 musicians in the US and his happiest moment of sharing the stage with his internet Guru from whom he learn to pluck the guitar strings. Usman has set an example on how people can make use of the internet in a good way, by learning most toughest things at ease. This video is a source of inspiration to those who complain, that they couldn't find a teacher!



Check Usman's webpage: http://www.usmanriaz.me and get lost in music.Who knows, you would start playing some tunes on your abandoned guitar seeing this video. For now, I am dusting my long forgotten instruments and searching for online lessons.

This post was written in association with Indiblogger for IDEA Caravan by Franklin Templeton Investment which partnered the TEDxGateway.

TEDx talks by Rohini Nilekani

I am watching this video on YouTube where Rohini Nilekani speaks on how she started reading as a child and emphasizes on "reading habit" at an early age. Her love for reading books motivated her to start Pratham Books, which reaches millions of children today. Watch this inspirational video


XOXO
~manasa~

Tring- Tring, the phone rang…!

Tring- Tring, the phone rang…! My heart skipped a beat when I was felt the jerk during the midnight sleep.
Worried I was, who would ring at this time and why? Hopefully it should not be a bad news.

I picked up the phone reluctantly and carefully listened to my father who said, "Happy birthday!"



This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

How old are you la?

Singapore is good place to lurk around alone, the amicable people who are ready to help when you request them to provide the directions on reaching a place or which train you have to board. But some unlikely questions do pop up!

"Are you traveling alone?"

"Hmm, yeah."

"Which place are you from, in India?"

"I am from Bangalore. Thanks"

"How old are you?"

"I am as young as I am. You take a guess li."

***wry smile and scoot the place*** 

I have encountered this question from many Singaporeans during my stay in SGP. Next time I visit, I have an answer, ready la.

The Roaring Jog

I love monsoon ever since I was a child. I would get drenched in rain and sometimes, we as kids, would jump into the puddle on the streets or even dance in the rain on terrace. Some people go out and explore while cuddle with a pillow at home, sipping the hot tea with shimla chilli bajjis during the evenings.

*All of the images are from google search


 One of my fond memories was a trip to the Jog Falls, created by River Sharavathi, in Karnataka during the peak monsoon season with a friends family. My friends father drove an SUV vehicle starting at midnight from Bangalore and we safely reached the Jog falls next morning. It takes 6-7 hours to reach Jog falls from Bangalore. As her father drove the vehicle, rest of us happily slept while traveling in the Western Ghats.

As I opened my eyes in the morning, I was awe stuck to witness the gigantic "roaring" falls namely: Raja, Roarer, Rocket and Rani. There is a famous Kannada movie song mentioning the name of these falls. There are steps to reach the bottom of the falls but it is considered to be very risky as the stairs are slippery and require a stamina to climb more than 1,000 steps! I once again had a chance to jump into the puddle and hold the rain water in my palms while the water falls roared at its pitch, with no competitors.


As we sat in the car, all ready for the next destination, shivering with cold as were we wet. We dried ourselves in the car and were ready to reach the next stop, Agumbe, which receives the second highest rainfall, surrounded by lush greenery in the Thirthahalli Taluk. I could see green farms on either side of the tar road. The altitude was so high that I touched the clouds for the first time and see only mountains covered by mist. I shouted my name and the mountains echoed and repeated what I said. Unfortunately, I had no camera nor a mobile phone and don't have a single picture of the trip but the memory of the trip is still fresh.

Agumbe

Jog falls
I would revisit the Jog falls with my family members, traveling in a Renault Duster which would make the journey smooth on the curvy roads in the Western Ghats. While we breathe the fresh fragrance from Lavender Ambi Pur Car Air Freshner during the long drive playing antakshari so that the driver doesn't dose off. ;) As we drive along the curvy roads of the mountain to reach the top, which appears like a spring, on the Ghats, people who are not used to travel experience giddiness and sometimes puke out as well. It is essential to carry sickness bags, mineral water, some medicine and glucose as an instant remedy.
I would chose a route covering the below places sown in the map and take a few tea breaks so that I don't fall asleep and boot loaded with the snacks. ;) I would choose to drive during the day so that I can click some photographs of the green farms and the village life, which I missed during the last trip and this was the lesson I definitely learned: Never travel without a camera. We will stop at few places, especially, at the sunset point lookouts.


I am going to jump into the puddle, float paper boats in the puddle. During the night, I would set up a tent, and dance around the camp fire at our own tunes. This will be my ideal trip.

This post is written for Indiblogger's 'The Perfect Road Trip Contest' in association with Ambi Pur India.

Mandarins from Germany

I received a postcard today from Deutschland today, "Statt Vitaminen" literally means
Instead of Vitamins with mandarins on it. Mandarins are called Mandarinen in German.


Flowers from Holland

Holland is famous for the beautiful tulips. I received a card today from Holland with the purple flowers.


Netherland Stamps

The Torch Man

It is a monsoon time in Bangalore and it keeps pouring cats and dogs at any time of the day. As we commonly see on the roads, that there are umpteen potholes, open manholes and road work going on. Reaching home safely is a primary concern during power cuts after dusk.

I once saw on old man holding a torch in his hand when he came out for a walk. I was thrilled by this idea and then decided to carry a torch in my handbag whenever I step out of the house. Whenever there is a power cut, I have a torch ready and need not fear.

I am grateful to the old man who used this idea and set an example.

I am sharing what 'I Saw and I Learnt' at BlogAdda.com in association with DoRight.in.

The helping hand

A little ten year old girl sells fresh flowers everyday visiting every home placing the flowers in a bamboo basket over her head, in the morning. It is her routine task to sell the jasmine, which her mother ties together into a garland. After selling the flowers, the little one gets ready to attend the classes at a government school.

The girl was a toddler when her father deserted her mother and an elder brother. Her mother being a sole bread winner of the family, had to work as a maid to support the family of three. The elder one wakes up early in the morning carrying newspapers to be delivered at door step and then manages to go to school. 

As the girl grew, she still continued to sell the flowers and attend the school. The girl was good at Mathematics and would solve any problem with ease. This attracted her fellow classmates to take her assistance in doing their homework. The news spread to the homes where her mother was working and they requested that the girl would take tuition after school hours to their children. The girl happily accepted this offer which raised her family income and she could save for her future studies.

The little girl was a helping hand to her mother, be it winter or monsoon, the girl never failed to deliver the flowers. She provided a great support to her mother earning a living.

The elders in the family who knew this little girl would narrate to the young kids at home and appreciate how she helped her mother and herself. Some children were motivated and started to help their mothers in day-to-day routine, household chores by sweeping the floor, cleaning utensils, keeping their room clean.. etc... whatever was in their reach.

The simple things make a big difference!

"Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere"

I am sharing what 'I Saw and I Learnt' at BlogAdda.com in association with DoRight.in.

...And I Blushed

It was a bright sunny day and I sat there alone in the park, watching the chirping of birds, kids playing cricket which remind me of childhood. I wish I re-live those days again.

A kid hits a ball and I catch it. The child comes asking, "Can you play with us?"

... and I blushed.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Lakme Absolute Fuschia Pink Nail Polish

I like the color pink and when it comes to nail polish, I grabbed this new launch by Lakme, Absolute Fuschia Pink.

Cost: Rs 175

Postcard from Belarus

A beautiful postcard from Belarus and a lovely stamp.

XOXO
~manasa~

June Empties

I have been away from my cosmetics blog for a while and now back with my June empties. I must say, I have been using a great deal of cosmetics these days and I bin the used bottles. Last year, I had to bin the cosmetics or lotions which I hadn't used much. ... so here are my June empties.

Revlon New Complexion One-step Compact Makeup
03 Sand Beige
This has been my all time favorite. Blends very well with my complexion and very handy to carry. Though, its quiet expensive.
Rating: 5/5




Lotus Lip Balm
 I did not like it much as it does not stay long. I might not go for it and prefer Nivea's lip balm over this.
Rating 2.5/5
Clean and Clear face wash
 Works very well on oily skin removing the oil and dirt. Pricing is moderate. My all time preferred face wash.
Rating: 5/5
Ponds facewash
 Not recommended for oily skin as it makes the skin greasy.
Rating 3/5
Nature's Co Spearmint Body Wash
Great fragrance and foam. The small bottle lasts for 10 days and perfect during a travel.
Rating: 4.5/5

More posts coming up soon. 

June Empties

I have been away from my cosmetics blog for a while and now back with my June empties. I must say, I have been using a great deal of cosmetics these days and I bin the used bottles. Last year, I had to bin the cosmetics or lotions which I hadn't used much. ... so here are my June empties.

Revlon New Complexion One-step Compact Makeup
03 Sand Beige
This has been my all time favorite. Blends very well with my complexion and very handy to carry. Though, its quiet expensive.
Rating: 5/5


Postcard from Taiwan

My first postcard from Taiwan arrived today. It has a collage of the temple and the symbols of Lukang Tianhou Temple at Lukang, Changhua which has old temples. The sender writes that they visit temples regularly and pray for their family's health and wellness.


I am still trying to figure out whats written on the pot. I guess it is similar to the mantras that we Hindus have it everywhere at house or temples.

Australian stamps

During my stay in Australia, I somehow managed to collect a handful stamps without going to the post office. There are many websites that offer online shopping with free shipping whether you purchase the goods within the country or from Honk Kong (HK). I admit the packing sent from HK were neat and the goods were undamaged though it delayed the delivery by a week. I, often purchased from the seller within Australia and would receive the item within 2-3 days.

I have collected the below stamps from the envelopes and have keep it safe.

Australian stamps are so colorful
The stamps are so colorful that I have fallen in love with these. The fish, the cup, the animals, aborigine, the beach.. 

Postcard from Italy

My first postcard from Italy arrived today and I was glad to see the view of L'Altere della Patria, Rome, Italy, built in the memory of their first King  Victor Emmanuel.
L'Altere della Patria, Rome, Italy

Italy postage

Bags from Singapore

Last October, in 2012, I was on a vacation on my way back from Melbourne to Bangalore at Singapore for 3 days. I must say, Singapore is the safest city I have even been. Being a woman, I was able to cover most places in a short span. I commuted in the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit , commonly called MRT, during my stay and the city is well connected. I admit that it was Excellent!

On Day 1, I was returning from the Universal Studios, Sentosa at around 10 PM and decided to see Jurong Bird Park on Day 2. Singapore is small city that you don't GPRS connection on your phone to reach places. Ask anyone next to you and they guide you on how to reach your destination. At SMRT, sat a lady, with whom I inquired, how I can reach Jurong Bird Park. She instantly, gave me a map and marked down where I need to change the trains and take the bus.

"Are you travelling alone in Singapore?"

"Yes, I am. I am here for 3 days on transit from Australia to India.Have never been to Singapore before and it is a safe place to travel alone."

"I lived in Sydney and my daughter was born there."

She scribbled a few lines on a piece of paper and handed over to me.

"Its my address. You're welcome anytime."

Shy, that I was. I placed the paper in my purse and bid her a good-bye.

******

Last month, I wrote a postcard thanking her for the guidance she provided at SMRT. She was so touched that she sent the shopping bags I received today.
Shopping bags from Singapore
I am moved by the gesture. How small things in life mean a lot!

Macadamia

I love ice creams and my favorite flavor is Macadamia. It is a monsoon season in Bangalore and keeps pouring every evening but this does not stop me from relishing the mouth watering ice cream at Ibaco on Brigade Road.
Macadamia Ice Cream at Ibaco, Brigade Road, Bangalore
I couldn't stop myself, clicking the picture of the ice cream before I started to eat. 

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Have you ever tried Macadamia?

When you say nothing at all...

When you say nothing at all, you scare me. Say something, I cannot see you mum. I can no longer tolerate you silence. Scold me, beat me but do not stay silent. You know I love you, don't punish me like this. 

It was too late he read the note and she was gone forever!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

My Stroke of Luck :: Book review

Book Title: My Stroke of Luck, Alphabet to Author

Author: Vijay Santhanam

Genre: Inspirational

Publication: Hay House

Pages: 231

Price: INR 299

Life takes a twist when something unexpected happens and one requires a lot of courage to accept the reality and move on with it. When I received the book and before I opened it, the title of the book made me think what the book can be about? Would it be gaining wealth through luck and how is alphabet related to an author.

The author explains how his health conditions were prior to stroke and the symptoms of it. Had he been not ignorant of the symptoms, there were chances that he would not have not had a stroke. He was admitted to the hospital at Singapore at a right time by his wife.

Vijay writes in detail how his condition was at hospital and how his head went blank when he could not understand what was going on and why he was on a hospital bed. Most of us use the left brain and hence the right side of the body is more used. When a stroke occurs, the left brain is affected and he loses the ability to speak or even reason. He could not recognize the numbers nor the alphabets, post stroke.

The author also explains how essential it is necessary to take care of oneself in such conditions. He once fell off the bed in hospital and it required others assistance to lift him and put him to the bed. Ever since then, he made sure, he would be more cautious and be careful of the surroundings.

Most of us get into depression and keep thinking of "what has happened" or "Why did it happen to me?", "What wrong had I done to others, that the almighty is punishing me." I am sure most of us would crib and cry when such a thing happens. And worse happens, when your family and friend, remind you and convey a "sorry, it shouldn't have happened to you", the more it hurts than what has actually happened. But here, the author says, he never thought of the past or questioned the almighty, "why it happened to me". There are many people who undergo a stroke but do not have sufficient financial fund to pay off their medical bills or afford for physical therapies. He thanks his family and friends for being supportive during his recovery phase. They never let him feel low or made him feel that he was helpless.

Last but not the least, it is the will power that makes a person achieve what he wants. If your will power is strong, then nothing can stop you from overcoming the major difficulties in life. The answer lies within one's self. Its left to an individual, on how they face the challenge in life.

The author has written using simple vocabulary and provides an easy reading. The book is on similar lines as the book: Tuesdays with Morrie which is based on a professor who is diagnosed an incurable disease and how he copes up with the harsh reality.

About the author:
Vijay Santhanam graduated from IIT, Roorkee and IIM-A. He has worked in major corporate sectors like P&G and BP. He is the co-author of books, If Cricket is a Religion, Sachin is God (2009) and The Business of Cricket: The Story of Sports Marketing in India(2011). He currently lives in Singapore.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Postcard from Malaysia

I received a postcard from Malaysia from a mother of four. The postcard has a beautiful scenery of Cameron Highlands, which is a hill station in Malaysia. It is the size of Singapore in area.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

The sender likes stamps and has affixed 3 stamps of different stamps so that I receive many stamps to my collection. I am thrilled by her idea. 


Malaysian stamps
This is my first postcard from Malaysia. 

So much to read

I love reading books and whenever I find a new released book, I buy them. The hobby has grown to such an extent, that, I now have more than 200 books in my library. Just arranging the books into the shelf on a Sunday morning.


I will be posting the picture of my very own library soon! Stay tuned. 

How many books do you have in your library? 

Ukrainian Dance

Its my second card this week and second one from Ukraine. The first postcard I received this week on a Monday, 1st of July. The postcard depicts the Ukrainian Dance.

Ukrainian Dance
Ukraine Postage depicting hen and rabbit 
I was fascinated seeing the Ukrainian dance photo and googled for it. Here is a lovely Youtube video.

Onions rings

We, three friends, caught up for lunch after a long time. We have been friends for more than a decade and wanted to order something apart from potato chips which is commonly called French Fries in Bangalore. And ended up ordering onion rings. I love Onion Rings when served hot as an evening snack or a starter. I admired the way onion is chopped into rings and fried. All us of smiled having burnt the lips while eating the hot rings. :)
How much do you love onion rings?

Postcard from Ukraine

I am happy to see surprise everyday after I reach home. I received a postcard from Ukraine with the bright sunflowers on it.
Postcard from Ukraine
Stamps are interesting with the towers, leaves and I guess the men are the priests
I am happy that my old hobby of writing letters, which I did only at school; collecting and exchanging stamps is back to life.

Flickr Images

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