Monday, 27 September 2021

From a Dumb Wax doll to Iron Lady!

 


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From a Dumb Wax doll to Iron Lady!

From mom ki gudiya to ma durga it had been quite a journey until she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, who turned to be Kalistani sympathizers on 31 October 1984. Indira Gandhi was known for her strong personality and also went to war with Pakistan supporting the Independence Movement in East Pakistan leading to formation of Bangladesh. The Goongi gudiya, who went on to become Iron Lady. Atal Behari Vajpayee addressed her as Ma Durga.

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When she was chosen as the leader of the Congress party to be the first woman Prime Minister, no one gave her a chance and opposition expected her to be weak and quit with the burden of all the issues and problems facing a developing country. India lost two stalwarts, Nehru and Shastri in a short span of few years. The question was who would be the next Prime Minister of India. Kamraj, the Congress President, who didn’t approve of Morarji Desai for his outdated ideas and opinions, became the king maker by suggesting and putting forward the name of Indira Gandhi, a novice and whose experience was only as the Information and Broadcasting minister under the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Indira Gandhi was not the automatic choice of the Congress party leadership, which was dominated by a group of old congressmen. Opposition leaders and senior politicians and her detractors such as Morarji Desai, would often call her - Mom ki gudiya and Goongi gudiya in an effort to undermine her.

But soon people saw glimpses of what Indira Gandhi is capable of. She soon grasped the understanding of governance, foreign affairs, economy and politics of the country. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. In the Congress Party's Parliamentary leadership election held in early 1966 caused by the death of Prime Minister Shastri, she defeated her rival Morarji Desai to become leader, and thus succeeded Lal Bahadur Shastri as the first woman Prime Minister of India.

As she took over as the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi had to face several challenges, internal as well as external. After the Tashkent declaration and the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in Moscow, Pakistan felt they could pressurize India and bully the new Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She handled the turmoil within Congress, after the part split into two, Congress (I) and Congress (O). Her party took charge and literally wiped out Congress (O), which mainly consisted of old and senior congressmen. Later some returned to her fold and others vanished from the scene. As days and months went by, she showed strong acumen of a natural and stern leader. She was opposite of her father in terms of thinking and taking action. She had the will and guts to face tough situations internally and externally. The world looked at her and India with respect.

She was capable and faced the super power America with aplomb. She showed the world she is a strong leader capable of handling external challenges too. The year was 1971 and the month November. The genocide in East Pakistan was forcing lakhs of refugees to flee and seek shelter in the border states of India. It put enormous pressure on India. And Indira Gandhi decided to do something about it as no major powers were willing to intervene. In fact they were supporting Pakistan. Richard Nixon announced – If India pokes its nose in Pakistan, US will not keep its trap shut. India will be taught a lesson.

And Indira Gandhi responded – India regards America as a friend. Not a boss, India is capable of writing its own destiny. We know and are aware how to deal with each one according to circumstances. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi articulated these exact words sitting with the US President Richard Nixon in the White House, while maintaining an eye-to-eye contact. This incident was narrated by the then Secretary of State and NSA, Henry Kissinger, in his autobiography.

That was the day when the Indo-US joint media address was cancelled by Indira Gandhi who walked away from the White House in her inimitable style. Kissinger, while ushering Indira Gandhi to her car, had commented - Madam Prime Minister, don't you feel you could have been a little more patient with the President? Indira Gandhi replied -Thank you, Mr Secretary, for your valuable suggestion. Being a developing country, we have our backbones straight and enough will and resources to fight all atrocities. We shall prove that days are gone when a power can rule and often control any nation from thousands of miles away.

Thereafter, as soon as her Air India Boeing touched down at Palam runway in Delhi, Indira Gandhi summoned the leader of the opposition, Atal Behari Vajpayee to her residence. Post an hour of discussion behind closed doors, Vajpayee was seen hurrying back. It was thereafter known that Vajpayee would be representing India at the United Nations. For the first time, an opposition leader would be representing his country to put forth its views and policies.

Donald Paul of BBC had jumped in with a question to Vajpayee - Indira ji regards you as a staunch critic. In spite of that, are you sure you'd be at the United Nations shouting your throat out in favour of the incumbent Government? Vajpayee had a repartee - A rose adorns a garden, so does a Lily. Each is beset with the idea that they are individually the most beautiful. When the garden falls in a crisis, it's no secret that the garden has to safeguard its beauty as one. I have come today to save the garden. This is called Indian Democracy.

The resultant history is all known to us. America sent 270 famed Patton tanks to Pakistan. They called the world media to demonstrate that these tanks were produced under exclusive technology, and are thus indestructible. Their intention was very clear. This was a warning signal to the rest of the world that no one should help India. America did not stop here.  US companies supplying to India were told to stop supply. They were sternly told by US to cease dealing with India anymore. India's effort thereafter was only about fighting back. Indira Gandhi's incisive diplomacy ensured supplies from other sources..

In the western border, in the war with Pakistan, the battle that lasted just a day and it destroyed a majority of the 270 Patton tanks in the Thar Desert. The destroyed tanks were brought into India for display at traffic crossings. The hot deserts of Rajasthan, still stands as a witness where US pride was decimated. America realized India’s resolve under Indira Gandhi and her close ally, Russia. The Bangladesh war lasted for eighteen days with the signing of the document of surrender by Gen Niazi in charge of East Pakistan, and thereafter culminated in the surrender of 93,000 Pakistani soldiers as prisoners of war. Pakistan lost half its territory with the birth of Bangladesh. Its forces had to publicly surrender to India. Mujibur Rahman was released from Lahore Jail. Later in the month of March, Indira Gandhi recognized Bangladesh as an independent nation in the Indian Parliament. . The Goongi gudiya, who went on to become Iron Lady of India. In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named 'Woman of the Millennium' by a BBC poll.

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Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Home with the old world charm?


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Home with the old world charm?

You must have experienced it. When you enter a expensive, well designed home with everything perfect but still doesn’t appeal to you, but when you enter a simple home with a touch of old world charm with its imperfections, catches your eyes and makes you feel homely and comfortable. You immediately connect with that home...

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Can I design my own home? Is a designer must for designing your home? Many a times, people are in a fix whether to hire an expert to do their house or do it themselves. If you believe in your personal touch, opt for the latter. Be it an apartment, a villa, cottage or a bungalow. I am sure it will cost you less and give you a satisfaction of doing your own home as you dreamt of doing it. I can tell you from experience, the thrill, the challenges and the final satisfaction are worth feeling.

You must have experienced it. When you enter a expensive, well designed home with everything perfect but still doesn’t appeal to you, but when you enter a simple home with a touch of old world charm with its imperfections, catches your eyes and makes you feel homely and comfortable. You immediately connect with that home.

I appreciate the expert's work and feel interior decorators are expensive. They are fine for offices, hotels, restaurants and other public places, where one expects a creative layout, colourful, good design and perfection. I believe if you have a little creative bent of mind, a good sensibility and know what you want, it’s nicer to do the home yourself because you know your needs best. Where to put which furniture and what design, texture and colour of furnishing, curtains to go for or even which shade to paint the walls of different rooms. And what lamps you need and where the lighting, fans and air-conditioners are to be fixed. You have the freedom for your personal choice in all the items and décor.

Have you ever walked into a beautiful home and were struck by the traditional look. I am referring to the décor which makes an impact by its simplicity and brings the living area alive and vibrant. You feel refreshed and feel to be there longer. The vintage look attracts your attention and pleases your eyes.

The look comes as authentic and not-so-perfect or professional, but is eye-catching. An interior designer tends to make it perfect, stylish, but lifeless, rather than a cosy home with a personal touch, where imperfections become perfections! I think such a home helps one to lead a natural and beautiful life, carefree and comfortable ambiance, sitting in your own home sweet home.

As you know best all your needs and requirements of each room, may it be your living room, dining room, bedroom or kitchen; with a little bit of creativity, design the home of your dreams! It may not be fully perfect but the imperfection starts to look the highlight of the home. From contemporary charm, bohemian spirit to rustic feels, give your house the desired look by customizing your interiors and furniture, with a help of a skilled carpenter. And a beautiful mix of themes if the layout and décor demands so. Keep it sleek, simple and stylish with a touch of old. If space permits, a small garden will be an added attraction.

Ethnic interiors with a dash of pastel colours which look neat, subtle and sophisticated are needed. With a touch of vintage, with artifacts, indoor plants, wall hangings, photo frames or antique show pieces and a hint of contemporary fashion if you need. The décor tells about your individual taste and lifestyle. It reflects your thinking and outlook to life.

A word of caution for senior citizens; many of them after retirement, tend to retire from cities to towns to lead a peaceful and quiet retired life. Some of them, out of excitement go for big houses, spending a big chunk of their savings. Big houses need décor accordingly. Remember most of the time, only you and your spouse will be living in it. Occasionally your children or relatives or close friends may come to visit you. Huge houses are difficult to maintain in terms of money and area to upkeep and clean regularly. 

Since it’s difficult to get house help, most of the time you will have to do the cleaning and housekeeping. Keep this in mind when planning to relocate after retirement. Remember your loved ones or children will not be shifting with you. So have a decent, spacious and a comfortable house with the modern amenities and a spare guest room for your loved ones, friends and relatives who can come over to spend a few days with you. This will serve you well, easy to manage and maintain.

A decent home needs a lot of planning in terms of layout, space, location of different rooms, proper positioning of amenities and utilities. You don't make a home often, so care should be taken to cover all aspects that will take care of your comforts, the sitting area, maybe even a cosy corner where you can relax or work at leisure. Make your house into a beautiful dream home with a natural, simple, vintage, a bit imperfect and sophisticated at the same time. Be it young or old or retired folks, it makes a personal, cosy and comfortable home for all. The old world charm makes for a happy and peaceful living. Truly a beautiful and protected nest!

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Thursday, 16 September 2021

Retire happily. Enjoy the second innings!


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Retire happily. Enjoy the second innings!

In fact, you have only retired from your job or profession, rest everything is the same. Hence no need to change your lifestyle. Continue to live your life as before with a benefit of more time at your disposal. Continue with your usual daily routine. Some seniors after retirement try to change their eating habits. They try diet control, live on juices, traditional snacks and reduce intake of food as compared to earlier days and live on frugal meals. On the contrary eat as before, enjoy your meals. Avoid rigorous exercise; take up walking and loosening exercises........

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Many seniors who retire from their job or profession think they have retired in all spheres of life. Actually it's a new innings rich with experience and understanding of life. Once at a political meeting, a politician warned his colleagues and officials – Don’t mess with senior citizens. They have the time, experience and the purpose to pursue the matter!

The big mistake retired people do is trying to change their lifestyle, eating habits, feel they have done all in life. And tend to relax and take a back seat. Keep yourself occupied in something you love to do - reading, writing, painting, traveling or devoting your free time constructively in some NGO. With modern technology and internet, one has many options. Make a choice and pursue it. Actually age is in the mind. If you think young, you will feel and behave young. 

In fact, you have only retired from your job or profession, rest everything is the same. Hence no need to change your lifestyle. Continue to live your life as before with a benefit of more time at your disposal. Continue with your usual daily routine. Some seniors after retirement try to change their eating habits. They try diet control, live on juices, traditional snacks and reduce intake of food as compared to earlier days and live on frugal meals. On the contrary eat as before, enjoy your meals. Avoid rigorous exercise; take up walking and loosening exercises. They are ideal for your legs and fitness. Unless you have any health issues, there's no reason to restrain yourself.

The mantra is, keeps your legs strong as it is said, aging starts from the feet upward. Hence when you are old, the feet must always remain strong. Don’t be afraid of thinning hair or it turning grey or skin sagging or wrinkles or going out of shape in some areas. As summarized by the US Magazine ‘Prevention’, strong leg muscles are listed on the top, as the most important and essential one. If you do not move your legs for two weeks, your leg strength will decrease by 10 years.

A study by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that both old and young, during the two weeks of inactivity, the legs muscle strength can be weakened by a third which is equivalent to 20-30 years of ageing. As our leg muscles weaken, it will take a long time to recover, even if we do rehabilitation and exercises. Therefore, regular exercise like walking with proper footwear is very important. The whole body weight/load remains and rest on the legs. The foot is a kind of pillars, bearing the weight of the human body. Interestingly, 50% of a person's bones and 50% of the muscles are in the two legs. The largest and strongest joints and bones of the human body are also in the legs. Strong bones, strong muscles, and flexible joints form the Iron Triangle that carries the most important load on the human body. 70% of human activity and burning of energy in one's life is done by the two feet. When young you take it for granted, but once old you realize the true meaning.

The foot is the center of body locomotion. Both the legs together have fifty percent of the nerves of the human body, fifty percent of the blood vessels and fifty percent of the blood flowing through them. It is the large circulatory network that connects the body. Only when the feet are healthy then the convention current of blood flows, smoothly, so people who have strong leg muscles will definitely have a strong heart. And live a healthy and happy life.

Aging starts from the feet upwards. As a person gets older, the accuracy and speed of transmission of instructions between the brain and the legs decreases, unlike when a person is young. In addition, the so-called Bone Fertilizer Calcium will sooner or later be lost with the passage of time, making the elderly more prone to bone fractures. Bone fractures in the elderly can easily trigger a series of complications, especially fatal diseases such as brain thrombosis. So take care not to slip or fall.

Exercising the legs is never too late, even after the age of 60 years. The feet/legs will gradually age with time, exercising our feet/legs is a life-long task. Only by strengthening the legs, one can prevent further aging. Please walk for at least 30-40 minutes daily to ensure that your legs receive sufficient exercise and to ensure that your leg muscles remain healthy. Hence it is said – Legs for life.

Senior citizens should bear this in mind - never teach anyone anything, unless requested, even if you are sure you are right. Do not try to help unless asked for. Just be ready and available for it if possible. Do not give unsolicited opinion all the time. Do not expect everyone to follow your opinion, even though you feel your opinion was the best. Don't impose yourself on anyone on any subject. Don't try to protect your loved ones from all the misfortunes of the world. Just love them and pray for them. Don't complain about your health, your neighbors, your retirement or your woes all the time. Don't expect gratitude from children. There are no ungrateful children; there are only stupid parents, who expect gratitude from their children.

Don't waste your last money on anti-ageing treatments. It's useless like gone with the wind. Better spend it on a trip. It's always worth it. Take care of your spouse, even if he/she becomes a wrinkled, helpless and moody old person. Don't forget he/she was once young, good looking and cheerful, may be he/she is the only one who really needs you right now. Try to understand new technologies and keep up with time. Follow the latest news, constantly study something new, a new skill, a new dish, a new indoor game, do not fall behind, and change with time. Don't blame yourself for whatever happened to your life or to your children's lives, you did everything you could. Preserve your dignity and integrity in any situation, till the end. Keep your investments, properties and savings to yourself and your spouse. Anyway it will go to your children after you are gone.

Remember, you're still alive and kicking, someone needs you. Dress well, be presentable, your children and others will appreciate it. Be in touch with your loved ones and friends. Talking to them from time to time is like a gush of fresh air which recharges and freshens up the body, mind and soul. Lead a happy retired life. Remember you have not retired from life. Be as usual, enjoy life. You have time on your side for various activities. Celebrate life - eat, drink and have fun but with a small warning - do it within limit. Just as kids will be kids, oldies will be oldies!

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