Come on in!

Hi! I’m Justin Raj, a stock broker by profession, is also a freelance Journalist, an amateur Filmmaker and an enthusiastic Marathoner who possesses the ‘bad habit’ of writing too much. And as long as that ‘bad habit’ stays with me, I keep on posting to my blog.

A blogger is basically a tech-savvy writer. He is a keen observer with a sharing mind, not a silent spectator to all events which happen around him. If a reader is a person who loves to gain knowledge, a blogger or writer is one who loves to share his knowledge and dare to speak out his opinions and ideas. Like a singer expresses by singing, dancer by dancing, actor through acting, a blogger blogs his feelings and ideas out. Literally, Freedom of Expression is his shield and the blog is his Sword.

Here in my blog, write-ups are archived in 9 labels. In ‘Sweet and Bitter’ you can read about my diverse life experiences and valuable lessons I learnt from it. ‘Published Articles’ offers you my articles which have been published in Daily Newspapers. In ‘Random Brain Waves’ you can meet up with my random (or at times, weird) ideas. Poetry writing has eventually become a new hobby as well as a part of my blog. You can read my poems in ‘Verses’. In ‘Marathon’ label, you can read about my marathon experiences, challenges and how running a marathon can shape a man’s life.

‘Vlog’ is a recent addition to my blog as I realize the potential future of visual media. Sometimes, a 3-minute video can do the magic of expression than a 3000 word article. In this label you can watch the short films, documentaries, advertisements et al I have made. ‘Favorite Articles’ consists of articles which have influenced my outlook and attitude on life. Being a tireless traveler, ‘Travel’ label takes you to various travel experiences of mine. Conducting researches is a part of Journalism. In ‘Research Articles’ label you can get articles which throw light on various researches I have conducted.

Every life meets with various challenges, diverse experiences and at the end, all those teach us valuable lessons for our future. Wise men learn by other men's mistakes, fools by their own said H. G. Bohn. I learn more by my own mistakes than others. It doesn’t mean that I’m a fool! I learn from other’s lives too. My blog is a platform for sharing not only my life experiences but also the valuable lessons, ideas and poetry triggered by them.

To my mind, blog is a thinking man's tool. Blogging is more a passion than a hobby for me. It is as if talking something to someone somewhere in world. My words keep on talking to the visitors of my blog. I can feel the magic of words! And that’s the power of blogging!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Be Happy!


Most of us ponder and wonder on the purpose of life. Does our life holds any meaning or mission? Are we here just to eat, drink and reproduce? Is human life has some special higher purposes? - we ask others as well to our own hearts with no satisfying answers near the corner.
Some say, it is being successful that is the ultimate goal of life. By the way, what is success? Can we define success?
Ask a CEO of a High Net-worth company, he or she would say it is running his or her company successfully is the ultimate goal or so called success in his or her life. Ask a family man who is leading a happy married life and taking care of a good, harmonious and peaceful family, he would say it is his family that defines the purpose and success of his life.
Ask an evangelist, he or she would say, it is to live and spread the words of Christ is the ultimate goal of his life. Some of them even tell that it is to pray all night and day is the ultimate goal of human life and also add that prayers can keep you feel rejuvenated and enlightened. Sorry, I don’t believe that, because ask a person who regularly practices Yoga, he would also say the same!
You can't define success and purpose of life. It varies with persons.
Ask me, I would tell it is being happy is the ultimate goal of life.
Then, an obvious question pops up - what is happiness? Like success and purpose of life, happiness can't be defined as well. But I can say that a smiling face, enthusiastic mannerisms and good will gesture etc are signs of happiness. To my mind, happiness is more of an attitude than something you can buy from a store. Sometimes, a beggar sleeping on the pavement will be happier than a rich man who is sleeping in his palace. In reality, only few people in this world know what true happiness is.
Only way I know to achieve happiness is by helping others and doing what I love to do.
Wisdom from popular Indian author, Chetan Bhagat.
When we look at the world we can see that a section of people is trying to chase happiness fruitlessly by valuing success and money more than relationships and healthy well being. But on the other side, we can observe that the trinity philosophy of achievements-money-success is gradually loosing it's sheen and changing it's course in an opposite direction. Today, the latter part of the world is searching for something it had missed in the midst of the rat race for success and achievements – a harmonious, peaceful and holistic well being.
What is the use of the money, success and other achievements, if those can't be shared with loved ones? Is there any joy if you have to stand alone wearing a crown with countless golden feathers? Do you think, you will be happy if you have millions in your bank account? I don’t think so. Money and success wont bring you happiness.
Today, a good number of people have started weighing happiness more than economic gains. Some nations around us are turning their heads and hearts slowly from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Gross National Happiness (GNH) while concepts like Ecological Economics, Green Politics, Sustainable Development etc have taken birth marking a beginning of a new world order.
What is the use being rich without mental and physical harmony, successful without anyone to share and care, highly productive without nature-friendly? You are just disrupting the universal equilibrium by doing so.
It is up to a person who wants to happy and it is not up to the circumstances or the fellow beings. Happiness can also be spread and shared very easily. So, be happy always!
Image Courtesy: Internet

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Magic of (my mom's) Cooking!


Recently after watching a malayalam movie named 'Salt & Pepper' (a box office hit) I pondered deeply on the subject – cooking. In that movie, the hero and heroine who are passionate about cooking (eating as well) get attracted to each other over their common interests. The movie also depicts how the art of cooking beautifully manipulates two persons' lives.
At times I even feel that there is something magical and nostalgic about cooking. The taste and smell of certain foods and sweets take us back to our good old days, right? I'm certain that most of us agree with me.
Sole inspiration behind my cooking and eating habit is my sweet mom who is an excellent cook. As she works abroad, I get only two months in a year to savor the foods she cooks. Whenever she happens to be here, I'm really happy to invite my friends to my house since she always loves to give a great treat to their tastebuds. It feels really good to watch the happiness and satisfaction reflect on their faces after dining at my house. Most of my friends are huge fans of my mom's cooking.
Her menu has yummy and delicious local, Indian and continental dishes. To name a few, her portfolio of dishes ranges from sophisticated Mughalai Chicken to simple Grilled Chicken; Soya Pulav to Yakni Pulav; Thai Pineapple Rice to Pan-Set to Kapsa. Her bake list goes from Black-forest Cake to Pineapple Upside Cake and dessert list starts with Butter Scotch Ice Cream and ends with Caramel Pudding. She also makes variety of Dosas like Tapioca Dosa, Tomato Dosa and Paneer Cheese Dosa. Her special sea food list consists of Sizzler's Fish, Oriental Fish Fry and lot more!
Let me restrict myself by naming only a few of her recipes for number of reasons. Few of them are: I neither want to make my blog look like a cook-blog nor my blog post sounds like a promotional advertisement for my mom's cooking talent. And more importantly, I'm not so keen to make your mouth water!
One of my girl friends once asked: “Why are people giving so much importance to cooking by themselves? Isn’t enough to go out to a hotel or appoint a cook at home?”
My mom has got a ready-made answer to this question. “Cooking is an art, passion as well as a great stress buster. It requires a great amount of patience and skills to cook good food. Cooking for your family, friends or even for yourselves is a great treat to others as well as to yourselves.” She also adds that new generation kids don’t know the relevance of cooking. Most of them shy away from cooking, labelling it as burdensome and difficult. She also thinks that the process of cooking is not complicated as we think.
Passion for cooking as well as an open and free heart to feed your near and dear ones is a great virtue a person could ever possess. In personal relationships especially in marital relationship, culinary skills help a lot as a means to showcase one's affection, love and care towards other.
Recently one of my friends visited my house and he happened to have dinner at my house. My mom cooked a continental dish called Thai Rice and number of other dishes – I forgot the names of them as they are in Chinese. While leaving, he certified me as the luckiest son on this planet since I'm blessed with a loving and caring mom who is passionate about cooking as well. Anyway, he is absolutely right.
As an old adage goes, the entrance to heart is always through the belly. Sometimes the cooking mania of my mom make me realize that she is not only feeding our belly but also our hearts to a greater extent with her delicious and yummy foods.
The only drawback I found in her cooking is that I'm gaining weight day by day!

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