Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Something Borrowed

Photo credit: Sean and Lauren

I walked across the hallway looking for you
I thought I heard a whisper, a voice I knew
I remember I had met you back when I was young
When my dreams where shallow and maybe unsung

You smiled at me and left something back
looked quite mundane so I shoved it somewhere in rack
I understood it little late how valuable it was
Never was really good at picking clues alas!

Nevertheless it saved me in more ways than you would know
Just like a dazzling star in the dark night glow
Now as I sit and reminiscence of bygone day
Feel my heart bow to you for in this heart you shall stay...

Thursday, 17 September 2015

7 Ways to Survive a Bad Day

Photo credit:Rachael Monroe

It's inevitable that you have a bad day once in a while. Day when everything that could go wrong goes wrong. You find yourself in series of unfortunate events which leaves you in foul mood. It could be because of anything, in fact sometimes there is no logical reason for you to feel a bit shit. Here's a few tips for you to turn your crappy day to a happy day!

1. Swearing is Not the Worst thing You can Do

Now before you get all judgmental, let me clarify that I know screaming and swearing is not a strongest display of character. In fact, most people would suggest meditating to get rid of bad day but then who are we kidding? we aren't one of those enlightened beings ( yet!). So feel free to swear ( a lot) and let go off all the frustration.

Photo credit: Brandon Doran

2. Pamper Yourself

No matter how bad a day you are having there is always something you can do to pamper yourself. Indulge in a luxury bath or treat yourself with chocolate. Even if rest of the world is treating you like shit, you are the master of yourself.

Photo Credit: Personal creations

3. Take a Nap

When you sleep you are not in this world. Dream world makes all the bad things go away. Well, it is kind of burying your head in the sand but guess what, world is not going to standstill just because you sleep for couple of minutes (or hours)!

Photo Credit: Theilr

4. Plan Your Vacation

This may sound silly but works wonderfully! No matter how many months you have to survive before you get even a 3 day long weekend there is no harm in planning your vacation. It need not be elaborate, just an outline of what kind of place you want to go, hill station or maybe beach...and before you know that depressing aura is lifted!

Photo credit: Daniel Go

5. Good Food is Good Mood

First step to get instant happiness is awesome-blow-your-mind food. It varies from person to person so pick anything from your " I love it" food list and forget about everything else.

Photo credit: Michael Stern

6. Watch something Funny

Although you may feel your life itself is a joke under the circumstances, it helps to laugh out loud. Watch a hilarious no-brainer movie or at least a funny dog video. By the end of it, world is a happy place again :)

Photo credit: Umar

7. Relax, it's Not the End of the World

No matter how long you feel the day has been it will get over. And with that, curse of bad day will wear off and tomorrow will be a better day. Remember, you have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.

Photo credit: Vinoth Chandar

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Life Is Easy

Photo: Tammy Strobel
Life is Easy. When I heard it for the first time I was taken back. I mean I always felt that life is complicated and too hard sometimes. Who was this guy saying life is easy? It was Jon Jandai. This guy who comes from a small village in Thailand, explains how he figured out secret to live a happy, stress-free and meaningful life.

I think it is fate that I stumbled upon this video because from past couple of years I have been questioning about the life I was leading. We have been auto tuned to live in certain way. More is better. We spent most of our lives trying to make ends meet. No matter how much money we earn we never feel we are rich. There is always something we desire and can't afford. Person with bike wants car. One with Car wants better car. I know people with 42 inch TV who are unhappy with it because they want home theater. There seems to be no end to what we desire.

An average person spends atleast 20-30 years paying off debts! I recently went to a friends housewarming and when I congratulated the reply I got was " This is just 2 BHK, I wanted a 3BHK ". Not that there is anything wrong with bigger house, but why is it that we are never satisfied? If you earn such and such money you must have such and such materialistic possessions. And for that you spend all your life working so hard that you hardly get time to enjoy those possessions!

I know most people want that kind of life. They genuinely love chasing money and I say " Good for you". But is there any alternative for people who do not want that kind of life?

So over the last couple of months I have been researching and I came across this group of people called " Minimalist". Minimalism is a way of living which allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately. It doesn't mean you have to give up every comfort and material possessions in your life. No, what it means is buy something if you really want it.

"Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around"

I am still learning, trying to figure out what I am and what I want from life and this path is pretty long. But I don't want to be washed away into this mad rush. I think money is not the destination, it is a medium to reach our destination. So it makes sense to find out where do you want to go.

Could it really be possible to make life easy? I don't know...but I surely want to give it a try..

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

If Diamonds are Girls Best Friend, You Ought To Know Them Better

Photo Credit: Kim Alaniz

Recently I became the proud owner of a beautiful Swarovski necklace. I was so mesmerized by its glitter that I wondered why would one buy diamond! Well, one thing led to another and soon I found myself doing extensive research on diamonds/crystals. Some of these facts I knew and some I was completely unaware of. Read on to know how well you know your diamond...

1. How old are they really?

 Most diamonds found in nature are between one to three billion years old. The Earth is estimated at 4.5 billion years old. So that makes diamond really really old (pretty cool huh). Diamonds form about 100 miles below ground and have been carried to the earth’s surface by deep volcanic eruptions. They are also found at the site of a meteorite strike. No wonder ancient Romans and Greeks believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen on the earth.

2. Who discovered diamonds?

Of course we did. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years. Until the 18th century, India was thought to be the only source of diamonds. In the 1400s Indian diamonds began to be sold in Venice and other European trade centers. Then in the 1700s India’s diamond supplies declined and Brazil became the world’s major source of diamonds, until the late 1800s when a huge diamond reserve was discovered in South Africa.

Its funny, how from being the only nation to produce diamond we reached to current financial state.

3. Are they really the hardest substance in the world?

No. But diamonds are the hardest "natural" substance on Earth. The only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. In fact the word diamond derives from the Greek word “adamas,” which means "invincible, indestructible and untamed ".

Diamond has a sibling - graphite.

They are identical chemically—both are composed of carbon (C), but physically, they are very different.

Photo source: James st John 

The hardness of minerals is compared using the Mohs Hardness Scale, a relative scale numbered 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). Graphite is very soft and has a hardness of 1 to 2 on this scale. Diamonds are the hardest known natural substance and have a hardness of 10.

Talk about sibling differences ;)

4. Four C's

It stands for four characteristics of diamonds:
Carat (its weight), Cut (quality of the cut is graded according to proportions, symmetry and polish), Color (how close to white or colorless; for fancy diamonds how intense is its hue), and Clarity (how free is it from inclusions)

Not to sidetrack, but did you know that the word carat comes from the Carob Mediterranean tree whose seed was used for centuries as the standard of weighing precious stones.

And 1 carat = 0.2 grams

Photo Credit: GShankary

5. Largest diamond discovered

The largest diamond ever discovered was called the Cullinan diamond (named after owner of mine), and weighed in at an amazing 3106 carats. Discovered in 1905 in South Africa, the mine’s owner and the South African leaders gave the diamond to King Edward. The Cullinan was eventually cut into nine large diamonds and 96 smaller ones, and the two largest of these are on display in the Tower of London as part of the crown jewels.

Photo credit: Mary Harrsch

Note: To ensure the diamond reached its destination safely it was sent to England in an unmarked postal box, while a replica was publicly accompanied by detectives on a steamer from South Africa as a diversion. Nothing less than a movie plot!

6. Show me your true color

In their pure state, diamonds are colorless. Colors in diamond originate from defects and impurities. Yellow and brown are the most common colored diamonds. In order of rarity, yellow diamond is followed by brown, colorless, then by blue, green, black, pink, orange, purple, and red.

Then of course there is notoriously cursed "Hope Diamond". Described as the "blue of the most beautiful blue sapphire", the stone exhibits an unusually intense and strongly colored type of luminescence:after exposure to short-wave ultraviolet light, the diamond produces a brilliant red phosphorescence ('glow-in-the-dark' effect) that persists for some time after the light source has been switched off, and this strange quality may have helped fuel "its reputation of being cursed."

Photo credit: David Bjorgen

7. Who was cecil Rhodes and Why should I know De Beers?

De Beers, founded by cecil Rhodes single-handedly made the diamond industry what it is today. 18 years old Rhodes came to Kimberley (South Africa) in 1870 and in next twenty years became the sole owner of all diamond mining operations in the country. Rhodes built De Beers into a diamond cartel which is something like "single-channel marketing" in partnership with the London-based Diamond Syndicate. Company used several methods to exercise this control over the market. In the early days, De Beers controlled about 90% of the world's diamond supply. Today, its monopoly on diamonds has been significantly reduced. Though it is still one of the leading company.

Photo credit: Flowcomm

8. How rare are diamonds?

It can't be proven but it's believed that diamonds are not as rare they are made to look. While its extremely laborious work to extract it (to produce a single one-carat diamond, 250 tons of earth will be mined), diamonds are not rare economically. But companies create artificial scarcity to maintain high prices. They stockpile and sell in small quantities.

9. Why diamond is not an investment?

Couple of years back when I wanted to invest money on jewellery, my first choice was diamonds but I was told that they don't have good resale value. Apparently unlike gold, market for diamond is not liquid and hence are depreciating asset. I was lost.

But there is an alternative theory, it is estimated that the public holds about 500 million carats of gem diamonds - if a significant portion of the public begins selling, then the price of diamond would crash down. To prevent this from happening, the diamond industry spent a huge sum in making diamonds "heirloom" properties to be passed down for generations, keeping the price of diamond artificially high (for more details click here)

Hmm..somehow now it all makes a lot more sense.

10. Blood diamonds

It's a term used for a diamond mined in a war zone and used to finance rebellious group or any such warlord activities.Predominantly from the regions of Angola, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone. Conflict diamonds have funded devastating civil wars in Africa, and still contribute to extreme violence, worker exploitation, and environmental devastation. For those who wants to dwell deeper watch " Blood Diamond" (others can watch it for Leonardo DiCaprio!)

Photo credit: Brian Harrington Spier

Diamonds are near perfect but they did take 1 billion years to reach that state. Whether one opts to buy diamond or not is their personal choice but somehow its dazzling beauty is increased ten fold when you know more about its true nature.

“For a life where diamonds really are forever” - Bethany Anne Miller