Review of 2013 Film ‘The Ship of Theseus’, a ‘Hinglish’ Film Directed by Anand Gandhi

The Ship of Theseus is a painstakingly dialectical observation of the transient human forms journeying in the sphere of reality. It examines the paradoxes in arguments about human beliefs, values and ideologies, exploring through the cave of space and time to find answers in the arcane light of truth. The film is deep, sometimes dense enough to put you into a storm of confusion, yet its mysterious powers to stimulate your mind into questioning the basis of existence is nevertheless a remarkable feat for writer-director Anand Gandhi. It’s all the more astonishing to know that Ship of Theseus is Gandhi’s debut feature film, and wait it you hear the biggest shocker – this work comes from the same man who began the incredibly contrived ‘evil mother-in-law vs. saintly daughter-in-law’ tradition in Indian television soaps such as ‘Kyuunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (Because the mother-in-law was once a daughter-in-law herself)’ and ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii (Story of Every Home)’ more than a decade ago.

This man has completed his journey, his eight-year pilgrimage at last (he conceived his idea in 2005, after making two short films ‘Right Here Right Now’ in 2003 and ‘Continuum’ in 2005) and he has found some answers, which he brings to the world in the form of Ship of Theseus. His search is probably still on, yet this film is as good as it gets.

Deconstructing the mighty body of Ship of Theseus to its bare bones would require considerable expertise (missing Mr. Ebert) and hence pardon me if my attempt falls short. There are three characters embarking on three different journeys, catalyzed by the coaxial theme of organ transplantation. The transplantation acts as the physical manifestation of the Plutarchian paradox, which questions that ‘if all the parts of a ship are replaced plank by plank and the same were used to build a new ship, then would the new ship remain the same ship as before?’.

Aliya Kamal, a visually impaired photographer whose perception of beauty and art is developed through touch and sounds in the absence of images, seeks for perfection in her pictures and often rejects photos her boyfriend finds great, leading to arguments between the couple. Her sixth sense of using sound (plus her boyfriend and the always reliable editing software) as her guide to capture delightful visual moments is threatened by her decision to go ahead with a cornea transplant to restore her eyesight. She shall realize that there’s no such thing as a ‘swan cart’, an image she had designed inside her head for God knows what.

Maitreya, the second character, is an English-speaking erudite (and atheist) monk who fights for noble causes such prevention of animal cruelty during cosmetic and medicinal testing. He journeys on foot to fast track court (which is consistently sluggish) and lets his Parsi lawyer fight on his behalf (the defense lawyer meanwhile rubbishes the case as ‘a sentimental petition’, and door to door begging for alms. When his protégé Chavarka notices him saving a centipede from being squashed under somebody’s foot and letting it go on top of a leaf, he jokes that ‘the centipede may have been trying to commit suicide and now being saved, would have find his path to nirvana’; there is constant friendly arguments between the two revolving generally around the idea of moksha or enlightenment.

Soon, it is found that Maitreya has liver cirrhosis and the ailing monk, whose staunch refusal to touch any object made at the expense of torturing animals, refuses to undergo a transplant which would also involve taking dozens of such pills. He withdraws into seclusion, and ends up punishing his own body; for someone who believes so much in karma (what goes around comes around), God knows what sin did the saint commit to suffer so much pain.

Navin, the third character, is a money-minded stockbroker who busies himself in the world of shares and stocks even when he is admitted to the hospital. Once released, he goes home where his art-loving grandmother (whom he calls ‘ajji’, which means grandmother in Marathi) scolds him for showing little interest in art and social matters. When she is admitted to the hospital after fracturing her leg, she arranges a Rajasthani musician to sing folk tunes for her and her friends inside the hospital; Navin meanwhile fidgets around, trying to find a way to escape. The two have an argument later, where Navin accuses her of being intolerant towards his attitude of living, which is to luxuriate in material comfort and yet have basic human compassion. When he learns that a poor man’s kidney was stolen a day before he got his own kidney, he fears he might have the man’s kidney and searches for the true owner. God knows what drives him all the way to Stockholm in search of the new owner.

Anand Gandhi captains his Titanic Ship along its course, and it remains totally unhampered by any stupid icebergs. The easy way to look at this movie is that it’s about organ donation, but on closer look, you’ll see the theme of ‘reconfiguration of human psyche by external forces’ shining through. The film’s structure is so massive, it’s themes so multitudinous, that you don’t feel sure at times whether you are moving in the direction the film intends you to move. My advice for those who can’t understand everything would be to leave it to God and just understand what’s easier for your mind to comprehend. Subsequent viewings will reveal further answers.

The cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is extremely fluid, and Gandhi allows the camera to remain static over long periods of time. That’s where our actors, Aida El-Kashef, Neeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah (also the producer), do all the excellent visual communication, bringing an emotional intensity which gives these philosophical concepts a simpler, human form of expression. There’s some powerful imagery here that draws our focus to the grand scheme of things. We begin to question ourselves then, wondering “God knows why… ?”. Our journey begins.

Source by Sashank Krishna Kini

New Book Teaches Intentional Living Through Releasing Resistance

Paige Elizabeth’s new book Leading an Intentional Life is a straightforward, refreshing, and at times, personal look at how to overcome your pain, defeat your resistance to positive change, and ultimately, find peace with yourself and those around you.

Paige does a fabulous job of getting right to the heart of the matter by not holding back in the honesty department. As a life coach, she has helped many clients change by making them realize their role in the equation to getting what they want. For example, early in the book, she talks about a client who described the perfect man she wanted to find. Paige replied, “So, you want a Ferrari? Can you drive a stick shift?” When the client didn’t understand, Paige added, “You want Mr. Perfect, but would you know how to react to his generosity? Would you be what he needed?”

Sometimes we are not ready for what we want. Drawing on psychology and the Law of Attraction, Paige explains that in order to become ready, we have to overcome our ego and its fear of change. We have to resist resistance before we can allow what we want to manifest. Manifesting is not easy, but, as Paige explains, where most people go wrong in trying to manifest is in not becoming people who are ready to receive what they want. Lottery winners are a perfect example. They want the money, but when they get it, they don’t know how to handle it, so they end up losing it.

Many things get in our way of leading an intentional life. One of them is focusing on what others want rather than what we want. Paige states, “People will try to usurp your power, but no one should take charge of your destiny.” Unfortunately, sometimes the person usurping our power is us, or at least we play a role in the usurping. One of my favorite stories in the book illustrates this point. Paige gave an assignment to a client who didn’t know how to say no. The assignment was to say no to everyone for the next month no matter whether she wanted to do what was asked of her or not. When the client told Paige she would follow her advice, Paige shouted at her to tell her no instead. Talk about a way to reinforce an idea. The client got it after that.

As a student and teacher of yoga, Paige also believes in karma and brings it into the discussion, showing how it is similar to the Law of Attraction. She quotes a friend who told her, “People are born with their own contracts. You cannot save them from their karma or rob them of their dharma. Only they can do that.” Paige defines karma as “beliefs, feelings, and thoughts,” and dharma as “purpose.” We cannot fix anyone because they are in their own karma. But we can seek to raise our own state of vibration to improve our situation. That said, we can’t go from depression to joy overnight. We have to start where we are, in our default state, and work on raising our vibration gradually.

We also have to watch out for addictions that hold us back. Yes, there are addictions like drugs-Paige understands that because she lost her brother to drugs-but there are also feelings that can become addictions. Trying to be on a joy high is an example-and it can become exhausting. Constantly seeking emotional release is another. Paige shares how at one point she cried a lot until she realized she had become addicted to crying. We cry because it provides release to us, but Paige cautions that when doing something drains your energy, it is not release but addiction.

One other area Paige addresses concerning intention that personally frustrates me is people who say “I don’t know” or can’t make decisions. Paige gives an example of a couple trying to decide where to go to eat, both saying, “I don’t know where I want to go,” and eventually ending up eating where neither wants to. (I’ve known a lot of people like this.) But not knowing isn’t just about food. Not knowing can mean not knowing what you want to do with your career or your life. Paige calls “I don’t know” a cop-out-the fear of doing the work to figure it out and the fear of making a wrong decision. She encourages people to start where they are and just decide what they do or don’t like. If they only make mistakes or just keep learning what they don’t like, that’s okay because it is bringing them closer to what they do like.

Many of us also use “I don’t know” because, as Paige says, “Most of us exist in the people-pleasing gray. Black and white thinkers are the minority. The struggle is with getting clear in your direction, instead of wondering why you’re not happy.” Paige offers advice to help us achieve that clarity so we can then have set intentions for what we want and pursue them. We also have to commit to doing the work. We can’t try something for two days and then give up because it’s not working. We have to commit to the long haul. She also warns us there will be lulls, but-and I love this because I’ve seen how true it is in my own life-we have to see the lull as a test, asking us if we really want what we say we want. Paige states, “Every single time there has been a lull, it has proceeded a breakthrough of success. Meaning, don’t tell yourself the lull is what you manifested. No, the lull is the way through to what you are manifesting.”

Ultimately, what all this advice adds up to is learning self-love. Once we learn self-love, we also learn how to love others for who they are. And we learn that we don’t need love from others. Paige states, “It’s a powerful place not to need someone else. The compulsion to be perpetually in a relationship drops off in the place of self-love. A person with self-love realizes that they will never find love. The difference is that a person with self-love will be compelled to give love, not seek it. Real love is not concerned with what it can get. Real love is concerned with what it can give.”

None of the steps Paige offers toward leading an intentional life are easy to take, but Paige convinces us they are all doable. She proves it by sharing her own traumatic story that led her to knowing these things to be true. I also know, from personal experience, they are true. I hope you will take this journey with Paige toward leading an intentional life. You won’t be the same afterwards, but you will become more truly the person you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let fear stop you. It’s not as scary as you may think.

Source by Tyler Tichelaar

What Are Major and Minor Chakras?

Earlier I spoke about the CHAKRAS or Energy points in the body and how they affect your life. I just scratched the surface. So if you remember there are 12 Major chakras in the body and I say “major” because there are a lot of “minor chakras” like the Temple chakras, elbow chakras, 4 Sinus chakras etc.

If you regularly clean out your Major chakras then usually the Minor chakras get cleansed too as they are connected to the corresponding Major chakras. But if you have a severe Migraine for instance then you will have to work on the 4 Sinus minor chakras as well as the 12 major ones too!

The chakras from the Crown right up to the Spleen are concerned with Spirituality and are known as the “upper chakras”. The chakras below that from the “navel to the “Sole” are the “Lower chakras”. These are primarily concerned with Material things.

The Chakras which get most congested are the SOLAR PLEXUS and the HEART. This is because other people can connect to you through these chakras and give you negativity and you feel a “bad vibe.” Your Solar Plexus chakras get congested with lust, anger, jealousy, greed, hatred etc and these are called BASE EMOTIONS. Your heart chakras get congested with “Authorized and unauthorized heart Chords”. People who want to do you harm intentionally and unintentionally connect to you through your heart chakras and you feel heavy in your chest or you get a dull headache.

Before you sleep every night say the following sentence thrice “In the name of the Divine I cut all my authorized and unauthorized chords now.”

Later I will get into much detail on how to cleanse your Chakras on a regular basis and how to combine this with EFT.

Just briefly i would like to tell you th Colors we use to “cleanse”. The color “light whitish green” is the color used for cleansing negative energy. This is the color of Grass and in Pranic healing we believe that the more subtle the color the stronger the effect and also we believe that strong ‘full” colors can cause damage to the fragile energy system and energy points in the body. I, myself had a bad experience in my early days as a healer when i went o another healer for a session and she used “full strong colors like RED and GOLD on me and i ended up feeling worse and having migraines and stomach upsets. I then sought my own MENTOR’S advice and he told me that the colors HAVE TO BE MIXED WITH WHITE and then used for healing.

Stay Strong and beautiful!

Source by Avril Quadros

Studying Abroad: Admission of International Students in India

India might not have been the first country to spring to mind when considering higher education overseas, but its education is quickly making a name for itself. According to the latest Open Doors annual survey by the United States’ International Institute of Education, the number of US students in India has surged by 44%, while the number of Indian students – who account for one of the largest groups of international students in the States – in the US has fallen by 1% to 104,000. Are Indian freshmen forsaking the West to go to college at home? If they are, they would be doing so for good reason.

India – the world’s second largest education network, with 343 universities and 17,000 colleges – offers a huge variety of courses spanning the undergraduates, postgraduate, doctorate, skill-based and vocational levels. Distance learning is also an extremely viable option: there are 66 distance learning institutions functioning in 60 universities and 11 open universities.

Education is valued very highly and this is reflected in the quality of teaching and in the courses and faculties themselves. The institutions are respected internationally. Many academics who have studied in the top ranking universities in the United States and United Kingdom are either returning or relocating to India due to the prestige of education. As a result, India has become an innovation hub with Multinational Corporations such as General Electric, IBM and Daimler establishing Research and Development centres in major cities.

India’s GDP is growing rapidly. Home industries are already well established – in 2010 Tata Motors became the world’s first automobile company to make a $2000 car. The demand for educated employees will continue to rise and with it, the standard of education is only set to increase. Obtaining higher education qualifications here will put graduates in an ideal position to begin their careers.

Compared to the Americas and Europe living and education costs are low. This includes course fees, food, accommodation and even luxurious extras such as clothes, alcohol and beauty treatments. India’s large cities offer all the leisure activities and distractions international students would expect from their home countries.

The country is a popular tourist and backpacker destination and there exist several budget airlines offering a fantastic opportunity to explore the subcontinent with ease. As the largest English speaking population in the world, there is no language barrier to contend with. Any international student arriving in India is assured a warm and friendly welcome from its people. India is unlike any other country on earth, closer to a continent in terms of size and in the variety of culture, landscape and people.

Eligibility of admission: Foreign students and Non Resident Indians

International students must have completed a minimum of 12 years schooling prior to being admitted to a higher education institute.

International students already studying at schools in India can submit their applications pending their Higher Secondary (10 + 2) or equivalent examination results. Upon obtaining their marks sheet, students should send results within 10 days to: Students Cell, Room No. 1009, Ministry of External Affairs. Akbar Bhavan. New Delhi.

Direct admission of international students to Engineering, Medical (MBBS), Dental (BDS) or any other medical course offered by public institutions is not permitted.

International students can seek university admission to undergraduate courses in Engineering, Medicine (MBBS) and Dentistry (BDS) in private colleges. The number of NRI / PIO /Foreign students is limited to a quota. Remaining places are filled by Indian students.

For students from developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where facilities for medical degrees are either inadequate or unavailable, a limited number of places exist in the MBBS, BDS courses. The exact number and country-based allocation varies annually. Students applying for these places are required to submit their application through the Indian missions abroad or through the diplomatic missions of the respective countries in India.

The academic year in India starts in July/August. All the international students seeking admission to schools, colleges & universities in India are advised to apply well in advance.

Source by Dhiraj Sharma

An Interview with Cape Cod Author Bernard Cornwell

HIS BIO: Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944, an illegitimate ‘war baby’ whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted as an infant and raised in Essex by a family belonging to a religious sect (now extinct) called The Peculiar People. They forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dancing, television and conventional medicine. After an unhappy childhood, he escaped to London University, worked briefly as a teacher after graduation, and then joined BBC television. He started as a researcher in the Nationwide programme and

eventually worked his way up to Head of Current Affairs for BBC in Northern Ireland, and became editor of Thames TV’s News division. It was while working in Belfast that he met his wife, Judy, a visiting American, for whom he moved to the United States.

As a teenager, Bernard loved the Hornblower novels by C. S. Forester and had

always dreamed of writing. When he and Judy first met in 1980, Judy was unable to

live in England for family reasons so Bernard moved to America where he was

refused a Green Card. It was then he decided to act upon his dream and do

something which did not need the government’s permission – to write a novel. He

and Judy are still married and Bernard is now an American citizen.

Bernard Cornwell has since published over 40 books, most of them translated into

more than a dozen languages. The Sharpe series, of which there are now twenty,

was made into a TV series by Carlton Television, and shown in the US on

Masterpiece Theatre. The latest, Sharpe’s Escape, is set at the beginning of the

Peninsular War and, like the rest, is firmly grounded in real history. He is also the

author of the acclaimed Arthur books, The Warlord Chronicles; of the Starbuck

Chronicles, set during the American Civil War, and of the Grail Quest Series, tales of

the 14th Century. He has also written Stonehenge, 2000 BC; Gallows Thief,

Redcoat, which is about the American Revolution; and five contemporary sailing

thrillers. He lives and writes from his home in Chatham, Cape Cod.

-Christopher Seufert Interviews Bernard Cornwell-

Christopher Seufert: I was astounded to find that you’ve sold over 12,000,000

copies world-wide of the Sharpe Series, which is just a fraction of your catalog.

Furthermore, the Boston Globe recently stated that you were perhaps ‘the greatest

writer of historical novels today.” Are you a success by your own standard?

Bernard Cornwell: I’m a success inasmuch that I enjoy my life, which is an

enormous blessing and that doesn’t depend on commercial success (though I

wouldn’t be such a fool as to deny that it helps). What I mean by that is that the

point of life, as I see it, is not to write books or scale mountains or sail oceans, but

to achieve happiness, and preferably an unselfish happiness. It just so happens that

I write books, and I’m amazingly lucky that the books sell well all across the world,

but even the biggest financial success will not compensate for an ill-lived life. I’m

fortunate that the books sell, but even more fortunate to live in Chatham, to be very

happily married and to have, on the whole, a fairly clear conscience. Anyone who

claims to have an entirely clear conscience is almost certainly a bore.

CS: The Boston Globe also pointed to the irony that “There are places where

Bernard Cornwell is a household name. His adopted home here on Cape Cod isn’t

one of them.” I get the sense that they’re correct, that you do in fact walk the streets

of Chatham in general anonymity, as opposed to similarly successful Chatham

residents. Would you say this is true?

BC: Absolutely true, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Mind you, even in places

where I’m much better known, I walk in anonymity, mainly because folks know

authors’ names, but not their faces. I did a TV series for the British History Channel

a few years ago and for a few weeks afterwards I was accosted by folk in Britain

wanting to talk, which was flattering, but the memory faded and blessed anonymity


CS: Sharpe’s Havoc, published in 2003, was the first of your many novels to reach

the New York Times Best Seller list here in the U.S. Meanwhile in Britain, you’ve

already had many best sellers, including the Sharpe series going to television. To

what do you attribute this discrepancy? Do you see your popularity in the United

States increasing with your increasing publication of stories based on American


BC: The discrepancy is entirely based, I think, on the fact that I write best when I’m

writing about what I know, and that is British history. And though I’ve lived in the

States for over 25 years and am now an American citizen, I still hear British voices in

my head. Writing British dialogue is easy, writing American is harder, and I feel

much more confident writing about Brits. So the books have a greater appeal to a

British audience, but that hasn’t stopped them making best-seller lists in places like

Brazil, Japan and at least a dozen other countries. In the end their appeal is not

necessarily the history, but the quality of the story-telling, and a good story

transcends national boundaries. I still have to crack the French market, though that

isn’t entirely surprising considering that the Sharpe novels are endless tales of

French defeat.

CS: You’ve been a resident of Chatham for some years now. When you moved here,

as the story goes, you didn’t have a work permit and so, began writing for a living.

Were you surprised that it worked out as that practical a solution? I’d imagine many

who came to that solution would end up back in England in 6 months.

BC: I was astonished! Actually I moved to New Jersey in 1980 and didn’t discover

Chatham until 1990, by which time the books were selling, but it was still a daft

decision, based solely on love. Judy couldn’t move to Britain for family reasons, so I

had to come to the States, and the U.S. government wouldn’t give me a Green Card,

so I airily told her I’d write a book. Well, it worked, and I’m still here, and so’s she,

and ain’t we lucky? Looking back, of course, it was irresponsible, mad, forlorn,

idiotic, but if you don’t take chances then you’ll never have a winning hand, and I’ve

no regrets. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if the first book had not

sold . . . doesn’t bear thinking about, but I suppose we’d have made it work


CS: Prior to 1980 you were a television producer with the BBC. Do you miss working

in that medium? Do you find there’s a simplicity to writing that wasn’t there

previously in your work as a television producer?

BC: I don’t miss it at all. Television is a young person’s medium. I had ten great

years in it, had an enormous amount of fun, travelled all over the world, and got

out. And yes, there’s a simplicity to writing books because you’re not a member of a

team, so you make all the decisions yourself instead of deferring to a committee. I

get asked to appear on television – at the moment I have two invitations from Britain

to present long military history series, but I’m not sure whether I really want to do it

– I fear the seduction of vanity, but recognise that it would help sell books – so I

dunno what I shall do.

CS: Do you have a local writing community or fellow writers that you look to for

support and advice?

BC: Writing is a solitary occupation. If you can’t do it on your own then you

probably can’t do it. So no, no local writing community. At risk of sounding foully

pompous I think that writers’ groups are probably very useful at the beginning of a

writing career. Not that I’ve ever been in such a group and the only time I was ever

invited to one I left in disgust because they were pushing the idea of ‘writing as


CS: Did you have a writing mentor? Do you mentor others here?

BC: I don’t have a mentor. I have a terrific, marvellous, unbelievably helpful editor in

London and she has the biggest influence, but even so we disagree as much as we

agree. I’ll happily mentor anyone who wants mentoring, and most of that goes on by

internet rather than face to face. The one thing I will not do is read other peoples’

unpublished work. The reason for that is that it doesn’t help. I’m not in a position to

publish them or act as an agent for them, so instead I put them in touch with an

agent whose job is to read unpublished work. I know that sounds churlish, but right

now, on my desk, there are four books waiting to be read whose publishers want me

to give them a ‘puff’, two books I’m reviewing for newspapers in London, one book I

desperately need to read for research, and a couple more for pleasure, so I simply

don’t have time to read more. Agents will read unpublished work because they

might make money, and that’s their job. It isn’t mine.

CS: You’ve written an admirable and ungodly number of books, about forty I read in

my pre-interview research, which makes almost two books a year. I’m surprised that

your publisher can handle that kind of output, frankly. What is their overall strategy

and are they able to put the time and attention into it that each book deserves?

BC: So far it’s 43 books in 25 years. Publishers don’t mind! Publishers like

‘established’ authors because they can pretty much anticipate sales and therefore

cashflow in an otherwise uncertain industry. The strategy differs from place to place

– in London we produce a book for the Christmas market (i.e. published in October),

while New York prefers to wait for the New Year when a book has a greater chance

of making the New York Times list. If there’s a second book then we put it out in

April and these days that’s almost always a Sharpe novel. Paperback launches are

usually in early summer (to get the vacation market) and have a lighter coloured

jacket than the Christmas version – and so it goes on. But publishers are in the

business of making profits, so they love getting two books a year. They’d have three

if they could.

CS: How do you approach the work of writing?

BC: With unabandoned pleasure. It’s fun. I sit down every day and tell stories. Some

folk would kill to get that chance.

CS: What does a typical writing day look like for you, from waking to turning in at

night, and how does it compare to a conventional 9 to 5 job?

BC: I start early – usually by 5 am, and work through to 5 pm, with breaks for

lunch, boring exercise, etc etc. But it’s usually a full day. It’s better than 9 to 5

because I’m my own boss so I can take off when I want to, and the dress code is

non-existent and the commute is terrific. I enjoy it, so there’s no discipline involved,

and I’m not a subscriber to the idea of ‘writer’s block’, or rather I subscribe to the

notion that on the day a nurse can telephone a hospital and be excused work on the

grounds of ‘nurse’s block’ is the day I’ll start suffering from writer’s block. I

volunteered for this life, wanted it and am not going to bitch about it now that I’ve

got it. Of course some days are easier than others, but my worst day is better than

being in most humdrum occupations.

CS: How long does it take you to write a typical novel, including research, writing

and editing time?

BC: Research is a lifelong occupation so it’s hard to factor it in, but I reckon most

books take 5 months from start to finish.

CS: Does your wife get involved in your writing and research trips or is she sick to

death of it by now?

BC: She likes the research trips . . .who wouldn’t? Spain, Portugal, India . . lots of

the English countryside. Other than that she doesn’t get involved, but I don’t think

I’d survive as a writer without her. She has a busy time as a yoga teacher and

hospice volunteer and doesn’t want to get involved with the writing which is, I have

to keep stressing this, a solitary vice.

CS: Your books are successful enough now to give you the freedom to essentially

do what you want. Do you see yourself giving less time to writing in the future?

BC: I’d like to cut it down to three books in two years instead of two a year – but

whether that’ll happen I don’t know. I took time off last year to sail the Atlantic, and

if I got more opportunities for blue-water cruising I might take them. Not sure.

CS: In addition to the books you’ve already published, I’d imagine you have many

more that are in various stages or other of completion. Is this true or do you tackle

one book at a time, research it, write it, publish it, and move on?

BC: One book at a time . . though I’m usually doing the research for others while I’m

writing, but that sort of research is fairly desultory and I like to stick to the book

being written – and writing a book concentrates the mind so the research is more

productive. Then you start another book and suddenly the galley proofs of the last

one come in and you have to wrench your attention away from what you’re writing

and try to remember what you were thinking when you wrote the previous one.

CS: After the great success of your Sharpe series on British television, do you have

any more novels that are being considered for television series or films?

BC: I think they’ve all been optioned – but whether any will actually be made? I

doubt it, and certainly don’t lose sleep over it.

CS: Do you take vacations or do you find that your book tours and historical

research give you enough travel?

BC: Book tours and research provide a lot of travel – too much, I sometimes think,

but we do take vacations. Judy is inordinately fond of the Far East so we try to go

there every couple of years, and I make a pilgrimage to England every rugby season.

I’d like to make a similar pilgrimage in the cricket season, but it coincides with the

sailing season on the Cape and sailing wins every time.

CS: Do you ever get sick of working in your office, grab your notebook and hit a


BC: No, never. Not sure what I’d so with a notebook other than swat flies. If I want a

break I’d rather go down to Stage Harbor and talk boats.

CS: Where’s your favorite place in Chatham to depressurize?

BC: Stage Harbor and adjacent waters. We have a gaff-rigged topsail cutter, which

sounds much grander than she really is, but she’s exquisitely beautiful and

shamefully slow and we spend a lot of time aboard when we can. But there’s no

better place to relax.

CS: How do you celebrate a novel’s completion?

BC: Not sure I do any more, other than a general feeling of relief modified by the

thought that another one will have to be started soon. I’ll probably have an Irish


CS: I haven’t seen much in your past interviews about the production of your audio

books, which I shamefully happen to really like. Are you involved in the production

of those as well?

BC: Not in the slightest.

CS: Why didn’t you narrate the audio books yourself? I would think actor Sean

Bean, who played Richard Sharpe so dynamically on television would also be in the


BC: Sean did narrate some of the earlier ones, but I imagine his fee has become too

steep for the producers, or perhaps he doesn’t enjoy doing it. I’ve never been asked

to do it, and am not sure I’d want to.

CS: I’ve read that there may be a new productions of your Sharpe book series

coming to television and that you’re one of the producers. Is that looking like it will


BC: It looks as though they’ll be filming in India this winter, but it isn’t guaranteed.

Say 95% certain?? I’m definitely NOT one of the producers, and don’t want to be. I

know nothing about producing TV drama and any involvement on my part is liable

to prove an obstacle to the producers, so I prefer to be a cheerleader and let them

get on with it.

CS: Do you like living in Chatham?

BC: I love living in Chatham. It’s a huge privilege and a constant pleasure, and I

don’t want to live anywhere else, and probably won’t.

CS: Any plans to have a book set right here, somewhere in the rough-and-tumble

maritime history of Chatham? The Monomoy Lifesavers had some pretty charismatic

characters and of course, the British were in our harbors in both wars.

BC: Probably not, but it’s dangerous to say never. There are some terrific books

already about Chatham – I especially love the stories by Rose Connors – but I’m best

known for military history fiction and it’s probably wise to stick to that and let Rose

write Chatham’s portrait.

Source by Christopher Seufert

Real Heroes of India

Here are two inspiring Indian who made the country proud:-

1. Born in a Dalit Mahar family he was considered impure; wasn’t allowed to worship in temples; wasn’t permitted to drink from the same well, drink from the same cup in tea stall or wear shoes in the presence of an upper caste, refrained from getting an education and often humiliated and ill-treated by high caste community. Despite all the challenges and difficulties, he was the FIRST PERSON from his caste to get a college degree in India. He later attended the London School of Economics and the Columbia University in the US for further studies and become the FIRST Law Minister of the government of India in 1947.

He was an Indian jurist, social reformer, politician, orator, Buddhist activist, writer, philosopher, economist, scholar and editor who fought for the rights of the ‘untouchable’ caste, opposed social discrimination, played an instrumental role in India’s Independence movement, bought labour reforms, fought for women rights and introduced dearness allowances, leave allowances, employee insurance, and medical leaves for workers. Yes, you guessed it right… he is Father of Indian Constitution Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Why is he a HERO?: – He introduced a system of reservation of jobs for the members of ‘untouchables’ now known as scheduled caste and scheduled tribes in schools, colleges, and civil service for which he arguable gained wide respect of others for raising voice against injustice with people of backward class.

Life lessons- Stop playing the victim game. Be a master of your destiny.

2. Way back in the 1970s working in a male-dominated field like Indian Police Service (IPS) was a challenging task but he broke the stereotypes and earned a niche for herself in this unconventional profession. Yes, she is the FIRST and highest woman ranking female IPS officer and FIRST Indian to be appointed United Nation’s civilian police advisor in the Department of Peacekeeping operations Dr. Kiran Bedi.

In 1972, Dr. Bedi joined IPS services after which she served as Deputy Inspector General of Police in Mizoram, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor in Chandigarh, Traffic commissioner of New Delhi, Inspector General in Tihar Jail and Deputy General of Narcotics Control Bureau. During her tenure of more than four decades, her most valuable contribution was while serving as Inspector General of Tihar Jail of Delhi (one of the toughest jails in Asia) where she bought several reforms for the prisoners including music meditation, yoga, sports, prayers education at all levels, art and craft, festival celebration, holistic medicine and care for children for which she was facilitated with Raman Magsaysay award in 1994.

Why is she a HERO?: – In traditionally male-dominated career she faced enormous challenges’ like societal disbelief, trust in woman’s leadership skills, high stress, cultural expectations and many more, however; she not just excelled in her career but moved up faster than others thereby setting an example for many other females to follow.

Life lesson- What makes you different makes you beautiful. Trust yourself and your abilities.

Source by Rupal Jain

Chocolate Is a Gift for Body, Mind and Spirit

Chocolate can be a gift for body, mind and spirit – if used in moderation and meditatively. Americans’ love affair with chocolate tallies an astounding 3 billion pounds per year.

Given as a token of love on Valentine’s Day, it even loves us back – providing beneficial nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium in addition to vitamins A, E and other antioxidants, dispelling our bad moods and literally providing food for thought by renewing our spirits and launching our meditations.

Dark chocolate, with its higher percentage of cocoa solids and the flavanols and antioxidants they contain, is particularly correlated with improvements in joint and arterial health and brain function, and lowering of hypertension and pre-menstrual tension. Chocolate has also been found to increase the level of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter associated with lifting depression. Eating chocolate meditatively can balance our heart chakras, opening us up to greater love and compassion.

To test the theory that chocolate enhances mood, a study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, with students consuming the actual product vs. pills containing stimulants found in chocolate. The real product provided the best results, suggesting that it is not the chemical ingredients in chocolate that provide the euphoria, but the sensory experience… the delicious taste, seductive smell and silky smoothness. The researchers concluded that perhaps the mood-enhancing chemicals are just the icing on the cake.

Chocolate is a product derived from the fruit of the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao that means “food of the gods.” This tree evolved in the wild in South America where the Aztecs, Mayans and other ancient civilizations used the roasted cacao bean to make a bitter drink that was considered sacred.

Today, chocolate comes in many varieties, most of them sweetened to make it the candy of choice. Holistically, chocolate can be seen as a symbol of the sweetness of life and enjoying it can remind us that love is what satisfies us the most. By paying attention to the things we love, and appreciating those we love, we can powerfully design our lives around what fulfills us and gives our lives meaning. In this perspective, chocolate is to the soul what a massage is to the body.

Visit Chocolate Therapy for a meditation you can do in the time it takes to eat a piece of chocolate.

Source by Becca Chopra

Raising Your Spirits – Things to Do to Lift Your Mood

In this article I am not talking about clinical depression, as medical advice should always be sought if you are truly depressed. I am talking about low moods within the normal range of emotions which everyone experiences at some time, and which you can do something about.

There are many ways to lift your mood, ranging from some simple quick fixes such as listening to the right music, through to developing a new way of looking at life.

For an easy mood lifter, get busy. Physical exercise can work like magic. A good walk or bike ride in the fresh air, swimming, a round of golf, a gym, yoga or pilates session are all likely to make us happier. You can get busy at home too, as gardening, clearing out a wardrobe, cleaning the bathroom or washing the car work well too, so long as you don’t resent the activity as a chore. Focus on the use of muscle, lungs and coordination, and the fact your body is working, and you will find increased contentment.

If you are less able to get out and about, an activity such as writing, knitting, painting works well too. While the physical benefits are much reduced, the mental focus on achieving something worthwhile rather than on the cause of the low mood gives you a mental and emotional break and provides positive action and thought. I paint, take photographs and write, and I am always more cheerful the busier I am.

Volunteering is excellent. It may take a while to find a suitable activity or organization and to get your volunteering established, but I thoroughly recommend voluntary work. It gets you out of the house, doing something constructive, quite often helping people or improving the environment. Not only does this help you to look out to the world rather than in to your own problems, but you are being of real help, with the added bonus of meeting new people, and learning new things.

Which takes me to the benefits of learning something. This could be a regular class, where you learn a language, a skill to improve your employment prospects, or a craft, or it could be something you do at home. Find out what classes are available in your local area. However, it doesn’t have to be a class. Re-discover your local library, or use the internet to find inspiration. Learn to make your own pasta or bread, learn to knit, to grow plants, to repair furniture or fix your bike, and you are engrossed in a worthwhile activity with a worthwhile result.

In the longer term, there are things to think about that will help you to develop a more permanent positive mood.

Think about things in a positive way. By this I mean not focusing on the ‘poor me’ aspects of your situation, but on working out what is important to you. Look outward to try to gain more understanding of the world and your place in it. Find the value in the non-materialistic, and you are more likely to be in a good mood. Develop your inner life – your spirituality. How you do this will depend on your personal circumstances and interests, but focus on the aspects of life that don’t revolve around possessions and the need for money. Appreciate your family, friends, the natural world, making things and being involved in the community and you are more likely to be content. The alternative, craving material things, needing money to spend on clothes, expensive nights out and expensive holidays means you will be striving for things that don’t really matter and also living beyond your financial means. You are almost guaranteed to be miserable.

I will finish with two observations. Don’t think you are entitled to be happy, and that if you aren’t happy it is someone else’s fault. Happiness grows from within, and from leading a life that gives you fulfillment and the opportunity to grow as a person.

Choose your friends wisely. Cultivate friendships with those who have a healthy attitude to life, who are busy, happy with the simple things in life and who offer genuine friendship.

Source by Margaret Cranford

How To Perform Autofellatio for Men Interested in Giving Themselves Fellatio (Oral Stimulation)

Autofellatio is the method where a man is able to stimulate his own sexual organs with his mouth. All by himself. Men are not alone in this interesting form of sexual stimulation. Some women can utilize similar techniques to stimulate their vulva. In women this is known as autocunnilingus.

There are many approaches and methods of performing autofellatio. I’ll give a brief outline of what all is entailed to help men try this amazing form of self-sex.

1) Make sure you have a healthy enough spine and no contraindications to performing such tasks. Things like fractures in the spine, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and other physical problems may rule out autofellatio for some men. See a doctor to see if you have any problems that might interfere with autofellating.

2) Some form of preparatory warm up to help relax the body is always helpful. I don’t mean “warm up” like working out with weights or jogging around the block; but something like a very hot shower or bath will help relax the muscles of the body. This will help relax and limber you up and also clear your mind.

3) Comfortable settings are important. Something like a bed or a soft Yoga mat is preferred. Make sure you won’t be disturbed. You don’t want your sister walking in on you. That would really suck.

4) Now it’s just a manner of bending forward enough to reach your goal. Don’t ever push yourself and if you feel any strains in any muscles or in your back, then back off. There are many positions available. Some men get extra leverage by pulling up with their hands on their body. Some use a wall for support and leverage. However, leveraged stretches like this can really cause sprains, so if you are going to use leverage, going very, very easy.

That’s about it, actually. There’s really not much to it.

However, if you’re not used to this sort of thing, chances are you didn’t get very far. This is probably because of the lack of flexibility in your spine and associated joints. Practicing stretching, over time, will help men become more flexible. Joints and fascia can also be targeted to increase overall flexibility. There are many methods of simple therapy that can help men improve their spinal range-of-motion. Easy techniques men can do easily at home.

It’s important to take it easy at first. Monitor yourself and be patient in your quest.

Men who are interested in speeding up the process of autofellatio are encouraged to read the book YOGAFELLATIO. This book is very useful in helping men realize their autofellational goals in the shortest amount of time possible. This material is presented in an intelligent and concise manner.

Kimi Kalfino

Source by Kimi Kalfino

Official Alert: A Country Where Happiness Is More Important Than Wealth!

Bhutan suddenly shot to fame with the famous speech by their Prime Minister claiming that Bhutan is not only Carbon neutral, but Carbon negative. A time when our dear planet has sunk itself in tonnes of pollution, Bhutan is literally a breath of fresh air! Stunning Dzongs, monasteries and buildings that look right out of a film set… Bhutan is an impressive Kingdom. So without further ado let us spill beans about the country which measures its progress by Gross National Happiness (GNH) index… reallly!


THIMPU – Only capital city in the world without any traffic signals!

Wow!! And trust us this is not the only reason why Thimpu is interesting. In fact inspite of this fact it is fairly easy to travel and get around this pretty and petite capital of Bhutan. Thimpu gives you ample opportunities to soak in the culture of this beautiful country and the locals here are super friendly and approachable. Thimphu offers myriad attractions to visitor- there is National Folk Heritage Museum, National library, Zorig Chusum School of Traditional Arts for those who want to understand the history and rich culture of this place. A stroll around Norzin lam which is like a City Centre is also something you must not miss while here. Thimphu also offers a great local shopping experience at the famous Crafts market. Thinking souvenirs?

Where to Stay:

Thimphu being the capital city of Bhutan has plenty of choice to stay on your visit to Bhutan. Every type of hotel is available from luxury to budget. Our recommendations based on every budget are as follows:

Amankora by Amankora Groups (5 star)
Taj Tashi by Tata and Tashi Group (5 Star)
Druk Hotel (4 Star)
Hotel Norbuling (3 Star)
Hotel Dorji Elements

PARO… Where a monastery hangs on a cliff!

And you must have definitely seen the images of this famous landmark which is called Taktsang Monastery also known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery! Apart from the Monastery, Paro is a stunning valley in its own right for the nature lovers. Revel in the ancient air here at Drukgyel Dzong, a fortress that has stood the tests of time. Old, dilapidated but not forgotten! Paro also boasts of a National Museum that exhibits rare artefacts and photographs. The only International Airport in Bhutan is also located here thereby making it an important city and also a place of heavy tourist activity.

Where to Stay:

Like the Capital City, Paro also offers its guests a varied variety of stay options beginning from luxurious five stars to more pocket friendly resorts. Our picks are:

Uma Resort by Como Group (5 Star)
Amankora by Amankora Group (5 Star)
Heaven Resort (4 Star)
Tashi Namgay Resort (3 Star)
Hotel Metta Resort and Spa (3 Star)

TRONGSA… movie set of a place!

Trongsa is very popular with visitors in Bhutan and there is big reason to be. This place is dotted by many fortresses from older times but they are in a great shape. In fact Trongsa looks like a film set for those Shaolin and Kung Fu movies! These colourful fortresses and palaces nestled amidst misty mountain sides create a mystical atmosphere around Trongsa. Trongsa was once the seat of power over central and eastern regions. Both the first and second kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat and it is customary for the crown prince to serve as the Trongsa Penlop (“governor”) prior to ascending the throne.This place also has a number of guesthouses, restaurants and hotels owing to healthy influx of tourists. The most spectacular tourist sites here include Trongsa Dzong, Ta Dzong, Chökhor Raptse Dzong, Thruepang Palace, Kuenga Rabten Palace and Chendebji Chorten.

Where to Stay:

Most popular places to Stay at are:
Puenzi Guest House (3 Star)
Tashi Ninjay Guest House (3 Star)
Yangkhol Resoort (3 Star)
Chendebji Resort

WANGDUE PHODRANG… spectacular wildlife and the biggest Bhutanese Monastery

Sitting at a height of over 1300 meters (4265 ft), this picturesque district is home to the largest Monastery of Bhutan- Gangtey Gompa. Due to the height, Wangdue enjoys an ideal weather all through the year. It is also a part of Black Mountain Conservation Area because of its rich flora and fauna. For those who like to observe wildlife, Wangdue Phodrang has to be on top of the bucket list. Red fox, Sambar, Himalayan Black Deer, barking deer are some of the illustrious species found in these forest areas!

The other attractive place to offer spectacular scenic beauty to visitors here is Phobjikha Valley which is 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Wangdiphodrang. It is also simply referred as Gangtey. This valley is the habitat of rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes that roost there during their annual migrations. This valley also has interesting Home-stay options for tourists that entails living with a family to experience and learn about the way of life of local people including overnight stay in the households, local food and drinks, interaction with family members and participation in daily household chores such as cooking, milking of cow, making butter, cheese, feed livestock etc. Depending on the season, visitors may also have the opportunity to participate in gardening and farm activities including crop plantation, harvesting etc. For most of the foreign urban visitors, this experience will provide a glimpse of the ancestral way of life – life that is hard work, devoid of stress and sustainable.

Where to Stay:

Twenty homestays offer accommodation facility with each homestay having the capacity of two rooms for four persons. The households are equipped with the basic modern sanitation and bedroom facilities. Apart from this, there are normal hotels available too:

Amankora (5 star)
Hotel Dewachen
Gangtey Goenpa Lodge
Wangchuk Lodge


At dizzying heights ranging from 8530 ft to 14765 ft, Bum Thang is a trekkers’ paradise. Oh, and there is more to see around for those who are not much into walking and hiking. This magnificent place has its share of some of the oldest temples and monasteries in Bhutan. Bumthang consists of four main valleys Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Choekho. Bumthang is one of the most richly endowed districts in terms of historical and spiritual legacy. Famous burning lake is also located here. Scenic Ura valley is just about 48 kilometers(30 miles) from here and worth a visit to take a look at the village and countryside lifestyle and culture of Bhutan.

Where to Stay:

Some of the places to stay in Bumthang are:

Amankora (5 Star)
Jakar Vollage Lodge (4 Star)
Hotel Peling Hotel Ugyenling (3 Star)
Jakar View Guest House (3 Star)

PUNAKHA… former Capital and cradle to Red Rice!

Punakha served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1907 and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. Since it is the former Capital, it is but obvious that Punakha holds the spectacular Punakha Dzong (fortress and former power seat) whose location is on the equally mesmerising confluence of two rivers- Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. Punakha also boasts of breathtaking trekking routes and rich wildlife on the way. There is a unique suspension bridge which makes for a nice spot and various Dzongs or fortresses owing to the history of Punakha.

Where to Stay:

Amankora (5 Star)
Uma Resort (5 Star)
Meri Phuensum( 3 Star)
Damchen Resort

RUSH OF ADRENALINE… and some more!

After all that sightseeing, it is time to pump up the adrenaline with some great adventure activities Bhutan affords owing to its unique location, geography, climate and topography. Cycling is a great way of exploring Bhutan on its most stunning and rustic routes. However, keep in mind that the hilly terrain can pose its own difficulties on the climbs so make sure you are physically fit to endure them.

rush that you can experience here in Bhutan is amongst the rapids of its many rivers where white water rafting can bring in the sheer joy of rising and falling with swell! Kayaking is also a popular adventure that many enthusiasts indulge in. For more hardcore visitors with an appetite for bigger challenges and thrill, rock climbing around the rugged mountainous terrain of Bhutan is something of a must try. Some of our softie team members are more content with fishing and as they put it- great way to pass sometime while getting a great catch for dinner. Well I am not complaining, after all a hearty meal is what I would need after that rafting followed by rock climbing!

For wild life enthusiasts, Bhutan is like a treasure trough that brings in rich and exotic amalgamation of animal life and ample bird watching opportunities! And this you can combine with exploring lesser known countryside of Bhutan on its amazing trekking trails, that take anything from a few hours to quite some days to cover!


Bhutan is nothing less than an artist’s canvas with its vivid colours and absolutely vibrant culture. This is why witnessing their festivals is something you must not miss. These fests also present the best of opportunities to mingle with locals and observe their Buddhism influenced culture up close. Though Bhutanese calendar is full of events, there are two festivals that we have specifically picked:

Jomolahari Mountain Festival: This festival takes place at the base camp of Mt. Jomolhari and thus the name. The event showcases exhibitions, local cuisines, stirring performances by local communities and culture and traditions of the Dragon Kingdom.

Tshechu: Speciality of Tshechus is that they take place throughout the year in different regions of Bhutan and so you have strong chances of getting to see one! Oh wait… I forgot to tell what exactly they are. Tshechus are religious festivals that are celebrated with dance, music, fervour and faith. Mongar Tshechu is the most famous of all and is celebrated in Early November. However, local communities celebrate version of this festival throughout the year locally. So if you are interested in seeing one, check with your guide or tour agency beforehand to include one in your itinerary.

Where to Stay:

Usually one can stay at the nearest city or town where the festival is taking place. However, visitors can be provided tents and other necessary equipment for setting up camps by the tour operators at the festival site itself.

SPIRITUALITY… Discover the path to your soul

Have you ever observed how calming the presence of a statue of Buddha usually is? Now imagine going to a country that follows in his footsteps in its true spirit! When in Bhutan, getting in touch with your inner self is something you must look forward to. There are various meditation and wellness centres across this Himalayan Kingdom. The very views of snow capped peaks emerging from velvety lush act as enablers towards the path of spiritual wellness. These centres have techniques based upon concepts of peace, harmony and meditation.

Famous Wellness centres:

Como Shambhala Retreat at Uma Paro is a centre for peace, harmony and happiness
Terma Linca Resort, Thimphu
Ngoba Wellness Centre, Paro
The Mindfulness Yoga & Meditationn, Ziwaling Resort, Paro


Bhutan also has a number of hot spring trails around the country and the most famous of them are at Gasa by the banks of River Mo Chhu.. Locals believe that hot springs relieve them of many physical ailments. However, remember that the locals consider them holy and attach sentimental value to these hot springs. Apart from Gasa, other notable and famous springs are:

. Chubu Tshachu which is located alongside the banks of the Pho Chu River and is located within a day’s journey from Punakha town

. Dur Tshachu is located in Bumthang Dzongkhag in Central Bhutan, Dur Tshachu is famous for its medicinal value and is known for curing body aches. It is situated in the village of Dur

. Duenmang Tshachu is situated alongside the banks of Mangde Chu River, Duenmang Tshachu is quite popular amongst the Khengpa population who visit it regularly.

. Gelephu Tshachu in Southern Bhutan is a hot spring mainly frequented by the local residents. In winter, people from all over the Bhutan journey come here to cure themselves of diseases.


First and foremost, this is one country where red rice and Buckwheat are grown in abundance so make sure you taste the food made out of these ingredients because they are rare elsewhere. Also, Bhutanese love their spice and chillies so if you are little allergic to them then let your servers and hosts know!

So let us start with their National dish- Ema Datshi which is essentially gravy of Chillies and Cheese with variations where veggies are also added. Another delicacy of spicy minced Chicken served on rice called Jasha Maru is high on must-try food list here. Another Pork dish that is famous here isPhaksha paa which has pork simmered in stew with Raddish, Ginger and Chinese greens (Bok choy) garnished with dry pork in the end. Momos- dumplings stuffed with pork, beef or cabbage. Now to down it all, you can try their local beverages that range from tea to beer. And do try their local version of Beer/ Sake which is called Ara.
Highly recommended Places to eat in Thimphu: The Bhutanese, Bhutan Kitchen, Tandin, Ama, Yangkhil, and the restaurant of the National Folk Heritage Museum.

Source by Sarita Pandey