S P A C E

Notice the title of this blog… anything peculiar? You will find in between S, P, A, C and E there is a gap… more specifically, a space given in between each of the letters that form the word ‘Space’.  Four spaces in total. Applying the computer terminology, space is defined as the gap between any two characters or lines or paragraphs so on. And what do you know… there is a big space button on the keyboard to create that space & what is it called…? SPACE BAR! In fact, when you are documenting something, you will use the Tab options to set or fix the number of spaces required at the beginning of your paragraphs or table or a presentation.

Now, let’s get out of the computer… Oh wait… how far are you sitting from your monitor/screen? Forty centimeters, sixty centimeters… whatever your answer there must be comfortable space between you and the monitor right? Space is defined here as the distance between you & where the monitor is positioned.

In Non Verbal Communication (NVC) we talk about spatial language and different types of spaces such as the intimate space, personal space, social space & public space, each having its own criteria to determine whether a person is too close or far to you and is someone invading your space. This field of study called as ‘Proxemics’ deals with space and how it influences individuals, inter-personal relationships and family bonding. Now, if your spouse says to you, ‘Give me some space’ please ponder whether you are asked the physical space or psychological/emotional space and just give it.

Almost all of us plan and think about how to utilise space in our homes, garage, office and garden or simply in our computer hard disk drives. Architects, builders and even the owners try to effectively bring in the concept of space in the layout plans to ensure smooth movements and maintain orderliness. It happens so often that the space gets filled with clutter and then we end up searching for something in it. Of course, we spend time cleaning the mess sooner or later to prove we have ‘space’!

Coming back to computers, we delete unwanted files, folders to use the spaces defined in MB or GB of memory. We get messages & reminders indicating space used & unused. We even have space upgrades options!

Artistes, painters, designers, creative performers such as the magicians – they exactly know the significance of space or the lack of it. Painters and drawing experts show space in their artwork in terms of size, perspectives and colors/shades. About magicians, it is definitely illusion yes… but not all the tricks…, Magicians are aware of the space very much like where they need to stand, how they have to move their body, how much they need to step aside – the tricks are practiced well enough to perfection. Imagine a sharp sword missing your chest at the brink of the moment! Scary!

Oh dear… Sorry, the blog title must have made you wonder about ‘that space’ which is also called as Outer space… that vastness which is outside the planet earth… isn’t it? Yes, of course, for me that is the ultimate space… and compared to the vastness of ‘that space’ where are we? Tiny, miniscule, scattered parts on this earth…! Spiritual Gurus have said that you can take all the things from a room and yet something remains… That’s space. No one can take out the Space. Essentially, everything is a moving space!

With advanced technology, telecommunications, video conferencing, internet & social networking sites, and so many other communication mediums and gadgets, is it getting over-crowded or is there too much space? I may not even have met you face to face and yet I am able to reach out to you through this blog/blog site/website/internet/network technology… In short, from my laptop to yours! From my space to yours!

Signing off now from my world of words…! Take care.

The CAT

Compared to the dog lovers in this world, I know there are only as much takers for Cats. For me, I love cats and that doesn’t mean I hate dogs. Although I am neutral in my feelings towards dogs (excluding puppies… they are cute), I never ever can say that I have a neutral relationship towards cats. Besides, if you’ve got a cat, try being indifferent to them… they won’t let you! However, they have the birthright to be neutral towards you. And, you got to bear that kind of treatment.

Honestly, I have seen several kittens and cats in my neighborhood and other places. In fact, I had two cats in my home… and then four cats of my neighbors. I loved my tom cat… More specifically, I adore cats… these sweet creatures are simply irresistible. Without elaborating more, I would just like to mention the general tendencies of cats and this is based on my observations & being amongst them. So, let’s begin –

1)     You cannot place the cat under general category… coz each cat is unique & they have their own special and distinctive tendencies. They know that as well and you got to respect this principle.

2)     Like many people would agree, you don’t own the cat really. Yes, you never can be their master… you are their keeper. And, that in other words only means you are an employee who doesn’t get paid for your efforts in taking care of them. They think you owe it to them.

3)     When you love the cat, that love is unconditional for you. Not for the cat! They won’t promise you anything.

4)     You should respect the cat always. The minute you cross the line, you will immediately realise all this while, they pretended to respect you! And, that realisation my friend, hurts bad.

5)     The cat only has Rights… Most duties are delegated to you. And when I say Rights, they are –

  • Right to sleep anywhere and everywhere
  • Right to stare at anything and anyone for any length of time
  • Right to play with anything and everything including you
  • Right to disobey (and obey whenever they fancy)
  • Right to pretend
  • Right to ignore you
  • Right to feel highly intellectual (and mind you, most of them are!)
  • Right to love or hate milk
  • Right to know everything
  • Right to claim you and your home as theirs

6)     It doesn’t matter if you are tired, busy or occupied with something… when the cat demands attention, you better give it otherwise the next time, they won’t respond to your calls.

7)     Once in a while, the cat will give you undivided attention, care and total companionship… you will feel blessed! Actually, you should feel lucky… it means they have deeply thought about you sometime in the immediate past.   

8)     Never try to change the cat’s habits or routines. It won’t help you or the cat’s stubborn nature. It is much better to adapt your schedules and habits to theirs. This way, it is win-win situation.

9)     Admit it… the cat knows much more about what’s going around in your home and neighborhood. They also know more about you than you yourself. The plus point is they don’t care or boast of their knowledge.

10) Do you think cats are funny? Don’t! Cats believe in sophistication, mature thought processes and a certain level of insanity (which by the way you mistook as funny)

11) Never mind if the cat comes to you, sits on your lap, stares at you, cuddles you or allows you to cuddle… there is an intention and there is a motive. Yes, to love you also is a motive for them.

12) The litter box is yours… the cat only has a job to do in there.

13) Being lazy and sleeping throughout the day is only one of the cat’s activities. You have to think they put efforts into that.

14) For the cat, outside is a place for never ending curiosity. So, they keep exploring the unknown. Skip the panic if they don’t return for days. Besides, their curiosity levels need new dimensions.

15) The cat knows exactly what you speak to them, the tone in which you speak, your intentions & and your mood. Pity is you won’t know how they are taking it. Don’t be surprised if you get the silent treatment or they just keep staring at you.

16) Never fight with the cat or hit them. They may bear it but you risk losing your patience, energy and time. And, you must be aware that the cat has nine lives. The cat will not object to your show of little violence but beware… they are cats and they are naturally wild no matter how much you pet. You could easily find a dead rat or squirrel under your sofa or bed if not above it.

17)     Forget it… you will never win the staring contest with the cat. The cat is the master of staring game.

18)     If you know the cat’s weaknesses don’t ever use it against them. They will take it seriously and hate you for that. And trust me… you don’t want to be the object of the cat’s hatred. It would be much better if the cat ignored you.

19)     Do not curse or swear in front of the cat. No… please, don’t ask me why or why not… Just don’t do it ever.

20)     Of course, you can celebrate the cat’s birthday. However, the cat will not attach any importance to the occasion. The cat lives a year in every 24 hours. So, every moment is special occasion to the cat.

21)     Do not worry about the cat’s relations with other cats. They know the intricacies of relationships and its dimensions.

22)     The cat will have reservations about certain things. You got to know those things and value that. This is a sure way to win over the cat. Yes… they will observe your behavior towards it.

23)     The cat rarely gets sentimental. But, they will have mood swings and it can be based on anything and anyone such as the weather or the texture of your bedspread or your neighbor’s little girl or the maid or it maybe simply you and your voice!   

24)     The cat loves cleanliness and so don’t get duped with the mess made by the cat. It is just to test you and you pass the test when you clean the mess up. Simple, isn’t it?

25)     Love the cat with all your heart but set the cat free. If your love is true, the cat will come back to you. If it isn’t, hopefully the cat wouldn’t mind it.

Meaaoooww always!

My Dear Earth…

Dear Earth,

Scientists may have proposed so many theories about your evolution… a lot many happenings have occurred that involved you or for which you were the reason… Astrologers and great saints have predicted several things about you… I know you are still facing numerous interactions, reactions and threats from within you and the outer space… I know your movement is important to all the creatures… your stability and gravity is required by all of us… You have given space for living and non-living… you have done a marvelous job to let rivers flow through you wherever you could… you have allowed a friendly atmosphere and wind making en-route in you… you could throw out fire and burning lava but you keep it on hold… you could also enrage ocean waves but then they end up lashing out their anger over you… Dear earth, you have balanced yourself and make your utmost attempt to maintain the harmony but what are we doing to you…?

Firstly, we are fighting over a piece of you… we say “it’s our land” or “that’s your border” or “you are trespassing into our area” and such languages to our fellow beings… We try to occupy the space that you have reserved for forests/vegetation and those lovely animals many which are on the verge of extinction… In the name of development, we are covering your soil with concrete buildings… You will patiently ask “What else?” and I can only say “Are you not feeling dirty with polluted water and air around you…? Are you not getting dumped by the garbage and plastics…?” But, are you pretending to smile or what…? Yes, of course some of your good people are restoring your efforts… they want to save tress, animals and they even want to stop the contamination and pollution… I only wish if every single human being understands this as a universal need and stop fighting among themselves… I only wish they see a bigger cause than get subdued by their selfish interests…

I know you are aware that in this vast Universe, you may find distant sisters who are earthly like you in character… I also know that you are not very dependent on us because you were there before us and once we all go, you may still do your rotations… And, I am aware of your fears… you are concerned that in the times to come, you may be called as ‘lifeless’ because you may lose your nurturing ability isn’t it…? Don’t worry, my dear earth… you are doing well and showering your love without any inhibition…! I only hope, as long as human race to which I belong survives, we realise the greater intentions such as fight against the asteroid that could hit you or preserve the greenery to support you… Alas… how long we are here to do it…?

You are God’s creation and so are we… and let God’s grace be on all.

On behalf of all your inhabitants,

Truly yours,

Shilpa

(Taken from by blogs on the Speaking Tree – http://www.speakingtree.in/80xy68b9z8na8zwlx9wwuvu4i/blog/My-Dear-Earth)

Animated Treats!

They are all from Hollywood. Some of them may have sequels and follow-up on those sequels as well. Without any particular order of liking or preference, I present to you my list of most Enjoyable animated movies which are also refreshingly creative & fun to watch… Here they are put according to their respective release years –

The Land Before Time (1988) – Before Jurassic Park, there was this movie about dinosaurs, more specifically a small dinosaur family that live, adapt, defend amongst other clans/species of dinosaurs. The movie introduces ‘Littlefoot’ dinosaur & his gang of friends who discover new adventures & are a part of so many happenings around them. Having thirteen series in all, the last one being in 2007, I am yet to watch most of its parts. The first 4 parts that I have seen are wonderful especially the visuals, sound effects, storyline, character voices… everything about it good and clean, establish an immediate rapport with kids.

Alladin (1992) – Most of us are aware of the classic story of Alladin and his wonderful lamp. In this movie, a young boy named Alladin who is a petty thief finds a magical Jeanie in an antique lamp & with its help becomes a prince. The good intentions of Alladin are very clear & the blue coloured Jeanie is more than happy to serve his sincere master rather than obeying cruel, selfish ones. Disney’s Alladin became such a huge hit that several small TV episodes of Alladin were made for kids. The palace in the movie became a symbolic representation even in the Disneyland. Humour quotient is high in this movie & in its immediate sequel ‘The Return of Jafar’ as well. Characters do engage in brief songs which are actually tuned dialogues & this enhances the visuals and story.

The Lion King (1994) – A must watch film purely due to the feelings & emotions expressed in this movie … A story surrounding a pride of lions and their king who is cunningly killed by the bad brother. The storyline reveals all the basic human components of joy, playfulness, innocence, responsibilities, greed, ambition, power, determination, revenge, luck, friendship, values… in short, it has it all. These positives and negatives revolving in the life struggles of the young lion cub, Simba and how he was destined to be next king depicts the essence of Lion King. The Lion King will soon be released again in 3D. The cheer songs, dance moves and visuals will only appear better then.

A Bug’s Life (1998) – An ant… not so lazy but quite underestimated and unrecognised for its work attempts to save its helpless colony from a few dictatorial grasshoppers by seeking assistance from the outsiders. These outsiders are different types of bugs who performed in a circus but now are jobless. But, would these bugs really help ‘Flik’ and its colony when they themselves are unsure about the real purpose or what they are supposed to do? No… they won’t but how this heroic ant convinces all and commits to end the tyranny of its enemies is nice to watch. The message this movie delivers is subtle yet strong but the title could have been better though.

Monsters Inc. (2001) – Very few kids want their moms or dads to tell them a bed-time story about monsters. Why? Because kids are predictably scared of dark when its time for monsters to lurk around. That’s the theme of Monsters Inc movie in which monsters run a company & each monster has been assigned a kid’s bedroom door for them to enter & do their job of scaring. The more a kid screams or yells or cries, more will be the points scored by the monster which in turn helps in the smooth running of the company or something like that. Hell breaks out when a small girl accidentally enters the company premises through ‘the door’ from where her monster enters the bedroom… Monsters believe children are highly contaminated & can affect their working and want to get rid of the girl. Hilarious and good imaginative movie…! I think a sequel is due for this one.

Ice Age (2002) – As the name itself suggests, it is a movie about ice age and the creatures existed then… like the mammoths, sabre-toothed cats, large sloths, big squirrels and other extras. I could say the main characters are made to look like elephants, tigers and chipmunks of the ice age. Ray Romano’s voice is perfect for Manny mammoth, the main lead of the movie. Ice Age has already three sequels to its credit and all three are the best especially the Meltdown in which glaciers starts melting making the animals move to safer places. This is when Manny meets his lady love and by the end of part three, they have a family. Expecting more sequels to Ice age…

Madagascar (2005) – Frankly, the first time I watched this movie on a TV channel, I was wondering about the quality of animation and why Alex, the lion didn’t look like a real lion or why Marty, the zebra’s mouth looked bad…!! I just couldn’t focus on the story or the theme…! When I happened to watch the movie again after a gap, I decided to follow the story, dialogues… meaning, actually listen to the great voices & watch the movie. Then, the magic of Madagascar began to cast a spell on me… I loved the movie… its concept of animals in the zoo forming a cross-species friendship bond, funny lines & slangs uttered by the leads, their respective dreams/aspirations & how they view humans. When Escape 2 Africa released, I couldn’t wait to watch it on the silver screen. I did & it proved that I could watch this movie any number of times. Most amazing is the pool of talented voices behind the characters really indicates total team-work.

Ratatouille (2007) – ‘Anybody can cook’ & after watching this movie, even a rat can!! Yes… a street rat named ‘Remy’ has a passion for cooking & heartily follows his iconic chef who has died recently & left his classic Paris restaurant to keep up reputation solely with the brand name. Remy knows a lot about recipes than most human chefs do. Somehow in the middle of situational goof-ups, he ends up cooking in discretion for this same restaurant, maintaining the secrecy while the credit goes to the garbage fellow who appreciates the rat’s talent and forms a friendship with him. Even with no big laughter & no nonsense, this movie is solid, strong, story-based and stunning. The direction is too good & maybe that’s why ‘Ratatouille’ won an OSCAR for best animation movie apart from other awards. At the end, you might just get a feeling whether rats can actually cook!!

Kung Fu Panda (2008) – Yes… it is Kung Fu in China alright… & then there is this big, fat panda ‘Po’ who is a little bit stupid as well. He is inspired by Kung Fu & adores the ‘furious five’ animals who have already mastered Kung Fu under the training & guidance from their Master Shifu. Owing it to the destiny & twist of fates, he becomes the envisioned ‘Dragon Warrior’ who can protect the Valley & entire China from any evil. But, there is a problem… he has to master Kung Fu art, has to earn goodwill from the team of ‘furious five’ & above all meet up to Shifu’s training methods & expectations. How he does it & how long he takes to do it is the foundation of the movie. After all, Po has to face real enemies upfront leaving his so called self-struggles. With Kung Fu Panda 2 already on screens, we can only wait to watch more animated action as well as listen to amazing star voices behind the main characters.

Rio (2011) – One word description for Rio is ‘ADORABLE’. Isn’t it sad to see an exotic macaw bird from South America can’t fly? When very small, cute ‘Blu’ the hero of this movie is taken by unscrupulous people away from his native land of Rio for money of course, his box accidentlly falls out of the van & a nice young girl by name Linda picks it up. She raises Blu, feeds him, talks to him but unfortunately cannot teach him to fly. But, he is happy to eat, sing, talk & be in his cage. The story gains momentum when a bird scientist finds out about Blu and tells Linda that Blu is the only male species remaining & immediate measures have to be taken to ensure these species don’t get extinct. So, Linda brings Blu to Rio to unite with the only female who is under the scientist’s observation. Once in Rio, Blu has to let go of his off-flying modes & discover his true self with help from Jewel, the female macaw & other friends he makes. This movie has spectacular visuals of Rio, sweet character voices & expressions particularly of Blu & the villain cockatoo bird, Nigel. May I have a sequel please…!

Thank you & in case you are interested to read my list of top ten toons, do check them out as well.