Lance Armstrong – Its not about the bike

After reading the book,“Its not About the bike by Lance Armstrong” , I am just totally amazed at Lance Armstrong’s personality,his courage, determination and strength in fighting testicular cancer, which should have, according to the poor odds against him (which was less than 3%), killed him. Lance, instead of becoming a victim, chose instead to be survivor and come out a winner and he says he would choose the battle of cancer anyday over the Tour de france…. Till a while ago, all i knew of him was that he was the great cyclist…

Lance Armstrong, one of the world’s most famous cyclists, shares the story of his life, his battle with cancer, and his amazing victory over it. He had become one of the best and then, at the age of 25 and on top of the world, he was hit with the diagnosis: testicular cancer.

This book is a story of inspiration that took me through various emotions – brought tears of empathy, of compassion, joy when he succeeds and triumph when he comes out a winner. This is one man’s story of incredible challenge of digging down deep for inner strength in managing and conquering cancer. Lance refused to become a number/cancer victim and instead rallied and became cancer’s worst enemy.He survives the surgery and endures grueling chemotherapy day after day not letting the disease eat him . He refused to give in and chose to fight the disease with all that he had. I admire his love and admiration for his mother,Linda, who continues to be one of his strengths in his life,who believes that if she is with him,nothing will happen to him.I look up to Kik aka Kristen, his wife and pillar of strength who literally went through all that he did, moved when he wanted,learnt a new language because France was where he was to train for the Tour and stood by him through it all. Amazing woman is what she is..And when they came to a point where they wanted kids and she had to undergo IVF to retrieve his frozen sperms, the wait, not knowing if she would get pregnant, staying alone while he went training are all instances that makes me respect and look upto this woman….He was very fortunate, as well, to have some close caring loving friends support him throughout his entire ordeal.

“The one thing the illness has convinced me of beyond all doubt – more than any experience I’ve had as an athlete – is that we are much better than we know. We have unrealized capacities that sometime only emerge in crisis. So, if there is a purpose to the suffering that is cancer, I think it must be this: it’s meant to improve us” is a para that stays in my mind.. Shows how positive he stays and we all need to learn a lot from this….

The book takes us through the emotional and physical changes Lance undergoes as he fights over cancer as well as his emotional coping both during and after.All the trips he had to make between home and hospital, the financial hiccups he endured,sponsors backing out,everyday fear of relapse…

This is a book of true courage and determination. Lance has also gone further to set up a foundation to help other cancer patients manage and survive their cancer. He proves that the power of the mind, combined with taking control of one’s disease, seeking different opinions and doctors, and becoming an expert on the topic can help one overcome and conquer cancer.His progress is described in the book. Lance had fully recovered, and not only that he went back to cycling. Two years after his recovery, he won the Tour de France race.”

Finishing this book, I have nothing but awe and admiration for Lance Armstrong. Thanks to him for being an inspiration to everyone and with his work with cancer patients. The world needs more role models like Him..

When you read this book, you will realise that we are all so fortunate and so lucky and yet we complain and crib …. So think twice before complaining about what you dont have or what God hasnt given you.. 🙂

Aaarti (c) 30th April

Read meet 15th April..2 years gone by :)

The evening of 15th April was actualy fun.. and am glad i went… left home around 4.15, n reached oxford at 4.25, to see that Hema, sivakami,Elka , ramanathan and chandru were already there waiting for the rest of i entered hema was calling me to ask where i was…. went upstairs to the Cha bar were all were seated n intro’d myself to the newbies.. they had come for the last meet but since i wasnt there, i dint know them…

Elka is into script writing for movies, ramanathan is a pracitising CA, and chandru works for a a ad agency.. decided to wait a bit for others.. called vinay to ask where he was, he said he was on his way.. then Rhumjum, anuradha and janani came.. and after a while Shyla, vinay and Ranjan de came… am meeting elka,janani,ranjan for the 1st time too.. had met others during past readmeets, at amethyst n harish’s house.. were talking abt how i had come to the place earlier for the e-author prize giving function n all…

we all sat around the counter they have next to the billing machine.. i was sitting on outside n so all said i gota start… read my”never ever” poem and all loved it.. it went around n each one had something to say abt it..abt how deep it is n how the words are lovely… hema then asked why i stopped writing poems.. i said i dint stop, its jus that not been in the mood, it has to happen on its own… 🙂

then each one took turns reading a poem, a story and finally ramanathan had brot a mini script, that had 3characters.. so chandru took one, janani the other and i got volunteerd for the last… was fun reading it.. reminded me of school days… then we ordered coffee,tea,etc… i had a capuccino.. we continued reading, n then spoke abt wat shd be done to make this more fun, how can we improvise… and hema also mentioned that the PR lady at oxford was gonna launch their writers club with our readmeet in May.. n suggested we make an event of it.. have either performance reading, or bring in a writer, etc…. so played around wiht the ideas and one by one all said they better leave..

Chandru mentioned that chennai bloggers meet once a month, so we were asking him for details abt it.. rhumjum mentioned this site called desi lit and the kings english that are places where one can write,and get paid for.. said they are really good..

Anu(mallu new years day),so she was expecting guests.. and Rhumjum is a bong, same story there too.. so one by one they left.. we exchanged contact info’s and i browsed abt a bit n left.. was a fun evening.. all were so happy to see me.. rhumjum was like “wow,aaarti,good to see u, u liven up the place”.. hema said “ur so peppy,n bubbly, so full of enthusiasm”.. and i was telling them all abt our very 1st read meet that was in barista, with 7of us….

We all left promising to meet again in May n to be in touch… …

On my way home was when i realised we had completed 2yrs as on that day.. cool na… 🙂


Last evening an aunt called (for me everyone who is a lady,who is related to me, and typically those for whom I don’t know wat my exact relation is or its too complicated is an Aunt).. so anyways, she called last evening,she lives in Pondy,isn’t that cool..
Normally,she calls and asks for my gramma, but last eve, for a change she started talking to me.. Was enquiring about her kids, she has 4,plus she has adopted a boy from Bengal or Gujarat n now she lives in pondy with hubby, 2nd daughter and this boy…rest of them are all scattered away… She mentioned that the house is a mess, cos her son and her granddaughter were bringing the roof down.. Her granddaughter Trisha is abt 2yrs old and son is 6yrs old and they are apparently either pulling each others hair out or drawing lines on each other.. hahahah… I jus commented “how sweet”.. she gave a evil laugh and said “sweeta, take them and keep em for a while, and u’ll know”…hehehe Was then asking her how the kids kill time, that is when they are not killing each other… She said she took Siddharth to a basket ball camp and he point blank refused to join saying “its dangerous ma, I could play the sport, get hurt, break a leg or hand and do you want that, no way am I going for that “.. hehehehe.. imagine a 6yr old saying this.. and then she tried Art workshop that yet again got a similar response… “Ma, its too koccha kocchannu irukku ,chee, I don’t want to go” meaning, its too messy~!!! Hmmph.. she has given up and says now they are stuck at home playing with toys, books… ;o) Kids these days are so smart and they make up their minds at such young age… I probably dint utter a word of rebuke till I was about 10 or 11… but now my sis tho just shrugs off everyone and does her own thing.. 🙂
🙂 Aaarti 22nd April 07

Life’s journey

My journey of life begun
That fateful Sunday morn
My eyes opened to see this world
My soul,and heart emerged alive
lo,behold my journey had begun!

That little child with time has grown
Yes! Time sure has flown
A lot has been learnt,mostly on my own….

With ups and downs
With tears and laughter
With stupidity and wisdom
With friends and ove
I have found a means of celebration
That will one day lead me to my destination

Tick tock, the clock ticks away
Minute by minute,hours fly
Tick tock, flows my journey
I have searched, questioned and found some answers

But I am still on this journey
My passion for life which was once raw
Tuned over the years as i trudged along
Know now, life’s journey, it never never ends
For every end, is a new beginning

Aaarti (c) 19th April 07

Women, Widows and Water

Women, Widows and Water ….

I had read the book couple of months back and have shared with all the experience I had gone through upon reading it. I also knew that Deepa Mehta had gotten into a lot of trouble while trying to shoot this movie but then dint know that it was made in Sri lanka and was released in USA..

All hopes that it would be released here in India and that too in Chennai was slashed cos I knew people here would JUST not accept something like this, more so cos it is the closest they would get to reality.. Lo behold, the movie did get released, probably cos it went to the Oscars and people thought, “Since it’s a movie made in India about women and widows here, so we might as well screen it to them ”

Went for the movie with a friend at Satyam, 1.30show, yes, in the afternoon. Got into the theater, found our seats and waited for the movie to begin, saw a couple of Trailers and then suddenly saw Amitabh bachchan in full form on screen, shrugged it off saying “probably just another trailer” but then couple of mins passed and the titles came on the screen. This was it, we were ready to lose it, caused a ruckus and I promptly called the theater and spoke to a lady who had NO clues that the wrong movie was being screened, but then she did promise to rectify things.

Took a couple of minutes for things to settle down and then finally Phew, Water… J

This movie is not your typical run of the mill, running around trees, singing duets, wearing lavish clothes, masala filled one, but it is a simple story of how widows lived back in 30’s and how difficult it was for them… But then its not a documentary but follows the story of a young girl who becomes a widow and how her life changes as she adjusts to this new life and the turmoils within every widow at the ashram.

The story centers on a group of widows living in an ashram in the holy city of Varanasi and is told through the eyes of its newest addition; the eight-year-old Chuyia. The death of her elderly husband has left her a widow, torn from her already poor family to live in this ashram. Chuyia struggles in her own childish way to understand and overcome her new role as widow. Chuyia’s mischievous ways make the older inhabitants love her and care about her, she gets very close to the one widow, Kalyani, who keeps away from all others, lives separately

Lisa ray has done full justice to this role of Kalyani, the delicate, sweet, good-looking widow who is used by the head widow to earn money so she can live off it.

A new hope comes into Kalyani’s life after her meeting with Narayan, played by John Abraham, an intellectual, Gandhian nationalist. Narayan falls in love with Kalyani and she also feels the same for him. He wants to marry her, despite an obvious opposition from his Brahmin parents.

The way she falls in love, and then gives up her life when she realizes the man she loves is the son of the man she has slept with… As she is going to her future in laws place, the varied emotions on her face are so sweet until she realizes she can go no further cos of her past and who his father is, and how poised she is when she asks the boat to return knowing she cant go back to the Ashram as Madhumati has thrown her out for going against her orders…

Seema biswas, she steals the show playing the character of Shakuntala with her strong personality and sweet demeanor, believes that widows too have the right to live, love and laugh… Within Shakuntala is a conflict between her faith and her inability to accept her fate. She is sincere in her devotional practice but she also questions the scriptures. The last scene is so touching shows us how much she cares about Chuyia and wants to get away from all that she has been through.

AR Rehman’s music is so subtle and perfect, very apt for the storyline and not overbearing..

All in all, this was a movie worth a watch and made me go through so many emotions- empathy, sadness, smiles, anger and some more. I don’t know if all that is shown in the movie really happened or not but I am sure atleast some of it is real, has to have been… The plot of ‘Water’ wends through some expected and unexpected twists and the story concludes on a hopeful note. And one of the important subplots in the movie is the effect that Chuyia and Kalyani have on Shakuntala.

So, don’t miss it.. If it is running in your city, do watch it… J