Braveheart

Most have seen the movie I am sure and most of us have been endeared by the beautiful background score and the ‘Freedom’ as yelled by Sir William Wallace as he defied the tyranny of the King of England. I first heard of the movie on a podcast at http://www.artofmanliness.com called ‘Living the Braveheart Life’. Brett McKay was true when he said that when the modern man tries to contemplate the notion of being Brave, he remembers and is inspired by Braveheart.

As much as I understand that the actors play a crucial role in any film, I feel it is the script that is the real essence of the entire experience. You could have a great actor but a poor uninspiring script or you could have an underrated actor and one helluva script. A friend of mine pointed out to me that something was off about the movie, ‘Perhaps Mel Gibson’s acting was a little off’.

Personally, I did not even notice anything, and even if I did, I overlooked it. I am not a critic, and I like to enjoy a movie for the story it is trying to tell. Let the criticism be left to those who fancy it.

From the moment the movie introduced to my eyes the beauty of the Scottish landscape, I was mesmerized. To be able to live in Nature without the ruckus of the modern world is something that very few ever experience. I did so last October and it was one of the best few days of 2015. Entering the abounds of nature is medicine for the soul and mind. Nothing is more pleasant than being one with Nature and admiring the many flora and fauna that Nature has nurtured.

There is something ridiculously inspiring about the movie, whether it is the music or the story line or the various themes explored such as courage, loyalty, honor and love. It truly gives you a glimpse of the romantic concept of what it means to be a knight. If a movie can inspire you to do something good, its a good movie. I’m sure you too will have something to learn from the movie if you watch it.

As far as I am concerned, visiting Scotland is definitely one of ‘Things you should do before you die’.

 

Have a great weekend!

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There And Back Again

Of fair elves and evil goblins,
Sturdy dwarves and wicked dragons.
To end comes the tale of a courageous hobbit,
As was foreseen, it will be a box office hit!

Esgaroth gave Thorin’s company the leave,
To plunder the mountain like noble thieves.
Unknowing were they; The dragon was yet living,
In slumber deep; On his treasure waiting.

Dwarves he knew; But to him was foreign,
Shire and little hobbits; Lucky Bilbo Baggins!
Wit and humor and generous flatter,
Pleased the dragon; As did his stammer.

Great was Smaug; He sensed the gold,
An ancient evil; Bright and cold.
The hobbit vanished; Smaug was awake!
He roared aloud; He flew towards the lake.

The Lonely Mountain cried aloud,
In the light of the moon and the heavenly shroud.
Esgaroth awakened; It Feared and Wondered,
An old memory and the King was remembered.

A mad king and his rightful throne,
The dwarvish pride and the Arkenstone.
Fire and woe shall befall Esgaroth,
Erstwhile, a great battle shall be fought.

This Memory Still Makes Me Smile

Much of my life has been uneventful and disillusioning for me until I passed out of High School and moved into the vile real world. In my country, college life is not very different from that of school, because of which most never experience the world until they complete their education or are motivated by someone or something to make the most of their time. Fortunately for me, I came across AIESEC immediately after High School.

Not a month into AIESEC and I was a part of the key circle responsible for organizing an important conference of the year.

The conference was a success, no doubt. Yet there were many obstacles and immense pressure that was to be dealt with. Three days into the conference and my soul was quite spent. I could no more care for my lack of food and sleep and worked like I had never before. I was silently cursing my ill fate as I continued to work as best as I could, wishing for the time to fly.

Yet, there was this one unforgettable incident  that changed my feeling towards the conference and the organization itself, taking the experience to a whole new level.

The entire day was spent in running about trying to get things done, making sure all the sessions were running smoothly and there was nothing amiss.

All the delegates were in the main plenary. Night had fallen and the plenary was fairly lit. Five Hundred delegates were on their feet, screaming out their respective Local Committee’s role calls after a brilliant session of AIESEC jives. It was my Local Committee that hosted the conference and I watched my fellow members burst forth into our ferocious cheery role call. At the same time, every other delegate also joined in and we had hundreds of people calling out our role call in unison.

I was standing next to my senior watching the delegates when he said to me ‘I can’t believe it still that we have delivered this! Look at what we are delivering here! We have actually succeeded!’

And that moment, my exhausted mind quit ticking and I absorbed the vibrant energy through my eyes. We were one in this conference. Despite being from different cities to whom our loyalties lay, in the end we were heading towards the same vision, appreciating the same collective effort of countless others across the globe.

That’s when I felt that all the effort and the vast amount of planning and preparation did not go in vain. We had achieved our goal. We had delivered one of the best AIESEC conferences ever; A collaborative effort of about 60 individuals at various levels of the conference administration.

I smiled.

‘Yeah. We delivered this… Holy shit! We actually delivered this conference!’, I said, as the realization began to slowly sink in. My colleague laughed as I said that. He could not believe it either. All my grudges against my decision to apply to be a part of the organizing committee vanished and I felt proud to be a part of that experience.

That moment was a turning point in my AIESEC journey. I would have probably quit AIESEC after the conference, had it not been that enlightening moment.

Towards the summit, against the storm and the wind and obstacles within.

There was once a boy who would suffer from frequent bouts of extraordinary inspiration. His early years were spent in failure and despair, shadowed by those who surpassed him and reached his goal before he could even see it. He dreamed beyond hope, always trying to be what he knew in his heart he could not. Efforts and repeated lessons were in vain. Defeat was turning out to be an everyday affair. 

He realized, with time, that the only way he could succeed, was to summon all the strength and will within, whether by prayer or force. And so he set his eyes on a target and began to prepare for the dream that may one day be realized.

The path was rickety, thin and hoarded with obstacles, and every time he tied his shoe laces and set out into the downpour to train, he felt discouraged at just how far the road still lay- seemingly endless, and at the end of it he envisioned nothing but the endless expanse of darkness.He keeps on running, his mind focused on his goal and heart beating more fierce than he had previously known, the wet damp earth splashing with each step, the beads of perspiration streaming down his neck, his eyes looking straight at the spreading landscape before him. 

There are times when a voice speaks to him from out of the depths of his mind, ‘Why do you trouble yourself with such reckless pursuits? Is it not a fool’s errand to try and grasp something so far out of reach? Stop now, and turn back. Go no further!’.

It makes sense to him. His heart feels as if it would break free from its cage, his legs feel a burden so heavy that they threaten to collapse with every step, and his lungs cry for relief from the strain and the heat and the lack of life. And then, he remembers his dream, tries to imagine what it would feel like to have billions watch his progress as he competes in the greatest quest ever witnessed, and if won, what it would feel like at that very moment: a warrior vanquishing his foes, earning the glory so long sought and the respect of friends and foes and family. And his soul says unto him, ‘Don’t you give up now, even if it kills you!’. 

This is all that it takes, and he takes that extra stride, puts in the extra effort, and sports that out of the blue smile. And upon finishing for the day, he feels like he made the right choice. He feels that he did not let himself down. He feels a little closer to his dream And with that happy thought, he goes home, preparing for another day of requited effort and hard work. 

Something Smells Funny

As long as I can remember, even as a young lad of nine I was interested in anything that appealed to my sense of smell. There was a time when I was allergic to perfumes and sprays that were too complex in composition. Why, I even developed asthma from sniffing molecules from a Nike deodorant- by which I am very much repulsed even to this day! As it turned out, whether by the whims of fate or my own inner will, my interest in the sins of the olfactory world could not the subdued and I eventually continued to indulge myself in different kinds of deodorants for the time being.

        My first break through with perfumes came after my sister bought me an eau de toilette from Dubai. It was a modest Tommy Hilfiger est. 1985 EDT.  At that point i  did not give much thought to it. I was just another teenager busy chasing girls of my age and giving too much attention to my appearance to actually develop a keen interest in fragrances. IMG_20140719_134027

         I once again developed an interest in fragrances when I was on a trip to the United Kingdom. I purchased a new fragrance because my Tommy Hilfiger was spent. There was a lot to choose from in The House of Fraser, but I chose Azzaro Chrome. I had two reasons for this: It was cheap and within my budget(London had soaked my money sac dry) and because the scent immediately appealed to my delicate sense of smell. It was neither too overwhelming to drive people away, nor too weak to go unnoticed. When I returned to my homeland, I began to appreciate the true value of fragrances. Azzaro Chrome is ideal for the hot weather and in the summers, temperatures in my city can soar up to 42°C.I got into a habit of noticing my fragrance and  even received a few compliments from peers. More than that, the citrus notes strongly made me nostalgic of my trip to the UK. My interest in fragrances piqued and I found myself closely surrounded by acquaintances who had an equal interest in them.

At a friend’s place, I was introduced to a variety of fragrances that opened up a treasure chest of delicacies pour mon sinful nez. That’s when I sniffed the timeless and seducing fragrance by Guy Laroche– the Drakkar Noir. Henceforth, whence I thought of fragrances, my mind was drawn to Drakkar Noir at all times.  I began to research upon various fragrances. I discovered that I preferred Woody notes for cold weather and Aquatic and Citrus notes to beat the heat. And so I bought my third fragrance around June 2013- Davidoff Cool Water.

It is a cliched fragrance, no doubt about it. At first I was in love with it, even considered it to be the Fat Boy in my arsenal of fragrances. But I was wrong, and I purchased Drakkar Noir not more than a month later.IMG_20140719_134154

        For the time being, my sins were rested and my pockets spent and I was enjoying the cozy notes emanating from the Drakkar Noir. Then, I made a close friend who was equally fond of fragrances. I was introduced to top Fashion Houses such as Issey Miyake and Thierry Mugler. By then, I had developed a way to sort out the fragrances available in the market according to me forte of interest. My eyes locked onto Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male.

         It appealed to me because it was said to last for long periods of time and was universally appealing. It was a blind buy from an online store, and to my surprise my exploit did not go in vain. To date, it remains as one of the most powerful fragrances I have smelled; powerful to such an extent that my clothes retained the dry down scent a week after putting it on! And incredibly pleasant dry down at that too! Ideal for the cold climate only, the bottle remains fairly untouched.

    IMG_20140719_134258 Fragrances now hold a special meaning to me. Whenever I sniff my Chrome or my Drakkar Noir, I feel myself transported to a different time, when the world was fair and there lived noble kings; when the air was pure and fresh to breathe and the wild lands and the woodlands were untouched and safe from the fires of industry and progress. The continuous vibes throughout the day kept me fresh and uplifted my usually solemn mood.

               I am a die hard fan of Lord of The Rings, to an extent that watching the movies or reading the books inspires me. Once, I sprayed a little bit of my Drakkar Noir  into my book and I continued reading. I don’t know why, but the experience was enhanced to such an extent that I usually do this whenever I read my books now. It felt like I am smelling the air smelt by Master Baggins as he set out from Bag End towards the Lonely Mountain, ready for some adventure. I feel like a sturdy dwarf ready to take on a hoard of orcs and face even the mighty and stupendous dragon, Smaug . I’d be toast before I know it, but that’s a different story.

            I have developed a keen interest in fragrances, something that I feel will not go amiss for a very long time.  Our sense of smell is something astoundingly powerful and diverse. No harm in treating it to something nice once in a while, especially if it affects you positively, is there?