Gifts for My Daughter

Gifts for My Daughter.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Rudyard Kipling truly said “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” But there are times I end up asking myself—Is it so? Am I as good a mother as my mother had been?

I know the answer. It’s NO!!!

However good or bad a mother is, people judge her based on how her child or children turn out to be. I don’t know how I have turned out to be, but I know that I had (yes past tense; my mom left for her heavenly abode about 17 years back) the most terrific mother. She tried to instill the best of human values in me. Thanks ma!

Starting from the nine month of carrying her children (my sister and me) in her womb, hours of painful labour, and after a harrowing number of years of raising us, baring with our numerous chilhood and teenage tantrums, she has been able to make us who we are today. A few words can not describe the amount of gratitude she deserves. I have thanked her for some things, appreciated her for a few others, but there are many little yet special things she did which “then” went unnoticed. I am able to see them now very clearly, but I can’t say anything to her because she is no longer around.

I am now a mother of an 18 year old, but still feel the loss of my mom every single day. There are times when I wish I could pick the phone and talk to her, hear her voice, share my problems, ask her for advice, and even enjoy the silence. I can summarize it as:

The grief is inexplicable
The loss feels unbearable
The bereavement seems never-ending
The lament seems to do nothing
The pain is strong and relentless
The hurt has rendered me helpless
The damage done is permanent
Your death was my life’s worst moment
I miss you mom
– Anonymous

About honoring our mothers, Adrian Rogers said: “Obey her when you are young, care for her when she is old and honor her at all times.” Not just the mothers, this is the way we can honor both our parents (mothers and fathers).

Let me end with: happy mother’s day to all the mothers…..

Day 3: Innsbruck (not yet complete)

After a great lunch at an Indian restaurant, we set to explore the city of Innsbruck. Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, is spread out along the banks of the River Inn. With the charming meadows nestled against the snow-capped mountains, the city of Innsbruck is a beautiful sight.

Our orientation tour of Innsbruck included: Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof), Hofkirsche, St. Anne’s Column, Stadtturm, Triumphpforte, and Helblinghaus.

Day 3: Swarovski Crystal Museum (Austria)

Who hasn’t heard about THE Swarovski? Well, I recently found out that there is one person, my husband, who hasn’t heard of the Swarovski’s nor did he know what it was. For those who don’t know or are pretending not to know, Swarovski is the world’s leading manufacturer of precision-cut crystal. It is renowned worldwide for manufacturing crystal products of precision in many different forms, sizes, and shapes, with attention to detail. Their crystal products are the best in cutting, clarity, and brilliance!!

Well, we all, especially the ladies were excited to go to the Swarovski Museum. I am sure the men (read spouses and fathers) were equally concerned. I had gathered some information about the museum and so read about it on the ride to the museum. the drive was really wonderful, watching the scenic beauty and the snow clad mountains.

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History:

Swarovski was founded by Daniel Swarovski in the Austrian village of Wattens in 1895. Today, more than 110 years later, it remains a family-run enterprise under the management of fourth and fifth-generation descendants of Daniel Swarovski.

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The Swarovski Crystal range includes crystal glass sculptures, miniatures, jewelry and couture, home decor, and chandeliers. The original Swarovski logo was an edelweiss flower. The current swan logo was adapted in 1988.

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The Museum (Crystal Worlds)

The company runs a crystal-themed museum, Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) at its original site (Wattens near Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria). In 1995, for the 100 year anniversary of Swarovski, the multi-media artist Andre Heller created an amazing place with 14 Chambers of Wonder.

The museum is situated in the body of an enormous giant and Archaic figure from the Tyrollean mythology. For Swarovski Crystal Worlds, the multimedia artist André Heller designed 14 underground Chambers of Wonder dedicated to the versatile artistic interpretation of the material crystal.

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More chambers were added later! Bathroom facilities are also worth a visit—it is equally spectacular with a WOW effect. Truly, stepping inside Swarovski is like stepping inside a magical crystal world.

  • Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Last entry at 5.30 p.m.
  • Closed: November 4 to November 15, 2013

Chambers in the museum

The museum took us into a fairy-tale world. The museum is comprised of a series of rooms/sections called chambers, each with its own theme. As we walked from one chambers to another, seeing exhibit after exhibit, we were thoroughly in awe. It is truly a combination of creativity, art, design, innovation, and CRYSTALS.

Chambers in the museum

The museum took us into a fairy-tale world. The museum is comprised of a series of rooms/sections called chambers, each with its own theme. As we walked from one chambers to another, seeing exhibit after exhibit, we were thoroughly in awe. It is truly a combination of creativity, art, design, innovation, and CRYSTALS.

  1. Entrance Hall: The entrance hall at the Crystal Worlds welcomes you to a unique expedition. We were at first upset by the darkness, but as we got used to it, we realized that the darkness emphasized on the lighting of crystals. In the semi-darkness, we encounter glittering crystal works of art by well-known artists. This camber was designed by André Heller as a symbiosis of art and crystal. I remember a few things from this place:
    •  Centenary, the world’s largest ever manufactured crystal is displayed in the middle of the hall. It weighs a massive 300,000 carats. It has a diameter of 40 cm and features 100 hand-polished facets to symbolize 100 years of Swarovski.
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    • You also get to see the smallest crystal in the world. This tiny crystal has a diameter of only 0.8 mm and has a cross-section with 17 facets. You can see and admire the largest crystal, but it is not possible to take a photo of the smallest as you have to look through a special magnifying tool.
    • Above our heads, hung a huge and marvellous chandelier, resembling a breathing jellyfish that changes its color. The chandelier weighs more than 500 kilograms.
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    • Black Stallion is the replica Chetak, the historical brave horse of Maharaja Pratap. It is decorated with beautiful crystals. Daniel Swarovski Paris, was given the exclusive rights to recreate the precious horse jewel out of Swarovski crystals.
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    • The Crystal Wall is the longest of its kind in the world and winds like a spinal column right through the  Giant. Millions of precision-cut crystals sparkle from behind the 11 metre high and 42 metre long transparent wall.
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    • The “Crystal bearing Nana” by Niki de Saint Phalle embodies a self-confident, happy and liberated woman who lifts her arm in a defiant gesture. She holds a multi-coloured lustrous crystal in the palm of her hand, which she appears to have grown up with. The crystal in the woman’s hand can be considered as a symbol of felicity. The Nana also carries a phallus, evoking ironic discussion about the eternal interrelation of the sexes.
  2. Mechanical Theatre: The Whitings Mechanical Theatre of of Jim Whiting resembles a mechanical fashion show. The rigid things suddenly spring to life and clothes fly and dance through the air as if by magic. There were garments (covered in crystals) circling the room, mechanical mannequins walking, and more.
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  3. Crystal Dome: This dome is a creation by André Heller and Susanne Schmögner. The Crystal Dome offers a kaleidoscope rich with colours.  With 590 mirrors covering its walls, light is reflected in all facets. This breathtaking spectacle is stylishly accentuated with music by Brian Eno.
  4. Winter´s Dream
  5. Crystaloscope: The crystaloscope is the biggest kaleidoscope of crystals in the world. The installation, designed by André Heller and therapist Peter Mandl. It casts variations of images that appear from the ever emerging crystal formations.
  6. Crystal Theatre: Created by Susanne SchmÖgner, it is a stage of fantasy. It is a crystalline fairy-tale world full of colour and mystery.
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  7. Crystal Calligraphy: The desire to overcome all language barriers led to the conception of the crystal calligraphy. The verse on the wall of this Chamber is from the poem “The Wine of Lovers” by Charles Baudelaire. The chamber os bathed in blue-green light, by American glass artist, Paul Seide.
  8. Ice Passage: The Ice passage is created by Oliver Irschitz. The mystical passage reveals a very special force of attraction. Each step through the dark room becomes part of the design process. As soon as you set foot on unknown terrain, the icy, glittering world changes its face and reveals its secrets. You become both researcher and explorer. A light follows your each every movement and provides specific insights into a glistening world.
  9. The Giant´s Belongings: Created by André Heller, it tells the story of how the Giant lived before he settled down in Wattens. Some of his precious belongings and, of course, the gigantic little things he took with him on his travels provide information about his past.
  10. La Primadonna Assoluta: It shows two Solitaires in harmony. Against the brilliance of thousands of Swarovski crystals, well-known soprano Jessye Norman celebrated a spectacular performance in the Crystal Dome.
  11. 55 Million Crystals: Here, the world-renowned musician and conceptual artist, Brian Eno, presents a unique artwork. Ambient music, lighting, hand-painted image components and the latest computer technology merge to form a grandiose moving object. According to Brian Eno himself, “I would like to describe my work as music for the eyes, as painting in time, as an experience of the fourth dimension.”
  12. Reflections: Upon entering the Chamber of Wonder “Reflections”, you are immersed in a whirlpool of knowledge. So you can call it the Crystalline World History. Presented on the facets of 48 polygons, the entire world of crystal is documented in the form of pictures, graphics, illustrations and animated films: its origins, fascination and significance for science.
  13. Crystal Forest: Italian video artist, Fabrizio Plessi, gives the chamber a very special touch with a video installation. Plessi´s work unites contrasts from nature and technology —a unique composition made from natural and artificial elements and dedicated to the themes of fire, water and crystal.
  14. Timeless Swarovski: It takes us on a fascinating journey through the history of the Swarovski family. Here we gain interesting insights into the world of jewellery, objects, art and everyday objects. Feel the spirit and fascination of the Swarovski brand up close. The success story of Swarovski is primarily a tale about people with the courage and creativity to turn their visionary ideas into reality.
  15. Design in design: This is undoubtedly the biggest Swarovski shop in the world. It creats an illusion of journey through day and night created by interior architects and designers of Conran & Partners. When wandering around the shop, you will exerience the multifaceted atmospheric pictures of night turning into day and hence you will be guided by the different moods between light and darkness.
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Purchase:

If you plan to make some purchases, here is some information:

  • All prices are listed in euro and include 20 percent value added tax.
  • Payment is accepted in all the common forms: common currencies, credit/debit cards, and as travellers checks.
  • Citizens of non-EU states receive tax-free shopping forms for all purchases over 75 euros. So remember to collect your forms from the cash register. Get the forms stamped by the customs authorities before you leave the EU.

After the tour, when we reached the Swarovski shop “design in design”, I found that my husband had disappeared very conveniently. My daughter and I spend some time looking around and admiring the display. Yes, we just window shopped till we received a call from my husband saying that he is waiting for us outside 🙂

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After spending the morning at the museum, we planned to spend the rest of the day at Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol. But that was only after having lunch at the Sahib Indian Restaurant!! 🙂

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How Safe am I?

This was written by my daughter when she was about 13 years old and blogged it when she was about 15….. I share her sentiments. Unfortunately, the concern is valid even now (she will be 17 in a few months)

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How safe am I? People usually question them themselves about safety when they become big enough to be aware of problems around them. But unfortunately, this is a question a female may start to ask when in the womb of the mother, “Mother am I safe?” I am now almost 15 years old. Old? No!! I have been on this world only for 15 years now. All along my life so far I have never seen my parents lament that they have had a daughter. In fact they have always supported me in all the activities I wanted to do, been proud of me, and have motivated me to do better. I know that they are proud of my little achievements be it winning a dance competition in our society or winning the best speaker of the class at school, they are proud of all little things I…

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Why Do People Get Suicidal Feelings

Whenever I read about cases of suicides, especially by kids, teenagers, or celebrities, I have often wondered what must have prompted them to take such an extreme step of ending their lives.  What pain did the child or teenager have to undergo (apart from study problems, extreme discipline, or love related matter) to take this drastic step?

The recent news about the suicide by 25 year old actress Jiah Khan shocked me no end. She was one of those lucky actors who started her career at a very young age with Mr. Amitabh Bacchan. She was young, beautiful, had a head start in the film industry. Why did she end her life? News stated that she was depressed since some time as she had no acting assignments in hand. Later, a six-page letter found by her family, indicated that the Jiah may have committed suicide over a failed relationship. In the letter, Jiah accused her boyfriend of cheating on her. She stated: “If you’re reading this I might have already left or about to leave. I am broken inside.”

Broken inside. This is the major problem and culprit. A person who is broken inside, lives in depression. A person who lives in depression does not have the any positive thoughts a healthy person will have.  The unfortunate truth is that you may feel broken because of various problems in life—rejection, pain, loss of love/money/family, abuse, panic, failure (at work, studies, love, etc.), disciplinary issues, social/school problems, not allowed to do what you want, no freedom, no family/home support, etc. This mental imbalance will not allow you understand the options available to help you relieve your suffering.

Just as different substances have different boiling points, different people have different tolerance levels (breaking points). Some loose heart very fast where as some others have a more tolerant level. But ultimately we all are human beings. Once you go through the painful experiences, the heart breaks, and depression sets in. You may begin to believe that you are useless, unwanted, unloved, and unneeded. Faced with an unbearable situation, unsolvable difficulties, overpowering feelings of guilt, failures or conflicts, feeling of being unloved and unwanted, you may start to think that life has not done justice to you. So you are likely to feel alone, withdrawn, sad, depressed, and irritable.

Repeated painful experiences will make your distress seem unbearable. It can break you completely. It can lead you to blame people or yourself to the extent that you can no longer see why you should go on living. Death seems to be your only option. That is exactly what pushes you into committing suicide. From being broken inside to taking the decision of ending your life is indeed a painful journey.

It is understandable to be angry with people who have hurt you. If you have been badly hurt by someone close to you, you may be thinking of suicide as a way of getting back at them and making them feel guilty by your loss of life. But at that moment, what you don’t understand is that suicide turns that anger on yourself as you are thinking of destroying yourself and the people very close to you. The person who has hurt you will NOT be affected. If the person had to feel guilty he/she would have felt it after hurting you, when she/she realized that you were feeling hurt by their behaviour.  Why do you have to hurt yourself and the others (parents, siblings, friends, children, etc.) who love you very much. Why give all the importance to one person who is not even worthy of your attention. Why take away your life for that person?

Unfortunately, suicidal feelings can be terrifying. You are in the most vulnerable state of mind, and then, it is difficult to relate to others, let along thier feelings. Even if you have family and friends around, you may find it impossible to tell them how you feel—it could be because of guilt, shame, or simply because you feel that others will not understand you and will ridicule you.

What people need to know:

  • People commit suicide for a number of reasons. However, the majority of the people who take their lives suffer from acute depression, mental illness, and/or abuse problem at the time of their death.
  • Having said that, we also need to understand that all the people who think about suicide are not mentally sick. Most of them are fighting pain and depression. We can help such people with awareness, education, and treatment so that suicide does not become an option.
  • Most people who attempt/commit suicide don’t really want to die. They actually want to kill their pain and suffering—they want to put an to end to the pain and suffering. For such a person, the desire to stop suffering is more stronger than the desire to live. During the vulnaerable moment, suicide seems to be the only way to do it…at that moment, the person feels that there is no reason to continue living.
  • Chronic depression can lead to feelings of despair, loneliness, lovelessness,  hopelessness and helplessness.  Some people choose to express these desperate feelings by attempting suicide.
  • Never ignore a suicide attempt. It is a cry for help and is a warning that something is terribly wrong in their lives. Without intervention and proper treatment, a person who has attempted suicide is at greater risk of another attempt and possible suicide.

Want to Commit Suicide? Read this First

If you are feeling suicidal and are considering ending your life, I am glad that you are reading this page. If you are thinking about committing suicide, I assume that you are in pain, deeply troubled, in depression, heart -broken, feeling cheated, and in deepest despair. I will not stop you from doing what you want to do— I am not your spouse, parent, friend, relative, doctor, or your therapist. But is there any harm in sparing some time and reading this page?

The fact that you are still alive at this minute reading this means you are a little bit unsure about your decision to die. It means that even while you are thinking about dying, some part of you still wants to live on. That’s good news for us and the others. So hang on and read on….. you have nothing to lose. Finish reading, think about it for a few minutes, and then make your decision. In any case, your life is yours—so it is up to you to decide whether you want to live or die.

Intense PAIN! Intense mental, not physical pain, that is what you are feeling right now. This pain is probably caused because of one or more problem(s) in your life—rejection, death,  cheating, abuse, panic, failure (at work, studies, love, etc.), loss of money/work, disciplinary issues, social/school problems, not allowed to do what you want, no freedom, no family support, etc. Faced with an unbearable situation, unsolvable difficulties, overpowering feelings of failures/conflicts, feeling of being unloved and unwanted, you may start to think that life has not done justice to you.

You slowly start feeling that death is your only option. It comes from the feeling that your pain is so severe that there is nothing that you or anybody can do to help you overcome it. That is exactly what pushed you into contemplating suicide. Am I right?

Remember a few things:

  1. Is the person worth your life? It is understandable to be angry with the person who has hurt you. You are probably thinking of suicide as a way of getting back at the person and making the person feel the pain you are undergoing and make the person feel guilty by your loss of life.

But at this state of mind, what you don’t understand is that committing suicide turns that anger on yourself (as you are thinking of destroying yourself) and the people very close to you. The person who has hurt you will NOT be affected at all. If that person had any remote feeling of guilt, he/she would have felt it after hurting you and after seeing you in so much pain. He/she would have already asked for forgiveness.  Why take away your life for someone who does not respect you, love you or value you?

2.  Your life is important: You should know, you are unique and special. There are people who love you and care about you. There are people who emotionally depend on you. Don’t end your life for someone who does not respect you, love you, care for you, or want you. You now that you deserve  better.

    • Why do you give all the importance to that one person who is not even worthy of your attention.
    • Why make that person the centre of your life, especially when the person does not reciprocate your feeling? There is someone out there who will love you and respect you more.
    • Why take away your life for that person? After your death, he/she will continue his/her life as though this episode never happened.

Learn to accept misfortunes as challenges. That’s when you are able to recover fast.

3.  Why punish yourself and people who love you?  Why do you have to hurt yourself and the others (parents, siblings, friends, children, etc.) who love you very much?

    • In all your anger towards the person who hurt you, have you thought of your new and dear ones?
    • Have you spared a moment to think of the trauma they all have to go through when they find you dead.
    • Have you thought how negatively you will affect the lives of so many people who really love you?
    • Do you know that it hurts them to see you in pain and in distress, but it will hurt them even more to see you dead?

Damn it, I am a stranger and I care for your life. So, your parents, siblings, children, friends and/or relatives surely care for you even more. Don’t be so inconsiderate. When in depression and pain, the tendency is to try to reach out to the person who you love, but who does not reciprocate your feeling. This will not help. It will only worsen the situation. Instead try talking to your near and dear ones—the people who love you in return.

4.   Don’t make a decision in depression: Everybody knows that a depressed person does not have the same thoughts as a healthy person. The chemical imbalance does not allow you to understand the options available to help you relieve your suffering. When you are under depression, you lose the ability to imagine a normal and a happy future. You decide that you are going to spend an unhappy life in the future. So, you don’t feel the need to seek external help. When pain becomes unbearable, you feel that suicide is the only way to end the pain.

Wrong.  Since you are depressed and are not thinking normally, your decision is but an irrational choice. Depression is a treatable illness that can be managed—depending on the type of depression, the severity, and the age of the person being treated.  

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
—Khalil Gibran

In corporate work life, we often tell the juniors not to send out an email in a fit of anger or when upset about a situation. This is because when a person is angry or emotionally challenged he/she will not be able to think logically. The same applies here as well. Don’t make a decision when in depression, especially about your life.

5.  Feel the relief: You are thinking about suicide because you are seeking relief from pain. Remember that relief is a feeling and you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you are seeking so desperately, if you are dead.

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” —Agatha Christie

I know it is easy to say this, but, be strong enough to walk away from someone or the situation that has hurt you. Be with your loved ones, overcome the grief, catch hold of your life once again and then walk past the person as though he/she never existed. Trust me you will feel so relieved and more than that so proud of yourself for having come out of the most difficult situation as a much more stronger person.

 I hope you see this before you kill yourself. And I hope you change your mind after you read this!