Come on over, you two. Your honeymoon suite is waiting! ‘Love Your Neighbor’

The foreign minister of Pakistan that the top cause of anti-Americanism in her country is the U.S. tactic of drone attacks.

Every bride wants to wear a wedding dress that represents her style and makes her look fabulous.

Some brides just don’t know that their style might make wedding guests uncomfortable — especially when they can see more skin than dress. Click through the slideshow below to see some inappropriate wedding dresses that look more like wedding night lingerie.

Oho! Love happens. And it has happened. That the love birds happen to be Bilawal Bhutto and Hina Khar, makes this particular ishq-vishq saga most riveting, especially to those of us across the border who have recently been exposed to Khar’s irresistible charms. So irresistible, in fact, that our dapper foreign minister, S M Krishna, who went totally latoo over the lovely lady, behaved like a smitten schoolboy, drooling in her alluring presence and forgetting all about the Indian agenda.

It’s possible he is nursing a broken heart even as young Bilawal (23) and Hina (34) deal with the storm that has been unleashed in Pakistan after a Bangladeshi tabloid ran a juicy expose on the scandal. Bilawal is a bachcha Majnu to Hina’s seasoned Laila. Reports suggest that President Asif Zardari is far from amused by his son’s dangerous liaison with his external affairs minister. Not only is Bilawal the chairman of the ruling Pakistani People’s Party, but he is also the nominated heir to his mother’s and father’s respective legacies. If the love-struck chap does indeed push off to Switzerland to begin a fresh chapter in his life with the begum he adores, the repercussions of such a decision could prove very costly to the government.

The buzz in Islamabad is that old boy Asif plans to rein in his handsome son, and perhaps sack the seductive Khar. Spoilsport! Really Asif miya, we expect you to be far more understanding, given your own personal history. Look at it this way – Bilawal is seriously cute. And loaded. Hina Khar is seriously gorgeous, and married to a loaded guy. Feroz Gulzar, Hina’s smart husband, has rubbished the scoop and called it ‘social media gossip’. Yes, there is an 11-year age difference between Bilawal and the luscious mother of two. So what? Some of the most enduring love stories in the world have been similarly scripted. Think about it – Hina is keen to take the relationship forward, as her love notes to Bilawal establish. Now that their secret is out, there’s no stopping this pyar ki jodi.

‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’ is how we put it in Bollywood lingo. Hina has apparently told Asif to keep his nose out of her ‘personal matters’. This is remarkably gutsy of her, considering it was Zardari who found the two in a ‘compromising position’. Known for his fiery temper and happy relationship with guns, it’s a miracle that the president didn’t reach for his favourite weapon when he walked in on the lovers at his official residence. Instead, he tamely asked for Hinaji’s mobile phone records! No point in such a silly exercise, considering the lady has not bothered to deny anything!

The real fun starts now. Will Zardari have the guts to fire his minister-sahiba? What charges can he frame against her? Will he send Bilawal into exile? Where will that leave the PPP? More importantly, since Bilawal is the one with access to his mother’s considerable (but undisclosed) wealth, how can Daddyji kiss the impressive funds goodbye? Unfortunately, the most dispensable member of the cast is Feroz Gulzar. But blowing him away serves no purpose – it will be one more body in an overcrowded morgue.

There is, however, one solution: India could immediately step in and offer a safe haven to the lovebirds. Why go to Switzerland when there is India? We can create an attractive destination for their nikaah. Maybe throw in a luxury houseboat on Dal Lake for the honeymoon. Sarpanches in Omar Abdullah’s state may not be safe. But he’ll take good care of his mehmaans from across the border. After all, when it comes to matters of the heart, Omar knows a thing or two about unbridled passion.

Apart from asylum in India, we could make life a lot more fun for this couple. As neighbours, we owe them this much. Cross-border romanticism is so much more civilized than cross-border terrorism. Hina can happily shop for pearls and more Birkins in our luxury malls. We can get her to host a talk show and perhaps, design a signature fashion collection. Bilawal could consider Bollywood. This is a fabulous, heaven- sent opportunity to strengthen bilateral relationships between the two nations. Hina Khar has already charmed half the country, and reduced S M Krishna to putty. If India can manage to bag two for the price of one, it will rank as a major political coup.

Come on over, you two. Your honeymoon suite is waiting!

Do you often feel that there are not enough hours in the day to do all that you really want to do? Do you wish you could stretch a day both sides so you can pack in more than you do in 24 hours?

Exasperated by the busy buzz of Delhi, a visiting friend from a calmer clime exclaimed, “Oh God, these people are so busy! They are too busy to work, too busy to enjoy, too busy to live!” I laughed at the image, but stopped short at the thought. If we are not working, not living, and not even enjoying life, what are we busy doing? We are all busy trying to make the most of every opportunity available, without stopping to think of what is relevant!

When I suggested to a leading industrialist that his acute powers of observation and eye for detail would make him a good writer, he replied, “I know, but one has to decide what to focus time and energy on; we can’t do everything we are good at!” Words of wisdom, the kind that keep you thinking of long after. There are many things we may like to do, many we may be good at, but does it make sense to spread ourselves out thin trying to do all? Or should one focus on the one or two things one is best at?

In a way, the 80-20 principle, or ‘Law of the vital few’ can be effectively applied to our lives, helping us live out the most vital and enriched portions fully. Be it at work, relationships, entertainment or our own evolution, the 80-20 principle, which states that 80 per cent of the results come from 20 per cent of the efforts, applies perfectly! It was Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who stated that 80 per cent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 per cent people. He also established that 20 per cent of the pea pods in his garden contained 80 per cent peas! It is a common principle of business that 80 per cent sales come from 20 per cent clients, as do complaints; and also 80 per cent gains come from 20 per cent products. This principle can be further extended to embrace all areas of life, and be used as a life principle.

Think about it. You will realise that of the entire day at office, the major chunk of work you managed to complete would have been done in roughly 20 per cent of the time! Of all the things you did in a day, only a few would have given you satisfaction. Of all your friends and contacts, you mostly interact with just about 20 per cent. Of the people you meet, you really enjoy the company of a very few. In a relationship, you mostly create a handful of memorable moments!

Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on the few meaningful activities and eliminate the rest? It would certainly make for a more meaningful and enjoyable life! Instead of reciting a thousand prayers, focus on the one that gives you most peace; instead of reading 100 books, focus on and re-read the 10 you find most value in. In an entire book, learn to read the 20 per cent that gives you true value. Keep the few things that get used most of the time; throw away the rest. Invest time to learn the tools and hone the skills you use most of the time, rather than trying to learn it all! Work hard on the few relationships that matter and even within those, work on enhancing the very few memorable moments.

How does one get to an understanding of the 20 per cent that needs focus? Easy. Get an idea of the few things that mean most to you and then devote your time and energy to them! What means most to you in life — money, love, family, friends, music, reading, writing, creating things or consuming them? Think of what you enjoy most, what makes you most happy and leaves you with a feeling of well-being. As businessman and author of the 80/20 series, Richard Koch explains, what would be most meaningful will be something unique to you and more often than not, something that creates value for others as well, since it is in recognition and creating value that happiness and satisfaction lie!

Most of us have a real self and an imagined self, made up of aspirations, dreams and desires, which present considerations don’t allow us to fulfill

Asked Hyderabad-based designer Asmita Marwa if there was someone she idolized and looked towards for inspiration. Pat came the reply, “Yes, Maya.”

“Maya?” I asked, wondering if she meant illusion. “Yes Maya,” Asmita repeated. “Maya is my alter ego. She is who I would have been if I hadn’t been a mother or a homemaker. The other part of me is this person — a free-spirited world traveller, bohemian at heart, who dreams of a world without boundaries.” Interesting. Asmita admits to having an inner, more Bohemian self than she can be in real life.

What compensates for that disconnect is the imaginary figure, Maya, who gets reflected in all the designer’s creative work, giving wings and spirit to the aspirations that lurk within Asmita. Over the years, Maya has also grown with the evolution of Asmita’s work. From a free-spirited gypsy girl, Maya grew into a complete woman, someone comfortable with both her earthly connections and spiritual leanings — a woman who has arrived!

Don’t most of us feel that way? Like there is a wilder, more dynamic, adventurous and more spirited being trapped within us, waiting to take wings, but held back by many considerations? I will not say held back by circumstances, because whether to give in to the pull of circumstances or not, is a conscious choice we make. We may blame circumstances, our situation at any given moment, lack of opportunities or social mores, but the fact remains that the choice of whether or not to take the plunge is vested solely with us!

We choose not to rebel, and stay confined by responsibilities and the limitations that circumstance and society impose on us either because we are happy to remain so, or because we do not have the courage to break free and follow our own Drummer! And yet the ‘other person’ within us paces and gets frustrated, chaffing against the confines, demanding to break free!

Some like Asmita choose to allow Maya or our alter ego to step into our real lives in a controlled manner, so that there are instances when we are able to identify completely with our inner being, which is the only thing that can give true happiness. “Identifying with our inner being need not jeopardise our present roles so long as we keep a balance and a reality check,” says psychiatrist Dr Deepak Raheja. “So we create spaces in our lives where we can be completely attuned to who or what we really like to be, while the rest of life is a pursuance of our present karma or reality.”

There are those of course who choose to live as Maya, and not allow circumstances or people to stand in their way. Some such people I know, have had to make compromises in other aspects of their lives. For instance, they have chosen to remain single, or not to have children — thus minimizing responsibilities towards others. They can be their inner selves most of the time, since they only have themselves to account to.

Then there are those who wait for the opportune moment to let Maya out! So you hear of many older people after retirement enrolling in courses, travelling, learning how to cook or sing, developing uncharacteristic traits, walking out of relationships or setting up home with a much younger partner! They may end up hurting some people, but that’s the price Maya demands for a lifetime of suppression!

Existentialist therapists talk of the real and imagined selves. If the gap between our real (as we live our lives) and imagined self (made up of aspirations, dreams, desires) is large, the pain of existence becomes huge. And so one needs to bring about a balance between the two and reflect at least some of the imagined self into our real lives.

So, it is important not just to nurture your own Maya, but to respect the Maya within others as well, especially in your near and dear ones, because if you cannot live with your alter ego visiting you occasionally, you may suppress her so much that she could bounce back with a vengeance!

Be true to yourself, be the person you are most comfortable being! In measured doses at least, even if you don’t go the whole hog!


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