When you hear zest, you immediately relate to phrases like "zest for life", etc. I searched on Google and figured out that there was another equally interesting meaning - an ingredient for adding flavor. And isn't that exactly what Zest does in our lives - add flavor to it. Zest as a flavor is analogous to our lives in another very interesting way - Like food, life (or living) too is a necessity. But it is zest, whether in food or in life, which adds a flavor and, dare I say, meaning.
5 things that most add flavor to my life would be
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My own addition to the quote would be "And those who do not travel by road have read the book skimming a lot of words they could have understood only if they had stopped to consult a dictionary"
If there is a way to travel that allows you to immerse yourself in the experience it is a road trip. I have done quite a few of them till now and I hope to do many more before I hit the dead end. Some of the most memorable ones have been a 2500 km road trip along the western coast of India about which I have started writing here, or the road trip from Hyderabad to Goa and back with my wife and 6 month old daughter to attend the Tehelka Thinkfest, or the one from Hyderabad to Lucknow and back when my wife was 7 months pregnant - yup you read that right! So you now know how crazy we are and also why Road Trips comes just after People.
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Unlike Audrey, I cannot claim to have learnt everything that I know from the movies. I can definitely vouch for the fact, though, that the right selection of movies can instill in you a strong sense of appreciation of things in real life. To be sure, I have seen brain-dead movies too, whose only purpose was to prove that I had a mind that works. But I have also seen movies that so beautifully have conveyed some of most complex of emotions in a beautiful manner. I am sure all of us have movies that have inspired us, made us cry, made us realize our shortcomings, made us feel lucky, don't we? I think it is only apt for us to thank those who made films for our "entertainment". You could watch The Lunchbox, Carnage, Revolutionary Road, The Shawshank Redemption, Lagaan or even an Andaz Apna Apna to identify that zest that I am talking about.
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A large chunk of us may have moved to Kindle, but that only reaffirms the joy that reading brings to a lot of us. Depending on what you like reading, a book can take you on a journey where you would like to get lost. I, personally, like reading a lot of non-fiction. And when reading non-fiction, I realize that when people say "Truth is stranger than fiction", they are not exaggerating a week bit. I grew up reading classics (fiction) like Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Wuthering Heights, Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and many more. As I grew older, though, I gravitated towards non-fiction and read almost all books by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. Their books are a must read if you would like to know about some of the most historic moments in history and that includes their detailed & acclaimed book - Freedom At Midnight on India's independence. The latest that I am reading is the Pulitzer Prize winner Emperor of Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee - which is, in his own words, "a biography of cancer". Reading books have allowed me to live a lot many other lives, which would have been impossible if I were to live only through my own life.
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"What? Languages?", you may ask. How can languages be among my zests, or anyone's zests, for that matter? Well, even I would have thought so if I had not studied in Kerala and if I did not belong to a family that traditionally speaks Bhojpuri. I lived in Kerala for 4 years as an engineering student and within a couple of years, I was able to speak Malayalam quite fluently. And the way it opened up avenues for me to connect with people was simply amazing. When I spoke their language, they considered me one of their own and to be treated like that is truly a great feeling. Only yesterday, colleagues in my office were amazed at the fact that I could speak Telugu. It felt as if I am not an alient anymore but one of them made of the same flesh and blood. Last but not the least - Bhojpuri, which is such a beautiful language and which allows me to connect with my grandmother at a much deeper level than a formal Hindi would! And so it is language that closes this list for me.
I hope you enjoyed reading the list. Do share yours too with me through the comments. Also let me know about what you felt about my five.
This post is a part of the #ZestUpYourLife activity in association with TATA Zest and BlogAdda.com