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Showing posts from 2009

Happy New Year 2010

There is excitement as the New Year 2010 grows closer to us each hour. To each of you, I wish you a very  joyous and happy new year ahead.
Ring in the New Year 2010 with new resolutions that will make you grow your happiness as much as your relationships and learning curve in every realm of life. Ultimately, we want to make our dreams come true by working hard for it and not simply because we left it to chance or good luck.
Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem reminds us of ringing in the New Year so that it is time to let go of the past and bring into our lives what is true.

"Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true."

I also want to thank you all for sharing your thoughts and comments with me, encouraging me and lighting up my life by showing how deeply you care about what I write.

To each one of you, I owe the high curves in learning, sharing and loving. I thank you all with all my hear…

Memories This Christmas

Christmas involves a magical journey of introspection, reflection and self realization. Picture perfect post cards maybe more tempting but the inner journey is what strengthens the beliefs and adds greater meaning to the occasion.

At times, you may even wonder if the seasonal magic is overhyped but the truth is that by the end of the year, we need to celebrate our new learnings, friendships, experiences and those moments that added so much fun to our life. Christmas packs in the spirit of love. It heralds a new awakening that brings so much joy to our loved ones in the form of gifts and surprises.

This Christmas, the Secret Santa gifts that I recieved from my dear friends in office (Mayank and Priya) made me so so happy. Chocolates, a beautiful stole made from the softest fabric with hints of gold twirls on it, a beautiful Lord Ganesha on a swing and a wooden figurine of Mother Mary brought me so much joy. More than anything, their thoughts that led to the buying of those gifts and acti…

Punjab's Awesome Comfort Food - Panjiri

On a Monday morning, it is almost painful to reach office, especially in winters. All I want to do is curl up in the fluffy blanket and sleep some more. Of course, reality bites and the first thing that bites you on a Monday is to rush to office before traffic jam begins. 

The best part of this Monday was tasting the Punjabi delicacy called Panjiri. Well, to be honest, I haven't even heard of this dish till I tasted it. When my dear buddy Ranjit brought it back from home (Amritsar) saying that her mom made it, I had a generous helping and then some more and again more and of course, nearly finished most of it. It was so tasty and rich.

According to Ranjit, although this dish is ideal for nursing mothers, the way in which the ingredients are measured and inserted into this recipe make it very healthy for others too. The one that her mom made and I binged on is good for the eyes and help lessen headaches. 

What a wonderful, traditional dish to taste on a Monday morning, isn't it? I…

Adi Becomes a Doctor

In Adi's playschool, Roots to Wings, a lot of emphasis is given to helpings kids learn from real life situations. The teachers bring out a monthly theme that is taught in their lessons and they share a monthly planner with the parents. The planner details the lessons, stories and rhymes that teachers will cover each week, the concept behind the lesson and what the expected outcome is. It also covers the menu and activities for each week. 


Once a month, the kids have a competition where teachers from another school will attend and evaluate and give a prize. Sometimes, the competition will be judged in-house. 


For highly disorganized, working moms like me, this planner is a life saver. It tells me all that I need to support my kid with. What I do is if the main concept is flowers, I get three or four coloring books, dot-to-dot books and so on based on flowers. In spare time, Adi and I sit down to do the coloring and he goes through the names and concepts again while coloring. He likes…

A Book Review: Among the Chatterati by Kanika Gahlaut

Among the Chatterati is a book I enjoyed reading. It is the first book that I have read by Kanika Gahlaut. The writing style seemed refreshing and engaging. The story was not preachy yet it weeded out my impression about Page 3 columnists. To be honest, I always questioned their purpose in life and work.

I mean, seriously, what literary fulfilment does one get by covering who talked to X and why Z's handbag was not Gucci, that sort of trivia really makes no sense to me.

The protagonist, Aby, is a normal girl. She has spunk, character and conviction about a lot of things in life. It happens to be a sheer accident that spurs her career to take a new turning point as a Page 3nd then fate plays against her and she becomes a society columnist though she has no interest in it. I can relate to that because sometimes we don't always make the choice s about our professions, sometimes they happen to us as if part of a bigger plan.

What we learn from Aby is that it takes a special kind of…

5 Things That Make me Cry

1. Memories (some hurt, some soothe and some can never be replicated again).

2. Demise of a specially loved one.

3. Being away from my parents.

4. A truly bliss filled moment.

5. Listening to my favorite songs by my dearest Dasettan. (Dr. K.J Yeshudas).

I've shared mine. Tell me yours.

A Book Review: Trust Me by Rajashree

For years now, I've been hooked to new Indian writers. As an avid reader, I am amazed by the variety and intensity of young Indian writing. The moment I spot a new writer's book, I am tempted to buy it because I love Indian writers and their stories. No two stories or novels are ever the same even when topics continue to revolve around family drama or coming-of-age situations.

Rajashree's debut novel Trust Me had me hooked from start to finish and not because 'trust me' in Polish means 'F..k you'! New knowledge from this book that was almost funny because the way the author presented this nugget of information. 

I completed the book greedily in a day. Of course, it is a romantic comedy about Paro, a protagonist who struggles to survive in Mumbai. She is no beauty but she has brains. She is on the 'healthier' side but she is tempted easily by tasty food though she always vows to go on a crash diet and slim down. She falls for a handsome man and is hear…

Book Review: The Immigrant by Manju Kapur

A lot of readers have talked about Manju Kapur's novel, The Immigrant with mixed reactions. In fact, I have always loved her books, right from Difficult Daughters to Home. She is a brilliant yet down-to-earth writer who writes about an ordinary middle class Indian woman's life with a crystal clear narrative and insightful perception.


Indian Mothers Like to Believe Their Daughters are Virgins
The story of The Immigrant is set in the '70s and revolves around a 30 year old protagonist, Nina, who is unmarried and begins with her lonely life as a lecturer in Delhi's Miranda House college. Her mother, like most Indian mothers, lives to see her daughter settle into a happy, comfortable marriage. Again, like most Indian mothers, she believes her daughter is innocent, inexperienced in the ways of men and a sure virgin who will be a prize catch for a well-to-do, eligible bachelor.

Marriage is an Eye Opener
Nina's life takes a significant turn when her marriage is arranged with A…

Do you have a List? I don't!

The wise people in my life have always advised me to be organized and making lists is the best way to get started.

However, I don’t make lists and when I do, I lose them somewhere and end up spending more time and effort searching for it and finally, it leads me to tears.

Before marriage, I never understood the value of time. My father always told me how important it is to make use of time and his formula was  'Time is God' but I didn't understand it. Of course, watching MTV and reading books and wandering out with friends is how I spent most of my time.

Now, I realize that if I had been more time-conscious, there is so much that I would love to do with my time. I have a lot of shortcomings as a person but I am very proud about the fact that I work very hard at everything that I do and I utilize my every hour of every day and extract the best out of it.

A normal day is when I just get very busy, going from task to task of what seems important, listening to my inner voice. I tr…

What's Your Favorite Cake?

Khan Market is one of my favorite places, not only because it is a place where stories can be plucked from people's conversations and mannerisms but this is an amazing hub for food lovers. You can find all types of food that is sure to appeal to your sense of taste.

Here is a yummy walnut cake from Sugar&Spice. From the moment you enter their store, you will find yourself bumping into either foreigners looking through different types of cheese (Belgian, French, Danish etc) or Indians who pretend to be just like the foreigners wearing those outrageously expensive 'phoren' perfumes and even sounding like them! God, when will we learn to respect being us, I really don't know, but I couldn't resist this walnut cake. It has a slightly nutty flavors and isn't all that sweet but if you like tasting exotic stuff, this one's for you so have it!




What's your favorite cake? Do you make it or buy it?


Tell me all about it.

Saree Woes 2

Our earlier discussion on Saree Woes really perked up my spirits. A big thanks to all of you for pepping me up.

Okay, here's the good news. There was an unexpected late night party that I had to attend in Gurgaon. To be honest, I haven't had the time or energy to attend any such parties after Adi was born. I was sure I wouldn't have the confidence to make conversation with the glitterati, let alone feel confident to carry off wearing a saree. This is one of those parties where you have to be dressed very formally.

Well, at the end of a working woman's day, you hardly feel ready to attend one of these parties looking like a moron, right? So, with very little preparation and very few hours left, I called on all the gods in Heaven to help me look a little younger and prettier since I don't have the magic to look young all on my own.

Although I was tempted to wear one of my awesome Kancheevaram treasures, I knew it would be very difficult to drape it without any help. An…

I Give Good Blog' Award

Thank you, Baba, for showing me love and bringing such light into my life as always.

A heartfelt thanks to Prerna for giving me this meaningful award. It feels so good to have it from such a wonderful writer like her. It means so much to me. Thank you, Prerna.



Let's roll the red carpet out for these four awesome bloggers to whom I pass on the 'I Give Good Blog' award.


Harsha

Grace

IceMan


Ramesh

Winners, keep working very hard with what you love doing through your blogs.  Winners, go ahead and display the award logos proudly on your blogs. Feel the pride and joy of having it and hey, don't forget to link me on it:)

And yes, before I forget, you've got to nominate four other blogs for this Award and pass the baton to them. So, what are you waiting for?

CELEBRATE!




Saree Woes

Diwali 2009 is the time when I made my millionth Sari Vow. Okay, it's crazy but the truth is I love wearing sarees. I've got an amazing collection of exquisite kancheevarams in my wardrobe. I treasure each one of them.

Here's my confession: The art of wearing a saree and most importantly, walking gracefully in it doesn't come to me. I admire generations of Indian women who have and continue to do this almost effortlessly. In typical South Indian mode, I make my woes clear below:

On the day of my marriage, I wore the saree and walked like a clumsy duck. I cringe every time I see the video. It embarrasses me that I can't carry it off gracefully. My god, lakhs of Indian women do it with such grace and why, oh why, God had to do this to me, is what I'm simply asking!

For my Std 12th Social, all the girls dressed up in their finest sarees. I think they all looked as if they had stepped out of an ad because they looked so beautiful. And well, i hate remembering, but …

"Parents are Love"

A few days of color, love and pampering, that's what October 2009 has been for me. In this city where dreams die and lose color, my parents brought all of it back. Seeing life through their eyes brings joy because they are so full of love and wisdom. All their life, they have believed in the goodness of people and that feeling of God and goodness have come more powerfully into my life again. Sometimes, you need those very solid ties to remind you of your dreams and focus again on making them come true. We hardly value the time we had with our parents or the sacrifices they have made for us when we live with them. At that time, we are so keen to break the rules and rebel or just lead our life to the brink of adventure, danger or rebellion, that power to say 'No' but now when we become independent, all we want to do is go back and be with them.




I had a wonderful time with my parents. We had endless conversations about everything under the sun. We ate at home and went outdoors…

Diwali 2009

When I first came to Delhi, I was frightened by the Diwali celebrations that I saw. Fire crackers are not something I enjoy. I think it pollutes the environment. I have seen documentaries on how fire crackers are made in India. Truly, it is shocking how this popular festival product is actually the result of thankless hours of work and terrible living conditions suffered by child laborers in different parts of the country. Every time I see the crowds that hover around stalls that sell fire crackers, I feel something inside my heart burst with pain.

Anyway, let me come back to my story. Diwali, as I understood initially, is celebrated with lights. I found the festival a little too loud because where I was working at the time, it was more of a corporate affair. You had lots of gifts that had to be planned, bought and packed. It was about showing off who could give what, at times. In case you didn't have money to pay more to your domestic help, you can bet that your neighbors would …

Sorry Tales of Housework

While growing up, I shirked house work because I knew Mummy would do it. The only hard work I did is to eat whatever she made. Mummy would wake up early in the morning, bathe, do the pooja, make breakfast and lunch and then of course, my task was to eat it away as if nothing else matters. 
Of course, she would ask me to help her out and learn some basics but do you think I listened? Not seriously, I simply didn't. I used to tell her not to worry so much. I always felt there would be a magical Alladin's Lamp that would manifest and take care of everything when it was my turn to take care of a home. Her wise words "Start early, or else later you will find it difficult to manage simple chores in your home" always fell on my deaf and dumb ears. Those were the years I wish I could turn back time....(sigh, dreaming, dreaming!)
In case you are wondering why the sigh, read this post
Marriage, Introspection and the Pressure Cooker
Suddenly, I found myself married. Unlike most g…

Looking at Relationships

Having wonderful friends who stand by you, listen to you crib about life and soothe you so that when you've calmed down, you are ready to face the music - nothing beats that, right?  They are the people we can turn to when we really need to crib, get advice or just pour out whatever is bugging us. I do that all the time with my friends and they do the same with me. Still, i have to be honest, all relationships are dynamic because change happens all the time, sometimes there is little we can do to fight it.


I remember a friend, whom I became very close to on the first day we met. The next day she said, "My mother told me that I should learn to balance it out because friendships, even the best ones, change faster than the speed of lightning. It's important to keep that perspective in place."


At the time, I felt a little hurt and even wondered why her mother had conveyed such a message to her but now I think it makes sense because we can't make everything stay still…

Being Clean - 2

Lots of thoughts crisscross in my mind as I studied the comments that some of you stated about the first post, Being Clean.

These are my thoughts to my dear friends who shared theirs:

@Bharathy: Yes, its appalling to think about all those millions of dust bugs inside the pillows. Public sanitation is very poor all around the country. There is so much to be done to make things better. In Delhi, I heard about street plays that go from village to village teaching one concept at a time to the villagers and in urban areas. Simple concepts like 'Wash your hands' form the basic essence of the play. I think such endeavors need to be endorsed by parents, teachers and educational institutions to inculcate a better sense of hygiene and cleanliness.

@Nishita: Totally true! We are all very clean when it comes to our homes but talk about our surroundings and its a different matter altogether. You won't believe it but I've got neighbors spitting on the balcony of others.

When I pointe…

Being Clean

When I began reading Shilpa's post "Wash Your Hands" I found myself remembering snippets from my life. Some values and habits that we hold dear are a reflection of what we believe is important to our existence. It is something that connects to me as I am now, a part of my personality and beliefs, and is ultimately a vital factor that will make me the 'real' you. I am not a cleanliness freak but I strike the right balance.

How many times have you refused something because you are worried it would not be clean? Well, you can refuse if you believe that. But that doesn't solve the issue, does it? 
People say, "I want my house to be clean" and dump the dirt on somebody else's doorstep. That isn't cleanliness. We need to rethink our cleanliness mantra, make it long term.

                                  (Image: Unsplash)
I use a hand sanitizer and scrub my son's hands every time we travel by train or plane.My worst fear about traveling by tra…

STOP Plagiarism! Act NOW!

Beware of this online cancerous growth of Plagiarism!

It sounds like a silly, repetitive goofy gimmick to talk about but its not. Committing plagiarism is very common online. It is growing and we need to tackle this growing problem by facing it and joining hands to eliminate it.  If your purse, bank account or belongings were stolen, would you just let it be as is? Would you not want to do something about it? This is more serious than we can possibly imagine. We can't sit back and sympathize but we need to take action NOW!

Malar's blog, with its most delectable range of recipes, has been completely copied by a very focused, dedicated plagist. Can you begin to imagine what that means to a writer, who is one among us? Years of hard work, effort and invaluable quality have been stolen just like that! Including the beautiful photos! Tomorrow, it can happen to you and me.

You can make a difference by reporting this plagist blog http://hot-kitchen.blogspot.com
as spam by clicking here

Secrets & Lies - A Book Review

We all have secrets. Over years, they become memories, a little jaded, a little faded but definitely there.

Lots of memories that are stashed away come alive when you read Jaishree Misra's latest novel, Secrets & Lies, a book that grabs your attention from page one till the end. I

The novel revolves around the age of innocence and the growing up of a bunch of school girls who studied in St Judes', one of Delhi's most famous Convent schools with an Irish Principal, Miss Victoria Lamb whom the girls christen as Lamboo. The four girls in the novel are great friends but their dreams are shattered with the entry of a new girl called Lily. Later, they try to move on with their lives, hoping to forget Lily but haunted by her forever. 


There's Bubbles, who had been fat and bad at studies but hails from a wealthy business family. Her ambitious parents arrange her marriage to Binkie, who is the only son of a multimillionaire in London. What touches your heart is that Bubbles d…