Saturday, December 31, 2011

Books... Books... Books...

I have read so many books in the last few and am reviewing them below. Since there are too many, am not putting the pics.. too much trouble:

  • Dead until dark, Living dead in Dallas, Club dead and Dead to the world by Charlaine Harris: The obsession with vampires continues... since, Vampire Diaries is on a hiatus till Jan and I have watched True Blood till season 4, it is the books I am racing through. The problem with reading them was that I would confused between the serial and books. Another problem is they are not available in Landmark, Crossword or Om book shop. I end up buying at flipkart.com. I like the books... read them if you are into vampires
  • Custody by Manju Kapur: I had read 'Difficult Daughters' by Manju when I was in college. Decided to pick up this book. It is about a wife who cheats on her hubby with his boss and walks out of the marriage. She makes her husband's life hell by turning the kids against him. Her husband manages to keep the girl child but his male kid hates him. Thats how it ends... She has tried to bring out the havoc divorce can bring... but its an ok book.
  • The pregnant king by Devdutt Pattanaik: I read this book long time back. It is about Indian mythology... about a king who gives birth. It is a good book. I love reading about mythology... the stories are full of imagination. The sexual escapades cannot be matched by no other.
  • Mafia Queens of Mumbai by S. Hussain Zaidi: The book has been written by a journalist who works on the crime beat. This book was on my wish list on flipkart for quite sometime before I purchased it. A strictly ok book.... it talks about some women gangsters of Mumbai. I didn't find the book revealing enough. It lacked depth and research. Please avoid.
  • Death in Mumbai by Meenal Baghel: Another book on Maria Jerome and Emile... this book professes to reveal the true story. The missing piece is what actually happened in the flat when Jerome killed Emile. Why did he kill him? Was he provoked? Did Maria plan it? The book does not have answers. For some weird reason, it has many chapters on Ekta Kapoor... maybe to get insight into the tv industry but it does fit into the whole story. Avoid.
  • Diary of a wimpy kid Cabin Fever: Another one in the series of Diary of a wimpy kid. I love it... love their books and the movies as well. Please pick it up.
  • Lucknow Boy A Memoir by Vinod Mehta: Vinod Mehta is the editor for Outlook... he has had an eventful past... being fired as editor from 2-3 publications. The book is revealing and quite fair. I mean, for someone to admit that they got fired is courageous. He has also written about many other people- Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Shashi Tharoor etc. Worth a read.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Death

Hiya... I have taken 3 days off since leaves are pending- Saturday to Tuesday. On Saturday, I woke up at 11 am... after a really long time. It is difficult to sleep when the doorbell rings constantly. I already have a list of things to do in my head- go to the gym, get refill of gas cylinder, buy groceries, wash clothes, give clothes for ironing, maybe watch a movie. Last weekend, we returned from Mumbai at midnight. Sure, it was a day off but we did not get a chance to relax and I was looking forward to that. One phone call changed that... KC's dad had passed away. He had a severe heart attack... the 2nd one in a week. We rushed to Mumbai asap. Of course, the flight got delayed and we reached at 8 pm. I was shocked... the last funeral I attended was when I was in school. My parents have never really taken us for the recent funerals- my maternal granny, paternal grandparents, dad's brother etc.
When I met KC's dad in the ICU last weekend, it brought back memories of seeing my grandfather like that. He had a liver problem due to excessive drinking. I was in 1st or 2nd standard when he was admitted in a Mumbai hospital. I did not meet him but remember the hospital... all the people just waiting there. We had gone to my masi's home and the phone rang as we entered the house... Grandad had passed away. He used to pamper me silly and I miss him. I remember him always laughing and being jolly.
Recently, my granny passed away. I had not spoken to her in the last 2.5 years despite my mom urging me to call her. She was not keeping well. Before my marriage to KC, I was a frequent visitor to her house since I was based in Rajkot and she stayed in Veraval (5 hours away). I was pissed with her 'coz she didn't call me after my wedding (just a brief- I married KC without my parents approval and have been cut off by the family). I just thought that if she wanted to speak to me, she should call... anyway, I did speak to her a month before her death. I did not attend the funeral and when Mom asked me to go to her house after her death, I refused. I don't think I will ever go to that house again... it will only bring back memories. Thankfully, rest of my family will move out of there and the doors to that life will be closed.
There are regrets when someone passes away... I know I will have many... but is there any point? No matter how perfect a relationship, it will not seem perfect after death. I'd rather hold on to the good memories than indulge in regret and guilt. Some things are destined and others chosen by us. I read in a Richard Bach book that we choose our paths. For example, instead of path A if we choose path B our life will have a different destiny. I do not believe in the notion that whats supposed to happen will happen. For example, if I had not chosen to do MBA and join a particular organization I would never have met KC. Ditto for him. We would never have met if I would have pursued medicine (tried really hard for it) or he would have gone abroad for masters. We would have ended up with different people.
And thats life...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Back with a bang

Hiya... I had gone for a sales conference to Pune. I dislike conferences, corporate parties etc etc... I used to hate them. The hatred has lessened. I do not understand the fun and joy in drinking, dancing and interacting for 4 hours and more. 1 hour is my limit... after that I am ready to shoot myself. Anyway, 3 days were spent in Pune attending presentations at the end of which I won an award for best sales performance in my channel. It felt good.
On Sunday I met my brother and Mom. I treated them to lunch at 'Out of the Blue', an amazing restaurant in Bandra. The first time I went there was with an acquaintance from B-School. We ate 3 courses... pasta, pizza and fondue. KC and I have been there many, many times. Do visit it if you are on Carter road.
I also met another acquaintance from B-School in Pune- H. We used to be good friends but it didn't last. I don't remember our last conversation in college. But, thats the thing about friendship... you can pick it up any time anywhere. 2.5 hours passed away in a jiffy.
And now it is back to the cold.... mornings are foggy, I can barely spot the next building. We come up and tuck ourselves in the blanket with soup... KC likes to sleep by 10.30 pm which is a shocker since his normal sleeping hour was 1 am.
More ... later... adios...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One chapter closes

Hiya. I just finished with my appraisal. It was a sham... ratings have been sent 10 days back and yet there butterflies in my stomach. I think a good appraisal is one where you know what feedback to expect. You should know what is going to be said. So, I guess it was good. Another challenge beckons tomorrow... I need to accomplish it else consequences will be devastating.
Sometimes I think life was so much easier for women like my mom... they had to deal with home issues and not so many other people like I do- clients, bosses, sub ordinates, colleagues, distributors etc etc etc. So many complications... and having to always come up with right solutions... give your best... be on top of your game... whew, it is exhausting.
Some days are so relaxing... and I can't wait for others to end. This and last week has been like the latter.
KC and I have been waiting for the winter to arrive. I was disappointed to know that winter lasts for only 1.5 months. Now I realize that 1.5 months will seem like 3. It is so so so cold... I sit/sleep in one position till I become warm... KC and me are constantly cuddling next to each other to share the warmth. Right now, we are gathering courage to open the balcony door, step out and dry wet clothes. Clothes take 3-4 days to dry completely and by then there are 2 more lots ready to be washed. Also, checking to determine whether clothes are wet or just cold is a challenge.
I am leaving day after for Pune for the sales conference. Saturday night and Sunday will be spent in Mumbai. Looking forward to meeting my mom and brother. I am planning to treat them at Out of the Blue in Bandra. Do visit this restaurant on Carter Road for the most amazing food. I had gone there for dinner and drinks with an acquaintance. We had eaten so much... pasta, pizza, fondue. Amazing food.

Tata... see you guys next week.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Love thyself

Hiya... I have been gone long... really long. No, I was not busy... atleast not last week. No, I was not out of town or stressed... atleast not last week. I don't know why I didn't post. I did have things to say but could not bring myself to type. I cannot even call it writer's block.
Anyway, I am back...
  • Monday evening/night was great. I had the greatest time dancing. I have had a love hate relationship with dance. I was loved to dance as a kid... I would perform in school, at weddings, participate in competitions. The affair came to an end when a friend in school remarked that I don't look good when I dance. Don't ask me why. I was taken aback. I stopped dancing. Now when I think back it was not the remark but the fact that I was entering my teens and felt awkward in my body. I could only let go on the dance floor after a few drinks at B-school parties (never touched liqour before that). When I joined the Jazz class 3 years back I didn't enjoy it one bit but went anyway since it was some timepass on the weekend. I felt uncomfortable and didn't even stick around for 3 months. This time I had no intention of learning to dance. It was something extra to do... a hobby, also an activity to help me keep fit or even lose weight. Nothing more... For 3 months, I felt awkward. Our instructors always tell the new students that for 3 months we will look like chimpanzees and its ok. It is only in the 4th month that things change. So true. We were made to do exercises like- looking at our self in the mirror and saying "I love you". No kidding. It was so silly at first. Now I understand the importance. We were made to Jazz walk (something like Cat walk) in class. Now I can walk with confidence and look at myself in the mirror. I have come a long way. On Monday, the seniormost instructor- P had taken class... she is damn good. Our regular instructor- S was out of town. Before leaving, she told me that I performed really, really well. I am actually moving my body and should stand in front instead of middle. Everyone clapped for me. It is a long, long, long way for someone who did not want to learn dance and could not imagine enjoying it. I love the dance classes... I can let go... the music does amazing things to my body. I don't know why but my regular instructor- S has never appreciated me even once. Its kinda disappointing.
  • Watched Dirty Picture... It was pathetic. There was no heart, the dialogues were just dialogues... Vidya has not acted.. she has just spoken dialogues... I didn't understand it... I don't understand the character... one moment, she was ok with her sexuality and flaunting and next moment she was craving society's acceptance. Only Nasseruddin Shah was tolerable... the others were horrible.
  • Watched Puss in Boots... loved it. The 3D was superb. This is what it should be like. I hate it when the movie is 2D with 3D thrown in... I have to keep removing the glasses and putting them on. So bugging. KC didn't enjoy it too much but I liked it. Worth a watch.
  • It is appraisals week and it makes me tense. I know whats done is done... but yet. I finished off my team's appraisals yesterday and I hope it has been fair. Now, I am waiting for mine. My career decisions for next year will depend on this appraisal. I am a little de-motivated right now. Last 2 days have been exhausting. Thank god, the week is almost over.
  • KC has been unwell. It is weird living with an ill person.... it is quite frustrating when someone insists on going to work and refuses to go to the doctor when ill. Finally, he took the day off yesterday and we visited a doctor.
  • Money problems are looming over our head this month... LIC is screwing with us... the long waits at the phone calls... stupid processes... so many demand notes... oof!!! Frustrating!! Dealing with all of this on the week days is tiring.
  • I cooked schezwan fried rice and noodles on Sunday. Its quite simple... same cooking method has to be used for both. For schezwan I added the ready made sauce available in the market. It was quite good.
Catch you over the weekend!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Whats this Sunday about...



Well, I got a lot done and am not even feeling exhausted...
  • Woke up 7.30 am and wanted to go to the gym but had to supervise the cleaning and cooking in case the maids turned up early... Relaxed with a book, newspaper, Nescafe Vanilla Latte, True Blood, face pack, hair pack
  • Cleaning and cooking started at 9.30 am. The plan was to cook dal bhaati. My native pl
    ace is 3 hours from Rajasthan and I have grown up eating this dish at home... there are numerous dhabas also which serve it in Gujarat (close to Rajasthan). The bhaati is cooked on coals... in bhattis... at home we cooked in a special tandoor. I cooked it in a microwave today. For recipe scroll down
  • Once KC woke up, we had b'fast and I headed to the gym. I do not understand the guy... how can someone complain of insomnia at night and sleep so much during the day.
    *Shaking head*
  • The AC was not working in the gym... there were only 3 of us working out which was a change 'coz peak hours are packed with people on all instruments... there was 1 instructor
  • only... I was sneaking out after an hour of cardio and he stopped me... I had the shame to do my leg work outs for another 15 mins
  • After grocery shopping, lunch, a bath which ended with cold water (geyser does not work during power back up... my electricity woes are going to start)... I am now relaxing in the lounge type room. It is not cold but it is cool... I cannot sit on the bare cold floor without a mat... just finished reading latest part of Diary of a wimpy kid and will pick up part 2 of True Blood now.
I will begin with recipes for jam filled muffins which I have taken from Anita's blog
(http://sliceofmylyfe.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/muffin-monday-jam-filled-muffins/). Ok... not posting it here... you can hop onto the link for the recipe. Having some issues with the font color.
I baked around 4 muffins- 4 with jam and 3 without jam. The ones without jam taste less sweet... I guess you need to increase the sugar measurement if not using jam. Just stick to the jam.

And here is the recipe for dal bhati:
Bhati- nos 7 small ones
  • Add 1.5 cups flour (regular one), lots of oil (triple the quantity you would use when making regular chapattis), some salt and little haldi. Knead the dough with little water. It has to be very, very hard... as hard as you can make it. Make flat oval shapes (you can even make round ones)
  • Boil water in a big vessel. Put the bhatis in them. They will be done once they come on top. It takes around 10-15 mins. Ensure that the water completely covers the bhatis
  • You can either cook them in a tandoor (available everywhere) for 10-15 mins. Heat a tandoor, put the bhattis on the grill, cook covered. Once the top becomes firm and brown, turn and cook the other side till they also become brown
  • For microwave, mine has an automatic setting and cooked in 15 mins. For others, I guess the convention mode will have to be used. Put bhattis on a tava, place tava on high grill and cook on high for 7-8 mins. Turn the bhattis and cook for another 7-8 mins
Dal (serves 3-4 people)
  • Boil 1/4 cup tuvar dal, 1/4 cup urad dal and 1/2 cup moong chilke wali dal. The idea is to use 3 types of dal in this ratio
  • Crush the dal once boiled. Add the water leftover from boiling bhattis (why throw away nutrients?)
  • Add 1 chopped tomato, salt, green chillies, salt. Boil
  • In another pan, heat oil. Add jeera, hing, 1 small chopped onion, red chilli powder, haldi.
  • Add the mixture to the dal and let it boil
  • After 5 mins add nimbu/tamarind paste
Serve the bhattis with ghee.
Years ago, some guests were invited to our house for dinner. They brought their relatives along who had just come from Australia to visit. We were not aware extra people were coming (Indian culture!!!). Mom had cooked dal bhatti. There were 2 NRI kids who did not know how to eat it. They were dipping the bhattis in dal and having it. It was quite funny. We taught them to crush the bhatti, pour ghee over it, dunk dal on top, mix it well and then eat.
Yum!!!

Disclaimer- There are many, many recipes for bhatti and dal. I don't know how genuine this one... this is how my mom makes it and its good enough for me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rockstar

The reason this review is so late is because everyone has already said everything about it. I will now give my views on it.
While deciding whether to watch it or not, I found the reviews very confusing. They said positive and negative... nobody told me if I should watch it or not. We went for it last weekend.
Rockstar is not a movie about a guy becoming a rockstar... it is a movie about him falling in love, getting his heart broken, finding the love again, losing it... finding it again and then losing it finally. Thats the kernel. Music and stardom are the shells. Ranbir as the "Rockstar" is fab... I loved his North Delhi guy's typical accent and dressing. It is on spot. The accent does not change throughout... just 'coz he becomes famous his language does not get refined. Ranbir is a natural and I don't think he has ever acted in a "bad" movie till date.
Nargis is torture... she cannot act... it is as artificial as Amisha Patel, Aishwarya, Katrina- in the beginning of her career. Her voice is dubbed by the same female who dubs for Katrina. I found her pout very, very, very irritating. I have not come across any females with such a prominent pout in my day to day life. It has obviously been surgically enhanced.
Imtiaz Ali has a thing for firangs... a role which can be performed well by an Indian is given to firangs. I have nothing against them... but they need to be able to dance, act and speak the language, atleast.
Music grows on you. I did not like the songs when I saw them on TV but after watching the movie, I love them.
Watch it... once... for Ranbir.. for the music... for Imtiaz Ali.
It had potential to be a great movie but ends up in Bollywood cliches.

JS and the Times of my life

I just finished reading this book. Jug Suraiya is a famous journalist. He writes the column Jugular Vein in TOI. I have always like his columns and am familiar with his wife Bunny through them. The book traces his experiences as a journalist... it is witty, humorous, gives an insight into journalism and gossip. Worth a read.

Rewind...

Hiya... this week has been slow... less hectic... more laidback... I gave myself sometime.
But lemme talk I most comfy with... in bullet points:
  • KC was gone for 2 nights... he was supposed to be back after 1 night but his stay got extended. I had a hard time falling asleep... thinking about Paranormal Activity part 1. When he left home at 4.30 am, I told myself "Now I am alone... if there is something, it will happen now". Nothing did. I should have been convinced but... I didn't find PR 2 as scary... PR 1 is what gives me nightmares
  • I broke into my new Allen Solly red colored jeans. I bought it for 50% off on fashionandyou.com. Love the buy... so worth it. I have bought skinny jeans after a very long time. Thank god, it fit perfectly.
  • My left foot had been aching for the last 2-3 days. Strangely, I didn't feel the pain in the gym or Jazz class. It was always in the morning. Yesterday, I could not even put my foot on the floor. I limped my way throughout the day. The thought of going to the doc crossed my mind but I remembered the last experience. I had a skin infection, the doc gave me 99% guarantee that it is incurable but she needs to do a biopsy. I was charged 2500 bucks after which she said that it is curable and I just need to apply ointment. Next time, I will go to a hospital in Gurgaon when I am on my death bed
  • Lesson learned today- Do not wear heels when your left foot is aching. Fashion can kill
  • We went for dinner to Ambience Mall. The soup and starters- dimsums were at restaurant 'Dimsum'... and main course and dinner was at Kobe Sizzlers. KC was about to pay without checking the bill but I always check the bill, just to know how much we have spent. I was shocked to be charged for 2 main courses. The waiter was called for and he rectified it. We would have overpaid by 300 bucks. Checking the bill specially at retail chains has become a habit. Twice I have been charged extra or charged for a 1+1 promo. Since my work involves dealing with chains, I know how screwed up they are. Once there was a 1+1 promo running at 50% off which means, on buying 1 unit of a product you get another free and are charged only 50% of the value.
  • I baked muffins today- jam filled muffins. The recipe was taken from Anita's blog. I share the pics tomorrow. Finally... next I want to try cupcakes with cheese frosting. I had them at Choco La (priced at 95 bucks each) and sooooo yummy... Cheese frosting is not sweet or sour... it balances out the sweetness of cupcakes.
Thats about it... more updates on books read and movies watched.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The week in pictures

A pic of the muffins. I experimented with a strawberry sauce filling and nutella topping. Both were tasty. Just need a good recipe for a proper muffin now. I need to try cheese frosting next Sunday.

My library has started stocking Calvin and Hobbes... I am so happy. The comics are really, really expensive and being able to rent them is a dream come true. I ordered one book and was surprised to receive the biggest book I have laid eyes on. It took me a few days to finish it... but I did. Every minute was spent on it... KC called it my Gita since it is so big and I laid it in my lap to read.

I have started reading the book after watching season 1 of 'True Blood'. I had heard a loooootttt about this series, specially from people abroad. Its quite a rage. An acquaintance had read horrible reviews on facebook after watching 1 episode. That got me intrigued. I watched the first few episodes... and was "WOW"... its full of blood, violence and sex... loads of it... dirty sex. Nothing like I have seen on television and I have seen a LOT. After completing 3/4th of the season, I gave up half way since the download speed is too low of the torrents and so is the buffering on tvduck.com. I picked up the book and liked that the series does not follow it strictly. Now I have picked up the 2nd book and am downloading season 2... no matter how much time it takes. Not for everyone. I looked for the book in Om Book Shop in Metropolitan Mall, then at Ambience Mall, then at Reliance Time Out and finally found it in Landmark. Sadly, at every shop the guys helping out were looking for it in the kids section. I would have been mortified if they had stocked it there. I mean, a book about vampires, sex and blood in the kids section? Wow.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Whatta Sunday Morning

Hiya. This week has been extremely boring and slow. Generally, time flies away but this week I was actually counting minutes until the weekend. I didn't go the gym... I would decide to go in the morning and then wouldn't wake up since it has become cooler and sleep has become more precious. I would be determined to make up for it in the evening... but something or the other would come up... and laziness would get the more of me.
I was not even feeling too well this week. Friday was the most boring. We were home with nothing to do... couldn't get the tickets to any movie... we ordered dinner from Yo China and they sent the wrong order... they replaced it but it was not what we wanted. Hungry and bugged, we went to sleep by 10.30 pm. Such a waste.
I baked muffins and filled them with strawberry sauce and topped with nutella. They were tasty but too sweet. I think they were a bit undercooked. I am looking for a good recipe for muffins/cupcakes. The recipe I used was for chocolate chip muffins.
So, thats the update. More on movies watched and books read.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Books and Movies

Hiya. It has been a week full of books and movies. I had a stack of books in my drawer and I have devoured them one by one. Travelling in metro helps... it gives me time to read.
I wish this book didn't have Rekha on its cover... the book barely mentions her and she does not represent the "history" of Bollywood.
Anyway, apart from the cover... I loved it. It caught my eye and I ordered from the library. It starts from the beginning... first film made in India and abroad and chronicles the history, rise and fall of actors/actresses, their personal lives etc. It is very revealing. It does not dwell on actors like Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Mithun etc but spends maximum time on the earliest actors... Dilip Kumar... Amitabh Bachan... Raj Kapoor... Prithviraj Kapoor etc. Worth a read. I found it very difficult to put it down and waited to get home from work so I could continue reading.

Another book by Khushwant Singh and a very honest one. He has not hidden the fact that he got a job as editor of HT through Sanjay Gandhi and that he was fired from it by Birla. It takes guts to be this honest. Planning to read the rest of the books also.

I had taken part 2 home to watch it with my bro. But the format didn't work on the DVD player and we didn't get enough time to watch it on the laptop. Part 2 is scarier and yet it is not. It is scarier because the events happening are not as subtle as in part 1. It is less scary because part 1 gave the feeling that this could happen to anyone... in anyone's house but in part 2... the history is established. Which means... I will not have sleepless nights. I am looking forward to part 3... where it all began.



Downloaded and watched this flick yesterday. We were planning to watch "In time" but chucked it. I remember debating about it with my friends in school when I was in 7th std. The friends were Jainee and Monica. Jainee and I were of the view point that such movies should not be made. They set a bad precedent for the audience and gives them weird ideas. Monica was of the opposite view. So, unlike what I think now. I guess, then I didn't know what it was actually about. I still lived in the world of Mills and Boon and Barbara Cartlands.
I loved the movie. Shekhar Kapur is a genius. I wish he had made more Hindi movies. I loved the actors he picked- Seema Biswas, Nirmal Pandey, Raghubir Yadav, Namdeo (don't remember his first name), Manoj Bajpai, Saurabh Shukla etc. Its a wonderful cast... and at a time when they were nobodies. It shows an eye for talent.
The scene with Seema naked was a shocker. I had heard about it earlier... but thought it not be showing her completely nude. After all, which Indian actress will agree to such a scene? If she does, her reputation will be in ruins. It also made sense... if the movie is completely based on facts, why edit things out?
Another thing I loved was that... Seema does not have to mouth long dialogues or the rapes were not glorified to make the audience sympathize with her. The lines said by her; "Why no bullets for me?" when Namdeo (the villain) threatens to kill her partner. It means that her death will be a relief... she always has to suffer much worse... rapes... getting stripped in front of the village.
KC thought Phoolan was stupid to kill innocent villagers instead of the villains she had come after. If Phoolan was smart, she would have stayed with her husband instead of running away. The choice was getting raped by one man all her life or getting raped by many other men... of course, she didn't know then.
Phoolan had protested against this movie. But after its release, she became popular. She even got her autobiography published. She was a low caste icon and that explains the rise of Dalits in UP. They were tired of the oppression by the higher caste.
And if anyone reading this believes that oppression and discrimination does not exist anymore... you are wrong. But thats fodder for another post.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Diwali

Be grateful... I never reply to Diwali wishes and hardly ever wish. No, I am not being rebellious... it is pure laziness. I have always been home during Diwali or atleast with parents. A lot of times we would have only 2 days off in school and final exams would be near. My school term was from March to November- due to extreme winters in Mt Abu and Christmas. The nuns wanted to celebrate X'Mas without nuisance and so they changed the school term.

Anyway, my parents were always around for Diwali except once... when I had joined the boarding. Parents sent loads of fire crackers for sis and me. While bursting them, 1 cracker went hay wire and almost hurt a kid. The nuns confiscated our crackers and no amount of begging and pleading helped. I hate all nuns... my hatred for them deserves a separate post altogether.

In the last 3 years, 2 Diwalis have been spent in Goa and 1 in Mumbai. I would have loved to go to Goa this year too. I went home instead after 3 years. Diwali has never been a happy one.... I won't get into the details. I prefer Holi to Diwali. This time it was extremely low key 'coz of my maternal granny's death last month (maybe a separate post on that). Even on Diwali day I didn't know it was Diwali and I realized about New Year too late.

In Gujarat, the 4th day is celebrated as New Year... everyone wakes up early, wears new clothes, decorates the home, lays out delicacies like namkeen, sweets, dry fruits etc. People go to each other's houses and wish them. Generally, we would receive guests till afternoon and visit others in the evening. We would try and meet everyone... those we could not meet on the same day, we would visit sometime during the week. It was in Manipal I realized that New Year is a Gujju tradition. People outside do not follow it.

There was so much that I did at home:
  • I felt like I had never gone... my absence was visible on the walls... No, I never cleaned them or anything... but the effect my leaving had on the house residents was visible in their neglect
  • The first day I asked mom to cook besan ki sabji... which I could not make well last time I tried. I will give the recipe some other time... it is somewhat like ghatte... but better. Ghatte has only besan... while this veg has onions, anardana, chillies etc.
  • I took all the recipes I wanted. We wanted to make cheesecake but there was no time
  • I downloaded ZNMD and made my parents watch it... they were unimpressed
  • I downloaded Khuda Ke Liye since my dad liked Bol
  • Drove dad's Manza and realized how smooth it was... now, craving for a car like that. He took me through the empty road and wanted me to drive at 20 kmph in traffic
  • Indulged in so many chocolates mom brought from New York...
  • Made fafdas- a Gujju specialty, made during Diwali
  • Ate Pav Bhaji at Honest Restaurant... and loved it
  • Opened all the cupboards and brought whatever I could. As kids, we loved exploring mom's cupboard... it was always full of stuff and we could find something for ourselves
  • Had daal bhaati... being close to Rajasthan, it is a popular dish in my hometown. I plan to make it next week
The days flew past... I have been wanting the month to end, there is too much pressure. But the only holiday of the year is over and it does not feel good. I guess, I need to plan something for December to cheer me up.

Today has been relaxing. I flew back last night and reached home at midnight. There was no dinner since restaurants close down by 11 pm.
I woke up early... unpacked, washed clothes. The maid and cook turned up on time, thankfully. After buying groceries, I relaxed for sometime and then hit the gym. Now I am waiting for KC to arrive.

All in all, a good vacation and a significant one.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paranormal Activity

Finally, I downloaded this movie and watched it. I have been meaning to do that for a very long time. I like horror flicks... but KC does not... so the motivation to watch them decreases. I have not watched too many horror flicks.... Saw, Evil Dead etc which are considered classics have been skipped by me. But during MBA days... I caught up on Exorcist part 1 and 2, Gothika, The Hours in my room alone at night with the lights switched off. Horror movies have scared me... but not so much that I could not sleep.
Paranormal Activity is a very different movie... it has been shot on a regular camera and is about a couple who are haunted in their house by a "demon". The female, Katie has been haunted since she was a kid... a psychic tells her that she cannot run from it and must contact someone who can rid of the demon. Her bf, Micah does not take it too seriously. He leaves his camera and microphone switched on all night to record any supernatural activity. Initially, its very subtle... the door closing and opening on its own... Katie hearing her voice... footsteps being heard... and gets more and more obvious... and in the end, it is drastic.
There are no scary images in the movie... no horror music... nothing... and THATS scary. I mean, when we watch a movie with people in ghost masks... we laugh at ourselves after it ends. But PA is about 2 regular people.
I went into the room at night and tried to sleep.... reading helped me sleep... then KC came in... spent sometime and went out... I lost my sleep. Everytime I closed my eyes, I could hear every sound... every footstep... I left the light on and slept.... till KC came in and was surprised to see me sleep like that.
Worth a watch.
Have skipped PA 3 in the theater 'coz we were feeling too lazy today... but I will download and watch it. Until then, it is PA 2 next week.

Books...

I like Khushwant Singh's books... whether I agree with them or not, he writes well and has the guts to speak his mind. More Malicious Gossip is a collection of his writing. What is commendable is that since he is very old, the writings range over a large period of time. There are writings about Indira Gandhi. I think he is very pro-Gandhi (not the Mahatma... the family) and his writing about Indira is biased. But, I appreciate anyone who can express his/her views fiercely. I plan to read all his books.
Worth a read.

This is Aravind Adiga's 3rd book... the first one was brilliant, the 2nd one - Between the Assassinations was very forgettable... coming to the 3rd book...it is about development in Mumbai. Basically, people in smaller flats or slums are offered huge amounts for buying off the flats... a new building is constructed in its place and sold off for higher amounts... most of the times, the people are also given free flats in the building. It is a win win proposition for everyone.
'Last Man in Tower' is about one man who refuses to sell off his flat. According to the law, every person must agree to the settlement else it will not be valid. One hand is a lot of money which will fulfill every dream of the residents... on the other hand is one old man with nothing to lose ... for who money is not a motivation. I will not get into details or the end.
The book is strictly ok.... Would I have picked it up if it was not by Adiga? No. The story would never have tempted me to pick it up. Just like a lot of writers, Adiga is a one hit wonder... I don't think he will enjoy the same level of success.. no, thats not the correct word... many will call this book also successful... he will not enjoy the same peak in his writing.
The book is quite long... the story does not have enough twists and turns ... and I read it for a month... its not a pick you can carry on the metro 'coz of its bulk... it cannot be read after a tiring and frustrating day.
I would suggest you avoid. Why pick up a book 'coz of its author?

Say it with pictures

The Diwali diyas... at home it was my duty to light the diyas and place them in every room... every balcony... I like doing it even now. Since we are not home for Diwali, I didn't think about doing it. But seeing lights in every house, have decided to do today and tomorrow. Also, there are no candles or match sticks but I had enough of the perfumed diyas. We also had a Diwali Mela in the society... we indulged in kachori, bhel, chicken seekh kabab and ice cream. Fun.

There were Diwali celebrations in office on Saturday. I skipped the Puja... prefer work to Puja, anyday.... participated in the Rangoli competition... above is our team Rangoli... pretty decent considering none of us had any idea how to go about it. My bro and I used to make Rangolis at home for Diwali but being creatively challenged, we used the design stencils.

My new footwear ordered from Fashionandyou.com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Terrible, terrible day

It has been a terrible day... too many things going wrong. I hate such days. It all started in the morning... I had half a mind to take leave and stay home. But work beckoned. After that, everything went downhill.
Sure, things could have been worse... more things could have gone wrong.
Sigh!!!

I am looking forward to the Diwali holidays. I wish it was in the beginning of the month rather than the end... work will be on my mind... and that may ruin it all.

There are only 2 months in the year I truly look forward to... Diwali month because of the long holidays... and December since it is year end and thus, pressure is low. This year, both may be ruined.

I will be going home after 2.5 years... I hope I am not saying it too soon. Home was my comfort place... somewhere I went to escape reality, everything going on in life, where I could tune out... recharge and return to battle. I hope it feels the same way this time. I plan to switch off... away from the phone, internet, everything.... just relax, sleep, laze around, cook, get all the recipes I need. Fingers crossed.

If it does not work out (home trip has been cancelled at the last moment 2-3 times already), I just want to stay home... and do nothing. One day in the week is not enough at home... and 5 days would be a luxury.

Fingers crossed....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

August Osage County

I came across the details of this play on bookmyshow.com 2 weeks back and booked the tickets immediately. They were priced between Rs 500 and Rs 1500. I bought the pricey ones... 2nd row from the front. KC was put off by the high prices... understandable.
The play has been a big hit on broadway and has been adapted by Lilette Dubey for the Indian stage. Actors like Lillete Dubey, Ira Dubey, Sandhya Mridul, Kitu Gidwani, Meeta Vashisht star in it. I love Lillete, Ira and Sandhya and would have willingly payed double the price to watch them.
I rushed back from work, changed clothes and rushed to Epicenter- the cultural center of Gurgaon... similar to Habitat Center of Delhi. Thats why I like Gurgaon... access to posh places. In Mumbai, I would have to go to Bandra or Juhu to watch plays.
Anyway, on reaching there I found Gurgaon Hi Society for company... Ballantine's was serving free liqour since they were sponsoring the play. Impressive. On reaching my seats, the usual started... 2 people had booked seats separately and was requesting everyone else to move. The old couple next to me reluctantly moved 1 seat left... when I was requested to move, I politely refused. I had specifically booked that seat... it was in the center... I was not going to move after paying 1500 bucks. People should not be stupid enough to book seats separately. The lady gave up and the old couple gratefully moved back into their seats. Why do people do this? Why can't they book tickets - whether on a train, theatre or play; well in advance to avoid inconveniencing others?
The play went on for 2.5 hours. I was zapped throughout. I will not go into the story... it is not a movie which has 1 story... in a play things are happening every minute... there are well developed characters... rather than 1 single story... and there are no fillers. Lillete was fab... she acted so damn well. What is amazing is that such fine actors have to play trivial roles in movies or serials. Example, Meeta Vashisht... I have grown up watching her in some movie or serial... mostly trashy roles. In the play, she was playing the role of a vain, silly, self involved female... I could not believe it was the same woman.
Theatre is so different from regular cinema... I will be watching more plays in the future... atleast I will try and catch every play at Epicenter.

Please don't miss this play if it comes to your city.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Home Sweet Home


Hiya.... for the first time the house looks like a home instead of a bachelor pad. It looks cozy, nice, warm, welcoming and filled...
Below are some pics:

Dining room which is part of the living room. No changes made here... the ugly curtains are given by the broker of the landlord. We didn't bother buying new ones. The biggest struggle here is to keep the dining table clutter free. I have to clear it every morning and night. The fridge was near the dining table which has been moved to the kitchen. I love the big windows and balcony.



This is the living room with the new recliner leather couch. The couch and TV unit are both new purchases.


The newly renovated room. Until now, it was filled with trash... loads and loads and loads of bags. We stored them here. On Friday night, all the trash was removed... the sofa cum bed was moved here from the living room... the cupboard and dressing table were purchased in Mumbai almost 2 years back. Ideally, this room should have been the bedroom since it has an attached bathroom. But I wanted the bedroom to have a balcony. Also, the other room which is the bedroom has more cupboards and a dressing table. I have always wanted a study where you can lounge around and this room is exactly that place. KC and I have spent the entire day here... we have books in the small shelf, a TV with DTH, playstation. The curtains are short but I am not going to buy new ones. Don't really care... I guess, only a bachelor/spinster pad can have such curtains.
The reason we have 2 TVs is that... we are awfully rich. Kidding... we bought the smaller TV while shifting to Mumbai. Then a few months later I got the bigger TV from the company for meeting targets. So... now we have 2.
The kitchen has become very cluttered because the fridge has been moved here. The microwave was actually placed where the fridge is now. Don't mind the laptop and rest of the clutter... KC had just tried cooking sabudana khichdi... his first attempt at anything in the kitchen.
This is the bedroom... I was adamant that there should be no TV in this room... We would have spent all the time here and it would be cluttered all the time. I like going in this room just to get clothes and to sleep. There is a big balcony also. The good part is the room faces the east and sun rises from here. The harsh sun rays wakes us up early. Btw, that dolphin on the bed has been my companion for the last 4 years. I cannot sleep without it.




Saturday, October 15, 2011

Layout changes

Hiya... it has been a busy week and will continue like this. I skipped gym 3 days in a row since I was exhausted but now the schedule is back on track.
We bought a new couch... finally. It was quite a search... we spent 2 weekends searching for a sasta, tikau leather couch and found one. I wish I could spend entire Diwali on it... but there are better plans (if they do not get cancelled again).
Thats about it... I can't think of anything else to blog about. Will be back soon... hopefully, tomorrow.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Its been a good day... good, good day

It has been a good Sunday. The morning was a rush. I could not wake up early enough to go to the gym. The plan was to finish all chores in the morning and meet some friends for lunch at Khan Market. We rushed to Galleria to buy groceries, veggies/fruits and a b'days gift for the friend. We had to meet A and D. It was D's b'day yesterday and I wanted to get him a gift even thought A asked me not to. It is so difficult to buy something for someone who can afford
everything... what can you gift a guy? With KC, its different... I spend enough time to notice what he is drooling after and what he needs... but for friends, it becomes difficult... specially guys. I got a cologne from Body Shop. We rushed home... I got dressed while KC napped. After a very long time, I wore my heels. I am not comfy in heels and do not like it when my legs ache. Also, work involves travelling, walking and standing around... so I avoid heels. Today was the perfect day for it... since the only walking would be from my car to the restaurant.

Lunch was at Big Chill where we had to wait for 45 mins even though a table had been booked in advance. When I gave D the gift, he looked quite embarrassed and told me it was unnecessary since now he will have to remember my b'day and then buy a gift and finding a gift for females can be a drag. Wow!!! I never thought of it that way... I mean, I had to meet up with girlfriends a day before or after my b'day... a gift would be given to the b'day girl. No questions about it... its taken for granted. I guess, men are different... very different.
A complained that I not gifted him anything for his b'day. Well, when I called to wish him... he
had denied that it was his b'day and that facebook was lying. No kidding.

After the crazy lunch, we dropped in at L'Opera... A and D wanted to see what the big deal about the macaroons is... what is it that costs 130 bucks. They were unimpressed.
We headed home soon after. Rest of the day was spent lazing around.

Some pics of my fav heels... I don't remember when I bought them.... its been more than 2 years.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jazz... Gym... Vampires

Hiya... after 3 months of Jazz, the instructor finally noticed and appreciated me today. I am on a high.
I still remember joining the classes 3 years back. I used to have Sat and Sundays off... without a car then, NCR was a boring boring place. I decided to join the Sunday batch to kill time. I cannot dance, 'coz of which I am not too fond of it either. The objective was never to learn dance... but maybe to lose some weight. I would go through the motions, try to match the steps and just get through the class. After 2 months I moved out of NCR.
This time I decided to join the classes to lose weight... and learn something in the process. The first month was not too great... I was shy... and conscious. By the end of it, I learned something... I could remember the steps and perform them. It made me very happy. In the 2nd month, I was quite confident that I would be better than the newcomers. Unfortunately, dance is about talent and hard work. When others are more talented, I need to work harder to get better than them. Since I was not competing, this did not make me feel good. The 3rd month was the best... I could now remember the steps, pick them up quite fast... and perform them. I renewed the membership.
After more than 3 months, the instructor praised me on my energy and performance today. It was great... I can feel I am better and someone else noticing it is the best feeling...

Few things I have done to improve: (No.. I did not practice at home.. not once... too lazy)
  • I downloaded the songs that are played in class and listen them over and over and over again. I started to like them and just listening to them again in class made me get into rhythm. This really helped. 2 of those songs are now my ringtone.
  • I realized that listening to the song over and over again can make me like it. For example, we have song for the month on which dance steps are choreographed. I did not like this month's song when I first heard it... but now I really like it.
  • I reach class early and revise the steps. I cannot remember the steps once I come home. I doubt I will be able to perform them once class is over. So, I reach early and revise with the other students. This helps perform better in class.
  • Clothes: NCR beats Mumbai's ass when it comes to fashion. The girls in my class dress so well... those who have the figure, do flaunt it in their tiny shorts and spaghetti tops. It is important to be able to see how your body is moving. After weeks of wearing either loose tops/bottoms to hide my body, today I went with hips hugging tracks (I bought them 3 years back specifically for the class) and a tight top. I was surprised to see myself perform the steps correctly... something, I didn't realize earlier. But, good clothes can bring a lot of confidence
  • Confidence: The class has mirrors placed in front. We are all encouraged to look at ourselves while dancing. Now, that is damn difficult 'coz all newcomers do not like how awkward they look in the beginning. Also, dance means being absolutely comfy and proud of your body... 'coz you have to flaunt it... I am not. We were made to do exercises where we looked at the mirror and proclaimed our love. No kidding. Funny... but it worked. I try and position myself so that I can see myself in the mirror.
I have joined the gym as well... for 2 reasons:
  • I have gotten into the habit of waking up at 6 am... and now I can hit the gym in the mornings... to lose weight and tone up. I tried jogging/walking... which is fine... but it does not tone up the body
  • I have bought a lot of workout clothes recently... and 2 days in a week is not enough to wear them. Ok, this one is a big motivation for me. Call me fickle... but whatever works for me.
On a totally unrelated note... below are soaps I am completely addicted to these days:
  • Gossip Girl: The series is about 4 friends from Manhattan... rich, popular and screwed up... Serena, Nate, Chuck and Blair. There is Ted somewhere in the equation. They are rich, spoilt brats but stick together against outsiders. I hate that I can only watch 1 episode per week now.
  • How I met your mother: This needs no introduction. Of course, it has started dragging now... the whole Barney, Ted and Robin triangle is sooo old season and boring. Also, high time we got to meet the mother.
  • 90210: Another series about rich, spoilt teenagers... this time in California.
  • Vampire Diaries: Love it... every episode has twists which are unpredictable...
  • True Blood: I just started watching it... its about vampires but is gross and scary... and slow. But I have read great reviews. Right now, I am hooked.
Today was a perfect day... love mid week holidays... looking forward to the long break of Diwali:
  • 7.45- 8.45 am : Gym
  • 10: 30 am: B'fast
  • 12. 30 pm: Lunch
  • 1-3 pm: Nap
  • 3 pm: Bath
  • 4-6 pm: Search for the perfect couch in budget
  • 7- 8.15 pm: Jazz
Good night...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hair raising tales

I got a haircut on Saturday. ... let me rephrase that... I got a significant haircut on Saturday.
The last few hair cut experiences have not been satisfying... at all. I generally go to a salon with a vague idea of what I want. I feel it is a stylist wet dream when a customer walks up and says; " I am not sure what I want.... do what you feel good". Unfortunately, in India, this is a dreaded statement. Every stylist ends up giving me the same hair cut... layers ... since my hair are wavy. Once or twice I have told to let them grow and return after a few months. Weird. I had gone to the stylist last weekend and she said the same thing. I decided to be patient.
Except... a stylist from Italy was practicing on Indian hair in office. I decided to give it a try... how bad could it be? After many mediocre and one horrible hair cut I have become immune to them. On inquiring from the senior stylist when the Italian was not around, I got to know they were opening a new salon at Oberoi, Gurgaon. I was not too impressed.
Anyway, the Italian was teaching the senior stylist and asked him what would suit my face. He mouthed some random stuff like any Indian stylist. The Italian let him start the cut. I was petrified... I did want this guy to experiment. Thankfully, after a mistakes the Italian took over. He chopped... and chopped and chopped some more. Once styled, I was transformed. This one of my best hair cuts... another one being at Lakme, Kolkatta. The best part is he understood what I meant when I said; "I do not have time to style my hair... I want something which will stay that way".
I had attended a training for stylists where they complained to the instructor that customers expect hair cuts to look the same way once styled... which is not possible. The instructor sympathized with them.
Now I understand the difference between a firang and an Indian stylist... also, difference between a 5 star salon and a normal one... no wonder, they charge a bomb. I would willingly pay that bomb.
The whole experience... the way this guy spoke about hair and how it should be cut... was like Masterchef for hair.
I do not know if it looks good... due to lack of female company and the only male who can give an opinion cannot be relied on. If he says its good I may wonder if he is lying... and if he does not like it I will question the judgement of someone who has had one style for 28 years.

Atleast, its different... thats all that matters.

Saheb Biwi aur Gangster

Lack of any other options and good reviews made us watch it on Friday night. It is supposed to be inspired by Sahib Biwi and Ghulam. I have not watched it so cannot compare.
Jimmy Shergill is the Saheb... he has respect as a royal but no money. He is involved in illegal activities for the money... Biwi is Mahi Gill who is mentally unstable made worse by her husband's infidelity... Randeep Hooda is the gangster who has been hired by a rival to spy on Saheb. It goes the usual route... he and Mahi have a torrid affair and manage to get rid of Saheb's mistress. Instead of eliminating Saheb and marrying him, Mahi Gill and Saheb get together.
The end is predictable... Randeep is killed by Mahi... Saheb becomes paralyzed and Mahi takes over.
The story is predictable towards the end and spoils the fun... all 3 have acted well... Mahi needs a makeover... she can look good but the dinosaur age make up doesn't help... Jimmy is awesome.

Sunset Club

I have read a few books by Khushwant Singh and liked them. Yes, the description of the sexual escapades can get a little gory (even for me) but otherwise he is a brilliant writer.
Sunset Club is the story of 3 old men- one a Surd, another a Muslim and 3rd a staunch Hindu. They used to go for walks at Lodhi Garden and become friends. They meet everyday and talk. The book is about their discussions... it does not go into their past or present. Sounds strange... but it was not boring at all.
Worth a read.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Carrie Diaries


The Carrie Diaries is an effort by Candace Bushnell to write about Carrie's life before the show... before she moved to NYC (in part 1) and before she become the columnist (in part 2). I think I have blogged about the first book.
Anyway, in book 2 Carrie becomes friends with Samantha and Miranda. She has an affair with a much older playwright and spends most of her time wondering if she is talented enough. She does not write much but wants to make it big as a writer in NYC. The whole thing sounds extremely fake and not connected with the show at all.
Samantha is engaged to a multi millionaire for the money. That is so not like Samantha at all... Miranda does not like to have sex and hates men. Its as if Candace has gone bonkers and forgotten what her characters are all about... something like what she did in the 2nd part of the movie. Why can't writers realize that it is ok to end things? J K Rowling is smarter... she knows that the obsession will not end just 'coz the story has. We all crave for a happy ending... why ruin it by half baked attempts?
Friends is the biggest example... at the end of the seasons... the jokes were less funny... the actors less good looking... they ended the show. But it lives one... re runs are played over and over and over again.

Candance needs to drop it and not go further... or backwards. She is ruining it.

Speedy Singh

We generally watch movies on Friday night... with both of us working late on Friday, we could not make a plan. On an impulse, we headed to the Mall to catch Speedy Singh. I was cranky 'coz we had to skip dinner. I cannot operate when hungry and the food is so bad at the theatres. When the movie started Anupam Kher's voice was dubbed... the Canadians were talking in accented Hindi. I was horrified... we had walked into the Hindi dubbed version. We left after 5 mins.
Yesterday, we went for the English version... so avoidable. The movie is a bad remake of Bend It Like Beckham. The story is the same... made worse by the whole Bollywoodish Punjabi tilt. For some reason, people in the theatre were giggling like crazy at the most mediocre dialogues. The whole paghadi Punjabi thing was pukish. I pity Anupam Kher who has to play such roles for the money.
Please avoid.

Sunday Morning

It is just 10 am and so much is already done... house is clean, b'fast and lunch has been cooked, my shoes have been washed and are drying outside, the shoe case has been settled, the newspaper has been read.
There are more chores to be done:
  • Fill thermocol balls in the bean bag
  • Change bedsheets and wash them
  • Send courier, get eyebrows done, buy veggies
But most of the above has to be done by KC.
Sat and Sunday mornings are a pain. I cannot sleep for even half an hour extra on Saturdays... same is the situation on Sunday. The door bell rings non stop- maid, cook, garbage man, laundry guy, car cleaner, newspaper bill... etc etc etc etc. I have rested my ass at 10 am only.

But today will have to be a relaxing day... I am determined to relax today. I need it. The last week is always hectic.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Long time....

Hiya. Just 5 posts in this month.. it is not good... not good at all. It has been busy and hectic. I have started going for morning walks. Its been 1 week. I am trying to get into the habit of waking up early... which also means sleeping early. And there lies the problem. I cannot sleep before 11 pm.. there is always too much to do.... have dinner, come online, read a little... etc etc etc.
Fitting in too much into a day gets hectic but I am guessing I have one life to live and I might as well live it well. Also, cooking has been on the back burner. I have been planning to bake muffins for more than a week now. May do it tom. Fingers crossed.
So many things happened since I last blogged. Generally, I do not blog about whats happening in the world... there is enough said on news, twitter and facebook. But this time I will:
  • The bomb blast in Delhi- People say that Mumbai moves on... so does Delhi. The next day was normal. When I heard about the blast I was in Ghaziabad. I was checking the news on my mobile and messaged KC about it. We didn't discuss it further at home or even check news. Nobody in office spoke about it. And there lies the problem. In USA, something like this is taken so personally that the President goes and bombs 2-3 countries while nothing happens here. I am repeating what others have said... but its so sad
  • Shoot out at Gurgaon- I came across a news item on twitter... 2 people in a car shot the guy at the toll 'coz he did not let them go without paying. The toll costs 21 bucks. A guy got shot for Rs 21... a life is worth that much... not even that, actually. Surprisingly, I did not come across it in the newspaper. Strange but true. It is scary. You never know who is carrying a gun here... someone who does have 21 bucks in his pocket... could be anybody.... the maid... the cook... her husband... the car cleaner with who I fought today.... anyone...
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/massive-manhunt-on-for-killers-of-gurgaon-toll-booth-attendant-136019?pfrom=home-lateststories
  • The earthquake: The more I read about it... the less I like... people still under the rubble? No way to reach the interiors? Really? What the hell is the government doing?
Gurgaon is quite expensive... the VAT is higher... service charge everywhere and today, Pizza Hut added "voluntary" donation to my bill. I blew up... asked them to remove the donation from the service charge. If I want to donate... I will... At Pizza Hut, stick to the pizzas only.

Thats about it for now... movie and book reviews coming up.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good Morning

Hiya... I am writing this just before my phone starts ringing and the day begins as usual.
I woke up slightly earlier and went for a walk. I have been trying to do that for the last few days... but its only today I managed to wake up. It was a toss up between the gym or a walk. I decided to walk... enjoy the morning air... and make waking up on time a routine before joining a gym. No point in paying and then not going regularly.
Its nice to hear the silence... only the birds chirping... some kids learning karate under the trees... men washing cars... some couples taking a walk... others buying milk or veggies... maids walking dogs... so different from Mumbai. This does not feel like a metro... it feels like a tier 2 city... a place where people have a life... where everyone is not running. And I completely appreciate it. I love the fact that there are trees everywhere... that cars are not trying to run me over everywhere... that life can be as slow as I want it to be.
There are cons too... the trees look monstrous at night without any street lights... that I can be kidnapped or raped after dark without anyone being able to hear me... etc etc etc.
But right now.... it feels good. And I appreciate this morning... no matter what the rest of the day brings.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Clothes... shoes... make up... fashion

Hey!!! I am addicted... to so many things these days:
  • Vampire Diaries: I loved the first few books (the last 2 were pretty boring)... but the series was quite good. It did not follow the book strictly, was scary and much more interesting. I am waiting for season 3 to begin... do not know how to pass time until then
  • Online Shopping: I came across the website fashionandyou.com through Femina magazine. It is quite good. I always wondered how people shop online... without the touch, feel and trial factor. I never buy anything without trying it first. I made the first purchase around 1-2 months back and now am hooked. My first purchase were leggings and kurta from "W"... the fit was great and at a discount. The next purchase were tees from Disney and Adidas... each costing less than 400 bucks. And now, I am addicted. I wait for 11 am for the new sale to begin. Footwear, I have bought for 2k (Enroute) are available for 700 bucks online. Cool, na? Of course, you have to be fast... atleast twice it has happened that by the time I started paying, the products got sold out. Delivery is a little delayed... could take anywhere between 1-3 weeks. If you want to join, let me know. I will send an invite... it will give me some credits (Thats NOT why I mentioned it here).
  • Make up: This post is really about make up... something I have inculcated in my life a year back. Till I was in college (grad and post grad) application was limited to parties... mostly an eye liner and lipstick. Never more than that. My first job involved a lot of travel... mainly to rural places and make up was limited to kajal (technically- its not make up). Working in the beauty industry had made me more aware.. its difficult to resist temptation when make up is all around me. For the past one year, make up has become part of my daily routine. I do not leave home without it (unless I am going grocery shopping).
My reviews on products and tips are below:
  • Base make up: For the longest time I was oblivious to the importance of base make up. It mainly includes foundation, concealer and compact powder. I skip concealer 'coz its awfully difficult to apply and can look bad if not done correctly. As for foundation, I have experimented with many, before finding my preferred brand. I started with Chambor's foundation (since Mom is a fan) but was using the incorrect shade until a colleague pointed that out. Its so difficult to figure these things out. I tried L'Oreal's True Match foundation but did not like the heavy coverage. I like low coverage so that the face does not look too made up. I came across Lancome accidently... it is an imported brand with limited outlets in India (Mumbai- Phoenix Mills, Delhi- Select City Walk Mall). The foundation is called Tient Miracle and covers pores, gives a glow and is perfect was party wear. It is pricey at 2700 bucks... but so worth it. Its my most expensive buy- I do not have any clothes or shoes that have cost so much. But its worth it. I have saved it for party wear. For daily wear, I discovered L'Oreal's mineral foundation. This is perfect for my oily skin. It gives an amazing glow to the skin without making it oily.... also, there is no need for compact. Another daily wear foundation is the recently launched L'Oreal Mousse... love it. It spreads easily but compact application is needed. I think Revlon also has mineral make up but I do not like that brand... for some reason. When buying a foundation, always inquire for the shade at atleast 2 counters since the beauty advisers can get it wrong. Better safe than sorry. A good foundation makes all the difference and is most important. Take it from someone who never used it before and now is not comfy being seen without it at work or on an outing. I am not very choosy about compact and have been using Chambor for the longest time.
  • Next step is eyeshadow. There are so many, many, many options. I used to look up videos on you tube to learn the correct application. There are so many ways to apply eye shadow... it was quite confusing. Also, very few women wear eyeshadow in India and it can end up looking out of place- specially at work. I just apply it on my eye lids.... thats it... no highlighter, nothing on brow bones... nothing to make eyes look bigger or smaller. Also, if I am using a catchy shade like blue or green, I skip the eyeliner. When I use base shades like brown or pink, I apply an eyeliner also. Coming to brands... Mac is the best out there... at 900 bucks its pricey. Go for Mac if you are looking for that perfect shade... they have the largest range. Lakme and Maybelline are good within budget... L'Oreal eye shadows are nothing to write home about. Revlon sucks... I bought their kit with 4 shades but they settle on the eye lid crease after a few hours. Max Factor is another good brand. Clarins is the only brand with liquid eye shadow but they have very basic shades (brown, goldenish, pink, green) and are pricey at 990 bucks.
  • Eye liner: There are so many kinds available in the market now. When I was in college, everyone used Lakme's liquid eye liner which took ages to dry and you had to be careful before opening your eyes incase it had not dried and would smudge. It took me a lot of practice to be able to apply it correctly. None of that anymore. The best options are gel liners... smooth, applied with a brush, do not smudge... Maybelline, L'Oreal and MAC have these liners. Maybelline is budget and strictly ok... L'Oreal is better but has only black shade... MAC is pricey at 900 or 1000 bucks but has many shades- brown, copper, green, peacock green, peacock blue, bluish purple, black etc. I have only 2 liquid liners... L'Oreal and Lakme... both are good. For pencils liners, I think Chambor is best... Maybelline has many shades but I do not like them... L'Oreal's contour liner pencil is also good. It does not smudge.
  • Mascara: I did not understand the importance of a mascara until recently. I love how they make the lashes look. There are many options in the market but I have not experimented with too many... for lengthening, volume, curl, defining etc. I read somewhere that washable is better than waterproof 'coz it is less harmful. Not sure about the facts. My first mascara was Maybelline which dried 'coz of under use. Many years later I bought Mac's defining mascara. It didn't do much since my lashes are not long and curled. Next I bought Mac's volumizing and curling mascara which is better suited. Don't go by the way a beauty adviser demonstrates its application. They tend to over apply... also, it takes some getting used to. It makes the lashes feel slightly heavy and that can be uncomfy. Go for a good brand... and practice. It is worth it. Also, its important to curl the lashes with an eye lash curler before application. It hardly costs 20-30 bucks.
  • Lipsticks: Again... so many options... long lasting, matte, glossy, lip gloss. Whichever... it will need touch ups... My favourites are Chambor's long lasting, Mac's lipsticks (for that perfect orange shade), Lakme (cheap and tikkao), L'Oreal's color riche. Mac has all kinds of shades... pale pink to bright orange red. Its pricey at 900 bucks... so go for the niche shades. Lakme is good for generic shades... L'Oreal has very nice, glossy nudes not found in other brands. I had tried Colorbar's long wear lipsticks... they hardly lasted and dried my lips real bad. So, pick with care.
  • Nails: Females in my workplace in Mumbai actually matched their nail paint to the outfit... and yet turned up at work at 9 am (after spending 1-1.5 hours in traffic). Thats dedication. I can barely change the paint twice in a week... sometimes, even once is an effort. I have so many, many shades... Lakme, Maybelline, Colorbar, Vov... Lakme is good for generic shades... Maybelline has funky colors like green, purple, black, yellow, orange etc... My fav is Color Bar... they have a huge range- 2-3 shades of green, pinks, purple, blue, yellow, purple. Not bad at 150 bucks. I do not see the point in spending 600-700 bucks on nail paint for brands like L'Oreal, Inglot etc.
  • There are many other things I have missed out- primer, blush, lipliner.... but I generally skip these. For a party, they can be included... but otherwise skip it.
All comments and suggestions welcome. A girly post after a long time...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Conflicts... work... stress... life

Hiya. I wish I could import people from Mumbai out here... work people. It would make life so much easier, better and fun. I don't blog about work but these days its getting to me. A new conflict everyday.
There are many thoughts rushing to my mind... best way to organize them is through bullet points:
  • I am an aggressive person by nature... my job also does not allow me to be anything else. Begin a woman means I cannot be soft with people... it is either misconstrued as weakness or flirting. No kidding. Instead of mellowing me down, the aggressiveness spills into my personal life. It has its own pros and cons.
  • In Mumbai, I hated working after 8 pm... never did. I just wanted to come back home and do my own thing. Now, I don't mind so much. If there is something important, I do open my laptop at home. I guess I am less irritated and impatient now that KC is around. Having someone to talk to or just be with makes a world of a difference. Staying alone ain't much fun. But I could not admit that to myself in Mumbai... it would have made me weaker. And when things are not in my control, why wallow about them?
  • There is a major difference between people in Mumbai and out here. In Mumbai, you wake up to run.... from morning to night... thats the life. Someone who refuses to run will not survive a day... whether he/she is from Mumbai or not. Everyone is running... either ahead or with you or behind you. Not so in Delhi. People are born and brought up here... there are not too many outsiders... everyone stays with families... generations of them... it is all about taking it slow... working at your own pace. For a person like me who did not take it slow even in Kolkata, it is not a very comfy place. I am running... and I need to get people to run with me... the only way I can... through aggressiveness.
  • Thats how conflicts come in... I want to reach the goal ... people can either work towards it with me or I will drag them along... but I refuse to let them drag me down. Its complicated.
  • Thankfully, I come home and everything is easier to handle. I go for Jazz for 1.5 hours and suddenly life seems much better. It can't be that bad if I can spare 3 hours per week to do my own thing after work. How many people can boast of that?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Movie Reviews

I like Mila Kunis... she was fab in That 70s show and Black Swan. She is so pretty and I love her voice. We were trying to decide which movie to watch today... Mere Brother ki Dulhan was out... the choice was between FWB and Contagion. We picked this. The movie is full of cliches... guy and girl have commitment and emotional issues... both are single... become friends... decide to have sex... it gets complicated... they fall in love... the end. There was no interval and I couldn't even have nachos. A bummer.... but I got to watch Mila Kunis and that makes it worth it.
Avoid.

TGIYB is out and out an art movie... Art movies these days are... Phas gaye re obama, Pyaar ka punchnama... Dhobhi Ghat... etc... also called multiplex movies. TGIYB is not in that genre... it is an art movie of the kind in which Shabana Azmi... Om Puri... Smita Patil etc would star. The background reminds of that time.
I like art movies... so found it quite ok. Ok... not good. I was surprised that all reviews given were good. This is what happens when perceptions take the front seat. Anurag Kashyap has made a name for himself... to the point that critics have stopped trashing his movies. Some have even called it his best movie to date... which is so not true. Dev D and Udaan are the best. None of the others come close.
I also do not understand why such movies are hyped and why there is advertising done. Everybody goes to watch it expecting it to be a commercial movie and comes back disappointed. Why not just target the niche audience who will appreciate it?
Watch it only if you like art movies... else avoid. I would have preferred to download it online and then watch it instead of spending money.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Time for Update...

What have I been doing??? Loads...
  • I didn't feel like going to my dance class today. It was actually an extra class and since I missed class on Thursday it was sort of compulsory for me to attend. One part wanted me to just stay at home and laze around... the other part knew I would regret it and the guilt would eat me if I did not go. So, I went... I really needed the break. 1.5 hours of hectic moving has made me cheerful again
  • I spilled milk on my blackberry phone. It started acting weird... switching off and on at will. The people at the service centre told me to give it for 6-7 days; after which it may or may not get repaired. I was horrified. Thank god, I had not spent my money on it. It was a gift from the company last year. I decided to buy a new one...my only priority was that it should be sturdy enough to withstand further spills. Its back to Nokia. This time with E6. The internet is not as convenient as a bb since it depends on gprs network but thats ok. I do not want to spend 10k for another phone every year.
  • My brother (who is in grad college) recently changed his relationship status to "committed". I was curious... on checking the gf's profile on fb I could not find a link between her and my bro. They are definitely not from the same college and have different set of friends. I questioned my bro after one week of digging. He said they met 2 weeks back and "hit it off". I wasn't convinced. KC cheekily reminded of my age when I had my first relationship... I was not even 18... atleast he is 21. Old enough to make these decisions. Aah... first love... when we are stupid enough to believe 2 weeks is enough to dive into the relationship pool.
  • I met my best friend this week... she came down for a day. I picked her from the airport and planned to drop her at the hotel in New Friends Colony after work. Big mistake. I was not carrying my GPS. The phone's GPS was hard to read... and we kept going round and round in circles. We reached after 2 hours... But it was so nice to meet her and talk. I didn't have to explain "how I feel"... she just knew. I miss that. Also, silences with friends are so comfy... they do not need to be filled with words...
  • We finally, finally went to Big Chill which is a famous restaurant in Delhi. We reached at 3 pm for lunch on Sunday and it was packed. We had to wait for an hour to get a table by when we were not too hungry. We just ordered a pasta (cannelloni) with a red pesto sauce. It was delicious. Definitely worth another visit. Next I want to visit Kareem's.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 5, 6 and 7

Sorry people... have been gone long. Updates on what's happening in next post.
Coming back to the trip. Day 5 was the trip to Numbra Valley which we skipped. KC and me were exhausted, we didn't want to travel anymore but just rest. We decided to stay back in Leh. I was ill on day 5 and had half a mind to fly back the next day but the tickets were awfully expensive. The agent worked out the hotel details so we didnt have to pay extra. Unfortunately, our hotel did not have available rooms so we shifted to the next door hotel.
After sleeping all day on day 6, we explored the market. The weather was now hot and we didnt need warm wear. Leh is closest to civilization. It has many, many restaurants. We tried only one and stuck to it throughout. I tried the local food called "thukpa"... it is basically noodles in soup with chicken/veggies... filling and easy to make... but too bland for me. I could not have it after 3-4 spoons. The market mainly has warmwear- pashminas, stoles, shawls, sweaters and a lot of handicrafts. The only problem is the high price. Since many, many foreigners visit here the prices are high. The pashmina sweaters/stoles were more expensive than the ones sold in 'Zara'. I bought 2 leather jackets but whether it is real leather will have to be tested. For example, we came across a shop with some Buddha sign on a shiny cloth. For some reason KC was fascinated by it (I personally did not want to see it in my house) and wanted to buy it. The shopkeeper quoted 4k as the price. He brought it down to 3k. It was still way above our budget and we didn't purchase it. The next day, we came across the same piece in another shop for 2k. I am sure after negotiation we could have bought it for 1k. Those guys would still have made a profit. Another reason for the high prices is that tourists go to Leh only during 4 months in the year. Everyone has other means of livelihood during the balance of the year.
Day 7 was the same... we shopped... walked around... slept... relaxed. We returned the next day after a stop over at Jammu airport for 3 hours.

Some tips if you plan to holiday in Leh/Ladakh:
  • Keep the trip short... 3-4 days max. It can get hectic otherwise
  • Skip Kargil... fly to Leh directly and start the trip from there. We came across a few people on motorbikes. I know some batch mates who did the trip on bikes
  • Loos are hard to come by on the way... be prepared for that
  • The roads are deserted... don't expect decent food on the way. Best is to carry packed lunches else you will end up eating Maggi on all days. The hotels mostly served us aloo gobhi/paneer etc. We got really, really tired after 2-3 meals. The driver will know the best places for food
  • Carry a lot of warm clothes... gloves, jackets, sweaters, thermal wear, socks, caps etc.
  • Pray it does not rain but is sunny
  • Places around Leh are famous for river rafting and trekking. An adventure trip is a good option here. I wish we had done river rafting
  • If you are looking for a leisure holiday, avoid this place...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 4


We started in the morning for Pangong Lake. It was a 7 hours journey. Pangong lake is where 3 idiots climax scene was shot. Travelling was hectic... roads were treacherous and the high altitude starting making most of the people dizzy. KC was not well throughout. He was cold and dizzy. We came across snow covered mountains and it was soooooooo cold. Btw, I forgot to describe my outfit... my best one. I had worn a Wills Lifetyle skirt... with skin colored tights... they were woollen and warm... with a red Zara spaghetti top and red Zara cardigan. I had the overcoat over it plus a black stole.
We reached the Chang La pass which is the 3rd highest in the world. There was snow everywhere and the highest cafeteria. I got down from the bus to go to the loo and felt so dizzy. Slowly and steadily, I reached the cafe, went around the back which was covered with snow and came to the loo. I didn't think that snow would be so slippery. It is common sense but the feeling was new. Its not like I skate at home on the snow.
A word of caution.... there are hardly any loos on the way... the few that we came across were dirty and filthy. I am quite particular about men peeing on the roads but in this case they did not have an option. There are still some loos for women but none for men.
We kept moving up the mountains till the peaks were parallel and then moving down... and then moving up. It was an amazing experience. Lunch was at a small hut on the way. By 2 pm they were out of food.... and we had to satisfy ourselves with Maggi and egg bhurji. It was so cold outside we huddled in the one room kitchen while the women cooked for us.
Pangong lake arrived at 6 pm. The cold was biting and fierce. We savoured the lake... its pristine beauty... clicked many many pics... and then I left the group to return to the vehicle. My overcoat was with KC and those 5 mins of walking in the cold took its toll. I was slightly woozy on the way to the tent which was 10 mins away.
There was a huge goof up... our agent had booked 5 tents but the manager there had given away 2 of them on first come first serve basis. There were 10 of us and 3 tents... no phone signal... no way to sort it out. The guys then took the vehicle to the nearest STD booth to sort things out. I sat inside one of the tents and suddenly started shivering. When KC returned he gave me his warm clothes and covered me with 4 blankets. I was still shivering. It was scary... no phone signal to call my dad for medicines... no medical care... and no way out. KC was took great care all night... brought me dinner... kept checking on me every hour... got me ORS to prevent dehydration. He was not too well either. All night I kept waking up wondering when it will be morning so we could leave from there.
Next morning I was slightly better but wanted to get to Leh to rest. I was tired and not in the mood to continue the trip. On the way back, everyone else wanted to visit monasteries and the palace. I was screwed. All I wanted to do was return safe to the hotel. After stopping at Thiksay monastery for an hour (I did not join), the palace was skipped 'coz nobody wanted to climb so high... and we reached Leh.
KC and I decided to skip last 2 days of the trip. I was actually planning to return 2 days earlier... better to recover at home than in a hotel at Leh.

Next... day 5 and 6 at Leh. I leave you with some pics:

These are 'marmots'... they go into hibernation during winter... are herbivores and quite friendly

Snow at Chang La pass

World's 3rd highest pass

Pangong Lake

The place where 3 idiots climax was shot