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.


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 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

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.

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 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.