Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Monthly Update

Hiya... I have been following the news on an hourly basis... fb, twitter, ndtv, newspapers... everywhere. I am proud of Delhites... while rest of the country celebrates the holidays, they are battling it out in the cold. Kudos!!!
Its a lame duck Govt. I have always disliked BJP 'coz of their pro Hindutva agenda. Now I am wondering whats worse... Congress- nothing seems to shake them up or BJP- with its division on religious lines.
I am keeping my fingers crossed... I hope this time people get the message that women's safety and equality is no laughing matter.

It has been a busy month... very busy. Let me update:
- I shifted into the new place on 1st Dec
- On the weekend of 8th Dec, KC came for an impromptu visit and I managed to get a lot of things settled. Thankfully, he loves the place. He keeps telling me I am living like a queen since its a 2bhk
- On 10th, my best friend got married in Bhilai. I don't do weddings... find them too boring. I never take the trouble of travelling to attend a wedding... but this time, I had to be there. It was not a regular, normal wedding. She had gone through a lot of trouble and pain to get married to this particular guy... just like me. Except in her case, her parents gave in finally. Also, she was the only one to attend my wedding. Imagine a place full of strangers at your wedding and having only one familiar face. I attended her reception but slept through the wedding and then woke up for her bidaai. I wore a saree... first time after the wedding.
- On 14th, I flew to Jaipur for the Annual Conference. AC is always fun 'coz I get to meet people from other locations. It is a good place to network and meet up people. I won an award (just like last year) so it was great.
- From Jaipur I travelled to Gurgaon and did everything I wanted to- had b'fast at Choco La... went to Select City walk and had lunch at Amici Cafe. I wanted to check if Sephora had opened (it opened this weekend)... went for a movie- Life of Pi... had Chicken Biryani at Coco Palm
- I joined my Jazz classes. Yep... its back to Jazz. Unfortunately, I have to start at the beginning... from beginners. But the instructor mentioned that he will promote me to the next level in a month or two. The classes are in Bandra and I have joined an open batch... which means I can either attend the Wed/Sat class or 2 hours on Sunday. Travelling from Mulund to Bandra is a pain... and I am trying to figure out the best way to do so. Imagine, I travel for 2-3 hours for a 1 hour class... but its worth it
- This weekend KC is here and I managed to get a gas connection. I cooked a meal on Saturday night- rotis, rice, sabji and daal. Awesome!!! So, the kitchen is up and running. KC is my lucky charm... everytime he comes I manage to get something important done
- Now, only 3 days of work... and then off to Gurgaon on Friday night for New Years. KC didn't want me to spend money and come but I cannot stay alone on New Year's. I am not so broke as of yet. Some things are more important than money.

Hope you all had a merry X'mas... 

Friday, December 21, 2012

In the News

Hiya... my posts have been few this month but life is so busy. No... I am not going to disappear from here... I just need some time to settle down and get into a routine.
I have not had 1 day to just sit and relax. Every day has been a race. I shifted into the new house on 1st Dec... On 2nd, after unpacking I met my bro for dinner and shopping. The next weekend, KC came to Mumbai for a sudden visit. On Monday and Tuesday I was in Bhilai to attend my best friend's wedding. On Friday and Saturday I was in Jaipur for the annual conference. On Sunday I was in Gurgaon. On Monday, it was back to work.
I hope this weekend will be relaxing.

Before I type anything else I need to put down my thoughts on the recent rape incident. Last night a jackass buzzed me on gtalk... it was something on the lines of "I was right... Mumbai is safer... after all, the rape happened in Delhi". I was late, tired and waiting for dinner. I requested this person to leave me alone right now... but he wouldn't take a hint and I lost it... I have never been this rude to anyone on chat. Anyway, I was shocked. If you feel happy that it happened in Delhi and you get to prove a point... then, you are no better than an uneducated lout.
There are 2 points I want to make here:
- As a woman I feel unsafe everywhere
- I am not surprised this happened in Delhi... and like this

Point no 1: As a woman I am constantly on my guard. I am conscious when I leave home. I am careful, observant... aware about who is walking in front of me... who is behind me... who is staring at me... whose hands are almost touching me... I think twice about where to go... with who and what time. And it is not just me... it is all women. We are not free. We always, always have to be careful. And our instincts are always right. We know when someone is having bad thoughts about us. And we are not safe anywhere. It is so simple... a touch here... a touch there... how do you figure out in a crowd? It is not about Delhi Vs Mumbai Vs B'glore Vs Kolkata etc. Rapes are happening everywhere... every city, everyday, day and night... forever. And it never ends. I don't know who these men are... but there are everywhere ... it is not about education... they can be poor or rich... they can have a good upbringing or a bad one. There is no way to classify them. I will give you random examples:
I was in class 12th and went for tuition to different professors for Bio, Chem, Physics and Maths. The Maths Prof was a lame guy who held classes in his basement. He had a wife and kid. I performed very well in all my tests and was confident about scoring excellent marks. After the last board exam (it was Maths) I dropped into the class to let him know about the paper. He was pleased to see me. My parents had been pressurizing me to prepare for the DAIICT entrance. I requested the Prof to help me with the preparation. He agreed. A few weeks later I went for class. He was alone in the basement and made me sit next to him on the sofa. It was weird... all of us generally sat on the chairs. His leg was touching mine and I tried to ignore the weird feeling. Suddenly he started saying some random stuff and put his hand on my back. It slid down to my waist... thats when my brain screamed; "Run". I picked up my books and ran out. I didn't think or question or rationalize... I just ran. I told my parents a day later but asked them not to do anything. I am ashamed to admit I didn't do anything... didn't complain or file a report or anything. I am sure he tried it again... with some other female.... This happened in a safe city like "A'bad" ... the man was my teacher... my only interaction with him was in class along with other students. Why did he think he could get away with trying something like that??? I don't know... it beats all logic.
This world is a shitty, shitty place. Unfortunately, I don't think it will get better. All the women who are protesting today... where were they yesterday? Why didn't they protest before the rape??? How many rapes are we waiting for to shake us out of our comfort zones??? Wasn't Guwahati incident not enough??? And the Kolkata rape? How many more? We still live in a society where women take their husband's name... what can we expect from this patriarchal society?

Point 2: Here are some to do and not to dos in Delhi:
- Always drive... Better to have a car even if you don't have a house
- Never take the bus... and definitely not a private bus
- If your friends drops you off in an auto, ask him to note down the plate number for future reference
- Delhi is a state... it has large spaces of deserted roads... some of them not very well lit. You need to be careful
- If you are a woman, you do not have to stop your car even if a cop asks you after 8 pm. Cops are not allowed to stop women after 8 pm

Central Delhi, where all the dignitaries live, is where the cops are seen. All other areas do not have cops. None of the traffic signals have cops. It is easy for a crime to occur. Drinking and driving is very common. People are horrified NOW... what about till now? So, we wait for a horrific rape to happen and then protest? Why not protest before that?

I don't have a solution. How do you change a society? Do I dare hope that women will someday be free ??? To do as we please... when we please??? Will men stop seeing us merely as sexual objects??? 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Talaash


This review does come a little late but I finally watched Talaash. I can't believe it has been a week since I moved into the new house... seems longer. Last weekend I was setting up and unpacking. The only things left now are:

  • Bookshelf. Housefull furniture sucks. They have not yet delivered the shelf yet even though I paid them 3 weeks back and they had committed 1st Dec'12 as the delivery date
  • The gas connection- Hope to get it this week even with the packed schedule and commitments
  • 1 more carton to unpack- it has some knick knacks which I was hoping to place on top of the bookshelf

Anyway, after setting up the microwave, getting the plumber to fix stuff, cable connection, getting the agreement... we watched the movie. It was surprisingly packed for a 2nd week. 

I already knew the suspense even though nobody on my fb posted the details. I wish I could have watched it last weekend. Nobody expects to watch a supernatural suspense thriller in a flick which stars Kareena, Aamir and Rani. Stars steer clear of supernatural (except for Bhoot) except for making comebacks (Karishma Kapoor... sad comeback vehicle).

I liked the movie... the actors are superb... even with the suspense out in the open it was thrilling. The only thing lacking were chills down my spine. I was not scared even in one scene and I wish it was otherwise. The scenes did not remain with me after I left the theatre. Some chills and it would have been fabulous.

But, I liked it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mumbai- Why it sucks

Mumbai sucks... a lot. And I will tell you why:

    • It is not cosmopolitan. The dictionary meaning of the word is "Having constituent elements from all over the world or from many different parts of the world". Mumbai is strongly dominated by Marathis, Gujjus and Hindus. Anyone who does not fit into these criteria will have a hard time. So, if you are a Muslim or a bachelor or non vegetarian... you will have a very difficult time finding a house. The people in Mumbai are not "live and let live" kinds... no way. They have rules and regulations and expect everyone to follow them. They are not broad minded. 
  • It is very conservative. The first day I traveled in the local train (Andheri-Ville Parle-Santa Cruz-Bandra-Dadar-Lower Parel), 90% women were dressed in salwar kameez. I have nothing against the Indian garment but a "cosmopolitan" city would have more women dressed in western outfit. In Delhi, 50% women would be dressed in Indian wear. When we met the broker for a flat this is how the conversation went:

Him: So, your name is "First Name" "Last Name". Your maiden name is on all your documents???- PAN card, passport, driving license... etc etc
Me: Yes
Him: Arre... you should change it immediately
Me: Huh??? Why will I change it?
Him: You don't intend to take your husband's name?
Me: No
Him (to KC): And you don't mind?
KC (dumb founded and speechless)
Me: Why will he mind?
The broker was not happy. Even though I asked him to make the agreement on my name, he wrote "My first name" "KC's first name" "KC's surname". I called him and told him; "THAT is not MY name".
    • It is not fashion conscious. I have been so used to seeing beautiful, well dressed people in Delhi that Mumbai is a culture shock. Mumbai women (and men) dress shabbily and do not take care of their appearance. This may sound very shallow but in the last 1.5 years I am so used to seeing women with make up and the best clothes they can afford (whether from Gucci or Zara or Sarojini Nagar).
    • Mumbai is inhuman. Many times I come across women shoving and pushing to enter the local train even though the train is empty and there is enough space for everyone to sit (not just stand). It makes me wonder. I understand if you have to fight for space but why fight when there is no need? Mumbai people are so used to fighting that it has now become a habit. It makes them inhuman. While in Delhi people regularly offer their seats to someone with kids or an older person. They can afford to be generous and think about others. Anyone shoving and pushing is looked down upon. People get on the train only when ones on abroad have got off. 
    • It stinks. When KC and I had come to find a flat in mid oct we traveled in a cab from Santa Cruz to Vashi. The entire city stinks. There isn't even one area which does not smell. When you come from a clean, green and a non smelling city this becomes very noticeable. After sometime you become used to it. I don't understand why the Municipal Corporation cannot clean up the city. How hard can it be? 
    • It is very political. Do I need to mention the bandh on Thackeray's death?
    • Mumbai is all about the lower class. They know that the high class and middle class is dependent upon them. They hate working late hours (even though people in offices work late)... they charge exorbitant rates (specially in posh areas like Andheri). It took me a week to find a maid and even then she was charging as much as I paid in Gurgaon (for a 2 bhk). The cook demanded double money from me. 
    All this may seem trivial but after living in Gurgaon for 1.5 years I have realized that things do not have to be like this. Gurgaon people can be classified as follows:

    • Professionals: Since most companies have moved to Gurgaon most people live here out of compulsion. They are mainly working in high paying MNCs and come from all parts of the world
    • Retired people: Gurgaon was a small town before DLF came and changed its face. A lot of people have bungalows (just like any small town) and prefer to stay here after retirement. So, a lot of senior citizens live here
    • Haryanvis: The local people who mostly stay in sectors and away from posh DLF localities
    • Labour: Mostly from villages of Bihar and Jharkhand
    I liked staying in Gurgaon... you can wear what you want... traveling in the Metro is so comfy and luxurious... nobody cares about your marital status, caste, religion, creed... the flat owners are extremely nice and do not have any rules... there are no bandhs or riots or blasts in Gurgaon... you can find excellent cooks and maids for very reasonable charges

    Mumbai does not come close to Delhi in terms of standard of living and only someone who has lived in both cities will realize the massive difference.

    When I put up nasty comments about Mumbai, someone commented; "Can you buy groceries at 11 pm in Delhi?"
    I want to reply to that here:

    • Yes, I can... if the shop is open (which is highly doubtful)
    • Why will I go buy groceries past my bedtime?
    • Who shops for groceries at 11 pm?
    • Is my standard of living better 'coz I can buy groceries at 11 pm or is it worse 'coz I find time only at 11 pm to buy groceries?


    I love Delhi and I will move back... don't know when... but it will happen. Mumbai is not my kind of city. 

    But, I have not moved here for the city. I have moved here for my job. I have shifted here to add to my skills and to learn. And thats all that matters. The other things are immaterial. We cannot have everything at every stage in our lives. We need to pick and choose. I have chosen my job over my husband and a comfortable life in 2013. In 2011 and 2012, my husband and marriage was my priority and it took precedence over my job. 

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    I am alive

    Hey... I am alive and kicking in Mumbai. Its been a month since I posted... a month which has been one of the toughest periods of my life.
    Why? Its not about parting with KC and living alone... I have not even had time to think about that.
    Let me begin at the beginning.
    I came to Mumbai on 2nd Nov... KC and I got our registration and police verification done. On 3rd our stuff was supposed to reach. Guess what? It didn't turn up and I kept getting different updates from Agarwal Movers and Packers... someone told me it would arrive by 12 pm, another guy said it would come on 4th Nov and a 3rd person confirmed 5th Nov. At 2 pm, we got an update that the truck has reached Nasik and will arrive on 4th.. not before that. Agarwal MnP sucks... I am never hiring them again. On Sunday, we unpacked and tried to finish as much as possible. It was exhausting. KC left for Gurgaon on 6th. Thats when trouble started. First, there was a fight with the guard since he was very, very rude and told me; "I am not an agent for sourcing maids... find a maid yourself". Now, the most important person in any building is the guard... he is the one who helps residents for everything- plumber, electrician, cable, internet, maid, cook etc etc. I was shocked and complained to the owner (who lives in the same building). The owner was non committal. Second, after numerous follow up Tata Sky guys came to the house for installation. The guard refused to let them in since it was past 7 pm. I was again surprised since I was unaware about any such rule. The owner told me no work is allowed after 7 pm on weekdays and on Sundays. This sounded ridiculous. How am I supposed to know building rules if the owner does not mention them or write them in the agreement? I asked the owner to tell me all the rules. One of them is that if friends stay over for more than 2 days I need to get their police verification done. Which means that if you are my friend and come to visit me for a week I will have to take you to the police station along with your documents and then submit the NOC to the building. The owner and I had a major disagreement on this. KC and I had both gone to the police station for a verification... we are responsible for our friends when they stay over. I decided to move out.
    The search for another house started. I decided to move to the eastern suburbs- either Mulund or Powai since I have stayed there earlier. Luckily, I found the perfect flat on Diwali day... for a lower rent. I was excited. The house was huge, had a balcony and very good view. Perfect. The only problem was the owner had to get some leakage issue resolved and wanted 15 days. I wanted to move in immediately but decided to wait. After 2 weeks, the owner was non committal about the exact date when the issue would be resolved. I had to ultimately cancel the flat and find a new one. The only problem was I had a week to move out from the previous flat. For 2 days, I traveled from Lower Parel (after work) to Mulund and then back to Andheri. There were no 1 bhk available in Mulund. The one flat I liked was given to another family. On Wednesday, with no other options left I agreed to a 2 bhk at the same rent. I did not even like the flat but had no other option.
    I shifted in on Saturday and things have looked up since then:

    • TV has been installed... still waiting for the Tata Sky guys to turn up
    • Bedroom has been set up
    • Set up the kitchen today
    • Got the wardrobe and dressing table set up
    • Internet has been set up
    • Found a maid
    • Finally gave a bundle of 75 clothes for ironing
    The only things left are:
    • Cable
    • Book shelf
    • Footwear
    • Home theatre
    • Gas connection
    • Unpack 2-3 cartons
    I am really liking the flat... its huge with 2 bathrooms... has a separate space for drying clothes... overlooks hills from all rooms... except it is too lonely and silent. 

    Below are upcoming posts:
    • Mumbai- it sucks
    • Mumbai Vs Delhi

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    The House Hunt

    Everything depends on the house. It is the only thing that can make me look forward to my move to Mumbai.
    There are 3 options when moving to any city:
    1) Find a house as close to office as possible to reduce the commute. A house near office is generally expensive or in a not so great area...
    2) Find a house some distance away from office. A compromise between commute, area and rent.
    3) Find a luxurious house far away from office. The commute is huge but atleast weekends are peaceful

    I went to Mumbai 2 weeks back to find a place. My aim was 1. I was sure I wanted to reduce the commute as much as possible. Office is at Lower Parel. So options were Dadar, Mahim, Wadala, Sion etc. I ended up opting for 2. I found a flat in Andheri West.
    Reasons are below:
    1) The flat is very, very good with security at the gate. I prefer houses with good security since I will live alone for sometime. Even though Mumbai is relatively safe, why take a chance?
    2) The commute to office is less than 45 mins- 20-30 mins by train. There is no avoiding the local train. Some trains start from Andheri and should be less crowded in the first class ladies compartment. I can manage a 20-30 mins commute one way.. anything more and I will be exhausted.
    3) My Jazz class- Danceworx have a branch in Lokhandwala. I can even join the weekday classes since the Mumbai timings are late at night unlike Gurgaon where they have to wind up early due to safety reasons
    4) My bro lives in Andheri West... at walking distance from my flat.

    The 3 days were torture. I would be so exhausted at the end of the day. Why is the house hunt such a torture in every city? Why do we need to contact soooo many brokers in different areas? Why can't there be 1 company which has branches everywhere and works professionally?

    Day 1: Saturday: I had planned to check out flats in and around South Mumbai. The broker had promised to show me 4-5 flats in Wadala in my budget. Now here is the catch... I spoke to professional brokers on the phone but these guys don't show the flats. They send their minions (for lack of a better word). Nobody cares about what the tenant is looking for... they will show you what they have irrespective of your preferences. Anyway, so the minion asked me to come to Koliwada. The name made me suspicious but KC and I went anyway... the next broker was scheduled for 3 pm so we had time to kill. The minion showed us a flat at Sion Koliwada... in the interiors of Sion where I had no hopes of finding a cab or auto or bus or train. The nearest station was on harbour line (Lower Parel is on Western line). The flat was pathetic. Why would someone commit flats in Wadala and then show me something in Sion????
    KC and I sat on the parapet outside the building and frantically called all the brokers on my list.
    Finally, a guy offered to show us flats in Everad Nagar. I have stayed in Mumbai for 2 years and never heard the name. It is an area between Chembur or Eastern Express Highway and Sion. There are a few buildings near the main road. They have a service lane... BUT... it has the highest traffic in Mumbai... there are no shops around. People have to cross over onto the opposite side through a subway ... go to Chunabhatti station road ... and then shop for groceries. The flat was good... but the noise levels were high... the building had cracks... the guard didn't even ask us anything when we entered. KC liked it... I did not. The next flat was in Kurla- one of the most crowded and busiest station in Mumbai. The flat was good but it was ground floor. I hate ground floor... I like high rises.
    We then contacted another broker who showed us flats in Kalina/ Santa Cruz East. Living here would reduce travel time to less than 30 mins. On a lazy day, I could even take a cab. BUT, it is a dirty, crowded area. We saw flats without security or parking. As long as we closed the windows and doors it was perfect. As soon as we peeked out, we would see the slums around. I have lived around slums and did not want to this time.
    In the evening we headed to Parel. The broker made us wait for 30 mins and then took us through small, tiny lanes to a building so dirty I wanted to hit him. We asked the cab to turn back without even getting out of it.

    End of day 1: Not one flat where I could imagine myself living in. KC liked Everad Nagar and Kurla.

    Day 2: I had scheduled Western suburbs for day 2. Kalina had been preponed to day 1... so we just had Andheri. We saw 4-5 flats and liked 2. I was impressed. I didn't know the flats were so good in this area. The only problem was that only the train was an option. I could not even try a bus or cab since the area is a bit in the interior. The advantages were my bro stayed at walking distance, the sports complex is close by, Lokhandwala is at walking distance... I could stay in a good area and flat but the commute would be more than what I had planned. KC kept telling me horror tales about Andheri stations. It is one of the busiest stations. I was confused.
    Next another broker was supposed to show us flats in Santa Cruz West and East. He made us wait for 30 mins in the heat... we were waiting in the Muslim area and the flat was somewhere there. There was a mosque nearby. Now, I don't believe in religion, color, caste and creed... BUT... I have lived near a mosque and its torture. They preach or pray on loudspeakers 4-5 times in a day. There is singing and praying at 6 am. It is very, very irritating. I had decided not to stay near a mosque and slum this time. We asked the broker to "beep" off.
    We then contacted a broker in Sion who had flats in our budget. The flat was close to the main road but without the noise... flat was good BUT it was on the ground floor. He showed us 2 more flats but we hated both. Also, Sion has nothing... no posh restaurants... malls... entertainment options... for anything I would have to go to Dadar or Mahim or Lower Parel.
    Now I was confused- stay away from office but in a posh area or stay close to office and not in a not so great area. I could not sleep all night... the flat gave me nightmares. I could imagine myself getting depressed every night coming home to an empty home. My head said- pick Sion... my heart wanted Andheri.
    We kept Sion as a backup.

    Day 3: The Sion broker had not called back to confirm the flat but Andheri guy did. We met the owner, paid the token and it was decided. Weird thing is - by day 3 we had only 1 flat in hand. Most we didn't like or were not sure about ... and for others, the broker did not revert.

    I guess I am not the sort of person who can compromise on standard of living. A good and comfortable home is topmost priority.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Its goodbye

    Yes... I am moving to Mumbai... No, KC is not moving right now... No, we are not separating... Yes, I am not wearing my wedding ring these days 'coz the diamond came off... No, I am not lying... Yes, it was my decision.
    Most people around me cannot fathom why I am moving... actually, not one person has told me I am making the right decision (except for a senior). But thats ok. I am the queen of radical and unpredictable decisions.
    But, let me start at the beginning. When I moved to Gurgaon I was given the same profile that I had been doing for 2 years in Mumbai. I was not too keen but beggars cannot be choosers and I cannot demand location and profile. The last 1.5 years have been extremely comfortable. I have had time to do everything I have always wanted to do- dance, gym, jog, cook, spend time with KC, socialize, eat out, watch movies... everything. Except... I have been bored... so bored that its visible on my face. I am not the sort of person who can just sit still or do the same thing. Thats just not me. And success in my career is quite important. KC has been pushing me for a year to take up opportunities but I kept putting it off. Why leave the comfort zone? But some events pushed me to think about getting out of the comfort zone:

    1. Some juniors from my college are at my level now... I didn't want to wait till they had moved levels above me
    2. I have crossed more than 3 years in the same profile... I don't want to be here at the end of the 4th year... 
    3. My plan was to stay in this level for 2 years... I have been here for 3.5 years...  my career is running 1.5 years late... cannot delay it anymore
    I looked for opportunities in Delhi but realized soon that nothing is available here and it will have to be Mumbai. I spoke to seniors in the hope that something would work out in 2-3 months. Fortunately or unfortunately, it worked out in a week. I got a call on 14th Sept'12 asking me to report to Mumbai on 15th Oct'12. KC and I had just entered our hotel room in Jaipur when I got the call. Both of us were in a shock and I was shocked that he is shocked. For someone who has been pushing me to do this for a year he should have been better prepared. It took him an hour to recover and mutter congrats. 
    Lesson for KC: Don't ask what you are not prepared to receive.

    In my current organization the focus is more on family than career so many consider it a drastic step. You see, its ok for men to leave their spouses and kids and move away for career but its not ok for a woman. No... not kidding. Its so ridiculous... and unfair. Nobody would have blinked if KC would have decided to move out for a better opportunity. Numerous times KC talks about going abroad for further studies... all I do is encourage. I never think about how I will survive 'coz our marriage should not hold us back from living our lives. The marriage should support our individual lives... Marriage is supposed to be a journey and not a destination. 

    Anyway, I am not the sort of person who cares about society. My life is led by my rules and nobody else's. 
    But it sucks... being a woman sucks big time... specially in the corporate world.

    While talking to a friend I realized that the maximum time I have spent in one location or school or hostel has been 4 years of engineering. I switched schools too many times... I spent 8 years in one school but left it 3 times. I was in the boarding and could not live without my parents. Even when I was there for 4 straight years I switched hostels. Wow.. that does change my perspective. No wonder I am bored already. By the way, I am a Gemini so this aspect is not surprising. I thrive on change... 

    Another thing I have realized- I love Delhi NCR and want to settle here. KC was kidding that when I am leaving I have realized where I want to spend my life in this city. So, I am going to be back... don't know when... maybe 2 or 5 or 10 years later... but I will be back. Delhi has trumped B'glore as my favorite city. There is a focus on quality of life. People live life king size and thats good. Its nice to see that. 
    But.... I will never educate my kids in Delhi.. I may send them off to boarding schools away from the materialistic  and snobbish culture. 
    This is what I saw today:
    At the cobbler's shop- kid getting his shoes fixed
    Cobbler: Done... take your shoes
    Kid: How much?
    Cobbler: 20 bucks
    Kid: Thats it? Why don't you take 50 bucks? (I thought he was joking)
    Cobbler- Says nothing
    Kid pays him 30 bucks. 
    The cobbler shakes his head at me and narrates the incident again. 

    I almost felt ashamed trying to bargain and pay him less than what he asked. 

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Sarojini Nagar

    Hiya... I went shopping to Sarojini Nagar today. I wanted to pick up some good stuff before moving to Mumbai. Bandra's Linking Road is nothing in front of SN. KC also came along. When he told me he wants to come I was quite apprehensive. I am the kind of person who loves to shop... even window shop and places like SN are heaven for me. RT and I had once window shopped at Brigade Road for 2-3 hours. We didn't buy anything (couldn't afford it) but visited every shop in every lane. It was fun. Such trips are anathema for KC. He only shops for brands and cannot last for more than an hour.
    So, today I could cover the entire market since KC lost patience after 45 mins. I just bought 1 top, 1 palazzo pants, 1 waistcoat, 1 pair of footwear and 1 purse. I think I will make one more visit to stock up... this time without KC.

    1) Palazzo Pants: They are sooo in right now and I wanted to buy one for ages. I bought a sheer pink one in Zara sale but cannot wear it at work since it is very sheer. SN was full of palazzo pants in different materials, designs, prints... too many options. I only bought one but will buy more next time I go there. I love that PP have made a comeback. My parents had bought a pair when they visited South East Asia and I was in the 9th std. I still wear them. Earlier, people said- its too loose... they look weird... Not anymore... now they are in. People- save those out of style clothes... they will make a come back sooner or later. It cost me 300 bucks. In a mall or even in online sales (fashionandyou.com) they do not cost less than 2500 bucks.


     2) Sheer tops: Again, SN is full of sheer tops. There are so many options and I wanted to pick up more. Next time. This top is ok from the front. Its the back that is full of surprise. The back is made of lace and net. Too sexy. KC was zapped when I wore it... "But... but... thats transparent... " Me- Arre, I have to wear a slip underneath.. atleast in India. Cost- Rs 200 (after bargaining)



    3) I love waistcoats. They can be dressed up for work or dressed down to look sexy. But, it is an addition over regular clothes and I do not like spending 700-1000 bucks over it. This waistcoat is much better than the regular ones since it has to be tied at the back... and is available in various colours. Cost- 400 bucks.



    4) I didn't intend to buy footwear 'coz I have soooo many... and I don't like the quality at SN. But, I entered the shop for a look and was hooked by this pair. Colourful and lovely. Cost- Rs 899




    Kingdom of Dreams

    I am a fan... a huge fan. Earlier, when people recommended this place I would exclaim at the price. Rs 1000 and above for a ticket???
    I watched Jhumroo with a friend 'coz the background dancers are from Danceworx. My current and past instructor are part of the show and in every class they would narrate incidents from the show. I wanted to watch it... just to watch them. And now I am hooked. We had purchased the cheapest tickets- Rs 999 and the seats are very far from the stage. I vowed to buy better tickets next time. My subordinate got me free passes for Zangoora for the 4th row. Everyone who has watched both shows told me Zangoora is better. I liked Jhumroo and was eager to watch Zangoora. And here is my verdict- it sucks. Z is about a gypsy prince. A king is killed off by traitors... a loyalist runs off with their son to keep him safe and leaves him with some gypsies. When he grows up, he falls in love with a female who is his father's loyal, kills the traitor and claims back his throne. The leads are Gauhar Khan and Hussain on the weekends. I think there are different leads on the weekdays and thats the reason for the lower priced tickets. Gauhar Khan was not part of the show... there was some look alike of hers. I GK, specially after watching Ishaqzaade. Hussain cannot act... he overacts... the only redeeming qualities are his voice and the six pack abs. When he took off his shirt I said to KC "Thats the first time I have seen 6 pack from such close quarters... generally, its on TV".
    Zangoora is not worth the money.
    I went to watch Jhumroo again this weekend and loved it. We were in the 3rd row from the stage. I am not sure about KC since he missed the India Pakistan match to come along... but I love the main leads- Gaurav Gera and Shweta Gulati. The background dancers are amazing. They dance continuously for 2.5 hours... In our class we dance with that intensity for 5-10 mins and are exhausted. Superb. Jhumroo is about a guy who cannot sings but thinks he can. He is trying to woo Shweta. To help him Kishore Kumar's soul enters his body and he starts singing. He enters the India's Super Singer contest and enters the finals. The 3 judges are hilarious- just like on Indian Idol. In the last round, Gaurav admits that he cannot sing. It is funny... the songs are superb... imagine listening to Kishore Kumar melodies live. Too good.
    Must watch... KOD is also a tourist destination. We saw buses with tourists coming to watch it.
    KOD is one of its kind in India and we need more such entertainment options. 

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

    Books... books... and some more books

    I have been reading a lot these days, any free time is spent reading. KC also comes home late and so I kill time by reading after work.
    1) Game of Thrones series- I have finished part 1, part 2, part 3 book 1, part 3 book 2. I have taken a break before starting part 4.... there is a part 5 and part 6 is being written currently. The book is about ... well, a war for thrones among many, many self proclaimed kings for different parts of a country. What I like about it is that it is unpredictable. In book 1, the hero was Ned Stark was has 6 kids- 4 boys and 2 girls. At the end of the book, he is killed. In book 2 and 3, the hero is his son Robb. He is killed off in book 3. Now, I don't know who is the hero. Should I just side with the villains? I am confused  and waiting to read the next part. .

    2) The diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4- I have been looking for this book for a very long time but it was always unavailable. Finally, I found it in Landmark. It is a the diary of a 13 year old boy... on the lines of Diary of a wimpy kid except Adrian Mole came first. There are many sequels and I plan to read each one of them. The book can be finished in a few hours and it was a welcome change from GOT.

    3) Powder Room by Shefalee Vasudev: SV was an editor for Marie Claire. This book is about the Indian Fashion Industry. SV has touched various aspects of it, not just the glamorous ones. Chapters about Tarun Tahiliani, Rajesh, Rajesh Pratap... a perspective on fashion shows... the politics behind it... the plight of artisans.... and much more. I can't judge the book correctly because I am an outsider who knows nothing. But, I liked it. I would be eager to come home and read the book. A good read.

    And now onto the Game Of Thrones part 4.


    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Jaipur Trip

    KC and I had not been to Jaipur despite it being so close to Gurgaon. I have been to Jaipur in 2008 for an official conference and KC has been there for work. I had been planning the trip before March'12 since it gets hot after that but we went to Amritsar instead. Right now the weather is quite good... summer is over... winter is still a month away... no more rains. This is the perfect weather. I booked tickets. The road from Gurgaon to Jaipur is quite bad and we prefer a shatabdi over driving or buses anyday. The train leaves from Gurgaon at 7 am and arrives at 10.30 am. Beware of autowalas at the station (a typical Indian trait). KC and I always have a disagreement over this. He cannot understand why I bargain over 20-30 bucks and I don't get how he can pay any price quoted (its not like he is a NRI). I don't like being taken for a ride in my own country and even foreigners know that bargaining is a must in India. How can I not ask for a lower price? After a few incidents with auto guys we reached the hotel. I had booked through my colleague so it was not very conveniently located. It was away from the central part of the city. The hotel was quite unhelpful... they did not even have cabs for tourists.
    We booked a cab through the same colleague and left for the forts at 12 noon. There are 3 forts in Jaipur- Jaigarh, Nahargarh and Amer fort. All of them are located close to each other. Jaigarh is a fort where the security of the kings stayed. It is located around the city on the hilltop and has a scenic view. We skipped Nahargarh since there is nothing much to see there. The only good part is a small cafe located on top. It is amazing to eat and look out at the city. Amer fort is where the king stayed. Every driver takes tourists to the handicrafts shop. It is part of the ticket price. Even if you don't want to buy anything people will show stuff. We found it very difficult to leave and even then we were taken through all the sections. I love how aggressively Rajasthan promotes tourism in the state. Other states need to learn from them. We saw block printing, painting on old papers. They were expensive and yet everyone was showing us enthusiastically. Unlike regular shops which lose interest once they realize we are not going to spend money.
    We were quite tired after that and returned to the hotel. The plan was to go to Chowki Dhaani for dinner next. It takes an hour to get there. The charges for the cab are 1500 bucks... for chowki dhaani its an additional 800 bucks. CD is basically a cultural village. The entry fees are either 400 or 650 bucks depending on the kind of thali you pick. We went for the cheaper one since doing justice to that would be difficult. There are food counters, camel rides, merry go round, handicrafts etc. We skipped all that and headed for dinner. It is typical Rajasthani fare. We had to sit on the floor and were served soooo much food. I could not eat even half of it. We were too tired to eat all of it. The best part was when the servers made KC wear a turban. Hilarious!!!
    The next day we headed to the city for sightseeing. As soon as we left the hotel, the auto guy told us everything will open at 1 pm and he can take us to the market instead. Smelling something fishy, we went and inquired from the hotel. Everything opens at 9.30 am. We left for City Palace which is ... well, a palace. It took us 1.5 hours to explore it. We skipped Jantar Mantar (how different can it be from the one in Delhi) and headed for lunch to Handi Restaurant. It is supposed to be a famous place for non veg. I was quite disappointed... maybe it is more of a meat place and we ordered chicken. Avoidable.
    We headed to Hawa Mahal and were bored out of our minds with so many palaces and forts. HM is the worst of all. It looks good on the outside but is quite ugly from the inside.
    We left at 5.45 and reached at 9.30 pm in Gurgaon. Gurgaon station is pathetic... there are only 2 platforms... we could not find an auto for nearly 15 mins and the auto we finally sat in did not have headlights and the guy did not know the way.
    All in all a good trip with an overdose of forts and palaces.

    Here are some pics of the view from the forts:





    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Barfi Review

    Ranbir Kapoor is the most bankable star in Bollywood right now. He never goes wrong... atleast with his movies. I don't really care about his personal life. If he is good looking, a Kapoor and a star.. he is bound to have many girlfriends... who cares?
    All his movies are pretty decent. Except Saawariya, I have watched them all.
    Watching Barfi was a no brainer. We went for it on Friday night even though we had an early morning train to Jaipur the next day.
    I loved it... from beginning to end. It is not about a deaf and mute guy... nor is it about a mentally challenged female... it is a love story. The director could have made a straight forward film with lots of rona dhona but instead he has made it very creatively... moving between different time periods in the story to create interest... more laughter... very little drama... innocent... cute... beautiful...
    Ranbir is fab... Priyanka has played her character quite well, no overacting... Illena fits the role and is very convincing.
    Generally, Bollywood messes up love stories... they don't have the depth of Hollywood movies. This is different... every emotion- jealousy, love, attraction is apparent and not over-played.
    And the music... oh the music... I could listen to it over and over again.
    Amazing... not to be missed ... at all.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Back from a break

    Hiya... below the upcoming posts in a day or two

    • Barfi review
    • Jaipur weekend trip
    • Move to Mumbai
    But this post is not about any of the above... it is about a secret I have keeping from this blog. My friends, colleagues and near and dear ones know about it.I have been trying to lose weight in the last one month. Not the usual kind where I go to the gym on and off and eat what I want and then keep my fingers (and toes) crossed for the weight loss.But the kind where I weigh myself everyday, plan what to eat, workout daily... I have lost 2 kg which was in the first 2 weeks. The next 2 weeks were spent maintaining that weight. I did try to lose the next kg but it didn't happen. From what I read online, 2 kg in one month is pretty decent. And now, I am on the way to the next kg loss. I also started maintaining another blog as a food diary (Yes... a 2nd blog... Yes... I am crazy).Here is the link:http://fadtofit.wordpress.com/
    It is nothing but a food diary (very boring) and daily weight. It is easier than a diary which may get lost and I am better at typing than writing. 
    Losing weight involves 2 things- dieting (or eating right) and workout.
    1. Dieting (Eating right):Crash diet is easy... just starve yourself till you cannot do it anymore and then binge and gain all the weight back. I wanted to change my habits and lifestyle... something that I can follow throughout my life. I have also done the weight loss programme in VLCC earlier (twice) and had the diet plan. This is my daily schedule:6 am (before workout): 1 apple7 am: Skimmed milk+cappuccino8 am: 1 boiled egg (I hate boiled eggs)8.30/45 am: b'fast- upma, brown bread sandwich, poha, paratha etc10: tea11.30: chocolate soya milk1: raita with veggies (no salt)1.30: lunch- rotis, brown rice, sabji, daal3: buttermilk5: fruits- watermelon, papaya6: khakhara or masala oats7.30: raita+ light dinner (roti, sabji)Dinner has to be as early and light as possible. Basic idea is to eat well in the beginning of the day and slowly reduce the intake. It has to move according to usage of energy. I make enough raita to last me 2-3 days which saves time. There are many options available in the market- soya milk (different flavours), khakhara (a Gujarati baked snack), Quaker masala oats (tastes like Maggi but is healthy). KC and I have started going out for lunch instead of dinner on weekends. And when in doubt or eating out I prefer South Indian... it is the healthiest. 
    2. Workout:Going to the gym does not work for me at all... I need 1.5 hours there (instructor does not let me leave even after an hour), 30 mins to get dressed and drive there and another 15 mins to drive back. 2 hours in a day is not possible. Also, an instructor does not understand the physical exertions of my job... some days, I have to drive 100 km to Faridabad and back... other days I spend hours on my feet... working out intensively for 1.5 hours is not possible. Then, I would start making excuses and not go when I was too tired. Also, the cook comes between 7 and 7.30 pm... finishing work and working out by then is impossible. I decided to workout at home. When I was in Mumbai, I would workout 30 mins in morning and 30 mins in evening. It was comfortable and I got total 60 mins of intensive workout done. I decided to do the same. I jog for 30 mins every morning... and workout in the evening for 30-40 mins at home. There are some videos I have downloaded from youtube which are quite good... I have CDs of Shilpa's yoga and Bipasha's workout. They are good too. Most exercises are same. If you watch the videos online you will realize there are some exercises common in all of them. On saturdays, I workout for 60 mins in the morning since we go out in evening. Today I didn't wake up in the morning so worked out for 60 mins in evening. By breaking up the workout, I can make it more intensive. It is very difficult to maintain the stamina, enthusiasm and intensity for 60 mins but 30 mins is quite easy. Sometimes, 30 mins stretches to 40 or 50 mins. I also skip 500 times everyday. Skipping is fun and takes hardly 10-15 mins. Below is the average weight loss in different activities:
    • Walking – fast pace- 30 mins: 300 gm
    • Yoga: 45 mins: 400 gm
    • Jazz dancing with pilates, exercise etc – 2 hours- 1 kg
    • Crunches- 30 mins- 600 gm
    • Skipping- 300 skips- 100 gm
    I got the inspiration from the book "Confessions of a Serial Dieter"... I identified with the author... please read the book and get inspired. 
    So, thats it. This is the goal that has been on my mind every day and every hour for the last one month. I want to lose 10 kgs... 8 more to go. I have already reached the ideal BMI but I want to lose the inches. 

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Just some stuff I have been upto

    Last Saturday I was exhausted. I returned from work, finished off the chores and put on Carnage. When I read about the movie, it didn't sound too exciting. Since KC was not home I decided to watch it. For some reason, I can never watch a flick with KC around. I always fall asleep. I tell him its 'coz his shoulder is so comfy. He is not buying that excuse. Anyway, Carnage stars Kate Winslet, Christopher Waltz (The Inglorious Basterds fame), Jodie Foster and John Reilly (Chicago fame). The story is about the 2 couples (Kate and Christopher and Jodie and John). Their kids fight and one hits the other with a stick. The couples meet to resolve the issue. Initially, they are civil to each other but later shit hits the fan. All of them fight among themselves- first the women, then the men, then the women on one side and men on the other and then the couples fight among themselves. It is a black comedy and hilarious.

    After the movie, I fell into a deep, deep sleep... so deep I didn't even hear the doorbell or my phone ring.

    This weekend (the one that just went by), I took KC to Culture Gully at Kingdom of Dreams. I knew it is his kind of place. I have been there earlier when I went to watch the show 'Jhumroo'. CG is somewhat like Delhi Haat where you have food stalls from different states. The entry is Rs 750 per head (no kidding) and Rs 650 out of that can be spent. There is no dish that costs more than 300 bucks so spending Rs 650 is not easy. After KC and I had our fill (Hyderabad Chicken Biryani for me and Sabudana vada and Pav Bhaji for KC), we were still left with Rs 700-800 to spend. There are a few handicraft shops and we checked those out. No luck. I found everything too expensive. Finally, I picked up a CD and stole. It is such a clever way to make people spend money. Gurgaon is all about spending money. Is it worth it? Yes... as a once a month outing, it is. 

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Hairy Tales

    Its been a good day... after my super hectic dance class (the pain later... much later) I took a nap. KC and I then headed to Vasant Kunj looking for a decent pair of black formal shoes. He bought me a pair of jeans from Zara and then I got a hair cut. Now we are home just chilling.
    Coming to the Zara Jeans, I bought a stylish pair of jeans from Zara in Jan'12. I love blue denims... they have a different look. I picked up the amazing colour in the sale. It was my prized possession... until... KC left a pen in his trousers pocket. They went for wash along with my jeans and ruined them. Unbelievable... nothing happened to his trousers or anything else. I was pissed. I told him to buy me a new pair which he agreed to do. The ruined pair was dyed black (now, I have 2 black denims... not happy). During the sale in July, we did not visit Zara together. I could not find anything too great but bought grey denims anyway. I asked him to pay me for it but he refused. He wanted to be around when I bought them. Well, who am I to save his money? Finally, he bought me the perfect pair in the perfect colour- blue denims straight fit.
    As for the hair cut, this was my 2nd hair cut in 2 days. No kidding. I wanted to grow my hair long this time. I did not get a trim for 8 months due to which the ends have become dry. I decided to visit my regular salon- Bella Madonna. I have visited this salon twice and was given a good hair cut. I didn't remember the stylist's name and didn't care much. It is the salon that matters, right? Wrong. The stylist gave me the 3rd worst hair cut of my life. Even while he was cutting I knew this is not going the way its supposed to. He gave me layers and I told him I don't like it. He changed it to steps and a fringe. I left the salon disappointed. I was too pissed to even bother complaining. KC kept telling me that it looks good but I knew something is wrong. On sharing my pic with whatsapp school buddies, I got the reply that the front does not look good... there is some issue on the sides as well. It was decided. I needed another hair cut to salvage whats left. I headed to Looks in Vasant Kunj Mall. The stylist managed to do something and has asked me to be back after 4-5 months for a better cut. Sigh!!! I spent 1800 bucks for a hair cut I don't like and choped off the length I grew in 8 months. What a bummer.
    That reminded me of all the bad and good hair cuts I have had. After all, there is nothing more joyful. Getting a hair cut is an occasion... its a make or break situation... it is as important as the daily moisturizer.

    • My first bad hair cut was in school- 2nd std. I was in the boarding and had shoulder length hair. They were long enough to tie into plaits. One fine day, the nun of our dormitory hired a barber to chop off everyone's hair. It would cause less trouble of lice, combing, oiling etc. The cut was not even boyish. I don't know what the barber was thinking. My sis saw me in the evening and was shocked. 
    • My 2nd bad hair cut was in Gurgaon- Lakme, Galleria in 2008. KC was with me that day. Some male stylist (who looked more like a barber) gave me the weirdest cut. I screamed and shouted and complained but nothing could be done. I went to USA to visit my sis with that hair cut. None of those pics have been uploaded on fb. 
    • When I was in the 5th and studying at A'bad I had the same shoulder length hair tied in plaits. One fine day my mom took me to her trusted salon and got them chopped off. I don't remember much but initially I was excited. It is only when I realized that they were giving me a blunt cut I burst into tears. Don't know what blunt cut is??? C'mon... So, I had one side chopped off and the stylist was going to start working on the other side and I kept crying. It was quite funny. Of course, next day I got a lot of compliments in school.
    • The best hair cut was in Kolkata. When I travelling around the country I stuck to VLCC and Lakme for my salon needs. I didn't want to try out unknown salons. I visited Lakme for a hair cut and this amazing stylist gave me the best hair cut. 
    Sigh!!! Hope I do not have to add more bad experiences to this list. 


    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Bookwormie

    I finished reading the Game Of Thrones 2nd part, after which I wanted to take a break and read something lighter (literally).
    I picked up Delhi OMG, read 1 page, browsed through a few more pages and put it down... never to be opened again. It is a pathetic book. I don't even care what it is about. This is how it reads-
    Vinod was a lonely boy. Vinod met a girl but could not talk to her. Vinod... blah... blah... blah. It is like reading a short story where there is little time to establish a character.
    I started reading 'Just Married Please Excuse' by Yashodhara Lal. I read her blog and it is hilarious. I finished the book in one day (most of it during the 3 hour metro ride). It is about Yashodhara and her husband- Vijay... the ups and downs of marriage and how they work it out. A hilarious book... worth a read.
    Thats it... onto the next 900 pages of Game of Thrones 3rd book- Part 1.

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Weather

    Last week was all rains, overcast clouds, dark weather. I hated it. This is so NOT Gurgaon. I like it when it is sunny and maybe even hot. There has been amazing weather yesterday and I am hoping even today. Just some pics I could not resist clicking with my phone. 

    I clicked these while driving from CP to Gurgaon. These are at Dhaula Kuan. 




    Yep, thats my GPS.

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Just popping in

    Hiya. I thought I would drop and say "Hi". Life is a little busy. I have a new mission... a new goal in life. But, its too early to talk about it. Wait for 2 more weeks.
    It rained quite heavily in Gurgaon last week. On the day that the MET department forecasted no more rains, it started raining. No kidding. It rained very heavily and took the roads along with it. There were huge craters on the road filled with water. On day 1, KC asked me to drive on the right since it seemed like the water was deep on the left. Our new car still hit the bottom. The next day, he asked me to drive on the left. We still the bottom. On the 3rd day, he went to Noida while I took another road which bypasses his office and reaches mine through a straight road. I crossed the major traffic point comfortably, or so it seemed. After that, I got stuck... so badly stuck... I reached office 2 hours later. Everyone from Gurgaon turned up at 11 am for work. It was quite embarrassing. The Delhi guys arrive on time while we Gurgaon people are 2 hours late.
    Somehow, I am don't like the overcast skies here... I loved rains in A'bad but out here it just feels out of place. This land is supposed to be either super duper hot or cold. It does not deserve a moderate weather.

    I relaxed after work on Saturday. I was quite exhausted and did not want to go out. I finished all the chores and dozed off. Even the doorbell could not rouse meom my slumber.

    Last week there was no gas cylinder. The microwave did act funny... some buttons would not work at their will. Quite frustrating. I called the repair guy on Sunday. Guess what, the microwave worked perfectly in front of him. He kept asking me if I got a demo when it was purchased since I kept pressing buttons like a mad woman trying to prove my point. Finally, I had to pay him service charges for nothing. Damn appliances.

    Ciao. I am off to bed. 

    Sunday, August 26, 2012

    Bookerworm


    Hellios... above is in queue on my reading list. I am on the 2nd part of Game of Thrones and there are many, many more to go. In between are Delhi OMG and Just Married Please Excuse. JMPE is written by a blogger whose blog I read. I have not yet added it to my blogroll. I don't do that until I have read all of the previous posts. I am still doing that... slowly and steadily. You can just google her name and should come across her blog.
    Anyway, just short reviews of few movies I have watched:

    • Farhad Shirin ki toh nikal padi: I don't know why I brought up this movie over lunch today. I had no intention of watching it. KC showed some interest and we headed for it. We left before the end. I hate  going for a 1.5 hours movie and then it starts half an hour late... then there is a long interval...an entire waste of day. I have such a bad headache that I can't sleep or read. The movie could have been unique and good but for the numerous songs- 1 intro song, 4 love songs, 1 parting songs... and more. And the songs are not even good. Farhan Khan has acted naturally... in the sense that her reactions in the movie are like a normal person's in real life... no over the top overacting. Boman is always good... he can be over the top and full of drama without hamming. Avoid at all costs. Never again will I watch another movie without reading the reviews
    • Gangs of Wasseypur 2: I liked this movie... for some the whole revenge, murder, killing can become predictable but isn't it always like that. How unpredictable can a revenge tale be? For some, even Godfather would have been predictable. Only treatment of such movies can be different. I wish there was a 3rd part. Even though the villain is subtle, he is the only one who kills Manoj Bajpai's father, him and his sons (as he rightly boasts). He is a mean villain without seeming so. Editing could have been better... some scenes were too long and drawn out, specially the end. The addition of new characters- Definite and Perpendicular was good. And now, I see Biharis/Jharkhand wasis in a new light. Thank god, I was born in Gujarat
    • The Best Exotic  Marigold Hotel: I downloaded and watched it when KC was not around. I didn't think he would like the movie. It is a good flick about a guy who runs a hotel for senior citizens in Jaipur called -The Marigold Hotel which has been restored from a palace. British retirees travel to stay there. They have different experiences and help each other. It is a good movie. Worth a watch.
    On my movies list:
    • Hollywood Wives- The new generation: Bought this CD more than a year back.. have yet to open it
    • The Vagina Monologues
    • What's eating Gilbert Grape?
    • The Iron Lady
    • Whistleblower
    • Carnage
    • Blue Valentine

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Kitaabi Keeda

    I buy books online but nothing beats the experience of visiting a bookstore. The feel of the book... being able to scan it... read a few pages and then decide on the purchase. I picked up the habit of browsing in the school library. I never really bought books till I had access to be library. I recently cancelled my library subscription because I didn't like the collection of books. Ideally, the library should have the latest books in stock but this one never did... atleast not of Indian authors. I was paying Rs 300 per month and had to pick out 3 books at one go. Tedious. I ended up reading only 1 book. I'd rather spend that money and buy a book.
    Anyway, I wanted to write about the different bookshops I have access to:

    • Om Book Shop: Cluttered... with hardly any space between the shelves... the entrance generally has crappy books on discount... magazines are in the most inaccessible location... the staff has no clue about books.... and they don't stock the popular books. I remember looking for True Blood series here... the salesguy started looking for it in the kids section. I was horrified... thankfully, the books were not there. I hardly ever buy anything from here
    • Crossword: This was my frequent hangout in Mumbai since it was next door. I like the layout... there is something very pleasing about it... I manage to find books... the recommendations are good and frequently updated... the shelves are not too high so it is easy to glance around the entire room. The only drawback is since the store size is small or medium only, rare books may not be available. In Delhi, the store size is too small and the collection is bad. I never visit the stores here.
    • Landmark: A popular store in Delhi NCR... the stores are huge and stock chocolates, bags and a lot of other stuff too... most books are available... salespeople are aware about the books. Last time I visited, a salesguy was recommending books to a customer. I have never seen THAT in other stores
    • Reliance: Another popular bookstore in Delhi NCR... the biggest problem is the layout. The shelves are too high and it is difficult to figure out whats on the other side. Searching a book is too difficult... I have never been able to find a book and always have to ask for help... on the positive side, the salesguy are generally aware about the books. Only once it happened that a guy told me a book is not available even though it was.
    I think Landmark wins over the rest. 

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    Snippets from daily life


    • So, the cooking cylinder became empty...(when will I ever remember to book a 2nd cylinder?). The cook was in the middle of cooking dinner... Sindhi kadhi, rice and rotis. I cooked the kadhi and rice in the microwave. While going through the recipe book, I came across the one for making parathas in microwave. I didn't want to eat rice for a week or order in. This sounded good.


              Me (to cook): Tomorrow morning, we will try to cook parathas in the microwave
              Cook: Ok... Thats how they do it in foreign also
              Me (stifling a smile) and thinking: Yeah... 'coz in foreign they eat rotis

    • I was booking train tickets for Jaipur. After booking for the onward journey and while booking for the return journey, I realized I had written KC's sex as "F" instead of "M". I wondered if I should let it be... can always tell the TC it was a mistake while typing. But then I put KC in my shoes and thought about what my reaction would be to such a mistake. This is how it would have gone
              KC: Hey... By mistake, I typed you as M instead of F on the ticket
              Me: WTF... why would you do that? Like... are you such a MCP that you forget I am a female... do          you males even acknowledge females?
              KC: (almost laughing) It was a mistake
              Me: You will have to cancel them and re-book correctly. I don't want to be "M"... I am F and proud   of it
              KC: Fine... whatever

    I didn't want to be in his shoes and decided to re-book correctly. 

    • Me: I think I lost 0.5 kg. Can you see it?
              KC: Not really... how can 0.5 kg loss be noticed?
              Me: It should be... its not fair... whats the point of losing weight if you can't see it?
              KC: Then I guess you lost 0.25 kg on side of the butt and 0.25 kg on the other
              Me: How amusing


    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    15th August'12

    15th August'12 seems like a festival in Delhi. Maybe its in my mind. KC and I had planned to meet a friend in Lodi Gardens and then head to Khan Market for lunch. I wanted to go a little earlier- before it got hot and sunny so that we could play badminton or something. At 10 am, I gave KC an ultimatum- wake up else I am leaving without you. We reached Lodi Gardens by 12 noon. I was surprised to see few families there. I had expected the same kind of crowds I had seen on 26th Jan'12. It was hot as well but KC and I played badminton for sometime. We waited for the friend- D to turn up but he was taking his own sweet time. Until then, KC and I walked around... watched the swan and ducks in the little pond and just enjoy nature. It was good. I envy D for staying at walking distance from there. What bliss. There were guys painting on canvas... people taking naps... kids and men flying kites... families arriving with packed lunches... so perfect. What better way to celebrate Independance Day.
    At 2 pm we realized the friend was not going to turn up and met him at Khan Market itself. Surprisingly, Mamagoto was closed since it was a dry day (????) and we headed to Amici Cafe. The food was ok kinds... I guess we didn't order the correct items. D and KC both refused to share dessert and I had to do without.
    We returned by 4 pm, napped, went for a walk (Day 4... skipped Day 3) and came home. Perfect.

    My cook had joined a job from 9 to 9. Instead of 8 pm she started coming at 9 pm which was a drag. 9 was out dinner time.. now, we had to have it at 10. I didn't want to change the cook 'coz she has been with us for a year... until she started to negotiate and asked us to pay her 3k... a 30% hike. I had given her a 15% hike earlier in less than a year. Now, I was truly pissed off. The last thing I want to do it negotiate when I come home. I did not try to retain her and asked her to leave. The new cook didn't turn up and I had to cook for a few days. It was actually fun. I didn't find it stressful or exhausting at all. Now, there is a new cook and I have to train her, watch every move, ensure she is doing as told and help out with the cooking.
    When my sis was learning to cook (and hating it) she would argue with my mom. Her point was that cooking is not required... she can always hire a cook. My mom would retort- Sure, but you have to show the cook what to do else you will end up eating inedible food. That is so correct. I am glad I know to cook and can show the cook exactly what I want. 

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Day 2 of walk

    I managed to go for a 60 mins walk today- not in the morning, at night. I tried waking up in the morning but could not. I reached home at 7.15 pm and then had to cook dinner (cook has quit). Finally, at 8.45 pm I went for a walk. It took all my will power to walk for 60 mins... so, kudos to that.

    I am documenting it to pat my back. Also, if I don't continue I will have to give an explanation on the blog which will shame me and make me feel guilty.

    If I go for a walk everyday till Saturday, I will treat myself to a pastry at the French bakery- La Opera.


    Sunday, August 12, 2012

    Ramblings on a Sunday afternoon

    Hiya... there is so much to talk about and so little time. Instead of being asleep, I am relaxing with a book and now the blog... Here goes:



    • I gained some weight in Goa (obviously)... too much food and rest and little exercise. So I went for a walk yesterday morning. The plan was to walk for 60 mins but I got 15 mins late. Now, how hard can 45 mins of walk be? Quite hard, actually. After 15 mins I got bored even though the weather was good and I had my ipod along. Thankfully, each round around my complex takes 15 mins so it was a matter of 3 rounds which I pushed myself to complete. I wanted to sleep on my return. Weird... I was supposed to feel refreshed but I was just tired and sleepy. There was no hope for that since it was time for work. All day my legs were aching and I had the Jazz classes today. Now, I am in bed trying to sleep off the pain. But, I plan to go for a walk everyday. I don't have enough time to work out in the gym... I have been trying but cannot fit it into my schedule. Lets see how the walking works out. 
    • Last night KC and I went for dinner to Big Chill in Saket. As I was leaving the Zara store after checking out the new collection (more on that later), the sales guy at Seacret caught me. I tried to avoid him since the products are expensive and I will never be able to afford them... ever. A year back I had been willingly led into the kiosk by a sales girl who showed me this amazing buffer. It was the best thing I have ever soon and I reached into my wallet to buy it. Price ??? Rs 3500... for a buffer!!! I smiled and fled. Yesterday, the guy showed me an amazing eye cream. Price??? Rs 7000... I laughed and told him I was not going to spend so much money on a cream. He persisted... showed me a scrub, night cream etc. And then offered 1 product free with the eye cream. Avoiding these guys is so difficult. I wish they would approach the people who purchase bagful of clothes from Zara instead of poor me- who only window shops there.
    • The new collection at Zara is... nothing new. Same old trousers (which were discounted earlier)... a top I bought  is available at the regular price (in a different color)... the blazer I have been lusting after is available at regular price again... it was discounted during the sale... same old styles... They really need to up the ante or will lose the charm.
    • I will reveal a secret- after watching serials like True Blood, I head over to tvrecaps.ew.com to read about the episode. Crazy, right? Not in USA... where people read about the episode and post their views on it. Their involvement level is higher than Indians. The difference is- in India, we (saas and bahus) identify with the characters in the event (not matter how over the top), in USA, they comment on plots, characters, point out things they liked or didn't. I am sure producers/writers of the show are reading these comments. After all, it affects TRPs. Also, some actors are popular - they may have minor roles but 'coz they were liked in some other serial. I guess, the writers/producers would want to increase their roles to increase TRPs. I read the recaps incase I missed out some part of the episode or could not connect what happened previously. Also, some of the comments are hilarious. Like, there are 2 black characters in True Blood... 1 is very popular but the 2nd one was a whiny character everyone was bored with (she has been turned to a vamp now). Some negatives comments against the character (not actor) started a racial war of comments. It was quite dumb actually. But, thats not the point. A lot of people were commenting how the serial 'Game of Thrones' is better than True Blood etc etc. I was intrigued. I downloaded and watched the 2 seasons (20 hours) in a week. Yep... thats a lot of TV/laptop. Game of Thrones is about kingdoms and war and maybe supernatural characters. It is based on a book by the same name by George R R Martin. I am waiting for the next season to begin in 2013. Worth a watch. Now I have downloaded Six Feet Under but its taking me some time to warm up to it. 6 episodes down and I am wondering about the tag "Best Serial created"... 
    • I had purchased 'Kitne Aadmi Thay' by Diptakriti. I follow his blog and ordered the book from flipkart. It is a book about Bollywood trivia... only his blog made me spend that money. Disappointing. I don't think I am going to finish it. Then I read the next part of True Blood... there is one more but its priced quite high. I will wait for a cheaper version before purchasing it. For the last 2 weeks, I have been hooked to the book 'Game of Thrones'... problem is that the serial follows the book completely so there are no surprises. Its like I am watching the serial all over again. Hopefully, the 2nd part will be full of surprises.
    • I baked a cake on Rakshabandhan. I had the day off, was craving for something sweet but with fruits and wanted to carry something for my bro in Mumbai. I took the recipe for carrot, pineapple and walnut cake from Anita's blog-  http://sliceofmylyfe.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/a-birthday-wish-for-the-special-people-in-my-life-with-some-carrot-cake/. Its the best cake I have made at home... yum. My bro also loved it. Here is a pic:
                                                    

    • Recently some school acquaintances have formed a group on whatsapp and chat all day. Its kinda fun... except most of them have kids... and all of them (except me) like kids. Which makes it very awkward and irritating. Now, I do understand that mothers love their kids and love to talk about them. We all pass through stages in our life which change us- school, graduation, losing virginity (not in that order), post graduation, first job, affair, marriage, kids. Full stop. Each stage is monumental but kids are the most of all. Also, it is the also the last stage. I can't think of anything more significant... not for me atleast. Yes, I also believe life ends as we know it once we had kids - for better or for worse. What I am trying to say is (and maybe failing) that mother/fatherhood is very significant. I do not deny it and mothers talking about their kids is natural. There are 2 blogs I follow which talk about kids regularly. My problem is when these mothers expect me to follow their footsteps- have kids and love them. Now, to each his own. The mothers cannot understand how someone does not "want" kids and does not believe that they are the best things in life. I don't believe in universal truths. What is right for someone else is not necessarily right for me. And then these mothers start advising me to have kids. And even male colleagues/friends cross all limits by asking me when I am having kids. Its like everyone is worried about my ticking biological clock (except me). A best friend used to advise me to have kids in every phone conversation. I have stopped answering her calls. I may or may not have kids... its not of relevance to my life right now... but I refuse to follow the stages of life set by society. I will not have kids because now is the time or because I am expected to have them. I am such a stubborn mule that I may end up not having kids just to show "society" that its possible and its normal... and not having kids does make me a half person. I do not need to have kids to feel "complete" or "fulfilled". Unfortunately, none of the women/men making my life miserable read this blog. I hope they did. 
    Ta da.. I am off to the Game of Thrones while KC snores away next to me. 

    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Just a few minutes of typing...

    .. So I have a few minutes before the work begins and I thought I should blog.

    KC and I returned from a well deserved holiday in Goa. 1 or 2 colleagues were surprised that I was going to Goa in the monsoons... after all, it is a non peak period. I think the whole peak and non peak period is the travel industry concept... any place, any beautiful place has its charm in every season. I remember while studying in Mt Abu I hated the foggy, incessant rains. My parents had visited during the monsoons and told me how lucky I am that I get to stay in such a beautiful place. I did not understand the charm of fog with the sticky, wet feeling. Goa is green and beautiful during this time of the year. It is also not very crowded which makes it a perfect place to relax. There are 2 kind of holidays you can enjoy in Goa- book a resort with a private beach and lots of activities to keep you engaged or visit during the peak season and go beach hopping, drinking at various shacks, gambling and water sports. We chose the former. We stayed at Dona Sylvia Resort near Madgaon. This is the 3rd time we have stayed here and like it. The private beach is... private, clean, beautiful. The buffet is fairly decent, the pool is always open, rooms are good. We spent 4 days and ventured out just once. We got a good deal with add ins like free drinks (alcoholic and non alcoholic) from 6-8 pm, 50% off on spa/massage (yep, we got a massage), free use of jacuzzi etc. On the last evening, KC and I had planned to drive down to Madgaon but my very (un)predictable hubby was too tired (lazy) to drive. Instead of being the ablaa nari, I rented the 2 wheeler, seated him behind me and drove. It was fun...

    All in all, a good vacation and I am glad there is a day off on 15th August'12 'coz working for a week just makes me want to go for another vacation.

    I leave you with some pics: