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:
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


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


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.