Sunday, July 31, 2011

ESP - what is that?

It was a beautiful weekend folks. I finally accepted that others can be better than me. Felt so good. Now I am at peace with myself. Went shopping with family on Sat. Had to buy shoes for the kids. Ate dinner at the food court in the mall. Watched a movie called "Chalo Dilli" after that. It had a sweet message. I believe that cinema is made from incidents in real life. There is something to learn from every movie. Sunday is always dedicated to errands. Did just that.
Learn to... be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.  ~Henri Frederic Amiel

Time and again we hear that everyone is special in their own way and should be noticed for their unique talent. There are so many people in this world. So, what makes someone extra special?  I think there is no just one answer to this question. It depends on what type of relationship you want with that person. If it is just for friendship, then I would think if you can be 100% yourself with that person, then that person can be considered extra special. If a person can make a difference in another person's life, then that person is considered extra special. I think we should surround ourselves with such people. It's hard to pick those extra special people. If a person can put someone before themselves then that person is extra special. I also concede that special, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. No amount of achievement and the label that someone else puts on them can make someone extra special. If you can feel happy being yourself and enjoy doing the things that people expect you do, then you have my respect. Are you that ESP? Please let me know.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Psssssst..... Did you hear?

Good evening friends! Highlight of today Hina Rabbani Khar! Gorgeous! Wonder what the oldie Indian politicians can discuss with this chic from Pakistan. What a fashionable debut. Way to go missy! Rakhi Sawant wants to marry Ramdev baba.Wonder how their kids will look like. he he. Bipasha Basu went to  the  doc. to get top heavy. Media is concluding it's to get over John. Why not? Go Bips. Anything that will make you happy.

You guessed it folks. Today's topic is Gossip! I love it! Can't get enough of it. Click of a button and you can read just about anything under the sun. Good era to live in. The only way magazines and newspaper sell is if they sensationalize the news. Journalism has reduced to this level.  Even the most serious news has to have a catchy headline to attract attention. Gossip fans are everywhere, in all countries, in all cities, on all continents. Celebrities are included on the gossip topics most of the time, so it is obvious that it is in the human nature to notice the leaders, the people who stand out from the crowd, and dissect their words, their clothes, their hair or their behaviour. So what makes gossip so damn interesting? I think people like to kill boredom, so they seek excitement in the life of others. This explains also the success recorded by reality shows. Who would have thought that a time will come when millions of TV viewers will watch every night for one hour or so how a bunch of people are eating, sleeping or taking showers in a house where they are like in prison, all time in the objective of cameras. Today there is an opportunity for ordinary people to become overnight heroes. I would be lying, if I did not get influenced by soap operas and other reality shows that are being aired today. I have dreamt of being on reality shows. Yes, I have! Do women gossip more than men? Maybe. It's because women are born with the talent of relating stories, therefore they become better conversationalists and more interesting people! So friends,  present any news in the form of gossip to me and I am all ears. LOL!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Village Belly - that's me!

Oh, same old day! Not complaining. It is good to be healthy and breathing, I know. It was a good day work wise, but mood? Not so good. The children came home, and were talking to me about their day. I was pretending to listen to them. My mind was thinking about other things. It suddenly struck me, that I am not spending enough time with family. I NEED to change this or else it will be too late. As I was on my walk this evening (sorry, have to mention this everyday as it the best time of my day), I got thinking...

 I have this illusion that people in rural areas in India are more content than people living in urban areas. I am so attracted to the the simplicity in those settings. Life is a mixture of tranquility, serenity and quiet times. People are so innocent. All the culture in India prevails in our villages. I recently had the pleasure of visiting a village in south india. I noticed that people live with a sense of loyalty. They share common ponds, wells,  sitting places, etc. Agriculture is their main occupation. The most attractive feature of a village home for me is the kitchen. I loved how the women made a natural stove using stones and firewood. I am sure the food tastes very good. The smell of burning firewood is intoxicating. A typical lunch involved cooked par boiled rice, pickles and one vegetable curry. The villagers were so friendly to us. Walking through the village I had a strange feeling. I felt free the way I had never felt before. There were no city crowds, no maddening traffic. No one was in a hurry. It appeared as though people led a stress free life. It would be nice to get away to a quiet place like this for sometime. Away from the contrast urban world. It might just be an illusion. I have to interview the villagers to find out if they are indeed content with their life or experience it myself by living in a village for sometime being just one of them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Break ups - Is it REALLY hard to move on?

New week, new begining! I had neglected this space for a while now. Emotion packed weekend folks! Human beings are the most complicated creatures on earth! I just finished watching Simi Garewal's latest show on India's most desirable.The episode I watched featured John Abraham. I picked this video, just to see how well he was coping with the recent breakup with Bipasha. Looks like it was a mutual decision. Now that's THE best way to break up, if break up is indeed the solution. I hope that they can remain friends.
If someone you love hurts you cry a river, build a bridge, and get over it.
If you can’t save the relationship, at least save your pride.

I think, in today's world,  there is no such thing as best friends, soul mates, lovers, etc. Effortless relationships are so rare that, when we see one it makes it envious. Whether it be happily-ever-after marriages, or friendships which last forever, or parent/child bonds we'd all like to believe that our relationships are unconditional, and strong enough to withstand whatever may come. But alas! it is far from the truth. Selfishness has taken over. Everything is temporary. Isn't it strange then, that all of us are looking for something permanent in a temporary life. I was one among these foolish people. But recently, after giving it some thought, I feel, time has come to accept the fact that I am my own best friend. There is no one on this earth that can take that away form me. Phrases like opposites attract, birds of the same feather flock together, even though has some truth, is not the whole truth. If relationships last through testing times, then they are indeed meant to be. All the others are failed relationships. Unfortunately, the failed ones are majority. All this means, if we invest time in ourselves, maybe it will pay off. I think the first step, is to start thinking positive. If the friendship was not meant to be, it is never going to last,  however much we try. So, let it go. With time the hurt WILL go away. A good friend just told me that today. It was her experience. Luckily, the world is a bigger place. There is lot to do and look forward to. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bonding with girlfriends

Namaskar Doston! I was feeling low all day today. Could not pinpoint why.  Normally, if I know the reason, I can find a solution. After, I finished my normal evening walk, I felt a lot better. Exercise has it's benefits, I guess. Planning to kick our front yard up a notch soon. Researching all kinds of ideas. Over whelming when we have too many options. I am one of those people who like short term projects, with quick/instant results. Directly proportional to patience levels, I think.
Think of happy times and college days always comes to most of our minds. Setting: Manipal/Udupi :

The reason is - we had a good group of like minded friends that cared for each other. I do have close friends now too! But it's not the same. Those days we were always together through thick and thin. We did have our fights but it never came in between the friendship. It was all part of growing up. Rain or shine we would meet everyday! Sharing notes, food, money and even clothes! Oh what fun! There was a certain element of excitement in wearing each other clothes. We were on a student budget then. So, could not afford a whole lot. Going to movies with friends back then, was a whole different experience. It did not involve a lot of planning. If we had nothing exciting going on, we would simply catch the next local bus and head on over to the theaters. There were no multiplexes. Just a run down theater that showed movies in ALL languages. Waiting in line for the tickets admist local "mawaalis" was such a pain. Yet it did not stop us from going early else we did not get tickets! :(  "House Full" was a board that we used to see quiet often those days. Obviously, as this was the ONLY theater catering to 100,000+ people mostly students. After the movies, eating bread masala at "Diana" (famous restaurant) was a must! We were 4 girlfriends. We used to pool money for this BIG event. No one really cared if it was equally divided or not. We just wanted to have a good time. How I wish things never changed. I have a fear, even if we meet now, that bonding that we experienced back then, is never going to be there. I feel now, as mature adults, we are corrupted meaning, we have lost our innocence and think before we take any action. Spoils the whole experience. Nevertheless, would love to meet all of them again!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clear skin - A dream?

Hello friends! Ok, I checked out a gym today. So.oo motivated to lose the extra pounds from the winter. After taking the tour of the gym, I went to sign up only to be shocked! The monthly rate was $59.99 double the price that some of my other friends are paying elsewhere. So stomped out of that place as quickly as possible.:) Met a new friend on my regular walk. She was from Delhi. Made some polite conversation and came home feeling all happy!

If there is one major change that I would like to see in the way I look, it would be to have clear skin. I suffered from pimple breakouts on my face in my teenage years. I still have deep scars from them. I have tried so many creams that promise great results. all in vain! Many have claimed that it has to do with your daily diet, and propose vitamins and foods that give your skin the nutrients it needs to replenish. I have waited in the lobbies of too many dermatologists. No results! I envy those who have clear skin. Dia Mirza and Katrina Kaif come to my mind every time I think of clear skin. It's a sign of being at the peak of health. I know drinking a lot of water is key. I am working on that.  I wonder if there are any laser treatments that can remove the scars forever. Please let me know or else my dream will remain a dream..:(

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Money and Power - Important?

Beautiful day today here in VA. It was just perfect outside when I went for my 7PM walk. Clear blue skies. White clouds floating forming different patterns. Enjoyed the evening. What a weekend folks! Full 2 entertainment. Attended a Sai Bhajan get together on Friday evening. Nicely done. Sang a small bhajan. On Saturday, I watched the much awaited movie of this year "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" (How true). The movie lived up to it's title. Showed us how important it is to live for the moment.

I have heard people say that  money is not important in life. I think money is equally if not more important than anything else in life. As the saying goes, money makes the world go around.  Poverty is miserable. It is important that all people born at least have the basic necessities met in their life. Most of the bad things that are happening in the world today are for these very reasons - Money or Power. It's a competitive world. A desire to earn more money is nothing to be ashamed off. I have seen many friends choose their life partner based simply on the bank balance of the other person and their social status. Nothing wrong, as long they follow through with their loyalty towards their partner. Security is more important than happiness. Throw in love in this scenario and we have a whole new equation. Yes, everybody needs to feel loved and wanted. Even rich and powerful people! But love cannot fill hungry stomachs. Can it? Personally I look up to people who have earned money and power in their lives through honesty and hard work. Some amount of charity by all those who can afford to do it, will make this world a beautiful place for all of us to live in.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Facebook Vs. Google Plus

No other city in the world has been the tragic target of as many serial terror attacks and bombings as Mumbai. Sorry Mumbaikars. I pray for your safety and peace. Meetings!, meetings!, meetings! That's all I did at work today.
Hello friends! Guess what, guess what? It's new! It's fresh!, It's on the Internet. I am excited to inform all of you that I am officially a member of Google Plus as of today! I got invited by a friend.

Still a BIG fan and addict of  Facebook, I very reluctantly signed up for G+. It took me a while to get around. I am still learning, but my initial experience was not that bad. I have a feeling it is going to be the next fad. It's all about Circles, Sparks and Hangouts. Just like real life is what they claim. It is to be experienced. Unlike Facebook, it is a one stop shop. You can browse the web, access Picasa, Blogger (plus for me), etc. from withing one single account. Brilliant! The focus of this social project is not on sharing with a mass group of friends, but on targeted sharing with your various social groups. For example, you can categorize them as classmates, relatives, kids etc. Whether you think it will fail miserably or it is the future of social networking, there is unarguably a wave of curiosity from the digital world. I heard that after Google stopped the invitation process some users even put their invites up for auction on eBay! This is serious stuff folks! Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is it really an Apple tree?

Hello! Read the news today about glamorous beggars in Mumbai, India. Begging taken to a new level! Kya hoga aise logon ka? Attended a farewell lunch at work today. Always amazes me that people say good things about people only when they are leaving. Why? It would make a huge difference, if they can appreciate the person when they are working hard during their term. Anyhow, nothing is going to change. Time to promote me to be a Manager he he.
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away!

I know how Adam and eve must have felt under that apple tree. Guess what? We have 2 apple trees in our backyard. One that the builder planted and one that me the great planted. A mini Kashmir in my backyard. Wishful thinking haan?
Picture (1)

Picture (2)

I just discovered the tree that the builder planted. We have lived in our house for 11 years now. The tree gave apples only this year. That's when I knew that it was an apple tree. Some welcome surprises in life. I tasted both these apples. They are sour now. I think they will be good for preparing chutney. Apple chutney. Sounds yummy right? When they turn completely red in color, I think they will taste sweeter.  At least, that is what I am hoping. The apples are not looking very healthy right now. They are a feast for the hungry insects. I have to spray some insecticide soon.  These apples do not grow bigger than what you see in the picture. Wonder what variety they are. They look so pretty on the tree. It's like being in an orchard. Some colorful birds are always circling round these trees. I see a lot of parakeets. Makes for a pleasant early morning sight! Can you tell which tree was planted by me? Picture (1) or Picture (2)?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mehndi (Henna) as a hair dye?

Friends, Too hot here.There is a heat wave warning tomorrow. The temperature is going to be 103 degrees (sweat, sweat!). I attended a Satyanarayan Pooja last Saturday. The energy dissipated was so powerful, it has to be experienced by one and all. Felt good. On Sunday, I watched the movie Delhi Belly with a few friends. Laugh riot all the way! My rating *****!
Mehndi has many uses. Applying mehndi on hands as traditional design is an important Vedic custom as a symbolic representation of the Outer and the Inner Sun. It's mostly applied on a bride's hands and legs and also on her girl friends hands during weddings. Until recently in rural areas in India, women ground fresh henna leaves on grinding stone with added oil, which brings much darker colors. Today, the adulterated version it is readily available in the market.  However, I used mehndi for a totally different purpose. I used it on my hair!

This secret recipe of a hair conditioner cum color was given to me by a beautician. The mixture has to be kept overnight in an Iron "kadai" for it to emit the deep burgundy color. As you can see, it resembles fresh cow dung. he he. It's smells bad too! But it gives the hair the healthy look and shine that is every girl's dream. After many applications, the red hues in the hair make it look like highlights in the hair. Let's hope I get that look soon!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Puffed Puris - A challenge!!

Happy B'day to my dear hubby, Shekar and my friend Anu! It was a day filled with mixed emotions. Woke up 15 minutes later than normal, and the whole routine was off! To top it, I had to give my car for servicing. Dropped the car at the Mazda dealer and went to work. Late of course! It was a constructive day at work. With the car service out of the way, and having left over food from last night for dinner, did not have much to do when I came back home. Made a steaming cup of my fav. "Bru" coffee and logged in to Facebook and discovered that a konkani song that I had recorded some 17 years ago in Austin, Texas was circulating on FB. Wow! Imagine my surprise! I was only the chorus singer in that. Nevertheless, shared it with all my friends. It was a proud moment for me. Now over to the topic of the day....
Anu was in the midst of making Puri Bhaji (my fav. snack) when I called her this past Sat. morning. Now since she did not invite me ;) I decided to make it myself. I was apprehensive at first, as I was making it after a long time and my memory from the last time I made was not very pleasant. The puris were soft and did not puff at all. My Mom had told me to mix a little butter while making the dough. I tried that this time. I think that was the trick. The puris did puff but not all of them. The first few where flat, however not bad as far as taste. The rest puffed up as you can see in the first pic. I think it had to do with the temperature of the oil and not my dough. I was thrilled. A success story at last! Since I had planned it for "brunch", I was not sure if it will be appetizing for my family as my hubby does not like very oily things so early in the day. The kids don't like to eat Indian food that much.  But, SURPRISE! the whole family enjoyed it and Shekar (my hubby) requested me to make it next day too.  In 18 years of our marriage this is the very first time that Shekar has ever asked me to make something "dil se". Isn't that something!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Mezza Grill - A belly dancing experience

Not a very great day for me today my friends. After a normal day at work, I came home and fried some pomfret for dinner. The good part is I took a 45 minute walk after a long time. I need to exercise a lot more. Why is it so hard? The fish turned out to be yummy. Ideas for an all you can eat fish party were being discussed at the dinner table by all family members. Hmmm, nice! Coming soon!
Dance has always been my creative outlet. My friend Anu and I take belly dancing classes. That's our instructor in Blue. She was performing at a Lebanese restaurant called Mezza Grill on Friday night. We decided to watch the show while eating some good food. So we ordered some samplers. Every dish in a Lebanese restaurant revolves around Hummus. I am not a big fan of that paste. Neither is Anu. Anyway, we wanted to kill time while we were waiting for the belly dance event to start. It was to start at 9:30 PM! Wonder why? Some people in the audience were enjoying the "Hukka" as you can see in picture. The beautiful dancer (our teacher) entered the restaurant through a narrow hallway from her dressing room in her colorful outfit, her body movements completely in sync with the entrancing sounds of the drums. There is an earthy, sensual aura connected with belly dancing that draws the eyes to the dancers body.  Indeed, the dancer speaks directly to the watcher, with each and every subtle movement of her body. Every time she made a hip lift the coins on her belt made beautiful music against her hips. The audience was pleased. They clapped  in joy after every performance. All of us tipped her to show our appreciation.  She brought out all beautiful props like veils, cane, and finger cymbols while she swayed to some middle eastern tunes. The "tabla" was a prominent instrument that I could hear very clearly. She looked like a goddess as she shimmied,  undulated and gestured to the music, flipping her blond hair every now and then making the men who were watching weak in their knees. Such is the power of belly dancing. This proved that anyone can learn any form of dance if there is a will. Anu too danced a little with her. Everyone present stood up and cheered them. After the show Anu and I were determined never to give up learning this form of dance. Can't wait for next Wednesday when we go back to class.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Ladies Night Out

Happy Fourth of July friends! So much has been happening since I last updated my blog. It was always my wish to go to a club here in the US. After googling for what I thought was THE perfect club, I settled for the club which was not so far from home. We decided to eat dinner first. After some good "Desi Khana" at a rated Indian restaurant with like minded friends, we drove through the beautiful warm night to the club. From the outside the club looked like a decent place. All of us were charged, ready for a night of "all American" clubbing. We felt confident as we opened the main door of the club. There was a sign which read "club is on the 4th floor". We took the poorly maintained elevator to the fourth floor. Loud music filled our ears. I could not hold myself any longer. I started swinging to the music before we even entered the club. A doorman checked our ids and let us in.  No cover charge! Ladies free! Sweet right?  WRONG!!!! We soon found out that this was a run of the mill nightclub. The ambiance was so poor, it could easily be recreated at a private home in the basement. Thank god we were dressed casually or else we would have stood out like a sore thumb. Phew! There was no live DJ. Videos of Michael Jackson filled big screen mounted on the wall. My body was not moving at all, however much I tried. People around me looked like they were having fun. Of course, most of them were young and came as a couple. We tried to dance for 2 hours or so. For teatotalers like us, this club was not the place for having fun. However, don't underestimate our dancing skills. Put on some "desi music" and each one of us could give Madhuri Dixit a run for her money. LOL! We came out of the club, wanting some more action. So we decided to walk around the block for sometime. I had never seen midnight in VA, like I did on that day.  All the giggling and the commenting on every little thing that we could possibly set our eyes upon must have been distracting for passers by. Oh, who cares? It made me feel young again. A free spirit. What a feeling that was! Oh! why do we have to grow up?