Sunday, April 29, 2012

Divided India?

Hi friends. Fun 2 days. Back to work tomorrow. Saturday, was spent at the USA science and engineering festival in Washington DC. The kids enjoyed it. Shekar spent a lot of time explaining stuff to us. I tip my hat to all those intelligent engineers who are making lives a lot easier for all of us. Finally cleaned my car this afternoon. Can't wait to drive it tomorrow. For dinner, I made, Thai hot pepper shrimp with basil and peanuts. Exotic name but very simple to make. It was enjoyed by all of us. Next time I plan to make it with chicken. Just read Amitabh's statement on TOI. He is now ready to work with Rekha. Wow! I hope it really happens. It will be a treat to the eyes. So dedicating this Song of the day to the BEST romantic pair till date (SRK and Kajol come close second):

O pardesiya
Pardesiya yeh sach hai piya
Sab kehte hain maine tujhko dil de diya
Main kehti hoon tune mera dil le liya
It's 11:00 PM here. It is easier to write about an experience than something that has to be researched.  So, today I will relate an anecdote. There is clearly a divide in India between the North and the South Indians. A Chennai person is not easily accepted in Delhi and vice versa. Often, people misunderstand the North Indians to be rude and selfish because of their aggressive nature. North Indians are mostly businessmen who have to be somewhat aggressive to be successful. I see nothing wrong with that. South Indians are intellectual people, who strive to be the best in academics. They are simple and coy people. I am from South India, and growing up, I heard ONLY negative things about the North and the people who live there. However, throughout the years my experience with the North Indians has been different. On my recent trip to the North, I was touched by the behavior of a roadside shopkeeper who was selling jewellery. I had purchased some bangles for Rs. 200/- from him and I forgot to take the nicely packed bangles with me. After 2 days, I realised that the bangles were missing. So, I decided to meet the shopkeeper again, just to check. With no great expectations, I went to the shop. After walking up and down the streets of the market, trying to locate the shop, I found the shop and the shopkeeper. With no great expectations, I asked the man, if he remembered selling those pretty bangles to me? Guess what? He had saved it for me. Yes! I could not believe it. I even told him, that people say that it is easy to get duped in North India and he had proved otherwise. I thanked him profusely and wished him a very happy new year and left feeling very happy. In fact, I have got duped in South India many times. I have come home with sarees which had holes on the inside folds. I also noticed that people in North India love to feed their guests. They do it with a smile. Hospitality is very good. After this incident, I refuse to believe what others have to say. I will form my own opinion. Yes, there are all kinds of people in this world. My only hope is that people stop stereotyping. The world will be a better place then.:-) I love my India! With that thought in mind, I am going to wish all of you Shub Ratri and lots of love.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Congratulations to me!/ music and memories

Today is April 27, 2012 folks! What does that mean? This day marks the one year anniversary for my blog. It feels really good. What started off as an experiment, is now my everyday routine. Thanks to readers like you, who keep coming back reading, leaving comments, calling, etc. who keep me motivated. Hoping for another 365 days of successful blogging. So, Mads has signed 2 movies. I hope, for old times sake, she can live up to her standards and not make a mockery of herself. They have started a running club at work. I wish I could join. My knees are not willing. Had a good evening out with "familia". Ate dinner at "Chipotle".  Our fav. place to hang out on Friday nights. I was so full, that I got a severe headache with the last bite and had to sleep for an hour, till the food digested somewhat. I woke up, just to write this blog on this "BIG" day. Song of the day:
Prem Rog friends. Love the songs from this movie. In fact, my love for Hindi cinema started with the story of this movie which was related to me by my cousin when I was 11 years old. This was the era of the singers like Suresh Wadker. A different genre of music and movies altogether. Songs have a way of bringing things back: a place, a person, a time. Nursery rhymes remind us of our kindergarten days, School prayers are associated with uniforms and early morning rush to school, National anthem reminds us of ceremonial days and flag hoisting and Vande mataram reminds us of the Father of the nation"Mahatma Ghandi". I have many such memories. One of my classmates, on the last day of college wrote on my autograph book. "gori tere gaon bada pyaara'". Once, a back bencher in class during the last period sang out loud "mess bulaa rahi hai, seeti bajaa rahi hai".  He must have been hungry. One other back bencher used to sing this song every time he wanted to de stress. He did not care who he was surrounded by. His song was " Aate jaate, hanste gaate". It suited his personality very well. Then there was a group of students who sang "ai dil hai mushakil jeena yahaan
zara hat ke, zara bach keye hai Manipal meri jaan" for a music competition. They went on to win the second prize. What made this group unique was their choice of song and change of the place in the song from Bambai to Manipal. Most of the other students in college listening to them, could connect to the situation and the song. I wish I knew how to whistle back then. My friends and I used to perform group dances on many occasions. Some of the songs we danced to were - "Damadum mast kalander", "Zulmi sang aankh ladi", "panchi banu udti phirun mast gagan mein" and "hey naam re sabse bada tera naam oh sherawaali". Those were the times! We used to be huge fans of Mads and never used to miss any of her movies. One of my best friends knew most of  the dialogues from the movie Tezaab. We would often enact it at home. I would act as Nikita (Mandakini) and she would act as Mohini (Mads). Then there were the romantic songs during my college days. "Tere mere hoton pe", "Bahut pyar kartein hain tumko sanam", "dheere dheere pyar ko badana hai", "Dil deewana bin sajna ke", "Dheere dheere se mere zindagi mein aana", "humne ghar choda hai" and "akele hain to kya gum hai". Aah! give me back those days and I will be grateful forever. Music keeps the mind active and memories alive.  Good night my dear friends. Enjoy your music. Tra la la...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Simple Pleasures are Life's Treasures

Hello World! Another day of expectations followed by disappointment. Such is life. I wish my "real" friends were as emotional and attached as me. I know, I have to let go and I had decided that too, but its harder than I had thought it would be. Having bad hair days. Can I blame the weather or the products? Don't want to accept that hair is thinning. I am afraid of going bald one day. Also, nails are not growing fast. Signs of ageing? Makes me sad. Got to cheer up folks. Got to write about something fun. Did you hear that song from HF2? Arey chhod-chhad ke apne Salim ki gali
Oye hoye!
Arey chhod-chhad ke apne Salim ki gali
Anarkali disco chali
Yes, that's the Song of the day. Google has done it again! Loved the zipper on the logo. Did anyone try unzipping? It was cool.
It feels good to wake up in the morning and know that we definitely can enjoy some simple things in life. I am so thankful for the simple pleasures in life. It brings us so much joy. These are the pleasures that are reasons to celebrate life itself. Some of the simple pleasures that I enjoy are:

2. A cold glass of water on a hot day
3. Knowing that we have more time to sleep
4. Knowing that someone from the opposite sex was appreciating you
5. Laughing out Loud
6. Taking a walk with someone you love
7. Hugging your child tightly
8. Sunny day
9. Ice cream
10. Chocolate
11. Receiving an unexpected compliments ( Can't get enough of these he he)
12. Staying up all night talking
13. Familiar smell
14. Completing a Project
15. Clean house
16. Feeling after a good workout
17. Dancing and singing loudly
18. Massage
19. The twinkle in kids eyes when they receive presents
20. Hot Bath
21. Gentle breeze touching your face
22. Swinging on a swing
23. Hearing from a friend unexpectedly.
24. Coffee
25. Flowers

The list can go on. Now we definitely know that some of the BEST things in life are free. Thank god! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Next life I will be ?

Vanakkam dosts! Made the best of the weekend in spite of the crappy weather we had. On Sat. we met with friends at "The Curry Club" for dinner. Amazing masala chai! That did it for Sat. for me. Met a few ladies this evening to celebrate "Chaitra Gauri Vrat" (Gauri Pooja). One of my friends does this every year. I simply go, to be a part of the tradition. She washes our feet (yep, free pedicure) and then applies haldi. Apparently, this Vrat is done by wives for the longevity of their husbands. Having the Monday blues again folks. A few weeks ago, we were having a jamming session at home with some friends and we were singing this beautiful song. I remembered that song now, and I think I will make that the song of the day.

Bahut shukriya badi meherbani
Meri zindagi mein huzur aap aaye

Oh, did any of you notice the Google logo today? It's awesome! It was a bunch of flowers blooming in the shape of the logo and the caption was - Roses are red, violets are blue, for Earth Day this year, let'sall plant a few. Genius!

We often hear people say "is janam key burey karmo ka fal agle janam mein mil jaata hai". So is there such thing as "agle janam" (next life)? I would like to believe that there is. Everything in nature moves in cycles. We have the cycle of seasons, cycle of day and night. Similarly, I think there is a cycle of birth and death. My FIL once told me that a soul takes seven lives altogether. After a lot of good deeds the "soul" takes the form of a human being. So friends this is it! All of us have now achieved the highest form of life. We had seven chances to do good. Make the best of this, one life to live. We have heard stories where people can actually recall events from their previous lives. They say that hypnotists can actually help people bring back these memories. I remember once when I was around 10 yrs old, my uncle tried hypnotism on me. He convinced me that he will find out about my past. I remembered being very scared and out of fear, I pretended that I was hypnotised and answered his questions. He made me believe that I was a CAT in my previous life. I remember him asking me to say meoooooooooooow. Oh, I was silly then. I have experienced the Deja vu moment. Have you not? It makes you believe in past life. The same explanation can be given to people who fall in love. There is some connection from their past lives. Today we call it "love at first sight". Heaven, hell, reincarnation, all these are concepts that people have been guessing. There is no scientific proof to this. If it works for you, just enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Long days at work?

Hegiddhira? It's raining here. Wish I had Ramu Kaka to make pakoda and chai. I had to settle for bournvita instead. I have been a good girl so far with drinking milk for the past few days. However, bad luck has been following me like a shadow. I dropped pipping hot water on my left hand, day before yesterday and just as I was getting used to that pain, I tripped and fell on concrete floor on the rooftop of my building at work. Ouch! I was rushing to see the space shuttle "discovery" landing here at Dulles Airport. I slightly twisted my left ankle and bruised my right knee. Yes, I was bleeding. And to top that, I was wearing white pants. I am limping now. Nevertheless, I managed to enjoy the amazing landing of the shuttle. See pics. below.

Isn't it gorgeous? For the folks who couldn't see it yesterday, don't worry. It is being stored at the Air and Space museum here. When you visit VA, you can definitely see it. Good luck with long lines. Keeping with the Qawaali theme, the Song of the day is from a SRK movie Veer Zaara.
                              Jo Bandishein Thi Zamane Ki Tod Aaya Hoon
                              Main Tere Waste Duniyaa Ko Chhod Aaya Hoon
                              Aaya Tere Dar Par Deewana
Intense scene. Only Yash Chopra could imagine and picturise this so well.
OMG, just when I was deciding about today's post, my friend called me to tell me that she was at Taco Bell eating dinner. It's 10:45 PM here folks! She said she was working late again! It's got to take a toll on her health. Stars work erratic hours all the time. Amitabh always blogs about late nights and I just saw an interview with Raveen Tandon who wrapped her shoot of "isi ka naam zindagi" late one evening. She said she had to still look fresh late in the day. So, why are more and more people working late hours? It might be for different reasons like fear of boss, to prove that one is efficient or the person might just be a workaholic. Is it that there is too much to do? Whatever the reason, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by burning the midnight oil at the office. In today’s times, where downsizing has left a lot of employees doing the work of two or three, we all feel the need to prove ourselves. However, if you’re working late because you don’t feel like you’re getting enough done during the day, a few adjustments to your work habits may save you some time. But if you don't take care of yourself, you will eventually burn out. Researchers have proved that working late hours has health risks comparable to smoking. So friends, next time think twice before you log all those "extra" hours at work.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kesariya balam aavo ni padharo maro desh

Namaskar friends! Beautiful weather and a good family outing makes for a Purrrfect weekend. Ate a lot of good food. My Indian friend from work and I were exchanging notes on the events of the weekend over coffee this morning (it has now become a tradtion). She happened to mention a song which she heard on TV after a long time. A beautiful Qawaali. "Chadta Suraj dheere dheere". Yes, friends that is the Song of the day. The singer is Aziz Naza. Not sure where I had heard it before. It's not a movie song for sure. If anyone knows please let me know.

As I was driving back home from work, I was remembering my trip to Rajasthan. From the title you must have guessed that today I will be writing about this magical land famous for its historical sites, rich culture and festivities. Traveling to Rajasthan can be a lifetime experience for anyone. Rajasthan presents a variety of forts, palaces, wildlife safaris, desert safaris in charming sand dunes and mouth-watering cuisines. Life is a celebration in Rajasthan. The spirit to live life every moment is expressed in the brightly colored costumes, coarse jewelry and the beautiful smile of the people that brings alive the dry desert. I felt so happy in the midst of these vibrant colors, something that we lack here in the US. Below are some pics. from my visit.
Amber Fort
Inside Amber Fort
Renovation in progress (reminded me of the movie "Love Aaj Kal")
Snake Charmers
Puppet Show (Love the colors)
Jal Mahal
Ended up here in search of a South Indian Thali (exactly what happens when you travel with "old" parents who are used to a set routine)
Jhantar Mantar. Here we had a guide who was a namuna. All through our trip we were imitating his accent. He used to Say - Dekho Daaaaaadaaa with every sentence. He was funny.
Hawa Mahal - It's just a wall. I used to think that this was a palace too!
There is so much more to Rajasthan than this. All this was in Jaipur. I definitely want to go back and see the other cities and do some more shopping on the train ride called palace on wheels, which takes us on the Delhi-Rajasthan tour - King Style!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Remember when?

Hello Blogdosts! Although it was cold outside, I had such a warm and cosy day today. It all started with a beautiful song that I came across on the CD that I had recently purchased in India and THAT, my friends is the Song of the day:

Woh Jab Yaad Aaye, Bahut Yaad Aaye
gaam-E-Jindagi Ke Andhere Mein Humne
chirag-E-Mohabbat Jalaye-Bujhaye

No one else could sing this better than Lata Ji. Oh, Maa Saraswati is in every cell of this living legend. So, the rest of the day was spent in my fav. activity - reminiscing.
All people reminisce. Why do people think about the past? Im talking about trivial things of the recent past like when you are 26 and reminiscing about watching a particular movie when you were say....19 or 20. Is it normal? I dont know, maybe im stuck in a midlife crisis, but deconstructing my thoughts I have come to realise that I just seem to really miss things I did a few years ago, although doing the same things now feels different. As if I have moved on, yet there are so many fond memories and its almost with a nostalgic pang that I realise its only memories and that those times are gone. Remembering past times is a pleasant diversion. It helps to identify with who we are and where we came from. Reminiscing can be an important tool for socialization. The first time we meet a friend we spend time "filling" each other on our life history. I find that when I talk to a good friend we often talk about the same topic which gave us so much joy over and over again. There is great pleasure associated with it. My Mom complains that my Dad who is 82 today, talks about the same things over and over again. It gets on her nerves. She is 11 years younger than my Dad. My Dad told me that thinking about his childhood is his favorite pass time today. He says discussing "the good old days" is a beneficial, purposeful activity that helps him maintain a positive outlook. A good listener is what he is looking for. Reminiscing might be helpful to people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Well friends, if reminiscing has only positive effects on you, go ahead and indulge. Comment, email or call me and we can do it together.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

These are some of my favorite things

Hello friends! So, the Supreme Court has granted relief to film maker Madhur Bhandarkar in the Preeti Jain rape case. See folks, another case of money and power. Now my fav. star SRK is in legal trouble for smoking inside the cricket stadium:(. I am sure this case will also be "phoo pooed". Good news is that my fav. cricketer Yuvi is back in India after his long treatment in the US. So today's song of the day is from the movie Yuvraaj:
Aaja main hawaaon pe bithaake le chalun
tu hi toh... tu hi toh meri dost hain.
Had a very "busy";) day at work. Discovered I had a brain that works. he he.
Since I could not think of a topic to blog about today, I am just going to write a list of 10 of my favorite things.

1. My fav. singer: Sonu Nigam
2. My fav perfume: Prada
3. My fav. season: Summer
4. My fav. festival: Diwali
4. My fav. passtime: Shopping,chatting & music.
5. My fav. food: Chicken Biryani.
6. My fav. beverage: Filter Coffee.
7. My fav. car: Mercedes Benz. (still waiting for Shekar to gift it)
8. My fav. chocolate: Cadbury
9. My fav. romantic spot: Tajmahal, India.
10.My fav. silly freind: Anu (everyone should have a friend like her, seriously!)

Please share some of your fav. things.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Priorities, priorities, priorities

Vanakkam friends. Since I enjoy listening to music so much, I thought of introducing a new format to this blog. The "song of the day" slot. What say? It's tulip season, and the movie Silsila comes to my mind, when I see these beauties by the side of the roads as I am driving. So, today's
Song of the day is: Dekha Ek Khwaab To Yeh Silsile Hue
Door Tak Nigahon Mein Hain Gul Khile Hue

It was a weekend of rotis at my house. My gujrati friend had told me that left over dal can be used to make soft rotis. Since, Shekar was coming home after a long business trip, I decided to try making these dal rotis. It turned out alright. Shekar will eat anything that remotely looks like a roti. That's how much he loves them. The kids,- now that's another story. They did try it. Let's leave it at that. Gorgeous weather her in VA folks. I really wish we could have been at the beach. Oh, yeah and for those of you wondering about my closet, remains untouched.:(.
In an era where "busy" is the word that everyone is using and "rush" is what we are told to do, everytime we attempt to start something, it is important to keep our priorities straight or risk the chance of going insane. So, then what are the top prioroties in life? I think it depends on which stage of life you are currently in. For me my top 3 priorities as it stands today are:

1. Health - Mid life brings both mental and physical fitness challenges. Someone correctly said that 'health is wealth". Whenever possible,I try to get 30 minutes of cardio exercise. In this modern day lifestyle, occasional forms of exerting physical energy is very important. It keeps my mind sharper and happier. I wish I could develop the habit of reading too for mental stimulation(working on it).

2. Relationships - “A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” – Unknown
Oh my gosh! there is so much truth to this. If I can count at least 2 friends (apart from my family) who fall in this category in my life today, I will consider me lucky and touch wood, I think I have them. I really hope this stays forever! (I also know that nothing is forever). For me, it is important to be silly and laugh out loud. It keeps me happy and content. I have also learnt not to spend too much time on people who don't have time for me, even tough they mean a lot to me. At some point I have to let go. Its best for both parties.

3. Career and Purpose - In India, during my times, children were given only 2 choices, by parents, for their career choice. Doctors or Engineers. They were not wrong, as no other fields of study were as lucrative. But today, “you are what you do.” and one can afford to choose what career paths to pursue. I think choosing a career that you enjoy going to work everyday, must be a priority. I know this is not easy. It took me several years to find out what exactly I wanted to do.

All said and done, there are many other ingredients that influence a state of happiness. But if one is aware and concious of choices, it might be a smoother ride.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The art of makeup

Hello blogdosts! Yes, new day, new look for this spot. Change is good they say. Hope all of you like it. Made a few changes in my life as well. It's all good. Normally, I am NOT a morning person. But today, I woke up a little early. I had no traffic hassles as the roads were empty due to spring break. I reached work really early. Broke a few records of the "so called" early birds at work. Got a lot done. Feels good. The statement, early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise makes a lot of sense. Although, I did not sleep early last night. I stayed awake chatting with a good friend who was leaving for a trip today. She was showing me all the new clothes that she had purchased for the trip. How exciting!
Just today, some of us at work were discussing how movie stars look with and without makeup. Without makeup most of these stars look very ordinary. A talented makeup artist can transform a person into someone or something completely different, whether it's for beauty, costume or just for the sake of art. To these artists, it's well worth their efforts when they get honored with awards particulary in the movie industry. Too much makeup can be bad too! I am no expert, but I can speak about some bad cases in Bollywood as I tend to obeserve them closely. It's well known that Gauri Khan over does the oily look and I think she uses too much bronzer too. Sonam Kapoor, (brand ambassador for L'Oreal?!!) gets her makeup all wrong most of the time. She uses too much blush. Sorry Sonam, I don't think it is meant to be used as paint on your face. Foundation that does not match your skin can be so disastrous. Celina Jaitely and what's her name from the movie "Mere yaar ki shaadi hai", yes, Tulip Joshi (what were her parents thinking when they were naming her that) get it wrong ALL the time. See examples below. You will agree with me.

But then, there are the stars who get it 100% correct ALL the time, like Aishwarya Rai (not these days. I think she has lost it), Shilpa Shetty, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma and these days even Kareena Kapoor. That makes them look so much more prettier than they probably, actually are. Personally, I feel women should start wearing makeup after the age of 30. This is the averge age when most women have kids. I feel after a delivery, a woman's body changes so much, that the right make up can create wonders. I also believe in minimal makeup. My everyday look includes black Kohl pencil for the eyes, black mascara and lipstick to match the outfit. I feel that if I do not use these 3 products, I have the sleepy look. The eyeliner definitely gives me the wide eyed look. On special ocassions, I do wear foundation, powder and blush. If you ask men, they would say that they like women without makeup. I agree that makeup does tend to make a woman look older than she really is. One day, I would love to learn the art of perfect makeup. Is there an App. for that? he he..

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Comparison - but so natural

Hello world! I hope everyone is doing well. It's been a while since I wrote. I had to fly to India for 3 days. Ok, ok. April Fool Banaya! Actually, I was on a cleaning spree. I organised 2 kids closets over the weekend. Big achievement for me. Had been procrastinating. My closet remains a mess. I really do not know where to even start. I have clothes from 1992 (when I first came to the US), clothes from my 2 pregancies, clothes before I lost 30 pounds and clothes that were not my choice. Now, before all of you think that I am a pig, I have to tell you that I get sentimentally attached to my clothes. It's hard for me to get rid of them. Some of my clothes from college are still with my Mom in Manipal. I won't let her dispose them. I have decided to clean up my closet on this upcoming weekend. It's going to be a HUGE adjustment for me - mentally. Wish me luck folks. I chose to spend Sunday all by myself. I needed some alone time. So, I went to my favorite coffee place. Yes, Starbucks. Did some serious thinking over a "tall" cup of Vanilla Latte.
“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.” - Marquis de Condorcet

We always compare things in life and come to conclusions of our own. It's absolutely needed for fair judgement. If you took the strengths of others, and compared them to your weaknesses, I think this would not make you feel good. Most of the times, I have found myself doing this and feeling very low. Comparing lifestyles, acheivements, children, is part of everyday living. But natural. Most often we do these social comparisons without realizing we’re doing it. For me, this had to stop as I wanted to be happy and not waste my time dwelling on things that I had no control over. So after much thinking I came up with a plan. The solution is to become consious. As soon as these thoughts come to the mind, bring them to the forefront and recognise these thoughts and quickly change focus. Focus on happy things. For me happy things are to have the people in my life who care about me, the things that I have and not the things that I don't have, my strengths and not weaknesses and life itself (being alive). What can I do,to change things that make me unhappy? I should be ok with imperfection. Emotionally I seem to feel bad when my family doesn't reach perfection. But imperfection is what makes us who we are. Trying to be someone else, only leads to frustration and misery. Everybody has their own journey. I have decided to make my journey a happier one for me by shifting my focus to ME! I hope I suceed!