Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happens once in a "Blue Moon"

Folks, folks, folks! I am so excited. This blog made it to 5,000 hits on this blessed day. This type of thing happens once in a "Blue Moon". What a coincidence! Don't forget to look at the "Blue Moon" on Friday Night. A very good day for me. I have been eagerly waiting for this moment. Thanks to my new cyber friend, a certain, "Anonymous";) who made this possible faster than it would normally take. A BIG THANK YOU to all my readers for making this happen. It took me a year and a half to get here. The journey was well worth it! I could not resist but write about this, even tough I had planned not to. I am waiting for my SIL to get here. Her plane is landing at 8:30 PM. Just finished cooking a typical Konkani meal with 3 subzis and rice. Hope she enjoys it. She has left Australia on Aug. 15th and has stopped at various locations around the world attending seminars, I am sure she will be gald to eat some home cooked food. Today calls for celebration. I have picked a song from the movie Yudh as the Song of the day: Tina Munim had some melodious songs picturised on her. Thanks again for all your support.
 We all have come across many frustrating days and times when traffic has been bad on the way to work. Now with schools opening its a miracle if we reach work on time, without getting flustered a little. To add to all this, what I am facing these days, is road construction. They are expanding "Belmont Ridge" and Route 50. Now, blame me for not taking Rt. 28 to work. Well, I have horror stories connected with Rt. 28. I had rather deal with bad traffic instead. So, every morning, I see big Caterpillar machines which are operated by humans, doing some surprising things that we humans would take years to complete. The machines can dig a hole, lift dirt, move boulders etc.
Every time, I am amazed at how technology  has helped the human race. It's unbelievable. Gone are the "Saathi Haath Badana" days. These machines are a welcome change. I know the roads are eventually going to get better for all of us. So, next time you see construction of any kind, think of me and be glad that its not us on the streets, in bad weather. I know easier said than done. A little practice and deep breathing will help us get there. And of course there is always Bollywood music for entertainment in the car. Oh, what would I do without Bollywood??!!! Alright folks, got to go now. Enjoy your long weekend, for those living in the US. Love you all!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FUNVILLE - last 2 days

Namaskar friends. OMG, Shirish and SRK can never be best friends again? What will happen to the citizens of India? Seriously? I think this earth shaking news is so casually been dished out on TOI, as though the readers are morons. Farah Khan comes across as a bully. She had a riches to rags story in her childhood. Well, she has recovered from that stunningly now. Good for her! Lucky star kids of Bollywood. Not much of a struggle to be launched. This time it is Armaan Jain (Kareena's cousin), Randhir Kapoor's sister's son being launched by Saif Ali Khan. Bollywood should be renamed Kapoorwood soon. They rule!
                                     Some days you bump into the same person again and again. Today was such a day for me. This lady and I were on the elevator this morning, we then met in the bathroom, then again in the kitchen at lunchtime. Later in the afternoon we met yet another time in the bathroom. All this time only exchanging polite hellos. In my head I was thinking, "how in the world?!. Who is she?" And then as I was leaving the office for home, I met her again in the parking lot. Both of us started laughing and introduced ourselves to each other quickly. Made a new "friend"  for today, till we bump into each other again. :)______________________________________________________________________
 Well, without further adieu introducing you to the house we stayed in. (See below). I think pictures speak louder than words.When we arrived, one family had already occupied the house. They opened the door and welcomed us in.  I only had the opportunity to take a pic. of the front of the house that night.
front of the house
Slowly all the other families came in and we had a full house. That night we played cards and talked like we had never talked before. Wine and snacks were free flowing. We finally went to bed at around 2 AM. I woke up to chatter and pipping hot tea made by my friends. It was so nice to sit outside on the deck with all friends and sip the tasty tea, while soaking the beauty of nature, so early in the morning.
The living room (early in the morning)  facing the deck on the back of the house
The Deck
The lake view from the deck (mesmerising!)
The heart of the home. The kitchen.
Dining area, overlooking the kitchen. This is where we assembled for every meal and chatting sessions.
So, after breakfast we went on a hike. Long awaited dream of mine came true.

We came across spectacular water falls on the trail. The hushing sound of  water gently hitting the rocks, reminded me of the song from the movie Hero. We all kept singing this song all through the hike. I am reliving that moment now by making that song the Song of the day: Hope all of you enjoy the song too!
The flute tune was awesome in this movie. The novel idea of bringing together a bad guy and a sweet girl and the bad guy turning good at the end made this movie a blockbuster and one of its kind during the 1980s. I plan to watch the movie soon on youtube, just to refresh my memory. I was a big fan of Jackie dada then. I remember tearing posters of him from filmfare and pasting it on my study wall back home.  The beautiful, Meenakshi Sheshadri was a good actress whose potential, unfortunately, was not fully explored by Bollywood.
Later in the afternoon we rented speed boats with tubes. The kids had a blast here. Their tube was flat and required a great deal of strength to stay afloat on it. Plus our friend who was an ace driver kept them alert with his driving skills. He drove it fast at times and slowed down soon, so the kids had to save themselves from falling off the boat. Kids love healthy competition. So, they were in heaven.


We spent the whole afternoon taking turns tubing, ate sandwiches that we had packed, played antakshari, and just lazed on the boat under the beautiful blue sky, the breeze delicately touching our cheeks. The scenery surrounding the lake was breathtaking to say the least. It was a perfect day, away from the hustle-bustle of the daily routine of the suburbs. We went back home all tired. Luckily we had each taken an entree dish that we had already cooked when we left for the trip. We quickly heated some rotis and heated all the dishes and had a sumptuous dinner. We then sat around out favorite dining table and chatted for hours, getting to know our friends, slowly but surely. What a perfect group of like minded people we were! We thought of 20 different ways of taking vacations together in the near future. Lets hope at least a few of them materialise. We danced and played dumb charades till the wee hours of the morning. We barely slept for a few hours when it was time to wake up again. Had a last breakfast together, settled accounts and talked about lessons learnt from this trip and locked the house and returned the keys. We then went out on yet another hiking trail and finally separated at around 2 PM. One memorable trip came to an end. The whole family had fun. Looking forward to many more. Luckily with the age of digital cameras, its not hard to share pictures. Ultimately, its these pictures that keep the memories alive! Friends, I will be missing for sometime from this space as Shekar's sister, who lives in Australia, is visiting us for a week starting tomorrow. I hope to spend some quality time with her. I promise, I will write about it soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekend get away with close friends (Friday)

Oh, my favorite readers. I missed you too! Thanks to Prince Harry, strip billiards and LasVegas has now become very popular. People, he is only 27 years old. He is allowed to live a little. He is going to be so old by the time he gets a chance to become king. So let him be. Today was a good day for me my dear friends. My very best friend Anu, so lovingly and thoughtfully saved a piece of mango mousse cake (see below) that she had baked over the weekend. Now, I feel so blessed that I have at least one dear friend.
Talking of friends, we were away for the weekend having loads of fun with 5 families that we have now known for more than 10 years. This was our first outing with them in so many years. Slowly getting to know them too! It's so important to connect with people, as we are getting older. Need the social structure in place for future, mutual, dependence when kids are away in college. Anyway, we went to a place called Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County Maryland. With 65 miles of shoreline, Deep Creek Lake  is Maryland’s largest freshwater lake. This four-season resort area has abundance of activities to offer like fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, biking, Skiing, whitewater kayaking, camping, golfing, or simply curling up by the fire. It took us about 3.5 hrs. to reach our destination. Shekar drove us. The drive was pleasant as it was the evening time. 3 hours into the journey and the kids were screaming that they were hungry. At this time, I heard my cell phone ring. It was my friend who called to say that they key for the house that we had rented for all of us to stay over the weekend, was in a secret hiding place. Oh, how exciting. All of us in the car could feel a sudden adrenalin rush. The adventure had already started! In 10 minutes we heard from another family who was having dinner and wanted us to join them. Unfortunately, the kids were so hungry that we decided to stop at the first restaurant that we came across This was a typical American Barbeque joint called Archie's Barbeque. It reminded me of the recent dhaba experience I had in India. (See below)

The kids were overjoyed to eat the pulled chicken sandwiches and corn bread. I ate it just to fill my stomach. Did not relish it at all. However, unlike other times when the food was bad, this time, I was not disappointed at all, as I knew we were heading towards FUNVILLE. Finally, the GPS in the car said "you have arrived at your destination". Our joy knew no bounds as we pulled into the long driveway which led to 2 parking garages and the main entrance to the gorgeous house. Stay tuned for  pics. of the house and the exciting Day 2 (Saturday) in FUNVILLE. Alright my dear friends leaving you with the song of the day dedicated to ALL of you, from the movie Namak Haram. Beautiful Lyrics. I am sure all of you will agree.

Shub Ratri.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Facebook or Fakebook?

Hello dear readers! Just noticed that the count on this page is a few numbers shy of 5000. Please help me reach that magic number soon! Today was a constructive day for me. Rohit lost a tooth today. He was so proud of it. He did not want to throw the tooth away. I told him if he throws it on the roof of the house and makes a wish, it will come true. So, he did just that and we got rid of the tooth. he he . The things kids believe in!  Do you believe in the power of a seat? I always sit on my couch in my formal living room to blog and I feel my thoughts flow freely comes and I write very easily from this seat. I tried blogging from some other areas in the house, without any success. I had taken Sanil to the dermatologist early this morning. Teenage acne problems you know. It's amazing how these doctors have their own schedule and we poor patients have to simply agree to an appointment, even if it does not agree with our schedules. Such is the dramatics of power! Anyway, Song of the day is from the movie Yamla Pagla Deewana.

Love the tune of this song. It's so soothing. Do listen to it when you get a moment.

Well, somewhere inside me is a hidden desire to be an actress. I have grown up standing in front of the mirror pretending to be an actress and a singer. I remember acting as Cinderella as a school girl. Slowly the interest shifted to Bollywood and I started following Madhuri Dixit and her acting. I used to enact MD's character "Mohini" from the movie, Tezaab quite a lot. Anu and I have performed at various events in the past few years. Over the weekend, we were practicing a skit that was written and directed by Anu.  We decided to make a video of it. Please watch it and share your valuable opinion of it. We would really appreciate that. We actually shot it scene by scene. Sanil then edited it to make it into a continuous movie with credits and so on. Anu, played various characters in this video. This skit is about Facebook. It was Anu's idea to call it "Fakebook".  We all know, that people do not act normal on Facebook. No one wants to displease anybody. We thought of bringing this to surface via comedy. So far, it has been well accepted by our "small" audience. Folks, we have also started a page called "Faltu productions" on Facebook,  on which we update on our "Faltu" time :-). If you are interested in following us on Facebook, please like that page. Anu, is maintaining that page and will post the latest and greatest about us there. By gods grace and your support, my dear friend Anu's talent will reach great heights one day and Faltu Productions will be in par with Yash Raj and Rajshree productions soon! I believe in  this quote - Smile often, dream big, and laugh a lot. It will help you realize how blessed you are with what you have. Here is wishing "us" good luck.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Importance of a routine

Eid Mubarak, my dear readers! The past week was one of the best "friends" week ever in the history of fun with friends for me. Shekar was in India visiting his parents (He is back now). So, made the best use of that time with my "close" friends. The quotation for the word close is on purpose. Just realised that there is a fine line in every relationship that cannot be crossed. Anyway, I always had a dream of trying some "wild" things in life. I think the sleepover with the girls made this dream come true. Not going to spell it out for all of you. I am sure you all are smart enough to figure it out.  I know there is an appropriate time and age for everything. All I can say is better late than never. My friend was here from Sat-Wed. We slept for only 2 hrs per night on all those days. By the time she left, I was so deprived of sleep, that my boring routine seemed so inviting.
Ok, while India is celebrating Eid, Salman Kahn is celebrating the success of his Ek Tha Tiger all the way to the bank. Really people? One can get fooled twice, thrice but after that it HAS to be Sallu Bhai. I am convinced now, Salman Khan = God for the masses. He can remove his shirt, flex his muscles and audience goes fida. On the other hand, Ash , is also comfortably socializing these days. Saw pictures of her at the book launch of 'India Fantastique'. Ye chaddar pehen ke aagayi auntyji. My eyes hurt. Hope Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla paid her to wear that piece of garbage! It looked like fruits and vegetables in fluorescent colors. So different from Kalyan jwellers ad, this proves one thing everything in Bollywood is photo shopped. Decide for yourself.
Alright folks, today's Song of the day is MashAllah, MashAlla from the movie 'Ek Tha Tiger'. This middle eastern tune was sung by Wajid Khan and Yes, Shreya Ghoshal, once again proving that she is a versatile singer.

Routine is important for both parent and child. It can help establish good habits, healthy living, and, which sometimes can seem like the most important thing.  As adults, we have the advantage of controlling many aspects of our lives. Often we are able to arrange things (work schedules, child care, friendships, appointments, etc.) to enhance convenience and reduce hassle, making life just a little bit easier and probably a bit more enjoyable.  How would you feel if you had no idea what to expect in your day?  What if you didn’t know why you were leaving the house, where someone was driving you, when you were going to eat next, where you could go to use the bathroom, or when you were going to get back home again? Routines and schedules help kids make sense of their day--morning, noon, and night--and know what to expect. This reduces anxiety and apprehension, and allows for more time for kids to enjoy and learn from their surroundings instead of stressing out about them. Chaos doesn’t need to rule the roost and routines don’t have to be bland to make daily life. Once in a way, a break in routine is enjoyable, a little healthy too. But getting back on track quickly helps lead a less confused life. The past few days confirmed this for me.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

"Galis" (alleys) of India

Hello friends! I bring good news. I am well on my way to recovery today. Oh, it feels so good to be up and about. I feel so energetic today, that I changed linens of all beds in the house. Plan to have the house "squeaky" clean by Friday. If you are reading, this, I would like you stop everything for at least 15 secs and pray for those seven people who lost their lives in the Gurudwara shooting incident in Milwaukee. May their innocent souls rest in peace. On a positive note, if you have not noticed the Google logo recently, you should check it out. The logos are tuned toward the Olympics. Its actually little games that you can play. Congratulations to Mary Kom on winning the bronze. What a fight! This is India's fourth medal at the London Games, making it the highest ever medal haul for the nation. She became the first Indian women boxer to claim an Olympic medal. What is amazing is that she is a mother of two. This shows her determination. Go Mary! More power to mothers and women. In a country where women are still not free to do what they please, this comes as a motivator for many young women who have the talent. As if the Mangalore incident, where girls where stoned by the "Hindu Taliban group" for attending a party with men, was not enough, now posters put by an outfit in the Jharkhand capital have threatened acid attacks on girls and women who wear jeans or do not wear a dupatta. *sigh*. Somebody stop this madness. Ok, switching gears to Song of the day from the movie Ek dujhe ke liye:
solah baras ki baali umar ko salaam
pyaar teri pahali nazar ko salaam  

jis me javaan ho kar, badanaam ham hue
us shahar, us gali, us ghar ko salaam
jisane hame milaaye, jisane judaa kiyaa
us vaqt, us ghadi, us pahar ko salaam


As I was humming the highlighted lines of  the song, I realised how much the "galis" of India have contributed to my childhood.

Gali near Krishna Temple in Udupi, Karnataka

Gali leading to the Golden temple in Amritsar, Punjab
A typical Gali in India selling clothes

From the pictures above, it is evident that the life in India happens on the galis or the narrow streets of India, so much so, that they have named the streets after food and art form of India. For example in Delhi they have a street by the name of  "parante waali gali", in Hyderabad they have a street by the name of "nautanki gali" etc. Often, a rumor starts on the galis and spreads through the town like wild fire. As you navigate the narrow alleys of India, you can't help but notice small children playing unusual games with things they find on the streets like stones, leaves, bottles etc. An amazing sense of calmness prevails on their faces. Scrawny rickshaw wallas pedalling away some tourists, amidst pushy vendors selling food, clothing etc., to earn their daily wages is a heart touching sight on the galis. Romancing couples, struggling to find a private moment, brings a smile to your face. Watching beggars begging for money at every corner of a gali makes anyone want to eradicate poverty altogether from our otherwise fun streets. Every day, rain, shine or fog, such is the scene of the galis of India. I have my own memories of the galis of Manipal. You bet, I know every one of them. My friends and I would cycle through all of them, every evening, ringing the bells as we came across a familiar face, acknowledging their presence. Every gali had a different smell, story and feel to it. We had our own "code" names for the galis. One of them was the "Katte gali". This gali had a seat (katte) on which my friends and I assembled every evening to spend 2 hours doing nothing but chatting away. Oh what fun! On one such evening, a Cobra decided to visit us. I was the last one to know about this not so kind visitor. I barely missed getting bit. I shudder every time I think about this. What if?  And then there was the high school gali, the hospital gali (spent some nervous times here), the temple gali in Udupi, etc. Its always fun to visit these galis when in India. My favorite part of the trip! These galis make a Nukkad (corner). I remember the popular TV series called Nukkad from the eighties. It captured some realistic moments. Alright folks. Good night. I am sure I will dream of "Maya gali" tonight. Lol! 

Sunday, August 05, 2012

"boy" friends

Hi All. Happy friendship day. Actually, I was in bed all day today. Running a temperature. When I woke up, this morning, I had a soar throat, I thought it would go away with some gargling. However, it got worse as the day progressed. Now, I have a severe cold and headache. I tried to sleep, but couldn't fall asleep. Was very restless in bed, so woke up to wish all of you a happy friendship day. The fun this weekend started on Friday evening. Attended a graduation party of our friend's son, who is leaving for college soon. Awesome, one of a kind party it was. What made this party unique was the entertainment. The games were carefully chosen, with students in mind and for the adults they  had Spanish dancers perform. They involved the audience, by asking us to scream "ole" at the end of every dance. But the icing on the cake for me, was when I met a friend who went to college with me in Manipal. We were meeting after 21 years. It turns out she lives so very close to me. Good to know. It was nice catching up. What a nice friendship day it was! Sat. went to a friend's house for dinner. Had a "mehefil" after dinner. I was introduced to this movie "Mugal-e-asam" for which music was the soul of the film. One song caught my attention, which is today's Song of the day:
"Mughal-e-Azam” reminds us why we still have the song-and-dance formula in Hindi films. The music and poetry can add so many depths to a legendary romance and make many people want to revisit that film again and again. No wonder then that this film is now accepted as the definitive version of the Salim-Anarkali story. __________________________________________________________________
However much, its far from the truth, I prefer to have somefriends who are boys. Girls are often socialized to be far more competitive with each other than boys are, and in different ways.  Men are better because they are "less catty" or "more low maintenance".  Although, there is effort in the relationship, its realtively easy, when compared with women. For example, men don't care if you fall through on your plans. I don't want to have to deal with a girfriend's emotional problems. Deep emotional ties are okay but they're not getting anything done. Men are less prone to mood swings. Men are better at taking things at face value and not keeping grudges. My compatibility with women is less, as compared to men. Maybe because, I have all the "high maintenance" qualities that women carry.  he, he. That being said, only girls can completely understand girls. So, I do maintain my realtions with women too. Do need them to vent away. At the end of the day, god made two different genders for a reason. We need both of these to survive. Wonder if there would have been a third gender, what would that be? Transgender? I am glad that society is more willing to accept these people these days. "All" people make this world. Cheers to life! Can't say this enough.