Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Party pressure

I wonder where and how it all started in india. The question - "What are you doing at 12 on 31st night? " I wonder when our obsession with this began. I see folks spending so much money to bring in a new year. I realized a few years back that I want to bring in the new year at the place I love the most - our lovely house. I've got an interesting menu planned and folks coming over. I hope the next year is as awesome as this one and I don't fall for peer pressure and do anything silly this year too.

Belur - another picture story

Belur is on the Bangalore to Mangalore route. The Channakesava temple is a wonder set in stone and the place is so beautiful to behold. I'm so proud of my heritage when I see the place. Its a charming example of Hoysala architecture and the place is very well maintained.
One of the smaller towers

Yali at the entrance

The roof

Ravana

Narasimha killing hiranyakasipu

Reliving the wizardy

I found two Wizard of oz books the first and the second in bookworm off brigade road. I was so delighted and I've started reading the series. I finished two and ordered ozma of oz as an eBook. Its so wonderful. Even years, rather decades after release these books are so magical. The story is timeless. I pray that I'd be able to create a marvel like this someday. Timeless and entertaining and enriching.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tanjore - a picture story


The big temple tower

I think the nandis smiling

Painting in Tanjore palace

Devi on the wall. Look at the detail!

Doggy love

I'm so glad to be at home with the devils. They've become such a pair. I'm scared of bragging too much lest something happens to them. But I can't resist posting these two pics.
The angels and the guards. I've got both of them. :)

The malur road

We drive from bangalore to Madurai with the dogs. We've recently found a slightly different route for coming back that doesn't touch hosur. Anyone whose driven that way knows how bad the traffic in the hosur road can get especially with trucks trying to murder you for no fault of yours. Anyway, we trusted maps the last couple of times and took a diversion near shoolagiri. The roads are empty and narrow. They are very scenic though and you get to watch tiny villages go by. Laika loves looking out and watching the dogs in the road. I wonder if she finds them interesting or if she is dismissive of them. Zoya is too tired to watch and she is dead to the world.

The malur road has no lights. I feel safe there because we have these two along. I doubt I'll be so calm else. I wonder how people in that area live. How are they ok getting by without electricity? If the world goes to the dogs and there is no petrol and electricity I think those guys will be able to get by happily while I won't be. It's a road which makes me ponder and laugh when I cross places like a.chettypalli, masti etc. I am glad I have a life which let's me explore, which gives me a chance to drive through unknown roads towards a beautiful destination which I never tire of coming back to because home is where my heart definitely is.

Srivilliputhur - the female poet honoured

Srivilliputhur is a town located 1.5 hours away from Madurai by car. The gopuram of the temple is Tamil Nadu governments symbol. It's 192 feet tall and is a breathtaking to behold. The temple is more than a thousand years old. The inner sanctum has Andal leaning on Rangamannan's shoulder.

To those unfamiliar, the story goes like this. Periyalwar was a tamil saint. He attended to the temple and one day in the temple garden he found a beautiful baby girl. Childless himself he brought her up. Andal was in love with lord Vishnu and would wear the garland she made for him everyday before it was taken for The Lord. She composed the tirupaavai and was happy to be in love until her father found out one day. He found a match for her to marry her off but before the wedding, Andal becomes one with The Lord. Till date you can see the well where Andal saw her reflection in the water when she wore the mala and also the garden where she was found.

Periyalwars descendants are still around and you can visit the house where Andal was brought up. I am not sure how accurate that is but I am so happy that there a a temple dedicated to a poetess. Anyone who has heard thiruppavai knows how lyrical and beautiful the verse is. The the temple is calm and not commercial. Right outside you find shops selling the palgova. The palgova is awesome and I ate quite a lot of it. In the main market there is a tiny eatery called kathiravan. Their chutneys and dosa is so tasty.

Tanjore - the shadow that never falls

Our first stop from Madurai in our long road trip was Tanjore. I've been meaning to go to the Brihadeeshwara temple with Sachin for the longest time and I am glad I did. The drive from Madurai to Tanjore was awesome. The toll road was pretty good and we could easily touch 100. The road until tricky was great and once we crossed trichy, the roads were as good as before. We passed by NIT and Sastra and realised that the road had a lot of colleges.

We headed to the saraswati mahal library first as they would close it by 12. The library is the private collection of King.Sarabhoji. He was a Maratha king who ruled over Tanjore. His family still lives in the city. His collection was mind blowing. He had books of all languages and the few dictionaries displayed looked so interesting. I want to just go there sit and read all my life. The biology books there are so beautifully illustrated. There are paintings of Chinese punishment methods, Gods, landscape of cities like chennai, Varanasi, London etc. The library is a book lovers paradise. I write about it and all the books there seem to be calling out for me. Living there and reading the books has become part of my to do list now.

From the library we headed over to the temple. The periya kovil as it is fondly called. The size of the temple makes you to stop in your tracks. The number of people there also catches your attention. The funny part is the place is so huge that even despite the hundreds of devotees you find it empty. The sanctum sanctorum was closed when we went and we spent an hour outside observing the temple and trying to make sense of some of the stories. The dues that people owe the temple are carved along the wall of the temple. I saluted Raja Raja Cholan for his perseverance and devotion in building this work of art.

It is told that the shadow of the gopuram never touches the ground. I am not sure as to how correct that is but when we were there we did not see the gopuram's shadow.

The huge Nandi outside is a monolithic and carved so beautifully. I just close my eyes now and the whole temple comes right in front of me and I feel so humbled by the devotion of people a thousand years ago. A must visit place if you love indian architecture and want to learn more about our history.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

DOAWK - The long haul

I loved the first book in the Diary of a Wimpy kid when I read it ages ago. I did like the rest of the books but felt nothing measured up to the first. Or so I thought until I got this book delivered from Amazon yesterday. I finished it in one sitting and kept laughing through most of the reading ( I usually dont laugh out loud when I read so it is a big deal to me. :) )

The plot is straightforward. The Heffley family leave on a surprise road trip, with a boat tied on to the back of their car. They stay in motels where children play with carts in the middle of the night, where a pool is just a hole in the ground and they go to a farm fair and win a pet piglet as a prize. Greg puts up a stoic face and narrates the story so beautifully. You cannot help relating to the family. Be it the father who drops his work to go on the trip or the mother who wants to visit all the places and do things listed in a magazine, or the extremely lazy Rodrick, or the annoying Manny - all of the characters can be connected with. Greg is of course my favorite and the reason I continue reading all the Wimpy kid books.

The book reminds you of some incident from your childhood that you thought you had forgotten. Something that was so irritating at that point but is so funny now. Or something that was so lovely then, that you smile thinking about it even now. It is such a well written and well thought out book. I loved the illustrations and I am going to begin the next year by rereading all books in the Diary of a wimpy kid in one sitting. That, should be fun.

Vacation Diaries

I have officially begun my holiday and the last two days have been hectic but rewarding. I finally managed to change the address in banks I havent visited in ages and I have managed to clean at least part of my wardrobe. Dirty laundry has a life of its own and when left alone even for a few days grows very very big. Thank god for washing machines. :)

I was doing a lot of domestic things but I really am relaxed and happy now. The breathing exercises could be contributing as well. I truly think my living in the moment, only focusing on whats happening and not worrying about what my life is going to look like, is really  helping me relax. I have to figure out a way to plan and still relax and once I figure that out, I am going to be in this state even when I am working and when i have a pretty packed day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The big picture

I have been trying to look at the big picture. Try and not be bogged down by minor set backs and spoil my whole hour or day or week because of one or two things and forget all the other things that i do have and am truly blessed with. It has been a very rewarding experience. I am looking at pictures of vacations taken, pictures of the two jokers or even my house and just thanking God for everything.

With terrorists around the world killing children and burning teachers, with people sleeping in the roads covered with newspapers, i am lucky to not have faced such violence or poverty yet. I am lucky to have a family. I am lucky to be alive with all my organs in tact. I am lucky to love my job and what I do most of every day.

Whether I see it that way or not, in this world and age, I am blessed. I have to accept that bigger picture first and see my blessings. I am always going to be unhappy if i cannot figure out a way to be happy with what I have. I was earlier conflicted if satisfaction would lead to stagnation. But now, I have come up with a new theory which I will stand behind until I can disprove it.

I am thinking that the need to evolve need not come from just dissatisfaction. In fact I think true growth can only come in when there is happiness and satisfaction and the acceptance that one is capable of much more and will achieve the seemingly impossible. Living in the now and planning for a later can also work. Let me see..

Mistakes

Today, I made a mistake at work. Thankfully I found it before it was too late and corrected it. Those few minutes after I found the error, I felt like such a big idiot and I couldn't forgive myself. Though I'd spotted the error myself, and found a way to correct it, the fact that I had done something like this was unacceptable to me. I'm still disturbed about it. After correcting it I realised how stressful it must be to be a doctor or be in the army. Just a tiny imprecision can cost someone their life. I really don't know how they go through with it everyday.

I whisper a silent prayer and hope that I don't become the victim of an error which will be dusted away as a statistical anamoly.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Euphoria

My company has a very nice employee recognition program. You are given points for some of the good work you do by your managers/seniors and you can use those points to get something in an online portal. I was saving up my points for quite sometime as i thought i would go and buy a lot of things from shoppers stop. However, as i was decluttering my house last week(seperate post on it soon), I realised, I did not need any more clothes. So i decided to order gift vouchers from Amazon.

I spent a considerable time adding the unwritten series of books and I ordered it just now. I am so euphoric. I am not going to get them until late next month because these books ship from the US, but I am getting some of them in a couple of days. I am so happy. I am waiting to reread the series and relive the moments with Tommy and his friends. :)

I continue to love my job more everyday!!!

Mainland China - an expensive but satisfactory affair

I seem to be on an eating out spree the last few weeks. On Sunday, I was lucky enough to land in Mainland China in Kundanahalli for a lunch treat. We opted for the buffet.

Service : The first thing that struck me about the place was the courteous service. The waiters and the manager were patient and remembered the one vegetarian in a table of non-vegetarians and only got me the veg stuff. Usually, I am faced with some joker or the other asking me if i want chicken. They also remembered to fill my glass with hot water as i had requested.

Food : Starters were good. I loved the potato and the mixed veg, but i did not like the vegetable wanton too much. It was actually pretty ok. It had a different smell to it. The complimentary lime soda was a little syrupy and did not taste fresh. The main course was decent and I enjoyed the noodles and okra a lot. Unfortunately, the desserts were almost over when I went for them. The coconut wanton has to be savored and I consoled myself for missing a few pastries by making myself a mixed ice cream sundae.

Price : It is expensive if i compare to a place like Chung Wah, but given the quantity we ate, if you are really hungry, you can make up for the price you pay.

Ambience : The chinese soldiers stationed at the entry stole my heart yet again. There was some unobtrusive music in the background and it was pleasant when there was a lull in the conversation.

Relativity

When I was in school, I remember a lesson on Albert Einstein.He explains relativity as something like this - "When you spend an hour with a pretty girl, it seems like a minute but if you keep your hand on a hot stove for even a minute it seems like eternity"

Now, if Einstein could come for a drive in the car with me, he is going to rephrase his theory. Something that even a 4 year old will understand - "When you are going at 100kmph in a empty highway, you feel like you are driving slowly but even if you go at 20kmph in a crowded road, it feels like you are speeding"

Being stuck for hours in bumper to bumper traffic in Old Madras Road has made me all the more philosophical. To top it, my inability to murder all the jokers in two wheelers, has brought out the zen in me.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The joy of giving

This, if all the tv serials I watch in Star World are to be believed, is the season of joy and giving. I looked forward to December as a kid as I had Half Yearly vacation and as i grew up, we used to go to these new year parties and stay up all night. That, is another story for another day.

I have recently found out this joy of giving. Again, many thanks to my awesome twosome. Seeing them everyday, makes me empathize much more with the plight of other animals especially dogs, especially stray puppies who do  not have a house despite deserving one. I have started sponsoring a couple of dogs in an NGO.

This NGO called Precious Paws takes care of puppies and dogs which have been abandoned or which would have had to live in the streets otherwise. Remember our adventures with the 5 puppies? We had dropped them off in Precious Paws and if the recent pictures are to be believed, they are doing well.

I am hoping I dont forget to renew the transfer like how i did the last time around when I sponsored a very pretty indian dog for 6 months. Do your bit and make this world a better place - right? It takes just a little from everyone after all.

My first love

So, it is vacation time for me. I have taken a really long time off from work as I have been wanting to for a long time. 19 days is a very long time. Of those, I will be spending 9.5-10 travelling and the rest at home. As i was thinking about it today evening, I was so excited and I decided to get back in touch with my first true love.

I browsed through Amazon and loaded up my cart with a lot of graphic novels and other books on discount. I still havent bought it yet as i am waiting for a gift voucher. I love reading and I am going to go to Bookworm in M.G. road under the pretext of accidentally visiting it while going to the bank and buy loads of books and come back. I really havent read a lot over the past few weeks and it is high time I make up for it. I hope i finish all the books in the Visionaries and Bravehearts set. Since I am not tracking it in good reads, the 70 odd books I read already does not count. :)

I am so looking forward to the peace and quiet. Maybe, I will finish the romcom I am writing with my dear husband.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What you wear

When I was a kid, I used to like dressing up once in a while. But as I grew up, I lost interest. I was never a sucker for fashion and I just let dressing up go. However, recently, I have started loving wearing sarees. Now dont imagine me wearing one everyday or even once a week. After wearing them once a year, I am now ok wearing them once a month or even shorter intervals if there are weddings to attend. When I wore a saree to office today, I realised how strange it is for people in India to actually see someone come to an office in a saree. Isnt that funny?

When I was in school, seeing my french teacher come to school in a chudidhar was revolutionary. Now, I see teachers who go to a nearby school in kurtas and on some occasions even jeans and t shirts. I see how much the clothing has evolved in metros. I wonder if it is going to be this way in Chennai or if that city has managed to retain its connection to south indias favorite garment.

I am not the most traditional person around, but I really feel that once in a while, wearing a saree to work shouldnt be a big deal. I realise that a saree flatters one much better than a skirt or a jean. It is meant to flatter our curves and in the AC that all offices have, it is not uncomfortable at all.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Feeling safe

We went to Kerala again for the weekend. Last time, when we got back, we travelled in the sleeper coach and I had a tough time sleeping. In trains, I seldom feel secure and I am so scared of falling asleep. I guess, news of all incidents of rape also contribute to the fear over and above my fear of losing my luggage. This time, we had booked in 3rd AC and the ticket was confirmed. I was so happy with my luck at first and then worried as i was in the upper berth and I wondered how i would keep an eye on my luggage which had my favorite silk saree. To top it, my husband is in a different compartment.

I enter the the coach and a very friendly TT tells me we should be able to move my husband to this compartment. A nice co-passenger agrees to shift and a family of three get into the compartment. I was so relieved to see the husband, wife and their daughter. I did not even say hi or speak to them, but traveling in the train with them, i felt safe. I read for a couple of hours and slept like a baby. Feeling safe, they say is in the mind, but i wonder if a time will ever come when i can close my eyes in a public transport without thinking twice.

Monday, December 08, 2014

As good as it gets

After a period of dissatisfaction I have realised that the best way to go ahead in life is to assume that this is as good as it gets and look at the nicer side of every single thing, every single day.  Considering how blessed a person with electricity and the ability to blog is in a country where a tube light is still an object of wonder in a lot of places, I am sure I will get enough to be thankful for.

Then, I can still keep watching and looking for things which can help my life become better. I am not going to stop trying to be better or lead a healthier, happier life. But I am going to stop looking at whats wrong. If there is some truth to the observation that it takes 3 goods to neutralise a bad, then I am in deep trouble as I see more bad on some days than good. The negative energy will kill me. So, I am going to go for the positive. I have been trying and it has worked well for the last few days. I can safely say, that if this is as good as it gets, then it is pretty awesome.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Small pleasures

After lunch today, I went to a shop nearby with my friend. They sell these imli candies for Rs.1 each. I love those and yet again, i got a few and sucked on them as I came back to the office.

I felt so happy and I was reminded of a lot of eatables that have given me joy while growing up. I remember the yummy's my sister used to get it from a shop nearby, the thinly sliced mangoes with chilli and salt, the hot corn cobs boiled with very little lime smeared, boiled groundnuts whose shells i removed and then ate peacefully. All these are just a tip of the iceberg and I am already feeling hungry again. (For some groundnuts actually)

These are actually really small things I used to look forward to at some point of time or the other. I am thankful for these small pleasures and am so glad they make my life better one small bite at a time.

Alive and thankful

After a few days of being sick, I finally feel so much better today. I am so thankful to be alive and I really think I am going to spend more time appreciating my faculties. My throat is so important in talking, eating, etc. etc. and I havent even realised it as much as i did those four days when i couldnt speak. Thank God for recovery.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The return of the cough

So, I thought I had recovered yesterday. Even went to a shop to buy cycling gear  I was planning on using today. All to no avail. I am back in the bead coughing my head away and wondering who I displeased and how despite taking all tablets like an angel this throat pain has not gone away. What do I do now?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fears

Were all governed by multiple fears. Over the past few months, one has given me a few sleepless nights. Today, I feel it was unfounded. As I was driving back home alone in traffic I realised that by simulating scenarios I've forgotten quite often to enjoy and appreciate the present. I've made myself feel older and tired for no end I can see. I'm going to let go of my fears and live in the moment. It's far more enjoyable. And stress free.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Silences

So, I haven't been able to speak since today morning. I can but not without major difficulty. Since I haven't eaten much since yesterday, I am also pretty weak. I have been extraordinarily silent and just spoke to a customer care executive about an order I was placing online.

I am enjoying this silence. I am not at all used to it and I am still using google chat/ communicator to communicate but I am wondering if I should just stop talking completely. It takes off so much of stress and makes me feel at peace with myself.

Companionship

I've been unwell from Sunday. On Monday night, I woke up in the middle as i was feeling extraordinarily cold and was shivering. I sat up and noticed that Laika was standing and watching me. She was fast asleep when I had gone to bed and she must have woken up sensing that I was awake. I went and sat down next to her and Zoya.

They snuggled up to me and I felt better. They walked down with me as I went to grab a glass of hot water and stayed by my side of the bed until I went to sleep. It is so amazing to have two lovely creatures who without speaking a word make you feel way better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monkey menace

We have a banana tree in the backyard and there are a lot of free willed monkeys in the area I live. So, you must realise how popular we are and how many visitors are dying for our attention. Today, my dear husband decided to chase a couple of monkeys away.

We have an open kitchen and these crazy dogs are not allowed into it. They never try to come in either. However, when Sachin was busy chasing monkeys today, he did not notice one that was behind him and was about to jump on him. The two warriors ran to his rescue and chased all the monkeys away. While Laika came back after the monkeys vacated our house, Zoya decided that until the monkeys had been kicked out of the entire row, her job was not done and she jumped through this railing and continued chasing the monkeys (yes, right through it) :



I feel she has a future in a circus or as a show dog. Any thoughts?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Excitement

Sometimes in life, you think you do not want something. One day, you realise that you almost have it. Then you actually have it. Finally, you are on top of the world. For a day, a week, maybe even a month. Then you start the chase again.

What is the point of it all? I am not saying ambition is bad. But I am wondering as to when the race would stop. When the adrenaline will cease to be the important and when a sense of calm will prevail. I am going to reconsider some priorities because finally i feel that the chase, the thrill is just too monotonous for me.

Back to Nature

My dear brother in law took us to an awesome farm for his birthday. He wants to propogate the organic way of life and he took us to this amazing farm (part of green path) to show us how easy it is to live in harmony with Nature.

I walked amid huge trees, saw a tiny water body in the middle of the farm and had fun eating healthy traditional Kannadiga food. Just thinking about the food makes me hungry. I am wondering about the whole point of this rat race I have become a part of. I want to let go of it all and go and live somewhere far away from all forms of electronics for a long long time. Someday, I am sure I will realise that dream. Until then, I am going to try and grow my own vegetables.

If the owner of the farm is to be believed, in 3-4 months, any family can become completely self sustainable in terms of vegetables they need. I am not sure if i will be, but i want to give it a try.

Mahabalipuram - a symphony in stone

We managed to sneak a trip to Mahabalipuram last week. It was so beautiful. I have gone there as a child but the memories of the place arent as fresh as the memories of the trip and the company. It was amazing going around with Sachin and seeing the sights and souds. A few pictures:

The Kovalam beach in Mahabalipuram. Beaches make my heart miss a beat.

One of the five rathas. The rathas are named after the Pandavas and Draupadi. Nakula and Sahadeva got just one. This picture is of Arjuna's ratha. They are all monoliths and they are so majestic. I spent some 30 minutes in the place just breathing the beauty in. Most of the other ratha pictures have us somewhere in the background, so I am not putting it up here. :)

Descent of the ganges(one part of it). If you look closely, you will see Ganges descending on Bhagirathas head. This carving is also supposed to represent Arjuna's tapasya to get Shivas bow. But I never could figure out where Arjuna was and since i love the Bharagiratha story, this to me becomes the descent of the ganges


Since I am sending this from my email, I am not going to risk sending more pictures. But I am so proud of what I saw and felt there.

I am going to research more about Tamil architecture and feel proud of my heritage and try to preserve it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Travel

For the rest of this year, I have a lot of travel lined up. I am heading to an engagement in Chennai, then perhaps going to Mahabalipuram, Mallappuram for a wedding, Madurai, Tanjore, Kanyakumari on a road trip, hopefully Kabini for a couple of days and we start the next year with Badami and Aihole.

I am really looking forward to the travel as we decided to travel locally rather than go abroad. I want to experience different types of things - architecture, temples, beaches, wildlife etc.

I hope it works out and I can have a long and happy vacation. :)

The best laid plans

I thought I had my life all mapped out. Relatively at least. But the last few days make me wonder if a human being can even plan. I mean, the contingencies in life are so many and however detailed you think your plan is, something as minor as somebody changing their mind can change your life. :)

But anyway, that being said, I am wondering if i should be a little more flexible leading me to see a lot more possibilities or if i should be rigid about a few things and seeing only those that matter there. I really do not know. If anything I am getting to know for sure how exciting life can really be and how many opportunities abound in the world. How many things are there waiting for you to greet them and hold them and how all it needs to see it is to lift ones head from a computer screen.

Admission Criteria

When we take these guys for a walk, we often meet some dog lovers. We have found a 1.5 yr old now who is super active and loving. Her older sister is maybe around 4 and she is a little scared of these two. I chat up with her mom frequently and we discuss a variety of topics.  Today, for the first time, I asked where the kid went to school. She was in primary and went to a famous school near by.

The mom then told me about a few admission horror stories. My favorite one was about this ridiculous rule in a school which makes me want to slap a law suit on them. The teacher initially refused the application form because the kid was born in November. Then since the mother insisted, she told her that the other criteria of the school are even stricter. The mother of the kid has to be a housewife and the father should earn more than 2 L per month. Pay slips have to be provided. A working mother is acceptable only if she is a doctor or is in a flexible role that allows her either social standing or proven responsibility.

I find the rule to be super sexist. What if the mother wants to work and the dad doesnt? How can they dictate the salary levels? And seriously I cant get over this - how can they subscribe the need for a housewife? I have nothing against house wives. I can really see the need for them in a lot of cases when there is no social support to bring up a kid. But this rule is insulting in two ways:

1. It assumes a working mother cant take care of her child
2. It assumes only a male is a provider and he cannot be a caregiver.

Another interesting rule, they refuse applications from children of people who work in the press. This is a very famous school in Bangalore. I wonder what i should do about this. :|

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Closer and sadder

We went to bannerghatta zoo today. We were not able to do the safari as we reached late but I got to look at most animals. I loved the wolves as they reminded me so much of laika.

While we were closer to the animal kingdom and I got to see so many animals I was also sad as a lot of birds were caged and so many animals were in enclosures while they should be free in the wild.

But considering that were trying to catch a cobra that's near my house right now I'm wondering of well be able to adapt if we have to live closer to animals.
The pics are of the caged and the free snake.

Following the heart

Everyone melts invariably when they hear about somebody following their heart. Even the most cynical person at some corner of their heart appreciates it. But I often wonder as to how do you know what the heart wants. And frankly when reason collides with passion I'm confused. I doubt the passion and then I feel that I'm not passionate enough. I forget about it for a few days and then the battle begins again. Why can't reason and passion meet midway?

Friday, November 14, 2014

The virtual word

Today, I ordered groceries online - again. This month, i have ordered it thrice. I had ordered the monthly essentials online and it was so easy to pick items and wait for it at home rather than in the store. I was doubtful about the quality of items but thankfully it was pretty good and I was relieved. I continued ordered even weekly stuff online and if the quality remains so, I think Zopnow has a convert. I would rather shop online and spend the time I would have at a grocery store (travelling, picking things, waiting in the queue and finally buying and driving back) on other things.

My only issue is that sometimes, items i want are not available and we do not get it. Since I am not a very particular house keeper, I think it is ok for now. How things change in the future is still up for discussion.

Another interesting thing I noticed just today, these guys have dog food as well. They dont have the brand i prefer but I am sure with time they would But the thing is, i love taking them to the pet shop as the owner is extremely sweet. They are also given a bath and i stock up for a month. I wonder if someday, the virtual world will replace that. I really doubt it, as I love the attention these guys get there.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The lookouts

As a friend drove past our house the two devils stood and watched him pass by and then waited until he entered the house before becoming four legged again! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sunday, November 09, 2014

A time to feast

I am a big foodie. I worship food and there was once a time when I went to a restaurant every weekend. Rather every day of the weekend. I still eat out a lot. But not as much as i used to. I have actually lost all interest as the quality of food has become so pathetic in most places I eat and I just dont feel like eating there. I wonder how the restaurants ever sleep easy. Considering the many stomachs they ruin every single day and some lives they perhaps cut short in the name of profit. I guess there are a lot of businesses that do run like this.

Bangalore which I used to adore for its variety has become a place I no longer trust. I wonder why things have to change so much and so badly. My time to feast outside is over but I do feast at my own house. I cook everyday and on days I dont feel like, I get my maid to make me stuff. This has worked out pretty well for a few weeks now and I love what I am eating. Everyday feels like a feast. I just wish Bangalore goes back to maintaining the quality it did and makes me fall in love with variety again.

Accidents galore

We have converted our car porch from having concrete to having a granite base. It looks lovely. But, Zoya does not think it should smell so too. She ends up peeing there once in a blue moon. Today, was a double bonanza and i had washed it before leaving to the doctors. We came back a few hours later and went in with the monsters to await the gas delivery man.

He did come and i was sitting and watching modern family when there was a loud noise. Sachin called out and i rushed out to see blood in the car porch and the cylinder on the floor. The man had slipped and fallen on the floor. We did not have cotton at home and i rushed to get it from the neighbor. His head wasnt hurt and the bleeding in his leg had stopped so we could bade him goodbye.

Nobody had ever slipped before and we were too shocked for a few minutes to react. I ended up mopping the place and hoping my maid also does that every day.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Thanking him

We are trying to write a book. In an attempt to get back to writing, I wanted to write something semi - autobiographical and so I have been trying to revisit my childhood. I realized how much I had enjoyed the smaller things I had then. A cake, a bhel puri seemed like such a great deal then. A trip to Chennai to spend time with my cousins that happened some 15 years ago, is so fresh in my mind. Then, going to a theatre was a great incident.

I eat out so frequently now. Any cuisine I think of, I can eat it in any kind of setting. I go around all over the country and I stay in the most wonderful of places. I watch movies in my home theatre or at good movie halls. Still, I am not as thankful as i used to be for what i have and what i get.

I wonder why. Where did i lose gratitude along the way? I want to thank him for all that he has given me and I am surprised that spending a few minutes thanking him doesnt happen every day. I am working on making sure I set aside sometime everyday to be thankful for all my blessings.

The games Laika plays

We love our house. It is the perfect refuge from everything and we love spending hours at home. Either in the terrace or lounging in front of the tv - you get the drift. We misplace things but we always end up finding them and we also think, our house is doggie proof. We think we are in control and we know what these guys would destroy and what they wouldnt. We have been convinced that as long as cupboards are locked and doors closed, we are doggie proof.

We went out to play badminton with that assumption one day last week. The court is pretty close to our house and we can always watch the house from the court, just in case some unsuspecting innocent is chased by the goons who live in our house. Usually, Laika howls to her hearts content when we are in the court We used to take the two along and tie them in a house nearby and play. They would play with each other or just watch us. Until we realised a few folks were uncomfortable with having dogs around and these two were no longer the small pups they were. So, we stopped taking her and she never, ever let us forget that she belonged in the court.

That day, she was strangely silent for quite some time and we congratulated ourselves on our ability to make her get over her obsession with the court. Now, did i tell you we have a shoe rack in the place we have gated to keep our beauties? It was one of the many pieces of furniture we designed and got built.

I come back from playing while Sachins chatting with a neighbour and I see Laika with something brown in her mouth and a brand new shoe right next to her. I wonder how she got a new shoe and I am thinking that someone has thrown it on her when Sachin comes back and shreiks "How did she get it?" I give him a puzzled look and he is like, "Thats my Hush puppies shoe which i got recently. How did she get it?" The door of the shoe rack is closed and we go in and open the shoe rack, so there we see the pair and Laika comes near us as though nothing has happened. How did she even manage opening and closing the door, we will never know. She is just an incorrigible dog.

Ek Villain

I was watching a few scenes from this movie. (It really is not my kinda movie, so no way I would watch it). The villain kills people who are rude as his wife is always shouting at home. I dont want to kill rude people as that really does not achieve anything. The world would be a better place if people are polite. If they are not, it is going to be very unpleasant, sometimes intolerable, but yeah, i am not psycho enough to think killing is going to solve my problems. It might solve for that person but I have noticed negativity and rudeness are like a disease. They keep spreading and never truly go away. The only way to tackle them is to combat it with politeness. I met a few really polite people today and they had such a nice way of telling me things I did not want to hear. :)

I wish everyone can learn to be polite and not be a villain. I am trying everyday to be the person my dogs think i am. A heroine. :)

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Change

I always thought that I could adapt to change effortlessly and that my risk appetite was low, which was why I was scared of the change.

But lately, I am wondering if i am even interested in making a change because I am so in love with the comforts I have created for myself. Is it wrong to seek comfort? Or is it wrong to keep seeking even if I am not dissatisfied with what I have in hand? I really dont know. Or am I actually seeking only to realise this is going to be as good as it gets because life is multi dimensional and what looks good from one angle need not remain so from others? I dont know and I am wondering right now.

I am wondering if i really know myself and if my judgements about me have been off in the first place.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

If you don't like dogs

I saw this cute pic of a dog in fb. Its caption reads " If you don't like dogs, I don't like you. "

Now I couldn't agree with this. One thing my dogs have taught me is acceptance.
Accept any food and eat it like it'll disappear if you stop.
Accept being made to wait or any discomfort and still jump at joy on seeing the owner.
Accept a dressing down and come back in a bit to unleash love.
Accept a bad mood and try to make it go away with a lick or a tail wag.
Accept any kind of walk and enjoy the wind, the paper that can be salvaged, the bird that's hopping and anything else with equal relish.

The unconditional acceptance makes me want to be a better person and makes me realize every single day that the world looks different for all of us and that its a beautiful place.
If you don't like my dogs, I won't dislike you but I'll feel sorry for what you will miss in life. :D

Sunday, November 02, 2014

How old are you - makes you think

I've been meaning to watch this movie for quite some time now and I finally got around to it this weekend. I actually loved the experience. The plot follows a 36 year old housewife who has dedicated her life to her husband and kid. The husband wants to settle in Ireland and has managed to find a job for himself there. He cannot take her on a dependent visa and he wants her to find a job for herself. She is unable to do so as she is found to be too old and she faces issues with her daughter who dreams of living abroad. She owns up to an accident has husband has committed but things get out of hand as her licence is not valid and she might be jailed. Her ungrateful husband throws her to the dogs and she is scared when she is called to meet the IG. The IG reveals that a question she daughter asked in her school has impressed the president of India and he wants to meet her. The IG office takes care of the case and she is all set to meet the president. She faints on seeing him and her life takes a turn for the worse. Her family leaves the country without her and she meets her friend who reminds her of the girl she once was. How she turns her life around forms the rest of the story.

Manju warrier is amazing. She is so perfect in the role and I have fallen in love with her perfection. The plot of the movie is simple and though unbelievable in places it's not too overboard. The music is a good dressing and I found it pretty pleasant. The movies got a brilliant cast and everybody including the snide lady who makes the heroines life hell and the in laws, daughter and husband have done a good job.

The larger question the movie poses around when a women's dreams expire is very close to my heart. I've been lucky enough to be able to chase my dreams but I know enough who haven't been able to. Like the woman who's ready to drop everything the moment she hears her daughter cry, like the woman who is looked down by her husband and thought to be not good enough, like the woman who doesn't even know how to dream any more, I know there are enough. Even if just a few start thinking about their dreams after watching this movie, I think it's more than enough. Life changes one day at a time, one person at a time.

Motherly instinct

There's another indian dog in my community. He's a sweetheart and loves playing with the jokers. A new pugs come and I am usually doubtful about how these two get along with smaller dogs so their interaction has been limited. Now the other one is super friendly and the two were playing for sometime.

Now when dogs play they nip. They don't mean to bite but that's how they play. The pug lady did not see her husband letting the two dogs to play and she came running when she thought her dog was being bitten. She started hitting the poor dog and did not stop even when the owner came to take him away. The owner got beaten too. She justified it later calling it a mothers instinct.

I wasn't around when the incident happened. Someone who saw it told me and asked me to be careful around these guys. Though I stand by my friend, I am actually able to see both sides in this case and I do wish life was less biased. But the truth is everyone has some bias or the other. There are those biased against dogs. There are dog lovers who are scared of big dogs. We can try to be enlighten edge and get over a few of our biases but it's not always going to be easy. We at least have to try.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

There is a god somewhere

Every where I turn I see something bad.
Everything I hear, there are traces of negativity
Everything I do, something disturbs me
It's one of those days I try to claim
Then I look up to the sky and see him smile

He tells me how much is in my mind
How clouded is my sight
And how, poisoned my words
There is a god somewhere
Watching over me
And I really want to be the wonderful person
He made me to be.
Neither success nor fame nor all the wealth in the world
Can save someone who sees the negatives
Neither failure nor infamy nor poverty
Will kill a soul that wants to shine

There is a god somewhere who has given me
The right emotions and let me choose
How I react
My dear God I want to be how you wanted me to be
From this moment
From this second
I am going to try.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Letting go

Letting go is not always cowardly
Sometimes it definitely is
Sometimes it is heart wrenching
Sometimes it is liberating
Sometimes it shows bravery
Sometimes it shows a quitter
Sometimes it shows a visionary
and sometimes a definite fool.

As I consider letting go
Evaluate the ties that bind
Every second seems precious
Every minute irreplaceable
and all the years maybe, futile

I see myself through different eyes
Some judgemental, some accepting,
some basically non committal
and some definitely unforgiving.

I see myself transform
from a quitter to a deserter
to a visionary to a wizard.
and I finally realise
I have to make peace

Millions of possibilities abound
MIllions of paths strewn right in front
Some with variations minor,
Some ground breaking,some revolutionary

I am scared of the perceived failure
The perceived loss of face
The perceived step down
from an illusionary pedestal

Will the fear overwhelm
or will the possibility give courage?
Only time will ever tell.
Only time will ever heal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Puppy love

The house is asleep. The three other occupants in one state of sleep or the other and there is pin drop silence as even the television is not on.
I am sitting and trying to finish something while contemplating about something I did not want to hear but heard anyway. Everything seems either ridiculous or frivolous and I am wondering what is the point of everything and how I am going to cope with myself and what I have to project to the outside world. Then i feel something moist in my hand and a warm nose comes and brushes itself against me. Zoya woke up and came looking for me and I wonder why I even bother about things when there are other things which are far more important like my sleep and all that I have effortlessly.

Things I have worked for and got and some things I did not work too much for and still got. So I just decide to just blog about it and let it be.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Help-less

I've an awesome maid. I mean, I am very comfortable with her and she is also a cook on days I don't feel like cooking. Now, I was out of town for three days and she did not come to work even after I came back for two days. The house was a real mess. After one of my house parties yesterday, where I cooked like a maniac for many people and had some 4 dogs and six people at home, I was despairing how I was going to clean up. To top it i had a temperature and the luxury lover and the neat freak in me were fighting like crazy. Finally, I started sweeping the house and cleaning the vessels when she came in with a ridiculous excuse. I was too tired to even be mad at her and I moved on to the comfort of the bed.

I wonder how people manage without help at home. I know its possible and once you get used to it not so difficult but in the state that I am in, I am not able to think of such a scenario. I have to get out of this dependency.

Neighbourly affection

When I started living on my own, I never spoke much to my neighbours. Even post marriage, in the first house we stayed, we did not socialise much. This house was different. It was our own and since it was a new complex, the initial few who came in bonded a lot as we all faced similar issues. Now that we've been here for close to two years, I am finally facing issues thanks to my dear neighbours. Most people here are very sweet and I love walking around and greeting the friendly faces. I avoid a few folks and with very good reason.

But yesterday, something weird happened. I am a amateur gardener and I have been trying real hard to grow a few herbs and kari patha in the backyard. My backyard neighbour pulled the herbs from the common boundary fence and threw it into the backyard effectively killing my kari patha. I let it rest but yesterday,they caught sachin who went to the backyard unawares. They were scared of snakes coming into their house from our backyard and they wanted us to remove our bamboos which are more than a year old and the banana tree as well as the non flowering useless creepers. To make it even funnier, the sweet lady mentioned that since we are a working couple we might not have time for all this and gave the number of a gardener who can remove all this. I was out of words to hear this shit. I mean, I don't get how what we do in our house is a cause for concern to anyone. To add the icing to the cake, she asked us to remove the buckets and the rags we put in the backyard as it spoils her view and again since we are not at home, we don't know how difficult it is for them to see such things.

Now, I am forced to take up modifications in my backyard and put up something to cover up our side as I don't want to see them anymore and I feel so uncomfortable going to my own garden. I was planning on removing a bean creepers as it was actually not giving me any veggies. But if I do it now, they'd want me to remove the bamboos and the herbs as well. I am sad.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

This ACK deserves a special mention because it captures one of my favorite stories by Ruskin Bond. The Blue Umbrella. The images are mind blowing and add to the beauty of the simple and heart warming story. I think ACK should go ahead and make some of the recent Indian Classics into a comic. I would start with Jungle Book.



If you havent read the Blue Umbrella or seen the movie, try reading the picture book. The story unfolds so wonderfully right in front of your eyes. You get to see a tranquil Indian setting and you get to enjoy the innocence and beauty in the smaller things in life.

The story is about Binya, who lives in a tiny village. She trades her leopard claw necklace with a tourist for her beautiful blue umbrella which she never parts with. A lot of people love the umbrella and want it. The grocer especially has his eyes on it. But his attempts to steal it back fire and he earns the hatred of the village. How Binya and the grocer make peace is the rest of the story.

The plot is simple and the execution beautiful. For someone like me, who lives in the lap of luxury and does not often appreciate the smaller things in life, this book is a wake up call. No matter how many times I read it. When was the last time I appreciated all the expensive furniture or even the blankets i once bought with so much love? When i pause to watch it all, I feel so nice and blessed. No matter what happens in my life, I will try to always be thankful for all that I have and try to take better care of things. This book is a important read for our consumerist generation which has forgotten how to appreciate the smaller things in life.

ACK - Indian Classics

I have been reading quite a lot of Amar Chitra Kathas. I finished the Indian Classic collection and I have to say, I loved it.
http://www.amarchitrakatha.com/ack/books/Amar%20Chitra%20Katha/ACK/Singles/INDIANCLASSICS



While most of the stories centered around women were ridiculous (every female wants to marry the king, no matter how many wives he has), Udayan and his wifes really irritated me the most. But if i ignore the modern sensibility and look at the images, it was a beautiful experience. I loved adventures of Pratapan and Manonmani because both plot lines were relatively modern.

I am so glad I got this collection and reading it takes me back to a different time and place and this set of books especially, makes me want to go back and revisit some Indian classics.

My pup bites me

No. I am not referring to the two devils. They dont even bother with nipping let alone biting. I am referring to a friend who had taken Maya home. She had to give the dog back as Maya bit her. I am told that since it is an Indie pup, it will behave that way and only a gentle dog wont. Maya has a genuine issue probably because she fended for herself for a long time. But I am noticing this attitude with a lot of people when they see my two.

A typical conversation with supposed dog lovers who watch me walking the dogs is as follows (the sequence of questions might vary):

DL : "Wow. They are so cute. Are they related?"
Me/Hubby : "No. They are not."
DL : " Which breed?"
Me/Hubby :"They are Indies"
DL : "Oh ok. They are male right?"
Me/Hubby : "No. They are both female"
DL : "Arent you scared they will have pups?"
Me/Hubby : "They are both neutered"
DL : "Arent you scared theyll bite you?" and some folks who are supposedly our friends ask, "Are you confident you can leave them with your baby and they wont harm it?"

I am usually irritated by this point and I give some excuse and walk off. What is so wrong with Indies and what is wrong with having female dogs? They are so alert, loving and so wonderful to be around. I dont think I will ever have a non indian dog ever. People are scared of adopting females. At this day and age. I wonder why. Why can we not just let these guys have homes and why can we not shut up when someone does instead of judging their affordability (yeah, thats another thing that irritates me - you got and indie as you couldnt afford a breed dog? Why are you cutting corners) or their sensibility (Why are you neutering your dog and not letting them enjoy their life?)

I wish the world is a better place to live in.

Happy New Year - SRK all the way

I watched Happy New Year today to complete the Diwali celebration with one of my favorite heros - Shah Rukh.
The movie is about Charlies revenge for the wrongful arrest of his father, an honest safe maker who is charged with robbery that is actually committed by a diamond merchant. He decides to steal the jewels the diamond merchant is guarding and get back at him. He participates in a World Dance competition with a bunch of losers - a safe cracker, a bomb expert, a slum resident, a computer whiz kid and a bar dancer to get closer to the diamonds. How they go ahead is the plot.

It is a Farah Khan and SRK film, so it is definitely entertaining in places despite a ridiculously executed plot. But, if you ask me to compare it to Main Hoon Na or Om Shanti Om, I really cannot. This one doesnt pack in so much. I loved those two movies though they were largely brainless because there were a lot of lovable elements on screen. This movie is lacklusture despite the glittering cast (I saw Bachan junior onscreen after a long time) because the screen play is too weak and there are too many stereotypes.

Even having a sexy Deepika in screen does not do much to counter that. Shahrukh is typical and it is inspiring to note his fitness at his age. Sonu Sood has some scenes riding on his macho shoulders but apart from showing off his abs, he does not do much. In fact, we could have done without a few of his fight scenes and reduced the running time considerably. Boman Irani is a little irritating in places and I wonder why an actor of his calibre is ready to be made into a world class fool. He still does a good job and one ought to admire him for that.

I did not love the movie, but then, I did not hate it either. Thought it was a little slow, I really enjoyed watching Shahrukh on screen and also liked some of the lighter moments of the movie. I wish the SRK, Deepika romance had played out a little and that she did not have to speak in that horrible accent. The dance practice and the India loyalty scenes are super irritating at places and we could have done without it too. The safe cracking sequence is actually ok (they must have copied it pretty well). In terms of the music, though India Wale is not amazing, it can grow on you. But Manwa Lage is playing out in my head even now. I loved the song and the sequence. The movie is a one time masala watch. You will enjoy it if you like SRK and Farah.But please leave your brains behind at home.