Saturday, December 31, 2011

Of Secret Santa and other Things Fun...

This week was totally and entirely about Secret Santa. Started the game here in my PG and went on to organize the same in my office. Needless to say the guessing game was super fun and ofcourse earned me a lot of brownie points (in office) and a lot of gifts (both in PG and office). And that my dear friends made me a very happy woman. Check out the pics for more details:

Various Gifts I received from Office

Closer look at this pretty little pink sand timer! {don't mind the messy room in the background}

Thats a very pretty hairband and bracelet gifted by my PG friend Sudha!

My favorite of all. He is called Snowy! Hello World :)
 Don’t you just love the festive season, everyone is in cherry moods, the markets are bustling with people, the malls are thronging with shoppers, and parties are on full swing. Talking of parties, we had a small party in my PG on the Christmas eve, nothing fancy really, some cake, little music (with mediocre speakers) and some groovy moves  with all of us in our pyjamas (well except for me,  I can’t get into the party mood without being all dolled up). So anyhow, we had fun, and slept only to find a very amusing notice sticking up proudly on our wall the next day we came back from office. It was from our land lord and read the following:

  1.  MAKE SURE YOUR ID IS AVAILABLE 31 DECEMBER 2011
  2. NO OUTSIDE FRIENDS ALLOWED
  3. DO NOT CREATE NUISANCE TO NEIGHBORS, SOCIETY BY PLAYING LOUD MUSIC AND HATED ARGUMENTS
The NOTICE
Okay, the third point was a clue, so someone out there had complained about our little gig on Christmas Eve. Now let me tell you, it was nothing bad or over the top. As I said, it was little food, some music and some dancing, NOTHING ELSE. And let me tell you another thing, if this gig would have been done by any other family in the society, no one would have dared to question it, let alone the fact of complaining about it. Just because we are singles and girls, we have to put up with this behavior (and it’s Mumbai). I have noticed this weird kind of behavior that we PG people are subjected to, people around will be unusually interested about our life’s. The guard down stairs will keep a close watch on your timings, peek longingly (suspiciously) on all the plastic shopping bags you carry. Auntiji’s will give u askance glances. And sadly the scenario remains the same whether is Delhi or Mumbai.

Nevertheless moving ahead, so this will be my last post of 2011. 2011 ~ has been a very eventful year for me. Some important things that happened this year:

  1.   My job joining came in the month of March, for the place I wanted it to be yes yes yes MUMBAI.
  2.   I moved out of my home in Jammu for the first time ever. And yes it was not at all easy.
  3.   I started earning and living on my own here in Mumbai.
  4.   I met a lott of new people – good, bad, best, worst all types. Really. I did
  5.   A lot of new friends were added into facebook, lol on a serious note, what i mean to say is that I made a lot of good friends, the ones I can trust and share my life with.
  6.    A bundle of joy, my niece Supraja (Teenu) was born on 11th July 2011.
  7.    I learned a lot of new technology and open source tools like Zabbix, jmeter. Actually they have become my daily vocabulary so it would not be fair if I write about 2011 and not mention them
  8.   I shopped like crazy! Oh yes I did.
  9.   I hit an all time low on the blogging front when I did not post anything for 3 months altogether. But gladly I bounced back to where I belong as quickly!
  10.   I learned COOKING. From daal to chapatti and sabzi to chicken, I can cook it all now!

So all in all it was an awesome year. I did have a few lonely low moments and I did hurt a few people really bad. I apologise for any intentional/unintentional harm/hurt I brought about on anybody. I thank all those you loved me or hated me, Coz in the end it has helped me in making me who I am today. I have no regrets but many dreams. So cmmon 2012, show me what you got! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Served Hot From Mumbai..


Was going through some old pictures, when I spotted these beauties. Mumbai is at its best during the rains. Don't believe me? See for yourself...





















 Sheer visual pleasure, right? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Ungrateful Daughter (and yea that would be ME!)


Mother-daughter relationship is very complex in nature. A strong thread of love mingled with misunderstandings, fights and (strong) disagreements. Mother is your best support system and your worst critic ever. At times she is the sole person knowing your secret while the other times she is the one you hide your dirty secrets from.  Some days you laugh together sharing jokes and gossips, other days you refuse to see eye to eye after thunderous fights.


My relationship with my Mom has changed drastically over the years.  Being youngest in the family I was always the pampered one. When a kid, my lies about false stomach aches for not going to school were always acknowledged in a very positive way by my mother. Even in my late teens, whenever I wanted to bunk school or college my mother always gave me a thumbs up. And I am very grateful to her for this. Not because she allowed me to do so, but because when I think about it now, I realize that my mother trusted me deeply. She knew it when I have to study I will study; she just left it to me to decide my priorities. She never forced or pressurised me to study or attend school. I love her for this, because it taught me at a very early stage that I am responsible for my own acts. If I don’t study, I won’t score good marks, so that was a lesson learnt early and very efficiently by me.

But on the other side, my girlie issues and teenage trouble were always discussed and solved by my elder sister. So in that respect,  I wasn’t very close or comfortable sharing “the other side” of my life with my mom. However soon after my sister moved out, there was a considerable change brought about in relationship I shared with my mother. With my sister gone and my father posted in another city, I soon began discussing about my life, friends, trends etc with my mother and she began directing the gossips towards me (this department was earlier solely handled by my elder sister). Also she began taking my advice on various issues from fashion to food. However all was not bright and cherry, occasional fights were no strangers in the home. So on the whole we share a perfect mother daughter relation.


When I was at home, I left no stone upturned to nag my mother. From the type of dresses she wore to the kind of food she made. Mostly and almost always I criticized the food. Most of the fights we had were somehow or the other related to food. Mostly ending with me refusing to eat even a morsel of food and she after trying in vain, finally succumbing (again!) to my pressure and cooking my favorite dishes. I distinctly remember the times I pushed away and wasted food, simply stating that I hate it! When I look back now I realize how my mother must have felt during those times.

Now that I have started cooking myself I understand the kind of efforts and love that are put when you cook. When some criticises my cooking (and this criticism includes only comments like “salt is less”, “red chillies are more”), you won’t believe but I mentally murder that person and feel like holding their hair and shout at the top of my voice “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH EFFORT I HAVE PUT ON THIS, CAN’T TO JUST SAY A FEW POSITIVE THNGS AND LEAVE THE REST TO ME”? It is then I realize that how ungrateful I have been t my mother. Far from venting out her anger on me for my behaviour, she went ahead and prepared food with equal amount of love and care. LOVE HER LIKE HELL!! Wish I could fly away and just hug her once and come back, just a hug.


The irony now is such that there are times when I crave like crazy to eat my mothers’cooked food (and believe it or not mostly the one that I hated back then) but I can’t! Waiting eagerly to go home so that I can gorge on yummy food cooked by mom and yea most importantly not forget to compliment her for the same

 :-)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

THE KASHMIRI IN ME.(PART 2)


Dear All,
First and foremost I want to thank all of you for reading and appreciating by previous post on Kashmir and Kashmiri's. I had it written long time back but never found the necessary confidence to post it. I always though "who would be interested in reading all this". But your comments and appreciation proved me wrong and I am so happy about it. It has given me the necessary confidence to post what I had written in continuation of what I posted earlier!

Please read on to know more details about us, Kashmiri pandits ...

LIFESTYLE.

Like everyone else Kashmiri families today are mostly nuclear in nature. Kids grow up, go to different places and it’s the mother-father that are left alone in the homes. This is the scenario that I see around. In the old days there were joint families, bunch of children, lot of fun and lot of action. Not anymore!

The basic lifestyle these days is similar to like anybody else. We eat, pray, sleep, watch TV …. Nothing unusual. Yea, a lot of stress is given to education. Girls, boys are treated alike in matters of education and otherwise [I am strictly talking about what I see around in my family and those of my relatives!]. Even in the old days importance to education was given for the girl child. The girls in our community are married off only when they have finished studying and are independent (financially, I mean). There is no hard and fast rule but yea girls are not married off young. But otherwise the restrictions are the same (in India they are universal, aren’t they?). No gundagardi. Keeping the izzat of the family. No night-outs. Curfews. Yea. You get it. Same old. Same old.

RITUALS.

This is very vast. There are so many things under this. Festivals. Birthdays. Marriages. And what not.I will try my best to explain it all to the best of my ability.

I will start with birthdays. We kashmiri’s  have 2 birthdays a year. Shocked? Well, most of the people are! Okie let me elaborate. One is the normal kind of birthday which everyone has and knows about. Like mine is on 9th of feb. The other birthday is based on the lunar calendar and it changes every year. Just like diwali does not fall on a same date every year. We differentiate between the two by calling one angreiz (English) and the other kashur (kashmiri). The Kashmiri birthday is celebrated by a small pooja. Yellow rice is made, you tie a red coloured thread on your wrist and put a tilak.  A myriad of kashmiri dishes are made (both veg and non veg). The other birthday is celebrated in the usual manner cake, party etc. you can even cut a cake on your Kashmiri birthday (in addition to the pooja), no worries, no rules.


Most important festival in our calendar is SHIVRATRI as we are Shiv devotees. It comprises of a 4-5 hour pooja called the vatak pooza. This is done by all Kashmiri families. However the intricacies may differ. For example, we make 5 vegetarian dishes on this day to offer the deity, others may make some other dishes, some families also make non-veg food. The next day of the pooja is known as salaam. On this day most of the families make non-veg food. Though some eat veg on this day as well. One of my relatives don’t touch, eat, look at non-veg food for some good 5,6 days prior to Shivratri. They can eat non-veg only after salaam.


Being Hindus we celebrate other festivals with equal amount of zest and enthusiasm. Other common festivals are celebrated in the same way as everyone else with maybe a minor difference here and there.

Though majorly we are Shiv bhakts, Kashmir has it’s own history of saints. I will mention those I know of. There is Mata Kheer Bhawani (also known as tulmul) temple in Kashmir. A replica of it has also been made in Jammu. Then there is bhagwan Gopinath ji, his ashram has also been made here in Jammu. But then different people have faith in different gods. Talking of me, I am SAI BABA bhakt.


Marriages are very important affairs. The preparations of which is started year before the actual occasion. And many a small events commemorate its starting. Like bengali’s we too are rice lovers, so when we buy rice, it is also a function called the toomul saatun, in which the aunties of the family come together to clean up the rice and have a hearty meal. All the things related to marriage like masalas (spices), jewellery, clothes etc are bought on auspicious days, the day should be shub.

I my family we have a lot of girls,especially on maternal side. So most of the weddings I have witnessed have been of girls. Hence I will write about the wedding from the girl’s side. The main events are the Mehandi Raat, Devgon and Baarat. Apart from these sure-shot events there can be optional events like satsang, cocktail parties, reception etc etc.

So, the mehandi-raat includes a lot of mehandi, a lot of traditional foot tapping kashmiri music (a kashmiri music party is called for the occasion), whole-lot of nach gaanna and traditional kashmiri food (veg or non-veg, totally optional). In short a very colourful night and the most anticipated function of the shaadi !
Devgon is basically a pooja, where the girl enters the womanhood. It involves kaane shraan, wearing new clothes (supplied by maternal relatives), wearing some of the jewellery and performing a mini-havan with help of a pandit ji.

The main event of shaadi includes the welcome of the groom’s side (by putting garlands around them!) varmaalla exchange by the couple, a lot of photographs, more food (mostly this event has vegetarian food). The shaadi does not necessarily take place during the day (as is perceived by many) it can also take place during the night. The event of shaadi includes a lot of things, bride and groom are made to make different poses holding hands, etc etc . No. not for the photographs! They mean some thing. Also the kanyadaan of the bride. I love this part, where the bride sits in her fathers lap! The couple is taught the meaning of marriage by the pandit. Then comes the vidai part, where the ladies (and some gents) cry to their heart’s content.

Next in line is the event of satrat the night immediately after the wedding (for example, if the vidai was in the morning, satarat will be in the night of the same day), where the bride and groom come as a married couple and non veg food is cooked. Then reception may-or-may not follow. That more or less ends the marraige function.

MUSIC AND HANDICRAFTS

Kashmiri music is really popular amongst the older generation like my mom, grandmom etc. As far as my knowledge is concerned I feel the impact of kashmiri music on younger generation (including me) is non-existant. My knowledge of it is limited to few famous folk songs which are usually played out in parties and marriages.




 Kashmiri dresses and handicrafts are famous all over the world. The beautiful Kashmiri embroidered sarees, shawls, coats and dresses have many takers all across the globe.

CUISINE

I have no patience whatsoever to talk about this vast and mouth-watering topic, so I will just let the pics do all the talking:








 These pictures are a torture to look at, especially when you are staying away from home like me and pine and lust to eat food like this.

Anyhow, that's all I have to say in this particular post.

Love:
SEPO



Thursday, November 17, 2011

THE KASHMIRI IN ME.


I am a Gen-X girl. Fast and forward. My individuality and style defines my culture and work. Also being a secular, I am first an Indian. Caste, creed and colour therefore take a backseat for a person like me. But my lifestyle, culture, background, habits etc are also a part of me. They have a strong role in making me who and what I am.

I am a Kashmiri Pandit, a person who belongs to a sect of Hindu Brahmins originating from Kashmir. The religious philosophy of Kashmiri Hindus is rooted in Kashmir Shaivism, a school of Shiva philosophy that originated near Kailasha in Himalayas around 400 AD.


 History has been a witness to a number of hardships borne by our community. During the spread of Islam in the Kashmir Valley around and after 1343 A.D, the Hindu community was subjected to a number of atrocities, which included forced conversions, destruction of temples, burning of religious books and no rights whatsoever. These Hindus could neither use vermillion nor wear the sacred thread nor the Sarees and other dress.

Sultan Ali Shah, through Government instructions, ordered a search of Pandits and all of them were forced to adopt Islam. It is believed that under the stormy religious conversion, carried out by Sikander and his son, Ali Shah, only 11 families of Hindus were left in Kashmir. The rest were converted, killed or had been forced to migrate.

The scenario improved in the reign of other kings who were a bit linient towards Hindus. However as they say history repeats itself, history did repeat and this time in a more ugly way. In 1989-1990, in the name if jihad, Kashmiri pandits were brutally killed, raped and looted. They were given warnings to leave Kashmir at once or face dire consequences. In exile, thousands of Kashmiri Pandits have died due to change in environmental conditions. Kashmiri Pandits were forced to live in hostile conditions in make-shift camps in Jammu/Delhi. During summers, the average temperature of Kashmir would generally be in thirties while in Jammu/Delhi, it is in forties. Think of 45ÂșC and 6-8 people living in a tent. The habitat change resulted in sun-strokes, anaemia etc. which caused many deaths. Moreover, deaths happened due to snake bites as slum-like conditions of camps became the breeding ground for snakes. Even after 21 years, some are still living in camps.


Talking about my family, we left Kashmir and came to Jammu, thinking that we will go back once things get normal. Well, things never got normal and we never went back to our hometown, we started our lifes in Jammu from scratch. I was just one year old back then, so I never really understood the meaning of all this. I never understood the pain my parents and relatives felt, I never understood their longing and strange fascination with Kashmir. I got bored and irritated with numerous and continuous discussions and reminiscences about Kashmir. As I grew up and finally understood the importance of it all,  I could see  a reflection of all these feelings in a blurred 96 year old eyes (my Grandpa's) He still dreams of his hometown and the happy days he has spent there. It was then I began to understand it all, what is must feel like to leave your home, your things, your memories and everything else that was yours and never get back.


According to statistics Out of one million Hindus who lived in Kashmir in early 20th century..only a handful are left…not even 4000….the rest are living scattered physically, emotionally and mentally somewhere with a lost identity and a dream……Kashmir…….. their homeland…


And it was not all that easy to simply merge and get on with life in Jammu. We were always considered outsiders by the people of Jammu and were a butt of many a jokes amongst them. Growing up in such an environment was not at all easy. My early teen years at school were so horrible that when I look back and think about that time, I almost pity myself. I had no individuality whatsoever, I always tried to blend into someone that was not me. I felt ashamed of being who I was, because I hated being pitied or judged. This was one of the most important reason of writing about this particular post, to highlight this fact that I am proud of who I am. I started writing this piece of write-up way back in January but left it mid way and forgot about it. Recently after watching Rockstar and the whole first-time-kashmiri-pandit-wedding rumours associated with it, I was reminded of it and decided to post it on my blog.


Though less in number, we have a rich and varied heritage. Varied customs and mouth-watering cuisines. My upbringing has been a proper Kashmiri one. With mostly all the rituals being followed and the Kashmiri language being spoken at home. Though I converse in Hindi, English or broken Kashmiri with my family and relatives, I can speak the language quite well. And I am very proud of the fact, as many of the Kashmiri kids cannot speak the language neither do they make any effort to try and learn.

I do not blame them. After the migration in the year 1989-90, Kashmiri families have been scattered in different parts of the country and abroad. To raise kids in such an atmosphere is a difficult task indeed. As it is, today’s kids hardly have any time from there busy schedules. Moreover, inter-caste marriages also play an important role in the dilution of kashmiriat from the new generation.

I will not brag and say that I know the A-Z of the diverse Kashmiri culture. No. I do not. But I can share with you the little knowledge that I have. This basically will include the basic lifestyle, some rituals I am familiar with, cuisines, music, art and craft, literature etc. And it will come in the next post of mine (taking into consideration the size of this post)

Some beautiful lines I found on the internet and thought of sharing :

May be the winter of jan 1990
in Kashmir was so cold ,
it turned the emotions of many into ice.
May be,
that is the reason, they could not
see me breathing heavily until
I was out of breath…
May be the cold was so severe
that even their eye lids froze
and their vision got blurred
and that is why
they could not see my dead body..
May be the winter was so harsh
that it impaired the Ears,
it killed their conscience,
may be that is why ..no body…
……..Nobody heard my screams…


P.S The historical and statistical data has been taken from different websites online!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

REVIEW - ROCKSTAR

So, finally the much (very) talked about movie released on an equally talked about date 11.11.11. Don’t know about you guys but I was eagerly waiting for this movie. I was excited about the Kashmir part of the story and being a Kashmiri Pandit, I was equally excited to see how the makers have shown a Kashmiri wedding  onscreen for the first time ever. So Friday night after pressurizing and bullying my friend I finally got the opportunity to see Rockstar.


I will be honest and say that I personally had a lot of expectations from the movie; I thought it to be the next big thing. But sadly it was a huge disappointment, really! The only good thing about the movie is the fabulous music by AR Rahman and a good display of acting skills by Ranbir and may I add only in parts! In most of the scenes (especially the ones with Nargis) he is soo irritating and screechy that you will feel like stuffing cotton balls in your ears.

Story basically is of a small town Delhi boy Janardhan Jakhar who dreams big. He is fond of music and Jim Morrison is his idol. However he has no pain in his life, a driving force which is found in the life of every creative person as per the canteen wale uncle is missing in his life. So JJ (as he is called by the canteen wale uncle)  decides to break his heart by proposing to the babe of the college Heer Koul (Nargis Fakri) who is famous in the college for breaking hearts. Somehow, somewhere the both of them manage to strike a friendship and enjoy watching desi porn in the small gali’s of Delhi and say cheers to desi daaru in some fort.

But before the friendship is even started the story suddenly shifts to the girl’s marriage and thankfully to beautiful scenery of Kashmir! From then the story rapidly moves from present to past and future to flashbacks. And somewhere in between apna hero is a Rockstar who forgets his commitments and recordings, shouts and screams for no particular reason and in every alternate scene you spot a group of policemen dragging and kicking him. Also in-between (before his Rockstar avatar) he is chucked out from his home for stealing or something. He ends up staying in Harzat Nizammudin dargah, where Shammi Kapoor who plays (Bismillah Khan) spots him and decides to give him a big break. And yea somewhere in the middle of it all he gets to go to Prague, where he re-meets  married Heer and they cross the line (as the actress puts it) and fall in love (I think, not sure though). Apparently Jordan (I forgot to mention that Rockstar is called Jordan!) has this magic touch which re-kindles Heer who is dying from some kind of a blood disease. Did I say you feel like killing yourself every time Nargis Fakri opens her mouth? So after a brief stint of extra marital affair Heer is sent back from Prague to Delhi, where she meets, hugs, kisses and accompanies Jordon on his concert tours without any objection from her parents because its improving her health you see!! After all this Heer gets pregnant and goes directly into coma so much so that now even the “magic touch” fails to revive her. Rockstar after this has longer hair and sings with more (unnecessary) pressure and pitch and also fake painful expressions. So that more or less end the movie and that is what Rockstar really is all about! No striking love story neither fight for any rights (Saadaa Haq you ask? I want to ask the same!)


I know the previous paragraph is confusing but it’s kinda deliberate, to give you guys a feeling of how the movie actually is! It’s even more confusing than that. It’s as if the makers first decided to make a movie, then midway they got bored and tried to quickly finish it and then again they got serious about it and so on. Everything thing happens suddenly in the movie,  be it Jordon’s Rockstar status, or Heer’s marriage or their feelings for each other.The movie has its share of good moments but they are very rare. The movie could have been made better and it would surely have left a deep impact on the audience. The only impact it now has is a slight headache. The only thing (apart from the music) which I liked about the movie were the pretty colourful Kashmiri dresses worn by the actress, can’t wait to go back to my hometown and flaunt my collection of Kashmiri Phirans and shawls!! Also an amusing presentation of Kashmiri Pandit wedding, what exactly were so many Muslims doing in a Kashmiri Pandit wedding? Could have been better though am not complaining. To spot it first time onscreen, I should be busier being all excited about it rather than finding faults!

My rating to this movie would be 2/5.


Acting wise Ranbir is Good, Nargis looks beautiful but as long as she keeps her mouth shut. The actor who plays Khataraji (canteen uncle) has done a great job. Also, a commendable job by Piyush Mishra who plays the owner some some music company. Other characters like the families of Heer and Jordon are forgettable. The star of the show is of course Mr Shammi Kapoor who sizzles in his last work on the silver screen.

WORDS OF WISDOM – AVOID IT!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Happens In Vegas


Ok, so I watched this movie for the 5th, no wait, 8th, ahh lets just make it 10, shall we? So after watching this movie for the 10th time, I realized how much I love the movie. Whenever I watch this movie, I have a hard time deciding who looks hotter. Cameron Diaz? Ashton Kutcher? Both is actually quite an acceptable answer. Also Love the guys who play friends to the couple, the movie wouldn't have been the same without there presence.

Any movie which has Vegas as the backdrop is bound to be famous and entertaining, this one is no different. A typical my-kind-of-movie with just the right amount of everything! Romance-Check. Sentimental Stuff-Check. Comedy-Double Check!!! Hotness Quotient-Check.

Though I love the movie from start to end. There is this one scene where the guy asks the girl her happiest moment. She replies that once upon a time she was feeling a little adventurous so she just took a ferry from the city, went to this beautiful beach with a light house, where she just enjoyed watching the sunset and waves. A day without any concerns, responsibilities or tensions. I absolutely love this part of the movie, because it is so me!! This is really my idea of a perfect day out, a day with myself and the nature, with nothing to do apart from loving and admiring the beauty around you.
*Sigh*
Don't know when I get an opportunity as great as this one!

Some memorable quotes from the movie:


Jack Fuller: Hey, don't get hit by a bus
[door slams behind Joy]
Jack Fuller: . Or do, whatever. 

Jack Fuller: Will to be married to me... again?
Joy McNally: [sighs] Being with you makes me be myself again so I will be married to you... again.
[they kiss]
Joy McNally: I quit my job.
Jack Fuller: Good thing we have a ton of money!

Hater: You should never let a chick get in your head; that's why I prefer not to even talk to my dates. 

Hater: You're falling for your wife! Idiot!

Jack Fuller: [before entering their first marital counseling session] You ready for this?
Joy McNally: Pretend that you don't make me vomit in my nose every time I look at you? Definitely.


On another note talking about Maggie, I have begun to love this maggie and egg combination. Don't know whether you are aware of it or not but this recipe is a sure shot winner for living-out-of-home people like me; Easy and quick and most importantly filling!!

This doesn't exactly qualify for great presentation, with that plastic maggie spoon, but well, nevertheless presenting egg waali maggie!

So what you need to do here is actually nothing! Just prepare maggie in your usual style, now there are sooo mannnyyyy ways to prepare good' old maggie, plain, masala, with tadka, with vegetables, with shreds of chicken/mutton, with kaasoori methi (my trademark style :P). So whatever may be your style start start with it, once you are about to finish (and water is about to dry up in the container), break one (or two) eggs into the container (yes, directly on the half cooked maggie) and mix properly and vigorously until the egg is cooked and an inseparable part of the maggie.You can serve in a plate or eat it directly off the container (like I do, don't frown please, it saves the number of utensils to wash!!) and you can garnish it with leftover chilly flakes and origano mixture from the pizza you ordered last weekend :P

Love
SEPO

Sunday, October 30, 2011

10 things I love about MUMBAI....


1.       It’s a Metro – I have always wanted to live in a metro. The thrill, the speed, the rush... I just love it. Even on early mornings everyone seems to be in a rush. Living in a metro has its long list of flaws, agreed! The high cost of living, the loneliness, the crowded crowds, the dust and pollution..The list is endless! But on the other side, I also feel that living in a metro teaches you a lot many things. Managing your finances for starters! Being patient (ever been stuck in a traffic jam here?!). And ofcourse being super speedy (ever heard of catching a Mumbai local at a leisurely pace?!). Life in a metro is difficult and challenging but at the same time it’s an adventure of its own kind! Mumbai is no different and I love it exactly for that.

2.       The Rains – If you have never been to Mumbai in the rainy season, you are definitely missing something very good in life. There is something in the air of Mumbai during the rains. Something that makes you want to fall in love (if you aren’t already). The weather, the breeze, and the skies everything is just so astonishingly beautiful. The unexpected behavior of rains, the colourful umbrella’s, the glassy shoes , the knee-length capris, all combine together to give a flavour to the whole rainy season. I just love the feel of light drizzle falling on your face, late into the night, when you have your eyes closed...mmmm...wow! I am already missing the rains!

The rains in Mumbai cause a lot of havoc every year. From floods to traffic jams and stopping of trains to unavailability of rickshawala’s. This year was my first experience of the Mumbai rains and it had me falling in love with Mumbai!! I have to say that Mumbai looks cleaner (dust and pollution wise) and somehow greener during the rains. Here am I eagerly waiting for the next raining season.


3.       Street Shopping – I absolutely adore the street shopping culture of Mumbai. The Elco market and linking road in Bandra,  the Fashion Street of CST are a blessing for any shopaholic across the world. The myriad of little shops lined neatly across the roads displaying all sorts of colourful things make every heart (mine at least) jump with joy. Not only these famous outlets, I have shopped at various other little shops across Mumbai, especially in the markets nearer to the stations. Sometimes if you are lucky, you may spot some great things at unbelievable prices. Eg this fake Louis Vuitton clutch that I got from Bandra or a great neckpiece (with earrings) at an unbelievable price of Rs. 60!

Looks good, right?


     4  The Festivals –  I have had the pleasure of witnessing many important festival celebrations here in Mumbai. One of them being the Ganpati, needless to say, it was an awesome experience. The small pandals, the dance, the puja, the excitement and finally the visarjan. It’s all an experience worth living. The navratra’s here are celebrated with an equal amount of zeal and vigour. The dandiya and garba nights on every street are hard to miss and ignore. Girls in bright and beautiful chaniya choli are equally hard to miss! I also loved how people here follow colour codes for all the nine days of Navratri. Such a beautiful display of unity! If the colour of the day is blue, you will spot everyone wearing blue! The preparations of Diwali too were on full swing when I left for Jammu to celebrate Diwali. I love those brightly colored paper/cane/cloth lampshades that they sell during this season.

5.      Local trains – Really it’s a sight/experience of its own. I say everyone in the world should travel by the local trains of Mumbai at least once in the peak hours. It’s a life changing experience, has been for me. I have become faster, I can feel it in the spring of my steps or the time when I cross the roads (I was {still am to some some extend} utterly miserable at crossing roads). Also it has taught me to breathe in utterly jam-packed space with a potpourri of smells (good and bad both). It will also teach you to wriggle and slither your body towards  a spot which will not cause you to fall off from the train in case of any random push that you will regularly get. Last but not the least it will teach you to either become rash for give a deaf ear to the fighting and shouting aunti ji’s (in ladies compartment) and uncle ji’s.

6.       Awesome Crowd – It’s not unusual here in Mumbai to spot girls in shorts roaming on the streets without any care or concern. Now where do you find such an atmosphere in other parts of India? In many metro’s you will say, right? Agreed! An added quality of Mumbai which I happen to adore. Here you don’t have Lascivious men staring if you happen to wear shorts or say a skirt or any such trendy outfit. This phenomenon though is prevalent in the more urban parts of the city like say, Bandra, Andheri, Colaba and likes. Sadly wearing a sexy outfit is still a crime in places like umm Thane (fortunately or unfortunately this is the place where I live!). Tragic right? But then who said life is fair? Moving on....

7.       The Unbreakable Spirit of Mumbaikars – Bomb blasts, Terror attacks, Natural Calamities.. Come what may, the spirit of an average Mumbaikar is hard to break! I have witnessed it myself during the recent serial blasts at Dadar and Zaveri Bazar. The events were shrugged off just like that. As if nothing happened, no discussions, no hard held feelings, nothing! The heart of a Mumbaikar has been made so hard now that anything and everything will fail to break it off!

8.       The Rickshawala’s - Rickshawala’s you ask? I say yes. They are an important and unremovable part of Mumbai. Mumbai would not have been what it is without the Autowala’s and their famous nakhra’s. Ask me and I will tell you in details about my woes with the autowala’s. Every day, every freaking day I suffer like a miserable person in search of auto’s. Search is actually a wrong word, the auto’s are plenty in number, however the issue is to get them ready to go to the place you wish to go. The peculiar and curious case of Mumbai auto wala’s is that, you don’t understand what they want and where exactly they want to go. You tell them a place and they refuse to go there, you try another they again refuse, you try once more but no success. In the end of this convo you will be dying to ask (I have done this so many times) “Bhaiya, kahan chaloge?” . Frustration at its peak, you (atleast I) start badmouthing any autowala who will refuse to take you to your destination and wait for that one angel who will agree and melt all your sorrows with that stylist nod of his head! *Sigh* I have to face this situation every day. Dear God, give strength (a lot of it) to endure this hardship!

9.       The Elephanta Caves – A network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island,  in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres  to the east of the city of Mumbai . This world heritage site is a must visit, preferably in the rainy season. You can easily catch a boat from the Gateway of India which will take you to the beautiful destination. Loads of things to explore there and many many things to shop on the way!! No really! It a day full of fun :-)  Recently a boat while coming back from the island was stranded on the Arabian waters due to a technical snag, after a lot of phone calls (in the no network coverage area) someone managed to call the coastal services. But don’t let that deter you brave souls out there! :P

10.   Awesome places nearby- I love this fact that so many awesome/beautiful places are located in and around Mumbai. Just within 2 to 3 hours you can reach Khandala, lonavala,  Matheran, Karjat , Alibag, Pune, Shirdi..... There are so many places, it just makes me go WOW! Every weekend can be planned out nicely and one can see so many new places as well. This is called having your cake and eating it too!

Phew believe it or not, penning down this list was really exhausting!! 
Let me how you feel of it. If you have visited Mumbai, do add on some points here.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diwali 2011

A very bright, colourful and festive greetings to you all!
Diwali is such a bright (and noisy!) festival. The lights, the beautifully colored flowers and sweets and ofcourse brightly dressed people!

The crowed markets, the long queues and longer traffic jams, all remind us that it is that part of the year again. This year like every other year I made a rangoli , however unlike other years, this year I am hugely disappointed in myself! But I could not refrain myself from adding a pic of it in my blog like every year. You can pretend to like it and appreciate it via comments, to make me feel better you know!!

The picture has been cropped so that it looks presentable, atleast!


Anyhow, moving ahead, wish you all a very very happy diwali. May it bring you a lot of success, happiness and prosperity!!
God bless.

Lots of love
SEPO







Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yoo Hoo I Have Cracked a Century!


100th post! Wow.... It really feels awesome to have cracked a century.


 I spent countless days thinking about what to write in this particular post. There were “N” number of things  going on in my mind. In the end I decided to write about the reason why I love blogging so much...
I started blogging on December 29, 2009. The time when Orkut was the big thing and the world was busy scrapping. At that point of time I had never thought that I would come this far into blogging. In fact I did not even know the B of blogging. Somehow I just kept going forward and continued writing. I always had this habit of scribbling random thoughts and lines on pieces of papers or on the back of my notebooks. So as I became accustomed to blogging I just started loving the whole thing. When people began to comment and appreciate my posts it was like an icing on the cake.

Its very natural that when you are smitten by a thing you just love you soon  end up loosing interest in it and forgetting the whole thing. Gladly that never happened with me. I am as excited to write a post today as I was back then! 

It feels really good to have come so far..  to have made so many contacts and friends. Today I follow round about 50 blogs of different categories and languages. I have experimented with different styles and categories of writing. From personal stuff to college dramas, from niteouts to exam pressures, from fashion to food and philosphy to movie reviews! WOW! Sounds to versatile. After re-reading  very early, cringe worthy posts, I can today proudly say that my writing style has improved vastly! But one grudge that I have is that I have never done a proper, portfolio type fashion post. And that is because I don’t a nice, understanding companion here who will gladly play the photographer..! Nevertheless, one such post will be coming soon very soon on Rendezvous.

Different moods of blogging and me!
 My love for writing has doubled up then these close-to-two years..... I will take this opportunity to thank each and every person who has visited my blog and appreciated it. Your comments and appreciations are literally like a pat on my back! Needless to say my days are incomplete witout a look of my blog and other blogs that I follow.

Thanks again for making this journey adventurous and enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Your Attitude to Life. Revisited!

A friend forwarded this article to me a few days back. I loved it so much that I decided there and then that I will share it on my blog. So here it is:

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio



1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good..

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and

parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey

is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never

blinks.

16. Take a deep breath It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up

to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an

answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.

Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words :'In five years, will

this matter?'

27. Always choose life..

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or

didn't do.

35. Don't audit life.. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd

grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

F for FOOD..... errr I mean Fitness!!!

I am a foodie.Period. But until now I was a blessed foodie. Blessed because I always had this super-fast metabolism rate, due to which the rate at which I gained weight was super-slow (if any at all). So in short life was good. Even though I was skinny, I had no serious complains or issues with the way I looked (which was awesome BTW). But I did have some issues with random aunty ji's bothered very seriously about my weight.

Well, moving ahead after coming here to Mumbai, sadly rate of my metabolism has been decreasing ( inversely in proportion) to the amount of junk food that I have (which I must say, is huge). Now I was always game for gaining a few Kilograms of weight, so that I look heathier and clothes I wear seem to fit on me rather than looking like hanging on a hanger. But sadly life is not perfect and I am gaining weight in such an unhealthy way that it sucks! Maybe because of the change in the nature of work. My job is such that I have to sit continuously for like 10 hours at a stretch!! Now in this case even a thought of any activity after coming from office just does one thing to me ~~ Induce strong sleep!! And what more I am/was never a morning kinda person.

Now I was never into any sort of fitness routine or famous for being a healthy person. The situation however now it such that it strongly demands that I get into my fitness shoes (the sooner, the better). I got inspired by a fellow blogger Tanvi 's posts about fitness and exercises that she does. And I was like, yo, finally got that much needed boost but sadly no! Since then I have tried so hard to get myself into the groove to start any sort of activity. Alas, without any success. I tried after dinner walk once (got overexcited with the thing in the first go itself) and ended up puking out the whole dinner.

Its not like I am desperate to loose weight but yea I want to be proportionate and I hate my bulging tummy!! :( The saddest thing is that I am not seriously trying to anything for it, what more.... my after dinner walks taken with my roomies (after that incident) just include us sitting on the swings and chit chatting our time away... until the lights of the garden are turned off!!


Any sort of suggestion about fitness/exercise/any thing that involves any activity would be welcome, more than welcome!!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Did I Ever See In Him....


pssttt,, those pretty hands are mine!! :D
 I finished reading this book last week, even though I had started it a month back! There was a time when I would finish such books in a day. I have finished reading a Sidney Sheldon novel in 1.5 days! Wow, thats quite an impressive record, even for a bookworm like me. But sadly these days I hardly get any time to read, even if I try hard! And catching up with the story after long intervals of gap just freaks me out..! I have left so many books in between because of this,  they fail to hold my interest this way.

“What Did I Ever See In Him” was different! Firstly it has no story to follow up , secondly it was very interesting and lastly I could relate to it at very many places. The book basically acts like a relationship guide (for women) as the cover says. However I did not find any objectionable or private or boring content that cannot be read by men. In fact I would strongly recommend guys to read this book, they can surely learn a thing or two from it!

The best part of this book it that it just dissects a relationship between a guy and a girl and highlights every imaginable aspect of it in the best way possible.  Real life instances have been shared which will make you feel like “Damn, this is my story!!” Every problem that you will ever face in a relationship has been described in detail with solutions (well, obviously!!). That must have been the whole point of writing the book, right?!
I particularly liked this once instance of the story where the author says that a relationship is like a plant. You have to nourish and cultivate it; otherwise it will become stagnant and dead. It’s not like something will happen overnight but yea every little thing, mistake, insult, ridicule will always take “some” part away from the relation. And in the end you will realise that no one has changed, nothing has changed, it’s just that the love, the respect has left. You will suddenly realise that the person who was once so important,  holds no importance at all now. It will be so easy to move on with your day to day life that you will be shocked!

Well, I really loved the book, so I thought I should write about it, share my views and promote the book!! Well, that’s all. Thank you!