Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Techie or Foodie?

The last time I went for an indiblogger meet , I didn't really get the chance to blog about it due to work and all that. But this time I just couldn't resist sharing my experience of the awesome Sunday , spent with so many nice people mainly because there is a prize, it was SO much fun .
  The ever charming , Vikas Khanna and Rajiv Makhani were the hosts for the evening and it was one hell of a night. The question of the evening was Techi or Foodie ? With the Masterchef and Gadget Guru in the house there were bound to be fireworks.
Indiblogger always has these amazing memorable meets and something new to offer every single time . This time with Nokia partnering with Indiblogger , the event was bound to be grand. With about 250 bloggers attending the meet it had to be about " Connecting People " . The food and wine along with the energetic vibe didn't hurt at all.
  As I walked into the event , a little nervous and a little perplexed about getting bored. I see the grand venue and Nokia's blue carpet , welcoming us . The ambiance was brilliant. ( location : Taj Lands End-Mumbai) This time the meet was all about having fun with Apps , Nokia Apptasting was held at many cities earlier and this time in Mumbai it was like a celebration . Celebration of us bloggers :D Rajiv and Vikas , showed us many of the newest Apps in the Nokia OviStore. My favourite and cutest App was easily the Charlie Chaplin movie App , It just makes a movie for you within seconds. ( Plus Vikas Khanna did a real cute yet awkward ramp walk :P ) Also the which wine goes with which food App was brilliant. I never try wine cause I don't know what to order. So this App is truly a blessing. 

  Besides AppTasting there were contests and Onion cutting sessions , Vikas taught the crowd how to cut onions with a new technique and many people embarrassed themselves when they tried it themselves. Prizes were given away for witty lines and introductions , contests and games , Nokia was pretty generous that way. While grilled fish and white wine was being had I suddenly felt my hand go up , to go on stage and make a fool of myself for 30 straight minutes.:P

 The cute Ramp walk I spoke about >

 Vikas and Rajiv quizzed four teams with Techie and Foodie questions , and the outcome was embarrassing and in my defense the Foodie questions were really difficult. From the national soup of India ? to in which state of India is the Halwa City ? Me and my team mate were bound to lose terribly until ofcourse the savior of all rounds , the Fourth round of the quiz was the famous Masterchef challenge where I was blindfolded and made to drink a soup while my partner was asked to write down the ingredients I could identify from it. . This magical round got us from the shamefully low score to the third position. I guessed 6 ingredients of the 9. Not bad at all . Right? The first team won a Nokia Lumia :O More than the winning it was an awesome experience :) Rajiv and Vikas are funny , witty and hot !! very charming :)

The contest was followed by a scrumptious dinner and an open bar ;) . The chocolate mousse was to die for. But the night was truly amazing , we also got our person Indiblogger Tshirts :D.
Me and a few friends also connected with Poonam Kaul ( Nokia - Director Communications). She shared her very cool visiting card with us ( Nokia employees have cool cards :O ). She was very sweet and asked us to be in touch.

 ^ On the stage while the other team danced for two extra points :P

 These Guys won the Lumia ^ :D

Indiblogger turns 5 :D The Cake was YUMM *slurp slurp* >

The Lucky maskot of Indiblogger events ( Anup of Indiblogger's baby :D )

Vikas Oh so CUTE Khanna :D

Pictures of me with my friends who are also Bloggers :D

Also what is the procedure for getting to marry a hybrid of these two awesome men ? One can make you laugh and one cooks awesome food . What more can a girl ask for :P
   Waiting for another Indiblogger meet in mumbai soon. :)
It was great to connect with the amazing bloggers who blog about various things, from food to fashion , to technology . There is so much talent out there :)

PS : You can read about the experience of the other bloggers here 
PPS: Nokia is coming up with the " Your Wish is Our App" Contest , So if you ever dreamed of a App which you would like to download , here is your chance to get it made for you.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Where Hibiscus Grow in Abundance.

From the huge window of my terrace room , I could see the gulmohar bloom.
I could see the sun kissed ripe fruits perched on the branches of the dates, mango, chikoo and papaya trees waiting to be plucked.  The milkman paddling his old bicycle to the village as the ladies open the huge teak wood doors with a creaking sound, at early dawn to collect the milk and make the first cup of morning tea.

 The twitter of birds and the squirrels atop the tile roofs or jumping from the pillar to the branches into theirs dwellings on the tamarind trees sets the morning in glory. The silence,  the serene calm , fresh air , tiled roof houses, the sugarcane fields , the dust they all rhymed in grace , harmony, peace and tranquility.

From a distance the trees and the summer flowers look like as if the Almighty has set up bouquets in a newly opened flower shop.  The dried lake in the centre of the village becomes a venue for flee market. This happens a week where the village folk from around 10 kilometres  bring their wares like earthen pots, the vegetables they grow in their backyards or in small fields they own. The splendor of colorful wares, fresh vegetables, the men and women in their ethnic tribal attire is a sight to behold. These small entrepreneurs set up their stalls and transform into very shrewd negotiators. It’s pitiable that the rates they fetch is one fourth of the price, their commodity could fetch in a city.  However the most successful venture and busy enterprise is that of the pakora, made from onion and potato which is served with sliced fresh onion, mint chutney and green fried chilies. Every visitor would have a morsel of these fast food at the fair and also take it home for the family. This also becomes the starters or biting for the young at heart toddy ( local brew ) lovers in the evening. To beat the summer heat the runner up enterprise is that of sugar cane juice crushed in wooden mechanism powered by the no other than the farmer’s best friend, the bull. Round and round the bull moves to quench the thirst and provide the fresh sugarcane juice which is blent with lemon and small pieces of ginger.

As the evening sun turns the sky into a vibrant pastel with  fluorescent hues, the cattle make their return journey. The proud farmers return from the fields on their tractors and the tools, their harvest of mangos with the winning team of farm workers eager to collect their daily wages. The elderly in the pure white attire gather around the corner under the huge Banyan tree to head start their daily evening walk to the river which is minutes away from the village.

 As the day ends the supper is cooked on the wooden fire in earthen pots with finely diced fresh vegetables from the fields and some from the backyard filling the air with the aroma of the manually grounded spices and the mother’s recipes.

The day is not over yet and the night is still young, the elderly sit together in their white attire to discuss on issues related to improving the village infrastructure, about arthritis, the knee jerk approach of the government to improve the village, and the headlines in the daily newspaper. They share experiences on how they faced a tough life when young and hide their sorrows and loneliness as their children and grand children do not come to the village as they like the urban lifestyle. Among them are the bachelors who could not find a suitable bride, become the laughing stock and with pride they carry on life with little hope and despair in their eyes of finding a partner as no one would like to offer their daughters to these so called jewels of the village , the 40 plus.

On the other side the woman folk start gathering, discussing about their seldom appreciated hard work and issues related to the community, problems they face in work, food they prepared today and what they would cook tomorrow. Share recipes of the pickles and the papadam they have prepared for the complete year to follow, how they have oiled the rice, wheat and the pulses to store for the future use, tell stories to their grandchildren who sleep in their laps. Their mellow whispers sound like a lullaby for these angels.

 As I step out of the terrace room to the terrace and see the sky full of stars, the moon showering the radiance all over the village and the fields till the eyes reach the horizon. Not a glimpse of modernity, no tall buildings hugging each other in the narrow lanes of my city where I stay. The cool breeze of the Arabian sea caressing not only the skin but the soul within, the sound of drums from the hamlet of farm works although not visible in dark. The breeze carries their sounds some times of gaiety and other times fights when their empty stomachs are filled with the toddy. The ambience in the hamlets truly reveals the joys and sorrows of these poor farm workers can be felt in the air. They are the real souls of the countryside ever smiling and happy mostly left at God's will and very few choices.

As I retire to bed thinking about the return journey to the city the next day.
It is nothing less but like an enchanting novel coming to an end. The fear of misssing the fresh air, to miss the sight of dancing peacocks, the sounds the squirrels make, the songs of the cuckoo bird, the blooming gulmohur, the river, the bouquet of flowers, grandma, grandpa, peace, tranquillity and all the things which rhyme in grace in this mango village.

Tomorrow I return again to the jungle of concrete with a hope to return soon to witness the humming honey bees, the care free Papillion’s,  the exponents of firework the fireflies, as they glow in rhythm in their short hop, skip and jump routines, eat the pakora at the flee market  and where the hibiscus bloom in vibrant shades in abundance.

Life ends journey begins.

They say as you grow older , you lose your sense of wonder.
The world becomes a habit . 
How tragic that most people have to get ill before they understand what a gift it is to be alive.
Yet we prefer to immerse ourselves in the mundane.
We battle with deadlines, get stressed, complain about lack of time . 
What a waste of a life"

We just soak ourselves into the dull routine, and forget how beautiful the world is around us in its own simplicity. Wait for a minute, stop running , absorb and soak no more =) 

This post is for the Surf Excel Matic - #SoakNoMore contest organised by Indiblogger.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

On running and all that .


I've been running from no one or nothing in particular but I just seem to be running from the truth, from people , from myself.Maybe I think too much into things, maybe its not true at all, maybe I just don't see the sunny side of things. I don't know I just don't feel happy. Like , nothing really makes me happy anymore , no goal to work towards, no event to look forward to and no satisfaction of something well done. Stuck in a rut? Maybe.
    Stuck in making a career which doesn't interest me , but don't know what I'd rather do. Want to get out of it impulsively., without a backup plan. Hundred things to worry about and hundred questions to answer to various people. Why? Why should I answer anyone's questions , My Life and My Decisions. Doesn't work that way. No one literally NO BLOODY ONE bothered to tell me growing up would be THIS bad. I would have done so much better with my childhood, like invent an anti aging mechanism with all the free time I had back then . Don't roll your judgemental eyes at me , I could do it . I was a smart kid ok? Ok.
    I feel talking to anyone is too much work so I don't . I feel doing just about anything is too much work. Add a annoying back ache to that which refuses to go away and you have a couch potato. I can't even lie around on my couch anymore in peace. The newest addition to the family , my adorable Cocker Spaniel pup refuses to get off me if I try to sit anywhere in the living room. So if I want alone time it has to be locked up in  my room only , which also annoys me on many levels. I see a text , I just let it slide. I see a missed call and I say to myself , I'll call back and never do. I want a holiday. But guess what a holiday won't help either cause I know I have to come back to this annoying rut all over again.
  In school when they used to ask what would you like to be when you grow up , I would say something new everytime , and maybe that is exactly the problem. I want to do too many things and so I am never happy where  I am , no but seriously who is happy about auditing accounts. :\
   Sometimes I feel I'm just doing it all wrong , and somewhere down the line it will all magically make sense. But the wait till that magical place is killing me . Literally. I even tried to quit my job and try something new. But my boss needed time to decide about whether he wants to let me go or if we can work something out. I do respect him and so couldn't say no. I'm so awkward at these things anyway. How do you go ahead and quit your job? How do you tell your boyfriend you don't feel like speaking to him for sometime without hurting him? How do you avoid texts with BBM letting the world know that you read the message but still aren't replying. ? I feel so responsible for little - little things. This blog for instance , I feel so guilty when I don't write for a while. How does it matter anyway, I always say I started this blog for myself and I don't care if anyone reads it or not and suddenly I see myself checking if I have a new follower or feeling bad when my last post was more than a month ago. All this is just getting to me now. Also I am suffering from a block , of ideas , thoughts and emotions. So I have nothing to write about either. I have no time for myself at all and I'm still twenty. I don't have a life beyond work and attending classes. I am always picking between two or more things , I can either sleep till late atleast on Sunday or I can go for class , I can either watch a movie or study for the exam next day. I can either eat dinner out and sleep late which will ultimately lead to no college the next day. I literally have to steal life out of the moments that are just racing past me in a ferrari. 
 Reminds me of this awesome poem I had in school ,  I used to love it and I used to think to myself I would never be too busy to do the things I love. Well if you want to make life laugh tell her your plans. Bite Me :D

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Yes I just ranted big time , and you lost 5 minutes of your life that you will never get back.

 Say hello to my Baby :D , her name is Coco she is going to turn 3 months old soon and is probably the only thing that is keeping me sane :) We got her a month ago.
I wanted to share this happy news earlier but just couldn't , my apologies.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Just Another Story

Aayushi grew up in an orphanage. She didn't know what it meant to have a family. To celebrate festivals together , to go on family dinners.
  When she married Vikram , her college mate and then colleague she was welcomed by a large joint family. Vikram's 4 uncles , their kids and his grandparents too all lived in the same locality. They all bought homes close to each other to be able to drop in at any time and not let a busy life disturb some family time. There was never a day when Aayushi and Vikram would be alone. Tina maami would get the pickles one day and his mother would bring home the Besan ladoos the next, or her father in law would just drop in for a chat and tea.
  Aayushi and Vikram didn't have much privacy even in the early years of marriage. But Aayushi didn't mind that , all the love she had missed in the early years was suddenly coming to her in large volumes. Vikram's grand mother read the Bhagwat Gita to her every morning and they prayed together. Aayushi had voluntarily decided to be a housewife, sometimes she did freelancing writing jobs from home but mostly she was not working. Vikram was excelling in his career as well, and they had a good married life.
   Aayushi was brought up as a Catholic, since she lived in a shelter home belonging to the Church. She was taught to pray in the church, which she visited sometimes even after marrying Vikram , she didn't know what her religion was , she was orphaned in the Riots that took place in Mumbai in '93. But Vikram's family had taken to her very well, never making her feel like an orphan again. Much to her surprise they didn't even object to the marriage and had decided to meet her before they took the final decision. Aayushi had charmed them that day, she was smart , beautiful and warm. Vikram was proud of her , she had won over the whole family just the way she won him over.
 Two years after they got married. Vikram and she decided to have a baby , Vikram was doing well enough to support a family and Aayushi too wanted to be a mother. She had wanted to be a mother since the day she had cradled her toy doll in her arms and dressed her up . She wanted a daughter just like that doll. She smiled at every kid in the park when she went on her evening strolls. Once when Aayushi fainted in the supermarket suddenly ,and was rushed to the hospital the doctor announced that she was pregnant. Vikram's happiness knew no bounds. He couldn't wait to hold his baby in his arms. 
   7 months 28 days later Aayushi gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. They named her "Ahana" which means first rays of the Sun.

                    ----------------------------------The End ------------------------------------------

That's it . The story is over. What? It feels incomplete? Leaves you with a confused expression does it ? That's cause no one takes well to happiness anymore. Even if everything is fine and things are blissful we tend to find the crack and see from where sadness can creep in , we are never content , never.
  Rainbows and ponies and colorful balloons don't exist even in our imagination anymore. We complain, crib and refuse to see the sunny side of things . A happy story doesn't touch you as much as a painful one does. You almost felt like something terrible was going to happen as you read each line. That's how cynical we have become.
 I read this really nice paragraph somewhere and it changed my perspective :

Sometimes in life we feel so blue, 
but someone somewhere is not happy as you.
Somewhere far at the border when a soldier sleeps, 
missing his loved ones he silently weeps. 
Somewhere a mother painfully sighs cause, 
her new born baby didnt open her eyes.  
Somewhere a poor dad silently cries, 
when he sees his son begging for a bowl of rice. 
Somewhere in an orphanage a little gal is sad,  
when she misses her mom and dad. 
So at times a reason to smile you may not have any,  
say to yourself that you are happier than many. 
''cause life is beautiful and its not always blue, 
and someone somewhere is not as happy as you......
there is no way for happiness, HAPPINESS is the way

Love Marriage ya Arranged Marriage ?

On this day,
I give you my heart, 
My promise, 
That I will walk with you
Hand in hand,
Wherever our journey may lead us, 
Living, learning, loving,
   I live in a country where only 3 things are important food , money and MARRIAGE in precisely the same order .You may wonder about our obsession with the same and find no answer to it whatsoever. When you put all three of  these things together you are pushed into the world of the GREAT INDIAN WEDDING phenomenon. Remember the last time you went to a grand wedding and wondered what a bomb was spent on the same and how much you could have done with that money.? Well being a CA student I know how much money can do and where it can do it.. Blowing it on a wedding is such a waste of the world's resources , it depresses me.
   But the topic in hand is not weddings but the epic question that surrounds it , Love Marriage or Arranged.? What's the difference you may ask , well its just like Potato Patato, same thing different sounds. Ok fine maybe its like Potato and Tomato but thats it . Honestly speaking they are no different , both of them are equal amount of work and have an equal probability of giving you the satisfaction of marital bliss. So why  this big debate and why always this one question.? How many times have you looked at someone's wedding ring and sheepishly asked that one nosey question "Love marriage.?"

   We all have myths and assumptions about both these methods of vowing to someone for life. If its a love marriage it must have been against the family. If its an arranged marriage the girl must be married for the money. If its a love marriage it must be inter caste and if its an arranged marriage it must be in the same sub section of the religious community. Says who?  A love marriage can be with the willful and happy consent of the family , an arranged marriage can be an inter caste marriage and it can be because the two people actually liked each other and not their bank balance. In an arranged marriage you don't just marry the boy you also marry the family . Why? In a love marriage the boy abandons his family? Highly unlikely.

    But no our nosey aunties never know how to mind their business and commercialize even the beautiful union of two beings into one. A wedding is usually the catalyst for ten other weddings cause how can Sharmaji not marry his daughter away to a  rich NRI just because Vermaji did , his daughter is pretty  too , capable enough to get a good catch. Cause marriage is not about the togetherness and the bond but about financial security. Its not about whether your likes, interests and dreams match but whether you have 10 house properties in 10 different states and one in "Am-rica" wouldn't hurt too. So what then , the youth of the nation is stuck in this mess just trying to find  a good match , someone they can come home to in the evening , someone to share a good life with while their parents scan balance sheets and call their contacts for a detailed background check. I know people who sent spies behind their future son/daughter in law just to be sure, weeks before the wedding. Yes Indians are a mad bunch of people. Eligible bachelors and bachelorettes are difficult to find so they must be trapped before someone else lays their eyes on them

   So what the young generation conveninetly does is finds their match themselves and names it love marriage. Usually its someone they work with, or someone they've known for long or just someone who made voilins play and dancers in the heart do the Kathak. I call it the marry a friend concept. Its so easy and convenient to marry someone you have known as a friend first than just a romantic partner. Someone who knows you in and out and knows all your quirks , has seen you in bermuda shorts and probably won't spit their drink when they see you without makeup. There is just no need to impress cause well you've already done enough crap in front of them to make a brand new image.The level of understanding and the instinct to compromise comes easily. In an arranged marriage from the start the idea of more compromise than normal is in our minds but in a  love marriage when the exact  same compromises need to be done you start feeling like ,you didn't sign up for this or the person has changed. Love marriages can't live upto the great expectations we keep on them and then they break making our elders look like the smart ones while they  give us the pityful look that says " I told you so"

People think that if you love somebody hard enough then everything is just gonna work out. People are wrong. - One Tree Hill

  I'm a true believer in arranged marriage, one cause I have seen many successful ones around me and two cause I think the whole thing about getting to know a person so closely, staying and adapting with them is beautiful. There is not a single person in the world that you cannot learn to love after you know their story. And an arranged marriage is based on exactly that. There will be awkwardness , a little hesitation and a little shyness but when the bond is finally forged there is nothing that could replace it and it would be like it has always been there. People misconceptualise an arranged marriage as a loveless marriage , which is far from true. My parents , your parents and most parents had arranged marriages and they worked out pretty well didn't they.? Well most of them did. Love is the only thing that will eventually make or break the marriage. Love always has to be the largest piece in the jigsaw, it can make up for a lot. There will be tough times in both the scenarios wether you fell in love before or after the wedding but what will make the rainbow come out when it rains is the Love.

  Now with changing times and liberal views as opposed to the early dictatorships experienced by some of us, people and their beliefs have started to change. Human beings have this tendency to always squeeze in a grey area  between two extremes and that my friends gives birth to " Love cum arranged marriage" .
It usually goes like this :
Step 1 : Girl love guy
Step 2 : Guy love girl
Step 3 : Guy goes with his parents to Girl's house. Guy shows off MBA degree , appeals to Dad. Guy shows off culinary skills, appeals to Mom. Guys take little brother on a sports bike , win for the little brother who didn't care anyway.
Step 4 : Girl cooks a 9 course meal, for the Guy's 9 generations , wears a saree while serving it - impresses EVERYBODY.
Step 5 : Parents discuss and eventually agree in a way that makes the bride and groom feel like they had been done a favour.
Step 6 : Thats it there are just 5 steps. Yeah and then the wedding ofcourse, more like since I have so much money lets stuff 500 odd people with it .

  With changing times forever also has become a relative term , and marriages break just as easily as they were made. And marriage is no more the solemn bond you swore to keep for life and something you would stick around with even when its making you unhappy. All you can wish for is that things will work out , there will be those times when you consider the option of homicide but others times its just comfortably tolerable  and when you make it through all that you without even knowing it have a successful marriage.

| There is a biblical story that says , 40 days before a male child is born , the universe shouts out the name of the girl he will marry. 
  I don't know how true that is but I do agree that someone is made for everyone and the universe conspires to unite the two souls (filmy I know , i know ) and one day someone will come and explain why it never worked out with anybody else and then it won't matter whether you have a love marriage or an arranged or if you had a grand wedding or a simple one. What will matter is that you'll are together. |

Check out this awesome short film on arranged marriage :D

PS : This is the first time I have ever written for a contest and I am a little nervous.
This post is a part of Indiblogger and Sony Entertainment's contest " Love Marriage ya Arranged" based on Sony's new show that is to air soon go checkout their facebook page here Love Marriage ya Arranged Marriage?