Thursday, November 19, 2015

You know it like a local, now!

Handy tips for you if you are visiting Goa for the first time

1. Hire a vehicle: Not only it is going to save you a lot of money, but also it’s going to give you a lot of peace of mind and liberty to stop at and start from wherever. Besides, you will see Goa exactly like a local :) Ask for rented vehicles from the hotel where you are staying. Better if you could get some local agent from the hotel arrange it for you; you could haggle if you want. A Thunderbird 350 CC in good condition should not cost you more than 2000 for 3 days. 
2. Safety: If you are planning to move from your hotel at 10 in the night to check out the lifestyle of the place, please do not carry any excess baggage in your mind regarding your safety; leave that for metropolitans. Goa is extremely safe even if you are riding a bullet at 12 AM. There might be certain places, which would be completely devoid of any light. For all such places, I would advise you to carry either a fully charged smartphone (with a torch) or a torch itself. It’s better to be your own torchbearer! Further, try to arrange your late-night travels in groups in order to be extra secure and lastly, do not carry any valuable along if you are out to groove in a night club.
3. Toiletries: A hand sanitizer and a sunscreen. Never get these two to lose you ever! 
4. Clothing: Extra set of clothing no matter where you are going, be it Dudhsagar falls or the beaches, will always prove utile. 
5. A hat and shades: Available in abundance in Goa, these two will compel you to buy them seeing you give in to the heat and the sunny days. They are especially seen sold outside all popular forts and churches. 
6. Decorum: A lot of people forget where they are as soon as they are two pints down. Decide if you are staying where you are boozing or you are driving back sane. I saw a lot of girls go so wild being drunk that they started throwing cuss words at the bouncers. Obviously, they had to be thrown out from the club, but that’s not why you have come all the way this far – to get booed by a lot who you don’t even know. Better to be sane and enjoy knowing what you are doing than to guess what you might have done the next morning. 
7. Trust the locals: You can safely do this; though, a lot of them might not know English, Hindi comes handy to a lot. You can safely trust them for directions and ways. 
8. Hotels: They might be in hundreds, but you have to decide sanely where you would stay if you are travelling with a family. Since Goa tourists comprises a lot of crowd which comes there just to spend some days off partying, it is safer to go with either the brands or the hotels which have secured good user ratings on trusted websites, like Booking.com. 
9. Food: Goa will serve you the best of the seafood, tasty enough for you to savor it days after you had it; the bests are prawns, shrimps (the smaller, the better), crabs, beef and, of course, a variety of fishes. Do not hold high expectations of chicken dishes in Goa – they do not know how to cook this the best. We had very bad experiences with chicken dishes at a couple of top restaurants and we had to draw this conclusion. 
10. Potable Water: Carry this all along your travel, especially if you are going to the beaches or for water sports. The salt water really takes a toll on your head if it enters your body either through your mouth or your nostrils. Better to have an easy option to wash out ready. Drink lots of it, even if it means frantically looking for washrooms; you’ll find some easily. 

Having noted all said above, you're all set to boogie in a land with so much of positive vibes that you would definitely want to come back! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

GOA: Go Out, Amigo!

Yes, you are not here to sit in the balcony of a posh hotel and catch the view; you are supposed to head out in the sun, kiss the sand, hug the sea and dance and swing all your limbs while grooving on trance in a larger-than-life club. This city has got everything to satiate all your senses right, be it eyes, tongue, ears or skin. I am sure if you have reserved travelling to Goa for that special occasion, Goa will make sure you take back home a lot of great memories and pockets full of sand.

This one was for our first anniversary and shortlisting Goa as a venue for our celebrations came quite easy. Goa, anyway, is a state associated quite often with ‘party’ and, thus, we decided to experience its aura first-hand. The week prior to the travel, obviously, revolved around shopping and, thus, I can say the celebrations started well ahead of when they were actually going to start. This four-day trip made us see the bests of Goa – food, architecture (churches and forts), water sports and beaches and I must say four days are more than enough to have fun and sustain the enthusiasm at its peak.

Our four-day itinerary goes as follows:

Day 1: Reached Goa, checked in at Keys Ronil Resort and straightaway headed to have our much-awaited lunch. Oh BTW, I have to tell you the amazing plus affordable Health Buzzz food we had during our heck-boring flight from Delhi to Goa. This was not only yummy to the core, but also very easy on pocket, way better than the flight food they serve you. So now, having checked in and changed, we set out to the famous Baga beach which was only two minutes walking far from our hotel. We had food at Brittos here. If this was the start of our culinary adventure in Goa, I must say it was a really good one! Coming back after a stroll, we had a mandatory nap of three hours, following which we went to check out the night life of Goa. Having heard from everyone about Club Cabana, we did not think twice about going there. They say it is the best and the most disciplined club in Goa and they do not allow stag entry. Nice move, I must say! Back at 3 in the morning, we had no option but sleeping like a kid.

Day 2: Dudhsagar falls! Please carry extra set of clothes and do NOT miss getting into the waterfall; you might just miss the best experience of your life. Plus, the drive from Baga to Dudhsagar will take around two hours, but the path, the fresh air and the scenery along would not let you feel tired; it would be better if you would arrange your travel in groups. Having spent a memorable time at Dudhsagar falls, we went to have our dinner (yes, we did not have any lunch because there are no great restaurants around Dudhsagar). For dinner, Goa surprised with its finest – Souza Lobo at Calangute beach; you must never miss having a meal here. And with the great food ended our Day 2.

Day 3: It was our ‘first’ anniversary this day, so this had to be really really special. After having a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel, we went to explore Fort Aguada and there on, headed to Vivanta by Taj to raise a toast. Taj is right next to the fort and welcomes you with a lot of class, poshness and a great view of the Sinquerim beach. Also, Fort Aguada will give some of the nicest spots for coolest pictures. Here on, we headed to Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral. Both of these are in Old Goa and would be 40 minutes (if you’re driving a bullet) far from the Baga beach. We had local Goa food and drinks at this restaurant right opposite to the churches – Ratna Sagar and the food, especially the fish was totally up to the mark. From here, we headed to our hotel and had a tea, following which we, once again, went to Souza Lobo for our dinner. Needless to say, it had really impressed us quite a lot. With the food and a long walk along the beach at night came to an end our Day 3.

Day 4: This was the day when we were supposed to catch our flight back to Delhi and, thus, we really wanted to make the most of it. We could really think of nothing better than trying out all the water sports our friends had been discussing with us – bumper rinding, parasailing and speedboating! Having experienced the adrenaline rush, I am sure there could have been no better way to end our trip right but this!

With this, a short, sweet and memorable trip to Goa came to an end, but we were in no mood to let the party spirit leave us that soon, so we rushed to a liquor shop at Delhi airport, picked our favorite brands and a cake to mark our anniversary and, of course, a lot of food. Day 4 was, in no way, any less than any of the other days of the vacation. Over all, this has been one of the finest holidays together. Here, I am leaving you with a lot of picture collages to feel what I've been blabbering about. 
What we did
What we ate

What we wore

Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: #GIRLBOSS


My rating: ●●●●

Sophia Amoruso
#GIRLBOSS
India: Penguin Books Ltd., 2014
256 pp. 699
ISBN: 9780241971680

Summary: How often do you come across female entrepreneurs who are as excited and boastful about their achievements in life as they are about the fact that they did it all themselves despite their lack of any required skills or knowledge? In India, this rarely happens for real and that’s the reason why I liked this book and the truth that it has instigated in me a feeling that is only going to fuel my passion for thinking out of the box.

My take: The title: a hashtag! I am sure this one would be a first you would have come across. The cover page looks simple, with a single-tone, light-colored background and the protagonist, author standing with arms akimbo, occupying almost 70% of the cover page clearly conveying the message that this book is all about her. For some it would look like a memoir, for some a business reference book, for others a self-help and for a few like me, a perfect blend of feminism, personal development and self-help, which fills the readers up with a few useful tips they should always keep in mind and a lot of enthusiasm to face things head-on.

The writing style has been deliberately kept as colloquial, as the author wants to stay as basic and connected to everyone as possible. This is a perfect rags-to-riches story of a young girl who just kept walking on a path that seemed right to her and eventually, explored her way to success. The author has never been to college and is, also, a high school dropout, but thanks to her being street-smart that she got this far. She has a lot of tips to share with the fellow entrepreneurs which might just sound familiar, but yes, we all do need reminders!

If you are looking for a serious business book, which might just walk you down the path of entrepreneurship, this is simply NOT the one you should pick. This one is a nice, brief autobiography cum self-help book which touches base on the general values one should hold while walking on the road to being big; for instance, success is all about trusting your instincts and following your gut, or life is short; don’t be lazy or this one, true success lies in knowing your weaknesses and playing to your strengths.

In fact, it should prove to be really helpful to those who are going through a tough phase and want to see some light at the end of the tunnel. It would definitely instigate loads of enthusiasm and #badgirl attitude in you, pushing you hard to take things more seriously. In fact, by the end of the book, you would want to tap the immense energy this #badass attitude might hold for you. What’s better? Along the way, you would also laugh out loud on the author’s narration of her outlook on things and fuckups she did. A great read if all you are looking for is a light, hilarious and thought-provoking book which might also leave you with a handful of great tips to keep safe in your pocket. I really loved the illustrations depicted at the beginning of each chapter for they are equally bitchy and sassy!

Final word: A funny, entertaining, sassy and incredibly smart book, which does not give away incomprehensible preaching, but easy street-smart lessons which that Marketing course might never teach you.

Monday, October 12, 2015

My first Varalakshmi Vratham

My story is one perfect example of amalgamation of two cultures, one from cosmopolitan Punjab and the other from traditional Andhra. Going by my instincts or love or spirit to marry my beau had gotten me into a new land of a new language, new cultures, new traditions and new ways of leading life. Needless to say, it has been an enriching experience which I would have deeply missed had I gotten hitched in my own community. I always had hots for South Indian guys and since college, I was pretty sure I am going to fall for one from the foreign land and no wonder, the fate!

So, now, I am a semi-Andhraiite, still trying to get my tongue twist on the tunes of Telugu words and training my taste buds for spicy, Andhra food. But the best part about this cross-cultural union is that I get to celebrate the bests of the festivals from the North as well as from the South. We had God’s grace shining on us, so we could celebrate my first Rakhi and get all the love from my family. A day before, I got to celebrate my first Varalakshmi Vratham and this experience was both divine as well as overwhelming for both of us.

Since I do not have any elder’s guidance on how things should be, I had to bank on my cousin sisters-in-law, Kanthi and Pallavi and one great bhabhi (vadina, as they say in Telugu), Rani. These guys helped me great deal to understand the festival and the values hidden in it and perform the pooja according to the rituals. The best anchor, my husband was always next to me to lead the way but yes, he never forced anything upon me, neither if I should fast nor if I should perform the pooja. It was my interest and excitement which he fueled further .

So, I had my new sarees in place, gold purchased (kasu) in place, a thoroughly cleaned and decorated mandir in place and all the raw ingredients required to prepare the prasadam the next morning right in place. One best aspect of participating in South Indian festivals is you get to purchase plenty of new clothes and jewelry all the time! Anyway, the next morning, I got up at 5:30 in the morning, took a shower, draped my new saree and set out to my kitchen to prepare the five dishes I had plan to cook. I must say I not only surprised myself but also my best friend and my husband who couldn’t believe I could do all this in one go.

I prepared the following – carrot kheer, lemon rice, rava kesari, Pongal and daddhojanam. By 9, I was all prepared and set for the pooja. This vratham is not exactly a tiring one, as you get to eat right after you perform the pooja. We performed our pooja at 11:40 in the morning and had food right after that. This pooja experience was calming and, also, brought us closer as a couple – we recited all the mantras in Sanskrit together and sung the Arti, too. Singing ‘Lakshmi Raave Maa Intiki’, I, not even once, felt like an outsider. For the first experience, this one was truly outstanding! The craze to wear a new saree, to eat all these tasty dishes, to wear new jewelry and, of course, to do things right was all the driving force behind, but by grace of Maa Lakshmi, I had the best first Varalakshmi Vratham ever!
Daddhojanam or Curd Rice
Lemon Rice
Carrot Kheer
Rava Kesari/Halwa

Pongal

Friday, October 9, 2015

Face-off with Failure

One of the hundred, and probably the most crucial, reasons why a person fails in accomplishing a task he aims at is he just wasn’t ready enough to face the opportunity at hand with all the arms it required him to bring to the table. What’s worse, it takes us tad too long to make out where we were wrong and where we needed to improve; result? An even worse turn of events unfolding.

A rather tough array of events takes place when you become a little too confident about the coming success that you can almost hear its doorsteps walking towards your main door and bah! you encounter failure disguised as success. Yes, I use the word disguised. For so has happened with me and I think this has been a first in life.

Out of the blue, you see an opportunity waving at you; you sense you must be extra special for someone to fall for you; you start running in whichever position you find yourself without carrying the right stuff you might need in order to keep the conversation going; you get treated really well and this inflates your chest further; you come back home and start counting days waiting for a reply; you chase for an answer; you do receive a reply which says you were not good enough. This could demand a frantic behavior of the protagonist, who also might end up passing cuss words for that fido who frigging waved. Anddd this is precisely where you go wrong.

Quickly accepting defeat is, I know, loser’s avenue, but figuring out the reasons to become better is a real sensible person’s trademark. That’s why I attributed failure as ‘disguised success’ for it is going to be an awesome teacher for you for the coming future. This, in fact, is going to make way for bigger opportunities and your bang-on-time preparedness. Sometimes finding a way to hear what we want is what they call as ‘preparing’.

The feeling is bad, I know, but when you see other opportunities waiting for you right at the end of the road you are treading on, you watch your steps this time and walk steady while getting yourself in the best state of mind to face them. You also give a high five to Steve Jobs (in your mind, of course) for saying the following words, “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.” For him, they did; likewise, for me, better days are on their way to meet me.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

First Class and I Bear a Conclusion

It’s been close to a year and a half that I have sustained my passion for the gym and for working out and voila! I have surprised myself by the discipline. No matter how bad the day might have gone, it all comes to zero when I hold iron in my arms. Besides, the loud music that plays in my iPod not only lifts my spirits high, but also helps me get over a tough or a boring day.

One evening, when I was leaving the premises of the gym, a notice pinned to the notice board got my attention. This said, ‘Yoga classes begin this Monday!’ Not that I am a fitness maniac who would try her hands at every means to get fit that crosses her way, but since I’d heard so much about the after-effects of Yoga, I really wanted to have an opinion of my own.

The second challenge after making up my mind that I want to participate was to get up by 8. No, I am not an early riser and yes, I sleep bang on time! One super fine day that I did get up before 8, I decided that I am going to give this a shot. I politely entered the class and got a mat for myself. The I-am-pro-at-this ladies already practicing there threw super-curious looks at me seeking an answer to their favorite question, why despite being slim do I want to join them. No, I do not think I should have answered to their curiosity so I just smiled.

By the end of the very first class, I had a freshly-brewed opinion of my own about Yoga and why I would want to continue it if at all I do and why it does not mean quitting lifting weights at the gym. First thing, Yoga does an excellent job to your body by making it flexible. Yes, you seldom get this facility at the gym. There are stretching exercises but none of them is this elaborate. The breathing exercises they teach not only open up your mind, but also your senses. You feel negativities leaving your body through your nose and a fresh, lively energy entering in. Further, the morning aspect of it makes it way more ‘cooler’. Lastly, it does not require you to sweat heavy or lift more to have a command at it, if you continue doing it right, it will prove to be the best thing that makes your mind and body balanced.

Now, why I feel I still need to life weights is because that help me gets more muscle in my body, killing the fat. Yoga might do the same to me eventually, but I think I am sure it is going to be at a tortoise’s pace. Secondly, the cardio exercises in the gym besides making you sweat hard, also get your heart rate up and increase the blood circulation throughout your body. That said, I am sure there are plenty of benefits of Yoga that working out in the gym can never replace, like increasing flexibility, toning and strengthening the body and affecting the body mentally, intellectually and spiritually, but after my first Yoga class, I bear an opinion which is going to be my lifestyle now.

I opt to go for the killer combination of the both. That would imply three days of gym, three of yoga and one for the sleep. I am sure the two would complement each other nicely and I cannot wait to see the results of this shock I am going to give to my body, which is used to the music and the iron. No, I am still trying to get up by 8 and my gym trainer thinks I am a sleep-deprived girl, who, for the love of her sleep, is now sucking up her workout time to catch some Z’s. I am, anyway, happy being me. 
   


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Boycotting Normalcy

We've long back crossed the age of excitement and astonishment trying to figure out the meaning of marriage and wedding, while learning the difference between the two. After close to six months now, when all fascinating aspects of marriage seemed to have found the answers, I sense the state of ‘being settled’ trying to seize the schedule and painting it in the bland colors of routineness, while shouting on top of its voice, ‘Congratulations! Now that you’re freaking hitched, you’re settled now!

The only thing I am reminded of by this phrase ‘being settled’ is a heavy stone sunk to the bottom of a water tank, because there wasn’t any space to dig down further and lie there. It’s like a bottle of champagne being decarbonated just to get a more calmed down, fizz-free drink, like a cat being belled just to keep a tab on all her ‘catty’ acts and more like gaseous CO being converted into dry ice to keep it all, integrated at one place.

You seldom hear parents wishing a life full of adventures, while bidding farewell to their daughter-turned-bride, or a life full of last-minute plans, shocking revelations, exciting explorations, daring decisions, creative enlightenment or mental growth, for that matter. All that they would wish her is a life as calm and peaceful as still water, a life which certifies her as a nice wife, daughter-in-law, mother, neighbor, colleague and citizen!

This generation, who I belong to, regards more meaning to the life post marriage than what settlement holds for them. For many like me, marriage brings along a possibility to try the things never tried before, breaching the rules and heading out untrained to face life head-on. Thankfully, I am surrounded by friends and family who think the same; for instance, one of my close friends chooses to be an Army wife instead of going for a ‘normal, settled’ boy because she thinks she can pull it off with fun; one other friend heads out for a road trip to Nepal and one, last, who is learning to knit because she finds it utterly creative. All these have one thing in common, they have refused to stay stuck in normalcy – all of them are happy being called jerks because they think this tag describes them the best. 

I reckon one famous saying by Paulo Coelho (a little down here) and this one brings me the feeling of euphoria, for there are millions of things I would like to try while they are still calling me young and cover it all under the sheath of ‘experimentation’. I feel this is THE time when we could be crazy at our best and still feel grounded, for we have explored the true meaning of being mature and are coloring our life with the hues of sense. 

Refusing to stay stuck in normalcy, here I am saying, 'I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me!'.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review: Mrs Funnybones

My rating: ●●●○○

Twinkle Khanna
Mrs Funnybones: She’s Just Like You and a Lot Like Me
India: Penguin Books Ltd., 2015
240 pp. 299
ISBN: 9780143424468

Summary: Would you prefer reading a satirical work by a stinkingly rich female celebrity with lots of first-world problems, which I am sure you won’t be able to relate to but still find a brief, humorous, witty read in them? The answer is all up to your taste.

My take: I must say Twinkly Khanna has a long way to tread on to finally reach what they call a place from where the zenith of good language and sense is visible, but she has given the journey a nice kick start. It is apparent from her columns in popular newspapers and magazines that she almost, always carries an opinion about things and the fact that she is THE wife of an extremely popular Bollywood star doesn’t really brush off her shoulder and, thus, grants her an easy access to the ‘stardom’ despite having left the Bollywood industry decades back.

I especially liked the sub-title of the book, She’s Just Like You and a Lot Like Me and the reason why I thought it was catchy was the way the author has tried to relate herself to her readers, simultaneously drawing a clear line of already-apparent distinction. Besides, the cover of the book has pretty much summed up all the topics she discusses about in the book – her prodigal son, the man of her house (the subtle hint she has dropped by depicting a dumb bell), her baby and the diapers and (the local) herself.

The TOC might seem to be a sneak peek into the detailed diary entries the author might have written trying really hard to take humor out of her routine and boy! she has been successful in making her readers smile. The language of the book is rather conversational with a lot of use of colloquialism and personal pronouns. I think it perfectly fits the bill, for she’s sticking to the ‘entertainment, nonfiction’ genre, which is mostly liked by a wider range of readers.

You would also find sketch quotes at the beginning of each chapter, consisting of witty, humorous messages which would instantly set your mood right for the coming chapter. For instance, there’s one which said, ‘nothing is free except bad advice’ and there’s this other which I loved, ‘I want to be a child again, to climb up hills and roll down the other side, only because the hill exists and so do I’. Halfway through, you might also find this book a rant diary of a frustrated wife, daughter and mom, but nevertheless, the account would still continue to interest as well as amuse you.

Final word: This one is a 240-page, brief read which will surely keep you glued until you reach the last page and would also make you laugh occasionally along the way. Read it if you love Twinkle Khanna and her personal views which comfortably glide into popular national media every week and, also, if you generally hear your thoughts flowing coherently with hers. 

This post has been chosen as the Spicy Saturday Pick by Blogadda


Friday, August 21, 2015

My First Vlog Ever!

This Vlog is dedicated to my husband who just celebrated his first birthday after marriage and, boy, look at the happiness that spread!
 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Review: World’s Best Boyfriend

My rating: ●●○○○

Durjoy Dutta
World’s Best Boyfriend
India: Penguin Metro Reads, Penguin Books Ltd., 2015
310 pp. 175
ISBN: 9789352140107

Summary: Would you ever appreciate an adulterated, maneuvered version of DDLJ no matter how promisingly interesting it seemed to be?  I assume you answered negatively, for there are plenty of other Young Adult Romances, which fill up the readers’ need to feel and associate with a story through words. This one was a big time failure and since the book was my first ever read from Durjoy Dutta, I, now, find zero motivation to move on to his other writings.

My take: The first attempt at naming the title goes awfully wrong; striking out the word, ‘worst’, to replace it with ‘best’ gives such a cheesy ting to the noun, boyfriend that it almost makes the complete story predictable. Durjoy Dutta seems to be painfully wowed by coming-of-age authors like Chetan Bhagat, Ravinder Singh, Preeti Shenoy, Novoneel Chakraborty, Anurag Garg and many others that he has opted for the same path they all trod on.

The ‘so to say’ love story revolves around a girl, Aranya, who suffers from vitiligo and considers it as a burden she’ll have to carry for life, and a boy, Dhruv, who has a reason to act the way he does – a disturbed childhood.

The story is distributed in 81 small chapters, which all end leaving a question mark, thereby prompting you to move on to the next chapter. The writing style of the author is simple, easy-to-grasp and extremely colloquial. I believe he could have done a way better job had he not used the negative words, like f*ck, ugly, fat and bhench*d, tad too much. These seriously turn the readers off and discourage them to read any further.

Additionally, though the story is intriguing and pushes you to read till the last page, a lot of times it seems more of a drag and the reader seems to feel the weight of pages as quite heavy to turn. Half way into the book and you have a clear idea how it is going to end; therefore, it is more of a predictable story where everything is happy through the end. Besides, there are certain aspects of the tale which are completely beyond one’s grasp and rather fill you with rage; for instance, why does the girl, who is a master of her forte, not filled with enough clarity to clearly define how she feels – there are plenty of shades of grey in the way she feels; why Dhruv, who is Casanova himself, doesn’t accept her lady being promiscuous; why Aranya, despite being mentally strong to ward off a boy who she has very strong feelings for, has no power to speak in front of her parents and why the author wants to portray all the disease part extremely negatively, although Vitiligo is no serious disease and I have seen big time achievers in my life who never really “suffered” because of this.

Lastly, you would find this a great way to kill time if that’s all what you have been wanting to do. You could, surely, choose this over watching a cheesy Govinda romcom, but if you have been an avid John Green, Rainbow Rowell or Gayle Forman fan, this book is NOT for you.

Final word: This book could have gathered a lot of ‘awws’ from people who love amateur YA romance, but to a more mature reader, this book would appear a clichéd love story with nothing new to offer to the reader. The story is not something unheard of and the execution also appears hurried and messy. I am sure Durjoy Dutta has a lot of ‘female’ fan following, but so does have Rahul Gandhi and we, know, now, why and how!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Such Perfection

I am unsure how many of you would be able to relate with this anecdote, but I assume you all will be able to have a different perspective on things happening around after reading this, a perspective reading blesses you with.


It was the time every girl eagerly waits for, the time when advices on how one should be keep flowing from all over yet all you can see is a bright light at the end of the tunnel – a light promising a glorious future enlightened at core by lots of love; the time in a girl’s life when she does away with the skin she’s been breathing in since her birth to finally have on a skin which will always be adorned by indications of her being married; the time she and her family has been preparing for since they got to know ‘it’ was a girl; the time when, for once, she will be the most important person of an event – the time for her to get married.


She has been extremely conscious all this while of her looks and her behavior. Thanks to her job which required her to work from home, she got to run for that extra mile in taking care of her mind, body and soul. All in all, she was putting her best step forward in preparing herself to look the best on the day when all everyone would be interested in knowing would be how she looked. Everything was going perfectly as per the checklist prepared, all action plans of what she should be doing 12 months, 9 months, 6 and 3 months, 10 days, 1 day and 2 hours before the wedding were put in place and were being strictly followed until that one incident which, in a flash, made her think back a story she had read in one of favorite authors’ book – Malgudi Days.


She was so sure she would look like a goddess; she had the perfect figure to walk in, her trousseau was tried and checked several times, her skin radiated a grace almost all around her couldn’t help but keep staring at and her charm was the talk of the house, when one day, two days, to be sure, before she would get hitched, she noticed her toe nail break in a manner anyone would get his eyeballs on if at all they would reach her foot. She was taken aback for she couldn’t relate any incident which could have led to this. Trying to take a meaning out of this shocker, she was, suddenly, reminded of a story she had read some time back, and for once she was bewildered how a seed planted in a fiction could actually appear as a tangible plant in her real life.


The name of the story was, Such Perfection. This story revolves around a sculptor, Soma, who after five years of tiring labor, prepares a ‘too perfect’ statue of Lord Nagaraj. Despite being told that the ‘too perfect’ chisel isn’t meant for mortals and that he should break its little toe or some other part so that it is safe enough, he asks for the handiwork to be consecrated. Unwilling to give in to the demand of the priest or the villagers, Soma decides to consecrate the chisel near his house, building a temple-like structure himself. The priest’s predictions about the ‘too-perfect’ statue being consecrated turn out to be true and the whole village is immersed in water due to heavy rains, thunderbolts and storms the same day Soma does the act. The villagers reach out to Soma asking him to act as per the priest’s instructions, yet, for his love for the chisel, he decides to go against everyone’s will and to kill himself instead. As and when he steps out of his house to do that, a tree crashes on the roof of his house, leaving the handicraft unhurt, yet breaking its little toe. The whole village accepts this as an act of God and further consecrates the now 'slightly imperfect' statue with all the rights in the village temple.

She looked ‘too-perfect’ on her D-Day but inside she knew there was a little imperfection which was balancing things off!    
The imperfect toe
The 'too perfect' bride

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Put That Damn Nail Paint On!

Get facts right in your head – you are a lady and the society, despite it being a nag, happily allows you to do stuff she would not to a man. Making your body speak for itself is one, first art, that you should learn to master. And that, dear lady, doesn’t seek any excuses of you – it only demands the final result, the better YOU.

Talking about polishing your aura, you know what can a properly applied nail paint do to your overall image? Well, it can substantially lift your spirits; it can make you want to look at one of your body parts time and again – your nails, obviously; it can make you look younger and sassier; it can add to your sex appeal; it can add colors to your bland personality and can beautify your otherwise very plain-looking hands and, lastly, it can send a message out to the world that you DO have time for yourself!

I hear females quetching why they can’t apply nail paints all the time – they have gotta handle house chores, which do not let the nail paint stay for long or the nature of their jobs refrains them from applying nail paints or they don’t like them chipping often and removing the chippings to reapply a fresh coat seems too much of a task to them or nail polishes look damn too expensive for them to shed their money on. Whatever the shit they say, it all sounds guff to me.

Did you ever realize your body is the ‘only’ permanent residence you are ever gonna have? If you did, why, on Earth, would you still abstain from looking beautiful? I am so sure none of your excuses would sound light enough for gravity to let you stay with them. Drop that to the floor and let it break. Head out to a spa or a parlor and get yourself a manicure/pedicure. Don’t let this be a task you only get done if it’s your birthday/someone’s marriage or karva chauth nearing soon.


The rules of the game are simple – chipping-offs are a big turn off, so, don’t let that happen to you. Either invest in a good nail paint that lasts for long or keep a watch on when the existing one chips. Second, keep experimenting; nail art is so much fun! Third, manicure, please? Fourth, keep a nail polish remover handy. Fifth, keep in mind that you’re sexy and that nail polish just reiterated that out to everyone. Stay gorgeous and please, put that damn nail paint on!
 
 

 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Being Fit



My rating: ●●●●

Namrata Purohit
The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Being Fit
India: Ebury Press, Random House India Pvt. Ltd., 2015
192 pp. 250
ISBN: 9788184006018

Summary: This is, apparently, my favorite genre of books and keeping in view the current wave of fitness-consciousness in India, this is the field where all the curious eyes are gazing at. Perfectly conforming to the trend, here comes a brief, informative book from the youngest Pilates girl from India, Namrata Purohit.

My take: Contrary to the title, this book, in no manner, advocates sloth or indolence. In fact, it pushes everyone to move out of the skin of a ‘lazy person’. If you bought this book thinking it will help you shed extra kilos while you continue being lazy, then you are miserably mistaken. This book will, in fact, prove to be a fantastic rulebook, which will inform you right and will take you by hand to walk you on to a smooth path to fitness.

The cover depicts the important emblems associated with the country of slack – couch and remote – and then there is a weighing scale, dumbbells and a pair of sneakers, trying to speak a language of transformation. Talking about the TOC, all topics mentioned seem to the point and crisp, summarizing the detailed account they are veiling within them. It majorly covers every topic of interest which would hover in the mind of an average fitness-conscious person; for instance, kick: inspire yourself or talking about food and holiday: exercises for when you are on holiday.

The author, Namrata Purohit, has managed to gather a handsome array of acknowledgements from a lot of renowned faces of celeb world, like Lauren Gottlieb, Neha Dhupia, Jacqueline Fernandez, Richa Chadda and Bruna Abdullah. This, obviously, makes her more credible.

Throughout the book, the author has aimed at breaking the common stereotypes like being thin means being fit, only a chosen few can exercise and there is an age to start working out. Asking the readers to identify their ‘type’ of body, the author has motivated them to choose their workouts wisely. Listing some fabulous inspirational quotes which inspires the reader to get out and get going, the author has also made it a point to explain in great detail the innumerable benefits of working out throughout the book. Also sharing her views on the importance of stretching, warming up and cooling down, Namrata has given workout plans for everyone aiming to work out at home or in the gym. Furthermore, she has actively advocated the wonderfulness of ‘Pilates’, which is apparently her forte.

Her 4-minute workout plans and 4-day workout plans should come handy to many. Additionally, the fun activities she has mentioned, reckoned to have fat-burning qualities, like shopping, skipping, cycling, dancing, hula hoop, dog walking, swimming, skating, trampoline, horse riding, cleaning the house, playing on Xbox and partying should, indeed, cajole a lot into some fitness routines.

This book lets out important information about your body, about the fitness regimes one should opt for and about science associated with training and, therefore, it should come across as a fitness reference book for life.

Final word: Putting together a holistic account on fitness, the author of this book has, indeed, kept the content Safe, Simple and Smart. Overall, a wonderful, easy-to-grasp and informative read, which keeps you glued till the last page and makes you want to note down a lot of interesting information, which you could use for life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Review: The Secret

My rating: ●●●●●

Rhonda Byrne
The Secret
India: Atria Books, Simon and Schuster (in India), 2009
198 pp.
750
ISBN: 9781416554998

Summary: How often do you feel like thanking a person/community/club/group for suggesting a book to you – not too often, right? For this one time, you would be compelled to be ‘grateful’ to the suggester all your life.

My take: The first thing that arrests your attention is the cover of the book – the art, the design, the seal they have depicted seeming to contain some deliberately concealed code, the background which says, ‘may the joy be with you’; ‘you have the key’; ‘you’re holding the key in your hand’– all of it wants you to open the book up and unveil ‘the secret’. This book should interest both kinds of readers – the one who enjoys reading philosophy and, also, the one who considers it as mindless preaching.

The TOC of the book looks enticing as it promises to take you through the secret to money, the secret to relationships, the secret to wealth, the secret to the world, the secret to you and the secret to life. The author, Rhonda Byrne, has pretty much covered every sphere of influence which touches a person’s mind and life. This book brings together philosophies of 24 authors from all across the globe. These great teachings are in perfect sync with each other and with the overall concept of the book. In fact, all the teachers/preachers talk on the same lines and give instances from their respective experiences supporting the secrets.

In the preface, the author talks about a tragic past and how she got rid of it after getting to know ‘the secret’. This book should not even come close to being a high-profile bible, for the teachings it gives to the reader do not sound out-of-world or unrelatable; they, in fact, sound like comprehensible solutions to everyday problems. The hero concepts, which are also the ‘secrets’ here, discussed in great depth in the book, love, gratitude and forgiveness are not something we had not ever heard of before. I am sure stories around these would have been told to every toddler out there trying to enter the world of grownups. It’s just we need philosophy books like these time and again to make us remember all that was forgotten. The book, actually, concludes with the famous lines – remember to remember – to let the readers know that the key to happiness was always there with them and that they should just remember to remember the secrets and not let their mind dance on the tunes life plays.

This might not be the best philosophy you will ever read, but it definitely is a nice eye-opener to the ones who have never read any philosophy on life. Rhonda Byrne has already published three sequels to this book where she talks about the power, the magic and hero and I am sure you would be itched to get your hands on them as and when you'd be done with this.

I am sure this genre of books serves great purpose to the readers – it sets their thinking and outlook right and gives them positivity-tinted glasses to wear on. For how long the readers can retain wearing them is often questionable, but, then, we see some other fine philosophy on religion and spirituality, health and wellbeing, self-improvement, success and personal transformation being released in the market to keep our vision right.

Final word: This book would never make you feel as if it’s robbed you of your time and money by giving out senseless prophesying in the name of ‘the secret’. It has wonderful takeaways, which would definitely make you feel richer by the time you reach the last page of the book - definitely, a must read if you have been looking for fresh motivation to lead your lives better. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

That One Lady in the House

The pains, the cures, the worthies, the vains,
The master effects of acceptances and blames,
The stories, the truth, the untold lies,  
The excitements, the fears, the stomach full of butterflies,
The lasts, the firsts, the middles that come and leave,
The successes, the failures, the laughter and the grief,
The secrets buried, the facts never unveiled,
How does she know, my every emotion being trailed,
No less than a word, never more than an emotion,
She silently watches as if perceiving every commotion
This lady in my house, that one lady in everyone’s house,
Taps the pulse of the walls and the people living within,
The no-nonsense life, the let-me-know-when-you-need-me vibe,
The love which never falls less, the love to jibe,
She must be supernatural, for no one, I believe, could look through soul,
She is the head, she’s the mother, she’s one enough for the family, the whole.

Monday, June 22, 2015

An Attitude of Gratitude

Here are some of my happy realizations, which make me want to give my life a bunny hug.

1. Living in the real skin
This incidence happened while I was preparing to head back to my home having taken steam bath in my fitness center. I bumped into this maid who was cleaning the washroom. Looking at my choorha and having concluded that I was recently married, she asked me if I was living at my in-laws’ place. Giving in to her curiousness, I answered affirmatively. I can’t really articulate the astonishment I saw on her face; I am too sure gravity had no role to play in making her jaw drop to the floor! She, very skeptically, re-asked me if they (my in-laws) do not object my wearing shorts despite my marital status. After seeing my what-is-this-nonsense look, she went ahead to explain to me the reason behind her bizarre reaction - back from where she came, she was not even allowed to let her scarf budge from her head to show off her hair. I got the gist and thanked God my ‘usual’ life lets me wear whatever I get my mind on. 

2. Technology, the savior
This was way back in time when I had begun working for Kobo, Inc. Since I worked from home, all my work was dependent on this black box I am fiddling with right now – my laptop. I remember the reaction on my maid’s face the first time she saw me and my boss video-chatting. She was all drenched in bewilderment seeing how I could see a person sitting millions of ‘houses’ away from me. Actually, she could not grasp how I could talk to a person AND see him on a ‘box’. I remember her telling me how many problems she faced while connecting to her mother back in her hometown, Nepal – financial being the first. I had to look at the sky and pass a flying kiss. 

3. Decision making
This doesn’t come easy to an ‘Indian’ married girl. All her decisions, big or small, financial or otherwise, relating to herself or her family, do not opt for an easy path to go her way. They demand an intervention at all levels, starting from her husband, to his family to the neighbors to everyone else but her. Finally, she consumes a broth everyone's but her mind has cooked. No wonder, Christ had me at the first alphabet of his name (it’s the same as my)!

4. Compliments from strangers
This one elates me to the core! During my internship there, I was waiting at the reception of All India Radio, holding a bouquet, for my aunt who had her birthday that day. I remember this beautiful lady, who passed by me, turned around, came back to me and said while lowering herself to my ears, ‘you're a flower holding a bouquet’! For once, I could not believe my ears - that was the best compliment anyone had ever given me. I could not help but smile that entire day and, worst still, almost everyone who knows me has listened to this incident more than once. Following that, there have been many from people like my gym trainers, kids playing around, my cousins, my friends and the family but it's the ones I have received from strangers that entered my mind and never really left.

5. The finest of the lows and the finest of the highs
Been there, done that. I have rode the wavelength of life, had my best smiles with tears and my worst tears with smiles at my crests and at my troughs. All in all, it has been a wonderful roller-coaster ride and it has always been about moving ahead, in the right direction. The best reason to look forward to life is that the best of it is ‘yet to come’!

6. Good food, good workout and good vibes
This feeling of being surrounded by exactly the people you have ever wanted to be with, the no-nonsense thoughts, the art of controlling the senses, love and prayers – this realization of how the best things in life don’t cost a dime is, surely, priceless.

7. Great books by my pillow
How could I not realize the immense power these little lumps of pages have before! Now that I have, I am not going to let this habit go till I am breathing. 

8. Chase them dreams
The feeling that marriage should set oneself free is contrary to what we are taught our entire spinster life. We've only got one life to dream big and fight for them!

9. The night outs!
Not that I was handcuffed when in home or there was curfew outside that I could not step out, but you know when you have doting parents back home who are curious to know what goes on in your life, it IS tough to go out on dates. The worst restriction on me was no night outs. Things seem to have changed now that I am hitched – we party all night, watch late night movies, dine late and never look at the watch while we're havin' fun. 

10. My blog
This crucial part of my life has not only brought me closer to some of the most wonderful intellectuals I would not have ever been able to meet otherwise, but also has made me embrace solitude like a warrior. Nothing really makes my day mighty fine more than writing and publishing a post and, further, reading the comments my readers leave on my blog - pure bliss! 

Lastly, love, love, love - parents, siblings, elders, colleagues, kiddos, acquaintances - it's raining everywhere and I feel it on my skin. As they say, good vibes are extremely contagious, I feel them sinking in :)

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