Friday, December 11, 2009

Finding the funny bone

Does it ever happen to you that when you talk to some people in particular you find yourself being wittier or charmingly funnier than usual? Of course this is not applicable to people who are just generally blessed with a funny bone. I'm talking about people like me who are, lets face it, not that funny most of the time. But when it happens to be that particular funny friend (not to be mistaken with phony friend. See, my sense of humour is awful, sniffs) your e-mails, conversations, or even an sms are charged with that spark of funnyness. Word play and sarcasm seem easy to come by and life's really ha ha hee hee.

I guess it has to do with the relationship you share with the person. Probably it is the comfort factor - you're not worried about being judged. And by the way if you're judging me at this point and thinking that these funny friends of mine probably are not funny themselves, implying my bonhomie with them, then you're partly correct wrong. I mean, some of them are hilarious so its probably just easier to make them laugh when they're already laughing. Makes sense? And then with some, I have to admit I'm funny (even if I say so!).

I envy people who have the magical ability of bringing laughter wherever they go. It's their wit, their personality and the things they do, that make people smile/laugh/roll on the floor. On the other hand, you need people like me to giggle and laugh when the joke is out (that is if I get the joke, kidding). But really, either you have it or you dont. And forcing a bad joke down somebody's throat will only make you fall flat and lose all those teeth. And after you've visited the dentist to get them fixed, guess who'll be having the last laugh?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Food and frost

I’ve been really fascinated by this blog on cooking. I just came across it a couple of days ago and I’ve been reading it like a novel. :) It interests me particularly because I’m a vegetarian and all her recipes are too. And when recipes are accompanied with some wonderful photographs, it becomes all the more tempting. Of course, it doesn’t help if you’re looking at too many pictures of cakes, pastries, and all such sinful desserts (I have a major sweet tooth) because I tend to crave for that sugar rush and need to pop in some chocolate or a sweet. (Also if I’m surfing at work, its easier to stare at recipe text and pretend to look busy than a bright photograph of cheese and cherries). So the good thing about this blog is that there are tons of yummy-looking main course items which I can handle. :) By the way in case this sounds like I’ve been trying out what I read, its unfortunately a big no. I would like to though. I’m especially keen on using up half a dozen apples that have been sitting in my fridge for a while now. Jam, apple kheer, or apple pie (very ambitious, who’s going to make that, me?) should be the best options. I’m so good at food talk. Time to walk the talk.

On a different note, it’s getting cold these days. And offices like mine are quite terrible at regulating the heating. In summer it is so cold, you wear a sweater inside office. And in winter it is invariably even more brrrr, which means I’m rubbing my frozen fingers and nails that have turned blue. Gosh, I’m not meant for colder places. It must be so tough dealing with the cold and the darkness.

In monsoon I wait for the clouds to lift,
To get a peek of the clear blue sky.

In winter I hope for the cold winds to subside,
And soak in the heady warmth of the sun.

In summer, the tides have completely turned,
And I yearn for the wet rains and the cool breeze. Sigh.

That does sound like I’m complaining all the time. Lol. But no, its just a thought you have on days where you ‘wish’ for better weather. As for now, there’s nothing that a steaming cup of coffee or chai can’t do to warm me up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Memories from trips- Part 2

Kulu Manali — Have blogged about this earlier here. I loved this camping holiday for the spectacular views of the Himalayas but I'm not sure I'd enjoy the freezing-to-death experience again. After all, I am one of those thermally-challenged people who need something warm even during the non-existent Bombay winters. Given a choice, I’d go for a Himalayan holiday which involves a cozy bed, heaters, and a bathroom please. I guess nobody will call me for a trek now.

Nawalgarh, Rajasthan- Roughly 140 kms from Jaipur, we visited Nawalgarh and enjoyed the unique experience of staying at a friend's Shekhawati haveli, feasting on the best food ever and waking up to the aroma of saffron-flavoured tea. There was even a secret door behind the cupboard in my room, which opened into a passage, leading to where I know not. (It might sound like an adventurous idea to explore but trust me, you don’t want to have visions of a Rajasthani ghost, sword in hand, haunting you at night.) The itinerary included the mandatory camel ride, a visit to other havelis to see the lovely fresco paintings that the region is famous for, the palace at Mandawa, and addictive sessions of 'Teen Patti'. We stopped by at Jaipur for a couple of hours, scouting for handicrafts and yummy onion pakodas at a place that I now forget.

Gangtok/Darjeeling/Shillong- My first ever trip to the North East of India and definitely not the last, because I fell in love with everything there. The train journey was a personal travel record- 48 hrs from Bombay to Siliguri, and a mind and body-numbing 60 hrs on the return from Guwahati (this is one record I have no interest in beating). Everything about this trip was crazy. To begin with, we ventured on that long train ride with no confirmed tickets in hand. That’s right. When you’re a bunch of friends, fresh out of college, these things don’t unnerve you as much. We stayed throughout at Army quarters and bunkers, and heard stories from soldiers about life in the army. The sight of the beautiful river Teesta winding through the mountains, the stunning tea gardens in Darjeeling, and best of all the drive to Nathula pass—the Indo-China border blew us away. When I got back, I told everybody I’d been to China. After all, I’d stretched my leg across the barbed wire and shook hands with the Chinese soldier (half hoping he wouldn’t shoot my toe for trespassing). The most amusing experience was watching the movie “Main hoon na” at a run-down theatre in Gangtok. Any attempt at humour on screen was immediately met with an uproar of giggles and laughter. Bollywood was definitely big there, especially Himesh Reshmiya it seemed, and that got us a lot of brownie points because we came from Bombay —the land of Bollywood, ta da.

Nashik- One of the four sites for the Kumbh mela, I visited Nashik in 2003 to witness the religious frenzy and the millions who throng there for its holy air. While we weren’t on any spiritual quest, our interest lay largely in experiencing this mass event and see what it was all about. And I certainly got a taste of the place elbowing past ash-smothered sadhus and surviving the ritual dip in the river without getting run over by zealous devotees. Not meant for the faint hearted but worth the experience.

On my wish list:
The backwaters of Kerala
The jungles of North India and the thrills of encountering a tiger
The sand dunes of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur
The pristine, wild beauty of Arunachal Pradesh (hopefully without Maoist/Chinese interference)
….and lots more.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Memories from travels over the years

I came across a nice idea on a blog to write a few lines about all the places you have travelled to. While it's not possible to list every trip, coz some are big, some are small and some aren't memorable at all (ah, that rhymed, I've listed some of the places I've visited, in no particular order or chronology. Will try and add pictures later.

Amsterdam- This is my most recent trip and honestly deserves an entire post(which may or may not materialize, so better a line than nothing). Absolutely fell in love with the place! Boats on the canals; the trams winding through the heart of the city; the lovely August weather; warm people- friendly and full of humour; beautiful countryside (struggled through did a 33 km cycling km tour through villages and a beautiful route bordering the sea); stroopwaffles (!)- super yum local biscuit, two layers of waffles with syrup in between (not sticky or too sweet, just right); and the very organized traffic (if you're from India, any place with even a moderate sense of discipline on the roads will amaze you, but I found it particularly fascinating that cyclists are given an entire path of their own to pedal along. Neat!) Besides there's the plethora of museums of which I visited a few- Anne Frank's house, Van Gough, Rembrandt, Rijksmuseum, and a cute little Windmill museum. There's enough to keep a tourist occupied for a couple of days even if you don't venture near the places that Amsterdam is otherwise (in)famous for. :) But I suppose if you go all the way there, you might want to check out everything, including the hash brownies. Afraid I didn't try those.

Coorg- Here's where you wake up and smell the coffee. Especially since we stayed at a coffee estate surrounded by shrubs of arabica (if my memory serves me right). I didn't enjoy the place as much as the company- a boisterous bunch of family members including cousins, aunts/uncles and assorted grandparents.

Yercaud- More coffee, more fun. I remember the picturesque views, drives through the plantations, jackfruit growing all over the place, and the first time I saw pepper on trees (like lovely green pearls). The highlight was a trek (in our pyjamas) to some supposed famous falls (Kiliyur) which ultimately turned out to be only a trickle of water dripping down the rocks. Also remember an incident when we were all admiring some caterpillar in the grass. My cousin brother, who noticed us bunched up, came running to inspect and in his misplaced enthusiasm crushed it right under his shoe, before asking innocently, "What are you guys looking at"?

Thailand- The first time I ventured out of the country, so this trip is extra special. The deep blue seas of Phuket, the stunning view from our hotel room (Cape Panwa); the surreal (and initially frightening) experience of scuba diving, with fish swimming past you; the vibrant nightlife of Patong; and the crazy shopping haven that is Bangkok -funn(although hubs and I both thought we didn't do justice to all the goodies on offer and need to revisit the place to fill our wardrobes and empty our wallets).

Goa- I must be one of the few people who haven't visited this place in their partying days, by which I mean a college trip or a New year's bash or just a trip with friends. The only time I've been here was when I was 10 (not amusing to most I suppose) but so many events from the trip are etched in my mind because it was one of the first proper holiday with my family, with the added jazz of a 5 star hotel. I was thrilled by the starfish on the beach, the joys of building sand castles, the sumptious buffet at the hotel. I think I really need to update this list with a visit to the flea markets, laze on the beach, and just have a hippy holiday. :)

To be continued...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Workplace woes and the weekend

I'm a happy girl today. Or more like relieved happy. That's because my office is pretty empty today and I can do what I please. la laala. Little pleasures in life. That also makes me sound like a workplace anti-social entity. Few people around and that makes me happy? Yes, yes. Actually, once in a while its really good to have that calm atmosphere around you.

And it is particularly the absence of one pesky, super annonying person that's making me feel relaxed. Really, how does one deal with somebody who sits right next to you, is part of your office group and so is always with you for all your lunch/coffee breaks and..AND..doesn't talk to you directly? Let me explain. Something that I said last week has apparently offended her so much that she refused to talk to me after that. And its not that I miss her company but I just cannot understand how a 30-year old can go around acting like a kid that's been denied some candy. How difficult is it to sort out differences through a calm conversation to begin with, heated argument maybe, but still, nothing's worse than refusing to talk about the issue and let it just be buried and think of the worst instead. Even if things can't be sorted out, there's always a dignified way in letting the other person know that. It really shocked me initally because I have never faced this situation before. Now I'm just plain irritated at having to deal with her each day. I know for a fact that she has misunderstood the initial comment because nobody I have spoken to about this can believe that it would cause somebody to get upset. In fact, my friends and other office collegues are amused that it led to a "I don't want to talk to you anymore" comment.

I think sometimes people don't grow up and know how to deal with others in a professional setting. I'm not saying everybody should maintain an air of diplomacy and continue to talk to people who upset or annoy them. But when things arise out of a misunderstanding, especially if the other person is somebody you talk to on a personal level, why would you act weird in office and make things difficult for others too? Hope good sense prevails soon. Amen.

Coming back to today. It's a Friday! And there's a long weekend ahead, so let me focus on the joys of life. Hoping to drive somewhere out of the city with B. After all our treks in the Western Ghats, near Mumabai, its time we started exporing the landscape outside Bengalure. Happy Friday everybody!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The rain

As it rained through the night, I sat by my window; listening to the patter, watching the drops pierce through the darkness and spill on the ground.
Wet leaves,
A cold breeze,
A streak of lightning mocking the sputtering street lights.

A gush of wind sprays my cheek and I let the soothing drops trickle down my face. As I shut the window, a moth scurries in, seeking refuge. I curl up in bed, wrapped in my blanket; fuzzy thoughts fill my head, lulling me to sleep. The darkness of the night will gradually melt away and the first rays of sunshine will unfold the magic of the rains.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mumbai to Bengaluru and more...

How many changes can take place in a year in one single year? A lot, apparently. 2009 has been a very very eventful year for me, involving some big and some bigger action-packed moments. Early this year I moved from Bombay to B'lore after eight years in the city that never sleeps. My 2-year stint in my Bombay firm ended as I prepared to pack my bags to settle in Namma Bengaluru. And then of course was The event of my life, my wedding with dear B. Just as I was beginning to soak in all these things, came another ‘first’ moment. My passport finally got stamped and I made my maiden international trip to sunny, sandy Thailand. And finally, my brief, (hubs will disagree on that) happy, lazy life of sitting at home came to an end (very unfortunately I must say) when I took up a new job here in B’lore. I cribbed a lot about all the restrictions in the BPO environment but the thought of finding a job in recession-rid times is a lot better than not having one at all made me shut up. Or partly. So here I am. A lot more on each of these coming up soon, hopefully.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What I'm listening to right now

Songs that soothe me, cheer me, lighten me up

Badalomein chup raha he chand kyun

Pehla nasha who doesn't like this one

Jab kissi ko kisi se pyar (Pyar to hona hi tha) love the way it begins with a dialogue, find the song insanely romantic

Jaadu teri nazar never outgrew this song from school days. It used to play all the time on that show Philips Top 10. Okay, I'm not embarassed to admit I watched the show every week without fail

Dil kya kare (Salaame Ishq)peppy, cute, and soft

So I just revealed my love for Bollywood mush. Feel free to judge me:)These are just some songs that I never tire of listening. Maybe because I don't listen to them all the time. But on days when I'm feeling low/nostalgic/romantic, or just not connecting with things around, I just have to put these and similar songs on and it transports me to a completely different world. It's crazy how music can relax you. Nothing new about this theory I know, but experiencing that feeling each time makes me smile. I'm sure everyone has their own list of 'comfort songs' and what works for one will never work for somebody else.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Strawberry land

I've heard from a lot of Mumbaikars that Mahabaleshwar is one of their favourite getaways. It's not as close to the city as Lonavala/Matheran and the likes, but now with the Mumbai-Pune expressway, it is quite a quick and comfortable journey. When opportunity presented itself a few weekends ago for a two-day trip, we packed our bags and headed to the hilly destination. It was largely the lure of the strawberries for me. I was picturing myself lying in strawberry fields, eating strawberries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The only time I almost did that (just the eating, not lying in the fields) was on a trip to Manali. We picked up a small sack of strawberries and ate them all the way from Kulu to Manali and for quite some time afterwards. I was looking forward to some similar activity here. But I’m afraid I couldn’t fulfill those ambitious plans. Why? Mostly because I wasn’t very kicked about paying Rs. 100-140 per kg of strawberries. Seemed pretty pricey and I’m sure everyone gets it cheaper hundreds of kms away from Mahabaleshwar. Sad. But I still bought two boxes, after sampling quite a few and ate them all by myself back home in Bombay because there wasn’t anybody else who fancied them much. Sometimes sharing is not all that desirable. I mean, eating something you love, all by yourself, is easily more enjoyable than having to pass the bowl around. Blissful.

By the way did I mention that half of Bombay and thousand other people had the same idea of landing up at Mahabaleshwar that same weekend? Something to do with the long weekend of 26th Jan. So we spent a lot of time in traffic jams and long queues. Ha, and we thought we left that behind in Bombay.

This was the absolute highlight of the trip—tall glasses of strawberries with cream. Actually, not just that. The glass is first lined with strawberry crush, which drips down all the way. Then there is a scoop of strawberry ice-cream, topped with cream, followed by some strawberries, some more cream, more strawberries. Yumm. And for the chocolate lovers, there was a chocolate ice-cream variant of the same, though I really recommend the full strawberry version. Here’s a picture of what it looked like. This is only a picture from the web though because we were far too busy licking our spoons to take any pictures.

All hill-stations come equipped with a lake and a few boats and so was this one. After waiting in a serpentine queue, we paddled our way up and down lake Venna.

The various hues of the evening sky captured by our faithful cameraman Aadi. In fact, most of the pictures of trips from previous posts have been taken by him. It is always nice revisiting memories of a trip through photographs, especially when they're such pretty ones. So, keep at it Aadi. I'll continue to steal them and put them up on my blog.

Oh, and apart from strawberries, Mahabaleshwar has another interesting aspect—creatively-spelled signboards. There were cures for ‘boisity’, shops selling scalvs (okay, this one is understandable, even I had to double-check the spelling for scarves); but this particular poster at a travel agent's shop left us holding our noses.

Maybe they charge extra for these seats but we didn't ask.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Presently speaking

So, it’s been a year since I posted. And in that time I’ve grown older; not the philosophical older and wiser, just literally older. But if anybody thinks I’m getting wiser, I won’t be contesting that.

The past year has been quite interesting—a roller coaster ride with a happy conclusion in the end. The coming year promises to be a lot more exciting.

And, for some reason the thought that comes to mind right now, is this simple one from the cute movie Kung Fu Panda. (It might not be originally from the movie, but I couldn’t have heard it from anybody better than the wise old Oogway).

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
Today is a gift;
That is why it’s called the present.

So that’s what I’d like to do. Live in the present. This does sound like a recurring theme from some previous post (yes, I know there are only some 5 odd posts) but this time it’s not meant in a bury-the-past tone. I just want to make an effort to be in the moment. Somebody who’s Not: lost in a sea of thoughts, worried about the consequences of what might never happen, brooding about what has already happened. Sure, it is fine to let your thoughts stray, dream about nothing in particular (or specifically about a ‘95% off on everything’ sale). It’s those times when you find yourself stuck to the ground, watching the world whiz by. You’re among people but not with them. (if that made sense).

I also want to be more aware of little things happening around me, like, remembering to switch off the pressure cooker, saying something when I want to, being a little more impulsive in a good way. Agreed, Oogway didn’t have pressure cookers in mind when he came up with wise thoughts, but I am no Panda either, so I’ll absorb the words in a way that’s relevant to me, at present.

Happy New Year!