Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Musically Enriched

Even before I came to Kolkata I knew that music was a big part of the city's culture. I am just surprised at the extent of it! Its been more than a year now and not a day has gone by when I have not heard strains of music floating in thru my window.


At times, it is the filmy music blaring out of loudspeakers which is the city's unique way to celebrate any festival. Colonies rent large sound systems with amplifiers and speakers and play loud music at full blast! I have heard Bengali, Hindi and Bhojpuri songs, sometimes all together!

Early in the morning or in the quietness of the night, I can catch faint strains of the sitar and a lady doing riyaaz. I once read an entire novel to this sound that continued till the wee hours of the morning.

Today, the drummer is at it again. I have never really been fond of western music but i must say that there is something mesmerising about listening to a live instrument playing. Even though I cannot see the player, the passion floats thru the music.

These little unexpected bits of music provide an indescribable joy to me. I don't know why, they fill my heart with happiness. Whenever I go back from this city, this is one thing I am going to miss!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thank you Tanveer for the Wheat Belly Diet

This post is an ode to the gorgeous Tanveer from Addicted to Blush. Hers was one of the first Indian Beauty Blogs I discovered back in 2010. I remember reading all of her posts over a lonely weekend! She is one of the more sensible beauty bloggers who does not partake in the rat race. And that's what makes her blog a joy to read.


Recently, she posted about her weight loss journey is the ATB BB series. After an extensive research, she embarked upon a lifestyle change that has led her to lose a whooping 15 kilos in just 4 months! You read that right people, 4 months. In the ATB BB series, she talks about her research, the findings, the reasons for adopting a lifestyle and a practical guide to adopting it. When I read up based on ther recommendations, the Wheat Belly Diet made a lot of sense to me. Even if you aren't looking to lose weight, this series is worth a read for the health benefits alone.

But the reason I am doing this post is to thank her. I have been looking to make lifestyle changes and adopt a better diet for ages. I kept slipping in an out of things. Tanveer's story has inspired me so much  and given me a push in the right direction. The week she started her BB series, I had been trying the GM diet. I gave up after 2 days because I just could not continue. I wasn't exactly happy about my lack of control. And then I read about her transformation. over the weeks, as she revealed her story, I realised I could do it as well. I am sure her story has inspired a lot of others too. The best part is the diet changes fit into our busy lifestyle. I for one, cannot spend 2 hours everyday sweating in a gym or eat a small meal every 2 hours or count calories. With a job, a kid and a home to take care of, I often struggle to find time for myself. These may seem like poor excuses to some, but making a huge change requires a lot of effort. And so, I have decided to start small. I have set a goal to stop my wheat intake altogether and exercise for 30 mins everyday. Baby steps. I hope I continue on this. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Positive Energy

Its a brand new week and a fresh start. Hoping for all things to go really well this week!

Am starting this week on a really positive note and I know that everything I want done will happen. Sending a burst of positive energy your way so that your week is great too :) Hoping that the light of these diyas fill up  your days as well

Diyas to fill light in your life
Good morning people :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Language of Love

My Dhobi (Ironman! Well, blame it on the Avengers movie I saw this weekend. Dhobi is the guy who irons clothes) was a young guy in his twenties. Since he is from Bihar, he went home right after Diwali and his father has been working in his place ever since. Now there is one thing common in both of them. They greeted my daughter with a lot of affection. The son would always wish her Good Morning and ask her how she did. His father calls her Memni (a derivative of the respectful Mem Sahib which he uses to address all the ladies) and always asks her if she has eaten her breakfast.

My daughter is fond of making payments. Whenever I have to hand over money to anyone, be it a shopkeeper, the household help or anyone in the market, she takes it from my hands and gives them. Most people just smile and take it. This elderly gentleman folds both his hands as if he is receiving prasad and says, "Jai Shree Ram" after he has taken it. He then bows down to her in a Namaste and leaves. I never had the heart to tell him she is a kid and you shouldn't really be doing this.

This is how he takes the money from her

Today, she was getting ready for school when he visited. He asked for her. When I told him that he was inside, his face fell a little. I then went inside to fetch the clothes. My daughter insisted that she will hand them over. Even when I was paying him, she took the money from my hands on her own and gave it to him. Almost as if she had sensed his disappointment on not receiving the money from her. When he took it, he said "Aap to Bhagwaan Hain" (You are equivalent to a God). The little one just giggled away.

In this day and age while I fear for my little one's safety and want to limit her interaction with others outside of home, I realise that we miss out on such moments. A little child knows only love and is not choosy about who she gives it to. It feels natural for her to receive affection from others and she is never suspicious of the attentions she gets from others. Heck, she does not even understand the concept of others now. If only our world was like this. If all of us were able to communicate with the purity and innocence of a child, we would be in such a happier place. Our lives would be free of so much stress and clutter and we would enjoy every moment of it. I just wish we could all speak The Language of Love.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Alternate Careers

Ever since the year began, I have been thinking about alternate careers. I am wondering what life would have been had I actually followed one of my crazed ideas and steered away from the "safe" engineering option. I have imagined various scenarios and here are a few that seem worth recounting...

Woman Writer

Now this seems like the most logical one. Doesn't it? I have advocated my love for writing often and I know that the biggest obstacle in my way is my own laziness. The dream is very much alive and I am hoping and praying with all my heart that I fulfill it

Radio Jockey
I have been told on various occasions that I have a nice voice. Though I can't carry a tune to save my life, I can talk. And I do love music... In my teens, I lived on FM radio. I totally fantasised about having a radio show of my own. it would be about the various moods that songs can bring about. One day I'd play upbeat, dance worthy numbers. The second day, I'd do romantic ones. Then a couple of sad ones and then the inspirational ones. And I'd weave a story around them... see, I have a format ready!!!

Me at Darjeeling

Travel & Food Show Host
Blame TLC and Fox Traveller for this! I may not be the best looking chic in front of the camera, but I bet that my enthusiasm would make up for lack of visual appeal. Everytime I see a travel or food show, I imagine myself being there and experiencing it all. The idea of a food walk greatly appeals to me. I even braved 10 days of mountain roads in December to go sight seeing in Sikkim and Darjeeling. I believe that you truly live in the moments that exhilarate you. Travelling provides ample opportunities for that. Imagine making a career of it!! And food? Well, I am a crazy foodie... need I say anymore?

I think these are enough for now.... so what are your alternate careers? Have you ever fantasised about doing something else???

Friday, January 11, 2013

The art of letting go

If there is one thing that I do not understand about certain people, it is their inability to let go of things. It is so taxing to carry the burden of an unwanted thought or incident forever. Accumulating such incidents regularly does us no good really. Think of the baggage you carry and bring to all your inter personal interactions. I heard a very good story in a session recently. It went like this:

There was a monastery in the north eastern region of India. It was situated in the wilderness, away from civilization and they had very strict rules about the monks not interacting with women in manner whatsoever. Once the region faced a terrible storm and floods. The river next to the monastery was swollen and they wold soon be cut off from the outside world completely. To stock essential supplies, a senior monk and his apprentice were chosen to cross the river and go to the nearest village. 
When they reached the river, they found a young tribal woman wanting room across as well. The river was twice its normal size and flowing very fast. The smattering of boulders that served as a natural bridge across the river barely visible. The younger monk saw the girl and looked away, As was proper. The senior monk however approached the girl and asked if she needed help. She said that she had been stuck in the forest for two days due to the rain and now wanted to get to her tribe on the other side of the river. But the water terrified her. Hearing her story, the older monk offered to hold her hand and guide her across. The apprentice was aghast. He didn't say anything to his guru though and the trio began to cross. Halfway across the girl almost lost her footing. She began to tremble and cry. The young monk wished she didn't slow them down, the older tried to placate her. When the girl calmed down a bit, the older monk asked her to ride his shoulders for the rest of the way. He picked her up and perched her atop them. His disciple was beyond shock for all the rules that had been broken. He was quite out of deference to the monastery. They crossed the river in silence. Once back on firm ground, he set her down. She thanked the monk and skipped off in the direction of her home.
The young monk was in turmoil. He wanted to ask his teacher a lot of questions but did not have the right words and courage for it. After a while, the teacher himself asked what the matter was. He said, the monastery rules prevent even looking at a woman. Why then did you hold her hand? Even carried her on your back? To this, the wiser one replied, "My friend, I have left that woman a long time back. Why are you still carrying her?"


There is so much this story teaches us:

  1. You do not know the reasons behind someone else's actions. Don't judge them
  2. Some rules can be broken if you are helping someone in dire need
  3. And finally, do not over think. Do not over analyse. Keep the good things and lessons from life in your head. Let all the unpleasant and unhappy memories go. It is not worth hanging on to them. Just let go!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Are you Intimidating Others?

Today, I talked to a lady who sounded quite intimidating on the phone. I have met her earlier twice and know that her manner of speech is not pleasant. It may even be considered rude. Having met her in amiable circumstances, I know that there was no intended rudeness. That is just her manner of talking and conducting herself. But, her actions put us on the guard. When I spoke to her today, I actually felt like a middle school girl, talking to her headmistress. The conversation got me thinking. Do I come across as rude in certain situations? I can definitely recall a recent one. Can you remember any such incidents?

Having been on the receiving end of this behaviour, I certainly hope I do not act this way. Even if I do, I remedy the situation quickly. Admit this will perplex the other party, but it will not leave them with lingering negative energies.


Speaking of rudeness, who remembers Stephanie from the Full House series. The way she said "How Rude1" and upturned her nose was the cutest thing ever! I loved Full House to bits as a kid and recently found some episodes on youtube. I still love it!!! I think it deserves its own post...

How has the first week of the new year been for you peeps? Mine was great. I won an online contest and ate like a glutton on my birthday... happy days!!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

What makeup means to me

It started out with a liner black, a long long time back.
When I was just a teenager, a fledgling but all too eager.
This bottle is all I need, I said.
It lines my eyes and even adorns my forehead.

When I was a twenty something, a working girl with air beneath her wing.
There was paint on my nail’s tips and a bit of colour on my lips.
I ventured out into the corporate world, 
My views were ready to be heard.

Soon I was a blushing bride, my prince standing by my side.
The vanity was bursting at its seams, with tubes and pots and bottles and creams.
I played with shadows, bronzers and bases,
And ended up with some funny faces.

It was then I realized that, it is a science and also an art.
The science and art of cosmetics, is actually a bunch of magic tricks.
I learnt to contour, I learnt to highlight,
I began to appreciate makeup in all its might.

I used more colour, made my eyes pop. I knew I made his heart hop.
Words took on meanings newish, smokey eyes, nude lips and cheeks dewish.
I looked great I knew,
There wasn’t a day I felt in the blue.

And then I turned mother from wife, and upside down went my life.
My body became something else, I began to lose my sense of self.
I knew to find the confidence that there ‘aint, 
I needed some serious warpaint.

When my self pride began to breakup, what came to my rescue was makeup.
The foundations and concealers did their magic then,
Those bottles became my best friends.

To me different things makeup has meant, as my life turned and bent.
I love how it can enhance a smile, am glad it hides a mark visible from a mile.
It brings out the artist in me,
Putting out a better face for the world to see.

It doesn’t make me what I am not, it helps achieve perfection that is so often sought.
The dressing table is my favourite place, I love it when I paint my face. 
It is my recreation,
Every face a new creation.

My entry for a contest held by Suma at ISLM

Friday, January 04, 2013

Breakfast and New Year :)

Last morning I asked my daughter what she wanted for breakfast and gave her two options. Eggs or porridge. Now she knows what egg is, has been having it since she was little. Porridge, not so often. Even when she has it, we called it daliya, the hindi name. She immediately said porridge. I smiled to myself. She thought it was something new to try out! Hearing her selection, I smiled to myself. Another thing she taught me. Do not fear the unknown. You do not know what it will bring. It just might delight you. The way she was by the almond jaggery sweet porridge! I hope I can be like that a bit...

Guys, wish you and your loved ones a very happy new year... hope 2013 brings us stability, safety and prosperity...