Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rajasthan trip in bullet points

The trip to Rajasthan which we had so dearly anticipated for a couple of months now, finally happened and got over really soon. Though the trip looked really hectic on paper, fortunately we could cover all those places and enjoy the sightseeing. Thanks to the enthusiastic bunch of travelers.
We started from Pune and visited Mount Abu, Udaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar and Jaipur. Much to K2 and K3’s irritation, none of these places have any desert area and so the Rajasthan we visited, in a way was very different from what we saw in movies.
Mount Abu was cold and I wouldn’t have survived without the room heaters.

Mount Abu-
• A typical hill station
• A lovely 24 km drive from Abu Road
• Very cold
• Delwada jain temples – spectacular, jaw-dropping carvings
• Nakki lake – good time pass, fair like atmosphere surrounding the lake
• Tasty marwadi food

• Majestic fort at Kumbhalgarh-Maharana Pratap’s birthplace (we wasted a lot of time reaching there but the view of the fort was rewarding). Watched dance performances by Raja Radha Reddy and their troupe.
• Nathdwara-Lord Krishna’s temple- endearing idols of Shrinathji
• Udaipur City Palace- The abode of Mewad dynasty rulers for about 23 generations. Very beautiful mirror work and paintings done one on the palace walls.
The Mewad kings moved here from Chittor as they lost every battle fought from Chittor. The current Mewad king, Maharaja Arvindsinghji Mewad also stays in one portion of the palace.
• Moti magri- Maharana Pratap’s memorial
• Fateh sagar- one of the several lakes in and around Udaipur
• Jagdeesh temple- one of the oldest temples in North India.
• Sahelion ki badi – nothing much to write home except that it was built for the queen’s girl friends.
• Shilpgram- A 12 month fair where local craftsmen display and sell their fare. We had an unexpected treat awaiting us here- live performances by various folk artists from around the country at the Shilpgram annual festival– simply superb!

• The dargah of the world famous sufi saint, Garib Nawaz Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Garib Nawaz is said to be very kind and is very popular among believers.

• Brahma temple - one of it’s kind in the world.
• Pushkar sarovar – the birthplace of goddess Gayatri. The kund is supposed to be since the Satyuga days.

• Very well planned city, especially the new part.
• Pink City- the old city is painted pink. There’s a law that fines anybody who paints the exterior of his house/shop in any color other than pink!
• Birla temple- Laxmi Narayan- out of this world experience. Must visit site.
• Jaipur City Palace- The Jaipur kings built this palace and moved here from Amer- the old capital city. It is the current abode of Maharaja Bhawani Singh.
• Jantar Mantar- awe inspiring gadgetry built by Jaisingh- the fist king of Jaipur, himself a well renowned astrologer. This is the biggest among the 5 built by Jaisingh.
• Amer fort- grand! Mansingh built this fort- painstaking attention to detail. Exquisite carvings, mirror work and paintings adorn the walls, floors and ceilings.
• Jaigarh fort – World’s biggest canon- the Jaivan is housed here.
• Jal Mahal
• Hawa Mahal – Built especially for the queens folk to watch the processions of the kings.

Ambaji temple (Rajasthan)
Mankambeshwar temple (Sirohi)- Saw peacocks, monkeys, parrots and mongoose! Any other animal and I would have freaked out.

Phew! Anything I have missed out here must be because of my occasional catnap!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Enough is enough

Seriously, seeing this "enough is enough against terror" caption against the backdrop of the burning dome of Taj Mahal Hotel with meaningless news reporting is enough. Enough of this inane blabbering!

It’s been three weeks since the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Those 60 hours were the most harrowing for so many people. People whose loved ones were involved, people whose places to hang-out were burning and the majority of us for whom the idea of being safe in our homes was dead. When I am talking about myself I know I am talking about several thousand people like me who were scared, stunned, ashamed, angry and terrorized. The 60 hours have changed a lot of how we looked at several things. Enough of this mindless, barbaric terror!

I am deeply anguished by so many things, the callous politicians, their insensitive remarks, the immaturity of our media and the sorry state of our entire system. Ministers were sacked, but do we have good politicians to fill in these places? Each one makes the previous one look better. The statements they make on air are ridiculous and bile-rising. I cannot read newspapers or watch news channels these days without getting extremely angry first and then disturbed. How can a country of one billion be such a soft state? How dare terrorists come on our land and kill our brothers and sisters and get away with it. Or worse still get into the prisons where they are fed off tax-payer’s money. Enough of this anybody can come and kill Indians non-sense!

My heart goes to all victims of terror who left behind scarred families. I sincerely hope and earnestly pray that we do not lose the lesson and the memory of our fellow countrymen who lost their lives, the brave men and women who died protecting us. Enough of this losing precious lives..

We need something more and tangible than to hope and pray, I know. But right now I am still too numb to think.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

* ! * ! * Let's wish the birthday boy * ! * ! *

He is the funniest guy I have ever known.

He is somebody the teachers at my school were scared of- because he would ask them why they gave so much homework.

He asks me/K2/K3 to sleep during exam time and not worry about the last minute revision.

He always eats not-so-tasty stuff from our plates without anybody noticing.

He scolds me/K2/K3 by saying “Be careful! I will tell your mom!”

He allows us to play to our heart’s content whenever/wherever we vacation- without worrying about schedules.

He is the best driver I can rely on anytime.

He laughs at Kader Khan/ Amrish Puri/Johnny Lever jokes when all we can do is roll our eyes.

He listens to all my and K2/K3’s instructions- but just listens.

He reminds me of chores I want to get done and love to forget. (e.g. Get your ration card done.)

He is my banker of last resort.

He is my dad and the coolest one on the job!

Happy birthday baba!!

ps: The post title is meant to be read as confetti.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Randomly random

Years ago I read a book where the author shares a wonderful tip to de-stress. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a place with something/someone you feel protected with and breathe deeply for 10 minutes. The author in that book always imagines herself in a huge cake because she is a baker. I close my eyes and imagine being surrounded by the beautiful people I love so much and imagine us all vacationing on a fabulous, pristine beach. Wow.

Festivals have this effect on me. I turn nostalgic and with such intensity that nothing in the present holds any charm. I don’t know when/how I will learn the bliss of living in the moment. The word “bliss” reminds me of this book I happened to read on my trip to Pune last month. The book “Krishna- the god who lived like a man”, it came with strong recommendation from my mom and K3. I knew it would be an interesting read looking at the preface and the translator’s note. The book is based on the unusual concept of what would have transpired in Lord Krishna’s mind while he was breathing his last in this mortal world. Because I did not want to spoil my vacation by getting too involved in a book, I read this book with a strange detachment. Still, the book made its presence felt. If you are patient enough to clean out the fluff, the book has precious little gems in unlikely places. Since the post was not meant to be a book review and since K2 and A are yet to read the book, I will restrain myself. I know K2 will like the book, but I am not so sure about A. Out of curiosity I googled for this book and came to know that film stars had come for the book launch. I know the translator has written filmi stuff before, but she could have sure sought someone better than film stars!

A and I have diametrically opposite taste in books and movies. That said I am glad to observe that we have recently started to like similar movies with a success rate of 25%. Great compatibility, I know.

I digressed- apologies. One thing that the book emphasizes was that Krishna accepts everything that we offer to him- be it good or bad or whatever. One particular moment in the book which I felt was very poignant is when the queen Gandhari curses Krishna that he would witness the downfall of his entire Yadava clan- his children, grandchildren and all and then suffer before dying alone- Krishna simply raises his hand and says “Tathastu”- so be it. The entire paragraph has this strange calm feel about it. It is so simple- he is the Lord because he accepts everything. I know I will think about this piece for some time.

ps: I have used the word "book" so many times-rusty blogging skills. And the title looks so utterly random. I have to start asking people for suggestions I guess.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Warm up

One thing I really wish I should have learned from my mom is her steely resolve and gritty determination. If I had inherited even an ounce of what she has I would have reached the moon by now. Similarly, I should have learned how to love your job from my father. To see the daily grind he goes through without expecting much from his bosses is eye opening for the forever cribber in me. This sudden introspection is because of my infrequent blogging.

All the promises I made about blogging every month no matter what lay broken. All this because of the usual lame excuse- work takes so much time that it’s tiring to type out the post. Aargh! Such things no longer make me angry at myself- which is bad news.

August was..well…I strain to remember.
A lovely weekend trip to Secunderapur.
Gosh! I got my promotion at work. Totally unexpected and absolutely flattering. And a lot of work my way.

September- Ganpati!! Yay! Gauri- again yay!
And a lot of sulking and moping over A’s absence.
A week’s trip home to mom and dad to recharge my batteries- which did not improve my feelings about going to office on Mondays.

This post is my way of testing how well I can type with one finger. The right hand oh so hurts. The left hand knows “the squeaking wheel gets the oil” and has promptly stared hurting.
I have no sympathies for these lazy bones-not when they have so much work to do.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hair's a funny story

I had washed my hair in the morning and despite 100 attempts to comb them and try to keep it in place, my hair was unmanageable. I gave up and decided okay, this is it. I am not trying anymore. Post 5 minutes on my office floor I bumped into this colleague. She wanted to ask “K, you didn’t come that day?” except it came out as “K, you didn’t comb your hair today?”
Obviously she was shocked at the state of my hair and it was on her mind. She was terribly embarrassed at her question. But when I started laughing, she joined too.

People who see me, see my hair first. People have bad hair days; I have my good hair days.
When I get up in the morning, I can easily scare anybody with my hair.
When I come home after having a haircut, A’s dad asks me “Was the parlor closed? You didn’t get the haircut?
You still don’t get the picture? (I won’t post one here. Thank you.)
(But all said and done, I luurve my thick curls. :))

Thursday, July 03, 2008


It’s very sad- but I absolutely don’t remember the month of April. But I remember I saw this beautiful tree in full bloom. They are called April flowers. I wish I could have clicked a picture…
Thank God I blogged about my nephews’ visit already. Man! It was such a great time we had.And I have learned a lesson through this time travel. Stories get lost if you don’t write them immediately. I hope I don’t lose the lesson.

Going back to May

Sadly, I don’t remember much of May. It was hot, but still bearable. Now that I am in June, I don’t really think it was that bad in Hyd. But it was hellish-hot in the interior Maharashtra region where my dad works. I used to check the temperature of the place he works online and shudder at how hot it would be there and my dad would tell me over phone “its alright-not that much heat.” Ouch! I felt so guilty sitting in this super cool, AC office and complaining to the operations about the temperatures when my dad and many people like him were out in scorching sun. :(

We had a super short trip to Parner- I have promised myself to visit Parner as often as I can. Dada, I need your help in keeping my promise.

The highlight of May was attending the Art of Living course. I wanted to do the AOL course for the last 7 years and I am glad I finally did it. I want to thank KK for this. At the risk of being thought of as un-cool and weird, I would say the entire art of living experience was superb. I would just want to be more regular in doing the exercises they taught us there.

May saw my dear sister K2’s birthday. She is the life of any party, the best friend you can make, the warm sunshine on a gray winter morning, the loveliest person one can meet and the bestest sister (K3, you too!) I could have! I miss you tons and I am mighty proud of what you have accomplished. Many happy returns of the day sweetie!

May also saw my grandparents celebrate their wedding anniversary! May we get to spend more time with them. May God bless them with happiness, good health and lots of love around. Keep smiling Amma - Mothe Baba!

Well, well, I did not want to understate another milestone when I said that AOL was the highlight of the month. A and I completed 3 years of companionship. The more I know A, the more I realize that I have a long way to go to deserve him. He is the testimony to my belief that God loves me dearly.

A has not changed one bit from the person I first met in 2004 and fell in love with. I will resist my terrible temptation to share with you all the little stories which tell of A’s sweetness, because I have suddenly become superstitious- not risking jinx and stuff. :)
Dear A, wishin you a very happy wedding anniversary and thank you for everything! And as I love to say- the best is yet to be!

Some more June

The first half of June, I almost spent every free minute gazing at the blue-grey skies. Whenever I keep looking at the skies at stretch- say for 10 minutes, I lose track of where I am, what I am doing, etc. I experience such calm and peace that I cannot describe in words. I feel completely overwhelmed.

The first half of June was a little stressful at work (the stress was nothing compared to that during December to April); it was not just because of work. The yearly ritual which sees people getting frustrated and even turning suicidal or murderous, called performance appraisal; it got completed by mid June. I am going to be diplomatic about my own ideas about my appraisal. My only expectation is to see my pay hike higher than the inflation or else we are damned with a 20 year floating rate home loan. Sigh. It was scary when a dear friend even wished me luck and told me not to ration A’s food if the interest rates grow any higher.

My evenings (post 10 pm) have become so much more exciting with the glass paints and the million ideas zooming in my head. Everywhere I look, I see a pattern I MUST paint on glass. God, thank you for all these ideas but also give me the time to paint and the money to buy all the best glass colors and glass items one could ever buy. It’s funny but when I am painting I don’t think about anything in the world. Not even my hurting hand which kept me away from blogging. Not that I am a good painter, it’s just that I love colors and brushes and paper and painting so much. Again, thank you God and please make me a better painter than what I am today…I can’t bear poor A trying to praise my “art work” and falling short of words. :D

Btw, June 15 was my parents’ wedding anniversary. Every good thing I do, see, appreciate or say is because of them. They are such simple people that buying gifts for them is a very difficult task. Here’s wishing them a very happy anniversary. May dear God bless them with health, peace of mind and happiness, forever.

Let's start with June!

Though I have not posted anything in the past couple of months, I have read such wonderful blogs. So I was pretty much in the blogosphere, but yeah, I neglected my own old blog. Never once did I fear that I would not write again and completely abandon my blog, and I am really proud of myself for this! I have just come from a cool workshop where they taught us that a little self praise actually does a whole lot of good. So, please don’t start forming opinions about me being self-centric or narcissist. Yeah- I know the name of my blog!

Let me just make up for all those months that went by without me blogging. Were they fun? Yes! They were.

June, I love June. Because it brings with it the so-eagerly-awaited rains. And because schools reopen in June and till date (a lot of years after finishing school) I still get excited at the thought of buying new textbooks, notebooks and other paraphernalia needed to going back to school. I see I have used the word “school” perhaps a little too much- but I am rusty from staying away for long, from the blog.

And I almost forgot! My birthday is in June. :) So, while the whole football crazy world was crazy about Sunday for some other reason, yours truly made sure that she got her birthday gifts as per her list. A doesn’t believe in surprise gifts and I can only write a list to help him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I wont give up blogging even if I am the only one reading my blog

I am sad that so many stories got lost in my head without ever making it to the blog. Really.

I am just recovering from the after effects of my nephews’ visit, of course the good ones! The kids Sh and As, aged 6 and 1 are amazing! Just as kids their age are supposed to be. Smiling, sweet, innocent and full of energy! Saying bye to them was really difficult, especially because they will have no memories of the time you spent with them till their next visit. We had visited A’s brother 2 years ago and had a gala time with Sh. When I met Sh this time and asked him if he remembers anything, he looked at me and gave his brilliant smile and said “No! I have absolutely zero memories!” Oops.

Given that I am pretty Monica-isque when it comes to cleaning the house and straightening things, etc, I got a little hyper initially. I kept on picking toys, bits of paper, food, etc after the kids, switching off the lights and fans, wiping the spilt water/milk/juice, scraping off the chocolate from the fridge door, etc. By the first day I was like-what the heck! I am missing out all the fun. I officially joined the gang and made as much mess as my nerves could stand. :)
I wish Sh and As soon make another trip with their parents.

Btw, Hyderabad now boasts a fabulous airport! A must visit for all those people who are worried about the move from the current airport to the new one. Folks, the increase in distance is worth it! I hope the airport is maintained and the toilets are kept clean. I am already half expecting dirty brown rivulets of betel leaf spits running on the sidewalls. Eeeks!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Year wish list

Putting it all behind you and move on,
The successes which saw you beam with pride,
The failures which left you lonesome and shaken,
The moments of happiness, the peals of laughter,
The tears, anxieties, fears and petty matter,
Putting it all behind you and move on,
Know the bliss of traveling light.

I wish to be a light-traveler this year.
I want to really shed off all the baggage I have been carrying, knowingly-unknowingly, over the years.
May I start to look at the bigger picture instead of getting lost in unnecessary details.
May I be able to apply the 80-20 principle in my life.
May I learn to turn inwards for answers.
May this be the year where I learn to live in the moment.

Well, this is my wish list, very intangible that way, but it would be interesting to see how much progress I make with it this year.

“Thank god for all the meetings in office which give me time to think uninterrupted and philosophize about life.”

Strength of character

There was a nice email forward I had read couple of years ago. It was about how different people react to adversity. So, there was a bright orange carrot, a perfect egg and a coffee bean. Each one looked stunning in color and shape. Each one was then put into a pot of boiling water. The carrot became soft, and broke into pieces. The egg shell cracked and its innards hardened. With the coffee bean, something special happened. The bean gave a rich, delicious aroma to the boiling water instead.
Like these guys there are three kinds of people. The first ones just crush under difficult conditions. The second ones become bitter with experience; they just harden and lose their fresh, sensitive self. The third ones are coffee beans which with their quiet resilience make the most of things even in the most trying times. They win admirers wherever they go and people look upon them as shining examples of courage and strength.

Well, this little story is for my precious coffee bean. Coffee bean, you rock!

ps: My coffee bean is a very modest person and would'nt want to be named.