12 Oct 2011

10 Day YOU Challenge | 9 Loves

Day two of the YOU challenge brings me to my nine loves. There used to be a time when I used to be able to do things I love, but social commitments leave less room to be able to enjoy everything you love. So here goes...List of 9 things I have and will always continue to love :

  1. Family: My family parents, siblings and in-laws have made me the person I am today. From all my happy moments to my most frightening times, they have been behind me all the time. I love them in spite of everything and most of all, I love the one person who has been a part of my life since last 3 years now. My Friend, My partner and my soul mate, My husband. I love you all a lot.
  2. Dancing: Dance has always been something to take me to a different world and i know it sounds cliche, but dancing was something that used to make me a more confident person. I used to experience beauty when I used to dance. Music gives soul to my life. Foot tapping on the way to the gym, or on morning walks, I used to always have my hands swinging when I used to hear music on my ipod or radio.
  3. Photography: This was a hobby I discovered when I created a new photoblog for myself. The travelling I used to do used to give me ample opportunities to explore and capture some of the unexplored sides of the city. Do check out some of the blogs on Memories are just a click away.
  4. Movies / Plays: I am a complete movie buff. any kind of movie, any time, any place, no matter how tired I am, I can catch a show and still enjoy it. There used to be a time when I have seen every movie released in the theatre in every language I know, English, Hindi, Marathi...In every genre I know, Action, Fiction, Romance, Animation, etc.
  5. Painting: I love to paint and draw freehand stuff. When time permits, I like to sit back with some paints and explore the different styles of painting and if possible go back to the techniques I learnt during my textile designing days. 
  6. Long drives:... and I dont mean only in cars. Long drives could be any long destination drive in any mode of transport. Cars, Bikes, Rickshaws, and most used mode of transport lately...Bus. I like going around the city exploring the different sites of this fascinating place called Mumbai....Also giving me time to click some of the moments on the 3rd Love...Photography
  7. Television: As a child and even now, T.V has been my way to escape from the reality called Life. I can sit and watch the Idiot box for hours together. This was one thing my dad always used to dislike and still tends to keep pointing it out to me, but I dont tend to listen anymore. :)
  8. Samosa: I am not much of a junk food person, but Samosa is one thing I can trip upon any point of time. This love has come from the college canteen that used to serve this delicacy all day long and with lengthy hours of college with no option to bunk, samosas used to be the only break we used to get from the tedious routine.
  9. Last but not the least... Singing. My mom used to say I had a good voice and she got me into the singing classes (which unfortunately don't fit in my schedule anymore). Singing for me, was always something I used to do for myself... No. I dont mean bathroom singing, but when I used to sit in my balcony listening to old songs on radio at night with noone but the company of moon and stars, I used to be able to forget any and every stress that I might be going through. *Sigh* those were the days.
So here are my nine loves. So long...See you again tomorrow, with my Eight Fears.

Adios, Ciao.

11 Oct 2011

10 Day Challenge - 10 Secrets

Lately my blog might have looked like it was obsessed with mumbai city, but it just had run out of things to write posts on. So when I read Shirin's Blog recently, I knew that this was the best way to get the blog back to its rhythm and change its state of mind. I do remember doing this kind of a post in the past 10 things tag, so it will be difficult to find new things but I guess that's why its a challenge.So here goes...

I wonder if this topic really brings out the top 10 secrets of a person's life, or does it just mentions the 10 things that normally people wouldn't know about any general human being? Well, no one shares secrets..specially to strangers...So here goes my 10 "secrets" (aka things) that not many know

  1. I am an absent-minded person. Unless the work, or date or appointment is important for me, chances are that I will probably end up not sticking to it. My long term memory is pathetic. Its like the girl in movie 50 First Dates, my memory tends to get refreshed every night as I sleep. It tends to discard the unwanted stuff and only register important data in my life. 
  2. I am a person who plans everything. Many people who know me hate this habit of mine. I always HAVE to know in advance my coming week's plans...But with a lot of spontaneous friends, I tend to drive them up the wall trying to ensure that they are available to meet if I m PLANNING something.
  3. I love playing snooker. There was a time when there used to be lot of gaming zones that used to encourage this game, but the sport seems to be disappearing with time and its been forever since I played a game with someone. Looking forward to another game...hopefully soon.
  4. I prefer being alone a lot, any time any place. I am not saying I am a loner, but if asked if I would prefer company or loneliness, I would definitely chose the later.
  5. I love beaches. Don't give me that Oh-gawd-another-typical-girl-look. If I had to settle down somewhere I would always prefer some place near to a water body of any kind (..and i don't mean gutters of mumbai). Beaches, sea, ocean, lakes, anything that makes the soothing sound of the water.
  6. I am a day dreamer and by that I mean, I can doze off at any place, sitting, standing, or lying down. Any moving vehicle will instantly put me off to a deep slumber. I have many times ended up missing my bus stops and train stations due to this habit of mine, but with practice the disease is now in control.
  7. I want to try backpacking someday. Just pick up my bag with bare necessities for survival, minimum amount of money, and start traveling on whatever mode of transport available...now that's a dream I want to be able to fulfill.
  8. I know I have said this before, but it can never be said less... I love my sister. I know she knows it too, but at times I make her life miserable. There is also something that I wish I could tell her, but I see so much of my mother in her. She has a lot of qualities that my mom used to have and seeing her, I miss mom a lot. My sister has always looked out for me and I am lucky to have her.
  9. Except samosas (they are my weakness), I prefer home food to any other place to eat. I would trade a plate of junk food to a plate of Dal, chawal, chapati and sabji any day.
  10. Lastly, I am scared of heights. I don't mean paranoid, but there are times when I m climbing down and I tend to just stop for seconds with the fear that I might trip and fall down the flight of stairs. 
So these are my 10 things that not many people would know. hopefully I can continue my 10 day challenge without any delays or speed bumps.

Hope to see you tomorrow, Adios, Ciao,
Take care.

20 Jul 2011

Mumbai Meri jaan

'Taxi Nau do Gyaarah'...That was the title of the news article I read recently in the newspaper, wherein they were talking about how the taxis across Mumbai city have reduced and how they used to be the look of Mumbai at one point of time. Being a suburban girl myself, I have hardly ever traveled in taxis except when we used to go towards the extreme end of south Mumbai during college days and could afford a lavish spending on the transport.

This city means different things to different people and being a Mumbaikar all my life, it means lot of things to me too. As i sit looking out my balcony towards a view that once used to be the horizon of vashi Creek, now is blocked by the upcoming complex (apparently an 'address' to peace...???), I ponder over the things that the city is just not complete without.

Mumbai Monsoon:  I absolutely love the rains of Mumbai. No matter where I am, I completely relate monsoon to mumbai. I know people complain about the dirt, the traffic and the muddy roads during this season, but rains have always been special for me and I have always imagined myself walking on beaches, or empty roads getting drenched in the rain, and probably having Tea from the local vendor or the ones who sell them on their bicycles. Mumbai is completely a different scenario during this season and I would be anytime willing to ignore all the other setbacks these 3 months bring for the city.

Vada Pav: I know even the mention of this delicious mumbai treat is supposed to be bad for me (me being on a diet and all...Lol) but vada pav is something that is easily available on almost any busy part of mumbai. An easy snack for any person who isn't weight conscious, or who prefers a nice meal at a mere Rs 10-15. This dish was initially started as the most cheapest form of a meal for low income group, but due to its taste, this dish became so popular that many sophisticated hotels also have started dishing out this wonderful dish, at extra cost of course. However, this dish has still retained its charm as an evergreen dish, and many people have it at breakfast, lunch or even dinner as well. Vada pav can be easily included as a part of my walk in the rain section mentioned above. Tastes heavenly with a cup of tea.. :) Yummy....!!!!

Local Transport: Trains, Buses, Taxis, Rickshaws and a new addition to these old modes of transport are the cool cabs and private call-a-cabs....all add up to the look of mumbai, and the traffic that has become the identity of mumbai. The life-lines of mumbai is the right word for these vehicles, since even one day of strike or petrol-diesel-CNG problem can bring the fast moving pace of mumbai to a halt.

South Mumbai: This is a part of mumbai that every tourist, or a person coming to mumbai from a small town would want to visit, for the simple reason that south mumbai is the hub for the financial buzz in mumbai. For me, it has been the most memorable place to visit, when I saw south mumbai from the eyes of someone else. But that's another story... :P Some Places that make this part of mumbai the most prime location for activities would be:

These places make south mumbai crucial for the financial, political, and commercial activities.

But lately Mumbai has been going through a lot of torment in the last decade with floods, bomb blasts, and terrorist activities on the rise. Even though for me the places and things that define the city are mentioned above, what makes the city what it is (in a good way or bad) are the people living in it...Mumbaikars, who are known for their never die spirit. However, with the recent events, I am forced to think whether its this Never say die spirit that is leading to the most deaths in the city. Is the reason behind repetitions of these activities the fact that we are not reacting and carrying on with our lives??? I sure hope not. Anyways, its a thought I can't seem to get out of my mind.

Anyhow.....I know I might have miss a lot of things, places and locations that might define mumbai for you, But I give you the chance to discover my city at your own leisure and then share with me your experience. Will wait for your comments..

Till then, adios...ciao.

8 Jun 2011

Trip down memory Lane - Be the Change

Be the change you want to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi

I had read this line somewhere a long time ago. Honestly? I am not much of a memory person... Ok I admit, I am bad at remembering references, but this line has stayed with me since a long time and that is the reason I chose to share it with you today.
They say school days are unforgettable for everyone and childhood never returns. But 3 years back that myth was proven wrong by my batch classmates who apparently got together via every medium possible, from long-lost hotmail, to most recent twitter and facebook. Somehow the idea of a reunion clicked in the minds of some of us and a series of emails were shot through to every known batch-mate who had access to internet. It was amazing to see how networks work, and one person can make a difference. 4th May 2007 was decided as the date for the reunion with an approximate head count of 28 people expected to ‘rock the party’ as we called it. What we didn’t realize was that this reunion would end up getting us together for a cause that none of us anticipated.

Most of the people who turned up eventually for the event were US visiting batch-mates who promised to stay in touch, few were the shy ones who only came because of all the insisting we did, some only came to see what the whole big deal was and the remaining were me and my few other friends who stayed back to discuss what we can do as a group.

Me, Mrudula, Jatin, Nihar, Ashwin, were very keen on doing something for the community especially for the school who got us where we were today. The conversation led to the old days and what we as students would have enjoyed having in the school and how much we miss being associated with it. So we decided to visit the school and meet up with the teachers and principal just to re-live those days.

We reached the school one late afternoon, (of course that only happened after several calls to convince the principal the reason why we wanted permission to be in the premises) Old school playground that lay deserted, the classrooms which still bore our names carved on the desks, the staff rooms as always bubbling with conversations, library that hadn’t lost the fragrance of books and polish of the cabinets, reminded us of the Golden days. Apparently the guys even visited the boy’s washroom and re-lived some of their old times and came out with a weird code language that I and mrudula just couldn’t decipher.(it still remains a mystery to me and mrudula, :P but I guess some things are better that way). Meeting old teachers went quite well when we realized that they knew a lot of mischief we used to do around class with the impression that the teacher isn’t looking.

After a tour around the school, we met up with the principal who much to our surprise was very curious to know why we wanted to visit the school. We explained to her our attachment with the school and how we would like to keep our association in every way we can. We were given an idea of how children who cannot afford their education are dropping out of school and even though the school does everything to reduce the pressures for such families, there is little they can do since it’s a school with a board of trustees to reply to.

On our way out, we all had the same look and thought and we barely needed a second opinion on the same. We decided to utilize all the resources to reach out to all our reunion list of batch-mates and do something for the students who could not afford their education. The principal helped us out with the names of 10 unique cases where the child had the talent to learn, but parents were either single parent, or had genuine reasons for not being able to come up with the money. We came up with the money of approximately Rs. 30,000 that year. With the fees of 1500 for the year covered in the contribution, the remaining amount of 1500 was used to provide the remaining necessities to the child, notebooks, pencil box, crayons, pen sets, Tiffin boxes, school bag, etc.

We personally visited the school to give this contribution and the principal had made sure that we get the chance to meet every parent of the child we are contributing for. A mother suffering from cancer, a single mom taking care of 3 children whose father abandoned them, a sister taking care of her brother by doing part-time job while studying herself, and many more cases came to our attention.

It was an amazing feeling to reach out to such kind, and we have continued to do it since last 3 years. This year, we are starting our drive again for this cause and hoping to raise the bar a little higher. Its our school’s 50th Anniversary and we intend to make sure its special in a lot more ways than just monetary contribution. Sports kits for the school, money for the annual function this year, a prize for the competitions held during the annual celebration and a special something is planned for the teachers in the school from our batch.

We are all doing our bit for the institution that made us the people we are today and we genuinely believe that if every little help counts when it comes to promoting education.

We, students of North Bombay Welfare Society high School, Ghatkopar, Mumbai are doing out bit…Are you?

11 May 2011

A Reason to believe....

As children, I know we hear a lot of things that we believe or don't believe. I know its difficult to believe everything we hear even when we grow up but the reason for me to write this post today is because I have believed today 3 lines/phrases that I have heard very often, but never really got anything to authenticate. Of course, this are only few of the lines for me to mention here, but I hope at the end of this post, you might find your three lines too...

I have never been a 'mills and boons' girl, and I used to find the idea of a fantasy man bogus and very childish. I have been of a belief that a couple needs to work a lot on their relationship to make it work. So when I used to be told "There is a special someone for everyone" I used to laugh it off, just like Shahrukh in 'DTPH'. But I genuinely have seen and experienced that we might not find our perfect soul-mates, but whoever we find has a potential to be the man/woman of our dreams. God sure works in mysterious ways to give every person a chance that he/she needs. Its just upto us to not negate everything in him/her and give a chance for our love to unfold themselves.

You know how they say "Distance makes heart fonder" That has somehow been true for me in the past few weeks. I know how people say that they can't live without each other and cliches like that, but with everything I have felt, those lines don't feel like cliches anymore. In our lives, we take a lot of things and lot of people for granted. Of course we only realize their true worth once they have gone away from them. It could be someone as common as our maids, or someone as important as our parents, or even the most special person in our life. I don't mean to compare my parents or my love with maids, but I know every housewife will agree with me with regards to the importance of maids. Anyways, the point I am trying to make here is, whether its a newly married girl missing her parents, or a couple away from each other due to husband's relocation, everyone goes through a phase where they miss each other and realize how the other person used to make us feel. That distance only makes the heart grow more fond of him/her. It's a different issue that we don't let that distance come in between the relationship and work with each other. A small poem based on these feelings sent to me by someone special. :)

I spend my time thinking,
Wishing you were here.
I stop and look around,
Hoping you were near.

Just because You are not with Me,
Doesn't mean a thing.
It's knowing that You know,
That I'm Your everything.

So whenever You feel lonely,
Just look inside Your Heart.
And know without a doubt,
That in our " s p i r i t " We will never be apart...

"Everything happens for a reason". If only I have a rupee for every time someone has told me that. I know people might say how can tsunamis and earthquakes be a good thing? Well, in my defense, I am not talking about things that we don't have control on. But the attitude with which we accept these circumstances. I remember the time when I was down with heavy fever for 3 days and couldn't go to work. On the third day, I came to know that all the people in my office had been asked to stay back in the office for 3 days due to heavy flooding in the city. Yup, that was 26th July, the worst floods Mumbai had experienced.

There are lot of instances for me to share like these but the blog is just not enough. I guess what I am trying to say is that if we are patient and open-minded enough to wait for a while, every bad thing will unfold itself into a good thing and when THAT happens, will you be smart enough to accept it to yourself that I am glad that happened?

These are three lines that I have been able to experience that hold true to their meaning. What are the phrases of your life?

Think about it.

Until next time..Adios, Ciao.

21 Apr 2011

Chai Garam...Chai Garam...

"Chai Garam, Chai Garam....!! I had heard these words several times during my recent travel in one of the long distance trains. If you are a tea person, that call would surely tempt you to respond with a "Oye bhaiya, Ek chai", but those words got me thinking about the national drink of our country (unofficially, of course)

Tea as a drink has now become almost synonym to the small 'tapri' (roadside stalls) in Mumbai. A small stall with the least investment, It's a very common sight to see vendors, workers, middle-class men, and nowadays call center crowd flocking around these tea stalls during their free time.They seem to be around every corner. From outside multinational company complex to railway and bus stations, from new construction sites to industrial areas, these stalls are making their mark everywhere.

Tapri chai is a fix most office-goers can't do without. This is a place where friends gather during the day in true convivial spirit to partake of this hearty brew and catch up on the local gossip. It’s usually served in small tea glasses, but you haven’t really enjoyed it until you pour it on an empty saucer and simply slurp.Tapri also gives solace to a lot of college going kids who find the tapri the most affordable place to pass time between classes (...or during class, hehe). The easiest way to recognize tapri is firstly by seeing a group of people around it, or by their kerosene operated stoves.

 The Mumbai tapri chai is also a relief to many of the mumbaikars who go on foot till Siddhivinayak (A famous temple in Mumbai) on Tuesday mornings. Tuesday mornings, this tea is the energy drink that drives these religious ones to their destination. Many generous stalls provide free cups of tea to these regular walkers at various stops on the way.

 Also, one of the oldest restaurants in Mumbai known for its tea is the 'Tea Centre' at Churchgate, Mumbai. Its not only known for its variety of tea, but more for its ambience. Even though its very different than the standard tapris in mumbai, the experience there, can transfer you from today to yester-years look, with small silver bells on the table to call out to the waiter, beautiful surroundings and old-style furniture. The Tea Centre was initially opened by the Tea Board of India to promote the drink.

I, however have never been able to come to terms with the ability of certain people to spend more than 10/- for a cup of tea. So to find out what is the thrill all about, I decided to once find out how it felt and went to one of the coffee shops and ordered Masala Chai. Eventually I ended up spending Rs. 40/- for boiled water in a stylish cup, milk, sugar and tea bags given separately. But that of course is a different story. At the end of this little social experience, I had to go to the nearest tapri to enjoy the feeling of having a true masala chai.

Mumbai is known as the city of dreams, but the tapri's of mumbai are the alarm clocks that help people wake up to achieve those dreams.

Its just difficult to imagine a city without few of them around the neighbourhood. This article sure has given me a craving for a chai, Anyone care to join?

10 Feb 2011

Making my suffering a "Safar"

Local transport makes up for a great amount of time in a mumbaikar's life when it comes to traveling from and to work. I am one such mumbaikar who spends 5 hours a day in a local bus. A blogger like me just couldn't resist the temptation to write about my experience in this mode of transport since just like our regular interaction gets us acquainted with weird people, this journey also lets us observe variety of human behaviors. I present to you... top 5 kind of people you will see in any mode of public transport:

  • Conductor: Generally a calm personality, this species tend to show various mood swings during the overall journey. "Chutta nikalke rakho" (kindly give change) seems to be the copyrighted statement of theirs but somehow the change automatically seems to emerge out of the pocket if we stick to the "chutta nahi hai" (sorry no change) line. However irritating they might seem on the outside, I have come to be grateful to these public workers specially for the fact that they are practically on their feet 80 percent of their working hours. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
  •  Ladies first: Public services have been really nice to us ladies in terms of seating. With 4-6 seats reserved for ladies, we get a lot of envious looks from the opposite gender. Working women who strive to balance personal and professional lives, tend to find their alone time in this very gracious travel, whether its knitting, reading, gossiping or just taking a quick nap this woman can do it all. Hats off to this species. 

  • Business men type: This species are the most entertaining and educational for me in my journey. Most of these types belong to the gujarati and marwadi clan. Their identities generally include sophisticated mobile phones with either bluetooths or hands-free attached to the ear, loud voices, and lot of business talk "entertaining" everyone in range of their conversation. From how to handle vendors to the optimum resource to how to increase revenue, no detail is confidential for this kind. In fact the louder they talk, the better businessman you are supposed to be. The irony of this kind is that they are the same people adding to the growth as well as the corruption of the country. What contrast!

  • Lovebirds: This kind is generally found in buses occupying the last seats to ensure least stares. What they tend to forget is that the cat does not become invisible just coz it shuts its eyes. This kind can be identified easily by their held hands, giggles, whispers and coy smiles. A/c buses help the new generation couples to snuggle up and get cozy, clear misunderstandings, make up their fights and spend a little alone time without the moral police bothering them. If not anyone else, the extra money paid as the ticket cost seems worth it to this kind.

  • The men: Last but not the least lets not forget the male population that travels without getting any special privileges, incentives, or reasons to take this mode of transport. They make up for 70% of the crowd that travels in the bus standing for most of the time, sacrificing their hard earned seats to the women and senior citizens. Agreed that they hardly have a choice in the matter, but I have also met some gracious gentlemen who give up their place for uncomfortable lot in the crowd, offered to reduce the weight of our baggage when needed and never fighting over petty issues.

So these were the top five people who stand out on my chart for my daily journey from and to work. These species have inspired me to start my blog today. I can't assure that it will continue, I surely hope to keep this blog alive.

Adios. Take care.

25 Jan 2011

New Life, New Beginning, New Change

Was trying to find something to base life upon,
Something in the world around that went on & on,
Years went by & time faded away,
Good days were then filled with dismay.
A New day came, and then again, it went,
My ambition to become something more, grew more and got spent,
Around the corner, yet miles away,
The life I wanted then, got closer each day.
All I ever wanted was something to live for,
I didn't want to be this little person anymore.
I had been basing my life upon what others thought,
I wished I could go back and redo everything, give back every bad thought I bought.
I had fought to become who I was and what I wanted to be,
I had to remind myself that one day, I will be free.
Free from the rules I followed as a child,
When everything was a game and life was so mild.
Soon times had changed and I realized life was fair,
And somehow felt I found someone to care,
Someone to pay attention and know what is best for me,
and understood what I felt about how things should be.
I understand now, that I’m no more on my own,
And I know a lot of what I CAN do.... is yet to be known.

To the person who makes me a better person. :)