Monday, December 10, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Taking the audio guide at ND chapel was such a waste-all the information is available in English and it was one place where the guide was a bit of a distraction rather than an invaluable aid.
- The Chapelle next door (no its not called that-just dont remember its name, but do remember where its located)-famous for two reasons-a) its the only church with the stone rudeway left (a structure that divides the worshippers and the priests) and b) it stores a Saint's finger-the only part which somehow escaped the rowdy revolutionaries who burnt her body and threw it in the river. Such idiots!
-Mitterand's house: no. 22, if you please: he lived in a narrow gully!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
How hard is it to ...shut up and listen....to think....to be mature.....to not jump the gun....to not assume....to be humble?
To put my mind to some rest,
On brainfall.com, i took a silly test.
Which Harry Potter character did they think was I?
the freckled friend, the wise oldie or the wizard boy...
Oh great-the answer was plain to see
Oh blast-even my hair looks like Hermione's!
I need anger therapy. and maybe some shampoo as well.
But know what-I don't really care
whether my hair shines like a diamond
or dandruff signs you can tell.
My worth is not equal to what I buy.
My sense of self is also not for sale.
Happiness-not a derivative of products & deals
What they make is fluff-I know I'm for real.
S-C-R-E-A-M! REAL LOUD SCREAM!! (look ma, no rhyme-no reason).
I'm putting myself to sleep.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Another thought that lingered in my mind was how fashion and trends come a full circle and how similar people living generations & continents apart could be! A lot of the jewellery and art on display from the Pompeii ruins or the Eqyptian pyramids is so contemporary-on more than one occasion I caught myself thinking-hey, I or my friends could wear this stuff!! (no sarcasm here, I swear and no criminal intent, either!). The same fuzzy we-are-one-always-have-been feeling emerged again when I looked at the Egyptian beauty products display! :D
On our way back from the Louvre, we went to the Garden of Tiles again (doesnt sound half as pretty as when you say Jardin de Tuileries, na?). Watched the evening sun blot its colors all over the sky. I did think the sky was really pretty in Paris but a long debate with G made me think, maybe it was just coz I never bothered to look up when I went about my daily existence in Sing/India!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
The view from the top is a busy tourist attraction and well, just about okay coz at that height, you do manage to make out some of the more important structures but well, you did that with better sight downstairs anyway!-but if its your first time in Paris, you just have to go right to the top, even if it is knowing what I just told you :)Living upto my reputation of being a sucker for souveniers, I bought small Tour Eiffel replicas (brown, oreadi! so no danger of oxidation and propogation of a wrong belief) and a couple of extremely nice Black & White postcards.
Since the Seine Boat Tour was really recommended, we bought tickets for those and used the time between then and the departure time, admiring the Eiffel Tower from afar.
Traveller's Tip#3-What really helped in planning our days in Paris (and the other cities) were the Fodors travel guide itineraries, available for free at the website-they usually mention tourist places and must do's which are close to each other, so you can take devote each day to a district and the highlights there, without totally wearing yourself out). They also have nice culture & food tips -which, if not very useful, make for a fun read.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
After an internal debate of "should i really be clamoring to pose with wax dolls" vs "you are here-might as well", populism won! For me, there was also the vicarious pleasure of comparing height with other short famous people (I lay claim to only one of those adjectives :P). The vicarious pleasure of standing next to Jennifer Anniston and seeing eye to eye was immeasurable. The only celebrity statue who I couldnt wait to be with was Jack Sparrow! (didnt stop me from joining G with Leo and others, including Bob Marley, Newton & Shakespeare).
But here too some sort of a prejudice-all the desi celebrities looked so hideously plastic-even their accessories seemed to have been bought from the great chor bazaar sale-really irked me no end to see SRK and AB looking like poor cousins of themselves, while even the B-grade firang celebrities had been done up rather nicely! There were exceptions though-Beyonce looked as if she had used 1 yr's supply of whitening products in 24 hrs :D
Monday, October 01, 2007
Tower Bridge looks great-awesome photo-op provider! The Tower itself was okay-the place itself has a rich and varied history-it's served as a residence, a mint, an armoury..even an execution site! Saw the different weapons on display and yes, the Kohinoor too! Did get a bit agitated that its really an Indian treasure which is being forcibly kept in the British custody.According to G, it's a good thing they took it away and are keeping it there safely-I couldnt argue with that-well, the safekeeping and insurance expenses are serving them right :)
Post that, went to Baker Street to Madam Tussaud's, but since we'd booked the tickets online using Devika's credit card-we were briskly turned away as we were in possession of neither the card nor Devika. Big Boo to the burly smartass at the counter who saw these innocent faces as those of fraud perpetrators!
Hungry and a bit disappointed at being rejected by museums (tch.tch.), we just decided to head home-But well, the tube was also raring to give us a beating- we took the wrong train-TWICE!-and finally reached home only around 3 pm. Decided to give ourselves a hot meal break!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Passed the Hyliograph gifted by the Egyptians to Her Majesty for the English victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile. Found it very hard to understand this curious habit of the erstwhile Eqyptian governors of gifting national treasures to imperial powers for random battle victories. (the De La Concorde has an obelisk-its twin is in Luxor). Its like seeing one minaret of the Taj Mahal in Philippines, where you'd least expect it-Culturally discordant and a bit detrimental to tourism for the original monument. ( A funny anecdote from our Thames cruise guide-the sphinx were put in a wrong position-facing the hyliograph, instead of facing outwards- they are meant to guard the damn thing, not ogle at it admiringly!)
Friday, September 28, 2007
1. I frown- a lot-and most of the times, i dont know im doing it- I've been frowning since i was a kid-its the thing i do when i want to listen, to pay attention, to understand, to disagree, to think- so if you havent seen me frowning-dont think you've met me :P
2. I smile- coz I really do feel it doesnt take much and just makes you & others around you feel better. And as a rule, I dont trust people who remain unsmiling for the better part of the day-something menacing about that! There have been times when I've done it rather unwittingly, like the time I did it when a prof was asking me something and I hadnt been listening and he ticked me off with " you will not succeed in the corporate world with a sexy smile" or something to that effect. I didnt know whether to feel insulted with his stupid comment or happy with the compliment. I just frowned in response.
3. I have a security blanket called "Satin"- I have slept under it ever since I can remember (there have been times we've come back mid way from a journey just coz I had forgotten it at home and wont sleep without it) and though I can now, get sleep even without it-its like a hug, a comfort wrap, a pacifier-yes, i do realize it is inanimate but such a constant in my life. (and no its not a museum relic- my aunts and relatives have been gracious enough to gift me substitutes every now and then-though I do have a hard time adopting the new one & letting the old tattered one go.
4. Food is a mood changer (share this with McD)- its a Top of Mind item-always! Singular in its ability to uplift mood or cause it to sink to deeper than deep levels. I love food and I love being a foodie! Loads of quirks associated with food (eating maggi sandwiches, or licking off the cream from cream biscuits ..but too many to list down here)
5. Doing random activities like reading, making cards, writing etc while in vajrasana, walking or standing- My parents used to get quite concerned that I stood for hours while I made Diwali cards for friends and family-but I just couldnt sit on a chair and do those things. Did get a cramp in my legs sometimes and my legs went numb sitting in vajrasana for 3 hrs..but well, I did it my way!
6. The color blue- Till college, 90% of my clothes were blue and I would have ended up as a dyed in indigo version of Simi Garewal, had I suddenly not discovered my fascination for other colors. (yes, even yellow and tan).
7. Extreme panic & hysteria when I dont find something-even if its extremely inconsequential. This is a very time consuming and painful habit (ooops, was I supposed to call it a quirk?). I am a mad woman on most occasions but go raving mad when I cant find something where its supposed to be or where I last left it. On most such occasions, I find it where it was supposed to be-the bloody thing just did a darn good job of hiding itself for an hr! (Recent case in point precious hours saved by Rashie through the discovery of my earrings in the original container- just seconds before I was to embark on a massive hunt).
8. Matching tunes- I'm good at tracking tunes and songs which sound like each other. So I know that "tanhai tanhai" from koyla was actually used as a background score in "karaj arjun". Or that lage raho munnabhai is actually a modified version of a bong song (dhitang dhitang bole).
9. Rembering just antaras or mukhdas and not being able to retrace the start/end of the song is such a nightmare!
10. My hello on the phone and other not-so-glorious ways of saying things- have been ragged enough about the former (of how the accent is so acquired etc-its not by the way-its just been that way since I was a kid and we didnt even have satellite TV then-only the world this week). I do have a sing-song way of saying somethings and have been imitated enough by uncles & aunties & friends when all I said was "Could-I-speak-to-Divya" or shouted "aale aale" (coming!). For more ask DT and wicked meera :)
This is an open request to others- if you think of any other quirks (worth mentioning and not worth censoring), do leave a comment-always good to agree/deny/refute/frown/smile :)
And the travel blog will start tomorrow-any more delays and it will feel as dated as the Roman Forum.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
His enthusiam was so infectious-my frowns at being constantly woken up (this was a flight at an unearthly hour of 7 am or thereabouts), gave way to wide grins.
I think I feel the same way, now that most of my packing and logistical nightmares are over (almost-there's always something I need to do right before the exit to the airport, to feel I've judiciously divided my tasks among my waking hours). This is the first trip I'm managing independently and though it may not sound profound, but this is really the longest I'll be in a foreign country (ies) on a holiday! And unlike most other holidays, wont have my security blanket-my fall back option (read the ear that takes in my cribs and the shoulder that supports me while i nap). Nerous am I. but Excited as hell.
And as I set forth on my Europe trip tonite, I know what I'll be chanting when the airplane prepares to take off.
Bon Voyage, Gnain & me!
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
And it has ze lot to do with the lovely lunch I treated me and family to at Original Sin.(highly reco'd-the food i.e. Dont think my family would like the idea of you wanting to try them). I want to learn how to make hummus-so I can keep more than myself happy :P (dont think everyone will get this-but that's ok)
Promotion news natually thrilled me but for a shorter period than expected-the effect wore off after the first 12 hrs-but that's usually the case with me-bad or good, things can't hold me for too long. The move to marketing is a bitter-sweet pill-Sweet coz i asked for it and finally got it-bitter coz in some ways, its like starting all over again. I just hope I can stick to this function for long enough-2 yrs in sales, almost 2 in CMK....I almost expect myself to find myself in finance or IT after 2 yrs! Dont bother absorbing that-its just my usual schizo cynical self. (why else do you think i'll sit and analyze my own good mood)
Good tidings also took the form of my UK visa approval-one less 'what-if' to get tormented by! And most of the hostels are booked too-save for salzburg. But the europe trip plan deserves an individual post. So getting on with another good mood inducer. X visited my orkut page and since curiosity could be my shorter middle name (current one is a mere 14 alphabets), I visited X's page and I blessed him-with a hearty laugh. Read on:
i m tough guy (ooh)......difficult to understand (dude-most ppl like it simple and if you understand yourself, wont really put it past others)...slightly romantic (ok!) ,,,,,, (notice how the comma has been used as a fullstoppish pause) highly temperd (with jeera and rai?),,i luv to make frnds (n i also thnk u lrnt ur eng thro sms).......but i don't like girls who show exessesive attitude (lil attitude u can take, huh?)........i like soft girls who can understand me exactly wat i m (contradiction-weren't you difficult to understand and what's this obsession with soft-u mean soft spoken, soft skin, soft in the head....a pillow?).........i simply give up myself in front soft girls.......... (Even i give up!)
Sorry-rather mean, but I honestly, dont understand how or why someone would say such things-about themselves too! Tee hee. And to think the guy had put Pierce Brosnan as his profile pic. You asked for it, bugger!!
I'm supposed to move house tomorrow,but there's no sign of the cartons the movers promised-Hmm...why do I sense my mood shifting to anxiety!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Now that I've answered the unasked and hitherto unanswered questions, time to start describing my woes. We want to see the world on a shoe-string budget. Nothing wrong with that-except that decision leaves you wandering in the maze called "hostels".
I think the primary problem is that there is just so much information-Rough Guide, Lonely planet, gomio.com, hostels.com, hostelineurope.com.... and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Info overload just acquired a mighty ominous dimension. All I wanted was a glamorous sounding, scenic, backpacking vacation-why, just why, didnt anyone tell me about all the work involved in getting there!!
All hostels by rule, have and equal measure of both good and bad reviews, which just confuses the hell out of you or leaves you with no choice! Everything's good and everything's bad. This one has complaints about the bed, the security sucks at this place, this one has curfews, this one is too noisy. References are only a tad better. It just seems to boil down to putting your money where your karmic circle ends and breathe and wait for the trade-off to play out during your stay.
Im an Indian and I need a visa to go anyplace worthwhile on this planet, other than des of course :P The UK ppl want me to give them all possible details to assure them that i do have money to take care of myself in the 4 days that i'm there. So after 2 trips to the application centre and the biometric test & loads of dollars later, my application has been submitted. "if all goes well", i should get my visa by the end of this week/ Monday. After which comes the next step of the Schengen visa (im beginning to believe its a spelling & pronunciation conspiracy- Pray for me. And save some for next week.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Thank you, Mr. Rubik
(sung to the tune of “thank you for the music” by Abba)
And I say, Thank you Mr. Rubik
For the cube he’s twisting.
Thanks-Spaciba-my heart is singing.
A treat at Tent it got me
A coffee too, at TCC
LN-it’d have been without it
Drowning in sambhar-idli- seriously!
And I say Thank you Mr Rubik
For the cube which gave me glee.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
a) stay away from PS LT members (applicable to both guys and girls). Their tharak coefficient hits the roof and their dignity hits rock bottom. Plague seems attractive in comparison.
b) carry your own music. How the hell do you dance to ice ice baby?
c) invest in the franchise performance-pays great dividends.
d) Keep close friends at arm's length-you'd need them in case point (a) doesnt work.
e) Thank god for filipinos-humour, compassion and good spirit. And they do know how to dance and not just wildly shake all body parts in ritualistic convulsions.
obviously not my best party ever.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I think entries about movies/ travelogues/anecdotes are great-very involving and at least you end up with more information. Reading opinions is fun too-different strokes for different folks. And since im tech duh- i like info, even if its a helpful deluge.
Diary type entries just elicit a massive yawn-yeah, everyone wakes up and all that blah. Who cares about whether you spent a day pretending to be a vegetable or cooking one. I think as a rule, diary blog entries should just be titled dear diary to avoid any accidental and regrettable clicks. (i know i will do that-to know that my last entry was about my cold !!hehe). Self-indulgence is a very sticky vice. (no connection to the Sticky rice at AMK-passable fare)
The question remains-Dont know-lack the energy to think about this right now or maybe that's my excuse for not wanting to confront the question myself. And maybe, it just aint that deep after all.
I think I'm writing coz I like it and coz it would be rather touching to find my kids reading this 10 years from now and giving me a classic roll of the eye.
And yes, I made that up as I was writing it-so no deep seated desire of domesticity and changing nappies :) The question is sweetly evasive..aint it?- especially for bloggers.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Having felt like a virus factory for the last 4 days, I just feel compelled to dedicate some alphabets to something that’s quite annoyingly dominated my life. Here’s what I realized.
a) A cold is bad-no two ways about this-almost like a warm-up during gym, it starts with a sniff or two and before you realize it, the bloody thing has started wreaking havoc on your nose by making it leak, like nobody’s business. And then again, it’s your nose not the basin to plug it up!
b) Home remedies, anyone? Well, I tried to fight it with my will and my army of countless tissues. I even tried substituting my regular pickle with amla pickle and drinking lots of orange juice (I’m all sold into the benefits of Vitamin C, u see). I was also advised to drink haldi and milk-but well, milk and I gave up on each other ages back and worked out a mid-way solution as cheese and yoghurt. And well, haldi is fine for the veggies! So something a little less disruptive for me.
c) The time comes when you just need to wisen up and yes, take that dreaded tablet which promises to put an end to your watery woes, but also makes your super drowsy. The state of zombie-ness starts and you feel the processing power of your brain ebbing away.
d) After 2-3 tablets, voila, a miracle-and you can turn your back on the tissues. But hey…why does my nose feel like a clogged drain-a choked pipe-a blocked passage? Oh, now’s the time you need to take a mucus decongestant and/or take steam!! Oh damn at least I could breather earlier!
e) I’ve heard of husbands getting sympathy pains when their wives go into labour and found the whole thing quite amusing-but honestly, all traces of humour evaporated with my throat getting sympathy pains for my nose-it was as though, in a sacrificial filmy mood or some directions from the organ union, my throat had asked to share the pain and the bad times. I officially had a cough.
f) Armed with a cold and cough is not really the best time to go to a movie-I was equipped for the temperature inside-have been in Singapore long enough to know how Siberian the theatres can be-but not quite prepared for the inopportune timing of my relentless sneezes and hearty coughs-I salute the patience and fortitude of those around me-bear they surely did with me-albeit with a silent curse and a handkerchief to their nose.
g) One of the most debilitating effects of the cold has been my inability to smell anything-good or bad-feels terrible to be devoid of one of the senses that I really took for granted-I realized how much it means to me- half the joy of cooking was lost coz I could no longer savor the aroma of the spices, and half my judgment of the end results! Also, I felt rather dumb putting on perfume coz I just didn’t know whether it was enough or too much! Lost half my appetite (which, going by the steady increase in weight, is not half bad). Oh god, please invent a way to grant a cold, but without the loss of the power to smell!
h) I also, understood for the very first time, the power of receptivity and what brand loyalty means. The first one is on how I suddenly seemed to notice the Strepsils ad on the train and the vicks drops on the 7-11 cash counter-unreal. My head and nose were sufficiently blocked for me to trace my steps to Mustafa after the Saturday lunch-after several rounds of directions and aisle hunting, I was told that Vicks Vaporub was out of stock-And just listening to my vehement NO to the store assistant’s suggestion that I look for something else, made brand loyalty a very personal emotion. (I do love Vicks for its unduplicated & totally reliable way of giving me a good night’s sleep-even with the monstrous cold)
Ah well, I haven’t quite recovered and the struggle to beat the cold continues-only know, I’ve paid heed to my mom’s advice and started my course of antibiotics-I think this dual damage of losing both taste and smell might just work as well as the GM diet! Here’s to good health!!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
We met Joanne on Saturday. She took us to the zoo along with her other friends and colleagues who took others to the zoo as well. She helped us find our way through the zoo & reach the designated spots on time; made sure we didn’t miss the animal shows and the interaction with domesticated animals. She clicked photographs like a pro, kept us entertained with her wild antics- all this while keeping a watchful eye on us and making sure that we had our meals on time, and that we expressed our appreciation & enjoyment clearly & unabashedly.
Joanne really gave us a lot-not only a feeling of unprecedented responsibility, compassion & sensitivity towards other’s needs but also countless opportunities for genuine smiles, laughter & fun.
JOANNE & ME
Yes, she needs assistance to do basic stuff that kids her age don’t even spare a thought for-But the playful and vivacious kid made us realize things that time-strapped, ‘now’-driven selfish adults like us, don’t spare a thought for-How doing something worthwhile can lend a delightful glow to your otherwise mundane clockwork existence, how a genuine smile from Jo was worth much more than the empty laughter & the fake pleasure of random parties & how simple everyday things acquire a whole new dimension when you see it from a different (her) point of view.
Thank you Joanne, for making me realize the deep sense of gratitude that I now feel towards everything and everyone I usually took for granted and snapping me out of the self- induced pool of disenchantment & cynicism.
Thank you for the positive thoughts & feelings you left me with. I hope to see you soon :) (Though I feel I’m cheating you with giving you just time and getting so much more in return).
(for those of you who are in Singapore and have a desire to put your time/money to good use, the AWWA school is located near Ang Mo Kio & welcomes volunteers-for more details follow the link.)
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Biggest miss of 05-06- Not having watched “Crash”. Will not dwell too much on the how and why not (because there simply is no reason or excuse). But I guess this is a call to action for all those miserable cinema buffs who missed this movie.
What I like about the movie is that it's unassuming and stays true to the theme of how dangerous & wasteful it is to stereotype people and why judging the faces and acts around you, on the basis of melanin deposits, postal addresses and net worth, is severely detrimental to your being, especially in the era that we live in.
The movie lures you into judging and then just when you've trudged the hill, allowed yourself a pat on the back for traversing the cliff of that judgment, it gently pushes you onto the edge-to make you see how wrong you were in assuming what you did , when you judged.Of how wrong those milestones were. And how wrong you were to have climbed that cliff.
Who’s the hero-someone who appears racist, but is quite literally baptized noble, by fire? Or someone who is shamed by these acts of racism, but commits something irrevocably horrifying, simply because he tuned into the wrong frequency of suspicion (based on color)?
What’s right and what’s wrong? Who's the sinner and who deserves to be the glorious saint?
Generate your own set of questions-go beg or borrow this DVD, if Crash missed provoking you. Also, one word of advice- stay away from Babel, the me-too movie tries to be a Crash II and fails miserably-The beauty of Crash is that its is about people like us, people who err and flounder but never seem to preach. Babel does quite the opposite-aims to address what it thinks are the world’s problems by creating & strengthening stereotypes.