Thursday, December 17, 2009

Worth Repeating

This dates back to beginning of 2008 and since this blog has seen many new readers since then, the following seems worth repeating.

http://quirkyquill.blogspot.com/2008/01/happiness-knockin.html

Season's Greetings. Spread the cheer :)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Weekend Realizations

- I'm very greedy and ambitious.
What else would explain a 30 before 30 list that is in reality, a 60 before 30 list? Each point on that list can neatly be broken down into two or even 3 individual to-do's. But no, life isn't complete without a goal that stretches or nearly breaks my back. Examples: Do 21km+ 42 km marathon runs. Or what has really got me up in arms- Read 50 good books! And I have been reading, trust you me. But here the clever qualifier of "Good" has meant that I have unwittingly brought in the quality of writing into the picture. Sigh. Now that I have picked up a good book (A suitable boy)...it alone weighs as much as 5 decent sized books. Phew. I''m a tough taskmaster.

- Going for desi movies is a motivational class.
There is this program on one of those lifestyle channels- who'll age faster. Based on your diet, exercise and other lifestyle choices, a team of experts projects just how badly you'll age. Each time I go to the theatre that plays desi movies, I feel I'm in that program- Will that be me in 5/10/20 years?- the auntie who looks equally comfortable with her Benz and her love handles? The one who hopes her expensive accessories will make others ignore her sad fitness levels? The one who looks like a pear and can wear nothing but kurtis? The one whose life is enormously comfortable but nondescript nonetheless? Nothing motivates better than fear and nothing cures fear better than action. So if i'm running harder on a sunday after a saturday movie, you know what has spurred the action.

-I'm 28 and without a baby and I don't feel the void.
I'm genuinely happy in the here and now, being with M, doing the stuff that brings immense joy and fulfillment. The clock's ticking but is that reason enough? There is just so much to do (refer to point 1 above) and no tearing hurry to become a selfless and evolved person (which I have heard other people become as parents- no clear evidence but yes, a lot of hearsay).

- The world of fitness is also a world full of expenses
Being lazy and fat doesn't involve half as much expenditure as your bid to remain fit. Strangly enough, what is unhealthy costs much lesser than what your body genuinely needs. case in point-Mac fries vs 99.9% fat free yoghurt. And it's not just food.No matter how you decide to keep yourself fit you can't escape the fact that Fitness equipment (weights, mats, gym machines, hydration packs, fuel belts), fitness wear (shoes, dri-fit socks, compression shorts), fitness food (energy bars, gels, protein shakes) and motivation (group classes, trainers etc.) are going to make lighter, definitely, your wallet and possibly, you. But then point 2 stares you in the face, you pay through your nose and your determination to chart a course through the fitness terrain.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saying thank you to differences

She's devoured 3 books in the last 3 weeks.
He thinks Book Cricket and the score he can keep.
On a trip, he knows not which city is next.
She could recite the itinerary in her sleep.

Her brain cells refuse to store any technical details,
For him, that's nourishment for the soul.
Everything should be out there, mess-his divine right.
She throws away even important documents, in a bid to keep them out of sight.

A crisis has him unstirred- his nerves made of steel,
She's pacing here and there-as stressed as she can feel.
But the situation is quite different if he doesn't see her by the appointed hour
Now he's pacing here and there-the paranoid side revealed.

He talks of buying a house, she's already planning next year's travel.
He's looking at the big rocks while she's playing with pebbles and gravel.
Her music fits his definition of the dying or for the dead.
While his loud techno beats are met with her frowning dread.

His fitness discipline is famous, her laziness less well known.
She loves to move and shake- to crazy jumping, he's prone.
He'd rather watch action and horror and finds her revulsion to those strange.
She eats her meals with Hindi soaps-enough to drive him insane.

They think unlike each other, their ways are so far apart.
They must thank the forces which made the tale start.
For were it not for the vast differences and the contrast so bright,
The story would be quite boring, with little exasperation or delight.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

News can be fun

I'm a news hound and read at least 2 newspapers each day. (International Herald Tribune and TOI/Mint- I have a habit of volunteering information-didn't you notice- I have a blog!). News websites such as ndtv and rediff are also toured but infrequently because I like to sink my teeth into in-depth reports instead of sniffing at breaking news snippets.
However, I largely make do with the epapers. For I stay in a city where the regular newspaper less than delights and carries about 1 page of news worth reading. For I yearn for real news vs "window pane breaks and injures 2" and there are only so many sales, slimming & bust enhancement ads that my senses can bear. But yet, being a news hound, I can't really stop myself from the cursory glance at the free newspaper and if nothing else, then satisfying myself with the easy Sudoku it carries each day.
But today happened to be the day that I picked up the free newspaper and actually found 3 things which did not aim at being funny but were.
#1 Mistaken identity lands IT professional in trouble
Consider a young Indian IT professional who's roaming around one of the shady streets at 6.53 am. It is way past/too early for the time any good girls would be out on the street. So when he sees a lady walking down this street at such unholy hour, he naturally assumes that she is peddling certain services and since of this, he is certain- he proceeds to grab her and then to kiss her!! He is then chased and caught by her colleagues when they hear her shouts for help. Though he apologized and was appropriately fined- what got me was his plea that he was soon to be married to a girl in India and that they were to set up a software company.
Several questions come to mind- What time zone was he operating in? Has he heard of the word "propriety" or of the word "relevance"? What good is that last statement going to do? Or was he just trying to balance the scale and hoping that entrepreneurial instinct would kinda overshadow his abundant stupidity?
Actually, I'm plain surprised that the fiancee is okay to proceed with plans in spite of his morning misadventure.
#2 Gastrosexual is the new metrosexual
This is from Britain-apparently, British men are spending close to 30 mins a day cooking and have ostensibly been inspired by celebrity chefs such as Jamie Olivier and Gordon Ramsay.
I am sure they have failed to record the 1 additional hour women are spending in kitchens cleaning up after the 30 minute typhoon has wrecked havoc in the kitchen. But interesting huh? Good looking and witty chefs have the potential to lure husbands into the kitchen. Now who's up for making over Sanjeev Kapoor?? :)
#3 Advertisement for Bottom Slim (which prominently displays the before and after cellulite versions)
"My mom, my grandmother, my aunts all have bad cellulite. I did not escape this tendency too!I wear jeans and pants during hot days to work to hide my ugly thighs. My problem areas were so severe that I honestly thought nothing could help. But after 6 Professional treatments at Bottom Slim, things have certainly changed. I wore shorts to work yesterday, and it felt so good and amazing!"- Ms. Tan, 32 yrs old, Accountant
Gulp- I can not imagine why an accountant who's past 30 would want to wear shorts to work!! I'm sure her colleagues echo the " feeling good and amazing" sentiments.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

FB-the laughter tonic

Funny that I should be getting this after extolling the virtues of FB just a couple of days back.
Message one from random person- " Hi. Plz add me to your friends list"
My reply- " Eh? Who the hell are you?" (only people who are daft would mistake this for curiosity)
Second message from random person who turned out to be daft as well- " Hi. Im businessman from gujarat. I am in civil line and doing laiozan work-i know some of good constracion company in mumbai.what about you what are you doing and you are from which place.from your face i come to understand that you are very sober woman and you are very soft neture and it is good for you. futher if anything pls mail me or contact me on - Random person"
Sober and good natured. (I have tears in my eyes)
No person in their right mind has ever called me that and if all goes well, never will. I'm wondering whether to edit the previous post and also put down FB as a laughter tonic? There is also the question of an appropriate response - since "who the hell are you" has resulted in a generous and irrelevant description of self and "Eff off" might not be understood, I'm in favor of ditching my usual sarcastic style for a more direct and blunt"Not interested. Buzz off" approach.
I need to share the story with M now- I hope he laughs harder than the time someone on orkut called me a genius person! :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You know you have landed in Delhi when...

  • The last disciplined and synchronized activity you see will be the seat belts coming off before the airplane has made a complete halt and mobile phones buzzing to life before the aircraft doors have been opened.
  • The sullen guy at the "pre-paid taxi" counter repeatedly mispronounces your name the way only a Haryanvi jat can.
  • You see taxi drivers soliciting the "long distance sawaari" from the 20 odd passengers whose trolleys are bumper to bumper, lest someone cut the precious queue.
  • When you hear more abuses laced sentences in 10 mins than you heard in the last 10 days. (this is the part when the glamour from "kabhi pyaar mein gaali deta hai" from Delhi-6 comes undone)
  • You have every reason to believe the taxi driver when he narrates the grand conspiracy theory which implicates the guards who allocate taxis to passengers, the cops who book those who won't pay the guards and the drivers who pay the guards to get the more lucrative passengers.
  • You can't quite decide on what is causing you greater trauma- the sound of 100 horns trying to beat each other at the game of cacophony or the sight of seemingly every other man who thinks that scratching self in public is as natural as breathing.
  • You marvel in disbelief at how wide the roads are compared to the excuses Mumbai commutes on.
  • You hear the punjabi on the streets, in the neighbourhood and on the radio station and realize how much you missed it.
  • You see fat aunties typified by dripping diamonds and still haggling with the kabaadi for 5 bucks.
  • Talking to old friends and discussing old favorites such as PVR, Big Chill and Flavors is about the only important and urgent thing in the world.
  • You are home and wonder why you left.
  • You read about water shortages, electricity problems, 20 rapes, some dozen robberies, water logged roads, cracks in bridges- all in the same day.
  • You wonder when you'll ever truly return.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If you hate FB, this one's just for you!

In the last few days, I've heard too many rants against Facebook-on how it is completely stupid and how people are wasting time updating status messages and playing dumb games etc.
Truth be told, I'm a regular and frequent Facebook user- the kind who update their status prob once a day and are thankful to FB for reminding them of friends' birthdays, the kind who don't take stupid quizzes and who ignore all application requests, the kind who like the fact that FB has brought distant friends back in touch and their life's experiences closer through photographs.
The following is dedicated to the Facebook haters and their myriad reasons.
If you dislike the concept of social networking and people spending time as per their choice, well, you might be better off taking up another cause instead of getting millions of people to change their minds.
If you can't stand others updating their status message, please get a little savvy and open your eyes to a feature called "Hide"- hide that user or your entire friend list. If you don't really want to know what a friend is upto or are irritated by all the fun he/she is having- well, maybe that person does not really belong in your friend account. Also, if you continue to read the status updates and yet keep complaining, you are either hypocritical or just plain lazy.
If you are concerned about lack of privacy, please use the security settings and allow access to your profile, info and pics only to individuals you trust enough or don't put them up in the first place.
If someone is stalking you, block them and report abuse.
If you don't like the idea of the whole world reading your message to a friend, don't leave a wall post-send them a private message instead.
If you think your kids are going crazy over FB, well, monitor, screen, filter- in the same way that you do for other internet sites, mobile phones etc. A good measure of judgment, advice and trust should work, right? And in any case, no matter what you do, the next generation will find ways of beating your system. Getting yourself familiar with new means of communication will only help you assess benefits or damage better.
If you think FB is making mails and calls obsolete, you might find your thoughts resonating with those who said the TV would make print obsolete- different methods of communication can co-exist, especially if they serve different purposes!
If you can't bear FB, close the account and bid adieu- there are millions of users and one less is not going to hurt anyone. Least of all, you. If you are on the site, you are choosing to click-unless, someone is holding a gun to your head and insist that you get socially connected. If they are, you should consider getting help.
Facebook is not perfect- there are way too many weirdos sending you friendship requests. Traditionally strong lines between work and fun, business and pleasure, family and friends are getting blurred. Tweens and teens are getting seriously affected by the site which make them measure self worth in terms of their friends lists and number of wall posts. People are getting obsessed with doing things just so they can report on them through their status updates. And yes, it's surprisingly easy to take the cleverly constructed mirage of a good life for reality.
But then guess how real life is turning out? Our communities, our groups and our social networking sites are only a reflection of how society is evolving. You can either sit in the corner and sulk because no one told you the world is changing or you could be out there, recognizing teh change and and trying to adapting to it. The choice between denial and participation will always be yours.
In short, if you don't like facebook or the other social networking sites- stop whining, stay away and let others FB in peace. While on your way out, please collect the winner's goody bag-it contains a typewriter, a gramophone and a VCR. The committe had recommended a laptop, an Ipod and a blu ray player, but then we thought obsolete might suit you better.
ps- If you hate Orkut, I don't blame you. The site sucks :P The ratio of losers: decent junta on that site crossed the permissible limit roughly 1.5 years back.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Leap

So there's this list that I made at the start of the year- stuff to do before I turn 30.
I made the list in January and the opportunity for that first tick came in... January! After which there was a lull- at least with respect to the list. And then I lost the list-sure I retained about 40% of the items in my head but a list pruned down by half aint good enough and I couldn't just make a new list. So I searched high and low and then gave up and then almost as always, the list turned up when I was looking for a completely different thing. So the resurfacing of the list is going to be marked by a record of that first tick on the blog and by active efforts in accomplishing the other 29 things on that list.
The list is not known to anyone but myself and this is by design. Most of the items are in my control. There are some that relate to others- family and friends. Some of it is plain outrageous stuff which does lead me to question my state of mind when writing that list, 6 months back. But well, the ink is spilt on the paper and it is nothing but my mortal duty to obey the letter. It promises to be fun :)
Oh yes and here is proof of accomplishment of my first task- The Bungee Jump!!!
Kawarau Bridge, New Zealand
There are those who hesitate; those who look to the familiar face in the crowd for support; those who succeed a person who broke down and gave up; those who follow a person who swoops down like an eagle; those who scream their lungs out and then there are others who do all of the above. But it does not matter because once you have fought every cell of your body which is telling you not to jump, braved a height of 43m and just walked off the ledge after saying " Dammit. I can do this"..... you'll still be mighty hilarious to the crowds who take pleasure in hearing you scream "Help me" after the jump's done and as you are about to be brought down into the boat. That the crowds who witnessed the moment of truth include the husband, who made for an elegant jumper (in the words of the AJ Hackett folks) and who by the way, also recorded all of this on video, do not help the respectful cause of bragging rights.
What was funnier thought was the family reaction:
My mom: "You shouldn't do insane stuff like this."
My brother: "Did your contacts not fall out?" (yes- that is the first thing he asked me)
My brother again: " Be careful" ( this is after I've done the bungee yeah?)
Would I do it again? The adrenaline rush is completely worth it and I have a very persuasive adventure buff for a spouse-but at my core, I'm a scaredy cat who can be described as risk averse. So the short answer is, I don't know. The fact that I'm willing to consider doing another bungee, in itself marks a significant improvement over the "me" of past.
Here's to 29 more such life improving measures.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Happiness is...

.....staring out of the window watching little drops of rain bring out the true green of the leaves.
.....reading his mind and being halfway through the preparations for pakoras and tea and meeting the request with a triumphant and knowing smile.
....treating the senses to the sputter of the batter in the fiery oil, to the ascending aroma of the spices and to the tone less high pitch mix of shrieks and mercilessly wronged lyrics of a popular song.
....the division of duties between the two which sounds better as a concept than in practice.
....ending up with dark-as-devil tea because the chemical engineer ran out of milk but yet decided to throw in half the tea container into the brew.
....presenting the pretty plate of fattening fritters complete with ketchup and serviettes
....playing Scrabble with the left hand coz the right one's too busy supplying mouth with pakoras.
....whipping the self proclaimed champion's ass so badly that he scrambles the board at the end so you can't take score.
I'm a superhero and my secret power is winning at Scrabble while eating pakoras when its raining outside.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pappu pass hua

This news release is accompanied by much joy and pride, as also the realization that mugging up for exams is my core competence. I've passed the basic theory test- the first step in getting myself a Singapore driving license. That the test was completed in 12 mins and that it followed only 2-3 days of random prep are facts that I put here only because today they seem brag worthy.
I will shatter this illusion of genius that 1% of people reading this might be veering towards, by producing one question from the test that cracked me up:
On approaching a zebra crossing, you would:
a) speed up before any pedestrians appear
b) Slow down and check for any pedestrians
c) slow down and let the zebra cross

The other questions were tougher. Ok? :P Wipe off that grin now :)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Jaws like that

It began as a mild discomfort near my right ear and jaw-something that I could dismiss and yet get on with life and sundry socializing. However by Sunday night, it had outgrown its discomfort status and assumed the bigger role of minor pain- at least one that ensured that I couldn't sleep on my right side.
By Monday morning, it seemed like a small mutiny by my facial bones, nerves and muscles that led to a sorry swelling around the joint which further gave way to immense pain as I struggled to chew breakfast.
The situation was dire enough to warrant a call to the beloved hospital whose sole redeeming factor is the proximity to office (it's just across the road).
Frantic me: "Could I get an appointment with the ENT specialist?"
Dorky girl: " Wait aa". " Let me check for you"
FM: .......
DG: " But let me check with you first....what is wrong with you?
FM: *a variety of things could fit in as appropriate answers* " You mean why I need an appointment?" I went ahead and described the pain etc.
DG: "So what is your diagnosis?"
FM: ???!!!! * at this point DG became Exasperating Girl. If I knew how to diagnose, I'd attached a Dr in front of my name and not waste my time on the call, yeah?* " I don't know why or what has caused this but I am interested in curing this and which is why I need the appointment"
EG: " Ok aaaa. Let me check for you"
FM: ........*are they measured on how many times they repeat this phrase during the day?"
EG:" There is no appointment for today. Tomorrow can?"
FM: No- there's too much pain- I need to see a doc today- what do you suggest?
EG: " Then you can go to the A&E department"
FM: "What's A&E?"
EG: "Accidents and Emergencies department"
FM: "Are you sure? Isn't that for more serious cases?"
EG: "It's ok lah. It's 24 hours. You'll get to see a doctor."
FM: "Ok then. Thanks." *for nothing?*
So that was how I landed up at the emergency department of this hospital. Now, unless you've been on a space mission or something, you would know that this is possibly the worst time to visit a hospital- especially if you sneeze every now and then and have also been overseas in the past 7 days. The swine flu precautions meant that at least 4 different people checked on my travel history, my temperature, my flight number, my address, my contact number and every other piece of information that I could reveal through my miserable jaw. I almost got sent to the communicable diseases centre coz of a mild sneeze- it was only after I assured the nurse that this was just a silly dust allergy that she finally asked me to go wait inside for someone to attend to me.
And so I waited, feeling rather guilty- there were old folks on wheelchairs, some people on stretchers, but for most part, the place was rather empty- sure, there were others who seemed quite all right but by sheer glance condemned me for infringing my undeserving ass on what was rightfully, an emergency chair. To prove that I belonged, I started wincing a bit and also made intermittent gestures to support my jaw. Truth be told, it was paining but since there was no obvious external injury- I felt quite unqualified to be sitting there. Thankfully, the nurse yelled out a nice distortion of my name and I proceeded to volunteer more information while my BP was checked. The funniest question was " What is the degree of your pain"- it was a 10 smiley scale which went from a sheepish zero for "None" to a wailing 10 for "Intense". I debated and judged my pain at a Mild 4.
I think that was a bad move- I had to wait another 30 minutes to see the doc, who spent all of 2 mins looking at my ears and referring me to an X-ray. Now the X-ray guy was obviously in need of some entertainment in life and since radiology is not exactly E!, he decided to amuse himself with specimens such as moi. Out of the 8 x-rays that he took, the last 4 deserve special mention. I had to lie down with one arm straight ahead, the other by my side,with my head looking up and my knee folded: all this for my jaw??- I really think they supply some of this footage to candid camera! In any case, after the 70 min wait, even I was in need of some entertainment- so I obliged.
Anyhow, 20 mins after the X-ray, the doc summoned me only to tell me that since he was no expert at ENT matters, he would prescribe some painkillers and try to get me an ENT appointment for the next day!
After a morning of pain and silly encounters, the prospect of sound sleep induced by painkillers can fill your mind with such joy! However, after 11 hours of sleep you don't really feel much except heavy disorientation. Sure the pain's gone but so is any sense of time or purpose.
I'm no closer to finding out how this silly pain started in the first place- I've been assured by a competent doctor (my mom) that this will go away in 2-3 days and that I should stop worrying.
The worst part is the impact this has had on the only happy constant of life- food- regular crunchy munchy food has become a bit of challenge- I've been asked to have only soft food- soup, porridge, khichdi, the likes. And so I veer between cerelac and mashed khichdi and my brain switches between infant and geriatric modes.
The one silver lining in sight is some unintentional weight loss that may occur as a result of this soft diet. Till then, it will be all bark, no bite. For the biatch in me, no respite. Jawly good, I say.

Friday, June 26, 2009

On my playlist

You can think of this as the filler post when I feel compelled to write but when words do not oblige. So I make do with my most material friend and report on what it plays for me. My top 5 for today:
1. Poker face by Lady Ga-ga: It is an addictive song that enters your mind and refused to be uprooted. My only regret is having watched the video: someone get that girl a stylist who makes her look good or a video director who shoots a better video.
2. Rehna Tu from Delhi-6: The lyrics are a killer and each time I hear this song, I catch myself wondering how a song dedicated to a city can feel like the most appropriate dedication to M. "Kabhi neem neem" from Yuva comes close though it gets a bit coy at times.
3. Maula by Atif Aslam: This is one of my favorite running tracks-gives a whole new meaning to getting to the destination. Something on the lines of U2's "still havent found what I'm looking for". Especially true when the restlessness at not having figured out purpose and lifemap, has not ceased. Credit to Panda for the introduction to the song.
4.Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas: The lyrics are silly but then this is one of the kickass songs that packs in such a punch that you can't help listening to it-the bass creates the same impact as a 'dhol' on your heartbeat.
5. Paper Planes by M.I.A- This is my favorite song on the album. Delivers the right level of angst and recklessness that a life on the street will witness. The dark undertone makes it delectable.
************************************************************************************
On a side note- has anyone watched this ridiculously bizarre piece of advertising for Amul Macho or some such chaddi-baniyan brand- it starts with how men are bowing down to women in every situation that was traditionally male dominated (e.g. karvachauth moon viewing, the arranged marriage tea tray scenario, eve teasing in bus, bike ride with brake for sufficient contact...you get the picture, yeah?) and then the pleas of the "abla Indian male" are finally heard and he gets a boon in the form of a banian- that too in a temple no less. Instructions from higher powers are to "stop this nonsense and become macho". The guy dons the banian and takes bold steps towards a gang of girls who are appropriately scantily clad. (Of course, the sheher ki ladki wears a hot red dress to a temple at night, didn't you know?). The swagger inducing banian also enables the guy to make lewd gestures and cause the gang of girls to shriek. Having put them in their place (beside the guy, with apsara like servile gestures), the guy faces the camera and the Voice over tells us " Yeh toh bada TOING hai".
WTF?
Kill me now.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The one year old nest

Two young birds
Setting up a nest
A space to call ours
For succor and rest

Things aren’t perfect
There are color clashes
And gross mismatches
There’s a chip coming off
And a light that flickers.

There are wires peeking from that corner
I can sense newspapers hiding somewhere
Old junk that’s been hoarded
Hundred keys abandoned with zero care

But then there are memories
In each direction that we turn
Of things old and new
What we bought and earned

The moments we spent on the easy chair,
Give it the comfort that holds you so
And it is the warmth of company
That gives the candles their lovely glow

Masks and paintings and souvenirs
They are but mere props
The lead actors are the inhabitants
Invariably, the drama never stops

The bell chimes a welcome
And familiarity ushers you through the door.
When you enter you feel different,
The harsh spotlight on you, no more

It is then that we realize
it’s not the twigs we collect nor the leaves we store
But the residue of happiness
That gives our nest its real d├ęcor,

We may trade this space with another
And our possessions may change too
But our home will always have a perfect view,
Because I will see it with you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Glimpses of May

This post took a long time coming- primarily because too many things were happening in life and I chose to live the moments and save the archiving for later. (save the archiving-haha?). So what did we do in May:
a) Hot Wheels-Though the acquisition of a car happened in April itself, the rubber hit the road in full earnest in May. With the set of wheels also came a series of discoveries and realizations. Of how blind we have been the past couple of years to road signs, road names and roads in general. Of how few U-turn signs there really are. Of not knowing where those signs are. Of not knowing that our life's savings could probably go away in parking charges. Of spending 50 mins in a parking lot and becoming more familiar with Basement 1 and Basement 2 than is usually recommended. Of how pleasurable getting dropped to and picked up from work can be. Of how much I now respect emotional decisions such as buying a car when the MRT 50m away from home gets operational. Of how much I now respect irrational decisions such as buying an Audi when it was always the Civic which made more practical sense.
b) The arrival of Logness- My full time household help, similar to the car, arrived in late April but made us feel the full consequence of the arrival only in May. Life's become simpler and better and more comical. Logness (not her real name) is a bit like the Audi- quiet, efficient and calm except for the fact that she has certain quirks. All of them we find just funny right now coz they dont really get in the way of actual performance. She walks real slow and usually focusses her eyes on the ground; She confuses potato and tomato, lauki and mooli and other similar sounding things. She bunches everyone without discrimination, under one common pronoun- She (so if I ask her "what's M doing?" the response is "she is talking on phone", " she went out already" etc.). She also extends this gender non-discrimination policy to our clothes- arranging M's clothes in my cupboard and my clothes in his :P (i'm inclined to ignore this subtle suggestion of cross dressing because M will really not fit into my clothes and for no other reason.) But on the whole, I really like her, not just because she is unassuming and sweet and likes reading , but also because she learns fast and tends not to make the same mistake twice :) May God bless her for being such a blessing to us.

c) Library Lass- On May 11th, I became the member of the National Library here. I kicked myself for not having done so in the last 3.5 yrs I've been here-but then, better late than never :) Now please allow for some gentle boasting of membership features- I can borrow 8 books at a time! (6 for self; 2 for Logness). I can also choose not to borrow silly X box games (plenty of which are there in the library!). I can also borrow magazines and other AV material. And the most thrilling thing is that the library keeps Indian authors- I think this perception of a complete absence of Indian authors at the local library had been my biggest hesitation in becoming a member- but one look at titles and I was sold! Since it's a network, I can borrow from any library and return to any other. I can also renew the titles online. How cool is that? I think I may not buy a book for a long time- also because I'm out of space in my current bookshelf and more importantly, out of space at my home to put another bookshelf.
d) Return of the fitness Nazis- Both M and I have resolved to get fitter and we did so by cancelling our gym membership :) Yeah, a bit of an anti-climax I know-but we realized that we were donating about 300 dollars a month to the gym and since this is not on the list of charities we support, we decided to put that money to better use! The free tough treadmill called the Road- yeah, that's our gym now. Also, I stopped turning up my nose at the gym at which I'm entitled for a free membership, courtesy my kind company. If tis free, tis good.
The burn of calories by running is being supported by a frequent intake of healthy food- we carry lunch+ snacks to office. (snacks here refers to fruits and salads btw). I've got taunts on becoming domesticated and carrying dabba, but I will persist and let my future higher metabolic rate send out a brusque revert.
Some of the dietary regime was also a result of a bone density test at work which showed that I have osteopenia (it sounds worse than it actually is!)- basically people with this have low bone density and are more prone to suffering from osteosporosis in future. Exercise and food rich in calcium such as bananas, milk, yoghurt etc help. As do calcium supplements. So nett, if I don't take care of my bones and the rest of my body, the ride ahead could get tough and tortuous.

On that solemn note, I shall go consume some banana milkshake and check out Sony's hyped new line up of shows. So long.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Munich Mayhem

22nd Sept 2007
We took the train from Salzburg and reached Munich in 2 hours. The small world principle was amply proved when we realized that though our hosts were strangers, we had 6 common friends- one of whom had been kind enough to put us through to P&N, when he got to know that we could not get any vacany in any hostel, courtesy Oktoberfest!
So after 10 days of staying in hostels and amongst strangers, being "home" was just sheer bliss. Hot shower. Ample space. Gracious hosts. Indian food that tasted Indian and good. Being able to leave our passports behind. I don't think I can thank P&N enough.
So well, we were in Munich and it was that time of the year. What else could we do? We headed to Marienplatz (city centre) and then to Goetheplatz.
And what a crowd!! The first weekend of the Oktoberfest is typically the busiest (we were told that the Italians come during the next week and in those days, Munich becomes little Italy). The The sight of hordes of families & friends in their traditional attire reminded me, strangely enough, of Navaratri!Felt like donning a dundl myself!
Oktoberfest used to be in the 1st week of Oct, but due to better weather, it was shifted to September. Resistance to change ensured that the name stuck.
Now the important thing about Oktoberfest is that you need to book a space in those Beer tents in advance. It costs a good amount of money. It's not something silly backpackers like us do. What we do is to rely on our good fortune and sheer impudence (or charm if you like!). We entered a tent through the staff entrance, quietly strutting our stuff, not realizing what we were doing. It was only after we were in, that we happened to look outside the main entrance and saw this huge crowd waiting to get inside...through the legitimate entrance!
Now the more important thing about Oktoberfest is that those golden litres of beer are served only to folks who have tables (I did tell you about tables needing to get booked in advance). So what this meant is that the waiters didn't spare us even a dirty glance because we did not have a table. Now observing the song and dance and drunken reverly is all very nice but being the only persons without a drink in their hands is not very nice. What will you tell your grandchildren- I went to Oktoberfest but got not a drop of beer down my throat??
G took it upon her self to salvage our fate by coyly asking a bunch of Italian guys to buy us a beer. What we got was 1 whole litre of beer!! Now this is potent stuff- not like the flimsy stuff that you have on a hot Saturday afternoon. G promptly got tully and since I hate beer, I was content with 2-3 sips.
What amazed me was how the waiters carried out about 8 glasses of beer (remember- 1 l each) in each hand!! Some seriously strong wrists, those!!
We made an exit after we got tired of looking at drunk people and inhaling smoke. Dinner, Church visit, Teddy bear museum and Starbucks followed. After that exhausting day- we spent some quality time with N watching bad TV- the panacea for long days. We watched Big Brother till about 12.30 am- I love the creators of these hilarious and badly made shows. They make a wonderful difference to our lives. No?
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Traveller's Tip #1: If you want to have some serious fun at Oktoberfest, book in advance and go with loads of friends.
Traveller's Tip #2- Gets seriously crowded. So be prepared and stay safe.
Traveller's Tip#3- Buy some pretzels and mixed nuts. Yummy. Also buy the souvenier shirts and mugs. Worth it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cheer Up Time

This is from the glow worm caves at Lake Te Anau:
I wish I were a glow worm.
A glow worm's never glum.
It's tough to be gloomy,
When the sun shines outta your bum.
:)

Monday, April 27, 2009

The discontent in settling down

Gypsies and nomads lead charming lives. They do not bother with cash flows and assets. Hoarding is not a hassle. Gypsies and nomads also have no fixed address. A caravan to guide and a spirit to explore.
I look at our nest- bustling with newly acquired possessions of entertainment and mobility. I stare at sufficiency but do not find contentment. Do I need more to live more?
I do not shun responsibility. Nor do I want to flee the material mortal world for some silent meditation in the hills. I would not be able to life the ascetic life. Yet, I find myself brooding over this consumption led lifestyle which clips many other bohemian options in the bud. Again, the survival of an option is quite unrelated to that option being exercised.
I can't quit at the drop of a hat. I can't call myself fancy free. I can't live on love and fresh air.
I certainly come nowhere close to a gypsy.
Wish being hedonistic did not come at the cost of abandonment of all romantic notions.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The first First.

It's been 12 months since we signed on the dotted line and got the law to recognize and register our relationship. The official anniversay is in June-yet, this day too deserves to be celebrated in its own right.
This day has three themes:
1. A bit of introspection and self-congratulation.....
"Looks like we made it. Look how far we've come my babe.
Glad we didn't listen. Look at what we would be missing."
2. Some appreciation and mush......
"You're a part time lover and a full time friend.
The monkey on your back is the latest trend.
I don't see what anyone can see in anyone else, but you."
3. A stream of dreamy wishes for the journey of life......
"Safar yeh khatam na ho. Rahein yeh kabhi kam na ho.
Miley ya na miley manzil. Bichchade ka gham na ho.
Guzar na jaaye yeh khwaab sa safar."

Happy first First to us.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

So who wants to know when I'm going to be a Mommy?

Until last year, the question that haunted me in social gatherings concerned the timing of my wedding vows. After the wedding, the most repeated and less irritating question involved the state of my married life and how this was different versus being single. And now, when people presume that we've settled into happy domesticity, the most FAQ is "so when are you going to have a baby?".
There are multiple insulting ways in which I could answer the question:
a) Probably never
b) None of your frickin' business
c) Before I turn 30
d) I don't know because I don't feel ready yet.
e) I already have a boy to manage and I'm waiting for him to grow up.
f) I want some more time with M and we don't want anyone else to respond to our call of "baby?" just yet.
g) If you are clamoring for one, what's stopping you from popping out one?
h) When I know a little more about expecting/parenting etc.
i) When we are done travelling to the destinations we've planned for this year.
j) When we feel the need to expand our family.
Depending on how I'm feeling on that particular day, any of the above responses is applicable.
I do not know whether people who ask me this realize that this is not like asking what time it is or how my weekend was. I'm not even sure that they understand that this is not a one-time activity like going to the movie or buying a bigger TV- it's a voluntary life change of gargantuan proportions AND something totally personal. It is not a frivolous piece in the jigsaw of polite conversation.
Some insist the question is light-hearted and in good humour. Sorry. The decision is big because it is a lifetime commitment and I can not pretend to answer it in a lighter vein. You better practise your conversation skills a little more than expect me to answer something that does not concen you in any way.
What's more I see no logical reason in sharing the timing of this decision with all and sundry. The question has nothing to do with them too- it's not like they can contribute in any way nor will my answer will change their life's purpose in any way. What good would it do to anyone to know if and when I'm planning to reproduce???
Of course the exceptions to the above are family and friends, who I would expect to help/advise/annoy by advising- but then being family and friends, they would have probably had the above responses thrown at them one time or the other.
This is not to say that I don't want a child or I'm a perpetual party animal who can't bear to be responsible! I know the concept of a biological clock. I do want to be a parent someday if only to exercise my parent ego, dress 'em up in lil booties or to be fascinated with how their mind works. I have not yet discovered that I'm incapable of either biologically producing a child or legally adopting one. I admit I am scared of labour pain and about not knowing anything about raising a child. I also get those whiffs of self doubt on whether I will be old and energy less when my kid grows up. But I do not feel pressured by other friends turning mommies and I certainly don't feel it's a race and I'm getting left behind.
What I do not understand is the motivation behind the question about me becoming a mother!
Actually, in my case, it doesn't stop at being a question- given the strain in the relations with my dad, it extends into a freindly suggestion- 'Get a baby and things will be all right'. I lose all sense of peace when I hear these supposedly well meaning sound bytes from people at work or elsewhere. I think I will lose all respect for myself if I bring another life into this world hoping for it to act as a patch-up device. Surely, he/she needs a stronger reason for existence?
When I choose to have a baby, I think it will be obvious-there are only so many days that I can hide the bump. Until then, I will drink, travel and make merry and oh yes, reserve the best glares for those who persist in prying on this topic.
Phew. Had forgotten how good it felt to vent out on this space.
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And while doing this post, I also realized that this is the 100th post :) Hurrah for me and for those who grace this place with their visits. Keep reading and inspiring me to write. Cheers!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Missus misses

I'm missing the wet towel on the chair.
There isn't anyone screaming out my name 10 times and bug the hell out of me.
The guitar isn't losing its chord nor am I losing my mind.
There's still juice in the fridge.
But neither coffee nor cheer at home.
I've put on the TV so the silence won't gobble me up.
You've made living alone so very un-cool.
Now that you are away, I'm living with myself. 
I'd rather get my roomie back than be a better person. 
Come back you messy monster of mush. 
I'm missing you loads. More than I care to admit.
Besides I haven't said "chup kar" to anyone in 3 days!
Come back. Before I lose my nasty ways.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ears on Strike part II

One of the fallouts of staying away from India is that you don't really get all those song snippets or movie trailers which show you what a song is about. Not neccessarily a bad thing but since you can't believe what you can't see, you just tend to believe what you hear.
Have you heard the song " Masakali"? We listened to it quite regularly on our drives in NZ and loved Mr. smooth-voice Chauhan's vocals. The song's lyrics were somewhat of a mystery to me and it bugged me that I could not find a satisfactory reply to M's persistent " what does masakali" mean. I feebly suggested 'type of a flower (bud)' but I think he knows enough Hindi to know I was bluffing. But that wasn't the only mysterious part of the lyrics. I deciphered the rest of the lyrics as:
" Aye masakali masakali. Thoda matakali matakali.
Zara BUM ko jhatak. Gayi dhool atak..."
(I did ask myself how in the world someone could catch dust on their behind-but then in the bold new world of Mehra/Kashyap cinema and the Joshi lyrics factory, the possibilities seemed immense. Maybe this was their way of saying 'don't sit on your arse- get moving'.) Also, I knew the song was good enough to be filmed on the lead, Sonam Kapoor- so I imagined a fair bit of jhatkas associated with the visualization and suspended any further analysis.
Imagine my shock when I learnt that the song was about a pigeon called Masakali- I found it quite difficult to wrap my liberal poetic-license bestowing mind around the concept of a song that asked a pigeon to first shake and then dust its poor butt. What cheek. (pun unintended)
And then at Bangalore airport, while browsing through books and music cd's, I chance upon the very attractively packaged cd of Delhi-6, which features notes from the lyricst and the lyrics too. Needless to say, I hurriedly flip to the Masakali page only to see the following as the actual lyrics:
" Aye masakali masakali. Thoda matakali matakali.
Zara PANKH jhatak. Gayi dhool atak..."
...........(laughter)...........(very loud laughter).......(stares from fellow passengers)....(sheepish exit)
M, on learning of my discovery was quite amused. Admittedly, I feel this slight dent on my hitherto undisputed authority on Hindi songs and lyrics in our household. Well, whaddya know-Hindi lyrics sites just got a new reader.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

25 Random Things

25 Random things about me
(this is a tag I got on Facebook and from Goofy Mumma, Anu and others- most of my friends have already done this coz this was circulating a while back. If they haven't done it yet, I'm assuming it's coz they didn't feel upto it or had done a similar "quirks" tag earlier. Feel free to take it up)
1. For the longest time ever, I was really touchy about my height. To make myself feel better, I’d compiled a list of short people who were successful- Napoleon, Rachel Reuben, Sachin Tendulkar are names I remember from that list. It's ironic that most of my bosses have been really tall people! Life!
2. I loved watching Remington Steele. Pierce Brosnan was irresistible.
3. Your are likely to find more Hindi film songs on my playlist than English music. I can relate better to the lyrics and it doesn’t sound funny when I sing it in my natural accent.
4. I learnt classical music (hindustani) and dance (bharatnatyam) when I was a kid. I regret not pursuing these arts further.
5. I am intensely loyal to my friends and family-if you opt to criticize them in front of me, do so at your own risk.
6. I admire people who can do cart wheels.
7. I would rather be an Archeologist and spend my time discovering more about Mohenjodaro and Harappa, not only because I like the sound of these names.
8. I love watching movies. I love watching “Behind the scenes” specials even more. Especially the ones in which director, script-writers, cinematographers etc. are seen discussing story boards or camera angles or dialogues or lighting or costumes. I dream of directing a movie some day.
9. My mind works in pictures, which is why I love reading books so much. Each book is a new story waiting to be cast and played in the cinema of my mind.
10. I hate discussing intimate stuff with people at work. It just feels wrong and weird.Especially given that my mind has this visual bent.
11. I can’t bear to watch horror movies. I found “ Bhoot “ scary. I also hate the idea of kids being in horror movies. That too feels really wrong. There was this crappy movie called Darna Zaroori Hai or something and they showed kids with their eyes gouged out- I could not sleep that night.
12. I love the sound of bamboo wind chimes. Metallic ones don’t work for me.
13. I hate polite conversations and politically correct individuals.
14. My face has recruited an army of errant muscles that are not in my control and give away my true feelings. My face goes red when I am angry or embarrassed. Frowns automatically appear when I think someone’s not worth my time or is largely fully of crap. Needless to say, this has led to “situations” at work.
15. I usually don’t drink aerated drinks, unless it’s Mountain Dew. Ironically enough, my first job was at Pepsi. I preferred Thums Up when in college but drank only Pepsi products while working there. (I did mention loyalty somewhere, right?)
16. I prefer prose to poetry. I like limericks but don’t think those count.
17. Will choose brain over brawn. Especially if the brainy one plays the guitar :P
18. I love earrings and if my earrings are either missing or not co-ordinated with my clothes, I’m either feeling unwell or am deeply depressed.
19. I loved collecting shells and mica, when I was young. I found mica only in Nagpur. I have not found shells in Nagpur :)
20. My favorite line from Pride and Prejudice is “Mr. Darcy proposed! I scarce believe it.” (when I said random things- I meant it :))
21. I would like to write a book, open a restaurant and start my own business (in addition to the restaurant)- I do hope I find time, money and inclination to do all of these things.
22. Most of my wardrobe consisted of blue when I was in my teens. It took birthday presents and severe coaxing to make me wear anything that was not blue.
23. I have been called a stubborn mule. I think it was meant out of affection. :P
24. I don’t like people who brag and steal others’ thunder. I’d rather they take a dip in the drain or go suck an egg. (DT- owe you for this phrase :))
25. I hate making resumes and writing appraisal forms. I would rather stick to one job than make my CV again and I’d rather do my job than talk about what I did.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Leave of Absence

It's been a while since I visited this space. Allow me some time to dust away the cobwebs, open the windows and let the musty smell out.
I see that you missed me. Plenty happened in the past 6 weeks or so that I've been away and there must be reaps of pages that deserve to be devoted to stories that deserve to be told. As for most things in life, sequence is of no and every essence. NZ will pour in the posts that follow. My experiences in India shall come alive. Tales of house hunting and home finding will unfold. And this space will look inhabited once more.
But tarry a little. Dusting takes some time. I'm allergic to dust.
As for the leave of absence, I humbly beg you to consider my case and now, humbly I must take your leave.I shall return and yes, you could thank me for the warning.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Main Chali

This would only make sense if you know the old Hindi movie song "Main chali, main chali". Actually even then, it won't really :)
Me:
Main Chali
En- zee
Mujhe roke na koi
For the life changing bungee
Main chali Main chali
Evil me:
La-la-la my desi cow
Sheep mein kho na jaana tum wahan
And as you think of bungee,
Apni 'aux' ka rakhna dhyaan

I'm off for 14 days. Thanks to Flooey, I might even blog from NZ. Take care, you guys.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Scenes from Salzburg

20th/21st September 2007
Our hostel defied expectations (which incidentally were a rung above rock bottom after the Innsbruck fiasco)- it was really nicely done up- warm and cosy, with good furniture and service to match. Since we just had a day in Salzburg, we decided to make the most of it. (this sounds nice and amicable but it took an adamant G to dissuade me against the Sound of Music tour. Thank god for her adamance-or we would have spent 5 hrs with the commercial and touristy busload of old people.)
As luck would have it, we shared our room with an Austrian girl from Innsbruck, who happened to work at the same campsite (Kranebitten) that had given us the crappy caravan. And though we did not mean to- we ended up whining and giving feedback! If you go there and no longer see the dusty small caravan- you know who to thank. Yes- I'd like to believe that some people do take feedback seriously.
The morning breakfast was like a visit to the Chak de India sets- there were some sports teams staying at the hostel who'd descended to the breakfast area for their dose of energy at 7 am. It was fun seeing girls twice my size pick up 3 glasses of milk with 6 slices of cheese and a mountain of sunflower bread. The soundtrack of Chak De played in my mind as did the thought that I looked like a midget amongst giants.
We'd decided to start the day with a trip to Salzkammergut, the lake district of Salzburg, which in hindsight deserves a dedicated holiday.The 1 hour journey to St Gilgen, the lake, was beautiful-it was as though a new set of picture postcards was unravelling right in front of our eyes. Lush green valleys separated by a pristine blue. A patch of white and black in the form of cows. Nature glowing with pride under the watchful eye of the pleased sun.
The lake was more beautiful than anything I'd seen before. The kind of place where you could lose yourself and the track of time. Apparently, we did- we missed our bus back to Salzburg (it's an hourly service) and that led us to explore the place. We chanced upon a restaurant that was right in front of a chapel where a wedding celebration was on in full swing! The ambience was merry enough to be enjoyed better- with awesome ravioli and strudel. In my mind's album, these are the memories that will never come unstuck, because they get created without prior design and yet, are so perfect.
Mirabell Gardens, the next destination on our itinerary, was a beautiful park (a picture of which you also see in the header of the blog). It was charming, unhurried and just the relaxing spot you'd need on a sunny, gorgeous day. Only we had to hurry through it to reach Untersbergen on time. This was a cable car ascent to 1853m, to the summit that offered a magnificent view. We saw the snow covered Alps!!
It was here that we met this retired Canadian physician who was on a bike tour with his friends. They'd done about 1000 km and by the looks of it, had the stamina for another 1000! If ever I need to define zest, I know what to use as an example.
Spent the afternoon doing some touristy things, like buying the Mozart chocolates and doing the Salzach cruise. The hightlight of the cruise was the Mozart waltz, where they actually make the boat spin and turn to the rhythm of Mozart's music :)
In the evening, we walked through the carnival (their version of the Oktoberfest apparently!), on our way to the fortress which can reached by the cable railway. The fortress dates back to the middle ages and is currently used as a concert venue etc. We used it to soak in the magnificent view of the city. The bright lights of the carnival; the sun setting in the backdrop of the Salzach river and the old city stretching out, calling it a day.
Came back to the hostel around 9 pm and after a hot shower, went straight down to the video room where they screen The Sound of Music every night! :) I've watched the movie a hundred times, but that night in Salzburg, after the day of lakes, dales and mountains, Maria and the hills did come alive. The notes of Salzburg were pitch perfect.
Traveller's Tip #1- Free and Easy rocks. Do not fall for the tours, please! You'll waste more than the 30 odd Euros that each tour costs.
Traveller's Tip#2- Try the food at Indigo- it's right near the bus stop for the fortress and serves great fusion food with loads of veg options. The curry I had, tasted strangely Maharashtrian :P

Monday, January 19, 2009

Introducing Flooey

Flooey- apparently, is my (really early) birthday gift. Truth be told, she belongs to both of us (I say this only to keep the possibility of other gifts alive till April).
She is a Lenovo S-10 idea pad/ net book/a really small laptop that looks extremely cool. I realize the above photo does not do justice to her.
She is a charming white and weighs less than the books I read.
She is also responsive, unlike the work monster that takes 20 mins to boot and 5 mins to minimize a window.
She will also help me blog more often. (I'm not sure just how many would think that's a good feature..but oh well.)
I was earlier reluctant. Now I'm just proud. The transition was rather easy.
(If only I could think of kids in the same way..!!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Shades and Patterns of Love

The deep blue of shared possibilities.
The beige of space in togetherness.
The orange of intimacy.
The crimson of petty fights.
*
The mustard of predictable routine.
The purple of unexpected touch.
The sandy white of that sleepy morning cuddle.
The grey of unmindful neglect.
*
The sepia of memories created with you.
The green of contentment.
The turquoise of a surprise gift.
The peach of willing adjustment.
*
The rusty brown of possessiveness.
The deep red that stokes passion.
The yellow of knowing what makes you happy.
The black that spells commitment.
*
The pink that gives a naughty nudge.
The burgundy of wanderlust.
The fluffy white of cushioned truths.
The silver and gold of vows.
*
The transclucent film of secrets.
The stripes of real fidelity.
The criss-cross of doubts and reservations.
The small circles of near surrender.
*
The shadow of vulnerability.
The metallic finish of need.
The damp touch of loneliness.
The satin smooth of being in your arms.
*
Sometimes vacuum.
Sometimes eternity.
The heady feeling
that tends to infinity.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Innsbruck Times

(Sept 19th & 20th, 2007)
And so we arrived in Innsbruck with the clean mountain air gladly filling our nostrils. Our hands and legs were glad too with the unexpected bonus of escalators and well maintained facilities.
We dutifully took public transport to our campsite- which looked beautiful. Sadly, our caravan was not. I have no clue what we did wrong-but we got the ugliest and dirtiest caravan that they had on offer. Dirtcheap could be a very apt name- what we paid and what we got.
Anyhow, we were in a mood to let it go and visit the city centre to get some grub. The food was amazing- the concept of vegetarianism was not alien to this city and I gorged on a delightful salad and mixed veg rice. A for awesome.
A very heady and convenient calculation showed me that this was yet another place where the cost of wine was equal to that of coffee and that of water :) Sigh.
We went to the Golden roof and the Haustbopf palace- basically explored the city centre, which, much to our horror, shut down at 6 pm! The town officially shuts down by 6.30 pm. I think the only establishments open were some restaurants, pubs and Mcdonalds! Since we had nothing better to do, we thought we'd surf the internet- but there were no internet cafes around! Our best bet was this pub that let us use the internet for 20 cents a minute. The surfing plans were abandoned in favor of dipping toes and scooting to a mall that showed some sign of life.




We went to a bar called Habana, that served great Chardonnay and had sufficient eye-candy for two bored girls. We rounded off our "evening out" with Apple Strudel. My tastebuds can still recall that divine creamy cinnamon. Yum.
Dirtcheap appeared even smaller by nightfall and though it was cramped for me, G and the bedbugs, we did manage to get some sleep. Actually a lot of sleep, because we woke up at 8 am! And the view outside was breathtaking!! This was right behind our caravan :) I think that's what they mean by saying 'look at the bigger picture'.
We checkout of the campsite and headed straight to the station, where we deposited our luggage and had a hot breakfast. This was the second big splurge day of the trip after the Venice mask+pendant day. We went to Swarovski Crystal world where I ended up buying a lot of what else, crystal! I think I ought to be a little more eloquent here- this was no jewellery showroom-it's more a combination of crystal theme park and a family's lasting way of showing off their wealth & expertise. I'll let the pictures talk more.
Though Innsbruck is a very popular ski destination, we went during summer, so that aspect of the town remained hidden. It's safe, clean, has great food and we really enjoyed our time there. All except this rather unfortunate time, when I got locked out at the station loo- Damn, that was scary! Is there some unstated understanding between those loo designers that no country shall have identical systems for locking/ unlocking, flushing and tap water? Also, instructions in local language don't really help when you think you will grow old in that tiny cubicle that flushes in some places, on the left or on the right, through a push or pull in others and in yet others, through a food pedal! Indian public toilets, esp at railway stations are quite simple in this respect- they stink so much, you'd never enter one so getting locked in one is quite out of the question. But coming back to the minor adventure- I did finally get rescued when I managed to turn the knob the wrong way. I got the tap all figured out in 2 secs though and made a dash to the exit in another 5, before all those Austrian aunties let out hearty laughs.
Our next stop was Salzburg which is about an hour away from Innsbruck, and deserves a separate post :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Venezia & The Tourist

( Sept 18, 2007)
This was almost the only day during this trip, we got into the typical tourist trap- you go to Amex to casually change TC's. While waiting, you rest your gaze upon these wondrous posters on the wall that inform you of the glorious wonders that are, but a short distance away. By now, you also notice other tourists walking in and enquiring about the tour and then booking it. A quick memory check reveals that you have heard of these places before and since you don't want to miss out on going to a place worth going to, you now officially belong to the queue of tourists paying a good sum of money to be ferried to these islands.
That is how G and I came to see the sister islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Each of them has its speciality- Glass, Lace and Quiet Solitude, respectively. Only the last is being beautiful without being exorbitant! The mandatory tours around the islands, be it the demo on Murano glass making or a tour around the lace workshop at Burano, involve a visit to the souvenier shops. Word of advice- please do not buy here unless you have noble objective that is not rational. Do take a lot of pictures- the colorful houses make for very nice subjects. Burano is also famous for its cookies-Again, not very cheap, but good enough.
I did buy a couple of Murano glass pendants but those were from Venice itself- expensive but so darn pretty. Hold it up against the light and you'll see beautiful patterns doing a joy dance. I guess my rational side decides to make an appearance only for things that I don't really care about- lace table mats being one.

This day was also marked by barely tolerable food. Really, for the number of tourist that throng Venice, you'd think this would be the food capital of Italy- but nothing could be further from the truth. To compensate for the lack of quality food, we turned to the other essential- Drink! Had Bellini in our little caravan, packed and then braved the breezy cold with Hindi songs and a walk around the campsite. And thus ended our stay in Venice.
The journey from Venice to Innsbruck wasn't as straightforward as we'd expected. Bus from campsite to Mestre (the main train station) and then a train to Verona. And then a train from Verona to Innsbruck. But well worth it!
Innsbruck was a treat for sore senses- clean, safe and with a view of the Alps as you get out of the station :) More on that in the next post.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Clouds are no longer grey

Apology is due.

I took off the last post and along with it, went the comments that spelt concern. There are a couple of reasons why I deleted it- well, for starters, it was just too damn negative and that goes by and large against the spirit of the blog- I definitely won't like to read this five years down the line and there's a fat chance that I'd get misty eyed about getting so neurotic.

The cyber life offers an 'undo' option and I'd have been a fool to ignore it.

It's only too clear that a horrid post like that could have impacted my friends enough for even innocent status messages to appear sinister. To be fair, my status message on gtalk reads: (Ready to face my worst fear in 2 weeks). Since it was so close on the heels to the whole post and the randomness in my behavior, I did get some very anxious queries on what the hell the matter was. So that's the second reason- I do not want to worry people who matter to me, especially since I got over the whiney mood after a mere 12 hrs of posting and subsequent deletion.

Incidentally, if you are wondering, the worst fear bit alludes to Bungee jumping which I shall force myself to do in NZ! It's my worst fear and well, action cures fear or so I've read. Time to test the theory- even if I sacrifice myself in the process!! :P

The grey clouds have parted and the silver lining is that I finally got down to putting together my list of "30 Before 30" (things to do before I turn 30). Even if it lacks the grand vision of life, it does give me a sense of purpose and hey, who doesnt like ticking things off their To-do list? That these are things that I will do to make self happy just doubles the joy of the tick mark :)

What are those 30 things? As policy that governs these lists dictates, I shall act first and gloat later. So if you hear me talk about weird stuff that I'm about to do, there's a high chance that it's because it's on the list. Or it could just be me being crazy!
You take care too.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Beckoning 2009

Moments of introspection. Crib-free hours.
Work that doesn’t just pay the bills.
New Things. New People. Old Friends.
Days that are ordinary,,and yet fulfilling.
Enchanting vacations and Cheap Thrills.
Happiness and joy that is not always selfish.
Music and dance. Thoughts that waltz.
Warm smiles and genuine affection
Getting closer to being the person you want to be.
Going back to being the person you were.
Exploration and Adventure.
Experiences that are not captured on camera.
Time for yourself out of the calendar and inbox
Hot chocolate Fudge induced inspiration.
Walks on the beach and at times, on cloud #9
Cups of hot coffee and interesting conversations.
Hog-athons and marathons. Prayers and Peace.
Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2009.