My Hero!


These days I often find myself lapsing into this different kind of emotion, something that brings tears to my eyes. It has finally dawned upon me that I will be getting married in less than a year and I won't be around each day making that special morning tea that Papa loves.

As a child, I always knew that I'll leave home one day to go and live with my soulmate, my life partner. It always bothered me that I didn't have a brother who'd be there everyday with mummy and papa, after even my sister got married. I'm sure my parents never had that kind of a fear and they've brought up me and my sister with all the comforts that they could provide.

I've been thinking about the times I got mad at Papa for various things. Trivial issues. I wonder why I ever lost my temper at dad from small things. No one's perfect and I expected him to be. It is only now I realize that he is perfect in his own special way. He's my perfect hero.

Papa has always given me whatever I wanted. Always. He cared to listen to me, wanted to hear me out even though I was always chatty with mummy. I always felt that I can talk only the 'serious things' with papa and maintain a sort of 'professionalism' with him, while being pally with mummy. That is how our equation has been working so far.

I was scared as hell when I spoke to him about Snehal but his reaction to it just made me want to hug him. I realize now that I don't actually remember hugging him ever. He was cool about everything, putting my happiness first. He always has as I think of it now.

I remember telling my Dadi that I will marry someone from Hyderabad so that I don't have to go away from home. Now that I'll go away over 1200kms away, I don't know what it must be like for Papa .

This diwali when I went home, I could sense that papa realised it was my last diwali at home. I guess all of us wanted to make is special this time. And we did. For the first time in all these years, my diwali was memorable and I felt truly connected and happy. I'm sure papa did as well.

Each night I dread thinking about the day I go away, I dread seeing tears in my hero's eyes, I dread showing him my tears. But I guess it is bound to happen. Yes, he'll cry and so will I. I can already see that it is a moment of pride for a father when he gets his daughter married and papa
is excited. But those tears are inevitable.

Just wanted to say that Papa I love you very much for everything that you have ever done for me and all the happiness that you have given me in life. You not only gave me a life, but most importantly you gave me the freedom to live it on my terms. Love you papa.


Diwali Lights on Air India


For starters, I seriously believe the Maggi Noodles counter at Chennai Airport should be immediately removed. It is a bane for someone like me who is trying very hard to get rid of her Maggi addiction. I'm serious! I used to be terribly addicted to Maggie, eating it everyday, until my little tummy decided to shout in disgust. Snehal has also asked me not to eat it for my own good. Everyone in chennai airport was eating Maggi yesterday as I waited for my flight to depart. I found myself loitering near the counter, but eventually didn't let myself cave it. Yaaay!

Oh. Almost forgot.

WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY DIWALI. :) :)

I had always wondered as to what the view might be from up there during diwali. I mean the sky. Thank god that the Air India flight was delayed by a good 20 mins. The view was spectacular. Chennai is surprisingly well planned. Or at least it seems so, from up there. The firecrackers being burst presented such an impressive picture. I imagined a stupid Hollywood style movie as the plane gained altitude. I was a bit worried thinking what would happen if a firecracker comes and hits the plane. Would the pilot steer it away, saving us from the many fiery obstacles that lay ahead? Eh?? Phew!

It was a good flight and I need to find out who makes the cake they serve on Air India. It is absolutely yummy. I love it. I'm talking about the Chennai-Hyderabad sector. Rest of the food was pretty passable, but that slice of the walnut cake was really good. In fact, all the cakes that I've had on Air India flights in the last one year have been more than decent.

Anyways, I'm going to end here. I'm home now and I dont want to be blogging or facebooking or doing anything on the internet for too long. Going to make Tomato Chutney (I make it pretty good...Don't believe me??).

Wish you all a very happy diwali once again. Enjoy the festival and don't be a nuisance to others :P


Dilemma of a Bloggernoulist


For starters, there is no such term as 'Bloggernoulist'. I'm sure everyone knows that already (including 'Blogger' which indicates it as an error with the red curvy underline. Interestingly, 'Blogger' is also not a recognizable word).

After the initial rambling, I now continue writing yet another wayward post.

Three months into India's top Journo school, we now begin our 'Stream Work' i.e. specialization. I'm in New Media and we started off week one with creating a blog . This is strictly for class assignments, not for my random ramblings. The purpose of this blog is to follow a developing news story by means of RSS feeds from various news websites and writing a 500 word report. Two reports infact. Guess what I chose? YES! FORMULA ONE.

Here is the catch. We need to write our drafts, mail it to the professor in-charge and after he approves what we've written, the content goes on the blog. Now this leaves me completely bewildered.

What is the point of having a blog when there is moderation? A few of us do blog (surprising, considering we are all 'NEW MEDIA' students) and most people aren't even aware of how to set up an RSS feed. Sigh!

I read something written by someone (on an Orkut Community) that "as a journalist, ignorance can be your greatest virtue". I'm not sure I agree with it. Hail New Media!

It is unnerving that I should take half an hour to sum up this post. But at least, announcing now to my fellow bloggers that 'Hey, I'm back'.

Gone are those days when writing used to be a lot more fun. Thank god for blogging :)

Chennai Bites


Two weeks into hostel life and I still seem to be trying my best to settle in. The heat obviously is a put off. The college, well just getting started on the nuances so I wouldnt want to comment on that. There is a good side and a bad side to everything. I guess I am getting my share of "life experiences".

I have made some real good friends here and life with them is a lot of fun. Academics are not up to what I expected - YET. Its just two weeks into it and I am told that there should be a gradual improvement. Hoping for the best. We dont have the internet and wi-fi stuff in place as yet hence there has been trouble accessing internet as freely as I would have liked.

I still have a lot of blogs pending which I am dying to read. Kindly excuse my lapses.

Kochu, thanks for the call. It was wonderful talking to you :)

And ahem ahem... we got to see a movie as part of curriculum (ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN) ((SUPER DUD!!! I FELL ASLEEP)

Will update you guys shortly... reading as many blogs as I can right now...cheerios people...take care :)

The ACJ Interview


Update: I have been selected at ACJ.... Will be leaving for Chennai real soon. :) :) :) Thanks for all the wishes and congratulating messages :) :)

I wasnt planning on blogging about anything related to the Journalism College entrances and other such details. But I had such a freaky tiring time on this one-day trip to Chennai recently, I had no other option but to share it all with you guys:

Having cleared the Asian College of Journalism's(ACJ) entrance test which was held on 24th May 2009, I was invited for the panel interview scheduled on 11th June 2009 at Chennai. After all the excitement after Snehal's visit, I was in a fix on how to prepare for a panel interview, coz I had never faced such a situation in my life. I was unsure of what they might ask.

I found out to my surprise that another blogger buddy, Trinna Prasad, had her interview on the same day as me. I searched for her on Facebook and sent her a note suggesting we meet up at the venue. Sruthi Radhakrishnan, whom I met at the Manorama School of Communication's entrance test at Chennai, had her interview at ACJ one day before me. Her status updates on Facebook, had me in splits and also kept me wondering about bizzare facts. The General Knowledge bits in the ACJ paper were really tough, and we wondered if we would be subject to more such GK incompetence humiliation.

Every imaginable preparation done, and bag packed, I was all set to take the 6.30 am flight from the Shamshabad Airport to Chennai. Anyone who has any idea about how things work in Hyderabad, will know that the airport is a good hours drive. Make that One and a half at peak hours. That meant I had to take the bus at 4.30 am to be at the airport by 5.30am, one hour before the flight time. I set the alarm for 3.30 am, spoke to Snehal before retiring for the night.

I dont remember the alarm going off but I do remember waking up, startled, at 5.09 am. I was almost in tears and ran downstairs to wake up my mother, and tried to find out ways to get to the airport in an hours time. I just changed my clothes, brushed my teeth and called up Air India to ask for the next available flight. I was informed that their next flight is at 4 in the evening. Distraught, I immediately called up Snehal and screamed: "Baby, please come online... I missed my flight...search other available options". His calm and composed demeanor even after just being rudely woken up, is something I lack :P We managed to find a Spicejet flight which left at 9.50 AM and reached Chennai at 11 AM.

I decided to tidy up and leave for the Airport at 6.30 AM, not wanting to take any more risks. I collected my boarding pass, and just waited for the flight to take off. Snehal keeping me company over the phone, of course, and calming my nerves. Then it was announced that the flight was delayed and would leave by 10.30 AM. Time to hit the panic button once again.

I messaged Sruthi, who lived in Chennai, and asked her how far the venue was from the Airport. She informed me it was a good hours drive. Damn....more cause of worry, since I had to report at 1 PM. I just kept praying that it doesnt get delayed any further and boarded the flight which took off at 10.35 AM. Reached Chennai at 11.40 AM, darted off towards the pre-paid taxi stand and blurted out "Wallajah Road".... The man at the counter had no clue and kept calling it "Balaji Road". I called up Sruthi once again so that she could spell it out to him. I took the cab and probably roamed a quarter of Chennai, getting lost and finally finding this place at about 1.10 PM. I was relieved that the interviews hadn't gotten underway yet.

All those present were made to sit in a room and I got to experience what Sruthi had messaged me a day earlier: "I feel like I'm waiting at the dentist's". I had good company, in the form of faces I recognised from the Hyderabad entrance. Met Trinna and she is this amazing, cherubic young girl. And just waited for my turn. Every time the door opened and the person last interviewed came in, people kept hounding them for the kind of questions that were asked. I got a fair idea of how things might go for me, and I decided to just speak my mind, no matter what was asked.

Then my name was announced at around 3.10 AM. Although hungry and tired earlier, I had forgotten that all I had that day was Cold Coffee, and confidently walked into the room labelled "Panel B". No sooner had I entered, I was greeted by the sight of 7 intimidatingly smiling faculty members of the college.

They were very nice. It was pretty casual and I am still trying to gauge what they were trying to asses by asking me about movies and sports. I was confident, spoke without any fear and just said whatever came to my mind. I dont really know if that would help me gain a seat at this prestigious college, but I tried. I took the 6.20 PM Air India flight back home and reached around 9 PM after the 1.5 hour long bus trip.

The results would be out tomorrow i.e 16th June 2009, and I dont know if I make the grade. I am not too bothered as of now, I have my options open at Manorama. But getting into ACJ would be nice, given its reputation amond Journalism colleges. So wish me luck :)

Phew this was a long post I believe. Just wanted to post it on the eve of the results. Have fun guys. Cheers :)

This is what has been happening..


Yeah I know I've been away for quite sometime now. Ready to give my explanations and excuses :P :P You ready to hear them??

Firstly, as some of you who have been in touch with me via Facebook or mails or Gtalk, know about the current event in my life. For those who didn't know, I decided to come clean and tell my parents that I am in love with someone, he makes me extremely happy and he is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. His name is Snehal Kumar Patel and he is from Ahmedabad. I fidgeted for hours sitting next to my father before finally breaking the news to him...and in this fashion:

"Errr...ummm....Papaaaaa....Mujhe ek ladka pasand hai....." :P :P Looking back, I cant believe that's how I started introducing my Mr Right to my father. I was worried he might say something, but his reaction was pleasant, unexpected and quite contrary to what I had been imagining thus far. He had a wonderful smile on his face and within 10 mins he had concocted the details of when the engagement will be, and the wedding and other details. I had to put the breaks on his thinking process and remind him that I need to finish my studies this year and then we can plan it accordingly. And I need to meet his parents too...which will happen by the end of this month.

The only reason I was telling my parents about Snehal before I started college was the fact that my parents have always encouraged me to come out clean and tell them everything and anything under the sun that pertains to me and my life. I didnt want to keep them in dark and let them know after a year or so. It is never too soon or too late, as I found that out.

My mother's reaction....well she is still trying to digest this peice of information. She always knew that some day I would come and tell her about someone I liked. But when the day arrived, she is having that motherly difficulties and realisation that her daughter is slipping away from her (that is how she put it).

Snehal was here in Hyderabad from 5th to 7th of June. He met my parents, sister, my cousin brother and aunt. Everyone loved him.... he has become Mr Popular in his own sense here with my family members. I'm glad they appreciate him as the person he is and they could see exactly why I admire, love and respect him :) :)

Ok I must stop this mushiness now.... I can be at it all day. ;)

The other major event has been Entrance exams for various Journalism colleges. I'm down to either Manorama School of Communication or Asian College of Journalism. Either way, I am getting out of Hyderabad within a month's time...phew!!!

Asian College had a panel interview....7 people "sweetly grilled" me on my application on 11th of June. It was a rather adventurous day, one of those days where I survived only on Coffee...I didnt think I was capable of doing that up until that day :P

More on the Asian College interview soon....watch out for this space. I'm hungry right now... Leaving you guys with this pic of "Me and Mr Patel" :) :) (Chashmish log) :P




Cheers everyone :)

Who let the DOC out?



Hellos Hellos Hellos all around.

Last night at 12, I had a special 30 second screening of this movie I had been really looking forward to watching. 

Its about this young doctor, who learns about food, love, relationship...and eventually salvation. 

The Story is about Nithin Jayan a.k.a Kochu, who sets out on his journey into the big bad world. He meets "Miss Red Dancing no-hood" and soon realises that life has different plans for him than he had thought out.  He looks for peace, salvation and finally gives up red riding hood to find a shiny red car. 



Interesting story really, since its about a doctor and yet, no white coats around :P :P

Anyways, it is being released on the story's protagonist's birthday i.e 30th May 2009, at hospitals near you. Since the protagonist is a celebrity blogger and my favourite blogger too, I decided to dedicate today's post to him.

So Happy Birthday Kochu!!! ;)

Never mind my stupid attempt at being smart :P :P  I hope I am still up for the life-long free consultation after this :D :D :D

Happpyyyyyy Birthday sweetheart..... Have a wonderful day ahead....and an even more wonderful life ahead delivering the "Osamas and Obamas of the world"....cheers mate!! :)

Here, there and Everywhere...!!

Well lots to write about, so lets get started shall we??

As many of you are aware I had the entrance test for Asian College of Journalism this sunday. It consisted of two parts - English and General Knowledge. After the initial preparation, I was tensed about how well I'd do in the English paper. For some reason, I was relatively confident about my General awareness. And lo... over confidence struck again. Keeping in mind the pattern of the MASCOM entrance (which had multiple choice bits), I thought Asian's test would be on the same lines and should be relatively easier. Hell No!! There were no multiple choices, and the questions... well lets see how many of you can answer these without googling.

1. Who is the newly elected President of South Africa?
2. Who is the Prime Minister of Thailand?
3. Who got elected as the President of Zimbabwe on a power sharing basis with Robert Mugabe?

Ehhhh???

What the......?? I didn't know whether I should laugh at cry at myself. Left it all to fate now, so the coming few weeks should seal my future. Further comparing these exams, I had gone to appear for the MASCOM entrance in Chennai as they didnt have a centre in Hyderabad. The ACJ entrance was at THE HINDU office in Hyderabad. The initial reaction of everyone when I spoke to about ACJ being my first choice, was  "Oh Chennai is a horrible city and people are so aloof and unfriendly...Dont go there...Go to Bangalore". Huh?? No one was talking at the THE HINDU office before or after ACJ entrance, while I met some really super cool people at the MASCOM entrance. I liked Chennai better I say. The wait is on for results of these exams, which should be out in a week or two. Lets see how it goes. 


Secondly, what wrong with people? Why should there be a shutdown of entire Punjab because there was a shoot out in Vienna of all places?? I know it was a gurudwara and a major religious leader there was shot dead. What is the point of burning trains, vandalizing shops, looting here?? Is it making any sort of difference? Mom said last night that "There are loads of people to ignite hatred on religious lines, and people listen to them. No one listens to the one who wants to find an end with peaceful means". Right on I say. Lets see what develops further.


Thirdly, I was proudly announcing to every Tina, Dimpy and Mary who'd listen that "We dont have any power cuts in our area...this summer has been reeeeaaaalllly good!!" Haah!!! Ever since that, I seem to have cursed myself. One of these days there was a power cut from evening six to morning 8 owing to rains. And not to mention the frequent power cuts, all day, ranging anywhere from 5 to 50 mins more than 3 times a day. 
The Worst part of it all was, I had decided I'd follow IPL only if the Chargers made it to the Semis. I was looking forward to spend some quality time with Papa and enjoy the Finals match with him, coz when its cricket....and the slam bang cricket at that.... Papa is as excited as a kid who's won a jackpot of video games. I absolutely love those times.  And thanks to 1mm rain, there was no power and we missed over 3 to 16. Papa had gone back to sleep and  I saw the match all by myself. It was fun, but not the same. He woke up and came to watch the closing ceremony I guess.

Ok now I must end things here. Hope everyone is doing great. And yes, if someone can please please please advice me on what to do about the billion lizards in my house, I'd be your blog slave for life... :P  HELP!!!

P.S. I'm still reading Shashi Tharoor...seriously want to chuck it, but then.... :|

Who's keeping the count, I say??


My current fixation with the English language and its ever astonishing vocabulary continues to amaze me. This time, thankfully not due to Mr. Tharoor (I'm getting a grip on myself now after reading Sawan's comment in the previous post :D).

I was reading MANORAMA YEARBOOK (2009 edition) today. One of the pages had this footer titled "A New Word Every 98 minutes". On reading it further, I found out that the English language was set to reach its 1 Millionth word by April 2009 (which just went by). Apparently, a new English word is created every 98 minutes and as at the time of printing the compilation (MANORAMA YEARBOOK) in late 2008, the word count stood at 995,844.

I decided to google and try to get behind this story and enlighten myself a little bit. 

So who exactly is keeping the count?? The answer is: A company called The Global Language Monitor based in Austin, Texas which keeps an eye on the use of languages, English primarily,  and monitors frequent changes to the same. I mean seriously, that's an actual company and that's an actual job!!!

But how can one be so certain that English doesn't already have a million words? After I read Mr. Tharoor, I wondered how many million words in English am I not aware of? And what exactly is the yardstick for constituting a "word"? 

There are several dictionaries available in the market: Oxford, Merriam Websters etc. The Unabridged versions of these put the tally of words anywhere between 450,000 to 650,000. Both of them contain certain disputable terms. For instance: "OK" or "ain't". I remember I had used "ain't" while writing an essay in class 11 English paper and was promptly summoned by my English teacher: "You're writing English, not "Smriti's English"."

A lot of controversy surrounds this claim as many English words are often derived from other languages, and hence there is noise in a few quarters about the genuiness of these words. Some people have also claimed that English might have already passed that figure.

Whatever might be the case, my knowledge of words in English language stands at a few thousand perhaps. Meanwhile, The Global Language Monitor website has installed a countdown anticipating the 1 Millionth Word to be inducted into the English Language on June 10th, 2009 at 10.22 AM.

So much fuss. I'm not complaining. I can't. I found something to blog about.

Oh, if you want to know, the words competiting for that prestigious 1 Millionth Spot are: 
DEFOLLOW
DEFRIEND
NOOB

Apparently, the odds highly favour "NOOB" and it might just become word number 1 Million. I just hope there isn't an Anil Kapoor Clone around shouting out the 1 Millionth word followed by "Millllionaaare". I've had enough of the word "Million" for this lifetime at least.

And IF I had it my way, I'd let the 1 Millionth Word be "Baaaaaaaaah"!!!

Wonderful Words

Apologies that I couldn't really think of a better title... just like a week ago I couldn't think of words to write in the MASCOM entrance.

A week ago I was in Chennai to write the MASCOM entrance test. I had the morning 6.30 flight from Shamshabad Airport, which meant I had to be there by 5.30. Anyone who has been the new and swanky RGIA (Rajiv Gandhi International Airport), would be aware that it takes about an hour or more to reach there...off peak hours. I woke up at 3 and took the 4.30 bus to the airport. After a mad dash for my boarding pass, thanks to some momma magic, I had comfortable Executive Class seats to Chennai. I was sleepy and tired but couldn't sleep due to all the anxiety in anticipation of the exam.

From the airport, I took a cab to Mount Road or Anna Salai as they call it. Reached the exam venue a good hour and a half before the exam. Got talking to a few people there and everyone was as anxious as I was, since no one knew what would the question pattern be like.

We were shifted from Malayalee Manorama office to another place at Stirling Road. The first part of the exam consisted of test of english language and for the first time I realised the set-backs to my writing skills. I never use big words, coz frankly I dont understand them. I didnt realise the importance of the same until I gave that exam.

In the test for English and Vocabulary, I managed to do the grammer part well enough to say that this was the area I would undoubtedly score in. Then there were segments during which I wished I had taken the Thesaurus with me. I did alright on those parts, but it just made me realise how much I had been taking for granted. I still have Asian College of Journalism's entrance in a week's time, and I've been trying to sort out that area of my writing.

The General Awareness part was the easiest one, multiple choice mostly. Once done with the exam, I headed back to the airport, took my boarding pass about 3 hours before the flight's departure time (6.20 pm) and just went around wandering like a lunatic at the Chennai Airport. Thank god for the Higginbothams book store at the airport, I enjoyed picking up a few. I wanted to resist the temptation to buy another book for myself, but when I laid my eyes on INDIA: FROM MIDNIGHT TO THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND by Shashi Tharoor, I just couldn't stop myself. I picked it up on a whim and have been hooked on to the same for the past week.

By the way, I think either Shashi Tharoor has a super vocabulary or he sleeps with Thesaurus next to him. 10 pages into the book and I started my page 11 with a post-it pad and Dictionary next to me.

Here are the few new words I picked up, which I doubt if I will ever ever ever use:

ONEIRODYNIA : Intense mental disturbance or distress associated with dreaming.
ESOTERIC : belonging to the select few.
INIQUITOUS : characterized by injustice or wickedness; wicked; sinful.
PHOENICIANS : a native or inhabitant of Phoenicia.
BELABOR : to explain, worry about, or work at (something) repeatedly or more than is necessary
DERACINATED : To displace from one's native or accustomed environment.
PHILISTINISM :  lacking in or hostile to culture.

and I am still on page 82 out of 362!!  Phew!!

It is an interesting read thus far. I'm still preparing for my entrance next week and not feeling too good about it. Lets see how it goes from here. 

Cheers!

Aurangabad Trip --> Back to Blogging

Yeah I know I have been away for almost a month, not visiting any blogs, nor posting any of my own. Been a hectic past few weeks, with a long awaited trip to Aurangabad, pending assignments,  my 23rd birthday and then the entrance exams. Phew!! Not much I say. 

Lets just cover the Aurangabad Trip today. I reached there on the 18th of April, the train fashionably late by over an hour. Sari Bua and Reggie fufaji were at the station to pick me up past midnight. Once I reached their home, I was greeted by the oh-so-adorable and excited Benji. I fear canines....make that "used to"...thanks to Benji now :)

19th to 23rd went mostly in finishing my assignments which I had carried along with me on the trip. We had a few sessions of IPL , Formula One and shopping at various places that Sari Bua took me. I also learnt a new method of making tea (some of you might already be knowing the same, but new to me...so...). :P Also checked out Sari bua's amazing new home (Still under construction....but was blown away by the view...majestic!!)

My friend Snehal arrived from Ahmedabad on 24th and we decided to let him rest a while (16 hour bus journey is no easy feat!!! Especially in this heat!!). We decided we'll start our sight seeing with the nearest spots of interest.

First up -----> Bibi Ka Maqbara 

Sari Bua calls it a "SAD LOOKING TAJ MAHAL". Indeed it does has an uncanny resemblence to the famous monument of Love. It was built by Prince Azam Shah, Aurangzeb's Son, for his mother. I overheard a guide refer to it as a "Poor man's Taj Mahal". Yeah it does seem so. I was telling Snehal that it looks like they squeezed up the Taj on available piece of land... I dont really understand the fuss behind Taj, I've been there 3 times and I could find absolutely nothing there that impressed me. Then again, personal opinion.



As with most other monuments of India that isnt under the "World Heritage" or the "Archaelogical Survey of India" radar (it must be, but probably not so important...), the place was unkempt and neglected. Even so, the minarets were quite impressive (probably coz I havent been to the Taj in over 10 years now and havent been remotely close to a minaret in...god knows how long a time). 
We spent about quarter of an hour at Bibi ka Maqbara and decided to head for our next stop.

-------->Paan Chakki<--------------
When we arrived at this place, we were actually wandering around like silly tourists and trying to figure out what we were looking for. We just asked the auto wallah to drop us off at Paan Chakki and when we reached the place, well...there it was right in front of us. A 17th century structure of Medieval Engineering. Google it if you like, as we ourself didn't spend more than five minutes here.
It was probably the chicken I ate the previous night and I had begun to have some sort of stomach cramps. We initially decided to head back home after Bibi ka Maqbara and Paan Chakki. Having saved ample time after the disappointment that was Paan Chakki, we decided to cover the "Aurangabad Caves". It was supposedly a 6 kms walk away from Paan Chakki, but thanks to my tantrums ("I dont feel like walking so much in this heat"), we took an auto to this destination.


--------->Aurangabad Caves<--------------
This was the best part of the day's trip. We reached just about in time for the caves to close, but we managed to rush up there anyways.  Buddhist sculptures lined up everywhere and it was a mini-ajanta of sorts. Really nice, and the view of the city from up there was pretty amazing.  

We returned home, a little tired, a little hungry and very very very thirsty. Headed out for dinner with Sari bua and Reggie fufa, to this Rajasthani Joint called "Thaat-baat". Not being a foodie, I didnt really enjoy the food....Snehal, Fufa and Bua did. We retired early for the night, as we had the bus to catch next morning to Ajanta Caves.

------>Ajanta Caves<-------
Snehal was royally woken up by Benji at 4 AM or so. Of course I was Benji's next target when he came to the room I was sleeping in and woke me up too. We started pretty early at around 7.30 AM to take the bus from a nearby place. A two hour journey, and I might have bored Snehal by falling asleep, thanks to my nausea. When we finally reached Ajanta, it was hot as hell. Lots of monkeys around and I was dreading the long steps, yet again. 

The caves were pretty awesome. Buddhist sculptures and paintings lined the magnificent caves. Thank goodness for the guide, we had a pretty good time trying to understand the paintings....otherwise I am sure I wouldnt know a damp patch from a painting. We made our way back at around 3 PM and were back in the city at 5.30. We had some rest and got ready again to celebrate Sari bua and Reggie fufa's 28th Wedding anniversary

---------> Sari Bua and Reggie Fufa's anniversary <------------
We went to this restaurant Amarpreet, where apparently you get the best non vegetarian food. I had some tasty cheese dumpling kind of thing, I dont recall the name....but it was pure heaven....yummmm. I also tried "screw driver"...can safely say I aint trying that one again. It was a nice time that the four of us spent. I might sound cliched but I sometimes wonder when I am married for 28 years, will I have the same kind of love that these two share?? I mean its the kind of love one can actually feel by just being in their presence. Same goes for Appu and Kalyan. :)

We went back home, clicked a few pics and retired for the night with Ellora on our agenda for the next day.


------>Ellora Caves<-------
We started around 8 in the morning for Ellora Caves. Weather wasnt too bad and the four of us took Reggie Fufa's grey goose (Lancer). Amazingly smooth vehicle....very very comfortable, I fell in love with it. On our way to Ellora, we saw Daulatabad Fort from a distance. Iwish I could climb up there, but my fitness .... baaah lets not go there :P

Snehal got out of the car to take the pics of the fort. Something about ruins and forts presents an impressive image....all the past glory that withstood the test of time. We proceeded towards the caves and I must say, they were a thousand times better than Ajanta. 
I had a sort of "Buddha Overdose" after Ajanta, and seeing other sculptures was a sight for sore eyes.
The carvings were impressive to say the least. If I could live there, I gladly would.
These are few of the pics that I absolutely loved. Snehal was like a tour guide to me and kept me busy with the "Dashavataras" and other stories. For a software engineer, he sure has his mythology in place :P
-------->Mhaismal<---------
Mhaismal was this beautiful place about 12 kms away from Khuldabad. Its 1067m above sea-level and is a sort of hill station. It was the coolest place in all of Aurangabad (apart from Sari Bua's home of course!! :P). The view was amazing, the wind was amazing....in short, everything about the place was amazing. It was s quiet that you could hear the birds chirping. And you could also hear the wind......awwwssoome. We spent a few mins there and made our way back to have lunch.

After lunch, we started packing our bags. Snehal was leaving on the same day for Ahmedabad. Me and Sari bua had a train to catch at 4 the next morning. So after a much needed rest, packing of bags, wasting time online...it was time to bid Snehal goodbye and thank him for the amazing company he gave me the past three days.

Once he left, I spent some quality time with my darling....Benji. He had finally tired out of chewing my socks and lay at my feet most times, as if knowing that fact that we'll be gone tomorrow. He is sooooo adorable... Just love him immensely. Reggie Fufa commented: "I never imagined I'll be seeing Dolly play with Benji....remember how she was jumping around in fear on the first day and see her now". Yeah well... Thats Benji Magic talking :D
For more pics (All clicked by Mr Patel ;)), go  HERE

All in all, the trip was pretty tiring but a lot of fun too. Sari bua and me came to the Hyderabad. We celebrated my 23rd birthday on 3rd May and she returned on 4th. After that, its been exams and preparations.

I'll be slowly going around all the blogs soon. Just to remind everyone...I am invisible, not dead ;)

Cheers!!

A Voter's diary: ELECTIONS 2009

It is election time and I just returned after casting my vote. :) This was the first time I voted and certainly isn't going to be my last. It was an amazing experience though, standing there in the queue and looking at all the faces, young and old...rich and poor. Just there to exercise their franchise... even after knowing that it may or may not make a difference... Yet they were all there.



And I was there too....Grinning away and waiting for my Mom to click, who was too scared to take a pic. She thought it wasn't allowed and kept looking around to see if anyone was watching her. It was a great feeling standing between people of two completely different backgrounds. A housewife was jovially talking to her house-maid, and asking her if she needs water, and if she is casting her vote for the "RIGHT CANDIDATE"...whoever that was.

I stay in a very "posh" colony, with beautiful houses and people with a lot of money. The area around it is completely opposite. It consists of this small belt called THE YAPRAL VILLAGE. That is where most of our household helpers and workers for petty jobs reside. Its like two sides of the same coin. This old man here in the picture below sat with his grandson, after casting his vote. He noticed I was clicking this pic, and he motioned his granchild to look towards the camera and smile. It was one of those overwhelming moments, to see this sight.

This lone policeman was trying his best to maintain order at the polling station. There was an occassional bunch of the so-called educated modern women who kept wanting to cut the line, get in and vote. They seemed to have come direct from the beauty parlour types...all shiny and prim and proper, who were too worried about standing in the sun and getting tanned :P :P ..This man, stood firm and didnt allow anyone except senior citizens and people who were sick. There was a young lady who had just got a C-section done few days ago and couldn't stand in line, she was let through to vote. I felt good about coming in to vote :)

This aunty too had come to vote, her grandchildren drove her right up till the room where she was to vote. At her age, she walked in the scorching mid-day heat and came to vote. So many youngsters, my age and older argued that it is worthless to vote. What does she get after voting?? But she still came. Would you call her a fool to vote?? WOULD YOU DARE??


These young kids were intently watching the proceedings, quitely sitting in one corner and waiting for their parents to cast their votes. The lines for males and females was separate, and no one seemed to grumble about the heat. I saw a lot of smiling faces. Maybe they hope for change and vote with the belief that their votes matter. These were some of the daily wage hourly paid labourers, who left their work for one day and came to stand in the queue and losing a few precious hours of earnings. Yet they came to vote. They looked at strangers and smiled all through...they were more than helpful in informing others about the procedures to vote and the rooms to go to.


This 11 year old was bringing water for her parents when they were standing in line, and also for complete strangers, who requested her. It was lovely to see her obliging and doing her bit in this election. She wasnt eligible to vote....but she played a part.

This is our colony's caretaker, Patel Uncle. Such a wonderful soul. He came to the polling station that was about 4 kms from our colony and ensured that all those who came to vote, from our colony that is, faced no problems at all. Just included his pic coz I felt like putting it here. Jai Shri Krishna Patel Uncle :)

This was the polling station. A Primary school. I wish I could go inside and take more pictures but I was getting a little restless too. I went on an empty stomach and was very very hungry(that is irrelevent now considering there were plenty such other people...I am spoilt :( ). I managed to see a few classrooms and I was pleased that underpriviledged kids do have some decent infrastructure in place. It wasnt as bad a government school building as I had imagined.

All in all, I felt great to have been able to exercise my right to vote. I am happy that I did. After seeing all the people who came to vote, I realised its not about expecting what the GOVERNMENT or the FOOLS WHO GET ELECTED will do for us. It may be flawed, it may be rigged, but it matters to me that I did what I was supposed to do.  I stood in line with people of various ages, speaking various languages, having various dreams... doing one single thing. Exercising their right.

Today is the first day of polling in India...so in various other states, where elections are due, I urge everyone to vote. You need to vote....you need to take that time out. You need to make it count. I think I did a good thing. If anyone thinks otherwise, they are free to think so. 

I stand my ground and I am proud to have voted.

PS: I like the mark of the indelible ink on my finger. I washed my hands after getting back home and even though I knew it wouldnt wash away soon, I was actually worried that it will go away. I feel good to see it there  :P

Forgive Yourself Now, Will you??

Why does it always happen that we know what we should be doing and we hardly take steps to do what we think is right?

Is it right then, to not take any action, while witnessing something insane and then probably having a talk about it with your mother, sister and then rambling it all out to the blogosphere?

I've been really happy lately, nothing perturbs me as easily as it used to. But yesterday I was furious, at myself, at somebody else. At myself for not doing anything. At someone else for doing what they did.

I live in a beautiful and peaceful locality. Every person who has even visited my place has said that it is pure bliss. I imagine that too. But yesterday's events just kept bothering me all night and right until this morning.

My next door neighbour is Papa's college friend. One of the main reasons why we shifted here was because of him. I have never liked him because to me, he seems like an arrogant man who only wants to do what he thinks is right and isn't willing to lend an ear to anyone else's opinion. Over the years, my mom has asked me to just try and not to lose my temper at anything that he says.

I mean alright. So you've seen the world and you are a millionaire. You claim to be a self-made man (I know you have wealth of your forefathers, stop kidding me!!). You step into my home and slam my career choices in front of my own father, who I am glad, is finally seeing that I want to do what makes me happy and he is very supportive. You tell me what I should be doing and how I should be doing. Who gives you the right to decide my life path?? Keep your opinions to yourself.

I tried to be cordial everytime, just because I do not want to ruin whatever friendship my father has with you. He respects you as a friend and accepts you for who you are. But I would like you to be away from preaching me, and telling me what shade colours I should put on my house when I get it painted, or what kind of flooring I need for renovations. 

I am disgusted.

There's an aunty who lives two buildings away, right behind my home. She talks to me everytime she needs to ask me about something, through her wash area, which falls behind my home's parking area. She supplies daily tiffins for my mom, and I have been visiting her home every morning for the last 2 years. She has a daughter as old as me, who is basically running the hosuehold.

I admire this lady. She has a whole lot of marital problems and an abusive husband. I have silently witnessed a few jibes he takes at her and he does not work. Aunty tries to make an alternate living my providing tiffins to people around the area, or catering sometimes to parties in the locality. I enjoy a lot of her dishes and everytime there's a party at home, I go to her for the bulk cooking.

She began opening up to me a year ago and telling me everything that troubles her. One day she said "Please don't think anything, I say all this to you coz you are like a daughter to me". Unable to leave her husband, unable to fight, she suffers silently because she cannot see any other way out. I have seen her cry so many times in front of me and I could never even muster the courage to give her a hug. She talks about killing herself and dying but she is worried for her only daughter.

I respect aunty for what she does.

Yesterday, this uncle was getting the whole complex painted behind our houses. Aunty is a tenant in the complex in one of the row house complex. She wasn't informed that the complex was being painted. A mason got into the wash area through the open spaces and knocked off a few utensils. Alarmed, and alone, she was petrified of who or what might be present there. Finding the mason, she said the least someone could do was inform that the building was being painted, rather than give her such a fright. 

The Mason went and complained to uncle who was in charge of getting the complex painted. He came out and flew into a rage and starting abusing aunty left and right with the choicest tirade of curses. He used such foul words in Hindi that I cannot even utter them without feeling disgusted. In the end of it he added, "You are a tenant, behave like a tenant. If you have a problem, go find some other place to live". Aunty kept talking to him saying, "Bhaiyya you cant talk to me like this. I just asked a simple question and why are you hurling abuses towards me". He didnt relent and went on and on and on.

In the end, aunty was the one who said "I am sorry bhaiyya, I am a poor person. Poor people like me dont get any respect". He didnt stop, and said  "Are you doing a favour to me by being poor?". I am sure aunty would have closed the door behind her and went inside and cried alone, like many other times. It occurred to me what she had said yesterday morning, "Its my 25th Anniversary today. We are not going anywhere.".

I was taking bath  when I heard a lot of shouting and screaming. I stopped the shower to hear better and this is what I heard. I was a silent witness yet again. A part of me said, "Get dressed, go out and defend her if you think that's the right thing to do. THAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!! You dont like what he said, let it be known to him that he might have earned millions, he  might be knowing the ways of the world, but he doesnt know how to earn respect.  No matter how pissed off you are, no matter whatever is going on in your mind, there is a way to treat a woman, a humility, a kind of ettiquette and language that one maintains. I have no respect for people like him."

But even after that, I refrained. I didn't go up and express my abhorration for his conduct. My father's happiness and friendship with this man, triumphed over what I thought or felt about him. I felt like a failure, for not doing what I should have been doing. For not supporting someone who considers me her daughter. I kept thinking, would I have shut my mouth had he spoken the same way to my mother?? Definitely not!! Then why did I keep mum this time?

I spoke about it to mom, dad and even sis. I had a long chat with my sister and she said to me, "Learn to forgive and forget". Well are all made that way. We forgive. We forget. But what about the person who faced it?  Will she forgive? Can she forget? 

I have seen a million tears from her eyes, maybe I'll see more. I do not know if I can ever vindicate her, but mummy says "Be thankful that at least she has someone to talk to. What else can you do?".  What else can I do?

I dont know if I was right or wrong in being a silent spectator. I may forget this someday. But this moment is a witness, that I didn't do something....and it adds up to the ever growing list of the things left undone!

Kids say the Darnedest Things :)

Yeah I know I've been away for a while. Haven't really been too busy, just been a bit lazy. Most of my time goes in finishing up a few pending assignments and didn't want to blog just for the heck of it....

Coming to the title of the post, don't you think kids today are much more cooler, smarter, whackier, sharper, blahblahblah-ber than you and me were at their age?

Why this sudden interest in things that kids say?? Well I am coming to that in a bit.

I finally had a hair cut. The summer was getting to my nerves and couldn't maintain the long step-feather-lazer cut (that's what my aunt calls it...I'm not sure what it was, but I loved it :P). I now have a full feather cut, and no I dont look like a "kabootar" or pidgeon as some of you may call.

So, my aunt runs this beauty parlour and she is the only person who I've gone to for every single thing since I can remember. Last saturday I decided I wanted to get my hair shorter so she suggested a change in the hair cut. Feather cut. After I said yes, we got down to business.

Another customer arrived in the mean-time with her 7 year old daughter. They wanted a haircut too and my aunt was busy cutting my hair (it took an hour and a half to do so...my hair length is less than half of what it used to be :( SIGH!! SUMMER!!!)

The mother wanted a U-cut. The girl snapped in and said "No Mamma, go for step cut". My aunt said to the little girl that she could get it done, and let her Mother get a haircut of her choice. To this, the girl replied., "No, I want to see how it looks on her and how well you cut. After that I will get my hair cut". 

At that age, my mom refused to let me grow my hair. Every few months, it was cut short. I think I took decisions on hair styles and cuts after I turned 16. I wondered, what would my mom tell me if I said something like that to her? :P Of course it was a different time...Tab hum masoom bachche the :P :P

The girl was wearing an poncho and every few mins she kept looking at herself in the mirror. Then suddenly she looked at her mom and said, "Mummy, Am I looking fat in this?". I dont know if I was amused or disturbed. Are kids these days getting much more conscious of their looks than their talents? Because this isnt an isolated case.

My 4-year old nephew, a few days ago, yelled out and said to me "Bua, I cant reach the wash basin. Lift me up so that I can wash my face". He looked spotlessly clean to me so the lazy me said, "You look fine, just go to tuition next door". His reaction was "Arre I need to wash my face....I need to look fair". He is, what I call, a male-version of snow white. I couldn't help but smile.

Kids these days :)

P.S : Erratic posts to continue for a while. Will try my best to read as many posts as I can. Hope everyone is doing well :)

P.P.S: I Met Renu aunty, my blog mother :) Had a real good time :)

The Legal Rights Dilemma

Should Kasab get a Lawyer?

This debate has been raging on almost anywhere and everywhere I go. And it is not just since Anjali Waghmare was appointed as Kasab's Lawyer, even before that, many lawyers had said they wouldn't take up Kasab's case.

I was watching the news last night with my family and was just thinking, should a woman be targetted for simply doing her job?? That I mean for Anjali Waghmare. Shiv Sena is nothing but a bunch of morons who have got their nationalistic ideals all wrong.

But what has happened to us? Why do we agree to the no-lawyer-for-Kasab stand?

If my personal opinion is asked, I think Kasab deserves the right to a fair trial, even though he has confessed to his crime and it is almost certain that he would be awarded nothing less than the gallows. Why do people think that he should not get a lawyer and he should simply be hanged directly?

Tell me, have you not heard of Naxals or even murderous terrorists laying their arms vountarily, and some of them being reformed? I am not saying reform Kasab. If he showed any kind of genuine remorse, I would still think it would have been a good idea to do so.... on paper. But in reality, no we will not let him be reformed even if he wanted to, coz he was among the many terrorists who carried out a heinous crime. Fair enough.

My point is NOT about reforming here. My point is, every person deserves a right to fair trial, no matter how brutal his crime is. There is a system in civilised society (if we can call ourselves that) and it needs to be followed in executing justice. Yes, I agree it will take a lot of court's time and money, which can be better utilised in solving other cases pending since god knows when.

Not to mention the media circus it would create. Someone mentioned on a news channel that media should not hype it so much and create a circus out of it, and Kasab should be publicly lynched. Now, that would not generate any kind of hype, isnt it??

I might be naive in saying so that not everyone is born a criminal. Circumstances compel them to take dangerously wrong paths, but that does not absolve them of their crimes. They need to pay a price for the crime they committed and for that, a proper system is the need of the hour. The rule of the mob isn't such a great idea. If we let them do it once, we open the door for such things to happen again.

A defence lawyer, in such a case, might best try to reduce the quantum of the sentence. Even she realises that it is already a lost battle, and yet she should do her duty. There is hardly any chance of Kasab getting anything less than a death sentence. But the sentence should be imparted in the way it is meant to be. 

Didn't we do that during the 1993 blasts? Weren't all the perpetrators caught and evidence collected against them? Wasn't there a proper trial then? Did they not have a defence lawyer?

Then why the exception for Kasab when you know he will be given nothing less than death?

Why attack an innocent lawyer for doing what the highest authority, the legal system, in your country has asked her to do?

Do you think a doctor will refrain from doing his duty, if he sees a patient with blood oozing out of every single location of his body? He knows the patient WILL not survive, but he will still give him the basic first aid.

I am not defending Kasab here. I think he deserves nothing less than a death penalty. But it should be in accordance with the legal system in the country. Yes, someone mentioned about Md.Afzal, the parliament attack conspirator,  and how he still has not been hanged.

I would jsut say that politics is such a sham in our country. They use terrorists on their agenda to degrade the other parties. But still, I would like Kasab properly tried in the court.

Maybe you would think I am delusional in my thinking and say my thoughts are not relevant. But these are purely my opinions on this matter. 

I SAY HE SHOULD GET A LAWYER AND A FAIR TRIAL. 

Surely would like to hear yours. 

100+ Reading Challenge

I found this link on Pratibha's blog and said, why not give this a try and let me see how many books I actually do read in a year (since...errr...I am always always reading like a geek :P)

For those who don't know, I also maintain a book review blog and it has been getting harder to maintain it alone, especially with the Formula One season starting. So anyone interested in writing reviews of the good books they read, feel free to drop in and I'll make you a contributor, with pleasure :)

So here's what I've read in 2009 so far:
(Will be continuously updating it)

1)  A Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah)
2) Man's search for Meaning (Viktor E Frankl)
3) My Revolutions (Hari Kunzru)
4) Moth Smoke (Mohsin Hamid)
5) Notes to Myself (Hugh Prather)
6) The Reader (Bernhard Schlink)
7) The Japanese Wife (Kunal Basu)
8) Descent into Chaos (Ahmed Rashid)
9) Train to Pakistan (Khushwant Singh)
10) Wise and Otherwise (Sudha Murthy)
11) Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
12) Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)
19)
20)

Secret to reducing your age...!!!!

Yes. You heard it right.


All you people, worried about growing older, balder, fatter, thinner...whatever.


Remember the time when you were 18, 19, 20...or even 30?? Dont you wish you could go back to those days and be young again??  Wouldn't you absolutely love it  to be sweet 16?? Well I dont claim it will work that well but it sure is effective to a reasonable extent.


I have discovered a miraculous, non-scientific and non-surgical way of reducing age...as have many other people in India. As far as my experience goes, this is available only in India and its almost free of cost. 

Though I may warn you that it is not without its share of hassles. The waiting period for me has been more than what the TATAs are quoting for NANO. And there might be minor hiccups which will be explained in detail as you read.

Believe me. It worked for me. My age has been knocked off by 2 precious years and I am 21 again :D :D



Lets not keep the suspense going and reveal the magic formula..



Drumrolls...... :)



Presenting...
 from the Makers of Indian General Elections 1951-2009
and still going strong...




THE INDIAN VOTER ID CARDS!!

Now let's hear some true stories:

Smriti : I was actually born in 1986 but my voter ID says its 1988. I cant believe my eyes. It works..it really does. And I get a bonus gift...My adress details say I reside in 3 different buildings in my locality. Wow!! That's some bargain.. this thing works, it really does!!

Gopal Srivastava: I was born in 1956 but as per my ID..its 1958...I'm thrilled...I wish I can put off retiring two more years thanks to this formula. And guess what?? I get to be my own father too!!! 

There are plenty of such cases out there, a lot of people who've had their ages miraculously reduced. 

However the minor glitches to this amazing service include long waiting periods to get the IDs, sometimes change in the spellings and sometimes change in gender as well. Also, your father can become your mother, your mother become your father or you might end up being the mother of your father.  But these are minor glitches. Small price for getting your age reduced.



So try it today. Check with Election Commission for further details.

Believe me. It works!!! 

:)


DISCLAIMER: I know it would be a daunting task for an Election commission to create a database of such a large pool of eligible voters and mistakes are bound to happen. But I was just having fun with this. Cheerios!! :)
 
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