Wednesday, June 25

Good, Bad or Just Meant to Be...

The sun grabbed a cushion of billowing white clouds and lazily opened one eye to the world. How would it be if he refused to get up and follow his daily drill today?

Humans despised monotony, hell, he was a god more powerful and free. But with great power comes great responsibility, as a famous movie said. And he was all ready to take on all the duties that he was bestowed with (hell, did he have a choice?)

She awoke with a groan, waking up early had never been easy for her. But she had to, coz he needed to get up and get ready for work. 

She was the proverbial black sheep, not good for the family reputation and community, but she was what she was. And she had no intentions of changing for anybody or anything. And yet, when she married the man of her dreams (or so she believed), she had to lay down to rest some of her dreams and lifestyle habits.

She was prepared for it, she said. And everyone believed her, since that is what she screamed she wanted. When someone raised a concern about how much her life would change, she convinced hem (and herself) tha it was all for the best…

She got him all that he wanted or desired. And that soon turned against her, as he started devoting more time and attention to those objects than to her. Such is life, when you try to fulfil the wishes of the one you love, he starts loving those objects more than you yourself. And then he claims, he never really wanted anything anyway, and that you have been an obstacle in his achievements, personal and professional.

She wondered how and where she was going wrong. Was it wrong to fulfil the wishes of the one you loved? Was it better to have him yearn and wait for his dreams? Coz her sacrifices were going to waste either way. There was absolutely no appreciation or thankfulness on any front.

She had always been independent, in thought and action, financially and logically. Yet, her biggest failing was her emotional dependency on the people that she loved. Him. More since they had committed to being each other's. And he either did not understand that, or he enjoyed making her feel lonely and empty inside.

She was confident, and yet in some situations, she felt as naïve as possibly Shashi (from her favorite Bollywood flick English Vinglish) on her maiden trip to the US. Her husband, who prided himself on his many qualities supported and loved her, and made her feel inadequate in turns. Making her hate him and their relationship ever so often. Her confidence was not as great as she thought when he was involved in the situation.

But then, that’s how some things are… You think you know what you want, and you struggle for it, and then you wonder if what you fought for and achieved was really the best that you could have got. Can we be assured of a better future if we refuse what is in front of us?

And what was in his heart...? Was it the same turmoil, or did he simply not care...???


Friday, June 13

Beauty has an address! - Awesome Oman

( Psst.... !! This is an entry for the Indiblogger contest: Beauty has an Address... Please vote for me by going to this link and click "read post". Even if a handful of you lovely 115 followers do this, I could win a trip to Oman and share my actual, completely non-fiction experience with you!! )

What do you do in a country that boasts of a coastline of 1600 km? You take morning walks on the seashore, relax in the calm waters in the afternoon, engage in adventure sports in the evening and lounge around in the rocking restaurants at night! For a beach lover like me, this spells absolute bliss.

But the magical country of Oman has so much more to offer than just a beach experience.

Be it the majestic mountains that are a photographer’s delight or picturesque forests with wildlife galore. There are imposing forts with awe-inspiring history and there are friendly people in colorful markets. Bask in “Arabia’s jewel”, the royal capital city of Muscat with tall, golden minarets and peaceful lawns and flowers. The old capital Nizwa also has its quaint historical monuments and handicrafts that appeal to all culture loving tourists. Step into the magical world of Bahla and listen to the mysterious myths and legends. Or feast on the sight of the Wahiba sand that dissolves into the Arabian Sea. Finally, get away from it all at the idyllic Masirah island. And these are just a few of the many things to do in Oman… Beauty does have a marvelous address!

No wonder then that the tourism industry is flourishing in Oman. Being a travel enthusiast, it would be a dream come true for me to win an all-expense paid trip to this exotic destination. Amen to that!

So, if I were to indeed be the lucky one chosen for a holiday in Oman, here’s how my vacation would look like…

I would start my sojourn at Sohar, popularly known as the birthplace of Sinbad the Sailor and not just because the Arabian Nights is one of my all-time favorite books! This place was an ancient capital of Oman and is now a bustling port and marketplace (locally called “souk”). I would then head to the vacation capital of Salalah and spend some lazy time on the beach and explore the archaeological sites. Camel racing will be on my agenda as well. The traditional hospitality typical of Oman would welcome me and make me feel at home instantly, and I would continue my journey to Sur to taste the culture and traditions Omani style.

 After some bargain hunting for jewelry and souvenirs, I would move on to Jebel Akhdar, 'The Green Mountain' with scenic terraced villages. The highest point on the Arabian Peninsula would be the perfect location for a camping trip! Nestled in the lap of nature, I would then visit the beaches of Ra's Al Hadd, the nesting ground for the endangered green sea turtles.  

How can I not visit the capital city of Muscat? Of course, I would not be able to enter the beautiful mosques for religious reasons, but the museums, parks and glorious forts in Muscat would more than make up for it. I would like to watch the dolphins and go snorkeling while in Oman, and also enjoy a lovely barbecue on the beach at Marina Bandar Al Rawdah.  

I would also be glad to participate in some of the famous Oman festivals if the timing is right, such as the Muscat Festival, Salalah festival, Sindbad Classic or Offshore Sailing Race.

All in all, it would an escapade of my dreams.

As-salám aláykum, Oman. When do we meet?!!


This blog post is an entry into Indiblogger’s "Beauty has an address!" contest in association with Oman Tourism ( Pray I win and thy prayers shall be answered, pretty people !!! :-)


Wednesday, May 21

May Matters


Naah, won't start off again with the "Sorry for not writing in sooner." 

It's a fact and I may as well accept it (like it or not) that I am unable to connect with you, dear readers, more frequently. There are multiple reasons for this, and one of them (regrettably) is my laziness and addiction to mindless games on my cell phone. But hey, I've been reading and watching Roadies as well when I can, which is pretty rare given that we are now in the process of moving into our new apartment. Yeah! 

Yippee! Finally! The house we bought in Jan last year is now our home, and we will be shifting before this month ends. The house warming ceremony was a grand affair though we planned a modest pooja with few invitees. All god's wish. It looks fabulous with the delightful decor and lovingly handpicked knick knacks. However, I must tell you, while hubby is ecstatic at relocating, I still can't shake off the homely feeling that I get at our old rented flat that I am yet to feel at the new one. The new house is too spacious and posh. Time will iron the wrinkles out, I am sure. 

I complete 2 years of wedlock with Akhilesh  next month! How time flies... 

While our home front is kinda settling down, the national scene is also pretty joyous. Narendra Modi has won hands down and it is quite a record that he has set in terms of number of votes achieved. I really hope he lives up to the expectations and does the country and countrymen some good. The Congress has desecrated the nation enough and while no one person is flawless, NaMo seems the best of the lot. Ready for TsuNaMo, Indians?!!!

I  watched Revolver Rani yesterday- it's an engaging movie with a brilliant first half and wonderful performances. Kangana Ranaut is really grabbing meaty roles and living up to the character. Vir Das plays her love interest, and the story is fairly entertaining, though not as path-breaking as Queen. Too many songs, though. I missed the Amazing Spiderman, but I didn't hear rave reviews about it, so  no regrets. No other popular movies in the pipeline, I guess.   

Did I tell you I finished reading Roadies? (The journey X1 is over too, with my predicted winner emerging victorious - Nick. Kudos!) Basis Raghu's recommendation, I have purchased the Devil and Miss Prym and there are heaps of other books on my unread shelf such as Be Careful What You Wish For (Jeff Arch - Clifton Chronicles), And the Mountains Echoed (Khaled Hosseini), I Am Pilgrim while Siva still remains 1/4th un-done. Dozens of movies also lie unwatched on my laptop, and I wish I had a few dozen holidays to do justice to all of them. Plus go on a short holiday (yes, already!) to Mahabaleshwar if nothing extravagant. I am just so exhausted and rushed all the time, even weekends seem to last no longer than a few hours... I miss partying and dining out someplace fancy. I want to swim and sleep in late. I yearn to go clubbing and traveling. Walks, shopping and drives remain a dream. I wish I could apply for work from home for a week or two, but as they say, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

Rest, well, whatever else there is, is fine. Work keeps me super busy and riding all the way to Magarpatta and back takes its toll on my body and mind. Shifting will help in that regard for sure, and will cut my commuting time by half. No travel plans for work yet, but you never know. I am also getting offers to write articles (freelance) and reviews for books and movies and websites (commercial). No time to spare :-(

Got your pay hikes this year? I heard a lot of companies are just about scraping through. Hitachi has given moderate increases and well, I am not complaining. For a person who joined merely 7 months ago at an ambitious package, there is nothing that I can crib about. Plus the day shift, autonomy, position and perks. It's a merry world here. Touch wood. 

And as if all of that was not enough, they cast me in a video for a contest by "Great Places to Work" - You can check it out here and please share and like it!!

Impressive, eh?!!

And so, there we end. See you later, alligator. 


Tuesday, April 15

Vote for a Better India (and other gupshup)

Hi everyone, 

As the biggest democracy goes to the polls, it's a crazy mesh out there of different political parties proclaiming their greatness and exposing the crap out of others. 

While I am not too politically inclined, I sure do plan to exercise my right to vote... and so should you. The Congress has done enough damage in 10 years and later, there is no point in blaming politicians if you could not take this tiny step yourself to make the nation a better place. The right people are doing the right thing by going as far as to declare a holiday so that employed citizens can cast their vote so as to not miss a day at work. Is it not our obligation then to stand by our country and do our bit?  

Pune has elections on the 17th - I urge you, please vote. I know of some folks who find traveling more important on this day, or cite excuses as silly as routine logistics to avoid taking the effort. It's not becoming, I implore you. Please do vote. Don't think it's only a matter of ONE vote. Every vote makes a difference. I know Arun Bhatia, who I thought a very deserving candidate, did not win majority votes and hence could not bring about change in the city. Take a cue - all our individual votes put together could bring your favorite political party to the forefront (not that either of them is blemish-free and faultless), but let's choose the lesser evil. Let's make that choice by casting out ballot. 

Modi or AAP, now that remains the question. Only if the "single largest party" in the country does not miraculously emerge victorious yet again. Rahul Gandhi is not someone who can handle this vast nation, so the choice is between Kejriwal and NaMo. Frankly, they have their pasts, their errs and their supporters. May the best man win. 

Having made my appeal, let me move on to the other topics at hand. First of all, apologies for the long absence - personal and professional commitments have kept me very occupied. I had my Udyapan / Ujawna for Gangaur and Suraj-rota (you'd have heard of it if you know about Rajasthani culture), and we're now planning a trip with the family to Jabalpur, my maternal native place. This shall be the first time my husband travels with the entire Rathi clan out of station, so I am looking forward to it as well as to the childhood memories of Bhedaghat and Sadar Bazaar, coolers and gardens. With our new home almost ready, housewarming is also round the corner and it seems like busy times are only going to continue in the recent future. Fret not, for I shall keep dropping a line as and when I can. 

Secondly, thanks a ton to all the new readers who have reached my blog and have made my day by sending me appreciation notes. I really am touched, thank you so much. Knowing that I'm touching your lives even without seeing you face to face means a lot to me. Do keep coming back and let me know what you feel about my writing. 

I'm now trying to make time for reading, and I've got One Amazing Thing on my bookshelf, Bhagavad Gita on my laptop and Ramayana on my cell phone - all English versions, obviously. The Sanskrit ones were very tiring and did not make sense to me. Better to understand what I am reading than merely to put a tick mark on these holy books. I am sure you know that the Mahabharata is my all-time favorite book, but I am reading the others on insistence of my dear mum. They're quite interesting too, thankfully, the websites that I am referring to. And then, conversations with my Ammi, Abba, husband and mum all turn out to be enlightening in their own unique ways. We thrash ideas around and discuss experiences that match or contradict what is passed down over the ages. Helps us bond, and helps us better comprehend these mighty tales. 

I recently watched Captain America - pretty good movie, but very stretched I think. English films ought not to be longer than 2 hours. Bhootnath Returns seems to have good reviews, but I don't have the patience for that right now. I gave Ragini MMS2 a miss, owing to the gross trailers and Sunny Leone's presence. I'd much rather watch a porn movie at home followed by the original Ragini MMS (neither of which I am in the mood to endorse).

Mango season is here, and it's fairly hot most afternoons. Best not to get out of the house between 12 and 4 pm, and get out those sunscreens and sunblocks. Naah, not me - I can't be bothered with all of that. I've got my hands full anyway with my loads of aches and cravings. I just don't seem to be getting enough sleep these days, though my darling spouse has opted for a (comparatively) earlier shift. Weekends also rush by, so I'm wondering how I will be able to cope with it all. That I get to watch Koffee with Karan and Roadies XI is itself a miracle, coz I am sure the clock plays pranks on me and shrinks 24 hours to 2. I wish I could have 30 hours in a day for starters, and sleep for 15. Hehe. Mulla kii daud masjid tak. 

On that note, let me say goodbye, time to sleep!

Don't forget to vote. 


Tuesday, March 25

The Pain of Gifting

Whoever called it the “JOY” of gifting skipped a step.

Prior to the joy (if at all), comes pain, immense discomfort and a lot of inconvenience, effort and thought. The next step could range from ecstasy and gratefulness to annoyance and indifference.

Which is why most people give the act of gifting a miss and either request no gifts on the receiving end or give cash rather than an object as a guest. Saves all the people concerned from a lot of heartache and embarrassment.

I understand, I entirely do. It is a much better option than running around from pillar to post and finally presenting or ending up with some trashy items being shifted around from hand to hand over the ages.

I am writing about this for a cause.

The cause of loving people who have done everything possible under the sun for their loved ones and who do not know what else to do for the sake of affection and originality. 
So basically, people like me. Lovers of revelries for reasons small or major, and adorers of their moms and spouses and uncles and aunts.

Let me brief you first on some important aspects.

One, my mother and my husband are, fortunately or weirdly, pretty alike. I mean of course they’re both pretty but it does not end there. They care for me beyond themselves and I love them both to bits. Their mannerisms and habits are also similar in more than a few ways. Plus, both of them don’t like presents in general and are very balanced (read predictable) when it comes to celebrations and gifts. 

Which means that I’ve been dealing with this agony for over two decades now, though I have been only married two years.  

My husband celebrates two birthdays in a year (as if one was not enough) and one of them, the fake one, falls close to the day of love – Valentine’s. Now imagine my plight, I need to think thrice about the things that he has and does not have, should have or wants or needs. Not counting, obviously, the monthly and yearly anniversaries of our wedding and courtship.   

A Herculean task, indeed!

A cake and flowers no longer count as something sensational; it’s too formal and extremely unimaginative. My husband has no patience or aptitude for cards, poetry and the like (contrary to my mom, she used to dig that stuff). This rules out one of my unique and greatest gifting ideas.

Clothes, electronics, wallets and travel – we have done all of that as well. I was so confused last year about what to give him on our wedding anniversary that I went around polling people and got some fairly random ideas like Bluetooth headset and biker helmet. I finally bought him the second, but it does not feel like a gift really, if you know what I mean. More like a security accessory, a must rather than a casual feel-good present. But since my husband is not the romantic, rose-tinted types, I guess it worked fine in his case. Had it been someone rosy-hearted and hare-brained, this would be a concern.

Worse still, if you ask these folks what they would like as a gift, they either say “anything” or “nothing”. Both these answers are annoying. Why wouldn’t you simply say what is it that you are lacking at the moment and ease matters for the poor enquiring soul? Not to mention, it should suit his/her budget. I  know of certain leeches, who when asked about their choices, state incredibly ridiculous demands that make you want to slap them and ask them to get lost. Why, why, why do I have to deal with such horribly unreasonable people?!!

Seeking help from online sources is useless as well, coz there is absolutely no logic in the list of items displayed on the web, and their preposterous prices may as well convince you to forget the entire idea of a celebration.

And, before I conclude, let me also place on record the awe I feel about some of the gifts given to me, ranging from the utterly silly to the amazingly generous. Give me a decent book, a holiday voucher, good clothes or accessories and I would be pleased as punch. Give me ugly, used or non-usable stuff and I shall refuse pleasantly. 

So, there stands my agony, confessed and out in the open. If you find a solution, do let me know.

If not, carry on with whatever it is that works for you! Some pains just never end, though you want the good times to carry on forever…