Thursday, June 9

Namma Bengaluru

Hi Buds, 

Writing in from Bangalore. 

Feeling Aarush-sick. 

I last saw him on Sunday when I left him at his Naani's since I would be travelling on business. The first two days are always okay as I revel in my freedom, eat and do what I please and sleep like a log. Third days are tough and the following are pure torture. I watch all those baby videos on Facebook and feel dismal. When I hear him coo-cooing in the background as I speak to mom, I can hardly hold back tears. Can't wait to be back home, hug and cuddle and kiss him all over. My little baby. Being a working mother has it's share of sacrifices and compromises. 

Bangalore is pleasant with rains and a packed agenda. Good to meet my colleagues and hit the party joints once again after October last year. Last night at Watson's was pretty nice, and tonight shall be another adventure I suppose. Will probably take a dip in the rooftop swimming pool this evening after work before I head to the hangouts. 

While I still have to finish the last few pages of Nine's sequel, I have started reading The Girl with All the Gifts. A stunning start, and I'm super curious to know where the story is heading and what the clandestine context is. More on that as I delve deeper.

Meanwhile, you may congratulate yours truly for a salary hike and title change: I am now Location Lead for Pune and Bangalore at Hitachi Consulting. While I was doing the job anyway, this title is more suitable and reflective of my span of control. 

So hurray, and take care!

Ciao.

Love,
Anuja

Monday, May 30

And thus ends May...

Almost a month since my last post, time to say Aloha June!

Time's a-flying. Like someone once said, "the hours don't pass, but god knows where the months and years went" - okay, that's not exactly what he/she said, but this was the interpretation. More like "lamhe katt-te nahi, saal beet jaate hai".

Work's catching up pace and I'm making up for all the lost and compromised time during my maternity leave and baby-raising tenure. Getting ahead at work is a task in a corporate world where people are forgotten the moment you don't connect with them regularly or do something to catch their attention. I've managed to do that and more, and my rating is proof of my effort. Feeling damn kicked about it, and want to do even better this year for my wonderful employer. I am blessed to be with Hitachi Consulting, and I pretty much plan to stick on unless something really extraordinary comes around. The kind of flexibility and support they've allowed me while taking care of Aarush and my personal issues has been nothing short of benevolent, and I better make myself worth it for them. And I am! Go ask my manager and colleagues. Have been able to make a positive difference to colleagues and teams; feels good! Bring it on :-) 

Aarush is naughtier than yesterday but not as naughty as he shall be tomorrow, so I don't know whether that's good news or bad. But, I'm drained at the end of every day and I wish I had a few more hands to do all the things that I want to do. Joint family seems like such a good option at times, until I remember all the cons that go with it, and thank my stars for being a nuclear one. No such thing as a free lunch, eh. 

I shall be traveling to Bangalore soon again this month, after my delightful pleasure-cum-work escapade in October last year. Bangalore is a wonderful city to live and party in, if you got the right company. Wondering what this trip has in store apart from loads of meetings and training sessions....

I've been to quite a few new (for me) joints in Koregaon Park courtesy a couple of girl friends who are active on the social and hangout scene. Some names are Savya Rasa (serves amazing South Indian fare, yeah yeah, I screwed my nose too when I heard that but the food is lip-smacking and worth returning!), Bar & Eatery (your regular eat and drink joint which has tasty Chicken Steak and Mash), Jimmy Hu (was better earlier than it is now), Forrente (overpriced, bad menu and worse service). 

Haven't watched any movies apart from Jungle book that I thoroughly enjoyed, and which Aarush allowed me to see calmly till the interval. I'm sure he'd have been morre cooperative had the film been 2D but well... It brought back memories from childhood, a time so delightful and free, unlike the chaos that we all live in now as helpless, overwhelmed adults.

Books - yeah, that's been the highlight for sure. I've been ordering them by the truckloads from Amazon, and also went shopping in a REAL bookstore with my uncle' felt just like old times! So, I've read the first part of Shobha Nihalani's Nine - Revenge of the Kalingan, and I was so enamored that I am now on the sequel. I finished Jef Arch's Cometh the Hour, again a fantastic book in the Clifton Chronicles (although I've lost the plot and details of the prequels). What's exciting is that I still have many books left unread on my shelf, and lack of material to read is not a challenge that I shall face anytime soon. Cheers to that!

What's on the cards next? Well, salary first of all, which comes in tomorrow :-D

And then as I said Bangalore, before I take off for my anniversary vacation to Goa mid-June. I haven't been there for a long time, and I'm really looking forward to spending some kid-free time with my husband. Marriage is probably the one relationship that we all take for granted a few years after tying the knot, and one way to keep it alive is to create twice (or more) the number of happy memories as the unpleasant ones.    

And then, there's work and more work. And Aarush and more Aarush.

Hope you'all doing well my dear readers!


See you sooner :-)


Love,
Anuja


 

Tuesday, March 29

Aloha April

Hiya there!

So I guess, taking off the dream catcher did take away our unpleasant nights. Maybe I'm superstitious, but my baby and hubs seem to be sleeping well, too. To be honest, I'm sleeping like a log these days, such deep and restful sleep, that I ache to go to bed even during the day!

Or maybe it is pure exhaustion. Taking care of the baby, home and work (and the husband, in-laws, maids and others) is tiring work. I've been more or less ill lately: the cough and cold, and dizziness doesn't seem to fade. And to think I used to pride myself over not falling sick too often! The weather is remarkably warm for this time of the year, and I the water crisis is scary, too. God knows what the world is coming to. Or maybe even God doesn't know. After all, we're bringing this upon us, right.

Aarush is growing up by the minute, and I catch myself gawking over how quickly he's growing. It won't be too long before he starts having his own set of friends and ambitions that I'm not at the core of, and his dependence that currently seems a pain will soon become a dream. I'm already preparing myself for the day when he walks up with a girl in tow and tells me she is her girlfriend. My hypothetical answer is, "Great! Take care of each other" but something tells me it will probably change when the actual situation occurs. LOL.

Then again, I ought to give myself a pat on the back for still being a fun girl - or at least that's what my (true) friends and colleagues assure me. Validation came in the form of 2 young men trying to chat me up and ask me out when I was partying with my friend. For someone who considers the word "beautiful" inapplicable to herself under the remotest circumstances, this gave quite a kick. Just like old times. Little did the boys know that they're addressing someone married for almost 4 years and mom of a 1.5 year old son! Should've told them that just to gauge their response... ROFL

Reading has been a possibility this week since the bub was with grandma. Finished DeJa Karma - brilliant story and very well written. Absolutely un-put-down-able, deadly from start to end. Now that's a rarity. A very delightful one. The court case did not hold much weight, but the way the author has traced the life of Jay Singh is amazing. You can actually see the characters come to life and you feel endearment towards the protagonist, his aide Bhima, lover Manavi, friends, mom and shrink. When the writer can provoke emotions within you, that's his true victory. Vish Dhamija has done it, kudos.

I'm now onto Yes My Accent is Real by Kunnal Nayyar, better known as Raj from Big Bang Theory. His compilation of essays and experiences is cute, simple yet adorable. I'm also juggling Shikhandi simultaneously, it's like a dash of sugar and spice, and a very palatable combination. 

Come to think of it, I wasn't someone who was comfortable with reading several books at once. It seemed disloyal to me, like I was cheating on the book in my hand by seeking entertainment in another. However, with the kind of books that I'm reading now, as well as the unpredictable time I have on my hands, this method is working well. I'd need an unlimited amount of free time and a really marvelous book to go back to my former style. 

And who can guarantee either? Well, this week, yes, coz the baby's away again at Naani's. 

(Bless that woman, don't know what I'd do without her.)

Holi was uneventful, except for some polite neighbours who carefully smeared dry, organic colour on my face. But Kapoor and Sons was a plethora of events and reactions. I went assuming a title like this and Alia Bhat's presence could not mean a film with depth, but the story is full of drama and conviction. So much turmoil within relationships, unspoken dreams and confessions, mistakes voluntary and spontaneous. Rishi Kapoor's makeup was stunning and so was his acting. The rest - Ratna Pathak, Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Rajat Kapoor were also superb. You actually get involved in their lives and their difficulties, and that was a win for me. Alia, well, she's what she usually is. So, no points there. The songs could have been cut out or cut short, though.  

And there's not much I can say for the Superman and Batman movie that everyone was waiting eagerly for. A complete disaster, apart from the character and acting of Lex Luthor. The Now You See Me star reminded me of Shahrukh Khan throughout the movie, and thee climax was like Karan Arjun too. Seems like the director was mighty impressed with King Khan's movie. 

Now for work, a little cricket, maybe some party/catchup/social time, reading and sleeping that's on the cards over the coming days. 

Hope you doing fine, fellas. As the financial year draws to a close, I wish you luck and success in the new year. May you all get awesome salary hikes and truckloads of bonus. Take care, and don't blow it all up. Don't save it all either. Donate to the needy. And get something for yourself, too :-) 


Cheerio.
Princess   


Thursday, March 10

Catch your Dreams

Hey there. 

Having to deal with idiots is no joke. Look around and you will find them in plenty, at work and outside - no dearth of them at all. Birdbrains, the bunch of them. 

( Grrr )

And it's worse when you're having restless nights abounding in nightmares.

Not a mighty chirpy temperament that I'm in, I'm sure you can tell.

So, well. I'm back from my sojourn - first to the north and then down south (like not really down down, but kinda downer than where I generally am). I was thinking that I'd be pleased to be away from the city (and most importantly, routine) during this period. But well, I did get homesick after a while and wanted to return to home-made food and family.

Landing in Pune was a delight, and things are back to normal (too fast for my liking!)

So, for those of who are wondering why I'm getting nightmares...

(You forgot, right? That's all right. Shan't let you go unless I address this.)

So, I met my colleagues from Hyderabad, China and the US in HYD. It was great catching up with all of them and learning together. Needless to say, I got heaps of gifts from them and I couldn't wait to return to Pune to adorn my desk and home with them. One of the gifts was a dream catcher, and for those of you who don't know what that is, here is a picture of what mine looks like.




Dream catchers are one of the most fascinating traditions of Native Americans. The traditional dream catcher was intended to protect the sleeping individual from negative dreams, while letting positive dreams through. The positive dreams would slip through the hole in the center of the dream catcher, and glide down the feathers to the sleeping person below. The negative dreams would get caught up in the web, and expire when the first rays of the sun struck them.

(Read more here: http://www.dream-catchers.org/)

Not surprisingly, I was mighty excited to get this gift and I was aching to put this up in my bedroom to give my bub and hub wonderful, rosy, happy dreams. 

Turns out, our next couple of nights were anything but pleasant. Both me and my husband, baby too I think, tossed and turned and experienced restlessness. I refused to believe that the dreamsnare was to blame, but my doubts were confirmed when my hubby also expressed the same thought. 

I did a bit of research online (obviously), and I came across several people who had reported poor nights after putting up a dream catcher. Is it true? Is it just our imagination? Stress? 

Can't say for sure. But I did take it off and we shall wait and watch how the next few nights go.

They say the best dreams are seen with your eyes wide open. 

Unless you're only daydreaming without any constructive effort. 

Apart from that, I am sorry to say, I did not catch up on writing and blogging as planned. I was brooding over how I missed my baby and home, and actively engaging on social networking websites to keep my loneliness at bay. I did manage to read though - Shikhandi by Devadutta Pattanaik and With a Pinch of Salt by Jas Anand. The former is intriguing, the latter, well it's all right, nothing remarkable. Tends to drag. 

I'm now reading Vish Dhamija's Deja Karma and it's quite interesting. I hope it keeps up the pace and suspense - been a while since I read John Grisham or Perry Mason, and I do love courtroom dramas.

The baby's doing fine, thanks for asking :-) He's getting naughtier (and cuter!) by the day, though he gives me ample reason to fret when he does not sleep or eat well. I'm wondering about his education already, given that parents these days plan ahead like the world's going to end if they enrol their kids in a 2nd preference school. Any tips from experienced folks are most welcome. I could do with some ready info that I don't have to verify or dig up amidst my 100 chores and responsibilities. 

That's that for now, fellas. 

Hoping to catch some fun dreams tonight!


Cheerio!
Anuja


Saturday, February 27

Tripping up North!

Hello Peepz!

And we're back :-)

I'd managed to escape the mad rush for a few ticks last time to drop you a line on my vacation plan. Let me tell you more about what we accomplished on the trip, just like the last time when we went to Binsar, Leh Ladakh, etc.

(Wish I could travel so much more than I actually do... Sigh.)

So, we flew out of Mumbai to Jammu and arrived at Katra in time for dinner. The weather was cold, and our woollens got a chance to breathe the free, cool and fresh air. Out hotel Van Durga was scenic and the rooms were cozy with heaters, decent food and all required amenities.

Vaishnodevi is a 14 km journey which some choose to walk and others ride a mule. Senior citizens and the differently abled are fortunate to have palanquins, battery operated cars and helicopters to ferry them across the distance. I liked the fact that no meat or alcohol is allowed inside Katra, and people are awake and meeting Vaishnodevi at all hours of the day or night. 

I'd decided to walk a few miles and hitch a ride when exhausted, whereas hubs and Mom were 100% sure they'd walk up and down the entire stretch, that too with the baby. The other members of the family all opted for their preferred modes and we started the hike at 6 am. Thanks to my hubby's perseverance and motivation, I huffed and puffed it all the way to the top in close to 3 hours. I was so proud of myself, and even more of Akhilesh for his fitness and determination - he did not sit for a second, and he carried Aarush all by himself up the rise. 

The first half is steep, and it's smarter to take the slopes than the stairs. Also, helicopter rides need to be booked months in advance and the battery cars run only after Ardhakumari (that's halfway). So, if you're planning a trip, plan well.

The Boba 4g carrier that I'd purchased a year ago came in mighty handy during this hike, and rendered my buy paisa vasool. Aarush cooperated immensely and there was no trouble at all as we walked up or rode down (to save time, though we were not really tired).

We were lucky to pass the Shiv Gufa (cave) which is open between 8 am to 4 pm, and is a very adventurous passage with jagged rocks and tiny openings. What irked me a bit was the behaviour of the army / security chaps at the temple that are rude and inhumane for no apparent reason, and the fact that we hardly got to spend 2 minutes in front of the deity before we were shooed out. So much effort and expense for so little benefit, not a great investment in my opinion. Visiting the Vaishnodevi temple in Pimpri (Pune) is a far sensible option, as far as I think. It's almost identical (minus the walk, adventure and rudeness) and you get to experience everything more pleasantly: cave and deity.

We also visited the Kal Bhairo temple another 3 kms away, which most people skip. Apparently, your darshana is successful only if you greet both the deities, else it's incomplete.  

We left for Jammu the same day and onward to Dharamshala the next morning. The drive was slightly boring, but then all pretty destinations take hours to reach. We put up at Mcleodganj in a shady hotel called Oak valley - Please avoid at all costs. The staff tried to be helpful but the location and amenities were disappointing.

Since it was raining, we missed seeing the Bhagsu Nag temple and falls as well as Kanga War memorial, but we did shop in the market and enjoyed some junk and confectionery. We visited the Baijnath temple, supposed to be the oldest Shiva temple in the country, and we also saw Dalai Lama's abode in Dharamshala. He was traveling for his health so we missed meeting him, unfortunately. The Kangra fort was exciting and I recommend no history lover miss this spot. Our driver asked us to strike Dal lake off the itinerary since it was no better than a dirty pond, and we accepted his advice. Let me know if we made a mistake!

The next day was again spent in traveling from Dharamshala to Dalhousie, but this time what awaited us was breathtaking. Snow capped mountains and a delightful retreat called Grand View welcomed us. Our suite was palatial and the service was par excellent. Mrs. Chadha - the owner of the property, herself hosted the bonfire party and ensured all guests were comfortable and happy. Hats off to that sweetness and professionalism, and at her age! Inspiring.

The market was some distance away, and really not much to write home about; an hour of just window shopping was sufficient. Temperatures varied between -2 and 11 degree celsius but we were pleased with the heaters in all the rooms of our suite, and the royal jacuzzi in the master bath. Everyone was pampered, and the karaoke made the dinner interesting.

Diankund peak was on our list, and it was mesmerizing! We hiked on mud, stone and ice with the baby in tow, for 3 kms and prayed at a temple on top amidst snowy hilltops. Khajjiar was a waste of time though it's famous as "Mini Switzerland" due to the pine trees on all sides. The lake and Nag temple have a history, but we found nothing to do there apart from munch on some Maggi and take a few pictures of the horses. We skipped the temple and market at Chamba as we were in no mood to sit in the bus for another 3 hours, everything is so darned far! And there are barely any shops or restaurants on the way, unlike Maharashtra and other states. So, you need to carry food and supplies, especially if you're traveling with children or cranky adults. 

We had a wedding to attend in Jammu, and post that we went to Amritsar, which should ideally have been on the cards immediately after Dalhousie. We could have saved some time and travel, but well, we got to do what we got to do. A dear family friend had invited us for his marriage, and that is where this complete travel idea sprung from, so obviously we could not miss it. Punjabis are such warm-hearted people, and good hosts, too. All the best, Amit, for a happy married life with Samriti. God bless you guys. 

I did not get much time to read on the trip: Aarush kept me busy as did the commuting. I did, however, start With a Pinch of Salt by Jas Anand and Shikhandi by Devdutt Patttanaik. Plan to finish them off by the time I get back home.

Finally, Amritsar! It is a food and shopping paradise, and we made the most of both! The famous Brothers' dhaba and Golden temple were memorable, so was shopping for Phulkari suits and dupattas. Lassi and parathas regaled us, and the langar was brilliant in terms of planning, implementation and efficiency.  

The Wagah border flag lowering ceremony was not as awesome as I'd expected, but of course we did not want to miss it as my mum was eager to go there. It was all a show put on to entertain the audience who lapped up the aggression and competition. A mini war could have broken out right there since the MCs on both sides of the border were coaxing the onlookers to yell their national slogans louder than the opponents. The display of strength and muscles, the sprinting walk of the soldiers met with hoots and applause, but the parade was (sorry to say this) worse than our school parade. There was no coordination, and little passion - could be coz this is a daily act for the Border Security Force. For me, it was disappointing. I was looking forward to a more memorable Beating retreat (that's what it's called internationally).

A little more for the sake of history: It is a practice followed every day since 1959 at Attari, and talks about both, the rivalry and brotherhood between the two nations - India and Pakistan. For more details: read this - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagah_border_ceremony.

The trip concluded as we flew back to Mumbai and then I took off to Hyderabad, which is where I am now for work. Another week here before I finally reach home. Homesick already. Missing my baby, and home food. Eating out everyday is no fun. Life's tough!

I do, however, plan to accomplish a lot since I will be interacting with my colleagues from across the world and learning lots of new stuff - Fierce Conversations, Thinking like a Customer, a revised Feedback course, and of course going through a TTT on all these topics. I shall also get some time to relax and catch up on reading, blogging and sleep as I spend my time alone at the hotel. When I am not socializing with the team, obviously!

Sheraton, Holiday Inn and Hyatt - here we come!!

Hope you doing well, dears. Stay calm, be safe.

Always remain happy. Ignore those who jinx your peace.


Cheerio!
Princess