Monday, December 29, 2008

Go-Goa it is...Finally! :D

So the time has come for me to finally say "I AM GOING TO GOA BABY"!!!! After prolonged delays and forever crumbling of my Goa plans...its time..finally for me to get to the Land of Beaches...Moonlit Walks..Seafood...Tanning...More Beaches..Bike Rides..Churches..and Parties..! :D...

I am off to Goa for New years with hubby and frends tomorrow and i promise you that there is gonna be a longggg longggg post of my experiences at the Land of Freedom!!! :) 

And here is wishing everyone a very very 'Happy n Safe New Years' and as i see a lot of Facebook status updates wanting "a better 2009 than 2008", i wish you all the same as well. Let hope that 2009 brings in cheer, happiness, peace and joy in all our lives!! 


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

When the 'Ho Ho Ho' Effect took over me.....

Yelllloooossss...howwwareyoussss....wasssuppppsss...ahem lame! :S...anyways....before i begin...MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALLL.... hope you all have a peaceful, bright, shiny, colourful and a very very gorgeous Christmas and a New Year... and may this New Year be a bit better in terms of peace...(though i seriously doubt that after reading the newspaper headlines i.e. Pak's Reactions....hmph!) life in general! 
So... I have been super excited for a week now regarding Christmas.. I remember in my younger days (i did not say i am old...grrr)... :P... me and my sister used to decorate our in-house Christmas Tree... my dad even got the 'Snow Spray' which used to go more on us than the tree..but  used to be fun just decorating the tree and wearing 'Red' in some form or the other 3 days before Christmas... :) I also remember one particular christmas very very clearly -- My extended family was in town.. and the elders of the family decided to organize a 'Treasure Hunt' for us 'baccha' log! So we spent a very very 'brrrrrinng' cold evening in our Society...looking for clues...laughing..giggling..running..and finding our presents..! sigh! those were the days... 

anyways...snapping out of i decided to do something special this Christmas.. Soubhagya also decided to do something special this Christmas. So I baked..He Ate.. and we got our very first Christmas Tree! :D... The tree looks gorgeous sitting in our living room complete with lights and bells... (aww to hubby who surprised me with the tree since i had chewed his ear about my 'younger days' Christmas stories..) :D
And I love to Bake... I have been searching for 'reciepes' for Plum Cake, Brownies and Cookies 
online for the past week.. and finally found some reciepes i liked.. Bought the ingredients and spent 4 hours last evening.. baking 2 Plum Cakes (yummmmmm) and 3 batches of Chocolate Cookies with 'Dairy Milk' Chippings... To my pleasant surprise...everything came out brilliantly yummmy... the Plum Cake was delicious..soft on inside and hard on the top... the cookies could have been a lil less 'sweet'!!! well..all in all an awesomely successful 'Bake Night'..! The Plum Cakes are almost over (1 finished by hubby last night itself..and the other finished by office colleagues... today!)

Next on agenda...Brownies and Pancakes.... 

The 'ho ho ho' effect has finally caught on to me...and I am loving the Holiday Spirit.. makes me forget any kind of tension i might have in life!... sigh.....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Restaurant Review: Grasshoppers

It was our 1st Wedding anniversary. Our plan was to go to Goa for a Romantic Getaway but a last minute 'official trip' of Soubhagya got that one cancelled. So we decided to do a romantic dinner in the city itself. During my 'research' on various websites, i came across the review of Grasshoppers on bangalore.burrp. And since i value the website and its reviews, i decided to read all the reviews. Very soon my mouth was watering and instantly i saw myself dialing the number and booking a table for 2 for Dinner on Dec 3rd. 
On the D-Day we got dressed in our fineries... and started the drive to Bannergatta Road. It is a good 10 kms away from Koramanagala (which is where i stay). Since it was mid-week evening, there was traffic, but we were excited! We finally reached the destination. 
The Bright Red gates ushered us into a property which appeared huge and beautiful! It had stone houses and plantations all around. We followed the signs, parked the car and walked up the gravelled stone path towards the restaurant - which looked like the porch of a house. It was breathtaking. There were candles inside lil glass jars that outlined the garden area. There were 8 tables in all - 5 on the porch and 3 outside in the lawn. There were huge bunches of wild yellow and white flowers on each table. Soothing jazz music floated out of the house, which housed a collection of designerwear. 
We took our table at the farthest end of the lawn and the waiter came by to ask us if we were comfortable. The owner was extremely friendly. She walked from table to table asking everyone if they were doing good. We ordered lemonade and Iced Tea and got settled. The waiter came and smiled and asked us to just sit back and relax...coz its time to enjoy the flavours they have to offer! We smiled at the thought of a 7-course meal and the extreme courtesy that the waiter displayed... 
1) Came the 'Beetroot with Sesame Seeds and Cheese Shavings'. It was a mouth-watering blend of the sweet and moist beetroot...the sourness of the cheese mixed with the tangy flavours of the sesame seeds and pepper sauce. It was amazingly tasty..the beetroot was soft, the cheese was perfect and the sesame seeds never tasted better!
2)Came the 'Crispy Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese and lightly fried Mint Leaves'. Now you can just imagine with the name - wat the dish would be. 2 crispy fresh asparagus drizzled with the cheese..topped with Mint Leaves made a very pretty picture. And what was better was the taste. Now Soubhagya and I have never tasted Asparagus, primarily coz its never really used in Indian cuisine, but this was amazingly fresh and light. And after 2 very light starters, i had space for lots more...
3) Came the 'Prawns with Ginger and Seaweed'. may sound weird..but it was yumm. The prawns were succulent, the seaweed was not bad and the ginger gave the dish a very tangy yet sweet taste. It was amazing that the Prawns without any of the 'indian frilly masalas' still tasted heavenly..and i dug into the 2 pieces given to me!
4)With the appetizers over, next came the salad, 'Garden Salad with Oven-roasted Tomatoes'. This was Simple, very light, fresh, and seemed like, the veggies were plucked out of the backyard garden, hours before we came. The oven-roasted tomatoes were just perfectly done! and the dressing seemed very light, i think it was mint and lemon with pepper. ummm...all in all..a very nice, almost perfect salad.
Now was the time of the Main Course. Mmmmm...We could hardly wait. The best part was that our waiter was in no hurry to feed us. in fact after each dish, he would gladly give us 10-15 mins to settle our stomachs...and bring on the next dish..ofcourse with a Smile! We had placed our orders earlier for the 'non-vegetarian' option!... so here we go..
5) Came the 'Chicken with Olives'. Now i am the biggest Olive-lover you will ever find. i eat them from the jar. And my hubby here, hates olives. Therefore i got his share too! :).. Going back to the dish... It smelt yummilicious!.. the chicken was moist and very tender, the olives were sprinkled around and the sauce was very light, nothing very chilli about it! Though Soubhagya felt that the Chicken was a bit weird, but then, he is a fan of the indian masala cuisine..i found the dish perfectly appealing. And i was done with it in no time. 
By now i was stuffed...but there was another dish in the main course..which came next...
6) 'Lamb Skewer'.. This was a huge palate..and i almost knew we wont be able to finish it. yet we gave it a try. The lamb pieces were very well done. Perfectly roasted...the sauce was delicious. Something Soya about it!...the onions were well-fried and made a perfect combo with the lamb. Ofcourse we barely finished one peice each....and were holding our stomachs... but it was delicious!
7) Finallyyy-hy... came the 'Chocolate Truffle Cake sprinkled with some icing sugar' with 2 candles on it...and topped with kiwis and strawberries.. It was complimentary from the owner on the occasion of our Anniversary. We dug into it..and it was the sofftest, yummiest truffle cake i have had!...And before we knew it..our stomachs made space for the cake and it was over! :)
Extravagant...Romantic...Very European...Mouthwatering...Blend of colours..Rustic Setting..Simplistic...Flavours!
This was our 7-course extravaganza that we indulged in on our anniversary. The meal costed Rs. 1500 per person, but i have to say.. it was Worth It! I have never experienced such delicious tastes...amazing combinations...superb such a fine setting..ever before! and i was glad that we came all the way to experience a 'Bite Of Heaven'! Grasshoppers has certainly taken its place in my Top 5 Restaurants of all times!..... :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Its 2 PM on a very sleepy Tuesday afternoon...and since its getting difficult to stay awake, i am browsing through blogs...I came across a very interesting blog called - Title Intentionally Left blank..drawn by the 'title' (pun unintended), i read the first post and it interested did make me want to jog my memory to remember what have i accomplished and it made me want to do things i have not done before i turn the Big 3!!! :O ...(as if i was not already paranoid about turning 25!!!...:S)
So this is a list of "150 things to do before i turn 30"!... i have another 5 years to i figured this checklist is a good way of 'striking off' what i have accomplished and 'ticking' what i want to do!!!! PS: maybe this will stop me from dozing off at work.. lol...
So here goes... and the ones coloured Violet and bolded - are the things i have managed to do.... :)
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone (Yup... :P)
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (would IPL count...???)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars.
20. Changed a baby's diaper.
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon.
22. Watched a meteor shower.
23. Gotten drunk on champagne. (at moulin rouge was free...teehee)
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (oh maaan...i am the giggling expect that from me all the time..hehe)
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
33. Seen a total eclipse (when i was really young i remember...)
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking (that i specialize
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk (all the time...dude!)
42. Had amazing friends (and love themm....:D)
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach - that sure is a dream...i wish to fulfill soon...
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow (in lucknow..when i was a child..with my nani..aww... i miss her! )
56. Alphabetized your CDs (i am a cleanliness and organizing freak...)
57. Pretended to be a superhero.
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business (started baking and selling cakes for almost a year...will it count???)
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married (happily... :P)
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days - cant....i am too fond of food!!!!
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo - wish to...
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news programme as an an 'expert'
83. Gotten flowers for no reason (yes yes yes.... :D)
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten Shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents :(:(:(:(...nooooooooo
93. Been on a cruise ship (Egypt)
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold (on Mt. Titlis..coz of the cold...brrr..)
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open (love it!!!!)
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication (PR wrote articles on behalf of clients..)
106. Lost over 100 pounds - but lost 13 kgs in 3 months... :)
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari - will be going next year..will 'violet' it then....)
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears (nose it is.... :)
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet - ewwwwww........
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon - would love to....
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach - killed...picked...held..thrown... :P
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey - would really like to though....
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - and can never do....
139. Skipped all your school reunions.(what to do if i live down south....)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language (with my maid...all the time...hehe)
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care (unfortunately... :()
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ (will being a DJ at my own birthday party at home, count?)
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

You are most welcome to take the list and tell me what your 'tags' are!!! and let me i can read it too..maybe we can come up with some common activity we can do together!! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Is it a Beach...or is it The Beach?

If you are one of those who prefers the outdoors-y feel when it comes to chillin' with a beer..who prefers a relaxed, informal way of partying...then look no further - The Beach is your destination! Situated in a very posh locale of Bangalore, Indira Nagar, The Beach is the ideal idyllic destination for yougsters, the IT crowd and even for the not-so-hard-core party-goers! I have been a regular at The Beach for over 3 years now, and it undoubtedly is the place i seek when i am tired after a week of work.. it is the place that i come to, to sit back, relax and enjoy my glass of wine..or even an occasional beer (ofcourse keeping the calorie intake in mind!! :)) 
The best part about the place is its 'Outdoors Seating'. The DJ is seated outside and so is the Bar.The place is covered with Sand (a tip for women would be, not to wear your favourite pair of could have difficulty dancing and even walking..), it has bark of trees converted to seatings and has a very bluish tinge to its lighting - almost like the place is moonlit! There is also an indoors dining area which is ideal for couples, families, office gatherings etc. The 'outside seating' is rather large and covered with a glass-house just so that the loud music and the revelry do not disturb the neighbours. 
I feel Beach is most 'women-friendly' place in Bangalore. Where else would you find a 'Ladies Night' on Wednesdays, where Drinks are 'FREE'??(ofcourse barring the special cocktails and the Wines..) Its like a dream come true for most of us, who crave for that mid-week therapy. You will find Wednesdays teeming with young women, smartly dressed, setting the floor on fire! you will also find a 'back-massage' man walking around to give you that much needed massage on your tired shoulders! The music is pulsating and the party carries on till 11:30 pm (damn the deadline!)
Fridays and Saturdays are pretty much packed too at Beach. The Mojitos, Margaritas and Sex on the Beach are some of the most-wanted cocktails here, while Beer is something that flows like water..!
But, wat makes me want to go back to The Beach again and again, is the 'Sunday Brunch'. They used to have 'Sunset Party' till the 'No Dance Brigade' cracked down on the city. This used to be the life of the city. Starting at 2:30 PM, the party continued till 11:30 PM... And believe me, the crowd only grew! Sundays on The Beach is actually like Calanghute In  Goa. You relax with some 'live' music, beer, buffet and friends! The sun makes it all the more perfect!
Food at Beach is worth a try as well. There is Goan, Italian, Indian,Continental and Sizzlers to choose from backed with sumptous servings. The Goan chicken is extremely delicious and succelent. The Pastas are very Italian and the Indian is spicy and 'shahi'! 
There is a reason, why you will never find Beach empty. It is because, the owners - Pankaj and Kay take personal interest in organizing theme-based parties, taking care of guests and playing the music as well. If you are ever at Beach, you will always find the waiters and the owners saying warm hellos to a whole lot of customers - coz they are regulars and almost Family! i am one of them! :) 

I dont need to bother what i wear, i dont need to bother what car i come in, i dont need to bother what i look like, or how i eat or drink... this is my place.. this is my Beach..and i come here to unwind, be one with the music..and be myself!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Prelude: the next 3 blogs...

So.. i am back at work after a lovely day off for my 1st anniversary celebrations! it was 'Ideal' and i cant believe we have been married for a year now! :)... so to continue to happy thoughts... the next 3 blogs are going to be 'Restaurant Reviews' of my favourite eateries in Bangalore.

a) The Beach
b) Boca Grande
c) Grasshoppers (that is the latest and i am a huge fan of it.. )

So stay tuned....coz there is gonna be a whole lot of "food talk" and mouth-watering and slurrping for the next 3 posts! :D

till then...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Enough is Enough...

Nov 26th: A dozen armed terrorists create mayhem in South Mumbai attacking prime hotspots such as CST station, Taj Mahal hotel, The Trident-Oberoi hotel, Leopold Cafe, Cama hospital and Metro Cinemas. Hostages are taken, people are killed and police tries to tackle the situation.
Nov 27th: The terrorists are still fighting. NSG Commandos, MARCOS, Police and army is called in to save the day. The terrorists even take hostages at a peaceful 'Nariman House', which housed jews; a rabbi and his wife who provided shelter and food to travelling orthodox jews are taken hostages and then eventually killed.
Nov 28th: The mayhem almost ends in all the locations except The Taj, where a lone terrorist is still determined to not give up...but so aren't we!
What do we make out of this? 3 days, 155+ dead and counting, more than 500 injured and battling for life... where is this nation headed to? There are millions of questions, doubts, anxiety and fear in every Indian's mind. It is not just a Mumbai tragedy anymore, its a national grievance and the Nation must stand up and take ownership of the situation..NOW!
I am sitting here in my safe house in Bangalore, yet scared, yet anxious of every step i take, yet startled by every sound that I hear outside... is this how we, of the 21st Century, are meant to live now? Watching the horror unfold on the news channels, on one hand, makes my blood boil and on the other hand, sends shivers down my spine. The iconic buildings in Mumbai that we all came to love, that we all admired, are fighting a battle to continue standing. When will be take stock of the situation and make amends? 

When will the politicians stop bickering like kindergarten children and accept their faults? When will the politicians and the so-called elected leaders of our country stand up for its citizens and tell us - "we will keep you safe. Dont worry." ? When will we hear a passionate leader (someone like Barack Obama) stand up for his people and 'feel it' when he says - "We Can do this and we will." ? How many more such incidents are required in this country, for its leaders to take notice, and step out of their air-conditioned houses and well-manicured lawns to do something about it? After all, we chose them... when will they fulfill their responsibilities towards the country and its citizens?
We must take pledge to stand up for 'us', for our county..and if not for anything else, then atleast for all those brave heroes who, sans-politics have only gone and done their duty of saving lives! The politicians need to know that this is not a political battle, its a human battle for survival. They cannot continue taking each incident as an example and still be extremely unprepared about it. It took us more than 50 hours to bring down 12 terrorists, are we ever well-prepared? The government knew about infiltration from the sea, they knew about the hotels being targetted and they knew about an attack being planned 3 months ago (Source: NDTV) and yet, they pretended to be clueless. 

I, for one, do not want to live a life of fear. If I have made Manmohan Singh my PM, I expect him to be a little more passionate about his country and its men, rather than looking like someone dragged him out of his bed and gave him a speech he has to be forced to say! If I have elected Shivraj Patil as the home Minister, i expect him not to wear his freshly-ironed safari suit and equate us to 9/11 and talk a whole lot of bull$%^&! I certainly dont want a leader like Narendra Modi, come to the scene of terror and start accusing the government of failing its task? Well, Sir, what were you doing when the terrorists entered from the waters of your state? I want a leader who can stand up for us, cry with us, give us hope, tell us that things are going to change and share with us his plans to change them!

Enough is Enough... We need to bring in a change.. NOW. We need to behave like adults and stop the bickering and the politics - stand up - for our country  is in danger! Enough is Enough...We need to stop looking like fools. We cannot have the elite and respected NSG commandos dance to the tunes of 1 terrorist in 1 room of a hotel for hours. We need to be stronger...louder...more aggressive...and we need to choose our leaders who are not 'puppets' but real men...real leaders...who, given the chance, can wear a life jacket and carry a rifle and jump to the scene of terror, if required! Enough is enough....I want to feel safe on my own lands! I certainly dont want a Bal Thackarey making headlines with his "..Mumbai is for Maharashtrians.." crap!...Enough is Enough...

Enough is enough...will the real country leader, please stand up?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Crazy-Loud-fun World of SrivastavasAnandsVipinsMohakudsKamras

phew...that was one loonngg 'family name' and what to do..after 2nd gen's marriages into different 'surnamed' families..we like to call ourselves this -- The srivastavasanandsvipinsmohakudskamras. :) 
and yess...we are as close-knit, squished into each other's lives and as together as the name above! so i wanted to write something about our crazy-crazy family today... and i will give full credit to my 'didu' coz she suggested this!(u see i was having writer's block).. so after almost a month of silence on this blog, i have decided to break it with a 'bang'...the family shamily stuff... :):)

my family.. its a crazy one..and believe me when i say that..its loud..its funny like hell..and its one-of-a-kind..! We have never lived together as in a joint family.. coz we have always had a very pan-indian presence where all of us have been scattered around india... but somehow..we are all so close-knit..we can actually give a joint-family a tough competition! The cousins consider each other as real brothers and sisters...and believe me we share all our secrets with each other..

i remember our childhood days in that beautiful house of my Nani's in Lucknow - Kashila. We used to get together every Summer for 15-20 days to a month..and boy! did we freak out.. We chased each other..fought with each other..hid in my Nani's store room...played a lot..jumped from the balconies and landed on our A%^es in the garden..and picked up thrown-away lottery tickets from the market close by! :) yess..we did have the best childhood ever... and it never posed a problem for 25 of us to live at the same time in that house...coz we just toppled over each other..ofcourse me and my brother(cousin...who i will refer to as Mithoo) always fought over who will sleep next to Nani/Dadi...and me and my sister (cousin again...i will refer to her as Didu) always fought..well..for everything but primarily coz i cheated in games and refused to accept it! yes didu..i accept it now...hehe...we were so 'together' that we never felt the need to have anyone else or feel 'bored'...! i still rem my brother no.2 (i shall refer to him as A) one fine day...jumped off the first floor roof to the garden...just coz he wanted to do stunts! and came unscathed! :) and in the evenings..we would stuff ourselves in the black ambassador of my Nanaji's and go to 'Bhootnath market' for pani puri and chaat and kulfi to top it all... and there too Mithoo and i fought coz we both wanted the window..ofcourse! we were dumb enough NOT to see that there are 3 windows unoccupied.. aaaah those were the days of happiness..childhood fun...little escapades and adventures of our own..the simple life!

and then we grew up..we had boards..exams...entrances...etc etc etc..and getting together in lucknow became a Dream for many of was actually considered a miracle when even 2 of the families met in a year...we all got extremely busy with our lives..but..let me tell u..the spirit of our family never died and we never went 'away' from each other..hello! anyone heard of the telephone?? so we all had terrribly long bills..but wat the helll..we had to gossip! ;)... the last time when almost the entire family met (leaving aside the marriage occasions) was in Hyderabad for New Years almost 8 years ago...we had a BLAST! :)

Today...we no more have pan-indian presence....but..we have a "pan-World" presence... We have our little footprints in US, UK, Middle East, Australia, Africa..East-Asia and ofcourse India. and we are sooo proud of us..! But you know wat is even more shocking..these distances have somehow brought us even more closer than we were when we were kids.... we make it a point to talk (thanks to skype...msngers..and ofcourse facebook!) every 2 weeks..we dont miss on juicy gossips..and we definitely are the first people to know about any big news that any of the members have got to give! 

So let me descirbe my whacky family in a few words -- Crazy...Amazing Sense of humour(even my nani has an awesome one)...We invent jokes in seconds and say it with a straight face..we laugh a lot (u can only hear uncontrollable..extremely loud laughter noises from our house..)... we support each other in every decision we make.. we make sure that our family members and cousins are the first to know of any big thing in our lives... we run a crazy yahoo group... and we havent yet stopped pulling each other's legs (yes Mithoo still manages to poke fun at me...aarrgghh)..we are loving..very family oriented... will take the next flight out for anyone in distress.. will pick up the phone at 4AM too if any one of us calls.. we are the closest non-joint family one can have..and i am so happy/lucky/privilaged to be a part of it!!!

i could go on...but i need to stop somewhere..the memories are so many that my brain is producing them faster than i can write...What prompted me to write this post was family has decided to have a grand Reunion at Lucknow in Dec this year...and unfortunately i wont be there for it (damn the work...)...and i sure know that it will be a memorable one(thanks to Mithoo's, Meethu's, cheenu's and shiti's plannings)...but alas! i wont be kills me to be away but thats wat it is!...and i love my family so much that i know..even when i am not there..i will be present in their minds and through the telephone! :)

So i will tell u what... (if my family is reading this..) as a run-up to the reunion..i am gonna publish posts on various funny/embarassing/hilarious family stories.. ofcourse u guys can contribute too.. i will give u credits! :) I love my family a lot! and i love the recent additions (mohakudskamras) and hope that they get to experience the lovable..loud..funny...extremely crazy side of us too! mmmuaaah!

So below are some family crazy pics i have from my wedding (alas i dont have the hyd ones or the didu's wedding ones..) fun times unlimited! :) yeeennjoy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Facebook-ing - Is it the New way of life?

Come to work...Hellos!hiis!greetings!goodmorningss!!....switch on the laptop...settle on Mozilla firefox...check your Facebook account and its innumerable friend requests, events, photo comments and news a bit..laugh a bit...full attention for 1/2 an on Outlook express and check your official mails....
Is this a pattern that looks familiar to you? Welcome to the world of Facebooking and Social Networking.
The social networking bug bit all of us a few years back when Hi5 came into the virtual world and we found ourselves suddenly glued to the computer screen checking out long lost buddies and 'searching' for old crushes and ex-es. It was the in-thing and our inboxes were flooded with 'invites' or 'would you do fransip with me?' It got a bit annoying as there were too many bugs and glitches in the programme. There were no 'blocking' options. Slowly the Hi5 syndrome faded and Orkut burst on the scene with a vengence. It was the biggest networking website - everyone and anyone was on it. It even had a blocking option and privacy setting. Yet we recieved the unwanted 'franship' requests!! gosh! we even had a 'community' dedicated to it, which i was a member of (just to read the hilarious request messages sent by certain 'dudes'). I managed to reach out and add to my list of friends - a whole lot of buddies, whose faces i dont remember, but knew they existed. It had testimonials and fighting for a testimonial - me for you and you for me, was quite a common sight.
By this time, there were social networking sites mushrooming all over -- MySpace, Flickr, Wayn, ibibo etc. Each offered the same concept of networking, communities and photo sharing.
That's when someone heard of Facebook. It was not very well publicised, not very well marketed -- it was the 'word of mouth' publicity that worked wonders for it and slowly Facebook was building its roots in the internet world. When i decided to have a Facebook account, the first look gives an impression of -- confusion redefined! It had applications, wall posts, super walls, photo albums, virtual pets, drink sharing, food throwing etc etc etc. One had to spend over 10 days to get a hang of facebook. But once u did, it turned out to be a 'social addiction'. Getting on it, the first thing in the morning and checking your profile every 2 hours became a habit. Throwing Pork ribs, giggling at your Stripper Name, taking quizzes on what Friends Character you are ...owning a Pet named Ramu...sending mojitos early mornings to awards to friends...playing word games...playing poker...seemed more important than devicing marketing strategies and checking what the Real World is upto!! For God's sake, i even have a 3-D pet puppy called 'Bugsy' who prances around on my screen every morning and plays 'bones' with me. I have tonnes of photo albums on my profile and change my profile picture every week! :) Status updates are another craze that everyone wants to keep as crazy as possible to grab that attention.
But i say, what is wrong in this? Am i committing some kind of social a colleague puts it "a playchild of the devil"! is it so? Am i spending too much time on it, instead of doing my work and browsing I dont know what the right answer is, but i can say one is 'in' is 'here to stay'...its getting better with the launch of the 'new facebook' (and unlike many i find it easier to use and it is more organized)...and its the best way to unwind and unload your stress when the boss has rapped your ass! I know about events, parties, global festivals, meet my friends, be connected in this age of fast and furious lives and most importantly... Do Not Get 'your eyes are heavenly..Can I Do Franship With You?' requests anymore.... isnt that just the closest you can get to virtual reality of sharing lives with your closed ones and acquaintances? Hail the Facebook-ers, I say!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Children of Heaven

I watched 'Children of Heaven' (1997) last night on Star Movies, and was truely blown away by its true simplicity, its very 'real' look at the society and its somewhat ironical ways. Its a simple movie, about simple people in simple surroundings without anything extraordinary happening. Throughout the 90 mins i kept expecting some drama - but there was none, and i guess That is the Beauty of this film. The film is based in Iran, directed and scripted by Majid Majidi. This film even won a nomination in the Oscars in 1998 in the category of "Best Foreign Film", only to lose to a stiff competition put up by "Life is Beautiful".

Children of Heaven is a beautiful tale which describes the relationship between an impoverished brother and sister, Ali and Zahra, and their loving relationship which at times appears very mature, with their hard-working, yet very loving parents. They are thrust into a difficult circumstance when Ali mistakingly looses her sister, Zahra's pink sandals, which he had taken to the cobbler to get fixed. They choose to solve their problem themselves, without telling their parents. Ali has a solution. She goes to school in the morning; he attends in the afternoon. They can share a pair of sneakers. Once her day is done, she can rush home and give the sneakers to him. But that is impossible since time is very little for the exchange. At school, Ali discovers a possible solution to the shoe dilemma. Third place in a foot race is a pair of new sneakers (first and second prize are more lucrative, but Ali has no interest in them). All Ali has to do is beat out several hundred children and lose to only two, and his sister will be happy. The last half hour of the movie is truely moving, where Ali tries very hard to stay 3rd but ends up coming 1st, by mistake and feels pathetic, since all he wanted was the new sneakers.

This film is a far cry from the typical 'children's film' made by Hollywood, depicting children in very out-of-the-world, unreal scenerios - to keep the imagination running wild. Children of Heaven is a tender, moving tale of compassion, determination and deep family love - all seen through the eyes of children. Another thing that i liked about the film is that the children - all of age 9 and 7 are so mature when it comes to family and its conditions. They have certain calmness yet some innocence about their actions. Another contrast depiction in the film is when Ali and his father go to Tehran city to look for a day gardner job to earn extra money for the family. They take this ride on a cycle. You can see the sheer ironical connection between the actors and the surroundings - the cycle with its passengers dripping with sweat and yet having that strenght to continue to look for a job, and on the other hand, the large palatial bunglows with security, rude owners and dogs mocking the child and his father. Yet when one family with a lonely kid calls them in coz the kid wants to play with Ali, there is a certian understanding that you can see between the father and son. There are no loud dialogues or music to convey that Ali should play with the child while the father does the work and Ali knows his limits of not wanting the expensive toys of the kid. I could almost feel myself choking up. It was courageous, innocent, powerful and at the same time very sincere.

The movie not only pulls a certain string in your heart, but it also depicts a very powerful contrast between sections of the society, that exists across borders. There is nothing 'epic' about the movie or its narratives, but sometimes an inconsequential and intimate story can provide a satisfying emotional payoff. Yet, at some level i feel -- is it so 'real' that the children are loosing their childhood in today's world of 'wants and desires' and ending up shouldering responsibilities and achieving that mindset at such a young age?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Heavenly Chikmagalur - Part II

(....Cont. from Part I of Chikmagalur weekend....)
So..Where were we? aaaah..the blissful, almost perfect night of bonfire and food...aaaaha! after a beautiful and blissful evening, we woke up the next morning to clouds at our doorsteps and drizzling rain. It still felt PERFECT and we looked forward to getting drenched and seeing the surrounding areas of Chikmagalur. But not before we had a hearty breakfast. First we had 2 cups each of piping hot Coffee, which, of course, was made from freshly roasted and grounded coffee beans from the plantation in the Homestay. I must admit, it was a taste that i have never tasted before. Pure Nirvana...
Even though putting that cuppa of coffee away was a difficult choice, we made it and got ready to have a mouth-watering breakfast, which we could smell 500 mtrs away! yummm...We had a palate of varieties - Upma (so different from the way we eat in Bangalore), Omlette, Sweet Bread, Boiled Eggs, More Coffee and Juice. Having filled up our stomachs, we were on our way out. We had planned (as mentioned in part I- the print-outs of information taken by S...) to drive to Kemmanagundi and Kalahatti Falls and if time permits - Hebbe Falls. All of this was about 25 kms away.
It was still drizzling very lightly and there was a nip in the air when we bundled up in our car and left. The road was winding and beautiful and the clouds gave us company throughout the way. It was quite mystical, if i may say so. It was supposed to take us 2 hours to reach there, keeping in mind the road conditions. But the views and the little exciting stops on the way made it a 3 hours drive...yet it was all worth it. I am gonna let the next 4 pics speak for themselves, when i say that what we experienced on our way to Kemmanagundi was 'The Real' beauty, the sight that i have not seen before in any of my was an 'experience par excellence'.

After such fantabulous sights, we reached Kemmanagundi, which is called a 'hill station' in itself. The guard takes 5 bucks a person and lets us in. We parked our car much before we reached the entrance coz we saw a number of other vehicles parked there. Kemmanagundi, in itself is a mixed bag of tourist places and attractions - Rose Garden, Rock Garden, a cafeteria, a waterfall and the most wonderful sight -- the Z point, which is reached after trekking 20 minutes and you can see the entire valley from up there. We were charged and ready to walk the first 3 kms (which can be covered by car) and then the next 2 kms which is the climb to the Z point. Not interested in seeing the various gardens and parks, we focussed on reaching the Z point.

It had stopped drizzling and things were clearing up. After covering about 2.5 kms of the stretch, filled with un-jumpable red-faced potholes and uneven terrain, we came to a spot from where we could see the sky, the valley, the Z point and the near-by Shanthi Falls. It was breathtakingly gorgeous. The sun was peeping out of the stubborn clouds and it created a mist which we coudn't take our eyes off.

And then we heard a 'shriek' -- aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..... we turned around and saw R - white-faced, staring at her shoes and her dark pair of tight fitted jeans. We knew what was coming!!! Errrr....did i warn you..? i dont think so..

Well, lets rewind, a day before we left for Chikmagalur, i went to my office colleague who had been there a week back and asked him for tips etc. The first thing he said was, "Tanu, there are millions of Leeches in that area, be very very careful, carry Salt, Deo and wear very tight clothes so they dont crawl in..." and so we were ready with Salt and Deo." Coming back to our present scenerio, hearing R scream, we ran to her. We had just crossed a very difficult puddle, which had turned my olive green sport shoes to RED! :S. R was standing at the edge of the waters and pointing to her shoes, which had about 5 leeches crawling up. We calmly took out Salt and sprinkled over her shoes and the bloody Leechs fell off.. phew!...oh no, wait, we didnt check our shoes and jeans....panic struck us and we frantically looked all around our clothings. We found a dozen more leeches on us and thanked R for announcing this, or else we would have reached the Z point with leeches stuck to our skins! yuck!...

Unfortunately, the Leeches spoilt our party and downed our we turned around and left,with our shoes looking white with Salt. S was very upset, since he was most enthu about going to that place. We made promises that we will come in a gypsy the next time and go all the way to the Z point. Coming back, we changed in the car. A couple of guides standing around told us that its raining crazy at Kalahatti and Hebbe and the roads are inaccessible. We cursed the weather, which we were loving sometime back and made our way back to the plains...and home....

We reached Bangalore by 8:30 pm and sat in the candle light with chinese food (thanks to the bangalore #$#% power cuts), recollecting our thoughts about the gorgeous, most memorable and extremely breathtaking weekend we just had!..despite the leeches spoiling our fun towards the end, the weekend was all worth it, coz as i read on 'Discovery Travel & Living' once..."its not the destination but the journey that makes it all worthwhile" ....sigh!so true... wish we have many more such 'breaks' to was truely a 'Heavenly Weekend Getaway'..... :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If there is place on Earth that I can call Heaven - It Is Here...Right Chikmagalur!!

I have travelled quite a bit, so much so that I like to call myself a Travel Buff. And i have seen beautiful, raw places across India. But I was still awed by the pure 'Natural n Raw' surroundings of Chikmagalur. Friday morning - thought to self ".....i need to get outta here..." Friday day, i dont think i worked much but ended up making plans to leave for Chikmagalur the next morning. We were ready with a place to stay, a car to drive and most importantly - Good Company. So it was sort of a family trip - Soubhagya, my SIL(R), her BF(S) and yours truely. Since R works night shifts, we packed up and left home in our very own Alto at 5 AM and picked her up straight from work --- off to the beautiful world of mountains and nature. We had it all planned, complete with print-outs of the route, place to stay, places to see etc etc., in folders (courtesy S). I was mighty impressed. We were outta Bangalore in an hour and on our way to Chikmagalur. The route, very roughly is Tumkur Road-NH-48-Hassan-Chikmagalur.( for a detailed route break-up) The highway ride was quite scenic due to the rains and made our drive pleasurable. We reached chikmagalur by 12 noon, eagerly wanting to reach our homestay and eat home-made yummmm food. The place we booked was APTLY named - NATURE NIRVANA. It is about 1.5 hours away from Chikmagalur town. Now, the issue was, we did not preempt the 'extremely non-drivable rocky red road' that lay ahead of us. The first 1 and 1/2 hours were pretty ok, with the tar road broken in several places, making it quite bumpy for the passengers at the back. Then started a stretch of the last 7 kms - which, hold your breaths - took 2 hours to cover!!! It actually increased our appetite, due to immense 'movin n shakin'. I recall Soubhagya cribbing all the way about how "his Baby" was getting hurt. Sigh! this was a reference to the Car!!

But when we reached Nature Nirvana, it was a sight...a place...a destination beyond imagination. Opens up suddenly through mountains and trees, this small valley with a house, a stream, a waterfall, a lake and miles of coffee plantations. We had booked a 12-bedded dorm for the 4 of us, and realized it was sooo much better than the tiny cottages which were more like rooms in a house. Quickly dumping luggage in the room, we almost jogged to the lunch area and devoured the delicious mutton curry, chicken, sambhar, rasam, rice and curd rice. It was a hearty meal and having stuffed ourselves, we felt guilty enough to start playing ALL the outdoor games available -- basketball, cricket, badminton, volleyball and cycling. The guilt of the calories, riding high earlier, slowly slowed down and nearly died. :)

Having overcome the afternoon laziness by playing our hearts out, we packed a backpack and put on our sport shoes and left to explore the property on our own. what we encountered was not only 'Heavenly', but also 'Fantastically Serene' and away from the world's prying eyes. There was a gushing, almost gurgling mountain stream which suddenly burst out into a Cascading Waterfall. It was so picturesque that one wanted to just sit and listen to the sound of water and wilderness! After several unsuccessful attempts by the 'brave' men to cross the gushing stream using slippery stepping stones, we moved to the waterfalls and the coffee plantations. Since we were on our own, we made up our own explanations for everything and continued. :)

By the time we returned, we were tired, yet decided to play some more basketball. R turned out to be the 'Basketball Queen' and kicked almost everyone's ass!

It was night time, and it started drizzling due to the passing clouds. It was perfect timing for 'bhajia' and chai..which we sort of finished in 10 mins. After the rain kinda stopped, we asked the caretaker to put a bonfire and barbeque for us. (we really didnt care what the other guest wanted... hehe) we had the cottage to ourselves. The caretaker (who was amazingly courteous) us Tandoori Chicken, Barbequed Chicken, More Bhajia..and of course....BEER!!!! :D.. we started playing Uno and Cards and spent our time by the fire with the barbequed meat and was ALMOST PERFECT!
(to be contd., with Day 2 events....of the Getaway)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lesson to Self - Dont listen to Machines..EVER!

:D:D....this is one well learnt lesson..never to listen to machines..! and i sort of like it this way...thanks Bubbasamuel!

Damn the Calories...Damn the Kgs.... i am seething with anger..and could probably knock someone down...i mean what do 'they*' want? How much more will 'they*' make a woman suffer?When can i be happy?What is the definition of IDEAL? phew...tanu to self [calm urself down], let me ask you - what is the ideal weight? what is the so called 'ideal' BMI? what is the 'ideal' fat body index..blah blah blah!....where do we stop? where do we say..."yeah this is great..i feel i am HOT!"... its like a never ending battle and women are mostly caught in the bang middle of it...i dont see men bothered - most of them - about their growing waist size or increasing "hip to waist ratio" blah blah blah.....?? why..god...why us???? phew..again.. I am just a victim..after loosing, almost battling, with 10 extra kgs...i get myself to something "lookable"...and now the "BMI Report" tells me to loose another 10 kgs for the "ideal" weight! aaaarrrrggghh......again..where do they stop? damn the calories..damn the kgs..i wish there was a 'saw' close by...

*they = referred to nobody in particular

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My first steps....

Hiya... so i have taken the plunge...finally! after 2.5 years of telling myself, "tanu create a blog..create a blog..", i have finally done so! and to be honest, i feel good about it. The main reason for me to do this was -- to channelize my energy from 'talking endlessly' about things to 'writing' things down. err..not really...i just like to write and talk at the same time! :) So you will see this very personal yet extremely open space as the discussion board for - movies, music, books, life, work, bitching, reviews.... and so on..basically, as i said in my opening statements.. "nothing preachy or serious"..just somethings that affect me positively or otherwise.This is just the first post so i dont want to start rambling rite now, so keep a look out for something interesting coming rite up in a day...that is my office doesnt decide to pile me up with work.. :)
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