Ramblings on a Sunday afternoon

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Hiya… there is so much to talk about and so little time. Instead of being asleep, I am relaxing with a book and now the blog… Here goes:

  • I gained some weight in Goa (obviously)… too much food and rest and little exercise. So I went for a walk yesterday morning. The plan was to walk for 60 mins but I got 15 mins late. Now, how hard can 45 mins of walk be? Quite hard, actually. After 15 mins I got bored even though the weather was good and I had my ipod along. Thankfully, each round around my complex takes 15 mins so it was a matter of 3 rounds which I pushed myself to complete. I wanted to sleep on my return. Weird… I was supposed to feel refreshed but I was just tired and sleepy. There was no hope for that since it was time for work. All day my legs were aching and I had the Jazz classes today. Now, I am in bed trying to sleep off the pain. But, I plan to go for a walk everyday. I don’t have enough time to work out in the gym… I have been trying but cannot fit it into my schedule. Lets see how the walking works out.
  • Last night KC and I went for dinner to Big Chill in Saket. As I was leaving the Zara store after checking out the new collection (more on that later), the sales guy at Seacret caught me. I tried to avoid him since the products are expensive and I will never be able to afford them… ever. A year back I had been willingly led into the kiosk by a sales girl who showed me this amazing buffer. It was the best thing I have ever soon and I reached into my wallet to buy it. Price ??? Rs 3500… for a buffer!!! I smiled and fled. Yesterday, the guy showed me an amazing eye cream. Price??? Rs 7000… I laughed and told him I was not going to spend so much money on a cream. He persisted… showed me a scrub, night cream etc. And then offered 1 product free with the eye cream. Avoiding these guys is so difficult. I wish they would approach the people who purchase bagful of clothes from Zara instead of poor me- who only window shops there.
  • The new collection at Zara is… nothing new. Same old trousers (which were discounted earlier)… a top I bought  is available at the regular price (in a different color)… the blazer I have been lusting after is available at regular price again… it was discounted during the sale… same old styles… They really need to up the ante or will lose the charm.
  • I will reveal a secret- after watching serials like True Blood, I head over to tvrecaps.ew.com to read about the episode. Crazy, right? Not in USA… where people read about the episode and post their views on it. Their involvement level is higher than Indians. The difference is- in India, we (saas and bahus) identify with the characters in the event (not matter how over the top), in USA, they comment on plots, characters, point out things they liked or didn’t. I am sure producers/writers of the show are reading these comments. After all, it affects TRPs. Also, some actors are popular – they may have minor roles but ‘coz they were liked in some other serial. I guess, the writers/producers would want to increase their roles to increase TRPs. I read the recaps incase I missed out some part of the episode or could not connect what happened previously. Also, some of the comments are hilarious. Like, there are 2 black characters in True Blood… 1 is very popular but the 2nd one was a whiny character everyone was bored with (she has been turned to a vamp now). Some negatives comments against the character (not actor) started a racial war of comments. It was quite dumb actually. But, thats not the point. A lot of people were commenting how the serial ‘Game of Thrones’ is better than True Blood etc etc. I was intrigued. I downloaded and watched the 2 seasons (20 hours) in a week. Yep… thats a lot of TV/laptop. Game of Thrones is about kingdoms and war and maybe supernatural characters. It is based on a book by the same name by George R R Martin. I am waiting for the next season to begin in 2013. Worth a watch. Now I have downloaded Six Feet Under but its taking me some time to warm up to it. 6 episodes down and I am wondering about the tag “Best Serial created”…
  • I had purchased ‘Kitne Aadmi Thay’ by Diptakriti. I follow his blog and ordered the book from flipkart. It is a book about Bollywood trivia… only his blog made me spend that money. Disappointing. I don’t think I am going to finish it. Then I read the next part of True Blood… there is one more but its priced quite high. I will wait for a cheaper version before purchasing it. For the last 2 weeks, I have been hooked to the book ‘Game of Thrones’… problem is that the serial follows the book completely so there are no surprises. Its like I am watching the serial all over again. Hopefully, the 2nd part will be full of surprises.
  • I baked a cake on Rakshabandhan. I had the day off, was craving for something sweet but with fruits and wanted to carry something for my bro in Mumbai. I took the recipe for carrot, pineapple and walnut cake from Anita’s blog-  http://sliceofmylyfe.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/a-birthday-wish-for-the-special-people-in-my-life-with-some-carrot-cake/. Its the best cake I have made at home… yum. My bro also loved it. Here is a pic:

  • Recently some school acquaintances have formed a group on whatsapp and chat all day. Its kinda fun… except most of them have kids… and all of them (except me) like kids. Which makes it very awkward and irritating. Now, I do understand that mothers love their kids and love to talk about them. We all pass through stages in our life which change us- school, graduation, losing virginity (not in that order), post graduation, first job, affair, marriage, kids. Full stop. Each stage is monumental but kids are the most of all. Also, it is the also the last stage. I can’t think of anything more significant… not for me atleast. Yes, I also believe life ends as we know it once we had kids – for better or for worse. What I am trying to say is (and maybe failing) that mother/fatherhood is very significant. I do not deny it and mothers talking about their kids is natural. There are 2 blogs I follow which talk about kids regularly. My problem is when these mothers expect me to follow their footsteps- have kids and love them. Now, to each his own. The mothers cannot understand how someone does not “want” kids and does not believe that they are the best things in life. I don’t believe in universal truths. What is right for someone else is not necessarily right for me. And then these mothers start advising me to have kids. And even male colleagues/friends cross all limits by asking me when I am having kids. Its like everyone is worried about my ticking biological clock (except me). A best friend used to advise me to have kids in every phone conversation. I have stopped answering her calls. I may or may not have kids… its not of relevance to my life right now… but I refuse to follow the stages of life set by society. I will not have kids because now is the time or because I am expected to have them. I am such a stubborn mule that I may end up not having kids just to show “society” that its possible and its normal… and not having kids does make me a half person. I do not need to have kids to feel “complete” or “fulfilled”. Unfortunately, none of the women/men making my life miserable read this blog. I hope they did.
Ta da.. I am off to the Game of Thrones while KC snores away next to me.

Just a few minutes of typing…

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.. So I have a few minutes before the work begins and I thought I should blog.

KC and I returned from a well deserved holiday in Goa. 1 or 2 colleagues were surprised that I was going to Goa in the monsoons… after all, it is a non peak period. I think the whole peak and non peak period is the travel industry concept… any place, any beautiful place has its charm in every season. I remember while studying in Mt Abu I hated the foggy, incessant rains. My parents had visited during the monsoons and told me how lucky I am that I get to stay in such a beautiful place. I did not understand the charm of fog with the sticky, wet feeling. Goa is green and beautiful during this time of the year. It is also not very crowded which makes it a perfect place to relax. There are 2 kind of holidays you can enjoy in Goa- book a resort with a private beach and lots of activities to keep you engaged or visit during the peak season and go beach hopping, drinking at various shacks, gambling and water sports. We chose the former. We stayed at Dona Sylvia Resort near Madgaon. This is the 3rd time we have stayed here and like it. The private beach is… private, clean, beautiful. The buffet is fairly decent, the pool is always open, rooms are good. We spent 4 days and ventured out just once. We got a good deal with add ins like free drinks (alcoholic and non alcoholic) from 6-8 pm, 50% off on spa/massage (yep, we got a massage), free use of jacuzzi etc. On the last evening, KC and I had planned to drive down to Madgaon but my very (un)predictable hubby was too tired (lazy) to drive. Instead of being the ablaa nari, I rented the 2 wheeler, seated him behind me and drove. It was fun…

All in all, a good vacation and I am glad there is a day off on 15th August’12 ‘coz working for a week just makes me want to go for another vacation.

I leave you with some pics:

Meri nayi gaadi

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I remember my first car with fondness. I also remember the first time I touched a steering wheel. After MBA,  I had some time to kill and enrolled for driving classes. My parents believe that there is no point in learning to drive if you are not going to drive regularly and there was no way dad was going to let his kids touch the car. I was a fast learner (nope, am not boasting… the instructor told me that) and got my license before joining work. When I moved to Gurgaon my colleagues advised me to buy a car to make life easier but for me the move was temporary. I knew I would move out soon enough. It was only when I moved to Gujarat and had to use local transport on a daily basis that I decided to buy a car. Summer was approaching and travelling would be torturous. The options were- buy a new cheap car or buy a good second hand car. I decided to go for the latter since I had not driven in years and it wouldn’t matter if I damaged it a little here and there. I purchased an old Zen- the best car for beginners. I also joined driving classes again to gain confidence. My first scratch on the car was when I drove my friend R and his wife N for dinner in Rajkot. R was quite encouraging. I was able to drive the Zen ‘coz he would come every evening with me.
And then another job happened. I moved to Mumbai. I didn’t need the car since driving there is a pain… but travelling on trains is a bigger pain. I decided to drive instead. The car has been with me through the worst jams, some minor accidents and moved to 3 states with me (Gujarat to Maharashtra to Haryana).
KC and I had been thinking about buying a new car for almost a year. No, nothing was wrong with the car but the whole Delhi mentality got to me and I wanted a new car. The Zen started looking shabby.
We even checked out Alto but I decided to stick to my Zen. And then petrol prices zoomed so we decided to manage with what we have. Finally, we started looking for a car when his company came up with a lease policy for employees.
My priority was a car which is not very common (I10 and Swift were sooo out), looks good, is a comfy drive and mileage is decent. We looked at below options:

  • Skoda Fabia: An excellent drive. We were looking for diesel cars initially but when we worked out the difference in prices of diesel and petrol… we were going to end up spending more on a diesel car despite the rising prices of petrol. It would take us 2-3 years to break even. Also, the dealers do not give discounts on diesel cars to push the petrol variants in the market. Skoda overall is ok but it is expensive. We would not be able to afford the highest variant and variants in our budget would not include Anti brake system, air bags and have cheaper interiors. What is the point of spending 5 lakh if the car will not even have safety features?
  • Chevrolet Beat: It is supposed to have the highest mileage and works out to be cheapest in the category. But when I drove it, it was worse than my current Zen.
  • Honda Brio: I loved the looks… it was a comfy drive… the only problem was that the dealer was not giving as huge discounts as Skoda but we could still afford the highest variant.
Now, I know how people love to drive. Until now, I drove ‘coz of convenience now I drive ‘coz I enjoy it.
The best part is KC has also started driving now. He enrolled in the class last year but since then has been pretending that he cannot drive confidently so that I would chauffeur him around.
Btw, the car is blue in color.

Cheers to I, Me, Myself

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Hey… I couldn’t blog this weekend but I was busy getting KC to file his IT returns. Nope, it ain’t done and I cannot post mine without his. Ok, I can and I will if he does not finish by this weekend…
Filing IT returns online is so convenient. The company accounts guy had introduced me to it in the 2nd year of my job and I have done it myself since. I also managed to get my IT refund 6 months back. Those guys are helpful… I just had to visit thrice. On the 3rd visit, they asked me to get address proof and then only the cheque would be handed over. It would have taken me 30 mins to make the trip home and bring the documents but I was bugged. I asked the relevance of address proof. How is the refund related to where I stay? My address could be the streets, why does it matter to them? The guy finally relented and gave me my cheque. But it was not as much of a hassle as I expected it to be.
I am addicted to ‘Outsourced’ these days. The serial is about an American guy sent to India to run a call centre. It comes on Zee Cafe after 11 pm and is hilarious. Do watch it.
I was talking to my sis last night and said to her; “If we look after our ownself somebody else does not have to worry”. I am a strong believer in “I, me and myself”. My first priority is keeping myself happy. Only when I am in the happy frame of mind can I think about anyone else. Over the years I have realized that the only one to fight my battles is me… its like Kareena says in Jab We Met “Main apne sabsi favorite hoon”. If only we could all think like this. Call me selfish/self centered, this philosophy has kept me sane.
First I think about myself and once those interests are taken care of, I think about anyone else.

And cheers to that.

Next posts coming- New Car and “Being a Woman sucks”….

Punju Wedding

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I attended my first Punjabi wedding. Technically, I did not. I left before the wedding started but after dinner was served.
A friend (who used to be close) got married. We (me and another common friend) along with KC were invited for the engagement and wedding/reception. This common friend- lets call him D, is also a Punjabi. The three of us have worked together and now are in separate companies. Like D said, “you are my friends from work”. Yeah, he has a lot of categorizations- friends from school, college, work, current work, family friends, relatives etc…. too many compartments to fit all the friends in his life.
But before I get to the wedding, I need to talk about what I wore… or what I did not wear.
In 2008, when I had just moved to Gurgaon I was invited to the wedding of the brother of a colleague. I had no intention of attending but a call in the evening from a senior made me change my mind. I had just moved from sales to the HQ and my clothes reflected that- daily wear, semi formals, comfy clothes and nothing for a party/wedding. With no time to shop I pulled on trousers and a top which would fit party wear. Big mistake. I was mortified when I saw the turnout. Colleagues who looked drab at work had transformed into swans. So, when another colleague was getting married a year later I took the time and money to buy a wedding dress. That is the only dress I have worn to ALL weddings. It has been 4 years. 1.5 years back I had to attend KC’s friend’s engagement. I bought a sober dress to wear there. After that, I wore it at the office Diwali celebrations. Taking all this into consideration, I decided not to buy anything new for the friend’s wedding. But I did not feel like wearing the same clothes. I decided to wear western outfits. The only people I knew at the wedding were the friend, D, KC and maybe 1-2 batchmates from B school. I didn’t care what they thought.
Coming back… the engagement was at Pitampura which is in extreme North Delhi. I have been there a few times and regretted it. On Friday evening/night, I reached Pitampura at 9 pm. The time on the card was 8 pm. I was late… or so I thought. The friend- lets call him A, was waiting for the to-be bride… food had not been served… 50% of the people had not arrived. WTF!!! At 10 pm, the bride-to be arrived and by 10.30 pm they were engaged. We reached for the dinner and left by 11 pm. There was a DJ and I assume the party actually started at 11.30 pm and went on till wee hours.
The wedding was on Sunday night in some godforsaken farmhouse in Chattarpur… there were no street lights and the road was bumpy. I told KC if we have come to the wrong address, we will head back home and go to sleep. We arrived at 9.30 pm and I thought we are late. Guess, who meets us at the gate? The groom… in the car… with the baraat around him. He had not yet entered the venue. Finally, after all the dancing and insane noise he entered the venue at 10.30 pm. By then, KC and I had eaten dinner and were planning to leave. At 11 pm, we left just as the bride was arriving. The wedding probably started by midnight.
In all my life, below are the different kind of weddings I have attended:

  • Family friends: Since I was in the boarding, I did not know most of my parents’ friends. So, these weddings were a pain. My sis and I would plead with our parents to let us stay home but 9 out of 10 times we had to attend. Who was going to cook dinner for us? It was a quick outing… enter, meet the couple, smile, get pics clicked, rush for dinner, eat, leave. Done- by 9-10 pm max. By 11 pm even the couple would have left for home. Btw, this is in Gujarat… so, no liquor
  • Family- Sister: Sis’s wedding was different… weddings at home are different… the time and day does not matter. It is an entire week of celebrations. We had a sangeet along with mehendi, janoi (my brother’s), garba night, engagement (along with DJ night), wedding and reception. People turned up for whatever functions they wanted to. Relatives and close friends attended the sangeet… everyone attended garba and janoi… engagement and wedding were at Indore so it was just close relatives.
  • Relatives: I do not remember the actual wedding because I was not there… I was probably gossiping with cousins or playing badminton (no kidding… we did that… played badminton at the other end of the ground), playing with cousins or out frolicking with my cousin brothers. Time did not matter. It was an entire week of celebrations for family and there was the reception for outsiders.
  • Close friends: Umm… except one, all the other friends are single. I chose not to attend the wedding since I am not into it. If I had a choice, I would not have turned up for my own wedding… actually, if we had a choice KC and I would have had a live in relationship all our life.
Punjabi (or is in Delhi) weddings are notorious for starting late… the invitation says 8 pm but the wedding starts at 11 pm. Thats how it is- I was told. Different… very different from Gujarat weddings.
Few months back my sis was in town and I had taken her shopping. We came across gaudy bling in most of the shops and my sis wondered what happened to the fashion conscious Delhi people. I guess, at a wedding it all goes out of window. Being a Sindhi, I am no stranger to bling… but the bling of this level was beyond my imagination. There was a lady dressed in a blingy saree, with a bling blouse, gaudy jewellery, bling on her eyes and the blingy footwear. For a moment I thought she is the bride to be (I have met her only once and was blinded momentarily by the bling) until I spotted the chudas and realized she is a newly wed.
I am glad its over and will be avoiding any future weddings. Requesting my friends not to invite me. I think RT is the only friend whose wedding I am looking forward to… the wedding will be in MP and we can go to Bandhavgarh from there.

Food… more food… and then some more

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For KC’s b’day we went to TGIF for dinner. He picked the place. I was not too pleased about celebrating at a regular haunt. So, I picked the restaurant for my b’day. It was Tonino located on Mehrauli road. We have passed by the place many times and it looks extremely quaint from outside. Online reviews said that the food is good but expensive. The restaurant serves authentic Italian food. It has seating outdoors, indoors and on the terrace. We were seated outside since it was not too hot but a more pleasant weather would have helped us enjoy the meal. The area is surrounded by trees, plants and lamps are hung everywhere. The ambience is as good as Olive (Bandra and B’glore). The menu is not very exhaustive and we ordered chicken sausage with mash potatoes as starters. They were ok. We have had better sausages at Potpourri (Inorbit Mall, Vashi). We used to visit PP everytime KC was in Mumbai- sometimes every week and have only the sausages. We have not tried anything else there.
Anyway, for main course we ordered a sphagetti in red sauce with veggies. After 10 mins of waiting, the waiter told us our food will be ready in 10 mins. WTF!!! Thankfully, it was a b’day dinner and we were in no hurry to reach home (though it was a weekday). On a regular day, I would have been very irritated. The thing is when KC and I go out for food, our aim is to eat food… not lounge around or spend time together. We can do that at home. So, when service is slow it can get bugging. Anyway, the pasta was ok. We have had better (Amici Cafe in Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj food court and Select Citywalk mall serves the best pasta). We ordered a melting chocolate with amretto and ice cream for dinner. It was yummilicious. There was a chocolate covering (a little on the bitter side made with some kind of flour) with melted chocolate inside (not too sweet, not too bitter) and ice cream and amretto on the side. I loved that the outer covering was bitter and balanced very well by the chocolate and ice cream. A very unique dessert. I would visit the place again only for the ambience and maybe dessert. The food is strictly ok and a dish costs 600 bucks which is pricey.

Today, we went to Drift for a Sunday brunch- its something we have wanted to do for a very long time. Drift is a restaurant at Epicentre which is the cultural center of Gurgaon. Plays, musical shows, workshops etc are conducted here. It is equivalent to Indian Habitat Center in Delhi. We had dinner there few months back and loved the food. The brunch is from 11 am- 3 pm and covers b’fast as well as lunch. It was an exhaustive selection- juices (Tropicana), cold cuts of meat, breads, cheese, bakery items, idlis, eggs, waffles/pan cakes, sausages, grilled pork, noodles, rice, chicken gravy, mutton gravy, honey potatoes, sandwiches, parathas (all kinds), fish, noodles, pastries, fruits etc. Everything was there. I don’t think I could have asked for more. I just wish they had fresh juices instead of packaged ones. We ate so much- we were full all day. No kidding. I thought I am going to burst. Amazing. Must try.