The blinds at my office window were down but I could see a moving shadow behind it. Then it hit me! There was a simple brown paper kite suspended a little away.
So I tried sliding the window glass. It was jammed. Looks like it hadn't been opened in a while. Nail chipped. Left index finger. Dammit.
And then these three boys standing below looked up and saw I had access to the kite. And they start to scream, "Aunty, aunty, patang nikalo please." (Aunty, aunty, get a hold of the kite please.")
The three rascals waiting for the kite
They must have been 10-12 years old.
I didn't utter a word the whole time. Mainly because there are others working in the same room as me.
I had half a mind to yell back and say I wasn't going to give it to them - my own inner child rearing its head for a few fleeting seconds - but then I just smiled at the whole idea. Using my iktara (a single string musical instrument I picked up in Rajasthan*) like a fishing rod, I pulled the kite to bring it closer to the window grill. Realised the thread (manja) was stuck/entangled onto something above my floor. Kept tugging at it. The boys told me to wait and not throw it yet. I guess they were waiting for an audience to come along and earn bragging rights.
Finally, they go: "Abhi pheko!" (Throw it now!). So I tugged as hard as I could and voila! The manja broke loose. I had the kite! Managed to click a quick photo of it and I could feel anxious eyes watching from below...
So, I flung it down hoping it doesn't get stuck on another floor's window. The boys ran between the cars parked below to catch it.
And then, "Thank you, aunty". :)
Happy Sankranti, folks. तिळगुळ घ्या आणि गोड गोड बोला.
*PS: I don't play the iktara or any other musical instrument. It was just a nice souvenir from Jaipur.
I have decided to make a conscious effort on one facet of my life: HEALTH! Starting January 1st, I'm giving up aerated drinks. Will add a few more things-to-do in the coming weeks related to this. Tons to do at work, so need to keep myself healthy and fit. And I'm praying healthy habits will last me at least a year.
As Oprah Winfrey's optimistic greeting says: "Cheers
to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."
I love discovering. A quaint
store, an underrated food joint, local markets, a tree-lined lane
(increasingly, a rarity in Bombay), second-hand books, quirky
merchandise, a cool bargain, picture postcards (finding a nice one in
Mumbai is an achievement) and just about anything. It's my curiosity
that eggs me on to do these things.
A local market in Goa
While nothing beats an actual shopping trip and stumbling upon the
unusual, of late I've been checking out a lot of e-commerce portals. A
LOT. And it's interesting, too, to see how the Indian online shopping
scene has exploded.
Flipkart made it fashionable, I guess. And then you
had everyone from SnapDeal, Fashion&You, 99Labels and a host of
others selling everything and anything. I used to wait eagerly for their newsletters to see what deal(s)
I could score, especially watches from fancy brands. I wasn't completely on board though. For most of the time, I was happy being a
window shopper of the online variety. Till one Christmas. I ordered a
dozen or so books from Flipkart to gift to children of my relatives and
friends. Even though I had shopped online before that, it was my 'aha'
moment. I could do this. Without worrying. And most importantly, even
enjoy it as much as offline shopping. :P But soon, I also realised there's life beyond Flipkart and the others. And not just
heavyweights like Junglee, Jabong, Myntra, etc (how do they come up with
I'm hardly addicted to social networking sites
these days. I am active on them but they don't keep me hooked for too
long anymore. Apart from a silly game, Candy Crush, all my online activity seems to centre around any website that sells something of interest. And with Christmas around the corner, my annual Twitter Secret Santa participation was imminent. My Santee's wishlist had a generic mix of things s/he wanted (not gonna reveal the gender yet). And while looking for those, hit upon some sites - old and new. I'm sharing a few in this post. Maybe you'll find something of interest or score a bargain in the process.
This colourful company changed the perception of the India souvenir. For the better. 'Chumbak' means 'magnet' and that's how their product line really began... from a fridge magnet. At least now we can proudly say we have funky fridge magnets for those tourists who want a piece of India to take back home.
Chumbak products are not easily available in Mumbai (or at least I haven't found them easily), so your best bet is to go online and shop directly from the website.
"FREE shipping on order value Rs.595 and above". So that could be a factor.
Also, it's a good idea to check the "sale" section on any of these sites. Like here.At the time of writing this, there's this sweet combo of coffee mugs for mom and dad for Rs. 395. And a canvas laptop bag with an autorickshaw print on it at Rs. 495, marked down from Rs. 1550. Awesome, right?
One thing I'm sad about is that they have discontinued selling (at least online) their square-shaped postcards. I thought they were
A selection of Chumbak postcards
I asked them about it and the response was "They were not moving." :( I am not surprised, but it's still disappointing.
HYSTERIA I stumbled onto this store on my last trip to
Bengaluru in April. It's a haven for original merchandise with a music,
film or TV theme. Like bobble heads of your favourite TV characters. The
incorrigible Barney Stinson,
an annoyingly cute Sheldon Cooper (as also his other fellow characters
from The Big Bang Theory) and even some of your favourite superheroes
make up a small collection worth checking out. Considering these are
genuine pieces, the pricing looks quite reasonable. The website is a welcome relief if you live outside of the Garden City.
Sore points with the online experience? (1) The website
doesn't load the images properly. Most of the descriptions are hidden.
Cluttered feel. CSS/HTML gone haywire perhaps? And (2), the other issue I
have (and I did make a phone call to confirm this) is they have a
shipping cost for each product. So if I'm picking up a set of badges
(Rs. 50 shipping) AND the Barney bobblehead (Rs. 100 shipping), they
will charge me Rs. 150 for shipping to the same address. Absurd, right? I
was informed they are working on that. I hope that's rectified soon.
Thankfully, the one time I transacted online, it was a smooth process. Waiting to see how and by when my order gets delivered.
I don't know anything about this e-commerce venture. It's just another
shop for different sellers. Somewhat like an Indian Etsy (of course,
Shopo was once that till SnapDeal bought them - a move I don't get).
Coming back to Xarato (How do you pronounce it? "Zarrato"?)... I
landed on it because a friend sent me a link to something and then I
clicked on something else and was on this Facebook page for "Nobodyelse"
- an independent Nagpur-based business for "Clocks, jewellery, hooks,
murals, paintings etc." - and the person behind it has a jewellery line
called Errorswhich caught my eye. I'm a sucker for earrings. What can I say? Click here to see some images.
And Xarato enticed me by saying if I signed up via my Facebook
account, they'd give me a Rs. 500 discount on my first transaction
(minimum spend of Rs. 1500; also the coupon code is only valid for the
first day, I think). Not bad, I thought. And what's the harm in trying
it out? It's not going to be a massive spend anyway. So now I'm waiting
for three pairs of earrings, and because I had to round off the billing
to Rs. 1500, I added some kiddie hair accessories. They will be included
in my Christmas gift for the loveliest almost-3-year-old girl I know.
The surfing on that site took me a while. The site is image-heavy
(obviously!), so a slow internet connection can really kill the
experience. But other than that, no issues with the transaction.
So that's that. I might be shopping at The Elephant Company soon. Waiting for my bank balance to recover a bit before I do that. ;)
This is a personal opinion piece. None of the sites/brands mentioned here
have anything to do with me, except for the fact that I may have
snooped around their websites/stores, lusted after their products, and actually
purchased some as well. I do not take responsibility if you shop at any or all of them and have an issue.
It's Thursday and you're longingly looking at that calendar waiting for the weekend to descend upon you. For me though, the weekends have been so hectic that I'm looking for a weekend to get away from my regular week AND weekend. Seriously. In the middle of that thought, I came across this video today and it brought such sunny happy thoughts to my mind that I had to share it.
I've always admired Usha Uthup's versatility and her unique personality. Fabulous singer, woman of substance and funny as hell. A true legend.
One of my favourite food places in Pune, Janseva Bhojanalaya near Deccan Gymkhana, does a very delicious unlimited almost-Maharashtrian thaali. It's mindboggling, really. So instead of just posting multiple photos, I experimented with a little something. Hope you like it.
When I ate there in May 2012, the thaali was priced at Rs. 130. This time around (November 2013), it was Rs. 250. WHOA!!! But still totally worth it.