Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Insecurities

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So I gallivanted from Borivali to Bandra today. I had an off because of Eid, and besides a family engagement in the morning, I had pretty much nothing to do. Spending a couple of hours at HyperCity was a good idea while I waited for a friend to confirm if we were to meet. 

Armed with a bagful of home essentials, I headed to Bandra. Much traffic later, the rikshaw dropped me off at the friend's place. The idea was to drop my stuff there and then grab a cup of coffee and those fast-disappearing jelly squares at Candies. And we did end up going there. 

Which is when the floodgates opened.

The friend is married with a child. And felt her husband was adding to her own insecurities. "I'm fat" kept getting thrown at me when I was trying to explain to her that she isn't fat. Was desperately trying to tell her that just a little belief was required in her case. She refused to accept any view or advice. Her severe body image issues got me thinking. Is it really *that* bad in the world? What legacy are we leaving our children? It's pretty scary to just see how a friend who has been the epitome of self-confidence can also fail miserably. Another thing that bothered me is her marriage. What kind of foundation is this? Your husband feeds into your securities and you blindly just allow that to happen??? I was unable to do much except offer a listening ear.
Should I be glad I'm not married?



#ABC POSTCARD 31/31 :)

Sent from my iPod Touch

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We could have had it all...

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My song of the day: 


"The scars of your love remind me of us 

They keep me thinking that we almost had it all 
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless 
I can't help feeling 
We could have had it all 
Rolling in the deep

(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep) 
You had my heart inside of your hand 
(You're gonna wish you never had met me) 
And you played it to the beat 
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep) "



What a voice! 




PS: DeeSee - you better not make fun of her again.


#ABC POSTCARD 30/31

Monday, August 29, 2011

Breaking a myth

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The following conversation happened one morning last week on the office shuttle*:

Colleague (sitting behind me and pointing to my hand): What book is that?
Me: *shows the cover of the book without saying a word*


Colleague (surprised look): Oh! Why this?
Me: Why not?
Colleague: Yeah, why not.
Me: *smiles*

After a full 60 seconds, as if hit by a brainwave but still a little puzzled...

Colleague: Are you getting married to a Hindu?
Me: Bwahahahahahahahahaha... :D


* Shuttle = a mini bus that ferries us from the railway station to the office in the mornings, and the other way around in the evenings.

PS: Let me know if *this* font looks better with the blog. Fonts are the only thing bothering me about this blog template.


#ABC POSTCARD 29/31

Rainy Days & Mondays...

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...always get me down.

So you'll use Facebook and Twitter and sms for a *belated* birthday greeting, but you won't pick up the damn phone and actually voice those wishes. If that's what I get for investing wasting my time on this friendship, then I totally deserve it.

Thanks, but no thanks. 

And yes, it bothers me. Simply because you don't care as much as I do. 

#ABC POSTCARD 28/31

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Watch this space! (updated)

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So, the unintentional social experiment worked. - or rather, is working. More details later. Will update this post by the end of today or tomorrow morning.

Till then, watch this space.
I had turned off my birthday information on my Facebook page last year. Two reasons. One, the sheer number of messages that came in on FB directly, and then because of FB on Twitter or via sms. People got a 'reminder' and hence, an obligation to wish. Never mind if you've not spoken to me in years, or don't know what my life is like, but a FB wish toh banta hai, boss. Plus I don't do a generic Facebook status saying "thanks", so it meant fewer people to respond to. 

The second reason for turning it off was but obvious. Getting older is getting progressively depressing - the age factor was looming over, people reminding you that you're not married yet, and worse being wished that "hope this year your happy day arrives". I mean, what the fuck! And yes, I just used a profanity on my blog. That's how frustrating it really is to counter morons of all kinds on the one day in the year when they are supposed to be nice to you.

So to all those who wished me on FB or called or texted because you remembered without a notification, thank you. To all those who wished me because the office birthday mail reminded you, also thank you. But the biggest thanks goes out to those who didn't wish me. I'm not being sarcastic. I'm just happy that we don't have to pretend that we're *that* interested in each other's lives.

Sorry about rambling. But the incessant rain in Mumbai this weekend has put a dampener on any plans even before I could think of making some. Happy birthday to me!


#ABC POSTCARD 27/31

Friday, August 26, 2011

Addicted to...

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"Technology addictions can lead to increased stress-levels, shorter attention spans (especially in kids), irregular sleep-patterns and poor sleep, to name but a few."


EEEEEKKKKKKKS! The article from where the above line came from actually made me shudder. Looks like I have way too much dopamine in my brain. Now that explains my poor sleep patterns and wavering attention span. It goes on to say...


"To give a real-world example: when your phone receives a text, it beeps loudly, and we suddenly feel the urge to check the message. Dopamine (which is especially wired to cues like message alerts) is the cause of that urge."


"And so we enter the ‘dopamine cycle.’ Want to know what the capital of Chile is? It’s just a Google search away. Want to know if your friend has sent you that funny e-mail he told you about? Refresh your inbox. Want to see what your friends are saying about the new Harry Potter movie? Just hop onto Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes, blogs or Bebo. When it comes to social networking, our dopamine receptors are spoiled for choice, much like a kid in a candy store."


Yes, I'm hopelessly addicted to the world wide web. Too much dependence on technology to keep myself updated. 


Goodness me! *logs off*




#ABC POSTCARD 26/31

Do what you love or love what you do

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This morning on my way to work - while stuck in terrible traffic - I got thinking about my work years. In January this year, I completed eight years of slogging it out across three companies (four-and-a-half of those years at the current company). And the only thought I had was: "What if I had another career? An alternative profession?".

My primary role has been in the Human Resources space, and more significantly into recruitment. Not the easiest or the best job in the world, but somehow landed myself doing something not by choice. One of the questions I'd ask any young candidate is: "What's your dream job?". Many would give boring and stupid answers. "To become a manager"; "to lead a large team" and so on. Very rarely, someone would have an idealistic "to have a job that pays me to travel - photography, blogging". And the sometimes enthusiastic "to report from a LIVE Formula One race" or "to interview the biggest names on the world map".

So what would be my dream job? And it pained me to think I never ever had a "dream job". Sure, I've had plans to become a teacher, a nun (omg!), an air-hostess, an actor-dancer (totally closet, can't act-dance to save my life), and various such random roles. But nothing that I yearned for. Also, I had never really held a summer job or an internship, except for working with Akbarally's (a 3-outlet chain of department stores that existed before malls became a reality in Mumbai. By the way, the place has shut down now) as an 'announcer' (or 'voice-over', if you prefer). Those three months were fun, especially since my work day started only after 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and I was paid a princely sum of Rs. 3000 monthly way back then. I had to quit because I had enrolled into a fulltime management diploma (again, not my choice. But grateful to my mother who thought it was important then.). 

January 2003 marked my first job. At a recruitment consultancy that had started a specialised BPO arm to counter and cash in on the 'call centre' boom. That job paid poorly, but I couldn't complain considering I was unemployed for four months thanks to a mini-recession that did not throw up suitable opportunities. While I didn't particularly enjoy my work there, I don't know what I'd have done without that experience. I interviewed tons of people day in and day out over the phone; conducted walk-in interviews; coordinated with nasty clients and still had nothing to show in the 'results' column. Simply because the attrition rate in the call centres was ridiculously high. I would 'close' a candidate and the next thing I know is he has decided to join some other place for more money. Frustrating!

Soon, I had to move on. Things were just not working out, and I wasn't even able to focus on a proper job search for myself. About a month later, I found myself working for an actual company. The day I joined, we were 206 employees, and I was to assist the HR team with the hiring function. The advantage I had here was that I was no longer an external recruiter, so I could call candidates with more confidence and 'sell' the job better. Also, I had a great boss. She would stand up for us as a team, and was always encouraging of my efforts. The colleagues - except one - were quite nice too. And then a new manager was brought in. I had to report to her and I really couldn't stand much of her. Oh, but she desperately needed me to be on her team even when the opportunity for me to move into a generalist position arose. Anyway, I still value the experience I had here, and most importantly, the friendships that were formed. Some of the people who worked with me there are very dear to me. 

Work Desk No. 4 - been moved around to 5 spots officially in as many years 
After more than 2 years, I decided to move on. Two reasons: one, I was saturated and couldn't see any growth beyond what I was already doing. And two, the next job offer was attractive - not in money terms, but in terms of the challenge. And so I quit an 800+ people 'growing' company to join a small 30 people 'growing' firm. Call it a leap of faith or just plain insane, the truth is I knew who ran the place, so had a level of comfort getting into this. 

Finally, here I am... Four and a half years down the line, this has been some journey. I can't even begin to explain what I feel for this place and the people. Yes, there have been some lows - but that's a given for the time (and not just in terms of years, but actual time) spent at the office. Also, I have a very emotional bond with the company which is very hard to describe, and also the worst thing to have. 

Somehow, I always knew this would be for the long haul. Until a few months ago. Today, I no longer work in the HR space. It wasn't my decision, but keeping in mind the company's growth plans and what my skills could offer, I took up the new role. A *challenge* really considering it involves a fresh set of responsibilities; a large-ish team that reports into me; some new areas that are completely intimidating. And the weight of expectations which scares me. Even today.

This week has been good. I've been able to put my thoughts together on certain pieces. Plus the boss has been kind enough to grant me an audience and help me with prioritising my tasks. He is kind, no?

But the biggest achievement yet? I've never regretted working here. NEVER. And I hope it stays that way for as long as it can.

PS: Had written most of the first half in the first week of January 2011, and I just discovered it lying in my drafts. But I guess the sentiment is still quite relevant. Edited to keep it more current. Hopefully, I will live to blog about my fifth anniversary on 8th January, 2012. :)

#ABC POSTCARD 25/31

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rick-rolled! 5

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This rikshaw has a message for all you mischievous boys and girls...
On the separator between driver and passenger
Translation: Don't be naughty! 

*winks*

#ABC POSTCARD 24/31

Anna-ther farce?

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Anna-ther hoarding outside a railway station.
Wonder if they have permission to put this up.
I'm neither a political expert, nor an activist. The past few days have witnessed a frenzy in this country. People are likening the whole anti-corruption crusade by Anna Hazare (or rather Team Anna) to a second freedom struggle. While I understand the sentiment behind this, I certainly don't think you can compare this movelment to what transpired in the lead-up to that August day in 1947. Also, I'm totally against the idea of deifying (is that a word?) a single man just because he has decided to take up a cause. Hundreds and thousands have undertaken causes that never feature in the media spotlight. The media focus on this is another thing. If you have watched the film Peepli [LIVE], you'll understand what I'm trying to say.

Can any of us truly say that we will never be involved in any corruption? What about those fake rent receipts or medical bills you got made to ensure minimal tax deduction? What about greasing the cop's palm so as to not risk losing your driver's license when you get booked for speeding? What about paying ridiculous amounts of money in the name of "donations" for your child's school or college admissions? What about the wads of notes that you need to stuff into hands at the municipal or passport offices just so your "file" or application moves to the next step? Even to get a birth or death certificate? A gas connection? You won't do it for your loved ones?

My motto is simple: "Think global. Act local." Let's clean up our own homes and surroundings of this corruption menace, then talk about eradicating it with legislation. Simple things like wearing a helmet while riding your bike, and not over-speeding or honking. Don't hire children as domestic help. Don't litter or spit in public places/transport. Stick to the 10pm loudspeaker deadline. Respect all communities/faiths/groups and their freedom. First, do the little things that matter. Teach our children the importance of abiding by the laws of the land and by the spirit of freedom. We have rights, but we also have duties. Freedom's not a one-way street.

As @69fubar tweeted last evening, "Everyone is corrupt. That'll never change. Its human nature to take the easy way out." So true!

Time to rise above the petty, and make a real change. But stop and think. Pick your battles wisely. And go for it.

#ABC POSTCARD 23/31

Wake up, and smell the coffee!

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The exhaustion from all the Sunday packing and shifting has taken its toll - been rather low and under the weather since the weekend. This morning was a real bitch... Imagine waking up with a pinched nerve in the leg! The pain was unbelievable. Add to it the fact that the home Internet connection has been disconnected and I'm grumpy about that. Now imagine living without the www!!! 

I mean, I barely get home around 10-11pm, have dinner, take a shower and sleep. The television remote is not under my control, and everyone gets pissed off if I stay up late to watch something that I want to. You see, the light (and not just the sound) from the TV disturbs everyone. So I've given up on most of my TV-channel-surfing. The Internet is my only saviour for any entertainment! But now, even that has temporarily betrayed me. Using my phone's GPRS is a solution, but trust me, once you get used to tweeting/facebooking/emailing/etc using a wifi connection, life's not the same. Worse, my phone does connect to the wifi signal, but strangely never works. 

Cappuccino, blank pages, a pen, music while waiting at CCD
On Tuesday evening, I happened to leave office at the dot of 6pm. I was a bit irritated that the two meetings scheduled that day had to be cancelled. Plus I had managed to be at work on time that morning inspite of reaching home only around midnight and then just clocking four hours of sleep on Monday. So, I left office and decided to gallivant someplace. Out of the blue, a friend called and said he was passing by the place I live, and would like to catch up. Excellent! 

After fixing the spot and time and braving traffic and a crawling train, I reached the coffee shop and waited for a bit for the friend to show up. He did turn up and that conversation over coffee lasted for almost two hours. There was a lot of pent-up anger about something I had blogged vaguely about a few months ago, and I was able to explain to him why I felt what I felt. Considering he was familiar with the whole story, I felt quite relieved to just have someone listen to me, and not offer advice for the sake of it.

That evening has accelerated my heart's healing process. And while I know it's still not that easy to let go of some people, some emotions, some memories... I will still be able to move on a little.

Thank you for coffee and the conversation, friend.

#ABC POSTCARD 22/31

Monday, August 22, 2011

Down memory lane

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I had a few ideas for a couple of posts - one definitely on Rahul Dravid's batting prowess over this past weekend in the 4th Test (or rather what this amazing cricketer means to me), and the second which was more personal about friendship and its changing nature. Over the weekend though, I couldn't do any writing as the Saturday was spent in rest (which is a good thing, no?) and Sunday was crazy with packing up all my stuff to shift into the neighbouring flat as we're getting some basic fixes and painting started tomorrow. It was bloody painful packing and moving stuff around. And worse when you end up with sixteen bags of your things. Yes, sixteen, belonging to just one individual - ME. 

Time to de-clutter? Hell, yeah!
In the process of all this packing and sorting, I did get quite nostalgic as I came across certain items which brought back a rush of memories. Maybe I should've snapped some photos of those things so I could've added them here... but hey, I wasn't planning on writing this post. And most of my posts in this #ABC have been written as soon as I open the Blogger editor - a very stare-at-a-blank-page-and-write kinda random approach. 

So anyway, I did tweet about those things that made me feel so many emotions with a hashtag #housecleanup (sadly, if you search this tag a few days later, none of the tweets will show)... Here's a list of those

# Scraps of paper with Dravid's scores from Australia/New Zealand series in 2003-04. No internet access at home meant keeping my own records of his scores.
# My school's 'red house' badge that used to be pinned to the tie. Awww! I think it should go onto my office lanyard which has various pins on it.
# Found two ancient cameras. One's a Yashica Kyocera DX, and the other's a Minolta Pocket Autopak 430Ex. The latter is a mystery. Don't even know how it was in our home. Must do some research on it. Also, must check if they are in working condition.
# An Atomic Kitten CD. I think it was a prize from a radio or newspaper contest. Hahaha! 
# Really bad poetry scrawled in old class notes by me out of sheer boredom during some post-grad diploma lectures. Will try and publish on the blog sometime. And you've been warned - it's really awful. :D
# Tons of paper clippings from the time I was unemployed - job openings, career advice, even entire classifieds sections, etc. Humbling experience. And a lot of them were call center vacancies - the boom was on then.
# An Anthology of American Literature (1890-1965). Poetry by Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound and more... Also, plays like The Glass Menagerie. A book that was rescued from my grand-aunt's place when they did a house revamp years ago. Something about it keeps drawing me back to it.

Sigh! 

There was more stuff discovered. Maybe I'll do a follow-up post - when we're shifting back - of things that may not be saved. I seriously need to de-clutter. I mean, sixteen bags! Insane, right? Time to leave memory lane and get on the road to minimalism!

#ABC POSTCARD 21/31

Friday, August 19, 2011

Eat Street

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If you read my last post, you'd recall I mentioned I was going to stuff myself at Mohammad Ali Road - the haven for Mumbai's Ramadhan feast. Last evening, a bunch of us (met/introduced on Twitter) managed to brave the crazy rains, a bus strike that eventually got called off by evening, and a train motormen's threat to strike that was withdrawn before it even began and actually made it to this massive food orgy.

Now I didn't carry my camera along, but seeing the enthusiasm of @ghaatidancer with her camera, I tried clicking some on my phone just for kicks. Even though they are really sad, I'm still going to post them here because, well, it's my blog and I'll do whatever I want. :P On a serious note, I don't want to write too much today. So, amidst much talk about people going on a fast, here I am talking about a feast...  

Presenting some snapshots from my Thursday night-out:
Minara Masjid - the epicentre of the food extravaganza at Mohammad Ali Road. To reach here, take the left after you reach the end of the Crawford Market road where it meets the JJ Flyover and keep going straight. You can't miss it.

In the lane next to Minara Masjid: This building has not changed at all. It looked the same even when I first  saw  it in  2005.  I think even the lights  that were not working then are still not working. Love the green inverted bubble lamps that were hanging outside the windows.

Sadly, hardly any photos of the food were taken. We just devoured everything we tried. My first-time eats were: haleem, malpua and mawa jalebis. Haleem is absolutely brilliant - a happy addition to my comfort foods list. It's a pasty khichdi made with goat meat, ghee, dry fruits, lentils (I think, but someone mentioned lapsi or broken wheat) and slow-cooked for hours. A bowl of it topped with deep-fried onions cost 40 bucks but was super filling. And heavenly.
Mawa Jalebis being fried in the background - @ Rs. 40 for 250 gms - basically it's the gulab jamun (foreground) base fried like jalebis. As @ghaatidancer quipped, they're like "gulab jamuns on crack". Super syrrrrrupy - love them!


Besides these eats, we tried an assortment of food: chicken tikka, chicken minara, bheja (brain) masala, kaleji (liver) masala with rotis. A friend of @chhavi's turned up and suggested we try these slightly-larger-than-marbles kheema kebabs. Piping hot, crispy on the outside, soft and oozing with flavour on the inside. Yummm! 

@chhavi also ordered one large malpua which she hardly ate but we almost finished that off too. No sweat! :) Everything was then rounded off with two phirnis in small wide clay pots shared among the eight of us. Just two because we were really stuffed by then.

Before we left, I picked up some mawa jalebis and phirni pots to take back with me. I also picked up blackcurrant phirni in a plastic container to try. That's at home in the fridge right now. Will eat later tonight. I bought it more for its pretty purple colour than for anything else. 

I might post 1-2 photos on the other blog... One photo of the jalebi-frying man has a painting-like blurred effect which I liked. 

I know a lot of people, including myself, think the place and the food is overrated. But for me, this is a quintessentially Mumbai experience worth making a trip for. If you wish, you can relive my first time there with this post. That's about it, I guess. Burrp!


#ABC POSTCARD 20/31

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sweet Corn Salad

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My trip to Nature's Basket, Bandra on Monday yielded in not much shopping at the outlet. Reason? Everything is nice there but so bloody expensive. Anyway, while I checked out with some meagre supplies, I noticed these nice-looking recipe cards (will snap a pic of those later as they are at home) that you could pick up. 

A lady called Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal - who I've gathered is pretty popular in food circles - puts together recipes on these cards (I think she works with Nature's Basket). Got three different ones this time... and I decided to try the simplest (obviously!) of the three: Sweet Corn Salad. If you know me at all, you'll know that I can't cook to save my life.

So today, the salad was my lunch... and while I adapted the recipe as per the ingredients I had, I think it was pretty good. Will update this post with the recipe later. Here are some pics I took of my lunch (quality not so great because they were taken on the phone):
Top Left: My Messy Desk; Top Right & Bottom Left: The Salad; Bottom Right: Crispy Rings
I made the dressing at home and brought it in a separate container. Thought if it wasn't good, I could atleast eat the salad with regular salt and pepper on it. The dressing was not very strong as I did not use olive oil or red (or was it white?) wine vinegar as per the recipe. But even this way, it was quite nice. And healthy!

Rushina suggested packing nachos with this salad, but I found these onion-flavoured crispy rings quite nice too. 

Thanks, Rushina! :)

PS: These days, I've taken a liking for experimenting with food. So expect more posts like this.

PPS: The light lunch was also in preparation for tonight's Ramadhan feast at Mohammad Ali Road. Going there after years... Hope it doesn't disappoint. 

#ABC POSTCARD 19/31

Rick-rolled! 4

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Random rikshaw thought on a day most of the BEST buses have gone on strike...

Look closely at the message in the mirror.

LOVE IS SWEET POISON
#ABC POSTCARD 18/31

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

iWant

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In *extremely* random order:

# Portable reading light to allow me to pore into books and magazines in rikshaws in the evening.


# Basil leaves to make pesto and then add it to spaghetti with tuna + mushrooms. My bhaajiwali friend didn't have any basil today as well. And the 6 rupees basil at Nature's Basket comes packed with a styrofoam tray. Tsk.


# A fabulous 1BHK in Mumbai that won't burn a hole in my bank account (actually put that in iDream - sigh!).


# A mortar and pestle. Can't believe it's so hard to find one these days *in* India.

Apologies for this stupid post. My brain's on strike and that's all I can think of right now. Blame it on PMS and some other thoughts plaguing my mind. :(


#ABC POSTCARD 17/31
Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Think About it (4)

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Someone I admire a lot sent me this thought via sms early in the day:

You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

Hmmm... Got me thinking.

Have a great evening, everyone!


#ABC POSTCARD 16/31

Rick-rolled! 3

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Looks like a former tennis player called Michael Chang is still in demand... This rikshaw driver certainly thinks so.

On the backrest of the driver's seat


#ABC POSTCARD 15/31

Sleeping ills

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I've tried everything. Sleeping early. Switching off Twitter/Facebook. Listening to music. Reading. Eating light. Taking a shower. Counting sheep. Requesting for wake-up calls. Everything. Yet, my sleep cycle refuses to cooperate. Mornings are increasingly becoming my enemy. I can never wake up on time. Or even if I do, I just can't get out of bed. Even if I've had 7-8 hours of sleep, there's zero energy to tackle the morning blues.

I know you'll say exercise is a great way to boost one's endorphin levels, and thus help fight any stress-induced sleep problems. But I'm not *that* stressed out right now. The first few months of the year were crazy considering the pressures of a project around the World Cup. And post that, a change in role got me thinking in different directions. Some of the new responsibilities have still not sunk in. But those can't be the reasons.

I don't know what's wrong. And I really would like a remedy. Soon. If you have a sure-shot solution, please do leave a note in the comments. And no, sleeping pills are NOT ok.

#ABC POSTCARD 14/31

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekend washout?

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Remember I mentioned that I was supposed to be working on Sunday, i.e. today? Yeah, that's not happening all thanks to the insipid performance of the Indian cricket team. Losing a Test match by an innings and way too many runs in under 4 days is just not done. This, of course, has pissed me off no end. First of all, the fools in white flannels lose miserably. And second, my travel plans were pretty much ruined with the whole you-might-be-required-to-come-to-work expectation. Long Independence Day weekend? What's that?

Anyway, I'll admit it... I'm quite relieved not to be travelling to office. I mean, who wants to glide over Aarey Colony's potholes? You have to see these potholes. They are the ultimate torture. Will do a post on that very soon.

So, I stayed home the whole of Saturday, and I ended up at a friend's place for an overnight stay. The idea was to do a TV show marathon, but got changed to some movie plan. Due Date and Band Baajaa Baaraat were the DVD picks. I had watched BBB before, or so I thought. But apparently, I had completely missed the second half. Not bad for a one-time watch. Panipuri and sevpuri were had before dinner. And then Indian Chinese fare, Coke, and tender coconut ice-cream to round off the night.

We stayed up till almost 4am laughing uncontrollably with that Talking Tom app on someone's phone. And also, playing a very silly game called "in my pink pyjamas". Basically, you had to pick a movie name and suffix it with "in my pink pyjamas". The results can be quite funny. Sample these:
  • Mission Impossible in my pink pyjamas
  • The Dark Knight Rises in my pink pyjamas
  • Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in my pink pyjamas
You get the drift, no? Also, you could do this with song names, band names, TV show names... Desperate Housewives in my pink pyjamas? Haha! This would also work as a terrific ice-breaker.

I'm still at the friend's place and typing this post from her laptop. Was planning to leave in a bit, but now being tempted into staying for lunch because it will include chingri malai (a Bengali prawn curry preparation in coconut milk) on the menu. Yum!

Will catch you later in the day... Must catch up with a ton of stuff at home and work. And also try and figure out a gameplan to beat Lo's prolific blogging and to motivate Di to get going.

Ciao!

#ABC POSTCARD 13/31

Saturday, August 13, 2011

So much to do...

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01. Call the clinic for an appointment with the orthopaedic specialist.
02. Get a portable lightweight but powerful torch (especially for lighting up the dreaded 'shortcut' path while leaving office at night.
03. Contemplate getting hair cut short. Like really short.
04. Go back to self-made vow of 'no shopping for 6 months unless it's a life and death situation'. And no, books from Flipkart do not fall in this category.
05. Plan a TV show marathon with the old gang.
06. Plan an outing with team from work. Go bowling maybe?
07. Trips to Wai and Jejuri. Must make them happen by September.
08. Read poetry. Finish unfinished books and magazines.
09. Eat less junk and more vegetables. Sleep more and sleep well.
10. Make more travel plans, but with complete focus.

Make no mistake. This list is not complete and by no means, definitive. After all, "so much to do, so little is done".


#ABC POSTCARD 12/31

Gimme shoes!

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Last evening, I visited the spanking new Infiniti 2 at Malad West. Yet another gigantic mall which houses international brands, a food court, the fancy Manchester United Cafe & Bar among other things... It's still not completely operational, so it was empty on a Friday evening. After a bad traffic-filled ride to the mall, I caught up with girlfriends waiting for me and ended up burning my tongue sipping on a hot cappuccino from Gloria Jean's.

Now these women had already finished all their shopping. Between the four of them, they had bought SEVEN pairs of shoes. Now, I couldn't be left behind, no?

So, on our way out, I insisted on popping in to the Charles & Keith store on the ground floor. It also helped that they were having a flat 50% off on footwear. While I tried a few styles, I realised most of the stuff I liked were sold out in my size or *slightly* big for me. Damn you, feet-in-between-sizes-39-and-40!

Anyway, I did pick one pair: a faux snake (or is it croc) print in tones of brown with flattish wedge heels. Comfy! For 1000 bucks, not bad at all (pic later). And two more pairs were purchased by the girls, taking our total to TEN between the five of us. Ah well!

By the way, I did try on a pair of black, metal studded, high heeled wedges and the pain in my right ankle/foot was a bit too excruciating to bear. Phew!

PS: Hope you got why my post is titled as above. ;)

PPS: Overdose of shoes on this blog, no? Sorry!

#ABC POSTCARD 11/31

Sent from my iPod

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ankle rankle

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Terribly upset. In fact, I even burst into tears for a few seconds before being threatened by sounds of some night creatures. I had left office pretty late and as usual, took the shortcut to the main gate where the bus/rikshaw stands are.

Now this shortcut is no ordinary route. It's basically a minute away from the building, and you have to walk on an upward slope till you reach a stupid staircase (leading to a residential building nearby), walk across it, and find a makeshift metal staircase that is uneven. If it rains a bit, and if it's late at night, the route can be scary. Not so much for the aforementioned creatures lurking in the overgrown shrubbery around. But because it's uneven, dark (no lights at all), strewn with small sharp rocks sticking out of nowhere, and yes, the general hissing and chirping of nocturnal creatures (ok, they do scare me a bit).

Coming back to what upset me... I had taken the shortcut knowing fully well that it was fraught with these dangers. But I find it increasingly tough to judge my step on this stupid route, moreso now after this ankle strain that I've been carrying for 2 months. My shoe - yes, the same bloody right ankle one - hit a rock and it felt like hell for those few moments. I cried. Alone. Thought of turning back to the office. Or take the longer route. Or call a colleague to come down and help me. Brain was frozen and I just decided suddenly to continue forward. Managed down the metal stairs, and thankfully found a rikshaw there itself. He even agreed (God bless the kind soul!).

Now I will just *have to* see an orthopaedician. No two ways about it. :(

PS: And to think my foot was feeling absolutely fine this morning. :(



#ABC POSTCARD 10/31

Sent from my iPod

Rick-rolled! 2

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This guy's pretty clear about his intentions...
Somewhere around Jogeshwari Railway Station (East)

#ABC POSTCARD 09/31

Sacred space

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Every morning, on my way to work, I see this physically challenged guy who sits on the Goregaon railway station bridge selling ballpoint pens out of a briefcase. He also has a slight problem with communication and is not always coherent. Yesterday, he was still making his way upstairs when he saw an old lady perched on his spot to beg, and he started yelling at her to get out of there. This was obviously his 'space', and she wasn't a regular.

Watching that moment unfold, I realised how 'space' is such an important concept to humans. We crave physical, mental, or spiritual space at various times in life. 

Fighting for space? Clicked at KGAF 2010
In the chaos we call Mumbai, there's always someone asking you to "shift" your butt to squeeze themselves onto that non-existent "fourth" seat in a packed train compartment. We spend all of our hard-earned monies on EMIs for a home loan that buy us matchbox-size dwellings. Our footpaths are encroached upon illegally by stores and local businesses and used like they own that space. Pedestrians try crossing roads with a wave of their hand towards oncoming cars and find their own space in traffic.

Crazy, isn't it?

Personally, I've always wanted my own physical space. So that my books and things that I've collected over the years find a home without competing with other family members. So that my thoughts find the quiet and serenity which is so lacking in my life right now. I'm also quite independent in my thinking, and am not a fan of following the herd. My mental/intellectual space therefore becomes very important to me. Almost sacred. 

#ABC POSTCARD 08/31

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Rick-rolled!

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The ubiquitous black-and-yellow autorickshaws in Mumbai are a favourite subject of mine. We love them, we hate them, we argue with their drivers who refuse fares, we curse the ones which splash us with muck, and then we thank an assortment of deities as the rickshaws here are still a blessing as compared to other Indian cities. So I thought of putting together a specific series of posts dedicated to the three-wheelers that help keep my city ticking. It's called Rick-rolled! Yes, the name's inspired by a crazy internet meme which I learnt about a few months ago, courtesy Twitter - my current source of knowledge, current affairs and whatnot.

Have you ever been rickrolled? Basically, it's when someone entices you to view something on the internet, and then the link turns out to a video of Rick Astley's debut single Never Gonna Give You Up.

Anyway, I'm doing something totally different here. See:
Touch me? Hawww!

#ABC POSTCARD 07/31

Monday, August 08, 2011

Mourn-day

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I had started on a post last night, but got distracted for a few minutes and the brother shut down the laptop without telling me. Grrr. 

Anyway, there's no time to really write a proper post today, and this week is going to be super hectic. I can already feel it. Add to it, I've just been told that I might have to come in to work on Sunday 14th August because we are short-staffed that day (we work in the 'live' sports space so we're pretty much 24x7). Usually, I don't have a problem with pitching in. But this upcoming weekend also happens to be one of the rare 3-day weekends on account of our Independence Day holiday on Monday, 15th August. I was planning to run off to Pune, visit a temple town called Wai which has been on the cards since forever, and basically just chill out. 

Sigh! All plans under a cloud now. On that note, happy Monday to you.


#ABC POSTCARD 06/31

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Shoe-time, folks!

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"I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot." 
                                                                                ~ Marilyn Monroe

I'm lagging behind by a day on our August Blogging Challenge. And I just couldn't think of anything to write about... when I remembered this one post I've always wanted to do. About shoes. More specifically, *my* shoes.

Let it be known that I was never a footwear fanatic. I don't remember any sole favourites as I was growing up simply because I never had much choice. My feet were always too large for kids my age, and too broad to fit dainty girly stuff. Also, having to wear black leather, and later brown canvas shoes as part of my school uniforms five days a week ensured I didn't really miss out on much.

My indifference towards shoes continued well beyond into my college and even my first few work years. Till this job (current) happened in 2007. Hanging out with Dan, my colleague and now good friend, rubbed off her mad love for shoes on me. You will know why I say "mad love" when you see her shoe collection some day. And soon enough I became a shoe-holic. What you will see next is an old photograph of some of my shoes and a little description to introduce you to them. Here goes:


1. My first ever pair from Charles & Keith (C&K). Kitten heels, bronze, most comfortable pair to party in, versatile enough to go with Indian and western outfits. It was also the first time I paid a bomb for shoes. Rs. 2500 or thereabouts. And worse, the store went on sale just 2-3 weeks later :(

2. Super high, strappy, white heels from C&K. Bought impulsively during a sale and quite regret the decision as I've never worn them till date. I think I'm ready to give them away.

3. Olive green, satin ballerina flats. Bought along with the white heels. Wore them just once on my birthday in 2008. The satin won't take too kindly to Mumbai roads and dirt; also, the front squashes my toes a bit making them a tad uncomfortable so they are pretty much in cold storage. I'm giving these away to a cousin if they fit her, or another cousin who has a great chance of bagging them as she's just a teen now with growing feet.

4. Black-and-white, flat wedges. My anytime pair again from C&K (obsession, I know).

5. Green-and-white floral print on fabric, high-but-comfy wedges. One of my favourites from C&K that I found at a bargain (Rs. 900 or so), but the colour is such that I couldn't wear it regularly. Another pair that I bought with these (not in the picture because they wore out completely) was a black pair of flat sandals with white stitching (approx Rs. 1000 in the sale) that really worked for my daily commute. Much later, I was aghast to find the design copied by Catwalk and sold for about 700 bucks. Gah!

6. Black strappy heels. My only real black pair. When there's nothing else I can turn to. Another from C&K. Shucks! This is beginning to read like an advertisement for the brand.

7. Skechers. Dull gold and olive green. This pair was actually bought by my uncle for his daughter but they were big for her at the time. Happy to get them. I sported these till about a few months ago. Have had to retire them as the thin sole wore off completely. Really loved these though.

8. Black, gladiator-style broad ankle buckle straps. This time from Catwalk as are the last two pairs too. Picked these and no. 10 in a sale while in Bangalore. I quite liked them but the extremely flat sole sometimes made them quite slippery to run around in.

9. Black-and-dull-gold, flat sandals. Hardly wore them, and don't know where they are now. One of those impulsive buys that I felt stupid about.

10. White, flat sandals with fine golden lines on the straps. For everyday wear. Also bought in Bangalore. No discount on these but the best 750 bucks ever spent. I wore them everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. If they are still available, I just might go for them again. :)

Wait, wait. That's not all. The last three acquisitions are these (ages ago):


No prizes for guessing which brand these three belong to. :)

Actually... the last pair bought were keds from adidas in April, and they are the ones I'm living in these past few months. During my June trip of Coorg+Mangalore, I had a fall and badly hurt my right ankle. No fracture thankfully. But two months down the line, I'm still not a hundred per cent fit on that front. :( So, no heels for now.

Phew! Another one done for ABC. And I leave you with a favourite quote:

"Though I am grateful for the blessings of wealth, it hasn't changed who I am. My feet are still on the ground. I'm just wearing better shoes. " ~ Oprah Winfrey

(If you click on the photos, you'll see slightly larger versions of the same.)


#ABC POSTCARD 05/31

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Thursday thoughts

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Thursday writer's block, eh?

Lo and Di haven't written post #4 yet. And it looks like we are either busy or bereft of ideas. I'm definitely suffering from both. And I have no clue what to write today. Every morning, I think *this* might make a good topic, or *that* absolutely needs to go on the blog. But neither this nor that makes it because there are too many things to do at the same time. And it's so bloody difficult to write with this ABC sword hanging over my head.

It's really funny though... Two people whose blogs I really enjoy reading (and who had gone quiet for their own reasons) showed up on my Google Reader yesterday/today. Surprise, surprise! Here they are:

That's What She Says. I've known F since our church youth group days, and her writing is refreshing and inspiring. She's now a mum to an adorable little fella, and also turned British (How could you, F? :P) and I'm hoping she finds some time to capture her new experiences regularly for us.

DeeSeelicious. It's really strange how I've come to know DeeSee. I accidentally discovered his blog through someone else's tweet (I think) when he still published it with his real name. Then I accidentally came across his profile on Facebook and we had mutual friends. Still early days on social media, so I wrote to him saying I liked his blog or something. (FB has deleted those messages, so can't trace much). That was that. And a little over a year later, he actually 'friended' me on FB and also got onto the Twitter bandwagon. He's funny, a great guy to hang out with, has a sexy voice which the ladies will vouch makes them go weak in the knees, and an absolute sweetheart who'll even call at 3 AM to drive your blues away.*

So, here's wishing both these nice folks the best with blogging and life itself. Rock on!

*PS: DeeSee - you owe me big time for this matrimonial advertisement. :P


** I was going to leave this post untitled but had to update it with one as I realised today the 'comments' module doesn't show up without a title. Hmmm... Learnt something new today.

#ABC POSTCARD 04/31

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Totally "Mantal"!

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My previous post had a reference to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara - the film. It's beautifully shot in Spain, and has a lively soundtrack. Must watch. Also, if you like Javed Akhtar's poetry. And three hot actors! :)

This is one of the funniest scenes in the movie where Farhan and Abhay are referring to a teacher from their school days and his way of pronouncing English words. Thought of sharing:





And here's a clip of Khwaabon Ke Parinday - one of the songs:





#ABC POSTCARD 03/31

Fear factor

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Our Monday Managers' Meetings (MMM) now have a little interesting something to them. Each week, one of the managers is expected to run a small activity for the group. The activity could be anything - a game, a quiz, brainstorming for an idea, showcasing a video or slides on a relevant topic or something totally fun.

At one such meeting, the following was the exercise:
1. Describe your biggest fear to the group, and what you do to counter it.
2. Also, mention one of your most memorable achievements ever.

Both had me thinking hard.

I'm sure I have fears - some even irrational - but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what I was going to say. Finally, here's what I said: fear of falling. As in physically falling down. I do have this weird feeling that I might just fall flat on my face one day and end up with a terrible injury. I also remember waking up in the middle of the night sometimes to find my feet fighting for ground as I was dreaming of falling.

How do I counter it? Interestingly, my answer was that I'm just more careful when I walk about in an effort to not fall. Sounds silly, I know.

And that's when it hit me. That's the kind of person I am. I am extremely cautious, not very spontaneous, and that tends to make me rigid. Not a fun person, as most would think :(

I double-check emails, text messages, Facebook status updates, tweets, blog posts... you name it, and only then they are sent/posted. That's why I'm slow to respond at times because while I can think on my feet, I am not be impulsive. I like to wait and watch. Which makes me wonder... How can I seek a balance? By taking more risks once in a while? How do I mentally prepare myself to become this person I do not know?

Watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD)* over the weekend made me smile. Made me think. Reminded me that I need to let go. Let go of fears. Of sad memories. Of people holding me back. 

Anyway, the point is... this is me. And while I have some major flaws, I don't think being cautious is such a bad thing. It has saved me and people associated with me many times from disastrous consequences. But I will try to take the road filled with risks sometime. Do something completely pointless because it just felt good without feeling any fear or guilt.

Life's too short, no?

PS: My most memorable achievement took me back to college when I won the prize for most outstanding undergraduate research paper for a particular programme. I was never an academic, and my paper was related to Hindu mythology which was totally Greek to me. Hence, the feeling of elation. Sadly, I need to start documenting achievements of my recent past. Can't seem to recall many.

*ZNMD is a recommended watch. There are some moments which will remind you of your own life. As my friend Dan said, the three main characters brought their own baggage on that trip. And yes, Farhan Akhtar is brilliant in it. Also, listen to the music and Javed Saab's poetry being recited. Refreshing.

#ABC POSTCARD 02/31

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