Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Sometimes its just about anything. Literally.

What a crazy 2 weeks has it been. As fancy as it may sound, I didn't travel or take off. I was married to my laptop. Now I am a self-admitted workaholic. In my case, I didn't choose to be one. Coming to think of it, is it a matter of choice?

6 months into my job of being in the travel & hospitality industry has taught me a few valuable things. December is the month to be petrified of and June is the month to sleep to your heart's content. You can never ever be thankful enough to Google or Justdial. Sir/Madam can never leave your vocabulary. When we say 24*7, we really have to mean it. I had this client who gave me sleepless nights - One thing I would never have imagined happen. Its a risky world - plenty of things can go wrong. But when you do know that you've built for someone a lifetime of memories, its so just worth it all. I've missed updating posts, I think about doing it and something immediately comes up. Mom absolutely hates me seeing anywhere near the laptop at home and well, she has been hating me every single day!

But I did find my moment of joy this week. 3 of my friends are getting their rooms renovated and whom did they turn to for opinions, but....? Smartly answered , yes, that was me :) This was probably the first unofficial consulting I could do and it felt so right. Like this is what I would be happy doing for the rest of my life.

I have to admit, I did find time for baking. And that one piece of chocolate cake awakened the tiny lil monster in me - munching has seen no boundaries. Guilt-free munching. :)

Yes, I have to kick-start Yoga tomorrow. In style. Let's just hope it will be tomorrow. And not the tomorrow-tomorrow!

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Foreign Funda

Its one of those conversations. I'm lazily slumped on the couch as I type this - after having broken my no-meal-post-7 pm rule for Mom's yummylicious Haleem and Creme Caramel. With just a generous helping of fish biryani (Minus the fish, of course). I read articles online and discuss them with Dad. I love every bit about that - even though he did spend a fair share of his life abroad, he has all the knowledge in the world. Today its about the FDI War - to let go of the strings or tie them even tighter.

Allowing 51 percent FDI in multi brand retail sure is a controversial topic. I can easily sketch the likes of Wal Mart, Carrefour and other giants redefining the Indian shopping experience. Impeccable Service, quality produce and wider choices.  On the other hand, we have the classic tale of our country being the kickass agricultural economy. Once the biggies sweep in, the kiranas (small stores) will be sidelined. More like butchered.

Now's when Dad helped me with the reality check. The truth is, our farmers have always been poor and will most likely remain so. Here's why - the only people that make money now are the kiranas. When a farmer sells a kilogram of bananas, he gets Rs.10. The same is sold for Rs.30 by the middleman. Tomatoes have an even sadder story - a figure of Rs.2 compared to a whopping selling price of Rs.18. Its a sad story - They spend sleepless nights to bring about the yield and someone else gets away with the fruits of the painstaking effort. Not surprisingly, a large number of farmers favour the proposal. To teach everyone a fine lesson. And the argument that farmers will be exploited doesn't hold in my view. The ball will definitely be in their court.

Maybe a phased out plan will provide to be the solution. Bring about the change gradually. Much as you hate it or ignore it, you can't deny the change that it will initiate. IKEA will change your homes. Carrefour will bring French Croissants right to your pantry. You will know why everyone's bonkers over Starbucks. And not to forget the best part of it all, our farmers will become worrrld class :)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The missing element in my life

is MasterChef Australia. I think the show redefined what television meant to me. Its like I'm back to my Post Potter Depression Days. Took me so many days to recover - and I still am.

When I was 5, television meant Scooby Doo, Captain Planet, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all the Disney Classics.Not to forget Crystal Maze, Small Wonder and Full House. When I turned 10, that graduated into episodes of Mind Your Language and all the new shows because of the the new era of the dish tv. Oh, the C.I.D craze. I hate to admit it but then ACP Prathyuman was the good guy who could dole out confessions with a mere slap. And Daya had just started Thoda-ling Darwazas :)

I think F.R.I.E.N.D.S dictated the later years. And the news channels. The former stayed but I've literally stopped watching news channels. I've realized its the perfect way to have a sour start to your mornings. For one, you're reminded of how corrupt and mean the society around you is. Along with that, the fact that the media blows every story out of proportion can't be sidelined. Depressing - About how you want to change things, yet, nothing can be done. When I did decide to watch recently, the Ash-Abhi baby stories. You don't need me to tell you how stupid (yes, I have to say stupid because no word would fit the bill better!) it is to employ reporters to say that the baby has the mom's eyes. *Rolling eyes*

And that's when MasterChef stole my heart. One show that has no drama, no sugarcoating. Inspiring stuff - even bestseller books wouldn't be able to achieve that. Give me any show that has travel or cookery or health and you'll regret that you ever gave me control of that remote control. Period. :)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Why the Indian education system will always be....Well, Indian.

This is one aspect of the country which will remain unchanged even if we become a developed nation by 2020. True, we can proudly boast of owning many of the brightest minds in the world. But in a country of a billion, that just probably amounts to a few thousands. Now that's a figure that is a mild guess, but a pretty sure one at that.

My sister studied what my mother studied, I studied what she did and my brothers study what I did. I'm not overlooking the fact that you have got to learn the basics, things that remain unchanged over a period of time. What I am underlining is that we never have new subjects introduced into our syllabus. Even if it is, it fizzes out as fast as it was introduced. Even if there are creative classes, seldom does it happen. And talking about sports, 3 years of my high school went in learning to dribble the basketball. There may be schools excelling in the same, but then again, I'm referring to the general picture. I always wonder how introducing mandatory sessions of basic carpentry/plumbing/gardening/cooking (had to being that in, didn't I!) or other stuff that we will need will be an interesting skill to learn.

A huuge effort by the CBSE Board to eliminate the spoon feeding process was the introduction of formative-submittive-blah blah. To put it in simple words, bludger away so many projects on the kid that he's left with no time to study. And these assignments, mind you, are most often copied. From the textbook. Or sometimes, the work is outsourced. For a Rs.10 Dairy Milk, you know. The thing that annoys me the most is giving extra workload on weekends. Or the holidays. Its called a holiday for a reason and no one realizes that. I can't count the number of times we've cancelled outings just because my brothers had work to do.

Wishful thinking - Being able to choose the subjects we want after high school. Why do we have to swallow down stuff that we know will not be used. And the concept of "using them in your future life". Please, that is far from reality. People don't even remember what they studied last month!

And I absolutely hate that classes only end by 4. Come on, that's a whole day gone. Start early and finish early. Would be so much easier on the public transport too.

I've been thinking for 5 minutes, and I simply can't point out something that I like. Maybe I hated being forced to study only what's in the textbooks. I absolutely loved library hour. And Math.

I know what would make a difference. If we had English teachers that could actually speak English. And public speaking classes right from Kindergarten. In my head, I've already built a model school. Which is kind of awesomee :)

Monday, 14 November 2011

What do you want to do before you die?

Visit Paris, for starters.

You know, how many million things we want to do before bid goodbye. And how more than three quarters of it is well, just a dream. But then, that's the point of it all. :)

Apart from becoming the best Muslim I can possibly can, this just about rounds up the things I definitely want to do.

1. Oh god, I'm so confused! I don't know which one to list first :) I'll go with the cliche one. Have a bloody awesome career and design a celebrity's house who'll take me to Europe for shopping
2. Take my parents on a world tour. And after they come back, go on one. Not alone though
3. Open a restaurant, a patisserie or a classic bakery. And that is after I do a professional culinary course. The best part is I'll do the interiors and be the head chef, and manage it all. Now ain't I a big dreamer :)
4. Bungee Jump. When and where, still got no clue.
5. Also try my hand at skiing, scuba diving, river rafting and para gliding. Don't send me to Goa, it doesn't have ALL of this
6. Become so thin, that no matter how much eat, I'll always be fit. Haha, coming to think of it, this should have topped the list!
7. Have Mom's cutlets and Bolognaise to my heart's content. With no brothers or sister to fight over it.
8. Visit Riyadh just for a while to relive all those good memories
9. Disney World. Yes Yes! I still have a thing for Mickey Mouse, Pooh and all the new entrants :)
10. Do some quality charity work. Other than the bits and pieces, something that really makes a difference
11. Get proposed to with a Tiffany Ring. Now, this is totally not something I can do!
12. Own a beachside house with French windows and a walk-in closet and a round bed and a super cool kitchen
13. Experience a REAL snowfall
14. Test drive a car that is faaar beyond my reach
15. Make a yearly ritual of taking off on a holiday

This can go on and on and on

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Eid Mubarak!

This is definitely one of those occasions when I miss my childhood. And when I say miss, I mean really miss. Because Eid was so much more fun. The thing with Eid is you don't want each year to be different. You just have a routine and that makes it perfect.

Up until I moved back to India, I indulged in the festivities in Saudi and oh boy, did I have fun or what! My sister and I were so excited about our Eid dresses that we would make our mom hide it a month before. Just so that we wouldn't keep on checking it out and get tired of it before the "big" day came. I always liked my sister's clothes better, maybe its just a worldwide phenomenon. There was also the mehendi application. Now my family must be one of the only muslim families in the world which has no woman that knows the art of doing it. All three of us are super talented at drawing the sun on our hands. Even then, we'd do it for the fun. That smell reminds me of Eid anyday. And then the Chicken Biryani. Aah, to die for. That is one meal I would eat like there's no tomorrow. And then we'd take off to a nearby city for amusement park rides. Or witness the whole city celebrating with fireworks and malls open until wee hours in the morning. Its just the whole atmosphere of celebration. Even if it was more of strangers, it felt like everyone was united.

I sound like a pre-tty old lady when I say times have changed. I don't have the same excitement of new clothes nor the happening city around me. I miss having my sister around when we'd spend crazy times on taking pictures in our new clothes, all decked up. I've taken up trying to learn applying mehendi seriously by experimenting on Mom's hands. This time she vehemently refused to allow me, saying that she's tired of hiding her hands from people. Come on, I'm not that bad. Times have changed. But what still lingers is the smell of the Chicken Biryani. And I've started the tradition of making a new dessert every time around. One of the Mega events is usually the Beach Eidgah but the rains this year have ensure that that is not likely to happen. I shouldn't complain :)

Ooh, I'm off to make my Banoffee Pie :)

Monday, 31 October 2011

Help.Me.Out (!)

One of the weeks I dread the most in a year. Because next week is my sister's birthday. And every year, my friends do remember. I pester them for ideas until they beat themselves up for having befriended me in the first place. My sister has this gift of predicting the exact gifts or surprises that we've arranged for. Come on, can't she atleast fake it up like I do? No. She has to blow it away!

I've been sick this week, unable to be disciplined in my workouts. Too much happening. I sleep too less or too much. Too much is more often, I think. And it has been a week of cravings. I have to literally tie my hands to not bake and eat everything on my own. Maybe, that's why Allah gave me brothers. To finish everything up and lick the plates clean. I do mean that!b

These 10 days until Eid are considered to be the holiest days of the year. I should wake up and do better. Aaaah, Eid. Writing about Biryani makes me smile. And I'm already thinking about what to make for dessert. Fried Ice Cream, perhaps? ;)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Eventful Week? I think.

You know when they say you will never understand the value of what you have unless you lose it? They are right. And I did realize it this week. My mom has to stay away from home for a fortnight until she is nursed back to health. Boy, did my brothers jump with joy or what. No Mom = Fried snacks in the evening = Control over the remote. They did at least take the effort to fake tears when she left. But I know that deep down, they do miss her. I'd like to believe that's true

I'd gone to stay with her for a couple of days and that's when I learned the BIG lessons of life. The only source of entertainment was our conversation. All depressed souls around us. I'm not getting started on the food. I started comparing everything to how awesome it is to just SIT on a couch at home. It broke my heart to leave her there, will be heading again on the day after next.

God, I miss her. I am so not ready to leave all of this behind and start a "new" life. When mom's around, you don't have to ponder over meals and make sure they're tasty enough after a long tiring day. Its also true when they say a mother is the warmth that completes home. Sounds like oodles of emotion, I know. But you should start believing them. I know they are absolutely right. :)

Monday, 24 October 2011

My 21st

It feels so damn good to be writing after a long time. Stressful week it was, I'm wondering now if that's the reason for hairfall. At this rate,I it looks like I might have to bid an early goodbye to one of the things I like about me. I don't sound self-centred at all, do I? :)
Now even though I do not celebrate birthdays, there's this excitement that gets me a couple of days before each one. Because every year I'm reminded of how many people care for and remember me. Cheeeesy, I know. But, sometimes cheesy is good.

Lameez, my sister FINALLY managed to give me a full tossed surprise by gifting me with an early birthday cake. Now, I can call her a darling.

My friends turned out to be a smart bunch this year, everyone kept a 15 minutes gap between each call. Which ensured that my night's sleep was ruined. Having slept only around 4 hours, I woke up with a really bad sore throat (That is the effect I always have to endure upon having sleepless nights). One of my best friends, Yashi surprised me in office with a chocolicious cake.

2 cakes. Just what I needed to boost my journey in achieving my weight loss goals :)

Another friend gave me a surprise visit with a card. Yes, they still do make them. And I got a cookbook, people! Dorie Greespan's Baking from My Home to Yours. My brothers are absolute gems and really smart. They know the benefits of giving me a cookbook. They happy, me happy. Get it:?

So, I turned 21 on the 21st. Sounds huuuge. Guess I'll get used to it in a couple of days. By the looks of it, most probably when I'm about to turn 22. :)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Websites that are absolute steals.

It does go unsaid, about Google being the unanimous winner. I can't imagine a life without it, it has become such an irreplaceable part of my life. Its the first thing I run to whenever I'm in doubt. I'm going to take you through a couple of websites that you should - wait a minute - SHOULD consider checking out if you're smart like me :)

My last post did have reference to this, so I will elaborate. We all waited for an amazon to serve the Indian crowd and now we have it. You'll find pretty much all the books you need at good prices (along with mobile phones and other stuff) with a hoard of payment options. Timely service. And good ads lately.

Now don't go spend ridiculous amounts on perfume and other branded stuff when you can buy them online at an average discount of 60% off. No, I ain't kidding. They have a business model which allows them to offer good discounts for genuine products (Google how online shopping websites work). The collection is pretty good, so go check it out. Like now!

If you're traveling, this one is a must visit. Has reviews of almost every hotel/restaurant imaginable and some of them are downright funny. Its the one part of my job that I love because it can get so entertaining :) Back to the point, do check it out when you're packing your bags next. Or Aise Hi :)

Oprah isn't just for girls but if you're really macho, then turn to Dr.Oz. Facts that even amaze a person like me, who's science-averse. Its a pleasant mix of health, food, lifestyle, fitness and a lot more

Essential to keep a check on the economy. I know many will just skip this point!

Fantastic website for all recipes with a million reviews. Try it to believe it :)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Yes, I'm an Adult - Oh Nooo, I'm turning Old!

I really can't decide upon what I feel. Honest. I might not look like I'm 16, but I do feel like it. :) I'm turning 21 on the 21st...Nice, eh? My birthdays have always been a silent affair, mostly just me and my friends. You already know about my big 18th celebration (Remember I was in the train all day). My sister is a complete goner when it comes to planning my birthdays. She can't do surprises because she's too lazy to think. She's so lazy that she even leaves the "thinking about the gift" thing to me.That is my favourite part, I get the best gifts from her.

I haven't told you about my stint with gifts, have I. I am blessed with the reputation of getting a lot of gifts but only I know the turmoil my mind goes through when I think about what will be inside. Because, it always nearly is faaaar from my taste. When I was a kid, I used to get multi coloured vases. By the time I was 16, I had enough to open a store. Not to forget the hu-uge number of showpieces of dancing girls and crawling animals. It has become a standing joke in the family now. :)

My brothers have been pestering me for a wishlist since a couple of weeks now, I wanted them to buy something on their own this year. Haha, which reminds me of the gift they once gave. A rotating showpiece, I think, which cost a huge chunk of their savings. Bad me, I exchanged it for a neckpiece. I own it even today , and whenever they see it, they put on their sad puppy face and say " You never like what we gave you, did you". Now that is indeed an Awww moment for me  :)

1. Cookbooks and more and more of it!

How awesome would it be to own a library. I've lately been taken to cookbooks written by blogger-turned-authors. I love reading them even at bedtime, yes people, bedtime. There are like a million authors and I thought I'd lose my mind if I continued reading after 2 hours. So I did have to stop. At this -

Rachel Allen's Bake! - is my all time favourite
Nigella Lawson's Recipes from the Heart of the Home
Any book by Sanjeev Kapoor
Or your personal favourite book

FYI, did you know all these are available on  :)

2. Perfume
Love Love Love it. Ricci Ricci or Nina by Nina Ricci are my current stalking victims. Or anything that smells nice!

3. This jacket
I think I'll die in my quest for this jacket but will not succeed. I must have searched in every store I've been to and by the looks of it, I'll probably get it when everyone else has stopped wearing it! Size M, people and a little longer!  ;)

4. Bag ... Has to be there on my list!
You know the kind. Nothing flashy, but in good basic colors and of this length. Not a shoulder bag!

This is an easy-easy one. But its a very personal thing. You see, I'm not a very jewellery person. I hate anything that's flashy. I love solitaire diamonds ;) The only accessory I pretty much use are watches. Oh , speaking about watches, that's a fantastic idea as well!

See, ain't flashy. You might be thinking its drab, accept it, you have bad taste :)

 6. ANYthing to do with interiors. 
Now this is where you get to be creative. Personalized photos in wooden frames (No cheesy stuff, oki?). Or involve my favourite magazine.

Now take a breather, folks. This is for my brothers. Its called a "wish"list for a reason!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Obsession Series - 3

The Joy of Shopping

This is definitely one of those foolproof ways to make a girl happy. At least all the ones that I know! Ask a girl, and they would never have shopped enough. Because we just can't ever shop enough.

This week was a not so happy week for my wallet. I keep asking myself why I'm such a pathetic spendthrift. I can't seem to master the skill to save. Even the fact that I earn close to peanuts doesn't seem to work :| Well, getting back to the point, my close friend had this sale and I ended up buying three pairs of footwear. What else did I buy this week? Thinking...Thinking...thinking

I can't choose between what's best - Street shopping or the Malls. Maybe I'll do a briefing of both :)

Street Shopping -

Rows and rows of clothes/footwear/bags of ALL colours imaginable. Vendors who speak Hindi that's heavily accented with their native slang. And the bargaining. Now that can become a lot of fun. Especially when you go from school and patofy the vendor by saying that you're poor and you got less pocket money. And you fight with friends to say that you liked the stuff first so its yours.
Its amazing to see the blend of people that come for street shopping - There's the middle class bunch, who'll bargain like their life's dependent on it only when it comes to street shopping and act all hi-fi when they go to the high end shops, because bargaining is not even a thinkable option. Or the look-like-model girls who get down from their Mercs and end up being even better bargainers than them! Of the places I've been to , Mumbai has got to be the best when it comes to this. Even Bengaluru doesn't fail to surprise , with ComStreet and Brigade Road. Or Chennai's Cotton Street. Don't be surprised if you see something like this while you're at it -

My friend Dhruvi at ComStreet, Bengaluru :)

And after all that walking, a plate of Sev Puri or a Softy completes it all.

Mall Mania -
Now this is best enjoyed when you have your wallets full if you're a guy. But when you're a girl, all you need are the bucks to reach the mall. And that confident attitude when you walk into a store that you WILL buy something! I was an expert in my prime (I'm not 80 now, but you tend to be awfully good at this sport when you're 18). I can still manage to pull this one off though. You walk from store to store in the hope of buying something. You see, unlike the affirmation you have in street shopping that you will get something, this is an investment that requires time and price comparison. On top of that, the pressure to visit all the stores until you reach the food court in limited time. All these principles go down the drain when there's SALE. How much do we love that word. You absolutely have to buy something but no one likes carrying their stuff in the store bag that has the word 'sale' on it. :) Calicut is still waiting for a mall revolution to sweep its roads, so unfortunately we have to depend on other cities. All malls are kinda the same - They have the same branded outlets, the same crowd, and kilometres and kilometres to walk. But, who's complaining? ;)

Did I mention that its my all time favourite exercise too? :)

Thursday, 6 October 2011


Some people just touch your lives regardless of the closeness you share. You recall the long lost love you shared. Or you fondly remember the jokes you laughed at together.

When it comes to Steve Jobs, I know we had nothing in common. I haven't used an Apple product till date. Probably touched them, yeah. I'm just his millionth admirer. The shock that I felt when I heard he was no more took even me by surprise. I don't know why, maybe its because some people never die. Such an awesome man. How many people actually live to see their dream become even better than mere true!

We never think about death until it happens to (wait, not us) anyone in our family. I did lose a dear friend, a brother. And even today, it feels like it never happened. The Creator gave us the most beautiful gift of forgetting. Else the fresh memories would have made us mad with grief. I never believed it until then, but it is true. That you know when you're about to die, somehow. He used to talk about how he wanted to die young. How he thought he would be bored out of his skull if he lived really long. He jokingly asked me to make sure I prayed at his funeral. In the last week, he ate his heart out with all the stuff he liked just because he felt like it. Scary. The whole thought of dying. May Allah protect us, Aameen

Its very unlike me to get so serious, but some days are just like this. And I felt like writing :) You know how you kinda think of how many people would turn up at your funeral , what would your fb profile look like, who would cry and stuff like that. Its only when you think of instances like that, that you actually realize your family means the world to you.

Hell, I'm getting outta control here! Next post - Happy Post :)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

If you haven't had this,

you have to be ashamed. You haven't experienced life in all its glory. One post per week has to be something related to food :) Been a while since I've written, but finally I have a busy life! Work has been a little hectic 
 this week. But good hectic. I welcomed the weekend with 2 glorious dishes -

Carrot-Orange Muffins

David Lebovitz's Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

 My mother is pret-ty soon going to ban me from the kitchen because she says I'm on a mission to make everybody fat. Healthy portions are fine :) The pics aren't that great , with the ice cream, its completely my fault. I just didn't have the patience because it was melting :) The electricity line always seems to know when I'm going to bake. Because it has to cut off the power supply for a good amount of time and make me wait. The usual story of my life!

I wasn't referring to these two dishes in the title. So here's some to die for desserts that you should, should try out once at the least.

1.  Cinnamon Rolls
Oh my my. That's definitely heaven in your mouth if you have a sweet tooth. Cinnabon offers the best. Or get baking. Very Berry Easy :)
2. Middle East - Yum Yum!
They know this stuff almost better than anybody else. Its not just shawarmas. The next time you make it to an Arab country or a restaurant, don't overlook the Baklava. Or the Konafeh.

3.Molten Lava Cakes
You've committed a crime if you haven't had this one. Even not-too-sweet-tooth having people will love this inside out. All it takes is 8 minutes to bake. Oki, I think I'm pushing you into the kitchen a lil too much.

4.Shahi Tukra
The Indian version of the bread pudding is unbelievably simple yet, oh so satisfying. The Pakis make it better I guess. I still remember this amazing restaurant in Saudi called the La Sani which served this beauty.

5. Kheer
Rice pudding at its best. Tough competition between this and Ada paysam, there is!

6. Bravarian Chocolate Ice Cream
You like chocolate? Like really good chocolate that's a lil dark? Run to the nearest Baskin Robbins store!

7. Muffins/Donuts

If they are double choco chip, I will lose all my senses. Especially the ones that make me lead a healthy life. Or try out the Double Trouble Donut in your nearest Mad Over Donuts store. You'll be thanking me for gifting you one of the most lip smacking moments everrr!

8. Banana Cake
No, it doesn't taste like you're eating a banana. This is such a classic. You have got to taste the moistness and the homely food feel that it gives.Can't count the number of times I've baked this. Won't be a winner when it comes to looks but you know how some things are just well, better experienced than said.

If you are tempted to make anything, I'll help you out. Now if even that is a tedious task, you know Google is our savior :)

All photos are taken via Google and are taken in good spirit - Rightfully owned by the persons concerned.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Islamic So True/So False

I know I could be a much better Muslim by way of doing Da'awah - the arabic word that is used to invite one to the teachings of Islam. I've been taking baby steps for a long time now and even I wonder when will I take the plunge. Let's run a check on the most common topics that make the rounds to see how many of them are true.

Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) founded Islam and Muslims worship him as well
So False. The Holy Book, Quran came into existence in his era and therefore, it is often considered that he founded the religion. The first man, Adam was a Muslim and there were over a lakh prophets with different holy books spread across the ages. The Quran is a miracle since it is an unbeatable compilation of scientific facts that preceded discovery by mankind and predictions about the future that are gradually unfolding in front of our eyes.Beautiful miraculous stories that are prevalent today - like the promise of keeping King Pharaoh's body intact till eternity as proof is one among the thousands. Critics will often take verses to quote verses but these are most often out of context.

Women should cover themselves modestly
So true. Its an order from the Creator that was pretty much awesome considering the society we live in. And this isn't applicable to just the women, the men have a dress code to be followed as well. So BAM!, goes the misconception of sidelining women in Islam as well.

Music/Movies - Not allowed?
Somewhere in between. This is a debatable topic among the Muslims as well but the common agreement is that anything with vulgar content is not encouraged. Come on, would you like your daughter to dance to Sheila Ki Jawani? In short, anything that is intoxicating , i.e. too much of something, does more harm than good.

Saliva is not to be swallowed during fasting.
SO false. You have got to be stupid if you'd have believed it at some point. How can anyone survive without doing that?! It was during this month that the Holy Book was given to mankind. Beautiful month, this is. Everyone becomes so damn good. Only if it remained the same way. Compulsory alms is something I love in this time and not to forget Eid. Another thing, this whole month is called Ramadan. And the last day of celebration is Eid. Its something like people calling the month of December as Christamas!

Day of Judgement will dawn upon us.
So true. And no, it won't be in 2012. Because only He knows. If this day wasn't there, how would people committing crimes get punished. You may ask why does Allah let this happen in the first place. We are given the intelligence and free will to choose our path. And bear with the consequences. So ultimately, you have to pay for what you have done. Or be rewarded for being faithful. Google 72 signs for the Day of Judgement (make sure the website is authentic) and be surprised at what's happening around you.

Jihad/Terrorism - Killing Non - Muslims is the way to paradise
So false. I mean, SO false. Nowhere has it been said to wage a holy war unless and until someone forces you to practice against Islam. In simple words, doesn't let you practice your faith. Giving an example, Muslims are told to love their neighbors regardless of their faith. Make sure their stomachs are full. All this bombing and shombing, way way out of league, it is. And to top it all, the media coverage forces you to hate Islam.

Dr.Zakir Naik offers an excellent insight to all these topics, as he is a student of comparative religion. I'm just doing my job of spreading the message. Peace, brothers and sisters :) I love you all!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

These are my F.R.I.E.N.D.S

This may sound a lil bit corny and cheesy and call it whatever you want, but these people form an indispensable part of my life. Technically, they should be my 4 A.M friends, but who am I kidding. All of them will be equally snoring away to glory. They've made me laughed till everyone has been convinced I'm bonkers and pulled my legs to infinity.

1. My sister a.k.a my best friend a.k.a Lamees or LameeZ like she claims!
We had it all. The renowned sibling rivalry that has been etched across the pages of history. God, how I used to hate her. How many times have we pulled each other's hair and bitten each other. Yes, bitten. And then one fine day, we just happened to be the best of friends. She's my partner in crime and all my friends are tired of hearing about my undying love for her :) I can't probably write enough about the bond we share. My jeeju stole her away from me and I've still not gotten over it. The fact that she tops the list should be more than enough I guess

2. Kavi - The Glamour Girl
She's probably one of my oldest friends and living proof that distances don't matter in relationships. Don't get me wrong, we're both completely straight. I don't know how we became best friends. She likes the weirdest guys, the brightest colors and is a complete devil in disguise. Coming to think of it, I can't think of anything we like in common. We have to have had the worst food experiences whenEVER we hang out together! There used to be a time when we would write letters to each other. Miss those days. I know she will be there to kick my ass when I need it.

From now on, all these people stand at the same level :)

3. Yashi - The pretty lass
We never were the best of friends in the beginning. I'm like this insensitive moron and she's the complete opposite. Our Mangalore days and the train journeys took our friendship to a whole new level. I cherish those days when we had exclusive names solely understood by us. She doesn't know it, but she has the power to push me to new limits and bring out the best in me. We've shared the most embarrassing moments - Like walking into the mens' room :D - And laughed at ourselves for like, forever. Our friendship is here to stay

4. Reemz, Reesh, Nawal and Naju
These girls come and go like the wind. Believe me, they appear on one fine day and hibernate for a decent time. (Except for Nawal) But come what may, the conversation takes off from where we'd stopped. They are my Hill Top girls - One of the few gifts that school gave me. Reemz has been with me the longest. Reesha is one of those girls who jumps nonstop whenever we meet - Call that child-like innocence or sheer stupidity :) Nawal is my phone friend - we wail about our stupid same problems haha. Naju is well, Naju. Nothing like her. Bomb she is. :)

5. Vini and Sneha
Now these girls are GIRLS. They take forever to dress up and are always late whenever we meet up. Poor me. They dress like girls and talk like girls (You must be thinking what am I). A good ol' conversation with the girls is never complete without them. They make me feel special - In what way, you may ask. By reminding me how ready I am to become a homemaker - Because my mom has to always ask me to buy vegetables when I'm with them. I say, they are envious of my skills in the kitchen ;)

6. My Mystery Brother
I call him my brother in disguise. I never believed that a guy and girl could be best friends till us happened. The strange part is we don't talk. We can make each other laugh like CRAZY through texts. I don't know about him, but I definitely do. Laugh, you know. We can disappear for a while and still be on track. We know each other so well that we'd be able to complete each other's sentences

7. Sho
The one person that is a part of college memories for me. We must have talked about almost every stupid thing on this planet and yet feel awesome about it. I don't think I know anybody who's this good at cars. I'm referring to all aspects of it - the driving, the make , the knowledge.  Infinite Friendship, you reckon? :)

8. The Hostel Gang - Asin, For wottt, Begadathi, Thangals Mol et al
I'll call it a gang because we act like one. No, not those silly giggling schoolgirls gang. We've been a notorious lot in our college days. You just tend to become so close when you stay with someone not blood related to you. They were there to laugh their lungs out when I got ragged. Or I cried from being homesick. Oh and how can I forget finishing off parceled meals, while making sure I hardly got any. Pretty sure they'll fume when they read this part :) I love you, girls. They've made my memories so damn beautiful with the innumerable experiences we've had

You, beautiful people, you. Complete my life. I'm SO not the kind of the person who'd say this, but I would cry like a small girl if you ever ditched me. So make sure you don't :)

The names of those who didn't make it here are still MY friends , but I just can't write about everyone. I have very few readers on this blog and I'm pretty sure that most of them would find it difficult to read so much :)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Obsession Series - Part 2

Lifestyle changes that changed my life

Well, I can't really call this an obsession - obsession. Yet. But, in a way, I am fascinated with the simple changes that took place in my life over the last couple of years. I was always what an Indian would call "healthy" -  A happy, round person and the best part is never did I think myself as being fat. Its probably in my teens, when the size zero kicked in that I decided I needed to drop a few pounds. And then started years and years of exercise and "dieting" in vain. When I look back, I can point out a few changes I could have made. I gulped down grass when everyone around me devoured candies. Oh boy, how much did I envy (and I still do, very much!) people who could eat without gaining weight. I hate the eternal war that exists between my urge to eat and yet be healthy.

Now I know better.You can be at much bigger risks if you're thin.

I am much more fitter now, though not perfect! Thanks to protien shakes. My mom sometimes tells me with the yoga that I practice, I should have looked better than Kareena Kapoor. Like that is so happening.
 I've compiled a list of 6 changes that you should incorporate in your life. Because it comes from a person who has been at the hard end.

1. Exercise
Its a universally accepted enemy, but yes, it can do wonders. Even if you're thin, there's something called visceral fat that can deposit outside your organs because of your eating habits. I've fought acne during my teens and this is the only remedy I got to have clear skin. :) So start working out - I've learned to love the treadmill and the yoga mat.

2. Drink Water
And no, 3 glasses are just not enough. Your urine has to be close to water to show that you're drinking enough. Make sure you have 12 glasses at the least. Drink, drink, drink :) And you'll know what I'm talking about.

3.  Sleep
Now that is one area I have never ever had a problem at. Give me a place to lie down and I'll sleep away to glory in 5 minutes. You have to sleep for 7-8 hours. Know it for yourself - 5 hours of sleep and you wake up cranky the next morning.

4. Take off to a cold place every 3 months
Believe it or not, a doctor once told me that going to a cold place forces our body to collect more oxygen and the effect lasts upto 3 months. Awesome, isn't it :)

5. Get your bowels moving
This can be an embarrassing topic, but it is so important. Thrice a week is not good enough, once a week, definitely not. Water, papaya, banana - LOADS of fiber. Chew 'em down everyday

6.  Get knowledge
Its not just about reading newspapers or Harry Potter (Can't believe I'm saying that because I am a die-hard fan!), but we have got to have some knowledge. We're blessed with so much access, most often, our grandfathers know better. So, get moving. Here's a list of stuff that can power your body with information. (I am one big fan of lists too, ain't I : ) )
  • The Dr.Oz Show - That guy is a freakin genius
  • Don't lose your mind, lose your weight - By Rujuta Diwekar
  • 10 things you need to know about losing weight (And this is not just about losing weight) documentary
This can go on and on , but these 3 are well worth the time. I haven't written about stuff that is obvious and you will be knowing about for sure.

I wouldn't want anyone to be like people who take their health for granted and say "We have to die anyhow someday". Its your life, and you've been blessed with good health. So keep it.

P.S. Chocolates and  goodies still do sneak their way into my life. Period. :)

Monday, 26 September 2011

Just Another Weekend

Another weekend went by, and I've overcome my Monday Blues. Well, I have them only if Dad doesn't drive me to work :) Weekends are family time - I get more and enough of it now! A typical weekend is a lot of cooking indulgence when it comes to me. Thought I'd share the outcome of my experiment with you. :)

Flaky yet Not-So-Perfect Croissants!

These took me an entire happy day to bake but they were SO worth it. Didn't come out as soft as expected though. Some of them were chocolate filled. Recipe on request haha :) What should I make next weekend. Hmmm.

Saturdays are lazed out, maybe a hangout with the girls. But sadly, everyone has got a life now! Nothing can be as awesome as that. After cooking dinner, its chattering time. When I think about it, what on earth does everyone talk about so much? Beats me! A house with kids has to be noisy 24*7. No exaggeration.
I miss weekends when friends were always available and we went window shopping. Or made it to fancy restaurants after having saved up for a week. Saudi days were even better because weekends had this whole different ring to it. We stayed out as late as 1 a.m. ,dined at our favorite restaurants and shopped till we dropped. Now that I've started working, home is the perfect place to be. On Saturday, my youngest brother gave me quality coaching in badminton. (Mind you, quality coaching backed by far from good quality learning). They are absolute darlings when it comes to teaching me something. Maybe, somewhere, they do look upto me :)

I'm not a big fan of Sunday nights. You know you have to wait for a whole week to get up late. Why do these weekends have to fly! :)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

"Happy to Help"? Encounters

This post is in every way intended to bring about disrepute to the associated brands and is personal and coincidental.

Oh god, seriously. Everyday I pray that the scene of customer service in India will undergo an overnight revolution. Oki, I know that's wishful thinking. Atleast , within a year should be a probable thought.
I know I have a lovely temper and  even I surprise myself with the heights it can reach when I have these "Happy to Help" encounters. Here's a list of the most terrible-unforgiving experiences I've had with brands that I had blindly trusted once upon a time.

1. Airtel
Anyone who knows me well would know the special bond we share. They are partly responsible for my financial situation today, owing to the numerous calls and visits I've been forced to make :) 3 months. And they denied to fix SMS problems that I was entitled to after paying them for the same. You wouldn't believe it, but the rep had the audacity to actually point her finger at me and say "You're not the only one, everybody in the country has this issue". I ask her , isn't it high time you get it fixed since this has become a national issue?
In steps the manager, and I was relieved someone had ears for me. That was just a momentary thought. He actually started yelling at me. Even when I write this now, I'm fuming! I vowed that I would quit their connection then and there and talk about this to everyone I know.
They did give a good reason to my mother for doing so. The poor thing didn't understand why her credit seemed to disappear every month. Automatic hello tunes is what I call it. They refused to process our MNP request. When we wanted to contact the local office, they refused to give the telephone number.

We are all a happy Vodafone family now. :) (Fingers crossed)


Oh yeah, they do have a good pocket-friendly collection of watches. But the service, come again!? My watch has entered the service shop close to ten times in the two years it has been bought. It takes a loong time to get fixed and even after I reminded them to call me, little did that happen. All I got is that we-are-not-responsible-its-your-duty smile. GOD. I don't know what is worse. The "I am the king" or this "We are helpless" attitude .

If one wants real customer service, go to the small vendors. Boy, do they know the books or what! When I hear about the quality of service offered abroad, it makes me want to cry. Seriously. Like in America, you can actually read a book and return it if you don't like it after purchase. Or in Singapore, returning a pair of shoes that you've worn is far from a problem. Wow.

This post can probably go on forever so I should probably stop and take a breather before I think about which brands will join the list :)

Monday, 19 September 2011

Mangalore Diaries

I took a fun-tastic trip this weekend to one of my most favourite places. The very name of this city brings in a mix of emotions. I miss the awesome beaches, the even more awesome food and having the luxury of being surrounded by friends 24*7. Sigh

The first time I shifted to Mangalore for my college education, I had my sister's shoulders to "weep" on.  Well, I wasn't sad really. More like the joy of getting to go out whenever I wanted! We had the sickest accommodation imaginable. When we had decided to shift, our owner had run away with our cash. So much for having a good start! The apartment we shifted into ended up adding to making the best year in my life. I was living with my best friend (my sister), we had the time of our lives exploring the city and satisfying our gastronomical desires. Bon Bon's pastries , Ideal's Tiramisu, Sizzler Ranch, Royal Darbar's Tikkas - I'd give off a leg to have them all right now!

Funnily enough, college memories are relatively fewer. The times I can fondly remember are bunking numerous classes and the fests we had.When I shifted into hostel, that was more entertaining than anything else. I had heard so much about the amazing time you can have - meeting new characters, the monotonous food, the late night adventures. Needless to say, all these expectations were met :)

Another element was the train journeys. I made it a point to go home every 2 weeks. Even now, I don't know what was there to come home! My love affair with the Indian Railways only grew stronger with each passing journey. Somehow, magically, whenever I traveled alone, the train ALWAYS got delayed. I ended up spending my 18th birthday on the train having caught the wrong one. The only good outcome that I can happily rave about is having made a very good friend who reamins in touch even today. It did cheer up my journeys drastically!

I met amazing people - an investor who had the patience to drill into my brain at least a portion of what the stock markets are about. Friends, whom I know, will stick to me no matter what. Specimens, who really taught me the meaning of being patient and diplomatic. The joy of having your family wait for you whenever you go home is incomparable

And above all, I knew the real value of the most important creation of all times - The Washing Machine


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Why I took a U - Turn in my career

We've all seen those kids or been one among them. "What do you want to be when you grow up"? "Doctor! Engineer!Pilot!" Some kids, like my brothers, had very very plausible ambitions. Like being the petrol pump guy because it seemed he would get all the money collected from us. Or being a security guard because the only thing you had to learn was to operate the generator back-up. Or there's a whole new group who don't have specific ambitions, how much ever they tried. I'd point blank fall in the last category. The only thing I ever wanted to be was be happy :)

I am in the era where medicine and engineering seem to be the only lucrative option for a bright career (Any of my friends falling in this category - No offense intended and you know that very well!). I do remember while gulping down phyla in high school that I vowed to not take biology. Because I absolutely sucked at memorizing. And the only areas I liked in engineering were not really preferred for GIRLS. How much ever I hate to say it or deny it, I took up commerce because that had subjects that the other groups didn't have. And my sister "inspired" me too. Hmmm

I loved the subjects. And I loved the thought of being an entrepreneur. Creating jobs, weaving lives. The thrill of it all. And I decided to take up management studies. Even back then, Interior Design was there in a corner of my mind. But I was afraid. Liking something and being good at it are two different things. And then came that dreaded period in college where you HAVE to think about what you are doing next. This phase seems to be a cycle in my life. About being such a pathetic decision-maker. I didn't want to do an MBA. The pain of all that CAT preparation and then finally shaving your head to work for an MNC. Oh yes, the pay is way more than sexy. But it just wasn't interesting enough.

After months of painstaking thinking and conversation, I decided to take up designing. Gave my sister the perfect opportunity to say "I told you so!". I should have listened to her. But my Mangalore experience has changed my life beyond words. No regrets :)

Someone once told that going to work shouldn't feel like work. And that is how I wanted to feel. How many of us actually do what we love? Or we just do it because everyone else was doing it or we don't know what else would we be good at. I say, follow your dream. Find your true calling. Because there's nothing like it!

P.S. I still think I can design. Yet to be proved :)

The Obsession Series

Obsession 1 - Cooking

Yes, you read it right. Nothing can give me as much excitement (and I do mean excited excited!) than cooking/baking. I can't recall the first thing I ever cooked. But from how much I know me, it would have been something sweet. I have a big family so my bad experiments will always have hungry mouths to disappear into, regardless of how bad they are! Coming to think of it, I don't think I'll be able to cook for 2 because I am so used to cooking for all of them. The first time we bought an oven, I was reading recipes till 2 in the morning. That is how obsessed I can get!

Rock-like Cakes, Burnt Pav Bhaji, Sunken Cakes - All these have just been and are still a part of my kitchen. Well, I can't really call it mine. I'm yearning for the day when I will have my OWN. Because Mom has this obsession of making sure her hand touches anything I cook. She calls it the magical hand. (Bless Her)

 Maybe one day I will start a restaurant. Or a bakery. I love this concept of "One Day". It makes a comfortable place for all our dreams to snooze :)


I can't believe I'm writing my very first post. Well, technically nothing unbelievable, but yeah, I've always wanted to blog! Ever since I saw Julie and Julia. Or my friends asked me to take a shot at it. Bloggers usually have a specific theme in mind. I thought and thought and thought. And that's when I landed with Just about anything. Because it is going to be all about anything that I want to write about :)

Cheers :)