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 :)