Friday, December 19, 2008

Surprise your Dear One

This is a nice gift to your dear ones.

Swanky watches, iPods and gadgets are always an option, but somehow the thrill, the joy and the satisfaction of knowing that some 100 kids will have a nice lunch and at the same time thank you and remember you on that day is just priceless!

Go ahead! Try it. I surprised my dear one today.

Clueless I was when I first saw you,
How my life would change forever and for good,
Another lifetime I ask the creator to provide,
Never enough for my love that'll never subside
Doing everyday-little things with you is bliss,
Ripens our bond and for that, I blow you a kiss
And, thank you for all that you are to me, Happy Birthday my dearest C!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Garbage Truck & the Wise Driver

One day I hopped into a taxi and we took off to the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy and I mean, he was really friendly.

So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'
This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it on to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so..... 'Love the people who treat you right.

Pray for the ones who don't - that they see the wisdom of their foolish ways'

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Got this in my mail box and thought of sharing it...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yay! Awarded!

I have to admit I always imagined getting one of those blog awards :-) It makes one feel very content and accepted. And, as I logged into my blog this morning, I see that I have indeed been awarded!

Gracious Art has bestowed on me, my very first blog award! Yippee.

It is called the Proximity award

and here is what it means:

This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

I guess I should pass this award to 8 more people. I can pass it to many more (all the blogs in my reader), but I will mention the two that I really want to thank.

One is Art herself, for being the sole commentator on my posts thereby encouraging me not to abandon the blog.

And another is Timepass - She did something that really touched me. So, I want to thank her for that.

Thank you, Once again.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

International Day of Disabled Persons

December 3 is observed as International Day of Disabled Persons.

Let us try to do our bit by helping the differently abled. Even small gestures as helping them cross a busy road will go a long way.

Pete on Federer

I am a huge Roger Federer fan. In fact him losing the Wimbledon should feature in the list of disasters of 2008!

Pete Sampras talks about Federer and Nadal and he says:

"It will be interesting to see what happens with Nadal next year," said the
37-year-old. "The amount of work he has to do to stay on top and stay healthy - I think that's where Roger has a bit of an advantage because it takes a lot less
energy for Roger to stay on top than Nadal.

"Rafa's strung so tight and the guy is an absolute animal. He puts so much effort into each point that eventually something will break. "There's a certain grind that he goes through, unlike Roger who is a lot more fluid and wins matches a lot easier.

"But when you're the best player in the world and people are gunning for you
year after year, that's when it takes its toll and it'll be interesting to see
how he handles that."

Finally, someone has spoken exactly what was on my mind.

Terror Fear

Yesterday I was in office by 9.15 or so. There were hardly 5 or 6 other people as people only start trickling in by 10.30 or so.

My seat is closer to the entrance and the office space is one huge hall with the restrooms and a small pantry room on the other side of the hall.

As I was sitting contemplating the day's work ahead I was suddenly engulfed by some sense of deep fear! What if some terrorists barged into the office? I know there were few security personnel downstairs checking the identity of anyone entering the premises. Also, I sit on the 6th floor. But still! What if they mercilessly shoot them down and take siege of the building? What should I do? Where will I hide? Under the desk? Nah! That is too obvious. Isn't that the place everyone chooses to hide? Won't those well-trained terrorist know that much? Can I run all the way across the hall to the emergency exit? Should I crawl across the floor and hide behind the stored cartons containing some newly arrived printers and servers? What about the steel bureau right across my desk? What about the wood and glass bookshelf next to it? Can I nudge it a little forward and creep behind it? My stomach was churning and my mind was racing! Trrring..... I hear a huge beep and mobile starts vibrating... C calls. I snap back to reality. Phew!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The last month of this so-far dreadful year has come. I really want to get this over with. Perhaps the personal loss we suffered makes me see only the negatives this are some terrible incidents (few personal and many other natural and man-made disasters) that took place.

April - Great personal loss. Lost my baby when I was 16 weeks pregnant.

May - Blasts in Jaipur (a city that I have begun to love, thanks to the frequent trips that we made while in Gurgaon)

May - Sichuan (in China) Earthquake of magnitude 8.0 M

July - Blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad

August - One of my Perippa (my mom's elder sister's husband) passes away

September - Blasts in New Delhi in GK II and Connaught Place area

September - Blasts in Malegaon

October - Another perippa passes away!

October - Blasts in Tripura and Manipur

October - Blasts in Assam

November - Terror Attacks in Mumbai

Not to mention the economic downturn.

These are just few of the ghastly incidents that took place over this year. Especially in India. I don't even want to attempt listing down WW happenings!

I really pray for all those who lost their lives. Especially for my beloved baby. I miss you so much.

The heart is heavy and the mind is numb,

Seeing the loss, bloodshed and apathy, am dumb.

But what is life without hope and so I pray to you,

Please give us a happy, healthy, peaceful year and help us start a fresh life anew

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terror Attack

Yet another incident to this already dreadful year!

I wish, that may (at least) the soul of all those kids, women and men who were killed by the terror attacks in Mumbai, rest in peace.

I wish, we as a country did something, anything to prove to those militants that they can't get away with this.

I wish, the politicians for once, will set aside their differences and join hands to pulverize each and every terrorist who did this.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A trip to Villupuram

Yet another action-packed weekend it was. Most of Saturday was spent at home, cleaning and shopping for veggies. The B-I-L arrived late evening as we had to attend a betrothal ceremony in Vizhupuram on Sunday. We got to bed by 10 to rest well so that we can start by 4.30 the next morning. But we just tossed and turned and couldn't sleep much and finally woke up by 4AM. We got ready by 5 or so, had some oatmeal and also stocked up a lot of biscuits, corn-puffs, fryums and other items for snacking and got everything into the car and started by 5.30!

It started raining soon after we started and it was pouring very heavily till Vandalur. It was still quite dark and with the rains lashing down furiously, we were quite skeptical if we could make it to the function on time (the ceremony was to commence by 7.45).

But once we reached the National Highway, there was no sign of rain though it was cloudy. But the sun was rising and with the smooth road ahead it was just perfect! The air was cool, almost chilly and as we were zipping across the highway it was sublime. The highway (NH4) is maintained extremely well. The entire stretch till Tindivanam is as smooth as silk! Listening to some wonderful music, eating, chatting and laughing, we drove along the road merrily.
I can't stop gushing at the wonderful sights that awaited us. Lush green fields, mighty hills with the clouds caressing its tops, little hamlets on the side roads... it was blissful.

The road after Tinidvanam (incidentally the point after the last toll gate) is not very good. It is not too bad either, but we had to reduce our speed drastically to 50-60kmph or so. After some phone calls to the relatives present at the mandapam, we finally reached the place by 8 or so, to be welcomed by so many smiling and excited faces.

C's dad's family is a big one. My F-I-L has 3 brothers and 4 sisters. All are married and have kids. So, you can imagine the number of cousins C has. There was a lot of singing and dancing going on and we had a great time with everyone. Had a nice lunch and spent another 2 hours lazing around the hall. We were the only family left and the cleaners made it obvious that they wanted us to vacate so that they can set right the hall for the next day! So, finally everyone packed their bags and it was decided that we visit Lord Muruga at Mailam. Mailam is the 'Kula Deivam' for us. This was the first time I was visiting it. It is situated on top of a small hill that you can drive up to. Had a very nice darshan and after bidding farewell to all the chithappas, chithis and cousins we began our journey to Chennai by 5 in the evening.

After yet another excellent ride together with some soul-stirring old tamil film music, we reached Tambaram by 6.15 or so. From there it was a crawl due to some heavy traffic. Dropped Fil, Mil and Bil at their house and we drove back to our home.

It was almost 8 by the time we reached home and directly went to my Mom's place for dinner and we went to bed by 10.30 or so. We slept like logs!

Woke up by 9.30 or so and didn't feel like budging out of the bed. I coaxed, cajoled and pleaded C to take the day off. He too agreed and voila! it was a wonderful day to spend with C at home. I connected from home but there was hardly any work to do... so we had a leisurely lunch and were just idling around. C had some work in the afternoon and since we were expecting some guests in the evening, I started thinking about dinner preparations.

I started cooking around 5 or so. Prepared Spicy Mushroom-Peas Gravy, Veg Fried Rice, Raitha and Mom quickly prepared Kesari laden with raisins and almonds! We had our first real guests on Monday. Again, we immensely enjoyed the time we spent with them. They all really liked the food and praised me amply :-)

Again after a thoroughly enjoyable and also exhausting day we hit the bed by 11. So, that was how our extended weekend was spent.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Bus Ride and Car Re-Registration

After almost 6 or 7 years, I travelled by the MTC bus! I mostly work from home (WFH) and drop into office occasionally. Tuesday was one such day. I still don't know many people in this new office and have just one or two people for company. So, I checked with one of the colleagues and she too wanted to leave by 5 in the evening. Took a 'Share auto' from office to reach the bus stop and then boarded a bus to reach home. It cost me less than Rs 10. If I had taken an auto like I usually do, it would have cost me Rs 80. Gulp! Guilt.

There are so many new buses that have been introduced. My colleague apprised me on the variety. A normal white board, yellow board, Express and Air-conditioned buses with automatic doors! Wow! While we were waiting for our bus, I got to see a brand new A/C bus and it looked very sophisticated. The driver was wearing a khaki uniform with a neat peaked cap! I so wanted to board it, but unfortunately it was not going anywhere near my destination.

But then huddling together with 4 or 5 other people in a medium sized auto, what with the bulky laptop bag and lunch bag, and not to mention the crowded bus, again standing amidst all those jostling men and women... I don't mind the occasional 80 bucks. Unless I figure out the optimal time to take the bus. Maybe after 10 in the morning and return by 5 in the evening and then WFH... need to sort this out.

Now, after a couple of trips to the MCO (Most Corrupt Office)i.e the RTO, we paid the road tax and have obtained the receipt. Yay! Apparently, we can drive around with this, till we get our new number. I was amply warned by ArtNavy's post on re-registration. So we were kind of prepared for the routine. Since my dad knew someone who knew someone in the RTO, who in turn, knew someone else in car registration dept., things happened pretty fast. Of course we had to grease those already dirty hands! Thousands for tax and a few more thousands for the guy who moved the papers. I was seething with rage but C and dad told me that Anniyans and Indians happen only in movies! Sigh.

Anyway, there are 2 plays in Vani mahal this Sunday. Crazy's Chocolate Krishna at 4PM and SV Sekar's Vaal Paiyan at 7. Let us see if we are able to catch the latter. Need the weekend quota of laughter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Am Ashamed

I was quite irritable whole of last night and woke up this morning feeling a little better. Had some residual grouchiness but it slowly faded away. Thanks to C's persistent efforts to make me smile :-)

I don't know what made me feel so crabby. I only know it started soon after I saw that Law College incident on Sun News channel. What was that? Why were they behaving like barbarians? Why was the police (and media) just standing there without intervening? I don't want to go into this in more detail as I can feel my rage again... But, will these people EVER change? Don't tell me it happens everywhere... if it happens then that has to change as well. And No, I don't have any solution. I can only feel remorseful and cry my heart out. What I try is, to be as compassionate and tolerant as possible. That is all I can do.

That particular piece of violence agitated me so much and I couldn't sleep till 3 AM!! Combined with the fact that I am PMSing I was snappy and C had to bear my brunt. Sorry C, am really sorry.

I was working from home today. C pinged me asking me to go out and feel the pleasant and cool was raining and he knew it would make feel better. And better I felt.

Work was light today, so I prepared Tofu Manchurian Soup and Mushroom-Peas pulao. C darling, it is for you. Hope you will like it. Am sorry for my abominable behaviour last night. But what to do? Blame it on the hormones!

I feel truly ashamed - of myself and of the state my country is degenerating into.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Notes II

While we were in Gurgaon our weekends were like this - Wake up late, lunch outside, laze around at home rest of the day, play badminton in the evening, Dinner, TV till late night. Maybe once in a month or two month we used to drop into a mall, window shop, eat some junk and head out. It was fun too, but after we moved to Chennai, the weekends have so much more activity, laughter, quality time that it is almost as hectic as a weekday but nevertheless, we enjoy it tremendously.

We woke up late Saturday (this trend hasn't changed much from Gurgaon ;-)) and immediately rushed to Pro-musicals to meet with a Guitar master.

Now, C started learning Guitar in Gurgaon and upon the master's insistence traded his Accoustic for a brand new Electric guitar and amplifier. C is musically gifted. He will protest at me for having said this. But I truly believe so. He has talent. The genuine, innate talent. I know he will make a fine guitarist (or for that matter a violinist or a singer as well). Also, having invested a bit heavily on such a nice piece of instrument, I really want him to join a good institute so that he can start his musical venture once again. We are scouring the internet, newspaper and other media on the lookout for a good music school. Came across a few and there is something or the other lacking. If the master is good, he is too busy. If the master is willing, the student doesn't find a rapport with him!

So, this master at Pro-musicals, a native of Nagaland(!), seemed nice and I think C also liked him. We decided it is better to start somewhere sooner than later and maybe after a month or two, we can re-evaluate it.

Had a late lunch and by 4 or so B-I-L (let's call him A) joined us. We soon left for our weekend veggie shopping. Also stopped by at Nilgiris and purchased a LOT of stuff. It was a mistake to take C and A along! They wanted to pick almost everything they could lay their hands on. Biscuits, Pasta, Soup Sachets, Beverages (they found Ragotine!), Tofu (B-I-L is a big protein freak!) and what not! So, we lugged everything back and reached home finally by 7 or so. Devoured all the assorted junk and I prepared pasta for dinner. After 10, C, A and I started our goofy session :-) I think no one can beat us at talking non-stop nonsense. Had a riot pulling A's leg and he in turn made us confess some of our pre-wedding secrets. It went on and on and on till 1 AM, after which we were too tired to talk or laugh and so finally hit the bed.

Sunday morning, I prepared lunch for 6 people. I think that's the largest for which I've cooked. Since we stay right next my mom's place, I have almost stopped cooking(!), so it was quite a deal for me ;-) Father-in-law joined us for lunch and I was beaming when the vendaikkai vathak-kozhumbu, onion-brinjal fry and rasam vanished in 15 minutes flat! It was very well liked and I felt sooo proud :-) I don't cook quite often, but when I do, I'd like to think I do it well. (Even if I say so myself ;-))

At 2.30 we four(C, A, F-I-L and I) left to visit C's cousin at the OTA (Officer's Training Academy). She did her Engineering in Mumbai and was selected for the Army (electronics and technical division). But they have a mandatory 1 year training at the OTA. She has already lost 3 kgs! Their routine starts at 4.30 in the morning and they hit the sack by 1 or so! Hardly 4 hrs of sleep a day!! But she seems to be enjoying the whole thing. It is such an inspiration to see her and the other cadets at the academy. Every time we visit her, the next day we religiously get on the exercise bike to get ride off a few calories. The motivation last a day or two before we are back to our routine. I guess seeing her twice a week will be a good idea. (Selfish reason)

Reached home by 5.30. I prepared some pani-puri and again we quickly gobbled up every bit of it. And then came the highlight of the day. We are suckers for S.Ve Sekar and Crazy Mohans' plays and went to Vani Mahal to see 'Chocolate Krishna Crazy's latest drama, it was uproarious! You can read the story gist from the link. It very much appealed to people of all ages. At one point the entire Sabha was laughing so hard that people started coughing! There is a bit where Maadhu's boss does a interview (the boss takes credit for Maadhu's work) and so Lord Krishna decides to help Maadhu. He casts his spell on the boss and so whenever the boss opens his mouth to answer the questions, he says whatever Maadhu speaks! (A bit like Bruce Almighty sequence) When the interviewer asks the boss his name, he says, my name is 'Bathroom-poren' (His name actually is Mathruboodham!!) Try as much as he can, he is unable to control his mouth and for the next 5 minutes the boss is done to bits with some whacky and embarrassing answers.

Some other jokes that had the audience in splits:
Naan British airways-la poren, nee?
Amma, naan alphonso-la poren.
Appa! adhu alphonso illa pa, Lufthansa!

Krishna faints after eating butter and says later: Naan evalavo butter saptirukken, but indha madhiri kandravi butter saptadhe illai!!
Maadhu: Krishna, ippo neeyum adult, butter is also adulterated!

Lord Krishna converts a dog into a man and when Maadhu introduces him and his uncle
Madhu says: Sir, ivaru parkathuku-dhan Man, actually, ivar oru Doberman!

I can't do justice to the jokes by typing them out. The speed with which Crazy and Madahu speak, it is best to see it live. Crazy has very diligently learnt some tricks and performs 'magic' like changing a simple black cloth into a nice screen with god print, retrieving a bouquet from a stick and some simple things like that but it sure captures the children's attention. It is definitely the best of Crazy's plays. Do watch it if you haven't already. Met Crazy after the show to praise the entire team's effort. He was as usual very humble.

So, after almost 2 hours of non-stop laughter, we headed home with a smile on our face and our hearts as light as feather. Of course it is true that, Laughter is the best medicine.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We shall go travelling

C and I enjoy travelling. The initial preparation of scouring the internet for places to see, best time to visit, where to stay, where to eat, languages spoken - I get a thrill doing that.

Everytime C has to visit a different country, I prepare this quick guide of sorts that (I hope) helps him. Once he had to make this quick 2 day trip to Seoul and I gave him a small sheet with important sentences/phrases translated in Korean. He found it very useful and in fact used it at a Pizza joint to make sure they served him veggie food :-)

Travelling to different cities, I think provides a very good lesson and also helps us broaden our minds. You learn so much, right from art of packing, booking tickets, foreign exchange, culture, food, behaviour.. the list is endless.

I read a nice quote somewhere - 'If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home'. How apt is that?

I think C&I are fairly reasonable travellers. The only constraint that we face occasionally is food, vegetarian food that is. But nowadays there are Subways everywhere and till date we have not found a subway without their standard 'Veggie Delite'.

Travelling has taught us how to pack only the essential, how to survive on meager resources, made us relish different cuisines and made us appreciate what we have in our own country.

Now, it has been long since we travelled. I am really itching to make a short trip to some nice place. Get on a train or bus or whatever, feel the breeze on my face, go trekking, visit a temple, anything would do.

While we were in Gurgaon, we managed to visit a few wonderful hill stations. Right after our wedding, we went to Manali. Then over the next three years or so, went to Nainital (just the two of us), Shimla (with B-I-L), Mussorie (with M-I-L) and Jaipur. Well, we've actually been to the pink city four times! The two of us, with parents, with in-laws and with C's office mates. And enjoyed it every single time.

I actually had a blog (travelogue of sorts) which, I am ashamed to say, deleted in a fit of rage! I really want to write it all down again so that I can read it and reminisce years later. But I would need C's help... I have quite forgotten the details.

So, what are the places to visit as a weekend getaway? I heard Yelagiri is the most happening place right now. I would love to visit Yercaud too. How about Coorg? Will 3 days suffice? What about Pondicherry? What is there to see apart from the Ashram? Any hidden treasures on the way? So many questions... I will have to go back to the WWW for some answers. But is there someone who can give some tips? Please do leave your comments if you have some something nice to share.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Deepawali

Wish you all a very Happy Deepawali.

We had a wonderful time this past weekend and on Monday, celebrating this joyous festival with immediate family. The last 4 years, Diwali used to be the time we took a quick vacation and flew down to Chennai from Gurgaon, spend 2 days at my parents home, 2 days with the in-laws and get back to work at Gurgaon. Pooh! the vacation was always hurried and never seemed like a holiday. With the seasonal rains and all the travelling, we used to feel so exhausted.

This time around, it was much more relaxed. We did our typical last-minute but 5 minute shopping! Went to Pondy Bazaar and picked up T-shirts for Dad, F-I-L, B-I-L, Brother and Hubby. All from a single shop. Hopped next door to another shop to pick myself a Salwar-Kameez. On the way back, bought 2 little earrings for Mom and M-I-L and our Diwali shopping was complete. All of 15 minutes max! :-) And, despite the pollution risk, we indulged a bit and purchased some crackers as well.

Devouring those delicious home-made sweets and savouries, chatting endlessly, fun and laughter - it was truly a time well spent.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cleanliness next to... What was that?

Travelling to office has become an ordeal owing to various reasons. MAD traffic and the pollution, horrible roads with numerous pot holes, broken dividers, precariously hanging lamp and electric posts, hoardings, larger-than-life posters of politicians, 'film stars' - the list is endless!

People have simply lost the basic sense of cleanliness. Civic sense is zilch! Spitting where ever they please, throwing all sorts of garbage and of course for converting roads into the largest loo!

I shudder to think of the obnoxious gases that I inhale everyday. Fuel emissions, sewer fumes, malodour from rotting garbage and the retch-inducing urine stench. Yuck! Yuck!! Yuck!!!

I cringe when people make disparaging remarks about our country and compare it unfavourably with the US (mostly the US, it is always the US! LOL!). But then, they only say what they see and what is true. How much can you defend when you know for yourself the pathetic state the country seems to have gone!

Last week, an electric pole near our house caught fire. It was burning very heavily and despite numerous phone calls, no one came to put out the fire. When someone called to the fire service department, he was asked to call the Electricity dept. They in turn directed him to complain to the Chennai corporation! Finally, the residents got buckets filled with mud and after several attempts put out the fire. But, unable to reach the upper part of the pole, it was still smouldering!
No authority came that night. What if it had been a full-fledged fire accident? There were numerous cars and other vehicles parked, electric and telephone cables were hanging dangerously close. What if it had been a little slum area with thatched houses??

I am totally frustrated with this 'system'. Whatever that may mean. What is happening to all the tax money that we pay religiously? No, really, where exactly does it go? I understand cribbing doesn't get us anywhere and people need to be cautious, sensible and all that.. We can educate them on basic civic sense, we can teach them not to throw garbage, not to defile public places, not to spit where they will and not to drive like they own the road.

But doesn't the Government have a far more important role to play? Why can't they lay proper roads, close those damn manholes, build some public toilets, empty those overflowing trash bins, clear the drain and sewerage pipes to prevent water-logging.

I thought these are just basic things that ensures smooth running of a city. But I guess, not. The people at power seem more interested in things that happen in neighbouring cities, states and country!

Earnest appeal, please keep your house in order before poking your nose elsewhere.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Go Green!

At the risk of sounding boastful, I have to say, I really am a very simple person :-) My needs are very few and I don't have any craving for those fancy gadgets or typical accessories that most women long for.

While browsing thro' some blogs, I read some people tend to have 1 or 2 cupboard(!) full of shoes, hand bags, sunglasses, cosmetics... Hm, well, maybe I am a bit boring that way, but I really don't like to accumulate things that I won't be using much.

Infact, I have precisely one hand bag. I just love it and the best part is that it is just a medium sized one, but can hold an entire grocery bag. I keep wallets, mobile phones, sun glasses, assorted medicines (like disprin, the Vicks inhaler - oh am so addicted to it!), some documents and papers, a small comb, 1 or 2 hair bands/clips, 1 or 2 pens, keys. Apart from all these, I can easily pack a set of clothes in it!

And, I have 2 pairs of sneakers. A simple Reebok shoe and a baggy green Woodland shoe - my real splurge, I love it. And, one pair of regular wear sandals! It sounds a bit pathetic, maybe, I should buy another one...

And I am not into cosmetics and the like. I have my Nivea talc that I dab rarely. There is one Revlon nail enamel that my brother-in-law got for me, almost a year back. Nothing else. I like to keep my hair short, so no fancy things there, and I don't make-up, so nothing there as well.

Maybe am an aberration of sorts!

And coming to clothes - I have suddenly developed this urge to dispose off clothes that we haven't worn in like a year! They are all in very good condition, not worn out or faded. Infact, just before we moved from Gurgaon, we gave 2 huge bagful of clothes to Goonj. (please visit for further details on what they do and how you can help).

Only when we do the exercise of moving to a different house, do we realize the amount of things that has accumulated over the years. Books, Clothes, Assorted papers (bills, temporary prescriptions, ATM slips, photocopies of numerous documents), Greeting cards [not recent ones, those from eons ago, kept for sentimental reasons :-)], some assorted photos (again a few of those printed - before the Digital camera hit us), gadgets (assorted bluetooth devices, some IR devices, wires and cords of different size & shapes, many many small clocks - those with alarm, calendar and such functions, innumerable CDs - some of which am sure will not play any more)
Phew! even just listing these here tires me out.

We felt very guilty seeing the amount of paper that we have used thus far. Seriously, numerous photocopies of passport, marriage certficate, pan card, driving license, ration card, credit cards and what not! Add to that piles of printouts (official and otherwise - articles, reports and other stuff) - Just the two of us must have wiped out about 1000 trees I think. We have now decided to consciously cut out on plastic and paper. Take a cloth bag to grocery shop and DO NOT print anything which we can do without. (PDFs, reports, atm slips etc). Just two simple rules to follow, to begin with.

Maybe I digressed a bit. But the recent move showed us the amount of junk we could easily do without.

So, that's one of the reasons I am really desisting from buying 'new clothes' for Diwali. Well, there is quite some 'pressure' to buy atleast a simple home wear kind of dress - but I feel quite disinterested right now.

So, what's the point of the post ?[as if every post of mine has one ;-)]

1. Save Trees. Use less paper. Avoid plastic.
2. Am a very simple person, really :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Lost Baby

Over the last couple of years I have been reading a lot of blogs. No, make it 'A LOT OF BLOGS'. I am not sure where or when it started, but then one blog led to another and I now have my 'favourite' menu extended by a mile! Most of them are what they call 'Mommy Blogs' . Well, some of the call themselves Bloggers who are mommas. But the point I am trying to tell you is,

"I have been reading a lot of blogs on Moms and kids." Hm, I could have said that in the beginning...


So, as can be expected, my maternal instincts were slowly kindled. C and I started talking more about kids and life like that. So, despite our heavy workload and such like, we tried.. ahem.

In January this year, I conceived. What thrill, shock, and fear it was, that moment when I noticed that pink line on the pregnancy indicator stick! It was a Friday. C was away at work and I was home. I called him and told him straight- am pregnant! C was like - ah, super, really? how (??), when (haha) and a hundred different things.

Once he reached home, we (rather, I) did another of those checks and there it was! The pink line. I should mention that we were in the US at that time on some business visit. Well, C was on business and I took a long vacation and went with him (solely for the purpose I have been talking about).

Now, the US of A has a different type of medical system. I am not going into the details as I do not completely understand it yet. But suffice to say, it left us baffled. No doctors on weekends. No walk-in appointments like we have here. Heck, we couldn't even find a hospital that was functioning on a weekend! After scouring the internet and some frantic calls, we finally found a OBGYN. A male Indian doctor.

We visited him the following day and he did the internal and asked a few questions on how the spotting was (I had experienced some spotting and was scared to bits) and other stuff like that. He said he wanted some basic blood tests done to confirm the pregnancy. Fine. We got it done the same day and collected reports next week and the pregnancy was confirmed! I was like 4 weeks. After another week, we called parents and informed them. You all can again, imagine the thrill they would have felt.

Actually, sometime in June 2007, C and I underwent a regular health check up. Everything was fine, except that the Gynaec suspected me to be a PCOS candidate! I felt quite shattered. So, googled up PCOS and tried to learn what it meant. Was put on a medication. So, when I saw the pink line, you can very well imagine the state of my mind.

After another month's stay in the US, we returned back to India in March. The day after we landed, I fell ill. A temperature of 104 F for 2 days. Terrible cough and cold. Took 9 paracetamol tablets. The largest I have taken till date within a span of 3 days! Mom came over to help us. With the fever subsided, I resumed my work in office. Everything seemed normal. Did the ultra sound and saw Jr. with folded hands and tiny little legs. Played holi for the first time. C joined a guitar class. He wanted to be ready with songs to play for Jr. Ate such a feast everyday... Mom pampered me every bit. News was out to other relatives. I was 16 weeks when Mom headed back to Chennai.

At 4 in the afternoon, the next day, I had a very light spotting again. I don't know why, but I called the doctor immediately. She asked me to go to the hospital immediately. I was not very bothered and thought why is she scaring me! I called C and told him. He came home by 6 and we were in the hospital by 6.30. The resident doctor checked me and could see heavy bleeding. The specialist doctor was informed and they agreed to do an emergency ultra sound.

The radiologist and resident doctor saw something and then I heard the word 'Inevitable'! C and I were shattered. What's inevitable? What's happened? I don't feel any pain. I don't feel even a slight cramp. Nothing whatsoever. I refuse to believe them. I think they are unqualified and are making a mistake. I try to get up and am told to lie down. 'You have to get admitted. We will be wheeled into the room. Don't get up'. Things happened very fast after that. C was asked to sign forms, pay fees, get medicines, injections. I was asked to change clothes, injection was administered and was there lying on the bed, numb.

The doctor came in and checked me and gave us the news. 'Most of the sac is out'. What sac? Where is it? Why is it out? Can't you push it in? I don't feel any pain. I tell her a thousand things. Meanwhile C has informed my parents.

I was asked to lie down with my legs raised. C and I spent the night in the hospital. The first for us. I am administerd lot of medicines, IV's , injections. The next morning Mom cathces a flight and arrives by afternoon. Some more ultra sounds... same status. The sac is out they say. But the foetal heart beat... is fine...

3 days I am down with my legs raised. And the sac doesn't get in. The doctor asks us what we want to do. She says it would have been a miracle if the sac went in... but it just doesn't seem likely any more!

We didn't know what to do... and the doctor understood our silence and asked the support staff to begin the process. I was given numerous medicines again... to empty my bowel, to relax my uterus, to generally get the foetus out. So, on that fateful day, around 11.30 or so, am wheeled into the OT. All I remember is feeling the oxygen mask and after that I knocked out.

After about 2 hours or so (maybe an hour later), I woke up and saw that I was alone, in a corner... I call out and a nurse come along. I ask her if I have been operated. She says yes. I ask her what baby was it? 'Don't worry about it Ma'am' she says... I ask again and she says 'Boy'. I closed my eyes and tears rolled down on either side of my face. After another half hour or so, I was slowly taken back to the room... I see my mom and C.. Both of them have cried a lot. I could see. I was still reeling under the effect of anesthesia. When I close my eyes, Mom and C wept and when I opened my eyes they tried to comfort me... after spending that night in hospital, we return home the next day.

I won't elaborate much on what we did after that. Each tried to put on a strong exterior not show emotions but underneath each one of us were crying a thousand times! After about a week or so, C told me he had to actually sign a form...that basically asked for his authorization to dispose off the foetus! C and Mom had also seen the baby...

My heart aches to type this. But why am I doing this? For one, it is cathartic. And secondly, it is a pity that all the so called bible of pregnancy books do not mention about miscarriages and other complications adequately. So, I hope this account of mine will make other mothers-to-be cautious. I do not want to frighten them, but want them to be aware of things that can go wrong. We still do not know what caused my miscarriage. The doctor can only speculate. She said there are still so many 'unknowns' in pregnancy and in the field of medicine. Was it the 'metformin' that I took for PCOS? Was it the spotting in early stages? Was it the high fever with cough and cold? Was it because of some mild lifting that I did? What was it because of ....?

All that we can say is, if the pregnancy has to stay, it stays. And if the body decides it has to go, it goes.

It has been more than 5 months now and we still cry over the baby that could have been. It hits us at unexpected times. While we go for walks, while watching TV, while C is driving, or when we eat... it is just a numb feeling that grips us and makes us feel so weak. But what we went through and the baby has taught us a lot of things. Courage, Faith, Never-say-die attitude (the baby never for once lost the heartbeat...he was a fighter to the core!), Empathy, Endurance and so much more.

C and I fervently hope that we are blessed with another baby and get to lead a happy life with the child.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Household stuff for Chennai

A lame heading.. I know. But in case you have moved to Chennai recently, here are some websites and telephone numbers that you may find useful

PCI - Pest Control of India

Telephone: 044 - 4301 2434

Personal Experience: We had a contract with PCI in Gurgaon (for 3 services a year). We had 2 services done in Gurgaon and before we could take the final one, we moved to Chennai. Upon calling them here, they were quite prompt in their service and completed the third one in the new house in Chennai.

LG Service Center

Telephone: 044 - 39 01 0909

Personal Experience
: Again, very prompt service. But make sure to get the service fee clarified while calling them up for installation request. We were told it would cost about Rs.250 to install the AC. And in case there is a need for manual labour (like buying wood, sawing it for required length, fixing etc) then we have to pay Rs.600. We had all the wooden panels and other miscellaneous items (like the nuts, screws etc) ready. All he had to do was fix two small pieces of wood on either side and the A/C fitted in perfectly. But still the guy demanded Rs.600! Not sure why.. as he didn't have to buy wood or do any kind of heavy work. Since I was in office and hubby was away travelling, my parents were taking care of it.. and I didn't want to argue with him on phone. My dad, who was watching him do the work said that the next time onwards we can do this stuff ourselves. It apparently is that simple. Anyway, I was just glad it got done pronto!

Insect Screens (Netlon)

Telephone: 044-24726687

: Seems very professional. They quoted Rs.25/sq.ft for Saint Gobain screens. They have other screens for lesser rates, but the quality too deteriorates with the price. Expecting to get it fixed tomorrow. Will post an update on how it goes.


Telephone: 044 - 39 88 3333
Head office: 044 - 65517566

Experience: Worst of the lot. Have called up 18 times so far! No response. We have a complaint number and everytime we call them, we are assured of service the same day. This has been the case for the last 2 weeks! No one has bothered to call us even! We are planning to speak to the head office today. If we don't get a response from them as well, we are seriously thinking of going to their office and dump the machine with them and demand our money back. If they don't budge, we won't hesitate to take them to the Consumer court!! Believe me, their service (if at all we can call that) IS really THAT bad.

We are also in the process of getting our car re-registered.. will do a post on that separately.

Okie, let me get on the phone and see if I can catch those Aquaguard guys!

UPDATE: (on 26th Sept)

After another 5 or 6 calls, managed to get hold of a guy who does the installation/plumbing work. SO, finally we have got the Reverse osmosis system installed. Phew! Try googling Chennai, Aquaguard, Eureka and you can see the number of complaints people have filed. Am sooo tempted to give the mobile number of the guy who came and installed it for us.. he did a good job. But am not sure if it's ethical to do that. So, in case you are in Chennai and need to install any Aquaguard product, please leave a comment and I can email you the phone number.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Notes I

One of the things that make us happy with Chennai is the beach and sea.

We woke up early Saturday and decided impromptu to drive down to the beach. Isn't there something quite marvellous with the vast expanse of water? The best thing about visiting the ocean in the morning, I realised, is the absence of large, unmanageable crowds! It was not deserted, far from it. But it had just the right amount of crowd... people on their morning walks, exercise and the like.. a bunch of kids playing with the sand, a group of guys playing volleyball... a family of three playing tennicoit (what we call 'Ring'). It was such a pleasant sight. And not to forget the swooshing sound from the waves.. it was just so relaxing.

On Sunday, we decided to take parents along. We got ready even earlier, by 5.45 or so. But it was still a little dark and the clouds were looming large and soon it started raining. As Dad had a meeting to attend by 8, we resigned back thinking how valiant our efforts to get up that early went!

But by 6.30 or so, the rain stopped and we decided we 'have' to venture out, given all our efforts thus far. (Getting up at 5.30 on a Sunday IS a major effort!!) Dad and brother decided to stay back, so Hubby and I, bro-in-law and mom set out on two bikes. And true to the saying, more the merrier, this time the fun was doubled! Stepped on the water and had lot of fun clicking photos and laughing around. We had taken along a tennis ball and soon we started playing with it... generally challenging each other to throw it the highest, farthest and the like... After almost an hour or so, we rode back home.

After a light (or was it heavy?) breakfast of pasta that mom prepared lightning fast, we lounged around to watch some TV, around 10 or so. But soon, dozed off till noon.

We decided to go out for lunch and visited Osteria (in Deccan Plaza, Royapettah High Road). This one is a very nice Italian restaurant that serves only vegetarian cuisine! It was such a pleasant change to eat without constantly having to worry about suspicious looking ingredients! The restaurant was having a promotional offer going and we had a five course meal for Rs.250 each. It started with a Zuppa (soup, they had tomato for the day), Brushcetta, Insalata (Salad, Lettuce, Apples and Pears), Main course(Lasagne, Spirelli Pasta) and Desert (Fruit Tart).

The portions were large and it was great value for money. The main course alone costs Rs.360. We enquired with the chef and he told us that, they were specifically having this offer to promote Italian fare and to get people to try out the delicacy.

Do try out this place for a leisurely lunch or dinner. The service was prompt and the food was great as was the ambience.

That, was how our weekend was spent. A visit to the beach, a fun lunch, a even more fulfilling family get together in the evening.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sweet memories

Just a quick note to cherish this memory forever

I am working from home today with a sore throat and cold. Mom got some smoldering coal and empty coconut shells in a vessel (called Kumti aduppu in Tamil - not sure if it has a name in English!) and made me inhale some turmeric-coffee powder-ajwain preparation and I felt such instant relief!

Then she went on to put some 'sambrani powder' and took it around and now the entire house is so fragrant.

There are times I get mad at my parents... but I hope I will also remember these sweet little things that they do.. without any kind of expectation...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thogai Ilamayil... (The beautiful feathered peacock)

We arrived in Chennai last week of August and we are yet to 'settle' down completely. What with the hubby having to travel immediately. The packers arrived with all our stuff and it was a bit like christmas rediscovering all sorts of stuff that you already have :-) Anyway, haven't found any major damage so far and all looks good. There is still so much to do - like fixing the A/C, getting a pest control done, installing the water purifier and such. It has been such a hectic day today.. I had spoken to the Airtel guys to come and set up the Landline/DSL connection today and after 20 or more calls.. it still hasn't been done! It is just so frustrating at times like these... what is it that keeps them from doing it? I came into office early yesterday so that I could go home relatively sooner as they were supposed to come at 7PM. I am home and they are not. After 4-5 calls they assure me that they will get things done today (before noon.) As of now, it is still not done. With the husband away to a conference, I was feeling just so exhausted with all these!

Right from morning I was in such an irritable mood that I was ashamed of myself! Chatted with hubby on GG talk for a while and the level-headed wise one, made me feel much better. As the day progressed I felt calmer and relaxed. Post lunch I was suddenly feeling miserable again. This time the reasons were different though. I was reminded of those painful memories that happened almost 5 months back. That is when I decided to listen to some songs... I had to take my mind off those thoughts...

As I checked my music folder I came across this classic piece that I had not listened to till today and from them on it is on continuous loop!! SPB's voice together with that heart warming music.. it is just bliss!

Here are the lyrics...

thoagai ilamayil aadi varugudhu vaanil mazhai varumoa
koadhai ival vizhi nooru kavidhaigal naalum ezhudhidumoa
thaen sindhum naeram naan paadum raagam
kaatroadu kalyaanam seyginradhoa


koalam poadum naanangal kaanaadha jaalam
idhazhgalilae pournami velichcham
kannil thullum thalangal aanandha meaelam
imaip paravai siragugal asaikkum
vizhigalilae kaadhal vizhaa nadaththugiraal saakunthalaa
annamum ivalidam nadai pazhagum
ival nadai asaivinil sangeetham undaagum


bhoomi engum poondhoattam naan kaana vaendum
pudhuth thenralum pookkalil vasikkum
aagaaya maegangal neerootra vaendum
andha mazhaiyil malargalum kulikkum
aruvigaloa raagam tharum adhil nanaindhaaldhraagam varum
dhaevadhai vizhiyilae amudha alai
kanavugal valarththidum kalloorum un paarvai

Where was I all these years? Why hadn't I heard it before? Well, I see that this movie (Payangal Mudivathilai) released in 1982!! OK! That explains it. I was just 2 then. But why hadn't I heard it on radio/tv?? Am soo glad I got to hear this atleast now.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moving back home

After a little over 4 years, we are moving back to Chennai from Gurgaon. We are sure to carry the many memories that we have had here. Many are nice and some not so nice. This is the place where we started our 'married-life'. The place where we actually set up 'our' home. Though we were slightly bewildered initially with the mall-culture, this place sure has grown on us. This is the place from where we undertook all those mini vacations and weekend getaways. There are so many tiny details that am sure we will miss in Chennai. One thing is the apartment complex that we live in here. The 'almost' private park, shops within the complex, the bohemian lifestyle...

Then there are those not-so-nice memories..which I am not going to dwell into, maybe some other day.

So, why are we moving to Chennai? To set the context, I have to tell you that we had a choice to move to the US earlier this year. After almost finalizing on it, we abandoned the entire idea due to certain circumstances. Then, middle of this year, we got to know that my husband's office is planning to open a center in Chennai. Our decision was made then. Both our parents live there. We thought (and still think!) it would be good to go and spend time with them again.

It sure is going to be a huge change for us. Though it is the city where we were born and spend the initial 20 odd years... the city has changed so much recently and still maintains some of its complexities. Having parents so close is surely a comforting factor, but there still might be that extra little interference that we hope to avoid. Hope things settle smoothly.

There is some kind of heavy feeling in my heart. Is it apprehension ? anxiety? pain? Exhaustion? fear?, Guilt??
Surely a combination of everything. Anxious - that things should be smooth, Pain - thinking of those terrible memories, Exhausted - With all the moving/packing, fear - of over interference and ability to adjust, Guilt - because of harbouring those fears!

I really want to be in a happy frame of mind. Put the past behind and look positively towards the future.

I am not sure if you can comprehend what am trying to say, but writing all this down is helping me sort things out within my mind.

So, there, we look forward to starting our life in Chennai.

Friday, July 11, 2008

How many friends on Orkut?

When I first joined Orkut, it amazed me and I was as gullible as any new Social Networking user. List of friends, communities, photos, wow wow...

But as with everything, as time passed, I have realised that it is just a tool that hurts my ego!

I have 44 'friends' in orkut. And zero scraps. This has been the status for...well a week now!
Why do people 'add' you as a friend if all they want to do is sit smugly and never even say a 'hi' ?

Should I go ahead and delete those from whom I haven't heard in like... 2 years? That would bring down the friends count by 30 or so! Out of the 14 odd people that will remain, 10 of them are... err.. relatives. i.,e people with whom I talk on G-talk, or phone. If I delete them as well, I maybe left with 2 or 3 real 'friends'. Hm. No, I will let them be. My heart aches to think I have only 3 pals out of 44! 14/44 doesn't sound as bad..but I still fail :-(

I was about to end the post on that sad note, but then I realised that I am much better off compared to others who boast of 476 friends! Wow. Is that even possible? I don't even 'know' 476 people in my entire life thus far! Who are they kidding?

But the even more compelling reason for me to be glad I found orkut is - I was able to find my long last school girl friend... after nearly 10 years.... and our conversation started just from where it ended then.

So, I pass :-)