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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

nose up in the air


its not winter yet but i am wearing a jacket as i am already feeling too cold.

a fluvian reason clouds bluvian thoughts today but they are not preventing the fingers from tap dancing on the keyboard to let the stuff flow - unblocked just like the runny nose.

i have a unique reason for having my nose up in the air for the day. not a very proud reason but a rather self-found and silly technique to avert a gross disaster – to slowdown the running droplets from reaching the tip of the nose from where it is free to land anywhere they feel like.

the flu has got me really pale with a bright red nose - just like the one rudolph must have had to guide santa through xmas nights.

anyone who thinks this sick look and posture is what perhaps make the latest ‘it’ fall winter look and thinks of applying rose powder to nose tips, paler foundations on the cheeks or want to imitate my deceptively graceful ‘up in the air nose’ posture of the day - please be assured that i would not be able to spare myself from not scoffing at bird head like actions.

but if you are also suffering a flu like i do and have a work set up like mine wr u may have to come in popping in some pills to sit upright and get the day’s work done – i may consider sparing your blindsides ;)

my colleague’s organic tulsi chai is really good. feeling better already.

Wearer of the shoe...

Oh my God! Another pair? Where are you going to keep it now? Couldn't you have waited for the sale? You must start throwing out the old ones for god sake. People say many things... but only the wearer of the shoe knows where it bites. Only if you are a crazy shoe lover like me you would not throw a shoe at me for this post.



Forever hunting for the right pair and colour, I have just brought home my [I guess] 52nd pair. Long ago, I stopped paying attention to anyone who wanted to call me Imelda Marcos. My focus is/has always been... on finding more space in my apartment to safely store my precious new one [oh-so-soft ankle length suede this time].

Some people could kill for new clothes, some love bags, some stand in long queues to get their hands on the newest gadget, but my eyes capture only pretty pairs of footwear.

It is actually the other way round - they capture me [is 'imprison me' or 'freeze me' a better usage?].

I have a weird relationship with shoes and sandals... one look at the next 'precious' pair and I feel empowered to have it anyway. There are times I feel like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings - perplexed and joyously ecstatic the same time – caught between an evil vice and a profound need to carry on [buying that one more pair!].

Of course by now you have guessed that shoes are my biggest weakness in the material world. I don't need to be a fashion guru to say that footwear can make or break the rest of your attire. Sometimes the right pair completes the look but are not comfortable enough... when they are... it just makes me the real person I am singing and dancing all over the place. If you see me stuck in one corner at a gathering it is usually because of shoe bites... not because am snooty. Again, only the wearer of the shoe knows... all that crap.

The problem is that now there is literally no space to store new buys. To make storing easier [or simply engage in my secret hobby of looking at my collection] - I have sorted the most-used for work, from the party wear and casual pairs. Will you believe if I say I have a shoes stored in my kitchen too [and even over the cupboards! Don't worry I have a ladder that I use very frequently to reach almost every where. If you have seen me you would know am not the tallest person on earth.]

Small feet are to my advantage because in the same space where a normal pair fits in... I can squeeze in two of mine sometimes, of course only if I throw the boxes out. I keep searching on youtube for secret storage solution ideas [by strange people who speak in Chinese- or Japanese-English...]. They seem to know many ways to make the most of all small spaces.

This small-size advantage turns sour when the smallest size in the shop doesn't fit me. At times I have bought a size bigger and managed with insoles - only a shoe lover will understand the thought of missing ‘the best ever pair’. You cant simply walk away just because the shop did not stock the required fit.

Mom used to rule out no more than one rack for each one of us siblings, insisting that I must start tossing old ones or give them away. How do I give them away when I have literally the smallest feet in the world? In all honesty I have tried doing that with a heavy heart... and people turn around and say my child who is 10 years old has bigger feet!

Title: Selfie; Medium: Gouache on card paper; 


Back to space-finding... there are those Gollum-like days when I feel meek/helpless snooping around once again to accidentally discover that magical new space in some corner of the same house. That hope still remains an eternal hope in my current home away from home.

Finding space is sometimes more difficult than finding the right pair.

Space is a problem while travelling with limited baggage too [obviously the rising petrol prices and airline weight-limit rules trouble people who need more than one pair of shoe... when each pair must travel safe in their respective boxes]. My mom goes into fits when she sees what all am packing into my luggage and mumbles each time - 'whatever it means to travel light'. And she does not miss the opportunity to count the pairs and embarrass me while I would be struggling to fit them into the already full baggage. With a difficult feet size like mine, I can’t take the risk of spoiling a [any] good pair [They need to go in their boxes. Period!]. A classic problem of many.

There is no logic to why I bought another black pair while visiting Paris [isn't it unpardonable to not shop for shoes when you are in the world’s most fashionable city?]. And those juttis from Jaipur may not be the sort that people wear to work in Dubai but who knows someday I might just decide to wear those irresistibly elegant handmade ones [though right now they are just packed away safely]. And whoever thinks flat shoes are for taller people, can keep that opinion to self!

While friends admire my collection, mom reminds... remaining rude to the bones.. about how mindless I am despite being however old I am. It has become her habit to howl at the very mention of a regular pair going dull. She won’t agree that I need another pair for any reason. She says I must compromise on either a baby pink, a nude pink, faun or off-white - as they are all near to nude. She sometimes keeps a Vogue magazine's copy to prove a point right. Her focus remains on dissuading me from spending money on another shoe by hook or crook... just as much as it interests me to convince her with math... that has compound interests calculating various missed occasions I could have bought myself a gift... also proving that I have enough money to splurge because I did not spend on anything else [along with money saved as I am a teetotaler and keep no help at home etc etc]. We make a winning duo in this aspect - for not giving up.

This weekend when I picked the 52nd pair, she repeated it for the last time [No matter what! Again!], that a replacement has to be a replacement – one goes out, only then another comes in. Feeling perplexed like Gollum, I did not utter a word but my oh-so-soft ‘new precious’ pair empowered me to own it anyway while the focus on finding that magical new space solution continues.

Mom read this write up and asked me to be honest with my readers... that I have miserable maths too. She bets I have 152 pairs!!! Well I am not going to do a re-count and end up proving her right ;)

product review_ high-definition by makeup forever

This was written last year for a magazine that has now moved to another department. so the write up is now bloggable ;)

High-definition makeup in 10-minutes was the objective of a makeover session by Makeup Forever.

What is high-definition makeup?

“It is simple. It is the difference that you have in the clarity of a picture clicked in a regular camera and a high definition one. To be more specific, the high-definition makeup makes you look fantastic on high-definition cameras that magnify every detail so many more times than the regular cam does. It is like you have your face already ‘photoshoped’ to natural perfection. You won’t look made-up to the naked eye and/or in pictures,” says Sam who has worked with A-listers from Hollywood, Bollywood and Moulin Rogue.

HD Complexion range was originally created to make actors’ complexions look flawless under the 6x magnification of high definition cameras. High performance formula create a new generation of makeup that perfects skin for extreme close-ups on camera while meeting the needs of real life women facing everyday lighting.

Sam wiped Priya’s face clean with Makeup Forever’s cleanser, following it up with its alcohol-free toner and explained that it is very important to clean the skin before applying any makeup. “In the high-definition range we start with the serum, then the tinted-primer, follow it up with foundation and powder which all blends together to form a thin film… like you have a perfect new layer of skin altogether,” said Sam.

Foundation, powder and concealer can be used in any order, as finally it will all blend with each other and form just one unified and light layer. “Like second skin.”

Sam explained the use and advantage of every product that was being applied on Priya’s face. Adding that, “It takes just 10 minutes and you are ready.’

The HD make-up programme has three 3 steps.

Step 1: Primer

HD Elixir, Instant Radiance and Hydration Serum

Sam passed the Makeup Forever’s very soft-bristled brush to all of us to take a closer look. “It doesn’t scrape or leave lines/marks of the strokes,” he said. He applied HD Elixir, a transparent serum on parts of the face that were more lined or dehydrated such as around the eyes to correct fine lines and puffiness. He explained, “You can apply it over the entire face to reduce signs of fatigue and dehydration. This serum will optimise the makeup result.” “I can already feel it working. My skin feels nice and light,” said Priya. HD Elixir is followed by HD Primer, Microperfecting Primer Sam said that the primer he was applying on Priya’s face was developed using colourimetric theories to reduce, grey-ness or redness. “I am applying the green-tinted primer on this red pimple here, it will be camouflaged to a smooth and even appearance,” he said. HD Primer softens and moisturises the skin, making it suppler, smoother and perfectly prepared for the application of makeup. The tinted primers transparently correct the skin’s natural colorimetry.

Step 2: Cover

“You need to apply only a small amount of HD Foundation,” said Sam. The bottle had a push mechanism lid which ensured the content inside it contamination free and as you use less, the product lasts longer. “With concentrated pigments, the foundation hides imperfections while ensuring a natural look,” said Sam.

Now it was time to apply the HD Concealer to camouflage fine lines and puffiness under the eyes and to correct other imperfections. Sam applied the concealer using a brush, which was then dabbed with sponge and then used his fingers to blend it in to the foundation. It was interesting to note that Makeup Forever’s angular sponge was customised to comfortably reach tricky the corners of your eye and flawlessly blend in the concealer and primer.

Step 3: Finish

HD Blush - Microfinish Cream Blush

According to the shape of the face and the desired effect, the HD Blush can be applied in several ways. For a fashion effect, apply HD blush in a circular movement using brush #55N. To emphasise the natural shape of the cheek, apply HD Blush as a comma using brush #25N. For a more intense effect, apply HD blush using the HD sponge. HD Blush is available in more than 8 shades.

The final step is to apply the HD Powder for a glowing and flawless complexion. Its ultra-fine texture is ideal for setting the foundation, giving the skin a velvety finish with no visible buildup. “Dust the powder off and use soft round strokes to lightly apply it all over,” said Sam. He explains that the power consists of perfectly round micro granules of silica which does not scar the skin and leaves it glowing under daylight.

Sam’s 10 best

1. Applying mascara – always keep a mirror on the table and apply the mascara from inside-out… across the length of the lashes as well as lids.

2. Sponges - should be washed, dried and then used again, to avoid contamination

3. Night care – remove all make up and use rich moisturising cream before going to bed, to maintain a healthy skin.

4. Lipcare – Labella, which is easily available at petrol stations, is his favorite lip conditioner, while he is on the move. He asks never to apply Vaseline and go out in the sun, as it is known to darken the lips.

5. Correction - For a jaw-heavy/narrow-forehead face, Sam says the aim should be to attain an oval shape… so lighter colour should be applied on the forehead and darker colour on the jaw line to cut the width and give it an illusion of an oval shape.

6. Double duty – you can use your cream blush as your eye-shadow as well. You can use a thin brow brush to apply the cream eye kohl on your eye brows to re-define it better after powder cover.

7. Dull under eye – green- or violet-tinted invisible foundation should be applied here. This corrects the face’s colorometric differences to give an even tone.

8. Concealer – always use soft brushes with natural bristles and use dab-dab pattern than rub/stroke it in while blending in different products t avoid scaring the delicate skin as well as perfect finish.

9. Blusher – should be applied on the cheek bones to give you the illusion of a cheek bone – “make an ‘eight’ [a sleeping 8] on the cheek,” says Sam.

10. Serum - HD Elixir, Instant Radiance and Hydration Serum is rich in collagen and other skin-nutrients can be used regularly even when you do not want to apply make-up. It rejuvenates skin immediately while protecting the pores from grim and dirt. You can also mix the serum with your favourite sunscreen for daily wear.

Flip side...

This high-definition range does not offer any sun protection formulae, though it is loaded with skin nutrients and are targeted for women who would like to wear it regularly. The Makeup Forever team clarified that your regular sunscreen can be applied after of before the primer but then the makeup will not give the optimum effect that is expected out of the high-definition range.

Monday, 19 September 2011

no free lunches

i met someone who shall not be named as yet in my blog. all i can say is that he is a potentially important contact who can help my creative wings spread wider. our hour-long chat reminded me of many things i had not thought of in as much clarity before meeting him.


some of them are here:

1. anyone who is interested in you is looking at best bargains. if you are a control freak have a list of his best bargains without letting him get there indirectly/unnecessarily. there is nothing like offer only what you need to. that doesn’t help create the overall impact of a potential team.

2. a first meeting is a first meeting. people are constantly judging each other on what one can offer the other - temperament, easy to handleness, clarity in communication. ur worldly wiseness is more significant than your professional credibility list.

3. it is only your doubts that can get you down. if there is no doubt in your mind there is no way any conversation can fail its objective. but its difficult to weed out doubt - read point 2 again.

4. everything has a significance even if it may be just a small pebble on your growth curve. the thing is its important to see the curve - as the one that is growing to your benefit.

5. money is contagious. we like to earn more and spend wisely. this is the only equation in context when someone may be wanting to spend money for you. a sponsor or an employer is thus very similar.

6. good things come for free. is a wrong statement. there are no free lunches. even if it may look like someone is spending on your behalf don’t forget its ur time that you have decided to spend at the lunch with him. time is money. if u don’t value it u have no true value. now i understand y people pretend to be busy even if they can be easily available. its the fear of being taken as less-important or the need to satisfy their ego of being some one important that they are urged to do so.

there was no immediate outcome of the meeting, but we had a good one so to say :)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

mind, body and bank balance...

there is a new photography club that deepak and i wr looking at joining this weekend - one by emirates aviation college in dubai. we are just like any couple here in the emirates who work and live a heavily planned/revised unblvbly monotonous weekdays and weekends. this is my not-so-necessary justification for those who think we are wasting our lives by not following their principles.

we try to aim at making the most of every hour that is hard to take out from our demanding routines. i have seen that photography is a hobby that helps you freeze/beat time ;). both of us share the idea with equal passion or madness. i believe it lets you archive memories of interesting things, while deepak is constantly pointing at things that he should have shot if we were carrying the camera to/fro work.


extreme situations get you think of unique options/solutions perhaps. we believe there is no point counting the number of hours spent at work, or lack of proper medical insurance coverage by the employer, or insensitive corporate policies that do not support women's health or child rearing while keeping a career, lack of career growth in the chosen job... lack of anything else that is an immediate cringe factor.


we want to do a few things before its time to regret and say 'o how we wish we did that then' - like learn arabic and french, go deep sea diving, do a complete photography course and travel far and near.


as one step at a time is the only way to go about it. we have begun - 5years back.


among the many misses that we can cry about there are a few we can happily count - 16 countries, swimming safe in the deep end, acquiring a dslr... and this is not our bucket list - that is another long one - too personal to blog about :)

having realised 'there is always time no matter how busy i may be'... have got some clarity on personal priorities. i have understood that it is a waste of time to please others at teh risk of having to remove my explorer's shoes.

when somebody cribs of lack of time i understand what they actually mean to say is - lack of true interest or urge or lack of other not-so-easy-to generalise non-mentionable.


as they say if it is the process that needs to be the happy one then we need to keep fitter - in the body, mind and bank balance as well.


wr are my dumbbells!





Saturday, 17 September 2011

Travelogue: Some Leberkäse or liver-cheese anyone?

Germany is the perfect destination for dreamy ladies and macho-machine-loving men of the world.



A pair of Weisswurst (traditional Bavarian sausage made from very finely minced veal and fresh pork bacon) with sweet mustard, a pretzel and Weissbier (wheat beer) is southern Germany's champion way to start the day.



It was a cruise in the summer of 2008 that took us through the Rhineland. We (my husband and I) traveled south through the heart of Germany taking the Romantic Road to Bavaria and a few destinations popular here.



Willkommen in Deutschland or ‘welcome to Germany’.



If you love beer and beautiful cars, there is little doubt that you would have had your taste of Bavarian culture, but if you are a global citizen inundated by slick marketing and has missed the point, then here’s a hint – BMW and Oktoberfest. BMW stands for Bavarian Motor Works vehicles and Oktoberfest just happens to be the world’s largest beer festival that has found its way into every noisy, rambunctious pub across the planet.



Our day started at the much heard-about Bavarian buffet table in Munich, I was going wild to pronounce the names on the placards (while my husband had two plates full of whatever amused him). Got hold of one of the restaurant staff hoping to get some help, it was a wasted effort because she spoke English in German and then the morning rush for breakfast pulled her on and off my sight. I soon gathered that perhaps they believe in self service policy. So I sat down to enjoy my German breakfast.



Weisswurst is served in a big bowl together with the cooking liquid used for preparation (so it does not cool down too much), then eaten without the skin. I enjoyed the Leberkaese (liver loaf), and a fresh warm pretzel together with Obatzda. Obatzda is a cheese spread made with camembert, cream cheese, butter, paprika and chives. Leberkaese is a specialty similar to meat loaf. The name Leberkäse literally translates to ‘liver-cheese’ even though in Bavaria the dish traditionally contains neither liver nor cheese - it consists of beef, bacon and onion and is made by grinding the ingredients very fine and then baking it as a loaf in a bread pan until it has a crunchy brown crust. We held the morning cuppa up in the air saying cheers or prost! as German’s say it.



Exploring the cobbled stoned pavements by foot after a heavy and fulfilling Bavarian breakfast was just the thing that doctor ordered.



Once you are at a town or a city centre, everything you need is within strolling distance.



A fiercely independent lot, the Bavarians have always maintained a strong national identity and see themselves as the most important part of Germany. In Hitler’s homeland my husband made-up for the loss of the dictator while he growled over what a waste it would be if we missed the BMW museum in Munich. Aaaand the The Deutsches Museum! It is one of the famous technology and science museums in the world. Eight floors of displays from boats to telescopes to robots; which is a great stop over for scientists or people (like my husband) who have a thing for machines.



While he spent hours preening at the gadgets, I clicked the picturesque outdoors.



Rhine valley offers a spectacular view of the pristine vineyards, castles and ancient churches while you cruise through. There is a particular variety of sparkling wine called White Risling, which is brewed in the region. Wine and cheese packages come with a whole story of the family who made them, which is an interesting read.



Across the valley, you can also see train-lines and roads running parallel to the river, transporting industrial goods to the cities and ship yards almost throughout the day. There is no escaping the industrial revolution.



Like in most parts of Europe, beer that is cheaper than water kept the thirsty travellers (especially my husband) happy in the ‘beer capital’ of Germany. While teetotalers like me collected different types of beer-stein souvenirs, made of porcelain, glass and wood; carefully weeding out those that had a Made in China stamp! We retired back to Holiday Inn at the city centre after an eventful day.





Day 1: Munich

Munich, the capital of Bavaria has everything within strolling distance. The Old and New Town Halls look down on the golden Mariensoul. St Peter’s church, just off Marienplatz, is the oldest church in Munich, and for a fantastic view of the city, you could climb the bell frey tower. There are local artists selling the city panorama in water and oil from the top of the church.



The main tourist attractions in Munich are Marienplatz, the Glockenspiel, St Peter’s church, Englischer Garten, Deutches Museum and BMW Museum. As the Glockenspiel, a mechanical- musical piece of tourist interest was under renovation, we could not catch a glimpse of the working Glockenspiel, known to chime with life-sized statues rotating around each other in a mock dance. There is a café opposite the Glockenspiel, called as Café Glockenspiel; where we nibbled into some Bretzel and Bratwurst. The Englischer Garten here is famous for beer gardens and nude sunbathing (we did not get a chance to peep in here and my husband was much disappointed).

Bavaria is located in southeast Germany, and borders Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic. The southern border of Bavaria, adjacent to Austria, is delineated by the Bavarian Alps. The capital city of Bavaria is Munich, where Oktoberfest takes place every year. Other important Bavarian cities include Augsberg, Nuremburg, and Regensburg. The Danube and Main rivers flow through Bavaria, as well as many other minor rivers.

Bavaria has vibrant cities with amazing architecture, fabulous shopping and pulsating nightlife. Enchanting medieval and picturesque villages and traditional wine villages with friendly festivals and regional specialities.

Day 2: Heidelberg

Heidelberg, a city in Baden-Württemberg, is not just world famous for sheet-fed and web offset printing presses. It is called the educational capital of Germany and has the famed Old Bridge and Castle, which worth a visit. Situated high above the River Neckar, Heidelberg Castle is one of Germany’s most romantic locations.



The evening stroll by the countryside dotted with white houses and dark wood is unforgettably romantic as the still setting sun throws the orange and purple hues on the sky, promising to sink-out all the worries of the world. There is something romantic about the castles, vineyards, cobble-stoned town centres here.



Day 3: Cologne cathedral

The magnificent twin-spire cathedral Kölner Dom, Museum Ludwig with its renowned collection of 20th-century art and Wallraf-Richartz Museum tell you gothic tales in its vivid details over the walls, across the stained glass windows and sandblasted walls that bring alive an era gone-by under seasons rain and sun.

We relived our Bavarian sojourn in Dubai - this time there wr no connecting flights and euros being spent - it was cheap and cheerful for just about Dh165 per person ;)


How? Just a few montsh bk we headed to MAIFEST AT HOFBRÄUHAUS, JW MARRIOTT to enjoy a traditional German celebration at Hofbräuhaus.

In keeping with the spirit of Maifest, there was plenty of food and beverages to enjoy, accompanied by lively German music and singing.

If you happen to go there next time around they have this fest [May-June] try out a range of Bavarian cuisine including Bavarian Beef Goulash and German noodles in beef consommé. Make sure you have room for Bavarian cream with strawberry sauce; Plum-quark cake; Raspberry tart and Black forest cake.



10 minutes, 10 years - book review

10 minutes, 10 years – Dr. Fredric Brandt [your definitive guide to a beautiful and youthful appearance]




If ‘Oh my God, I’m old! I look so bad’ … are thoughts that run across your mind when you look at the mirror, then you are not alone. Dr. Fredric Brandt, renowned cosmetic dermatologist, offers a breakthrough skin-care programme that says it will take you only ten minutes a day to reverse your skin’s aging process by ten years. The book is uniquely designed in a problem-solution-driven guidebook format that reveals many unknown threats to the skin which age it before its time – such as sugar and diet.



The book has three parts of categorised information - from lifestyles, habits and traditional versus contemporary skin-care regimes to a seven-day diet plan followed by a very useful glossary.



In its Part I the book discusses the ‘s-factors’ - skin, sun and sugar. Criticising sun for being the party-pooper for glorious skin, Dr. Brandt elaborates its ills and says how wrongly phrases such as ‘let the sun come in’ or ‘soak up some sun’ are used. He does not miss the opportunity to say how the smoker in the sun doubles his/her chances of looking older along with acquiring harsher features and pigmented-dull skin, and warns that the long-term damage is almost irreversible. Dr. Brandt is all for the anti-tan revolution. He asks readers to be all geared against the sun and embrace the brighter side of pale skin.



Part II has a comprehensive list of the best products, treatments and procedures available. With so many new products on the isle it is difficult to choose what is best for your skin. Dr. Brandt cuts through the information overload with warmth and humour to provide concrete knowledge and advice. He explains who to go to and who not to go to as well as what to ask. In practice for more than 20 years, Dr. Brandt is known to be the largest user of injectible collagen and Botox in the world and the pioneer of the ‘neck-lift,’ a non-surgical anti-aging procedure. The book helps understand directly from the horse’s mouth on the basics of skin’s ageing factors, realistic remedies and the latest best on skin care. The section offers every precise information that we all must know for the sake of our skin and before choosing the right skin-care.



Part III is where the ‘10 minutes/ 10 years solution system’ is explained in different chapters. If you find yourself putting together an anti-aging game plan, and especially if you are thinking of going under the knife, but hoping you won’t have to, this section gives you specific information about how to prevent as well as get rid of the bags under your eyes or those deepening furrows of your brow. The chapters in this section are named appropriately to cover each specific worry - wrinkles, pigmentation, loss of radiance, enlarged pores, eye brows, eyes, nose, fall of the mid face, lips, chin, jaw line, neck, ears, hands, hair loss on the scalp, hair growth on the face, redness and adult acne.



Startling facts and revolutionary scientific procedures including injectible acid fillers, Botox and collagen are followed by good food and recipes - a detox formulae for your ageless skin. This was the most exciting section for me as a reader. Dr. Brandt’s diet is a week’s worth which you can keep for longer if you wish to. Interesting to note that diet has no diary products, and has rice milk accompanying morning cereals. Millet seems to be the doc’s favourite breakfast cereal/bread recommendation. Other ingredients for the Dr. Brandt’s unique detox-diet include easily the available blueberries, almonds, pistachios, black beans, kidney beans, sunflower seeds, salmon as well as quinoa, asparagus and kele.



Dr. Brandt’s cleansing diet-plan is followed by a glossary on food/ingredients and how they affect your skin. The diet is a careful balance of benefits and flavours; with easy recipes (easier for non-vegetarians to follow).



Get all that information and get on that exciting diet plan asap… and smile confidently at your mirror and you might just hear back that ‘you are the prettiest of them all’.



The book is available at Magrudy’s.







fair weather friends


they come when you are able and they scoff when you are not. they are not true companions. they are not self oriented but selfish. they don’t have anything to give but take. they come to rob your time, peace and everything else that you may have showed off without realising how things would take a turn later on.

they need you all the time and are highly sensitive to their feelings, not necessarily yours. and only whne they need you, you must spring in to action no matter how disinterested/busy you may be.

they are wary of your other associations. they don’t wish you make many friends, cos that can rob them of their time with you. the time, that is so precious and must be manipulated to their use.

there are plenty of reasons that keep them upset, so you cannot but behave 'appropriately'. and fewer days they will seem in a happy mood, cos those will days when you may feel a bit pulled down.

they are not true friends.

they are opportunists.

there are no sure ways to keep them at bay. but perhaps keeping them at bay is the surest way to save your soul.

a long drawn face is nobody's charm, but if you cannot draw a smile when this so-called friend who is 'sad', remember their long-drawn expression can be yours very soon.

i have a few of them in my list - never happy and expecting me to do things that i do out of courtesy as their right. i have a tamed temper but i am worried when the lion will be out of the den to send these weaklings run for their lives.

inefficiency is a plague that you cannot avoid especially among close others. when intelligent manipulators behave like retards to get your sympathy and run the show just as they designed it to take off, you must stand up and show them the path they must take and not end up dancing to their tunes.

who is going to tell them they need to simply empower themselves than get used to buying my time and self!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

better to blog than say

somebody asked what i aim for in life. i am sure i must have got him confused with my aimless ways of normal existence - as i think it is. well, i started thinking when he asked, like i always do - while speaking – of course. and, ended up finding something unique and not-so-alarmingly-great.

"well i have a direction, some goals, and i am not sure what more i can say."

he believed being a journalist and an artist must not be easy – “i think you must concentrate more on art as it is not that everyone is gifted with this.”

i am not sure how anyone can say that unless he plans to sponsor my needs ;). 'who will fund my art, if i give up my job?' he seemed ok with that answer. but continued prodding, “that there must be something more than this - your current life is a 5-9 daily drill - where you seem to have made all sorts of sacrifice to be in a land far away for an artist or a journalist, just because your partner's career seems happier here. and look at you, you guys have even kept the baby plans on hold."

he seemed to be really worried for us. just like the bangladeshi 'maid' man [read the blog before the previous one] who came to help me clean teh house after onam, early this week.

now i had to clear a few things to to him cos walking away is not my style anymore with some ppl i care for. "its not like you think it is. though, you are right abt hubby's career guesses."

i did not come to dubai to be a grt journalist or artist. i am not so ambitious like i must have got you into beliving by making it to big media corporations/breaking news'/solo art shows etc... they wr all sm time back...when i was still defining the reason for my existnce. anyway i don’t agree on taking up a battle of leading the pack in today's mad rat race for survival - for that matter any battle. any debate - if you think we are heading towards one - might just be agreed upon while i continue doing what i want to. i know i am a bit crazy, a bit lazy and will remain so a bit here and there. my goal perhaps it to just have some fun while leartning newer aspects of things around me. i love my life - have always loved it despite the challenges.

i don’t know how to connect everything like a megalomaniac and then fall flat on the face. megalomaniacs are greatly talented people but those who fail are those with no clarity.

this baby question should ideally not bother someone like me who has big scary eyes that can roll/pop and give hostile stares to beat the s*** out of anyone ... when they try getting under my skin… but it not easy to do that to everyone [especially if its a virtual conversation on gtalk ;)].

not that i will buckle under pressure to say sweet/peaceful answers… nor will we have a baby sooner to get rid of the prodders [who, i bet will find something else to prod]. i have had the tendency of fighting my blues by running the other side and troubling the worried warriers more ;).

it all began in my teens - a long long time ago when i was brave and foolish. i still retin some of those qualities unlike other soberly mature souls around me. i never joined the crowd under pressure - has been a constant during my defining moments so far.

people r still stuck to what they believe r bests – i cant understand what their purpose is when they think they have the right to worry on my behalf. what makes them think i know lesser than they do - medicine or life!? some of the prodders are a decade younger to me. what they think is smart to ask just unfortunatly reflects their un-smart/lousy rather immature selves.

it is not good to generalise that every girl must marry and produce kids immediately before the biological clock stops!!! we all have a pace/purpose to do certain things. i may pop a cake out of the oven faster than you, you may pop a baby out sooner - so let us not compare. we definitely have unique perspectives – let peace be!

u might genuinely be worried out of habit/societal pressures/traditions that go a long way back to how you wr brought up/wr u wr brought up/who brought you up/how you evaluate life and joys/ learning/ evolving etc… but for me it is out right interference into my personal/private life which is not in the public purview for everyone to come and have an open debate/dig.

my life is my own business. i am thankfully not an attention seeking celebrity for christ sake – and don’t subject me to being one unnecessarily with all these curious prods ;).

i am terrible at drawing comparisons - as you just noticed how i tend to get the baby and the cake together.

everyone who is worried for me can be safely advised to get a life and leave me alone - in simple words. even though its better blogged than said is the truth! sigh! :)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

plastic clown masks


tday i am a bit fed up of the diabetic run of the 'o so sweet' nothings that are infesting corporate floors.

people have gone rotten, but their smiles fixed like on plastic clown masks.

want to ask them to get a life and get out of my face for godsake cos i am afraid my old fearless and foolish self that can come alive anytime and strip the masked ones off their false faces.

its a bad tendency i used to have. 'used to' cos i don qt remember any recent incident when i made someone go nuts because they wr faking so much that I was irritated and prompted to get it fixed for a minute. perhaps i have realised this is a bad habit. any habit is bad - no? osho says so.

not that i care for everything he says – especially on the ‘wholesome’ truth of free love etc. but osho makes a lot of sense most of the time and is entertainingly wise. i happened to read some of his explanations on popular topics other than 'carnal love/lust' and they wr really good.

ok, back to sugary sweet diabetics. i wish we could all sincerely just laugh from within, not simply fake it. i don’t agree that you can be true only when you get ‘wholesome' free love! if you ask me that bit is a bit of a crap.

my question is - what is the need to be a social butterfly when you really are not one. if its tires you to laugh or smile - keep a grim face and be happy about it. no?

it is understandable that as humans we all seek attention one way or the other – there is no escape – but y fake the stuff!?

don’t we all have something real and naturally nice to show or be happy abt?

some time back, i mean a decade back when i was a reporter on delhi's streets - i was worried of the lack of courtesy of familiar strangers - especially those rude drivers who wr licenced to drive autos and public buses etc... and tday its a bit over the top.... overwhelmingly suffocating false smiles.

imagine the bitter chocolate without the bitterness and the sour curd without the sourness... how good is it then. i would call it lack of true character or simply identity crisis.

rt now i wish to stand on my desk and flash a finger - but then just tday i read in the papers 'how offensive' this crime of a gesture it is in the UAE! Sigh – I miss delhi – yet again!

so many of us aren't sure what we're meant to do - simply doing what others are doing because we feel we don't have enough ideas or even enough strength of our own - is sad. as i realise growing up has nothing to do with the number of years old you are, i also understand a thing or two on wholeheartedness - that which is missing in our exhausted lives.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

after-onam lessons

after onam-day sadya, there is definitely a lot more to do, even if you cant move a single muscle in your bod. so, i called up the building's maintenance manager to lend me a helping hand.




i got two - fitted on a young man, who also had a loud mouth.



he was more than friendly and called me 'bhabhi' [brother's wife]. lot of ppl say i look like a bengali - but does that make me his bangladeshi bhabhi? [i did not think so]



the man was tasked to finish the vessels first and then the rest of the house.



man: bhabhi - jara idhar ayenge?



me: kya hua?



man: aapko imarat mein kitna time hua?



me: 5-6 saal



man: bachche nahin hain?



me: nahin



man: kyon?



me: [smile] naya wala scrub lelo.



man: aap job karte hain?



me: haan



man: aaj nahin gaye?



me: [moron, that is why i stand before you] nahin



man: kyon?



me: ----



man: itna ganda kaise hogaya?



me: kal party tha?



man: aap malbaari hain?



me: [don’t u dare use that stupid word] haan... nahin. nahin… haan.



man: [laughs!] aapko khud nahin malum... ha ha ha. main toh bahar phool dekhke hi samajh gaya tha. aapka onam-wala pooja tha na?



me: haan. [onam is no pooja but how/why to tell him]



after few mins...



man: bhabhi, yeh dekho kya hai!



me: kya hain?



man: [showing cauldron with browned residue] yeh toh nahin niklega



me: paani mein soak kar ke baad me karo.



man: toh aapko paani daal dena tha na?



me: [whaaa..at!] haan... par time nahin mila



man: dono kaam kartein hain?



me: kaun?



man: aap aur... aapki shaadi hui hai na?



me: haan



man: [laughs] main thoda dar gaya, pata nahin kya kya poocha. toh aap log dono kaam karte hain?



me: sigh! haan.



man: isliye time nahin hain... [laughs] bachon keliye?



me: -----



man: aap ek full time maid kyon hain rakhte? main aa jata hoon?



me: [maid?] nahin chahiye...



man: ...oh! bhool gaya aapke paas toh time nahin hain na.



me: haan [leave scene].



after few mins...



man: bhabhi aur jagah nahin hai bartan rakhne ko. kahan rakhoon?



me: yahan rakho! [clearing some washed vessels into the cupboard i make some counter space]



man: toh aap dono kaam kartein hain? itna paisa phir kaun khata hai?



me: [whaa..at!?] jitna chahiye hota hai utna hi milta hai. jaldi kitchen khatam karo. [walk off]



man: aapko anil kapoor achcha lagta hai?



me: ----



man: mujhe bahut pasand hain. beta filam hai na, woh 20 baar dekha hai. [laughs]



me: ----



after 5 mins...



man: achacha bhabhi main toilet mein harpic use karoon?



me: haan, bleach bhi use karo



man: bleach kyon? mujhe achcha nahin lagta - ganda smell aata hai, haath bhi gharab hota hai?



me: gloves lelo aur bleach use karo please! zaroori hai



man: achcha theek hain. aap muluk kab gaye?



me: kaafi time hogaya



man: achcha... aap dono jo kaam karte ho, time nahin milta hoga. saath mein chutti bhi nahin milti hogi na?



me: nahin



man: kya fayda, bada ghar, badi naukri aur hum jaise naukar chaakar rakhke. aapki life toh sponsor ke haath mein hain na? meri bhi uss chatri [building's maintenance manager] ke haat mein hai



me: sigh! haan. yahaan sabki life aise hi hai



man: aapke india mein toh achchi naukriyan hai na?



me: honge?



man: lagta hai aapko dubai jam gaya? ab vapis nahin jana? sab ko jana padta hai bhabhi...



me: ek minute [calls up anyone - deepu - and tell him the boy is here. he was busy so we could talk much]



after few mins...



man: bhaabhiiii!!!! jaldi aao



me: kya hua?



man: yeh dekho!



[shaving bottle had fallen down, broken, all the foam out]



me: ---- tile saaf karke bottle phaink do.



man: theek hai! sorry bhabhi mere haath se gir gaya. arbi hota toh abhi maar deta.



me: koi baat nahin. iske baad bed room kar lena.



man: kiska phone tha? bhaiyya ka!?



me: haan [leave scene]



man: aapka bed room toh bada hai? A- tower mein chotein hain. par wahan sab flat mein teen bedroom hain.



me: ----



man: bhaiyya ko bolo aapko job se chutti de dein



me: mere kaam se bhaiyya ka kya lena dena



man: laughs! woh toh mein jaan gaya. mushkil nai hain [laughs!]



me: kya matlab?



man: aapne bole na 5-6 saal se imarat mein hain? zarooriyan bhi badh gayin hogi. life badal jaati hain na? aap maa baap ko paise bhejte hain?



me: ----



man: achcha aapko do din chutti milta hai ke ek?



me: do



man: achcha hai. mein saturday ko bhi kaam pe hoon. toh aap weekend pe mujhe bula lo. aapko time bhi mil jayega, araam bhi.



me: sochti hoon



man: aap bhaiyya ko boliye na... mera matlab hain... aap maid rakhlijiye. aapke liye achcha hoga



me: ----



man: [mopping floor]. chatri ko bolo ki aapka floor polish karvayega. bahut chamkega. waise aapne ghar bahut sundar rakha hain.



me: thank you. hogaya?



man: haan. kitne ka baat hua tha mere liye. ab 3 ghanta ho gaya. kuch bhi dedijiye [smiles]



me: [i paid the customary little extra] thanks.



man: mera number likhlo. mohammed irshad, 050 2341232. aapka naam kya hai?



me: archana. [oops shudn have]. flat number yaad rakhlo, bhaiyya bulayenge.



man: bhaiyya ka naam kya hai?



me: deepak



man: achcha naam hai. aaj ka din aap rest karlo, kal phir office jana hoga na? salam. [smiles]



me: [closing the door] ok.







need i say what i learnt? i was just so thankful that i am able enough to do my home chores by myself - no matter what. on an after-sadya day... deepak should learn to supervise a man 'maid'. sigh/uff!





Thursday, 8 September 2011

shamefully in a far away land

back from lulu after onasadya shopping - we both have almost become experts in lifting heavy weights now.

random thoughts on how much one can carry took me back in time to remember our porters serving good old indian railways.

i have this very vivid memory of this railway porter while boarding from jaipur to delhi after a vaccation. he not only balanced all our baggage that had delicate decor items but also a heavy 'ammikallu' - the stone to grind chutney.

we wr late to reach the station. he climbed stairs, bridges and almost ran in the right direction with all of us 'almost empty handeds in comparison' gasping to catch his pace as he leapt towards the right compartment.

i was a 7th grader then and could never imagine a human could bear so much weight on his head and still salute u when u paid sm megre extra tip - poverty or whatever else - i feel terrible for porters and rikshaw pullers...

shamefully have closed my eyes to all that in a faraway land.

and i dont think we deserve to whine any bit abt elbowing fellow onam-frenzy shoppers in an air conditioned shopping mall., or carrying bags from the lift to the apartment ...

sigh! happy onam!

my precious gold coins

Gold coins - they are just another name for the popular yellow banana chips from Kerala. If you are used to regular fryers [pun intended] - you may just squirm as you think what is the big deal in frying some banana chips.




It was a feat for me - to make my own heap of munchable gold coins. Actually, if these yellow coin-like crisps were to be cartooned, they would look just like Walt Disney’s miserly duck uncle Scrooge's heaps of gold coins – his precious tucked-away wealth in the cellars that his naughty nephews find by chance.



I finally made those yummy ka upperi [literally translates to raw banana chips] for this Onam, Kerala’s state festival.



The world's best upperis are made by my maternal grand mom. She is so quick and unbelievable at that. If someone walked in with a raw banana from the backyard, even if we were all set to start the lunch, she would spring into action - almost immediately. She would peel it; slice it straight into boiling oil; pour a salt and turmeric mixture to the oil - and fry them out. Really an expert. Thus heaps of gold coins – yellow and gleaming with oil – were there for us to relish along with rice and curries most of the days spent at the ancestral home.



When I called her up last week for tips to make them as good as she does, she almost dismissed me off saying 'just buy'. She did not want her first-born grand child’s fingers to stain - or strain. And hence, was very dissuasive. Also asked if I already did not have enough to do. Chumma enthina kutty [why bother my child].



She thinks my maid-less days must be a great feat in themselves. And cannot fathom the fact that I am actually quite happy on my own – finding my things, cooking or keeping my house clean.



As I wasn’t giving up on getting the tips from her, she asked me to soak the raw banana in sour curd and water; then slice it to paper-thin wafers; and fry using coconut oil in an urali [a broad-based, heavy bottomed traditional cauldron made with 70 per cent copper and 30 per cent tin]. She added, not to forget to pour a salt and turmeric mixture into the oil.



So I did. Soaked raw bananas in sour curd and water; peeled it; sliced it very thin and deep fried in coconut oil; and in an urali, which was until then holding a potted house plant in my drawing room. And, I did not forget to pour a salt and turmeric mixture into the oil.



The whole affair was over in not less than two hours, after work yesterday. And was not exactly as easy as I summed up in two lines.



But nevertheless, it was double joy for me - to have the yummy gold coins homemade at last and to feel the love of my granny all over again as I munched on it. Nostalgia and all that (sniffles).



It is true that ‘there is no love greater than the love of food,’ especially when you are far away from home on festive occasions.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

alpine arch-eye-brow

while having a chat about a profile picture, my sister and i had this interesting chat.

the picture had someone adorning a pair of not-so-natural and alpine arch-brow. which gave the person a very edgy look.

as it was a teenager, we thought as much - that she is probably not even aware how she looks anyway. in the teens we do so many things to look all grown up and important, we don’t really realise how we actually end up looking eventually. today’s teens are just like teens yesterday – they don’t listen or care and are hugely bored to find everything un natural quite interesting! being rebellious is their reason to life.

when the brow is not so arched - it gives us a 'help me' look. very stupid and profound observation indeed! what else are daily chats meant to achieve anyway!

it is funny that today i happened to see at least three people, surely not in their teens, with fake eyebrows – tattooed ones. horr-orr-ible - if you ask me.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

life and times

last night i met an old friend. we exchange world views the same way we did years back in a campus, in a town - we both were new to.

then yesterday when we met again, we wr far away in a different country, but wr sharing the world views almost the way we did back then.

its amazing to note that we don't stop defining life - that is new and old at the same time.

i have figured out why its important to socialise. and have a mixed milieu of friends. each one of them are unique and they shape your life uniquely by being just the way they are. their world views and experiences might not be great but to be alive in itself is simply a miracle - no? am sure not everyone would agree on that. but i do - to a large extent. and i guess greatness is just badly defined in the dictionary.

and... some friends are forever - even if world views change, they fall apart on certain stands, are uniquely n unblvbly different etc... some people just fuse together as life long buddies... nothing u can do abt that... i guess. and its a good thing.



Thursday, 1 September 2011

Maidless mornings

When I was a teenager, she was second to mom – our stay-in maid. She had everything ready before we woke up and made sure no one was searching for anything.

I have grown up/always been with these helpful people around, all my life, and we never called them by their name. They were called either chechi or aunty or bai, depending on their age/spoken language.

Off late I had this strange realisation - life could have been different if they wr not around. We would have grown up more independently and well-aware than with these helpful hands that reached all corners – of the house, sometimes even our lives/souls.

I am not against help as such. But people who are hired for help – when we must manage the mess that we create for our own happy/sad sake.

A big house, a large lawn, a swimming pool – does not mean you can’t do what you can do. The only excuse for a paid help is probably age. When you grow so old that you can barely bend to pick something. Or when you have an actively exploring toddler and a fulltime job to handle at the same time.

Today, a friend in her 30s, complained of a maidless morning and I had so many thoughts running in my head on how people juxtaposition their lives around this super-active other woman, who will come an fix their daily routines and lives.

I also have a few friends who are not ‘keen to cook’ or ‘keen to clean’. Well, as human beings can we live without food and hygiene? If we are healthy and young enough, why can’t we take care of our basic needs without another person’s help?

One of the good but difficult things in life, I have learnt by living away from home - in residential school hostels, college hostels and as an independent girl in a large city is, to just be disciplined at all times – whether you have a good mood or not – to maintain a healthy routine. Not that I was always disciplined if left all by myself - i have had my mood swings and the mess around - but I could not let it rule my life, for more than a couple of hours may be, when I would stand up again and clear it all out. I have always fought to be completely independent of these ‘dependency’ worries. and i dont have a grt story to share why i do this.

I really don’t buy the emerging economy’s ‘helping the lower strata’ explanation for employing a 'servant' at home. but I am yet to find the perfect answer. Is there a perfect answer – I am not sure :)

But I can assure you - today I am happier having maidless mornings - part-time or full-time - in complete privacy. I was never used to searching for things in the morning with them around... nor do I do that without them around because its only our own basic selves who keep things in or out of its place - rt?

Why is it so difficult to leave a place as is? Ok, the tub gets dirty when u take bath, but what makes you think its over once you are done with cleaning up yourselves? the act is not complete if you leave behind the mess, to accumulate until someone else comes and clears. Its defntly lack of awareness or something else that we are looking for when we do employ them - the maids. Whatever it must must be - it doesnt fancy me at the moment. May be on a later day when am less organised I may have to bite my words on these stupid findings - safe to leave this as is for now - i guess.