Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
40 hours and counting…. Warzone Mumbai ….Mumbai carnaged…ravaged Mumbai…….Exclusive television footage has brought the terror right into our homes…exclusive coverage that served us blood for breakfast…..I sit glued to the TV for hours….watching as people are trying to make sense of it all….i cannot believe that this is all happening….in front of our eyes….people desperate to be safe….waving from their rooms in the Taj and Oberoi….holed up…not knowing what would happen next….the scores of security personnel…..policemen, firefighters, Army men, NSG commandos and Marcos…..the last two groups of men said to be among the best in the business……all of them doing what they can to “flush out the militants”, “minimize civilian casualities” and make us feel safe again….At least 125 have been killed in the Mumbai encounter, including 14 policemen and six foreigners and 327 people have been injured. And this is the official estimate………
Some thoughts going through my mind right now
Chef Banja, who shared our church bench for 4 yrs, has died. He was an Executive Chef at the Taj and was shot at in the kitchen……I can’t believe this….it somehow brings all of it closer….
When will we realize that this is a real time war situation and this is urban warfare? That it needs to be dealt with the severity and seriousness….much more than we are doing right now?
How many more people should lose their lives and how many more attacks like this should happen before we appear to take measures to send a clear message that we are not a soft target anymore? When will be associate a little more value to the life of a citizen that has been lost?
Why was there such a time lag in bringing in our top trained commandos? Were they stuck in bureaucratic red tape?
Why am I paying taxes for the bills of politicians and bureaucrats instead of buying better equipment and training for cops and soldiers?
How did the guys just jump into a speedboat and land up at the gateway……isn’t this checked at any point of time? Where are the intelligence reports?
Why are the reporters and journalists the ones asking questions on policy and a way forward? Isn’t this the job of the people who govern us to do this?
Isn’t it the duty of the government to provide a secure place for its citizens?
I’ve just refreshed my newsfeed, and as of 11.48 a.m there is fresh gunbattle going on at the Taj, earlier this morning, this was supposed to be secure and handed over to the police….what is happening? Gag orders have been given to the media as it is believed the terrorists are getting access to the movements of the commandos….WTF!!
I am quite numbed by all of this….i don’t wish to conclude….i don’t know what to conclude with…. Hope maybe a good place to start…..and my prayers are for all the warriors who are helping us tackle this as best as they can.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
A white train, veil and an entourage….. a dapper groom, awaiting his bride at the altar, a church full of people, singing …..and a priest waiting to say “I now pronounce you Man and Wife” ………..
Whatever else I dreamt of, this montage was never to be…… in its place instead, was a terrible excitement that we would finally spend the rest of our lives together…….hoping that the frayed nerves would hold up till everything was over….making all of the arrangements……staying at the venue till a few hours before the reception to get everything done…..i telling you my feet were paining in those ridiculously high heels (because k is a foot taller) and you asking me why I wore them in the first place…. You grumbling over how many more hours of handshaking was in store and me asking you to shut up and smile since pictures were being clicked…..
five years then seemed like such a long time…..now I can’t remember when it flew past…..knowing each other as long as we have, it seems like forever….. in a nice way!! In the end it isn’t about what we did, or how we spent time, or where we’ve been and what we’ve achieved…..
To know that I will always come home to you…..that I share my life with you…that marriage wasn’t the end of all that we wanted…it was just the beginning of what we have together….to know that we don’t have to be Siamese twins…..that we can be our own people…..with opinions and ideas fiercely our own…. That it’s ok to not agree on anything and yet know that that’s the way it is going to be…..that we are chalk and cheese….that we don’t have to share anything…..religion, language, culture, interests or even food….and yet, we share the life we have together…..to take a line out of Jerry Maguire, “you complete me”….
I am so glad I found you K…..if I had to do it all over again, I would……and not change a thing….Happy Anniversary!!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
As I sit here on my first day at work, several thoughts go through my mind….. its pretty amazing that I am able to have normal conversations while my mind is running all over the place….it also strikes me….at how much we all use technology to appear busy….
Right now, I am sorely missing my laptop. A couple of times today I contemplated going home to pick it up and had to restrain myself…. It's a good place to hide, behind the screen of a computer….also my sheer dependence on it…..like an extension of myself!!
What do you do when you are at a loose end?? I plan….more like, I make lists….many kinds….endlessly sometimes…..so right now I have a few going…..things to do at work…broken down into for the project etc….. stuff for home…..lists of important and unimportant work which nevertheless needs to get done…..Why do I do it? it helps me plan. Its like laying my entire life out in front of me and prioritizing, organizing and purging. I feel a greater sense of control when I have lists…they empower me…
The workplace is a huge bungalow in a posh residential colony….in so many ways like the first place I worked for when I returned to hyderabad after my master's and a stint at the corporate offices at Bangalore and Chennai…there was no air conditioning and artificial light, just a small flat to work from….here there's a maid / cook and lunch gets made on the premises….eaten at a real dining table with placemats!! It can get too comfy!! I haven't yet taken up on the option of working from home, cause right now I need to see people to keep me sane…..i will find myself driving to work each morning till I need to be left alone….
The day has been pretty nondescript. I need to sift through a load of training material before I can put something together….so I better be gone…..if the title was anything to go by, there wasn't really any point to this post…..maybe I will do better with the laptop!!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
- it is not a smart thing to not oil your hair for 15 yrs.... it makes your hair like coir!! oiling it before a shampoo is a good idea... its a great idea...just plain coconut oil....squirted straight onto the scalp....and worked into a light 60 second massage with your finger tips.
- warm equal quantities of honey and olive oil, massage into your scalp... let dry... it feels hard and sticky when dry (but obviously), shampoo after an hour.... touch and feel your silken strands!! awesome!!
- commercial shampoos have far too much detergent than we have the courage to acknowledge in them to give that lather they advertise.... dilute it with water by 1/2. notice that it washes as well, and doesnt dry hair as much. this works for all shampoos - mild/ herbal/ for silky hair/ dark hair / curly hair and everything else....
- despite what we may think... it is necessary to trim hair every 8 weeks... 10 weeks at the very least... keeps it well groomed and tidy.
- coconut oil: you may not like the smell.... but its the best before bath body lotion.... slap it on for a few minutes before your bath and use a mild soap like pears / nivea....man!! your skin feels like velvet
- vaseline is the best for dry chapped skin... to feel less icky, use it at bedtime on your hands, feet, elbows and lips....throw out all those overpriced body lotions...they last just a couple of hours
- after years and years of using commercial cosmetics and body washes and lotions and potions....i ate humble pie and got back to the kitchen shelf.... it has been awesome so far....
- equal quantities of rice flour and chick pea flour (besan), some oatmeal and a little granulated sugar mixed with milk / rose water / plain water is THE best body scrub you can have.... mix the dry ingredients and put it all into a container and store it in the bathroom for easy access.
- Plain honey on your face is a good thing. spread it with your fingers all over your face. keep it on for 10 mins before washing off. it is very hydrating.
- out in the sun and have a tan you want to get rid off? whizz 1/2 tomato with 2 T curd, the sourer the better. apply on your face and wait till dry and wash off... the tan washes right off. ask me!! i never use sunscreen... not because i practice reverse snobbery but i never remember...so i resort to this.
- i find extracting cucumber juice painful, i just whizz a couple of slices with a little yoghurt and put it as a facepack to take off tan. its a great cleanser too..... i think mixing some oatmeal will work too.
- mashed papaya for your face washed off after 10 mins is like a miracle worker.... use it as often as ye shall want lovely skin!!
- oh yes... inspired by a certain friend, i decided on a one soap always policy .... and switched to pears... will keep you posted on the changes....
Monday, November 3, 2008
- i put flowers / leaves in empty bottles/ glasses/ vases... they can be wild flowers from the garden, coleus... anything... it perks up the room instantly
- to extend the life of wilting flowers by cutting the stem off close to the end of the bloom and putting it in a shallow bowl/ deep saucer/ urli
- this is a one in a million..... i dont know about you, but i hate it when bathroom mirrors fog up....to stop your bathroom mirrors from fogging up, rub it with a little shampoo / liquid soap on a soft cloth.... its unbelieveable!! repeat every other week
- soak up a soft cloth in a few drops of coconut oil and water and rub polished wooden furniture with it... gives it an instant new life
- to tidy up in a hurry ... like when friends call to say they're around the corner and will pop in: put stuff that does'nt belong in that room into a pillow case/ plastic bag and stow away...this way you dont have to bother about finding a place to keep them... just bag it...works like a dream... if you are bothered about the mess enough to clean up that is.... and dont make a habit of piling up filled pillow cases...then you've completely lost the plot.
- the pillow cas clutter management also works when you need to empty out cupboards/ drawers and dont know where to put the stuff. put it all into a pillow case and just empty it out when you need to. this way, if you need all the stuff to stay together...it does. when i had to empty out 5 whole wardrobes recently while we had woodwork being done....this was a lifesaver
- it is good sense to always have a book handy to write down stuff: lists, reminders, to do's
- spend 5 mins a day, at anytime, to tidy up / put away 5 items that do not belong in the room/ on the table / fridge / wardrobe.... its kind of like "a stitch in time" and goes a loooong way
- store bedsheets along with matching pillow cases. saves time and energy when you want to change them... you wont go on a wildgoose chase... picking up just one pile at a time
- i use this thumbrule of organising and getting rid of clutter: if you dont use / need something you have put away in a box/ bag for 3 months, you wont EVER need it...there's your cue to sorting out stuff and guiltlessly throwing away horded stuff... that includes stacked up books and magazines!!
- set the table and serve food in pretty crockery... it immediately makes it look and feel better (i have a lot of inexpensive khurja ceramic crockery which i use daily, they can be used in the microwave, so heating leftovers isnt an issue)
- ALWAYS boil enough dal to last atleast 3 meals....freeze as individual portions
- chop veggies all at one go....preferably after you buy them and store in plastic bags / boxes... life is pretty chaotic without having to deal with veggies to chop after a long hard day at work
- chop tomatoes and zap in the microwave for 4-5 mins.... cool, puree and pour into ice trays to freeze.... remove and store in a bag in the freezer.... dals, gravies, pasta....here i come!!
- better still double the quantities of any gravy, freeze and store
- scraped fresh coconut stays good in the freezer for 2-3 months as opposed to in the fridge for 2 days
- its good to keep instant food for emergencies....but reaching for it three times a week is one too many emergencies!!
- making a meal plan for the week saves you the hassle of racking your head (whilst stuck in the veggie tray) about what to make for dinner / breakfast (multiply the same four times and you have a plan for the whole month)
- impose a "no more buying" till you finish groceries in your pantry...works better than tossing them out after they've crossed their best by dates
- grouping things together according to category / end product for storage makes life easier.... all baking stuff including dishes, electric mixer and decorations/sprinkles..... all kinds of pasta with spices....
- never have more than 5 takeaway containers at a time.... toss them out once they exceed 5 in number
- home made cookies and cakes, jams, chutneys etc make for great personalised gifts