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The New Stuff

Wish you a very happy new year!

Hmmm…last day of the year and last post for my blog in 2009…I remember writing a post on 31st Dec for this blog in 2008 as well. 2008 was bad, really bad as it was the year when Amitesh Bhaiya had left us forever but then the optimistic in me thought that next year will be fine. I had wished, prayed and hoped that 2009 would be better for us never to know that 2009 would actually turn out to be the worst year of our life till now as 2009 is the fateful year when fate snatched Kishu from us very brutally and callously! They say – all that happens is for good…well not really. I don’t think there can be any good in losing Kishu and Amitesh Bhaiya from our lives forever. Life will never be same after Kishu & Bhaiya. The days are passing on but certain losses are irrevocable and some pains can never be healed. You just somehow willingly or unwillingly learn to live with it. Some incidents do make you succumb to your fate and do break your belief towards so many aspects of life…now I don’t even know whether I should hope for a better 2010. Yes, the strong optimistic in me has slowly-slowly died with time; the staunch faith has faded away. Now I only know one thing – jo hona hai woh ho ke rahega.

Had read this beautiful poem by Shri Bachchan which describes my some of the thoughts so aptly now, we keep on hoping for something better, something new but then again hota wahi hai jo hona hota hai aur din beet hi jate hai jaise-taise...

लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई

लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई,
सूरज ढलकर पच्छिम पहुँचा,
डूबा, संध्या आई, छाई,
सौ संध्या-सी वह संध्या थी,
क्यों उठते-उठते सोचा था,
दिन में होगी कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई ।

धीमे-धीमे तारे निकले,
धीरे-धीरे नभ में फैले,
सौ रजनी-सी वह रजनी थी,
क्यों संध्या को यह सोचा था,
निशि में होगी कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई।

चिड़ियाँ चहकीं, कलियाँ महकी,
पूरब से फिर सूरज निकला,
जैसे होती थी सुबह हुई,
क्यों सोते-सोते सोचा था,
होगी प्रातः कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई,
- हरिवंश राय बच्चन

With these thoughts, I would end my post by wishing all my readers a very happy & prosperous new year. Hope the next year brings more sunshine to your lives, have a great year ahead! And please do pray for me and my family to have a peaceful 2010...

Hello, I’m there :-)

OMG, again I’ve not come back to my blog for soooo long and I only realized it when a reader emailed me that she is missing my posts. Looks like one of my resolutions for 2010 has to be about being regular on my blog. There are so many things which I wanted to blog about but blame it on twitter, farmville or busy schedule including weekends that I’ve not been able to do so. And December weekends are all the more pre-occupied, well with so many good movies releasing every Friday and some cool live concerts happening in Bangalore, how is one supposed to sit at home and spend time with laptop? The only thing which has made me spend time on my laptop over weekends is harvesting as it's just not possible for me to let my crops die at my farm in Farmville. Such a hard working farmer I’m! Apart from my kheti-baari, every weekend I've ended up watching some nice movies and I think all four movies which I watched in December were amazing - be it Scent of a Woman on DVD, or Paa, Rocket Singh and the latest one Avatar in theaters.

Hmmm one mention of Avatar and lo I'm again spell-bound. I think it would be prudent to say that I've not seen anything so magnificent and terrific in my life ever. This movie is simply outstanding and soooo....uh I'm running short of adjectives now. Story wise it was just another fantasy movie with added flavor of love story in it but visually it's a treat for your eyes. The 3D effects are mind blowing. There are scenes which have just made me jump out of my seat. It's thrilling and must must must watch for everybody. Do watch it no later than today in case you have not till now. Only a director of James Cameron caliber could have done justice to this film. And speaking of caliber, I think I need to mention the acting potential of Mr. Bachchan. With his character as Auro in Paa he once again has proved it that there is only one Amitabh Bachchan in overall cinema industry. Man, what a film and what a performance! Paa is a beautiful story of mother-son relationship (yea, I think it was more mother-son than father-son story as advertised in promo campaigns). BigB's portrayal as Auro just leaves you amazed, and the bigger surprise package is Vidya Balan as the mother of 13 year old Auro. Only an actor of Amitabh Bachchan's caliber could have done justice to this film. Once again a must watch, if you have not watched it till now. Rocket Singh was nice too but it’s definitely not a mass movie; mostly people with corporate career can relate to this movie better. I personally liked it. Scent of a woman was awesome, I don’t think I need to write anything about it; in fact I’m wondering why I never watched it earlier. Next on my "watch-list" is 3 idiots which I'm going to watch sometime soon.

So, that's all on movie front. Will be back with my year-end post in a day or two. In the meantime, here's wishing all my readers a very happy new year. Hope you're enjoying this holiday season to the fullest :-)

All Roads Lead To Ganga

I just realized that there has been a silence on my blog for quite some time now and it definitely needs to be broken soon, in fact right now. Though there are many topics on which I wanted to blog but considering my time availability, I think let me keep this post limited to the last book which I read by one of my favorite authors – Mr. Ruskin Bond.

There is something magical about him which just never lets me get bored of his writings ever. Finished reading “All Roads Lead to Ganga” recently, though I never read detailed travel books but still considering the fact that it was from Mr. Bond, I couldn’t resist picking this off the shelf. If nothing else, I was sure to enjoy the Ruskinista description of hills and valleys in the book and well the book surely came up to my expectations. This is a travel memoir, wherein Ruskin Bond captures the breathtaking beauty and splendor of this magical landscape, describing with nostalgia and affection the places and people he has lived with and encountered for over forty years. In a very engaging way he describes his different stages of lives at places like Garhwal, Mussorie, Dehradun, his simple life amongst simple people and the joy of living amidst nature and mountains of India. Here are few reasons which I think makes this book a very pleasurable read:
  • It’s simply mesmerizing. The lucid way, in which he describes the beauty of nature, somehow takes you to some other world, something which you now only get either in your weekend trips or some country side breaks.
  • As is the case with all Ruskin book, this one is also yet another epitome of simplicity and exquisiteness.
  • It makes you relive your childhood days when life was far away from city madness and rush, it makes you nostalgic for those days when plucking fruits from trees was for real, when bathing with cold water even during winters used to be natural and when festivals’ biggest charm used to be those mom cooked special yummy dishes! It does make you yearn for those quaint little charms of life.
A good read if you’re a Ruskin fan and if you’ve not read it till now. Read it recently that now he is coming with another book “Five” which is on adult relationships and complexities of life. For a change this book is not going to be set amongst hills and mountains. Now I’m so eager to read this book as soon as it comes out. BTW I also managed to read some other books in last month like “The Undomestic Goddess” by Sophie Kinsella which was fun like all other Kinsella series and “2 States” by Chetan Bhagat which was also nice and so relatable. But I’ll leave my views on 2 states for some other post. Time to end this one, hope to come back with another one soon :-)

Vandalism of Mumbai Wall Project

It was just Sunday when I was admiring the pictures of “Wall Project, Phase -II” shared by my Mumbai friends on Facebook, Twitter etc and within a day I get to read about vandalism of those lovely walls! This was actually a joint initiative of BMC and Mumbai citizens where a number of people turned out to paint and beautify the wall running along Tulsi Pipe Road, between Mahim and Matunga in Mumbai. Wall project as a concept has definitely grown noticeably since its inception; in fact what started just as an idea by a group of few enthusiastic people to do something to one of the compound walls in Bandra has become a large scale city wide beautification project now. Not only this is an interesting way of transforming the city walls, it is also an innovative way of preventing them from turning into a spittoon or cuspidor. I have personally seen this project on walls of Lalbaug, Bangalore and it’s simply awesome. I’ve been commuting on the same road daily for many months now but after those paintings are done the whole area has got a different vibrancy & liveliness altogether.

As a part of this initiative, BMC started the second stage last weekend where whole lot of bright and lovely pictures were painted by the citizens of Mumbai, some were based on alphabets whereas some had interesting messages. My personal favorite ones were "म से माँ" or "Ghar Ja ke Kar" :-). You can check the whole collection here. But within a day, all hard-work & efforts of citizens were just scrapped by the promoters of the movies Aladin, Gair & London Dreams. They didn’t even think twice before pasting the movie posters all over those painted walls!!! If you look at before & after images of the walls, you just can’t refrain yourself from a feeling of disgust and appall towards this insensitive sabotage.

Citizens are angry and rightly so at this step of movie marketers which has resulted to an outrage all across social media against this inconsiderate act of promoters. Many people have decided to boycott these movies. Seeing the repercussion, few actors and other associated people have apologized for this act and instructed to remove the posters, but the question is will removal of pictures solve the problem? Won’t those paper posters leave paste marks on the paintings? And how about their attitude or approach towards cityscapes? Isn’t it highly insensitive to go ahead and paste them at the first place? On one hand we have such bunch of enthusiastic people who spend their weekends towards enriching their cities and on other we have such thoughtless bunch who didn’t even think twice before ruining it. And no, I do NOT think that it’s the mistake of those poor poster guys who had stuck those posters, they have just executed what was instructed to them; it was surely the mistake of the planners who would have decided on the areas for their poster campaign. Also on second thought, in an OOH & hoarding dominated city like Mumbai, do we really need to spoil any wall (be it painted or plain ones) now for movie promotion??? Well, there are definitely more interesting mediums available for movie promotion than spoiling the beauty of your own city…

Blog Action Day – 2009: An Inconvenient Truth


OMG, I totally forgot that it’s 15th today; in fact I had already started a post for this day but then left it mid-way with an intention to wind it up on the actual day. So, here I am with my bit for this year’s Blog Action Day on Climate Change.

On this day I would like to contribute my bit with yet another movie recommendation to all my readers. Yea movie…well with movies good thing is that you can always find one to suit your mood & occasion – be it romance or break-up, glee like wedding to dread like terrorism, national issue like girl child to global one like climate change. This year’s Blog Action Day has been dedicated to Climate Change and on this day I strongly recommend all my readers to watch the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” of Al Gore. This is surely a must watch for all those who are aware or would like to be aware of the term global warming & it’s effect on our climate and surroundings.

"An Inconvenient Truth" directed by Davis Guggenheim is a 2006 released documentary film about former United States Vice President Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming and inspire them to take action…Here are 5 key reasons why you must not miss this movie at any cost:

  • This is a very well presented movie which has dealt with the issue of global warming in a totally different way.
  • It is not just a documentary or a story of despair but rather a real cry to protect the one earth we all share.
  • Even if the movie does not disclose the root cause of this burning issue but it does reveal some interesting figures & amazing insights on global warming which hits you hard enough to think more & more.
  • A cinematic food for thought, this movie is having more suspense than many thrillers and more emotion than many dramas. Most of all, it's scarier than any horror flick and what shakes you deep within is the fact that this horror is not fiction or fantasy, it’s for real!
  • It is one of those movies which not only got great response from viewers & reviewers but got thumbs up from many film critics too. In words of famous film critic Roger Ebert: "In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.

So, in case you’ve not watched it till now, I urge you to grab a copy of it soon and give it a try. I’m sure you’ll have a different perspective of environment & climate once you’ve watched this movie.


Reality TV hits its all time low!


It’s no more anger rather DISGUST on Indian reality television now. With programs like “Pati, Patni aur Woh”, “Rahul ka Swayamvar & “Bigg Boss 3” I’m wondering if there is any better reaction possible than this? Well, content wise I guess all of them are crap but the crappiest of the lot is surely “Pati, Patni aur Woh”. This program leaves me nothing less than AGHAST! I mean why on earth would people want their few months old kids to participate in such a weird program? Be it any class of the society, I’ve generally seen parents taking utmost care of their babies, but the way kids were handled in the initial few episodes of the program just makes you think again & again – what is it which would have acted as trigger enough for the parents to leave their infants in such a strange environment. Is it money or fame or both? And when you read justification like the following, all the more you start wondering if the parents really know what they are doing with their kids through all these reality programs.?As quoted by one of the parents in TOI:

"My husband and I did this purely as social work. All the celebrity couples are either married or are preparing to marry. So we are helping them for the future," said Shilpa Budhraja whose 10 month old son is one of the kids in the show.

!!!!!!!!!#######!!!!!. Ms. Budharaja, don’t you think there are zillions of better and more sensible ways to do social service than lending your kid to a reality show? Being a mother, the least you could have thought about is the distress and unease which such show can cause to your kid.

When I see the program and the way those 10-11 months old babies are handled, all I can feel is empathy for those kids and pity on their parents. Really hunger for fame can make you do anything! From the appearance of their parents I somehow don’t think it’s only money which is making them do so.

Indian reality television has been blatantly copying the western content format but with shows like Perfect Bride or Pati, Patni Aur Woh, I wonder do they even understand the impact of such shows on our society. And with almost every aspect of life becoming a reality program, what would be the next content now? Shaadi dikha diya, pregnancy ka natak bhi karwa diya, bachche bhi palwa liye, what next? “Rakhi ka suhaagraat” or “Rakhi maa kaise bani”??? Well, reality TV content has definitely hit its all time low and it does need a full stop in its flow now!

A special day celebrated with special kids

19th Sep-2009 was Kishu’s 1st b’day without him; I don’t think I have words to express my feelings for this date. Though not a single day goes by without remembering him but then seeing 19th everyday on the calendar of this month has been nothing less than an awful reminder of his absence from our lives. With each day drawing closer to 19th, I was getting restless and I kept on wondering what to do so that we all esp. my mom can survive through this day. Somehow I always fail to find words which can console her, maybe that’s because somewhere within I’m aware that she can’t be consoled. The whole thought of his excitement for his own b’day and then his anticipation with which he would wait for my gift, brings smile as well as tears in my eyes. Really, life has its own cruel ways of dealing with us.

After thinking a lot, I decided to spend this day in an orphanage and celebrate Kishu’s bday along with kids there. Though there are lots of orphanages around but on speaking I found some of them to be too commercial. Thanks to our friends Manish & Vibha who helped us in reaching Mr. Krishna Reddy and his orphanage “Santosh Charitable Trust”. I’ve done charity events as well as donations many times earlier in my life but my experience with Santosh Trust was so different that it definitely deserves a post in my blog.

It’s a small orphanage on Sarjapur Road with 35 kids ranging in age group of 3-15 years; some kids have lost their parents whereas some of them have been abandoned by their parents either due to financial constraints or due to marital issues. The founder Mr. Isaac Raj along with four other trustees is running this place but what makes it different from all other places is the grooming and personalities of kids there. We (me, my husband and another very close couple friends who also showed interest in joining us) went to this place on a Saturday afternoon along with Mr. Reddy & Vibha. Since for all four of us this was the first visit to this place we were not sure what all to take for the kids, after discussing with Mr. Reddy I had taken some gifts, along with cake, sweets and had already spoken to the trust for hosting a special lunch from my side for the kids that day; the other couple friends who were also as enthusiastic as us had bought loads of fruits and biscuits for those kids. I don’t know what all four of us had it in our minds but the first introduction with those kids itself just left us amazed. I mean all of them were so well behaved and spoke with absolute confidence. They were talking in fluent English and had such a smart way of expressing their thoughts. After their introduction we cut the cake on behalf of Kishu and they all sang in unison a birthday song for Kishu. I was crying and at the same time I had this very different feeling in my heart. A small and the only girl in the group came up to me and asked – “didi aap ro kyun rahi hai, apne bhai ke liye? Aapka toh sirf bhai gaya hai, mummy aur itne saare dost toh hai na, humko dekho humara toh koi nahi hai”…Speechless I stared at her blank face and deep eyes, couldn’t say a word beyond stroking her cheeks. Really, life has its own unique ways of communicating with us.

Post having lunch with them, we spent some more time with those kids as well as the founders. They explained us how this charity was formed and how it is running currently, its current state of finances and nearby future needs. For the first time we had encountered some charitable organization who had such a transparent and systematic approach towards managing the whole thing. And the result was obvious in terms of the personality of those kids – REMARKABLE will be one adjective which I think can do some justice to the impact which these kids created on us. While bidding them good bye all of us had this urge on our own to come back here again and do something for those kids. I’m not sure if souls exist but if they do, I’m sure Kishu would have been happy to see his special day being celebrated with those special kids. Thanks to Mr. Reddy and Mr. Isaac for making this day memorable and special thanks to all three friends who joined us so enthusiastically on their own and made it even more special for us.

While going I had this heavy heart in remembrance of Kishu but while coming out I had this peaceful heart in remembrance of Kishu.

Note: Those who would like to know more about this charity can visit http://www.santoshcharity.org/ and in case you would like to contribute something there, you can either contact Mr. Isaac through the website or can drop me an email and I would put you to the concerned person over phone.

“The Complete Persopolis” & “Marrying Anita”

Thankfully in last few weeks I have actually managed to catch up on some of the long pending readings. Though read quite a few but I think mention-worthy ones are only two – “Persepolis” for I liked it & “Marrying Anita” for I didn’t like it! And considering the reviews and hype, both these books have been there on my reading list for long now.

The Complete Persepolis, Author – Marjane Satrapi:

I simply loved this book. I had watched the movie earlier so, was aware of the story but still went ahead reading it mainly because of my love for caricatures and illustrations. And the book lived totally up to my expectations. Persepolis is an autobiography of Marjane told in a very unique way. It is the story of Marjane’s unforgettable childhood and her constrained life during Islamic Revolution in Iran; of her teenage and high school years in Austria, her dejected life followed by a comeback to Iran; of the contradictions between private and public life of people in Iran due to political influences and societal pressure; of self acceptance and denial of her own life, love, marriage, divorce and finally her self-imposed exile from her own country which she once loved a lot. Before Persepolis, I had very little idea about political conditions of Iran and its repressive environment, this book has given me a different perspective altogether about Iran and its people. In fact lots of incidences esp. the treatment of Iranian women sometimes made me think of British Raj, India before independence and suppressed lives of Indian women for ages, you suddenly find so many things relatable there. What is more beautiful about this book is the way it has dealt with such a serious topic, can you imagine a comic book on as heavy theme as this? Trust me, it’s captivating from start to end and graphics make the reading more interesting so much so that a person like me returned to certain sections just to glance at the visuals again. Kudos to Ms. Satrapi for such a great work and undoubtedly she is a great storyteller! A must read for all and highly recommended book from my side.

Marrying Anita, Author – Anita Jain:

Marrying Anita is a memoir of Anita a 30+ single NRI woman settled in US who travels to India in search of a husband. It starts with Anita’s observations on American dating system vis-a-vis Indian one and her analysis somehow makes her conclude that it would be easier for her to find herself a groom in a more conservative environment like India as against US. Thus starts her year long expedition to Delhi with one focused agenda on plate – MARRIAGE. Well, what in start seems to be an interesting journey actually ends up looking like a desperate excursion. Yeah, desperation is the apt word to explain Anita’s state, now what will you call relationship of a single woman with approx 10 guys in 12 months in a city like Delhi? And at the end none of them were successful. Page after page I kept on waiting for something different to happen but actually it was nothing more than a diary with a monotonous tone and dragging content. Forget about US, somehow description of life in Delhi too never seemed to be relatable. The theme was interesting but then the presentation was too drab, beyond few pages you almost could sense the direction of each chapter. Overall an average read with nothing much to look forward to.

And I was cribbing about...

Last weekend was sort of sickness special weekend for me – high fever with bad cold & severe body ache. Now personally speaking I think cold coupled with running or blocked nose is one of the most lethal combinations to have. To add to that, every other person was giving me advice on getting a swine flu test done. And most importantly her highness i.e., madam maid was on unannounced leave for past 3 days. Resultantly I was at my IRRITABLE best! Ready to shout even at the drop of a word! All I wanted to do was sleep silently but all I actually did was cribbing…

Somehow I managed to get a girl through a neighbor to do cleaning etc of my home but she quoted an abnormally high rate for a day’s work. Initially I got irritated on her quoted rate but then considering my health and knowing that any other maid would also try to extract money in this situation, I thought it better to get the work done by her. While she was mopping the floor of my bedroom, I observed her coughing badly. On enquiring and touching her forehead I realized even she was having high fever. I asked, “why are you working with water and that too at extra houses, go home & take rest?” She slowly replied, “karne do didi, extra paisa ka jaroorat hai. Mera 3 saal ka beta hai aur bimar hai, uske liye dava lena hai.” One look at her face and I felt she was not faking it; she looked genuinely in need of money. Not sure if my observations were right but I handed her the money and asked her to leave. And here I was cribbing about my fever…

In the afternoon, apartment manager sent two young boys to paint our balcony. Resting on my bed near window, I was keenly observing those kids painting the balcony so enthusiastically. One holding the ladder while the other climbing on it and brushing the ceiling. Suddenly we saw one of them jumping outside the balcony to paint the external panel, he was almost hanging in air with just one rope around his waist and the other end of rope in hands of the other boy. Immediately me and my husband went out and asked them not to do it like this to which the boy replied this was the only way to do it. I again insisted, “mat karo aise, kahi gir gaye tum toh, agar aise paint karna hai toh koi zaroorat nahi hai bahar paint karne ki.” The kid gave a hearty laugh, “kaise girenge didi, usne pakad rakha hai na rassi ko, aap bekaar ka tension le rahe ho, hum yeh roz karte hai, yahi kaam hai mera”. Worried I asked again, “tumko dar nahi lagta and tumhare kamar mein dard nahi hota hai”, he replied with a bright smile, “hota hai thoda bahut, lekin chalta hai”. Once they left after finishing the painting successfully, me and my husband were discussing the meager money versus high risk and pain which those kids must be getting! And here I was cribbing about my body ache…

Evening it was raining and I stood in my balcony with a cup of tea. Generally I enjoy such lovely weather but maybe because of fever and cold somehow I didn’t like the chill and rains that day. Suddenly I saw 3 poor kids drenched in rain running in the opposite ground after something, it was actually a big plastic sheet which was floating in air; wind must have blown it from somewhere else. The moment it came down they jumped, snatched and brought it down on the ground. Once they had that big plastic in their hands, all of them stood in a row. The ones on the outermost corners held the sheet like a hood on their heads and the middle one raised his hand to keep it high. Three of them started walking together with their hands up holding the sheet straight, though already wet but still struggling to save themselves from rain through that temporary plastic shelter. And here I was cribbing about rain & cold…

Not sure if it was my silence or thoughtful mood which made me observed all this but while I observed it just set me to think more…

Kaminey: MaFt & NiFe watch :)

Mujhe toh movie maft lagi & Shahid ekdam jhakkaf! Aur ab jake samajh mein aaya ki yeh finema wale “Now Fowing” kyun likh rahe the har jagah :). Well, I’m not much of action flicks fan but for a change I actually liked some gang-war movie. After Omkara Vishal Bharadwaj has created his magic yet again with Kaminey! Now people like Farhan Akhtar or Vishal Bharadwaj really leave me amazed, how can one person excel in so many fields? Vishal not only is a great music composer but he is equally wonderful as director, producer, singer as well as writer! You need to watch Kaminey as well as listen to the song Kaminey to experience it on your own.

If I describe the story, it will sound clichéd. Twin brothers (Shahid Kapoor) Charlie & Guddu, one good & one bad, poor ailing father, financial crunch in the family, bad became bad in need of money, good hates the bad one, has a girl friend Sweety (Priyanka Chopra), cool songs like Aaja aaja dil nichode & Raat ke dhai baje and some X number of different gangs in the story to create those twists n turns and dhishoom dhadam! But still I liked it simply because of its intelligent direction. Such a stereotype story but presented in such a clever way that it leaves you hooked on to your seat from start to end. At the end you definitely feel it once – oh that’s all about it, I mean a judwaa bhai saga is all it is about, but then when you think about how engrossed you were into the movie, you definitely feel it was a paisa vasool. Sometimes even typical stuffs can be presented in an atypical way! Shahid was awesome or rather awefome ;), this has to be one of his best performances till date; though Priyanka had a very small role but still lived up to it wonderfully. Surprise package was Bhope Bhau (Amol Gupte), he was really outstanding in his performance. I loved his character so much, even other dadas be it Taji or Bangali babus, all have done a good job.

Overall I loved the movie and would definitely recommend it to all. Go for it for the smart direction of Vishal Bharadwaj, that “fortcut & chota fortcut” funda of Shahid or for that cute dialogue of him where he speaks, “main फ ko फ bolta hoon” :).

Other details of the movie:
  • Duration of the movie: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Best to watch it with: Spouse, friends, family but it has some scenes and dialogues which are not meant for kids.
  • Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Amol Gupte, Tenzing Nima
  • Director: Vishal Bharadwaj
  • My Rating: 3.5 / 5 (Very Good)

Swine Flu: Helpline & some quick details

Since morning it was the third incident, first I read in TOI about few swine flu cases in Bangalore, then an old neighbor called to check if I know of any helpline number for Bangalore as her kid was having fever along with cold and then a very close friend rang asking me to surf internet immediately to find out some test center near her locality, her daughter who is studying in a Montessori school was sneezing and school administration had called my friend requesting to take her daughter back home. Now when I heard about this friend’s daughter, it immediately sent some panic waves within me. Though I had read that sneezing is not the key symptom for swine flu & it can happen due to any other reason like allergy, weather change etc. but then when you hear it happening with a kid who is such a close acquaintance, you suddenly become conscious of everything. You don’t feel like taking a chance even if the symptoms are remotely associated to something as grave as swine flu!

I’ve been reading and listening about swine flu for past so many days but never before I realized the urgency to know more about it as today. I immediately surfed internet only to realize that test centers are not available in all localities, there are only few designated hospitals which are conducting tests as well as providing treatment to the patients, looking for a helpline number was also not that quick! After passing on the relevant details to my friend and that neighbor, I started to read more on internet; while there are lots of information and news (read panic news) available but it took me some time to come out with information which can be relevant to people who are looking for help in a jiffy. Here are some info which I have culled out from internet & I think can be useful to those looking out for quick help:

  • Symptoms: Swine flu symptoms are similar to the symptoms of regular flu and include fever of over 100.4°F, fatigue, lack of appetite, and cold. Some people with swine flu have also reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Nearly everyone with flu has at least two of these symptoms. You can read more about it here.
  • Though it can infect anybody but kids and pregnant women are more prone to this virus.
  • Relevant websites: Though lots of websites are available but I found the following two websites to be most comprehensive ones, you can get to know almost everything at one place.

http://www.swinefluindia.com/ AND

http://www.in.com/swineflu/

  • Helpline number for Bangalore: Govt of Karnataka’s helpline number for swine flu is 91-80-26631923 and the address for test center is:
    SDS & Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases(Govt. of Karnataka), Hosur Road, Bangalore - 560 029
    You can look for helpline numbers of your respective city from any of the two links above.
  • This disease is highly contagious and one of the most infectious ones. So take appropriate precautions, avoid sending your kids to schools, travelling to infected areas and if you must travel use the facemask to reduce the risk.

Though take appropriate precaution but most importantly, don’t panic unnecessarily. Not every running nose or fever is swine flu. These can be symptoms of general flu as well!

*If you know of any more websites or information related to swine flu which you think can be useful to all, do send it as comments, I will include it in this post with due credit so that it can reach the relevant audience.



Update: Just updating some details which someone has left as comment on my post.
List of govt hospitals for test and curing of the SWINE FLU (H1N1 virus)

Bangalore
1) Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest DiseasesNear NIMHANS, Hombegowda NagarBangalore-560029+91-80-26632634+91-80-26631923http://rgicd.com/
2) Victoria Hospital Fort RoadKalasipalyamBangalore-560002080 26703294

Karnataka health and family welfare department on Friday, Aug 7 identified six private hospitals, which would now quarantine Swine Flu cases and treat them. They are listend below:
3) Mallya HospitalVittal Mallya RdBengaluru080 22277979Emergency: 080 22242325
4) Vaidehi hospital#82, K.R. Puram HobliWhite FieldBangalore -560066080-28413381/ 080-28413382/ 080-28413383Emergency: 080 41259032
5) Ambedkar Medical Institute and HospitalKadugondanahalliBangalore-560045080 25463442‎
6) St Johns HospitalSarjapur Main Road, Bangalore- 560034080 25532037
7) Manipal Hospital Airport RoadBangalore- 560017080 2502 4444 080 2502 3344Fax:+ 91 80 2526 6757
8) Mallige Nursing Home Mariappa Road, SiddapurJayanagar Bangalore - 560011080 26565678


Update as on 13th August'09: After reading my post, many people are sending me more information to be included in this post which can be useful to others. Thanks to al of them. I'm posting here the ones which I think can be relevant to this post:


Thanks Neha for the following information!


GOVERNMENT AUTHORIZED HOSPITALS FOR TREATMENT OF SWINE FLU:

Chennai
1.) King Institute of Preventive Medicine (24/7 Service)
Guindy, Chennai – 32
(044) 22501520, 22501521 & 22501522

2.) Communicable Diseases Hospital
Thondiarpet, Chennai
(044) 25912686/87/88, 9444459543

3.) Government General Hospital
Opp. Central Railway Station, Chennai – 03
(044) 25305000, 25305723, 25305721, 25330300

Pune
1.) Naidu Hospital
Nr Le'Meridian, Raja Bahadur Mill, GPO, Pune – 01
(020) 26058243

Kolkata
1.) ID Hospital
57,Beliaghata, Beliaghata Road, Kolkata - 10‎
(033) 23701252

Coimbatore
1.) Government General Hospital
Near Railway Station,
(0422) 2301393, 2301394, 2301395, 2301396
Trichy Road, Coimbatore – 18

Hyderabad
1.) Govt. General and Chest Diseases Hospital,
Erragadda, Hyderabad
(040) 23814939

Mumbai
1.) Kasturba Gandhi Hospital
Near Chinchpokli Railway Station,Opp. Arthur Road, Chinchpokli, Mumbai
(022) 23083901, 23092458, 23004512

2.) M T Agarwal Hospital
Dr. R P Road, Mulund (W), Opposite ESIS Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai
022-25605729, 25605730

3.) Rajawadi Hospital
Rajawadi Road, Ghatkoper (East), Mumbai
022-25094151/ 25094153/ 25094150/ 25094149

4.) Bhabha Hospital
Waterfield Road, R. K. patkar Marg, Bandra(West), mumbai
022-26422775/ 26429828/ 26406787

5.) Bhabha Hospital
Belgrami Road, Kurla (West), Mumbai
022- 26500144/26500241

6.) Bhagwati Hospital
Tulsibaug, S. V.Road, Boriwali (West), Mumbai
022-28932461/ 28932462/ 28932463

7.) S K Patil Hospital
Daftary Road, Malad (East), Mumbai
022-28899447/ 028894381

8.) Cooper Hospital
Irla Juhu Link road, Vile Parle (West) Mumbai
022-26207254/ 22605892/ 22605897

9.) V N Desai Hospital
V. desai Road, Santacruz (West), Mumbai

10.) Shatabdi Hospital
Waman Tukaram Pat Marg, Govandi (East), Mumbai
022-25564069/ 27662933

11.) Mahatma Phule Hospital
Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli (East), mumbai
022-25782253/ 25782283

12.) J J Hospital
Off. J.J Road, Byculla, Behind Byculla Police Station, Mumbai
022-23735555/23739031


Kochi
1.) Government Medical College
Gandhi Nagar P O, Kottayam - 08
(0481) 2597311,2597312

2.) Government Medical College
Vandanam P O, Allapuzha - 05
(0477) 2282015

3.) Taluk Hospital
Railway Station Road, Alwaye, Ernakulam
(0484) 2624040 Sathyajit - 09847840051

4.) Taluk Hospital
Perumbavoor PO, Ernakulam 542
(0484) 2523138 Vipin - 09447305200

Delhi
1.) All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)
Ansari Nagar, Aurobindo Marg Ring Road, New Delhi – 29
(011) 26594404, 26861698 Prof. R C Deka - 9868397464

2.) National Institute for Communicable Diseases
22, Sham Nath Marg,
(011) 23971272/060/344/524/449/326
New Delhi – 54

3.) Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital
Kharak Singh Marg,
(011) 23741640, 23741649, 23741639
New Delhi – 01
Dr. N K Chaturvedi – 9811101704

4.) Vallabhai Patel Chest Institute
University Enclave, New Delhi- 07
(011) 27667102, 27667441, 27667667, 27666182



& thanks Nitin for shraing the following information:


Scientific Prevention of Swine Flue using Household Products


1. Inhale Clove Oil (Lavang) For 1 Second.


2. Chew 1 Clove In a Day


3. Eat Raw Garlic (Lasun), Onion, Ginger (Aale) (1 to 5gm)


4. Drink Hot Milk With 2gm of Turmeric


5. Consume Plenty Of Vit C Fruits-Lemon/ Avala


6. Eat 8 to 6 leaves of Tulsi empty Stomach Twice a day


7. Burn Camphor oil in your room, office a slight camphor oil all the time which keeps different airbone diseases away .


Love Aaj Kal: Kal was better than Aaj!

Well, too many things to blog about again but sigh for I am not getting time to be regular on blogs. Reasons are many actually, but those deserve a separate post, as of now lemme stick to the movies & books which I read recently. But before that would like to share one of my articles which came on pluggdin today, check out: Twitter getting Twilmy: An opportunity for brands? @ http://www.pluggd.in/bollywood-celebrities-on-twitter-what-indian-brands-can-learn-from-twilmy-tweets-297/

Watched Love Aaj Kal last weekend and since then have been planning to do a post on it but…anyways coming down to this movie, I think I have a very confused reaction towards it. I liked it and I didn’t like it. Now the confusion is which reaction is the dominant one? I think the later one; I found it to be just an ok type movie, maybe a one-time watch for those who love light Bollywood flicks. I very much like Bollywood movies but this was just another movie for me which has nothing special to be shared except for the way it has been made, that was definitely new. Some parts were enjoyable like Veer Singh’s (Young Rishi Kapoor played by Saif Ali Khan) love story with Harleen Kaur (a brazillian model Giselle Monteiro) but other aspects of the movie were really big disappointments esp. Deepika Padukone; she looked gorgeous, absolutely ravishing but her acting was pathetic! It was as good as an exotic looking dish but salt missing in it! This has to be one of her most plastic performances ever. Even very powerful scenes were lifeless because of her expressionless expressions. Saif Ali Khan was good but I found him better in his sardar old generation role, in fact overall also I found the “Kal Love” to be better than the “Aaj Love” in the movie. Music was great but the most promoted song was not a part of the movie, it was at the end as a part of concluding casting. Surprise package was definitely Neetu Kapoor, ah I love the grace of that lady so much that her presence (even though it was hardly for a minute or two) just gave a lift to that movie. She looked as fabulous as ever. So, in case you’ve not watched this movie till now, go for it for that slight glimpse of Neetu Kapoor or for the sweet love story of Veer & Harleen. That part is definitely worth a watch!



Is there really any helpline available for women in India?

Last week I got a call from a close family member who lives in a relatively middle sized town up north, getting a call from her at that odd hour was definitely bit surprising. But after picking up the phone, came to know the urgency. Her neighbor was in deep trouble and desperately seeking some official help, it was yet another case of domestic violence which she has been going through for years now but that night things had crossed their limits. She tried to contact local police station but apparently the husband being rich & influential had managed things in his favor. My relative asked me if I know of any such helpline or can I find one from internet and send her the numbers else that lady might not be even alive till next morning. Both me & N started to google such numbers frantically and within few minutes we were able to get many links and pages on women related helpline as well as NGOs against domestic violence like this, this, this & this. Quickly we called back & passed on all the numbers to the concerned person, only to get a call back in 15 minutes saying none of the numbers were being picked up including the Govt. 1091 one! We wondered as some of the numbers had “24x7 helpline” prefixed to them but still no response! That lady was crying on other side of the phone & we were left with no other option than to say some sympathetic words to her. But still there was this faint hope that maybe next morning she might be able to get through at least few of them.

Next day I spoke to this relative asking if her neighbor got any help, she responded back in a sad “no”; in fact the lady was beaten badly by her husband that night and went through hell lot of physical torture. Now some relatives had come to sort out the matter and asked neighbors to not interfere in husband-wife relationship with the same clichéd logic – doosre ke ghar mein aaplog mat boliye, pati-patni ka maamla hai, aapas mein suljha lenge. Phew, when relatives interfere we know how much the decision would be in favor of that lady :(.

But the fact that none of the numbers were reachable / contactable left me totally amazed. Out of curiosity I myself started to check out on some numbers, dialed many including 1091 to see the response & well despite repeated rings nobody picked the phone at all. Dismayed I spoke to few of my friends asking if they know of any number which a woman can call in India in case of any such urgency and nobody knew of even one responsible number at all. I also read lots of coverages on women related helpline in different states, NGOs, online initiatives like “Bell Bajao” etc but what left me surprised was the actual execution of all these initiatives and on ground presence of such bodies. Out of all these I definitely found “Bell Bajao” website & wiki page to be bit helpful but then aren’t those info actually limited to internet savvy women who can surf internet & read them online? What about those women who are not online, who are not from metro cities & are not educated enough to write mails etc to NGOs? Now this was a case of domestic violence, how about instances of stalking, theft, rapes etc.? Can help arrive at the moment of need? Is there really any authentic helpline for women? I’ve no answer…In case you know of any such number or have got help from concerned authorities in times of need, do share your experiences along with contact details of such helping authorities. If I get some details, I would definitely like to compile such list & pass it onto all the women I know.

Indian Cinema & World Movies

A quick update: Would like to share two of my articles which got published on two different portals today, thanks Pluggdin & BlogAdda for selecting these!

Would love to see your comments on these.


Back with “Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince”

Well, I’ve been off from blogging scene for last 2 weeks now. Wondering which one could have been the larger reason for the same – hectic work, my intention to be off laptop after work hours till late night, writing some long work related documents thereby lesser intent to write personal posts or a combination of all these? I think larger one is definitely me not being on laptop for long at nights these days but I think I’m enjoying it like this as of now. At least I’m able to trade off that time with gym or walk. Now that I’m back I have too many things to share but lemme stick to only one topic for this post & that has to be of course HARRY POTTER :-).

Yes, yes I watched it on Saturday itself, though missed initial few minutes of it (thanks to horrible Bangalore traffic on weekends)!!! And I am the kind of person who has to watch a movie from absolute START i.e., from that censor board certificate to Chopra or Mehra presents…so one can understand the frustration of missing the beginning of a movie like Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince! Grrrrr…###...!!!...but few minutes into the movie & my anger simply vanished as I got completely engrossed in it. As any other HP movie, it was fun & captivating. Lord Voldermort, the Death Eaters wreck havoc in London and danger is hovering over Hogwarts too. In Hogwarts, during a potion making class, Harry comes across an old copy of book belonging to ‘Half Blood-Prince’. From there starts a perilous journey of Harry along with old Dumbledore leading to different twist & turns and finally a dark end. Of course I’m not going to give you all details of the movie in the interest of those who have not watched it till now. Anyways, Harry Potter movies are review-proof I think, whatever be the feedback or critic rating you have to read the book or watch the movie to experience it on your own. Movie was good but well it was less of fantasy & more of drama this time. Ron & Hermione were more interested in their love lives than the problems surrounding Hogwarts and their acting somehow seemed to be very plastic, others surely were damn good. Despite being a good movie, I somehow felt that there was something amiss and this definitely did not qualify as “my most favorite Harry Potter movie” for sure. A darker shade with an end which leaves you wanting for more, this movie overall is surely a must-watch for all Potter lovers and one-time watch for others. After all you need to see the movie at least once which has broken all records of midnight BO collection :-)
Other details of the movie:
  • Duration of the movie: 2 hours 40 mins
  • Best to watch it with: Anyone, but a better treat with kids.
  • Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Gombon, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Jim Broadbint
  • Director: David Yates
  • My Rating: 4 / 5 (Very Good)

So much to watch on television now!

I’ve been spending some considerable amount of time on television these days, 1 hour daily is definitely considerable as per my standards. Reason – prime one being my motive to avoid working on laptop till late night esp. after office hours due to health reasons, secondary being the intent to get involved in other activities beyond internet / work & third the most important being the fresh & interesting content on Indian Television now. For me television has never been an engagement medium at all, it’s long that I have watched anything with continual interest on television, thanks to the soaps showing bahus working in kitchen with kanjeevaram or bridal chiffon sarees, their 10kg gold jewelry clad look or 1 feet long bindi adorned faces, somehow like many other today’s generation Indian women even I could not relate to those ever conspiring saas-bahu serials at all. Trust me, the kind of strategies & conspiracies they make in those soaps, I’m sure such women (if at all they exist in real world) can make very good diplomats or high commission planner in Indian Embassy. To add to that the frustration of at least 1 million (or is it more?) reality shows running on each channel every day where people are either singing or dancing or bitching AND crying. By the word AND before CRYING I definitely mean that crying is an inclusive & not mutually exclusive activity in any reality show. Now whether you are dancing or singing or playing a game, you HAVE to cry, else your participation is not deemed fit enough for the winning candidature. Sigh!!!

A lethal combination of such “mera pati mera devta hai” soaps & “mujhe meri maa ke liye jeetna hai” reality shows was force strong enough to put me off television for quite some time now. I did watch few new concepts here & there like Ballika Vadhu on Colors but even there, I lost my interest because of its dragging content. So, of late even if I used to sit in front of television it was either with a book or with my laptop in hand. But some 10 days back, a cute girl “Antara” managed to grab my attention finally on Zee so much so that her innocent looking face made me put that book down & watch the serial intently till the end. The end of that episode made me curious enough to wait for its next episode & lo’ now I’ve been watching “Aapki Antara” continuously for last week & a half. I must say it’s a damn nice serial which Zee is telecasting these days at 8:30 pm. Not only this, there are many new programs on each channel now which in terms of presentation and content are far cry as compared to their old counterparts. There is Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya hi Kijo on Zee, Bhaskar Bharti, Ladies Special & Entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega on Sony and many others on channels like NDTV Imagine, Colors etc; surprisingly none of these are having the typecast indian saas, bahus or patis.

Thank god, finally Indian Television Industry has accepted the change in Indian Consumer’s taste! I had written about Sony re-branding on my marketing chit-chat blog earlier but well, in terms of content I think not only Sony rather the overall television industry has gone for a major facelift. I think soap producers have finally understood that today’s consumers prefer to watch a “Rock On” as against “Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi” or a “Dostana” as against “Yuvraaj”. Like many other things, Indian consumer has undergone a change in their television viewing habit too and hence television producers need to keep up with times if they want to capture today's generation. As of now I’m loving this change & I just hope they keep on innovating to sustain this change in the long run too :-).
It's time for me to end this post & catch up on entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega now :-)

Updates from Marketing Chit-Chat: 1st June - 30th June'09

Posted these on Marketing Chit-Chat last month, would love to see your comment there:
  • Facebook URLs – Good for personal branding: Which one sounds better? http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/profile.php?id=123456&ref=profile (dummy id) or http://www.facebook.com/kanupriyasindhu? Clearly 2nd one, isn’t it? Read More...
  • Re-branding of Sony Television: I got the chance to catch up on television tonight after almost 3-4 weeks & when I saw the complete video “ghar aayi hai khushi” today I realized that it’s a promo video of Sony channel itself. Read More...
  • It's makeover time for Videocon: Saw an interesting cute green colored animation ad yesterday on one of the news channels, they were showing some birds & the reason for my increased curiosity along with resistance to switch channel during that break was the fact that those birds were somewhat resembling twitter bird . But that ad actually had nothing to do with twitter & to my surprise it ended to be of none other than the traditional consumer durable giant (or shall I say erstwhile giant) Videocon. The clipping ended with a message – change is happiness. Seeing such a major brand makeover from sturdy steel colored V to a fluid green colored V was indeed a happy change. Read More...

Magic of Rain

Magic of Rain

Thoughts drifting with drifting clouds
As I sit here & watch the crowd;
Lightning flashes the life so far
Moments of glee & the deep scars.

A drop from eye, a drop from sky
Tears & rain don’t seem to be ally;
I hope the rain wins this affray
And it washes all my tears away.

Rain has always this magic on me
It touches that me hidden within me;
Rain reminds me those golden years
And also helps me hide my tears.
- Kanupriya

Wrote this while lazing in my balcony this weekend- sunset with rain with solitude. Though never wanted to write a sad one but somehow this is what came out. I think it was because even one moment of solitude or time with myself quickly reminds me of how life has changed over years and this rain reminded me of my childhood days when me & my brothers used to just go out in our aangan & get wet like crazy…For all other craziness, I always behaved like an elder sister and stopped them from doing any such things but for being drenched in rain I was always the first one amongst them to run out in our aangan & enjoy the rains…Some changes like absence of Kishu from our lives is really one of the most unacceptable & unbelievable changes till date…

If it has to be a morning in B’lore, it has to be @ Nandi Hills!

Yup, I strongly feel so esp. after my recent visit to Nandi Hills. This was not my first visit to this absolutely serene place which is just 60 kms from Bangalore but the difference this time was that I had an overnight stay at the hills there. Thanks to our friends who insisted to stay there at night & then enjoy the quietude of that place. I must say that the difference in experience was startling.

My in-laws side of family is here right now & we wanted to take them to some silent & calm place. Now what better place than Nandi Hills which is so close to Bangalore & yet seems to be so far from the regular hustle-bustle of the city. I’m sure anybody who has lived in Bangalore for even few months would have definitely gone to this place at least once. But I’m not sure how many of them would have done the mistake of doing a day trip like us? Trust me, if you really want to enjoy this place you need to experience the morning of Nandi Hills. I don’t remember when was the last time when I had breathed such fresh air, felt such lovely breeze, seen such picturesque sunrise & played amongst such vivid clouds. The descent of cloud outside our rooms or on the plateau was such that the literal phrase “playing with clouds” seemed to be absolutely real at that moment. Have a look on the following pictures, & you’ll know why I say now – “If it has to be a morning in Bangalore, it has to be @ Nandi Hills”:



To add to this quaint experience, the weather that day was simply awesome. Heavy rains with that typical smell of wet soil all around! Ahhhh :-). If you wanna go for a short & economical break from Bangalore, then in this weather, Nandi Hills is surely one of the perfect options for you.

Other Details of the place:

  • About Nandi Hills: The Nandi Hills or the hills of the Nandi have been named after the bull of Lord Shiva. Also known as Nandidurga, it was the summer retreat of Tipu Sultan in old days.
  • Distance from Bangalore: 60 kms
  • Best mode to travel: By road, route is very simple & driving experience is great.
  • Route: Now with international airport at Devanhalli, one hardly needs to write directions for this place. It’s on the same route, after Devanhalli, you need to take a left (there is a sign board having a left arrow for Nandi Hills at that turn) and keep going straight.
  • Places to Stay: One of our friends had arranged our stay in “Nehru Nilaya”, a govt. guest of indian Horticulture Dept. and it was really-really good considering its price. Room ranges from Rs. 260 – Rs. 1000/- plus taxes, only catch is you can’t book these rooms on phone or online. You’ve to physically go to Lalbaug in Bangalore to get the rooms booked. Apart from these, there were lots of other good accommodation options too on Nandi Hills, both at the foot as well as on top of the hills.
  • Best time to visit: All year, though if you’re one of those who enjoy rain then May-July is the perfect time to go. It’s really scenic at this time.
  • Places to see there: The best thing which you can do at this place is relax in the mid of nature, it really refreshes you after a hectic week of work. But if you want to explore this place further, you can check out Yogi Nandishvara Temple, Suicide Point, remains of Tipu fort, Amrit Sarovar & Brahmashram. This ashram is a small cave with very cool temperature inside and is a good place to sit silently & have a tryst with your own self.

Indian Writing in English

I happened to visit a prominent book store recently to buy some books as gift for a friend. After surfing around here & there, I thought of checking about latest addition through the store manager himself.

Me: Hi, can you recommend me some latest light reads?
Store Manager: Sure mam, what kind of language?
Me: English. BTW I always thought you keep only English books, do you’ve books of other languages too? I’m also looking for a very popular hindi title.
Store Manager: Sorry mam, we keep only English.
Me: Oh, so you asked what kind of language?
Store Manager: I meant you want to check out “Actual English” books or “Indian Writing in English”?
“Actual English” or “Indian writing in English”!!!
Me: Anything will do, show me some recent best sellers.

The manager showed me a stack of recent bestsellers & well the shelf consisted of maximum books by Indian authors only. Considering the fact that I’m an ardent fan of Indian writing, at one hand I was happy to listen to a separate categorization like “Indian writing in English” but at the same time this thing of “Actual English” or “Indian Writing in English” sounded nothing less than some sort of label for Indian authors. I think it was the word “actual” which created all the difference in terms of image! I was surprised to listen to it esp. because it was coming from a store manager himself!

Another incident was while chatting with this friend of mine who asked me to recommend her some romantic reads but immediately added - “don’t tell me one by an Indian author, they don’t have variety. And the language is also too desi”! “NO, I don’t agree” was the quick response which came out of my mouth.

Its years now that Indian authors have come of age. In fact as far as writing talent is concerned, India has always been a rich country since centuries. Think of the origin of the likes of Kabir, Tulsidas, Rahim, Mira Bai to the likes of V.S.Naipaul, Upmanyu Chatterjee, Amitav Ghosh & Kiran Desai, hasn’t India been there on the global literati roll forever??? Yes, a noticeable difference is definitely the trend of shifting language, thanks to all globalization & exposure to international culture that more & more Indian writers are writing in English now. Not only they are writing in English, rather they are creating a mark across continents with their stories & presentations. If you ask me as a reader, I think now-a-days every second book which I read is by an Indian author. And I totally enjoy it; I get whole lot of variety, I find the characters to be more relatable, plot to be more enjoyable & language to be absolutely at par with any other international author. To add to that in case the authors use some kind of local languages& phrases in between, then it’s nothing less than a mast tadka on dal, such seasonings give the book an additional flavor all together.

I was under the impression now that gone are the days when it was sort of uncool to read an Indian writing & if you’ve to flaunt a book you have to definitely take any other name apart from Indian one. But labels like “Actual English” and “Indian authors write too desi” leave me wondering once again. Are we still living in the age when Indian writing in English is not considered at par with other international counterparts? Do you still think of “Indian writing” as a separate label??? Well, all I can tell such people who have this opinion is to dive into the ocean of Indian writing seriously & then only you will have an estimate of the real depth of it. Yes, there are some crappy ones too but so are they there in those so called "Actual English" collections too.

Luck has bid its final adieu


Hope seems to be fading away,
Optimism is on the verge to betray;
Life is painted all over blue,
Luck has bid its final adieu.

Nothing seems to be going right,
Peaceful days are out of sight;
Problems are many, solutions a few,
Luck has bid its final adieu.

Shattered dreams n grit weakened,
Life seems to have reached a dead-end;
Now I don’t know what to do,
Luck has bid its final adieu.

- Kanupriya

This picture is one of my acrylic paintings done last year & as far as this post is concerned, ummm very unlike of me to write something in this style. Initially I wrote a post about absence of “Mr. Luck” from my life in a general paragraph style but few editing here & there has given it a shape like this. Wondering what could be the reason for the same – maybe I’m into lots of poems these days esp. hindi ones as I am working on typing & editing whole lot of poems of my mom or maybe it’s my gloomy & introspective mood! Hmmm…

Updates from Marketing Chit-Chat: 26th May'09 - 1st June'09

Posted this on Marketing Chit-Chat last week, would love to see you there. This post was also selected by "Blogadda for their spicy saturday picks".
  • Why Marketers should use Twitter?: I had personally joined twitter more than a year & half back but was not an active user of the account then. Initially, I just used to read updates from the people whom I was following & then slowly got into posting my updates too. Read More...

Lost Laugh!

29th May – An unforgettable day, a historic day, a day which just left us numb & shaken & blank. It’s exactly one year today since I would have had a:

A laugh,
A hearty laugh,
A carefree laugh,
A true laugh,
A loud laugh,
A wholehearted laugh,
A laugh like this;


A guilt free laugh! Yeah, today even if I laugh there is an immediate guilt, an inner guilt, a guilt of realization that I’m actually laughing without Amitesh Bhaiya & Kishu! It’s exactly one year today when Amitesh Bhaiya left us all shattered & traumatized. But as if that was not enough, God decided to take Kishu also away just after eight months, leaving me, Ma & Kaushik mourning and devastated forever. Can life change like this so much in just 1 year? Yes, it does…kya se kya ho gaya!
Bhaiji (As we used to call Amitesh Bhaiya lovingly): Saying that we miss you will be an understatement, in fact we never have forgotten you even for a moment to miss you. Remembering you today badly on this dreadful day & pray for the peace for your soul…

Note: In the pic from left to right – Amitesh Bhaiya (though not blood relative but far closer to me than my own brothers), Kaushik (my youngest brother) & Kishu (my younger brother who left us this February). This pic was taken last year when we all had met during a festival for the last time "together" at my native place.


The Jane Austen Book Club


Well, finally finished reading this book & it was like yawwwnnn! It definitely gets listed in my “drag-gone” category; yeah it was draaaaggggging & finally was gone after lots of effort! Uh the thought of writing about this book itself makes me feel zzzzzzz. But still I will write about it in the interest of those who can pick up this book reading all the good testimonials mentioned on its cover. In fact I had picked up this book with lots of expectations myself esp. because had heard whole lot of good things about the movie based on this book & secondly the cover page of the book really hard sells it to be a great reading. My general assumption is that if it’s a movie based on any book then generally the book is better to read as compared to watching the movie but guess I was wrong in this case. Book was definitely not worth the hype.

As the title suggest, “The Jane Austen Book Club” is a story of six members of a book club who meet & discuss Jane Austen’s novels once a month. The group consists of 5 women – Jocelyn, Sylvia, Prudie, Allegra, Bernadette & 1 man – Grigg. Jocelyn who is the initiator of this book club believes that it is essential to reintroduce Austen into your life regularly & that’s why she starts this book club. Each of their monthly book club meeting unfolds their own stories & some association with Austen’s novels.

Personally speaking I loved Austen’s novels & hence thought I might like a book which is based on a book club of Jane Auten, but then I will say I was disappointed. Mainly because this book lacked the grip to hold my attention, after a few pages itself I lost my interest & found the flow of the book to be very confusing. Till last I could not understand the main point which author was trying to make. I know it was meant to be a light & fun read but somewhere it never served that purpose. So, from my side it’s a thumbs down for this book totally.

Other details of the book:
Author
: Karen Joy Fowler
Price: I had bought it a dirt cheap price in a book sale :-) but think the original price of the book is Rs. 560/-
Special Note: It took me 7 weeks to drag & finally finish this 243 paged book. Reason – couldn’t read more than 10 pages at one go!

I’m off to “Marrying Anita” now, was supposed to read “Outliers” but guess I need to read a funny book after this Book Club thingy before I go for a serious read :-)

Updates from Marketing Chit-Chat: 21st April'09 - 25th May'09

Posted these on Marketing Chit-Chat in last few weeks, would love to see you there:
  • Kingfisher Holidays – IPL promotion: It was the last commercial break during IPL last night & guess the 1st ad being aired in that break??? Well, it was for a holiday site asking to book tickets for South Africa to catch live IPL match! Read More...
  • Zoozoos popular than celeb endorsers?: Well, it’s Zoozoos & only Zoozoos all over, be it any marketing meeting which I attend or a casual chat amongst group of friends, “zoozoos” is definitely one of the topics which has to crop up in any such marketing discussion these days. Read More...


Introspection

And my spine disc problem is back, that too with a big bang. Intense pain along with stiffer back. All the extra work load & hectic schedule for last so many weeks finally took its toll on my health. Week was but naturally full of medicines, injections, traction, IFTs and other physio sessions. 1st half of the week was bed ridden and had to take off from work & 2nd half somehow managed to drag myself to work for few hours. Yeah had to go as it was impossible to neglect work, so much was pending on my head along with a completely new management team to deal with! Every day when I went to work, it reminded me of the expression which doctor had on his face this time, he had his standard suggestion ready on his lips – “madam till the time you won’t change your lifestyle & work habit I really can’t treat you completely. You need to exercise regularly & reduce your work hours otherwise you’ll keep on coming back with same problem & disc prolapse again & again”.

Hmmm, I know & I know it sooo very well, after all this must be the 100th time that he would have suggested me the same. But this time he was grimmer & so was I. The pain was so intense & so sudden that both me & N had got scared. Having experienced this problem lot many times I am very well aware of the repercussions of the same on long term life and I also know that there is no permanent cure to a disc problem apart from having a healthy life style and lesser hours of continuous work. But despite all my intentions to follow a daily fitness regime I always fail to maintain so. Reason? Well, on a normal day I leave for work at 8 am & by the time I come back late night I am dead tired to do any kind of exercises etc. And these days because of so many changes at office it has become worse, there is no time of my work getting finished, it can be anything between 8, 9, 10, 11 pm or many times even more i.e., past mid night. No I don’t work till this late hour happily neither I am workaholic by choice, it’s just that this is the demand of my job & current organization. Working in a start-up has its own challenges. While work wise it’s definitely very exciting & you get to learn whole lot of thing in a short span of time but then it requires some serious amount of commitment as well. I’ve worked in some large companies earlier & have been working in this start-up for last 2.25 years now & all I can say based on my experience is that such role in start-up companies really needs 24x7x365 kind of commitment. For some aspects of life it’s good & some aspects it’s bad too. And now when I’m at a situation of deciding whether it’s more good or more bad then honestly speaking I’m confused. N is upset due to my health situation and so am I; I’m not able to figure out how to handle all this. It’s really not pleasant to go through same pain again & again but at the same time it’s not even easy to decide whether I should re-look at my professional path currently. I know I can’t say no to work load in my current organization but then will I be able to sustain all this considering my frequent visits to hospitals these days? Do I need to re-prioritize certain things in my life right now? Is this hard work of any real worth? Well, I’ve been thinking & thinking & only thinking since last 3 days & have not reached to any conclusion yet…I’m confused, puzzled & totally baffled! I don't know what to do next...



Oh, how I wish!

Phew, life is running like crazy these days, seems to be always on some roller coaster or on curvy path with some huge ups & downs! And work life was never more hectic than this, I get home at all weird hours these days & the 1st thing which I do after reaching home is….well, with one hand I open that jar having potato wafers & with the next I open my freezer which is having 2 big tubs of honey nut crunch kept over there. Ummmm, actually it’s not 2 now, it’s reduced to 1.5 & it’s just 3 days that we had got those 2 big tubs. Yeah, that’s the speed of my consumption of ice-creams if it’s something as heavenly as honey nut crunch from Baskin Robbins :D :P :-). I decided to write a blog post today while enjoying my ice-cream but on second thought I think let me relish my ice-cream right now, I will pick up my laptop again once I am done with every drop of it in my bowl.

I’m back & hahhhh… all my work tiredness gone and the main topic of this blog post is also gone, right now I want to focus ONLY on ice-creams. Why? Because when ice-cream & that too honey nut crunch is in front of me, I can’t focus on anything else. Considering the perpetual right side inclination of the pointer on my weighing scale I know I should not eat this daily but isn’t it N’s fault that he got 2 tubs & kept in fridge when he knows that I simply can NOT resist this flavor of ice-cream? How am I supposed to not eat when this is just kept at arms away distance? Why on earth ice-creams only have all possible calories in it? Ah, life would have been so simpler if only:

  • Ice-creams were like those green veggies with negative calories in themselves. The more you eat, the more left that pointer on weighing scale would have moved. And the best diet chart prescribed by nutritionist to lose weight would have then consisted of 1 “death by chocolate” in morning, 1 “almond fudge” in lunch & 1 “honey nut crunch” at dinner, ummm the thought itself is sooo exciting & yummy!

Now, I am getting some serious thoughts on my ideal diet plan, how about:·

  • Having Maggie every day during lunch time along with “almond fudge”? Oh yes, I love Maggie too & I seriously think Maggie is one of the best gifts to mankind ever. If given a chance I would like to make it the staple food of the country.
  • To satisfy the evening hunger pang, the only thing on which I am allowed to snack on is potato wafers!
  • And in case because of all the dieting I feel weak or my blood sugar goes down, I am supposed to have one full big bar of fruit & nut chocolate!

Oh wowwww! Life would be so cool if ice-creams, Maggie, potato wafers & chocolates become the diet food for us. How I wish they either had only zero or rather negative calories in it and we could eat as much quantity of these as much we want. It would have been so much fun to go on a diet then & I would have been always willingly ready to eat “these” diet foods. Oh how I wish! OK, enough of wishful thinking now, time to get back to reality, while I was into my wishing mode, I think I have already had 2 bowls of it!!! Honey nut crunch is NOT with negative calories and this means some XXX amount of calories has gone inside me yet again. And then I wonder why I don’t lose weight :P!


A streak of hope

It was a very hectic day today, rather a marathon day in office, whole lot of work to make me feel like a log when I returned home just now. But still a small mail, just a two liner mail was big enough to motivate me for writing this post immediately. This mail was from the editor of Kaavyanjali website that he has selected the poem of Kiran Sindhu :-). Wow, so all my efforts of pushing mom has started giving some results. After whatever happened with all of us, things have been really difficult of late. Yes, we all are struggling to live a normal life but then too even if we get one free moment we just can’t stop ourselves from going back to same thoughts, same depression…it’s a very different emotion which really can’t be put in words, a feeling of pain which is beyond any rationale, a sense of loss which is beyond any consolation, a suffering beyond expression.

But amidst all this one bigger pain which was hurting me more was to see the state of my mom, who was alive yet living the life of a stone…whose eyes were open yet completely blank…who was surviving somehow yet completely hopeless about life. How it feels to see a woman like her who has always been the single most strength of my life crumpled on bed like that! How it feels to see the guiding force of my life suddenly being directionless herself! Being the eldest child of my mom, I have been taking care of mom & my brothers from a very early age in life. Despite my life being full of struggle, I still never lost hope only because of mom’s one sentence which she always used to tell me every night, I remember instead of good night, she used to say – “kal subah bahut achchi hogi beta, kal dekhna sab theek ho jayega”. Yes life was challenging but then there was this inner belief of mom that everything will be fine & tomorrow will be a better day which helped me sail through so many ups and downs of life. And after facing so many challenges why it was difficult for me to get my mom back to her normal life? I knew she will never be normal again after Kishu & Amitesh Bhaiya but then too I wanted her to have some engagement which can divert her mind & help her get out of this depression…I tried & tried & tried to motivate her, to engage her & to involve her into her long lost passion of writing & I have been literally forcing her to learn computer, internet & typing online. Initially there was a huge resistance from her side with only one question , “kya hoga likh ke”? Still with the virtue of patience which I have got from my mom only, I used to tell her, “arey likho na, log padhenge, kahi pe publish hogi tumhari kavitayein aur tumko achcha lagega”. And her replies used to be, “rehne do, ab bas kisi tarah baki zindagi kat jaye, mujhe aur kuch nahi sikhna hai”. Hmmm... :-(

Today as soon as I came back from work I checked her mail & I called her to say that one of her poems got selected in an online forum, her initial reaction was just, “OK”. But then she called back after 2 minutes and I asked “main kaise dekhoon ki kaha pe ayi hai meri kavita, mujhe bhi internet sikhao”. I said ok & then I taught her how to open websites & showed her some hindi blogs too…After some moments of silence she said, “achcha mera bhi blog bana do aur mujhe bhi typing sikha do”….YES!!! This is what I was waiting for, so at least there is some amount of interest which she showed. Aha finally there is a streak of hope, MOM, I am not going to give up on you so soon…I am going to push you more now to learn internet & start writing again…I am sure you will get at least some purpose back in life :-)
.
P.S.: I’m sharing the links of some of my mom’s creations with readers of my blogs, if hindi literature or poetries are of your interest, do visit the following links of my mom & I’m sure your genuine feedback will help her write more:
Link to Kaavyanjali poem (yeah I know this is just another online website, but I’m happy that at least there is a start now): http://www.kaavyanjali.com/Naarii-ks.htm
Her blog which I started today: http://godhulikiran.blogspot.com/

Main aur woh auto!

I happened to travel by auto again today & my overall journey quickly reminded me of my recent experience with Mumbai auto guys. This post will be more relatable to Bangloreans who travel by auto rickshaw often.



Location, Bangalore: Me already late, desperate enough to catch an auto rush to this nearby auto stand and see some 15 auto guys just relaxing under that tree.

Me: “X road challenge”?
1st driver: Blank look on his face, stares at me & then very conveniently turns his face away.
Yeah, I know Bangalore auto guys have the birth right to not respond!!!
Amused me replying to the 1st one & turning to the 2nd one: “Arey bhaiya reply toh kar dete”, “X road ge barthira”? (Me trying my luck best with broken kanadaa)
2nd driver: “Illa Medaam, morning time traffic jam”
Thank god at least he gave a reply, Kanadda works!
Me experienced enough to know that no point in wasting time with this 2nd fellow turn to the 3rd one: “X road ge barthira”?
3rd driver: Simply shakes his head left to right & then right to left.
Me: “Yake”?
3rd driver: Does not respond & turns his face away!
Gawd, give me patience please!
Me to the 4th driver: “X road ge barthira”?
4th Driver: Despite me trying my best in Kanadda understands my accent, looks at me & says, “whokay maidam, but one & half rate”
Me: “yake one & half? It is 11 am right now”
4th driver: Smiles & starts reading his kanadda newspaper back!
Oh, I am getting late, I need to get an auto. Let me settle down for anything which this next guy asks.
Me to the 5th driver: “X road”
5th driver who was already observing me interacting with other fellows replies: “Ok, but medaam 40 Rs. Extra”.
From his accent I know he knows hindi
Me: Yake 40 Rs? Normal fare to X road will be hardly Rs. 55-60.
Driver ignores me completely & starts talking to another driver standing nearby.
Me: Ok, I will give you 25 rs. extra.
He quickly turned on his auto keys & said: “come in medaam”



I was anyways late by now, so I immediately jumped in desperate enough to reach the place asap. Finally I reached, the meter read Rs. 60 exactly. I took out 100 rs. note & asked him to take Rs. 85 ( 100 +25), he took the same & says “medaam no change”.
Me: “Arey, u already charging extra 25, give me 15 rs. back, I know u have change or get change from somewhere”
Driver very well knowing from my last phone call that I’m already late smiles in his typical way, “medaam change illa, u get change from somewhere & give me 85 rs.”. Bloody**** he very well knows that there is no place nearby from where I can get the change right now & I m getting LATE!
Frustrated I leave the auto by finally giving him that 100 rs. away!!!



Location, Mumbai: Few days back, I was out on a personal trip to Mumbai and was traveling by auto to some location:
Me: “Y road”?
1st driver starts the auto & turns his meter down. Wow, with a delight I jumped in the auto & we reach the destination in some time. The meter read Rs. 89. & I handover a 100 rs. note to him, he quickly returns me rs. 10 but is still rummaging in his pocket & small cash box. After collecting my bag & all, I get down. Auto guy with a very sorry face asks me, “madam 1 rs. change nahi hai, chalega kya”? Yeah I have lived in Mumbai for long but after all these years in Bangalore I was nothing less than SHOCKED at his reply. He was sorry for not returning 1 Rs.??? I immediately replied, “haan haan koi baat nahi”.



After finishing off my work, me needed to go back to the same place. I see a local black & yellow cab with door open.
Me: “Z road”?
Driver silent & looks at the door of his cab.
Me again: “Boss, Z road chaloge”?
Driver holds the door & me with all my Bangalore experiences assume that he is shutting the door. Me quickly started to walk away saying: “Arey bhaiya bol toh dete ki nahi jaoge”
Driver: “Arey madam baitho na, darwaza hi toh aur khol raha tha, aap pooch kyun rahe ho Z road, jab taxi nikali hai toh chalaunga hi nahi or jaha passenger jayega waha le hi jaunga na”.
I sit in the cab quickly with my eyes wide open…jaha passenger jayega waha le jaunga na! Oh wow, I think I had forgotten I was in Mumbai & not in Bangalore where auto guys don’t travel if there is traffic or heat or morning or night or…well this list of reasons can be endless actually.



I have lived in Mumbai for long & now living in Bangalore for last few years & I only know one thing about auto guys of these two places – “ Mumbai will always be Mumbai & Bangalore will always be Banaglore”!!! I love Bangalore but I do miss some of the things of Mumbai a lottttt!


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