Amusing Kissa of Dad, Hair and Ice-cream!!

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On father’s day, I was on a memory trail about the incidences with my beloved Dad. There are so many noteworthy of but I came up with this rather amusing memory till date. Hope you have fun reading this!!

I have always wondered why should my emotions be so inextricably tied to my HAIR, I don’t know but it is a fact that a good haircut can uplift my spirits for a month, while a terrible one has left me in tears so many times.

And the reaction is instant. Serve me a bad meal and I can somehow suffer through it, making appreciative noises as I go. Take me out on the mother of all disaster shopping trips and I will still thank you for a lovely evening and promise to give you a company next time around. I am the master of the easy let-down. But cut my hair in a way I don’t approve, and my reaction to it is completely physical. My face gets red, my throat chokes up, tears flood my eyes and I start breathing heavily . It’s always been this way. 😦

When I was seven, my mother persuaded me to get a “bob-cut”. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the code for what you might recognize today as the ala Mandira-Bedi-haircut. That was a time when there was just no access to a talented hairstylist. Short and extremely unfussy, was IN then and my in-all-directions-heading-curls had to be toned down because they warranted a hell lot of attention. The only people who ever complimented me on the results of that disastrous trip to the salon where my mother, the nice Chinese lady who had followed my mother’s instructions against her own better judgment, and a teacher of mine who sported that exact same boxy cut.

I never appreciated looking like a middle aged schoolteacher whilst still in the second grade. I ended up throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the salon, whereupon my mother ordered an emergency pedicure for herself and banished me to the reception area where I spent the next forty five minutes cooling my heels, seething in fury, and frightening the rest of the clientele with my panting rage while tugging fiercely at my hair in an effort to make it come out of my head a little faster. 😐

Before you think I was some kind of special-needs-child, the alarmed receptionist definitely thought so. I should say that I already knew that particular effort wasn’t going to work. It was just another example of my once-ungovernable temper driving me to do things that were the limits of my stupidity. 😐

But the roots of my hair-related rage go back a long way. It all started, I suppose, when my Ajji decided that the time had come to get the baby shiny-cover should be shaved off my head. I rewarded her by screaming like anything. And hence the bowl of black noodle-like-hair grew and grew, curling into loose ringlets that charmed my mother so much, she forgot I was a baby and not her doll. 🙂

I don’t know why she stuck my dad with the job though. Maybe she felt it would be a waste of money to take me with her to the ladies salon where they had things like proper lighting? Maybe my dad offered like the responsible parent he is? Who knows! But I ended up accompanying my dad to the barbershop he frequented. My first memory of getting a haircut is of a smiling man with a neat beard and Daddy sitting next to me, telling me “Not To Move An Inch”. To this day, I can’t relax and get all chatty with a hairstylist because my entire brain is hardwired with my father’s voice telling me “Not To Move An Inch”. And so I won’t by God!

Since my dad is a generous specie (unlike mom) our routine was first the haircut and next came the ice cream. In my memory, the barbershop had blue colored walls, the color of a government office. The ice cream shop, on the other hand, resembled an Old West Saloon, complete with wood paneling and rustic furniture as well as a noisy air conditioner at Churchgate called as Rustoms. And for some reason this was next to the petrol pump. Because that is a perfectly logical place to build an eatery. Chocolate ice cream with carbon monoxide topping. Yummmmmmmmmzzzzzzzzzz!!!! 😛

I remember the inside of this fine establishment as a crowded and rather dingy place, which means it must have been tiny indeed given my toddler’s perspective. Anyway, as soon as we got in the door, Dad would head straight for the glass counter and ask me for my preference. I was three, my nose barely reached the part where the metal ended and the glass began. I couldn’t see a thing but I did enjoy breathing on the tiny bit of cool glass that my face could reach, and looking thoughtful. Eventually, I would place my order Strawberry!!! And Dad would place his Vanilla!!! If he was feeling adventurous, he would switch it up to chocolate but I think that only happened once or something.

I don’t even know how we decided I was a strawberry aficionado. For all I know, my dad marched in there and growled, “What do little girls like to eat?” At which point the terrified man behind the counter probably said, “Strawberry!” because it was all pink and girly and he was afraid to say he didn’t know. Voila! I liked strawberry. And since it never occurred to Dad to pick me up and show me the various options, I didn’t even know there were more than three flavors of ice cream until I was about 14, which is when I learned about the glories of the mighty pistachio. 😀

That was the summer when my second cousin came back from Dubai and showed us a fancy parlor that both manufactured and sold ice cream that you could order and consume curbside in the luxury of your very own car. My auntie took me there one night and introduced me to my first falooda. And my life was never the same again. 😀 But that is to fast forward. Back in our Old West Ice Cream Parlor, we were being served ice cream. Not scoops or scones, but slabs of it. There’s a small part of me that still thinks of waffle cones as exotic because my lizard brain thinks ice cream is naturally served as slabs on cheap white porcelain plates. Good times though!

We would sit there solemnly consuming our ice cream, until Dad had scraped his plate clean and I was still sitting there with half of mine on my plate. My mother was bringing me up to share so I always asked him if he’d like some of mine. My father, meanwhile, was bringing me up to not share eatables with him so he always refused. He would then sit in silence, watching me make heroic attempts to finish the entire plate before taking pity on me when I was about three-quarters through and proposing we leave. It was powerful magic, for an undemonstrative man and his willful daughter.

And like all magic, it was contained to that moment in time. These days, I tell my dad he should get a pedicure and take him out for coffee. That is our thing now, I push him to try and move an inch while he lets me order unfamiliar items off the menu. It’s a different kind of magic but one thing remains the same: we have a standing date anytime either one of us cuts our hair.

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GROWING UP!!! Part – III

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When I was a little kid all I read was Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews. My school’s library would overflow with them. Whenever I would get angry at my parents I would sit in my room and think about ways to make them feel sorry for whatever crime they had just committed. It was stuff like going on a hunger strike or crying till my eyes had swollen or refusing to come out of the room.

 None of these plans came to fruition ever 😦 , because I love myself way too much. Also, I can’t cry for that long. I love to eat, especially when my mother is cooking. And she would make sure she made her-bests whenever I was angry so that I could never say a NO. 🙂

So then I would plan on running away. I was never sure where I would go, to the neighbor’s house?!?! Well they had good chocolates. To my BFF’s house?!?! It would be the world’s longest slumber because the kids in Enid Blyton’s novels were planning to join a circus and while I liked animals then, I was told by Tahir that all opening jobs in the circus involved cleaning the **** and there was no way I was going to do that. 😦 

So one day my parents finally went too far, I don’t remember now what they actually did but they probably refused to buy me a fairy frock or something equally heinous coz that’s what passes for mean and nasty around the Tonde household, and I decided it’s about time!!!

I took with me a torch for if it ever got dark, my sweatshirt, a book, saved pocket money of Rs. 20 and two bars of 5-star. I left one 5-star behind for my sister who had not done anything to piss me off in the last 3 days and thus deserved it. By the way I am a very generous person. 🙂

Thus burdened, I made it all the way across Sunita Market, within the sight of the main gates of Navy Nagar. I realized the only thing I was supposed to do was walk, but how long?!?!?

Reading so much of English Novels, the thing that came to my mind then was, every important scene in Pride and Prejudice involved Elizabeth and Darcy walking in some way, she finds out about his treachery while walking in the woods and returns home to tell him to go away, then they meet again while she’s walking around his estate, and finally the confession of their feelings for each other happens when they’re on a walk. Together!!!

That’s just an example from the great works of romance 🙂 think of anybody else you like, from Tolkien to Shakespeare to J.K.Rowling. Englishmen and Englishwomen novelists will eventually arrive at a point in the story when nothing will do for them but to take a walk. Think over it!!

 As for little Indian me, I made my way over to my favorite BPT gardens in one of the inner blocks of Colaba and settled myself with my book, ate my chocolates and went back home to be greeted with good-natured scolding and cries of relief.

Win… 🙂

Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently!!!! 😉

GROWING UP!!! Part-II

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Here’s what happens when your parents let you join a Book Club at the age 12. 😐

Stranger at the Club: What are you reading?
Child Heena: Gone with the Wind. Have you read this?
Stranger at the Club: What?!
Child Heena: I don’ understand all of it but I think it’s good. The drama is really out of this world. I think I’m addicted to it. In fact, I’m going to watch the movie.
Stranger at the Club: Stop it immediately or else you’ll lose your childish innocence soon!
Child Heena: 😦 When I grow up, nobody’s going to tell me what I can read and what I cannot.

 

Teacher: What are you reading?
Child Heena: The Giant Book of Murder. It’s superb.
Teacher: What?!
Child Heena: See, it has sections for axe murderers, serial killers and prisoners. I am totally loving it for the information that I will introduce into my English school essays to blow out my competition!!
Teacher: Stop it now! Or you will grow up into a psychopath.
Child Heena: *groans* When I grow up, nobody will tell me what I can read.
 
 
 
Preeti: What are you reading?
Teen Heena: The Wheel of Time. It is super splendid!
Preeti: What?!
Teen Heena: Yeah, I’m really “into” fantasy fiction! It’s like science fiction but better! There are parallel universes and alternate realities and magic and strange creatures and ..
Preeti: Stop!
Teen Heena: Why?
Preeti: It sounds stupid and I’ve never read any. Here, read Mills and Boonlike everybody else.
Teen Heena: 😦 When I grow up, nobody’s going to tell me what I can read and what I cannot.
 
 
 
Lynnet: What are you reading?
Present Day Heena: Young Adult fiction. It’s awesome.
Lynnet: What?!
Present Day Heena: I was too busy reading regular adult stuff when I was a kid but now I find that there’s a lot of Young Adult fiction that is really good. So now I’m catching up with it.
Lynnet: Thats awful, have some shame. You’re reading stuff meant for children.
Present Day Heena: 😦 When I grow up…
 
 

Am I suppose to feel inferior about it? Or should I cover  The Hunger Games with a newspaper the way some women who read sexy romances on the train do? What about graphic novels? Are those ubercool? Or is everybody nosing at me for choosing to read a comic like a little baby?

If only I read much less and monitored the reactions of random strangers to my choice of reading more, I bet I’d have the answers to all those questions.

 

 

GROWING UP!!! Part – I

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I am very strict when it comes to my own younger sis. Many a times she has to undergo the brunt of my conservatism. I admit, m fairly conservative when it comes to things like children and their upbringing. I don’t have any but this doesn’t stop me from having opinions. It’s the last remnant of my conservative childhood and I hang on to it, because nothing I’ve seen out there has really challenged it or made me even come close to changing my mind. 😉

In my early teens, I wanted to get my eyes brows plucked the moment I saw a classmate sashay down the corridor in her short skirt and that arched eye-look at age thirteen. I had the skirt, but I wanted those eyes courtesy eyebrow-plucking. Those clean face and big eyes that looked so very adult. 🙂

“I think m ready!!” I told my mum as she got her pedicure done at the salon. 🙂

“Girls are doing it very early these days” said the chinky lady who usually did hers. My mum looked at me and laughed and laughed. When she finally caught her breath, she said: “Cheeee!!!!” EOD. 😦

I had graduated high school much before my mom would let me pluck anything at all. And when I got my eyebrows done for the first time at age eighteen for my cousin’s wedding, it was a family affair with one of my Kakis standing over the poor parlor assistant’s shoulder and whispering “Don’t cry, don’t cry!!!” as my eyes watered. 😦

Of course, my mum being a good mother, we did have talks about personal grooming. From manicure to pedicures, cosmetics to accessories, the best part of growing up with a mom and a hoard of aunts is that there’s no dearth of advice on anything, and everything from acne treatments to what is the correct way to apply an eye liner. 🙂

And we eventually talked about growing up – but the emphasis was always on hygiene, not sexuality. In our house, grooming wasn’t just about being attractive. Every summer my Ajji (my mum’s grand mom) would repeatedly remind me that good grooming is about having pride in oneself. You take care of yourself because you deserve it, not to impress other people.

“This is not the way for good girls to walk around the house before the evening lamp is lit” my Ajji would say “You should first wash your face, then powder, put on a kajal-bindi, comb and tie your hair neatly, change into freshly pressed clothes, and then come to the DEVARA to see the lamp. That’s what a gharachi-mulgi does”.

There was a time in my teens, when I totally refused to comb my hair, and become a Scary Spice (I totally adored Spice Girls), nobody pulled me down and forcibly combed my hair or oiled my hair, nor did anyone force me to change my style. At the time, I thought it a victory over the Establishment 😉 Later I was quite puzzled because the Establishment at our home is quite capable of breaking the backs of ‘little guerrilla’ efforts like that. 😦

It took me years before I realized that part of the lesson my Ajji and mom were trying to teach me was that, self-worth is something only you can determine for yourself. If they’d forced me to look presentable according to their stringent standards, as they well could have at the time, it would only have appeased their sense of worth, their image of a family member, not mine.

They had let me be ME. More importantly they instilled the values of “self-confidence” much before the invention of such classes around my house. My Ajji is not with me today, but I miss her immensely. She never got down to bashing us up and making us understand. She always had her ways of making us learn life’s lessons.

My poor-yet-to-be-born-kids, will have an Infantry-Drill with me around for sure 😉

 

 

Mumbai Yatayat…

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I have been travelling a lot these days.. yes i have been.. in the local trains.. in ricks.. in buses.. that sums up the quintessential life i have been living off late.. anyways the point is I have been enjoying the ride more than anything else.. yes more than even the lectures at my MBA college.. know how!!!!

1. I get to dry my hair without using the dryer which had started ruining my hair. Sit in the rick for the medium dry hair look and then tie it up else for the totally rock-star look trains r the best. But then this works for my curls.. you can fuh-get it if you are used to blow drying.

2. I finish reading 2-3 books in just 3 days down..all thanx to the Andheri traffic and sometimes the ever so fast trains.

3. I get the latest on-going gossip and songs in the ladies dabba.. that saves the gruesome task of reading Mumbai Mirror and downloading not-so-happening songs from the net.

4. If you are an atheist.. try having a conversation with the woman next to you in the bus/train who’s reading a Hanuman Chalisa.. chances are you will start doing the “upwas” from the next day.

5. If you ever wanted to lose weight without the crash diet and sauna belts.. trains are for you!! Fuh-get about a seat , if you get to stand without being squeezed, “Hari-Vitthal”.

6. If you ever wanted to do charity, the ever so beggars and ahem-ahem will give you the reason to blow your money off.

7. If you ever wanted to shop and had no time on hand..all thanx to the college schedule, slow trains will faithfully grant your wish. From veggies to jhinkas (prawns), from cosmetics to trinkets, from ear buds to wallets, from handicrafts to clothes to rags .. everythings is available at ur service.

8. If you have too much money and time on hand (like my super rich friend) try calling Baba Bangali(rem the posters in train compartments).. chances are that an exceptionally seductive representative would entertain you till the crowd throws you out at your destination station.

9. If you ever had a mom like mine, who would call up for the last minute grocery and provision shopping get in a rick at Andheri at 7pm.. the snails pace at which the rick moves you can buy all this and make your mom feel proud of having a child like you. 🙂

10. If you ever wanted to feel the state of NIRVANA, stand next to 2 arguing ladies, with Avril Lavigne playing in your ears and the vibrating effect of the train. Chances are you might even attain MOKSHA under expert’s guidance  😛

Having said that, i never realised all this when i used to travel from Churchgate to Andheri.. but Andheri-Mumbai Central rocks!!!!

Here’s a small trivia for all of you who love travelling by Local Trains.. guess the stations (WR-CR-Harbour Line)-

1. Fair village

2. Raja ka chakkar

3. Place in darkness

4. Education resides here

5. Your head is in curd

A WALK TO REMEMBER..

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The woods were lovely dark and deep. Walking slowly beside her, in the damp mud road, was her husband whom she barely knew. He was very relaxed, happily watching a group of kids play at a distance. Her “mehndi” was still dark and smelling fresh, reminding of the excitements and tension 2 days back. “It cant work this way mom… please stop this”, she kept telling her mother till the last moment,who wouldnt listen but carry on with beautifying her. She had been crying all night and her make-up had to be patched up twice or thrice to hide her awkwardly swollen face.

It was too late now. She had to get married “NOW” to the guy. The guy whom she had seen once and talked thrice. The guy about whom she knew nothing at all but for his name and work. Everything happened in a hurry and everything was over before she could breathe again… here was she with this guy, all alone in this hill station… how can anybody send their daughter such a long distance with a stranger???

“Hey look at that….!!!” he shouted in excitement. She shrugged and looked where his finger pointed… Bright colored balloons dotted the sky. Children were jumping in joy and he seemed to be completely absorbed into it… colors are always exciting… but not now. She was not with her friends, not with her team mates, not even with her parents. This was not a 3 day tour or team building trip. This was her life and she has been forced to start off with this person.

Loneliness and discomfort with this stranger was sickening. She looked at him in wonder. Does he even realize that he has married me? Does he understand that he has to love me, protect me, care for me, a new girl, a stranger, all his life?

The marriage morning started like a daylight nightmare for her. The first time in life she felt she should have fallen in love and then married somebody. Some man who she would have felt more comfortable with, someone whom she could call by name and introduce to friends, someone whom she could trust. But marriage morning was obviously not the time to think all this. Her parents would never have said “no” if she had declared that she was in love. But she was not emotionally attached to anybody she met,especially guys. She was very friendly,playing,teasing, but never had second thoughts for any man around her. That brought the entire responsibility of looking for a groom on her parents’ shoulders. Her parents had a very bad time with this entire process. They started their groom search with unending “&” operation. The concatenation of  “Horoscope matching” & “Decent family” & “Good looking” & “Good pay” & “same cast” & so on… that always gave 0 output. Now after all that 8 months hunt,they were not ready to hear her “ifs” and “buts” for this ‘good guy’. She had explained to her father. She does not feel anything for this person. He is nothing more to me than any other software professional. Like list of names she sees in the chat rooms. Distant and usual…Her father asked her to talk to him and even meet him and discuss their likes and dislikes.

That meeting started like the induction programme self introduction and ended like a 3 hour seminar.She was waiting to get away from that place.”So did you talk to him?”. “Yes”. “Was he polite and decent”. “Yes”. “Oh he got that special flavoured tri-color icecream…!!!”. OK. All her family and relatives discussed… She was given the chance to “understand her life partner” and that they have understood each other “well” and she is ready for the marriage now.

All arrangements geared up and it was 24 days after her first meeting that she was getting married to her man… perfect match as everybody else described. Marriage hall was full with excited people, kids got the chance to play, ladies got the chance to wear the silk saree. The smell of rose and jasmine filled the hall. Different poses for the photographer and atrificial smiles for the videos. The moment he had tied the sacred thread was unexplainable vaccum in the head. It was over. She was his wife. Accepted by the society and law. Her proud parents were relaxed. This was their duty they had been planning to fulfill since she was born. All this crowd will fade away, leaving her to explore her new world…

He pulled her hand gently to sit on the stone bench. The bench was wet and the chillness was indeed enjoyable. “So what are you thinking about?”… that was an unexpected ball. Should she reply? Should she be silent? She remembered the two hour presentation she had taken last month. Bold and confident, she kept answering all the queries with a broad smile. Now she remained silent. “Do you know honey… I was not for this marriage too…”  Oh my God… what did i hear??? Did HE tell that or did i think aloud? What does he mean? Didn’t he like me? Was he forced into this? He must have noticed the quizzical look on my face…with a gentle smile he continued… “I wanted to look for a girl myself, buy her everything, care for her, argue with her, laugh and cry with her, then get married to her… Anything otherwise would be a drama. Traditional drama!! and i was not for it anytime. But my love for my work and also my stress would not give me time and mind to search that girl…When your parents talked to me 2 weeks before our marriage, about your fear of getting married, to a stranger, i could completely understand your mind. I could see myself in you and that was the moment i decided i will marry you. There was no time to prove myself to you, make you trust me, everything happened in a hurry. But there was this entire life before me, to please you, to love you, to make you trust me. This is no less than what i had dreamt, the girl i was waiting for, is you. Now tell me… will you love me???”  Tears came down her cheek. Her parents had done more than their duty. They had found her the perfect guy. Thank you Mom!!! Thank you Dad!!! His question remained unanswered yet both knew the answer…

Landour… a Land of Our Own

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I think its an amazing thing to get lost sometimes. Only to find yourself back.

I have read numerous books on travel, seen Travel XP n fox traveler talk so much about this funda that i was gung-ho about our stay in my last vacation to La Villa Bethany in Landour.

Due to the limitation of just one week off from work and attending a wedding on the first three days, i and my husband were sure we wanted to chillax at a quiet place. We looked up a lot over the internet and my favorite destination closest was Rishikesh. On googling Rishikesh we found out it was closer to Mussoorie and Dehradun. Hence on weeks of search, climatic conditions and Tripadvisor advisory we finalized our vacation. We had read such great and worthy reviews on Tripadvisor for La Villa Bethany and less on the place that we knew it would be worth it.

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We booked our stay after a few email exchanges and a phone call with the owner Sunita Kudle. We were surprised they did not ask for any deposit amount. Also they were keen to know our preferences for food and stay. We took the Dehradun Janshatabdi train from Delhi to Dehradun. the journey was quite comfortable and was covered in five and a half hours. Sunita had sent a local cab from Landour to pick us up.

The ride from Dehradun to Landour was nothing but a giant swing/ wheel one. Ups and downs and U-bends and steep curves and steep uphill drives. The sudden bright lights on the hills looked like shining stars. The town down looked like glistening water. At night, the lights of Dehradun in the valley below twinkle, mirroring the stars in the sky.

Landour is a cantonment town at an altitude of 7,000ft. Though only 1,000ft above Mussoorie, and just 5km away by road, it is still untouched by Mussoorie’s tourist hullabaloo, probably because there is nothing to “do” here, as people insisted on telling us when they heard we were going to Landour.

Once home oops at the La Villa Bethany we were greeted by the Inn workers who helped us with our luggage and with the sharp downhill walk to our surprise. I was unsure at that very moment until i met Sunita who welcomed us with a hot cuppa Ginger Lemon Honey tea. She sat with us and spoke to us about the place and few house rules. It was late and we wanted to crash on our beds. We were showed our way upstairs to our cozy little room before which we passed a lovely conservatory, a living room with a hot-place and amazing trail facts.

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Our room had all the basics in its place and the warmest Yak wool quilt was a blessing in such a cold surrounding.

We woke up late due to the travel a day before and of course due to the beautiful view outside our room. The light was just perfect to have that kinda sleep you yearned for when work becomes annoying. My husband was wide awake and exploring the place already. We walked downstairs for the breakfast but to our amazement we could not stop ourselves from staring down it the beautiful valley view La Villa Bethany gave us. It was serene and calm. Just out of this world experience. Sunita came out and told us about the view and how the ever famous schools of Mussorrie owned each a mountain. It was fascination to be honest. We were told the Villa mostly had students who studied at the Landour Language School right across and hence we always had a student conversing with us in Hindi.

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Since I was down due to cold, she asked us to see the Landour Community Hospital which was a downhill exciting walk from our cottage. We were given instructions how not to touch few plants which can cause itching and how to avoid dogs of houses that you will pass by.

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After our visit to the adorably cute hospital we went to Mall Road to have our fill. We ate at the dhaba kind looking Green The Veg some parathas. From here in the mist clad roads and tiny town feel we walked our way to the Cambridge book shop frequented by the author Ruskin Bond. We flipped some already signed books of his and bought one. My husband was ecstatic to pick one, you could make it out from his face 🙂

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From here we strolled through the Cable car junction and to the cycle rickshaw stand. We booked one to take us to the Botanical Garden or better known as Company Garden. This was also suggested to us by our lovely Inn Keeper Sunita. On our way many a times it drizzled and most of the time the sun was hidden behind some dark skies making the weather cold and gloomy yet strikingly beautiful. Most people residing in these areas were seen walking and I did not see a single over weight person here. Even the schools main entrance was far from the place where there was the vehicle stand. Everyone here has no option than to walk. Than to just simple surrender to nature and bask in its glory.

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The Company Gardens to our surprise was a pretty place, very well maintained and had a spectacular view of the mountain. There was a small fountain and a lake to boat. It was quiet and peaceful.

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Shopping at Mall Road was fun. With tonnes of branded store around the place we were lucky to find an organic store called “Himjoli”. Picked up some organic soaps and organic brown rice. Rest everything was passable. On our way back we came across this joint called “Chick Chocolate” with lots of chocolate-included stuff. We tried the hot chocolate and Nutella waffle. But what win our hearts more was the ambiance and the way the place was done up. Kudos to the owners who brought Ala-LEOPOLD feel to this place which was glistening with foreign tourists and students alike.

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The sundown at Mussoorie is usually 5.30 pm and hence by 7 pm we rushed back home in a tiny Maruti Alto that took the steep climbs into its stride as easily as a SUV would. These drivers are superb. Every time i got off the cars i have thanked them enough to be bringing us home ALIVE..LOL 😉

Next day we woke up much late due to the tiredness of the day before’s walk. Your calves kinds give-in once you hit the sacks. We decided to laze around. Had a late breakfast and took a stroll to Sister’s Bazaar. Fascinating enough, the who’s who had villas and bungalows on this route. So was this Tabor Cottage and Rokeby Manor (a British stone bungalow, that has been converted into a hotel and café) that stood silent the testimony of the fabulous place it was. We bought peanut butter and marmalade at Sisters Bazaar, where the nurses’ dormitory still stands. From here we walked past the Kellogg Church to the Char Dukan. At Char Dukan we ate at Anil’s cafe some scrumptious food and started the walk again towards Lal Tibba.We soaked in the at Lal Tibba, the highest point on this hill. On our way in the forest, we listened to the wind whoosh through the deodars and the birds chirp. No wonder Sachin Tendulkar bought an abode of his here.

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The deodar trees line both sides of this path in Landour. As my husband and I walk up the hill from Mussoorie , the strip of grey tarmac around the hill narrows. It’s like climbing a slide from the bottom up, only this is a few hundred feet in height. I huff and puff. My calves scream. The slopes of the hill we’re on are full of deodars. The paths burrow through a forest of deodars, pine, oak, maple. The air is crisp, cool, and pine-scented. Elusive sunbirds hop about, and the silence is punctuated by bird calls I don’t recognize. The silent valley fills me with a deep sense of longing. I will the thrush to sing, but silence fills the air around me.

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We reach the terraced Landour cemetery that rises from the side of the road. The graves are covered in moss, set amid oaks and deodars that seem to touch the sky. It is a quiet, green darkness, and I spot a Saint Bernard on one of the top terraces.  I and my husband try to click him and grab his attention but the dog gets down and vanished in the road behind us. Quite spooky it was!!! My husband tells me it must be one of the ghosts. Right next to the cemetery is an unbelievably beautiful cottage called ‘Parsonage’ owned by the actor Victor Bannerjee. You could here some kids playing with those giggles. I stopped myself from barging in the beautiful house.
The long and never ending walks gave me and my husband so much of time to talk. So much of greenery made it so pleasant of a view. I still cant take the breathless views off my eyes.
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That night we are back home for a special Garhwali khana prepared for us. The Inn Keepers took such good care of us, never for once we felt we were away from home. We even kept our rooms unlocked. It was all on trust. Next morning we said our goodbyes to the fellow Inn-siders with whom we had shared the dining table with lots of gappe-shuppe and left for Dehradun Airport. Once down the hill, it just didnt feel right.
Back home and it still doesnt. The place calls definitely has a charm of its own and calls you back!!

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Love is beautiful!!

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“All that matters is how he swept you off your feet.” These were the common lines I came across in every chicklit i read. I agree hands down that I am a fairy-tale person who dreamt of a Knight-in-Shining-Armour with Band, Baja and Baarat every night. 

And so for a while I believed that just like my other cousins there shall be someone who’ll come to see me, discuss the technicalities of life and agree to be my life partner only to realize that such decisions can’t and shouldn’t be taken over night. I have had my share of rishtas where I was rejected/ short-listed/ long-waited etc. Where every brain in my cell would tell me that I was hopelessly trying to do something I was not meant for and made it quite clear that Love cannot be an arrangement. Marriage is not a game. Quite early I realized that most arranged marriages stand on fickle earth. Caste. Religion. Family-background. Nationality. Occupation. Labels. You’re marrying labels. Stop marrying labels, start marrying people.

I remember it was instilled in me for long to ‘First study, go to college, get a job and then a boy will automatically want to marry you’. Who is your husband marrying then? Is he marrying you? Or is he marrying the 24 hr maid or a five-figure job? I’d rather spend my life with a guy who loved me when I was no one, who’d love me for me the chick lit loving, Titanic-crying, deep-feeling, crazily adventurous, drama spouting bag that I am.

I have been in love. It is a wonderful wonderful feeling. It cannot be simulated or faked or arranged. You simply cannot throw two supposedly “compatible” individuals together and tell them to fall in love. Love is a spontaneous reaction. There’s this thing about love, it comes knocking at the unlikeliest of times and if you can plan it then it isn’t love.

When you marry someone you forge that ONE relationship that you get a say in. I couldn’t choose who gets to be my parents or who gets to be my sister. It was all by default. But when it comes to my husband, that choice is all mine. The very nature of the choice puts that relationship on a different level, it exists because it is ALL me, I initiated it, I worked on it, I willed it into being. And this one guy destined to be my husband is too special to be picked out in a cattle-fair.

If you’ve never loved or seen love, the romantic earth-shattering-sleep-deprived kinds how will you know what you’re missing out on? I have seen first hand what J has done for me and I can’t settle for anything less. I want those random dreamy-loved-up looks across the room, I want to not stop texting 20+ years into marriage, I want fresh carnations at every-meets, I want framed greeting-cards that bear ‘yours and only yours’, I want ‘I’ll-carry-you-to-the-room’, I want weekend movie-watching/cuddling and I want mock super-competitive pictionary/taboo/card games. I refuse to believe that this zing, spark, twinning of souls can be “gamed” or “matched”.

I know how beautiful a marriage can be. I want all this. I want more. There is no one who knows me better than me. And the one great decision of whose face every morning’s sun-rays will bounce off to meet mine will be mine and mine alone.

Us

PLAY

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Play

If you could my favorite love song

When you came that played along

As it all just slipped away

While we held on and on

Say

Everything we need to hear

Find everyday someone new to speak to

And hope they’ll understand as you go on and on

Love never meant I get to keep you

Stay

With your quiet delicious laughter

And the magic that comes after

Have faith in me that I can manage

To be your slave, to be your master

Hey

Come closer 

Even though the music’s over

And there’s no more revelry

But all I wanted is your shoulder

Pressed hard against the heart of me

Stray

Along long empty and lonely streets

Selling myself to the old deceits

Like I will find love at last

And at last know what it’s like

To sleep

Without watching over my scattered thoughts

Give up their quiet deep

And come out almost like an angry meek

To stray

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27 and not shying away!!!

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So today on December 3rd I turn 27! Yippee! 27 to me feels like a nice grown up age, and I am happy to be here. And so in my old older age I would like to share 27 things I learned before turning 27;

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1. Take care of the ones you love, and they will stay with you no matter how far away you are.

2. Treating your body well will reflect in all aspects of your life.

3. Do what you love and money will come but the stress it puts on you will stay much longer if you decide that only MONEY can give you happiness.

4. Have confidence in yourself and your ideas.

5. Soda and McDonald’s are evil.

6. You can always change your habits, it just takes desire.

7. It’s okay to break the rules, as long as you are good enough not to get caught and you aren’t hurting anyone.

8. Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

9. Time doesn’t heal anything- it’s what you do with that time.

10.Complaining and blaming other people doesn’t help anything, and makes you miserable company.

11.Everything in your life is your responsibility.

12.You train people how to treat you.

13.Forgiveness is for YOURSELF and no one else.

14.You can always be grateful for something.

15.If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying hard enough.

16.You never really become an adult. You just get more responsibility, and become wiser.

17.Showing emotion is not a sign of weakness. Knowing when it is appropriate is a skill.

18.Being silly is one of my favorite qualities in a person. 😛

19.You should never stop learning, or trying to be a better person.

20.When people show you who they are, believe them.

21.Enjoy the seasons, they are one of the few constants in our lives and can always bring back memories we had forgotten.

22.It’s a comforting feeling to look back and realize your were a dumb ass.

23.Reading lets your inner dialogue run wild. It’s good for the soul.

24.Find the little things to enjoy in the present. Waiting for the future is exhausting.

25.Be the change you want to see in the world. And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t help fix it.

26.Crying almost always makes you feel better.

27.Honesty is always the easiest route. Even if it’s not in the short term.

Most of my life I have done things that probably been against the common notion. When people expected me to be going great, I nosedived into failure. Just when they thought I wasn’t going anywhere I literally went places. To this day my life has been a journey of good, awesome and fantastic. Most of this year has been the time, when people expected my calls to be of my wedding-invitation calls.
Will I, wont I ?? That’s probably time will tell but at this moment I am happy taking my parents and my extended family for super-expensive shopping trips, paying the bills, rushing through the crowded Mumbai on my way to office, setting some benchmarks at work, learning as much as I can from my revered colleagues, and smiling for pictures as often as I can.

Thank you to every person I love who has taught me something, or encouraged me along the way. Like always I will count by blessings and turn into HIM for everything. J

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Pati ka Aatank!!

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I have noticed that an Indian Naari in her twenties is mostly judged based on her marital status. The prospect of being 26+ and unmarried at the same time is equal to eating meat at a temple which is astoundingly shocking and inappropriate. This fact has annoyed me to such an extent in the past that it actually stopped affecting me for a while until today.

Over the past 6 years I have seen my group of single friends dwindling at a fast pace. At a point it appeared to me that a higher number of the human population started to believe that the world was coming to an end in 2012 and all women in their twenties had to be married away so that they could at least die “Suhagan”. Well  if the 2012 myth was really true what is the whole point in getting married now anyways?

When asked to define husband I have always said “Those mean men who steal away the glorious times with your girlfriends.”

For instance think of a few girls with whom you grew up since you were 3 years old, girls who saw you fall off the swing, girls from whose fridge you ate up ever best south-indian delicacies n Swiss chocolates, girls with whom you learnt sine cos theta in Math, colorful paintings in painting classes, girls whose pencils and erasers you borrowed, lost them and never returned, girls with whom book reading with voice-modulation was the IN-thing, and girls who actually saw you with no make-up and eyebrows like Kroor Singh from Chandrakanta 😉

To the above girls add those girls you ran to discuss your first crush paranoia with, girls whose cry-baby faces you remember on the first day of your school/college, girls with whom you shared all your master copies of assignments and girls who lovingly lent you their Nokia phone to play the brick game and make prank calls to the stupid professor. Mix them together. Top this off with those girls who were there with you through more mature and major phases in your life for e.g. during your joblessness, through the rejection at Army/Air Force Conference, girls who helped you do silly yet meaningful things such as unnecessary shopping, aimless conversations into the night and gave you the right kind of advice when you were totally out of place.

Marriage changes each one of these girls. You are then conveniently shoved into the back of their heads. And if you are lucky enough they’ll probably think of you once in a year when it’s your birthday. (Medha you are an exception) I have tried to understand and reason with them which are total waste. Why does the whole wide world revolve around their husbands? Actually the weirdest thing is that when a man remains a boy friend the girl is all normal. The trouble begins only when the boyfriend turns into a husband. What is it? Is it the responsibility? Is it the sex? Is it the whole deal with being a  “Bharatiya Nari”? I wonder!

Although this is directed to every married girl in general and no one in particular I am just in the mood to do some random rambling.

  • You cannot make a call to her after 6 PM. That’s because her husband’s with her. Also calling on a weekend is a total privacy encroachment.
  • You no longer get to hear any juicy details “Yes, we did it and it’s no big deal” is all you get to hear from the same girl who described to you, her first kiss for about an hour.
  • The entire Facebook is now dedicated to her husband. Her profile pics, cover pics, statuses, you name it and all you see is “mera pati, mera pati, mera pati.” Yeah! Deal with all the lovey-dovey updates, her husband is the best man on earth.
  • Don’t bother buying her any gifts. Your little piece of love will seem like David in front of Goliath. The mean guy, her husband, would have already purchased the city for her.
  • Face it! No conversation is complete without the Patidev finding his way in.
  • She hasn’t had the time to call you in 5 months? Consider yourself lucky, there is a mutual friend she hasn’t called for about 8 months now.
  • You tell her that you are still lying lazily in bed at 9am on Karvachauth. She will sound like you are a homo of the highest order
  • No more trips with her. No, not even if you ask her 6 months ahead. She already has the next decade planned out.
  • Pati is Parameshwar.
  • Get married! It’s the way to be. It’s amazing (right!! I see you mob around, run behind children, make dabbas for your husband n that’s the way to be )
  • Learn the language of a 1 year old; she will make you talk to them quite often.
  • If she posted tons of messages on your Facebook wall earlier, drop your hopes now. She will seem sooooper busy with her life and absolutely dead on social networking sites but hey, she has the time to ‘LIKE’ all the posts by her husband. She will console you by asking you to go and look at her old messages. “Facebook has Timeline now, what for?”
  •  Texting equals hours of conversations on the phone.
  • Oh! She had a favorite hero? Her husband is her life-time hero now.
  • She will tell you that she was engaged in April, to be married in December, sometime in May. It really doesn’t matter to her that you weren’t informed. Look out for the excuses! Horoscopes, elders-ka-mamla, nazar-lag-jati and a butt load of crap. (This is specifically targeted to the crazy woman who actually did this to me)

I hope I haven’t rubbed anyone on the wrong side. Its just that a part of me still misses being around you and do the silly old thing. Remember we had planned to stay single all our lives!! 😉 that’s too much to ask now but I can atleast figure on your to-do-list-of the month!!! 🙂

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