Monday, December 12

Almost the new year... and yet the same old

Heya!

The year has gone by real fast, as I've undoubtedly mentioned a hundred times before :-) 

And I look back to see how I've fared, managed to accomplish a fair bit as a mother and professional, and tried to be a better friend, wife, daughter, etc. Evaluating my success on these criteria is outside the scope of this post, and my head, so let me look at how I'm feeling at the end of it. 

Working moms like me, how are you doing? 

I often end up feeling like I'm missing on so many things in life choosing to juggle my home and office work. The financial and intellectual independence that my job affords me takes its toll on my social presence and connects. I look at womenfolk in my apartment mingling with each other and talking non stop about issues that I cannot make head or tail of, since their conversation started in the kitty last week and will (hopefully) find a resolution by the kids play date the following week. Try as I might, I can't hold a complete conversation with them, because our lives are so different and so are the priorities and recreation. 

When I ask myself, do I really want to sit with them every afternoon gossiping over a cup of chai? The answer is no, but what sometimes makes me feel a tad disappointed is that I don't have opportunities to have many adult conversations once I'm off work. You either are a working mom with no social life in the evenings, or you're a housewife mom with loads of time with other women of the same clan keeping you company. I'm sure each category has their own cribs and benefits. I'm not passing judgements on anyone, just making my voice heard about how it feels to not have a chance. 

Apparently, they can't shift their get togethers to a more comfortable time for us professionals since they need to be home with their families, and that makes sense. But a little adjustment on both sides, well, that could do the trick and give us all a fair exposure to understand each other better and form firm friendships, at least given the physical proximity.

I keep waiting for weekends to do something different, spend time with the man and catch up with friends. Something I am sure all women (working or homebodies) experience. Of course, there are the independent ones that make things happen for themselves and don't need anyone else to get the ball rolling...

But for us who await weekends to be with family - A tough task since the home chores and shopping beckons, the man has official offsites over weekends, and friends (who are mostly in other social groups, unmarried or kid-free) have their own plans. Moms like me, do you also feel the pinch? 

I keep telling myself this is only for a short while. 

Aarush will be grown up soon and then I can start with my own social commitments, but wont it be too late then? People will already have moved on, and I will be stuck. 

I tried connecting with a few groups on FB and WhatsApp which was like a mom-connect. Disengaged myself the very next day. I was looking for some meaningful conversation, plan some get togethers with kids and feel more included and enriched. But what do they do there? Share random pictures of themselves and their families, discuss nonsense nonstop so that working moms open their phones and see 474 unread pings which are absolute crap...

No win win solution, is there?

Maybe I'm the odd one out. 

Maybe this is the time I need to only focus on what my job, family and kid wants of me, and then there will be a time when I can live for myself. 

Maybe. 

Until then...

Back to routine. The job, a few books and movies, random surprises and plans which actually work out.

Adios!

Asta La Vista
Princess

Monday, November 28

And Some More Reviews

Hey dears.

Been doing a few things, going a few places, reading a few books and watching some movies. Thought I'd share my evaluation with you, since my FB mates have mentioned time and again that they'd like to know my perspective on all that I've recently experienced...

Let's start with books! Always my first :-)

Just finished The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad (LoLP) by Mrs. Funnybones Twinkle Khanna. The woman is marvelous. I did not know she had so much spunk in her. All I knew was that she is (was) a pathetic actress, and fortunately she quit coz she was well aware and vocal about it! I've read some of her columns where she is a guest writer, and I read her first book as well, which was nothing more than her columns put together in a paperback format. Her humor and observations are witty, and her language impressive and hard hitting. Loved the fact that I get to read about her equation with her family, especially her husband (whom she addresses as man of the house). 


She is what I aspire to be - Writing, enjoying life and the myriad tales it brings forth, being a celebrity and an intelligent one at that. Also totally enchanted by her appearance on TV in Koffee with Karan Season 5 along with hubs Akshay Kumar. Such a delightful chemistry and friendship, such openness and tolerance. Man, that guy is a jewel. Lucky she could find him! 

LoLP is a set of short stories, 4 to be precise, primarily on women issues like their treatment and condition in the country, man and his empathetic innovativeness, finding love and belonging, and forced expectations and rituals. The last story stretched too long for my liking, and brought down my better rating to 3.5/5 for the entire book. It's a quick read otherwise, and brings you many emotions in surprisingly simple packages. Not a bad read at all.     

I'm still midway through Vish Dhamija's Nothing Stays Forever, which was laid to rest a few days when I was neck deep in LoLP and bungling around the house with the bub and domestic chores. It's reached a twist at the moment, and I'm quite enjoying reading VD yet again, though this one isn't as alluring as Deja Karma. Hope to see it through by the end of this week.

Since the bub was at his grandmom's for a night, I decided to make the most of it by going pub hopping. There were a list of places I was dying to visit, and Bar Bar and Texas Bar & Grill finally were graced by my Highness. Since my company was amazing, the night was memorable too, and I enjoyed chugging Kingfisher Ultra Max for the first time ever. Bar Bar served some tasty Shrimp starters and I enjoyed the American fare at Texas. The view at the latter is beyond par and the music was fine as well. The service at Bar Bar is better though, and I realised how much I miss my old nights of drinking, fun and conversation with sensible people.   

Must mention this: Was actually hanging out at Phoenix Crossword to meet Jef Arch, my fav author in the world. But when they said I had to buy a book and wait in queue for several hours to meet the already exhausted writer, I decided to take a rain check and headed downstairs for some beers. Have ordered his book though "This was a Man", the ultimate one in the Clifton Chronicles.  

While I've been incredibly busy delivering Fierce for my workforce, I've learnt a tremendous lot about facilitating virtual sessions and Adobe. So thankful for the opportunity and experience. Our Annual day is also round the corner, so there are many sport and cultural events and sports events going on right now. I'm organising the Friday events (treasure hunt, online quiz, showcase your house/team, dress theme) and the level of engagement and competition is at an altogether different level! Fully in sync with the jungle theme of the year! 

Unfortunately (or fortunately), this does not leave me much time to catch up on Bigg Boss 10 though I keep catching snippets on the news and Twitter. Some wild cards coming in this week I think, while a few Indiawale are out. I'm fond of Manveer and Gaurav, and I do hope one of them wins. Baba Om and Bani are a pain on all senses, so I hope they get kicked out. I've, however, been very meticulous about watching Koffee with Karan, the latest one with Ranveer and Ranbir was a smashing hit just like the last with Arjun Kapoor and Varun Dhawan. 

Alia and SRK's episode, I enjoyed more than I did their movie - Dear Zindagi. I somehow expected more insights and laughs in the half baked film that stopped short of hitting the spot. The good part is that the movie encourages people to come out of the closet with their problems, emotional or otherwise, and not hesitate in reaching out for therapy. The bad part was that there were multiple deja vu's in the film, like Alia's Highway outburst during the climax and SRK's typical paternal style in the last few films. Kapoor and Sons was infinitely better, and the movie moves at a slow pace, and the song lyrics make sitting even more difficult. Go with low expectations and you won't regret it. For me, I'm considering giving up on Bollywood for a bit; film makers are more motivated to churn out multiple films than make one meaningful and satisfying production. Dangal is coming soon, but with so many women-oriented movies in the last few years, I don't expect to be blown off my feet.

Heard Dr. Strange is better, though. Go take a look, if you keen. 

And back I go to my rush life...

Take care!

Cheers

Anuja

Monday, October 24

Book Review : Agniputr by Vadhan

Even before I start reviewing, take a look at this book trailer. 



Wow! When did they launch this? Makes me want to read the book all over again... AND wait with fingers crossed for a movie being made basis this alluring introduction!

Bloomsbury books sent me a copy of this engaging novel a few weeks ago, and it is only in the past week that I could finally get started with reading it. Once I started, it was a challenge to put the book down, and I kept waiting to get back to the pages any free moment I got. My rating for this one: 4.5 on 5. 

So what's the book about? Well, quantum physics for one, that I can make neither head nor tail of, and maybe that snatched the half star away from the rating. But it also describes and connects some engrossing characters that lend their heart to the story and manage to steal the reader's in turn. 

The start is marvellous and midway, the book picks up amazing pace. In the 1940s, something evil called the Sutram is created and it is desired by a tantrik with an even more evil heart to become the master of the universe. There is a conspiracy and betrayal in the Surya family which leads to the death of one loved Surya who before he breathes his last, manages to limit the power of the Sutram. Over the years, the Sutram is contained in a hall, deep under the ground, but it destroys all that comes on its surface. Not surprisingly then, the perilous hall is proclaimed out of bounds for all villagers and others.

Time passes, and the Sutram is gathering more energy. Soon it will reveal itself and destroy the universe. It is ripe to be harnessed. By who? The same tantrik who was biding his time. He uses some political pawns and devotees as his means to the end, but he is not prepared to be thwarted by Raghuram Surya, lawyer and heir of the Surya family and his companion Sheila, a quantum physicist. How Poti, SRK, Pichi Rathaya, Kant, P. Eshwar, SRK and Valaneni play their parts is an interesting read. What is even more thrilling, are the horror scenes, where bodies are strung and suspended in mid air, a precursor of the fate of Gudem.

I, in particular, loved Raghu for his intelligence, humor and confidence. His philandering ways also lend charm to his ultimate affection for Sheila, who has a past and personality of her own. Poti's fierce loyalty and Tirupati Balaji's presence won't fail to impress you and the steady build up of excitement will ooze out of the pages. Once the discussion on atoms and quarks starts, I found myself a little lost and impatient to move on, but it will be entertaining for a sci-fi geek, I presume. Full points to the author for trying something different, but not my cup of tea. This, thankfully, did not mar my experience of the climax which was a tad predictable, yet memorable. I would have preferred the end either to be slightly different and not as benevolent as it is, or maybe more utopian than possible. 

The words come to life and the characters stay etched on your mind, and that's the true victory of this book. The style, vocabulary and plots are above par, and in my opinion, this book is way more enticing for the audiences than Ashwin Sanghi's creations, on the same lines as Amish and Vish Dhamija. Such a heartening feeling, to see Indian writers making their way up the literary ladder. 

Kudos, Vadhan and Bloomsbury. Thank you for this gift and experience. 





Grab your copy :-) 

Cheerio!
Princess       



Thursday, October 13

Two Month Update... and Apologies

Absolutely abominable. From once a month, I've dipped to a new low of not having written to you fellas in over 2 months. Apologies. Sincere ones. 

It's been a crazy time. I guess God wanted me to feel not-so-listless anymore (!) akin what I said in my last post.  

So, what have I been up to?!! Loads. 

I'm now a certified Fierce facilitator, and there are less than 20 of them in India alone. Fierce Conversations is a book, philosophy and tool by Susan Scott which talks about how can make our lives, careers, relationships more fruitful and enriching by engaging in meaningful conversations with people about topics that need to be spoken about. What's more, I am going to be training all the leads in Hitachi Consulting India on this wonderful program so that they can make the organization more powerful and the culture more rewarding. Targets are huge, and the payoff is going to be phenomenal. 

But what is also exciting, is that I was sent to London for the training and I had a great week working and another lovely one roaming around the magical city. With no set agenda, I went around the streets and experienced the grandeur of the Land of Harry Potter. Be it the Buckingham Palace, or the Big Ben, right from the ArcelorMittal Orbit to Old Spitalfields and Covent Garden. My office is bang opposite the Tower of London, and I whizzed around on the tube from Moorgate to Greenwich to Knightsbridge. I ate duck and pigeon at the Canteen in Royal Festival Hall, and I loved the Victorian Sponge and Jude ice creams in salted caramel and chocolate flavors. I purchased at Primark and M&S when I roamed Trafalgar Square and I enjoyed the bustle at Camden Market where I dug hungrily into Poppies' Fish and Chips. The Thames was a delight rendered prettier by the opening of the Tower Bridge. My lifelong dream came true when I visited Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross, and I was thrilled to see I was not the only one (or the oldest one) nuts about Pottermania. It was truly a trip to treasure. 

And yet, I missed home. 

I have always been a little envious of my friends and colleagues who went abroad and chose to settle there, now having been there for all of 2 weeks, I think India is home and I am happy to be back. As much as I love traveling, my wanderlust does not permit me to move bag and baggage to another land. My husband is ecstatic about this discovery!

Life otherwise has been super packed, too. Be it reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the plane, and now moving on to Vadhan's Agniputr. Both of which are stupendous. Or movies that I and the hubby watched full throttle: Dhoni, Pink and Tutak Tutak Tutiya. All of which were not bad. Dhoni was the most paisa vasool, great acting and inspirational story. Pink is overrated, same old plot in a new package with Big B to sell it to you, open letters and all fakeness included. TTT was something that we just bumped into, since we had a free night without the bub. Time pass film with lots of humor and not too much brain. The only disappointment was Chang's, my favorite Chinese restaurant in Viman Nagar, that seems to have hit rock bottom in terms of flavor, service as well as cost. 

Aarush is growing up into an amazing rockstar, what with his nonstop chatter and action. It is rare to see that boy sit or sleep, and his cheerful smile and soothing voice allure the young and old alike. The kid's got vocabulary, affection and intelligence that could shame some adults I know, and it's a pleasure to be his mom, even if I occasionally find myself getting really livid with the tiny monster.

Personally and professionally, life has become quite stable and fulfilling. The calm after so many endless storms. Thank Heavens it's time to sit and relax for a while. I wish I could dedicate some more time to writing, though. I am getting stuck in the mundane even as my heart yearns to publish at least one book in my lifetime.

Let's see when that will happen....

Until then, 

Cheerio!
Anuja

  

Friday, July 29

Listless and a Poem For Pop n Maa

I am getting old. 

Birthdays don't excite me anymore. 


Of course, I'm getting old. Crossed 30 last year. 


(Hell, that's still a lot younger than how I feel inside.)


(At least at the moment.)

When one imagines oneself, age ceases to matter and you only look at your past and future without serious consideration regarding the chronological details. 


However, my current (longstanding) circumstances and stress make me feel like a crappy, scraggy old hag who feels meh about everything and excited about (almost) nothing. 


Like the Annual Award I bagged in office for all my contributions throughout the year. Like my son's second birthday that we plan to celebrate with pomp and ceremony this November. Like watching movies, reading, travelling and book writing which have been my childhood passions and ambitions. 


I just don't have the fire.


Amazing how someone or some situation can completely suck the life out of you.


Strike that. 


It's not amazing.


It sucks.


Real bad. 


When I used to fantasize about my life, it was quite like the things people post on Facebook - all happy, hunky dory stuff which makes others (mostly) envious and (some) joyous. Ironically, my timeline of memories looks more lively than my recent updates. 


I know people say that all those FB posts are hogwash and it's just attention seeking behaviour. Well, what can I say. They succeed!


I know folks say you ought to count your blessings. I am a stupid woman who does not understand that maxim. 


I know the Gita says you should do your karma without expecting any return. I am not that pious or generous.


I feel out of place and forced to behave normal on days when I am low. Is this what's called depression? 


I am doing very well at work, this is probably the best phase of my career, but I just want to take a sabbatical. I don't want to interact with anyone. I don't want to be alone. I don't want to think about the next meal or the next salary. I want to do all I can for my family. I want to make them happy. I don't care what anyone says about me. I want to fight for my rights. I want to not bother about anything or anyone.  


I used to be full of spunk and energy. I used to always have a plan and a big smile on my face. 

I am getting old. It's now a task to gather myself and do some things that excited me before.


Yes, I am reading - finished the 3 trilogy by Shobha Nihalani. Going on to The Girl with All the Gifts. Got a few more tucked into my to-read shelf. Trying to blog when I can. Came to know that Roadies X4 has begun so catching up with that. Been partying with the friends and colleagues at Bar Stock Exchange, Fly High, Cuba Libre. Watched Sultan and found it boring. Hate India and Indians for letting Salman go scott-free....

But end of the day. Duh. Listless. Lonely. Tired of it all.

But my parents... Damn! They're a different, unique breed. So energetic and enthusiastic about life though they are twice(+) my age!


Here's a little something for them. Coz they're awesome!

***

Dear Mom and Pop, Abba and Ammi,


Been a while since I wrote to you,
My anger more tangible and frequent than my affection;
My actions and thoughts receive your support,
Even when they deserve beration.

As I look back at all that you’ve done for me,
And I look forth at your unconditional love;
I realize that whatever I say or do for you,
Could hardly be enough.

The annoyance comes and goes,
As people we’re poles apart;
And yet I know that I will always,
Adore you from my heart.

So blessed to have a relation,
So profound and not sham;
Coz I thank you for being who you are,
And I applaud you for making me who I am.

 ***

“The most beautiful feeling in the world is to see your parents smiling, and knowing that you are the reason behind that smile.” I wish I could give them more reasons and less hurt.

No matter how badly I fell or failed, they have always been there to pick me up and boost my confidence. They have always treated me like a winner, and that is the reason for all my achievements in life. 

Papa, Mummy, Abba, Ammi - Thank you for always forgiving me, accepting me and encouraging me with your words and actions. Raising Aarush is teaching me how much you love me, and he is more fortunate than I am to have outstanding grandparents like you. Thank you for being the best parents and grandparents in the world. I love you.

Forever indebted,

Anuja 

***

Cheerio Guys!
Princess

Thursday, June 9

Namma Bengaluru

Hi Buds, 

Writing in from Bangalore. 

Feeling Aarush-sick. 

I last saw him on Sunday when I left him at his Naani's since I would be travelling on business. The first two days are always okay as I revel in my freedom, eat and do what I please and sleep like a log. Third days are tough and the following are pure torture. I watch all those baby videos on Facebook and feel dismal. When I hear him coo-cooing in the background as I speak to mom, I can hardly hold back tears. Can't wait to be back home, hug and cuddle and kiss him all over. My little baby. Being a working mother has it's share of sacrifices and compromises. 

Bangalore is pleasant with rains and a packed agenda. Good to meet my colleagues and hit the party joints once again after October last year. Last night at Watson's was pretty nice, and tonight shall be another adventure I suppose. Will probably take a dip in the rooftop swimming pool this evening after work before I head to the hangouts. 

While I still have to finish the last few pages of Nine's sequel, I have started reading The Girl with All the Gifts. A stunning start, and I'm super curious to know where the story is heading and what the clandestine context is. More on that as I delve deeper.

Meanwhile, you may congratulate yours truly for a salary hike and title change: I am now Location Lead for Pune and Bangalore at Hitachi Consulting. While I was doing the job anyway, this title is more suitable and reflective of my span of control. 

So hurray, and take care!

Ciao.

Love,
Anuja

Monday, May 30

And thus ends May...

Almost a month since my last post, time to say Aloha June!

Time's a-flying. Like someone once said, "the hours don't pass, but god knows where the months and years went" - okay, that's not exactly what he/she said, but this was the interpretation. More like "lamhe katt-te nahi, saal beet jaate hai".

Work's catching up pace and I'm making up for all the lost and compromised time during my maternity leave and baby-raising tenure. Getting ahead at work is a task in a corporate world where people are forgotten the moment you don't connect with them regularly or do something to catch their attention. I've managed to do that and more, and my rating is proof of my effort. Feeling damn kicked about it, and want to do even better this year for my wonderful employer. I am blessed to be with Hitachi Consulting, and I pretty much plan to stick on unless something really extraordinary comes around. The kind of flexibility and support they've allowed me while taking care of Aarush and my personal issues has been nothing short of benevolent, and I better make myself worth it for them. And I am! Go ask my manager and colleagues. Have been able to make a positive difference to colleagues and teams; feels good! Bring it on :-) 

Aarush is naughtier than yesterday but not as naughty as he shall be tomorrow, so I don't know whether that's good news or bad. But, I'm drained at the end of every day and I wish I had a few more hands to do all the things that I want to do. Joint family seems like such a good option at times, until I remember all the cons that go with it, and thank my stars for being a nuclear one. No such thing as a free lunch, eh. 

I shall be traveling to Bangalore soon again this month, after my delightful pleasure-cum-work escapade in October last year. Bangalore is a wonderful city to live and party in, if you got the right company. Wondering what this trip has in store apart from loads of meetings and training sessions....

I've been to quite a few new (for me) joints in Koregaon Park courtesy a couple of girl friends who are active on the social and hangout scene. Some names are Savya Rasa (serves amazing South Indian fare, yeah yeah, I screwed my nose too when I heard that but the food is lip-smacking and worth returning!), Bar & Eatery (your regular eat and drink joint which has tasty Chicken Steak and Mash), Jimmy Hu (was better earlier than it is now), Forrente (overpriced, bad menu and worse service). 

Haven't watched any movies apart from Jungle book that I thoroughly enjoyed, and which Aarush allowed me to see calmly till the interval. I'm sure he'd have been morre cooperative had the film been 2D but well... It brought back memories from childhood, a time so delightful and free, unlike the chaos that we all live in now as helpless, overwhelmed adults.

Books - yeah, that's been the highlight for sure. I've been ordering them by the truckloads from Amazon, and also went shopping in a REAL bookstore with my uncle' felt just like old times! So, I've read the first part of Shobha Nihalani's Nine - Revenge of the Kalingan, and I was so enamored that I am now on the sequel. I finished Jef Arch's Cometh the Hour, again a fantastic book in the Clifton Chronicles (although I've lost the plot and details of the prequels). What's exciting is that I still have many books left unread on my shelf, and lack of material to read is not a challenge that I shall face anytime soon. Cheers to that!

What's on the cards next? Well, salary first of all, which comes in tomorrow :-D

And then as I said Bangalore, before I take off for my anniversary vacation to Goa mid-June. I haven't been there for a long time, and I'm really looking forward to spending some kid-free time with my husband. Marriage is probably the one relationship that we all take for granted a few years after tying the knot, and one way to keep it alive is to create twice (or more) the number of happy memories as the unpleasant ones.    

And then, there's work and more work. And Aarush and more Aarush.

Hope you'all doing well my dear readers!


See you sooner :-)


Love,
Anuja


 

Tuesday, March 29

Aloha April

Hiya there!

So I guess, taking off the dream catcher did take away our unpleasant nights. Maybe I'm superstitious, but my baby and hubs seem to be sleeping well, too. To be honest, I'm sleeping like a log these days, such deep and restful sleep, that I ache to go to bed even during the day!

Or maybe it is pure exhaustion. Taking care of the baby, home and work (and the husband, in-laws, maids and others) is tiring work. I've been more or less ill lately: the cough and cold, and dizziness doesn't seem to fade. And to think I used to pride myself over not falling sick too often! The weather is remarkably warm for this time of the year, and I the water crisis is scary, too. God knows what the world is coming to. Or maybe even God doesn't know. After all, we're bringing this upon us, right.

Aarush is growing up by the minute, and I catch myself gawking over how quickly he's growing. It won't be too long before he starts having his own set of friends and ambitions that I'm not at the core of, and his dependence that currently seems a pain will soon become a dream. I'm already preparing myself for the day when he walks up with a girl in tow and tells me she is her girlfriend. My hypothetical answer is, "Great! Take care of each other" but something tells me it will probably change when the actual situation occurs. LOL.

Then again, I ought to give myself a pat on the back for still being a fun girl - or at least that's what my (true) friends and colleagues assure me. Validation came in the form of 2 young men trying to chat me up and ask me out when I was partying with my friend. For someone who considers the word "beautiful" inapplicable to herself under the remotest circumstances, this gave quite a kick. Just like old times. Little did the boys know that they're addressing someone married for almost 4 years and mom of a 1.5 year old son! Should've told them that just to gauge their response... ROFL

Reading has been a possibility this week since the bub was with grandma. Finished DeJa Karma - brilliant story and very well written. Absolutely un-put-down-able, deadly from start to end. Now that's a rarity. A very delightful one. The court case did not hold much weight, but the way the author has traced the life of Jay Singh is amazing. You can actually see the characters come to life and you feel endearment towards the protagonist, his aide Bhima, lover Manavi, friends, mom and shrink. When the writer can provoke emotions within you, that's his true victory. Vish Dhamija has done it, kudos.

I'm now onto Yes My Accent is Real by Kunnal Nayyar, better known as Raj from Big Bang Theory. His compilation of essays and experiences is cute, simple yet adorable. I'm also juggling Shikhandi simultaneously, it's like a dash of sugar and spice, and a very palatable combination. 

Come to think of it, I wasn't someone who was comfortable with reading several books at once. It seemed disloyal to me, like I was cheating on the book in my hand by seeking entertainment in another. However, with the kind of books that I'm reading now, as well as the unpredictable time I have on my hands, this method is working well. I'd need an unlimited amount of free time and a really marvelous book to go back to my former style. 

And who can guarantee either? Well, this week, yes, coz the baby's away again at Naani's. 

(Bless that woman, don't know what I'd do without her.)

Holi was uneventful, except for some polite neighbours who carefully smeared dry, organic colour on my face. But Kapoor and Sons was a plethora of events and reactions. I went assuming a title like this and Alia Bhat's presence could not mean a film with depth, but the story is full of drama and conviction. So much turmoil within relationships, unspoken dreams and confessions, mistakes voluntary and spontaneous. Rishi Kapoor's makeup was stunning and so was his acting. The rest - Ratna Pathak, Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Rajat Kapoor were also superb. You actually get involved in their lives and their difficulties, and that was a win for me. Alia, well, she's what she usually is. So, no points there. The songs could have been cut out or cut short, though.  

And there's not much I can say for the Superman and Batman movie that everyone was waiting eagerly for. A complete disaster, apart from the character and acting of Lex Luthor. The Now You See Me star reminded me of Shahrukh Khan throughout the movie, and thee climax was like Karan Arjun too. Seems like the director was mighty impressed with King Khan's movie. 

Now for work, a little cricket, maybe some party/catchup/social time, reading and sleeping that's on the cards over the coming days. 

Hope you doing fine, fellas. As the financial year draws to a close, I wish you luck and success in the new year. May you all get awesome salary hikes and truckloads of bonus. Take care, and don't blow it all up. Don't save it all either. Donate to the needy. And get something for yourself, too :-) 


Cheerio.
Princess   


Thursday, March 10

Catch your Dreams

Hey there. 

Having to deal with idiots is no joke. Look around and you will find them in plenty, at work and outside - no dearth of them at all. Birdbrains, the bunch of them. 

( Grrr )

And it's worse when you're having restless nights abounding in nightmares.

Not a mighty chirpy temperament that I'm in, I'm sure you can tell.

So, well. I'm back from my sojourn - first to the north and then down south (like not really down down, but kinda downer than where I generally am). I was thinking that I'd be pleased to be away from the city (and most importantly, routine) during this period. But well, I did get homesick after a while and wanted to return to home-made food and family.

Landing in Pune was a delight, and things are back to normal (too fast for my liking!)

So, for those of who are wondering why I'm getting nightmares...

(You forgot, right? That's all right. Shan't let you go unless I address this.)

So, I met my colleagues from Hyderabad, China and the US in HYD. It was great catching up with all of them and learning together. Needless to say, I got heaps of gifts from them and I couldn't wait to return to Pune to adorn my desk and home with them. One of the gifts was a dream catcher, and for those of you who don't know what that is, here is a picture of what mine looks like.




Dream catchers are one of the most fascinating traditions of Native Americans. The traditional dream catcher was intended to protect the sleeping individual from negative dreams, while letting positive dreams through. The positive dreams would slip through the hole in the center of the dream catcher, and glide down the feathers to the sleeping person below. The negative dreams would get caught up in the web, and expire when the first rays of the sun struck them.

(Read more here: http://www.dream-catchers.org/)

Not surprisingly, I was mighty excited to get this gift and I was aching to put this up in my bedroom to give my bub and hub wonderful, rosy, happy dreams. 

Turns out, our next couple of nights were anything but pleasant. Both me and my husband, baby too I think, tossed and turned and experienced restlessness. I refused to believe that the dreamsnare was to blame, but my doubts were confirmed when my hubby also expressed the same thought. 

I did a bit of research online (obviously), and I came across several people who had reported poor nights after putting up a dream catcher. Is it true? Is it just our imagination? Stress? 

Can't say for sure. But I did take it off and we shall wait and watch how the next few nights go.

They say the best dreams are seen with your eyes wide open. 

Unless you're only daydreaming without any constructive effort. 

Apart from that, I am sorry to say, I did not catch up on writing and blogging as planned. I was brooding over how I missed my baby and home, and actively engaging on social networking websites to keep my loneliness at bay. I did manage to read though - Shikhandi by Devadutta Pattanaik and With a Pinch of Salt by Jas Anand. The former is intriguing, the latter, well it's all right, nothing remarkable. Tends to drag. 

I'm now reading Vish Dhamija's Deja Karma and it's quite interesting. I hope it keeps up the pace and suspense - been a while since I read John Grisham or Perry Mason, and I do love courtroom dramas.

The baby's doing fine, thanks for asking :-) He's getting naughtier (and cuter!) by the day, though he gives me ample reason to fret when he does not sleep or eat well. I'm wondering about his education already, given that parents these days plan ahead like the world's going to end if they enrol their kids in a 2nd preference school. Any tips from experienced folks are most welcome. I could do with some ready info that I don't have to verify or dig up amidst my 100 chores and responsibilities. 

That's that for now, fellas. 

Hoping to catch some fun dreams tonight!


Cheerio!
Anuja


Saturday, February 27

Tripping up North!

Hello Peepz!

And we're back :-)

I'd managed to escape the mad rush for a few ticks last time to drop you a line on my vacation plan. Let me tell you more about what we accomplished on the trip, just like the last time when we went to Binsar, Leh Ladakh, etc.

(Wish I could travel so much more than I actually do... Sigh.)

So, we flew out of Mumbai to Jammu and arrived at Katra in time for dinner. The weather was cold, and our woollens got a chance to breathe the free, cool and fresh air. Out hotel Van Durga was scenic and the rooms were cozy with heaters, decent food and all required amenities.

Vaishnodevi is a 14 km journey which some choose to walk and others ride a mule. Senior citizens and the differently abled are fortunate to have palanquins, battery operated cars and helicopters to ferry them across the distance. I liked the fact that no meat or alcohol is allowed inside Katra, and people are awake and meeting Vaishnodevi at all hours of the day or night. 

I'd decided to walk a few miles and hitch a ride when exhausted, whereas hubs and Mom were 100% sure they'd walk up and down the entire stretch, that too with the baby. The other members of the family all opted for their preferred modes and we started the hike at 6 am. Thanks to my hubby's perseverance and motivation, I huffed and puffed it all the way to the top in close to 3 hours. I was so proud of myself, and even more of Akhilesh for his fitness and determination - he did not sit for a second, and he carried Aarush all by himself up the rise. 

The first half is steep, and it's smarter to take the slopes than the stairs. Also, helicopter rides need to be booked months in advance and the battery cars run only after Ardhakumari (that's halfway). So, if you're planning a trip, plan well.

The Boba 4g carrier that I'd purchased a year ago came in mighty handy during this hike, and rendered my buy paisa vasool. Aarush cooperated immensely and there was no trouble at all as we walked up or rode down (to save time, though we were not really tired).

We were lucky to pass the Shiv Gufa (cave) which is open between 8 am to 4 pm, and is a very adventurous passage with jagged rocks and tiny openings. What irked me a bit was the behaviour of the army / security chaps at the temple that are rude and inhumane for no apparent reason, and the fact that we hardly got to spend 2 minutes in front of the deity before we were shooed out. So much effort and expense for so little benefit, not a great investment in my opinion. Visiting the Vaishnodevi temple in Pimpri (Pune) is a far sensible option, as far as I think. It's almost identical (minus the walk, adventure and rudeness) and you get to experience everything more pleasantly: cave and deity.

We also visited the Kal Bhairo temple another 3 kms away, which most people skip. Apparently, your darshana is successful only if you greet both the deities, else it's incomplete.  

We left for Jammu the same day and onward to Dharamshala the next morning. The drive was slightly boring, but then all pretty destinations take hours to reach. We put up at Mcleodganj in a shady hotel called Oak valley - Please avoid at all costs. The staff tried to be helpful but the location and amenities were disappointing.

Since it was raining, we missed seeing the Bhagsu Nag temple and falls as well as Kanga War memorial, but we did shop in the market and enjoyed some junk and confectionery. We visited the Baijnath temple, supposed to be the oldest Shiva temple in the country, and we also saw Dalai Lama's abode in Dharamshala. He was traveling for his health so we missed meeting him, unfortunately. The Kangra fort was exciting and I recommend no history lover miss this spot. Our driver asked us to strike Dal lake off the itinerary since it was no better than a dirty pond, and we accepted his advice. Let me know if we made a mistake!

The next day was again spent in traveling from Dharamshala to Dalhousie, but this time what awaited us was breathtaking. Snow capped mountains and a delightful retreat called Grand View welcomed us. Our suite was palatial and the service was par excellent. Mrs. Chadha - the owner of the property, herself hosted the bonfire party and ensured all guests were comfortable and happy. Hats off to that sweetness and professionalism, and at her age! Inspiring.

The market was some distance away, and really not much to write home about; an hour of just window shopping was sufficient. Temperatures varied between -2 and 11 degree celsius but we were pleased with the heaters in all the rooms of our suite, and the royal jacuzzi in the master bath. Everyone was pampered, and the karaoke made the dinner interesting.

Diankund peak was on our list, and it was mesmerizing! We hiked on mud, stone and ice with the baby in tow, for 3 kms and prayed at a temple on top amidst snowy hilltops. Khajjiar was a waste of time though it's famous as "Mini Switzerland" due to the pine trees on all sides. The lake and Nag temple have a history, but we found nothing to do there apart from munch on some Maggi and take a few pictures of the horses. We skipped the temple and market at Chamba as we were in no mood to sit in the bus for another 3 hours, everything is so darned far! And there are barely any shops or restaurants on the way, unlike Maharashtra and other states. So, you need to carry food and supplies, especially if you're traveling with children or cranky adults. 

We had a wedding to attend in Jammu, and post that we went to Amritsar, which should ideally have been on the cards immediately after Dalhousie. We could have saved some time and travel, but well, we got to do what we got to do. A dear family friend had invited us for his marriage, and that is where this complete travel idea sprung from, so obviously we could not miss it. Punjabis are such warm-hearted people, and good hosts, too. All the best, Amit, for a happy married life with Samriti. God bless you guys. 

I did not get much time to read on the trip: Aarush kept me busy as did the commuting. I did, however, start With a Pinch of Salt by Jas Anand and Shikhandi by Devdutt Patttanaik. Plan to finish them off by the time I get back home.

Finally, Amritsar! It is a food and shopping paradise, and we made the most of both! The famous Brothers' dhaba and Golden temple were memorable, so was shopping for Phulkari suits and dupattas. Lassi and parathas regaled us, and the langar was brilliant in terms of planning, implementation and efficiency.  

The Wagah border flag lowering ceremony was not as awesome as I'd expected, but of course we did not want to miss it as my mum was eager to go there. It was all a show put on to entertain the audience who lapped up the aggression and competition. A mini war could have broken out right there since the MCs on both sides of the border were coaxing the onlookers to yell their national slogans louder than the opponents. The display of strength and muscles, the sprinting walk of the soldiers met with hoots and applause, but the parade was (sorry to say this) worse than our school parade. There was no coordination, and little passion - could be coz this is a daily act for the Border Security Force. For me, it was disappointing. I was looking forward to a more memorable Beating retreat (that's what it's called internationally).

A little more for the sake of history: It is a practice followed every day since 1959 at Attari, and talks about both, the rivalry and brotherhood between the two nations - India and Pakistan. For more details: read this - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagah_border_ceremony.

The trip concluded as we flew back to Mumbai and then I took off to Hyderabad, which is where I am now for work. Another week here before I finally reach home. Homesick already. Missing my baby, and home food. Eating out everyday is no fun. Life's tough!

I do, however, plan to accomplish a lot since I will be interacting with my colleagues from across the world and learning lots of new stuff - Fierce Conversations, Thinking like a Customer, a revised Feedback course, and of course going through a TTT on all these topics. I shall also get some time to relax and catch up on reading, blogging and sleep as I spend my time alone at the hotel. When I am not socializing with the team, obviously!

Sheraton, Holiday Inn and Hyatt - here we come!!

Hope you doing well, dears. Stay calm, be safe.

Always remain happy. Ignore those who jinx your peace.


Cheerio!
Princess


Friday, February 12

Adieu!

There. I did it. I jinxed myself by adulating the frequency and regularity of my blog posts.

Hope you did not miss me much. I haven't missed writing much for the simple reason that I've been too busy to notice when hours turned to days and days to weeks. 

Same old story, did you say. 

Well, you're not far from the truth. 

So...

:-) 

I've been reading a bit lately. Currently on my shelf is K. Hari Kumar's "That Frequent Visitor". While the language is too adorned (fake/presumptuous) for my liking - the number of similes and allegories is staggering and disturbing; the plot is fairly interesting. Waiting to see if it ends on the same high note or dips to a disappointing dawdle.

I finished Kepler's Hypnotist before that (don't recall if I mentioned it or not), and the book lost grip midway through. I'd have liked a little more hypnotism weaved into the story. Too much flashback and too little meat killed the experience for me. The writer is certainly gifted, though. 

I've ordered a couple of Vish Dhamija's books. Let's see how they turn out to be. 

So, the great news that I'm going to share with you (** drumroll **) is that I'm taking off for a fortnight to the queen of dream destinations - Jammu. The plan is to visit Vaishnodevi with our bundle of joy, then attend a wedding with the family and visit Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Amritsar and Wagah on the way back. I directly fly off to Hyderabad after that for official reasons, and I am sure the next 3 weeks will bring a fat lot of fun and learning. Super excited, and promise to fill you in first chance I get.

That's about it for now. Gotta rush, so much packing to be done and loads of work to wind up in office before I finally say Adieu!


Cheerio!
Princess


    

Tuesday, January 5

Live it Up, You!

Wow! This new year really seems to be boding well for my blog... or rather YOUR blog where I write :-) 

There are multiple posts in the last 2 weeks, and that's quite a favorable change from my regular disappearing act. Let's hope the trend continues... Just like throughout the year Amazon, Jabong, Flipkart, and Firstcry online sales.

(No, that's not a resolution. Resolutions are made to be broken. No point keeping one.) 

Umbilical cord guilt.

That's a term I picked up at a session that my company had arranged for women employees. 

While the trainer far from impressed me (professional hazards of being a trainer and self-proclaimed evaluator/critic), I did find myself agreeing with this concept. 

Simply put, it is the state of wanting to do everything, doing most of it, and yet feeling inadequate and miserable because you do not think you are doing satisfactorily for your progeny, and blaming yourself silly for one simple thing that you missed or did slightly below excellent. No matter what or how much you do, you believe you have failed. You stumble under that guilt, and over-compensate in all possible (and sometimes impossible ways) trying to prove yourself superwoman... or rather supermom. 

Every little thing you do for yourself weighs upon your self-esteem and ego, and you blame yourself for every moment of personal joy, peace and freedom away from the little one, who you have probably entrusted to a very caring grandparent or a reliable daycare.

True, you gave birth to that beautiful creature. True, you want to give him/her the world. True, you want him/her to have a happy childhood and set them up for a life of success and joy. 

But at what cost? At the cost of being stressed and rushed, day in-day out, yourself? 

It's not a temporary phase, as we moms keep telling ourselves. It will always be that way. When the child is a few months old, you are led to believe that things will get better as he/she grows. You are reminded of the same "fact" when the kid is one. Then you keep fooling yourself by setting new milestones like when the child goes to school, college, and enters matrimony.

The truth is, the child is independent sooner than you assume, and is very well able to take care of him/her self and his/her needs. I mean, I look at my son like he is a frail, dainty being, and I warn myself that he needs me all the time and I better be available and up to the mark. And then I watch him stupefied as he gallops around the house or park, mingling with other children and adults, communicating in his baby and body language, and getting his tasks done. If he is hungry, he manages to get some food by gesturing, and if he wants to play, he ensures that his toys and games are acquired. So really, what is it that I am feeling guilty about? 

I would like to say that I understand work-life balance, and I do a fairly good job of implementing it in my life. I work smart and I get good ratings, and I also do the things I love in my free time (rare, but there). I socialize with my friends and family, I read books and watch a few sensible shows, I squeeze in a movie or visit the mall with the husband, and I find the time to dish up some delicacies over the weekend. 

All in all, I don't count as a workaholic or idler, though of course there are others that are way more talented and living it up in salute-worthy ways.  

The point being, are you blowing up your self importance and exaggerating your existence as indispensable to someone or something? 

(And that question goes out to all of you, men and women alike, parents or bachelors or whoever you may be.)

Trust me, the world will go on with or without you. So, don't wait until you are ready to die to start living.

(Wow, what a paradox!)

My mom is a living example of this brilliant gyaan. She is putting to action all her zest for life and bringing to fruition all her passions that include religion, traveling, socializing, cooking and the works. I and my brother do bound her at times by unleashing our kids on her, but she loves us all and the grandkids are her jewels, so she doesn't complain. People always have an opinion on everything, and that does bend her will to enjoy life a bit, but I am ready to pump her back to activity whenever this happens. Critics are folks who did nothing amazing themselves and want everybody else to be miserable as well. She is my strength and ideal, that wonderful woman. I could never be her, and I can never stop loving and admiring her. And I have made it my personal goal to ensure that she gets to do all that she likes. 

My dad and husband, on the other hand, keep cribbing that they are unable to accomplish anything, and plan all their goals for a later time (which even God wouldn't know when it would come). Hubs thinks Vodafone will probably crumble to bits if he spends less than 540 minutes at work and Dad cannot leave the city even for a day as if he is the lifeline of Pune.

They're good men, these two chaps. Yet, I wonder if they wouldn't be able to strike a better balance within themselves if only they loosened up a little. 

Hey, I ought to be talking about myself than preaching for others. 

Yes, I need to loosen up, too. The house needn't be spotless every single day. It's okay if the clothes are unwashed or not ironed this week. Bedsheets unfolded and messy drawers are a sign of life, and it's all right if we order food from outside once in a while rather than me bending over in all directions to roast a roti as my bub screeches down the hallway. I love my spouse, and if I do one thing less for him or stop worrying about him, it is not going to impact his well-being. He is an adult and can very well take care of himself. 

Just like it's fine to pamper Aarush once in a while, it is cool to pamper myself now and then. A massage, some quiet time with a book and coffee, a quick tea break with the office buddies, and a snack that doesn't qualify as healthy - no harm done. 

Obviously, unless we go overboard. 

Let go of the guilt, dear folks. Stop being so responsible for everything. You won't remember the days when everything was perfect. You'll marvel at the days when you did something out of the blue and felt pleased. Life won't happen as you plan it, who knows what the future holds in store? Start living. NOW. 

And those of you who live each day as it comes, that's called taking it too far. You might want to step back and see how you can be more effective :-) 

Different strokes for different folks!

Best wishes as we start the new year - make this one memorable! Do something that you haven't done before, or something that you haven't done in a long time. Go out and create something, get started on your goals, one step at a time. 

Just do it.


Love,
Princess