Friday, December 30, 2011

Age - just a number?

Recently, someone at my workplace asked me how old I was and I told him my real age. He was shocked and after confirming it with me, went on to say I don't look anything more than 20 years of age. That got me thinking.. I never really felt my "age". I never gave it a thought. I mean.. I look 20 (except that I am gaining weight day by day :( ). I *feel* 20. I live my life as if I were 20; meaning as if I have a lot of years ahead of me to settle down in terms of a relationship, a career, in life..

I am so carefree at times and feel like a kid in a lot of ways inside, so to believe or even say how old I really am is kind-of difficult, scary and just plain weird. It feels like I am a few years behind time. I don't know if anyone has felt this way before. It's as if the number doesn't suit who I am inside. :-/

Since that day on, whenever I am completely lost in the moment, playing TT at work or cracking jokes with my colleagues, I suddenly get reminded of my age and start analysing my behaviour !!! :S It has made me a little conscious and has made being myself difficult :S

It made me think whether age is really just a number like most people say it is. And whether there really is an age to do everything.. like they say you should start behaving in a certain way when you're 21+.. or in the way our parents behave when we cross 30, because parents are all grown-up and grown-ups should behave like grown-ups.. I am really afraid I'll continue to behave and feel the way I do inside till I breathe my last.

Monday, December 26, 2011

On my mind..

Merry Christmas. For those who don't know, I recently joined a workplace and it has been keeping me busy and away from posting here. The reason for not putting news up about my workplace anywhere would be I have no clue as to why I am working. As insane as it may sound, I question myself time and again as to why I am working here, what purpose am I serving, is it adding to my happiness, is it making me "feel" good.. and I never get answers.  Right now, I am just planning to stick this out and give it my best till I find answers. The place is good, the people are good, but it's been over a month and I still don't feel the connection. Know what I mean?

Sometimes I just get frustrated with myself for being like this but I have decided to try not to be hard on myself anymore. I mean, it's okay to be confused, it's okay to change your mind, it's okay to not know who you are, right?.. Even if it's not okay, I don't think I care anymore. These couple of years, I have just been trying to fix things or change them. It's just that I believe that being confused is wrong/bad, being emotionally weak is wrong, not stepping out of your comfort zone is wrong. I guess I need to rework on these beliefs somehow or I am never going to be happy with who I am :(

People judge me for not having an ambition or a definite goal. I may not have an ambition to get rich or move up the professional ladder but I do have other smaller goals like buying myself a really nice bottle of perfume with my own money, or saving up to travel. And seriously, what's wrong with that?

All through our childhood, we are asked what we would like to become when we grow up.. All through our lives, we are asked what our ambitions are.. All job interviews come with the "Where do you see yourself five years down the line?" question. Everyone tried teaching us to plan ahead, to think big, to behave well. No one taught us to live. If only more focus was placed on "being" than "becoming".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hair affair..

I've been in a rather rocky relationship with my hair ever since I was about 20.. I didn't really care all that much about my hair when I was in school even though I have had really bad experiences with haircuts and had my hair compared to a mop, dish scrubber and everything else you can think of along those lines, by my peers!! My hair looked different at various stages.. I was born with very curly hair. It got real thick & bushy when I was a school kid, it was wavy during my early college days (ages 16-20). It was pretty nice till I was about 20 and a half with lots of waves and volume... until I got introduced to straightening irons!! The temporary straightening made my hair look so awesome that I did it too often. I never realised those temporary straightening sessions would end up making my hair rough and frizzy later. My hair also started getting more curly post that..which is not a very bad thing, but it was also dry.. something I had to take care of.

The curls I was born with!

My lovely locks on my 20th birthday.. isn't my hair looking nice? Sadly, I ruined it by ironing it time & again that year...

Temporary straightening (ironing) that settled my waves.. making my hair look WOW! But ruined my hair later!

I started taking care of it when a lot of damage (owing to prior negligence) had been done already.. and I'm going to share some of those tips with you!!

When you have curly hair, DO NOT comb it unless it's really necessary. I know that not combing your hair is the most clumsiest thing to do but trust me, those curls will survive as long as your comb does not touch them. You may want to just run your fingers through it instead. Also, most people with curly hair have a dry scalp. Don't ask me the logic but that's one thing I've noticed. So it's important that you oil your hair regularly. Heat some coconut/olive oil and massage it deep inside the scalp and the next morning, before washing it off, soak a towel in hot water and tie the towel around your hair. Keep it that way for 20 minutes and then shampoo the hair. This makes the hair soft and prevents dandruff. I generally mix coconut, almond and olive oil together. A conditioner is a MUST for curly hair. Use a leave-in conditioner if you can. On days that you don't wash your hair, use a serum or your hair will start losing its shine.

And when you absolutely HAVE to comb it, use a round brush with soft bristles, somewhat like this one:

The image has been Googled for

It isn't too hard on your hair and settles all the loose strands down. I used this brush even when my hair was wavy. My hair has a lot of volume. For people with less volume, you might want to comb your hair backwards to achieve it:

She's getting her hair blow dried backwards for volume.. This is how you should comb your hair too. It adds a lot of volume to the hair.

And yes, these images were Googled for as well!

I've also recently discovered something called a hair masque which works like a conditioner but provides deep conditioning and nourishment. It has to be applied after you shampoo your hair and has to be left for fifteen to twenty minutes before you can rinse it. Do not use a conditioner when you are using a masque and since applying a masque takes longer, you can keep it to once a week or two. I used the Dove Nourishing Oil Care Hair Masque last week. It made my hair feel a lot softer but a bit oily (probably because I had gone for an oil massage the previous day and the oil had not still left my hair completely even though I shampooed it). I was happy with the product though.

My hair at 21 & a half.. more curlier & frizzier because of the ironing sessions, but still looking good after the oiling, shampooing and conditioning...

So to continue my story, soon, I got tired of my curls and too lazy to follow the regime. I straightened my hair permanently for the first time when I was 21 & a half (just about a month after taking the picture above).. One of the reasons for doing it was also that I secretly hoped the new hair that would grow wouldn't be AS curly. I thought it would be wavy and more easier to manage.  I promised myself to take care of my hair once it started growing again so that I wouldn't have to straighten it again, and was in love with my straightened hair..

Permanent straightening

My hair grows real fast and I had not meant to do it again when the new hair started to show..

Curly hair + Straight hair..

But I made another mistake then: I coloured it red!!

It was looking real good the day I coloured it.. after they blow dried my hair (almost ironing it) and everything. I was pretty happy with the new look..

The day I coloured my hair red

But as soon as I washed it, all the blow dry and straight effect was gone.. And within a month or two, my hair got so rough that it looked like hay (considering it started changing colour as well...)

Half curly, half straight, coloured hair after losing its colour...

So I had to break my vow and straighten it again. That was the only solution to making my hair look a bit presentable. Ofcourse, I've been experiencing excessive hairfall but my hair looks okay atleast. I didn't experience hairfall the first time I straightened my hair. I think the hairfall now is due to colouring AND straightening. Not bothered about the hairfall too much as my hair keeps growing real fast & I have a lot of volume anyway.

After straightening it for the second time..

My new hair has started growing already.. My hair grows so fast that it's actually stupid on my part spending so much money on getting it straightened every time. I'd have to do it three times in a year if I want it to look straight all the time! Anyway, so, thanks to the new hair, the coloured (& straight) hair has gone down now and doesn't show itself that much.

The new hair + coloured & straight hair below.. The look that I sport now.

The new hair seems nice.. except that my scalp is getting dry again and I am following the same steps that I listed above (for curly hair). My new hair is sort-of wavy and wavy hair can be given the same treatment, the only difference being- wavy hair or any hair except curly hair must be combed!! The steps above can be followed for straight hair too (not the "not combing" of course), but in case you have an extremely oily scalp instead of a dry one, you might want to follow a completely different regime (one without the oiling and the conditioning). The conditioning should be restricted to only the tips of the hair in case of an oily scalp.

So, you see, I have learnt a lesson from my hair escapades- love your hair the way it is.. and it will love you back! That is exactly what the Dove contest has to say too.. and also the reason why I wrote this piece! :) In one of my earlier posts, I had talked of the new Nourishing Oil Care Range Dove has come up with. With the launch of that range of products, the Dove team, along with Indiblogger, have organised a contest where we have to share small and special things we do to make our hair feel special !! You can take part too but you have to hurry up as it's only till the 10th of November. Check this link for details:

Natural hair is the best kind of hair.. Love it and take care of it! This is what Dove always aims to tell us by way of its campaigns and advertisements- You are beautiful! <3

And even if you want to ever get straight hair, do it the natural way-

Mix one cup of milk, one spoon of honey and a few strawberries and make a paste. Apply it to your hair and rinse it off in 3 hours with a good shampoo. Follow this for atleast about a month to settle your curls down, and give your hair a smooth look. Alternatively, you can also mix a glass of coconut milk with lemon juice and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours. Apply it to your hair, tie a hot towel (towel soaked in hot water) around your hair for 20 minutes, and then rinse it off with a good shampoo!

These are some natural methods to calm those curls down a bit and make your hair more straighter.. It wouldn't be poky straight though. Natural poky straight hair is possible only if you're Chinese or Japanese :P I know it's wrong of me to generalise but I've seen most Chinese/Japanese women having poky straight hair. Either they are born with it, or they all get their hair straightened (which seems rather ridiculous).

Anyway, so the point is, you really need to love those tresses and it isn't too long before you'll have glamorous hair! ;)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Diwali got over really soon this year and somehow it didn't feel like it was Diwali at all. I miss the times when festivals were celebrated in all pomp and glory. Family re-unions, crackers, sweets and so much love! We have lost it all somewhere.. There are still family gatherings but not so much of warmth. There are still sweets & crackers but less enthusiasm. Not sure if it's only me who's feeling so.

I sometimes wish I was part of a huge (joint) family like they show on television. I also used to miss having a grand parent or a senior person in the family who didn't think practically at all, didn't know what kind of work I do or what I study, was ignorant of this world, would love unconditionally and would tell me stories of what happened "in their time". Has anyone ever felt so?

I've not been able to update this blog often. There has been a lot of activity going on, on my art blog though. And now, there is a small give-away contest too! :) My very first one. Do visit if interested in participating. :)

Later then..

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Dove & IndiBlogger Womens' Blogger Meet

My hair smells awesome. All thanks to the Dove Nourishing Oil Care range of products that I bagged on Sunday at the Dove Spa & Indiblogger Womens' Blogger Meet at Four Seasons!

It was my first all-womens' blogger meet. Besides the free massage & hair spa sessions mentioned in the email that lured me into going, it was also the fact that IndiBlogger had organised it that made me look forward to the event. I remember having a really good time at the last Indi meet I attended.

The event began at 11:00 a.m. and I walked in at 11:50. Luckily for me, the introductions hadn't started yet. People were seated; some were already getting their hair done and I registered myself for the treatments too! We were told that we'd be called in for the treatments one by one, in order of registration. Soon, I caught up with Idea Smith who was sitting in the first row with Shruti. There was a big screen in front of us that showed live tweets of the event. After exchanging hellos, I helped myself with a glass of lime juice and Sowmya, the brand manager of Dove approached us to have a little chat. She gave a few quick tips on which product to use when, and went on to explain how essential a role a hair mask can play in hair care. Apparently, a hair mask should be used after you shampoo your hair. A conditioner and a mask should never be used together. Shampoo your hair, apply a mask, leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse. While it is advisable to condition your hair each time you shampoo, you should avoid it when you're applying a mask which you typically should do once a week or two.

The introductions began in a short while with the IndiBlogger guy with the Banglorean accent hosting it(I still don't know his name). You should listen to him speaking. His accent really has you floored :D Gift hampers were given to those with long hair, then to those with short hair .. and then eventually everyone got the hamper for something! :D The hamper included all the products of the Dove Nourishing Oil Care range i.e. a shampoo, a conditioner, a serum and a mask.

My gift hamper!

I have never used a hair mask before. I had heard of it only recently. Waiting to try it out now.. Anyway, so the introductions were in the order of who registered first and the big white screen in front of us showed who would take the mike next. There were a lot of interesting introductions. Everyone told a story of why they started blogging and what it meant to them. There was Laxmi Todiwan, a professor, who started writing hospitality journals before she took to blogging. Then there was Sulekha Rawat who choked while she told her story. Her father always wanted her to write and she started her blog after he passed away. The sweetest intro of them all was undoubtedly that of Anu Goel, who simply said, "Mera arts & crafts ka blog hai. Accha hain, aap dekho."

After the round of introductions, Piyush from the Dove team took stage to tell us about the new range of products. A lot of women refrain from applying oil to their hair for several reasons. They don't like the greasy feel and they also think that it makes them look like a nerd. The Dove Nourishing Oil Care range is supposed to nourish the hair with just the right amount of oil without making it greasy or appear 'nerdy'.

Soon it was time for lunch friends Reeti and Sheetal had arrived in the middle of the introductions and we went for lunch together. The desserts looked so yummy we were tempted to start on them first! The main course was just as delicious. And we later found out that my friend Alisha, who works at Four Seasons, had prepared two of the dishes from the main course! :)

One of the dessert items :D

Right after lunch, it was turn for our foot massage. Although we enjoyed getting massages together, I wasn't very satisfied with the experience. Maybe I was expecting a lot more. It IS fun getting yourself pampered though :D

Foot massage sessions at the Dove Spa meet

Just like in the last Indiblogger meet, after the foot massage session, we were given white cards to hang around our necks so that people could write something on them. Julie called it an opportunity to say something behind people's backs! :D Later, those with something creative written on their cards were awarded gift vouchers worth Rs. 500 by Shoppers Stop. I got one too, thanks to Idea Smith, who did this:

Circled the part which won me a voucher! Thanks Idea!

For those who don't know it yet, teatattler is my Twitter handle, and @ideasmithy is hers.

People who wore white to the event also bagged vouchers and Reeti was one of them :D I think almost everyone won something or the other..

Idea Smith later moderated a small bloggers' session where we discussed several things ranging from how we could optimize our blogs for Google page rankings to what some of our most embarrassing moments on the blog were!! After the bloggers' session, Indiblogger had organised a fun treasure hunt where we were asked to make groups of ten, name our group and have these things ready as soon as we could:

The treasure hunt...

We called our group "The Hunters" and our slogan was "No one hunts better than the hunters" :D Our stolen item was a knife that I had stolen (borrowed) from Four Seasons for our Bollywood fighting scene! :D It served two purposes.. We couldn't find a red rose so someone actually painted a white rose with red lipstick! We got a score for the knife and the red rose. In the end, all groups were winners and each group got a gift voucher worth Rs.1000 from Shoppers Stop.

Sowmya, the brand manager of Dove took the mike later and talked about hair problems, their cause and remedies. She took a lot of questions from the audience as well. She said I had gorgeous hair, and I had simply damaged them by chemically treating them :D I wish I thought I had gorgeous hair myself.. would have never exposed them to chemicals then! Anyway, she recommended using a hair mask which would protect the chemically treated hair as well as ensure that the new hair that was growing was nourished enough. The session went pretty well and she was really patient with all of our hair care questions.

Sowmya on how to take care of our tresses..

We sneaked up behind for a cup of tea/coffee during the session.. and I was amazed to see such a variety in flavours of tea neatly arranged. This deserved to be clicked!

The many flavours of Chai

Sowmya's session got over and we weren't called in for our hair spa yet. The hair styling was taking too long and there were still about 10 more people who were to go in before us. There was no way we could get our hair done then so we were asked to write down our email addresses on a sheet of paper. A hair spa voucher would be mailed to us soon by Dove.. I hope I get it before Diwali !!

After a quick photo session (I don't have the official photos yet :( ), and receiving tshirts from the IndiBlogger team, we made our exit from the Pavilion (where the event was held) and went to San Qi, a restaurant in Four Seasons to meet my friend- the chef, Alisha! San Qi was beautiful, and the music there was completely mesmerising. Alisha was at work in her chef uniform and that's the first time I saw her in one. She looked just so cute!!!

Chef Alisha! :D

After goofing around some more, we finally left Four Seasons to go to goof around someplace else :D

San Qi

It was a lovely Sunday.. thanks to IndibloggerDove! Waiting to get my hair treated, and to try the new products out. Psst.. have already tried the shampoo & conditioner. I love the smell (which is very important for me- more than the quality of the product sometimes :D). Anyway, it makes my hair feel soft but appear dry instead of shiny. Maybe the serum will help!! Will post my experience :)

Monday, October 10, 2011


People keep saying I don't think about what will make me happy in the long run.. And that, if I find an answer to that, I will find what I want to do in life. Well, I do think about what will make me happy later but all that thinking gets me nowhere. And then I start thinking about what I can do to spice up my mood right now. Maybe that is all I want to do in the long run..<3

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Review: The Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi

So, once you put down "The Immortals of Meluha" it is very hard for you to NOT start on the second book of the trilogy right away, as the second book starts from where the first ends- with Shiva rushing to save his beloved wife Sati.

Shiva now seeks revenge against the Naga warrior who kills his friend- the scientist Brahaspati. We stopped at Swadweep in Book 1. Here we take over from Swadweep, travel to Kashi & Branga before reaching Panchvati and stop in the Dandak forest of the Naga territory. So, in search of the Naga tribe, Shiva travels to the east of India while Sati is in Kashi with her newly born baby boy (Ganesha :)). Little does Shiva know that the sinister Naga warrior is somewhere around Kashi.

Who are the Nagas? Why are they stalking Sati and her family? Where do they stay?

The Nagas are believed to be evil people. They are creatures with deformed faces and belief has it, that this is owing to their sins of the past. They dress themselves with a hooded garment, and cover their faces too. 

But have these people been always like this? And are the Chandravanshis evil too, as the Suryavanshis claim they are? 

Shiva or the Neelkanth is known to be a "destroyer of evil". He is a human God that became a Mahadeva by virtue of his actions. Mahadevas don't lay down new ways of life like the Vishnus but instead, serve to heal the present one. Only with the removal of evil can a way be paved for the good to come, and Mahadevas do just that. But what exactly is evil? As we read the book, we see that there are no such things  as good and evil, but our own perceptions. Both are needed in some amounts to strike a balance.

Throughout the book, Shiva is on a mission to find the true identity of the Nagas, and does so with the help of the Vayuputras who guide him whenever he's in trouble. He has a revelation when he eventually does get to Panchvati, home to the Naga tribe and also discovers the true identity of the Naga. Somewhat predictable but will still keep you hooked.

The language of the book, though much better than the first one, still has a lot of phrases pushed in on purpose and hence do not blend very well with the rest of the book. There are a few things that amuse you- like the way the pandits radio-transmit their thoughts through temples, or the slangs they use in their conversation which cannot be imagined when the story has a backdrop set in that era. The author has beautifully woven facts into the story though, making you ponder over a lot of things in history. I love it when an author does that. I remember spending an entire day on Google looking up things like "The Priory of Sion" and "Mary Magdalene" after finishing with Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code". 

Anyway, this book will keep you engrossed and is guaranteed to leave you waiting for the last book of the trilogy! :)

Thanks Blogadda! (And extremely sorry about the delay :( )

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

The Indian mythological character of Shiva has always intrigued me in a completely different way than it does for most people. I used to find the whole "tandav" dance, the leopard skin costume and his "third eye" scary and mysterious, and though I knew he was one of the Gods, I couldn't ever entirely accept it. I still decided to go ahead and request to review the books from the Shiva trilogy, when Blogadda gave me a chance to. So here's what I think of the book so far:

The story is set against the backdrop of Meluha, a place in the Indus Valley. The plot is cleverly written, with Shiva shown as the leader of the Gunas tribe that migrates to Meluha, it being a well planned & safer place. Meluha is the land of Suryavanshis, the descendants of the Hindu Sun God- people with strong principles, morals and who live with honour. So, when Shiva and his tribe migrate to Meluha, they are awestruck by the infrastructure of the city, the efficient management, the people, the law and order. On their first night in Meluha, as Shiva drinks Somras (the immortal drink) given to him along with his tribe, his bruises and aches get cured and he acquires a cold, blue throat while the rest of his tribe falls ill. He doesn't know what he is in for, till the doctors & people around him suddenly put him on a pedestal and start addressing him as 'The Lord'. Legend has it, that the Suryavanshis are going to face a lot of trouble, and it is at that time that the "Neelkanth" would arrive and prove to be a saviour to them. The Neelkanth would be identified by a blue throat. The Chandravanshis from Swadeep, on the other hand, are people with no morals or rules, and are jealous of the progress of the Suryavanshis. Time and again, they plan surprise attacks on the Suryavanshis with the help of the Naga tribe. The Nagas finally discover Mount Mandar, the manufacturing centre of the Somras powder, from which the immortal drink of Somras is prepared. At this Shiva is enraged. Will he be able to ward off evil? Will he be able to save the Meluhans? It is left for you to discover.

Amongst all this, Shiva is shown to be just like any other human. He falls in love with Sati, the daughter of the emperor of the Suryavanshis. Like any love story, this one has complications too with Sati being a vikarma- someone carrying with her sins of the past and hence forbidden to marry or love another person. Inspite of these odds, Shiva gets married to her.

Though the story will keep you hooked, the language of the book is just about okay. The author has acknowledged this in the beginning though, so one must not expect much from the quality of the language. The concept is rather nice  and tells how a simple, mortal human being Shiva rose to become a God due to his actions or his karma.

Now waiting to read the second book of this trilogy!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It is funny how life takes you by surprise! Things you never thought you would think of, or never thought you would become- you start considering.. The way you perceive things keeps changing as days pass. I had a lot of assumptions attached to everything. I still do. But over time, I realised you cannot keep assuming or judging before knowing.. So get your facts right before you start giving opinions or blindly believe in something. It is a lot easy to say but a lot more difficult to follow..

Also, I've been noticing there are 2 ways to live your life.. you can either live to be good in the eyes of others or live for yourself. The latter is better because, I've realised, if you live for yourself & are okay with it, others are okay with it too. If you're happy internally, nobody can stop you from feeling so. If you feel you're beautiful, you are beautiful in the eyes of everyone!

In other news, today is one of those days I'm glad I am at home with people around who care about me. I am sick today with an upset stomach and an aching head. It's making me stop craving for food and eating only when I'm hungry (which is good if you want to lose weight though). Feeling good emotionally. Maybe because I was up early today. Early mornings give you hope just as late nights bring you peace.

Signing off with this lovely song that I've been listening to.. 

This isn't the original video.. For some reason, YouTube tells me the original one is not available in my country .. which is weird! Anyway, nice music, lovely lyrics! :) Bye bye!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

If life could be a fairy tale...

TBBT (The Big Bang Theory) seems to be the only good thing that's going on in my life right now.. I figured that out this morning when I woke up depressed only to smile seeing TBBT listed at12pm on Tata Sky! I want to download all the episodes.. and I always keep putting that off. Maybe I like waiting for it to air on Zee Cafe everyday. Gives me something to look forward to. Now I get the point of delayed gratification. But I don't think I have it in me yet, meaning I won't put off watching an episode if I know I have it all on my hard drive. I still have to achieve that kind of self control.

If I had it all, there wouldn't be anything to wish for. That answers the Facebook status update I had for about a week: "If life could be a fairy tale..." - There would be nothing to wait for! After all, isn't it always about waiting? Waiting for a new car, waiting to finish your exams, waiting to start working, waiting to go on vacation.. When your present is screwed up, you wait for a better future! The longer the wait, the more promising your future will be. Pretty convincing considering what my current state of mind is like.

And I gathered all this from watching TBBT? :S

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: The 6pm Slot by Naomi Datta

At some point in time, after reality shows started airing on television & especially after they took over the "saas-bahu" soaps of late, we have all wondered what they must be actually like, meaning, how much of what we see on television is real and how much is scripted. Even the news for that matter! "The 6pm Slot" by Naomi Datta pretty much answers all our queries through a story of an entertainment channel, and its goof-ups with a new show that they come up with to raise their ratings in the 6pm slot.

The story begins at an office in YTV (Youth TV), an entertainment channel, with Rahul- the PPT obsessed managing director of YTV breaking his head with Harish- his ass licking deputy, to find a way of increasing viewership on the almost dead 6pm slot. Together, they come up with an idea of starting a Love show at 6pm with a sexy, scantily clad model as the host assuming a lot of Indian men would atleast tune in to lech. Meanwhile, the protagonist Tania Shah is having a tough time taking appointments from pets for her celebrity pet show. She heaves a sigh of relief when she is assigned this new Love show by Rahul instead and is made the supervising producer. This is a big break in her career of two years and she decides to give it her all. A show called Love Calls is finally born with upcoming model Vrushali Salve as the anchor. She's portrayed to be the ideal sex goddess for the Indian males owing to her "thunder thighs". The show is about solving love problems from callers all over India. This actually took me back to those MTV Love-Line days with Malaika Arora as the host. Along with the callers and the advice she would dish out to them, the increased viewership was also largely due to her long legs. Anyway, so, with Vrushali's funny grammar, a Maharashtrian accent and the need to include "yeah" wherever punctuations are required, Tania has a tough time with her on the show. 

A few blocks away, Rajneesh Tiwari, managing editor & primetime anchor of YNN, a top English news channel is nervous & all heated up because he can't find an exciting story. He throws paroxysms of rage at his "thinking tank" asking them to come up with something that would drive the ratings of the news channel.

At YTV, the calls start coming in on Love Calls, the TRPs increase and the channel's greed for better ratings leads them to air one call that Tania repeatedly disapproves of. It's that of a dying girl called Jassi, who calls on the show from Chandigarh saying she has cancer & two months to live. So here's Jassi with dead parents, cancer and an ex boyfriend who leaves her to marry her first cousin in a month's time. Vrushali goofs up with this call by handling it in a rather insensitive and dumb manner. Rajneesh Tiwari accidentally views this call and jumps with joy at having found his story! He starts a segment on his show called "Justice for Jassi", which plays at the end of every newscast as a bulletin.

What follows later is a havoc at YTV, a search for Jassi by YNN in all of Chandigarh, verbal blows by YNN at YTV for their "negligence & insensitivity" for Jassi, a candlelight march for Jassi at Delhi and a third magazine "Conscience Calls" intervening to put both the channels to shame!

Naomi Datta has very well portrayed the things entertainment channels do for their ratings, and the things that news channels do for a story!

'Welcome to the world of television, where nothing is ever what it appears.'

For her debut novel, I must say Naomi has aced it! This book is so gripping you will have a hard time laying it down until you've reached the end. It has the right amount of humor, twists and detail. She has etched each character well, and the surprise elements in this book (especially towards the climax) make it all the more interesting to read. The only downside of the book (not sure if I'd call it a downside) is that it contains a lot of "Indianisms" and Hindi words/expletives that restricts it to an Indian readership alone. But considering it has been written against the backdrop of Indian television & viewers, it is a job done very well. It was worth the time and I'd definitely recommend it.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Being Gay in India

Just the other day, I saw a deal on SoSasta that let you have unlimited scoops of ice-cream at Hokey Pokey (a franchise ice-cream parlour). They have an outlet at Bandra West, and since my friend Alisha & I were there after our self defense class, I suggested we buy the deal and get the vouchers during our next session, so we can have some ice-cream after sweating ourselves out in class. She told me the deal was for a couple and we couldn't avail of it. I said we were a couple already- "Two" of us made a couple. She went on to say it has to be 2 members of the opposite sex. I thought that was pretty biased. What if we were a lesbian couple wanting to avail of the deal? So on our way back, we rehearsed what we would say if we happen to go to Hokey Pokey and claim for our unlimited scoops. We spoke of suing them, fighting for our rights, stressing on section 377 and everything else that could get us those scoops. But I noticed one thing. No matter how educated we are, how much ever modernised or broadminded we call ourselves, we couldn't help but giggle after rehearsing every one of those acts. Like the idea humoured us somehow.

So, when I read about this blogging contest on Gaylaxy Magazine, I was tempted to write about what I thought of homosexuality in India. 

When I was a kid, I didn't even know gays exist. I didn't know that it was possible for two members of the same sex to fall in love or engage in sexual intercourse. These things were always kept hidden from us just because the society felt homosexuals weren't normal human beings, and that homosexuality was a taboo. For some, a sin! Frankly, I got exposed to this concept in the sixth grade from watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (when Ross gets divorced for the first time because his wife Carol is a lesbian). I went to an all girls' school and as I grew up, I learnt of bisexuals too. There were girls in my school who other students & teachers said were lesbians, and they were made fun of, or avoided. During our sex education sessions, this area was never touched/discussed. Also, it was embarrassing to stand up and ask a question about homosexuality considering it was looked down upon. And we dare not ask such questions to our parents or other respectable elders of the family due to fear of getting scolded or punished. Even after seven years now, after the High court struck down the Section 377 provision two years back, after homosexuality was portrayed in movies (although after a lot of struggle with the censor board), homosexuality is still not accepted wholly in India.

Parents still expect their kids to find a match for themselves from the opposite sex, so that they can start a family and lead a 'normal' life. We see such an example in the Bollywood movie Fashion where Rahul Arora (played by Samir Soni), a gay fashion designer gets married to his female best friend to keep his mother happy, but continues to date his boyfriend post marriage. A lot of homosexuals are pressurised by their families this way but they don't realise what they are doing to the person and consequently to his/her partner. Of course, reproduction is impossible without two heterosexual individuals of the opposite sex, and that's the only way the blood line can be kept alive, but these people can't change the way they feel. They just aren't built that way.
Trying to change them will destroy them. It already takes a lot of courage for them to admit their sexuality to themselves and to their near ones. Forcing them to change or live differently will hamper their growth, and the depression caused might lead them to even take their lives.

Even as I write this, I admit I feel a little different around gay people. I'd probably be okay with a gay friend but I might tell the world I have a gay friend just to see how they react or just to prove I am okay with having a gay friend even though internally I feel different around him/her. I guess time and experience will help me accept it. The rest of India? That might probably take a century!

This image has been googled for, and the flag is the official flag of the gay community.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Sapling Project is back!

It's that time of the year again when we stop telling the world to "Save water" , "Save trees", "Stop Smoking" to save the environment! We instead do what *we* can do - plant a sapling and contribute to the environment ourselves! What better way to save the planet? The Sapling Project is back for the fourth time in the city.. Be there!

9 AM - Opp Barista, Shivaji Park
11.00 am - Vile Parle (e), Opp Parleshwar Temple
1.30 pm - Near Infinity, Andheri (w)
3.00 pm - Inorbit Mall, Malad (w)
5.00 pm - Near IC church , IC Colony, Borivali(w)
Contact : Ranjeet - 9322131514 , Satish - 9833443545

7:30 AM - Kalyani Nagar ( Jogger's Park)
8:45 AM - University campus/ University Circle
9:30 AM - F.C Road
10:30 AM - Law college Road
Contact : Libu - 9881460654, Pradaxina - 9881093149

Delhi :
Venue: Rose Garden, (Inside Lodhi Gardens), Delhi
Time: 8:00 AM

Contact : Garima - 9810807082

You can come to any of these locations and : take a sapling for free & plant it or choose to sponsor a sapling for just Rs. 20!

So do come along and spread the word around! :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Not being affected by people or things after a while may not be a sign of lack of self-respect.

Misunderstood. Again.

What hurts more is the loss of your place in someone's life.

Tired, empty, depressed yet hopeful.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Back from God's own country!

Came back from a 7-day stay in Kerala on the 18th of May (and from Goa yesterday :D), and I must say I had an amazing time!! This time I'll try to narrate it a little differently by telling you what I think of the place and the city we stayed in.

We (my parents & myself) had googled for a hotel that was at a small distance from Trivandrum Central station, and as soon as we reached (11th May), we didn't know where to go. After asking around a little bit, this man told us to get out of the station and look for a prepaid auto counter. "Cheappp and besttta" in his words. The people there are very friendly. They may not know your language or may speak with a strong accent but they try very hard to help you & convey their message to you by way of signs or broken English. Hindi is less spoken & understood than English. Anyway, so, as soon as we got out of the station near platform 1, we found the counter and just like he had said, we were charged the minimum auto fare (Rs. 12) as it was very closeby. We also didn't have to wait for an auto at all. "Cheap and best" !!

Trivandrum was a pleasant city. Our hotel (Hotel Prathiba Heritage) was awesome. The rooms and the service was up to the mark. The owner, Mr. Krishnan Nair, helped us with directions to go to all the places we had googled for. He also helped with planning our schedule as to which places we should go to first, and how long it would take us to get there and which next place was closest to the one we had gone to.

Though Kerala is famous for sea food, we being vegetarians, didn't have much of a choice when it came to veg food. Most places usually served only the South Indian cuisine (dosa, idli, vada, sambaar, rice). The subzi would usually be liquid with a lot of coconut & hardly any vegetables. There were restaurants which had North Indian food listed in their menus but when we asked for any of those items, they would plainly say that those were not available at that time. Everything had to be ordered separately. It didn't do well to assume that biryani would come with raita. Sandwiches were not as commonly available as they are available here. This was the case in Trivandrum and a few other places. In Kanyakumari, however, the case was far different. All restaurants there had all types of food and on request, they were also willing to prepare the food without onion or garlic (as dad prefers it). Also, when you ask for water or when the waiter brings glasses of water to your table, it's always hot unless you mention that you want it cold. I didn't get why they serve hot water everywhere, mostly in Trivandrum. Dad said there must have been some epidemic going around and they're being careful now! They also have this peculiar way of serving a vada with every dish you order. Vadas are prepared with onion in them (unlike in Bombay) and dad had a hard time reminding himself to tell the waiter not to get a vada for him. Coffee is more readily available than tea, and most people don't know of or don't prepare masala tea, ginger tea or cardamom tea. The KTDC hotels are still better, and the tea I had at the Floating Hotel, KTDC, Veli lake, was the best tea I ever had. They had prepared it with cloves and dry ginger.

Red Bananas - Kerala speciality

Took some of these yellow bananas at Neyyar to feed the elephants!

Lunch on a banana leaf at Hotel Aryaa, Trivandrum

Mango juice at Kanyakumari

One strange yet common sight was that of a long queue in liquor shops. And this was the case in every part of Kerala we went to. It was funny how the queue bore resemblance to the queue we used to have here in ration or public distribution shops.

The best way to move around the city is through buses. The bus transport system in Kerala can be compared to the local train system here in Bombay. There are buses every two or five minutes going to all parts of the city. There is no fixed bus stop as such. You stand where you see a lot of people waiting for the bus. There are frequent inter-city buses from the central bus stands too. Also, exactly opposite to how it is here, you board from the front door of the bus and alight from the rear. We moved around in KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation) buses all through our trip except for the trip to Neyyar Dam where we booked a tour which involved a KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) bus.

Spotted a double-decker bus at Trivandrum

I didn't find any nightlife as such in Trivandrum. Shops close down too soon (8:30pm or so). Kanyakumari, being a tourist spot, is still open till about 10 or 11 but Trivandrum shuts too soon.

As for the places we went to, we visited the art & history museums, the zoo, the Padmanabhaswami temple, Veli lake, Kovalam beach, Neyyar Dam at Trivandrum. There is one more beach called the lighthouse beach at Kovalam beach which is very well-known & often mistaken for Kovalam beach itself. We missed it and then wondered why there was so much hype over Kovalam beach when there were hardly any people there, and it was so small in size. We had fun at Veli lake with speed boating, horse riding, having chai at the KTDC floating hotel and spending time on the beach. Neyyar dam was amazing. We saw lions at an arm's distance at the lion safari park, fed the elephants, took blessings from them and rode on them too! The people in our tour bus to Neyyar were very friendly and made the trip all the more enjoyable!

Horse riding at Veli

Neyyar Dam Lion Safari Park

Blessings from the elephant at Neyyar!

We went to Kanyakumari, which takes about 3 hours from Trivandrum. There are no direct buses going to Kanyakumari from Trivandrum. One has to go to Nagercoil from Trivandrum and then change buses to go to Kanyakumari. But as I mentioned before, the buses are very frequent so that is not a problem at all. We reached Kanyakumari at around 2 pm, had lunch, shopped a bit, and reached the boat jetty spot at 4pm to go to the Vivekanada memorial which is in the middle of the sea. Unfortunately, we saw that the boat jetty ticket counter closes at 4pm and the guard wouldn't let anyone in at all. So we had to stay there for one more day to be able to go to the Vivekananda memorial & the 133 feet tall Thiruvalluvar statue. But we made use of our day after 4pm by going to the Gandhi memorial, the sunset point and a wandering monk exhibition (Swami Vivekananda exhibition) that was going on. We also shopped for a lot of silk & cotton sarees at dirt cheap prices. The sunset point is where the three waters meet: the Indian ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Next morning, we went to the sunrise point which is closer to the main junction than the sunset point. Next, we finally made it to the Vivekananda memorial and the Thiruvalluvar statue. There are boats going to both the places. We were very tired, wanted to go back to Trivandrum and missed seeing the 16th century Padmanabhapuram wooden palace near Kanyakumari.

Thiruvalluvar statue

Vivekananda Rock Memorial

Sunrise at Kanyakumari

We also visited Kollam (an hour from Trivandrum) and took an 8-hr cruise boat ride to Alleppey. The DTPC office suggested this trip saying it was a very famous tour and would be worthwhile. It took my houseboat and row-boating plans for a toss when we signed up for it. The cruise was enjoyable for the first couple of hours and started to get boring later. I'd suggest anyone to take a 2 hour village canal tour at Kollam, and spend sometime on a houseboat at Kollam instead of the 8-hr cruise boat trip to Alleppey. I wanted to go row-boating at any cost so we decided to spend the night at Alleppey and go row-boating the next morning. We also visited the beach at Alleppey that night but there were no lights on the beach and we had to return soon. Row-boating was fun the next morning. We (my mom and I) were in the boat for a little over an hour and took turns rowing the boat. The row was heavy even though the boat-man exchanged his light row with our heavy one. He was rowing the boat at the rear end and was teaching us how to do it at the front side. We saw a few people getting trained for the Onam boat race and also for the olympics on the way.

Alleppey backwaters

Row boating at Alleppey

We returned to Trivandrum by bus soon after boating. It took almost 5 hours for us to come back and the day was spent resting and exploring the city some more.

Except for the food and the fact that shops close down early in Trivandrum, I found it a lovely city to stay in. I liked it better than the other places we went to, in terms of staying there & not just sight-seeing. It's spacious and has all kinds of stores & other facilities. The city, though very well-developed, has a peaceful aura about it and the people there leave you to yourself unless you want it otherwise. On the day that we were leaving, just after we had packed our bags and ordered some chai, the city bloomed in full glory with the first shower of rain ever since we had set foot in Trivandrum. I ran out of the hotel and looked around. I was already low about leaving the city, and the rains made it all the more difficult!

A lot experienced and a lot missed, despite some of its difficulties, this is one place I want to go back to..!!

Friday, April 15, 2011


So, Wednesday was officially the last day of our college life- the last lecture that we had. And oddly, I still feel indifferent. I mean, I would surely miss going to college but a part of me believes I can go whenever I want to, and I'd still always be welcome. More than the lectures or the practicals you attend, it's always the people you hang out with that you miss, but in this case, when I know that they too won't be coming to college anymore, I don't seem to miss them that much. I can always meet them otherwise too.

What I would *really* miss is the routine, the time spent at the chai corner, in and around Iranis, Classic, Family Park, Pritam, juice place, the Don Bosco church etc. I look forward not to attend a lecture or to necessarily enter the campus, but to be at the chai corner or somewhere around college discussing the previous day's events with my friends. I look forward to familiar faces and familiar places that make me feel so safe.

College gives you a place to go to everyday- gives you something to do every morning. When nothing else is going right, it is still there and it has been there for me for seven years now. That's the best part about routine. Amidst all the uncertainty that we live in, routine is the one thing that's stable. As Maithili had very nicely put, "Routine is the only thing that's there for me when nothing else is." So routine is not necessarily always a bad thing. It keeps you sane, keeps you moving, makes you believe that everything is still just the way it was.

More than bidding farewell to college and my friends there, I think it's time to say goodbye to the routine that I have been following for so many years. No more will I HAVE to get up early in the morning for a lecture, or HAVE to come home tired in the afternoon after practicals and go to bed early whining about having to go back the next day. However much boring that it sounds, I shall miss it very much.