Monday, 31 December 2012

Bucket em up in 2013

I have to..
  • be able to touch my toes
  • jump off a plane or a bridge
  • Keep promises made to loved ones
  • take care of my ever aching back
  • ride a rickshaw
  • get a kick ass fancy pansy Medical Insurance for Mommy & daddy
  • Blog more.. and some good stuff please
  • Be humble
  • Stay up until the movie Dark Knight ends. (5 miserably failed attempts in the past) 
  • fall in love
  • Grow some plants
  • Teach under privileged children
  • go whale watching
  • drive a truck
  • Create an offensively named YouTube alter-ego and post outrageous comments that you always wanted to say. (wait a min.. i think i have done that already )
  • get in crazy crazy nasty shape
  • be a mentor
  • drive a nano
  • see a shooting star
  • camp under the stars on some/any/ all mountain peaks
  • get some great people to mentor me
  •  Visit all the continents.. from igloos to ayer's rock
  • Sip a hot cup of tea watching the sunrise looking over Tiger hills
  • Explore India's wildlife.. 
  • Send Mom & dad for Hajj
  • Meet Ellie in Maryland.. (i foresee that happening soon)
  • Transform my old school ways to hi tech ones
  • Sort the damn company website.. Its incompetence is making me crazy
  • communicate more.. 
  • swim like a fish 
  • Find time to read more books
  • dance in the rain
  • swim with the great whites.
  • be a good listener (scope for improvement)
  • at restaurants, try not to spill things over
  • let the bygones be bygones
  • be mesmerized by Leh
  • Make to Gujarat's Rann of Kutch festival
  • Spend more time with Daniyal & Safwaan *gaa gaa goo goo*
  • meet Elizaki in any part of this world. Its time now
  • paraglide at bir billing
  • Camp by Panagong lake
  • Volunteer for one whole day at the Seva Cafe, Sabarmati, Gujarat
  • make Dad proud. Amen
  • practice the broken lines of that one song i know on the guitar
  • do the zumba zumba
  • be more patient.
  • Find Saiko from jungles of Tamil Nadu ..and never let him out of my sight
  • Make an effort to write to old friends
  • Dance the "aye khudahafiz" dance on beaches of Pondicherry
  • Did i mention company website ? *tension*
  • take more photographs, videos.. document the year
  • be more tolerant
  • climb those iconic Rocky steps in Philly
  • strike off each item mentioned above :-B

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Flashback 2012

  1. Started the year with SURPRISES.. Little did i know the good times had began. 
  2. Took credit for sand castles made by strangers on the beaches of Gokarna.. Mint Tea, Aloo Parathas and tranquility.. Stay at Babika resorts changed me forever..
  3. Spent more time with my nephew, Daniyal. I had missed his first two years since I was away.This year i made up for every day spent away from him.
  4. Got soaked in jungles of Coorg with a Coorgie hottie.
  5. Welcomed my second nephew into this world. He is cute as a button.
  6. Went koo koo in Rajasthan. 
  7. fell in love with India, all over again.. 
  8. Struggled through a film. I had to act for Sharu.. Being in front of the camera was HORRIFYING !
  9. 'Fake Doctor in KSHEMA'  Spent time in a Medical University in Managalore.
  10. My first ever Scuba Dive at Netrani.. An eventful trip with my Lallus..  Im planning my next dive.. I loved every bit of being under water.
  11. Was a part of a mission to find yummy Paan in wee hours of the morning in Bombay.. A shady place so terrifying, once you enter the area , not many survive through. We did it !
  12. Bid my goodbyes to "Living in London". When  was saying goodbye ever easy ? *painful*
  13. Saw Dad being the best President till date in the history of Travel Agents Association of India 2011-2013.. Today, Love you Dad ! You inspire me..
  14. Learnt the ropes of business. 2012 has given me immense professional stability. There is a long way to go.. And i am ready for it.
  15. Practiced the art of doing nothing at Bintan Islands watching Sunsets to die for..
  16. Realized that money is not everything.. Live for those moments that make you feel alive.
  17. Waited for Grergory Roberts at Leopolds for far too many nights
  18. Led a Turkish TV crew filming in North India. (I could have been jailed). I fought , begged & pleaded the police in all states of North India to allow us to film, almost got beaten up for filming in restricted areas of corpse burning pyre on the banks on Yamuna , lack of sleep , lack of time.. we went totally crazy.. 8 days of Adventure !
  19. Watched Lucky Ali perform. And thats not the best part. He started his performance with my favorite song. What are the chances?
  20. Lost Ayee. I am the lucky one to have had a chance to walk the streets of Murudeshwar, the town she was born..She will be loved and missed forever..
  21. Witnessed Sharu baby , being elected as the first ever Rotaract President of her college.
  22. Realized that its time to move on. Learning to let go.
  23. Climbed (& conquered) the highest peak in Maharashtra.. Kalsubai under my feet.
  24. Learnt how to ride a rickshaw.. (thank you Bhikram). This has to be by far the coolest vehicle i have driven this year.. 
  25. Got a hug from Sir Richard Branson.  

    Wouldn't change a thing.. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Love Lock

Love it or hate it.. everyone of us wants to be in LOVE.  Crave for it or deny it.. Everyone wants to be loved.  
LOVE LOVE LOVE..  And if being miserable is a part of it , then bring it on fellas..  Just heard a friend pour her heart out about someone she loves and there aint any reciprocation..  It got me thinking. Whatever I said in return was just what i would tell anyone else with any other  love problem. If the one you love does not love you back then you let go. If you are in love and the ups and downs that you face.. one of you has to let go.. There are no rules right.

I read this quote in a powerful blog ..

"It's time to face up to the fact that the past is gone, and any effort to repeat it is a sure way to stay stuck in old blueprints that you would have already outgrown if you hadn't been so busy clinging to what you have already been through. Take a deep breath, put the box down, tie it up in a pretty ribbon if you must, and bid it a fond and reverent farewell. Life is passing you by, and you're in danger of becoming an old fossil before your time"

I couldnt agree more..

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Gathering Stories - A story that belongs to you !

I am not in my usual office cabin today. I am seated outside near the reception area of the office. Just. Its good to interact with the staff and work with them instead of being all day in the cabin.A man in his 60's walks in the office. He seems familiar, I look closely. I know who he is. Our printer guy, who gets all our printing work sorted for us. He sits down, we discuss what has to be done. Work is over. We get to talking about his printing press and how he started.  At the age of 17 , started his own press. I doubt he has even appeared for his 10th grade exams. He boasts to be the first one to bring Digests for hindi medium schools. "English toh say padhte chaapte hain.. haazron books bante gain , lekin hindi medium bachon ka kya ? Kya unhe kitabon ki zaroorat nahi hai ?"  About 56% of school children are studying Hindi medium across India. You what this means ? This gentleman contributed in such a big way. He is a man who takes one step in the office, delivers stuff and scoots back. We talk for 20 mins. He has been doing this for years. Now whenever he comes down to the office, he walks into my cabin and he has a story which i hear carefully sipping  a cup of tea.

A lady I know , witnessed her mom's death at a very early age in front of her eyes. She lost her mother, she committed suicide (i think) she was on the terrace and her mother jumped of the building.   She grew up with her cousin brothers. At the age of 14 -15 she lost her father. All alone, she learnt ways of life too soon. She joined J. J School of Arts. At 21, she fell in love with a handsome gentlemen. Brought two brilliant children to this world.  She put her Art in the back burner and focused on bringing her up children to the best. Now she is a successful artist. I have spent hours at end hearing her story. She has no regrets.. her smile that lights up the room says it all. When i listen to her talk about her experience, I cannot help but think she has lived. Every challenge that came her way she fought it. And that smile.. uff uff. Bless her.

Each one of us has a story. A story worthwhile. 
I am a non-fiction junkie. True stories fascinate me. There is always something to learn from them. The books i read, the movies i watch have always been brutal, reality-ridden, stories of sorrows, murder, deceit. Its not that, what fascinates me. I am not a sadist. What fascinates me is the fact that its happened to someone. Its real.

There is little in this world, i love more than a good story.
I am gathering stories. Are you ?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

SIngaporean Surprise

I had been to Singapore many times before, but this trip has been so special. Singapore has changed so much since the last time i was here.  What am I doing at this very moment ? I am seated in the balcony of my 19th floor room at hotel Pan Pacific. My feet up in the air and what do I see ?

I could sit here all night. Look at this. Lucky Ali's songs set the perfect mood. A hot cup of green tea makes every tired muscle of mine sway along with the beat.. 

I am amazed at the city that has  done so well. Its so cosmopolitan that sometimes you got to remind yourself that you aint in New York !

The Government is doing such a swell job. The public transportation , safety, infrastructure is at par with any mega city in this world. People are so warm and friendly.  They make you feel welcomed. 

I learnt that the Government charges a hefty tax/ fee on people owning private vehicles. So say if a car is on  S$10000, there is a fee of say similar amount for a license plate which is to be renewed each year. 
So the person who really wants a car will have it. The fittest survive, the others use the public transport. 
Thats a cool thing,  pollution levels & traffic would be kept under control. 

English being declared the first language , I see little toddlers speaking fluent english.  We all aspire for a change, very few of us let it happen. 

If you are a seafood lover, then do not fly out Singapore without having a feast at Jumbo, its at the East Coast and let me tell that the food in that restaurant would make you wish you were a cow with four stomachs. Its just out of this world. We ordered a feast comprising of crispy squids, fish in banana leaf, king crab , chicken in soya , pan choi in garlic , sweet buns, crispy chicken, prawns in hong kong.. and our order was totally normal. There were tables and tables around full with plates full of food.. 

Today , Marina Bay Sands is considered to be a man-made marvel. Its beautiful. With abundant rooms and a drink at its bar is in bucket list of many people across the world. I wouldn't want to stay there though, its a fish market to check in, a struggle to get into the lift and a battle to place an order. I am at utmost peace just in an adjacent hotel with the view.

Sentosa has so much more to offer than i was here last time. They inaugurated Marine Park on 7th Dec. It was buzzing with people. It boats the largest aquarium tank and viewing deck in the world. No trip to this is complete without walking until your feet bled at the Universal Studios.  However, it is smaller as compared to the one in Orlando. I was done by 4pm. The only advantage would be that you get try everything in a day. Orlando's theme parks leaves you upset for not having enough time to goof arnd.

I am sure when i am back , there'll be lot more to explore. Singapore never fails to surprise you.. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Travel at your own risk

Everything about Air India is wrong..

Staff :   I am not even talking about the hostesses, (that will be another point altogether) I can write a thesis on then. I am talking about the staff. A lady asks for a wheelchair to the aircraft. The wheelchair is arranged, but its being pushed by a man who seems older than the lady herself ! Now you can only imagine the guilt of her face. I think there was a point when the lady seated  must have thought of swapping places with the old man. "Ab teri baari".  And they are a rude bunch.  If business class passengers are treated like this, then , i presume economy ones travel in animal cages !

When its time for boarding ,we are escorted to a bus to get to the aircraft. Seated in that bus for more than 15 mins the bus wouldn't move. AirIndia officials are running about here and there with walkie talkies. A few mins later , a staff peeps into the bus, "Ms Mulla in here ?".  Damn right , Ms Mulla is here. I asked him "what is the matter ? ". He apologies for the delay. The staff at the boarding card scanning desk didn't scan my boarding card right. So in the systems Ms Mulla had gone missing. Hence they kept announcing my name so that i could board right. Can you imagine ? All one had to do is scan the damn boarding card right .. A co-passenger then pointed out, that while he was boarding he did hear a lot of " check again for Ms Mulla" going on around.  Thank the lord , they atleast check for their pax. 

Aircrafts :
Remember that shabby aircraft  where people usually would make out , children would pee in & tobacco chewers would love to spit in..that was displayed at Juhu gardens is not there anymore.  AirIndia uses it for Singapore sector. When you enter the aircraft, you are greeted by a whiff of pee.  Thai Airways greets you with Lemon grass fragrance, Jet with jasmine, Emirates with Lilies and  AirIndia is class apart..(ammonia organic). 

The interiors of the aircraft take you back into history. AirIndia ensures one a travel experience in the 80's. I am not kidding.  The fixtures, the systems, the television sets, the buttons everything is ancient and should only by displayed in museums. I sat in my seat star led of what i was seeing around me. Childhood memories came rushing back to me, then i was 4 now I'm 25.. and nothing has changed with this damn airlines. Out of the 24 Business seats, just 14 reclined, 4 of the  partially reclined. Unfortunately, I was seated in the other 6. 2 other passengers complained. The air hostess (granny) gave us the permission to choose our seats. The three of us went hunting for a good reclining seat. 
The granny has the nerve to ask me to compromise with a partially reclining seat. Grr. SO the leg rest comes up but the back stays erect. or the back reclines and the leg rest stays still. How could one decide ? Its a 5 hour night flight, sleep is dear to all of us. I grumbled and continued to look for a fully reclining seat. 

I repeat, these are the facilities for business class passengers. What the hell are we paying for ? 

Its a shame, India's national airlines is such a joke ! It is upsetting that Indians regard their national airline as the last option to travel, whereas other nationals always always choose their national airline first. AirIndia has the best sector connections out of India. The Government has put in loads of money and its all greasing the pockets of some laid back officials. Bureaucracy and red tapism has brought this airline to ruins. When will there be a change ?
I sat there in my partially reclining seat feeling ashamed of our national airline.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I am a Numbnut

DEC 1 was the beginning of my photo month.. I am so mad at myself. How could i  forget ? There is so much i love about blogging. And would have been a great photo each day month.. Grrr... 

Since 12 days have already gone by, lets shift this to January ?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Doctor Who ?

Halloween night got little to much fright for us. As I was stepping out of the house to enjoy a night out with friends, I was told that my grandmother (Naani) fell from the bed and has hurt herself pretty bad. So i take mom and rush to Naani's house. She has hit her hit severely and is losing a lot of blood. So we head to the nearest hospital. Little did i know that , this wasn't going to be any sense of relief. Five worried individuals barge in to the hospital, the security for a second thinks as though the hospital is under attack. He doesn't allow all of us to enter the "doctor's area". I decide to wait in the waiting area. There is something eerie about the waiting room at a hospital. 5 mins down, i see mom rushing to me. Thats when i learn that the doctors have refused to admit the patient. There is another doctor about 15 mins drive away. Hoping he would help, we call him ask to be present at his clinic. I am carefully hitting on the gas since Naani is bundled up at the back of my car. Bombay roads are awful. Bumps on the road hurt her wound. Hospital 2.  After a brief argument with the watchman, who wouldn't allow me to take the car into the complex, we placed Naani on the doctors table. Now entering in and out of hospitals is not as easy as it reads. My grandmother cant walk, so getting her out of my car and in to the wheelchair and back with the blood from her wound oozing out was a very difficult task. Doctor 2 says this wound is deep, for which she has to be stitched. My mom wiping her tears asks the doctor . "what about the anesthetist ? ". The doctors snaps back saying "there is no time for that, i have got no provisions. I'll have to call the anesthetist. we got no time". We all knew we had no time. So the weaklings are sent out. i stay. 3 nurses and I held Naani to the doctors table while he stitches her wound. The blood spurts out like a fountain , stains the wall. Horrifying sight.
After two attempts of sealing the wound, the bleeding won't stop. The doctors looks at me and says . " take her some place else, she has lost a lot of blood. she needs a hospital with a blood bank and she needs an ambulance NOW"
I knew it , everyone knew .. there was no time to call the ambulance. We rushed her back into the car and set out to another hospital.  Most of our ambulances in India have the emergency siren going on and are stuck in hours of traffic. Indian motorists do not give priority to fellow humans needing urgent medical attention. Cruel, i know.

Moving on, that night we stepped into another two hospitals and were refused due to lack of medical history with them or absence of blood transfusion facilities. We started out at 10.30 pm on the night of 31st Oct and admitted Naani at 1.45am on 1st Nov. For three an half hours my Naani bled.. she was writhing in pain, a sight so gruesome.. i sometimes wonder how didn't i not pass out looking at all that blood. The back seat of my car had a big pool of blood.

My only question , why cant Doctors be humans first ? I know the world has given us some brilliant Doctors, who are also brilliant human beings. In no way i am generalizing the lot under the same label. Its just why does a bleeding patient is made to run to 4 different hospitals before being treated ?
I understand there are rules that the hospitals have to follow. i now talk as a patient who is in need of urgent medical help and is denied due to some rule book gathering dust.

Moreover, Bombay is not new to terrorist attacks , train blasts and other havoc. The city has been targeted repeatedly by its perpetrators and my heart goes out to those who suffer for no fault of theirs.  At a time of an attack, our feeble Govt hospitals struggle to provide aid to the injured. Literally , heaps and heaps of bodies are piled up , many of those who succumbed to the injury due to untimely medical aid.  The Govt rushes out with the funds to these hospitals but one cannot do much when every second delay may cost a loss of life. What annoys me the most is, while these Govt hospitals staff run helter skelter. cry out for additional supplies & volunteers , just a stone throw away swanky granite marbled , WI-fi enabled , "pay the moolah to get your cold treated " private hospitals would be shooing flies of the premises.

My point here again, Be Human.. I am not saying lets all wear white sarees and call ourselves Mother Teressa, I am not saying ditch materialistic needs and meditate like Buddha.. No. But when a little we do can help  a life in such a substantial way.. then why not just do it ?
why cannot some white collared doctors help out small time hospitals in a time of crisis ? 

Generation Next is shining bright.
With Doctors like Nethra Rao & Paramedics like Eleanor Pittinger .. I have hope. I know there are plenty of good Samaritans who are also qualified doctors who will not disappoint us, human race.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Reasons not to be a Travel Agent

Taken in best with a tub of popcorn..  !

  1. While clients travel and unravel the mysteries of the universe, the travel agent (T.A) is forced to pop blood pressure pills to calm his nerves..
  2. When a client holidays, T.A straight away loses the right to holiday.
  3. The phone rings at 7.00 am on a sunday , "my flush won't work.. you are the agent.. do something "
  4. A client takes a tour from you is equivalent to you are his slave until he gets back home.
  5. When Gandhi said when someone slaps you once, offer them the other cheek with a humble smile.. he was talking about travel agents.
  6. T.A's are those fools who take up the challenge of promising great service from rowdy drivers/suppliers and more often than not end up being slapped.
  7. Natural Calamities are all the travel agents's fault.  I don't know who spread rumors that the travel agents have the control to the richter scale.
  8. Client's enjoyment is Travel agents's suffering
  9. The phone rings again at 7.13 am."what are you going to do about the malfunctioning flush?"
  10. T.A's have to be weather experts, shopping experts, food & wine connoisseurs
  11. Master the art of fake smiles.
  12. 8 out of 10 clients are ********. And you have to make them feel like Sheikhs of Arabia.
  13. The service expected is 1000 times more than the money paid. 
  14. T.As have to arrange Prosecco in Rishikesh. *FML*
  15. When Obama said, "YES WE CAN".. he was reiterating the motto of T.As

Monday, 29 October 2012

Branson Bug

What if i tell you that my first words to Sir Richard Branson were, "I LOVE YOU !!". Would you judge me ?  At at high profile private party , where India's travel industry's creme de la creme are present , sipping expensive champagne and delicately feasting on caviar, i was swept off my feet standing right in front of my role model, Sir Richard Branson. I looked around me, and it seems like everything is in SLO-MO.  The women giggling, men in tuxedos, the diamonds, the glitter.. looks like the dinner scene in the movie Titanic.
And, I behaved like a teenager meeting her rock-star idol. Just like how i suppose, 12 year olds react to Justin Bieber. Richard says, "Aww.. I wish i could hug you.. But i have the flu bug".
Guess how i responded to it. :-/

"Flu bug.. thats fine.. its Branson  Flu Bug"   (Jesus Christ.. what was i thinking )    Well, who cares about catching a flu bug when you have branson bug in you .. ? 
He blushed and threw flying kisses at me.. 
That evening was memorable. I not only did meet the guy but also interacted with him and got a HUG from him..  I admire him so much.. Thank my stars to have been able to be in the same room as him.   

Love you Branson,
Your No.1 Fan 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Coffee turns sour..

Business is all about connections. You meet people, all sorts of people, connect , bond and remain in touch for mutual benefit [In most cases just benefit].  If lucky, these meetings could become casual , acquaintances will become friends, friends shall become good friends. But this is rare to find in the corporate world, since everyone is just about money. If not to bring you down and take your place , then stamp over you and go ahead.

I meet many people. The Good , The Bad , The Ugly. At a recent coffee meeting, I met a person i once had the highest regards for.  When you meet people for the first time, you consciously look for that common playground. Once you have found that level playing field, then the conversations flow.
So we at this fancy place, order has been placed, pleasantries have been exchanged.  and then BHAM..
Nothing turns me off more than having to converse with a stingy or a show-off. And this one is a "SHOW -OFF".   My face turns purple, my eyes begin to pop, my hair begins to curl out of frustration. Why God why, why bundle my admiration in a highest regard bag and swing it to the Show-off wall ?
A person who mentions about his wealth 348 times in 2 hour conversation is [pardon me] the poorest of all. Unless , he bundles all that cash, diamonds and land papers to his grave made of platinum. No, i take that back , not even then.
Excerpts of our conversation  rather BOMBS thrown over at me :

" i love five star palace hotels "
[now i am a person who has slept on a concrete bed, stained bed sheet in Gokarna and paid Rs 100 for a night and consider that as my best trip so far]

Now how will this ever work ??  My face turns purple, my eyes begin to pop, my hair begins to curl out of frustration.

"My extended family are all jewellers.. so diamonds have been pouring in our homes since a very young age "
[now i am a person who picks up pretty looking stones from the beach and make them in to rings.. Gold makes me puke]

My face turns purple, my eyes begin to pop, my hair begins to curl out of frustration.

"Mahesh lunch home looks dingy.. I prefer SOMA for south Indian , You know SOMA right ? its in Grand HYATT"
[when a candy falls on the floor/ muck / dirt , i dust it and eat it]

My face turns purple, my eyes begin to pop, my hair begins to curl out of frustration. My face turns purple, my eyes begin to pop, my hair begins to curl out of frustration. My face turns PURPLE, my eyes begin to POP, my hair begins to CURL out of frustration.  Grrrr

A little later, my mind has blocked that voice registering into my brain. all i hear is this..

[blah = fart noises]

" Last nite... blah blah blah blah , AUDI.. blah blah blah , my SOLITAIRE fell... blah blah blah .. my HERMES BIRKIN bag blah blah blah  i stayed in TAJ LAKE PALACE .... blah blah blah.. but they didn't give me the PRESIDENTIAL SUITE.. blah blah blah.. i will sue them and sign the papers with my MONT BLANC pen  blah blah blah blah... my LOUBOUTINs oh i love them... blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...  "  

Its a shame you don't live my life. All i wish is you get to live it one day and that day should be soon.

The milk in my cappuccino turned sour that minute this conversation started.. Sour from the shit you speak.. sour from the bubble you live in.. sour from your stinking guts.. This meeting is over..

I storm off that five star place, drive to a dingy stall on the corner of the road.. order for a cup of cutting chai.. and i am back in heaven.

EAT DIAMONDS.. and POOP PLATINUM... for all i care

Monday, 8 October 2012

When 686 muscles in your body scream ADVENTURE !!

This is where I was  just 24 hours ago.. Look again.
I, now understand , how Neil Armstrong might have felt stepping on the moon. Ofcourse he didn't have to deal with 4 hours of a dangerous climb , 2 falls & 1 serious case of fatigue attack to get up there.

This peak where i am standing, is Kalsubai,1646 meters above the sea level, the highest in the Sayadhris. Named after a woman, whose story was never explained to us. Believe me we tried getting into the bottom of the "i won't wash the dishes" lady time and again. But in vain.  Along with sore muscles we came back with doubts, " why was she considered GOD ? "  "why won't she wash the dishes ? "  "if she aint a GOD, then why the temple right at the top ?"

{BGM: Rocky}
An actor, a director , a media guy , a dancer , an assistant director, a banker and I decided to climb Kalsubai. Started of our climb at 3.30 am. Now there is something about us, our online research gave us lot of info about climbing this mountain but in the Day. Now , the Rajnikant in us made us start in the night !
Since , none of us one was familiar the route, we had to find a guide. Time was spent googling , just dialing, researching contact numbers of guides. Apparently ,we got a few, but none of them agreed to trekking at night. [hmm.. now i know why] We did not take this as a sign at all. All hell bent on climbing at an odd hour with no natural light, we spent time on getting extra batteries for our torches. The guide's refusal got me thinking , a person who can probably do this blindfolded refuses to climb at night.  So when we got to they foot of the hill, we had no guide and perhaps no idea what we were to go through. 

A sleepy chap woke up as we contemplated what to carry and what should be left in the car. And agreed to be our barefoot embodiment of a mountain goat. 

Four hours, 2345 breaks , crossing of streams barefoot, 2 litters of water & gatorade later we caught a glimpse of the top. 

The sun rose at 6.12 am. The colors of the skies were magical.  The cold breeze livened up every cell in our body. And why not , after all we were standing at the top most point accessible to human kind in the state of Maharashtra. [yeah baby] The clouds below you look like cotton candy, the lake was calm... A sight i will always cherish. 

It felt amazing. My body aches as i type this post, but the pain has not made my ear-to-ear smile vanish.

I promise, every hardship you endure during your way up there and descent will be forgotten.  Pack you bags now.. and head to Bari. 

My Tips to Kalsubai Trekkers

Please Note : I am no Milkha Siingh, no sportsperson, not a brilliant swimmer and not a GYM freak.

If you are any of the above, then this trek shall be a cakewalk for you..

These are tips that the other blogs miss out on. 
  • First and foremost, DO NOT believe all the other blogs / websites that state that Kalsubai's rate of difficulty : "Simple and Easy".
  • When you reach Bari Village at night , make some noise, until a local wakes up and asks you if you whether you need a guide. Trust me you do.
  • You will FALL. once maybe even a couple of times.
  • Do not lose focus when you see a little girl half your size, thin , barefoot  trek up the mountain  and with a giant nimbu paani can over her head.. DO NOT. Your morale will be crushed, you will hold your breath until she is out of sight to not let her know of your panting. So , my advise, when you spot someone , look the other way, admire the flowers ,  distract yourself, sing a song.
  • If it rains... Its your BAD KARMA. Trekking up the dried up water streams is as it is difficult. With rains this shall be highly dangerous. So before you head off to Kalsu, feed the poor, help a blind man cross, or atleast respect your elders.
  • You will TAN. [Psst : Fair and Lovely ke naye offer main ab milega 40% extra. HURRY !]
  • every time you see a giant boulder at a height and you think  'thats it.. that has to be the peak' .. you will be deceived. This will happen 3 - 4 times. Keep Calm , and keep Panting.. 
  • You will be BITTEN by some exotic insects. once twice maybe even a couple of times. Take those friends along who will give you some sympathy for it. ;-)
  • It takes ages to get to the first metal stairs.. and i have reasons to believe that these are the ones that must be in HELL.
  • if going up is a BITCH , then mind you getting down is a Super BITCH.  [Reasons: Mention 'Please note']
  • Having 3 glasses of wine on the night of the trek will make Nausea your new best friend.
  • Wear a t-shirt which has name of your home city printed on it. Every stranger takes keen interest on where you are coming from. It is just something they ought to know or else their life will not function as normal. And while all your concentration is on avoiding moss laden rock, questions are not well received. 
  • You will not be able to go to work the next day. Take two days off.
  • Spot the 'mountain goat ' of your group. ADMIRE THEM.
  • Travel with friends you love. Fatigue is worthwhile when shared. :-)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Bon Anniversaire , la Bloggie

6th SEPTEMBER , 2011

How did i miss this date ! SILLY me !!! The day i created this blog, is a very special tor me. 
Cause thats the day , I met you... and you read me. :-).. We have made through one long year.. 

" And then I heard youYou made me long forTo be a part ofSomething that I can't seeA life that is beyondSomething that I can't fearTo be a part ofThe story - It belongs to you

Something you said wasAbout the pen and the paperYou can always write itIt is something you'll have to doGathering storiesA story - It belongs to you " 
[Written and sung by Jonsi]

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lights.. Camera.. Action !! " Err.. talkin to me ? "

"When did not being able to relate to the persona of a mistress/ seductress become a bad thing?" I asked.
"Imagine.. this man has  brought you home... to cheat on his wife and you find a gun in his room.. Imagine.." I was told.

I repeat to myself enough times to make myself believe, "I am a mistress... i am a mistress... i am a mistress"

Last week, my dearest darling sister Sharu , pursuing a career in film-making has a task on her head - to make a short film for her school. After days of brainstorming, she realized this was going nowhere. And that is when we pressed the SOS button.   A dear friend , also a power house of talent stepped in like a knight on a white horse while we stood stranded a midst a desert storm..   [BGM : Baazigarr ohhh Baazigar... Tu hai bada Jaadugar]

And thats when , we had a script , a story , the props , location review, costume photos, the lights, check-lists (im not kidding), a gun ,fake blood and all that was needed for this film. When it came to part about acting, I was told they were looking for a bitchy character, someone who smirks more than smiles. Astonishingly , the crew believed i was the one.. and that was BULL-Tatti. Initially , i rubbed it off as a joke. I knew that in the end they'd get someone how knows how to act suitable for this bitchy role.  3- 4 hours of who is doing what.. the role of the mistress still remained undecided.

I looked at Sharu's puppy eyes, her face melted in to the cutest persuasive frown. This film is important to her, her first behind the camera experience. I had to contribute with more than just emotional support. Thats it, i stepped up..  "Lets do this mistressy thing" How hard could it be ?   Apparently VERY.

I quite literally, struggled through it. I couldnT get a single shot in one go, even if it was as simple as picking up the gun ! Thats when i knew, It was going to be a long night. At the beginning, I was told none of it was going to be difficult since its a well thought script and I was aware of each and every development along the way...

It took ages to get the shot ready. Hair make up , lights, fights.. There was not a single person in the group who wasnt battling a grudge against the other.In the meanwhile, our DOP was the center of attention and a "victim" of casual flirting. There was not a single item in that room that was not stepped/ climbed / on for a perfect shot.

The effort that goes behind making a film is just beyond a lay man's imagination. Post the shoot , in less than 24 hours the shots were selected , edited , dubbed. We got a friend to work on the sound , on the special effects, dubbing. 

Two days of being in front of the camera has made me respect every artist on planet earth ! Even so that i, now, respect my bai who usually puts up a good    'my mother-in-law died' show quite frequently.


Monday, 10 September 2012

One gem gone missing..

On 2nd December 2011, LHR,  terminal 4 , three friends stood in despair, each one battling their tears, and never wanting to say goodbye..never wanting to let go this phase.. Lives were about to change. And that is exactly what happened. 
And i was confident that that evening wasn't going to a final goodbye. I knew this wasn't the end.
I always thought,there was more to come.. more to achieve ... more to love.. more to learn..  more to live for..  I didn't know this was going to be it. The bond, so close to my heart, that I was so sure of has proven me wrong..  A reason unknown. A stumble into reality. When they said, it will never be the same... now i knoe what that meant.
We have many more places to visit, ohh so many songs to sing.. so many ideas to share.. so many fights to not care.. you still have a point to prove, find videos in which a snake eats a poisonous frog and the poison kills the snake and after a struggle a warrior emerges out of the snakes mouth..
A story that i'd never believed. a video that you could never find on youtube. where are you my friend ?   
" just how Akbar has nine gems in his crown, and each one symbolizes an important person, you are one of them... now that i have found you, i shall never lose you "

Wherever you are... I pray that you still have 'internal happiness', good health, faith in goodness, a calm mind, a loving heart, a shoulder to cry on, a caring hand to hold, someone to share stories untold..  what ever you do.. I pray for you.. for your dreams to come true..

Your 'past'  is waiting for you !

Sunday, 9 September 2012

the hand that rocks the cradle..

Get your copy of 'Bitter Chocolate'.. It highlights the bitter truths of our lives CHILD ABUSE.  Stories that touch your heart.  It is no way an easy read. You will cry.. cry for being so ignorant.. so arrogant.. so disconnected.
A child is pure.. pure as GOD.. and ordeal they go through tears my heart.. Hontestly, I couldn't read more than 5-10 pages at once. I had two options, (i) put it back in my bookshelf and never let it meet my eye (ii) Read it through and make a difference, even if its a drop in the ocean.

So i chose option (ii), I read the book and wrote the letters against these crimes to the addresses mentioned at the back of the book. We have to stand up this cause. We have some ridiculous law in India.  Some of the stories describes the inhumane nature of our prosecutors. You have got to read it. Pinki Virani, you have won my heart. I wish you succeed in every walk of life.. You have truly made us realize how selfish have be become in this rat race. 

After reading your book, I will never be the same again.. 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Photo Month

Inspired by my dear friend Ellie,  I declare December to be the photo month for my blog. Each day of the month I would upload a picture that would depict my mood , my thoughts , my surroundings...  anything..

Sound like fun ?   No.. ?  not even a lil bit.. hmph          anyway..

December 1 we start.  Ellie does this for her blog every May.  Her photographs are of top class.
Check Ellie's fantastic writing abilities out and her fab clicks..

She is AWESOME !

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Ghosts of Host

This dates back to my university days in the UK.  One fine evening, some of us friends were discussing the HOST program that the uni offers us 'international' students to experience a weekend under the hospitality of the British. [there aint none but lets not jump the gun]. I thought to myself, a weekend with a strange old couple would be weird. Thats when my dearest of dearest Eliza said "lets go together".
4 - 5 of my friends had been through this program and visited isolated pockets of Great Britan. They all had stories to tell which quite honestly depicted all sorts of emotions.. bitter sweet awkward and some were very cordial. 

So thats when Eliza and I registered ourselves to spend a weekend away with a family who would host us. 

Our preferences were not easy, now an excessive beef sausage 'lukumade' eater, eliza was then a strict vegan. i cannot tell you how many evenings we had pumpernickel with tahini for lunch breakfast and dinner. i was almost a vegan ! [Pumpernickel is a pumpkin seed and other weird seeds bread with contains no dairy no sugar no yeast no oil.. YUMM.. at first you feel a bomb just exploded in your mouth but then u get used to it]

Weeks after registering we got a call. A couple Laurie & Sandra invited us to Christchurch, few miles away from bournemouth.  I managed to book some cheap train tickets to get there. Bags were packed.

(clear throat)

let me come to the point...

we ditched the couple !!!!!!!!!

when we first got to bournemouth, the lady, sandra came to pick us up.. Made us both sit on the back seat with seat belts on. Her shivering hands had not enough strength as she struggled to pull the seat belt close to the clasp.
In my head ,"this is not weird... this is not weird... this is not weird" is playing on repeat.  She drove us to her home.. Moments after sitting into the car she listed all deficiencies and illnesses she possesses.  With all that excess or deficient in her body she still makes an effort to seatbelt us.. quite a fighter i must say.
Cigarettes killed my sister 

She told us about how her children live 2 mins away from her and never bother to visit.. and how her lesbian daughter ignores her blah blah 
Me "This is not weird.. this is not weird.. This lady is homophobic.. this lady is homophobic"

well christchurch is a beautiful village in the suburbs of bournemouth. i have always wanted to visit bournemouth
especially after seeing saiko's video n the balloon ride... i got tad bit disappointed after actually seeing the "hot air balloon" i thought it would travel around.. but it was this big balloon wit thousand cables attached ... anyways.. 

let me tell u guys the story as it happened.

so we reached Christchurch... the man Laurie wasnt there..We learnt later that he went practicing for his trombone performance. So the lady took us home.. at first it was all very nice..the house was cosy enough.. the lady seemed alright.. it was a lil weird to stay in someone else's house.. 
when eliza removed her cigarette manufacturing tools, sandra jumped of her seat and said "my sister died of smoking" and then the next 17 min we heard the sister's life story... the couple is 67.. they look much older though..  everything was borderline ok..
 the man walked in later that evening.. we sat down for dinner.. the portions were tiny.. when i say tiny.. i mean tiny...  all through the evening sandra went on and on about how she buys cheap mushrooms, onions and tomatoes close to expiry date to save money.. *bon appetite*

there was one small bowl of pasta for the four of us !    A bowl small enough to pass for a single serving. The uni canteen serves bigger portions !

i was trying to fit in the scenario... eliza just looked dazed..  this was the place where nobody would listen to her... A place where  she could  not jump and scream or even break in to a sirtaki dance.. things weren't going her way.. Whenever she would  step out to smoke a cigarette, the dead sister's story would commence... she felt trapped !  She has a presentation in austria the following week for she had prepare and  she was carrying her laptop to work on it atleast a little bit ;-)      so eliza asked laurie.. "do u have internet ?" just this simple question and waiting for a simple yes or no. 
that man asked her which year was she born... eliza said 1986 why ? laurie.. went on and on about how he owned a computer even before eliza was born.. dunno why he took it as an offense..  thats how we wasted another 23 odd mins of our lives.. 

eliza would ask something and the lady would reply smething totally out of topic.. she asked abt museums in bournemouth.. sandra explained us the musical historyof bournemouth..  Sandra reminded us of the old lady  from the movie requiem for a dream !!  we were fast approaching depression.. i dont know how  my friends managed by themselves... ! We sat in the living room after dinner. Sandra sat on a armchair to the right talking to us looking upwards in the opposite direction..  

In such situations Eliza need a smoke.. And the lady would keep repeating "Cigarettes killed my sister.. so it shall kill you too"

The old man was rude.  He was so proud of the english culture and would ask us about how life was in our respective "under developed" countries.. this went on until the evening... and then they put us to bed at 9.00 pm !  lights switched off. its bed time. Me"  

This is bloddy weird.. this is bloody weird... this is bloody weird !!1"

So the both of us,in our sleeping bags,  lay down in bed at 9 pm with growling stomachs..And because english houses have walls thinner than paper.. we couldnt even talk properly we were silently murmuring things..and trying to lip read wat the other person is saying.

I couldn't sleep the night , as Eliza had told me the old man was about to enter the room while she was changing clothes.. And that he knew she was going in to change. WTF.  She labelled him a pervert and that just kept coming back to me. 

The last nail on the coffin..

next morning was sooo boring..    eliza couldnt stand them a minute.. i was ok really. not the happiest bt i couldnt manage another 24 hours. Also this was the last weekend  in uk.. eliza and i were to leave for home on the following week.. and be back only be back for graduation. So this wasnt the ideal time we imagined to spend that too on beautiful sunny days in bournemouth... !!!!! *frustrating*
Morning breakfast, the same old tiny bowl was presented. this time with some cereals. And we headed to a charity event where laurie was playing the trombone.  in a brass band.. *facepalm*


The couple is a part of a program called University of the third age. Where, retired people come together sing , play music ,  sew, knit , paint and do all sorts of activities that makes them feel pretty cool.  

Eliza and I had thought of telling the couple after breakfast that 'this isn't working for us.. you have been lovely..  lets part ways.. Ciao Ciao'    But that didn't quite happen. Neither of us knew how to bring this up.  So through the breakfast , car ride to  trombone playing concert or whatever, and through the performance eliza and i kept nudging each other to speak up first. 

The day was beautiful.. we walked to the beach. Lil kids running around, parents and children with tiny fishing rods sitting on small boats, birds chirping and us and the weird couple saying  "Cigarettes killed my sister.. so it shall kill you too"  .. 

sir, can have a coffee ? "NO."

Eliza suggested for a coffee in some beautiful beach side cafe.. the man said no no lets walk and head home..   ELIZA WAS DENIED HER COFFEE...Nobody denies her of her coffee.. she was fuming.. could have murdered him easily ..

eliza and i had a plan to ditch them... but now it was time to execute it.. 
so we faked some phonecalls.. we said we have a friend... she has fever we got to go.. The couple didn't listen and said, by the time you go back to home she would be better and probably hospitalized. 
Thats when i faked a phone call and hung up .. looked straight into the old man's eyes and said "SARAH is  now is spitting BLOOD... We have to go.. " to make this believable we gave our oscar winning performances..  this went on  for 5 hours..

But it worked !

we planned we'll take a train from christchurch to bournemouth ... find a hostel.. enjoy life.. and go back the next day as scheduled.

despite all our efforts... they dropped us to bournemouth train station.. and waited till we bloody board the bournemouth station is small tiny room.. where u can see through the platforms even while standing outside the station. even after goodbyes..and thank yous.. they stood there to watch us board the bloody train..  
the man even insisted he would talk to the train office guys to change our tickets.. urghhhhhhh
sticky situation..!  so we bought tickets to the next station.. from the ticket machines.. and acted as though we boarded the train..
later we hid for 15 mins behind the platform wall waiting for the car to leave.  when they left.. 
We were freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !

We walked on the streets of Bournmeouth.. It was getting dark.. We had no idea where to go.. what to do.. we just felt FREE..  We sat in a taxi , asked him to take us to a hostel. A few shady looking hostels crawl later, we settled into a BnB.
Stormed into mexican restaurant..  had full size meals ..  The waiter wondered why we ordered 4 full mains. 

Later , went to a club where we danced with some men dressed like the toy story crew.. i wonder why.. walked all around bournemouth..   sat on some twister rides on the beach at midnight, ... WE AINT SLEEPING AT 9 PM BITCHES !

eliza happily rolled ciggarettes whenver she wanted.. she could sing and dance now.. she could scream and smoke now... sat on the balloon ride.. had coffees on the beach... got broke.. We barely had some change left to get us to the train station.
had a blast..    so this how we cheated the hosts.. 

one of the worst candidate for host
the other one is rolling cigarettes in Greece.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Heading to the Jungle GODS..

I am all set to  head to the jungles of south... some things are planned... some are not.. This seems ideal.. 4 days away from work, emails, sales figures & taxes  - is going to pure NIRVANA..

I cannot wait to get there..  

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Saturday Night Special : Humiliation for free

Weeks after a raid at so-called Bombay's top rave party, I find some news missing from my daily newspaper. OK, Let me think straight, Mumbai Police's Social Service branch responsible to make every human in the city feel safe has been on a rampage..

They walk into a PUB , shove all 153 party goes in to dirty police van and line them in in police station / govt hospital for Narcotics test. And thus ill treat and humiliate them. Foreign Nationals present at the party are left with a bitter experience to fly out of our double standards ridden country with nothing but memories.. bad bad memories.  
However, this creates a stir amongst the MEDIA. They finally have some 'dope' to cover !
they are jumping of their seats incapable of controlling the adrenalin in their system. 

Newspapers stated that they found some bullocks amount of cocaine & Ecstasy pills in a white plastic bag from that RAVE RAID. A sun down party that terrace top of a hotel in Juhu started at 3pm. This raid took place at 6 pm..  Three hours into the party (READ: a dangerous place where illegal activities take place) all guests must have been stoned on bountiful coke ! However , this was not the case at all.. weeks past this incident, not even a single narcotic test has come out positive. There is no news about it. I ask why ?

Next RAid, i suggest party goers to keep an eye on these nasty police officials.. They must be carrying plastic bags filled with drugs under their shirts that could easily pass as their BEER Belly * paan spit out*

Plus Mr BOBBLE incharge of Social Service is a prick. His criminal record goes a lonnnng bloody way. And he is on a mission to protect women from evil. As a woman, i fear from the COPS not from the public. Men in uniform are to be feared not the common man enjoying a drink or two on top of a hotel terrace.