Let's walk down the beautiful memory lane

March 30, 2015 4 Comments

Old Bank Street, Manchester, UK by R.A.D. Stainforth 
Let's walk those lanes again
where the seeds of our friendship were sown
Let's visit that era bank
street where we meet before

The streets soaked in rain
The streets kissed with glory in vain
Let's trot those quiet streets again
towards the toll booth pane

A lot of water passed through bridge
differences developed and drifts came within
Let us not re open the scar
Let us neither take the grief any far

Time to open up and absorb
let go of past be-wilderness and recall
the lovely times that we had together
the moments that we spent with each other

Let's take a stroll towards all happiness
lets come forth and clean our mess
Life is all about walking alone
Nothing makes is better, like a friend who comes along

Let's take a walk and rebuild
let go of your umbrella
and that protective shield
for you fear no harm
I will come with you
with open hands
and open arms

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I Dream of...Malaysia

March 24, 2015 27 Comments

To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia and to love Malaysia is to know Malaysia.

The Spellbinding. awe-inspiring Malaysia- Truly Asia!

Spellbound? Well, that's exactly what #Malaysia and #TourismMalaysia aims to. It aims to "Spellbound" each and every eye that visits this beautiful country, each and every heart that skips a beat for this beautiful place, each and every human being who steps in this glorious, bubbling geography of bustling diversity, towering skyscrapers, rugged mountains, gastronomical paradise. cool highland hideaways, sandy beaches, and rich culture. Yes, it aims to spellbind and successfully achieve the same. Do not believe me? Here are few pictures, help yourself :)

Beautiful, diverse Malaysia - Picture Courtesy: http://www.tourism.gov.my/

If the pictures did not suffice, here are few names that you would like to search about-

Langkawi Island        Kedah      Gunung Mulu National Park

                                  Sarawak               Penang

Looks like, I have managed to win your attention to the beautiful country of Malaysia and it's rich natural, cultural and geographical diversity. Well, I dunno about yours but here I am, with dreams in my heart and hopes in my eyes, so much looking forward to taking a trip to Malaysia- Truly Asia!

So when Team Blogadda, in association with Tourism Malaysia, asked me to write about 5 things that I want to experience in Malaysia, I couldn't help but start dreaming again. Yes, I had never got that opportunity to travel outside India and my last vacation was in the year 1999 December are not just the only reason that the secret tourist and nature lover in me was enticed to dream again, it was also "Destination Malaysia" That gave wings to my dreams. I quickly visited their website [please excuse my ignorance as I have only heard about beautiful travelogues n destination abroad but never got chance to actually travel] and made a list of top 5 things that I want to live [yes], experience in Malaysia- the Truly Asia.

Here's my top 5 wishlist while traveling to a beautiful, paradise-like country- Malaysia. Well they say- talking is cheap, so let me use pictures [including mine with bags packed] to take you along on the fabulous experience I dream of-

1) Experience Beauty of Nature at "Langkawi, Kedah"

This highly popular tourist spot island is a world Geopark by UNESCO. It has astounding geological heritage. which dates back to more than 500 mn years ago. Whoa! That is truly awe-inspiring! I want to reach there by water and sky and relish in nature and it's grandeur.

2) Experience thrill and Entertainment at "Genting Highlands, Penang"

After island, comes the highlands. I cannot tell you how much I have heard of Genting Highlands and being an adventure freak, how much I would love to visit there. I have learned that Outdoor Theme park is temporarily closed and is under renovation for paving way for world's first 20th-century fox theme park. However, other attractions are open and would be a delight to experience.

3) Experience "Underwater" and it's marvel at "Sipadan Island, Sabah"

There is a sea of things that I can do in Malaysia, in those seas of things, one of my favorites is going deep down the sea, under the sea :) Here's more-

4) Experience Heritage & Gastronomical delight at "George Town, Penang"

You can visit as many places as you want to. However, no trip is complete without visiting the ancient and historical side of the place. With me it is imperative to know the place, it's culture and heritage as much as to know it's geography, the area of interest and places to see. In my list of 5 things that I want to experience- next comes- The heritage. Hence George Town. 

4) Experience Majestic at "Petronas Twin Tower- Kuala Lumpur"

If you have gone to Malaysia and not seen "Twin Towers" than trust me, my friend, you have not seen anything. Majestic, giant, August structure of Petronas Twin tower is a living proof of grandeur and splendor at Malaysia.

Well, that was the five things that I want to experience at Malaysia- truly Asia.

The Soul of Asia
Fusion of Diversity and colors
land & sky with jest of life
It is- Malaysia

Sandy beaches and colored watered
Cheering spirits, smiles, and laughter
It is a true land of Fantasia
It is- Malaysia

Of fun, events that engage
cultural richness and heritage
Gourmand delight & Grandiose of Asia
It is- Malaysia

I have given my best and now hoping that my dream of traveling there gets fulfilled soon. Hope Tourism Malaysia you are listening :)

So, what are you waiting for? If you have traveled in mind and confused about the location, let me suggest, give your worry to rest and count on Malaysia to give you that truly enriching experience and world tourism. Take the flight of fancy to next level and book your tickets- NOW!!

Hurry the world is waiting for you!

Fly to Malaysia- Today and experience the difference.
Bon Voyage!

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Do me a Favor, lets Play Holi

March 14, 2015 4 Comments

Housing.com cover
Optimism is inimitably powerful and infectious too. However, it keep changing hands often and often in bargain, it falls off our hands. We need to open our fists of self defined notions, our fears and let them slip away in search of that little optimisms. Stretch your hands and allow to grasp another hands so that optimism could not just slip away but cupped between those two palms that fist into one and called unison. I call it love and togetherness. And in today's world of "me first" and "I, me,myself", it is together-ness that is most cherished and sought after. After all synthesis and symbiosis is the essence of life. Had it not there, the sun would not give us life nor does this land, water or air.

Love is many a splendid thing and gives birth to togetherness.
I have a homing bird, a homely pigeon who had traveled around a lot. No matter where I have gone, places I visited, people I met, for me Home is where heart is and family is my top priority, my finding. I love spending time with my family. More the merrier. Off late due to my education outside and work, I missed visiting home that often and in bargain stopped celebrating festivals as much as I did with my family. That sense of bond and togetherness was missing, and it resisted me from celebrating my festivals in absence of family. It was not that I was alone. In fact, I would have multiple invitations from friends and colleagues. I really admired they way they would bond as family esp on those occasions and started missing my family more. The desire to be with my family on festivals as well grew deeper in me.

Let's play Holi
Ok ok, I love Holi but not great fan playing one. I do not recall when I last played Holi and these years, playing holi became a non existing choice for me. Well this was my first Holi post marriage. As usual, I did not have any plans. The building I stay in does some Holi sessions every year and this year was no different. 

I saw the notification near the lobby while returning from office. When I reached home, my mom who was visiting me, handed me the leaflet that society people handed her, insisting us to come. I was like- I barely know them and given they know each other much better, it will be quite awkward for us, so lets skip. Yes, being alone in the crowd always scared me rather repulsed me. Nevertheless, I was not comfortable playing holi and that too with so many people? Naah! I said- Skip

The ring on door made me changed my mind when society secretaries came to personally invite us. After some dilly dally, we decided to go down for breakfast only and come back as quick as possible after the cursory visit. 

I was in my jammies when my mother summoned me to get ready. I went to washroom to brush my teeth and found my hubby suddenly coming and standing behind me, holding his tooth brush as if brushing his teeth. little did I realized that my unassuming hubby was hiding lots of Red color in his palm. It was his optimism. Before I could turn and resist, the entire colors were smeared on my face. I was caught unaware. I did not expected my husband, my usual serious husband to do all that.

What followed was, remains unexplained. From my way to home till venue, I was all smeared in colors, left right and center. AS we entered the arena where holi was being played, I grew apprehensive. There were people with packets of colors, pipes and shower fittings for rain dance. I love getting soaked in rain but normally avoid as it makes it very uncomfortable for me. 

Suddenly I saw two hands coming forward, taking my hands in them. It was my hubby and my mom, who took my hands in theirs and nodded me to march forward with a smile. It was their way of saying- Do not worry, We are together in this Journey. As the hands entangled in to each other, optimism was exchanged and sense of togetherness over powered. 

We had a wonderful time, making that day memorable and cherish-able for me and my family. We pranced, danced and had too much of fun. 

Ahem do not ask me for Holi pictures, I am not that optimistic to share my pictures looking like a riot of colors ;)

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Start a New Life with a Single Step

March 11, 2015 3 Comments

A Single step of a man, was a giant leap for mankind.

Could not agree less with this statement that Neil Armstrong made post his historical trip to Moon. His words have made huge impact on generations that came and will keep making impact to the upcoming generation as well. And Nina was no exception.

Nina was this little girl from small town who wanted to make her mark on the world. She was 12 year old daughter of my house maid Basanti Mai. Nina, unlike her mom did not wanted to end up being a house maid but she had dreams in her eyes. She wanted to study and become something, someday. Yes, that is what she told me when I asked her what is her aim in the life. She said- Didi, I am not sure what is aim and how to achieve it. All I know is that I do not want to step in shoes of my mother and do the house work. Rather I want to work hard and become "Something", someday.

I asked her what is that "something" she wants to become. As it would be a vague aim and given an inclination, right approach could be taken in the right direction. So she said that she wanted to work in an office wherein the people would say "Good morning madam" whenever she enters the office. So you want to be Politician? I asked. She said no but she wants to be a simple officer but do not know what officer. May be like the one "saheb" and all are. And she would soon figure out.

Nina was studious girl and was keen on her education. She would often look at my books with an undefined curiosity and ask questions about them. Given her curiosity, I picked my old school books and gave it to her for reading. She would diligently read them all and share her queries on it with me. One day I needed to go to bank for some transaction and I took her for company. It is then she decided, she wants to be a bank officer someday. I was happy that she finally found her calling.

Well life is not as rosy as we think. Nina belonged to a poor family. Her father was a drunkyard who would often beat her mother for money. One night, we were woken up with some screeching noise at the backyard. I realized it was her father who was having another brawl with her mother. I could not stop myself but reached to my window to get the details. It was Nina who getting beaten up by her father. He was so thwarted for money that he decided to marry his young teenage daughter to an elderly man against some money exchange. I could not stop myself and rushed out. My mother got worried and tried to stop me but seeing the situation, she could not help stepping out.

"Stay out from this memsahib, it is my matter, my personal matter and I shall deal with it" the man screamed. He then reached out to a big wood log to hit his wife. I do not know what inspired me that moment and rushed ahead and pushed that man behind. He was drunk and he fell down on uneven ground. My mom took the log in hand and asked him to move out of our premises or we will call the police. The man murmured something amounting to separation with Nina and his mother for lifetime and rushed out.

Nina's mother broke down and pleaded my mother to bring him back. She said, she will be broken without a man in her life. We consoled her and Nina and told her how her husband did no good to them but was mere a namesake "stamp" and how she needs to hold her life from there and step ahead.
Good sense prevailed. Nina and her mother vowed to start their life afresh, Her husband left them and married some other woman. His access was denied to our premises and nor did he bothered to disturb Nina and her mother again. Nina with a little help from us, pursued her studies and sat for bank PO. Today is working as a "cashier" in a good government level bank and working for her PhD. Her mother need not have to do the dishes at other's home anymore. She thanked my mother profusely for her guidance and support.

You must be wondering that how this brought "a change in my life". Well Let me tell you that when we move ahead and do something good for someone else, it brings back a lot of good yield to us. Here's how this brought a change to my life-

1) I was quite a timid girl but with that incidence, I realized my potential and rather my strength to give back to a bully and not feel threatened. 
2) The whole instance made me stronger to voice my opinions against something that was socially not acceptable. Nina' father's attitude was unacceptable and had many a times caused me agony over their plights. I saw the woman bruised several times but could not gather courage to confront. That moment, I could gain the power of "confrontation".
3) Helping Nina was like helping self. My friends admonished me for not spending much time with them but with my maid. I could not explain them the joy it brought to me.
4) I learnt to voice my opinion towards attaining results.

What more do we need but such little motivations and baby steps at a time to bring "big" changes in our life.

If you are unable to see this video, visit this link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FXdCjk505w&t=29

This post is inspired by https://housing.com/.

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In Pursuit of a Child's Happiness

March 06, 2015 0 Comments

Pampers India cover

If you follow my other blog- Haute Kutir, I have written about Baby Bed Time Rituals with Pampers and things that makes bed time, a fun time for baby. Continuing the series, Pampers and Baby, lets discuss few things that makes a baby happy and comfortable. Or the things that you can do to make a baby happy.

Before we talk about different sweet, silly and fun things that makes babies happy, let us not forget the importance of using a right pant that keeps baby happy.

Babies are bundle of innocence and love all tender love and care that you bestow on them. You need not do big things to make baby loved but even simple things can make a baby giggle with joy.

1) Tickle-wickle woo- I use a mild tickle at baby's tummy or chin as an age old tool that always helps in ringing that happiness bell in a baby. A little nudge on chin, the baby smiles at you.

2) Little song and dance routine- Believe it or not, babies these days have become very smart. Nursery rhymes and lullaby is fine but plug in a filmi song and you will find babies gyrating those little moves. Last when I visited a friend, I was surprised to know that his 1 year old responds magically to this song- Baby Doll mein sone di. So when I played this song for the child, he smiled and giggled in joy.

3) Tender love and Care- Babies have this magical ability to acknowledge love. You take the baby in your arms and cradle him a bit or take those little feet in your hands and caress or just plant a kiss on the forehead. It will sure make the baby happy

4) Tummy Full of Happiness- No I am not talking about feeding a child. Off course every mother takes a good care of the baby's appetite. However, it has found that a lot of time babies find it difficult to digest their food, which leads to little gas in their tummy and makes them cry. Giving a baby a prescribed spoon of gripe water not just keep their tummy pain free but smile in tact also

5) Dry Pants- One of the major reason for child's agony is wet diapers. Babies have this tendency to pee often and the normal cotton diapers, are though comfortable to wear, still could not absorb wetness and cause redness and allergy to baby. Keeping them clean, well powdered and dry is important and that's where a good diaper comes handy. If you are taking your baby out for any function or travel, do ensure that you use a good diaper that not just help keeping baby dry but also comfortable. Pampers is a highly trusted brand by many mothers worldwide, who use it for keeping that lovely' toddler's helpless smile going.

6) Bathing Bubbles- My Nephew loved his bubble bath as toddler when I would add bath toys in his tub. He would play with the toys and the water. Soon after the bath, he will sleep and wake up happy.

To keep a baby happy is not a simple task but is not that tough too provided you understand the baby and use right techniques. There is nothing like true love. Show your love to baby and baby will happily reciprocate.

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A #LookUp Story to Share

March 05, 2015 2 Comments

Optimism is a lovely word, it is a lovely feeling that has power to fill your world with great hope and happiness. Optimism is my side of glass and I always see it full with contents. What is missing is acknowledged and worked towards attainment and that's it. What is there is celebrated, cherished and valued.

I would take up a moment of your time and tell you about this lovely girl Gitika. Gitika was a girl whom I met in train during one of my journeys. When I first saw Gitika, I saw a bright, a bubbly face that was full of happiness, cheer and positivity. Gitika was a bundle of energy. The way she moved around, helping her family and others was commendable. I said commendable cause I Found Gitika with some walking difficulties and learnt that a deformity at her childhood required her to use some plates in her bones, hence causing a walking deformity. I could not stop admiring her energy, her goodness and her keen interest on studying advertising. 

I was an advertising aficionado and had my bits about the industry including the courses, qualification, good agencies in reckoning and some contacts. Gitika's mom was very keen that I help her with whatever guidance I can as they were from the small town where Internet was still a challenge and a career in advertising was seen as a Taboo for women. We exchanged our contact details and I promised Gitika to come back with good data on the institutions along with application form.

A couple of weeks later when I, after having sufficient materials and info, tried reaching Gitika on her landline asking for her postal address, I was shocked by a rude reply in a harsh baritone from other side. It was Gitika's father who was against her idea of pursuing a career in advertising. He told that they are poor people and advertising is a career for riches or girls who have highly outgoing personality. While this career was not right for Gitika who was partially handicap and walked with the help of crutch. 

But then, Gitika was highly creative and had a things for advertising. Given an opportunity and right qualification, she can make her own place under the sun, Handicape or no handicap, I debated with her father. The man was adamant, and along with help of my uncle I have to visit them. I handled the papers to Gitika's father and told him that deformities do not decide our personalities and capabilities. If Gitika has will, she can succeed. rest is her choice and should remain her choice. I said and left.

Years later I was watching this advertising award and was surprised to see this face receiving the best "copy writing award for the year". It was Gitika, who paved her way to the stage with limp in her heart but great confidence in her eyes. Unlike others, she could not run to her coveted trophy but she walked and attained it right under the nose of all physically fit stalwarts.. And that made all the difference to me. 

Gitika not only had optimism to see optimistic dreams but had enough courage and optimisms to pursue and achieve them. If you could have seen that smile on her face, that day, you would know what I am talking about. She is a #LookUp icon for all of us who often let go of our dreams thinking about negativity around. Gitika was optimist. Her optimism about life, about world and her dreams, yielded her rewards. She is truly a #LookUp Story for me and many such people, who makes this world, a beautiful place to live in.

For more Look up stories, visit-  https://housing.com/lookup.

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The Great Indian Dilemma

March 02, 2015 , 12 Comments

Lee Miller in Adolf Hitler's bathtub, Munich 1945, by David E. Scherman
She soaked herself in bath tub
her eyes wide open
blank and staring to the wall

As she stepped in shower
sans bath cap
sans foam,
her mind continued to roam

Her thought fixated to door
she has a lovely figure
'that you may adore

she turned no knob
plugged no Jacuzzi stopper
nor let any faucet pour

the Venus on her table
and the men in frame
pondered over her pondering tame

She shift no gaze
They got more amaze
may be just wall to ceiling
and what really is she thinking
rather than her
Spa and beauty indulgence.

The suspense unfolds ahead
read again whatever you thus read
cause Spoiler alert caution
Here's what that we got for nation

Not men, nor jewelry
her thoughts dwell greater
She was wondering
whats Tastes better?
Round Rotis or
Non Round Rotis

[Roti= Indian puffy wheat bread, tawa baked over flame and served during the main meal]
Linked to
Magpie Tale
Indi Spire

In India, a woman' culinary expertise is quite measured by the way she makes the "Rotis". A round rotis is considered to be aesthetically and technically better than the the less rounded ones. Taste wise, the difference may not be greatly germ from the shape but the quality of kneading, rolling and baking.

Often, mothers in India would be found lecturing their "marriageable aged" daughters on the importance of making perfect round chapati, linking it to the "sanskaar" [culture] given by parents to their daughters as acknowledged at her in-laws house. It may sound funny but making rotis ic not rocket science and could be easily perfected with little bit of practice, some sincerity and logic.

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Apno Ko Apne Dum Pe Jeena Sikhao

March 01, 2015 1 Comments

HDFC Life cover

Apno Ko Apne Dum Pe Jeena Sikhao

Chalo Aansoo poch do, ab muskarao

muskurao ki vajah na mile

na mile to doond lo

Unglio ko chod ke, ab

apne kadmo pe chalna seekh lo

Dard hi dard palta hai gulsita mei

Jaha kaate bhare hai, waha kuch phool bhi ugao

Apno Ko Apne Dum Pe Jeena Sikhao.

Koi kisi ka nahi hota iss jahan mei

Apno ko kiske bharose chodd ke jaoge

Behter yahi hoga, agar 

Apno Ko Apne Dum Pe Jeena Sikhaoge

In our lives, we all crave for that one person who understands us and yet do not judge us but help us to become the better person that we are. No matter how independent we can become, still in deep of our hearts, we look for a person [s] who not just support us but guide us and encourage us to grow, nurture and become more self reliant, positively. Hence that may be the reason why we look for so many solaces at different levels in our family, friends and some times, colleagues at work place. 
Needless to say, even the brightest of bright diamond needs a "Johari" or a jeweler to bring out it magnificence. 

Recently when Indiblogger, in association with HDFC Life, asked us to talk about a family member who helped us grow, encouraged and made us a self reliant person, I couldn't help but think about few people including my parents, my mama [maternal uncle] first, in particularly, my father.

This not hidden fact that I love my father very dearly. Since a tender age of 2.5years, I have been living with my maternal grandparents and family. My interactions with dad was highly limited. For me, papa was always a more likely to be inaccessible as unlike my mom, he could rarely come to meet me at my maternal grandparents family during summer holidays. Yes he was a government employed person and that explains the less no of holidays he used to have. I had a brief interaction with him when I joined my family during our South India Trip.

Unfortunately, it was my accident that brought me closer to my papa. I saw how my dad for me, has taken long leave from his office esp when he was at peak of his career, so he could be with me when I was hospitalized for good ten months.

My post accident recovery was a very painful process but my father insisted that I should not give up on self and continue to strive to reclaim my original life with little help from others. I remember how even on bad weather day or not so physically fit days, how my dad used to encourage me to pursue my school, attend my classes and so more. For him absenteeism was mere an excuse of not taking enough ownership, indiscipline was not a noble option and sincerity was the biggest virtue.

how papa helped me grow
He always encouraged me to take part in extra curricular activities along with studies. However, when it came to studies and good grades, he never had burdened me with pressure being top in the class [May be he realized that I am not that brilliant of a student esp when grades are highly dependent on how do we score on that scary subject- math]. He rather emphasized that I be regular to school, should not take free hands read any personal favors that my teacher may offer to me given my physical limitation and not merit.

He encouraged me to earn everything on merit and not just that, he also emphasized the importance of sincerity and "not giving up" in life. He continues to tell me- Give a try and do whatever best you can do, It is ok to fail rather than not trying at all".

He told me that stable is not equal to stagnant and if I get stagnant, my life might get stagnant and it is stagnant water that is dirty and oozes bad odor. He teaches me the virtue of "moving on" with our sincerity.

He never let me compromise on my education. I wanted to be self reliant, and he pushed me for that. I would often complain of leg pain while walking, and he would then encourage me to walk an additional mile. I saw my father barely ever taking anyone's help but rather he had been helping a lot of big people to the big positions they scored. Papa is a self made man and that motivated me to be self reliant without depending on any sugar daddies or god father. Talking about Sugar, well papa was barely ever relenting, he was always strict until recently when he has let go of his stricter side and exudes encouragement towards more softer and emotional side.

This is kind of story of life [Straight from my heart]
As part of this write-up, Indiblogger wanted us to embed this video. [below] I did not see this HDFC Life video earlier but just wrote what I felt like. Suddenly something transpired me to watch it, and I did. The girl in this video is a child amputee, ah just like me who came with even bigger baggage of bruises and amputations [not to make you sob but to tell you, if at all I can help inspire any of you]. 

Life is not black and white. Even today i struggle with my disability. However, the motivations and encouragement that my parents have sowed me, helps me continue. Hence I tell you, go ahead and inspire a life. Be the support. Use positivity and make people live on their own. In the meantime, be with them. No matter the cheer someone exude, the heart still longs for encouragement and empathy. Like this little girl, in the video.


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