Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Surprise !

When my kid was born,I was wonderstruck ! So small & innocent .So fragile, that I wanted to protect her from all & sundry.I would buy the prettiest clothes I saw& shower her with kisses.I would play with her & hug her endlessly.She also started showering kisses on me when she grew up a little.She would hug me tightly when I returned home from office to pick her up from the child care.Slowly & surely ,she has grown up .


And now ,I have to protect myself from her tantrums.I have to nag her for cleaning up ,for waking her up ,for her studies - in fact for everything.Nothing works unless & until I scream ! I am growing tired & still manage to nag her endlessly.Sometimes,I get the feeling that she has grown immune to my nagging & screaming.I have told her umpteen times that I will henceforth omit to nag her about everything & she can have her way.And the next moment ,I am back at the same old self.My insecurity about her future gets me & I begin afresh.

I know she has some talents.She is very creative & good at some subjects.She is extremely lazy.She would rather sleep than eat.She  wants life to be one smooth ride, on a luxurious yacht She loves all kind of trash food & is figure conscious at a tender age.I just keep wondering as to how she has grown up to be like this when I or my hubby were never like this at her age.Perhaps ,they grow faster now, in these times.She opts  for branded (steeply priced ) products.She is a geek - always  seeking out latest smart phones on the net,etc.

Of course ,I am sure, all bad habits have been inherited from her dad like laziness,postponing tasks till the deadline looms like a sword, being untidy ,etc.Moreover, since bad habits ,get formed & copied early ,there is hardly any room for  good  habits to be inherited from her mother, that is me.One may ponder about my good habits.Well, if I were to list out my virtues ,I would run out of cyberspace ! Hence ,out of concern for others so that there is space  for others to list out their virtue /s ,I am content with  stating, that I am a fountainhead of virtues !

Still, all kids surprise their parents & even themselves, by their actions once, in awhile.That is what makes parenting & hence, life worthwhile.

Her class teacher had given project work to all students in her class.One weak student was assigned to each group of students for the project work.My daughter was the team leader.She coordinated with all her team mates in the project.She also made sure, that ,the weak student spoke about the project in the class in front of her classmates.For this ,my daughter constantly tutored her, to speak, telling her about the main points to be talked about.She also explained her about the project-all this was done during school hours ! The teacher was flabbergasted that the weak student spoke about the project in front of the whole class.She was all priase for my daughter.When I went to the school for the parent -teacher's meeting,she said,"I could only give her ten marks for having made that weak girl confident enough to speak about the project in the class.If ten was not the maximum marks ,I would have surely given more !"Needless to add ,I was overwhelmed ! The teacher remarked,"All think about themselves,very few think about others."This even as the teacher commented on how many kids including my daughter did not pay attention in class about important topics for examinations,was talking as the teacher taught & so on.

Another episode took place quite recently.One boy in my daughter's class is notorious for being absent.He stays with his grandparents who manage a small shop.There is nobody to take care of the boy.He attends school when it suits him & at other times ,he is roaming  in the company of his elder brother.That boy attended school after the Deepavali holidays in December.The class teacher asked the boy to tell the class about himself.He was honest .He stated that he irritates teachers as he enjoys it.He also admitted that he hardly attends school as it is quite un inspiring.The teacher asked  the class to clap for him as he was truthful.Then the teacher said that his name had to be included as the participant in the project done by any one student of the class.She looked around in the class.Nobody raised hands.The teacher kept looking around.My daughter raised her hand.The teacher was pleased.I asked my daughter ,"Why did you raise your hands ? What were you thinking ? " Her reply," Because mama,no one else raised their hands.So ,I raised my hand." It was so simple.I had not even thought about it ! I was thrilled & the mom in me commented ," You will surely get ten on ten for the project."My kid replied,"I have got a nine already ."

I would like to believe that my kid was inspired - by me.I share all my blogposts,photos,culinary adventures,etc  on facebook.She sees me doing this sharing on a daily basis.Hence,she has learnt to share -howsoever little -as she is quite young.As she grows older, she will learn to share more, like all,  on social networking sites !So,I am quite pleased -I am sure ,your kids have also surprised you.Please share them.This is the age of   sharing - on the net !

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Frozen flavoured yoghurt !

I have become a convert to dahi, since quite some time.When I was a kid ,I did not like it.Partly, as it used to have cream or malai & I am allergic to it. Basically ,it is all, in the mind.

Slowly & surely ,as I started working at home & in office,I realised, that dahi, was a miracle food.It is good for digestion & provides calcium.I can set it, at home, without any fuss.I read,  that home made dahi has maximum health benefits compared to that  available in the market.So this makes me & other housewives, masterchefs ! Since most of us ordinary mortals can set dahi ,we are all superhuman ! After all ,dahi is a wonder food !

Dahi can be diluted & made into chaas & lassi.It can be concentrated by removing all the water & converted into yummy shrikhand ! Moreover ,sev batata puri,vadas ,etc taste so tangy with dahi ! In Maharashtra,the leftover water remaining after making shrikhand is offered as a cool drink named ,Piyush.Even candies are made from shrikhand ! Shrikhand is said to be from Gujarat .I tasted pineapple shrikhand in Vadodara & the delicious state still lingers ! Dry fruit shrikhand is all the rage.One can also enjoy amrakhand - mango flavoured shrikhand throughout the year, if not mangoes.

Dahi ,chaaas,lassi ,shrikhand are all cooling in nature & very apt for a tropical country like ours.Moreover ,in these stressful times,they provide succour to overheated minds & bodies.Moreover frozen,falvoured yoghurt hardly requires any cooking.So it saves energy-hence, it is green as well  ! Even shrikhand needs no cooking.I feel ,flavoured dahi  is the best dessert to be consumed  .Guests will, welcome this, as it is for their well being ! Conclusion : frozen ,flavoured yoghurt is a unique dish - one of a  kind ! It can be made in a jiffy, from dahi available at home.Even a kid can add honey or sugar on dahi as a topping or even gulkand or rooh afza & a tempting, dessert coolant is ready to be savoured ! Making this, is practically effortless !

I first read about frozen  yoghurt in the press.It had become a rage in Europe & America.There were yoghurt parlours which catered to this yearning for this  healthy food - yoghurt was topped with fruits & consumed.I started pining for such dahi.I got my chance, when I visited Gulf.I brought some trays of flavoured yoghurt - peach,apricot,strawberry etc.I would eat one or two cups daily .I had got addicted ! I never felt guilty that I was devouring this alone, as my hubby & kid seemed averse to eating frozen yoghurt.

When I returned to India,I was on the lookout for a similar product.I learnt about Amul has introduced Yogi ,its flavoured yoghurt in flavours like Strawberry, banana,mango etc.I fell for it -hook,line & sinker ! I would go to grocery stores like Apna Bazaar,& buy the Amul Yogi dahi cups in dozens.I would then consume one cup daily.My love for ice creams had given way to flavoured dahi ! So ,it is healthy & a dessert as well !Other companies have copied Amul & intoduced their flavoured yoghurt variants.Amul recently introduced  probiotic yoghurts in cups.Well,health has never had it so good ! Amul Probiotic yoghurt goes by the name of  Flaavyo! It is available in flavours like misti doi,vanilla,mango,pineapple  & strawberry .As it is probiotic ,it aids in digestion & boosts immunity.It is a health food, as prevention is better than cure ! The best part is, it is so reasonably priced, for a price conscious Indian like me !




Very recently ,I learnt, that some parlours of frozen  yoghurt have opened in a place nearby.I went there & had a blast - tasting the  flavours ! I opted for fresh fruit as a topping on plain dahi .Another flavour ,I tried was blueberry -it had just a hint of sugar.This means, it can be consumed by diabetics as well, without any guilt ! It was simply superb ! I wish ,I could try out these  things at home.I do not have any dahi vending machines -just like ice cream ones.I am surely going to make flavoured dahi at home one of these days  .I  will  surf   the net & find out home based procedures ! Alternatively ,I can freeze the dahi ,scoop it out into a bowl   & top it with fresh seasonal fruits like mango ,strawberry ,banana,apple,pineapples etc.By adding fresh seasonal fruits ,I am adding fibre content of the fruit as well instead of the fruit juices ! I can also sprinkle powdered cinnamon .I can add a drop or two of honey  as well ! The possibilities are endless & so simple ! Now, I can have frozen  flavoured   dahi any time - nah, everytime !

This blog post is my entry for Masterchef contest.If you like my post,please rate it ,share it on facebook ,twitter etc,.If you are an IndiBlogger,do  promote my post, if you liked this entry.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fulfilling life !


Leisure is basically relaxation -doing our own thing -things which we like . Leisure is like a paid holiday ! In these stressed times,we pine for relaxation.


I have a washing machine,a microwave ,a mixer grinder ,a computer ,etc -many gadgets to make life easy for me.Out of these ,the washing machine is arguably the best as it has made me independent of my maid for washing clothes.I can put on the machine at my convenience.I can also wash ,towels,curtains,woollens, bedsheets- in fact, all types of  fabrics-thick & thin.Moreover ,the machine wrings the clothes so dry, that it just takes a few hours to be completely dry.Earlier ,the clothes would be dripping water all over the house & one could sense a monsoon session in progress ! In our matchbox size flats,this is a pre -essential !


With the assistance of Surf Excel Matic,my washing problems have decreased many times over.I have to just rub it on the stain ,grease mark etc  & put it in the washing machine.After the washing cycle is over ,I have to strain  my eyes for the fabric which had got  stained ! This also means, that now ,I have more time at my command than before.I have more time to unwind.I save money as I can wash stained clothes at home instead of giving the clothes to the laundry.


There are lots of things that I do in these extra hours that have become available .I am a book lover .I love reading.I have plenty of books & also keep adding to my bookshelves.I read books many times to relax & recharge.They widen my viewpoint & also add new perspectives.I love reading thrillers,humour,politics etc.


I watch reruns of shows on the idiot box if I have missed my favourite ones.I  also chat with my chums on the net .I have started blogging too & that also needs that I continue reading a lot.Blogging has its rewards & how ! I am a participant, in this Surf Excel Matic contest wherein I have to list out things which  I would do if I had two extra hours in a day !


I am in this contest to win prizes & get famous ! Also ,I make it a point to read blog posts of other contestants & promote their posts so that they in turn, promote mine ! I may not win .Still, this ensures that people, visit my blog.This in itself, is great, in this age, when it is difficult to command attention even for a few seconds ! All this reading on the net keeps me up to date !

My leisure has made me seek avenues to improve myself.One of this has been my improved cooking.From a reluctant cook to an innovative one,I have travelled far ! I even have a blog wherein, I note down my recipes with snaps of the dish ! I now  find time to pray & draw rangolis which I click & put on to my blog.My Deepavali rangolis turned out pretty well & got compliments !


Since my housework has eased ,I recently applied for a home based job opportunity.I  was initially skeptical about my sincerity.I felt, that after a long gap from work,I may be unable to do justice & that too from home.I have proved myself wrong ! I am thrilled to be working & I continue to add new tasks for myself.

Like yesterday evening only,I attended a meditation session.I got a CD there & I practised it in the morning.This will relax me further & make me more productive. I plan to continue my meditation to recharge myself on daily basis ! All said & done ,extra hours for me has improved & rejuvenated me ! I am happy now with my self .

All this has been possible,  because of the many gadgets that I have & products like Surf Excel Matic ! I am sure ,many can find a renewed zest for life once they are able to relax & enjoy life ! Then life will be like child's play ! We must have the inclination,then obviously ,we will find  the time for our passions,hobbies,ideas etal.This would make life truly fulfilling !

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Deepavali Rangoli IV

Have used techniques seen in rangoli videos...rangoli on doorstep.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kahani kesh ki ....

My hair was  long, when I was a  little girl.I used to detest its length in those times.This is so, as I recall, that once, I caught hold of a pair of scissors & cut some flicks ! Of course ,all at  home were angry .It still made a fashion statement & that's how flicks became a rage ! My mom used to oil my hair once a week & give me a head bath with shikakai.

As I grew older ,my hair grew longer  & my dadi forbade me to cut it.The moment ,I joined college ,I cut my hair up to shoulder length, so that, I could tie a pony & manage my hair.I had very cleverly avoided to learn making  plaits .This was the excuse, I gave when my parents asked me, the reason of getting a hair  cut.After that, there was no stopping back.I still oiled my hair regularly & the shampoo  replaced shikakai.The shampoo would give a bounce & smoothness to my hair which I loved ! As I oiled my hair ,it made my hair shine & also greasy .I had no options then  & life went on.

Later ,I started working after finishing college.I cut my hair even shorter.I felt emancipated.I now started taking more care.I would shampoo my hair twice a week & sometimes even three times if the weather was very humid.I tried out many shampoos.For some months ,I tried out a branded herbal shampoo which was highly priced.It did wonders to my hair .All in my office noticed it & complimented me ! I was elated ! Then ,I switched to another brand many months later  as I was bored.I wanted to try out other brands.

Slowly & surely ,I started applying henna to my hair.I would buy from the market & even from my beauty parlor.Sometimes ,I would go & get it applied there.At other times,I would apply it myself.I loved the tint henna gave to my brown hair.Also it conditioned my hair so well ! Initially ,I applied henna once in six months.Later ,the gap reduced & it became once in two to three months.After marriage ,as my worries increased manifold ( as is the case with all females who enter matrimony ) I started applying henna regularly once a month ! My hair needed henna, as it was turning grey ! Nowadays ,I have a beautician, coming home regularly once in a month to apply it.She has opted for abranded herbal henna brand though it is more expensive.This is so, as there are fewer chances of adulteration in premium brands.

I love henna on my hair as my hair is brown & reddish brown henna colour nicely covers up my white hair.I  have avoided chemical treatments of my hair like using dyes.I have never gone in for straightening or perms.I feel it is foolish, to soil my hair by paying such a fancy price ! It is like a double jeopardy !

My hair is responding well to my love & care.I regularly go for hair cuts & hence my hair has no split ends.I very lovingly massage it twice a week with oil & then shampoo it with a herbal shampoo.Whenever,I apply henna to my hair,I keep it on for three to four hours.Then, I wash it  with plain water.The next day ,I apply oil nicely all over my hair & keep on the oil for an hour, before I shampoo.This is to maintain henna colour on my hair.This technique has given my hair, a very lovely look.I just adore my hair ! It has a bounce & a shine with that henna tint ! It sets beautifully & as the days progress ,that setting goes away.I have been advised to use serum .Though I was quite skeptical of using serum & even a conditioner as I felt, it would make my hair sticky ,I am better informed now.

I recently went in a spa & was informed about conditioning of hair & application of serums & masks to protect hair.That day, as my hair was blow dried after a hair cut ,the beautician applied a serum & my hair has stayed set for three days ! That's wonderful ! I have to just brush my hair & I am ready to step out.My hair looks  superb : as if, I just stepped after a hair styling ! I am a convert to conditioners & serums now ! Even, I can look my best with minimum efforts !

Though I sport short hair ,my hair compliments me & adds oodles to my personality ! I have been gentle & loving to my hair & it shows ! My hair is now ,very soft & manageable.It has a lovely colour  & suits my wheatish complexion.As I smile, at my lovely mane ,it  reciprocates by shining !
Please "Like" this blog post on Facebook,share it on facebook ,twitter & and or comment on it .It can also be rated & or labelled as cool,funny or interesting. 
This blog post is my entry for the contest organised by Dove & IndiBlogger titled :
Love is a two way street:Love your hair and it loves you back !


 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Meri Padosan : Continues.

I had to write this post - my friend told me that my acidity is due to stress .She also revealed that my padosan is the cause of all my stress !

My padosan will come & ask for my landline phone.Once handed ,she will fumble with it .She has to be told to press the "Talk" button & so on.Still,nothing works,& I am forced to transform into a telephone operator & dial the number & hand it over to her ! And mind you ,this is not the first time ! I have lost count of the numbers now ! Good -otherwise ,I would be expected to dial from memory !

When we were to go on our trip abroad,she was happy.There was a reason behind it.They had booked tickets for a tour which included Thailand.There was a civil unrest there.Hence, they cancelled their visit.The tour operators said that they will postpone it.Since we were travelling to that side of the world where Thailand is located,my neighbour was happy that we will be travelling & returning before they embark on their trip ! This in spite of the fact, that our tour package never included Thailand ! I used to be under the impression that only the lady of the house was eccentric & soon realised I was wrong ! Her hubby  asked us, if all was safe during our tour as Japan had recently witnessed Tsunami & there had been civil unrest in Thailand ! We never visited Japan & neither their package tour included Japan ! After all this fius,they shopped like mad & got diamonds,shoes ,tees etc from their trip !


Last week, she rang my bell at eight in the night to borrow elaichi sorry  to get elaichi.It is not borrowing as she never had an  intention to return it ! She told me that as it was pitru paksh,all elaichis had been used up & her son ( who is an adult & employed ) wanted a sweet at that time ! I just gave in.I don't want people lying through their teeth .After all ,because she needed elaichis from me ,she lied.Sab paap mere sar par aa jayeega !

My padosi family is all of a kind - the borrowing variety.I had gone to the local pharmaccy store.My padosan's daughter in law  who stays with her in laws was also at the shop.I brought some medicines at the shop & paid.My neighbour's  bahu brought some shampoo ,cream,face wash etc.Then she enquired if the pharmacy store accepted credit cards.When that was refused ,she said that she will pay later & walked off ! I understood this as sangat ka asar- when a person stays in the  company of another, even for some time, ,some habits,do creep in our subconscious mind .They , then manifest themselves into the conscious world ! This borrowing was handed over to her, by her saas.Her saas is  notorious in our society for having  borrowed money & things from almost all the residents !

Recently ,I made an egg less  banana cake.I distributed to all my neighbours.My padosan came & praised my cake.I fell for it & told her the ingredients & that, I made it in the microwave.She  asked me the vessel in which I had made it.I showed the  branded glass ware which I had used.She hinted, that she might borrow it . When I mentioned this to a friend ,she quipped that even if the glassware breaks ,what are a few glass pieces, if peace can be brought with the padosan ? ! My neighbour is a non -vegetarian.She wanted to pass on the cake to her daughter's sasur ( father in law ) who is recovering at a clinic after surgey as he is a
vegetarian !

Next day ,my neighbour declared, that, she had brought all the ingredients for the banana cake & she wanted me to make it in my microwave & hand it over to her ! I informed her, that I had attempted it for the first time & by fluke ,it had come out well .She replied, that even if it gets spoilt,she will not mind.I tried to wriggle out of the situation by telling that bananns need to be over ripe for the recipe.Next day ,she said that she has pureed the banannas & she wanted to give it to me for baking the cake.I told her that  the microwave has konked out .She told me that all her purreed banans were getting wasted.I told her to make sooji ka halwa ( rava kesri )& add pureed bananas to it ! That would  be more yummy than the cake & does not need the microwave !

Now all my baking has to stop -lest my padosan learns, that the microwave is fit enough to make  the banana cake !

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The rat race


We all are part of the rat race -we participate in it & keep complaining about it.There is no compulsion & still, we refuse to leave it.The social networking sites are a hit as all can jostle for fame on the net by joining them.Some like me are so addictive that they can overwhelm their emates by flooding their mail boxes with emails .Some people are so much a part of the rat race , that, they want to hog the limelight at all events at all times & at all places !

Recently, at a cultural event, organised in a housing society ,this was in full display.A couple, both of whom, are professionals were busy hogging the stage ,the mike ,the applause & the prizes !

Their kids go to day care.The kids are very smart- they know how to extract work from the tution teachers-they will demand, that the tution teacher get their homework completed.The kids also ask the tution teacher to assist them in school projects.The tution teacher also takes extra efforts in making the kids score better grades at school in assignments,tests & examinations.  The kids are left by the busy parents at various venues during competitions & other parents are requested to pick them up.Obviously, as other parents, have ample time on their hands.

The said parents are so busy & stressed out that they park their vehicles without any care in the world ! Others are the receiving end if & when they ask the said professionals to show a little elasticity in parking.The professionals  belong to a sect which is known for its emphasis on gentleness towards all .This just goes to show, that some, by their very behaviour,  bring disgrace to the whole community.

Coming back to the cultural programme ,the said family has left the housing society wherein this cultural programme was held & still, the family wanted to bask in glory, at its former place of residence.They have moved on to a pent house in a much sought after  neighbouring suburb.

In the cultural event,the kids were part & parcel of a majority of the plays ,the dances & the solo singing.The professional parents ,who  are so busy, that they have no time to pick up their wards sang duets with their kids to an applauding audience.Really ,what were they trying to prove ? That though ,we are so busy ,we spend quality time with our kids & how ? In front of the whole society, lest they blame the parents  !Other parents & kids are made to feel that they are uncompetitive & not up to the mark.Degrading others to upgrade oneslf is unfair & ugly. The parents were encouraging their kids on stage to sing, even though the kids were unable to recall the lyrics of the songs !This led to the whole of the audience clapping .The applause meant ,"No more ".Thankfully ,the parents encouragement just stopped short of "once more " !

Naturally ,after so much PDA ( public display of affection ) ,prizes were given to the said parents & the kids.

Many of us may not like to do what the said parents did.Really what is more important ? Passive appreciation too is good enough .Sometimes of course ,it is better to express it openly . And this type of expression /s, in front of the world, just amounts to vulgarity & comes across as very crude.Moreover ,in such a race towards the finishing line ,one tramples upon so many, that many get hurt.How long can one continue like this ? Agreed ,that human greed has no limits & yet, we must stop somewhere.As someone has rightly said ,"the trouble with the rat race, is that even if you win ,you are still a rat."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prajwala

I was introduced to Prajwala by a friend through the net. As I read &  understood ,what Sunitha Krishnan has done & continues to do ,I was filled with admiration & respect for  her.


She herself was a victim of gang rape & she rose from the ashes to rescue others from trafficking.The tasks she has on hand are just too enormous.Her orgainisation has been instrumental in rescuing & rehabilitation of hundreds & thousands of women &children.

She has a blog titled "Sunitha Krishnan :The Anti Trafficking Crusader " where she recounts her experiences of rescue.Actually ,her blog is not an easy read.It is very difficult sorry impossible to read about small girls ( as young as four year old ) being raped by dads, uncles,brothers,cousins & neighbours.A seven year old  was violently raped .Her blog posts can just shame us all out of our peaceful existence.The least we can do is spread awareness about the scrouge of trafficking.



We are a very proud nation, always boasting of our glorious past & the economic gaint we have become now.We seem to brush under the carpet ,the sins committed by us.Trafficking is increasing at an alarming rate & no one is spared.Girls are brought in from Nepal & sold to brothels all over our nation.The alarming part is that people who are involved in all this are the ones who are trusted by victims.

Fathers,brothers,uncles,grandfathers,cousins,neighbours,acquitances,friends -all are involved in this dirty business.In some cases,they are the ones who violate the victims first & then invite others to do so for a price ! Really how sadist can anyone get ? Many atimes ,the mother or female relatives who raises a voice are silenced by money or threats or rape or by death.Hence,the victims are utterly helpless.


The condition of the victims is worse than that of slaves ! The victims are subjected to the worst form of sexual abuse often accompanied by violence.It leaves the victims emotionally as also physically brutalised.The victims have to keep catering to many clients & end up with HIV/AIDS.Then, they are just discarded as they are now useless & cannot bring in any returns for their owners.


Sunitha's orgainisation 'Prajwala " has been rehabilitating the victims after rescuing them. Shelters have been built & a factory has been opened where skills like carpentary ,welding ,etc are taught to the girls.Prajwala also tries to unite the victims with their families.Sometimes ,the victims are not accepted back by the families owing to the backwardness of our views on women.At such times,Prajwala takes full responsibilty of such victims.Some women & girls are also married off by Prajwala in its endeveour to integrate the victims back into society.Prajwala also takes care of the last rites of the victims who pass away.In all these tasks,Prajwala faces stiff opposition from our society .


Prajwala works with police & other law enforcement agencies in this job of fighting commercial sexual expolitation.Prajwala never seeks publicity for the rescue of the girls.Prajwala lets its  work speaks for itself.



Prajwala & Sunitha have won many awards for their exemplery work.They are now sought after ,the world over for rescue & rehabilitation of victims of trafficking.Even State governments are listening to Prajwala &  Sunitha in prevention of trafficking.All this, will surely help in minimising this crime .

Sunitha has said time & again that the silence of the society towards human trafficking has to change.Let us become aware & appreciate Prajwala.

One can become a follower by joining Sunitha Krishnan's blog @http://sunithakrishnan.blogspot.com/.One can also 'Like" Prajwala on facebook to get updates on Prjawala.


Please spread the word around on the net- on social networks,through emails,through twitter ,etc.This will be our contribution to this noble cause
.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cheap Indulgence

On the weekend ,I indulged in some shoopping at Khadi & Mrignaynee.Mrignaynee,the M.P Stae government showroom at World Trade Centre,Colaba,Mumbai had been advertising that there was a sale upto 50% off.As I had never been there before,I thought, that, I must go & have a look as the discount was too tempting. I landed at Mrignaynee & the first thing that caught my eyes were the  jute bags .They were available for Rs 22/- & Rs 15/- each depending on the size ! I brought two of each -two big & two small ones.Next ,I moved to the clothes-very few readymade tops were available.Many were without sleeves.I had to make do with a simple parrot green & white coloured batik top.There were more batik prints in vibrant hues but all without sleeves & some were blouses.I got another top in white, with violet & pink block design.Both the tops cost me on an average Rs.100/-.Then, I brought some pieces of cloth for as low as Rs 50/-per metre each.These, I got as I want to stich salwar suits for wearing at home.All the clothes which I got are pure cotton .Some have stripes ,others are plain.The clothes feel very good to touch & the colours are simply vibrant.


Next ,I got a simple soft dupatta in plain blue shade for an unbelievable Rs 60./- only.My dad brought  a cotton block printed saree in red,black & white block print for Rs.700/- only.The blouse piece is a part of the saree. The saree is one of the softest I have come across in these times of polyster & synthetic fibres.My mom had told us to get her a black saree & we got a chanderi black saree for her.That cost us less than  Rs.2000/ as there was some discount.The actual price was Rs 3000/-.All in all,it was a fabulous bargain.The icing on the cake was that we were shown all the clothes which we brought by unfolding them so that we could see if there were defects like missing weaves ,tears,etc.

We then headed towards the Khadi Bhavan at Fort ,Mumbai.My dad needed sajara ( short kurtas with half sleeves ) for home wear.We enquired for them & were shown the same in typical khadi woven patterns in myraid shdes like blue ,buff,etc.We brought 5-6 of them at prices of  Rs.200-250/- each.I brought one plain white khadi salwar for Rs 250/-.I always buy white salwars,& chudidaars from khadi as they last very long( because  khadi is  handwoven ) & are very comfortable for wearing in the hot & humid climate of Mumbai.Also ,a lazy person like me can get away without starching clothes as khadi clothes are thicker.I also brought two bath towels from khadi bhavan as they are thin , dry fast & absorb water better.My dad brought a set of  five white handekerchiefs for Rs.120/-(for the set of five ).We also brought Agarbattis like Chandan ,Mogra,Gulab etc.there as I prefer even incense sticks from KVIC. We got white khadi pyjamas for my father from there for Rs 225/- each.Then we moved towards the billing counter.I just stopped at a sign next to the packing counter as it  said "30% off".I asked the young  lady at the counter about the things on sale at the discount stated.She pointed out to various salwar-chudidaar sets which were damaged or torn or very old were on sale.I chose one which was in a good state-a blue kurta with collar &  beaded embroidery with a loose block printed chudidaar.I got it for Rs 400/- only.Next ,I asked her about pastel shaded bundles of clothes lying in the shelf ! She told me that they were all shaded salwars for Rs 90/- each.I saw them & was floored ! I brought four of them as I can mix & match with so many kurtas.The salwars are very soft -in fact the khadi used is super soft to touch & feel.My dad also brought another sajara at a discount there .My dad was lamenting that he would have got all sajaras at discounts if only he had known the presence of such a counter before !  We finally moved to the billing counter & paid our bills.





I would like to inform my readers, that, of late,Khadi Bhavan has stopped all discounts -there used to be 5-10% off on cotton khadi almost through the year.Now ,this is not so.Still,I felt that we got excellent stuff.Akin to Mrignaynee,the young girl at the discount counter was taking great care to make us understand & see the defects in the clothes which were on sale at 30% off.She simply refused to show us the white khadi pyjamas on sale there as she opined, that they were all smudged.To be really honest,I have found all this is  missing in brands & malls.

I prefer going to Government emporias for clothes as one can buy clothes of the all the States of our great country at such shops.Hence, ,we can all become brand ambassadors for our handlooms.Moreover,only  if we continue buying such handlooms ,can we hope to keep the precious arts & crafts of our artisans alive.Otherwise , we will lose all  such traditional arts & crafts for ever.We have already lost many weaving methods & other hand crafting techniques as they were no longer sought after.Many people like the Holkar family,the Taj hotel group,& Fab India are  trying their best to revive some of the forgotten ones.We can do our bit by buying  handlooms & handicrafts.This will surely help in keeping these arts & crafts alive.

One more handloom shop that I keep returning to is the Co-optex handlooms .Co-optex hand looms showcases handlooms of Tamil Nadu .I buy bath towels,bedsheets,dress materials,kitchen towels from Co-optex.Just a month ago, I brought some unstiched dress materials with dupattas for less than Rs 300/each.The set included a dupatta as well.The tailor charged me a fortune,considering that I paid a pittance of Rs 300/-for the material  .It  cost me Rs 170/- to stich a  salwar suit. Labour cost is moving upwards rather rapidly !

I also had a chance to visit an exhibition cum sale of Gurjari.Gurjari is the initiative of the Gujarat government to exhibit & promote its arts & crafts.I brought a small bag cum purse from there.On sale were rakhis,pretty torans,artificial jewellery ,semi -precious stones set in various necklaces,bracelets,ear rings ,soft padded purses-cum-bags ,folders,dress materials,bedsheets,dupattas,scarves etc.

I have also visited other State emporias like that of  Orissa,Uttar Pradesh ,Karnataka etc .All have impressed me & the trend continues.I feel, that our homes will be as colourful as the rainbow if we can indulge in products of our many states.Moreover ,then our homes & in turn,we  will, reflect unity in diversity !

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bags

Women are fond of bags ! We need a bag whenever we have to go out on errands.That bag is like a bottom less pit.This is so as it contains our identity card,make up kits,sunglasses,candies,address book,combs,brushes,bills,receipts so  on & so forth.We just keep stuffing our bags or purses with so many things as we want to carry our world with us .

I used to long for a purse even as a kid.I recall that, I was gifted a small  coin purse on my birthday.It was of lavendar colour . I loved it.It had  a very simple design.As I went to college,I carried a bag, into which went my books as also pens,etc.The bag had a small side compartment in which I  carried money for travelling in buses.

After college,I got a job. I brought a small leather purse for a princely sum of Rs.100/-.This was a rag tag bag in which many left over leather pieces of varying shades of brown colour had been stritched together.After that bag ,there was no looking back.I brought many bags for office use.They were big enough to carry many things including the daily newspaper which I could read during commuting to & from office.I would generally go & shop at Dharavi as it is famous for leather goods.

I soon discovered that one of the fringe benefits of being  an officer in a PSU is a bag allowance.This is redeemed after one purchases a bag & presents the bill to the office.It was a pittance but still the fact that it was there, was reason enough to produce the bill.Thankfully,cash was handed over without producing the bag in evidence.There were some conditions like there was limit to the cost of the bag.Also ,it could be claimed once in every five years.Slowly ,the cost of the bag that could be brought was raised to reflect inflation.So also the period was raised to six years.The logic was that a costly bag would last for one more year ! Many did not buy any bag or suitcase & still managed to produce genuine receipts of well known shops.

Perhaps the bag allowance was meant for providing bags in which officers could carry work home.Many of the tribe believed that the moment they stopped taking work home,their bags had collapsed & could no longer take the load /s.Rules being rules,the office had to wait till the officers turn came to claim the next bag allowance.Till that time ,the office work suffered ! Just goes to show how any positives for employees can backfire on any establishment !

I have always liked big bags not small ones.I need my hands to be free to board buses & trains.Hence, my bag must acconmdate many things -almost everything .I have noticed that females who are short opt for big bags & who are tall opt for small purses.

My dad went to Chennai once & I requested him to get a purse in genuine leather from Chennai.He got one which was like a simple clutch in black leather.I never used it as it just wore out as I kept it for special occassion .The occassions came but I just forgot about using  it.

My bhabhi once got a leather bag for me from abroad.I still have it & use it for keeping some things which I need once in a while.It is still looks good though the zip has given away.

On my first trip abroad,I got some bags in pastel shades.I gifted them to friends & relatives.I kept one for myself .The one bag which I intended to use later got spoilt due to my hoarding habit which encourages me to postpone  using a thing to a later time.

When I started buying bags,I was crazy about leather.Now,I have changed & take care to buy bags made from synthetic materils like rexin ,plastic,fibre etc..When my hubby hinted recently, that I should buy a bag befitting his status ,I made my position clear.I told him, that, I will not buy a leather bag no matter how high the brand.I have joined PETA online & this was the least I could do.Apart from status,my hubby got this purse for one more reason-he expects me to carry his mobile ,his sunglasses,his passport & other knick knacks in it.After all,as a dutiful wife ,this is expected .Moreover since,he has paid for it,I am coerced into accommodating his things in my bag.



My hubby recently gifted me a branded bag.It has cost a neat sum.It is quite hilarious as the bag is quite bereft of the cash it has been paid for.It is more of  a convenience, for all in my family.Everybody wants to be hands free of goggles,cell phones,identity cards,credit cards etc. So ,I am left with the unenviable job of carrying the baggage of all !

I read, that if a woman carries a large bag ,she is carrying her baggage (read  past ) which she  is unable to detach from.What it omitted to state, was that all women, end up carrying   baggage /s of  their near & dear ones - literally & even otherwise !

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Change is symbolic of progress.

My laptop went bust more than a year back.I felt lost ! I tried getting it repaired.I was told that it was as good as gone.Repairs meant changing the mother board.My brother opined that the laptop had served us well for so many years.Now ,it was time for it to rest.I was getting withdrawal symptoms - I did not know what to do.It was nearly a week, since it had gone dead.I was not able to keep in touch with friends.No email,no chatting.I felt, as if, I was in some god forsaken place.I felt  lonely & aloof.

I told my brother, that, I desperately needed another laptop.My brother is my IT consultant.He was very happy to assist me in choosing one.We finally got home a new laptop & all is well.I am still using it & in touch with the world !

I choose a laptop, as I had got used to one.Moreover in matchbox like houses,it occupies little space.Moreover,I have got WiFi now & it can be shifted to any room in my small house.It is very convenient.My brother, even got a mouse, for me which has a elastic  cord.The cord can be shortened so that it fits small spaces.I can also stretch it , if need be. Initially, even, I had a Computer which commanded lot of space but  now, I enjoy the laptop for want of space. Changing times get reflected in  our choice of gadgets !

My cell phone is  shocking pink in colour.It is so, as being a woman,I want it to be bright & colorful.It has an FM radio & a camera.The FM radio is a must, as I walk listening to FM radio in the evenings.The camera is fine for taking casual shots.It is reasonably priced for the features it offers.For better clicks ,I have the digital camera.With such a camera,there is no need to print the photographs.I upload all the clicks from the camera to the laptop & I am ready to share it with all, through email & now even on the social networking sites ! So  fast & convenient ! It is also environmental friendly as no paper is needed ! The comments on the snaps by our near & dear ones are added bonus points !

In our choice of such instruments,we give ourselves away.They are our mirror images.The way we use them is also another way of knowing  us.Some opt for branded items,some others for latest models & still others, want value for money. Some will change their models every now & then to keep up with the latest in the market.There are a few who will keep using a gadget till it is able to provide its basic service though it may be not fighting fit for the add on features.

Our changing needs get addressed by better models.New models have many features which makes them very handy.Laptops & mobiles have built in cameras now.This was not so, in models available some years back. Hence, change means progress - a step forward or maybe many steps forward ! Today's newspaper reports suggest that very soon, our computer would nag us -about our health,messy rooms & so on . Really, technology is taking us places !

I also use the microwave.I learnt making eggless date cake through it only.I also used it for baking methi muthia for undhiyon.Similarly ,I use my pressure cooker for making khichdi ,pulaos ,biryanis etal.I mix all ingredients & pressure cook rice recipes.I even have a small cooker for pressure cooking rajma,chana,aloo mutter etc.I find pressure cooker the best way, to cook healthy wholesome food.It saves fuel & also time ! Similarly ,the mixer grinder is a great tool for cooking .It grinds even raw veggies very finely.I experiment, by making pastes of carrots,tomatoes,kadi pattas,,adrak,green chillies etc.Even onions can be added to the  mixture.Such paste can be added to veggies to make delicious curries.This is a boon for mothers, as kids keep removing veggies from their plates.In this form ,there is hardly any chance of doing that ! Gadgets have indeed, made, our lives simply convenient !



Dell has introduced  laptops with changeable covers Pl visit Dell Inspiron (http://bitly.com/inspiron).
Some are ethnic like Mehndi,Sangeet,Shaadi while still others are funky ones with Lovers in the morning  & even plain ones with colours like Horizontal Purple,Fire Red etal.Indibloggers are welcome to  experience change at exclusive stores throughout India.. I think, this reflects the many moods of the people who would like their  laptop to make a statement about them ! This is so, as all of us are unique in our own way /ways ! This is also a sign of the times we are in & in tune with it !

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rang !

I have this question for anybody who buys me any thing.What other colors was that thing available in ? I know, it is quite irritating, for the person but I  persist.I just start imagining how that object would appear in that colour or colours.My imagination takes wings & goes soaring.I can also visualise the shades of the colour /s.But all this vivid imagination of mine has a flip side.Many people have sworn, never to buy me anything as I appear quite displeased with the colors of the objects they get for me.This despite the fact, that I have instructed them on the choice of colors !

I draw rangolis twice a week.It is basically a pattern by the rangoli powder on the black cuddappah.So ,the rangoli is black & white & embellished with specks of turmeric & kumkum ! In festivals,I draw colourful rangolis -all filled with an assortment  of colours ! Hence,the festive rangolis are very eye catching, as they are all bright, in comparison to to the daily white rangoli designs.




When I look at photographs dating back to my childhood,I am struck by the utter simplicity of our bygone lifestyle.I keep wondering, how would it all have looked in colors ! Would the clothes we wore in those years have similar shades as now ? Was the sky as blue ? Were the trees & grass as green as now or maybe they had a different hue ? Moreover ,many of the photographs would be clicked in studios unlike now, when we just click them anywhere !

The advent of colour television in India during the Delhi Asiad was a milestone & we got our first  idiot box at home.We fell for it -hook line & sinker ! So much so, that our studies suffered but slowly & steadily ,we got to ignore it every now & then.Maybe, we were so awestruck as we had only been used to monotone of black & white on the idiot box & that too with a lot of disruptions & awful reception back in  small town India.The color television came with a lot of changes -reception was good & it was Asiad -a matter of honour to be hosting it ! After this visual treat ,I guess colour television became the norm in India, rather than the exception ! So mesmerising is colour !

Now ,one can even opt for colour in Xerox ! We ,Indians need record/s for anything & everything. Actually ,unless there is a record,we are skeptical of that person ,the event  ,almost everything.Hence ,the xerox is our most valuable friend in these times ! Xerox was & continues to be the most  valuable  ally & colour xerox all the more so ! Now trust can be xeroxed in  the original ! With colours !

Even computers come with colour printers & amp; mobiles are also with coloured screens -all are reasonably priced ! So all of us can enjoy colours without our pockets pinching us.In fact ,the advent of colours in all devices has made all of us equal in more ways than one ! It has brought in a  kind of social equality !

 I am sure ,as we get  ahead in this age of social networking ,our lives will get colored all the more, in myriad shades ! It will also work as color therapy & make us better humans !

This blog post is my entry for the HP Take Flight with Colour Contest on Indiblogger.You can learn more @http://h20426.www2.hp.com/campaign/demand-more/in/en/index.html

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sit coms !

Soaps have become so addictive that, I feel, I cannot survive without them ! It is just a routine.This despite the fact, that I am watching the idiot box only in the night-the prime time.Most of the soaps start with lot of promise.This is the honeymoon period - when the soap /s & the viewer /s enjoy the  initial pleasant days .Very soon,to maintain TRPs,the story line is changed or rather adapted to suit demands of the day .Then the actors are replaced -sometimes the main actor & actress gets replaced with a new actor and or actress.This all causes a lot of hilarity as also confusion.

One particular serial is on cops & is aired on weekends.It has been on the television since years now.I used to enjoy it earlier & now I end up watching it though it is so mundane now.It is actually very comical.All the cops go after every suspect together rather than one cop going after the suspect.In one episode ,a vehicle  which was used in a crime was left unattended while all the cops ran to investigate more in the vicinity.Just shows that there is not even a semblence of investigation ! In the soap,the cops go & ask the witnesse/s about the looks of the suspect/s ,the vehicle numbers etc.The witness will initially mumble about not noticing & or recalling anything but stern looks from the cops are enough to recall the minutest  details ! How I wish ,the cops would confront me when I forget where I have placed my keys,files etc ! The cops are the best re-callers of memory ! In the soap,almost all shopkeepers ,garage owners ,schools,colleges etc maintain registers which have names,addresses & all other details which come in so handy to the cops ! Just goes to show, there are methods to madness ! If only our government departments had maintained records like this.Then ,all scams,crimes  etc would have  got solved in a jiffy !

Then there is a soap, which shows an ideal Indian housewife catering to the silly demands of all males in a family in Mumbai.The family owns & manages a saree shop !The bahu is the only woman in this male household.She does all work by herself-cooking,washing clothes,utensils,teaching the youngsters,caring the elderly et al.And all this, as she struts about in designer sarees with matching accessories ! She is always defending the males in front of her mom as well ! No male even considers the options of hiring a maid & or the washing machine  to assist the bahu ,not even her hubby !Maybe they are unable to choose the washing machine from so many brands ! Maid ,is not being kept so that the bahu is able to stay fit by washing ,cleaning etc ! The amount of food she cooks for breakfast ,lunch & dinner is enough for a  party ! In one episode,it was shown, that gunny bags of veggies were brought from the market as some three to four guests  had been invited.They went on to show, that the bahu slogged to cook a sumptous dinner for all ,  without any help from the males ! This is the ultimate exaggeration so far ,idiot box style !

Another serial has gone in for selective amnesia to maintain TRP.I fail to understand, as to how, the hero can remember  all in his family except his wife.She keeps dropping hundreds of hints but he fails to follow even one of them .In some family soaps ,all in the extended family are sweetness personified.So much so that the viewers  get diabetic ! In other family soaps,all members are cunning -one up on the other & are always scheming ! It really makes one wonder ,how does one get so much time to conspire ?

In many serials ,the women are shown cooking the littlest amounts, though all are joint families containing many members. Moreover, all ladies are garishly dressed with all matching jewellery which has no connection with their economic status in the stories.

To maintain popularity ,the lead characters die  bang in the middle of the soaps.But the character never dies.He or she has survived & is resurrected again later. So very much, like our shastras which believe that the soul never dies !

The serial are  hardly aired for ten to fifteen minutes though the time slot is for half an hour.This is so, as sponsers take away half the time.The rest has to accomodate the current episode as also what happened in the last episode & what is going to be the next episode ! This is for the supposed benefit of the audience in case they have missed the episode/s ! Not that much happens in any episode.The story moves at a pace which will make a tortoise proud.This is aping us as,  as we do not live in the present ! We are either recalling  the golden past & dreaming about the better future !


Really ,I ponder ,is life imitating the soap or is it the other way around ?All said and done,these sitcoms are my prime source of entertainment ! The way ,they are aired, makes me laugh night after night ! That's why ,I have managed  without joining any laughter club.You can also watch the soaps & get stress free just the way the washing soap frees  the body of  dirt &sweat!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soundarya

What is really beautiful ? So many things ,if you look around - babies,nature,someone's hair, someone's skin,a face,a sculpture,a painting ,a design ,a piece of jewellery,etal.Actually ,there are so many things -both animate & inanimate which are pretty, to simply keep staring at.But soundarya  is something else.

Nature is beautiful, as it is lovely to look, at its numerous features -the Sunrise,the Sunset,the meandering rivers,the snow clad mountains,the green meadows,the valley of flowers & so on & so forth.Nature is really beautiful, as it is our mother & takes care of us by giving us in abundance.When we go on destroying & exploiting it for our selfish ends,it gives vent to earthquakes,volcanoes, tsunamis ,cyclones & other natural disasters.

Human beings are beautiful basically .And as time passes ,one changes for better or for worse.Babies look lovely .They are curious & innocent.As babies grow up ,choices made, make them what they are.

A person may be beautiful in appearance .This alone cannot make up for bad habits or unhelpful nature.One must be positive in life.Then ,a smile  lights up the face & the person looks pretty.Similarly ,helping others does wonders to appearance .It brings a glow, which can be seen by all.Health also is a big asset in keeping us pretty .If we take good care of our well being by eating right ,our body reflects it & we look lovely.Exercises like aerobics, dancing,pilates,walking,etc can help us loose flab & build up endurance.Yoga & meditation make up for mental calmness.A cool & calm mentality looks young Hence,there is no need to go for botox,plastic surgery etal to do away with wrinkles

Make up & cosmetics can only enhance  assets like eyes,lips,skin,etc.Sometimes ,cosmetics may harm, as ingredients in the cosmetic may lead to allergies.Hence,one needs to be careful.It is preferable to use herbal products. Cosmetics cannot make a person look lovely -they can only  highlight the beauty of a person who is already good looking. Rekha,the actress used to apply  a big bindi on her forehead  & it  suited  her so well ! Rekha has also been practising yoga since long & she looks young, even after decades !

Cosmetics  used judiciously can also protect hair,skin,eyes,etc.In this also ,one can opt for products which are not tested on animals .This will be  soundarya , as this is beauty, without cruelty.

Remember to  check out Yahoo!Real Beauty @http://realbeauty.yahoo.com/ for some great ideas on real beauty.

The inner soundarya  of a person, is the soul of a person.Diamonds are  very beautiful & hard.Similarly, some may be very pretty & hard to please.Such people cannot be called beautiful.They will harm others & bring many to grief.Celebrities, who endorse fur, are cruel to animals.We must make our thoughts beautiful  & this will show on our faces.One who is truly beautiful is one, who has the ability to bounce back after a debacle & get on with life.Such an inspiring spirit, is really pretty & needs to be emulated.

People who are spiritually inclined, are indeed really beautiful as they aspire for peace & calm.This calmness also reflects on their faces & they look serene.People who help others,are unselfish & kind to one &  all are really pretty.That is why, soundarya or real beauty, is a perennial source of joy !

This blog post is my entry for the YAHOO DOVE REAL BEAUTY contest.
Dove Real Beauty on Yahoo! India


If you liked  this post,please press the  "Like "button  @http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=58871.Each "Like" counts & will help me win the People's choice award in this contest.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vote for Akshaypatra

Akshaypatra is the boundless love for the less privileged .This is so, as it feeds the children across India sustaining them through their school years.This is a dedicated effort by all, who are associated with the mid day meal programme.

I am writing this blog post, to make readers aware, of the Chase Community Giving campaign which is going on at present.Akshaypatra has already won the round one in this contest.The second round begins on May 19th ,2011.I trust, that all will vote for Akshaypatra, making it the one charity which gets the prize money in the finals !

Akshaypatra is running decentralised & centralised kitchens at numerous  places across the breath of our country.It is truly a pan Indian exercise .It has the most hygenic & modern kitchens wherein, food for school children is prepared.It has mechanised its operations in the kitchen so that, there is the least amount of human contact.This in turn, makes it one of the best community kitchens  in terms of hygiene ! Please have a look at the video  below - this is a silent visual on the Akshyapatra kitchen at Hubli ,a town in Karnataka.


Six kitchens of Akshaypatra  have received FSMS ISO 22000:2005 certification.This is an achievement in itself, as this is the first of its kind certification given to food programme managed by an NGO in the world.Kindly take a look at the video to observe  how mechanisation can make it possible to roll out 40,000 chapatis at  Akshaypatra's kitchens in an hour !



This programme feeds 9,40,000 kids in over 15 places all over India in 5600 schools on a daily basis..This is the largest non profit feeding exercise across the world ! Just imagine, how many more children can be reached by supporting this charity ? ! The possiblities are simply immense !

The mid day meal scheme has made it possible to minimise dropping out from schools by kids.This will transform into a literate India very soon.So ,please vote for this foundation  from May 19th ,2011 onwards.

Please click on the link below  to vote for Akshaypatra as this will be our win ,a victory over illiteracy, a victory over hunger ,a victory for our future as the future belongs to our children !

http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/10574950-the-akshaya-patra-foundation-usa?src=vote_share

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Singapore : Sentosa & city tour.

The next day ,we  had a breakfast of toast & some diced yellow water melon & papaya.Yellow water melon is just like red water melon & is available in Malaysia.

Then,as many in our travel group were keen to take a ride on the Singapore flyer,we all stopped to enjoy the ride.Singapore flyer is a very gigantic wheel to which capsules have been installed.Each air conditioned capsule can accommodate 28 persons.From the capsule ,as the wheel moves slowly ,one can view Singapore city & also as far as Indonesia on a clear day.At 30$ Singapore dollars,the ride is highly exorbitant but one must experience it nevertheless.It is one of the latest tourist attractions in Singapore .The whole ride takes approximately 37 minutes but one can rarely feel the wheel moving.It is a safe & smooth ride.

Next,we stopped at Chinatown to visit a Chinese temple.There was inner sanctum wherein, we saw many incense sticks burning just like an Indian temple.The inside of the temple & even outside is very bright & red.Red is used very generously all over.Orange bushes wherein tiny & sometimes big oranges are hanging can be seen at the temple entrance.

The next stop was the Singapore gems factory.Various wall hangings which are three dimensional are on display.They make use of semi precious stones in the wall hangings.Also on display are numerous trinkets like jade bangles,bracelets,necklaces & ear rings.All in the group shopped around for small pieces of jewelery as a reminder of having visited Singapore.Then, we stopped, for lunch at an Indian hotel.


After lunch,we headed to the cable car station for going to Sentosa island.We got into gondolas & started our journey.Very soon ,we were up & could see the emerald sea below.We also saw some luxury cruise liners anchored below.The azure blue waters of the swimming pools in the cruise liners were so welcoming & we started imagining of how comfortable it must be to just laze around in a liner.After we landed at Sentosa,we proceeded to the Images of Singapore exhibition.


There are life size images of various communities like the Malays,The Chinese & Indians who immigrated to Singapore decades ago & contributed to Singapore's ethnicity.One can witness the images engaged in various tasks like trading,fish mongering etc.The exhibit is really very big . May tourists were busy taking snaps besides various images.We also took some photos.

Then we had tea at an eatery in the Sentosa island area.In,Singapore,no one cannot consume any drink and or eatable in the vehicle .Only water is allowed to be consumed at all places.In any tourist attraction,one has to consume  any thing edible and a liquid by paying for whatever is available in that place.One cannot buy eatbles and or drinks from another place in Singapore & then consume it at any tourist attraction as this would kill the business of the eatery at the tourist attractions.Moreover this, also helps keep such areas litter free. That is why, even in buses & cars ,also nobody can eat or drink anything except water.

Next,we visited the aquarium at Sentosa.This was just like the one we had seen at Kaula Lampur.One is really left wondering at the numerous varied attractions available in a country which is only a city state.In one city ,people can visit an aquarium,a zoo,botanical garden ,ride the flyer,visit the Universal studios,gamble at the casino,etc.We were unable to visit the botanical garden ,the bird park & maybe some more  places.


We also took snaps of the Merlion image -it is an  animal-half lion & half fish.It has the head of a lion & the body of a fish.One can see the white Merlion image in all displays, which advertise Singapore as one of the most sought after tourist attractions.

Our last stop at Sentosa was the laser show which was simply  spectacular ! The fireworks display at the end of the show was so dazzling that we were left wanting for more !Curtains after curtains of varying colours lighted up the night sky .The night sky  sparkled with lightning that shot up & down with regularity at intervals !

After the show,we boarded our bus to reach an Indian hotel for dinner.Dinner over,we headed back to our hotel.Next day,we shopped  in little India.We ate a South Indian meal at Komalas' restaurant.It   consisted  of rice,sambhar,rasam,papad,veggies,etc.It was at Komalas' restaurant.This eatery is so famous, that it finds mention, in   most of the Singapore tourist guides as one offering ethnic South Indian meals.The food was sumptuous.

We then headed bacjk to our room to get ready to bid goodbye to Singapore.We reached the airport to learn that flight was late but Malayisan airlines had arranged for an alternate flight to Kaula Lampur from Singapore.This was done to avoid paying for our overnight hotel stay at Kaula Lampur,in case our flight from Kaula Lampur to Mumbai left without us.This was a distinct possibility as the connecting flight from Singapore was unduly delayed.

At Kaula Lampur,we  strolled around ,had some snacks & then waited for our home bound flight. This flight was in time & we landed at Mumbai airport to witness the last overs being played in the World cup final.My daughter  saw the last ball being played on the giant screen at the airport which catapulted us to victory. As we headed home in pre - paid taxi,we saw the city celebrating the world cup win on the roads making it a traffic nightmare.

All in all, a memorable trip but incomplete as Malaysia has many more places to be seen & so also has Singapore.Maybe another  trips at a later date...

  

Friday, April 29, 2011

Singapore :Universal Studios.

The next morning,we left for Universal Studios.This is a new attraction in Singapore, replicating the Universal Studios of Hollywood . We had been told to dress in light summer clothes as we will be walking under the scorching Sun .We had been told to carry water from our rooms.We had done that as we would need to hydrate ourselves.We reached the Universal Studios at around ten.We were instructed to meet near the entrance after we had finished visiting the numerous attractions .The time for going back to hotel was four in the evening.We were handed over our meal coupons .We were told that there were Indian meals available at Oasis ,a cafeteria in the Egyptian attraction.We were given our entry tickets & a map.The map explained graphically the various themes around the place.



We all dispersed with our families &  in groups to explore the Universal Studios.Some adventurous persons immediately headed for the thrilling rides.


The whole set up at the place is very surreal with various themes dotting the place.There is Shrek palace ,an Egyptian area with Egyptian statues,a Madagascar theme area,a dark mansion ride,etc.The roads are very wide & clean.There are toilets at every nook & corner.There are eateries at many places where one can buy cooldrinks,icecreams etc.Singapore is a place which is based on business. So outside eatables & drinks (except plain drinking water)  are not allowed in all the  tourist places.One has to necessarily eat at the tourist place at a restaurant there.

Our first stop was at a theatre where we were witness to an artificial  storm.The storm was all generated by various machines -all mechanically in an artificial manner !In a few minutes ,a calm sea side was transformed into a shattered area as all windows started banging ,the boats were dangerously capsizing ,the sea waves were rising & collapsing at stunning speeds,the noise was so much that we were unable to hear each other.This show is meant to show the public, how the storms or any natural disaster is artifically cooked up in films.It was really amazing !

We went to the Shrek Palace.We enjoyed a 4D show there.4D  means, that we can, actually feel, the bumpy rides the characters in the show  are having as they travel on seas & on roads.There was a donkey in the show & as it sneezed,the droplets of his sneeze were felt by us all

As we came out of the 4D show,we entered into the shopping area of the Shrek palace & got some tee shirts for my kid.They were very expensive but since we had already selected them ,we paid up.

Next, we took some snaps by donning various headgear which are available outside a theme area .We saw that many people were also doing the same.We then went ahead & reached the Madgascar theme area where we wanted to take some snaps .As we were getting ready to shoot,we were stopped & made to have our photos clicked by the staff of the Madagascar theme area for a price.At some places in the Studios,snaps can be clicked by tourists and at other places ,one has to necessarily pay for the snaps to be clicked by the staff.This is how business is generated for the studios.My kid was thrilled to be photographed with the animals from the Madagascar film & so it was paisa vasool !

By now,we were dehydrated though we had been sipping water .We headed for Oasis to have our lunch.We landed at oasis to discover that there was only one lunch option for vegetarians.It consisted of aloo matar,biryani,papad,bhindi fry & a jalfarezi .The jal farezi was as good as uncooked.The bhindi was raw - there was too much fibre for us to even ingest ,forget digesting !There was a kheer as a dessert.This confirmed that no hotel ,restauarant or eatery can exist without aloo matar or any form of aloo veggie.

After that ,we again started strolling around the studios.We then took a ride in a scary mansion where it was pitch dark with skeletons & scary faces staring at us where they had some lights.It was a short tram ride.After that ,we were exploring some more.My kid was overjoyed to see Kung Fu Panda .we waited to atke snapshots of all of us turn by turn.We strolled some more & then walked to the entrabce as it was time for us to depart.Some people from our travel group were already there.We exchanged notes about what we had all experienced.Skowly ,all had started returning .We made our way to the bus.We got back into our rooms for the evening tea.My brother called up to say that he would come to pick us up at seven.

The evening time was free for shopping till dinner. We had told our group that we will not be joining our group for dinner.My brother arrived & took us to Mustafa where we shopped for a school bag for my kid.Mustafa is a very confused shop.The same set ogf goods are available at different places in the whole complex.So,if you have got an object from a particular place & want to bill it another floor ,there is lot of red tape .Mustafa has things of all kinds -one has to just name it & it is there at Mustafa.The Indian salespersons & availablity of all Indian goods makes it the ideal shopping destination of all Indians.

We steeped out of Mustafa & headed to Murugun for a dinner of idlis,vadas,chutneys ,sambhar,sweet & khara pongal.The items were too tasty especially after days & nights of tandoor food.After a sumptous dinner ,we headed back to our room.My brother then left for his accomodation.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Singapore : Night safari

We left for Singapore by our air conditioned bus at around 9 am.We had breakfast at the hotel, where we stayed in Kaula Lampur .The breakfast was toast with

Monday, April 18, 2011

Malaysia -Kaula Lampur tour.

We left by luxury bus for touring Kuala Lumpur from Genting highlands after having a breakfast of bread toast with jam,spring rolls,fresh fruits like chunks of  yellow & red watermelon & papaya.Tea was too light for our taste.Moreover,there is a big crowd at breakfast time & all are in a hurry.The tour operator is also breathing down our necks & one has to wait for the toaster to warm up the bread.Some like it light brown,others almost burn it.Moreover,the toaster toasts bread on  one side at one instance & then one has to repeat the process again.This tires all & many opt for a light breakfast.This explains why breakfast is included in packages where one gets to stay.Breakfast is free  means  that the stay at the hotel is  free of breakfast !

En route,we saw clouds as we came down Genting Highlands to the plains.It was beautiful ! The sceneries with fog ,mist & clouds was too lovely.We stopped at Bantu caves to witness the largest statue of Karthikeyan ,son of Shiva & Parvati.Bantu caves are natural limestone caves on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.The magnificient  statue is painted with gold paint imported from Thailand.There are also temples dedicated to Lord Shiva & his consort Parvati as also Ganpati.The Karthikeyan temple is located at the top-after a flight of nearly two hundred fifty steps.The climb wears one down because the weather is quite sultry at the place.Monkeys roam about the Bantu carves & if they find a plastic bag being carried about,they pounce & steal it.Our guide informed us that monkeys are highly evolved & even drink coke by opening the cans.By evolution ,it was meant that anyone drinking coke is civilised.As time goes by,all evolution theories are being turned topsy turvy , but then, the guide alike  many others , has, still to learn about  them !

We also were taken to the biggest importer of Swiss watches .I brought a wrist watch but realised later that it carried no guarantee ! We also got perfumes -  we were lured by the numerous perfumes & we selected two, just randomly, as our noses had refused to distinguish the various smells ! There were sunglasses also on sale but as I am a myopic,I refrained from buying one- the only wise decision, I took on this trip.Then ,we left for a photo session -snaps were to be taken with the Petronas towers in the background.It was very hot & we all had our sunglasses on when professional photographers clicked a group photo of our travel group.

We had lunch at another Indian restaurant.Gulab jamuns  kept  for dessert disappeared in a moment & later for all guests,the waiter got a pair each in bowls.This was to prevent another set of the dessert from doing the disappearing act.All this just goes to show, that diabetic or not,Indians feel, that, unless, one has consumed all the sweets,we have not had our money's worth ! We take great pains to diet at home so that we can binge abroad ,  never mind ,the enormous risks to our health.

Kaula Lampur is a very modern city with many malls & a beautiful skyline.It is very green as well.Initially,more than half of Malaysia was covered by forests but now,it has reduced to less than half after industrialisation but the equatorial climate makes for  a lush green cover.After lunch,we visited the Chocolate factory wherein we brought chocolates. Malaysia is one of the largest producers of cocoa in the world.Some were filled with nuts.There were also chocolates mixed with chillies & other spices.We were told that these chocolates can be used in curries. The senior citizens in our group shopped more than the younger ones & took more time to shop .The chocolate factory & the watch buying only confirmed that the tourist guides earn hefty commissions whenever tourists buy from the said places.It is quid pro quo.

We had dinner in the night & went to sleep early as next day,we were to leave for Singapore by bus.We were given immigration forms to be filled in .We  completed a major part of the packing in the night to avoid last minute hassles.
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