Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The year that was...2009!

The year 2009 began on a pleasant note as we just got back from a fantastic holiday in Italy and we learnt that we would soon be living in Paris! By God's grace, the year was phenomenal with major changes; interesting learnings on the way and a subtle maturity in me! :P

The move to Paris was a major decision indeed. It meant uprooting ourselves from familiar surroundings and our own lovely home. But it was a fantastic opportunity for S and an exciting option to live in the most romantic and exotic city in the world!

Initially, the new surroudings, new home, the people and their language seemed daunting. We have slowly settled down into our Parisian home, made some great friends and we feel at 'home' now! Yet, there is a lot of scope for improvement in French! :-)

When I was skeptical about moving to a new country as it meant moving from familiar surroundings, friends and family and most importantly, quitting my job (mine), my mom said something that really convinced me. Lots of people crave for change as the routine seems mundane and boring. So when you get a chance to explore, travel and move ahead; you must grab the chance! Why do you want to stick to the routine? That convinced me totally! 2009 is also my first year without a regular job. I have been freelancing on and off as we travel very often whenever we can. It has taken a lot of time to get used to the fact that I don't get a salary at the end of every month. When I had a regular job, I longed for a break and now when I am taking a break, I want a regular job! Such is LIFE :-)

I do make sincere efforts to find a relevant job here. But its difficult to find any job here if you don't speak French, the key being fluent french. I thought it would be really easy to find a job here. After the initial disappointment, I found some really interesting freelance work and worked on varied writing projects. It is like running my own business and there are dry periods too! I have learnt to be tough and direct with freelancing! That's a first! :-

One day ( yes, I make up my mind in an instant and that's it - I have!), I just made up my mind to enjoy my break and do things I didn't find time to do earlier and I am loving the person I am now! On most days, I am happy and cheerful from all the wonderful music I listen to. I have renewed my reading habit and read a lot of books (thanks to the American Library). I exercise regularly, alternating between Yoga, Pilates and floor exercises which has really improved my overall health and stamina. I dabble in glass painting and gardening when I feel like it. I go out with friends and explore Paris as much as I can. Of course, there is a lot of household chores to do as I don't have any domestic help here which is therapeutic(sometimes!). So there is always so much to do and my days are happy and full. Is'nt that what matters?

Thanks to the internet and Skype, I have not missed my folks or friends at all. I speak to my parents almost everyday just like I did in India. :-) What would I do without the internet? I am known to be really cranky and upset if the connection goes off here for some reason! I have made some really good friends here and I am so glad I have close friends in every city and country now!

Saving the best for the last! The best part of this year has been all the travelling. We have been to 6 countries in this year alone! We have always made an effort to travel as much as we can even when we were in India. Now that we are in a more convenient location in terms of distance; we would like to travel all over Europe.

Someone has aptly said that one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
You learn and unlearn so many things in life; as you explore different places, cultures, people, cuisines, nature. It is a beautiful experience that needs to be felt; not described. I am in love with travel. PERIOD. I am aware that you also need twice the money. We try and save a little amount every month before we plan a trip. That way it does not pinch too much all too suddenly.

So we have saved enough to spend Christmas and New Year's in GREECE!!!!!! We will spend about 10 days in different islands and I am sooooo looking forward to it. Its a double bonanza that after we get back, in another 2 weeks, we are off to INDIA!!!! Here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a fantatic new year. I send a little prayer to God to bless us all with loads of love, happiness and prosperity in 2010 and thank him for the lovely and happening year that was... See you guys next year!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Colorful entrance!

Its cold and the winter has come with a bang! ...and I am always in need of scarves and stoles as I rush out somewhere! I hit upon this idea to hang all the colorful ones on the door. Its not only accessible now, its also very colorful , cheerful and pretty!

Its so much easier to make a choice too! :-)

Monday, November 30, 2009

In good humour...

Thank you Blogadda, for picking this entry! I am thrilled....

I wrote this for a client...but it was not I thought I'll put it up here...

What women hate!

A few ground rules:

1. All these habits apply to all men.
2. There are exceptions to this rule.
3. The views expressed here are purely my opinion. Any similarity to the Indian male species, dead or alive, is purely intentional.

Male Chauvinism

I know that ‘The right attitude is the secret to success’. But looks like you guys heard only the word ‘attitude’ coz that’s all you have! Your ‘selective hearing’ causes delusions of self and life in general, don’t you think? So maybe you should start listening and try to understand the meaning of ‘equality’?


When we converse with you, why is it that you can never meet the eye? Your roving eyes wander all over, undressing us in your mind. It makes me wonder, are we actually wearing any clothes? We would really appreciate simple eye contact, you know? Stick to the eyes!

Sexist Comments

Comments like “Women gossip so much” or “A woman’s job is to cook and clean” are not very becoming of you. You have the basic common sense to read and understand instruction manuals for electronic installations or at work; surely cooking should be a piece of cake! After all, a recipe is a set of instructions that can be followed pretty easily. It’s common sense, no? I am NOT cleaning up after you. PERIOD!

Split Personality

Normally you’re tired, and weekends are to laze around and relax. But if its cricket season, or there’s an F1 race, you set the alarm, wake up early, and the entire weekend is planned around the match/race timings. Suddenly, you are extremely energetic, punctual and charged up. How do you do that? Who is the ‘real’ you?

We always see a light at the end of the tunnel. Yeah, and we love you too…

P.S - This is written in hard feelings please!

Edited to add:
This post has been chosen as one of the top posts for this week's 'Tangy Tuesday Picks'

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Spirituality and I.

I tried to understand spirituality for a long time; but I did'nt. Maybe, I did not make a proper effort or tried to be logical about it. I don't know. Like many others, I had a pre-conceived notion that to be spiritual is to chant shlokas or prayers for hours together in a temple or any place of worship. When Appa (Dad) would often tell me that I should have implicit trust in HIM, I could not understand how you do that! Certain things in life are not taught; you need to learn them yourself, in a way you can truly understand. Spirituality is one such thing that is percieved, practised and understood by each one of us differently.

To be honest, I would only pray to GOD if I wanted something. I never spoke to HIM when I was happy or had everything. I realize that I never thanked HIM or acknowledged the fact he blessed me with so many wonderful people, things and everything I should be thankful for. Over time, my perception has changed. I have understood that life is not always a bed of roses for anybody. Also, you must experience lows to appreciate and value the highs in life. If there are only highs in life, you become complacent and take things for granted. To me, spirituality is simply being a good soul; at least making an effort to be a good soul or good human being; for a start! Spirituality affects the spirit or soul; eliminates negativity or negative thoughts. I am trying to have a balanced outlook in life and be positive and happy. Sounds very simple, but it is'nt.

As a child, I would listen to Appa (Dad) or Amma (Mom) chant 'Shiva thandava Stothram' or 'Kanda Shashti Kavacham' and even though I did'nt understand what the verses meant, I was always curious and impressed by the words. Today, I don't sit and chant prayers for hours together. But, I listen to this :

As I do yoga or Pilates I listen to this among many other powerful verses, it fills me with an energy or calms me when I am feeling low in a way words can't explain. You have to feel it. The entire home reverberates with a positive energy. I have embraced GOD through Music and it has brought a balance to my life and given me mental strength. I don't believe there is a specific way to reach GOD. If it works for you, its good enough. Noone needs to approve it. You know it and that's all matters.

On an aside, for a long time, I would pray to GOD in different languages thinking if I am in North India, for example or if I go to a Church, I would pray in Hindi or in English respectively :-). I know, silly me!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cheering up dull corners...

With so many cute christmas decorations springing up everywhere....I could'nt help myself!! They look damn cute and definitely cheer up the bathrooms and the rest rooms!! :D

I used the sugar dispenser used in restaurants to store the room freshner as it adds color to an otherwise bland room like the rest rooms!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Travel Extravaganza!

As I just got back from a trip to NICE and Monte Carlo (Monaco) in South of France, I can't explain how lucky and blessed I feel....for the opportunity to see such lovely places in the world. S and I were pleasantly surprised to note that we have visited at least 7 countries in 2009 alone!

Coming back to the trip, NICE is a small town but absolutely beautiful with the gorgeous pebble beach right in the center of the town. Obviously, it feels like the entire population lives in and
around the coast perennially coz there is so much activity and people around.

I was surprised to note that a lot of people speak English there and so it was so much easier to
communicate and shop!
You get some lovely homemade soaps in all fragrances like lavendar, apricot, orange, vanilla and the fragrances are mesmerizing. I picked up a few to gift my friends and family.

They also have cute diffusers that can be hanged in bathrooms in the shape of sun, moon....the 'home decor maniac' in me refused to budge without picking a few! :-)

After 2 days of slowly exploring NICE,we decided to go to Monte Carlo in Monaco which is a 20-minute train ride from there. I must add that it is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen in my life. Apparently, it is a city flooded with celebrities and millionaires ( well, its a tax-free state!), you cannot see a single beggar on the road or anyone loitering around doing nothing. People are all rich, classy and sophisticated. Everywhere you see royalty, glamour and class, be it the casino or the shopping areas filled with designer labels. I was asking S where would the common people shop for anything? He was like there are no common people here, I guess!!! ;-)

(This is a picture of the Casino Entrance)

We lost some money in the casino; after we won the first I became greedy and ended up losing the entire money!!! :-) Anyway, it was a one-time experience and I think we should stick to hard work rather than luck
( sour grapes!!)

The street lamps are decorated with chandeliers on every road! What more can I say?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

...Exploring different markets!

I live in a central area in Paris ( as I have often shown off the wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower!)....there is a very interesting market that occurs every Wednesday and Sunday of the week. So I buy fresh vegetables, fruits, bread, household items, flowers, you-name-it and they-have-it kind of market. Of course, we often end up buying a lot of stuff that we don't even need! Like we buy a lot of clothes and luckily for me, they even have shoes my size (which is a rarity, coz I have large feet and a large heart! ;-) ).... This time, they had hosted an 'Antiques Market' and I found it really interesting. I was sternly told not to click pictures after some time, so I could not take too many! But here are a few to give you an idea....

Very interesting furniture and unique pieces....very expensive! ( I stuck to window-shopping!)

I shook the camera....but it is a table designed to look like a ship, it looked really interesting...

African figurines and masks....I have noticed these faces in many homes including mine! It has gained a lot of popularity in recent times.

Of course, art pieces and paintings were there in every alternate stalls and is a very important aspect of Paris. I enjoyed my first 'Antiques' experience and noticed a large crowd of old women near a jewellery stall. The old women are not only very well-dressed here; they also wear lot of jewellery; especially large-stoned rings that tend to cover your entire hand!

I have also seen a lot of flea markets here where people sell their old articles, family heirlooms and sometimes, I have even seen worn-out shoes being sold! Crystalwear is most prominent in these markets. I am not a big fan of second-hand stuff :-) Interestingly, a friend of mine took me a second-hand store where clothes are sold at very low prices and are often clothes discarded by others. I was amazed to see an entire area filled with these shops coz for Indians ( I doubt if such a concept exists back home in India) it is an entirely alien concept. I am surprised that the proud French and Brits are open to shopping here! I am NOT!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New colors at home...

While the internet was down for a few days, I have been busy doing this...many
more to come! :-) Like? ( Its a used yoghurt container!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My redefined Lap-Over!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brightest Diwali in Paris!

We decided to celebrate Diwali in Paris in our little way at home! I love the festival of Diwali; so meaningful - celebrating the victory of good over evil; knowledge over darkness - the bright and beautiful lights drive away the darkness from our lives. It signifies the victory of inner good over the evil within all of us.

We began with our favorite Ganchu ( I have a lovely lamp that I brought here from Pune; shaped like Lord Ganesha - one of my favorite things at home!)

These are lovely tea-light candles, my friend's Mom gifted me. My friend and her mom buy me gifts all the time!!! I know, its great to be 'me' ;-)

These are little 'travel jam bottles' that I cleaned and painted like this. They are too cute to be thrown away; so I decided to use it like this for Diwali. My little thing I did for our Diwali here...(not a great picture, I know!)

Capturing at a different angle....

( Aroma sifts through the air...again a gift from my cousin! I bless her everyday when I get back home!)

This time, as always, we updated the curtains instead of clothes! ( Who am I kidding??!! Even today, post Diwali, we bought some clothes...) Anyway, I bought some sheer-curtains first and then realized though it looks pretty; it glares and the light reflects on the T.V. So I went back and got some more. So, now I have two sets....which I can change to my fancy! I am in 'home decor heaven' now!

and now, last but definitely not the least....the brightest unique light as promised in the title!

I am not going to lie....I did miss the air of festivity back home in India. But by evening, my spirits were really high. We went to a friend's place for a '70's theme party' and we had a really good time. We met some lovely people and I felt so much at home with so many people around. Here's to a unique and different Diwali in every sense!!! Hope all of you had a good one too! :-) Making the most of everything in life; THAT is the elixir of happiness!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Daddy - Strongest!!!

When I was a little girl, may be 4-5 years old, I am not sure....I would brag to my friends that my Appa ( Dad) is the tallest and strongest man in the world. Well, he was the tallest coz as he would carry me in his shoulders, the world looked really small from that height for lil 'me' and I used to think he must be really tall and big ( My Dad IS reasonably tall!)....I remember sleeping blissfully in his neck and I would nuzzle my head in the softness of his neck....I can vividly remember!

As for my Daddy being strongest ( there used to be an ad on T.V where all little girls would squeal 'My Daddy Strongest!, I used to love that Ad!)...I would very confidently boast that my Dad was the bravest and I would animatedly explain how he valiantly jumped in the middle of bullet-firing to save Indira Gandhi during her assasination. I even said they could see the mark on Appa's chest for proof!! I am sure my friends thought this girl is nuts!! The truth was that I had pestered my Dad about a mole he had...and he had jokingly said it was a bullet wound that he got when he tried to save the then Prime Minister, (Late) Ms. Indira Gandhi! I was so innocent and had so much faith in him that I really believed so! In my defense, it really does look like a hole and not a mole! To this day, it brings a smile on my face and peals of laughter from my Dad! ( which is a rare occurence!)

Handsome Appa in his younger days!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My very first glass painting!

P.S - It adorns the home of a very close family friend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I am lucky in 'Love'!

....absolutely I am!! There is so much love around me, in me, for me, with me and it does not overwhelm me. Don't we all crave for love in some form or the other? Often, the highlight of my day is when I get a bear hug from S or if I am with my parents; I plonk myself on my dad's lap or lie down in my mom's lap or kiss my brother. Everything seems alright when a friend gives a reassuring hug, for sure!

I am blessed with so many people who make me feel so loved and cared for! I am very expressive about how I feel; be it verbally or physically through hugs and kisses :). Its such a warm fuzzy feeling to be hugged or kissed, is'nt it? ( I don't mean with any sexual inundations here!). When I first came to Paris and as we all know, the French have their own style of greeting each other. They usually hug and kiss each other on both cheeks! ( Initially, I found it really wierd to kiss acquaintances and their husbands!)...but I am not sure if it has grown on me. But I really feel the gesture is genuine and it is always nice to be hugged for no reason, sometimes! :-)

I am not one of those 'balanced' individuals who keep their emotions in check and do not react extremely to any good or bad news. I am impulsive, spontaneous and every emotion shows; and frankly, I like the way I am...most of the times! :-) I don't want to be someone who regrets later in life, that I did'nt show the people I love how much I care and love them!

So go ahead and make someone's day; give someone a bear hug or if you are not a 'hugger', its easy to smile? :-) Lots of hugs coming your way, virtually!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My tiny closet of fame! :-)

My story will appear in the Chicken Soup Series - Chicken soup for the Indian Teenage Soul titled ' All grown up!' my official name remains Janani Rajagopal, my dad's name). I feel really good about it, more than me my loved ones are ecstatic about it. Do make sure you guys buy a copy and look for my name and of course, the story!

Ritu was the one who gently pushed me to write for the series in the first place. Thanks a ton, Ritu! I am so glad that you did!! :-) For once, i listened to her! ;-)...and though it has taken quite some time for the book to get published due to various reasons, I am thrilled to see my name on paper! :P So if you happen to read the book, look for my story!

Do let me know your opinions :-)

Edited to add: The Book Cover!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Paati, my darling Paati!

If there is someone I love more than my parents, it has to be Paati ( my mother's mother). She is no more, she lived up to the age of 85, but I have such wonderful memories of her. In my growing years, she was everything to me; my mother, my friend, my confidante,my inspiration. Its funny that I can never picture her with teeth or as a young woman coz she has always been my 'Paati' .

She would cry if Appa disciplined me, make awesome crisp rava dosa sitting on a stool, sit with me and serve food as soon as I return from school when she was at the ripe old age of 82 or 83, let me in on my mom's dark secrets ;-). A wonderful human being, very intelligent and smart in every sense despite her limited education. I would often wonder how she would have excelled if she was allowed to continue her education or if she was not married so early at the age of 13 and had to bear 10 children, while being strong enough to bear the loss of 5 children in the process...She would often relate interesting anecdotes about her childhood, wedding and I would listen with rapt attention and be transported to a different period altogether.

She had a great sense of humour and we would all ask her in English how she was doing...depending on how she was feeling she would either say 'fine' or 'pain'! ( phonetically they sound similar) :-) It brings a smile on my face even now. She would have been very happy to meet S or to see how happily married I am and revelled in my little successes. I am sure her blessings are with me; I feel it when she often appears in my dreams.

She lived a very hard life albeit filled with loads of love and happiness. I wish she could have lived to seen all her children doing well and enjoyed some comforts too. But I remember we were all there with her during her last days; singing to her and laughing with her. She was a wonderful soul who was loved and respected by everyone who knew her and that is what really matters. She will forever remain etched in my memory. I love you with all my heart Patti! You have given me the most wonderful mother, have'nt you? I am sure Amma thinks of her mother often and misses her too.

I think every grandchild shares a very special bond with their grandparents and vice versa.
Grandparents enjoy their time with their grandkids more coz they are not burdened with the need to discipline them or worry about their future and responsibilities. Paati and Amma are the most wonderful and strong women in my life; who inspire me to be a better person in every sense. ( I am sure it is for a lot of other people too).

Bohemian Chic!

I bought this lovely Traditional Czech Jewellery in Prague. It is handmade of black glass and I felt it was very contemporary yet traditional in a way! This tradition was founded in the late 19th Century in Northern Bohemia.

I loved the style and isn't it really unique? So if you happen to visit Prague, don't miss THIS!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beautiful and colorful wings!

I just loved it the minute I saw it...

The detailing is simply lovely....and its MINE!! :-)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mon affaire a La Mode!

is indeed a girl's dream come true! When I step out, I am simply agog with all the variety of shoes, make up (sometimes absolutely bizarre too), different styles of scarves and stoles, skirts...and the list goes on.....there is never a dull moment! If I am waiting for a friend, its even better! I have never wanted to wait longer! ;-)
I have noticed here that people, every single man or woman take pride in his/her appearance and are absolutely well-turned out wherever you go! Of course, there are times when I am aghast when I see 'senior citizens' wear ridiculous (read short sleazy looking) clothes. Summers are all about 'free expression' literally!

(Image Courtesy:

But as we all know, there is always an exception to everything, isnt it? Even if I may say so myself that I have a good dress sense, all this grooming around me forces me to be reasonably well-dressed at all times. ( Like I needed an excuse!!). In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see a chain of shops called 'Diwali' and they sell pretty interesting stuff ranging from colorful, chic stoles to earrings and artifacts and they are obviously from India. I get cheap thrills everytime I look at one, as if I own the place!

On any day, most women wear plain and dark colored clothes, pair it with chunky jewellery with a lot of color - beads of different colors, big chunky pearls, interesting hats ( sometimes!) which makes it really interesting. Everybody wears makeup and it also subtly changes with the seasons. Glittery eye make up is in vogue and how can I forget the awesome shoes? You can see heels everywhere, irrespective of how uncomfortable it makes them! The heels and stilletoes, however ridiculously expensive they are, always find their way to feet with a perennially 'pained expression' ( (atleast that's what they say to me!). It takes one to know one! I mean, the feet...mine are always pissed off with the fashionistas anyway! So I try to make an effort now and then, but it fails! :P

Come winter, you can see a wiiiiideeeeee variety of coats and jackets. Every jacket has a different style and the most interesting buttons. Another interesting aspect of winter, is that the sexy boots emerge and just in case they feel lonely; the scarves and gloves scamper along happily! People start to look like poodles but there is a bright splash of color and a warm and fuzzy feeling in the air!

I realize the only constant in life is change and most definitely, fashion is no exception to it! While, most people dread change in real life and take time to adapt to changes; Parisians welcome the change in fashion and dazzle along as the season changes...

It will get colder and I may whine about wearing so many layers, am sure. But right now? I am excited about the SNOW!!...:)

Monday, September 7, 2009

I am still in denial...

I had a huge crush on the actor Arvindswamy ( and I am sure there were millions of other girls like me!), while i was growing up. If you don't know you can check this video to refresh your memory!

I am not going to say that its not about his looks, coz it totally IS! I have no clue about his personality or how he is as a person in reality. But in my growing years, he was the 'ray of hope' or someone who would bring a smile on my face! I would dream about him and wake up with a huge grin on my face. For god's sake, the guy did'nt even have to make an effor to make me happy!! He just did it...just like that!

All the guys would make fun of him to bug me or irritate me and I would get really pissed.
Recently, S sent me this picture as a forward. Its one of Arvindswamy as he looks now ( the bald one!)! (Courtesy: Image from

I am still in denial !!!! I will only remember the one that is strongly etched in my memory!I Arvindswamy, how could you do this to yourself? Well, life's like that, huh? I guess all the jealous guys have a smirk on their face now, including S!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not so opinionated anymore!

...which is such a big deal for me! Coz I have an opinion about EVERYTHING and I have to say it! Things have changed, I have changed very consciously...I don't express myself too much or give my opinion openly now. Its such a relief coz I can avoid so many unnecessary conversations and it saves all the effort you need to make! Also, in any situation or argument, the people involved always think they are right which includes me. So from the beginning, there is no point to an argument or a point of view. You are competing with each other to convince who is right, anyway? So does your opinion matter unless asked for? Nope. Nada. Zilch.

So I find that if you keep quiet you can focus your efforts /thoughts/ mind on so many other positive things or do things/interact for/with people who really matter. You don't always need to have the last word, you know? Time and again, I have mentioned how difficult it is for me to stay quiet and not talk all the time. Now I am starting to really enjoy the calm self and wonder why I did'nt do it earlier? I guess, you learn and unlearn a lot of things over time, experiences and grow mature?
I am extremely emotional and temperamental. I often react quickly to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! THAT has changed...not radically, but I have begun to understand that some people and some things never change and there is no point reacting to them. There is no point diginifying it with an answer or reaction. You give them a chance, but if it does not work out, there is no point simply move on....Just don't look back. My family and well meaning friends have already told me this a number of times, but I guess I had to feel it myself for me to move on.

I am not hurt or upset anymore, I truly believe that some people do not deserve my attention or reaction anymore! PERIOD.

On a different note, I have started doing Yoga for about an hour everyday, with a friend. We practice along with a CD and I am happy with my flexibility. The pranayama, meditation and the Aasanas have already made so much difference in me. I have always believed in Yoga and so long, I lacked discipline and the time with a full-time job. Now that I work from home and I have company, it is so wonderful to resume and I am happy with the results. My friend is as motivated and we are planning to start Pilates next month! I must have the willpower and discipline to continue come what may! You don't understand the importance of health until you lose it! :-)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

After the holiday, I have learnt...

(A glimpse of the beautiful Schladming, Austria) love James Patterson books, and renewed my love for reading! don't ALWAYS need a lot of people around you to feel happy and relaxed! ...

...Nature is beautiful and can be extremely calming and theraupatic ( and tiring, to actually get to lovely places!!)

...that there is less noise in my mind!

...I have been a 'frog in a well' for such a long time in so many ways!

...Life is too wonderful to be spent fretting and worrying!!

...Nothing matches the comfort of good walking shoes, however fugly they are!

... Most importantly, I can condition my mind ( for the better), if I put my mind to it, in a snap!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Limited time with the world!

During the time I was away with no internet, I do admit that it was frustrating not to work or check my e-mails/update myself with my friend's lives and such like. But I also realized that my mind was not stuffed with too much information ( sometimes unnecessary?) and I could get so many things done? I think I spend way too much time on the internet and in certain ways, it affects my mind...the constant interactions with people sometimes makes me think too much.

Joining the library here has given me the joy of reading again and I am starting to relive the joy of reading books and I simply love it. So I have decided to limit my time on the internet which will just be to check e-mails, do my work and switch off to read books and do other things. Of course, I will update the blog as and when I have something interesting to chronicle and share.

Till then, au revoir! Work beckons...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trial and error...

There was an error in my internet connection for a long time and after that I went on a 2-week holiday all over Austria and Prague....hence the long absences from the blog, if any of you hopped over expecting posts to find none, that's the reason and I am sorry to disappoint you. Anyway, I had a wonderful time off and came back home with wonderful memories, pictures and experiences which I will share...over a period of time! Meanwhile, with a lot of time on hand, and unable to do any work without the internet, I tried my hand at fiction. Let me know what you think...:-)

New Beginnings

Raksha looked at the orange-tinted sky and wondered was it already evening? Just like how she thought everyday about when she had grown into a woman all so quickly with numerous responsibilities, tensions and chores. But she did not have her fill of innocence, carefree days and silly laughter that only a child could have. Strangely, happiness and love played hide and seek with her. Vikram being Vikram was so full of himself that conversations with him seemed like a chore in itself! She began to think how she could continue to live with him for the rest of her life? Even if she did, were they happy together?

She met Vikram in college while doing her Masters in Communications. He was a senior who relentlessly pursued her and she was bowled over by his personality and confidence. As the years passed by, she realized that all he had was over-confidence! All that mattered to him was about being right in every single conversation with anyone or to prove that he was superior to anyone else in every sense! His successful career and wealth fuelled his arrogance. It was a mystery to her how she didn’t see it coming in her younger days. Was she that naïve or just blind to his lack of respect for anyone?

She worked with a software firm as a Corporate Communications Executive while Vikram had his own advertising firm. Raksha was so lost in her thoughts that she hadn’t even prepared for dinner. She heard Vikram let himself in and his chaste ‘Hey Babe’ with his earphones on, who didn’t even stop to wait for a response from her. She let herself into the kitchen to start cooking. Vikram came in too, fresh from the shower within a few minutes and asked lovingly, “Can I help with something?” with his killer smile indented with cute dimples.

Raksha was pleasantly surprised to hear that and asked him to make the salad. As they worked in tandem in the kitchen, Raksha saw a glimmer of hope in their relationship and felt as if Vikram was changing for the better. Or maybe just like the light reflects in the air and turns the sky orange, she was looking at him from a different perspective? Either way, she thought to herself isn’t it hope that keeps us all going? She decided to start anew with Vikram right that instant and make a new beginning.

Indeed, the next day, it was a beautiful Sunday morning, as Vikram and Raksha snuggled together as they lay in bed spooning each other. Raksha looked at the beautiful blue sky!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Friendship and Happiness!

I have found happiness in unexpected times...friendship from unexpected quarters!..When I didn't expect to feel happy or for that matter, didn't think someone would reach out to me and that someone would definitely not be the one I thought it would it comes as a pleasant surprise when it is unexpected and I began to re-evaluate my choices in life, choice of 'friends' and misplaced trust, maybe?! I can never understand the enigma that people can be...and I say it with no malice, it is more of a wondering, if I will ever figure it out or maybe that's how its meant to be. You are not supposed to figure it out, you know?!

I have always believed you have to love yourself first for others to love you...similarly, you first need to be happy yourself to make others happy. Can you imagine trying to make someone laugh while you are crying or sad? Maybe, you can smile imagining it! When did wanting to find happiness and be cheerful and upbeat become a selfish act? Why do we all expect approval from others all the time? In fact, if you have observed, there is always a need in all of us to do something ALL the time! You have to get somewhere. PERIOD. Even when you are on a holiday, you have a to-do list which is all great! But in the process, you forget to enjoy the experience. We have all heard of the phrase 'The journey to the destination is as important as reaching the destination'...but somewhere along the line we did'nt understand the meaning or may be fail to comprehend the meaning of life itself.

You are weak and vulnerable if you cry. You are dull and boring if you don't seek thrills. You are a wuss if you are emotional. Who makes up these things? When did you become an authority? Is there a point to blindly follow what others say? In the fear of being branded something, people hide their true emotions, they never experience it and I am no exception!
I am generally a very happy person; you will always find me smiling and cheerful. BUT, I am human, and I have my low moments too and I feel sad too. People really close to me get to see this side, mostly Amma, S and a few close friends.

Obviously, they want me to focus on the good things I have or am blessed with and not to dwell on the demotivating aspects.
While I would like to think I am self-motivated and optimistic, I hate it when I actually pity myself. I REALLY do…I feel like I have failed myself when I cry. But I have no qualms in admitting that when I cry it out, I really do feel better. It could be psychological? But hey, if it helps, it’s ok, right? Right!

Honestly, I find it very artificial when I meet people who are ALWAYS upbeat and cheerful anytime of the day. I think its humanly impossible or it could be a case of sour grapes, maybe? If i think about it now, maybe such people camouflage their negative feelings or frustrations well. How I wish they were open about it? People like me would not feel so guilty about feelings sad. Coz it makes me feel I am a weak person and that I need to be strong all the time.

I would like to believe I have evolved as a person coz I am able to acknowledge or identify the not-so-pleasant aspects of me. Most of the times, I only begin the self-improvement process, it does not move beyond a point, like i have reached a plateau or something!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Random questions I don't like to answer!

Very often, friends and acquaintances ask me this question - Do you miss India? Do you miss *particular city here* ? Well, I have to say NO! I don't miss any city per se, I miss the people in that city or country. For most people, they have an affinity to a certain city or country coz they have good memories associated with that city....they may have good friends who live there....well, at least for me, that's what it is. I never have an affinity for a specific place. Really. I like every city or in my case now, country I move to ( I have moved only once and now!). I make new friends, develop new tastes and start liking the nuances of that place I love and live in.

Also, noone held me at gunpoint and asked me to move here. I was well aware of the pros and cons of moving out of India and I willingly did so. I am not going to give reasons or justify myself. But we made an informed decision and we are happy about it. India is my home country and I will always love it. I don't think i need to profess my love for my country only by saying 'I miss India'. Having said that, I must admit i DO miss the colorful festivals, the constant flurry of activity everywhere, the ease with which you can talk to just about anyone, seeing lots of friendly people, friends, family...definitely I do...but I know I will come back sometime! So it feels ok... :)

Then, there are some others who ask me why should I be the one to quit my job and move? Why can't S quit and move with me? Why should the woman sacrifice and leave everytime? I don't say anything coz I don't want to sound rude. But I think to myself, "what exactly are you trying to do?"!! I am certain that if I got a great opportunity and it is a lucrative opportunity in every sense, S would move with me. I enjoy my freelancing status now and I know I often crib about following up on payments...but at the end of the day, I love what I do, earn some, live some, enjoy some...and travel some! S does not have that luxury...what about that? I don't like people who ask questions or create trouble just for the heck of it.

Another tiring question I get all the time is that 'you got married so early?' ' God, you are a child-bride!!'...I am sick of having to answer that question. I am the married one, and a very happily married girl! Do you ever hear me complaining? Do I ask YOU why are you not married yet or why did you get married so late? I don't ask you such questions coz its none of my business...and frankly, its not yours either to ask me!! So quit bothering yourself over these little details that don't really concern you!

I know, sometimes, people ask questions to make conversation...there are a million things you can discuss about..why these? People forget to draw the line, most of the times they don't care! Its as if you are obliged to answer! Believe me, I am NOT!

My forecast today!!

I loved had so much meaning in it...I am putting it up here for me to read and motivate myself when I am feeling low and for others if it will help!

Every day is a fresh new life, a fresh new start, and a fresh new chance. Don't get upset or angry by past events, and try not to dwell on things that you cannot change. Your whole life can turn around in a day, so feel free to start every morning with a positive outlook. As you wash your face in the morning, think of it as a baptism. Clean off the debris from yesterday, while welcoming the freshness of today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bastille Day Fireworks - View from our living room!

We sat in the balcony, having dinner and thoroughly enjoying this spectacle! It felt like all of France gathered in the Eiffel Tower, to celebrate Diwali ! Sharing the joy of light with you here...

Part I (Click on the colored text)

Part II (Click on the colored text)

Part III (Click on the colored text)

Part IV (Click on the colored text)

You can hear us talking in the background...sorry, we just didn't remember the conversation and the clink of cutlery could get recorded as well!!! :D

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gorgeous Giverny!

We planned to go to Giverny, an idyllic village in the French countryside, Normandy....with yet another bank holiday in France, we got a long weekend and we decided to make a small weekend trip there! A few glimpses...

Some Trivia: Giverny attracts half a million visitors from all over the world; especially painters who are charmed by the unique light of the Siene Valley. Claude Monet, a very well-renonwed painter lived in Giverny for more than 43 years. His house, his gardens and his impressions of Giverny in his paintings are world famous! You have to see it to appreciate its true beauty, the colors and all the greenery is simply fabulous!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Different shades of Paris...

I am amazed at how almost everyone has a toy-like dog and the dogs are extremely well behaved. I mean how many times have you seen a dog remain silent and just not bark at all !!! Yes, none of these dogs bark and they just remain cute and silent as they are carried around or tag along with their master, sometimes even without a leash!

I am really amused when I see little kids less than 3 years old maybe, play with toy babies...the funny part is these kids are pushed around in their prams by their moms. These kids in turn, have babies that THEY push around in a toy pram...its really cute and funny! :)

I find it strange that when people meet each other on the road or in the Metro, they don't really make conversation. But they meet each other specially in a cafe in the evenings to just have a chat...why not do it when you meet otherwise?

I was pleasantly surprised to taste our very own lassi packaged as 'yogurt icecream' referred to as 'yaout glace' here with some fresh fruits. It is basically creamy lassi with toppings of fruits, tutti frutti or chocolate as you like..its healthy, nutritious and low calorie...its not too sweet either! What a way to package it!! :) You don't really feel guilty about having dessert!

I am curious to know why the beggars on the streets, almost everyone has a pet dog. When they are unable to fend for themselves, they have a pet dog too? Mind you, they treat their pets very well and give them proper dog food everyday, the pedestrians can all see it. A friend told me that the pedestrians give them money for the dogs out of pity, maybe? ( and yes, there ARE beggars in Paris too!). India is not the only country with beggars and elephants!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Orange Gladiolus in my tiny lil' garden!!

There are always flowers for those who want to see them...

The Earth laughs in these lovely blooms, don't they?...