Thursday, December 31, 2009
"This is an all about me post ....just saying..."
1. I have gained control over my senses- finally
exercised iron shakti control over my feelings & chucked out almost new size medium kurtas (customised hand embroidery by a fashion technology Graduate mind it!). That's is not all- did this chucking out 2 times this year
threw away toys that fell over my head when I opened the loft- if it falls over- it does not fit - so it cannot be stowed
2. To my utmost delight- I have gained a fan
none other than my aunt who reads my blog and spreads the word around! I am chuffed
3. I have gained a brother in law!
though very little time was spent together- blink and you miss it sort- but yes, we need to get together as a family atleast once a year!
4. I have gained my old network
Now I can count my blessings by the number of "likes" and comments I get on the crap I post on FB also
5. I have gained a lot of family time
by bunking office err taking my official quota of leave quite a few times!
6. I have gained... err created space
Didn't I say it already? I have thrown out so many things that I wonder why do I ever keep them in the first place
7. I have gained the knowledge that sometimes I can let go and it does not hurt so much
I missed the kids' sports day...bawwwwwwwwl. But the hurt did lessen with time
8. I have gained a place that is not among the donkeys- Gadha Janam choot gaya
attended a proper (non college) fashion show ... Thanks to AD... excuse me while I jump up and down like a villager...
9. Yet again Gadha Janam chootaa..
I have finally visited places out of India that are not called Singapore....even though it was via Singapore airport!
10. I have gained a bone that is not called lazy-bones
This year have tried lot of new recipes... those which are a little more elaborate than 3 steps- cutting, washing and putting in the cooker.
11. I have gained a little more confidence in my driving skills
Probably now I will not hesitate to drive cars that are not otherwise called Swift.
12. I have gained and prolly even lost self control
Managed to push off 3 kgs by diet control and a little walk when you talk. I think this is one battle that I need to win..
13. I have gained more party time this year
with friends, Chennai-men, & Country-men.... figuratively speaking offcourse..women also or mainly included rather... parties with neighbours, blog friends, relatives... life is good!
14. I have gained access to more books this year
Library, friends, and own collection and a variety which is more varied than what I have been reading all this while. Included authors and genres that I have never read before!
15. I have regained my punctuality
Aided by the fact that I have to drop kids to school everyday and leave to office thereafter
16. And I have gained a new wardrobe for 2010 before the new year begins even
Thanks to very well thought out, organised, planned and controlled shopping from Diwali onwards!
Happy 2010 Friends!!
Monday, December 28, 2009
1. So worldspace will wind up, I cannot switch on the TV to a music channel as cartoon requests are always on at home and the music system needs repair. Yet, I am going to listen to music everyday - come what may-on my laptop if needed- since music forcefully makes me calmer and puts me in a good mood... so much so that I forgot I was angry with a particular supplier and welcomed him with a huge smile!
2. Books give me a sense of purpose, take me to a different world and gives me insights.... I have been reading lots and I am going to continue to do so. and I am going to start reading myself to sleep again perhaps!
3. Discover new recipes and perfect them- It's not worth drooling at a single piece of delicacy and counting days until I can next eat them. This year was the mastery of the brownie. Next year will be a few more. Currently I am on a mutton chukka trip!
4. While on the topic of food- no more being penny wise & pound foolish! Indulge and don't sweat the small sweat- so a pack of Al Kabeer mutton seekh kabab is way cheaper than eating in the restaurant and a pack of frozen chicken samosa costs the same as a normal samosa in a restaurant and even the costliest of tomato is way cheaper than the chicken!!! I don't know what mentality of mine allows me to spend huge amounts in buffets but I start counting cash everytime I want to make the above purchases!!
5. Watch all the movies that I missed this year
6. Socialise more- did quite a few parties at home and even managed a potluck last week- this year probably a group picnic ....saves us from looking at each other's faces and getting into a fight!!
7. Atleast 1 travel other than the mandatory home town visit!
8. Chill chill chill - I am going to be a better and less impulsive woman this year
9. More flowers, less foliage for the garden- which means extensive reseasch on what flower will flourish in my sun starved garden- already started on this quest- Have planted some flowering plants and waiting with bated breath for them to flower and I am holding my heart in my hands and removing lovingly planted foliages in triplicate!!
10. Declutter and not let litter accumulate. Plastic bags, broken toys, sheets of coloring, kids clothes that have become ratty, clothes that I have not used since last 1 year in hopes of getting slimmer
11 And one last stretch goal - find a way to get slimmer!! the health check up have found nothing wrong on which I can pin the blame of my weight gain!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
A part of my job involves making presentations. Converting boring data or info or straightforward concepts into a format that becomes interesting and more important helps the audience remember atleast something of the crap you spoke.
So the rule of thumb for me when I make a ppt.....
0. Point zero is that content is king. Cannot deny that fact but the important thing is what can you do beyond the content to make people listen to you as you speak
1. What's your story? Can you fit it in a model? Think of some gimmicky models like Johari window, 6 thinking hats, Need hierarchy. Can you fit your data into that story?
2. Pictures do speak louder than words. Think back to the ppts that you have sat through. You will find that you remember the ones that had interesting pictorial depiction. You may not even remember the content (and the secret is nobody ever remembers the content) but you will remember the pictorial depictions.
3. Less is More- use simple, single sentences or text boxes to make your point - don't write the entire story in a single slide.
4. Graphs... nice way to depict data. But data is just that- data. It is nicer if you can put a 2 line summary of what you derived from the data instead of leaving it to the attendees.
5. The format- make a story, present it in verse, sing it, videos... think in the dimension of the 5 senses.
6. When you start- start with a bang. In a workshop I once burst a balloon and threw a ball at someone while making a point. What point even I do not remember but I just remember the action which woke everyone up from their afternoon siesta.
7. Modulate your voice as you move from slide to slide. Add your personal touch...be expressive.
8. Use props- posters, visuals, use the entire room, not just the computer and the screen
9. Involve people- ask questions, get them to role play. In the beginning of a presentation, I once asked the entire audience to start with a big kiss- asked them to mouth loud kisses as I was going to Keep It Simple & Stupid (K.I.S.S)
10. Sometimes I like to not tell all-leave deliberate gaps to incite the audience to question and get involved
11. Rehearse - rehearse your tone, the stories you will break into and at what point.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
And one of his chariotsThe Suit of Armor The Sheesh MahalDurbar ka BarThe blood curdling Sati Pol at the fort entrance (notice the size of the hand)
The Picnic in the Dunes
Black Buck & Chinkara NeelgaiBirds of a featherUmmed Bhawan- The residence of the King of JodhpurMehrangadh Fort built by several generations in phasesThe Holi playing compoundThe Conference room- notice the jharokhas on the side- 5 nos for his 5 queens esp needed when the king sought the nod" of his ranisThe King's bedroom- the bed is single and low so that if the "dushman" tie the king to his bed, he can lift it up and stand! so they say!Palanquin of the King
The ceremonial swords not used for war- yeh khoon se range hue nahin hai
And the Spoils of the War,
The Rajasthani Bundi and the leather animals
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Ojas answers in group but Tejas needs to be specifically invited to speak. Similarly, Tejas finishes up the written work but Ojas needs a nudge and a push to write. Shamelessly sits without writing!
Why am I not surprised? We had our own share of those who would start sharpening pencil the moment they were asked to write and their own mamma too lazy to sing the prayer songs aloud in school- always lip synched!! The logic being why waste energy.
I was worried whether their speech is clear. The teachers assured no cause of worry. They have described in detail their birthday dress and the cars they got as gift (so that's what ultimately mattered?)
And the sad part is they are deeply focussed like their Dad and when engrossed in one thing do not bother about the world around- unlike their mamma who has eyes and ears roaming all over the place while she is eating, watching TV and reading and also disciplining the kids and maybe talking on the phone.
They sit separately in class but keep in touch from across the class with each other throughout, shouting across.
And when asked they insist that Ojas is Tejas' friend and Tejas is Ojas' friend
And brownie points to the Mamma for being the only Mamma whose snacks are varied and healthy not junk.
What am I glad about? Unlike the last PTA the teacher shows equal hope towards Tejas as well as Ojas. Last time I felt she was biased towards Ojas because Tejas is the silent. But she says she always does a check whether he is answering concepts
Friday, December 18, 2009
The recipe is largely borrowed from Sanjeev Kapoor but I keep modifying as I go
Eggs- 4 large
Milk- 2.5 cups (500ml roughly)
Sugar - 100 g (1/2 a cup)
few drops vanilla essence
1/4th cup sugar and 1 tsp water
step1- making the milk ready as recommended by Sanjeev Kapoor
pour milk in a microwave bowl. MW high for 5 minutes. Set aside to come to normal temperature. I normally set aside boiled milk and let it cool (else the egg will coagulate)- I do not microwave it as suggested.
Step 2- making the caramel
Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1 table spoon water in a glass bowl and Microwave high for 2 minutes or until the sugar bubbles, and caramlises
Pour in the pudding mould (dish) and set aside.
Step 3 - In a separate bowl mix eggs, vanilla essense and whisk.
Add sugar and whisk again.
Add the milk that has come to normal temperature and mix well.
Pour into the caramel mould and microwave high for 7-8 minutes. dip a skewer and check whether it comes out clean
Place a plate to cover the dish and upturn the pudding onto the plate.
Cool and refrigerate before serving
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Me- ahem- you are talking about my most favourite dress
Creep who comes to work half an hour after me- if you come after 9 am they will mark half day for you
Me- that was because somedays when I come in the office will be so empty and all the lights switched off in the rooms that I go back thinking it is a holiday. The Security has to call me back to work
Creep who tells us that the company will fall down if you are absent takes leave
Me- Where were you yesterday, the company has started falling, ladies toilet has already fallen (was destroyed for renovation)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The stories progressed well, in terms of keeping the interest alive, (at times hilarious) detailing, and makes you grin at the realistic portrayal. One can clearly see that the author is talking from experience.
But most of the stories would end suddenly as if the author has run out of time and steam and needs to finish up the story in the next 1 minute. Left me thirsting for more.
Not a book I would recommend to people or re read.
And yes, the book seller said- I don't have eunuch park but enuchh (ch pronounced as in chair) park. So be it!
Monday, December 14, 2009
The charts were duly pasted on the cupboard doors and various sizes, colours and designs of stars and other stickers were bought and kept in a safe place.
The first couple of days we gave stars with great aplomb and restriction. We were very strict on whether they merit the star or not.
Then, one day, fed up of this rationing, while everyone was fast asleep, the kids procured the star sheets for themselves and solved the problem in one go, even accounting for beyond category stars.
Take a look...
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
The phukat fish was particularly delicious and so was the Hawaian Chicken Salad.
I also loved the tender mutton curry- flavoured with fennel and coriander seeds and the special dahi vadas offcourse.It was tough ensuring space availibilty for desserts- the malpua, gulabjamun, chocolate financiers (?? dark and bitter chocolate cake) and strawberry apricot mousse were noteworthyThe Kids wore the Shanghai attire and rocked it
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
2. More often, we are eating at home...more-for-less-cost-than-hotel. We are still doing it, but a lot less. And to top it all, we are actually believing that the home-made one is a lot better than what we eat outside!
3. We are buying clothes like once or twice in a year- and preferably alone without the other offering any opinion
4. We are not fighting over remote- and when we do that like once in a year, the kids gain since we both put cartoon as a result and walk away from the TV
5. We are also watching cartoon
6. We are over excited about the range of children's Cds we purchased
7. We have not watched movie together after putting the kids to sleep this year at all
8. We go to the movie with the kids otherwise not
9. We are doing our walks/ badminton sessions separately and are not on each other's head forcing the other to join
10. Our best recreation is spending time with neighbours
11. After fights we do not bother to make up. The husband has the audacity to start off as if nothing happened and doesn't even bother to notice that I am sulking.
12. We are even sometimes calling each other Dadda or Mamma
Happy 6th Anniversary Dadda!
Monday, December 07, 2009
First the white plastic mat provided was laid out and paper cutouts and animals were coloured.
The farmhouse was put together by attaching the walls together and fixing the animals with cellotape on a hard board.
Friday, December 04, 2009
I came to know of this festival only after I got married, rather only when I got married as a colleague mentioned that she is finding it difficult to attend my marriage as it is Kartik Deepam day!
"So Happy Anniversary" to us by the way! We had chosen to get married on full moon night at a club resort on the beach side... you get the drift!
So this Deepam was made special as I took extra effort rather than just lighting a single lamp in the puja.
White flowers is my current favourite so decorated the urli with white "chandni" flowers (to fit the theme!) and a sprinkling of pink roses and floated diyas in the water
The Diwali lamps were re-used by placing candle bits broken from the larger candle. This is by the way made by a self-help group in Chennai- Mallika Ramesh- 9444682283. A very soft spoken couple - the lady hardly talks but her husband was surprisingly talking impeccable English and knew a lot of other languages. They make a variety of wax filled candles which we ordered from them for gifting to our regional team in the recent workshop- works out for hardly 50 bucks depending on the size and numbers.Fruits & gulabjamun were duly offeredAnd the pujeris posed for a photograph for the records. Meanwhile a side show was on while I was doing the puja
O- Girl does not do puja (since Dadda is the one who does the daily puja)
T- no, girl can also do puja . See girl is driving car naa?
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
(Well, all women are equal,
But some are more equal than others)
So some want more than the usual...
Panchaali for instance!
Even the all powerful God could not manage that feat...
A single man with all these traits (treats)?
Nah!!! stuff & nonsense!
And even 5 were not enough to match her criteria...
Ah! All that I sense...
Is that though she was a fighter
And a tough one that too...
She was also a woman, a wife, a sister and daughter
Just like me and you...
Is there a lesson from her life here?
That's what I am after..."
Palace of Illusions was a book that left me not wanting to pick up anything after that for a long time. It leaves one wanting for more of the same genre. I guess most of these books do that to me- I felt the same after the Pregnant King and after reading Prem Panicker's online Bhimsen.
Probably it is my love for the epic Mahabharata and the way each action seems to be connected to something that has already happened or something that is about to happen.
While one may feel sorry for Shantanu's sons who were drowned after birth and the departure of Ganga from his life, one cannot feel too sorry as it was anyway preordained in their previous birth.
One wonders how come Krishna permitted Draupadi's marriage to 5 men- but then that again was preordained by Vyasa- whether you attribute it to that or the fact that it was Kuntis strategy to keep the brothers united or Krishna's grand Plan anyway.
I like the way the author has interpreted the character & their dynamics in her own way, just as Prem Panicker has done in his version.
While I always labeled Karna as "Kaurav camp" all through my interaction with the epic, it's only now that I feel a tinge of sympathy for him- what a poor unlucky sod to be always at the wrong side of destiny- predestined to die, to forget all his learnings, despised by all and labelled .... (so much so that Ekta Kapoor named all illegitimate characters as Karan in her serials- I digress by the way)
Kunti's single minded focus to make her son King is worth an admirable thought.
I like the sneak peek we get into her life as a woman going on about her duties - something which is largely missing in the epic but just alluded during the rice grain episode - her struggles with her MIL and her strategies to gain control of her home. (Jodha cooks for Akbar in Jodha Akbar to just do that?- Sorry Digression)
I like the way my own appreciation of the epic has changed from what I saw as a teleserial or read in Amar Chitra Katha to what I read now.
For the first time I understand that Bheeshma is just a regent bound to the throne (and offcourse bound by pre ordained destiny- how can one forget that), irrespective of his affection for the Pandavas. Or that Karna is honour bound to Duryodhana.
Life must have been tough in those times!
I like what Vyas tells Panchaali ( I prefer calling her that too....)
- hold back your question
-hold back your laughter
-hold back your anger/ desire for revenge
If only we could imbibe that!!
I happened to read this reader's guide and wondered whether I have really read the book. So many thoughts that never occurred to me. Some of these I can't answer. I attempt to answer some that were most relevant to me.
2. How does the prediction that Panchaali will change the course of history influence her character as she matures? Were there predictions made by family or friends early in your life about your future? If so, how did they affect your choices as you grew up?
Horoscopes, astrologers- they never say a good word about me... they never do, do they? But their words do bring me back to the ground and make me more careful of how I react and what I allow myself to do.
Btw, one roadside palmreader did say I will have 5 children!!! (that's why we don't want to try for a girl- those who asked- going by historical data, we do not want triplets considering I am already en route mid thirties- digression ok)
3. When Sikhandi tells Panchaali the story of his past, Panchaali asks Krishna to confirm it. Krishna responds, “He believes it to be so. Isn’t that what truth is? The force of a person’s believing seeps into those around him–into the very earth and air and water–until there’s nothing else.”
Very relevant, someone recently said not to underestimate the power of will - if you want something, you have to want is so bad that it comes to you.
5. Panchaali relates, “Palaces have always fascinated me, even a gloom-filled structure like my father’s that was a fitting carapace for his vengeful obsession. For isn’t that what our homes are ultimately, our fantasies made corporeal, our secret selves exposed?” In what ways does your own home reflect your secret self? If Maya were to build you a palace, what would it be like?
I love this question- space- lots of space, large, grandiose, filled with sunshine and flowers, greenery, multi level
6. After Sisupal’s death, Duryodhan builds himself a grand palace and invites Panchaali and the Pandavas to be his guests in Hastinapur. What mental characteristics cause Yudhisthir to lose everything in a last game of dice? How is this catastrophe a personal turning point for Panchaali? When she is taken to court, what does she learn about her power over her husbands? About the purity of her own heart?
You are out there alone dude...
7. During their banishment in the forest, Dhri gently chastises Panchaali, asking her where his sweet sister has gone. She thinks to herself, “She’s dead. Half of her died the day when everyone she had loved and counted on to save her sat without protest and watched her being shamed. The other half perished with her beloved home. But never fear. The woman who has taken her place will gouge a deeper mark into history than that naïve girl ever imagined.” What emotion does this passage evoke in you toward the characters and their fates? Have events in your own life caused you to be stronger and more determined in achieving your life’s purposes?
When one looks back- what we were and what we have become- isn't it circumstances, the travails of life and living. One builds new relationships, weeds out irrelevant ones..goes places one would have never seen oneself do, takes up challenges, faces situations...one does toughen up
13. When Karna learns he is Kunti’s son, how does he relate this new knowledge to his fate? What has the “shame of illegitimacy” produced in his life? What does Kunti’s having abandoned her son tell you about the relations of mortals to gods in this tale? Have you ever learned a secret about your family history that has had a profound effect on how you viewed yourself?
I have not really faced something like this but given something happends, I would still view them or that individual in the light of what they were to me - I am biased that way- and maximum tell myself that even Gods have clay feet. And my advice to myself has always been- maintain a comfortable closeness and distance so that you do not get disillusioned or disappointed eventually.
17. As Panchaali goes with her husbands to the base of the Himalayas, to the path of great departure, how do her thoughts and experiences confirm her destiny? What discovery does she make about love? As Krishna guides her through death, how does she remember her life?
One does remember the best parts - heartening to know. But don't we all forget the short lived woes and troubles ones they pass? I think we are designed well that way!