Please Dad!

Dad, I’m hurt!
You’ve asked me to stick to my own business and keep my nose out of it. But it’s too frustrating. Would you do that? Stay mum if tables were turned?

I am hurt!Hurt that you don’t take care of yourself. Your health, your life!

Is this the retirement dream you saw? Being busy all the time, eating a plain meal cause you are too busy to cook a decent meal? What are you busy with? Is it worth it? Does it make you happy? Really? Sit a while dad and think, what is it that you really want?

Your health worries me. Looking at your swollen face, and swollen feet, the worn out skin, pains me. It saddens me. And if you take a moment to reflect, I know you will understand me. That’s how you felt dad, when your parents were aging and yet were too busy chasing after a crop.

You spent most of your life working and earning and slogging for many. Some of them are long gone; some are today self sufficient and content and your children are happy and content too. You have far achieved what you set to. Now it’s payback time. And mostly, it’s time for you to take a break. Some rest. To do something relaxing. To have some fun. To cook that meal you watched on TV once. Take mom on a dinner date to an exotic restaurant. To go on that long drive you’ve always wanted to. To visit places you wanted to. To be with the people you long to. Light a fire and drop in the mear for your famous BBQ grills. Give your life a chance.

We need you.
Your daughters need you.
Your grandchildren need you. They deserve to know the man you’ve always been but are hiding in a shell too busy to get out.
But will you give them a chance? Will you give them the grandfather that your daughters never had? Will you please?
I know that you will understand what I am saying, only if you give me a chance.

Please Dad!

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Happy New Year

Before I lose your attention and you, I wish you a very Happy New Year. A blessed, peaceful, fun-filled, prosperous, harmonious Year 2017; a year that will make all your wishes true; that will make 2017 worth waiting for.

She said its been two years since I last blogged. Well I have a million excuses and a few reasons to have lost touch. In these last two years, something extremely important, beautiful, something painstakingly occupying and yet so rewarding has happened – I’ve had a little baby who has kept me on my toes and he hasn’t been too far away from my toes since 🙂 and I quit my job – which often seems of less significance when I say it out loud.

Marriage makes you wonder and question about life, while a baby convinces you that life’s just not worth wondering about or questioning about. Now that my son is about two years, I have stopped (well almost) wondering and questioning, here I am, trying to take some time out for myself, to speak the thoughts of my mind out on a forum where I am well aware of a minimal audience, yet the feeling of being heard – loud and clear.

So it’s been a while and I hope and wish to keep at it, mostly for myself and for a new friend I’ve made.

I wish you a Happy New Year. And a very happy New Year to you dear friend. May all your wishes and hopes come true. May all your wishes be fulfilled this year. May you you be happy. God Bless you!

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Do wounds heal?

They say glass once broken cannot be mended.

When a cut comes to close, we see the bleeding has stopped, the pain subsided, but the scar that stays, reminding (if we care to notice) of the cut, the pain, the event that caused the scar.

Such brittle are our bodies, how about our hearts and minds? Is it just scars that are left behind or is the pain too? Do wounds really heal? Or do we learn to live with the pain where pain becomes a part of our daily lives? or do we just slowly forget the pain?

And if we do forget over time, can we be reminded of the pains? The cause, the story behind the pains?

What does it take to heal? Do we ever really heal? Or do we believe ourselves to have forgotten or forgiven or healed?

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Can’t Cook, Can Cookies

Really! I made them! I made them! Who’d think, yeah?

It was a Monday, the busiest day of work at work and I was looking for cookie recipes; I have no idea what got over me. But I wanted to bake, today.

After a lot of surfing and a few inputs from colleagues on baking cookies, I drove straight to the supermarket after work, picked up the ingredients and rushed home.

I had the perfect recipe (so I thought).

I had a plan. I would make chicken curry for dinner and in parallel prepare the batter for the cookies. After dinner, I would start baking in batches, so i could still watch a movie.

But the chicken was still frozen and I started off baking, while the chicken sunk deep in warm waters to de-freeze.

I decided I would stick to the recipe – I never can really, but today I was determined. I opened the Microwave manual to check the settings and the tray and I found a cookies recipe in the catalogue. It was pretty similar with a slight modification, and most importantly, this recipe would make half the number of cookies the internet recipe would make. So I combined both to make cookies.

I poured a cup of granulated sugar, a teaspoonful of vanilla essence and a cup of butter to a bowl and stirred with a fork as I do not have a food processor. No one suggested crushing the sugar first and I didn’t think of it. I beat the batter with a fork but no luck in getting the sugar crystals to dissolve into the batter. After long tiring attempts, I let go. I beat an egg and poured to the batter, beating the batter again to form a smooth paste with the sugar granules.

I added 1 1/3 cup of flour as per recipe little by little to the batter as I continued the stirring, my arms must’ve gotten stronger with all the stirring.

I took a break, got to the chicken and made traditional chicken curry with coconut. While the chicken was cooking, I preheated the Microwave as per the specifications and then made little dumps of the cookie batter on to the cookie tray and placed it in the microwave.

At home, we said our evening prayers. Nope, didn’t miss it, not even for the cookies – and that somehow told me I was still sane, we had dinner and then I got back to baking.

The first batch of cookies was ready, tasty, but too flat, like the Cookieman Cookies. So I added more flour to the next batch of cookies, these were rather raised, yet buttery and not as brittle. The consistency was right I concluded.

I broke a few cashew nuts for the third batch and grated dry ginger to add to the fourth batch. They were all perfect.

To the next batch, I added a few lemon drops and had the worst batch of cookies. I am not trying this again.

I looked for containers, to store my first ever home-baked butter cookies. I had baked far too many. I distributed to my neighbors, packed some for my folks, I even took some of them to work.

You know that expression when your audience’s eyes almost pop out expressing surprise and appreciation at the same time and a ear to ear smile, mouth too full to let a drop of water in? My neighbor gave me that on tasting a cookie I offered her. I am saving this recipe.

Simple recipe, manageable efforts and many happy receivers. Now wouldn’t you try this simple butter cookie recipe?

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The SarPass Trek!

(P.S.: Some of this won’t make sense if you weren’t there. Sorry about that.)

With the Parvathi River flowing besides, 38 ambitious trekkers met at the Kasol Base Camp, to meet the bare nature, to dare the nature, at Sar Pass. We parted the comforts of our cozy homes and gathered on the 2nd of June, 2013 at the Kasol Base Camp, in the Parvathi Valley of the Kullu District in Himachal Pradesh.

Some came with their families, some with friends and others on their own – but hardly anyone returned the way they came in –

“Hamne rishton ko badaltey dekha hai”

Some made friends, some made families, some found love, and some – an extended family 😛

All thanks to YHAI for causing us all to meet!

The baby face, the background singers, the family, the weedboy, the inhuman person, the romantic couple(s), the insensitive photographer(s) all set out on the 5th June to the uphill climb to return on the 11th June with loads of memories as carrying anything was already a scary thought.

The 10 days that the 38 crazy bunch spent at the foothills of the Himalayas –

Day 1: @6500 ft
Acclimatization – to sleeping on the bare grounds, washing in cold freezing waters, to the ways of YHAI

Day 2: Still at 6500 ft
Acclimatization Walk- to walking uphills carrying a load of 5 kilos on your back
Orientation – to YHAI, a glimpse of the next treks and tours you want to take with YHAI

Day 3: No progress yet, still @ 6500 ft

Rock Climbing – we saw people walk like lizards on rocks, it was awesome; some of us did manage to climb the 25m tall rock, some with weak shivering legs and some seemed like they were carving their own grooves with bare hands in the solid rocks. Others enjoyed a walk to the river side amidst boulders and woods and posed for fancy photoshoots.

Rappelling – time to walk up the creepy hill, right behind that 25m tall rock, saying hello to a little green snake and then “rappel” down that rock using tiny tools and a strong rope for support – needless to mention, we trusted the guides more than any of these tools.
Easy indeed!

Evening winded with the campfire, but we had our own campfire and sang to glory, to the amusement of the Field Director and the annoyance of others.

Day 4: @ 8500 ft
Finally, we walked with our packed backs on our weak shoulders.
An hour, 13 Kms bus journey to Ghatigadh – 7400ft
5 Kms, 4 hour trek to Galgithatch – 8500ft

Ups and downs throughout the 1100 ft climb through the mountains, wait, did I mention the favorite folk song we heard? “Oh meri Siri Devi kukke chali thu….”

Upon reaching the Galgithatch that evening, lesson learnt and carried for the rest of the trek – find your own spot, dont expect the guide to show you one 😉

Rain Gods came over uninvited but could not disrupt the campfire much – the camp leader did!
Tents got chatty and tent-mates only got cosier and closer.

Rosy Lips was discovered today – had the rains got to do anything with this? Hmm …

Day 5: @ 9800 ft

5 hour trek to cover 7 Kms to reach the Khora Thatch.
This walk to achieve the next 1300ft climb was through thick forests, beautiful amazing view of the snowy hills still at a distance.

Khora, or khoda – supposedly the land of apricots, although we saw none.
The dirtiest of all camps, yet the sunrise from this spot, the camp that is, was splendid.
Campfire today was the best-est. There was no stopping, thanks to the enthusiastic camp leader and the kitchen staff – who also sang a song or two for us. The 70’s and 80’s versus the 20’s songs went on and on, with or without the lights.

Stop, pose and take a picture and you start to hear background music – not in your head, but in your ears, for real – SP33 had its own musicians.

Day 6: @11000 ft
The snow clad mountain tip still teased us and looked unmoved although we climbed mountains and walked the rough terrains for hours. Today was a 5 hour walk to the Zirmi Thatch, we walked 6 Kms.
Ghazals topped the list today with the singers. The Ginger Lemon Tea here was something you asked for again and again.

Day 7: @12500ft
This was the shortest of all walks – 4kms and yet the toughest. Every uphill step tested and strained everyone’s energy, enthusiasm and determination – and of course the calf muscles!
The AlHabibi group was formed today.

“Sp-33! We are AlHabibi”
We couldn’t come up with a slogan in the first place and then, we changed them almost every occasion we could. This one lasted longer than any other!

The coldest of the camps, today we were above clouds, literally.
We saw mountains disappear in the clouds and reappear. Thermal wear finally got out of the bags.

Thanks to mouthwash 😀

Day8 : @ 13800 ft and down to 11000 ft
The D-Day!

There were several occasions when one did think, why am I doing this to myself! But today was the day to reap the fruits of all the efforts put in.
First, the uphill walk through the meadows, AlHabibi no longer were the last to reach, they were ahead of most fast movers.

The walk in the snow, as beautiful and fun – if only you could stop thinking you won’t fall!
Some fell, but the sherpas were quick to get you back on your feet.

At the SarPass today, it all somehow made sense!

Then the snow sliding, woo hoo – the highlight of the day. I bet a thought of this and your heart still skips a beat. Some went straight, some stumbled, and we all wanted one more go!
Today was the longest walk, bed tea at 2:30 and the trek began finally at 5 in the morning, the earliest in the entire trek.

The last stretch of walk, through the pebbles to reach Biskeri Thatch did send shivers about the downhill walk to reach home now. It was a 10 Kms walk, which took over 10 hours.

Day 9: Bandak Thatch

The mini Switzerland of India – we were told was our next camp and that kept us going. Another thing that kept us moving was singing along – theme singing!

And to get there, we crossed two heavy streams, rappelled down the rocks and the climb back up to get to the Tea-Point was amazingly scary. We all reached, 38 of us 

Ladkewale rishta leke chale the, the greedy pundit didn’t get the couple married.

Again, the last stretch of uphill climb to reach Switzerland was awefully tiring, but the view was indeed beautiful.
We played a game of cricket with a special over of 7 balls followed by Passing the Parcel made for a round of ROFL moments.

Day 10: Back to the Base Camp, Kasol
Trek up to Barshani Road (5km, 2hr)

Sad to leave and yet happy to end the treacherous journey, all set out singing back to the Base Camp, through the Barshani Road, without a guide today.

A little misguidance, a little overlooking and the insensitivity of one caused a bunch of us to find ourselves amidst thick jungles. No road, no directions, barely enough sunlight, a stretch of snake skin, no experience and switched off phones of the others of the group, no food, very little water, scare of wild bears as the sun would set down was all we were left with.

Go back or find a new way?

With the help of local villagers, the adventure came to an end, luckily – happy ending. Some of us must’ve been carrying really strong prayers to bring all back home safely.

The 2 hour journey took about 5 hours, and the 5 Kms turned out to be far longer, but an experience the others missed out on.

We collected our deposited bags and as we separated, formed the FaceBook page so the strangers could now be related as Friends.

Yalla Habibis!

If you still hear shouts of SP33 in the middle of the nights, it is in your head! Get on the phone and ring someone you miss!

By the way, where to next? Goa? 😉

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A Mother’s Advice To Her Daughter

Copied from: Poems” target=”_blank”>

I thought this was very very beautiful and wanted to share …

Be strong. Be intelligent. Smile.
Know that beauty has everything to do with how you feel about yourself and nothing to do with looks or other people’s opinions.
Never do anything just because everyone else is, if you believe it’s wrong.
Always be true to yourself.

Expect the best from life and that’s what you’ll get.
Learn from your mistakes and failures.
Believe in God and His Word.
Love and trust and be compassionate.

Make faces. Play in mud puddles. Take bubble baths.
Turn off all the lights and watch lightening storms.
Laugh, cry, and sing when you want to.
Read everything you can get your hands on.
Stand up for what is right especially if you stand alone.
Don’t allow yourself or people around you to tolerate prejudices of any kind.

Don’t be afraid to try something new.
Do something active at least once a week.
Run through snow drifts.
Spin in circles and roll down hills.

Pet puppies, hold kittens, and talk to babies.
Take afternoon naps. Stay up to watch the sunrise.
Never apologize for being a woman or for being yourself.
Never forget that I love you more than any other person in the world, no matter how far apart we are you will always be my daughter.”

Author Unknown

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Last Friday, I started reading the book Two Years before the Mast.

Since I got the news that the book had arrived home, I wanted to reach home early that evening, another reason to be home early was that it was a Friday. I reached later than usual. Work has been busier and even stressful lately.

I finished all my evening chores quickly and had an early dinner. I then sat with the book, warm and cozy and with my Tea Pot by the side.

I read the book late into night and liked the feeling that I had started to read. It was a good start and the book immediately took my interest as the author set sail and was getting adjusted to the rolling ship, the rough weathers, the salted beef and the tough seamen.

The book is written in 1840s America and so the language is not that easy to read. The shipping terminology only makes it more challenging keeping you wondering and imagining yourself on that brig. Nevertheless, it is an interesting book and should keep me occupied for some time.

Ahoy! All aboard!

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Notice on the Notice Board

Just happened to remember an old tongue twister 🙂

‘If you notice a notice on the notice board, notice that the notice on the notice board is not for you to notice’ – a tongue twister I learnt when in school.

Years later, while I was checking the noticeboard and reading the notices that weren’t for me, I happened to remember this line.

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Busy Bees!

At 10 in the morning, she rushed clumsily into the office, almost breaking the glass door with the laptop bag, the lunch and snack bag swinging so high that if you walk within an arms distance from her, you were sure to be hit; and her ladies bag tucked close to her so as to keep it safe under her plump arms.

She stomped to her desk, complaining about the issues she had handled today to the ones she has to that day. From the kitchen tasks which the maid would complete during the day, the kid’s bus that unfortunately arrived on time, to the office cab not having waited for her until she finished all her chores – and so getting a lift from a colleague that lived in the next lane and ofcourse the many work calls that she’s been attending since 4 in the morning after she woke up at 6.
But she is too busy to take a breath, to take one step after another.

She set up her laptop and sat there staring at the screen, she enquired on recipes, cooking methodologies, baking tutorials with her peers as she shared her own culinary skills. A few calls on the day’s happenings followed.

After spending atleast 30 minutes complaining about life, work, the clients, the vendors, the support teams, the managers, the applications, the systems, the processes, its time for a little coffee break. Uff! What a day it had been for our lady! And the company or the management shows no care, appreciation for all the stress, chaos in her life.

She missed her lunch hour due to the workload, but obviously couldn’t miss out on the long hours of the old lady chatter sessions and the many phone calls to ensure all was fine back home, her baby at the day care, with friends and with the family, the home, the maid, the building society and the others. She is so busy!

“Sorry guys, I’m late”, she said as she walked into the meeting room. “So how far have we reached, could you summarize the last 45 minutes of this meting?” asked the lady breathlessly as she helped herself to a seat. Breathless with the running to the meeting room from her desk, which is about 10 feet. All present in the meeting room had already closed their books, started discussing their evening plans and were winding up the meeting. Out of mere respect to a colleague or maybe just an obligation, all the seniors there reopened their books and reopened all topics discussed. “We would appreciate if you could instead make it on time and not waste everyone else’s time going forward”, announced the Senior Manager there as he concluded the meeting later. But she is too busy.

Proudly says she is a defaluter at all times, in all meetings and in all formalities and paper work in the office. But she is too busy. Her team is convinced of her busy schedules and shares sympathy too, would you not step in if she needed a favor?

Posted in Etiquettes, Girls, Life's like that, Work | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Much Needed Outing!

I had the feeling I had nearly reached the zenith. It had been chaotic few weeks after a steady slow season. In the last 3 months, I took off from work several times. We were both out for week at my in-laws, a weekend and a day at my parents’, another 3 days at my in-laws’ after about a week. I had an Easter break at my parents. My husband’s month-long trip for his exams, another week’s trip for his studies. A dental surgery followed by a weekend at my parents. Our evenings mostly spent before the TV, thanks to the cricket matches.

There were going to be more matches and another Marine course for my husband, a bunch of guests for about a week in the next few weeks before a trekking holiday to the Himalayas for two weeks – which I am looking forward to, although I am not sure my body is physically prepared for it.

All these trips were with an objective, mostly fun and but quite hectic. I needed a getaway, but there was just no time. My “Available Holidays” meter is showing Red and it’s still not mid-year.

Him and I, we spoke of a drive. He didn’t seem keen and I didn’t want to force. Thursday evening, we started planning the trip, which we decided otherwise before we went to sleep owing to the hectic schedule to follow. Something dawned on me the following morning while sipping my Tea, frustrated with the events in my life.

“We should go”, I said as I stepped out the door to get to work.

“You sure? I thought you said you didn’t want to and so I was planning on some other pending things to finish at home here” said my lazy husband.

“Yes, I’m sure. I need it and we need it” I said as he kissed good-bye.

“As you say” he said as I returned his kiss.

Work didn’t give me much time to either plan the driving route or the stay. I was busy with the headphones on my head and I typed on my laptop the sounds, trying to make sense out of what I heard through the phone.

It was about lunch time and I was told the trip was cancelled owing to the shopping we had to do for the Himalaya trek. It was a fancy trek and we definitely didn’t have the gear for a trek like that. But I wasnt prepared to sacrifice a holiday. I had spent time with all, I wanted me for me now.

The cancellation broke my heart!

I was to leave early this Friday so we could pack and leave before traffic crowded the roads. But now there was no reason to be home. So I continued harassing my keyboard and left later from work than I needed to.

As I walked in sulked, he asked me to shower and pack my bags.

“Why?” I asked.

“We’re going out” he said with hardly any emotion.

“Where to?” I pretended. I knew where we were going, but I guess I had the right to be upset and I didn’t want to let it go.

“I have spoken to a few, and I will confirm the resort while we’re on our way. We should leave in about 30 minutes, by 7 we must be out of here. We need to pick a few things on the way for the road and be on our way by 7:30” which we did.

We stopped by a cyber cafe to print the route. It was a mere waste of paper we realised in an hour’s drive. The Forest Authorities had shut the Mysore gates at 7 for safety of travellers. We had to take an alternative route unless we wanted to stay at Mysore for the night. We didn’t want to.

It was an adventurous deviation as we took the long route.

From Mysore, we headed to Hunsur and further to Gonikoppal. The drive from Gonikoppal to Kartikulam is not something I’ll forget for sometime. The next 30 km drive was spooky! It had massive banyan trees on either side allowing the sky to be visible in patches. The place was forlorn, no vehicles on the road, no people walking by, no houses, no stars accompanied us, the rains did. Thunder and lightning did. The flashy silver lines did. Potholes and poor roads did.

But once we crossed Kartikulam, the roads were amazing. Winding roads amidst dense woods. Every now and then, a sign board popped up asking visitors to keep the place clean and free of plastic, to not stop their vehicles and keep moving at all times, to watch out for elephant crossings and tiger crossings.

We managed to reach our destination at 3:30 in the morning, taking a full 7 hours where we should have taken no longer than 5.5 hours. Thanks to the roads!

It was a tree house we’d booked for our stay. It seemed lovely, but I needed sleep. My arms ached and my feet ached fiddling with the clutch, I walked around like a zombie and had no more energy. I disgracefully declined a walk to the river and crashed on the bed.

I woke up to now notice the cane ceiling, the cane walls, wooden flooring and cane lamp shades. We opened the curtains to welcome the streams of light that the trees allowed to pass by. It was pleasant, it was beautiful. We called for breakfast and enquired about places of visit nearby. The closest place was about 35 kms. We didn’t want to drive anymore. We drove around the village, went to a little terracotta sculpture museum and I bought plenty of wooden bangles like the tribes. They’re lovely.

A lazy afternoon on the cane benches, a walk to the riverside, exploring the resort and the sun was down already. We had dinner there along with thunder and lightning that accompanied us all the way. It was all just too beautiful to describe.

We started the next morning feeling light and feeling fresh, with a hope of crossing the gates early before the authorities shut down the gates, so we can avoid the crazy roads. The winding roads were too amazing, heavenly, to be described in words. As we drove through the forests, we spotted an elephant family, 2 adults and one baby elephant. My husband claims he spotted a spotted sambar, although I am not sure as I saw nothing.

The roads back, from Mysore to home were overly crowded, terribly bad traffic and we still ended up taking about 10 hours in all against the ideal 5.5 hours.

All in all, it was a good time out, an awesome drive, a beautiful place.

I am going there, again!

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