I had heard about Chicago’s cold winters. I had survived a couple of them. But nothing could have made me imagine the kind of cold that would come in, jab Celsius and Fahrenheit met!
Yes, that’s right. For those of you who did not know (and that includes me, until recently) at -40 degrees Celsius, the Fahrenheit scale of measurement catches up (or down, whichever way you like it). I guess the world is so damned frozen by the time the scale hits -40, that Mr. Celsius and Mr. Fahrenheit no longer have the energy to diverge! Hahaha, just kidding! It is all purely mathematical, actually.
This historical event (well, in all of my 30 years of near-cognizance) happened on the 6th of January, a day when by the grace of Murphy, I had an unavoidable appointment outside my house. I have spent months and months sitting at home, and on the one day when I could have been glad for doing that, I had to drag myself out, wearing no less than 7 layers of warm clothing. Needless to say, I looked like a frozen elephant! :P
To add to the woes, the extreme drop in temperature led to low air pressure in the car tires, forcing husband dearest to queue up at the air filling station and drag the air pipe (or whatever it is called) to all the tires while shivering bitterly.
Thankfully, none of our body parts fell off by the time we got back home. I wonder what the homeless people were doing, though… Poor them! Now the temperatures are slowly but steadily rising, thankfully again.
Here are some pictures of the terrible ‘polar vortex’ed city of Chicago and a few other places. See and enjoy the fact that you weren’t here, then. Those of you who were here, rue the same fact. :-)
I know that a new year is just a statistical tool to help us keep track of time, and the Gregorian calendar (by which the 1st of January becomes the first day of the year) does not even mark the change in a season, but mere mortals (and procrastinating ones at that) like me do like to have landmarks and deadlines in life, to keep us on track. A new year serves that exact purpose. :)
So how was the last year for me? Well, bitter-sweet, like most other years. The year started in Orlando (ahh, the lovely, sunny land of Florida) and ended in Chicago (ohh the wretched land of snow). – which actually is poetic justice! :)
This time around, the new year celebration was rather subdued, although very comfy and cozy, with just me and my husband sipping sparkling pomegranate juice (yes, seriously) and munching on yummy, home-made Malai Kofta and naan. And thus, we also managed to wake up early in the morning the next day, which has been one of my new year targets and resolutions for many years now.
As for resolutions, this year too, I made the same old ones – lead a healthier lifestyle, read more, write more, obsess less, be less emotional and more practical, and so on. What remains to be seen is how soon and how often I break them! :D
I am majorly concerned about writing, though. It is after all, my bread and butter. At least it used to be, and after this “break”, it will be so again. Just don’t want to lose my shine (if I had any in the first place; and if I did, then if any of it is left) by the time this break ends. Let us see. Only time will tell! Coincidentally, and on a totally unrelated note, that was the last book I read last year [Only Time Will Tell - John Grisham], and did not like it at all. Why I am writing this here? I don’t know – just want to write something. That’s a good sign, I guess… hehehe.
Anyways, here’s to more good signs, and good omens, and good deeds, and good news; and hopefully see you again soon.
Have you ever felt thrilled and soothed at the same time? Well, I tried sky-diving a few days ago. Although the whole experience merits a separate descriptive post, there is one point I want to distinctively mention here. The diving experience was by far the most thrilling and the most soothing experience that I have ever had, both at the same time.
Why thrilling? That is easy to explain – the adrenaline rush that I stood at the door of the plane, how I got goosebumps the size of actual bumps on geese when I saw people jumping before me hurling spirally downwards, the anticipation I felt as I was about to jump off a plane, the jolt of excitement during the jump itself, and the whole idea of being 14,000 feet above the ground with a parachute and an instructor – thrilling to the core!
Why soothing? Well, for three reasons… One, after I jumped and hurled downwards and posed for photos mid-air, I felt the parachute opening – that is an extremely soothing feeling, you all shall agree! :P Two, after the parachute jerked open, and I adjusted my body and my safety straps, I got to experience about 5-10 minutes of serene silence and beautiful panoramic views until I landed. Viewing the beautiful landscape while slowing descending felt surreal, and very soothing. And last but not the least, when I took off the parachute straps, harness, and the jumping gear and sat down (yeah, sky-diving is exhausting!), the success – the feeling that finally I had done what I always dreamed of doing, made me feel so content, so happy! It was like a perfectly soothing balm on all my aches and worries! :) And all this while, the thrill of the whole experience didn’t leave me for a single moment!
Truly, sometimes soothing and thrills are the two sides of the same coin. Like someone said,
I open my window, drops of rain fall on my face
I am soothed by their touch, and thrilled by the freshness…
When a cold gush of wind blows into my hair,
I am thrilled by its suddenness and soothed by the cool air…
Like a girl in a ballroom,
Waiting long to be asked to dance…
Arrives the nicest guy and chooses her,
She is both thrilled and soothed by the chance!
Jumping in the pool on a hot day in summer…
Climbing a tall mountain and looking down from it,
Winning a prize you have been missing out on for long
Oh, how thrills and soothing together belong!
Have you experienced anything like this? Do let me know! :)
Yeah, so I have never before driven in snow.
Yeah, so I should not be over-smart and offer to drive my husband to places…
Yeah, so I should not try to swerve the car as soon as I see the turn for the destination.
Yeah, so I should not brake hard when there is significant snow accumulation on the road…
Yeah, so I should not panic and start screaming and crying when the car hits the curb and climbs on to the walkway.
Yeah, so I should not be over-smart (again) and insist to walk back home, while the poor husband parks the car safely…
Yeah, so I also shouldn’t start walking quickly in order to escape the heavy snow shower…
Yeah, so…. <thuddd>
Yeah, so after all this I should know whether to laugh or to cry, and I don’t because it was all pretty funny and sad! :|
Thank you so much Alyssa @ castlesineurope for nominating me. It means so much to receive an award from someone you have never met, based only on what they read on your blog! Thanks, thanks, thanks, again! :-) The rules are that I must post the award on my blog, share seven random things about me, and nominate seven people for the award.
So here are 7 random things about me:
1. I am a big, big, big Harry Potter fan; I also am a huge Paulo Coelho fan! :-)
2. I love exploring places on foot, and I am very bad at directions. However, I am very good at remembering signs and landmarks, so I get by.
3. My husband is indeed my best’est’ friend :-)
4. I am a very emotional person; however, I rarely put my emotions on display – most people think I am very cool and calm :P
5. I love writing, and I am trying to be more frank and fearless at it. ( trying to go beyond – oh my Mom is going to read this – let’s dial it down a notch :P)
6. I am a foodie and a once-reluctant cooking enthusiast.
7. When I was a kid, I always was scared that the tumbler would drown in the bucket! :P
Now, here are my nominees for The Versatile Blogger award:
1. Shweta @ scribblingpad (she has a very casual but extremely effective style of conveying her inner thoughts)
2. Priyaranjan @ my two cents (churns out quality and quantity in equal amounts)
3. Rajesh @ destinationinfinity ( his insights on myriad topics are a good food for thought)
4. Ninad @ this is ninad dighe’s world (his takes on philosophy, art, and culture provide for some good reading)
5. Anwar @ everymomentmatters ( he hasn’t blogged in a long while – hope this award charges him up to start writing his uncannily funny blog again!)
6. Chandni @ Bohemian Rhapsody (truly versatile!)
7. and last, but not the least, Alyssa @ castlesineurope ( her blog posts have some of the best illustrations that I have ever seen)
Do go through their blogs; I’m sure you’ll love them!
Ahem… it is that time of the year again – Valentine’s Day, when love is supposed to be in the air! :P And when it comes to love and romance, how can we forget Bollywood music?? So, here’s a list of my favorite romantic Bollywood songs, in no particular order! Listen, view, and enjoy the YouTube songs! ( But know that I don’t own the links :D)
1. Abhi na jao chhodkar (Playful romance)
This is one of the oldest romantic and really sweet songs! Jo khatm ho kisi jagah, ye aisa silsila nahin… so true! Beautiful lyrics and a refreshing tune!
2. Kabhi phool dena (Wishful romance)
Aur kabhi kabhi khamosh baithen, baahon ke sahare
Sooraj bujhana, saagar kinaare; aur raaton ko chaand ugaana….
Waise pyar ke naam ye to yaaron sab hua hai
3. Heer ( Larger than Life romance)
How can a list of romantic songs be complete without a Yash Chopra number? He has given us several beautiful lovey-dovey songs, from Dekha ek khwab to and Chaand ne kuchh kaha , to Tere liye and Bol na halke halke ; but I chose this one purely for its music..it is so melodiously romantic! I can’t quite understand the Punjabi lyrics, though :)
4. Humko sirf tumse pyar hai (Melodious romance)
I consider this song as the most romantic song ever! Some tunes are so romantic by themselves, right? In fact, the violin piece at the beginning of this song, in itself is enough to make the distinction. The video can be skipped, or played in the background. :-) :P
5. Ishq ki Daastan (Philosophical romance)
This world is forever torn between the hardcore romantics and the straightforward practical thinkers. There have been several songs that argue whether love is good or bad, for example, Jaane kyon log pyar karte hain , Kay Sera Sera, and so on. But no song explains the contrasting viewpoints of people who feel the need to express their love, and those who think that some things are best left unsaid. And the romantic side wins, and how! Beautiful lyrics,brilliantly sung!
6. Saawan Barse Tarse Dil (Atmospheric romance)
Romance reaches a new height when the sky starts pouring – ’cause the rains make everything so beautiful and worthwhile! This song is beautifully shot, and sung. Of course, it is very hard to miss the romance in most rain songs… and the best part is, a rain song can portray several moods of romance – playfulness in Dekho jara dekho barkha ki jhadi, seduction in Jo haal dil ka , flirtation in Ek ladki bheegi bhagi si… you name it and the rains do it for you! :-)
7. Accha ji mai haari (roothna-manana type romance)
Sometimes, a relationship is not romantic unless you fight and then make up. Watch the beautiful but feisty Madhubala try to make up with Dev Anand, by first apologizing, then wooing, then threatening, and finally giving in – sweet!
8. Tujh me rab dikhta hai (Reverent romance)
This song symbolizes the whole movie… how ShahRukh Khan does anything and everything possible and impossible to keep his dear wife smiling… very, very sweet!
9. Aye Udi Udi (Newly-weds’ romance)
A combination of A R Rehman’s tune, Gulzaar ji’s lyrics, the choreography, Adnan Sami’s husky voice, Rani Mukerji and Vivek Oberoi’s performance – simply means full-on romance… beautiful! Watch Rani and Vivek go through the drills of married life while the romance continues to blossom!
10. Pehla Nasha Pehla Khumar ( The first and the best romance)
This list, of course, wouldn’t have been complete without this mother of all romantic songs – need I say more? :-)
So which is your most favorite romantic song ( from this list or otherwise)? Do take this poll and let me know! :-)
Until next time, take care and wish you a very happy Valentine’s day! :-)
Here is the loose translation of a Marathi poem I wrote a couple of years ago (You can find the original poem on my Marathi blog, here). It is based on the concept of irony, and me having to tell you this explicitly, is an ode to irony itself!
He was a little boy
Innocent, and care-free
I always want to be like this,
Dreamily thought he.
But alas, his teachers said
You must learn the world’s ways…
Can’t even educate their own children,
About your parents, the world says!
– — –
It was a piece of rich brown land
Just-plowed, soft, and moist
It wanted to stay that way,
And play with the blowing breeze, it voiced.
But the farmer said,
If I didn’t want to sow,
Why would I ever
Take all the trouble to plow?
– — –
It was a sheet of plain paper,
Very crisp and very white
It didn’t want to be written on,
Lest get dirty it might!
Oh, but the writer had other plans
I paid money for it, he thundered!
Why would I do that, if I didn’t want to use it?
Wouldn’t it be a waste, he wondered!
– — –
The little boy did not imagine then,
That he would grow up to be very successful and rich, indeed…
The piece of land, too, didn’t fathom,
That on its crops would so many people feed…
And nor did the paper know that the words written on it,
would help thousands of people in their lives, to succeed…
Had they known, it would have been so much better!
They would have endured the present happily,
And would have been delighted, later!
– — –
The teachers, the farmer, and the poet were elated,
In the glory of their achievements they basked…
But how were they to know, that while improving the future,
The pleasantness of the present they masked?
Had they known, though, would it have been better?
Would they have been a little sad,
Then, or later?
Well, well, whether life’s short or long, and ambitions and dreams are high or low; everyone, at some point or the other in their lives, thinks of a bucket list, and has one – on pen-and-paper or in their minds; said out aloud, or mused upon while solitary…
I, too, have a list, and it is quite long, of course. Some items on the list are trivial and easy-to-achieve, while some are very important to me and hardly-achievable.Nevertheless, I do HOPE to achieve them sooner or later, before I kick the bucket! :P :D
[To those uninitiated, the term 'bucket list', which means a list of things you want to do before you die, comes from the phrase 'kicking the bucket', which is slang for dying. :) ]
Here it goes:
1. Dip my feet in the water of all 5 oceans (2 oceans remain – Arctic and Southern)
2. Step on all 7 continents (Asia, Europe, and North America – done… 4 more remain)
3. Own a big library ( More information on this, on my other blog)
4. Participate in a flash-mob dance ( I love the whole idea! Does anyone of you know how to participate in one?)
5. Act in a street play ( Preferably in India, to address an important cause in a fun way)
6. Write a book (I’m yet to write a short short story, but still :D :P )
7. Learn a ballroom dance style to perfection ( I only know Salsa basics so far – a long way to go!)
8. Travel to all states of India ( Only 12 done, so far)
9. Sky-dive (Done :D )
10. Teach at least one adult to read and write ( It will be a big challenge, but I really want to do it)
11. Bungee-jump (Without destroying my vocal cords :P )
12. Make a mini-movie or direct a dance-drama ( you will not believe this, just as I wrote this point, I got a comment on another post, saying I should consider directing a movie – freaky or what!)
13. Work in an impoverished African nation, or an extremely rural Adivasi area in India (preferably in education or administration areas)
14. Learn to speak at least one foreign language and one regional Indian language fluently ( I used to understand day-to-day French, but not any longer)
I’m very sure this list will always keep expanding, as one of my main traits is this: I am interested in way too many things! But as of now, that was my list.
So what’s on your bucket lists? I would love to hear about it!
Got a really, really crazy dream last night!
A boy says to Stewie (from Family Guy): “main tumhe markar tumhare tukde tukde kar dunga” (I will kill u and scramble u into pieces).
Stewie replies: “You can’t… I am already in millions of pieces! In fact you are actually UNscrambling me right now… That’s how you can see me on your TV. Bwahahahahahahaha (Stewie’s evil laugh)
And then the camera panned out and showed the boy watching TV.
Crazy, huh! :D
Hey all readers, (again, if there are any left, that is! )
Wish you all a very, very happy new year! May you have a wonderful year, full of joy and prosperity and wisdom and laughter and fulfillment.
The last year ended on a mixed note for me. It was a year of major changes, some good, many bad. I am hoping that this new year is one of major changes, too; and mainly good ones! Amen to that. :)
Now, a new year is a time for making resolutions! I love making resolutions, and although I don’t love breaking them, I’m quite used to doing just that. :P So here’s a list of my resolutions for the year 2013.
1) :D This has been my new year’s resolution for the last 4 years now – so it doesn’t really feel new; and yet, as it has never been fulfilled, it seems so so new! :P Lose weight, of course! I aim to lose at least 1 kilo a month, so going by that target, I should be considerably fitter and healthier by the end of this year.
2) Write more and write better! There was a time when I frequently blogged, and then that time just flew past. It could be because I had so much free time and nothing much to do, so procrastination killed it, or it could be any other reason. The bottom line is that I need to get back in gear, and do something that I really enjoy doing – write.
3) Read more! GoodReads, this wonderful social networking website I am registered to, offers a self-challenge for the number of books you want to read in this year. I have challenged myself to 50! So, assuming I read at least 10 books I have already read ( yup, I love re-reading my favorite books – I feel I can get something new out of them every time), I aim to explore 40 new books this year. I have been wasting way too much time surfing the net and watching movies, and series, and videos – it is reading time, now onward! :)
4) Be more positive about life! Yeah, although I appear quite positive, the last year has been quite disappointing for me, bringing out my pessimistic side really strongly. Hell, I even hoped for the Mayan prediction to be true and prayed for the world to end in 2012! But as I then found out, pessimism doesn’t do much except spoil your mood even more. So this year, I again want to give optimism a shot.
That is all about my new year resolutions.
As for my new year wishes, I wish for a healthy and happy year for all my friends and family members! I wish for India to become a safer country for women, and I wish for every single person to understand their responsibility towards making it one. I wish for H1 visa rules to favor me and I wish I get a nice job. I wish for my husband to be really happy and successful in his professional and personal life.
Oh there are several other wishes, and I hope to discuss them with you somewhere down the year, as I express myself more to you guys, through a regularly written blog. Three cheers to that, and see you soon!
Happy new year, once again!
The smell of mud as it starts raining…ahhh…It enhances the wonderful pleasure that is called the rains. I wish they could bottle it so that we could enjoy it year-long! This post about my favorite smells in the world couldn’t have begun with anything else. :)
The smells of new books and new raincoats…woww…they cannot be described in words and yet, are so irresistible. I used to love them as a child, and I love them as an adult!
Coffee, well not the typical Indian mix-it-in-milk type, but actual freshly brewed coffee! The bitter-sweet aroma gives you a feel of the rich brown color and the comforting warmth, even without tasting the coffee. (Which, by the way, works to my advantage, as I don’t particularly like the taste of coffee, I just love its smell!) Just holding a cup of aromatic hot coffee on a cold winter morning/afternoon is so soul-soothing, or should I say, olfactory nerve-soothing… :P
The smell of sizzling Goan rava-fried prawns… that is one of the very few things that have almost made me give up my vegetarianism!
Creams, lotions and scrubs used during a facial… what wonderful fragrances they have as they are applied on your face one after another! Lavender, orange, Multani Mitti…Who cares about the chemicals , or even the actual facial (its ‘glow’ starts fading in a couple of days… ) but that hour with the wonderful smells refreshes me altogether.
The salty smell of the sea, the sweet smell of jasmines, the slightly pungent smell of acetone or spirit… they are smells, yet they are tastes, and I love them!
This article is the first in a series of Senses: The Gateway to Our Minds
Just read the news about pre-monsoon showers that occurred in some parts of Maharashtra yesterday. And somehow, I began missing the monsoons so much – especially because I am not going to experience them this year in US! So, to make up for their absence a little bit, I began thinking about, and listening to, my favorite rain songs. Here’s a list of some unforgettable ones, in no particular order.
Disclaimer: The links of YouTube videos are not owned by me; I just found them on YouTube…
1.Rimjhim Ke Taraane Leke Aayi Barsaat from the movie Kaala Baazaar
Whenever I think of rains, this is undoubtedly the first song that comes to my mind. The shots of Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman walking in the rains and reminiscing their moments together, along with glimpses of a rain-drenched old Bombay are a total treat for the eyes and ears. And as with most old songs, the lyrics rock!
2. Saawan Barse Tarse Dil from the movie Dahek
I don’t think anyone has ever watched this movie, but I have watched this song umpteen times for it simple innocence! Two lovers (Akshaye Khanna and Sonali Bendre) enjoying the rains and going to meet each other while battling it out with the various difficulties created by it is the essence of this beautifully shot song.
3. Barso Re Megha from Guru
The amazing visuals of a raindrop creating ripples in water, dark clouds in the background of lush green fields and a washed look of several picturesque locations are what I like the best about this song; although the music and the stunning voice of Shreya Ghoshal are also individually sufficient to make this song appear in my list of favorites.
4. Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
Oh yeah… after all, rains are not just about romance – they are about fun, masti and thodi si shararat too, as depicted aptly in this legendary garage song featuring Kishore Kumar and Madhubala.
5. Le Ja Le Ja Re from the music album Ustaad & the Divas
This is by far the cutest song with a rainy background. And the rain here is not just outdoors from the sky, but is also indoors on the dance floor, inside the heroine’s eyes, and in the hero’s and the heroine’s hearts. There is a part in this song where the sad heroine draws herself drenched in rain, while the hero adds an umbrella to the picture, and another one where she draws herself getting drenched by a bus splashing water on her – only to find that the hero draws himself between her and the bus – ahh.. it is totally cute!
6. Dum Dum Digaa Digaa from the movie Chhaliya
Rains in the studio have never looked as refreshing as they do in this song! And Raj Kapoor serenading pretty girls while the clouds pour is an endearing sight!
7. Bhaage re Mann Kahin from the movie Chameli
A shady lane in a shady area in South Bombay, Kareena Kapoor dressed up in a tacky red-and-blue Sari, and a car as a prop – not to mention a lot of rain… does not seem like an interesting scenario, right? Negative! It is a beautiful scenario! The way the rain-wind combination is shot in this song is mind-blowing! And the music is blissful.
8. Rimjhim Rimjhim from the movie 1942 A Love Story
Beautiful, dusky, and lush green setting of the Ooty botanical garden, a beautiful and very expressive Manisha Koirala, a handsome and sentimental Anil Kapoor, R D Burman’s music, and Javed Akhtar’s soulful lyrics – add all of these to lots of rain and baadal and bijli! Can a rain song get better than that? Naah! Totally mesmerizing song!
9. Bheegi Bheegi Raatonme from the movie Ajnabee
I don’t care about the video of this song much, but just the song in itself is such a work of genius! You can imagine the rain and the atmosphere created by it just by listening to this song. Kishore Kumar at his best! And yeah, the remix album of this song is great too!
10. Ab Ke Saawan Aise Barase from the music album Ab Ke Saawan
This awesome amalgamation of classical, folk, and pop music is not just pleasing to the ear, but the lavishly shot rain in a small-town setup refreshes the visual sense.This song shows the perfect combination of romance, fun, confusion, peace, and overall joy created by the rains!
11. Koi Ladki Hai from the movie Dil To Pagal Hai
The dreamy voices of Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan, and the innocent, yet romantic portrayal by Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit add a lot of zing to this melodious rain song.
Yeah, so that’s my list of favorites, people! It’s refreshing to even remember all these songs, isn’t it! Which songs figure in your list of favorite rain songs?