The Birthday Blog Post

This was meant to be an actual birthday post, meaning it was supposed to be posted on my birthday, which was yesterday.  However, as most of my activities are these days, it had to be postponed. Thankfully, I can accredit it to my daughter, and not to my usual procrastination. 😀

20141029_004353Anyway, yesterday’s the day I turned 31, finally severing all my ties with my twenties. (No, I can no longer say that I was in my twenties  just until a few days ago! 😛 )

In other (more real) senses, too, this birthday was of quite some importance to me.

For one, I became a mom about 5 months ago, so it is my first birthday as one. My daughter does not understand it yet but years later she will see herself wishing me in photographs. Yes, I posed her to  hug me and pretended she was wishing me a happy birthday, I admit! 😛 😉

My last birthday was pretty disastrous, what with the morning sickness and stuff. So on this birthday, I was happy to actually eat my birthday cake. 😀 Chocolate, of course!

I have always been a big fan of birthdays; and while I agree that we all grow a little everyday, there’s something that changes on our birthdays every year. As a kid, I used to truly believe that what we wished while cutting our birthday cakes really came true.  As I grew up, I transferred my wish-fulfillment tactics to making resolutions. Needless to say, neither of them came to fruition. Well, at least most of the times. Still, I make resolutions on every birthday: most are just repeats of those made about 10 months ago, all still unfulfilled. And some, I try to incorporate based on my age. This year, as I myself have a child, I have resolved to reduce my childish streaks, at least a little. The child-likeness, albeit, I cannot camouflage. But the flashes of temper, the random indiscipline – they sure have to go out the door.

Apart from that, I have resolved to read more, on the new Kindle Paperwhite that hubby dearest gifted me on my birthday. :):) I used to be an ardent supporter of good old-fashioned paper books; but considering how my daughter devours anything that she can tear or wring, I fear for their safety. Hence, Kindle. At least until she finds a way to destroy that, too. 😛

Well, that’s it so far. Let me publish the post before I get interrupted again. Happy birthday to me! 😀 😀

My childhood rain memories

It is that time of the year, again (In India)! 🙂 Yes, the monsoon season, indeed. As my readers already know from several of my previous posts, I love the rain.

rainRain reminds me the most about treks, chai-pakodas, the ‘terrifying and soothing at the same time’ property of nature, and the romantic breeze, of course; but I have talked about those things previously. Today, as my life currently revolves around my cute little 2 months old daughter, I have decided to write about my childhood rain memories. I think I did have a gala time with the rains during my childhood, too. Doing what? Here’s my top 5!

1. Making paper boats

paper boats

One of the first memories I have of ‘fun in the rain’ is of making paper boats and releasing them in nearby gutters, and seeing how many reach the far end! Of course, most boats used to sink soon; and hence used to begin the competition of seeing ‘whose’ boats among the group of budding ship builders floated the most. As I grew older, I learned to make different types of boats:  those with anchors, those with a mainsail and a jib, and so on. I loved it – what wasn’t to love? Making them was fun, getting wet while putting them in gutters was ‘adventurous’, and watching my parents clean up the mess left behind was even more fun…hahaha! I guess that is why we stop making boats when we get older – we have to clean our own mess, don’t we! 😛

2. Jumping and dodging puddles

I don’t need to see a ‘daag acche hain’ commercial to remember how, despite warnings from my parents about the troubles dirty water could cause, I used to jump into puddles and splash water. (Not just on myself, but on unsuspecting and suspecting people, too) hahaha.Puddle I used to also try to dodge these puddles, but the more I jumped around them, the more I ‘accidentally’ launched myself into them. 😛 😀 Not my fault, no? [Evil Grin] 😀

As children we were really carefree! Now, I wouldn’t even dream of doing such a thing. However, I do remember that I accidentally stepped into a puddle on a Jersey City street while on a trip to New York, and felt happy! 😛 😀 Now whether that was from the nostalgia about Indian roads or about actually stepping in puddles, I do not know.

3. Playing while getting drenched

rain-wallpaper-5This should have been number 1, actually! What can beat the ’kick’ we felt when we played while getting soaked from head to toe, wiping our faces again-n-again to see what’s going on around? Ahhhh, coolness, freshness, adventure – thy name is ‘getting drenched’! 😀 My favorite rain game? Catching Cook, Lagori, and swimming. Funnnn! Oh, and coming home to a hot bath after playing our hearts out while getting drenched – heavenly!

 

 

4. Buying rain coats

rainyday

If you are telling me that you did not obsess over colorful umbrellas and rain coats when you were a child, I’d say you are kidding me! 😀 I remember getting all excited at the end of summer about buying new rain coats. Discussing latest fashions was not about clothes and shoes back then; it was about pencil-boxes, labels, and rain coats. How excited I was when the new skirt-n-top rain coats came in the markets! And when the transparent ones did, too! Mmmm the smell of new rubber and plastic…..mmmmm…

5. Singing ‘Ye re ye re paavsa‘ and ‘paus aala vara aala‘. lol… Did you sing rain songs as a child? Which ones?

What were your favorite childhood activities related to rain? Do let me know. 🙂

Soothed by Thrills…

Have you ever felt thrilled and soothed at the same time? Well, I tried skydiving a few days ago. Although the experience merits a whole separate post, there is one thing I’d want to distinctively mention here.  The skydiving experience was by far the most thrilling AND the most soothing experience that I’ve ever had!

IMG_6787 - CopyWhy thrilling? That is easy to explain – the adrenaline rush that I felt as I stood at the open door of the plane,  ready to jump; the goosebumps the size of elephants I got when I saw people before me jump and hurl spirally downwards; the anticipation I  felt as I was about to jump off into the huge space of nothing; the jolt of excitement I felt the moment I jumped; and the whole idea of being 14,000 feet above the ground with a just parachute and an instructor –  thrilling to the core!

Why soothing? Well, for three reasons… One, after I jumped and hurled downwards and posed (tried and mostly failed) for photos mid-air, I felt the parachute actually open! That is an extremely soothing feeling, I think you all will agree! The other possibility is harrowing! 😛 Two, after the parachute jerked open, and I adjusted my body and my safety straps, we just floated slowly in the air. I got to experience about 10 minutes of serene silence and beautiful panoramicIMG_6818 - Copy views until I landed. Viewing the amazing landscape (we were in Florida!) while slowing descending felt surreal, and very soothing. And last but not the least, when I took off the all the jumping gear and sat down (yeah, sky-diving is exhausting!), the success, the feeling that I had finally done what I always dreamed of doing, made me feel so content, so happy! Not to mention, the relaxed air pressure after about an hour in air was heavenly. It was like a perfectly soothing balm on all my aches and worries! 🙂 And during all this, the thrill of the whole experience didn’t leave my mind for a single moment!

Truly, sometimes feeling thrilled and soothed are parts of the same experience. 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! 🙂

My first snowy accident!

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>

Snoooowwww

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! 😐

My Bucket List :-)

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! 😛 😀

[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 😀 😛 )
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 😀  )
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 😛 )
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!

Hail Sinhagad!!!!

img_0216.jpg  Inspite of living in Pune, a city with several picnic spots in its vicinity, we end up going places only once in say half a year!! One such trip happened last saturday, and needless to say, we had real fun!! (U can see that on the happy faces in the accompanying photograph, can’t u!!).

We started for Sinhagad, 12 of us, in a chakachak tempo-traveller at around 5:30 p.m. Passing through Chandni Chowk, Khadakvasla “chowpatty”, and numerous stories, fables and fairy tales about us, them, and Tanaji Malusare(The Marathi stalwart who became a martyr while capturing this fort from the Mughals), we finally reached the foot of Sinhagad. As our car inched forward via the very narrow road up Sinhagad, history came back to us in form of Tanaji, Kondhana, and the monitor lizard. Each of us tried to show off our historical knowledge!

Over time, we reached to the last point upto where vehicles could go. As we alighted from our car, we were instantly greeted with cries of “Jai Bhavani!! Jai Shivaji!!” from enthusiastic tourists. We started climbing, stopping only for posing for photographs, with the big beautiful valley as the backdrop or, standing on arches of gates as if “Yippee!!! We conquered it!!” hehe! 🙂 It was the perfect kind of weather: cool, windy, cloudy, but sans the drizzle. After we reached atop Sinhgad, there was another round of photographs, with different poses, (and slips, there was a lot of muck up there…).

And then, it was snacks time!! All of us hungry picnic-ers hogged on the yummmy Pithla-Bhakri-Kharda, Dahi and garam-garam Kanda Bhaji. While we were gourmeting on the spread, we completely forgot, that it was getting dark, and all though it was almost full moon, the full moon would be shadowed by the thick monsoon clouds. When this fact finally dawned upon us(dawned is such an ironical phrase in this situation, right!! 🙂 hehehe!), we started off, assuring and scaring each other at the same time. 🙂
There were some really hilarious incidents on our way down, like we signalling our mobile lights to some unknown persons thinking that they were from our group, like some guys calling out to our group by saying “Aye Ganpat!!!” and our extra-enthu guys replying with “Daru La!!!”(for those uninformed, This is a famous line from a song in the bollywood flick ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’),  like Diya* (* – names changed to protect privacy…LOL!!!) stepping into a puddle of water and everybody running towards her thinking she fell in there, like Rahul* crouching in the darkness and pouncing on Panna* and Kshama* and scaring them to the end of their wits, leaving them shaking and shivering till the end of the journey!!!!

And all in all, as u can clearly see from my post, we had a gala time!!! Enjoying the beautiful weather, and surrounded by your friends, what more can you ask for?? 🙂

Row row row ur boat,FIERCELY down the stream……And have the best time of your life! :-)

Have any of you tried White Water Rafting?? If you havent, then plz plz plz do it, and soon!! Coz seriously folks, it is an absolutely fantastic experience, to those who have a quest for adventure, AND to those who dont, too!!

Let me start from the start. Last Saturday I, alongwith 12 friends, set out to try some white water rafting…. After a picturesque journey(We passed from Mulshi Dam, Tamhini Ghaat, and the view of the lake and the valley was supperb!!) we reached the place Vile, where we met the instructors, who ushered us quickly to the place where we were supposed to begin rafting.(Quickly, because we were only 2 n 1/2 hours late! LOL!).heres-where-we-went-river-rafting.jpg

So quickly we went down to the Kundalika river, got into our life jackets, put on our helmets(the girls got blue ones, and the guys..pink!!) Then we had a quick round of introduction with our instructors, and “if-need-be” saviour life guards, and with quite a few tips in our ears, but only excitement in our heads, we got into the rafts. We were looking like the modern versions of Adivasis(natives), with our funny jackets, helmets, and the oars(the instructors preferred to call them pedals) in our hands. Once in the raft(and the raft in water, ofcourse), we learnt the basic pedaling techniques, and gave each other a high-five with our oars. “Jai Kundalika!!”, we roared, and there!! We were all set to enjoy the totally unexplored territory of white-water rafting!!! 🙂

After pedaling for a while,we came across our first rapid. As instructed, we were supposed to lock our legs firmly into the tubes of the raft, and hold up our oars from water. Most of us did that pretty well, I repeat, MOST of us…. Zapp came the wave…n thud!! Before we even realised it, let alone doing something to stop it, one of our co-rafters got knocked off hte raft and straight into the water! She was confused, we were confused….She held on to the raft, we clutched onto our oars….and there was a general state of pandemonium….Except in the minds of the life guards. One of the life guards rose, gave a tug at the “lucky-girl-in-water”(yeah we all were jealous..we too wanted to experience the fall..heheh) and she was back in the raft again. bubbling with excitement, we continued our journey. We traversed through the many bends, crevices and rapids of the river, with screams, oars, and lots of fun! At places where the rapids were too huge and deep, we were told to get into the rafts, crrouch and hold the rope on the outer surface of the raft tight. Then the raft would enter the rapid, and we would be in it, we water gushing over us!! It was an absolutely amazing experience!!

later when the speed of the water reduced a bit, the life guards allowed us to jump into the water. And weren’t we glad!! We floated, swam, played, held upstream swimming competitions, what not!! after a loooong time in water, the instructors finally coerced us back into the rafts. Then we pedaled our way through singing, cracking jokes, chit-chatting. We also passed from below a smal bridge, where we had to struggle to keep our heads from hitting it, even after crouching hardest!

Then came another twist. We wanted to experience the over-turning of the raft(To give you a small background, the guides were telling us that during monsoons, the current in the river is so strong that rafts just dont shake and bobble, they actually overturn!! Whoa!!!). So we were all made to stand on one edge of the raft, and they pulled some string, and splash!! At the next moment we were all in water, with the raft on our heads, and water down our nose!! Coughing, spluttering, and yet yelling with ecstacy, we popped to the surface of water!! My my!! didn’t we have a time of our life!!!

All happy and content, we began the last lap of our white-water journey, and only to realise, that this was the toughest part of it! The water was very still now, so we actually had to pedal our oars hard to make it move, and the banks were like 500 meters away!! Huffing and puffing, we finally got the raft to the banks….and not only that, we carried it up the mountain!! Phew!! You people should have seen us then!! We were the perfect blend of exhaustion and coontentment! To the core!! Seriously!! 🙂