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! 😀 😀

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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. 🙂

Kai Po Che? – The decline of traditional sports and games in India

[This is my first post featured on the TheFrustratedIndian website]

So, what is your favourite game, I asked my neighbourhood children at a party in India. “Angry Birds”, said a 7 years old boy. “I love cricket”, said another 14-years old girl. “To watch, I mean, you know… IPL and stuff… it’s so exciting”, she added. With a lot of exclamation marks in my mind, I decided that they are just children and don’t really think before answering.

But then I thought, even if they were adults, would their answers have been any different? Do we ourselves have had any experience playing sports other than cricket, badminton, and table tennis?

Sure, most of us recently watched and lauded the recently released film Kai Po Che. A few years ago, we also went gaga over the Dheel de de re Bhaiyya song from the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

But how many of us have ever actually said Kai Po Che the way it is supposed to be said, that is, while flying kites? I say with major exceptions of some population of Gujarat, none. For that matter, how many of us have recently uttered the words “Kabaddi kabaddi” or “lagori“?

Well, yes, I am being a little too optimistic in expecting all readers to even have heard about these sports; so let me start by listing some of the most ‘used-to-be-popular’ traditional sports of India.

 

Kabaddi

 Played in India from mythical times and given a national status as early as 1918, Kabaddi has fetched us every possible gold medal at all Asian Games and world championships ever held. Yet, I last remember to have played it only in school, more than a decade ago. And none of the “urban” now-in-school people I know seem to have ever played it. Now, Kabaddi is as athletic and technical a sport as any of the modern ones, sans the need for a big ground or any equipment. What it lacks, I guess, is the glamour.

Kho kho

 This game has been known in India since the beginning of the Mahabharata era. It used to be a rather popular game in schools and during evening play-sessions. Not any longer, it seems. Again, this game is as athletic and tactical as games can get.

Gilli danda

 This game is believed to be the origin of games such as cricket and baseball, although this hasn’t been ever proven, or for the matter, contested. In this game, a player bounces a gilli (a small cylindrical wooden object with pointed edges), of the ground by hitting it once with a danda (a wooden stick), and then hits the air-borne gilli to send it as far as they can.

Lagori/pitthu/lingorcha

 This game of breaking a mound of seven stones with a ball, and rearranging the mound before the opposing team finds the ball, was played by girls and boys alike, all over India. I haven’t seen any kids playing this game of late, though I have seen its version being played as a team building activity in a couple of corporate team building sessions, which is quite heartening.

Kanche/gotya/marbles

 Though this one doesn’t really qualify as a sport, it used to be widely played in India. It is said to improve players’ aim and their ability to concentrate. Also, collecting the marbles won from other players was considered a bonus (or the main attraction? 😛 )

Kite-flying

And finally, Kite-flying! Although this sport is believed to have originated in the Indian subcontinent, it is much more popular in other countries now. There are a handful of professional kite-flying tournaments in India, too (with lots of foreign participants), but at the local level, there’s hardly any soaring high!

 

If outdoor sports aren’t your favourite, there are several other indoor games too (that are going in to oblivion these days, of course): Spinning top (lattu), Indian Ludo (Pachisi/Dyut/Saripaat), Sagargote/ Gajge, Hide-n-seek (Lukka Chhipi), and so on.

All these games are extremely interesting, and it’s a pity hardly anybody plays them anymore. (Although I am glad that certain traditional sports such as Bull-fighting, Cock-fighting and Hunting have diminished!)

So, what made us turn a blind eye towards these sports/games? I suppose the advent of the originally colonial game of Cricket would be a common answer. But no, it is not just that – internet addiction, increased homework, and above all, unavailability of empty grounds to play are also important factors contributing towards the decline.

But think about this: none of these reasons are unavoidable, we can work around them. Especially as we always complain about how sedentary our lifestyles are; how addicted the younger generation is to the likes of Xbox, iPad, and the internet; and how even the snazziest of the gyms are always full, playing all or some of these games to alert our bodies and our minds can ease a lot of our complaints. And we will be happy for keeping our culture alive. 🙂

 

What do you readers think about this? Are you ready to say the real Kai Po Che sometime soon? Do let us know. 🙂

[All images courtesy: Wikipedia (1,2,3,4,5,6)]

My favorite romantic songs – Happy Valentine’s Day :)

Ahem! It is that time of the year again: Valentine’s Day, when love is supposed to be in the air! 😛 I am not a romantic person at all, but I am a big fan of Bollywood music. And Bollywood music makes romance really shine! 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

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 

Aur kabhi kabhi khamosh baithen, baahon ke sahare

Sooraj bujhana, saagar kinaare; aur raaton ko chaand ugaana…

This song symbolizes the dreams  and hopes of an ideal romance. Beautiful lyrics and the innocent romance, coupled with a peppy tune make this song really special. The video is cool, too – as it features Milind Soman, of course!

Other songs in this movie (Rules… Pyar ka Superhit Formula) are also really romantic… Chhodo na mujhe yun bekaraar saa and Uljhanon ko de diya hai are exceptional!    

3. Heer

How can a list of romantic songs be complete without a Yash Chopra number? He has given us several beautiful lovey-dovey songs, but I chose this one purely for its haunting music. It is so melodiously romantic! I can’t quite understand the Punjabi lyrics, though 🙂

4. Humko sirf tumse pyar hai

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. 🙂 😛

5. Ishq ki Daastan 

This world has forever been 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, brilliant singing!

6. Saawan Barse Tarse Dil

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. The best part is, a rain song can portray several moods of romance: playfulness, seduction, flirtation, bliss – you name it and the rains do it for you! 🙂

7. Accha ji mai haari

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 

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

A combination of A R Rehman’s tune, Gulzaar ji’s lyrics, the choreography,  Adnan Sami’s husky voice, and Rani Mukerji and Vivek Oberoi’s performances 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 

This list, of course, wouldn’t have been complete without this mother of all romantic songs – need I say more? 🙂

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So which is your most favorite romantic song (from this list or otherwise)? Do take this poll or leave a comment and let me know! 🙂

Until next time, take care and wish you a very happy Valentine’s day! 🙂

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!

Happy New Year 2013!

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. 😛 So here’s a list of my resolutions for the year 2013.

1) 😀 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! 😛 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!

I so love The Hindu ads! TOI – are you listening?

I have been reading The Times of India ever since I was a child. In fact, back then, it was considered imperative to read the TOI to improve your English. I lived in Goa, and all we had access to was the Mumbai edition of TOI which hit the stands in Goa only in the afternoons, which meant that the newspaper delivery guy delivered the TOI a day late.  Yet, we unfailingly read the day-old newspaper everyday. Later, my parents also began paying the newspaper delivery guy, who lived right next to our house, to deliver the newspaper to us on his way back home.  Our school teachers used to encourage us to go beyond the front page and sports pages of the newspaper, and to explore the editorial page, and understand the different views expressed there.

Now what is the connection between the title of this post and the first paragraph, you ask? Well, you’ll soon find out… But before that, take a look at today’s web TOI:

Web TOI - look at the highlighted parts.

This is the page showing today’s top news!  Start from the left panel – “Twitter’s censor move with eye on China“. Really? “Eye on China”? Is that a legitimate phrase in English, or is it just the translation of the Marathi  “चीन वर डोळा”? The last I had heard, “keeping an eye on someone” meant watching over them lest they do something they aren’t supposed to. Aren’t they instead supposed to write “Twitter’s censor move eyes China“?  Of course the sentence still makes little sense to me, but at least it is English! (Do correct me if I am wrong though.)

Let’s move on to the right – top. Madhuri gives some advise to SRK – and yes the national adviser’s words are almost never printed on the home page, but this – oh how can they miss printing this!

Just dip a little lower (pun intended) and slightly to the left. You will see “Katharina’s raunchy act“! Yeah sure, so what if they get the spelling wrong, so what if they use provocative words – they are giving the readers some hot news! And below that, some more “Other Stories” that basically tell the same tale… They are not a national pioneering newspaper, but a glossy gossip magazine…

You may have noticed that I have pasted the screen shot of only half of the home page – the bottom half had several such pieces of news and pictures that wouldn’t suit my sensibilities and those of this blog.

Anyway, the point is, I once looked up to this newspaper, and now, I can barely look at it without feeling annoyed – what with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and racial glitches (replacing the phrase ” South Indian” with “Southie”? – What is that!) that make me want to appeal to them, that if they can’t afford paying a proof reader, I would love to volunteer to do it for them! And I don’t even want to get started on the kind of hot news (read Bollywood gossip, Page 3 trivia on most pages, and so on) they publish! This is why, when they released an advertisement with soft intonations insulting the newspaper The Hindu (you can find it here ), I was mildly irritated. But The Hindu came up with their response – three even more fiery, in-your-face advertisement clips, which were fascinatingly accurate and bang-on target!

Here are the links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmXPBp7DpQw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Eb-waHx-00&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8_pqFRxk6A&feature=related

Now, I don’t know how effective these ads are, but I do hope they make the TOI people see some sense, and give us back the newspaper we loved so much a few years ago!