September 22, 2010

3 couples, 5 nationalities - First hand experience of Multi Cultural Singapore

Born off a keralite father who was first generation singaporean and a Philipino mother,he married a beautiful Thai lady whom he met at his workplace. His sister recently married a Sinhalese (Sri-Lankan).

The host, a Singaporean Chinese free thinker converted Christian, married a gorgeous Indonesian lady. They met while graduating in Australia.

We, belonging to the same country and state and religion and caste and sub-caste were introduced by our parents. Though we found our story quite mundane after hearing theirs, this part of the world was quite interested in understanding how the arranged marriages actually happen !
- Bio-data ! What do you write there ?
- Do you get to see each others photos ?
- Do you get to meet each other before marriage ?
- Do you have an option to say 'No' after meeting ?

Hope we were able to change the concept of arranged marriages more to be like western dating where your parents play the role of dating agencies ;-)

August 17, 2010

Scared wit !

In a flick of a second I have so many thoughts - I am losing it really, I am getting mechanical here, I should do some puzzles or sudoku to keep my brain working. How could it happen again !

I know that I have a tendency of boarding wrong trains or getting off at wrong stops but this time I had been very careful. Today, I remembered that I had to take the train in opposite side of my I carefuly suppressed my involuntary movement towards the home bound train. Then I studied that of the two, which train should I board,decided on one, re-checked and boarded.

After a while I realized it was announcing (and even blinking on the map), the next station to be the homebound one !

It wasn't the fear of going in the wrong direction (it's no big deal ..I could have gotten down anywhere and taken the train from opposite platform !) but the fear of what could be wrong with me. I am aghast ! I cannot believe this was happening !

I got down as soon as the train stopped, saw around and suddenly - it was my moment of deja vu! I heaved a sigh of relief...It's not 'demnetia' after all ! I am exactly where I intended to be......glitches do happen here too ;-) (though it was the first one in my 8 months of extensive usage of public transport here)

Wait...could it be that the announcement was a figment of my imagination ! Did someone plant it in my mind ! Uhh....C'mon...I haven't even watched 'Inception' yet !

August 04, 2010

Movie watching in Gurgaon: 10 years back

Once upon a time in Gurgaon...there were no swanky malls and no multiplexes. We did not own a mobile nor a computer ! There were only some pathetic cinema halls called 'Jai' and 'Paras' which did not even advertise the movies playing !
Motivated by urge of seeing a movie and too lazy to go to Delhi...My friend Ms EA called a 'restaraunt'(Yes you heard that right):

EA: Are you from Santushti ?
S: Yes mam
EA: Is there a cinema hall called Jai nearby
S: Yes mam
EA: can you tell which movie is playing there
S: Mam...chori chori chupke chupke
EA: Oh when did this one release...who is the cast ?
S: Ummm mam... salman khan..preity zinta
EA: what time is the next show
S: mam 3:30
EA: Oh it is already there a long queau at the ticket window ?
S: umm Mam...may I know who are you ?
EA: How dare you ask me does this matter to you...if you don't want to give any info then you say so ! BANG !!!

EA to me.... C'mon run ..the show starts in 10 min..let's catch a rickshaw fast.
This was 10 years back !

 Today: Tap iphone app or open site...choose movie, date, time and seats, pay. Wait for the movie day.
I let you chose which one is FUN ?

July 10, 2010

Being Vegetarian in Singapore


Eating is a passion in Singapore. If you meet someone who knows you are new here, sooner or later the question 'How do you find the food here?' is going to pop up.

Though, it was actually awkward for me because I am a vegetarian and cannot stand the numerous food courts here which smell of seafood, and I have to search for right words to mention that to a passionate Singaporean foodie !'s an island with no local agricultural produce..which does explain the eating habits ! 

Lunch time around office area looks like a carnival and you will be greeted with empty office chairs at the strike of 12:00 !!

If the family is small they find it more economical to eat out daily rather than cooking at home. In fact, I hear that some do not prefer renting their house to Indians 'cause they know that our likes will be doing extensive cooking (and rightly so !)
It isn't too easy to find vegetarian eateries anywhere and everywhere except for Little India which has all the indian vegetarian restaurants.

I remember in our first month in SG, we had gone shopping and as lunch time approached we roamed for 30 minutes through the mall trying to find something to eat for lunch. The very few places where we could find something vegetarian, cooked it in the same oil and with same cutlery that they used for non-vegetarian food...!

Finally, exhausted and possibly a little angry at everything in general and nothing in particular, we bought a few chips and juice from 7-11 and had our so called lunch at one of the benches in total silence :-) ..converting dollars to rupees and dreaming of Haldiram's ...!!!

That was then....we are better informed and know how to be better prepared now !

Nothing beats gathering knowledge from people's experience and that's how I found out (and have a long way to go, being still very new here) few good vegetarian places and chains which serve palpable veg food.

HungryGoWhere for Singapore and HappyCow for globetrotters can also come in handy at times when you cannot use your acquaintances as if they were food guides :-)

I might try to keep a track of some of them here for my reference and experience recall purpose !

June 30, 2010

1984 - George Orwell

After a long lull, finished reading three very different (from each other !) books. Guess the long gap was due to a) not able to decide what to read b) I like to read only when on the move and my travel time in the crowded metro was only 20 minutes. But then I began feeling very fidgety and depressed at not having read anything for a long time I just started off and in the process experienced what 20 + 20 minutes each day could mean !

Someone has rightly said - Don't do nothing because you can do only little !


What luck ! Under that am-depressed-as-have-not-read-anything mode, I picked up 1984 by George Orwell.

It's a scary book if you imagine yourself in the world of 1984. A world where there can be no friends, where you cannot trust even your children, where you are being watched 24*7 by Big Brother and his men, where even 'thought crimes' are tracked and can leave you begging for mercy if you commit one.

There are no memories as the past is being constantly changed according to the present !! The dictionary being constantly modified to reduce the words so that people have lesser vocabulary to think and express themselves.

Then there is Room 101 where your worst fears come true ! ..on reading that part, my first thought was that Thank God my house number is 102 and not 101...else I would have had nightmares for a few days !

The book is basically a satire on a totalitarian society..where a group tries to tightly control everything for the society. And if you come to think of it, it is not entirely impossible. In fact ! it does exist in certain parts of the world in some form.

I can already experience in Singapore, how things are controlled...the gov.  controls the number of cars by auctioning a quota for it. There is a well defined fine/punishment for almost everything - from not using flush in public toilet to drugs ! To get over the difficulty of removing littered chewing gums,  a total ban on it's consumption was imposed...If you are found littering you will be subjected to public shame by having to wear a bright jacket of corrective action and cleaning a public place while local media will be invited to cover the event and you will not be spared on account of being a foreigner :-)

Well..all is OK till you are on the right side of the law....and I am not complaining here at all, as all this has made Singapore one of the cleanest and safest place in the world. But probably if I were a citizen here, I might have felt a little stifled sometimes at so many dos and donts!

Not to forget the Taliban, the secrective N Korea and what is happening to Google in China !

The book is still relevant even after six decades, though it goes on the extreme. It gives you food for thought and though the book was depressing (but very very interseting), it did make me stop cribbing (for a while ;-) and feel lucky and thankful to be where I am !

The famous Big Brother show (which Shilpa Shetty won and on which our desi Big Boss is based !) takes it's name and concept from this book.

June 20, 2010

Movies (1)


I intended to pen brief thoughts on movies watched recently with a little background on the library system here ...but I got carried away and wrote quite a lot on that topic continuing with the original intentions...

1. The Full Monty (Not Bad)
A very warm story of how a few unemployed, very average looking guyz decide to perform a one time striptease for quick money.For a little drama ..they went overboard and claimed to go full monty...What follows is how they overcome their fears to perform the final act...! Quite a good play of emotions between a couple and a father and son with some very funny moments (like the encounter with cops was hilarious !)!

2. Stepmom (Nice Watch)
Julia Roberts is not beautiful in the traditional sense but there is something about her that just lights up the screen. Very interesting to watch how the mom and the stepmom (Julia) treat the kids lovingly but in their very own different ways....some moments being very emotional...a scene where Julia says that she is worried that the daughter will grow up and on her wedding day will be thinking of how great it would have been if her mom was here and the mom is worried that she will not ! The Christmas presents from mom to her kids were beautiful ......and emotional.....but in the end I couldn't quite understand what was the point of discord between the man and his first wife and could understand that life really is a total mess when you start looking for love out of marriage especially when there are kids involved...the biggest victims of this are the kids !

3. Life or something like it (Don't tell me I didn't warn you)
Quite boring actually, even though it stars Angelina Jolie ! The pace of the movie is extremely slow and very predictable.
Our very own 'Dasvidaniya' is a great watch in this respect (though the comparison with this movie may not be correct but worth a mention here). Also it is interesting to note how the story and direction of the movie can make a difference where a movie with AJ do not appeal while you may want to see a movie with Vinay Pathak and no female lead more than once !

4. Miss Pettigrew lived for a day (Drama, May Be)
It's like an english drama...the British style of dialogues, slow paced...predictable....but a very watchable one....due to some misunderstandings a nanny lands up as a high profile secretary for a day and does fix things up... ! nothing too great and nothing bad either !

5. अतिथि तुम कब जाओगे ! (Laugh Riot but please don't use brains)
Pranav kept asking us 'kitne aadmi the (कितने आदमी थे )' for many days after the a stage that we became as bored as the man was in the movie :-)

6. PS I love you (Romantic, Must watch)
Must watch ! Felt like kicking myself why I never heard of Gerard Butler before....amazingly handsome man I have seen in some time.....still not sure if it was the character or the man himself. But when I mentioned it to a friend who is an ardent follower of Hollywood movies...she said 'Welcome to the gang !' the man must be handsome...!!! He is Scottish, by the way, and not American !
No idea why the movie is termed as romantic comedy...

7. How to train your dragon (Animation, May Be)
We watched the 3D version...needless to say that the Pixar animation and effects and detailing were simply great....but somehow the story did not quite click me....though Pranav had a good time watching the dragons. 

8. October Sky (Inspirational, Don't Miss It)
 I am generally a little hesitant to see a movie or read a book which is termed as inspirational per se. This movie was recommended by my brother Nishant. So I picked it up from library and it just sat in my home for close to two weeks. Finally having nothing better to do on a weekend we started watching it....and what a movie it was ! It is based on a true story. The life in mines, finding an aim ...a calling in life, the passion, the gang of friends, the drama....the almost losing it ...the winning was all engagingly woven together...

June 16, 2010

Library System

You hardly get to see many hollywood movies in India unless you are the sort who will buy each and every expensive DVD for one time watch or you watch movies from internet (something that we did try but couldn't enjoy). Same goes with books to a large extent!

Something I really really miss in India is availability of good public libraries.

I was a member of the British Library in Delhi but that too did not have a good collection (collection was majorly British)  though the kids books and CD collection was great. It also did not have any facility for maintaining individual account, online. There being only one branch in central Delhi and the family membership costing 3500/- per year were big deterrents for most.

Earlier we had tried a site called cinesprite which was something like netflix of US and for some months we enjoyed good quality DVDs being delivered at our home...when suddenly the company closed down and we lost all our advance payment !

I first experienced the concept of  centralised public libraries in London. I could not make very good use of it though, as the library timings were something like 10 to 5 (Sunday closed !) and with hectic office life it wasn't very viable for me.

Singapore has even better setup. A foreigner can become member in any library by paying around 45 SGD a year (for PRs and citizens it is almost free). With this, one has access to all national, public and community  libraries. They are open till 9 or 10 in the night (even on Sundays), with many having 24 hour book drops. Even if you are not a member you can walk in and read inside the premises.
I recently reserved a book, at a nominal cost and got it delivered to the library of my choice. I was informed once the book was available and was given ample time frame to collect it.
You can maintain your library account online, can drop your personal used books in library, can participate in book exchange programmes, buy books at a bargain during library books sale or be a volunteer in library. I could go on....but these are not new or great ideas...just some practical things which any good library should have....but never experienced them even in the capital of India !

If someone in India thinks of it as an enterpreneur option or it is gov. led, there may be a good business case. I know a lot of people who will really be interested in being members of good and accessible library system even if it costs a little.
I remember, around 7 years back, there was a book wala in my neighbourhood who had a good collection of magazines and books available on rent. Not sure, but I think he charged something like 10 Rs per day for novels. I read the first 6 Harry Potter books from him...even if I finish them in 7 days each (though Harry Potter fans would know that they are unputdownable and you are bound to finish them in max 3-4 days)... I still spend 420 instead of 4800 (if 420 seems to be big amount for paying in rent ...see it relative to spending 4800 or not reading at all !)

On the other hand I also know people who do not like the idea of reading a book which has exchanged many hands. e-book reader might be a good option for them to some extent. for me.. I do like to buy books, but not all are collectibles and worth the money and space !
I am not well informed about the dynamics in India...but would be great to see a centralised library system coming up in India ! Till then, as Bertram Wooster would say - Right Ho !

May 20, 2010

Deep Purple

Happened ('Happened' here means - booked 4 months in advance !) to be at the Singapore indoor stadium to experience Deep Purple - the english rock band - Live !

The stage seemed great with smoky lights and all the instruments. The stadium was huge and the crowd big, ranging from teenagers to 60+

The decibels were deafening.
 I am no fan of rock music and had not heard any of deep purple songs ..not even 'smoke on the rain' and the live experience did not help in enhancing my love for rock !
But, it was amazing to see the energy levels of the band members who were on an average 60+ ! They performed non stop for 2 hours.

Best part was the solo performances and the very cute dance steps of Ian Gillan.

Obviously, they ended with their most popular song - 'smoke on the rain' and as we came out it was actually drizzling and the night had a smoky feel !

We boarded the newly opened circle (yellow) line for the first time and changed the maximum number of times... yellow to red at Dhoby Ghaut, to green at Outram Park and finally to bus at Dover.

Will add photos later !

May 13, 2010

Sentosa - Underwater World

Just a few months after I joined my first job, I was asked to fly to Singapore in 2 days time. Not having any experience of work, not knowing what I was expected to do at the client location in SG and afraid that I will probably make a fool of myself, feeling 2 days was an extremely short time to plan for the first overseas trip, I refused to go.

Well ! My loss was somebody else's gain and later it seemed that the whole project team was going to Singapore. One and all talked about their trip to SENTOSA when they came back to India. I had heard the name so many times from team mates yet I hardly knew what the place was like except it being an island near Singapore.

Finally, after close to a decade, I visited Sentosa.

Sentosa is south of Singapore and from the Harbour Front station one may take a bus/rail/cable car to reach Sentosa. We decided to take a cab and I sunk in the back seat -relaxing and looking forward to a long beautiful journey into the island, when suddenly in 10 minutes time I realized that we had already reached Sentosa. I never knew it was so near! It is actually only half a kilometer from the southern tip of SG.

Sentosa  means Peace and Tranquility in Malay. There is quite a history attached to it before it turned into the so called 'island resort' that it is today. It is interesting to know that the place has no residential establishment (except hotels) but has been developed solely for recreational purpose.

As soon as we entered the gates of Sentosa we could see the signature Orange buses plying here and there and a lot of construction was on for the upcoming Resorts World which features the Universal Studios theme park. Somehow, it felt like being in the Truman Show.

The Underwater world

We headed straight to the Underwater world and joined the queue for tickets. I suddenly saw a man with a big snake round his neck posing for a photo. A guy was renting snakes for $5 for photo and there was a small queue there too :-) Quite scary !

We watched with awe the amazingly colourful fishes...the clown fish seemed exactly like Nemo (remember 'Finding Nemo'!). There was a beautiful white fish with a small dash of yellow. Then there were extremely small deep purple ones which just found their way everywhere. At the same time it was quite disappointing to see so many fishes in a very small confined space.

We spent a long amount of time watching the jelly fishes...It seemed like watching a slow ballet. We waited there for the colour to change again and again ...I am at loss to describe it. Had to capture it in a video...but not able to upload here.

I spotted a travelator and hurried everyone on to it. We had spent a long time at the initial 2-3 attractions and I was worried that we will not have enough time for anything else. I was sure that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Kapil and I had been to the Scotland UW world or whatever it was called and it was so big that we could not see it fully as we had reached late.I also faintly remember the marine world of Mumbai which was huge as well.

So we jumped on the travelator, admired some more big and small fishes....some of them were sharks too but not as big as we were expecting, took a few photos and within no time we reached the end of travelator journey........ ummm so soon .... excuse me ......I am sure we are missing something.....I went up and down ...left and right to search for a turn that we had missed and which will lead us to more of the underwater world ! But there was none....I could not believe that this was all of it.

But wait ..there was the dolphin show and the sea lion show also included in the ticket. So we headed for the shows. They were not bad but not as good as the ones in the singapore zoo.

Overall, I felt it is quite a hyped attraction but may be good for someone who hasn't had a glimpse of the marine world before.

Next, we took the Sentosa bus for the next destination.........

May 01, 2010

The Singapore Zoo

Recently when we were trying to recollect some details of our itinerary etc from the past holiday trips....we could not recall as much as we would have liked to :-) So thought it might be a good idea to pen some thoughts on places visited so that we can refresh our memories later :-) But will keep it short and simple else will never be able to complete !

So starting with the Zoo !
Have never been too fond of zoos ! Somehow the word creates an image of sad looking lazy animals in confined and a little smelly spaces ! Having already visited the Delhi and Ahmadabad zoos (which we did enjoy to a certain extent but there was no deja vu feeling ! ) wasn't too keen on a trip to the Singapore zoo. But well, it is all so famous and then husband's company gave free passes and have a 4 year old so had no excuse for further delay !

So one fine Saturday (or was it sunday..see forgetting already :-) morning in Feb, we packed our lunch and camera and jumped into a cab and were inside the jungle in 20 minutes !

The stream of people there already created some excitement and Pranav wanted to sit on the cows statue at the entrance when we kept telling him there are some real animals inside.

To put it simply,I would have been a fool to miss this.We felt we were in a jungle. It was truly the zoological garden that all zoos should be. The animals seemed soooo near, you have to see it to believe it! it was as if they could jump out any time ! On a closer look there was enough security measures and planning like a transparent net and a deep valley separating the animals from us.

Though the spaces were confined, it was as if the animals were in their own habitat.The animals even seemed happy to pose for a photo :-)

We spent the whole day there and it is really difficult to pen what all I saw. Just mentioning few highlights.

Watching the Orangutans was amazing...the way they swing from one branch to other...Their hands are even longer than their body. Saw a happy family of three lovingly snuggling with each other. Would have liked to sit their and watch the activities for some time but had to move on!

Spent some time just sitting and watching the polar bears (mommy and son) swim graciously without resting. Reading the information and photos displayed since the baby polar bear was born in the zoo and how it's birthdays were celebrated and how it has grown and how the whole staff loves him took us into a different world.

The Giraffes looked huge and we were there at their feeding time. So fed some carrots to them. Love the photo of this lonely Giraffe.

We watched all three shows: Elephants at work, splash safari and the rainforest fights back. We were just strolling lazily for the first show when we were taken aback by the amount of people already gathered for the show and all seats taken :-) Pranav laughed and laughed when the sea lion splashed water on the audience ! All the shows were weaved very nicely and were quite interactive though only 15-20 minutes long.

Saw such big a tortoise for the first time...looked centuries old..and looked as if he was smiling while eating away the leaves !

The comodo dragon looked deadly and all the information written about it was quite scary !

There was also a big space for all sorts of vegetable and spices plants and we loved it.

By evening, we were dead tired. A lot of walking coupled with the humid weather doesn't make it too easy. I would like to go again and spend more time just sitting and looking at the activities of animals and read the whole bunch of very interesting information at display again.

Well, it was quite nice and all but don't know how much it could impress Pranav because when we ask him about his favourite animal, he still answers 'DONKEY' with full confidence as earlier to the visit and is not ready to budge even after some coaxing! On asking why.. he says 'because I like his 'Dhen chu Dhen Chu'. Had no option but to leave it there with a smile...after all kids will be kids and it's amazing to see them happy in their own world !

April 23, 2010

Song on my mind

Very few songs in these times which has lyrics that you want to hear again and again ...
The song 'aaj din chadya' from the movie 'Love Aajkal' has amazing lyrics. It has also won the Filmfare award for best lyrics !

A part of it which is my current favourite :-)

माँगा जो मेरा है
जाता क्या तेरा है
मैंने कौनसी तुझ से जन्नत मांग ली

कैसा खुदा है तू
बस नाम का है तू
रब्बा...जो तेरी इतनी सी भी न चली

( lyrics by Irshad Kamil and sung by Rahet Fatah Ali Khan)

April 21, 2010

Two's Crowd

I am in a cab, zooming on the almost empty road in Singapore. Suddenly, there are 6-7 cars ahead of us. The driver slows down a little before gaining speed again, he feels a little sorry as if it is his fault and asks me: 'Mam, is Delhi more crowded than this ?'

I feel I have gone dumb. I am suddenly transported. I can hear the honking, I can see the never ending queue, I can feel the wait, I can feel the pride in knowing how to balance the ABC (accelerator, break and clutch) at best of ability in first gear, I can feel the bumper to bumper drive, I can see cabs, cars, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, scooters, bikes, cycles, pedestrians, trucks, cranes all side by side jostling to move ahead and I feel the exhiliriation of finally reaching home with only a little scratch on the car.

With a deep sigh, I reply - 'Yes'.

April 07, 2010

Shivering in Singapore

I had heard that Singapore has only three types of weather - hot , hot and hot ! Well, to be fair it does has some variation - It is amazing to experience bright sunshine, humidity, heavy rains with immense thundering and lightening and pleasant breeze in Singapore, all in the span of a single day.

But as I shivered inside the public transport, I realized that Singapore also has something for which I was not prepared. Yes, Singapore is notoriously cold if you happen to be in bus, malls, cinema or office. I thought probably something was wrong only with me until I read many complaints in the newspaper about it and came across a mention on this even in Lonely Planet.

No idea why everyone wants to keep the air cons as if they are expecting polar bears !

But I am happy that my Delhi stock of stoles and my son's stock of sweat shirts will not go waste after all :-)

March 28, 2010

Play of Words

Preloved - recently came through this usage as a polite way of saying second hand.

I really liked it and the play of words does make such a difference !!

March 22, 2010

The Notice !!

One fine evening, we find a notice slipped under our door. On first glance it seems like someone had parked the cycle somewhere it shouldn't have been......on a closer look the picture seems familiar..Yes !!!..Pranav has exactly the same cycle...Wow ! Closer look reveals that the shoe rack beside the cycle also look like I am interested to read it fully !
Oops !!! the notice is actually directed to us meant to tell that we should not park the cycle outside our house so as to enable the maintenance person to do his cleaning job properly. Phew !!! a formal notice with photo..... for this !! Quite good use of the candid camera !! 

We are thanking our stars that they did not put this notice on the common notice board :-)

In India ..someone would have just pressed the doorbell (irrespective of the time of day and only if someone had bothered about having difficulty in cleaning !).....Here, we read the notice twice just to make sure that they were not levying any fine on us ...(By now we know that Singapore is a FINE place !! )

Well ! on one hand we were happy that the apartment is in good hands but we have also got suspicious whether they were cleaning the area outside our house for the first time in 2.5 months :-D (the cycle has been proudly parked at the same place since we shifted 2.5 months back !).
As soon as Pranav and his Nani came home after playing downstairs, he hurried to get the cycle inside the house (having already seen the photo and being explained by Nani what the notice meant). We are still deciding on a place to park inside the house :-) Currently it is adding charm to the drawing room decor !

Mera Wala Pink !

Shot with Cannon 500D at the Taman Rama Rama (Butterfly Park in Malay) in Kuala Lampur on 16-Feb-10

March 18, 2010

Holi 2010


We were invited to a week late Holi celebrations organized by Marwari mitra mandal in Singapore. 

Holi is generally celebrated in the neighbourhood with family and friends, so we felt a little awkward at the thought of formally going to a place to play holi with strangers. Still, we decided to go thinking at least Pranav will enjoy with his pichkari. When we reached the venue in Katong we were surprised to hear bollywood songs blaring and large crowd already immersed in colours.

As usual, Pranav cried whenever someone put colour on him but started to enjoy when everybody else was done. There were stalls with several Indian delights and we relished the Jalebis and dahi badas and samosas and aloo-poori (that too without onlion and garlic !)

Now....after being drenched in water and colours, we realized that we hadn't brought any change of clothes..oops !. We did not want everyone to stare at us in public transport so we tried stopping a cab, fearing that he might refuse to take us in....but thankfully he got us in and was quite interested in knowing about the festival, why it is celebrated ,what kind of colours were used , how these colours were made etc. Generally, the cab drivers are very friendly and often try to strike a conversation. 

At home, after having a wash we realized (too much of realizations today !) that the colours didn't come off fully and we all had to field questions in office/school the next day on why we were looking so 'pink'. Kapil still has pink toe nails and cannot step out of house without socks :-))

In all a great experience !!

March 03, 2010

No Brainer !

We recently got to know about a Painting hobby class in our neighborhood community center and thought of checking it out for Pranav. When we enquired at the reception he told us that a class is currently running and we can have a look. Expecting many children in there and with no intention of disturbing them, we opened the class door slowly.

Two small children and a teacher greeted us. We were little disappointed (seeing so less strength) and somewhat happy (that our child will get individual attention). Anyways, we talked to the teacher and assured her that Pranav will join in from next week (which Pranav out rightly rejected).

Back at the reception, this conversation follows:

Reception: Classes are run in 6 batches and we take full amount in advance. You have already missed 2 classes.
We:  So can we pay for 4 classes and join ?
R:  No
We: So can Pranav attend 4 classes now and 2 more classes afterwards ?
R: No

We: Well, then we would not like to pay for 6 classes and attend only 4.

Wow....that was a No Brainer !!! Why were we even trying to rake our brains for options !

February 28, 2010

Need Ka Nirmaan


Photo taken in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (Dec 2008)

नीड का निर्माण फिर फिर
नेह का आव्हान फिर फिर
यह उठी आँधी कि नभ में
छा गया सहसा अँधेरा
धूलि धूसर बादलों ने
भूमि को इस भाँती घेरा
रात सा दिन हो गया
फिर रात आई और काली
लग रहा था अब न होगा
इस निशा का फिर सवेरा
रात के उत्पात भय से
भीत जन जन भीत कण कण
किंतु प्राची से उषा की
मोहिनी मुस्कान फिर फिर
नीड का निर्माण फिर फिर
नेह का आव्हान फिर फिर

              क्रुद्ध नभ के वज्र दंतों में
              उषा है मुसकराती
              घोर गर्जनमय गगन के
              कंठ में खग पंक्ति गाती
              एक चिडिया चोंच में तिनका लिए
              जो जा रही है
              वह सहज में ही पवन
              उनचास को नीचा दिखा रही है
              नाश के दुःख से कभी
             दबता नहीं निर्माण का सुख
             प्रलय की निस्तब्धता में
             सृष्टि का नवगान फिर फिर
             नीड का निर्माण फिर फिर
             नेह का आव्हान फिर फिर

                  - हरिवंश राय बच्चन 

February 27, 2010


Recently, while traveling in the metro, I saw someone engrossed in what seemed like an e-reader.

As I love reading, I just got thinking about it. E-reader might actually be a great idea as I generally do my reading on the go.
What makes it tempting for me ? 

- Will not have to pre-decide which book I want to carry  for reading while travelling. 

- The size/weight  of the book will not be a limiting factor 

- may not need time for regular visits to public library, being a member of    e-library 

- I may save space the book shelf space in house :-)

Having said that, I love to turn my pages, I love to use a bookmark, I love the feel of a book at my bedside, I love my visits to the library . In short, I love to feel my books. (How much reading am I able to actually do is a different story)

So the question here is to be or not to be!

Current thoughts are - though it seems to be a very convenient and tempting idea, I will keep my books for now. But I am sure it is going to catch up very soon and I will have to re-think.

It is a phase akin to when digital cameras were picking up. I had same thoughts - "I love to feel my photos". And look at the scene now !
I still miss the feel of the print,the pride in knowing how to fit a camera roll, the long wait before a roll is complete, the excitement before having the first look at the prints and the time set aside to file photos carefully in album !

But it is no longer a practical option ! When we shifted to Singapore, all my digital photos came with me while I had to leave behind the albums.

Coming back to e-reader - as an Article in 'The Economist' puts it :
"Rather than being a thriller that grabs you from the first sentence,the tale of the rise of electronic books (e-books) is more like a novel that takes a while to get into its stride. If you saw an e-book device for the first time in 2008 and first played with one in 2009, perhaps you will buy one in 2010."

I am already thinking if I will have to wait till 2012 to buy one ! Time will tell !

February 25, 2010


वृक्ष हो भले घने, 
हो घने हो बड़े, 
एक पट छाव की,
मांग मत,मांग मत,मांग मत,
अग्निपथ अग्निपथ अग्निपथ.

तू न थकेगा कभी,
तू न थमेगा कभी, 
तू न मुड़ेगा कभी,
कर शपथ, कर शपथ, कर  शपथ,
अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ.

                          ये महान दृश्य है,
                          चल रहा मनुष्य है,
                          अश्रु स्वेद रक्त से,
                          लथपथ, लथपथ, लथपथ,
                          अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ, अग्निपथ.
                              हरिवंश राय बच्चन 

February 18, 2010

Innovative Advertising

Do you get the point ? Well, I did not at the first look. In fact when I saw several such papers stuck on one of the wall near the Clementi bus stop in Singapore, I was little surprised at the upheaval look of so many seemingly torn off papers !

If you take a closer look, it is an advertisement having strips of papers with the same contact number written on it. So, anyone interested can just pull off a strip on the go ! 

I found that quite an amazing and innovative idea !

Gong Xi Fa Cai

There is something about festivals. You can feel it in the air!

Having just shifted to Singapore a month and half back, I invariably found myself picking up a Red Tee to wear on the eve of Chinese New Year.

When numerous red lanterns, big and small pots laden with several dozen oranges, beautiful red and golden decorative and lion dances suddenly start springing from nowhere, you know that Chinese New Year is round the corner ! 

Not to forget lots of unwanted stuff being put away as part of spring cleaning. In fact, inspired, we also threw some of our unwanted stuff !

Relatives give money in little red packets to the unmarried in family called Ang Pao (Hong Bao in Mandarin). It was funny reading articles in local papers on ways to deal with relatives who keep pestering the marriageable aged while giving them their ang paos. There are also articles on many couples not wanting girl child to be born in the coming year, lest they will grow up to be very aggressive as this is the year of Tiger.

It's quite like our Diwali - decorations, exchange of gifts, de-cluttering and family reunions!

We headed to Kuala Lumpur to spend our CNY holidays this year and so missed the D-Day festivities, fireworks and lion dances. May be next year, till then - Gong Xi Fa Cai (roughly means Congratulations and be Prosperous)!