Oye Santa Hoye Banta

This weekend saw us having a gala Christmas night...yeah a full week early; u c we believe in starting early......remember "The early bird catches the worm"....But this funda applies only when having fun :)

This Christmas was kinda my first! Now b4 u go bonkers wondering what I was doing till the ripe old age of 26 lemme clarify.....this was the first of its kind that I celebrated in its true style...complete with our own SantaClaus, Christmas Tree, Home brewed wine n home baked caked .........cool hey!!
The story goes like this.... The only 'couple Friends' who we have...yeah the same old Sabi-Binoy who keep popping in into every other blog of mine invited us over for a Christmas Night.The confusion over the venue - Our Place vs their place was on till last minute....But when Pappy decided that he is not budging out anywhere the venue was auto selected to 'their place' !!

We (i.e me n my hubbs) make our usual last minute entry loaded with gifts for all....N of course half of them weren't even gift wrapped....so much for our guest-o-sense!! N who else but santa (actually binoy in a Corny santa mask) arrives to open the door and what a entry it was!! Beautiful carols playing in background n a fully decked up christmas tree!! (which has been duly hijacked to my place after the party :-p)

The party started over glass of rum(U c the home brewed wine was a super duper flop....but well Rum comes close) n Bacradi Breezer (No rum for me)!Then came the most exciting part.....Opening of gifts! But hey wait, where is the Santa to distribute the gifts........so over a round of 'Chits' Binoy is the chosen one to play Santa!!! N what a 'Santa' he made......The Santa Cap was a white 'chunni' made into a turban, The red white coat was a red Chikan Work Salwar kameez....ha ha ha we had a perfect 'Desi Santa'(Name courtesy Pravin :) ) N not to forget the pillow stuffed over his tummy which made him look '9 months pregnant'...ho ho ho!!!!N the came the gift distribution (much awaited by me).......n what a gift galore it was!! Personalized coffee mug, Personalized candle stand (Inspired by me :) ), cutest Santa caps, CDs, Jeanie pants........

Then came a dancing session n what a performance it was.... Mummy N pappy, Me n Pappy, Me N Sabi, Pappy N Pravin, Pappy N Binoy n of course the best of ll Sabi....Just went onto prove that there are more left leggers to gimme company !
The party ended with the drunken group wailing out 'Carols' (yeah 'wailing is the word) ......actually English poems (rolling of eyes)...u c we have 'English literate' group out here.......Thnx Sabi-Binoy 4 everything n making it a memmorable day 4 me!!!!

Not to forget another imp milestone of the day......I got my first bouquet from my hubbs ....yeah after 2 good years of meeting!!!! The last I got was a plastic flower (I know,,,, even I was like aa plastic flower huh ..... @#$#$%$%^ ) ....but then in his usual amicable style he comes up with a one liner..... "My love for u will last till this flower fades away"!

Ha on this happy note I sign off and bade good bye to 2008!! Happy X-Mas and a gr8 New year to all of u!!!

Book Review: Hover Car Racer

As mentioned in my previous blog my current fav writer is the handsome Matthew Reiiley ......Notice the two 'T''s in 'Matthew' in contrast with the more common 'mathew'.....something to do with getting lucky with numerology he?? Ha keeping my stupid observations aside the latest of his books that I finished reading ....yeah, finished it a min back sitting in the comfort of my desk @ office....come on yaar, sab kooch chaltha he...afterall its a Friday....TGIF!!!!!

The reason for writing this blog - apart from the fact that am jobless- is the story line of the book! All the books of Matthew Railley are all in some way or the other linked to archeology and each a thriller and a must read.But "Hover Car Racer" is pleasantly different......A completely new story line on 'Racing with Hover Cars'....whoa that's a big shift from Archeology to Car Racing and once again full credit to Matheew's Railley...... Homework perfectly done and a seamless story line!!! Read more about Hover Cars at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hovercar.
Back to the book, it revolves around this young boy in a small desert in Australia who dreams to make it big in the world of Hover Car racing! As in his other books, the hero here is a genuinely nice person with no malice n how despite all kinds of pitfalls he makes it! The story is set in future - but the only futuristic thing about it is the technology. The liberal references and the perfect amalgam of all sports is so perfect that even somebody like me -who is completely ignorant of Car Racing -enjoyed the book thoroughly! Trust me there are a few literal 'Nail Biting' episodes here....... Another must read from Mathew Railley! The boojk makes u believe once again in the old saying "World does conspire to give u wht u desire"!
A few interesting anecdotes here.......
  1. Seen the bollywood movie 'Ta ra rum pum' where Saif Ali khan is a car racer (ala our hero in 'Hover Car Racer') and a super duper one at that...well can our bollywood heros be anything but that? Everything goes fine till he meets with a nasty accident (a setup by his competitor) and then his confidence, finance, family everything hits a all time low till in again a typical bollywood isshtyle he regains his past glory!! As you may have already guessed there is a similar episode in this book too but minus all Indian senti values ! Ofcourse am not trying to suggest any pirated lifts here......cause if u try putting together the books\movies from where our bollywood directors take their 'inspirations' ,the list will be endless!!!
  2. The other interesting similarity I figured out is the subtle similarity between 'Hover Car Racer' and 'Harry Potter'! Doesnt the team of Jason, Bug and Sally (the characters of our book) remind you of Harry Potter, Ron and Hermonie!!! Well must be again my imagination working over time.........
So now its time for me to ctrl + alt +del (for all non techies there - it means locking the comp) and say "ta-ta"," bye-bye", "Happy Weekend". BTW this weekend- what with this cold, gloomy weather-seems a perfect time to curl up with a book and for those of you who havent read Matthew Reiiley I would for sure suggest a dose of it!

Kajra re Kajra re......

Ha this blog has nothing to do with any flimi songs!! It is rather a dedication to my fav kohl "Shahnaz Hussain Kajal"...rather deceptive title he!!

An Indian girl's tryst with kohl\Kajal begins almost as she is born......all kids(gender no bar) in their infant days have kajal smeared all over them....yeah not restricted to just eyes.....it spreads over to eyebrows, cheeks, chin, palms of hands n legs...ha ha almost no part is spared he!! Even I was no exception.....those who have been lucky enuf to c my childhood pics can vouch 4 it! A point to mention here is in good old days I am told that u don't pick up the kohl\kajal from a shelf in the next door shop but was supposedly home made!!

So back to me...from this cute 'Maamati kuttiyamma' (an Malayalam child actress whose dress n hair cut were the in-thing in early 80's .....couldnt get a pic of hers) look i go onto become this lanky, tall awkward looking child-teenager-young lady! The last thing that would be on my mind is dressing up...was more of those stupid nerd kinds!! Thankfully all changed when I landed up in a job....started getting more 'beauty conscious'!!But no luck with kaajal....In no time would it smudge all over my face giving me a ghastly look :( N how can your shringaar be complete minus the kaajal!. The condition worsens after marriage what with u being expected to be the pretty bride n to add to the horrors was my always perfectly turned up MIL (sob sob)!!

During this time I happen to be in London and my SIL introduces me to Shahnaz Hussain Kajal......For once here is a kaajal which doesnt smudge!! Guess its more to do with the packing.....its packed like your regular lipstick.....turn the tube and there pops out the kaajal making it v convenient to apply!! N now is the big hunt to find it....My SIL tells me that this pack is bought a year back n on her subsequent trips to India hadnt found a similar pack and even wondered why they stopped producing it......at that moment my heart shattered! I had even devised plans to planned to steal it (of course my SIL did offer it to me but me being my humble self had refused it :( )!!
N then after few months back am in Shahnaz Hussain beauty parlour (in Raheja Arcade, B'lore) n guess what I c peeping out of their shelves!! Yeah gal (am sure no boys will ever read this) u got it...it was Shahnaz Hussain Kajal!!!! I triple checked with the sales girl there n she was lamost at her wits end!! I did everything short of Tappan Kutti (Teen Maar) and since then Shahnaz Hussain Kajal has been a regular in my daily routine!!!!
So the next time you waana do a a "Kajra Re Kajra Re" (Kohl-Lined Eyes) use Shahnaz Hussain Kajal !!!

Jab we met...part 2

Read part 1 of the story before reading this post

The part 1 of the story ends at the point where the lucky boy arrives for a traditional 'girl seeing' ceremony! Well as all of u accustomed to these ceremonies might know, these are generally gloomy, sad event wherein everybody sits around with a grim face and the girl is paraded and a no.of stupid questions asked to judge her musical, culinary, artistic skills......! But well in our story there is a welcome change here.......

As soon as the girl (of course all decked up) walks in the guy treats her with a 10K watt smile and a 'hi' n the potential bride reciprocates it with no second thots ....n now this is in complete contrast to a shy bride...ha didn't I tell u our heroine is smart!! But of course the parents treat the girl with threatening glares as if to say 'Behave yourself' ! N after the tea n snacks are all eaten up somebody had the good sense to suggest that might be the hero n heroine should be given a chance to talk in private! N both of them jump up, grab up the chance n start talking away to glory!!

So what do u expect a gal n boy meeting up to decide whether they should spend rest of their life together to talk?? Might be some imp issues like future plans, career interest and so on. But well our hero n heroine decide to talk abt the fav hotels they know, their fav actors n actress, share notes about novels, movies, hobbies n all!! N the icing on the cake is after this IMPORTANT conversation they agree to marry each other (Mind u they make up their minds in a matter of 2-3 hours on basis of this flimsy conversation)!!!!!!!! Two years have passed since then and like a perfect fairy tale ending .....they live happily ever after.......

Liked the story??

Now Ladies and gentleman I take the pleasure to Introduce you to the young, dashing, handsome hero Pravin Menon(our hero) and his wife (the heroine) Meena Menon .....yeah thts meeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! N Nov 22(tomorrow) is the day we first met and said yes!! N that I believe is the best ever decision I made in my life ( Touch Wood)......

~~~``"Marriage is ever made by destiny."

Jab we met..Part 1

At the outset lemme clarify that this is nothing to do with the bollywood movie starring Kareena N shahid Kapoor Of course except the title.......Any resemblance found is purely co-incidental! This story is about the cutest couple in the world n how they met........

There lives a small happy family of father, mother with their two darling daughters. The story starts as their girl gets of the eligible age (read as marriageable age) and the parents start a groom hunting process n the girl being a dutiful daughter agrees to marry any boy selected by her parents....Ho yes! Girls like that still exist!!

N suddenly there is a drastic shift in the family activities..... The books subscribed are invariably the ones with (only) matrimonial ads, the websites browsed are only 'keralamatrimony.com', The first sheet to be read in the newspaper is 'Matrimonial Classifieds', the phone book is filled with contact details of eligible grooms\parents, the conversations with relatives\ friends always end up with this topic! This goes on for a year with no luck and then a astrologer is promptly consulted who after having a look at the girl's horoscope exclaims "Dosha Jaadagam' (I.e a horoscope with liberal spread of doshas) and draws out a big list of poojas to be performed!! So the girl is packed off to do all these parishkaarams (poojas to nullify your doshaas). The parents now go a step ahead and place a ad in paper advertising abt their daughter and inviting genuine proposals (Like she is a commodity!!)

Ha in all this drama don't forget the heroine of the story...yeah yeah the girl to be married thou she hardly seem to have any role here! Now now don't u for a minute jump to any conclusion that she is an old maiden whose sole purpose in life is get married, have kids n blah blah blah! Our heroine happens to be a smart, chirpy, beautiful confident software engineer!(Ho yeah, the story is very much set in 21st century thou few of u not accustomed to Indian traditions will find it a bit difficult to digest) . A imp point to be added here is that the girl does make a few valiant attempts to marry a person of her choice (ala love marriage) but well after a few utter flops the girl coyly agrees and leaves the choice to her parents!

Now back to matrimonial hunt, from the N no of proposals received (after all she is an 'eligible spinster') the parents do the first round of filtering followed by yet another round by astrologer and at last a lucky few are shortlisted! So one fine day one of the shortlisted canditates arrive for the traditional 'girl seeing' ceremony .....

To be continued here

A trip to Ooty..... na na Masinagudi... Day 1

In the last post I stopped as we reached Masinagudi........We reach Bamboo banks with no further adventure!! But ha ha hold on.......the entrance gate to this place is quite interesting....it kinda looks like the gate that one would traditionally see in security check posts- a bar which lies put horizontally n which a guard pulls up (kinda get the idea. C the pic 4 to ur left 4 a better idea.....well after all a pic is worth thousand words...so who asked me to describe the gate in first place hey??) But ha ha again as there seems to be nobody manning this gate...so how do we get in -horn, shout or jump the rod? Well that is when we read this notice on the rod-c the pic to ur right (no wasting efforts on a futile desc again)! So u pull the rope and lo n behold the gate opens!! Well there is no magic behind this....it turns out that the rope is attached to a bucket and as u pull it, the bucket gets filled with water (from a drum placed high on a Bamboo tree) and as bucket gets heavier it comes down pulling the gate up....got it?? No worries if u don't.......

Ok now lemme at this point tell u something abt Bamboo banks....As u must hv already figured out its this kinda cute place located almost in periphery of Madhumalai forest! Thou I know our friend Mr.Binoy Joseph doesn't agree with my description- as per him its like any other home in his hometown kottayam - But well dont u let him bother u much; for city breds like me this place is a big welcome break from concrete jungles! So back to Bamboo Banks - its run by a Parsi family - or rather by this Parsi gentleman in the pic. This man is a character in himself ..... The adjectives used to describe him varying from 'interesting' , 'Snooty' (Courtesy: Binoy again), 'Unpatriotic' (Courtesy: Sabi) !!
Back to Bamboo banks ,(ha ha how i keep deviating from the subject) the place is quite good with a few good rooms. (The cottage we lived in is in the pic)Check //bamboobanks.in/ for further details.Before setting out we did a thorough study (supposedly) and zeroed upon Bamboo banks after reading the rave reviews and of course the good deal we got there - 2000 bucks per days - not a princely amount considering its 4 people! But its a comp diff story that at the end of 4 days we end up paying like 25k - in contrast to the original budget of 10k (courtesy: our ignorant husbands who didn't bother to find out the food tariff ... @#$#$%#^)!

But well the food there is really yummy....n the service v prompt!
So after a yummy lunch and quick game of UNO we decide to visit the Murugan temple located on a hill top! Now before u roll ur eyes n say temple lemme clarify that more than any religious value this place is visited for its scenic beauty! The drive up to the hilltop is itself a mini-adventure.....All your Altos, Santros, I10's wont stand a chance......its only the good old jeeps that will ake u there (something to do with the four wheel drive I am told)! For most of the drive there is nothing like a pucca road n ur jeep is almost going nose deep....n once u reach top the song that comes to mind is "AAj mein oophar, Aasmaan Neeche"..........

After this adventure we return all pepped to bamboo banks n relax with a cup of hot tea, Whisky\Wine, snacks n a biggg dinner.........So thats day 1 for you...a perfect start to what a perfect holiday!

Walking down the memmory lane with daddy....One of my first memmories

Was casually browsing thru a few blogs by other bloggers n a post that really had me hooked was one where a girl recollects all her childhood memories (unfortunately I have lost the link of that blog)....n this inspired me to write a post of my own childhood days.....

Well I hardly remember anything till I am 5 or so thou a few of them are etched in my memory thanx to my cousins who still have a whale of time repeating it every time we meet up.....they(i.e. the stories n cousins) will be another post!

The first memory I have is of the time when I must have been like 3 or 4 years and in my kindergarten. N in those days it was my daddy who would do all my shopping (down to the smallest things...funny hey esp considering that it went on till I was in my late teens!!!). So daddy picks up this hair clip for me (do not really remember if it was he who bought it!) which resembles a flower (Blue\pink??) One fine day I get ready to school with this hair clip n all.....n as soon as daddy sees me in it, he exclaims "Ho! it looks so beautiful....almost like u have a real rose in your hair!!!" N thou now I think its silly but then I was so happy n thrilled (that I remember it to this day)........

In a way this incident encompasses my entire childhood as I remember it.....a v sweet n loving daddy who was always there for me like a pillar, who would play the fool to cheer me up, who would pamper me silly, who would support me despite all my mistakes, who patiently taught me math n to whom i owe my love for reading n writing, who would drink up my milk for me (to save me from mummy's wrath), who would get me chocolates everyday (even after i was all grown up n working), who would wait up for me till late in the nights (even on those days when I return from work at 2 or 3 in the night)...But as they say u do not realize the worth of a person till he is around!! N now when my daddy is gone, I miss him like mad...miss the warmth, comfort n the confidence that was always taken for granted!!! Love u daddy.........

A trip to Ooty..... na na Masinagudi.........

The travel freaks that I n my hubbs are , the itch of travelling keeps surfacing quite often (The catalyst in itching process being our new friends - 'Sabi N Binoy')! But considering the dire status of our bank accounts these travels have been restricted to weekend getaways....
The latest destination in our travel itinerary was Masingaudi (We were supposed to reach Ooty but landed up in Masingaudi) accompanied by yet another crazy couple...the same ones mentioned earlier in the blog! Masingaudi is a small hamlet in the Madhumalai forest range (More commonly known as 'Bandipur Forest Range' to bangalooru folks and as Veerapan's hideout to the rest... Madhumalai is the extension of the 'Bandipur' forest into Tamil Nadu state).

We hit the road early in morning - 6 is real early as per my standards; The first stop was for breakfast at Kamat....... A nice cosy place situated bang on the highway! The idlis there is unlike any I have had.......they are steamed in bannana leaf!! After this filling breakfast we hit the road in full speed till we reached the bandipur forest range.

As you enter the forest area u encounter all kind of sign boards "Do not Horn". "Silence Please", "No Photography". "Do not stop your vehicles in forest range", "Drive slowly. Wild Animals have right of way" ( But we being Indians hardly pay heed to them) and suddenly the entire mood becomes eerie as u keep your fingers crossed and hope some wild animals Cross your way!Well for starters we were lucky...beginners luck I guess!! We encounter an wild elephant trio....mother, father and the baby.......The baby so well sandwiched between the parents that until u look closely u don't even see it!!! Soon we cross over to the Tamil Nadu side of forest....where we had an (mis)adventure for keeps when we ladies decide to answer the call of nature by hiding ourselves behind this huge tree!!! I know its sounds scandalous....but kya kare control nahi hotha!!! Huh huh wait wait...the adventure isn't even started yet! We being the thankful souls that we are decide to get ourselves photographed in front of our saviour tree (proof is the pic to ur right)n suddenly in a fraction of second two people (in khaki) come running at us , snatch our camera n ask us to follow them!! Its only after few seconds do we realize that they were policemen and were taking us to Forest Range Police Station.....whaa whaaa :(. Our crime??? Remeber the sign boards I mentioned before..."No Photography", "Do not stop your vehicles in forest range"!!!!! Well luckily for us at that moment a senior officer lands there n in all tht hungama we are forgotten n are packed off with a stern warning!!

After all this excitement we at last reach Masingagudi ready for more .....Hey Masinagudi...here we come!!!!
To be continued.......

Book review: Anything for you ma'm

"Anything for yoy ma'm"...Happened to pick up this book from my colleague! Hadnt heard any review about this book till then (N considering tht even my hubbs hadnt hear of it -u c he is one hell of a reader- the expectation from the book was not really high! N well the book lived upto its expectation!!
The revolves around the love story of a IITian.... the obstacles faced by the hero to meet his girl is the theme of the story! The fiascos with proffesors as few small things shoot up to become big obstacle (ala "Five point someone" by Chetan Bhagat), the ever helping 'jugaad' friends, the sweet-n-sour indian family are the ingredients of the story......

As you read the book, you feel the strong influence of Chean bhagat in the author's writing style! But the area where the book fails is the 'utterly butterly' descriptions (which almost puts u to sleep)....a more crispy approach would have made the book palatable ! The best part in the book was the fast paced , feel good climax....

But all said n done the book is not a v bad concotion considering that this is the first work from a college going IITian (Tarun Raheja)!!

Matthew Reilly - My new Fav author!

My new fav author.....Matthew Reilly!

My hubbs has this big n ever growing collection of books of every kind...Comics, Fiction, Philosphy! Thou not all of them are my kinds I owe Harry Potter n now Mathew Railley to him....

In the first glance his novels appears like one of those fast racing mindless thrillers which are just not my cup of tea!! But after reading a few pages u realize that each of novel is a well researched work with a proper mix of action n emotion!

The first book of this that I read is "Contest" which also happens to be the first bok that he wrote! This book revolves around a simple man pitted against all poweful extra terresial creatures!! Sounds like one of those boring science fictions...huh?? But the book is anything but that...It captures beautifully the essence of human goodness, love n the father-daughter relationship (without being too melodramatic about it)!! The other books of his "Seven Ancient Wonders", "Six Sacred Stones", "Temple" have a complete different story line.....they all revolve around ancient civilizations, their hidden tresures and the big treasure hunt between good n evil to capture them! But what makes this different from other adventure novels is the perfect balance between emotion n action which seamlessly blend along!! The attention to small details, narration style n the reasearch that should have been put to write each of these novels is mind blowing!

N ofcourse after looking up his pic on google I have fallen head over heels (for his novels) and would surely recommend that you grab one soon!! Trust me they are real page turners!

Happy reading....

Book Review : False Impression - Jeffrey Archer

The current book am hooked on to is "False Impression" by Jeffrey Archer. This novel revolves around a Van gough Painting n introduces us to murky world of paintings, art!

The protagonist of the novel is Anna - a naive, spunky,brave, honest art monger (A out of world character ?? ) who has an unscrupulous boss (n ofcourse the villan) - Bryce Fenston a banker who v conveniently becomes an art dealer by confiscatig the paintings of his innocent, igonorant n rich debtors! But all this only till Anna steps in n decides that enuf is enuf! Now the story is one big race of our heroine trying to save a famous Van Gogh painting (or rather save yet another victim) from clutches of evil boss!

The novel has just the right dose of action,romance, sentiments! Another interesing novelty abt the book is the interesting proffesion it revolves round - Art dealers opening up an all together new world of paintings before you! (Can somebody smell a budding art dealer in me ...he he he )!!

Drive to Shivasamudram.....Weekend getaway from B'lore

/* Originally Posted on 20 Nov*/

Two things am really passionate about is seeing new places n eating good food :-).

This weekend after a bit of research on net, me n my hubbs decided to drive down to Shivasamudram. This place is located in Mandya district in Karnataka. The Kaveri River splits here into two branches-- Gaganachukki and Bharachukki.Gaganachukki is some 120 km from B'lore and Bharachukki is another 15kms from there. For more details on how to get there visit

We started from home(Indiaranagar @ Blore) at around 12(N guys trust me tht was really late, had we started atleast one hour before we would hv had much more fun.....but well both of us are real lazy bones n this is the earliest we could make :) ).

We reached Gaganachukki by 3 in the eve. The first hydro electric project in India
is supposedly constructed here. I had read a few good reviews about this place but well now the entry to waterfall is completely barricated(after unfortunate death of a s/w engg). So all that u can do at this place is look at the waterfall and enjoy the water sparay from a distance(with some good naughty monkeys to give u comapny)

From there we drove down to Bharrachukki which is another 15km away...N yes this is more like my place even thou the water fall here is smaller than gaganachuki, there is some action happening here! You will have to climb down to reach the mouth of the falls(but you have well laid steps all the way down). At the edges, the water velocity is not v high and so you can cross /swim from one end to another ! The best part here is the 'Kharakkas' or 'Theppa'(they are boats in the shape of a basket) in which the boatsman will take u as near the waterfall as one can(tip him liberally n he will add a few jathkaas...imagine a roller coaster ride in waterfall).......its really a experience!!

N the drive is worth it...you find a few ancient, ruined temples on the way which looks straight out of history channels!!

A few tips you may use if you intend to drive down to this place:

1. Leave early. There is anoher place called thalakaad which is about 20km from here. You can fit this into your itinary if you start early.
2.Spend most of your time in Bharrachukki. Its better to cover gaganachuki on way back(this way u can give it a miss if u dont hv time, n trust me there is nothing much u loose)
3.Its suggested to take Mysore road, Kanakapura road is devoid of traffic, but your vehicle will curse you for taking this road
4.Carry food with u. No dhabas or hotels(except one in gaganachuki) around. Carry an extra pair of clothing.

So now u know where to head if u intend to spend one good day!! Happy travelling...

Also can anybody let me know some other weekend getaways from banglore..

Women Bartenders!!

/* Originally posted on 12 dec*/

SC cheers Women bartenders but is the Indian society ready to accept them behind the bar? This seems to be the latest debate which is on. Below is my take on it...

Till date, how many women do u c in a bar unaccompnied by a male friend\relative\colleague(leaving out 'all lady nights')? Given this scenario wouldnt it raise eyebrows to see a lone lady bartending? Havent we heard of quite a crimes happening under influence of drinks....are women bartenders safe then? Dont we all remeber Jessica Lal incident

All the above have been the debates raised by diff sections of society. But well I would like to believe that today women are strong enuf to handle any situations....all these cons are just a part of job...well each job has its own cons n one just has to live with them!!No change has happened without a hue n cry being raised n this is no different!

Lets raise a toast to all our Lady bartenders...Hic Hic Hurray!!

A Victorian Walk

/* Originally posted on 18 jan 2008*/

Relive 19th Century colonial Bangalore,Experience the natural wonderland of Lalbagh
Is this something u had always wanted to do?Would you like to know bangalore better? Wondering about Bangalore History--- Its Victorian sructures , forts n story behind? Trust me I tried finding this info online\thru local bangloreans but with hardly any success (I almost concluded tht Bangalore is just another artificial cosmo city). So where do I find this info?

http://www.bangalorewalks.com/ might be the answer. They organize heritage Walks,Fort Explorations, Victorian Bangalore Walks covering history and heritage, nature and environment, and culture and communities of Bangalore chaperoned by knowledgeble tourist guides. N what better time to do this than by foot on crisp Bangalore mornings(They do have late eve \all day programs too) accomapnied by friends, colleagues, spouse n children!!

Hindu has carried a review abt this site sometime back. You acn read this at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/life/2006/10/27/stories/2006102700030100.htm

Guys, I just found this site an hour go n am all excited n rearing to go!! Incase I make it this weekend, will write a blog on my exp!!

Trip to Puttaparthi

/* Originally posted on 3 mar */

This was a complete improptu trip with no planning whatasover. We(I n my hubbs again) were on our way to Lepakshi(my last blog) n had stopped at a petrol bunk to ask directions. At the entrance we saw a sigboard of Satya Sai Baba N on asking for directions realized tht Puttaparthi it was only 60 km away from there!

Well neither of us are believers of Satya Sai Baba(No offence meant for believers) but decided to make the trip n it was worth it!

This place is a good 170 km from B'lore. We took NH7 road thru Yelahanka, Chickballapur, Begapally and Andhra border up to Kodikonda(same as Lepakshi) n Puttaparthi is 60 km right from here. The road was in a pretty good conditions and with plenty of direction signboards n the most dependable Indian GPS System(who else but the pedestrians, auto-drivers, co-passengers) finding the place is no problem at all!

At the very entrance you see massive school, medical, university buildings run by Satya Sai baba n One thing which stands out here is the proverbs in different languages from across the globe!

Baba's Ashram here is called 'Prashanthi Nilayam' n this holds beautiful mediation hall n row after row of rooms\dorms buit for piligrims(unfortuanely we couldnt find accom here; But finding accom here at affordable rates is any easy job!); But from what I am told, the experience of staying here is something to be experienced to be believed! Another interesting feature here is all piligrims visiting here are advised to be dressed in all white n girls pin up ur hair(i was pulled up for it :( ) and if u arent in a sari, remeber to wear ur duppata(pulled up again :( )

We had darshan of Baba n u should c the mass of humanity assembled there!! Do note that Baba gives darshan only twice in a day one at 8 or 9 in morn n at 3:30 in eve. So plan your trip accordingly.

Puttaparthi thou is a small place in heart of Andra(rather in border), has a truly cosmopolitan mix of people, culture n shops here!! We had our dinner at a tibetian place run by an Italian n dessert at German bakery run by a Nepali n trust me the cusines u get here are as authentic as it can get.

All in all an intersting place to visit n do not forget to pick up a few tibetian\nepali knick-knacks when u r there!

The paradox of life...any solutions?

How many times havent we heard people complaining about "Mechanical Life" and musing about idylic life way back at home.

I am bought up in hyd("mechanical life") but basically hail from a temple town in kerala("idylic life")........lemme just try comparing these two

Life in hyd typically starts with a shrill alarm waking u up from ur luxurious sleep n then its one mad rush to dress up n reach office(home made food is a long forgotten luxury) after putting up with traffic jams, dust, sound n pollution!! life in office is abuzz with mails, conf calls, escalations, documentation, soltaire n ofcourse communicator(even to talk to person sitting next to u). Then u reach home dead tired( irrespective of whether u work or not, who wouldnt be after sitting for 9 hrs before the comp n battling all traffic woes) n after a quick dinner(at hotel\mess, cafeteria or maggi in worst cases) u cant think of anything but hit the bed as u gotta start the same grind all over again tomo!!!! n then comes the much looked forward to weekends....but what do most of us end up doing?? Laundry, catching up on sleep n catching up with some family time.......so in effect in a week u dont spend more than 10 hrs with ur dear n near ones (isnt tht a real sad statistc!!)

Compare this with an idylic life in a small town...most of them here are house wives or work in regular 9-5 shifts n traffic jams are unheard of......Mornings are spent leisurely with morn tea, catching up on news paper, a heartilly home made breakfast with family n then to office where work pressure is an occasional welcome!! U r back at home by 6 or 7, n hv enuf of time to catch up with ur family\neighbours b4 retiring to bed after a prince(ss)ly dinner!!! Ofcourse all the luxuries of modern life would be missing here but the quality of life abound with greenery, temples, time more than makes up for it!

Now, doesnt the latter option seems more appealing...but given a chance how many of us would opt for it? Well a fortnight vacation in these idylic locations is something we might look fwd to.....but anything more than it would start suffocating us!! N dont we all enjoy the economic independence n all the perks tht it comes with(eating out, weekends in malls, vacations).

Isnt this situation a real paradox!! Any solutions??

The Magic Of "Wait"

/*originally posted on 18 dec 2007*/

Have u ever been in a situation where in each waking moment u r daydreaming abt some yet-to-happen event say your b'day, meeting up friends. You have these events chalked out minute by minute n u look fwd to it with great excitement. But when the D-Day comes, these events do not appear so much 'Larger Than Life' n u start looking fwd to the next big event.

Sounds familiar...This I call is the 'Magic of wait'. But are we losing the fun of daily living by getting lost in these dreams of Big day. Might be yes...but dont u think half the fun is in building up the dreamsz. How boring would it be if you give ur spl day only as much of extra attention as any other mundane day!! Dont we all remember how as kids we are excited abt our b'days even thou it might be months away....Agreed we cant lead a child's care-free life now...but lets try n indulge ourselves with 'Magic of Wait' occasionally n c what diff it can make!

Do lemme know ur thots on this.

Review---Mumbai Salsa

/* Originally posted on 30 oct */

Last weekend saw me n my hubbs at Innovative mutilpex for the night show of "Mumbai Salsa"(well even i hadnt heard much abt the movie but the review in TOI convinced us)

No popular starcast(but well i hv always thot that the off beat actors do a better HW), no out of life characterization or story(what u c is what u get), no great budget......... But a good movie packaged well: justice done by the actors, director, story writer.

The story is about 8 characters(4 heros, 4 heroines obviously), all well settled with good pay packs which is burnt up in parties, clubs. The other central character in the movie is the night club 'Mumbai Salsa' where these 8 characters meet and then the story revolves around how their life changes.

Well the movie doesnt hold any gr8 surprises but you empathise with the actors.....dumped by gf\bf, teenage pregnancy, unhappy jobs, balancing career n personal life(mercifully no perfect sati savitris or mean evil thinking villans here)

All in all a good paisa vasool......watch it when u hv nothing better to do on a weekend!!

Book Review How Opal Mehta Got Kissed Got Wild and Got A Life

/*Originally posted on 30 Now*/

Am sure the word "piracy" is the first word that comes to ur mind as soon as u hear the title! Well the incident was really unfortunate, but keeping alll those ethical issues aside, trust me the book makes a good light reading!

The book revolves around a nerd Opal Mehta whose only aim in life is to get into Harvard n everything she has done right from her childhood was with just tht sole objetive!!! N so she goes for Harward interview with near perfect score n well researched answers for any possible q.....but one q tht stumps her is "what do u do for fun"(now now having fun just didnt fit into her scheme of things)!! Her parents now come up with this crazy idea 'HOGWAL' to spice up her life (just to get her into Harvard) n this is the plot of the book!!

The characters n scenes are all well sketched.....Opal's struggles to fit into Peer group, teenage crushes, aakeovers, the way heads turn when u r no longer a plain jane n even a few serious issues like parents struggles to give their child the best, student politics!!

N the moral, "Love urself for what u r n u wld never be happy if u do things which u dont enjoy but end up doing them just to appear 'cool' is nicely driven home with no bhaari sermons being shoven down ur neck!

Wine, Dine n Unwind-New Restaurant Mantra

Long gone are the days when restaurants were purely utility based----- straight backed chair, 2 page menu serving regional indian food, 3-4 soft drink brands is what the hotel was all about (well there would have been fancier ones, but then these were the majority). But in last few years the 'eating out' culture has reaaly caught up(thnx to the heavy IT Pay packs)

Now the restaurant even down the street is a multi-cuisine restaurant with all fancy decor n lighting!! A few fancy join go so much out of their way to build a ambience that most of us end up visiting to enjoy the place rather than the food!! But well nobody is complaining(what better than a glass of wine, a plate of pasta n a CHOCOLATE MOUSSE to unwind on any day) n a few of my fav places include:

100 ft Restaurant: This is a 'Boutique Restaurant'(true to its literal meaning, its a boutique + restaurant) .... so while you are waiting for your food, you can do some some cool shopping(atleast window shopping yaar; but trust me they do have some chic fashion accessories n 'Knick-knacks'!! Shopping n gr8 food...can u think of a better combo :)

Jalsa: This restaurnt takes u back to bygone mughal - e - azam times....Stewardsdressed up as 'Akbar', their female counterparts as 'Jodha Bai' n the hotel itself decked up as a 'Mughal Palace'!!! . The ambience is made complete by the regular urdu shaayari recitals, giant screen playing umrao Jaan songs......U feel as if u hv been transpoted to a 'Theme Park' till the head waiter who is wearing a full Mughlai Darbari getup, complete with necklace and a big gown and maching Juties greets you an suggests you to try out the rich mughlai food (the sweetdish, rabri with malpua is my fav here)!!

Angeethi: The 'dhaba in the middle of the city'. The decor is right out of leaflet of Hyderabad or Lucknow with an advertisement of raw mutton, filmi posters featuring really old movies like Sholay. The filmi low lying cots, hookahs n the 'Pan-Wala' completes the authenticity of the arrangement. Chandini Chowk is another restaurant with the same theme

Gufaa(Ohri's): As u enter the restaurant u feel as if u hv been literally transported to a 'Gufaa' what with the creepers hanging on the wall, tables like tree trunks, waiters dressed up as hunters and the lighting being provided by what seems like fire in tree barks! Try their Pathari gosht kabab. Its yum!!!!

N another one in the list is Barbeque Nation though not for their interiors but rather for the innovative idea of keeping a barbeque grill right in the middle of ur table n letting u roast your own food! N trust me u will end up literally licking up the food....

The other one which is a bit 'hatke' from the rest is '20 feet High' An open air restaurant & bar ......The whole place is set up on a parapet like extension of a building which is (you guessed right) 20 Feet high to give u the feel of a European Street side restaurant.... N ofcourse serves u exclusive Eupoean food (Steaks, Sizzlers, Beer et all)

The other place which is again known more for its ambience is Samarkand ...The cuisine and the ambience(Bit like 'Angeethi')) are designed to transport you to the exotic lands of Mangolia, Afghanistan and Samarkand. This serves North West Frontier Cuisine.
For a taste of the cuisine from the forbidden kingdom there are two places that are worth visiting. The Taste of Tibet in Brigade Road and Momo Hut in Koramangala. Everything from Momos, Shabalay to Shaptra and Tingmo are available for putting your savoury senses to forbidden pleasures

N if u wanna eat some good authentic Punjabi Khanna try 'Kund' - a small unassuming place in Indira Nagar. You will surely come back for more!

If u r in Karnataka make sure u try the regional Mysore Masala Dosa(A small street side eatery in Kormangala dishes out real tasty ones), Mangalore Fish curry, Beef Pulliammunchi n Coorgi Pandi Curry! For all other southern delicacies all under one roof one can always try Malgudi thats spread all over Bangalore

Well these r just a few.........Untill then "Bon Apetit" :)

To read reviews of other resturants in Bangalore vist Koshys, Umerkot, 64 Flavours!

'Jumper' Movie Review

/*Originally postes on 28 Feb*/

Catching a late night movie on a week-day(U atleast hv something to look fwd to at EOD...makes our day atleast partly bearable; of course on flip side be ready for a'sleep-hangover' the next day)!

Anyways this tuesday I n my hubbs dearest happened to watch Jumper at Fun Cinemas(the first I been to this theater n it seemed pretty good)! Well I am no english movie freak n had gone along for my hubbs sake but i dont really regret my decision!

The movie is abt a guy who realizes he is a 'Jumper' (somebody who can teleport) and how life changes for him! In the begining he has it all easy with teleporting to bank lockers(to steal money ofcourse) n then to all exotic locations in world(the ones shot atop pyramids in Egypt, Monuments in Rome are my fav n worth watching the movie for)! But ofcourse all good things come to an end and our jumper lands into trouble in hands of a group called 'Paladrin'. 'Paladrin' is a group of religious psychos who are after eliminating all these jumpers and the movie revolves around how he saves himself(n his GF) from their hands!

All in all the movie is a "jump" in visual treat as u get to see few exotic locations n gr8 stunts!

A Trip to Lepakshi Village

/* Posted on 28 Feb */

One fine Saturday I n my hubbs dearest decided to check out the Lepakshi village (u c we both are outdoor persons n if we are at home for more than a day, u will c us on each others' throats :) ).

Lepakshi Village is in Hindupur (Ananthapur Dist) of AP. Though it’s in AP, the place is quite near to B'lore (hardly 140 km from B'lore)! We started early in the morn (U c 9 is v early for our standards esp on a weekend) n took NH7 road thru Yelahanka, Chickballapur, Begapally and Andhra border up to Kodikonda. Lepakshi is 12 kms away from Kodikonda. We reached the place by around 12:30 (had stopped on the way for breakfast).

Lepakshi is a small sleepy village thou it boasts of the famous heritage structures of the Largest Nandi n Lepakshi Temple. This place would be of interest only if u enjoy old historical monuments. It is steeped in some interesting mythological stories(to narrate the story should be another blog in itself) n has a few exquiste carvings including 'Padmini' and 'Vaastu Purush' - female n male with perfect stats! But the biggest attraction here might be the 'hanging Pillar'...Imagine the entire temple is supposedly balanced on this 'Hanging Pillar'. But unfortunately one of skeptical British scientists of Pre-Independence era didn’t believe this n in an attempt to prove it wrong , sturbed the equilibrium of the pillar n now its kinda tilting to one side! He supposedly got the pillar pulled from all sides using big iron rods.....Imagine what hue-n-cry would it have risen if the same had happened to a british monument! Another attraction here is a 3D-Krishna painting on temple roof! N do u know from where intrinsic designs of the famed Andhra handloom saris come from?? They suposedly are a replica of the carvings in this temple pillar!!

Adjacent to it is one of the largest Nandi statue (somebody told me its largest in world!). Looking at it from a distance you may not be wowed by its size...but once u go n stand next to it u feel dwarfed.

all in all a Good trip (but as i said u will enjoy it only if u r interested in archaeology, history n all....dont go there expecting any adventures)!!

A trip to Coorg

/*Posted on 26 Mar*/

This weekend saw me n my hubbs travelling to the Scotland of India, Coorg approx 250km from B'lore. We started at around 7:30 in morn almost 3 hours behind schedule.The route we took is B'lore--> Mandya--> Srirangapatnam-->Ilwal-->Hansoor n then to Virajpet. This way u end up saving atleast 40km n lots of traffic as u dont touch Mysore!

In Coorg we were camping at a popular homestay "Honey Valley" which is a small settlement in the lap of western ghats surrounded by spices, Coffee,honey estates ! Its a stone-throw away from 'Thadiyaanamol' - highest peak in western Ghats. Getting to this place is an exp in itself... we drove down to 'Kabani Kaad'- the nearest town . From there HoneyValley is just 3km away but the terrain is so rough that only a experienced jeep(at times travelling vertically) can take u there.....

Even before reaching honeyvalley we could feel a distinct flavour in air making you giddy---Might be the fresh air mixed with smell of coffee n spices! This place is a perfect example of staying in harmony with nature....Honeyvalley generates their own Hydro Electricity, grows enuf of veggies n fruits tht they are almost self sufficient!!
They have approx 10-15 cottages....varying from Tribal Huts to dorms n the standard double bed cottages! These cottages do not have any extravagant comforts....No Fancy decorations, No mutli-cuisine food(what u get is simple tasty home made coorgi food...but wait till u taste their honey / Pandi Curry;I was left licking my fingers) No room service, Forget AC they dont even hv a fan( Very soon u realize tht nature is the best Fan or AC u can ask for)!
Honeyvalley has this magic about that we decided to cancel all our plans to go 'sight seeing' (We fitted in most of them on the drive back to b'lore) and decide to go trekking. Honeyvalley is surrounded by beautiful trekking spots (all well documented)! The rain did play a spoilsport but well trekking in rain with leeches for company is an experience in itself! We could do only two of their treks(They have around 10-15)---'The Ride Walk' to forest n a trek to their own waterfall 'Chingara' (Imagine they have a Private Waterfall')! The treks take us thru brooks, ridges, streams, Jungle clearings n ofcourse greenery all around! But unfortuanetly the rains made us miss the trek to thadiyanamol...its a 6-9 hr trek n supposed to be the best trek in this part of the country!

HoneyValley is the home of Chengappa Family who supposedly were providing these services free of cost to tourists esp foreigners! Its only for last few years tht they have taken to commercializing it(thou the charges are still v nominal)! Chengappa family along with Jack(a foreigner who fell so hopelessly in love with this place that he has made it his home) and a handful of other people ensure that this place is run seamlessly.I am for sure going back to this place.
On the way back we did vist Bagamandala, Raja seat, Thala Cauvery n the golden temple, thr biggest Tibetian setllement in India @Bylakuppe. However they somehow fade off in comparision to HoneyValley. The difference in waether can be felt during the drive. Cold in Coorg and hot in the plains.