Category Archives: Places I call HOME
Squirrels talk too :D
After Monkeys and Geese….now I imagine my squirrels talk 😉
Can you smell them….?? I can smell them…. Can you smell them yet?
Yea man… I can smell them too.. But I don’t see them… Do you see them??
No… I don’t see them… But I can feel they’re fast approaching………
O my GOD ! They’re HERE…!!! Alert everyone!
In near future (April end) I am writing a series of “un-posted letters” on my blog and inviting guest posts for the same.
The compilation of this would have letters you never posted…the ones you wrote/wanted to write to your mother/teacher/neighbor/boss/husband/friend/ex but did not.. There is no need for names, you can address them to “an inspiring soul” or “a long lost friend” or “love of my life”..
Leave a comment in case you’re interested to be a part of this.
When your hero is not your hero anymore..
In our tender years, we generally look up to the two people we’re most close to – mom and dad. For most people, mom is a synonym to affection, care, nurture etc. While dad is inspiring, motivating and a hero-like figure.
He earns the bread, looks after his family, pays the bills, takes care of every big small need of his kids and never lets them down.
During the pre-teen days, when world is a bed of red roses without thorns, most of us have an inclination to be like our moms or dads. In school paintings we draw our dads as super man and while giving a speech on “who is my hero” we describe our dads.
These rosy days last long for few like me and generally end for many as they hit the teenage clock. With denied permission, checking school bags, inquiring about grades, restricting outings and friends, most dads become Hitlers for their kids.
The other category – they still live in their dreams. The restrictions and permissions feel logical enough. The denial and strict attitude feels necessary. And we still consider our dads as our heroes.
Until finally maturity or harsh reality hits. Then we realize those taunts – he actually means them. When he says he has no faith in you – he meant it. When he told you on your face that you can never do anytime in your life – it wasn’t just meant to shatter your ego. He did mean it. He wanted you to feel the shame of disappointing him. Feel the agony of letting him down amongst his peers. Feel zero confidence because you’re not worth it. He meant it all.
Maybe you’ll try understanding why he said those things. At times even shrug them aside thinking he really dint mean to say those things. Or even completely laugh about it that he much be having a bad day today.
Until it happens again. And again. And yet again. And everyday.
Then you’re forced to think. Really? I am that pathetic? I am totally worthless? And you conclude that you have not achieved anything and you deserve those daily doses.
All those files full of certificates of appreciation, all those friends who boost you, all those unknown people who have faith in you – you ignore them all.
Since you worshiped your dad – he was your hero – every word he says is inked in your mind.
You cry about it every night. Some days those sobs put you to sleep and on other days the same sobs don’t let you sleep.
But it doesn’t stop anything. Nothing changes. With no family – no emotional support you finally start to live in suffocation. Suffocation of your own actions. Actions you were made believe were bad and for which you deserved such a treatment.
And your once beloved dad – stays your hero no more.
I hope it’s not true for you.
I hope you don’t live in the constant thought of, when can I run away or death is my only way out.
I hope someone saves you from suicide, someone understands you, someone believes in your convictions and someone stays by your side and says – its okay. You can’t change your parents. You can only learn to live with them.
Month of March : “In Print”
How smart is our cell phone habit? : my article in GULF TIMES
When decades ago, Nokia was introduced with its catchy tag line “connecting people”, who knew mobile phones would eventually become more than just a necessity? For years after the first mobile phone was introduced, it remained a luxury item, out of reach to most middle-class users. With the advancement in technology, the number of players in the market increased and mobile phones became more affordable, and therefore ubiquitous.
The first phones had just the bare minimum function of dialing or receiving a call. Later, there was a phenomenal growth of SMS or Short Message Service. With these two functions, the requirement of a “mobile telephone” was met. And today, ‘smartphones’ feature many different useful functions like alarm, calendar, portable camera, Internet connectivity, media players, video recorders, and even GPS units.
Lately, the mobile phone industry took a step forward to introduce smartphones. And like every new product in the market, it remained exclusive for the richer class of customer. In the last few years, however, even this trend has completely changed.
More than two dozen companies have now introduced affordable smartphones in the market. So how has this trend affected the recent generation of users?
Read more here :
Please “like” , “share” and give your feedback on the article on the link above.. I would appreciate it 🙂
Also an extensive list I prepared for this article :
Applications to check out
General (an app for everyone)
Wikiweb — a Wikipedia app that serves up the usual content crowd-sourced from willing bodies around the world and also visualises the connections between articles.
* * *
For young kids (age 5-10)
Eye Paint Animals — discovery tools aimed at energising kids to play, create, invent, explore and learn in enjoyable ways without the limitations of set parameters.
Native Numbers — provides a deeper understanding of number concepts and imperative math vocabulary; builds a strong foundation.
Red in Bed — teaches kids about the colours of the rainbow; each colour gets its own musical note, too.
Bee’s ABCs — singing along to the alphabet song, spelling simple words and learning about pronunciation.
I See Ewe — explore more than 50 shapes, colors, objects and animals; adjustable levels of difficulty, verbal prompts and four different languages included.
Preschool Jobs — learn and explore various professions such as a doctor, astronaut, rock star, police officer and a construction worker, see their work environments and examine the tools that they use each day.
* * *
For middle and high school students (age 11-16)
Tense Builder — teaching the tenses; includes the English words that do not follow the rule, otherwise known as irregular verbs.
MyHomeworkApp — keeps track of homework, projects, tests, and other assignments; set reminders for when things are due, set level of priority and keep track of schedule of classes.
TED Talks — customised quizzes, discussion guides, and other supporting materials to facilitate making a great lesson plan.
Ankidroid — perfect for exam cramming; helps students memorise anything through information flashcards which they can create themselves. Once loaded they can quiz themselves anywhere, anytime.
Wolfram Alpha — uses a vast database and various algorithms to answer to any questions of wide range like physics, chemistry, astronomy, maths, etc.
Khan Academy — over 2,500 free videos on everything from basic maths to venture capitalism
Languages — a fast offline translation dictionary app
* * *
For students appearing for tests (age 13+)
BenchPrep — choose your course (high school, higher education, graduate and professional), choose your device, and study independently or with friends.
SAT Vocab Cards — browse and quiz on 1,000 high-frequency SAT words for free, with 1,000 more available for purchase.
SATLadder — a competition-based question answering structure including over 2,000 SAT questions.
MCAT — features over 2,000 flashcards so you can study on the go.
GRE Word Boost — with 500 essential GRE words in its database, study and quiz anytime.
* * *
ClassDojo — teachers can create a free account, add their students’ names and customise the behaviours they want to encourage. During class, positive behaviour is reinforced by dishing out feedback points to students; these feedback points automatically compiles the data into reports, letting teachers monitor progress, trends and share information with parents.
* * *
Famigo Sandbox — a brilliant and free way of making your Android device safe for your kids. It includes a free app of its own for kids to play as well as listing certified safe apps for parents to browse and choose from. There are no ads or in-app purchases and you get shown games and activities that are platform and child specific.
App Timer Mini (ATM) — simple tool to track user’s time on selected apps; the app timer can be set for all the apps, based on how much time should be spent on each which will be shown on the screen while you are using an app.
* * *
Other fun apps
Auryn Ink — digital watercolour-painting app; feels like real watercolour painting, right down to choosing between wet or dry canvases, and watching the paint dry on the page.
Tapestry — offers short stories from various authors, displayed full-screen rather than in e-book style layout; readers are encouraged to give feedback to the authors too.
Celeste — combines 3D graphics of the heavenly bodies with fun facts about astronomy; aim the device’s camera at the sky and see exactly where each object is located, day or night.
Famous Artists and Their Paintings — learn about more than 100 famous works of art from Michelangelo, Rembrandt, da Vinci and more and test your knowledge with a time-trial quiz.
Britannica Kids — encyclopaedias come alive on a range of topics; info presented alongside videos, games and quizzes.
Robots for iPad — learn about electronics and robotics through videos and interactive examples of more than 100 real life robots like Sony’s Aibo dog.
How it Works: Machines by Geek Kids — get an introduction to engineering and learn how various machines work by taking them apart and reassembling them.
Feedback . Feedback . Feedback .
Overhearing Birds ;)
Well after the first time I attempted dialogue writing for monkeys, I thought I can do it for birds too!! 😀
Lemme know what you think 😉
Pipa : Hey Chika have you seen Mina?
Yooohooooo…..Mina…?? Are you down there? C’mon buddy don’t hide, Show up!
Chika : Maybe he is playing hide-and-seek with us.. Lets search and bust him! What say??
Pipa : But its our lunch time. I am hungry man!
Chika : Alright, we’ll eat after we search Mina around this big island. He might be lost on the other side you know.
Pipa : Damn it..! What if he is lost and can’t find his way back to home island?
Pipa : Oh then can I eat his share of lunch, Eh? Eh? Temme… 😉
*after a few hours they still can’t find Mina*
Mina : Chika and Pipa are bloody emotional fools 😀 I sneaked out just to eat three portions of lunch 😉
Reaching out through blogs : My article in the leading newspaper of Middle-East
Since I started working as a part-time free-lance writer for Gulf Times, life seems to have taken an exciting new turn..
After the article for working women in Qatar, I have now written about bloggers in Qatar. In this country, blogging is still not considered as a “cool” or beneficial way of social interaction and with my article I try to clear those myths and misconceptions.
Read it here –
Although Gulf Times did not include photos of all the amazing bloggers I got in touch with, I will attach their photos here as a token of thanks for their contribution.
# all photos belong to the rightful owners
Women at Work – My article in Newspaper
As a free lancer, I published an article for Gulf Times the leading newspaper for Middle-East.
Please click on the link and view it :
# Feedback appreciated
Connecting with Nature
How often do you take a stroll in a garden?
How often do you prefer walking than taking a vehicle?
How often you breathe in fresh air?
How often you read a novel under the shade of a sun?
How often do you notice nature’s beauty?
Are the above-mentioned things even important to you?
To me, it is…
Snaps from my recent visit to Lodhi Gardens – DelhiLodi Garden is one of Delhi’s most beautiful and popular parks. Here monuments are located amidst landscaped gardens. The most prominent are the 15th and 16th century tombs and a beautifully decorated mosque. There are smaller structures belonging to the late-Mughal period as well.
The Lodi dynasty in India arose around 1451 after the Sayyid dynasty. The Lodhi Empire was established by the Ghizlai tribe of the Afghans. They formed the last phase of the Delhi Sultanate.
As there is little architecture from these two periods remaining in India, Lodi Gardens is an important place of preservation. A favorite picnic spot and a joy for morning walkers with lots of greenery and trees.
Benefits of morning walk –
• helps to lose weight • reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke
• reduces type 2 diabetes risk • improves lung’s breathing capacity
• helps in the management of stress • helps to treat hypertension
• protection against miscarriages
• very beneficial for the people suffering from insomnia. 20-30 minutes’ walk after the meals in the night can help to reduce the stress levels and can also helps in the digestion of the food which in turn gives you a sound sleep.
• supplies fresh oxygen and blood to each and every cell of the body which is required for the transport of every nutrient in the body
• reduce the risk of cancer and if someone is already suffering from cancer then it helps in the fast recovery and survival of the person
• improves the brain power • add years to your life
Most common excuses for not going on a morning walk :
1. I am too busy 2. There are pet-walkers and the stray animals
3. The virtues of sleep 4. Walking is for the old, I work out
5. I play sports – that’s enough 6. Garden/Park is too far
I think we owe it to ourselves – to be connected to nature – make the best use of its gift. We may be too busy today, but won’t we be too late if we don’t take an action soon?
Musings from Rajasthan – India
The largest state of India – Rajasthan accounts for more than 10% of India’s surface area on the globe. Rajasthan is the only Indian State that has captured the imagination of the people, rulers and invaders through the ages as well as tourists both national and international.
Above is a painting by my super talented aunt. It truly depicts the exotic and vibrant nature of this state, a culture that has retained the very essence of the bygone royal era.
Rajasthan was dominantly ruled for over 1000 years by the Rajputs, a warrior clan who claim descent from the sun, the moon and the flames of a sacrificial fire. They have a strict sense of honor and chivalry similar to that of the medieval European Knights and preferred to die an honorable death rather than face defeat at the hands of the enemy.
India’s oldest mountain range as the backdrop; feast your eyes on spectacular sand dunes, take the tiger trail, or just watch the birds in the wetlands. Rajasthan offers it all.
Rajasthan is culturally rich and has extensive tradition in art and culture, which reflects the Indian way of life. The dance, music and art forms have been consciously cultivated and patronized by the erstwhile royal courts. An equally rich and varied folk culture from villages is both fascinating and mesmerizing. The music is of uncomplicated innocence and songs depict day-to-day relationships and chores, more often about the bringing of water. Rajasthan’s cultural tapestry takes in simple folk to highly cultivated classical music and dance, in its own distinct style.
Rajasthan has a rich tradition of cuisines – for this land of princes had some of the finest cooks in the palaces. The common-folk also took epicurean delight in the culinary art. Aptly has it been said that the royal kitchens of Rajasthan raised the preparation of food to the level of a sublime art.
Generally, Rajasthani curries are brilliant red but not as spicy as they look. Most Rajasthani cuisine uses pure Ghee (clarified butter) as a means of cooking.
Rajasthan is often portrayed as one vast open-air museum, with its relics so well preserved that it delights even the most skeptical traveler.
Other Fun links :
The wonderful childhood
Kids are cute.
Swings are fun.
You combine both-you get a perfect carefree scenario with laughter all around.
One such incident I was lucky to capture in my camera.
You really should zoom in and check out the expressions of the kids. So excited and keen they got seeing someone click their pics 😀
Well I had an attachment to a particular swing in my childhood. I have written about it too. See here.
Other clicks of the same kids : they were called Nanu and Kaachu 😉
# such cuties 😀 😀 😀
# Venue – Alwar‘s (Siliserh Lake) Rajasthan, India
# December 2012 – the one we survived (LOL)
What monkeys think ;)
Hey, I heard some tourists came up here. Is it true???
Yea yea I can see them. They think we’re antique! HA. 😉
Really? You want a pic of me so badly? Can’t you just look in the mirror and use some “new” “modern” technology of yours and visualize how you would look if you were born say, a billion years ago?
Okay, don’t be so mean to them. They’re all our brothers. They even got us some food. Winters are approaching; it would be good to add all that to our stock.
Fine! We’ll be nice to them. But, hey, I am not doing any monkey dance for them. A picture is the max I can offer and that is how far I am going for that last banana.
Did you say it was the LAST banana????? 😐
New found love for PUPPIES
Well……to be honest, more than the new found love, its the new found courage to hold the puppies 😉
Love as always there- only for puppies- since they’re cute and don’t have big teeth. And- in my belief- mood swings which make them bite an arbit person 😀
Thanks to my maternal aunt and her unwavering faith in souls inside all animals- I picked up a puppy and played with it till I overcame my fear.
Not only that, my entire dog-loving-maniac family then fed the puppies and let them poop around in our garden 😀 Positive aspect being the fresh manure for our roses and papaya plants!!!
I sincerely hope, they don’t bite me when they grow up 😀
But anyways, my new found love has left me smitten. These cute babies follow me till the bus stand and auto rickshaw stand. Even when I come out on terrace and balcony, they come running to the door.
Dogs (puppies) are good friends INDEED….
Analysis of my 2012
So, we haven’t died and its almost the end of this superb year 2012. 😉
Whoever suggested the world will end, kindly tell me the new date to look forward to. I mean, seriously, I was waiting for something to happen, something bigger than a Tsumani or Katrina.
So, I understand lots and lots and lots of things have happened this year – but as part of me keeping a journal of 2012 I am going to pen down whatever I can remember now of my past one year.
Like I said in the “My Purpose” section, I want to remember the good things and cherish them even after a few years. A pity – I have a not-so-good memory so I have a very few things to say about each month.
It was New Year – YAY!
Ordered for a new phone and got it delivered – double YAY!!
A dull Valentine’s but sent out a few gifts
Came to know about options in MBA from India
Flew home (Qatar) for Holi and spent it with family
Got visited by my dad later in the month
Introduced my bosses to my dad and my work environment
Decided to <finally> pursue MBA
Started studying for it too (sigh)
The dreadful summers – long hours of job and tiresome running around my power plant
Almost an end of summers – and my will to work long hours
I completed my one year at my company – YAY!
Got my so called hike
Met with my best best buddy before he left for Minnesota
I started a new blog – this blog 😀
And I started knowing MN better
A superb response for the blog
Started updating poetry on my other blog too – frequently that too
Time was flying by – form my MBA entrance exams
I left my job, left the city I lived in – without even meeting the people I worked with
Came back to India
Celebrated Diwali with two of my mom’s sisters and partially in the train
I turned 23 😉
Filled a dozen application forms and wrote 2 other exams
Got blog awards – Blog of the year 2012 1 and 2, Liebster Blog Award, Reality Blog Awards,
Understood the importance of Thanksgiving
Realized I haven’t died yet 😉
So, officially, it will be an end to 2012. Secretly I am smiling inside, cuz I never thought I will be writing so frequently on this blog – but I am! Looks like the WordPress experience has been a great one 😉
So, in the good spirits and an open mind and heart for 2013, I hereby declare the end of this 2012!
Recent roadside incident
With marriage season starting on 24th November (this is 2012), the roads and streets were flooded with band bajaas and baraats. And sometimes dolis too. At such times travelling by road is very (read extremely) tough. Traffic jams take about 2-3 hours extra of your life.
In these circumstances, the auto walas are more keen on taking rides to small distances and going without meter (a crime) and charging high prices if you are dressed well (obviously they know you’re in a hurry to go somewhere).
So to convince an auto driver to take me 15 km away was a task not easy. It took 4 people to try their luck at 9 auto drivers to finally find the one who charged as much as he wanted. (he clearly saw the desperation in our eyes). A young girl dressed well, an old aunt wrapped in woolen shawl, a 7-year-old playing with a suitcase and a house servant trying to tackle a heavy suitcase and a naughty kid. And yet I am sure we caught attention of not many people that day : this is the good thing about Delhi, you can’t be easily recognized in a crowd.
So finally, the greedy but cooperative auto uncle (now I started paying him respect — he is responsible for my life’s safety for next 40 mins or so) took off from my starting point.
But soon, he announced to me, the front tire of the auto was punctured. I kinda choked on my pasta that time. I asked him how long will it take, to which he replied, that depends if we get someone to repair the puncture. After that I stopped eating. We (mostly he) searched for puncture repair guys on two petrol pumps en route to my destination. With no success, and the tire breathing its last few minutes, he finally decided that it would be best if he (read-we) repaired it himself.
So after parking on the roadside, I saw him struggling to convince someone to give him a hand (yea, talk about how tough people are to convince these days). Eventually I told him, no help is coming and that we should proceed.
20 minutes and one flat tire later, I was seated back in the auto only to think, why we dint get any help. Oh wait, one middle-aged man smiled at me while I was holding the auto up(it weighs 610 kg) so that the driver could screw those nuts in the new tire. By the time that man’s conscience hit him, he went past us but then returned to ask if we needed any help. Luckily we were done by then. He then walked back to his rickshaw.
When our rickshaw over took his, I waved and smiled at him. At least he bothered to notice me that day. At least he took 5 minutes out of his life to ask about a fellow traveler At least he had the courtesy to stop and offer his service to a damsel in distress.
Bless you! Whoever you are, wherever you are!
Punjabi wedding traditions : with explanations on Doli, Baraat etc