Monday 25 February 2013

Academy Awards – Yo Yo Oscars!

It is that time of the year! Academy Awards were announced today. Frankly speaking, more than the awards, it is the red carpet I look forward to the most – ladies and gentlemen looking their best. Ladies dolled up in the Pradas & Diors & men throwing the Oomph factor despite their simple Tuxedos. So much fodder to last a week of office gossip – from makeup bloopers to miss perfect ten, nobody is spared.
Pic Courtesy:Google Search
Pic Courtesy:Google Search
Pic Courtesy:Google Search

Hubby & I had decided to do our own little evaluation this time. We had planned to watch all the nominations in the best film category, predict our winner & see if that film actually wins. But, hectic schedules, wave of cough & cold & the demise of a close relative spared us no time for our review.

Anyway, the awards were announced today & of all the winners, the best actress in a leading role (Jennifer Lawrence) & best song (Adele) for Skyfall categories brought me immense joy & excitement. Not because I am their big fan (though they are flawless artists in their own craft), but because these were the only 2 nominated movies I had managed to watch.

Sometimes, happiness comes from the avenue least expected. While I had looked forward to watching Daniel Craig play yet another suave Bond avatar, the poor story of Skyfall disappointed me. (this is purely my personal opinions & bears no relation to anybody/anything else). To me, it seemed like an overhyped pataka that, instead of going “Boom”, went “fuss”. Towards the end, it felt as if I was watching a Bollywood movie – the Bond had to catch the tube train only after it left the station – just because he was Bond. The villain, no matter how good with his moves, had to die, be it in a hasty climax, just because Bond had to win, the shine on his suit & shoes had to be intact. So many things were forced into the simple storyline. Get real guyz. Bond is born, not made. Having grown up watching Pierce Brosnan, I was expecting much more. But Adele was flawless with her enigmatic voice & hubby had instantly appreciated the magic of her vocal chords.
Pic Courtesy:Google Search
When Jennifer Lawrence’s name was announced, I felt tremendous happiness, as if she was my own sister, thousand miles away! Hehe! I loved her act in “Silver Linings Playbook”, a girl disturbed by an unfulfilled wish & a tragedy behind. Even as she told Bradley Cooper about her sex addiction, she maintained her dignity – not an inch more or less. Justice to the role, and a special mention to her black nailpaint & Kohl eyes (am a girl, can’t help notice all that!). Apart from her fall in the Oscar ceremony (Opt for outfit u can manage, gal), everything about her was so apt, or shall I say “set" in the words of my 13 yr old niece.
Pic Courtesy:Google Search

I did feel bad when Bradley Cooper didn't win despite a great performance – anybody who sees his act would sympathize with him. Robert De Niro gave another perfect performance as a father stuck with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, with unconditional love for his wife, son & betting. Poor thing tries hard to get some discipline in his son’s life & to bind his family together with his frequent attempts at “Family time activities”. Anupam Kher as Bradley Cooper’s therapist was a pleasant surprise. Now I know why few days ago, I read about Mr Kher dedicating his documentary film to Robert De Niro. He looks super cute with his painted face when he comes with his Desi gang for the football match.
Pic Courtesy:Google Search

The best part of the movie is the dance competition. Jennifer Lawrence (Tiffany) & Bradley Cooper (Pat) take part in Dancing with the stars – a long unfulfilled wish of Tiffany. Their aim is not exactly to win the contest, but to score a minimum five, as Pat's father had betted on that. When the scores get announced, others feel sorry for the imperfect scores while the cheering gang jumps in jubiliation, having won the bet! It was fun to watch the expressions of judges & co-contestants, shocked  at someone celebrating a score of five! 

Their final performance, with the perfect footwork was garnished with lifts that left my mouth wide open! Reminded me of the Salsa classes hubby & I attended few years ago. The movie was sweet & sweeter – perfect romcom with a nice dash of drama.  

A must watch – full paisa vasool!

Pic Courtesy:Google Search
Pic Courtesy:Google Search

Friday 22 February 2013

Apfel Kuchen @ Frau Stadler

I first read about Kuchen in my German lessons. But at that time, my knowledge was confined to the translation cake=kuchen. Actually, Kuchen is much harder than our normal cakes, with a pie like outer covering & stuffing inside. It was only after I started going to the carnival at the German Embassy that I began to flirt with Kuchen, torte, Kartoffelpuree, Spatzle etc. But the carnival doesn’t happen every day & I haven’t been able to find a good affordable German eatery near my place.

Knowing my love for food & calories, God acted kind. I got married into a family where one of our close relatives is German. So, this time when I visited them, I raided their kitchen & expressed so much love for their cuisine that Mausi happily ordered 2 Kg apples & made not 1 but 2 Apfel Kuchens that I even got to carry to my Hostel!

So, here’s recipe for Apfel kuchen that I got to savor at Mausi’s place –

For the kuchen, you will require (this is a recipe for 2 cakes)
Apples – 2 Kg
Cinnamon (goes really well with any apple dish) – as per your taste
Baking Powder – 1 tsp
Sugar – to taste
Refined Flour (maida) – 1 kg
White unsalted butter – 300g
Cream /milk – to knead the dough

Method –
Sieve the refined flour & baking powder together. Then, add the unsalted butter & knead a stiff dough using milk/cream. Once the dough is done, rest it under a moist cloth for 15-20 min. This time can be utilized to prepare the filing.

It’s not the best thing to peel & slice 2Kg apples, but enthusiasm makes everything possible! Anyway, once the apples are done (slices shouldn’t be too thin), add sugar to taste & generous amount of cinnamon and mix it well.
The stuffing
The apples go inside
Then, grease a cake mould, dust it and line it with a thick rolled sheet of the dough, covering even the sides. Then fill the stuffing inside & sprinkle few dumplings of the dough on top.

All set to be baked
The cake is all set to through the grill, oops, bake! Their oven was a 2nd generation gas oven (I doubted its capabilities, till I saw the perfect cake baked). But you can use a normal preheated oven at 3500F. Bake the cake for approximately 30-45 minutes. 

The Oven
Once the cake was out, all of us started behaving like kids, ready to pounce on the cake. The aroma of freshly cooked apples with cinnamon….Oooh, you have to experience it to understand.

So, I suggest you try out this one & lemme know!

Kuchen is ready!

Another thing, unlike our usual cakes that become hard with time, Apfel Kuchen tastes best when eaten a day after!


Bon Appetit!

Friday 15 February 2013

He cried for help, but nobody heard…

Last weekend, I witnessed something that shook me inside. For some of you, this might be a normal scenario, but maybe I am over sensitive. 

Anyway, last weekend, I was walking besides the flyover at IFFCO Chowk in Gurgaon. With constant traffic coming from Delhi-Jaipur highway, that road never sleeps. As I was walking, I heard painful shrieks that were so disturbing that.....I have no words to describe here. The sound was coming from the roadside. A beautiful, healthy black Pig lay on the ground, surrounded by three cruel men. The men brutally hit the Pig's head with bricks, kicked & hurt him with sticks. Shocked, I asked my friend what was going on.

“Oh, it’s a normal sight here.” He said. They are going to kill the Pig and cook & eat his meat. I know some or the other creature has to lay his life to satiate the desire of non vegetarians. But I was more surprised when he told me the people hitting him are the ones who raised him. This was shocking. I have been a proud owner of many pets and never in my wildest dreams can I imagine killing my own pet to satisfy my hunger. This wasn't even a do or die situation & the people didn't look so malnourished that they were forced to kill that Pig so brutally, just to satisfy their hunger.
Pic Courtesy:Google Search

Man is a social animal, they say. But that day I realized that some human beings are worse than animals. I am not trying to voice out my anger against non vegetarians, after all each one of us have our own preferences. Nor I am advocating vegetarianism through this blog (though I shall be glad if through this post I am able to invoke sensitivity towards animals in even one person). I am a vegetarian & maybe I can never understand the joy of biting into a succulent leg piece.

But before being vegans or non vegans, we are all humans. And just because God has made us stronger than a lot many creatures, this doesn't mean we are free to abuse their right to existence. Yes, there is a law of food chain but I am sure there was no desperate need to kill that innocent Pig. It was killed so that few people could eat his flesh, drink some cheap country liquor and make merry. Its tough to get birth as a human and its sad to see few brainless souls spoiling their karma for momentary pleasures.

The Pig’s howls became more painful every second. I stood there frozen, wondering what to do. I am no activist & didn’t have any number in my mobile contact list that could save that poor soul in the next few minutes I had. Few rickshawallas enjoying the scene looked at me, smiled and said, “Madam, this is a usual scene. They will have a feast tonight. What good was this Pig for anyway…hehe” I felt my blood boil & I wanted to tell them to first go and kill so many human beings who too are no good to this world. Rather they leave no stone unturned to trouble others. Atleast this Pig hasn't done anyone wrong.
Pic Courtesy: Google Search

 The shouts reached a high & then subsided, getting lost in the sound of traffic. The Pig has had it enough. He had given up. He lay motionless & powerless, perhaps with few breaths left while the assaulters smiled & sighed with relief at a task accomplished.

I looked up at the sky and said a silent prayer. May God make those assaulters Pigs in their next birth.
Pic Courtesy:Google Search

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Valentine’s Day ki kahaani

Valentine’s day is round the corner & there is so much overdose of love in the air. From malls to online shopping portals, from gals craving for some mushy pampering to guys hoping for cosy encounters, Valentine’s day is one event everyone wants to cash upon! Just like kids have their hopes from Santa, adults believing in chemistry of love eagerly wait for Valentine’s day to get some spark in their lives.

But then, me wonderzzz, miracles don’t happen on a single day for everyone. And It somewhat irritates me that far from being a celebration of love, this day turns out to be a Public & materialistic display of affection day! Amidst the entire hullabaloo around for Valentine ’s Day, my heart still beats for people who are their own Valentine. Who avoid going out that day, and the day after and shy away from their single status. When friends ask “How was your day”, it seems as if someone is asking progress report of the test you never took. One wonders what to answer especially when friends boast of their experiences. I wonder, love is eternal, then why so many hue and cries – as if cupid just finds that one day to shower all the love in your kitty and leave you craving the remaining 365 days if you miss the bus.

No, I am no longer single, nor is this post a blog a celebration of the love hopefuls who are yet single, but super ready to mingle. Just that every Valentine ’s Day when I see over hyped feelings & enthusiasm, it reminds me of the long years I have spent as a single girl.

It would be dishonest to say I was hopeless about love. But getting oneself to love isn't as easy as shopping for grocery. It was fun to see people around me with a new person every year, while I remained shamelessly single throughout college! The single status in college although was an advantage since it saved a lot of mess I saw the lovestruck souls get into (like taking out that dedicated time for BF at the cost of lectures, manage the fight tournament, keeping a tab of things said and done, the possessiveness bug, etc etc). However, come Valentine’s Day and the same single status used to become an irritable feature of my existence. All the bachelors in college would find out about the single girls in the college & would make desperate attempts to find a Valentine who would save them the embarrassment of being single on the Valentine’s Day.  The already hooked up souls weren't left behind & tried to play the perfect matchmakers. Now, if Mr. X knew Miss Y and nothing happened between them throughout the year, how would Valentine’s Day get them together when there was nothing to get them in love? Hehe…Would Valentine’s Day cast some sort of spell & make the same person appear lovable? I used to wonder…

So, after 1st year, I refrained from going to college on Valentine’s Day & preferred to make my parents spend on dinner & gifts by telling them “I am your Valentine, now pamper me!” But the ordeal was far from over. Not going to college on Valentine’s Day was taken as a sign that u one had a rocking date with someone special outside college. And friends would shower questions like “How was your day? Who is the one?” etc etc and no amount of plain vanilla honest answers would satisfy them. Phew!

Relief came when I started working. Yes, the suitors’ hunt for singles in the company & the questions next day were a regular feature. But all at a subdued level. And one could immerse self in work to create the perfect “I am too busy for love” excuse.

But by that time, I too felt motivated. Why should I be devoid of the fun, just because I am single? So, I & my group of girlfriends began the culture of “Mera V-Day”. We would dress up for ourselves & would cater to our shopaholic & gluttony selves that day without any guilt or any stress of any commitment! But whenever we looked at that perfect couple holding hands and walk in the mall, we would secretly wish to be in their category by the next Valentine’s Day. The story would repeat every year.

Although I met my hubby in the Valentine’s month, our 1st encounter missed the Valentine’s Day by a few days. And by the next Valentine’s Day  we were happily married! I still remember our 1st Valentine’s Day was a busy day, with a family wedding & visits to relatives. While everyone asked about our plans, the wedding ensured we had no privacy that day. So, by the evening when it was time to get ready for the wedding, I had given up. “This too would be a normal day like all the previous Valentines. Where’s Mr. Cupid now & where is his shower of love & pampering? Guess it’s just another Mera V-Day so lemme doll up & gorge on the greasy wedding food” I grumbled.

 But happiness they say, comes in small packages. So, when my otherwise shy hubby held me from behind & wished me with flowers & …, I was taken by surprise! So, this was what V-Day was all about, I giggled.

With age comes wisdom (and now Mr. Hubby will say I’m growing old too fast) but having been at both the sides of the table, I feel Valentine’s day is just a celebration of love – whether with you yourself or that special someone (your hubby, parents, kids, boyfriend, best friend, you yourself etc). Just like excess makeup spoils the look, let’s keep this day sweet & simple. Let’s not pollute it with overdose of commercialization, inflated stories etc etc. Let Valentine’s Day just be Valentine’s Day!

For all those in love, a very happy Valentine’s Day, & for those who are still single, love is inside & around, just embrace it!

Saturday 9 February 2013

Darjeeling – Down memory lane Part V (Final)

Darjeeling – Down memory lane - Part V (Final)

Day 5

It was our last day in Darjeeling & we had to catch flight in the evening. So we decided to take it easy. Boney’s had become our daily breakfast joint & the owner’s face always had a huge smile whenever we visited him. Not because we looked cute. The walk from hotel to Boney’s used to be beyond my capacity & he felt pity for me as he saw Hubby motivating me with pastas & pizza to reach the outlet!

We then decided to take a longish walk in the bazaar & I picked up some tea for relatives & friends. Lunch was at Glenary’s,  a famous eatery in Darjeeling. One didn't go there for food, but the location, ambiance  music & WiFi  actually the feel of the place made me feel as if I was in one of those amazing restaurants u have in London & Paris. One could just sit there for hours, an ideal place for a romantic date.

Since it was season of landslides, Hubby got tensed about reaching Bagdogra on time. On the way, as he & the driver discussed we didn't have much time, I secretly wished we got another day so that we could cover Sikkim as well. But the airline was more than supportive & the flight delay ensured we not only reached the airport on time but also had to wait at the stuffed up lounge for an hour.

When the plane took off, I felt like a kid whose summer vacations were coming to an end. I was going back to Delhi, to waking up early & going to office, the usual rut of life. But was already looking forward to come again to explore Sikkim & rafting at Teesta.
Delhi airport too greeted us with showers & I still remember how I gorged on Rajma Chawal like a bhukha sher as my mom in law looked and smiled.

This was our best trip ever, loaded with lot of sweet memories.  Mr. Hubby says, there is something magical about Darjeeling. Makes you feel as if the time has halted so that once can savor the simple joys of life. And that’s what life is all about.
Best Trip Ever!

Darjeeling – Down memory lane Part IV

Darjeeling – Down memory lane Part IV

Day 4
Having wasted a precious day on my food poisoning, we had to make the most of the remaining trip in a jam packed itinerary. So we hired the hotel cab (hiring a cab comes out expensive in Darjeeling) & left for Mirik Lake. Since it had just rained, the ferns drizzle & greenery on the way looked splendid. The houses, whether big or small had plants potted & walls painted. A feature I noticed in every house on the way. Had hubby & I not fought on the way, Mirik, with its pine trees & clouds passing through the lake would have been a romantic paradise for us. 
Pic Courtesy: Google Search

But I will always remember this place as the place where we had our first serious fight (girls, they remember all the firsts!). So while hubby was fagging away to show off his anger, I was trying my best to attempt a long solitary walk on the bridge over the lake. I could see people enjoying boating & Pony rides while we 2 stood with fowl expressions on our face. It was best not to try anything more as we had paid for the cab & didn’t want to spoil the trip.

They say sometimes journeys are as beautiful as the destination itself. Such was the case with Darjeeling. Terrace gardens with corn all over, I didn’t know how much to stop & click. We stopped near the Nepal border area as I had not eaten at the good restaurants on the way, thanks to our fight. It had also begun to rain. We took rest in a small shop & I savored the best momos that even the best restaurants in Delhi wouldn’t serve. Soft, fresh & steaming hot, they were just the perfect thing on that rainy day. We gorged on momos & chai & hubby made up for the fight by pampering me with perfumes etc.

The way to Teesta & kalimpong is one of the most beautiful memories of my life.  Let me share a little secret. The reason why I had wanted to go to Darjeeling was that in the song “Pehla Nasha” from the movie “Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar”, I had seen Amir Khan enjoying & falling on tea plants & since childhood it was a secret wish to do the same.  And when I saw the tea plantations, I just shrieked “ooooooooh” like an overjoyed child! I went running towards the tea plants & fell on one of them. Mr. Hubby was surprised & laughing! He must’v been wondering what sort of a girl is this. Though now, he tells me he was concerned for the plants since I had fallen on the bunch! Men…

We had a longish photo session & a few meters ahead, we reached a place from where we could see Triveni Point, the point where river Rangeet meets Teesta. I have no words to describe how panoramic the view was so u can see these pics. The calm river Rangeet coming from Kanchenjunga meets the turbulent Teesta coming from Sikkim & the confluence is a treat to the eyes! A must visit. 
Triveni Point from the top

The driver told us, we were to go down to the Delta created by the confluence. Wow! I couldn’t wait. We crossed the Teesta Bridge & reached the Delta. It was monsoon time so the area wore a deserted look however; we were told that in summers, the place is a rafting aficionado’s haven. I have done rafting at Shivpuri as well, but Teesta was just too turbulent, with multiple rapids. I wish it was season time so that I could enjoy the rapids. We enjoyed some quality time together walking barefoot on the Delta’s wet sand & promised we would return someday & do rafting at Teesta.

It was evening when we reached Kalimpong & the driver had already warned us to keep everything quick coz we had be back to hotel before it got late. The nine hole Golf course there perhaps is the most scenic Golf course in the whole country!  The driver also took us to Kalimpong cactus garden which was a well maintained private property. We spotted some amazing varieties of cactus together at one place.
Golf Course
Golf Course

There is also a famous monastery at Kalimpong, the Tharpa Choling Monastry. The silence felt so relaxing & we wished we had more time. But had to cover it in just 20 minutes and hurried to a temple. It was getting dark & it was heartbreaking that I had come all the way from Delhi to Darjeeling & was missing out on Sikkim due to a wasted day of food poisoning. But the damage had been done. We reached hotel back in time for dinner but it had been a long & tiring day & before we knew, we had dozed off.
Read about the final day of the trip here...
Cactus at garden in Kalimpong

Monastry in Kalimpong

Friday 8 February 2013

Darjeeling – Down memory lane - Part III

Day 3
We were woken by the kukdoookoo of the rooster outside our hotel  window. Let me tell u something strange about this Rooster bhaiyya. We all have heard that the kukdookoo happens with the crack of dawn. However, rooster bhaiyya ensured the lazy folks got up on time. You could snooze the alarm, nit him. His periodic kukdookoo could be heard way past afternoon as well!

But something inside me wasn’t right. The palak paneer I had gorged on the night before didnt go well with my tummy. Burp & all the good things I had savored in dinner came out one by one. Mr. hubby was scared of my sudden food poisoning. Medicine, mint, chocolate, whatever I took refused to go inside. A SOS call to parents in Delhi & some timely homeopathic medicines did some damage control.

We had planned to head to Kalimpong and Sikkim that day but now my only option was to rest in my hotel room & listen to Rooster bhaiyya. Mr. Hubby knows how to make the best out of worst. Movie was a good option, I just had to sit & watch. In Delhi, I am used to reaching in time, to get tickets in time. But this was Darjeeling, laid back and chilled out. The theater showing Hindi movie was almost empty! I enjoyed the show like a private screening & changed my seat thrice until hubby signaled me to control.  

By the time the show ended, my sickness had disappeared and the tummy wanted some fuel. And we discovered this cosy eatery called Boney’s snack bar in Capital Market. No fancy interiors or menu, but the brother sister duo who run this place serve sandwiches & pastas as per your choice & with free smiles & hospitality. Hubby became a fan of this eatery & this became our breakfast point for the remainder of the trip.
Read about Day IV of the trip here...

Thursday 7 February 2013

Darjeeling – Down memory lane - Part II

Day 2

The hotel staff had asked us to wake up early, for we had to go to Tiger Hill. We had heard so much of “a must visit” Tiger Hill. Since the spot offered a scenic view of Mount Everest along with Kanchenjunga, Hubby & I were up at 4 so that we could catch the glimpse to our heart’s and camera lens’ content! But they say, excess of everything is bad. Over excitement proved us expensive. Clouds played spoil sport. We waited and waited with endless cups of coffee. The place has a lot of local women serving piping hot coffee they carry in thermos flasks. After we realized it won’t be anything more than a coffee date, we decided to capture whatever we could and moved on…
This is wat we expected (pic courtesy: Google Search)

This is what we saw

Spoil sport

The driver was a good chap & seeing our disappointed faces, he suggested we visit the Ghoom monastery which fell on the way back to our hotel. The toy train was like a fast friend, meeting us every time we were out to explore the lovely Darjeeling.  It was a treat to see Ghum station, a small platform which has retained its old world charm. You can even catch a glimpse of the station in the movie Barfi.

Toy Train!!!
Ghum Station

Buddha Statue at Ghum monastry

Ghum monastery, also known as Yiga Choeling Monastery has a 15 ft high statue of Maitreya Budhha. My exposure to monasteries had till now been confined to the documentaries on Discovery. Actual rendezvous was a treat for my eyes. The colorful paintings, architecture, prayer bells spoke of rich culture. By now, we had began enjoying the drizzle which never stopped. We got a nice blue umbrella from one of the shops near the monastery.

Anybody loving to shop in Palika Bazaar in Delhi would love the several shopping complexes in Darjeeling. Just like Palika, the shopkeepers give u a visual scan & quote the rates. I found the fashion sense a step ahead of Delhi & if you are well versed with the tricks of bargaining, then it’s a shopper’s paradise!

A nice, long and romantic evening stroll was followed by an authentic North Indian dinner & we called it a day.
Read about Day III of the trip here...

Darjeeling – Down memory lane (Part 1)

Darjeeling undoubtedly has been my best trip ever for two reasons. First, it was my first trip with Mr. Hubby so thinking of it reminds me of all the lovy dovy stuff we were enjoying at that time. Secondly, I have to admit, I haven’t been to another place so laidback & relaxing as Darjeeling. Just like the movie “Barfi”, everything happens at its own sweet pace. It’s great to see a place where people still love to relish the small, simple joys of life, a welcome change for us from the metros, where everyone is running a rat race.

Being pakke ghumakkad (travel freaks), hubby and I are always ready to pack our bags & set out without a notice. However, surprisingly, Darjeeling has been our most planned trip, planned 3 months in advance. 

It was the first time anybody from our families was heading out to the North East & I still remember the concern in my father in law’s voice when he used to call us daily & suggest numerous precautions everyday. But I have to admit, from the moment we landed at Bagdogra airport, there was a not even a single moment when I felt unsafe. The warmth of the people is still afresh in my mind and had it not been for our hectic schedules, once a year Darjeeling darshan would definitely have been on my itinerary.

The idea of travelling to Darjeeling in the month of July was received with much resistance by family and friends. However, passion needs no bounds. So, on the rainy morning of July 1, 2009, we left home for airport, hoping the rain God would have mercy & not cancel the flight. Just like our cute little destination, the aircraft too was small and cute with only a handful of passengers (mostly honeymooners & families) bound for Bagdogra. Though rain God had mercy, the fear of bad weather kept us anxious throughout the 2 hour flight. I still remember an elderly uncle who had a heated argument with the cabin crew as he was being asked not to move or use the washroom as the weather was bad.  Just too bad for the poor guy, I thought. The frequent chanting of bad weather by the flight stewardess made me somewhat scared as this was my 1st flight ever. My wicked mind remembered all the plane crash stories I have ever read in newspapers & I was fretting. Mr. Hubby tried his level best to calm me down, trying to divert my mind.

Finally our flight landed at the Bagdogra airport. What a transition – from the gargantuan runway of Delhi airport to the small runway of Bagdogra airport, where one plane landed at a time & quickly made way for the ones about to land. Some things never change no matter wherever you go & cabbies were over enthusiastic to spot tourists. But he didn’t know with us he was inviting agents of decibel torture! As if we had an overdose of laughing gas, hubby & I laughed nonstop during the drive from Bagdogra to Darjeeling. The cabbie kept looking back, perhaps scared if we were insane, as he still had to be paid!

Our hotel was at a certain height from the main road. However, the cabbie, bugged by our bursts of laughter decided he’s had it enough. He dropped us abruptly on the main road & said the resort was just 10 steps up. Before I could look back at him to tell him it seemed more than 50 steps, he was gone! Price paid for our paagalpanti! Hehe …like mules, hubby & I dragged ourselves up the hill till the bellboy spotted us & came to our rescue!

After attacking the room service menu & taking some rest, we set out for a long romantic evening walk. The place had an old world charm like I had seen in Kasauli. The antique architecture and relaxed environment stole my heart. Coffee & muffin at the famous Gelenery’s further ehanced my spirits. Exhausted by the travel & the climb up to the resort (yes, we had to do it every time we went out for a walk), we dozed off much before dinnertime…

Read about Day II of the trip here...
Pic courtesy:Google Search

Pic courtesy:Google Search

Wednesday 6 February 2013

The forgiven...

Today, me wonderzzzz about forgiveness…

As a kid, forgiveness to me was about dancing behind mom whenever I did something wrong. She wouldn’t shout or spank. She would just give a foul stare & stop talking to me. So whenever I got that look, I knew I had it from her. As I grew up, the mistakes reduced but her modus operandi didn’t change. I too made a discovery. When asking for forgiveness, the way to the heart is through the stomach. So whenever I had to ask forgiveness, I would stand with an “I am innocent” look with her favorite cup of chai in hand. Now that she is no more, I can’t even ask her why the “royal ignore torture” policy gave her more satisfaction than spanking.
Pic courtesy:Google search

In school, forgiveness was about crocodile tears, coz that was the only way one could escape a slap from the teacher. Donno why, teachers of my times felt the child was forgiven only after they fulfilled their quota of punishments. Thankfully for me, I was mostly in good books but I can recall the faces of children when teachers summon their parents to school.

College was a step ahead. There was no room for forgiveness. Since teachers could make students dance to tune of the “mandatory attendance” factor, there was no room for forgiveness. I still remember that in my final year of college, my friend & I were punished for being 5min late for the lecture. (Actually, it was more than that…we had dared to giggle looking at the professor & he thought we were making fun of him!). He made us stand outside the class & when fachchas passed by, we felt like criminals facing media persons.

Then came corporate life & the mantra was “to err is to lose out”. There was cut throat competition and rivals waited for that one error from u that would make their day. No wonder the seeds of six sigma were sown at that time, so that one realizes the importance of being error free.

With friends, life is simple, they forgive or they are forgotten!

In relationships, forgiveness is something every girl likes to give & every guy has to ask for, no matter who made the mistake. But it irritates me when I see most wives making their husbands dance around for real petty things. As for me, Mr. Hubby happens to be my mother reloaded. Same silence more extended. And it’s back to childhood for me, as I dance around with his favorite dish in my hands & “I am innocent” look. Just that it takes longer for my Kaikeyi to come out of the kope bhawan & I wait & wait.

Well, the purpose of me sharing all these experiences is not to bore my readers. I wonder why is making mistakes so easy & asking forgiveness so tough? Actually it’s the interim phase that’s more frustating, when we wait for the verdict, just like a cricketer awaits decision from the third umpire. Half of the world’s issues remain unresolved because it’s a pain to ask forgiveness. Since childhood, whenever I have wanted forgiveness, I have prayed to God to simplify the procedure a bit. 

I thought & thought. From banners one could wear on head to a light system like the ones third umpires use to give their verdict; from spokespersons to God doing the job on our behalf, I had the wildest of wild ideas, anything that would spare me the torture of being ignored, spanked, scolded or made feel miserable.  I saw my pet dog…he looked so cute that he seldom had to ask forgiveness, no matter what he did. “From sms to tweets, when everything in life is becoming simple, short & sweet, why not the procedure of forgiveness?”I thought.

The answer lay in something my mom in law says quite frequently (though in different contexts)…”one should give only what s/he is ready to take.” When it comes to taking, we want the big & the best. We love being pampered & showered with numerous apologies so that we can finally give forgiveness as recognition of several tough efforts the seeker has made. What happens when roles are reversed? The same us who love being apologized to, take to self pity & look for easy options that would save us the effort. When mistakes are ours, then apologies are ours too.

An honest confession…

Despite penning down this overdose of gyaan, my heart tempts to install a light system (similar to the ones third umpires use) in my house. The seeker could write the apology in not more than 50 words (only written communication allowed). Till the time, there’s no light showing result, there would be high decibels of continuous “I am sorry” enough to bug/deafen the giver; the red light would have a permanent dysfunction so that just like Hindi movies, there would always be a happy ending!

To the readers, who stopped reading midway, or got bugged by this boring post, my sincere apologies. Happens with me too, but sometimes, it is better to write it out!
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