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Love, bliss and shining stars


Selfless love, bliss and shining stars are terms I’ve always heard and cringed a bit. For those of you who know me know I am not a mushy person. Never would I’ve thought that I would put up with someone’s shit and still love them. But as always I was proven wrong…

Expression of ‘selfless love’ is unique at different ages & phases of our journey. I think mine came at the age of 20 when my first niece was born. Kyra took over my position of being the baby in the family. In fact, the first day I met her, she was this tiny package of sheer perfectness. Seeing her that day I just couldn’t close my eyes and miss a moment of admiring how flawlessly beautiful she was. Of course, the next morning wasn’t great but I think it was totally worth it !

I lived with her for her first 2 years and I can without any doubt say those have been the best! Each day was a new lesson with her. My first lesson came in week 1 with her, it was when I realised that it is in fact possible to clean someones shit (literally) and still love them more each day. That’s when it struck me selfless love can have simple and humble beginnings like this. I know this may come across as shallow and even trivial to some people but this is the strongest emotion I have experienced.

The best things always come to you for short periods of time and so was my experience of living with her on a day-to-day basis. Kyra, I wish I could watch you grow up each day and spend all my time teaching you things and warning you of every personal failure so you can sail through this journey of life. Having said that, I assure you the distance will not save you from me chewing your ear advising you and teaching you everything even if it is not in person.

As you grow up and face challenges of your own, I want you to know there are a lot of us looking out for you. I cannot promise to have all the solutions to your problems but what I can promise is to be a patient listener. To be there for you if you need to make any 3am calls or sharing things without the fear of being judged. I assure you there is nothing at all that can change the way I feel about you in this whole wide world. 🙂

But I have to warn you there is a one thing I cannot promise you. There is a price to pay for all of that abundant love (selfless love is a bit overrated huh?). I cannot promise you that I wont be that crazy aunt who embarrasses by hugging, kissing & chasing you in front of your friends.

In the end of this post, I want you to know you were the one who taught me how to love and what being blissfully happy means. Not like I haven’t already embarrassed you enough, but I will still go ahead and say you were, are and always will be my shining star!

KyraGuga

Babies bring joy!


As of 12th February ’14 we have a new baby in the family, my niece baby Mehr! Yay!! Am an aunt again…. Mehr means ‘blessing’ in some languages, it’s also an alternative name to the Zoroastrianism divinity Mithra. I can tell you this little bundle is truly a blessing…

In just these few days I’ve seen the new parents on the block beaming with pride of their creation. Grandparents who just can’t get enough of admiring how perfect she is. A little 3yr old cousin who can’t wait to share her toys with her new playmate. And us aunt’s claiming our right’s over the little one always demanding more pictures and video calls to see those teeny-tiny yawns and dreamy smiles…

The atmosphere in the house is so upbeat & all the cloudy grey days seem a little less grey now. Let’s hope the happiness continues *Touchwood*. Here’s to you baby Mehr and all the joy you’ve brought us!

Below is what Mehr’s grandparents whipped together for her homecoming, I melted with the warmth of the gesture. 
Image

Mission : Regret free 2014


So after a long long time I am back here! Considering I was speaking of new years resolution in my previous post, there is some level of continuity here…

I tried not telling people my new years resolutions last year and that dint get me very far so I am going to try the opposite approach this time around. I know I am late in updating these on the blog but in my defense I was still working on the finer details…

Moving on, here are my resolutions for the year :

Explore restaurants : Let’s get started with one of my personal favourites. If you know me, you’d not be surprised to know this is about food. My friends & I have decided to go to one restaurant we haven’t been to before every week. The key here is it needs to be our first time to the restaurant! This was so we could discover NYC and the food places here (Yes, I moved from London to NYC earlier in the year)…

Gym : After all that yummy food, its not hard to guess that gymming would be next on the list. I’ve resolved to go to the gym at least thrice each week plus an extra time for each meal that I eat outside (other than the one covered by resolution 1, come on I need to make it sound do-able!). Target is to to be able to do a 5K under 30 mins by the end of the year.

Say sorry : This one is a bit tougher, its about saying the first sorry… Its about making a genuine attempt to break out of cold-war’s you get into with close people. By the end you don’t even remember whose fault it was just that the outcome isn’t what you want. So say that first sorry and make the effort to amend those important relationships.

Travel : After one serious one, time for something easy to digest… My biggest regret when I moved over from London was that I dint travel enough in and around the UK. I was certain I dint want to harbour the same regret even in this new continent. So I have decided to travel around and not wait until all the factors are perfect. Travel alone if that’s what it comes to but travel!

Invest time getting dressed for work : To understand the next one, you need to know a tad bit about how lazy a person I am that I even dress sloppy to work. While people at my workplace actually dress like the characters in the show Suits! So I clearly am an aberration there, I hope to fix this… This would be the hardest resolution I think,  as I’d need to forego my sleep and spend that extra half hour blow drying my hair or finding the right shoes. Sigh! I am a bit skeptical this one would work but I think its worth putting in any way.

Learn how to dance: With my two left feet and 20-something years of moving like a robot I don’t think I can pull this off right away but I just wish I am no more that girl people can chuckle at when I ‘dance’ more like attempt to move when inebriated.

Read : I wish I had more time to read that I could commit to a book each week but I think it would be far from realistic. Sticking to at least one book a month is pretty much all I can with all my other commitments. Though I will do my best to read books outside of my comfort zone.

Connect with friends : Get in touch & meet up with friends and family in this part of the world. Something I decide to do ‘tomorrow’ for the past 6 months…

Update the blog regularly : The last and final one is to not ignore my blog! I must find the time to document each restaurant we visit weekly.

Now that it’s all in black and white, there is no escaping! Bring it on 2014!

Sarson ka saag and Makki ki Roti


For those of you who don’t know this is a famous Indian dish that is typical to Punjabi’s. Sarson ka saag refers to the leaves of the Mustard plant and Makki ki rotti is an Indian bread made out of Corn.

Ingredients:
Sarson ka saag(Mustard Greens)           1kg
Fenugreek leaves (Methi)                     250gm
Spinach                                                    250gm
Green chillies                                 3-4 in number
Ginger(chopped)                                  4tbsp
Garlic(chopped)                                   4tbsp
Salt                                                        to taste
Red Chilly powder                              to taste
Onions(diced)                             3-4 medium sized
Tomatoes(diced)                        3-4 medium sized
Oil/Ghee

One of the following depending on choice :
Turnip                                                        250gm
Baathu (Goosefoot/Fat-hen)                 250gm

Chop the Mustard Greens, Spinach, Fenugreek leaves, and one of the optional ingredients. Next, add these and ginger, garlic and salt to boiling water. Once boiled, grind it to get a green paste.

Next, in a pan heat some oil add the finely chopped onions and fry them until golden brown. Next add the chopped tomatoes and red chilly powder and cook until the oil leaves the bottom of the pan. Finally, add this to the green paste and bring to a boil. Add some extra butter or ghee before serving.

For makki ki roti mix powdered corn and wheat flour in a 3:1 propotion and knead the dough. Make sure it is not very soft as it may make the process of making the roti extremely tough. Using only corn flour (please note it isn’t cornflour that I am referring to, it is powdered corn ) would make it impossible to make roti. Wheat flour is added to help it bind better. This cannot be normally rolled using a rolling pin (belna) as it does not hold well together. You would need to do it by hand. This is a bit of an art… Still learning from my Mom! 🙂 Cook this like a regular roti (with a little extra butter/ghee).

Hope you all enjoy your saag and makki ki roti!

India and Regional Stereotypes


Trying to distinguish between those that aiyyo,aielee, amma, eesshh. Be it a chai party or kitty party or a high society gathering, regional stereotypes is very often the topic of discussion. Stereotyping isn’t great and is amusing when some people get offended with these… Please proceed only if you belong to those class of people who can laugh at themselves.

Tamilian: A Tamilian Anna is:

  • Often pictured as the brainy serious person who excels at academics
  • Loves his carnatic music and quizes his friends and family on the raga’s of a song on hearing it
  • one who is asked to sing songs for any and every family gathering ‘oru paatu paadein’
  • an ardent religion follower with photos of God staring down from every possible wall in the house
  • Cannot get over idolizing Jayalalitha and Rajnikanth
  • Hates Hindi
  • Often look jaundiced. No they do not suffer from any health issues. They are just beauty concious and love to use their turmeric face pack in excess.
  • someone who doesn’t like women to be size 0 in fact, they like them a little (or a little more than) plump. Thunder Thigh Rambha would sure be an example of this. Most actors belonging to this industry would easily be XL or XXL. Apart from this the hero in their movies can single handedly fight 20 bad guys and still save the girl!

Punjabi: A Punjabi is often pictured to be:

  • with a dhol doing his signature ‘balle balle’
  • over the top and excited
  • the funny one and one who laughs the loudest
  • drinking uncontrollably
  • gauges how good a wedding party is by the amount and quality of alcohol being served ONLY
  • love ghyo (a punju term for ghee ), lassi and pronthe (paranthas)
  • have a lot of ‘teri toh …‘s in his dictionary
  • screaming ‘chak de phatte’  out of ecstasy
  • fierce and brave. Thus the unsurprising large number of Punjabi’s in the army
  • extremely hard working and do not shun away from doing menial jobs
  • the jaan and shaan of a gathering always
  • food lovers and a large percentage of obese people in the country would belong to this category
  • the kind who overdo make-up
  • The kind who love to have some awesome shawsome type rhyming usages

 

Malayali: A Mallu chettan:

  • loves coconuts and has it on his plate, on his head, on the sink (to do vessels with the chagrin), in the fireplace and everywhere possible
  • just cant do without rice and needs a mid day meal having rice. Due to its presence in every household at any given point in time, mallus (Malayali’s) have discovered alternate uses of rice. I have even seen it being used as glue! (You already have an answer to the standard interview question which says ‘Give me few non-conventional uses of blah. If the blah is rice, we have hit the jackpot!)
  • doesn’t use shampoos very often. The common/healthy practice is to pluck certain leaves and flowers and use the soaked water to wash hair
  • man is that typical mooch (moustache) man you have read about or seen
  • can be found anywhere and everywhere.There is a popular saying, “You dont meet mallus they just happen to you” 😛
  • is one who shops for ONLY two things (esp. in mallu land) – sarees and gold
  • is obsessed with fairness creams and powders
  • loves his lungis for various reasons…1. when getting bored u can fold it, undo it, redo it and all in public… 2. makes scratching easy 3. facilitates unrestricted ventilation due to reason 1.
  • When it comes to movies here, I think they are very similar to their Tamil counterparts with the difference being, the hero here would first fold his lungi ( while the bad guys stand and watch) and  fight a whole battalion of bad guys alone and save the girl! The hero is in short a lungi clad superman! 😛

Kerala fact-sheet: half or more than half malayali’s are NRIs settled in ‘DuFai‘ or ‘GElf‘. They louve to catch the ootoo (auto) by ccch-ccch‘ing it (a way of calling any and every random person and we thought call signals only existed in the animal world!). This state has 100% literacy but no they still don’t believe in working… They believe in strikes. Which turns out to be a blessing when you are in school or college. Who doesn’t like extra holidays?! 🙂

Gujrati: A Gujju bhai:

  • is known to be stingy
  • is the businessman of India
  • is a vegetarian
  • likes everything sweet including their dal (lentil soup) !
  • has a taste for shiny/sparkly clothes
  • is exaggerative
  • calls every one baain (behn)
  • loves to speak in english. Errrrm his version of it, where Pop is Pope, Hall is Hole. These variations of the language can at times result in ridiculously hilarious meanings. Try permutations with the above words and be creative. You would know what I mean! 😀
  • look for a reason to perform (sing/dance). This reminds me of that scene in Kal ho na ho… right before the song Mahi Ve. 😛 Can be fun (to the extent of being lame! ;P watch KHNH for further reference ) . Even the most obese oldie gujjus can put those fit gymming youngsters to shame with their garba and dandiya moves.

Bengali: The Bengali Babu and Boudi

  • love feesh (Fish) in a spicy jhol curry
  • love their mustard in every form… you name it, they use it!
  • uses mustard oil for cold, earache, cough, etc. It is the Bong panacea.
  • have shrill voices and can be heard a couple of houses away owing to their habit to speak errm softly.
  • obsess wearing bindi and the rule says, the bigger the better.
  • like everything colourful from their houses to their clothes.

Bengali fact sheet: They are the true artists of India.  Most of out actors, musicians, poets hail from there. They are known for their flawless beauty and beautiful skin. Other than this a rule that applies to the Bong English is that ‘a’ and ‘o’ are equivalent. This means that Office is Affice, Mahima is Mohima, West Bengal is ‘Waste Bengal’  or ‘Bhaste Bengal’ and Veg is ‘Bhaej’.

UP waala’s :

A UP waale bhaiya is extremely hard to spot and classify. They come in different packages. One variety would be the paan eating ‘Kya kahat hain babua?’ types while another contrasting variety would be those ‘pehle aap‘ Lucknow Nawabs. The UP waalas are found all over India and claim to be the hindustani’s which is what makes them hard to distinguish. Cant decide which part of India a person belongs to? Must be a UP waale bhaiya.

On a personal note, I can relate to 3-4 of the categories mentioned above as my family has representations from the different states in India.

“Gunjan- Isn’t that a guys name?”


My my! The questions that have been stalking me all twenty one years of my life are “Whats your name again?”,” Isn’t that a guys name?”…. This post just displays an individual frustrated with the same questions over and over again! I am hoping this tells people that GUNJAN IS A GIRLS NAME!

The whole wide world is okay when both girls and guys have names like Krishna, Surya or Kiran. But when they hear GUNJAN sabke paet mein dard kyon hoti hai?!?!  Aaaaarrrrrgggghhh! This is the something that has been annoying me all my life! Even as a kid I got fed up of people calling me weird variations of my name Kunjan, Kunchan, JUNJAN (that was the worst! ). It is totally annoying when people ask your name 10 times and then say ‘isn’t it a guys name?’. My first instinct is “BUZZ OFF!!!”. These people who say all this talk like they are masters in the language and know which word is feminine and which is masculine.

So for the information of all those people who are still not convinced… Gunjan is a feminine word!

Just for evidence sake I am citing this Hindi song “Bhawaron KI Gunjan” starring Randhir Kapoor and his wife Babita. Please pay attention it is ‘Bhawron KI Gunjan’ not ‘Bhwaron Ka Gunjan’…

As a kid I was frustrated that my family had to give me a name which came along with soo much explanation and confusion.As is a known fact that you tend to enjoy hard earned things more than what you take for granted! So fighting for my name actually got me more attached to it. And today I totally absolutely LOVE my name! (No I am not acting like the Kareena Kapoor of Jab we met but I LOVE it!!!! 😛 )…

I found another similar article and it is for a name Shrinidhi and here is the link to it…

I am hoping that the readers will think twice before asking questions anyone like “Isnt that a guys name again?”….

East Vs West- Dilemma’s of a NRI


I don’t know how this thought came up but I do think it was interesting one…. This is not about why we ape the west or the cliched stuff! It is just about the differences…. That’s why I call it Dilemma’s of a NRI! 😛

Something I have never been able to understand about the way the human mind perceives things is that, why it always plunges to look for differences before discovering similarities? This makes the statement ‘humans are innately social’ sound plausible. If we humans were innately social beings, then wouldn’t we be looking for things that would help me identify with someone instead of the those that don’t? I just don’t seem to understand this!

(FYI, I am a north Indian born and brought up in South) For instance, when I meet someone from the south of India, they call me a North Indian while in the north i am known as a Madrasi. Who am I really? People in the south think I am not one of their kind while people in the north feel the same way. If this is the case in migrating from one part of the country to another, imagine migrating to another country all together! Phew! Another dilemma of a NRI, that which relates to what we love to have a big fat ego about-identity…

Ok, moving on… The next in the list is Arranged vs Love.This may not seem significant to a non-Indian but it makes a world of a difference here in India. Traditionally, a spouse is chosen by the family of the bride/groom. Many non-Indians have appreciated this because even if things dont go your way you always have your family to bank on and you WONT have to have sessions of  “See… I told you” ‘s… It does remove the risk factor involved but what’s the fun! 😀 😛

Next being Wash Vs Wipe! 😛 Some people from the west are completely baffled seeing a bucket and a mug in the restroom and wonder its use while people from rural parts of the country do not get the logic of having paper in the toilet! Such a wide gulf even in following nature’s MOST basic rules…

Buckets Vs showers!
The MIGHTY Indian Bucket is the cynosure yet again! This is a mighty contender of essentials when it comes to the daily Indian routine. Even when it comes to the daily activity of bathing, the bucket makes its presence felt. Quite the contrary most english bathrooms lack this and rely heavily on showers.

Hand Vs Spoon
Coming to eating habits now… The desi Indian would any day prefer eating with their hand rather than using spoons, forks and knives… Even for me hunger is satiated only when I eat with my hand… I am a true DESI at heart! 😛
On the other side, the west beliefs are it is unhygienic!

There are a lot of other differences but I guess I will stop here. If you can come up with any others let me know…

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