Neha

I feel humbled by your concern and love, blogdosts. Blogging is an integral part of me now, but more so are you all who make it so special. Last week, when I wrote the last post, I thought I'd keep away from this space for at least two weeks and give some rest to all turbulence and turmoil within me. At times, you just need to let go and that's what I aimed to do. However, I acted selfish and forgot that this little impulsive act can worry people who I hold so dear.

Isn't it so strange? I have not met most of you and in fact, have not even interacted apart from blogger or may be Facebook and networking tools. We live far away from each other....with instances where continents and oceans separate us, yet, we seem so close. When we read about each other and what's happening in our lives, we feel we are right there as a part of each others' lives. There's a special bond we share... a bond so gentle and yet so strong.

When I began blogging, it was to provide an outlet to that urge of writing within me...and today, it is part of my being. My days seem incomplete without Brittany's Not-me Mondays and all posts that are so simple, hilarious and yet, make you think....every day, I look forward to latest pictures of Elizah and Ethan and words of wisdom from Melissa....Nupur's posts make me feel as if it is a part of talking from the other end... Ani's posts personify a simplicity that humbles me....The Hall Family fills me with happiness and joy unbound....Teresa's post instill instant happiness and smiles....Mrs Potts whose posts make the day refreshing....Kelsey's writing rejuvenates instantly and leave me smiling....Winna whose words are so simple and yet so deep...Sarika, who met by coincidence but went on to become a good friend....Jenn who inspires me with her strength and courage...

To all of you and all others who make me feel loved and listened to... Zainab, Bala, Shubhjyoti, Pushkar, Haddock, Antarman and everyone else.... It's the unseen support and our special bonds that keeps me going. And my only request...always be there...I sure am not asking for too much :))

Will post the next surprise before the next week...and for the last post....Winna, mail me your address (I'll send yours and Bala's gifts together!); Shubhjyoti, I'll hand you your gift this coming Monday :)

Till then, blogdosts, take care and stay precious :)

Neha

I know I have been missing from action for quite a while. And irritating that it may sound, but it's going to be like this for some time now. What happened, why am I not writing....I will answer these and all such questions once I return to this space. Yeah, you can call it a break...but not from writing, but from myself. The thoughts that I write here need to stay within me for some time now for before I give them an outlet, I want to understand them completely.

Fret not, I am my same self, just feeling a little low. Some time with my thoughts and myself and I promise you an array of posts. No, I am not going for long...just a week or two and once I return here, you will have all the posts that I have written or am planning to write.

And yes, the surprises don't end here at all. Those that I promised in my last post continue....with Pushkar & Bala being the first two recipients :). Meanwhile there are awards that I need to take up and other posts that are either half-written or unpublished.

And before I sign out, there's another surprise I'll want to give you :)). In my first new year post, I will send gifts to my five blogdosts who have been with me incessantly till now. And how would I know that....simple....those who regularly comment to my posts are the winners :). BTW, you guys need to give the entire credit for this idea to Nupur. Thanks Nupur...for the wonderful idea :)

Blogdosts, take care....stay precious and have a great time while you prepare for the festive season!

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Neha

I have made a promise to myself...to keep the promises I make here with you, my blogdosts. And I do remember I've promised you so many things and have not kept most of them. But I'm sure you'll let me make up for them now :))

So, here's the first of the few surprises I have for you :). Here is a poem from the many poems I have written...

When I look at the sky,
I wonder its height.
When I look at the stars,
I wonder their count.
When I think of the ocean,
I wonder its depth.
When I look at the high peaks,
I wonder their goal.
When I look at the flowing water,
I wonder its destination.
When I look at the sea waves,
I wonder their force.
When I hear the rustling of leaves,
I wonder their source of music.
When I feel the gentle breeze,
I wonder what they whisper.
When I look at the glowing sun,
I wonder its intensity.
But...when I feel that gentle touch
When I think of the vastness of love..
I wonder of no other
But only one, who was my mother...

This was the second poem I wrote in English. In fact, it was in that phase of life that I came to know that I could articulate my feelings and write.

And now...time for another surprise! And I'm sure you'll love it! It's been a long time that I've known you...in fact, you all are very important parts of my real and virtual world. It took me some time to come up with this idea through which I can express my love and gratitude towards you. So here it is.... from now, till the first post of the New Year (2010), I will send out surprise gifts to the first two blogdosts who comment on my posts :).

Sounds fun? But naah....that surely does NOT mean that you don't comment after the first two are there! I love to hear from you and what you have to say about my posts (Does that make me sound so desperate for comments? I don't mind :D ).

So there you go....don't forget to mail me the address you'd like to receive your gift when you post a comment :)

Till the next post...take care and stay precious :)

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Neha

Before you think that the negativity and sadness in the last post has lingered on with me just a little too long, that's not the case. I have just not been able to get the time to write...and so have also not been able to reply to your comments. Will make up for it very very soon :).

Now to what's been keeping me busy? First, of course work! I'd so love to be at home for sometime with some good books, good TV shows and lots of blogging! Second, it's few other things at the home front calling for my attention and third, it's the lot many marriages that are happening this season. Everyone around me (and single!) seems be tying the knot this season! I just hope my father does not get to know this, else, my winters is ruined!

On another note.....I am happy! Why? Because my landlord finally kept his words and got my place painted! Trust me, this was A TASK! It was something I had been waiting for ever since I moved into this place. So after a year and a half of requesting, coaxing and even threatening (!!!), he finally got it done. I did not, even once, mind my entire weekend going into this laborious and gigantic task...instead, I was busy listing what all I needed to shop to decorate my newly-done place :).

But believe me, this is one mammoth work, and I give all credit to Shivani who gets our home done year after year! From looking for accommodations to coordinating the entire shifting process... and all this all by myself, I have done it all. In fact, I have always listed these as my achievements!!! But this entire painting process unnerved me. Moving the entire stuff (I have a complete household!), preparing for rooms to get washed in new colors, instructing the labor, selecting colors (this was the only exciting part!), testing the shades, supervising.... it was something! Then, I went shopping with my list and came back smiling....I had managed to get the perfect curtains and other decor stuff and I just couldn't wait for the paint to dry and settle in. So after the painting that ended late Sunday evening, I have been decorating and adorning my place bit by bit. Now, the next task on my list is to invite friends over for a brunch! Man...I am excited!!!

And yes, I have some little surprises in store for you, blogdosts. Naah, I'm not letting the kittens out yet...you'll have to wait for them :))! And don't worry, the wait won't be too long either. I know this month has been quite a drag in terms of the frequency of my posts...but I just told you who all to blame...right? ;)

Won't let this weekend go dry...till then, take care and stay precious!

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Neha

His unconfessed love was her strength and she was ready to do anything to make it hers forever. She fought with herself, her people and her world. She did what she was asked to and all that she was expected to do to make their relationship work - from convincing her family to the fruitless efforts to please his. She created her world in his, rather, he was her world! She waited for him to do his bit - to convince his family, to tell her that he too wanted to be with her forever, to take her in his arms and confess his unsaid love for her. And he did return. He told her not that he has convinced his family, but that they've convinced him that she was not the right girl for him. He confessed not her love for her, but his inability to fight to be with her. He returned not to take her in his arms and tell her how much he loved her, but to bid the final goodbye. He went while she looked on. She saw her dreams shattering before her while she watched helpless with nothing but her loneliness and tears with her.

^^^^^^^^^^^^

They were childhood friends, in fact the best of friends. They studied together before he left the city for a lucrative job abroad. The first couple of years went in the zeal and toil that goes in the first job; and then, he felt something amiss. He could sense a loneliness that he had ignored all those years. He called her and they spoke with a passion they had never felt before. After the call, he knew what his life missed...it was her. He returned home and they married. Life became a bliss. He took a new job in another city, which she made their home. Then, one day, he had to return...to his home, to his ailing aged parents...for he was their only support. He returned, but she refused. She did not want to go to a life like that. Disagreements led to arguments. She sought her share in his fortune and managed to take away all that he had earned. She left him, ....while he looked on, broken and shattered having lost it all, but his parents.

^^^^^^^^^^^^

She thought herself to be the luckiest for she had him, his love and their togetherness. He was always there for her and with her and had been that way for the past seven years. She dreamt about their future together and she knew her dreams were not a farce. His presence in her life and his love assured her. That day, she was very happy. After all, she was going to meet him after full five weeks. She wore the dress he had gifted her on her last birthday, and rushed to meet him. She opened the door of his room, her hands laden with flowers and gifts she had bought for him...and stood there...still and shocked. He was there...with another girl. She felt anger rise within her, but it soon gave way to the sense of loss and being cheated. She turned around...away from the love, which she thought was hers....away from the dreams she had lived with all those years.

^^^^^^^^^^^^

Last week, I posted a line 'Love becomes eternal because of the love the lovers share' as my status line on Facebook, when I received mixed responses and spoke to friends with whom I have not been in regular touch for some time now. We exchanged greetings and caught up with the developments in each others' lives. What I got to know then had me in a state of stupor. I have seen many relationships blossom and many break all around me. I have seen it happening with people I love and care for. And each time, I'm left with questions, questions that flood my thoughts, questions that make me wonder if true love really exists today, questions that always remain unanswered. I know it's wrong to question the very existence of love based on some incidences. I, also, know that love exists all around us in its true and pure forms. Yet, when I hear of someone making a farce out of it, my reaction remains the same...one of shell-shock silence. Of course, everyone moves on...but the questions remain.

I know, blogdosts, that this is yet another sad post, and that too after a long gap. However, I had to share it with you, to help get my mind get rid of the negativity that had come in after I got to know of them. But I promise a chirpy-happy Neha post next time!

Till then, take care and stay precious :)

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Neha

This month seems to have injected laziness into me. Not lazy in terms of work, but simply writing. The reading front is going fine and am completely into Indian fiction these days, though some books that were simply not worth it; but I never leave a book half-read however bad it may be. So I had to read (better put - tolerate) those till I finished them off! Thankfully my last read - Making the Minister Smile (Anurag Mathur), was a good one and did much to help get me over the previous two disasters! Thanks to Chetan bhagat, we have a whole new clan of writers who write only in conversational English, which does little to make a good read. Taking inspiration is one thing and pulling it to the extent of distortion is another! And the kind of language they use is definitely not the kind anyone would take up reading for! Now that gets me thinking! If these writers can find a publisher...so can I!


OK, let's stop me here...and go on with a tag. Tags are surely the best help when I don't have any or have too many things to post here! They give me time to think more and hence, prioritize. So here goes another one and this one came from Nupur :)

1.What is your current obsession ?
Saving!!! Yeah, honestly! All shopping has been put on halt for sometime. And this is for nothing in particular.

2. What are you wearing today?
A pink top and grey trousers :)

3. What’s for dinner?
Too soon to say :)

4. What’s the last thing you bought?
Footwear... that was 2 months back!

5. What are you listening to right now?
People here and there and all around me!

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
A good blogger and a great person....our friendship was a sweet coincidence :)

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Somewhere in the mountains!

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Kurtis and churidar; white shirt/top; a couple of comfortable pairs of jeans

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?Only for an hour?
The Oprah Winfrey Show (it's a one hour show, right?)

10. Which language do you want to learn?
Punjabi! And I'm serious...I find myself at complete loss of words with Punjabis all around me in Delhi!

11. What’s your favourite quote?
'Live Rather Than Exist'...and this one has been coined by me :))

12. Who do you want to meet right now?
My Grandfather :(

13. What is your favourite colour?
I like all vibrant colors :)

14. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet?
Currently, it's the kurti I got from Cotton World!

15. What is your dream job?
A perfect home maker! (Mind you, that's a full-time job!)

16. What’s your favourite magazine?
The good old Readers' Digest :)

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
Too less to think about...give me more, then I plan :)

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
Bad footwear!

19. Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?
Aishwarya Rai!

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?
The one I have now and have had for five years now (the length has varied though :) )

21. What are you going to do after this?
Treat myself to a Chocolate Truffle ... No, not for the labor I put into this...it was planned since afternoon :)

22. What are your favourite movies?
A long list...

23. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can't live without?
Jordana Blue kajal, Maybelline Lip Gloss and David Off perfume

24. What inspires you ?
Life!

25. Give us three styling tips that always work for you?
The right attitude teamed with confidence and a smile...works magic!

26. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?
Aah...this happens every day! And every day, I manage to find something :)

27. Coffee or tea?
Coffee...cold please :)

28. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
Read or go out for a walk.

29. What is the meaning of your name?
Cherished beauty!

30. Which other blogs do you love visiting?
Brittany's, Nupur's, Ani's, Melissa's, Shobha De, Kelsey's...and many more :)

31. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
Rasgullas and kaju barfi...yumm!

32. Favorite Season?
All of them... read this and you'll know why :) - http://neha-liveratherthanexist.blogspot.com/2009/05/25-random-things.html

33. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
All that you like :)

34. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?
Just IGNORE them...no right or wrong about them!

35. How do you calm yourself down when you are agitated or angry?
Stay quiet and let the storm settle on its own! The outburst is always bad!

36.Who is the modern ideal girl..the one who knows how to shop, dress and enjoy or the one who is simple but manages the house, kids and herself well?
A blend of both...balance is the key :)

So, I'm done...and for the tagging...I tag Brittany, Melissa, Sarika & Ani. Happy tagging guys :)

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Neha

I have been away for some time from this space and that is not without a reason. It was because I was not able to keep my promise and so was determined that I will post only when I'm able to complete what I set out for. And though I have not yet completed the task, I have removed the hurdle in my way. So am feeling better and thus sharing it with you, my blogdosts :).

Do I not make sense? Aah...OK, let me explain. As promised, I went to the orphanage on Sunday afternoon to spend time with children there. I was all prepared for the little competition that I had to organize...with gifts, chocolates, candies...everything. The moment the children saw me, they rushed towards me, calling out 'Neha Didi' (elder sister). I was overwhelmed when they surrounded me telling me what all they had prepared and practised for the competition. Just then, their caretaker arrived saying that I could not spend time with them! I was shocked. She explained there were some changes and now I needed permission from the magistrate, not from the orphanage office alone! I had to return and I hated to look at the disappointed faces of the children and more so, I hated myself for being the cause of it!

Nevertheless, I went to the Magistrate's office this morning, submitted an application and was assured that I will be granted permission...all this in about two and a half gruelling hours. And I detested every bit of it, but the faces of those children made me stay put. I went into the superintendent's room and explained everything. Now, she was one busy woman with a call on her mobile phone with another one on hold on the land line! She managed to wrap up the first call in about 20 minutes and then proceeded to finish the next one in nothing less than 25 minutes. All this while, there was another group of women in another room having tea and gossipping away. So after she completed her important calls, she turned to me, 'So, what can I do for you?' I was aghast. Had I not just explained everything to her before she royally ignored me for those very short calls? Anyways, I kept my cool and repeated the story once again. She replied, nonchalantly, 'So file an application and we will look into your request.'
'Okay, ma'am, where do I need to submit it?'
'You can give it here or at the orphanage.'
'Sure, I will.' And I walked out of her room and asked the peon for a blank sheet of paper. Now, he was the only person with some concern and sense of duty. He gave me a sheet and even asked me to sit comfortably and write. I was more than thankful. Oh, did I mention that Madam Superintendent did not bother to offer me a seat all that while that I was in her room?

So, I wrote the application and waited for another half hour to give it to her. Of course, she was busy attending another important call! After reading the application, she bombarded me with questions giving me no time to even breathe - Which NGO do you work with; why do you want to do all this; where do you live; what activities will you do with the children; what days will you visit; how long your visits will be; where do you work; who told you about the orphanage; do you know anyone working there...and she went on. I tried my best to provide her with convincing answers. And finally, she reread the application and looked up, 'Okay, we will grant you permission.'

Hurrah! Finally! I thanked her and came out of the building, only with a bigger need to vent after all this ordeal... and that I did. Well, I should say, I am doing it all again right here!

However, I am happy. I will be able to keep the promise I made to the children. This has delayed the closure of the Joy of Giving celebrations, but late is better than never, right? So, this Sunday, I will do just that and will share all the smiles with you :)).

Take care and stay precious :)

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Neha

Quite a few things running (or peeping or may be galloping) in my mind. That's what happens when you wake up on a Saturday morning with a long to-do list garnished with after-thoughts of events that have happened or are happening right now. And you know what this causes....yeah...loads of confusion and an over-loaded mind! Let me try putting them down here...may be, that would help them get off my mind! (They are random...no links...no order...just my thoughts!)

  • Remember my book...the one I wanted to publish and gift to Dadaji and then it all got stalled? Yeah, I have some news on that....Dadaji has come to know about it (I don't know how!) and now, it's become sole mission to get it published. So the book that was going to be surprise for him is now going to be done by himself! I love him for everything and I hate myself for not having done what I had so long dreamt and planned for!
  • I hate working on Saturdays...so what if it's just 1 or 2 in a month. I need to make my new company and bosses understand that my brain has been programmed to stop functioning completely as soon as a weekend starts and a weekend has always been starting on Friday evenings for the last over five working years! Old habits don't die (did someone say 'die hard'?) and this is killing me. I have to literally drag me to office on working Saturdays!
  • I have my orphanage visit planned for tomorrow and I haven't yet bought the gifts for the competition I promised the children there last week. OK...I know I have the evening with me. I wanted to end my Joy of Giving month on this note, but will have to extend it to the first day of next month (i.e. tomorrow).
  • What are you supposed to do with people who are the 'Only-I-am-important-and-doing soooo-well' type and make sure you know and realize their 'importance' too? In fact, they even want you to color yourself all green (not to 'Go Green'...I mean the envy-jealous GREEN!) on the very mention of their names! After all, they have done what you couldn't! Well, that's exactly what they want you to think. On retrospect, it's not that bad, is it? They give you a reason to smile (or smirk?) and of course....loads of gossip!!!
  • Today is going to be one of those evenings I'd been trying to plan for quite some time. It's going to be one filled with some shopping along with loads of street food and most probably in Old Delhi! I simply love street food, but am rarely able to find myself a partner in crime :(. Before you remind me of my recent illness and that I am still on a recovery mode, fret not! One of my reasons for existence (I have realized!) is to ensure that my doctors keep healthy and are well-fed...and not to mention, I need to meet them regularly...so that they don't start missing me :))).
  • There are these posts that I keep promising that I will write and simultaneously, forget too! In fact the lists seems to be ever growing - Love at First Sight; Wicked things I did and still do; benefits of (me) marrying a doctor etc etc. Now, this is something that I can so easily pass the buck to you, my blogdosts :)). You should have reminded me, na! No worries, I'll make up for my forgetfulness soon and write on all those topics I promised.

    Now, isn't that a long list? And there are many other things still on a rampage in my cluttered head. Need to either finish them off or try pressing the 'forget' button! This is what's an irony - you forget things you don't want to and likewise, you remember things you don't want to! Some gyaan for a Saturday from the wise me :)).
    You guys have a great long weekend (Monday is an off, na?). Take care and stay precious :). Love you all!

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Neha

I stepped out this morning, looking as cheerful as I possibly could! (Whoever feels naturally cheerful on a Thursday knowing that Saturday is working!!!!!!!!!) You know my mood-lift trick na....wear something nice - what you like - when you are not in the best of your moods. So I got me to wear my sparkling white top, another one that gives me a cool and slim feel [ladies reading this would know what I mean :)]. OK, so I get down the stairs and am greeted by no other than my landlady, who smiles and adds in, 'You are looking nice...and white's suiting you....you are so fair, na!' I smile back with a modest Thank you, wishing she had not added that last phrase!!

It seems like a crime sometimes. Well, yes, I really do mean it! Now, don't get me wrong there. But I get that feel. I remember one of those wierd (and unwanted) statements by one of my batch mates, right before our farewell when we were discussing the colors of the saree we would wear on the D-day! Our school had the tradition of holding a beauty contest on similar lines to that of a Miss India contest...and not to mention, it was the only subject to be discussed at that time (who cared about the impending board exams!). Anyways, so while we were discussing who'd become Miss SMC (St. Mary's Convent), this girl walks up, unprovoked, looks straight into my eyes and says, 'What do you have...you are only just too fair!!!' I stood there, shell-shocked! My friends huddled around me with words of consolation, which of course included some words of disgust for my tormentor! But that phrase...too fair...stuck right there!!!

On a more recent occasion, my father took me to this priestess...yes, you guessed it...for match-making! She took a glance at me (and I hated it!!!!), fingered through some 'variety' of folded sheets in an envelope... picked, rather selected, some from them and started supplying information on some probable grooms. And then it came, ' Here, he is a doctor, and they want a fair girl... and she's so fair!' I glared at my father. So being fair meant that I have all the required and expected qualities for being the 'chosen one' for this doctor!!! Now I know why those regular matrimonial ads read Ati gori (extremely fair!). That's like the first and *one of* the biggest criteria! (For those who think I sound outdated, do a reality check again...and I hate to admit, however, modern and educated we might have become, we still have that 'fairness' syndrome in us!)

Coming back to my 'too fair' point, it's more like a sarcasm than a compliment most of the times. Kaneez would know what I'm talking about. In college, whenever my friends teamed up against me and I protested, 'This is not FAIR!"; they'd retort, pointing (yes literally) at me, 'This is FAIR!' I'd fume and walk away.

I got it from my family and I'm proud of being all that I am, and this is something I always say in my defense. And to this, even my own sister has a point to add - No, you are a bit more than us! My own friend Sarah says that we [she shares the gift(??) with me] belong to the white and pale clan! She goes like, we are the whiter ones who look pale, rather than the nicer pink! It's worse when you are all confused and look around for help just before a big occasion or a party with that big question - What should I wear??? And everyone around you come with help (of course) - you can wear any color, you are soo fair!! Don't I now expect that response before making a question! And of course I know that, but I want to look my best too!!!

Now, that's not for you to think I have anything to regret. Like I mentioned, I love being me (the modest me!) and I know I'd also love being me if I wasn't what I am. For in every way, each one of us is unique and special. But for being branded for anything that makes you feel like an outcast is a complete NO! This fairness syndrome is there to stay with all the fairness creams and lotions (meant for men too!)...and so, while you are already blessed with it, not every remark is a compliment.

Aah, I'd just let this ranting of mine stop right here. And I'm sure many of you, my blogdosts, would have similar experiences... now that may be for having a great height, lustrous hair, a fab figure, perfect culinary skills and so on. [None of which that I possess...sob sob]. Yet, I'll revel in my gift for being me. I am 'too fair' (according to people)..so what!! I love me!!!

I hate ending my posts on a sour note, so here's a beautiful poem for all you gorgeous women reading my blog. I picked it from Brittany's post :)

Dear God:The girl reading this is beautiful, classy and strong, and she is very special to me.
Help her live her life to the fullest. Please promote her and cause her to excel above her expectations. Help her shine in the darkest places where it is impossible to love.
Protect her at all times, lift her up when she needs you the most,
and let her know when she walks with you, she will always be safe. She is my friend!

Take care, blogdosts, and stay precious :)

Neha

always find these tags fun and interesting. At the same time, they are witty and make you think really hard sometimes! Let's see how this one goes. Picked it from Melissa's post and am attempting it without being tagged :))).

Where is your cell phone? Right in front of me!

Your hair? My asset

Your mother? Beautiful!

Your father? Hitler (dad, forgive me :D)

Your favorite food? Homemade

Your dream last night? a nightmare!

Your favorite drink? Water :)

Your dream/goal? Become a writer (sorry...couldn't make it in one word!)

What room are you in? My bedroom!

Your hobby? Writing

Your fear? Heights

Where do you want to be in 6 years? With 'my' family :) (Now how can that be one word???)

Where were you last night? My bedroom!!!

Something that you aren’t? Singer!!!

Muffins? Chocolate!

Wish list item? Everything! ....so much for modesty :)

Where did you grow up? Allahabad

Last thing you did? Read

What are you wearing? A dress :)

Your TV? LG (Life is Good :)))

Your pets? None :(

Friends? Forever!

Your life? Beautiful!

Your mood? Sulking!

Missing someone? Yeah....

Vehicle? A black SUV

Something you’re not wearing? Vanity :)

Your favorite store? The local one

Your favorite color? All

When was the last time you laughed? Been some time now :(

Last time you cried? Weekend!

Your best friend? My sister

One place that you go to over and over? Mussoorie

One person who emails me regularly? My boss!

Favorite place to eat? Home :)

So this was it...and now I tag Ani, Sarika, Brittany, and Nupur. There you go guys :))

Till then, take care, blogdosts, and stay precious :)

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Neha
Being unwell takes so much from you - your time, your enthu, your zeal, your energy and leaves you feeling distraught, uninterested and gives you those nasty mood swings. Gosh...I can write an entire post on it just now, but I'll spare you the torture.

If you thought that my health would deter me from completing my campaign...that won't be it! The 14th and 15th days were picked for autowallahs again and soon after that, I went into my being and feeling sick mood....and it sucks!!!!!! All those doc visits, tests, scans, reports, medicines....arrghhh! I am hating it all.

Let me stop sulking now, else you stop reading my post right here. Don't worry, I have some good news to share too :))). I have finally done something I had been planning for months and what better time than the month of my Joy of Giving campaign! I visited the orphanage near my place and spent some time with them while doing activities like drawing, coloring, dancing, singing, poem recitals and so much more. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking :))

Masters at work :)

The early-birds with their creations!


The audience to poem recitals, dances, songs etc.

The entire group and their work

The beautiful creations!

Innocent Smiles :))

In a playful mood!

Their smiles and warmth helped me forget my illness for some hours and brought back the child in me while I joined them in reciting the long-lost rhymes and poems we loved as kids! I have asked them to prepare for a competition next week where they can perform to a song, sing, recite a poem or anything else they'd like. Let's see how the next Sunday goes. For now, my campaign is back on track... and I'm loving each moment of it. This month has taught me so much and there's still an entire week to go!

Till then, I'm trying my best to follow my doc's advise and of course, taking all those pills. Now if he's reading this, he'd sure kill me for the diet part! God, someone tell these docs that you do NOT feel hungry when you feel sick and you CANNOT eat, eat and eat!

You take care, blogdosts and forgive me for staying away from this space for this long. I'll make up for it...soon :))). Stay Precious :)

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Neha

Yes, you got it right! I gave a chocolate to my locality's Mother Dairy Ice cream wala last evening. I have had this big urge to indulge in some good chocolate ice cream since last Saturday and none other, but Mother Dairy's choco-chip works at such moments. I am not too fond of ice creams, but you got to try this one to believe it. In fact, it's a MUST HAVE for all chocoholics like me! The vendor knows me quite well now and so when I stopped by his trolley, he informed me, quite sadly, that choco-chip cup is out of stock! That sure was disappointing! I went up to the display card board and tried to see if any other flavor would work for then. But NO! My taste buds squirmed at the thought of any other flavor. I looked up at his expectant eyes and said, 'Some other time then.' He nodded. I came around to the front and gave him a chocolate, 'This is for you.' He smiled, 'I'll get a choco-chip cup for you tomorrow.' I laughed, took his picture and continued my walk back home.

So this was Day 13 of my campaign and it's going pretty fine till now. Will post Day 14 soon :)

Take care and stay precious :).

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Neha

Sorry guys, posted this a little late, but you know who, rather what, to blame for this. Definitely not me! Though thankfully, am feeling a little better today. Got all the tests done yesterday and fortunately, all my organs are working just fine. They just need some oiling and greasing, which the medicines will take care of. My system has never been the sort to follow rules and healthy lifestyle and so the suffering. A friend suggested I have some gol guppas....only an iron can cut another iron, you see! Another one says that I should not quit chocolates, they are the blood for my good health! Isn't that like WOW! Get my doctor to read all this and prescribe as well. Aah, reminds me of my plan to marry a doctor. I promise you the next post on the benefits of marrying one :).

By evening, I was a little better and went out for a walk, when Sarah called (don't remember her? My friend in Mumbai). We kept talking while I strolled aimlessly. Just then a little girl caught my attention. She kept running away from her mother playfully and would bat her eyelids when her mother scolded her. Then, she came close to me and gave me an endearing smile. I smiled back and she ran to me and took my hands. I ended my call and walked towards her. She ran to her mother. I offered her a chocolate, which she took immediately, gave me her charming smile again and then shook hands with me. take a look at her picture and you'd know the charm I'm talking about.



Soon after, I went to get a pedicure done, something I had not indulged in for ages! What a relief it was! I have been going to this parlor for years now and no other can beat their pedicure. It's great and economical too! While the pedicurist worked wonders on my tired and ignored feet, I made up my mind. As soon as he finished, I handed him a chocolate and you had to see his surprise, which he soon overcame and gave me a warm thank you. I gave chocolates to the other staff there and all of them gave me a very sincere and genuine smiles. I walked out feeling happy and content.

So, this was it....made up for the days I missed due to my uninvited illness! And I am glad that I am back on my campaign in full swing.

How about you, blogdosts? I'm still to hear from you. While you soak in the festive season, don't forget to gift someone a smile. :)

Take care and stay precious!

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Neha

You get up early morning, feeling a little better than the previous two days and feel quite happy with yourself. After all, YOU do feel better! Come afternoon and sickness is back... engulfing you in its black aura and you start whining again at the look of every other mortal who feels and looks better. Bang On! This is exactly how I am feeling RIGHT NOW! 3rd consecutive day and this is so not fair. I mean...this could have waited. With the festive season on and me having to do loads of shopping for home, this SHOULD have waited! Why, my Lord, Why??? I feel like one of those children being forced (read punished) to stay indoors while all others enjoy a nice game of basketball outside! But the rebel 'ME' will go and get all the shopping done this weekend, sick or not, doesn't matter!

Aah, the weekend also got me a nice surprise, which has me smiling corner to corner. I just got my first award.... Yippieee!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Brittany for the thoughtful gesture. You made my weekend :)

This award also states that I need to list down my 5 current obsessions, and then pass it along to five more fabulous bloggers! Hmmm....so here I begin with my list:
  1. It has to be my blog campaign for this month. Every day, I am looking at people around me and thinking if I should give them a chocolate. A friend asked me if I kept a stash of them with me! Well, not a stash really, but am always carrying one or two of them.
  2. The current mood is definitely that of shopping. With the festive season on and the markets brimming over with luring goods are too enticing! It is not my obsession, but yes, thinking of what to gift to so many people does become something like that!.
  3. My health!!! And I'm serious! I have not been keeping too well for some days now. And who likes spending money on doctors and investigations and medicines??? Let me correct myself there....I meant wasting money on all these things. Yeah, I know I got to take care and have been getting way too many lectures on that these days. But name one person who falls sick intentionally!!! (Even if you know someone, don't name!! This point is my biggest defense right now). BTW, I am thinking of marrying a doctor! What say? Well, that saves me a lot, you see :)))).
  4. Hmmm...guess my wardrobe! Yeah, it's been some time now that I am trying to change it. And why the change? It's got to do with my change of dressing. Am I growing old???? I am sure I am! But it's also got to do with the new formal dressing that I have to clad on 5 days a week to office! For me, it's always been what I'm comfortable in and what looks good on me. So I have never been the one to follow the latest fashion trends. But I have always been game for a good pair of jeans with a nice top or tee for any and every occasion. Now, it's getting different. I am experimenting with suits, kurtis, skirts and whatever else I feel great in! Am no more fussy about flares, collars and fits! It's just got to be classy and different!
  5. Food! Yes...and I am serious! I have almost quit cold coffee, chocolates and even gol guppas! Am gorging more on fruits and am even trying to avoid eating out too often. Now, I know reading this will make many of you smile with pride for me! Come on, you can even put in a word or two of appreciation....I deserve it :).

So, that completes the list. And now, ladies & gentlemen, let me take the honor to present this award to five fabulous bloggers...and they are:

While I bask in the glory of my first award, you guys enjoy the week ahead! Have a great time, take care and stay precious!

And yes, I know, I'm publishing this a bit too late. I have been a little out of this space over the weekend...thanks to my wonderful health. But yes, I am also working on my Joy of Giving campaign and will show you the progress tomorrow....pucca promise :))

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Neha

Had a bad migraine yesterday and that too in office. And that makes me cranky and irritable. Rushed home directly from office and so couldn't give a chocolate to anyone. However, I made up for it early today.

Hiring an auto in Delhi is one big mess. They simply never ask for fair price and then, they come up with whole lot of excuses and grievances when you point out the difference to them. They are one lot of people who have all the trouble in the world and so unreasonable rates are justified for them! I wonder when will the Delhi government do something about them! Nevertheless, beggars can't be choosers and so you have do make do with what these autowallahs ask for!
I, too, had to go through all that when I was hiring one for office today. However, I don't give in to them anymore. Having been in Delhi for quite some time now, I've learnt how to deal with them to an extent. And so after about 4-5 autos, I finally got one who agreed and when I asked him the fare, he simply told me to give him what's reasonable. I fixed a rate and while boarding the auto, he asked me to direct him as he does not know the way. When I reached office, I asked him where was he from and he told me that he was from Bihar and had left his family there to earn a livelihood in Delhi. I paid him the fare and gave him a chocolate, to which he replied - 'Very nice of your, Madam.' I was shocked! 'You speak good English,' I complimented him. He simply smiled and said, 'I always wanted to study more, but destiny makes you do what you never thought of.'

I walked into the office gate in a daze. So much for the education system in India where even degree holders wander for a good job! I guess I was too shocked to ask him for a picture; but, was glad to meet a simple and humble soul in the morning.

PS - I've missed Day 9 too and will make up for it tomorrow. Not been keeping well and rushed home from office soon after lunch today. Hopefully, will feel better to go out tomorrow.

Till then, blogdosts, take care and keep spreading smiles around you :)

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Neha

Now, today was an exceptionally long day with me looking at the watch again and again. A client call means having to stay late in office...and that is something I never look forward to. How time changes and so does one self! There was this time when I used to spend 16 hours on an average at work. So much so that people around me used to tease me that I work for it as if it is my sasural!!! And today, it's just how much I should stay and never a moment longer. In fact, now there are so many things I have to look forward to...things and people who make me feel blessed and loved :)).

Now for the chocolate of the day, today I gave it to a person I dreaded as a child. In the shadows of a night, whenever I heard his whistle or the banging of his stick, I would tug deeper in my quilt and cuddle with my mother. Little did I realize then that here was this man who gave away his nights' sleep for the safety of others; who would walk up and down the street tirelessly throughout the night occasionally calling out 'Jaagte Raho'. The phrase (or slogan) is quite a joke among us all, not realizing the efforts of those people who owe its copyright.

When I descended from my cab, I looked around for him. As the night was yet to slumber into darkness, he sat on his chair waiting and preparing himself for the oncoming duty. I called out to him and handed him the chocolate bar. He looked at it and said 'yeh toh bachche khaate hain.' I smiled, 'kabhi kabhi bado ko bhi khaani chahiye.' He simply smiled and turned hitting his stick on the road...more out of habit than any other expression.

Blogdosts, his picture has not come out well due to bad lighting, yet his smile does shine through, doesn't it? :))

Take care and stay precious :)

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Neha

A long day, with no rain, only a slight drizzle in the morning. Well, I shouldn't be complaining...it didn't rain during Monsoons so getting any rain now is a blessing. OK OK.... dear God, I am thankful for these surprise spells, but can we have few more of them... please...pleeeaaaassee!!! 'Be quite, you thankless old girl!!!' Here comes His reply...'old' and 'girl' together...makes me more sad :(((.

It was a special day because of another reason also. It was my younger brother's 20th birthday. As I write this, tears have shadowed my eyes. He was only 6 when our mother left us and since then, he has been more like my son to me. He has taught me the values of patience and selfless love. Even today, when I look at his face when he sleeps, I am reminded of that small little boy who would ride my back and memorize lessons repeating after me. His dimples are to die for and he is the smartest and most handsome brother in the world! (I know every sister has that to say :)). Here's my handsome and cute Ankit :)))... HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETHEART!

The day went on as usual in office with colleagues planning lunches, parties and even overnight trips. Somehow, there was no zeal in me for either...so I was playing a sporty spoilsport with a 'NO' for an answer to every suggestion! It's fun sometimes. Have you tried it??? It's very easy. All you need to do is say 'No' for every idea and give them a nice and logical reason. Well now, if you like the idea, then please don't do that...but if you are 50-50, then you got to try it. It makes people rack their brains more, come up with different and innovative things and try to persuade you and at times, even plead!!! GOSH!!! How many of my office colleagues are going to read this!!! Darn...I'll get to know their reactions soon!

Now for my chocolate of the day. I was quite confused about who to give the chocolate to today. Needed to deposit a cheque so went to the ICICI ATM drop box and while I was coming down the stairs, I recognized the gentleman sitting on a chair right beside it - the security guard there. Sometime last year, I had dropped a wrong cheque in the drop box and he assured me that he will keep it with him when the person comes to clear the box and call me. That was a Sunday evening and I sure received a call early Monday morning asking me to collect the wrong cheque. This person had no personal motive and was expecting no reward; this was not even part of his job. Today, when I saw him, the incident came back to me and I instantly took out the chocolate from my bag and gifted it to him. I reminded him of his favor to me, while he smiled and thanked me. Here is the man who sure knows to do that extra bit within his restricted job profile.


Day 6 is over and I'm looking forward to tomorrow - a new day, a new beginning, a new cheer, a new smile :)

Till then, blogdosts...take care and stay precious:)

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Neha

It was a beautiful day, rain and drizzle making it pleasant and lovable. Just one of those days when I want to go around doing chapak chapak in all those puddles that come in my way. A day when I want to let the rain drench me to the skin. A day when I want to enjoy the rains, lost in the sweet smell that comes from the freshly-drenched earth. A day when I want to be 'me' completely!!!

The only twist in this was I had to spend the entire day in office :((.... working and only being able to admire (and yearn for...) the weather from the huge window in front of my workstation. I thought to make-do with a cup of hot coffee, but Alas...no wishes were to be fulfilled today. With a new vendor in our canteen, the espresso machine has vanished :(((. The day moved on and so did I... occasionally, whining and sulking.

With the evening dawning in, I still hadn't decided who would the recipient of the chocolate for today be. I boarded the cab for home, but needed to get down at a chemist shop, near my place. Then, I hired a rickshaw for home and in that 7 minutes ride back home, with the cool wind tickling my senses, I almost forgot where I was. It was drizzling and when I got down at my home, I realized that the rickshaw-puller's scarf still soaked wet from the rain. At times, I marvel at these people and their laborious and determined way of living. I hate paying an extra penny to the ruthless auto-rickshaw drivers, but when it comes to cycle-rickshaw pullers, I never negotiate or bargain. I've always felt that these people truly deserve that extra rupee or two. They never argue with you, never say no to take you to your destination and they never take a longer route to confuse you or add to their fares. And they would never whine or complain about traffic or the government. They are simple people, hardworking and laborious.

So, I gave a chocolate to this rickshaw-puller today. When I asked for his permission to click a picture, he simply said - 'Le lijiye'.

That was the day that went by. Let's see who do I give a chocolate tomorrow!

How about you, blogdosts? How is the month getting along? How many smiles did you spread around?

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Neha

Yes, you read the title right.... I did miss to give a chocolate yesterday. Not because, I forgot, but because, I didn't go out at all. So, today morning found me a little disturbed and thoughtful. I needed to make up my mind about who will I give the chocolate to and I also needed to make up for the day's loss. I sure was feeling guilty of not having been able to keep my resolution...that too just as soon as only the 4th day! So, instead of the usual one, I bought two chocolates!

Then started the difficult task - finding the receiver for the chocolates. I walked from my place till my stop... looking around for a person I'd want to give those chocolates. Somehow, no one appealed as much to me. Reached the office gate, a little sullen and sad :(. Entered office and was greeted by a very enthusiastic 'Good morning Ma'am'! I looked up, smiled and returned the greeting. Suddenly, there was a cheer in my step: I knew who to give the chocolates to!!

Every morning when I enter office, I'm greeted with the same enthusiasm, which infuses in me some zeal and motivation to look forward to the day. There, he would be at the reception, dressed smartly in his uniform along with the sashay and boots, giving his usual welcome smile. His demeanor doesn't look like that of a trained security person, but a gentle human being who enjoys his work (or seems to!). The other day, I was admiring the grand bouquet on the reception table, when he told me how the florist takes great care in making one that lasts for a few days. And every evening, when I would be making a hurried exit from office, I never fail to pass a glance his way, and give him an instant answer to 'Good evening/night Ma'am'.

For making up for yesterday's loss, I had an extra chocolate as my 'fine'. I walked up to the reception and gave the chocolate to the security person and then, then housekeeping guy who was standing close-by. They both gave me a very humble smile with a big Thank You. However, I couldn't take a picture as that would have meant getting them into trouble.

So that was me making up for Day 4 :). But your responses (read the lack of it!!!) makes me sad. Are you not sharing your gifts with anyone? Are you not making that extra effort to gift smiles and happiness around you? Are you not celebrating the Joy of Giving month with me??? :((( Of course, I'll be a little disheartened now. Though I'm enjoying each moment of it, the happiness diminishes on realizing that my blogdosts are not with me. And even if they are, they are not sharing it :(((.

Looking forward to hearing from you, blogdosts! Take care and stay precious :)

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Neha

Sorry, I couldn't post this one last night, lest you feel I forgot about my resolution. It's been a good weekend so far. The afternoon went in visiting my doc, who I have not been able to see since I switched jobs and the evening went in Delhi Haat, a place I can never get enough of! It's all so beautiful there and I have this strong urge to buy it all!! I did get myself a pretty green phulkaari dupatta, something I had been eyeing for quite some time now. This is my Diwali gift to myself!! :D

By the way, I've already done loads of shopping as will be going home after nearly six months. Isn't this strange? I remember my days in the boarding when I used to yearn to be home and now, when I have the option to visit at my will, I am able to do it only twice or thrice in a year! And that too for not more than 3-4 days! My family too seems to have got too used to my being away! The fourth day at stretch at home leaves them asking me - Isn't your work suffering with you holidaying for so long??? Can you beat that!!! And now when I call Dadaji and tell him that am missing him, he asks instantly - 'Is all well??' Of course, yes! Can't I miss him just like that? :(

For my chocolate yesterday, I chose a very simple human being who has been with me for over a year now. She comes religiously every morning, goes about with her work and even does that extra bit to help me while I am cooking or cleaning up. Never complains, though she speaks very little Hindi, being a south-Indian. What touched my heart most was when she got me some idlis and delicious chutney on Holi, when I had a severe migraine attack. Yes, she works at my place and I'd rather call her my helper. When I gave her the chocolate, she gave me her usual very innocent smile and when I asked her for a picture, she posed for them 4 times and actually picked the one for me to post. Here she is, her smiling self:

And blogdosts, I'm still to hear from you about your joy of giving month. You all seem to have vanished. Come on, tell me, who did you gift a smile :)

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Neha

I was looking forward to today....for obvious reasons - it being the start of a long weekend :). Started the day with indulging in sleeping till late, then went to watch Wake Up Sid! (Love the contradiction in this statement!) Nice movie, though not the expected KJ type :(. Guess I went in with too much expectations. Never mind, I enjoyed it nevertheless with loads of pop corns and Diet Coke! Hey, don't get thinking...I'm not on a diet...what with a tub of popcorn to accompany a 1-calorie (so they say!!!) drink!

On my way back after a nice day with a movie followed by shopping, it was time for the gifting of the day. Today, I chose the uncle who owns a very old and renowned shop in front of my home. Even before I visited his shop, he would nod and smile whenever I passed his shop. And before I knew it, I made it a point to greet him with a smile and a namaste whenever our eyes met! The goodies of his home-business are a delicacy and his smile & good nature befriends you. He has even introduced me to amla Juice (Indian gooseberry), which I now take religiously.

He is truly a great human being and a gem of a person -

What about you blogdosts? Who did you share joy and happiness with today? I am still to hear from you about it?

Keep spreading more joy to everyone around you and stay precious :).

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Neha

Been confused since morning...who to give the first chocolate on the first day. After a lot of thinking, I knew that the first ones had to be children....for the rest, I have the whole month. The issue, however, was where will I meet children??? Being in office the entire day would leave me with little opportunity to meet any. Then, I thought that I might as well give those to some child the next day and make do for today. But, wouldn't that have meant going back on your resolution the very first day....and that was simply not acceptable to me!

So, I racked my brains (they work sometimes!) and I knew who to give the first chocolates to - My landlord's children. So when I came home in the evening, I went to meet them and gave them the chocolates. They were so surprised and happy that it made me happier!

Here is their pic-

So, the first day of my Joy of Giving month began with a jump start. I already knew who am I giving a chocolate tomorrow. Naah, I'm not telling you...you'll need to wait till tomorrow :)))).

Did you give someone a bundle of joy today??? I'm sure you all did....so come on, share with me... and together, we can live and cherish the joyful moments :).

Waiting for your responses. Take care and stay precious!

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Neha

You are right! This topic is inspired... no, not from anywhere else, but the latest Cadbury's advertisements. They have moved me so much that I am starting a little campaign of my own. And wouldn't I be so happy and excited if you all, my blogdosts, would join in with me too!!! That would simply multiply the joy infinitely! So, let's begin from Oct 1 and celebrate the month as the Joy of Giving month!!!

All we need to do is to give a small little gift to someone. This could be anyone... your parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, peers, the local general store wale uncle, a rickshaw puller...just about anyone. Give them a sweet little thing and be rewarded with their smile.

But from all that you would know me, I'd never keep anything as simple as that (I know...that's the wicked me :)!) So the catch here is that your gift should be something you yourself like & value. So, all those clothes you were planning to get rid of or your old worn out utensils DO NOT count! And why this rule??? Simple - it's easy to part with things that have lost their value, but to gift something you like and treasure. Now, this could range from your favorite candy to your favorite pen!

I, for my part, am picking chocolates :). 1) It's a universally known fact that I am a chocoholic! 2) I've never liked to share my chocolate. In college, my slogan was - Chocolates & Boyfriend are NOT to be shared!

So....there goes.....starting day after, I'll write each day of my experience...I'll even try to click a picture of the receiver (if they allow me, that is!) and post them here. Hope to hear from all of you about what are you planning to give as your little bundle of joy :)

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Neha

OK...a tag for a change :)

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4?"
'...concentrated powers lie untapped in our minds...' from Ruskin Bond's 'The Sensualist' - my latest read!

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can & touch air?
You kidding me!!! I am in office (yeah yeah...I know it's a Saturday!!!) and people here will be sure that I've lost it!

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
'Friends' at midnight :)

4. Without looking, guess what time it is?
5.30 pm!

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
... aah, I am running 11 minutes ahead...it's just 5.19pm :((

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
People behind me discussing work and beeps from the printer...God, someone put in some papers in there!!!

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
Morning today...was on my way to office.

8. Before you started this Q&As, what did you look at?
An email from my boss :D

9. What are you wearing?
A green and orange suit :)) (just the white missing to make me look like a complete flag!)

10. When did you last laugh?
Have been laughing nonstop at the Dandia dance we just had in office!

11. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Fire Exit sign!!!

12. Seen anything weird lately?
Yeah, dandia dance to punjabi beats....can't get weirder than that!!!

13. What do you think of this quiz?
Some one as bored as me coined it :D

14. What is the last film you saw?
Love Aaj Kal and that was on my birthday...been ages!!!

15. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?
Give me the money first...rest later!

16. Tell me something about you that I dunno!
Difficult one...okie...Did you know I love Salman? (Even if you do...how do I know? :))

17. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
Get rid of this money business! Everyone should enjoy life...not having to work for it!!!

18. Do you like to Dance?
Of course!

19. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
Ummmm....Princess!

20. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
Lolz....I'll let his father decide :)

21. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Nope...am in love with my country :) ...small stints would be fine (Is my Boss reading this???)

22. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
'We don't need you...get down there!'

Hmmm...not bad at all...and now for my tags...I tag Ani, Sarika & Vijay! There you go guys :)))

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Neha

There are moments when you feel low and down, and there are days at stretch when you feel just that. I suddenly have this overwhelming need to have people around me. How many...I don't know and who...I still need to figure out. Naah...not that people have boycotted me or something, but just that everyone has got too busy with their own lives and that too... all of them together. A very dear friend tried to cheer me up the other day with all possible ideas and there I was ...talking like a complete cynic about any and every suggestion he made. But you know what, that's how I am at times - completely crazy and difficult!!!! Though I know for sure that there's something missing somewhere or is that just my imagination going haywire again!

Aah...that would be too much of a psychological study of myself right now. I am really good (...or so I think) when it comes to dealing with friends' issues and problems...but when it comes to my own, I am a complete dud! No...don't get me wrong. I do not want support or advices. In fact, I'll just not talk to those who try to do that. All I'd want then is to vent out, then get some clarity and then decide the next step! Isn't that so simply simple :) ? Now the problem is that you rarely have people who will let you speak your heart out without 1) interrupting, 2) advising, 3) being judgemental... or worse 4) all of that!!

Now imagine.... a friend pouring her heart out to me and I go on to tell her that whatever she is saying or feeling is absurd or maybe just go on with my dadimaa lecture! Not that I am not capable of advising, but will never do it unless asked for! You need a shoulder, I'll be there.... you need to cry, I'll wipe your tears and may be provide extra tissues also....and when you just need an ear to listen, I'll do only that. (Am I not sounding like a too-good-to-be-believed kind of person!)

Having said all that, I still feel terribly miserable (what a word!!!). All my plans are going down the drain, all my friends are busy - one is busy with her job, the other one is getting engaged this weekend, others are either working or in their home towns. I now feel that I should have had more friends, or better, I should have made the efforts to be in touch with more friends. It's always been this small cozy world I revelled in! I feel sorry now...for myself! And I am missing all those who were always around me and have now moved on with their lives.

Trying to figure out a fix for this, I am back to something I always enjoyed - reading! And with the number of books in my hands currently seem to fuel the urge to savour them soonest possible. I'm on 'Life is Perfect' right now... after completing Almost Single. Guess would have liked it better if I hadn't read Almost Single. Soon after this, I am starting with the Twilight series. Or wait, I think I'll first read the latest Ruskin Bonds I got myself... there are two of them and will sure not take more than a couple of days.

However, I am sceptic...will all this reading actually help or make me more aloof from my surroundings and people? Guess I am only thinking way too much and that this is just a phase. Well, you'd also see a hike in my posts here during this phase as writing then becomes my only refuge. Don't worry, I'll not bore you to death with my oh-so-lonely posts! Urgghhh...going on the same lines all over again!!!

I guess I need a break from myself! Will need to figure out what to do. Till then, take care and stay precious and enjoy all the holidays coming our way :)

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Neha

So you get up early...or wait, let me put it better.... you are woken up early by an unwanted call from your landlord! God...what's with people at this insane hour? Anyways, he informs me that he is going to get the carpenter. Now that's like a 'WOW'!!! All this long weekend, I had been imploring him to do just that, but he finally does it on a day when I need to rush to office! Anyways, you really can't do much with landlords...they always seem to have the upper hand.

After about half hour, comes the man, much waited for - the carpenter. He goes on to check every faulty door...banging and knocking it in between! Why does he need to do that? He sure can see that the hinges are not right and need to be changed...or that the latch is coming off! Why all the knocking and banging??? So after all the inspection, he goes about to calculate the cost, then runs into an argument with the landlord for the same and then marches straight out of the house! I, on my part, can do nothing...but try to make him (of course the carpenter!) negotiate. But he insists that he only does quality work and that's what he is asking to be paid for and goes out. My landlord then turns to me and laments. 'That's how these people are... you see. For such little work, they want all that money!' And while I nod, trying to agree with him, the carpenter comes right back in and declares that he needs three new hinges and some nails etc etc. Aah...so much so for all that argument!

The man set into action about ten minutes after that, having procured all the necessary things, while I settled down to finish my breakfast as well as supervise. His work done, he proudly showed me the the 'quality' work he had done...and I, of course, agreed with him much too eagerly. Having got this done, I rushed out of the house with my handbag and the many locks. There was something missing and I realized what it was only after I had locked the main door....I had forgotten my lunch bag! So, I unlock all the numerous locks...go back and get it and embark on my way to office.

Now start the negotiations with the wretched dilli autowallahs!!! Trust me, I love Delhi, but hate the public transport system here...and more so, hate these autowallahs. They never want to go by the meter and they will never state sensible fares. It's like they are doing you a favor by taking you to your destination...so you might as well just pay what they ask for!!!

After a lot of negotiations, I finally get to office... only to find that my system would not let me log in...the domain is not available. Can things get any better? I call the IT people telling them that I cannot log in and they ask me to raise a ticket. That's like another WOW....how am I suppose to raise an online ticket when I cannot log in??? So they do sense some logic in my question and say that they will 'promptly' send someone. The promptness is evident in about 25 minutes after the call.

As I settle down at work, my cell starts blinking 'Pop calling...'.

'Yupp, papa.'

'Where are you?'

'Office...where else?'

'When will you get free in the evening?'

'Around 8...why?'

'I thought we could all meet...'

'Wait...you are in Delhi??? and who exactly is this 'we all'? OK..hold on papa, I might get late, so that's not possible.'

'How late? And this is urgent. And yes, I am telling you we have to meet...not asking if we can.'

'In that case, I cannot.' (God...I hate sounding like that!)

'OK...do what you want....' Then comes the dial tone (or the disconnected tone!!!) again.

As if I was not having a great day already! I let things be and get myself down to work again. The extension phone rings just then.

'Neha, are you free just now? Needed to talk.' That was a colleague.

'Yeah...come over'

In a while, she comes and tells me that she will not be able to make it for the trip to Mussoorie (something I had been planning for 2 months now!) as the other girl is not joining in. My Mussoorie trip down the drain....again....noooo, I will not let that happen. I am going on my own....I do not need company! Now, that's like the icing on the cake! I sure don't want anymore of this CAKE now!!! I'm feeling diabetic already! Will the baker of this superbly appetising cake please understand that I would not mind dull, boring and monotonous days!!! OK, I had been cribbing about monotony for some time... so what? They say He knows what's best for us...and this sure is not the kind of fun I was looking for!

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Neha

I couldn't wait to get home last evening. There were these last few pages left in 'Home' (by Manju Kapur) and I had to finish them ASAP. Having decided already on my next read, I settled down to savour the climax of the novel. Just then I heard some sound from within my house! I chose to ignore it completely.... another figment of my imagination, I was sure!

A good read... gets a little detailed and a little boring in between, yet no other author can capture the Indian domestic life as well as her. I put down the novel, my mind still on its many characters and the way their life would have moved forward beyond the last page of the book. That's another problem with me... I'm completely absorbed in what I am reading, even when I am not actually reading it. So when I started Brida, I got a little restless... thanks to my living the character completely!

I turned on the television while I went over to the shelf to pick 'Almost Single' - my next read. I was idly surfing channels when I heard another sound again. I put the TV on mute and tried to listen intently. Of course, it was somewhere from within my house! OK, let me be honest... any such kind of thing freaks me out...completely! I got up from my bed and went to the other room with silent steps. My heart beats were audible when I moved towards the kitchen...and before I could switch on the lights....something fell. I shrieked and jumped and ran back to my bedroom.

After a few seconds of gathering myself, I mustered all the courage to return to the kitchen.... this time, switching on the lights before. And there it was.... a big black rat seated on what it assumed to be its throne (a carton on the top most shelf) looking at me sheepishly. Now this is one guest I hate in my house. They are big and black and filthy and scary enough to give me nightmares! 'But I know how to deal with the species,' I tell myself. Then I go and get the mousetrap, tear a piece from a slice of bread, dip it in ghee and place it carefully in the trap. Smiling victoriously, I look up to where IT sat (vanished then!) and return to my room...my bed and my new book!

The book is good...about singles like me :))) and I don't realize it was 2.30 already! 'You'll have the book with you tomorrow as well,' I console myself while reluctantly putting off the lights! And in what seemed to be another minute, my cell phone rings! 'Pop calling!!!' One of the better things in a cell phone is that you can silence the ringer without having to disconnect! God bless the person who came up with that idea. I do just that and cover my head with a cushion and doze off. And...it rings yet again!!! My Dad.... not a man to be unnerved with as many unanswered calls.

'Hello,' I manage to mutter sleepily.

You are still not up....it's 8 in the morning already!'

'Papa, it's just 7.30 and what is it early morning? I'll call you later!' (Come on Dad...let me sleep!!!)

' Isn't it late? What time do you go to office?' The same concern in his voice which is always there every morning, on every occasion!

'Depends, Papa....I'm sleepy!'

'Depends on what???' OK, he sounds a little angry now.

'Depends on my client calls....you know I deal with clients who are based in the US of A... so I return late too, na...now let me sleep...pleeeaaaase!!!' I am pleading literally.

'OK, there's some work....get up and grab a pen and paper!' My Dad won't budge!!!

'What do you want me to write now? Why don't you SMS it to me? I don't have a pen handy...'

'What do you mean...get a pen and WRITE!'

OK...so that's a command now! I get a notebook and a pen and wait for him to speak.

He begins reading...wait...what is that!! A Bio data!!! Naah...not again...not this early in the morning!!! He can't do this with me at this hour. Matchmaking at this hour....GOD...NO!!!! And he reads...with complete details and declares, 'I'm coming to Delhi next week.'

'What for? You surely are not serious about this, Papa...right?' My mind is racing with all the future possibilities...dad coming here...meeting the guy...then making me do it...then....I don't even want to think beyond it now!

'OK dad...wait...hold on....I need time....and I am not meeting anyone I don't know!'

'You know someone only after meeting them. I'll call you next week.'

'But dad...listen....' my voice is lost in the dial tone...or is it the disconnected tone (I am handicapped when it comes to vocab...you know :) )! So, the call is disconnected with the usual not saying Bye!!! I stare at the screen...eyes wide open now. 'What a start to a Thursday!' I mutter, drag myself out of the bed and go straight to the kitchen.

And there it was...fallen pray to my trap! I smile to myself....victoriously as I watch the little black intruder look on silently from the trap. Ah...some things still happen the way I want and direct them to...so what if it's just the mouse and the trap!

Note - sorry blogdosts. This was written last week, but could not post it. Anyways here it is now. As for Dad...he is NOT coming now :))))).

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