Neha
"Hey, what's your sunsign?" That's become a sure-shot way to begin a conversation. Our generation is more versed with Linda Goodman and Ceiro and we get ample opportunities to boast of our knowledge as well. I have friends who know about each sunsign like the back of their hands... which sun sign compliments which one - ask them and they will not disappoint you.

While Di and I used to look for suitable brides for our brother, there was a major criteria that he had mentioned - NO Virgo! And we don't blame him for that either.... now, if you had two sisters with that sign, you'd know what I, rather my brother meant and will empathize with him also (Yeah, Di and I belong to the so-called perfectionist cult!!!).

OKK, jokes apart, it is some serious matter. I say 'some', as I still cannot figure out how can I first know the sun sign of a person, before liking him (or her...as your case may be!)? After all, I need to know if we will be compatible! And this whole thing completely refutes the theory of love at first sight! Now, don't tell me that you only fall in love then because somewhere, your personalities give those 'our sun signs are compatible' vibe! Before you question me.... yes, I am also a romantic at heart and believe in love at first sight... and I will keep this topic for another post :).

Coming back to our dearie sun signs, it's a mere coincident that one of my best friends is a Capricorn (Virgos & Capricorns are believed to be really good together..or so they say).. and another one is a Gemini and I still don't know how well my sun sign goes with hers! Then, I am my Di's replica in every sense (except that she is more practical than me!) and we both are Virgos! And my Dad and brother are Sagittarius and my tuning with both of them is simply great (Now, I'm curious to google on the compatibility of these two!). Shivani is a typical Scorpio and we seem to gel really well too. Ankit is a Libra and Dadaji, a Cancerian and they are my lifelines! My Jiju is a Taurus and at times, he understands me better than Di... and my Bhabhi is a Leo (yeah, we found a non-Virgo for my brother, but worse, he has three of us to deal with now!). I'm sure that I have some great people of other not-mentioned sun signs too as very important part of my life.

Though, I am not much into reading about them, and the source of all (restricted!) my knowledge are my Sun sign-guru friends. I'd never mind reading a thick Indian fiction, but the width of Linda Goodman put me off somehow. A school friend got this old coveted version of Ceiro once and we tried to devour it as much in a couple of hours... I barely remember now what it was all about! Of course, I too enjoy reading the daily tiny horoscope in the newspaper and there is this little, but, very important rule that I follow - only the good things are meant for me! Now, how can only 12 types of things happen with everyone in this world everyday? There has to be some segregation there, right? So, I do that part for myself :) (cheeky, na? ;) ).

However, after all this, it still doesn't make straight sense to me... I mean the entire sun sign business. And I tend to desist it all the more when I see it becoming a reason behind wrecked relationships! Yes, I know and have seen people who tend to treat the sun sign compatibility with more reverence than a person and whether or not the relationship can work depends on their sun signs...phew! A friend went to see a girl for matrimony purpose... but didn't agree to their match. He confessed later that though she had every quality that he was looking for in his companion, but their sun signs are not great together! Is that actually a good enough reason??? (Their kundlis did match, by the way!). I do try to make myself believe that such are only some extreme cases. Even then, I do not buy it!!! I'd rather that a person likes and accepts me for my qualities than those mentioned about my sun sign in some book! And if so be the case, then I'm better off without such a person in my life... and I am serious!

Got a little hard there... sorry about that :(. Yet, it's only about the basics that I do try to set right in my life :).

All said and done, an individual holds more importance to me than the qualities foretold by their sun sign. I'd hate myself for losing a great person only because I feel that our signs don't sing along well! And even a little humming is great music to my ears... after all, that's how all great songs begin, right?
Neha
'Hey, you seem to have lost oodles of weight! What you doing gurl?' Something like this is sure to make any woman feel simply out of the world, though the usual reply will be - 'Aah, nothing. Have I lost any...really!!!' And you might as well guess the amount of effort being put in by our pretty lass :).

And meeting someone after ages and then getting to hear something like - 'You have gained a little...not much...just a little bit!' Believe you in me, the world comes crashing down and you stare at your reflection in your bedroom mirror, promising to exercise, hit the local gym, control your cravings (minus those for chocolates... after all they are mood-up lifters!) - in short do all you possibly can to get rid of the flab. And you even do that and again after few days, the motivation is down to zero and you are your old sweet chubby self again :)). I, too, have all these people cribbing about their weight... rather the extra weight! At times, I, too, feel the urgent need of shedding as many possible kilos.. er pounds... (offfo whatever!) and register at this nearby gym right away. When I make my first dash in there (this first dash being twice in two consecutive years!), I am this highly motivated being determined on achieving the so-called hour glass figure... and this state of my mind continues for at least two weeks (simply because they promise results will show only then!). Then I take my weight again... no significant loss :((( (I guess the only loss in the world everyone looks forward to!); and I, too, am back to my old sweet chubby self :D.

OKKK... I know all you fitness freaks out there will just not buy whatever I just shared and ask me not to give in too quickly and still exercise and all! But first give me that motivation or better still, reserve a treadmill (or stepper... or at least a cycle) for me every morning from the kitty party beauties who walk on them at their leisure discussing (read gossipping X-( ) about their grown-up intolerable children, good-for-nothing husbands and nasty moms in-law! Trust me, a few days more out there and I can even write a novella! Though this is not the only reason, I don't like the gym. The bigger one is that I don't enjoy it :((. I'd rather play basketball for four hours at a stretch (it's been years since I was younger...sigh.. and did that ), rather than run on a static treadmill or cover 5 kilometers on a cycle that takes me nowhere!!!

Now because I cannot do that, I follow the other methods - walking a lot, insisting on taking stairs, reducing the proportion with the time of day etc etc. Yeah... right... all those weight-loss techniques written and designed for lazy-lumps like me! :D. I enjoy them more. And when nothing works, I talk to Shivani (yupp... my sweet little sister) and she goes on to tell me about the cakes she baked the other day and how much were her newly-tried biscuits appreciated last week. She usually ends up on a note that she is going to make some pav-bhaaji or french fries... basically something to eat! Or else, I have my friend for solace, who will crib about how she seems to be gaining a kg by the day. Of course, she eats so little and only binges on the left-overs from her 2 year old daughter and I totally agree with her. With us, even the air around us carries the dreaded calories! I am serious!!!

And when nothing works, I walk up to my closet, take that dress out that flatters me... try it on and stand in front of my bedroom mirror, marvelling at the beautiful reflection I see and wonder at the amount of time and effort my creator spent on me :)). Not joking... seriously! I smile at myself and this smiling self in front oozes back in me my confidence, making me forget all those 'weighty issues' :))) ! Try it once.... you will fall in love with yourself all over again :)
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Neha
'Please avoid going out today, especially with some male friend,' is something I got to hear from almost all my friends and relatives last week. With the so-called moral police going berserk with the very idea of celebrating Valentine's Day, they had a reason to be concerned. After all, they definitely didn't want me to get married on a roadside to someone supposedly my 'Valentine'! However, with all the drama and hype created by the self-proclaimed custodians of our culture, I am glad the day passed off peacefully, apart from some places where the goons managed to get away with their lunacy.

Though for me, it was a far happier 'Valentine's Day' :)))). In the past few years in Delhi, whenever I went out on this day, I found it really sweet when I'd see couples walking hand-in-hand (at times, the grip is tight enough to ensure the other one doesn't run away!). I find it even sweeter when I see families celebrating this day together. It simply goes on to say that it's all about celebrating love.

My father was driving when I called him and the sound of traffic made his voice less audible, but not as much to dampen my spirits. I wished him excitedly, ' Papa, Happy Valentine's Day!' "Achcha haan, aaj Valentine's Day hai.... Happy Valentine's Day!"
"Papa, my gift???"
"Don't worry, jab ghar aana, le lena jo mann ho."

Little does he know that he has already given me my gift and more than I can ever ask for. His voice resonated the chirp with which I had wished him. For some time after the call, I was reliving all the beautiful memories. However strict and Hitler-like he may have been (a major reason why a 7-year-old, that is me, agreed to go to a boarding school!), he has always been there for me and with me. I may not realize that I am hungry, but he would have the table laid out; there has not been a single birthday that went forgotten or missed; his choices are as meticulous as he is and he knows exactly what will look best on me. Today, when I look back, I secretly thank him for all that he has done for us. I do, of course, owe my life to him, but I also owe him all that I am today as if not for him and the trust and confidence he has always shown in me, I would not have been what and where I am today.

I, then, called my childhood sweetheart. Don't go guessing who he is. He is the one I cannot imagine life without. He is my hero and my idol - my Dadaji :) (I am sure you guys were waiting for another name!). When I wished him, he asked me what date it was. Now, that is customary with him. Every time you wish him for any occasion, he cross-checks the date... and what with writing it on every cash-memo from 10 am every day! And before I could even ask him for my gift, he asked me to have an ice-cream from his side. Now, that's definitely a very 'sweet' gift. And that's how he is even since I have known him. He has been my shield from every storm (including my Dad's anger :D). Teaching us to ride a bicycle during his morning walks, playing games with us even after a long and tiring day at work, appreciating every little effort we make (however mad it may be!), listening patiently to everything we had and have to say... and that look in his eyes as if to say 'Go on, don't fear, I am with you.' But not everything is goody-goody there! It's difficult to manage his questions when he asks me the price of the shirts or other things I get for him. As it is already so difficult shopping for men and trust me, it cannot get worse when you have your entire family in garments business. It's like they eat, drink, sleep and live clothes and fooling Dadaji there is so not easy :(. Aah... don't worry, I am able to pull it off quite well there :D. After all, practice maketh a man (here, a woman) perfect! Gifts apart, he is my pillar of strength. From teaching me how to play snakes and ladder to providing the extra punch lines to all my debate speeches (And I can proudly add here that I have never lost any!), he has been my best teacher, friend and guide. If life is about living, he has taught me how to make it worth living :).

And then, how could I let the day go without wishing my youngest and permanent boyfriend! If my Di is reading this, she knows who am I talking about here - my 4+ years old nephew 'my jaan'. When I wished him, he was all confused and the word 'Valentine' was big enough to twist his tongue the first time. So, Di prompted him to say - Happy V Day, which he did in quite a hurry. He was in between munching his food and watching his favorite cartoon channel and for no Valentine, he'd want to miss that. He is our lucky charm and a born genius. He has an answer ready for everything and his innocent answers make you want to hug him again and again (and I never miss a chance to do that :D). A perfect Valentine's day would be to go and enjoy a Happy Meal at McDonald's with him and next year, I am doing that for sure :).

Now, if you are thinking I was on phone the entire day, then the answer is 'No'. Yeah, I didn't get any roses (for that matter, any other variety of flower, except a smiley icon one that a friend sent on Yahoo!), I did get bundles of smiles and happiness and a beautiful crystal flower vase :). I don't like flowers as they don't last long, but a gift as thoughtful as this was as beautiful as unexpected! (so now you know that you needn't get flowers to try and impress me!!!). A great dinner and a so-so movie (Luck by Chance - I didn't find it that great :( ) gave a good note to end the day with. Food and movie taste and look better when you have great company. And a great company need not be that of your soul-mate or companion only.... friends are always best to hang out with :) (I'm sure your minds were off thinking something else!)

This was another beautiful day like all others this year. What makes my days special is the feeling of loving and being loved.... and with all these wonderful people around me, I sure have nothing to complain about!

And to all those people out there, hell-bent on making others' lives hell - Please go and get a life! If you have nothing better to do, then lock yourself in your rooms instead of creating menace for others.

And to all others, don't let a particular day be your day of expressing what you feel for the other one. In fact, never miss out on a moment or chance to tell the other person how much you love them. It is a small gesture, but means a lot! Try it and each time you express it, your bond will only get stronger! (And this is tried, testified and certified by 'me' :) )
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Neha

I can feel something amiss. Don't know what! But something, somewhere doesn't seem to fit in and to add to the agony, I simply can't figure out what it is. All I know is I am missing something or may be someone!

Isn't life strange? So many years, I dreamed to be what and where I am today. From the very beginning, I worked hard towards it and now, when I have reached that point, I realize that in the process, so many people have been left behind. The moments I spent with them are those beautiful memories that are my source of strength and motivation. Now I know! I know who am I missing... my bestest of friends... those who have been and are always with me with their unconditional love and trust.

At an age when you actually begin to understand what relationships are all about, the first person you can relate to is your classmate cum friend - someone with whom you share you school desk, books, lunch box and stories about your innumerable crushes. Sarah and I were such friends - from sharing the same plate at friends' birthday parties to stealing lunch boxes(.... and you thought I was that seedha!!!), we were partners in every good and naughty deed. But trust me, it was fun and yeah... wicked too :D. Just managing to cross that sacred border line in maths, punishments for spending too much time at the water tank, the one-rupee ice-creams sticks, Chinese treat in a stolen tiffin - we always had so many reasons to celebrate and we made sure we never ran out of them. We never boasted of a great friendship, but there is something that has always kept us close. I know I can call her up at any time of day and so can she. There is a distance between us and yet, none actually.

The college I went to happened accidentally. I was actually planning to graduate in Commerce, but the journalism bug in me (which had smitten me badly then!) made me take up Arts and so I was in this college. But you know what! You meet the most wonderful people at the most unexpected places and occasions. It was my birthday when I asked some girls from my English class to join me for a treat. Little did I know then that I was being gifted with the best gifts of my life! That was the day I met Kaneez, Samana and Yeshi. Something struck right then. Within moments, we behaved as if we have known each other for years! Yeshi had a chauffeur-driven moped (mine, of course) for commuting to and from college and Kaneez had Samana's... and these two never even made the efforts to try riding them and give us the pleasure to ride pillion!

Kaneez was my lucky charm and I ensured that she is present in all the debates and other competitions I participated in (needless to say, Samana had to stay by default:)). She also was part of our basketball team (of course, the credit goes to me! Right Kaneez?) and from being that purdah-clad girl to someone playing in shorts was a complete makeover! It was during one tournament final when one of her cousins from a local TV channel came to cover the match and it was indeed a task to keep Kaneez hidden from his view. Needless to say, we failed to do that and Kaneez had to bear the brunt back home.

We stole our share of fun while going shopping for our college books, bags and other girly things. She would literally tear at her hair whenever she went out with me, with me being one of the most difficult shoppers! Hunting for a handbag across three markets and returning home empty-handed was something she couldn't think of! But yes, she learnt her lessons well and after that, made me promise that I'll go by her choice or at least, make mine soon (yeah...you know... I never did! ;) ). And she was not 'allowed' to wrap her dupattas when she went out with me and during one of those expeditions (yeah...right....another shopping trip :D), we bumped into one of her acquaintances again... something she always dreaded and something which always happened! (I have a little secret to share here.... she is married to the same person! :))

Time flew and soon, I had to leave for Delhi. It was a sight to watch. Kaneez, Yeshi, Samana... all of them came to see me off with their families at the station (to ensure I didn't change my mind ;)). While I could see myself taking the plunge towards living my dreams, they could see me going far away. They had tears in their eyes and a heaviness in their hearts... a feeling that was alien to me in my moment of excitement. While I waved Goodbye to them, little did I realize what I was leaving behind.

Today, it's been five years. From the carefree college-going girls to mature 'women' (I hate to feel so grown up :( ), we are all busy with our lives. And once again, I look forward to those little things I always took for granted.... the once-a-week call with Sarah, online chats with Kaneez at late nights (when her little daughter is off to bed), the occasional conversations with Yeshi and that once-in-a-blue moon chit chat with Samana. No longer do we meet like we met everyday , but even now, a little low voice at the other end and the other one can sense what is wrong. These are those little moments that make my life worth living as they help me realize that the distance may have come in physically, but our hearts can never be far away.

All of you are in different places now and how much ever I may wish, time will never roll back. I want you to know that I treasure all those moments with you and I love you and miss you all a lot! Thank you for being part of my life and making it wonderful with your presence.

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Neha
Last week has been hectic and a bit happening... and so the gap in my next post :(.

First things first - the fact that you all look forward to my posts gives me a high and I thank you from the core of my heart. OK OK... I am not going to begin with one of those speeches they give after receiving awards. But wait... I do have reasons to give one today and I have been waiting for almost a week to share this with all of you. There was this blog contest on Radio Mirchi, last Sunday. On the insistence of my cousin, Sunny, I sent my blog link.... and yupp, you guessed it right...I won!!! This is the first time, I have won something like this and you know what makes me happier? That this is not just another lucky draw! So you see, that's where the thanksgiving speech bug came from :). And of course, I owe you a treat, Sunny! Let me know when and where :). I am now looking forward to my prize that they will be sending across!

This so proves something that I have been working towards - if you feel and act positive, positive things and people are all around you. This year is surely a year of discoveries! I am discovering those things in me, which I thought were lost or left far behind!

Last Sunday, we went to Adventure Island and the very first look at those rides freaked me out! I remember taking a Giant Wheel ride long time back and that too, when I was challenged to take it. God bless my friend who screamed so much that they had to stop midway! For my ego was just not allowing me to let out a squeal! It had been long I went to a similar place and didn't mind not going either! Amusement parks don't hold that much attraction for me, but my friends promised me a terrific time! And I'm one of those who'd do anything for my friends (not bragging...my friends will vouch for that!:) )

We started with the Bumping cars, something that has fascinated me since childhood. It is so much fun! I would not have minded being at it for hours, but they would only give 2-3 mins...Grrrr! We went from one ride to another... daring ourselves even more with the next one. To me, it was like challenging myself with that extra push to the fear within me. Isn't it strange? You know well that these rides are harmless, yet you fear taking them...and there are so many things in life we get into knowing well, they will lead us nowhere and give us only pain! Ironical as well! Aah..OK, I am not going to get into the philosophical mode here. Back to the rides!

After quite a few of them, we were confronted with the most daring of those - The Flip out: 360 degrees. Talking about how dangerous it looked was quite apparent from the very look on the faces of our male colleagues, but then, they could not express it in front of the fairer sex. Huh, the male ego, I tell you! The best part of it was the warning given by the usherer there - This ride will go on for two and a half minutes and will NOT stop in between. Two and a half minutes only! And I knew what he meant by 'will NOT stop in between' when I was hanging upside down at somewhere like 20 feet above ground! I opened my eyes and forced them shut again. And this time, I did not hold my screams. I was screaming to glory with bystanders (colleagues again!) having their share of laugh. By the time it ended (which seemed like ages), I was surprised that I was still alive... but there was also a new sense of courage in me... something like 'Bring it on... I am game for anything now!' It was this James Bond kinda feeling (a feminine one of course! Now, don't ask me to explain that...phew!).

The day was simply great and like all good things, ended very soon as well :(. But no regrets... and loads of thrilling memories to take home!

Picnic...rides...360 degrees....and everything. And you thinking I am off the track from a new discovery to an Amusement park. Actually not. Yesterday, I discovered that I still have that little child in me, which wants and knows how to enjoy those little thrills in life. Somehow, while growing up, I have always suppressed myself in the midst of ego, peer pressure, and the fear of what others will think. I realize now how important it is to let loose sometimes.... let go of every fear, every inhibition and act like no one is watching or rather, as if you don't care who is watching! I don't know why but till now, I had been living the way others expected me to.... but now, it is more like them accepting me the way I am. And even most of these expectations that I felt I was obliged to live up to were self-inflicted! The fact is that my people know me and they love and accept me the way I am and believe me, there is no greater happiness for me today :)

Thanks Dimple for promising a day filled with fun... it sure lived up to your promise. And Gagan, Dimple & Jalpesh, thanks for being there to make it fun-filled and truly memorable :). I meant it when I said that I love doing what my friends ask me to do and with each passing day, I trust you all with my life all the more :)
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Neha

The new year is already a month old! So many resolutions were made and so many already stand broken. A friend resolved to quit drinking and is now fuming at Baba Ramdev for his comments against those who manufacture alcohol. Another one said she was serious about shedding those extra kilos (I guess all of us women make this resolution almost everyday!) and every weekend, she gives in to her sweet tooth and gorges on whatever sweet she can lay her hands on! My cousin is hell-bent on joining a gym...but then, that's been his every day resolution for last so many years now :)

And I can surely give myself a pat on the back and I have two reasons for that. One, I made a simpler resolution and two, I am constantly working on keeping it :) (I know you are all so proud of me :D) Now, my resolution? Those who have been following my blog would know what it is. It is simple, yet difficult - To be happy....to look for things/moments/people that make me happy, to look for happiness in everything and everyone around me. And like I have said earlier, I am not going to let go of all the beautiful things and people around me as I have just this life to live as 'me'!

Strange enough, there are so many things that make me smile now (I wonder where they were all this time....may be I never looked hard enough :( ). And you know what? By being and doing what I am now, I feel that my acceptability ratio among people has changed too...and are you asking me whether I am happy with it? Of course. And it is solely because this time this acceptance is to what I choose to be, not to how I am expected to be.

Coming back to the happ'y'ness-giving-moments, there are plenty. Many I had been ignoring for a long-long time and many that my greedy-self keeps stealing whenever I feel like :D

  1. Spending that extra five minutes in the coziness of my bed listening to the early birds chirping outside. Their language does not make any sense to me; but the sound signifies life itself. It's like - Here's a new day, a new opportunity! What's gone is past...start afresh with a new spark...a new hope...a new life!
  2. Taking a longer route while walking to/from home and simply looking at life around me in general. And yes, following Shivani's advice, now I always dress up in clothes I feel good and confident. The turning heads sure make me feel great :)
  3. Sneaking out for a cold coffee or better still...gol guppas. And trust me, I don't need any company there. (Oh...I want to have some NOW!)
  4. Treating myself to all that I like - clothes, shoes (my Dad says I have a 'shop-full' of them!), bags... and all this while ensuring that they don't burn holes in my pocket :) I sure don't need to wait for anyone to gift something to me! There's this new Nokia model I have lost my heart to...but alas, I will have to wait for it :( ... (Take the hint pleeeeaaase. I don't mind receiving gifts too :D)
  5. Smiling at little children and you have to try this one! They either give you that Mummy-told-me-not-to-talk-strangers-look... or they frown and turn away.... but you know that you don't look like the old baba who takes away naughty kids, when they smile back at you. Encouraged with this, I take the leap and wave at them and I so love it when they wave back :).
  6. In office, I am there greeting everyone cheerfully - good mood or bad. Remember that one - the world will only see what I choose to show. I have kept that promise to myself :). On the flip side, even when I am in a bad mood and I exchange cheerful greetings, my mood automatically becomes cheerful in some time!
  7. Treating myself to ginger tea or hot Bournvita milk (depends on what my taste buds respond to!) and it sure is heavenly!
  8. Now, I make it a point to meet my friends at least once a week. I had ignored this very important aspect for over two years and I regret it. I don't have scores of them, but the ones I have are the sparkling diamonds of my life. And I can proudly claim that I have the bestest people as my friends. Love you all...and thanks for tolerating me and my many moods so patiently :)
  9. And yeah, I am consciously working on losing the extra kgs (like I said..this is on every woman's wish-list)! And these days, trying on those few dreaded dresses with my cousin or friend insisting that I buy them..makes me happier :)))). With the winter sale on, I am loving it even more!
  10. And I even do some wicked things I 'refrained' from doing earlier! Don't ask me to list them here. I'll list few less wicked ones though - Calling and waking up friends early at 6 am! Gossipping (with very close friends only!)! OK.... It'll take time to segregate the levels of wicked things, so I'd rather leave it to these for now (I promise another post full of them!)
  11. And being myself. I dress/talk/eat/go the way I like! No, I am not being stubborn. In fact, I am more receptive to what my Di or friends say. I love doing what they ask me to or going the way they direct. And solely, because I trust them all with my life now :)

And there's one thing I follow religiously - something my Di said to me and something that I want to share with all of you who are now part of my virtual world through my blog. 'Share, live, laugh to the fullest; give your best to people and relationships, but reserve that one portion of everything for yourself. Don't let anyone even get close to that. That little part is only yours and you owe it to yourself!' I didn't add it to my post of what every woman must have/know...as this is for every man and woman.

This post is dedicated to January - the month of transformation for me. And yeah.... this February, I am looking forward to every happy moment I am entitled to (the ones I still want, I will steal :D)! Would love to know/learn those little joys in your life and will look forward to you sharing them with me. I really don't want to miss out on any now and I am sure you'd not let me do that either :)

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