Neha

As I promised, my new post is here :). And it's not something to read, but look at! Some shots that I took at various places. Don't go on the order please... it sure took a lot of time and effort uploading these :).

So, sit back, scroll down and enjoy! And yeah, I still prefer my writing to photography :)

This one was at Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh. On a peddle boat, it was difficult to get the focus right, but then, the result did not disappoint me :)


For a long time, I was watching this little one from my balcony and then, I thought of capturing it in my camera. It was picture perfect at the first go :)


Sukhna Lake again and I love this one! Nature surprises me with its beauty and grandeur!


The trip to Chandigarh happened during the initial days of my getting used to my new camera. Wanted to capture something exclusive and what better than these Three men marching at the Rock Garden (Chandigarh).


There was something creepy I felt when I looked up at this one at the Rock Garden. I don't think my camera could do justice to that look and feel though.


Rock Garden was indeed a beautiful place and a great one for such stills!


Indian Beauty personified!
I came across her in a small by lane in Jaipur and instantly requested her for permission to click a picture. She smiled and I clicked :).


When I requested this gentleman (in Jaipur again) for a picture, he posed immediately! I loved the get-up and especially the turban :).


Every Indian monument mystifies as well as amazes me and so did Albert Hall in Jaipur.


Everyone loves Gol-Guppas... aren't they a universal favorite?
I was debating whether to take this one or not at Katra, but then, that photography bug in me won and here it is :).


The grand entrance to Vaishno Devi!


A view of the Vaishno Devi shrine. There sure is something magnetic there that draws you closer with every step that you take towards it.


Remember the kids behind my place of whom I was talking about the other day? I will soon visit them and yes, I will also tell you about my visit :).


And this was the frame I was trying to capture when those kids spotted me with the camera. It was indeed a beautiful evening and I am glad I have a souvenir!


My balcony view again! And that's an eagle, not a pigeon :).


Naah...not Kashmir, like my brother asked! This is another one from my balcony :).


A shot from my bedroom balcony again. It's spring time and it does wonders to everything around you. Don't you agree?

These were some shots I thought of sharing with you all. I hope it did give you a break from my regular long long posts! Yeah, I know I ain't much of a photographer, but still love capturing people and nature around me :). There are so many moments I'd love to relive. but because I can't, I want to keep them with me forever. At times, I so want to just go out with my camera and click anything and everything that catches my attention. And may be, I will just do that soon :). And whenever I do that, I promise I will share them with all my blogdosts here :).

PS - All the images on this blog are copyright and must not be reproduced without permission.
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Neha
I have been trying to give a new look to my blog interface for a while now; but somehow, continue to carry on with this Barbie Doll look! Time for some serious change now and I need your help with this. So now, the moment you all read this, please select some nice template for the blog and send it over! I'd love to experiment with something new :).

And if you think, I am making you all do all the hard work, don't fret and snarl! I am working on my next post and this one will be a treat to your eyes (at least it is to mine)!

And, by the way, the weather in Delhi is simply amazing just now! Will quote a friend here - Awesomme Maussumm! It's just perfect to go for a cup of coffee with friends or better still on a long drive with your companion! Can't get more romantic than that! Don't start wondering what am I doing indoors right now! All my friends are busy with their companions and my companion is still a figment of my imagination :(. And so, here I am, observing the Earth Hour (yeah, not completely...my laptop is on!) and writing this post :).

And yes, thanks to my new blogdost for the reference of the golguppe wala in Karol Bagh. I, sure, am going there next weekend! For today, I think I will order something... in no mood to cook :(. And then, nothing better than a hot cup of coffee or kahwa in the balcony! These are some moments I really relish... and when I can just be with myself. They are rare and so all the more special :). With a clouded sky and cool breeze, it sure will be great!

Till then, you guys select a template for me and look out for my next post! :))
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Neha

There are so many things on my wish-list just now; and ironically, there is none that I can really go ahead and just do it or get it :(. I am sure the dudes reading this will be like - A typical woman/girl with this never-ending wish list! But this has nothing to do with a black dress, or a pair of red stilettos or a Gucci bag. By the way, a nice combination, ain't it? I think I will add these to the list :D. Guys, stop making those faces!

Back to the point, there are sooo many things I so want to do. I sure have a mind list and I think, like all other thoughts, let me put them down here. That way it becomes more concrete for me and in this case, might as well become doable!

  1. First things first... I need a long break! I just need to get away from all the commotion around me and get some time for myself when I can actually be with my thoughts. For that matter, I guess even a weekend will work, provided some one takes care of those chores like getting the grocery, going to the dry cleaners'/tailor, getting clothes ironed. Ughhhh, can't I get a break from all these for just one weekend in let's say 3 months? This sure is not asking for too much! Had my Dadaji been reading this, he would have a solution (in fact according to him, that is THE solution to all my distress) - Get married! How to explain that it will be just another task to find someone to do all those chores :(.
  2. I so want to join some NGO. Now, this is something that I have started working on. In fact, today, I got a better idea. While drying my hair in my balcony, I noticed the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds. I was compelled to click a picture and rushed to get my camera (yeah, the photography bug has bitten me too :) ). And just then, some children from this small school behind my home called out to me and asked to take their pictures, which I did. Then, they asked me to come over and I have promised them a visit tomorrow. I am looking forward to it now and I am sure I will have a lot to write on it tomorrow :).
  3. I really want to visit my family for at least a week. It's been years since I went home for more than a long weekend kind of trip. I admit that the onus for this lies on me completely; but my friends in the corporate world will know the reasons as well. But then, I really can't do much about this during the present recession time. How I wish Shivani and Ankit come over! Will need to wait for them to get over with their exams for that :(.
  4. Now this one is a little silly, but I really want to have chocolates, cold coffee, gol guppas, date and walnut cake (the latest one in my list!) all I can, without any guilt of oh-so-many-calories, nor the impending stomach problem or migraine! Why are all yummy things bad for your health (yeah... I know this is the second time I am asking this!)???
  5. Friends and family keep complaining that I never bother to call or meet and there I am...justifying myself yet again! And, these are one of those things that mean as much to me. In fact, to put it correctly, they give me happiness and I look forward to them :); however, I want to have more of them, with no time constraints. With no absolute break, this sure is something that keeps me going!
  6. There are many trips/vacations pending as well :(. There is this one to Rishikesh for river-rafting and another one to Mussoorie, then a visit to Mumbai (yeah, Sarah, I so want to meet you!), Lucknow and Indore. All these have been in my mind for years now and I am still planning :(((.

I guess my wish-list is getting a little too long for a single post. Trust me, I can go on and on and I had not even started on some materialistic wishes :). Hmm... that was more because I can manage to gift myself those. Yeah, I know I should work on these as well, but then get me time!! Tomorrow, I will be visiting the children near my place and I sure will share the experience with all of you, my blog dosts :). Till then, get your thinking caps on and work out a solution for me to go beyond wishful thinking :)).

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Neha
Yeah... it's been quite some time since I wrote. Not that there has been nothing to write. Only my mind has been too clouded with thoughts with some major decisions to be taken. Though the outcome is still awaited, the confusion is all over now and I can get back to what I love doing best :).

Remember, when I spoke about having the right type of Support System in place? My faith and belief in mine has only been made stronger in the last two weeks. It's like that rock solid support that never fringes however high the tide may be. At times, you just have to do something to be able to stand up to your principles, beliefs and conscience. It was one such time for me - full of turmoil, fear and commotion. Yet, I am happy that I have been able to overcome all of that, had it not been for the support provided by a very dear friend. I owe him tons for everything. If only I had also listened to him earlier in life... and I know he is smirking while reading this :).

While the storm around me was still settling, there was this much planned (by none other than my perfectionist Di!) Vaishno devi trip last weekend. I had been there once earlier with Mom and Dad and I remember walking uphill with Mom the entire night while Dad rode a horse along with Shivani, who was 8 then. And I was looking forward to this trip as well, which also meant getting to spend an entire weekend with Di and my two sweethearts. I was nostalgic and simultaneously sad due to the memories that nostalgia brings in, but nevertheless excited as well.

We chose to fly to the location and trust me, my fear of heights made me feel constipated when I was told to sit next to the pilot in the helicopter! The pilot initiated a conversation trying to help me relax...what with that look on my face when I saw the floor beneath my feet was transparent! Though my Jiju envied me for having got the 'best' seat! It took not more than 5 mins and there we were, with approximately another 2 kms of walking to be done. Neat!!!

Though we had arranged for a lot of jugaad to have darshan comfortably, we decided not to make good of them. While walking to the shrine and in queue, it was amazing how everyone followed when one made a religious chant. It was all in sync, in chorus and simply heartwarming. Kids, women, young boys and girls - all seemed to have that one common feeling within them at that time. No one was in any more hurry than the other; no one pushed or jumped the line. There were no biases. Rich, poor - all walked the same path. What did upset me, though, was the darshan part of it all. The priests would not even let you bow your head for a second and simply push you away! I was completely blank and for a moment, completely numb. Nothing registered while I looked on and then was pushed forward by the queue. Has everything become so commercialised that you cannot afford one moment of peace while you bow to pray? I understand all reasons of security and great rush; however, nothing justifies that kind of treatment meted out to devotees.

Nevertheless, we set out to Bhairon Temple. While the rest of the junta with us opted to ride on a horseback, Jiju and I set out on foot. To reach before the horse-riding warriors, we took the stairs and trust me, that was a bad choice! What it did to our knees is a different story. Wait, am I turning old??? I'd not want to believe that anyways. At the beginning of the stairs, they indicated that there were only 351 of them, but I am dead sure that there were over 500! Though my friend tells me that he counted them and they are indeed 351!! May be, I'll ask him to revise his Maths. They had to be more than 500!!!

It was also Maanya's 2nd birthday and we went all prepared with an egg less cake and all to celebrate it up there :). Intelligent, na? I know :D. Poor little thing was all tired and exhausted, but put up with our madness and did not create too many tantrums:). A sweetheart that she is. While we sang the Birthday song with the cake decorated on an empty pav-bhaaji plate, we were joined by others sitting around...so, it became one big birthday celebration! Maanya attacked the gems on the cake before blowing out the candle! One little gundi that she is!

All done, we set out for our return journey. It had become pretty cold then and we had over 12 kms to walk. On our way, we crossed other devotees who were climbing and their faith amazed me. So many of them walked barefoot, even children as old as 7 or 8 years old! Then, there was this person who was rolling on the ground towards his destination, while another one was covering it by lying flat on the floor at every step! An old lady, who stooped, was covering the way on foot, while another one was carrying her grandson on her shoulders while chanting 'Jai Mata Di'! These were indeed examples of how faith can help you accomplish the most difficult things in life. It's that inner motivation that has to be strong enough and physical limitations hold no importance then. How else can you explain an old women who can barely stand straight walking the toilsome path uphill?

We, though, were a hopeless lot! We managed to complete our return journey in not less than five and a half hours! And if we had to walk our way up, I am sure we would not have reached the top before the next morning! Di will surely agree with me and like she said, our fitness levels are as hopeless as we are :D. I agree with you Di, as always :).

And so ended our much hyped and planned Vaishno devi trip, though nothing, except the railway reservations, happened as per our plans! The inner peace attained or not, I can't say, but it sure was another revelation that life put before me. And while returning to our earthen roots, no Barista, CCD or Nescafe can replace the charm of having piping hot tea on a road-side dhabha, of which there were plenty along the way! Looking at the old, the young, the rich, the poor, all walking with the same devotion and faith, a voice in me chanted along - Jai Mata Di!
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Neha
I fear stepping out these days. I am serious! The moment I step out of the protection of my home, I am attacked.... with water-balloons... and worse, they come when I least expect them! And when I look around to locate my attacker, I see so many similar ones, fully armed, all set to bombard me! They sure are pretty harmless if they are filled with water only, but what about those filled with colors? But I guess, that's all to go with the fun and masti of this colorful festival and the rightly said - Bura na maano Holi hai!!

This will be one of those rare festive times when I won't be home and I am already homesick :(. Staying away from home becomes all the more lonely and intolerable when you can't go home for a festival. I was talking to Shivani over the weekend and she went on to tell about all the preparations going on for Holi. The ghujiyas, the matthris, kaanji, dahi-bhalle, thandai..... I can go on and on. Though neither of us two sisters play Holi, Ankit prepares for it whole-heartedly. My duty has always been to smear his body with mustard oil, fill and load his arms and ammunition, send him off and lock the gate from inside! And the next time that it is opened is in late afternoon when Ankit returns all painted, colored and varnished... and dried up!

This time, though, my friends are more excited! After all, I will be in Delhi for the festival and it's one of their most-sought dreams to drench me in colors. And of course, they all know how petrified I am with colors. I know you guys are also reading this. So let me make it clear. I am not entertaining anyone at my place on Holi. I am going to forget all courtesies expected from a host! How rude of me, na? Acceptable. But I am NOT meeting anyone that day :). And I have already planned what am I going to do. I have two things to catch up with - my coveted sleep (of which I am always lacking :D) and a couple of movies. All meetings, get-together, let's plan them for the weekend :).

Actually, I have another idea. I am planning to fill a bucket-full of water-balloons and practise my aim from my third floor balcony. It will sure be fun! Considering the height, chances of counter-attack are rare, so it's worth a try. And this way, I can take my revenge from all those kids in my block who make me run for covers each time they see me. Thankfully, I have been able to duck their water bombs till now (I deserve an award for that, don't I?? :D). To be a little honest, I enjoy it too, especially when I catch them in the middle of taking the aim and give them a glare and instantly, their expressions are those of innocence personified!

There sure is a different charm to this festive time. I just spoke to Shivani and she has made some more delicacies :(... and I so want to be home now. But alas! I will have to make do with the angel-turned-devils (read kids!!!) in my block, catch up with my sleep and of course, watch the India-New Zealand match. I know that's not the way to spend a day like Holi, but then, what else can I do away from home! Papa, Dadaji, Shivani and Ankit - I am really missing you all. And to all my blog dosts - Wish you a very Happy Holi! Enjoy the day with colors, ghujiya and all other goodies that the festival brings along :) !
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Neha
When I lay crying,
In that little cradle of mine...
She rushed to me
Where I was lying.
She saw to my every need
In that little cradle of mine.

With the support of her tender hands,
I learnt how to stand.
With my feet on her's,
I learnt to walk minors.
When I fussed and didn't eat,
She fed and carressed me with her love so sweet.

She always showed the biggest smile,
On my very small achievement.
She never heaved a sad sigh,
On my disappointment.
She encouraged me till the last bit;
She always laughed at my dumb wit.

Now...she has left me alone...
To lead a life on my own...
Now my dear mother is no more...
All I have of her's are SWEET MEMORIES

These words were written by a 12-year-old on a night when she came to terms with her loss. Probably, they were the first of her ways of expressing what she was going through... when pain had refused to flow out through tears. She had never written before; but that night, she wrote and what took form with her words and feelings was this poetry.

It's been thirteen years since... time flies! That little girl is an independent woman now. She writes even today to express what she feels and share what she's learnt. And she misses her mother and thinks how different and beautiful life would have been, had she been with her. But alas, destiny! Yet, her mother did give her that last gift - the realization that this little girl can articulate her feelings through words. That little girl is me.

Mumma, I miss you more with each passing day. Today is your birthday and like every year, we will celebrate it for you. You are the reason for our existence and the source of our strength and motivation. I still do feel your presence around me and with me and I know you will always be there.

Happy Birthday, Mumma! :)
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Neha
Been away from this space for over a week and to be honest, this was intentional. No...not to see or find out how much you missed me, which I'm sure you did :D. It was more to live every day moments, without that impulsive streak rushing in to pen (or type!) it in my blog space. Honestly, it has become impulsive now with me looking for moments that I can share with you guys here and then waiting to hear back from you :).

Last week, though, there were many lessons learnt and few of them the hard way. And of course, I am going to share them with you and yeah, do take lessons from mine. That sure is easier than having to experience them yourself!

  1. Never eat gol-guppas for 3 consecutive days! I did!!! The first time was in the royal company of myself; the second , my cousin and I gorged on them together and the third time round, I couldn't refuse when a friend came up with the suggestion. And surely, my stomach has not taken too kindly to something that elevates my mood instantly. I don't understand why most of those things that you really enjoy are bad for your health!!! Anyways, lesson learnt, I will abstain from street food for at least a month.....er...let's make it two weeks.... guess a month is too long a punishment! I know you agree with me :). Just say you do :)).
  2. Never leave your balcony door open, especially if you live on the top floor! Well, this was courtesy my maid. And again courtesy her, we had a surprise guest - a full-grown monkey, who first feasted on about half a dozen bananas decorated on the center table. Then, he (or could be she!!! Didn't really get the time to find out) tacitly opened the refrigerator and took out everything that he could lay his hands on.... a packet of milk, new loaf of bread, box of eggs & boiled potatoes. And all this while, my maid, blissfully unaware, continued with her work with her back towards our coveted guest! It was when she turned around and screamed that startled me off my slumber! Our guest, though, was in no hurry and continued having his brunch. And to keep for his hunger pangs for later in the day, strode off royally with the loaf of bread!
  3. Never under-estimate (or may be look down) on any individual. Not that I did that (not being modest, but honest), but yes, what happened was unexpected and a little shocking. I hired a rick to get to the Ring Road and as always, I was caught in between giving directions - Bhaiya, ulta haath... nahi nahi....right le lo. The rickshaw-puller slowed down and turned to ask in impeccable English - 'Ma'am, Shall I take the left or the right turn?' It left me speechless and all I could do then was to answer by putting out my right hand. While paying him, I gathered the courage to ask about his education. He replied nonchalantly, 'M Sc in Chemistry.... par kya karein, zindagi kab U-turn le le, kisse pata chala hai?' And here am I, who can never stop cribbing and complaining!!!
  4. Your younger siblings don't remain kids always. I guess this is the way that all first-borns, like me, are programmed to think. It was only the other day when I was discussing something with Shivani that I realized how much she has grown up and matured too! Of course, even in the past, she has helped me out of situations; but then, I still felt more comfortable to think that she is still the little kiddo who would walk up to ask me every little thing. But the gyan she gave me last week was something I sure was not expecting! And yeah, I, like before, am following what she said. Now what she said, I will share when I accomplish it :).
  5. Don't be swayed by others' views; wait and let your own be created. This is something I strictly follow and especially, when it comes to watching movies. And I followed it yet again. I went to watch Delhi 6, despite strong notions from friends against it. And I quite liked it... not that it can be compared with RDB, but come on, it wasn't that bad either! OK, completely my views and opinion and will not compel you to buy them. But wait, hey ladies out there, isn't Abhishek looking good? :D
  6. And in continuation with the point above, first impression is not always the last impression! I usually don't do that and let my impression evolve as I get to know a person better. And this surely has helped me to not be prejudiced and meet and know some really wonderful people. Now, not that I met someone in the last week.... but nevertheless, wanted to share :)

Yeah... so it has been quite a learned week! But then, that will really work if I learn my lessons well enough. Though, am sure working on them. For example, I refrained from even looking at gol-guppas today and ate raj-kachori instead! I am one chatori, trust me.... and my tummy is still acting funny :(((. And I am trying to think the way Shivani has asked (or shall I say instructed!) me to... and that sure will take some stupid and insane expectations (from life!) off my head. Well, that's how it's supposed to work on me! And I promise to keep you guys posted on my progress.... the good girl that I am :D!

A little prayer - ....And lead me not into temptation.....especially when I see gol-guppas and chocolates!

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