Neha
I am back after my hiatus! How have you all been?

What seemed like a month long holiday simply flew by and here I am... back to square one. Of course there are changes :)

Here are some pics from the wedding.

Haldi & Chuda ceremony i.e. Turmeric is applied on the bride and then she wears the wedding bangles (chuda)

The wedding bangles (Chuda)

The henna, anklet and toe-rings...

My entry to the Wedding dais...

And there I meet my groom :)


Performing the rituals...

Set for my vidaai (departure after the wedding)

Final departure...

Reception at my in-law's place...


Hope you enjoyed seeing these.. Posts about the wedding to follow soon...

Till then, take care and stay precious :)

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Today is my last day at work before I leave for my holidays. Okay, so I am more nervous, more excited and happiest right now.

A colleague was telling me about her experience after she got married. Being a pampered child, she didn't know or ever bother who did the laundry at her home. She gave me a long lecture as to how much you have to cope, adjust and "slog" after marriage. Then she told me that I'd better mend my ways. To this, I wanted to say, "I know who does the laundry at my home!" I chose to keep quiet and smiled ensuring her that her well-meant advice had been taken in the intended spirit.

Another lectured me on how to "handle" my would-be Mom in-law (MIL). She told me to ignore the endless and uncalled for ranting as I need to understand her insecurity about losing her son to his wife. I listened patiently. Though I was tempted to boast about the good rapport I share with my MIL, I chose to stay quiet. Later while looking at our engagement pictures, she remarked that my mother looked very happy. When I told her that she is my MIL, the expression on her face was awesome!

These stories sound funny and at times, sad.

For me, marriage is a beautiful and sacred union of two individuals. You get so much from this - a companion for life, a family your own and unending love and togetherness. And it's even more beautiful when you are marrying a person who is your best friend and love.

Of course, life will change drastically and I am not sure how (well) prepared I am for it. I am crossing my fingers that I will sail through just fine.

Whatever else it may be, life will surely be more beautiful and happy :)

P.S: Blogdosts, I will be away from this space for some time for obvious reasons. On my return, promise to post updates and pictures.

Till then, take care and stay precious :))
Neha
This post is inspired by and dedicated to the many people I see every day who don't fail to shock, infuriate or irritate me!!


Sometimes, in fact, almost every time and everywhere, you come across people doing something really silly or irritating. Or something that is infuriating. What exactly are these people thinking at such times?
  • The top one on this list are those who spit anytime, anywhere! Do they do this in their homes too???

  • You are walking in a market lane and the lady in front of you suddenly decides to stop to check out a shop window. And there you bang into her and she glares right back at you as if it was all your fault! Get a life, woman! Get to a side and do all the window shopping you want!

  • The car in front of yours stops in the middle of the road to drop off some of its occupants. Okay! And then these people take years to bid farewell to those inside the car! Can't they pull up to a side and not hold up the traffic behind?!

  • You are checking out a pair of sandals in a store when a someone brushes past you, pushes you back and goes forward like it's her birthright! Lady, how about using the words 'Excuse me' for the honor of those who taught you?!

  • You pick out a dress from the racks when someone simply snatches it from your hands saying, 'Sorry, but I want this size.' What if I want just that one too? And didn't you just snatch it from my hands!?

  • The road is congested with traffic and the car behind you is honking away to glory! Will all that honking give wings to their car or mine?? You never know when either starts flying!

  • You are walking on a sidewalk when the person walking in front of you decides to dispose the empty plastic glass right there, splashing the remnants of it on your shoes. Again, do they do this at their home too??

  • At a clothes store, you are in queue for the trying room, with the lady using it for the last half hour. With a husband/friend/sibling at her disposal who are bringing in new things/sizes to try, she sticks inside till eternity. So what if there are others waiting with just one clothing to check on!

  • At the metro station or cinemas (or anywhere else), while you follow the queue, a gentleman (???) comes running out of nowhere, pushes his way and reaches the counter straight on. Are we crazy to have been in queue for that long?!

  • You are enjoying a movie when suddenly there's a thumping on the back rest of your seat. You turn around and the gentleman right there is digging his shoes at the back with no thought for the person sitting there!

  • The lady/gentleman sitting next to you, in the cinema, continuously gives expert comments on every scene and actor loudly and giggling away at how funny it sounds. Indeed they do! And who are they trying to impress anyway? And what will they take to let others enjoy the show?

These and there are so many others like these. The first question that comes to my mind is: What are they thinking? Why do they behave this way? Whatever it may be, there's usually not much I can do, except that occasional glare I give their way (I am mean!).

Do you also come across such people, blogdosts? How do you feel, angry, irritated..? What do you think about them and how do you react??

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Someone has hit the fast forward button up there. Days are flying and soon, I will have a change to my name. Sounds feverish to be honest. The preparations are in full swing and trust me, getting married is no easy task! Of course, most of you already know that :). It's less than a couple of weeks away now! My married blogger friends, do you have any tips to share with me? Will look forward to them.

Till then, take care and stay precious :)
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Neha
When I first came to Delhi from my hometown, I was this dreamy-eyed, ambitious girl, full of confidence and enthusiasm. I'd say that I am still that way, just that the dreams have become more pragmatic now. Guess that's what is called experience and exposure.

There was this wish list I had. Something that I never wrote down in black and white, but which was always there. And as time passed, I, silently, ticked off things/tasks accomplished.

Till now, it was all about me - goals set for myself, things to be done etc etc. And in some days, it's going to be different. From me, it will soon become 'us'.

Before that happens for real, I need to get things out of my mind and see for myself where do I stand from where I was eight years ago.

You might find some of them funny or ridiculous, but then, not everything need to be serious or material, right?
  • Set up my own place. I was always very sure that I wanted my own place, not a paying guest accommodation or a hostel. Over the years I have settled down with everything I need, little by little.
  • Become a successful TV anchor/journalist. I wanted to be a TV journalist and anchor and I always felt I could do it. I went for this interview at a big news channel and had to wait for over an hour for the interviewer to arrive (a renowned journalist and my then idol). That hour-long wait in those premises changed my perception. I realized I was not cut for that industry and even after being selected, I politely refused their offer. Then started my struggle to find another interest. It took me a few years to be where I am, but I am content and happy with the way life (or may I say 'I') carved out my career.
  • Live independently. This is something I have proudly accomplished and ticked off.
  • Travel all by myself. This one seems to remain unfulfilled for ever now, I guess.

  • Watch a movie alone. Crazy, right? I know, but then again, a big tub of pop corn is good company, ain't it? ;) This remains unaccomplished though

  • Drive 'my' car. I hope and plan to tick this one off very soon!

  • Take my siblings for a trip. Haven't been able to get on to this yet. Shivani and Ankit will love it for sure!

  • Publish my book. And I did it; though it did get way too late and Dadaji could not see it in print.

  • Indulge in my interests in photography and dancing. This one remains unaccomplished too. (Does inquiring about dancing classes and subscribing to photography tips count??)

Quite a list!! I must have missed out something here and there. But overall, life seems good. And now as I take the plunge (is it called that?), I can look back at my life as a single independent woman with pride and happiness :)

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Blogdosts, I am scared, excited and nervous!!! Few days to the D-day and now it seems it's coming too soon. You know that feeling you have in the stomach just before a 100 mtr dash? Yes, you got it. It's just that! Tips on staying calm and composed, anyone?

Will be back soon with more. Till then, take care and stay precious. And yes, send me tips too :)
Neha
So, yes, the gifts are on their way to their rightful receivers. And not going by the initial count (10), all those who sent me their addresses will receive a little something from me :)

I have been on Blogger for almost 4 years now. Now, that is a long enough time to have a huge list of followers and ensure scores of comments. But then, I am a lazy blogger. Soon after registering on Blogger, I forgot all about it. And it was only 2 years later in 2009 that I started taking this space seriously.

Since then, this has become a part of me. I am equally restless when I don't post for a long time. And to hear from you makes my day. For me, this is a world which has those of us who share one love - the love for writing! One can write here without any fear or inhibition and rest assured that he/she has listeners somewhere out there!

Despite me being such a thankless and lazy blogger, I have made quite a few friends here. And you all, blogdosts, have made my blogging world so beautiful. Whatever else may others say, I have always needed the motivation to go on here... and my motivation is you. To hear from you, to speak to you, to connect with you - blogging for me is about me and you :)

Are you all wondering, what is making me write what I am?

It's because I want to tell you all how wonderful you all are and how beautiful you've made blogging for me.

And blogdosts, I have some news, happiness, to share with you :)

Last month I got engaged to my best friend and soul-mate, the one I laugh with, live for and love!

(Ohh, yes!! This was the news I wanted to share with you all!!!)!


The rings!!! :))

Happy "Us" :))

It's been incredible together so far and as we embark on a new journey, my happiness will not be complete without your wishes, blogdosts :)

Thank you once again, blogdosts, for being there :).

Stay precious and take care :)

Neha
This is going to be a short and quick one!

Next week we celebrate Diwali (Deepawali) - the festival of lights! Lights, crackers, sweets, goodies... ohh this festival is all about good and goodness. For my blogger friends in other countries, you can read about it here.

And this time, I want to celebrate this festival with you all, my blogdosts! Come on, send me your postal (not email) addresses fast (email at itsstillneha@gmail.com or drop them in the comment section here); and the first 10 will receive a gift in their mailbox very soon!

And yes, I have the addresses of few who had written to me last time. Your gifts are assured :)

Till then, take care and stay precious! And have a safe and fun-filled festival time!!!
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Neha
So, the last week has been a rather happening one. All on the personal front. More details on this later :)

There were some other things too that I happened to realize then. Not that I didn't know them, but somehow I never looked at them 'like that'.

Okay, so I am a vegetarian by choice. I do eat eggs and therefore, am not a pure vegetarian. But somehow, non-vegetarian food never enticed me. I ate it due to peer pressure and then quit it for good when I saw that I don't really enjoyed it.

Then, I don't drink. Not for pleasure, not for business. On the couple of occasions that I tried it I find it toooo bitter and still fail to understand how do people enjoy it. I only like my chocolates bitter :)

P.S: I do not intend to start a debate there.

Moving forth... We were planning a party for friends when one of them exclaimed, "How will you enjoy the party? You neither eat non-veg nor do you drink. You are a bore!"

Though this wasn't the first time I heard it, but yes, it irritated me equally! How many parties have I not enjoyed 'coz of these two things? Or how many times have I felt left out on these accounts? Isn't the very idea of enjoying that way a little weird?

For me, enjoyment is:

Simply spending time with my special someone... this one gives me an instant high :)

Shopping with my sister. Trust me, it's a lot of fun!

Home-cooked meals on the dining table with my family.

Being with my friends.

Talking with my niece and nephew, listening to their funny stories!

Writing... and of course, blogging ;)

A coffee night-out with my siblings and cousins (Our parties are incomplete without the night full of gossip, dancing and a mug of coffee!)

Reading a good novel into the night!

... and there are so many more. Now, blogdosts, you tell me... when there is so much to enjoy in my life... am I still a bore?

I enjoy life and it's little moments. And do not need drinks to get a high. I enjoy food and do not feel the need to change my preference. And I still like partying and dancing :)

Ranting over!!! Will come up with something more cheerful next time. Thanks for bearing :)

Till then, take care and stay precious.
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Neha
Movies are usually kept for the weekend. But if you have a holiday on a weekday and nothing better to do in the evening, watching a movie is a good timepass [for us :)].

Didn't have many options to pick from and going by the star cast, picked Force.

The movie starts on a similar note, like Wanted - An undercover cop (actually a Narcotics officer) acting like a baddie to catch the bigger baddies, and in the process, falling for a beautiful, lively girl working for an NGO. It's more like a love story combined with enough action. And the one message I felt the movie sends out is - To be a fearless cop, you should have no attachments/weaknesses (read family, friends etc)!!!

The action is high and intense in the second half, and if you don't like action movies, then it's just not for you. The music is not really foot-tapping and at times, seems to interrupt the pace of the movie, which is otherwise good.

Playing the tough cop is John Abraham, who has no weakness(read no attachments) and thus, is a fearless cop. (This point has been put across enough number of times in the movie for one to memorize it!) So, the cop erases the big drug dealers, only to know that they had been trapped into removing competition from the market before a bigger and more shrewd drug dealer could bring in his monopoly.

John has done a good job, while the action scenes remind you of other action movies released recently. Somehow, I still feel that John's face lacks that ability to emote (strictly my personal opinion!!) and his body is no longer that sleek, it's unimaginably great! His action sequences are thus far better than other scenes; and yes, you will see the guy shirtless in many scenes.

Genelia plays the cute and chirpy love interest of the cop. She is good, but reminds of Asin in Ghajini. For the small part that she has, she has done it well.

Special mention for Vidyut Jamval who has made his mark, despite being a newcomer. His acting skills are convincing and action sequences are better than those of his rival cops.

The other notable actors are Sandhya Mridul and Mohnish Behl. I liked Kamlesh Sawant too who brought in some comic relief at regular intervals. There should have been more of him.

All in all, it's a good one-time watch. Didn't find it as great as mentioned in the reviews though.

My rating - 2.5/5
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Blogdosts, I will be travelling next week and therefore, away from this space for a while. I promise it won't be more than a few days.

Till then, take care and stay precious!
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Neha
I am no film-critic.

I do not understand the nuances that goes into film-making. Nor do I understand the heavy things in a film like the cinematography, editing etc.

I am a regular movie-goer who watches movies not to love or hate them but to entertain themselves. Given a choice between a movie and a play, I'll go for the latter. But plays don't show according to your convenience, movie do.

I am also a movie-goer who cannot watch a movie without popcorn. The funda is simple - if the movie is good, I need popcorn to enjoy it and if it's not, I need popcorn to tolerate it! There has been just one movie that I walked out of mid-way and so you can call me a rather patient and optimistic audience who will believe till the end that the story might just spring a surprise!

All said, this is my attempt to tell you about the movies I watch, and like I said, I am a regular. It will be "my" view on the movie, the actors, the character and the story. And the true Virgo that I am, expect me to be over critical too :). Remember, they'd be how I liked (not liked) the movie and not the official review. You can go back to the newspapers and websites for that :)

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Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster

The movie starts on an assuring note introducing the characters the way they are in the film.

The story is dramatic and its narration is crisp. There are no long-winding suspense that keep the audience waiting for the next thing to happen. Things happen in every scene, pictures become real and you get involved. That's what a good movie is about - having the audience glued to the screen at the edge of their seats.

The script and dialog are great and add to the pace of the movie. There are enough twists and turns, though the story is by and large predictable.

Jimmy Shergil is the Saheb who is ruthless, shrewd and vulnerable at the same time. This man emanates aura and Jimmy Shergil does full justice to the role. The fact that being such a talented actor, he has been wasted in the industry becomes more prominent with this performance. His dialog delivery is crisp and the way he has carried himself is perfect. Whether it be the scenes where he is sloshed enough to be carried by his loyalists or him enjoying breakfast meticulously with a knife and fork at lunch hour - he has outdone himself!

Randeep Hooda is a rogue - in the movie, of course. And he plays that well enough. You will either love or hate him, but won't be able to ignore him. He plays the gangster effortlessly. Yet, he is no hard-boned gangster at that. He has his faults and is equally vulnerable whether it be when looking for a bank job or when smitten by love. He is a surprise package and plays the role with just the right amount of grey and white!

Mahie Gill plays her character convincingly, though could have been better. Playing the biwi to the saheb, she doesn't match up to the charisma of Jimmy Shergil (yeah, he is that good!). Sitting by a lake at a portable table writing cheques is a portrayal of madness and that's how her character is!

A character that could have been made more instrumental was that of Deepal Shaw's, while Deepraj Rana is good, playing the caring and protective right hand to the Saheb with subtlety.

The climax doesn't let the movie down either. All in all, it's a good drama. After Ishqiya, this is one drama you'd like to watch. Tigmanshu Dhulia has a reputation to live up to in his next now.. and a good one at that :)

My rating - 3.5/5

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Blogdosts, there are other recent releases I could talk about - Mere Brother ki Dulhan & Mausam, which I am sure most of you have seen and would not like that late a post.
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Neha
How I wish there were four days on a weekend and not two! Weekends are more tiring and dreadful than weekdays! My poor mind, body and soul crave for a day to rest after hectic Saturday and an even more busy Sunday. It seems like the to-do list simply keeps on increasing. The moment I tick off one item, I add another four to it.

OK. Done with the venting out! I so needed it on a weary Monday such as this one. Thank you, blogdosts :). Don't worry, I am not going to test your patience with more cribbing.

Thought of bringing some cheer to my weary self. So here are some feel-good moments that make my days better and bring an instant smile to my face :)
  • The early morning breeze in the park. It's fresh, rejuvenating and makes me forget the worries of my world for at least as long as I am there!

  • Drizzle or rain!

  • A conversation with my niece and nephew, Maanya & Armaan. They give me instant happiness!

  • An infant/toddler smiling!

  • When my elder sister guesses exactly what I am thinking about (and this happens almost always!).

  • When a friend postpones/reschedules their plan to catch up for a few minutes :).

  • When there is this strong craving for chocolate and I find a lone piece in a corner in the refrigerator!

  • While boarding the train for my hometown :).

  • When my siblings call, just like that :)

  • On realizing that have dropped a size in jeans! Trust me, I couldn't be happier!

  • When I am thinking about taking a break and a colleague comes asking to join them for one!

  • When my hair feels just about right!!! It's not too limp or flared, but just perfect! (How many of you ladies agree with me??)

  • When I pass my landlord and he doesn't have anything to say about the rent/electricity bill/repairs/so on.

  • A cup of hot ginger tea or chocolate milk. It lifts me instantly!
And the list will go on.

Come to think of it, there are so many things to cheer about and yet, we spend so much time cribbing and complaining. The impulsive and sad me needs to take lessons from the philosopher me!

So what are your feel good moments? What brings an instant smile to your face?

Would love to know, blogdosts!

Till then, take care and stay precious :)
Neha
I was a sluggish, lazy girl when I was admitted to my boarding school (Wynberg Allen, Mussoorie). I was a little above average in studies, poor at anything co-curricular and really bad at sports!

There was a rule there that every one, irrespective of any and everything, had to participate in every sport/field event. Participation gave house points and the respective captains ensured that each one participated.

And so did I. In every race, I never ran. I jogged. In every jump, I simply jumped regardless of any aim. And in every other event, I simply 'participated'!

That was to change. We were in class/grade 5 then. It was the heats of 400 mtrs race, which meant that we had to take two rounds of the field. As usual, I was jogging and so were the others. You are taught to save your energy in the first round and sprint in the 2nd. While others intended exactly that, I had other plans. To Jog.

At the beginning of the 2nd round, one of our teachers, Mr. Inglis, came to the tracks and tried to buck me up. "Giggler(that's what he had nicknamed me), Run!!" I smiled back at him and continued jogging. The next thing I knew was that he instructed Mr. Cashmore's (our Dining Hall incharge) pet dog, Tricksy, to run after me.

I ran for my life! I seriously ran for that 2nd round, not for the race, but for the fear of a madly-running creature from the canine species biting me. I even ran much beyond the finishing line only to realize that Tricksy had conveniently stopped at Mr. Inglis' side by then!

While I tried to decipher what had happened, everyone cam running to congratulate me. I had won that race!!! For the first time in my life, I ran and I won!

Mr. Inglis stood there, smiling victoriously. I ran and hugged him. I was crying with happiness and the realization that I, too, had it in me.

This incident took place almost 17 years ago. Yet, it comes back to me whenever I see running tracks. It was like the birth of a new 'me', a person who was now bubbling with energy and confidence; a person who suddenly was ready to take on any challenge on any stage. And there has been no looking back since then.

Mr. Inglis is no more but his smiling face still motivates me to give it all my best.

Since I moved to Delhi, athletics, sports, running, tracks - all these words became alien to me. If walking on the paved path in the park can be counted, count that one in.

So you know how excited I got when told that there's a Sports Day being organized last Saturday.

The moment I saw those tracks in Thyaagraj Stadium (INA, Delhi), I felt an instant high. Out of practice and form, they were enough to lift my spirits.

While the men's heats were going on, I tried to assess the ground. It was a professional's ground. I tried to brush aside the tenderness I could feel in the pit of my stomach. On the outside, I was this cool, smiling person, while the athlete within me was all shaky and nervous.


A friend tried to calm me down, but on seeing another girl's speed exclaimed, "Neha, she's really fast. Don't worry, you'll come 2nd." That sure did nothing to calm me, instead made me more nervous!

The events happened one after another and each one surprised me. Despite running on such tracks after over 8 long years, I was able to not only perform, but also win medals.

The grand prize for the Best Sports Man and Woman was a trophy and a Sony LCD TV!

And guess what, I won that!!!





Along with these prizes, I've even got a bad suntan... but then, it was all worth it!!

The one person I really missed that day was Dadaji. He would have been ecstatic to hear about it. And the one person I really want to thank is Mr. Inglis. I could never really get around to tell him what a change he had brought into my life and what confidence he had blessed me with. From a shy lazy little girl to an athlete - I owe it all to him.

At the end of the term the following year, he had filled my slam book with these words - Life is like a sheet of snow. Be careful of each step you take as they leave a mark behind. I did not understand these words then, but they've been ever since etched in my memory.

Thank you, Mr. Inglis. These are all for you!

Neha
So how long has it been? About four months, i guess. And I have been 'completely' out of this space all this while.

First, thanks for your concerned emails, to which I never got around to replying. Sorry for that. Life has been one hurricane and the storm has just subsided, only to come back in full swing in some time.

Till then, of course, I can breathe a little. 

So what has kept me so occupied all this while??

A lot many things.

Office, exams, home...you name it. Of course, that doesn't give an excuse to not blog. But then, you only get 24 hours in a day and there have been weeks when I slept 3-4 hours on average! 

And no, I am not going to disappear after this post. This is my home-coming :). I mean, you will see me here regularly now as there is so much to tell you guys and I can't wait to post them all one by one.

Sorry again and thanks a ton for bearing with me. Call me mean, lazy, or thankless, I will make up for all that now on :)

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

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Neha
It was a pleasant morning today. I did debate about whether I should go for my walk and eventually, put on my jogging shoes and headed out.

For the record, I have finally set out a time for regular exercise. Gyms suffocate me and there are no courts (badminton/basketball) near or around my area. So, I gave myself another chance at morning walk/runs. I was never an enthusiast in that, but so far so good. I am going steady and intend to continue till Monsoons after which I will have to join a gym.

There I digress!

OK... so back to the park. With the school vacations having started, many children come with their parents/grandparents. They bring their cricket kits, badminton rackets along or simply have fun on the swings and slides.

This morning, there was a 6-7 year old playing cricket with his granddad. He was bowling while his grandfather was making vain efforts to get out and be able to continue with his yoga. Each time, he'd let the ball hit the wicket or get caught by his grandson and ask, "Am I out now?" To which the boy kept saying 'No'.

It was a sweet scene and usually little boys prefer to bat than bowl. And here was this little guy who just wanted to play along with his grandfather.

I smiled when I saw them playing, being reminded of the time spent with my grandfather. I never played cricket though. I used to accompany him on his morning walks quite often on my holidays. He was a regular for decades but had to quit when his knees became really weak.

Those mornings used to be fun. We'd hire a small bicycle and he would teach me to ride it, holding the seat from behind and jogging alongside. Sometimes, we would go to the nearby park and play.

On our walks, he would tell me the names of various plants/flowers planted in the neighborhood. Of course, he would regularly check my memory/knowledge too!

I remember a morning when we sat in a temple compound and he taught me how to read a wall clock. He would test me now and then when he returned after work.

Some mornings, we would visit an old couple who lived on the next street. They had a guava tree in their backyard and while the three sat and talked, I plucked sweet green guavas with a long bamboo stick.

Most of our Sunday mornings were spent in our terrace garden where I'd earnestly try to help him with gardening. He loved plants and even after we moved to our apartment, he maintained many potted ones.

These and many more memories are coming back to me today. Those moments which I relive every time I think of Dadaji and which eventually leave me crying. I know I should be happy thinking of them, but the realization that it's past now and I will never get to meet him again is heartbreaking.

But then, of course, as they say - we should treasure those moments for the happiness they always bring to us. Life is not the same without him, but also, all that it is today, it is because of him.

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Blogdosts, I have been in the process of writing this post for 4 days now and finally able to publish today. Thank you for putting up with me. I am a thankless girl, I know :(

Will see you real soon. Till then, take care and stay precious :)
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Neha
There was this time in July 2008 when I was frantically looking for a new place. The landlady of my then flat asked me to move out as her grandson was getting married and they needed rooms for the new couple. So, I was made the scapegoat.

Those who've tried looking for rented accommodation in Delhi, will understand my pain. Cursing my luck, I ventured out looking for a suitable option to move into, but even after a month of fishing around, nothing materialized.

And on the last day of the last week of my notice period, an agent showed me this place.

At the first look, I hated it!!! The owner of the place wad due for a knee replacement surgery and so could not climb to the third floor. The previous tenants had not bothered to close the balcony doors either and then being the monsoon season, the place was a disaster. I was sure I was not taking it.

Reluctantly, I walked in to see the rooms. Nothing great. I moved towards the balcony and I was held captive at once.

For there was this one place in that crowded area which did not overlook into another balcony! All I saw were trees followed by a playground beyond a government orphanage which were single storey rooms.

I stood out there for a while and reconsidered my decision. The place could be made into a home, for sure! And I took it.

Here is the view from my balcony, the one factor that made me take this place:


Isn't it so calm and green? Trust me, there are not many people in South Delhi who can boast of such a view from their balconies.


Everything was good till one morning a couple of weeks back when I found a heap of twigs lying in one corner of the balcony underneath the water cooler.


My experience told me what it was and I could not let it remain there. And of course I have my reasons for it:
  • Being underneath the water cooler meant that it will sooner or later drown in the water spilling over from the cooler.
  • I would definitely never let incessant chirping ruin my days and nights.
  • I cannot and will not let my favorite corner of the house to be occupied and forever dirty!
And so, it began.

The twice-a-day everyday battle. Every morning and every night!

After getting dressed for my morning walk, I go to the balcony, peep underneath the cooler and stretch my right leg to pull out the twigs. Then, I collect them, wave my hand with the pile before throwing them away.

And every evening, I repeat the exercise.

And they are always around.... perched nearby, looking at me.... probably cursing me. It is to them I wave before throwing the pile away.

To tell them that the place they have selected to build their sweet home is not a good choice.

To symbolize that not only a lurking cat, but even over flowing water means the end of their not-even-started family!

And that, I AM NOT willing to let them take my favorite corner!!


This battle (or struggle?) has been waging on for quite a few days now and neither of the side seems to be giving in. So whatever and whichever way it will be, I'd prefer to be called a home-breaker than a cold-blooded murderer!!!

Isn't that better of the two options, blogdosts?
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Neha
Just a quick post - I am here, very much here! And all those who blog regularly can vouch for that as they sure do get my comments on their posts.

May be I'm getting too lazy as work is like always and yet, I'm not able to blog. I have a few posts that are incomplete! The last one that I left midway was early last week when I wanted to announce the completion of my 7 years in Delhi on May 12!!! Now, that's surely not the way I wanted to do it :(

Nevertheless, I am around and trying to get back to my once-active blogger self. Please put up with me (no false promises on time). Till then, you'll always hear from me on your blog :)

Take care and stay precious :)
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So, this can unarguably be voted as the Most Ignored/Neglected Space in blogosphere! When did I really post last?? Wow, even I don't remember!

Nope, no blames, no excuses. That's okay that I have been nose diving in work and knee deep in everything else.

Someone said to me (while reminding that I had not updated my blog for a long time) that one should never stop doing things they love. And yes, I do love writing. I guess this is one of the few places where I can speak without any inhibitions or the fear of being judged. With the kind of restraint you have to put up everywhere else, it gets suffocating!

This is going to be a random post, rather an update, or may be an announcement - "I am still around".

I do log in to blogger and read posts almost every day and post comments too. They are a real respite and I love you, blogdosts, for that! If there is anything that keeps me sane and going in the mad rush of work life, it's got to be your posts, which are truly refreshing!

For those who emailed asking about my recovery post surgery, I am rocking good now! I'd better be, for I've been forewarned that if I'd ever need a surgery again, it would be without anesthesia!! No points for guessing who's threatened me like this!

So yes, health seems to be looking up (touch wood right now!!), work seems to be getting hectic by the day and life seems to be flying past. Can you believe it that we are already past four months this year! Someone seems to have pressed the fast forward button somewhere up there. 2011 is a special year and I want to live and relish every moment of it without it zipping past.

This is it - a quick Hi to all of you. Yes, I will try to be around here a little more (hah...how many times I have said this before!!). You can stone me for not keeping my words, I won't complain.

See you around here real soon. Till then, take care and stay precious :)
Neha
It's time!!!

The silence has to be broken.

The celebrations last Saturday when India won the World Cup showed that if we want, there can be no divide among us. We celebrated together.

Now it's time to stand together and express our solidarity towards our motherland.

Anna Hazare fasts for us, for our nation, for the youth, to eliminate the evil of corruption from our country.

Anna Hazare's success is our success.


The Jan Lokpal Bill is to free our society of the malice.

It is to hold those accountable who think that they can get away with any and everything!

Come together, fellow Indians!!!

THIS IS OUR CHANCE
....... To show the Rajas, Ranis and Kalmadis that they dare not mess with our country!

........ To announce to the corrupt that we will no more tolerate corruption!

....... To tell our corrupt politicians to better take their jobs seriously and serve the country not themselves and their families.

....... To give our country the beauty and honor it rightly deserves!

.........To make India cleaner and more beautiful!

....... to make our INDIA what we always dreamed of - Developed, Progressive & Free of corruption.

Anna Hazare has set an example. And it's for us to support him, to build pressure on the government to accept the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Come together, blogdosts and fight for our nation..... For You and For Me!

Raise your voice
You cannot let them overcome
Make your choice
It's you the one who stands inside your shoes
Raise your voice
You cannot fill your words with none
Make some noise
It's up to you to use or get abused

***Blogdosts in Delhi****
Let's meet tomorrow (April 9)at 8 a.m at Rajeev Chowk Metro Station and proceed towards Jantar Mantar to extend our support towards Anna & the Jan Lokpal Bill!

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Neha
So, the trauma is over. Well, almost! It's not always a nice experience in a hospital. In fact, it never is!

I was all pepped up Monday morning. A look at me and you couldn't tell that I was to check in to a hospital for the first ever surgery of my life in less than two hours. I was not able to make up my mind as to what I should wear!!! Yes, that's how it was; I wanted something comfortable and presentable.

Anyhow, I did check in looking all in place, as if I belonged there! I was showed to my room and then it happened. The realization of it all. I sat down on the couch, reluctant to even touch the bed. In no time, the nurses appeared with their trays filled with God-knows-what. An IV was fixed in my right inner forearm and an allergy testing (or anti-allergic, whatever it was) fluid was injected in my left. I shrieked with pain. No sooner was this through, the ward boys appeared with a surgical gown and a stretcher. I insisted I could walk, but they would not relent.

Soon I was being wheeled on a stretcher to the OT. And by then, the so-called brave me had given in and I was crying cats and dogs, even horses and elephants! Tears were streaming down both sides while I looked on helplessly. My first trip to an operation theatre, and I was hating every bit of it.

The anaesthetist was a kind person with soft looks and gentle voice. He assured me all will be well and began small talk. He asked how come I had never seen an operation theatre while I was engaged to a surgeon. I was quick to reply that 'he' was the surgeon, not me! Then he asked how did I land a surgeon and I don't know what I said to that. For then, he had injected me with something and next I knew I was in post-op, crying out in pain.

The night after was traumatic with painkillers being injected in my veins every two hours. Never before has a night been as long and wretched.

But after all of that, I survived! Oh, yes, I did!! And thanks to you all, blogdosts, for your prayers and good wishes. Though I am still bed-ridden for the next few days, the pain and agony is over. The post surgery complications remain and will take their time to resolve. But I am happy. Though not exactly I fighter, I am a survivor after all!!

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I dread them!!!

Those long, thin devilish looking things that are meant to suck your precious blood!!

Or those that are meant to inject life (medicines) into your blood.

Yes, I dread injections and more so the sight of them. Doesn't matter how many times I have been given those. Those little devils and I can never see eye to eye. It's that simple!

It happened this morning when I went to give some blood samples for a few tests. I was fine all along till I saw those, neatly kept in a box. The phlebotomist tried his best to hide his grin when he saw this young-old woman stiff on the chair, with eyes shut tightly and fingers clenched.

Ohh yes, before that I sure did come across as a brave woman who walked in smartly, inquired about the tests, costs etc. and assured that she is prepared for her precious blood to be drawn.

And then the sight of those syringes did much to unnerve me. For the life of me, I'd barter anything to save myself from the trauma. That's what it is, people. A trauma. Of course, you can say that it's a little prick, that's all. All my life, I have heard my parents, my grandfather and friends console me with those words.

When the guy taps my inner elbow trying to look for 'the' vein, I secretly wish he never finds one. For if he doesn't, he won't be able to put that horrible thing in my sensitive veins! Though there are some of these ever persistent people. This one time, a nurse was unable to locate the vein to put an IV and punctured my elbow no less than a dozen times!! Only the Almighty knows what kept me from leashing out at her.

If I go back in history (my childhood seems like ancient history now!), this fear must have taken birth on one of those flu shot days in boarding. We were all made to stand in queue while taking those shots and witness the procedure as each of us were victimized in turns. The following days were spent in pain with only the other arm functional.

My first hospitalization was when I had just passed from school. Returning from a college entrance examination, I passed out and woke up to find myself in a hospital with a nurse adjusting the rate of the IV fluid. I fell asleep soon after only to wake up at night in immense pain and a swollen forearm. The nurses were called and they duly shifted the IV from my left hand to the right. Morning after, both my forearms resembled those of a baby elephant's!

Each of those days when I was taken for a blood test or a regular shot are edged deep in my memory. The nervousness, the fear, the pain, the agony... all still remain.

I always forget when I am to hold my fist tight and when to leave it loose.

My eyes shut tightly, I still take a peek through the corner of my eye to take a good look at my tormentor.

I keep reminding myself that it's just a little prick and when that damn thing touches me, I let out a little shriek.

I count the number of those bottles (I know they are far too little to be called that) the guy fills with my oh-so-precious blood.

I insist on having that little round band aid on the spot for as long as possible. After all, it's just been injured.

I love to look at the machine when the little devil (read 'my tormentor') is being destroyed to nothing!

And I feel all dizzy and faint after the gruesome experience.

And of course, like a true Virgo, I fret and worry till I don't see the reports and let my heart be in peace that 'all is well'! (Though not always!!)

So yes, if you want to see this self-proclaimed brave woman running for cover and calling out her 'Mamma', all you need to do is show her an injection and she will be out of sight alright!

*********************
Blogdosts, I am in for a surgery coming Monday I have managed to avoid for a year (though I was very close to it then too!). You might see more or less of me here, depending on my condition. Do pray that I recover soon enough and am back in action soon.

Till then, take care and stay healthy and precious :)
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Valentine's fever!! Seriously.

It's every where. Markets. Restaurants. Malls. Colleges. Radio. Television. The Earth. The Waters. The Air!!!

It amazes me. Just everything about it and more so, the euphoria and madness around it. Come on, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the idea of being in love, with oneself and others! It sure is one of the most fantastic purpose to living.

But the focus on just one day to celebrate it; and that too with almost everyone vying for your attention, selling anything and everything in the name of Valentine's Day!!!

The other day, I crossed an Archie's store and saw this really huge teddy bear holding a heart shaped cushion that said 'Happy Valentine's Day'. It left me wondering - Who gifts such things??? Then there were offers all around the market in the name of the big day - Gift your valentine a free holiday or a free dress (after you buy one for yourself) or a free gym membership. I mean every one wants to give some else's valentine something for free! Now that gets interesting.

At my boarding, this day didn't mean much to any of us. Okay, so we were in the age when every thing and day and feeling was not all that commercialized. We had a three-months long winter vacation (Dec-Feb) and Valentine's day fell during that time. I think that made us obviously oblivious about this day.

It was during the last few years in school (a day school in my hometown) when the Valentine fever caught on. One of the things you will never miss to see at girls' schools is the traffic at the time of girls leaving for home. More than parents and guardians, there are boys from adjoining schools racing, lingering around or simply pining for the attention of their love interest(s).

As school captains, we conducted impromptu schoolbag raids a couple days before the D-days (read Friendship and Valentine's days). Wicked...weren't we ;)!!! And the kinds of gifts, cards and letters we found never failed to surprise/shock us! Then, while going home, a red rose (one too many) would fall in/on our conveyance (an auto rickshaw or car) and that happened with almost every girl in high school.

If you were observant enough, you could also see couples exchanging love notes/gifts, all away from the prying eyes of seniors, classmates, teachers and parents. The skills they displayed were awesome. I mean you just cannot catch them!!!

There was this one note from a love-lorn boy that accidentally (okay, I'm lying) fell in my hands and it was written in blood!!! The kinds of inspirations you get from Bollywood!!! The girl it was meant for started crying when she read it while I had a serious question - How do you ascertain it IS the guy's blood??? (I mean it could be from the mutton/chicken his Mom cooked the previous night. For how else will you explain blood that wrote like ink?! What an anti-romantic I am or a sadist maybe!!! Uh-oh, that's okay :)

And of course, there were (still are!!) these protesters (Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal apparently) who would not spare any couple they found together on these days. Didn't matter if the couple was married or actually brother and sister. They would bash up the boy, abuse the girl, make them do sit-ups and God knows what else!!! All in the name of our culture and how westernization is ruining it! Never mind that they wore Levis and Rayban and drunk only 'foreign' brands!!!

Then Delhi, where Valentine's Day has been nothing more than over-crowded markets, malls and restaurants. Last year, my siblings were visiting me and on the 14th, we happened to be shopping (all because it was a Sunday). My younger sister clutched my brother's hand and said, smiling sweetly - You are my Valentine. My 19 something brother shook her hand away saying he is so very single and doesn't want to send a wrong message to his prospective Valentine(s)!!! I looked around in the busy and very crowded market to see if there was a probability of this kind of prospect there. My brother is surely not one to lose hope!

Before you think me to be an anti-social person, let me tell you, I too have always gone with the flow.

Thankfully, I never gifted or received stuff toys. There was this period (and I call it period as it went on for a few years) when the doorbell would ring and someone would leave a bunch of roses at the doorstep. I could never find out who it was.

Then there was this incident when a guy threw a rose at me while I was riding pillion with my father on his scooter. The rose hit my dad on his eye and my dad stopped and scolded the poor boy left, right and center!

On another occasion, I tried to set up a date for a close friend and her guy. Every thing was planned out by me in complete detail - the roses, the gifts et all; only to find out that the couple broke off! The advance payment never returned to me :(

Ohh and yes!! I have also spent a couple Valentine's days while in college hanging around near the ghats (riverbanks of Ganga or Yamuna). Not that we wanted to, but it was all to help a friend meet her guy on the D-day! (We did the same on their respective birthdays and other "important" days.)

Now, this day brings in a lot more nostalgia. Hanging out with friends, deciding/buying gifts or helping someone prepare a proposal speech, feeding all sorts of lies to friends' parents (to help them meet their date!).... the list can go on.

With school and college a thing of the past, the excitement of these days does fade away. For me, I know I will have a 12-hour eye-to-eye date with the computer monitor in office this Valentine's day. I am still helping friends get nice gifts for their partners (I can be a great gift consultant, a friend said today).

While I spend my day in office, I hope we get to celebrate such days all year through. And why only partners, this time surprise yourself and gift yourself that new shirt or jewelery you've been eying. You can even get a bunch of roses delivered to your parents or better still take them out for dinner. You can even take your grand father/ grand mother to a park and spend some time chatting with them.

Whatever you may/will do for people you love, don't wait for this one day to express it. Celebrate each day with them. Life is very short and love, most precious!
Happy Valentine's Day, Blogdosts!
Neha
Of course, I remember promising that I will share more of the changes that I am bringing (or at least trying to) in and around myself. Remember the anger management part. Ironically enough, I happened to lose my cool the same day I wrote the post! But I was against exhibiting it and ended up with a bad migraine. What they say is true - it's hard (and painful) to give up on old habits!

Okay, so the next on my list was my health. For the records, I was in the hospital in the first half of January 1, 2011! Oh yes, I managed to fall sick close to New Year's eve and while everyone was busy planning their 31st evening, I was trying to get an appointment with my doctor. So January 1 it was!

Meeting a doctor is always scary. They sure prepare you for the worst that your respective ailment has to offer. My doctor was no different and she told me in no fancy words that I need to "actually" take care of myself unless I want a surgery happening!

The message was straight and clear. And I did not want to take a chance. In fact, I'd never want to. My next step was getting all the information I could to eating right and staying healthy. Starting January 4, I was on my way. It's said it takes at least 21 days to make a habit. So I waited over 21 days to post/blog about this [clever me! :)].

Here are few of the things I am doing. And they have worked great for me till now!
  • I start the day with a glass of warm water with half a lime juice and 4-5 soaked almonds. This is my first meal of the day and healthy too!
  • Eating small meals or fruits regularly every 2-2.5 hours - and you know something! This way I am actually feeling fuller and more active. Even when I go out (not work), I carry apples and biscuits in my bag. [If you follow this, remember not to carry anything when going out for a movie; else, don't blame me if the security lady there makes you forsake a 'more-precious-than-diamonds' apple or your 'costlier-than-gold' orange/guava. Yes, I think about inflation too!]
  • A plate of salad with every meal. I carry a lot of it to work every day.
  • Cut down on tea/coffee and other drinks. I am not a big fan of tea or coffee, cold drinks I quit years ago and packed juices don't entice me either. So that was not difficult at all.
  • Drinking lots and lots of water! Something between 2-3 litres a day.
  • Dinner latest by 8 pm. Works for me else I end up eating endlessly on reaching home after office.
Let's count. It's been exactly 24 days now. Wait, wait...I am not a bundle of goodness or a strict disciplinarian! To be honest, all this goes for a toss on weekends and holidays as I am either not motivated enough or succumb to peer pressure. Yet, I try to have my quota of fruits and salads and even when eating out, I opt for the healthier options.

I have been doing fine on it till now and plan to stick to it for as long as I can/am able to. Blogdosts, please hope and pray that I am abide by it for as long as possible!

P.S - Anyone willing to try the healthier way, feel free to drop me an email and I will send you some charts and samples.

Till then, take care and stay precious :)
Neha
I confess that I AM one of the many superstitious sports followers who would not move an inch if the Indian side is performing/batting well (in this case, cricket), or will religiously change the channel if at all the team is not performing. As if it's me and my movements that control the game!

So last night was one such night. No sooner had I tuned in to watch India's innings, Yusuf gave three six in a row. And that was it. Being the superstitious fan that I am, I did not change the channel and dozed off while watching the match. Yes, yes, I know that it was exciting enough, but guys, it was almost 1 am!!

Then sometime in the middle, I woke up to find that we just needed few more runs to win. I struggled with sleep and finally won and managed to stay awake till the winning run. I switched off the television promptly and snuggled into my bed.

Just then, I felt it.

My bed was shaking, and shaking vigorously! Before I could realize what was happening, the steel almirah (cupboard) and the television cabinet were shaking and producing the scariest sound I had ever heard!

Yes, it was an earthquake!! I snatched my mobile from the bed and ran towards the balcony, shaken, shivering and dead scared. (On retrospect, I should have caught hold of my handbag too!)

The earthquake had come and gone and woken many from their sleep as gradually, the houses in the area had the lights on and people were on their terrace or balconies. All shaken like me and looking around quizzically.

Standing outside past 2 am in the morning in a t-shirt and pyjamas, with not a shred of woolen clothes had me shivering from cold soon after the fear died down.

Back in my room I weighed my chances. Living on the 3rd floor, I sure could not have survived had the tremor been stronger! This was the second one felt in about two months, the first one being far slighter. Even if I did try to run, I would not have reached the ground floor. Even if I managed that (only possible if I jumped from my balcony!), I would not have been able to reach any open area. Why? Well, don't question my running ability here. With the buildings and population around, even the closest park seems crowded and cramped!

I woke up in the morning and asked the first person I meet every day about the earthquake. No points for guessing. Yes, my maid! Well, she didn't feel a thing and slept through all the commotion.

Keeping all the excitement for later, I started for work. My office is ten minutes away from the metro station, and the walk in the sub-lane is safe, though a little bumpy and dusty, with all the construction work going around.

I was a few meters away from the turn to my workplace, when this taxi came from nowhere and screeched to a halt inches in front of me!!!

This time I had no time to react. I just stared. Rather, glared at the driver. The suddenness of the moment left me speechless and maybe white! I walked past the car, still too shocked to react.

As I recollected myself, the realization dawned. Not once, but twice!

Twice, I had felt a similar kind of fear within 10 hours.

Twice, I fell all white and may be helpless!

Twice, I felt that this was IT!!!!

Any lessons learnt?

Of course, yes!
  1. If at all an earthquake comes, I will run out intact with as many sweaters, jackets, socks and may be shoes!
  2. My next accommodation (if at all!) will be on the ground floor, right next to an open park.
  3. I am going to xerox and post all important paperwork home!!!
  4. I will learn some good cussing words, to ensure that next time I am not left speechless and have enough to scare the driver from doing anything like that again!!!
  5. Last but not the least, I am going to be a bit more careful and yes, thankful to Him for his small and big mercies on me. (I am a good girl, ain't I?)
********
Blogdosts, fret not! I am fine and safe. Both these incidents will serve as good stories to discuss for few days to come. Till then, pray that I have more funny things to tell you and not such scary ones :)

Take care and stay precious :)