Wednesday, December 31, 2014

When the coffee was not brewing...

Well, another year is drawing to a close and I admit I spent far less time in this house than I would have wanted. However, I do have pretty good reasons of not been able to give time here because there were things, people and experiences that needed my attention and time.


1.      Until 2013 end, I kept saying I want to learn a new language. Like many resolutions I have made in the past, I knew where this one was headed too. To be broken. But 2014 started and I enrolled for Spanish classes. Long way to go on this road but at least I made a start.





2.      My little sister, Zingy, got married this year. Before the wedding, time went by in shopping, planning and post wedding, missing her! Sigh..





3.      And so, my solo travel began finally. From cool climes of Manali to warm dusty roads of Gujarat and then to the lazy beaches of Goa. Just the beginning, I say.


Lip-smacking food, gorgeous scenery. I shall always be the one who travels for food.




4.      I ate, drank and basically made merry.



If all this kept me busy, I ain’t complaining at all. But yes, I do promise (an earnest one at that) that I shall write about these things more. I promise to bring you more stories from my travels, eat-outs and all the things that you would like to read about. There!


Let 2015 be - Travel. Eat. Read. Learn. Dance. Laugh. Write. Repeat. Wishing you all a very happy new year!



Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Sex and the City guide to men, life and more.

Now, I must confess something at the onset. I have been a huge fan of the sitcom Sex and the City and I secretly aspire to be India’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw (well, not so much of a secret anymore!).

Having established my allegiance towards the show, I can safely say of all the sitcoms dished out, SATC comes quite close to understanding women, voicing their latent fears and comprehending their wildest fantasies. It is like an institution of sisterhood or an unofficial holy book of sorts for single women across the world, holding true even after a decade it aired last.

Personally, I have evolved a lot with each season of the show, just like the characters did. Their struggles, stories, fights, flings and friendship, it was all-consuming. I was living with them, passively. I admire this show for its sheer honesty and guts. It puts it all upfront for all of us to see, a woman’s anxieties and her challenges. And you cannot help but believe in them.

I believe we all somewhere would identify, however partially, with either of the four lead women in the show, Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. We all carry one or some of the traits of these women. Watching it, you cannot help but relate to them in one way or other. There are things you could see Carrie doing wrong and you would want to advice her not to. Or, you would want to tell Charlotte to not be so gullible. Or, you would admire Samantha for her devil-may-care attitude. Or, you would wish Miranda was a little more receptive towards her own emotions.

So, when a show is bordering on such realism yet fantasy, it must have got some things we all could take help from and appreciate. Some of the things that SATC has taught me are akin to having a best friend around and let her explain life lessons to you when you need them.

1.     Men will come, men will go. Don’t sweat over the wrong ones because the right ones will ultimately find a way back to you. Case in point, Mr. Big (how much of an asshole he may have been to Carrie), Steve and Harry.

2.     Girlfriends as soulmates and boys as the ones you have fun with. It is really that simple to sort through your life’s all pains and heartbreaks.

3.     Dating is fun, dating is cool and dating is sexy. I almost want to go out on a fabulous date right now!

4.     You, your life, your choices first. Be it the choice to commit or back out in a relationship, to get pregnant, to sleep around or to put career first. These women stumble but then make their choices their way

5.     Sex, as noun or a verb, is not bad. It is as important or as essential as sleep, food or shelter. Just one of the things our body needs.

6.     Ditching girls’ night out to go on a date is so not cool. Oh yeah!  

7.     Age is ACTUALLY just a number. True it’s a sitcom and that too set in New York but hey, things are shaking up in India too. Well, for starters the one writing this is in her 30s, single and a wannabe Carrie!

8.     Spend on style but do save money. Because seriously, you don’t want to be that old woman who lived in her shoes.

One of the many things that Carrie says, this one comes right at the end of the season finale, almost like summing up the whole series:

'The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.'


And I couldn’t help but wonder would you all agree with me here? J

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Of Autumn, Shiuli and Durga.





Dusk sets in early. 
Conch shells in the background. 
New season tugs in.

Her big kohled eyes. 
Shiuli adorns the neck.
Durga is in me.

She is the power.
Hymns invoking Her presence.
She and I are one.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Solo travel and a bagful of emotions

This post has been chosen as Blogadda's Tangy Tuesday pick! :-) 


 ‘One week!? What are you going to do alone for 1 week?’
‘Why didn’t you ask any of your friends to accompany you?’

These and many such questions were thrown at me as soon as everyone got to know about my first solo trip. Honestly, I was more amused than irritated with this volley of questions.

Those who know me know that I am usually very happy within myself. I mostly keep myself entertained with incessant blabbering and louder-than-humming singing. Almost all the weekends I take off in Delhi to be with myself. I eat, listen to music, look around, hear people talk, read a book, savour coffee and come back home at night. So, I am pretty used to spending time with myself. However, seven days in a new place with no one to talk to, now that was new. I knew I would sail through yet there was this unknown barrage of emotions going inside me. And what’s amazing is the progression these emotions went through over a period of seven days on an imaginery EQ scale!

The trip started with anxiety. I was not scared but anxious. Of what? Frankly not so much for the stay and everything in between. But traveling alone in Volvo from Delhi. There were questions swimming in my head about the co-passengers, on what if I am the only one in the bus (silly but hey it was my first trip!), on what if I can’t control my even otherwise uncontrollable bladder for the long journey. But when I entered the bus I remember I smiled really ear to ear. Because it was full of families, kids, group of friends, couples and all of them beaming with noise. I liked that. And I contently took my window seat. J

Next was this feeling of panic. How will I control my motion sickness, what if I feel the need to puke, who will take care of me and all that. I forgot to take the motion sickness tablet in time. Took it long after the bus had started on the altitude mainly because it was dead in the night and I realized it only when I woke up feeling quite eeky. Once I took it I felt better. I kept closing my eyes, tried to catch sleep so as to not focus on the movements of the bus. This way I missed great views outside many a times but it was the only way I knew to handle it. But yes, at eight o’clock next morning, I reached Manali without a hitch! J

Once there, first it all started sinking in that I was no longer in Delhi, that there were no office calls to be taken, that I could do whatever I wished to, that I am not answerable to anyone at least for this one week, that feeling of not knowing what to do next day. This feeling of nothingness was a first for me for I am quite used to loading myself with unnecessary emotional baggage. But this? This was a breath of fresh air. Waking up at my time, reading till late, going for long walks, setting the day’s agenda as I desired was so cool beyond words. It was like I was free of all the garbage of feeling I had been holding on to.

On my home stay lady’s suggestion, I set out for Rohtang. Little knowing the altitude or anything of the place. The trip started good and all through it was like picture postcard slideshow. Every frame was so gorgeous that you needed to have your eyes and cameras open. Me? I just kept swallowing orange candies to not feel the motion sickness because the altitude was the highest I have ever been to. But once I reached Rohtang, it was like a world I had never seen before. Snow and so much of it. I was on my own, roamed about, took a mountain bike ride, chatted with the bike driver, ate hot maggi, feasted my eyes on the all white snowy envelope and there, I had this amazing feeling that I did it. I braved the motion sickness and traveled alone to witness this gorgeous sight.  This feeling of freedom was my first taste of real freedom and now I know what travel does to you. It sets you free.

On the return journey, again I was just being too cautious of the motion sickness and kept having the candies to keep myself busy.  Somewhere past midnight, the bus reached the plains. I was kind of up, listening to an A. R. Rehman number on repeat. And right then, the moment I opened my eyes widely and looked out and saw the plains, I felt my eyes moist. A couple of tears might also have fallen down. I choked too. It was like I felt I had finally accomplished this small little feat of traveling solo first time, overcame the altitude sickness, explored a new place, met amazing people, had great food,  marveled at breathtaking views and kept myself good company. This feeling of accomplishment was something I have had after a long long time. A feeling that no academic, professional or personal success had ever brought me.

So this was me. Tell me, have you too gone through these? Or was I the only one? What was your baggage like? J

Sunday, June 29, 2014

5 Bollywood songs for the singleton's soul

This post has been chosen as Blogadda's Tangy Tuesday pick! :-) 




For years I have been listening to the mush that Bollywood dishes out, with no complains. And not just the mush, but the sad tearjerkers too for the times when my life seemed a sinking boat. A little too dramatic but that’s how I see myself as! I always need a background score to keep me going.

But all this isn’t working anymore for a couple of reasons. First, I am not in love per se. And second, I am kinda out of the sad ones too. My playlist literally was looking at me clueless. There was no pattern to what I was listening. Music is very important to me and Bollywood plays an important role. So, I browsed my backup and found these 5 songs that seemed to work for me rather brilliantly.

Why, you ask? Because first, there is no love connection being discussed here or a broken heart, mourned. Second, in each of this I could see a little of me every single time I heard them. Most importantly, these are for the free birds, the independent at heart ones. These make you feel liberated and alive. All the songs are about you, your life so they definitely help to up your spirits. There will be one that fits you. For me, all five work. Hence, sharing with you all. J

So play these away:

1.     Patakha Guddi (Highway)
Nothing tops the list than this one. The song takes you to another world. Where there are mountains, highways, quietude, you and just you.

My favorite lines from the song are:

Tu toh paak rab ka baanka
Bachcha raaj dulaara, tu hi
Maalik ne jo chinta di toh
Door karega woh hi



2.     Ilahi (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani)
This is when there is humdrum of city life all around and you are kind of finding your identity in it.

These lines strike a chord with me immensely:

Kal pe sawaal hai jeena filhaal hai
Khaanabadoshiyon pe hi jaane kyun
Ilahi mera jee aaye aaye



3.     Der lagi lekin (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara)
Not that I have had any enlightening experience so far, though I wait for my Eureka moment even now, but this song is so much about growing up, owning up the mistakes, coming of age kinds.

I love these lines for the larger meaning they hold:

Hai koi, jo yeh mujh se keh gaya
Yeh kahaan tu reh gaya
Zindagi toh hai jaise kaarvan
Tu hai tanha kab yahaan



4.     Aaj kal zindagi (Wake Up Sid)
This is a super peppy, uber positive and very young at heart song. That joy of going to a job you love, doing every day things is shown so nicely in this, hence watching the video is necessary here J

My favorite lines:

Tere liye nayi hai zameen naya aasman
Likh de hawaaon mein koi nayi dastaan..



5.     Dil dhadakne do (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara)
Peppy, fast and with lyrics that would push you to go and do what you have been wanting to but have managed to procrastinate so far.

Don’t believe me? Here, the lines:

Kab tak ginein hum dhadkane
Dil jaise dhadke dhadakane do
Kyun hai koi aag dabi
Shola jo bhadke bhadakane do 




Do you have a favorite too? Which one? Do tell!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It must have been something...

Must have been some day,
Some spring evening possibly.
With the falling leaves outside,
The heart fluttered albeit consciously.

Your almond brown eyes spoke
Yet you never said anything.
Your warm and familiar smile,
Was both unsettling and comforting.

Every coffee we never shared,
And many jokes we cracked.
Every dance we never attempted.
And walking steps we tracked.

We mayn’t have a chance.
We may have moved apart.
There’s something you must know.
You quite had my heart.



Sunday, June 08, 2014

A smile can bring you near..to me.

Some days back I had updated my profile picture on Facebook, it being a picture where I had my mouth ‘not open’. No smile, nothing. And then many said they like me when I smile. Ok. Today I updated the profile picture again and this time, the smiling me. People liked it sure.

A friend messaged me this - ’Lovely familiar smile again. Never put any pic without this trait of your personality. I would refuse to recognize you. your eyes open up and as a window to your soul when you smile..have seen this happening in very few people. Cuz most people smile in a plastic way.’

Trust me I do get compliments for my smile but until sometime back, I used to feel a little uneasy to accept and internalize them. Because I believed I didn’t have the beautiful smile. With a little weird bunny rabbit kinda teeth, I felt awkward while smiling. And I still cannot place it on how it changed and how my coy, uncomfortable, showing only 2 teeth perhaps smile changed to a wider, ear to ear, straight from the eyes & heart kind of smile.

Was it that what the world thinks of me mattered less and less? I guess so. Was it that the eyes and heart took over the bunny teeth somewhere? Yes. Was it that I got confident of myself over the years? Hell, yeah!

Okay, now that you know I smile and I smile a lot, there are some not-so-known facts behind that smile of mine, when I am posing for pictures:

·        My mom, if she is around when I am posing, always without fail asks me to shut my mouth and smile just a little

·        Some people, not the ones who matter and may be because they are jealous that I look good when I smile, always frown at me posing if they happen to be around

·        Every single time I update a smiling picture, I get messages, from the ones who matter like the one written above, that they love when I smile. No, no. I am not a celebrity yet! ;)

·        I know when I am smiling, it shows in my eyes. How? I don’t know but I just know it

·        I can never ever fake a smile that wide. Really I can’t!

·        I smile at my own smiling pictures every time I look at them

·        For me, there is no mid-way smile. Either I just shut my mouth, which looks like I have a bad mood or something or I smile the widest. Just doesn’t come to me!

·        I feel it indeed is becoming my trademark 

·        It makes me confident every single time

·        This smile just reminds me I am beautiful and have a good heart


And if you are still wondering, how does that go, that wider smile? Here..



To close my case, just to validate my point, found this on the web:

‘Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.’ 

Are you also smiling right now? Let me know!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wine love



Swirling and twirling romance,
The one that teases slowly.
Ruby liquid, soft numbness,
When heaven meets the wine glass.


Written for National Poetry Writing Month. 30 poems in 30 days. Today's prompt - "Poets have been writing about love and wine, wine and love, since . . . well, since the time of Anacreon, a Greek poet who was rather partial to that subject matter. Anacreon developed a particular meter for his tipsy, lovey-dovey verse, but Anacreontics in English generally do away with meter-based constraints. Anacreontics might be described as a sort of high-falutin’ drinking song. So today I challenge you to write about wine-and-love."

Read more wine love here:

http://jaibalarao.com/   - Jaibala

Friday, April 11, 2014

What a girl needs

I may not like the jumping around
I may be slumping about
I may be shedding a few tears here and there
I may be feeling a little wear and tear

I may not want to be my usual best
I may look a bit distressed
I may just avoid the whites and tights
I may not look forward to the long nights

I may be avoiding the conversations
I may be giving in to the temptations
I may get cranky and clingy
I may look remotely springy

For such not so happy days,
When coffee, chocolates and cookies are the ways
Trust Whisper, for we understand You.
Just the way you want us to.


Written for National Poetry Writing Month. 30 poems in 30 days. Today's prompt is to write your own advertisement-poem. Any product (or idea) will do. 

More product-poetry happening here:

http://jaibalarao.com/   - Jaibala

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lovesong

On an evening drenched in November rain,
it was someone like you,
whom I bumped into,
in a midst of a crowded room.

It must have been love,
for I could feel my heart skip a beat.
I couldn’t take my eyes off you.
My desires weaved a world of our own.

I could say a zillion things,
in a million of ways.
But I remember walking upto you and whisper,
‘Let’s make a night to remember’



Written for National Poetry Writing Month. 30 poems in 30 days. Today's prompt is to take any random song play list (from your iPod, CD player, favorite radio station, Pandora or Spotify , etc.) and use the next five song titles on that randomized list in a poem. 

My playlist read: November Rain (Guns N' Roses), Someone like you (Adele), It must have been love (Roxette), World of our own (Westlife) and Let's make a night to remember (Bryan Adams).
More playlist spinning happening here:

http://jaibalarao.com/   - Jaibala