Thursday, December 8, 2011

a mish-mash post..

was reading this post when I was blog-hopping at Mamma of Twins:  , thats when it struck me what I've been observing ,especially since the time Govt ordered ban on usage of plastic/polythene bags below a certain thickness limit. Yes, so, now , the customers are being charged anywhere between a rupee to 25 rupees (yes, no exxageration, I paid 25 bucks at Max store for one polythene bag when I had 2/3 bags in teh car!!) depending on the shop you purchase..Even the petty shop next door charges 2 bucks for a plastic bag!! I agree that such charges will force people to limit their usage of polythene bags, promote usage of cloth/jute bags..But, why not bigger retail chains offer a cloth bag to their customers? The bag with their logos and promotional campaign can serve their marketing/awareness purpose too..Ok, let them charge, but why not provide cloth bags for that charge?
Ironically, in the veggie/fruit sections of the supermarkets, there exists rolls of polythene bags , which customers use to put in the stuff before they are weighed and billed..Now, I spotted few people who roped in extra of those covers, so that they can store other cosmetic/packaged stuff in them and take home in those covers for free!! I dont want to call those people smart here!! They are simply proving how human mind can always find a short cut for everything under the sun!! Phew!!

Celebrated Karthigai Deepam (karthigai : month in the Tamil Calendar, Deepam: lights )today. This festival is actually the festival of lights in the part of the country where I hail from..It is definitely soothing to light and decorate the house with lamps all over and just keep watching the lamps!

We have this habit of vethalai paaku/tamboolam (beetel leaves and nuts, along with turmeric and vermilion) are considered auspicious to be given to ladies/married woman. Why is that people always expect a gift or money along with the tamboolam? Why cant women walk over, smile, eat whatever is provided to them, wish good for the people of the house and take away whatever is provided to them? Why is there always an expectation of money (that too, bigger currencies, if the person visiting is a relative) or a return gift??This puts a burden on many..Sometimes they even fear to invite people across..

On the work front, the technical department I belong to has organised outdoor/indoor events for 15 days  starting last week and the cubicles are almost empty every day..This is very noticeable as people have the habit of coming to the office only by around 11-12 noon and disappear for these games in the afternoon..Hardly , people seem to be working..This hits me all the more because one particular team member of mine has not done a single job since the last 10 days..And the load has come upon me..Time to escalate!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hearing lots a good news

Last few days, I've been hearing news of people welcoming little bundle of jou in their lives..Feeling happy for them..such news bring in some kinda hope within me, that miracles are possible..Waiting for my turn..Is someone up there listening?
Office work is a little ok these days, compared to the madness that existed in the previous months..Sat for the year end discussion and got loaded with all the expectations that the management expects from me..Was feeling not very Ok for the few days, was constantly thinking if I made a wrong decision by shifting jobs, but made peace within myslef and decided to take one day at a time, do whatever I can at work and leave the rest to the Lord above..Have decided not to add up work related stress on myself..
Went to Chennai to attend an engagement ceremony..Days preceeding to the travel, I underwent so much of an emotional stress ..The very thought of every Tom,Dick and Harry checking up on me if if I was getting my periods regularly, if there was any good news, if I was consulting Doctors, or what the Doctors were suggesting etc and etc..simply killed me and I tried my best not to take it on to my husband (which I usually end up doing, though unintentionally and out of getting to saturation point within myself). This time I did fare well comparatively, but I need to work harder on this aspect.
Looks like one of my cousins had an early morning dream that I delivered a baby girl and had named her Priyanka and this dream  was doing the rounds in the family circle  and people were wishing that this dream be true. I appreciate the fact that the cousin (whom I 'm not in touch with ) dreamt something nice , and shared it..but the news doing the rounds was not was I liked...anyways, not everything I like happens anyways..But was just wondering if people were doing a comedy out of me and my situation by passing the word along..Anyways, let her dream come true..
Sometimes, or rather last couple of days, I've been feeling very low and the thoughts of whom to blame for whatever has happened, and thoughts of what-if I'd taken a different decision has been doing rounds in my devilish brain and I'm feeling highly dis-oriented and not sure what to do..
I'm trying hard to focus , have the faith , accept the fact that whatever happens, its due to the will of the Lord..I'm trying, I hope I get some peace within me and try to build on the faith in the Almighty.
Whoever is reading (if at all there are any), can you please help me in telling what you would do when the going gets tough, really tough that too for a longer duration..I know there is no one -set formula or a list of guidelines or steps to follow that will help us get up from the fall, but would like to know if I 'm the one reacting to a difficult situation this way, that others are matured and deal sensibly. My friend and I always keep discussing that if it were for someone else, they would have faced/face this situation in a much better way..

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The month that was..

October was packed with loads of shopping, busier weekends, a deadline at workplace, festivities, the usual crest and trough of my mood swings , good food, a short travel to my parents', a loong pending pooja at home (on which MIL was planning for almost a year..), a quick visit by parents to our place for the pooja, a road travel from my parent's to our place after a loong time, lots of shopping again (all the shopping trips initiated by M and thats the highlight), and finally a hair cut..

yeah, I've been growing my hair for about close to 2 years now , and it had grwon pretty weel, but without any volume..towards the end, it tapered and wasnt looking neat and nice..I hadnt bothered about the looks all the while and went about mainitaing the same as usual..But, somewhere suddenly I felt the need to have a hair cut and was quite wavery about whether to have one or not..The day dawned , went for a cut and when I came out of the parlour, my hair was cut quite short..half of what it was earlier..Now, I being me, started cribbing about the short hair..(What would happen if I dont crib, uh?) Got a good dose of scolding from M, still continued to be obsessed about the short hair and made a fuss..Recording it here with a hope that atleast if I vent it out, I might stop the fuss..Now, waiting for my hair to grow..

More to pen down..Rest in next post..

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Knock Knock

I've been stung by bloggers block, if I can call myself a writer, in the first place.Otherwise, the blog hopping and reading is on full swing as usual..just that I dont find myself motivated enough to pen. Added to that, not many happening stuff at my end, just surviving with full days at work, trying to pep myself up and trying hard to keep my faith levels to point northward.

Since its that time of the year where the whole of India is outside homes , doing shopping for everything under the sun, we also joined the bandwagon. One thing that I was quite puzzled at was regarding the kind of clothes kids aged 10 prefer to wear. We were hunting to buy a frock for M's niece who is of 10 years (first of all, I dont know if frocks are not meant to be worn by 10 year olds..) . This is no exageration that even for my own wedding shopping or for any other ocassion, I havent visited so many shops as I dint for the frock last week before picking one for myself. Either the shops dont have frocks for 10 year olds, or have 1 or 2 of them wjose length would come upto 5 inches above the knees or have midis which are of the same length as the shorts. Finally picked on one and by this time, all my energy for the days shopping had drained.

Do girls of this age wear clothes that are well above their knees and is that the reason why the retailers are catering to their tastes? We are in India, where still eve teasing is prevalent and where still girls/women are harassed , where it is still unsafe to travel alone or in a group at night. Anyways, I picked one and put all these questions to rest. I will figure out what to do when I have a daughter :) !

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Turning a year

wiser..older ..:)
I turned a year older last week. This is going to be my last year in my 20's..The very fact/thought propagates lots of questions ..What did I do in my 20s? Did I achieve something at all? Where did all the years go by? the W's flowed by. anyways, now that I've decided to inspire myself to get on/move on with life, I'm not going to put down all the not-so-nice thoughts that cross my brain and answer to the umpteen q's. One thing that I want to re-iterate to myself everyday is that "SM, live your present to the fullest, the future will take care of by itself." I'm going to try hard not to worry about silly things, just roll up my sleeves, do the best given the circumstances, have faith in the almighty and move on. Life, please help me in this endeavor and let peace prevail everywhere. I dont know what God's plans for me are, I Trust in Him.
Here's to hoping , wishing and praying for all good things to unfold.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In want of..

a miracle..very badly in want of a miracle..They say if you want something very badly, the universe conspires to give you..I want a miracle to happen in my life desperately..Universe, please conspire ..Its been loong since the craving/loonging has been there..How long do you want me to wait? Mother Nature, havent you changed me enough to be eligible to mother a baby? Havent I changed from the silly, short tempeterd person to someone who can atleast recognise when anger starts whoing its ugly head and try to calm myself? Havent I learnt enough life's lessons , given my age? Why me? why me? Please help..Someone please help..For every person who has consulted the same astrologer as I have got their predictiosn right..I was so hopeful of what one man predicted..I'm still hopeful..Theres still some time..Lord, I'm waiting ..I've rested my burdens of Thy feet, Please show me a me the light..I've been in darkness for loong, have mercy on me..Yes, I'm begging you Lord, for I dont have anyone else to go to..I do get angry on you, Lord, sometimes I wonder if if You exist at all, for if your presence had been there, you would have done something about my suffering..Am I blindly believing in something that does not exist at all? During such times, even if I want to go away from you, the next question that comes is , where do I go? whom do I ask? Where shall I go , if not for you, whose door shall I knock if not for yours, ? please have mercy and bless us and shows us an end to this suffering..

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Krishna's Bday

I take great pleasure to record here that this Krishna Janmashtami, all the preparations were done by me..This is what I prepared uppu seedai, vella seedai, thenkuzhal , payasam, drawing little baby Krishna's foot steps with maa kolam , a simple decoration in the Pooja room , ofcourse, the eadibles were made with help from S. Thank you S,for joining in the preparation , that too voluntarily..And the result..the edibles have come out well..I didnt have any specific intention in mind while preparing except that the though of when will I complete the whole thing..But, as my luck goes, when all these have come out well, my mind/heart is not at peace..This time because of the conversation I had with mom over the phone..I pained to hear her tell that she was down (at heart) and not at her usual spirits..She is upset about some internal family affair and that pains me..Krishna, would you please take the goodies that I offered you in neivedhyam and please do walk in to our homes and spread peace and joy? Thank you..Wish you many many Happy Returns, baby Krishna!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Letter to 15-year old self

Hi SM,
 You are now working really hard to achieve your goal..Yes, your goal right now is to fare very well in your exams, sail through the admission process in the best colleges , fare well in the colleges and get a job at hand through campus interviews and be able to stand on your legs (literally!) . yes, you are tired of the almost constant fights between your parents, you are sick and tired of dad controls the house and mom has no say over anything..Your hormones are raging, and your emotions and feelings are going unrecognized..You are even beaten up in the middle of the night for some silly reason..You cry buckets almost everyday, you pray loads pleading the Almighty to give you the strength to study well and do well in the boards..You want to be independent and you think that once you are on your own, you can question your father who is ruling the house..You are under the impression that once you start earning, you can be bold and courageous with your opinions..

Now, the results: Yes, your hard work is going to pay off.You are going to come off your boards with truly flying colors..You are going to be showered with many firsts and many awards and medals..Dad and Mom are going to be proud of you..You are going to get admitted in one of the prestigious colleges in India, its a merit seat..Your dream comes true now..Hurraay..You go to a far off land to pursue undergraduation..You'll make friends,'ll move closely with boys for the first time in life..You'll be proposed, you'll have a good time and before you know, you'll be in the final year and have a job at hand..and before you know , you'll be married..It'll be a little late when you would realise that you had a child marriage..You'll experience 3 miscarriages which would shatter your world and it will be 6 good years before you realsie what you've wasted, what you have failed to relish and experinec, and with great efforts , you will try to recover and accept those that you cannot change..

Now, the main point of this letter is to let you know that the fire that you had in you : "to be old, to let out your opinions/suggestions, to give a piece of you mind to your dad once you are no more dependent on them, " all will be gone and you'll still be at the receiving end of their tantrums..You'll marry a wonderful man who doesn't believe in going to temples..Thanks to the miscarriages and trying to conceive saga, your parents will force you to convince your partner and to visit one temple after another because every astrologer your parents visit will prescribe a temple ..You'll turn to become a mridangam which will receive beatings from either ends..On one hand, you'll have to face/manage your parents who literally torture you to visit one temple after another, and on the other hand , you'll be at the receiving end of your husband who questions the very logic behind going to temples , asks you questions for which you have no answers, questions you on the effects that visiting temples have brought on your life..You'll still be controlled by your parents and many times, they will turn out to be the reason for the fights between you and your partner..For a long time, you wouldn't realize this, for you would always think the mistake is on your partner, for why can he not just come along to temples..Only after a few years of fighting and visiting temples and not having any result will you realize the time lost in mere fighting and dragging him to temples just because some astrologer claimed that going to these temples would cure all problems..You'll have to deal with your dad whose mood swings are highly unpredictable and who allows his mood to be controlled by the so called society . Your dad will grow to adore a person ,K who is also popularly called Guruswamy. This person, K will instigate your dad to ask you to sell the house that you would have bought, will ask your dad to bring his son-in-law for a darshan at Sabarimala and what not..Your dad will in-turn get furious and ask you to dance according to his tunes..Its quite funny how your dad will literally force you to buy a house during the early days of your marriage, make random comments , and after the house is bought, will praise the house and even after 4 years of staying in the house, since there is no progeny, will now force you to sell the house..Your dad thinks that the whole world should revolve according to his wishes and will continue to think so even after a decade..He is the person who is most worried about you, but in his anxiety , he will forget that he is torturing you and will continue to do so..Your love and affection towards your dad will prevent you from even uttering a word against him, you'll be very cautious in making sure that you don't hurt him, in fact you will be the one who will end up giving him the strength and courage to remain positive..But, your dad will not realize the fact that you are hiding your emotions and you are trying to put up a brave face to him..Instead of consoling you during hard times, he will continue to force you to visit temples, do poojas , sell the house and what not..Yes, you do agree that all this can be done, especially when it comes to temple visits and poojas..But, your husband doesn't believe in all these rituals and finds it very irritating when he is forced to do things that he doesn't like time and again..Your patience to bear all this will get saturated once in a while, you'll pour/vent to your mother , and regain the patience reserve..Just as everything else in the world, your patience levels also are not perennial, you'll reach a stage which you cannot bear and will want to sort things out once and for all..What will you do? A subject for another post..

Will I ever see the light

Come the month of Aadi, all the festivals start lining up one after the other..Festivals are the occasions for social gathering, festivals are also the occasions when I tend to get into a deeper cocoon, festivals are also the time when neighbors get an opportunity to prod me as to whether I consult doctors , when was I going to give the "good news", to know how long we've been married etc etc..

Every year, during each of these festivals, I pray/plead/request the Almighty to shower His blessings and bestow us the joy of parenthood and ask Him to grant us the blessing of experiencing pregnancy and place a request in His feet that next year, we year we celebrate this festival with a little one amongst us. I've done this prayer year after year with lots of hope and faith.Yes, there have been many times during the course where my faith/confidence  levels have blipped, but on the day of the festival, I would muster courage and be positive and plead God. Off-late, I'm not sure if God is listening at all, for there seems to be no indication that he is at least listening(forget about granting wishes), I start wondering if God can be this cruel..This year, I'm jist praying Him to please grant me the strength to endure whatever he is throwing on my way, I'm pleading with Him to show me the path..Just hsow me the path, where should I be going towards, please help me make up a decision and proceed on that..Please throw some hints, provide the guidance through some means..

Days, weeks,months and years have passed by..Please God, put an end to this suffering, show us the light!

In the organization that I've joined a few weeks ago, a few of my team members shared a gist of their career story and their stories are filled with bumps and potholes..I agree that they were not so easy ones ..But, theirs is a story which they could share..They could talk about..But stories like trying to conceive, miscarriage etc are perceived as problems with the man and wife , seen as issues that challenges the very notion of being a man or woman, hence these problems cant even be spoken about..Hence, people bury their concerns within themselves that at one point they simply get saturated and their self-esteem, confidence goes down spiralling, not to mention their social life and the energy towards life in general..let there be light..Universe, please conspire to bring us joy...please do put an end to this suffering..Its been long..

How is it going?

so far, ok..This is about the new place where I go to work everyday..It's going to be two months since I joined this new place and so far, I would rate the experience at 3 on a scale of 5.(5 having the highest satisfaction score).

Better experiences so far:
 - Change of place, change of people, hence, my interest levels towards work is on the rising.
 - I'm clear about what I want from the job, my expectations from the workplace are clear now(compared to the muddled opinions I had earlier).
- New roles, expectations from me are more, this urges me to work better
- Following some kinda discipline, both at home and office front.
-  Being more conscious about time,
-  indulging in self-pity has become lesser..
- conscioulsy trying to stay in touch with friends
- spending time on hobby activities

 - More work. In my previous organisation, I've had to perform only 10% of the work that I'm doing here on a day-to-day basis(project delivery times are not exculded here)
- Conference calls twice a week , scheduled for a hour nd a half but runs longer than the length o f a Hindi movie
- More work,..
- Huge team..
- Team members have grown old along with the team/company..So, they ar enot very receptive of new members in the team..
- Deadlines are close to one another, no time to spend working on innovation/process improvement related activities

I will stop here at the moment and will add to the list later..Overall, at a personal level, its been nice..Not sure if this feeling is because I've changed(irrespective of the workplace or the work itself) or the workplace has caused this change..Whatever be the reason, I'm liking this new changed me..I'm more relaxed, not panicking for petty things most of the times, know what to expect out of the job..

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And the position is filled :)

Yes, I was hoping that the maid(who was appointed as mentioned in the post :  ) who claimed that she has worked in few houses for more than a decade or so would suit our place. But, how wrong my assumptions were..The lady came with her daughter the next day (her first day of work) and inspite of already agreeing to the the list of activities that she has to do as a part of the job, she flinched and refused to do certain activities. MIL got agitated bcos of this and asked me to speak to her the next day. The next day being a saturday, I was home and she mentioned that she cannot do certain activities and demanded extra amount that what what she agreed upon just a day ago. (look at it: she agreed to the work and the pay, now daughter comes, triggers her mom, now mom subtracts some portion of the job  and demands more pay ) . This lady who did all the sweet talk less that 48 hours ago , now is grumbling. Finally, I asked her to leave, but before leaving, she was the one who said she would continue to work and we settled on the final activities and pay too.. The next day , we waited till about 2 and MIl and I rolled up our sleeves and finished the cleaning job. madam comes after 4pm and demands money for the previous 2 days job.

I didnt know whom to contact since all the maids were expecting less work and more pay (when I say more, its 2000 bucks for sweeping/mopping and doing the dishes for a small house which has 3 people!). I tried many many times to contact my previous maid, but her number was simply unreachable. The next day, by chance I asked the watchman of the flat where she (the 1st maid,lets call her L) works if he knew whether L had returned from her native. He replied in the positive and my joy knew no bounds when I heard she was back. I had asked him to ask her to contact me after 6 PM that day (since MIL was out of town that day). all the conversation with the watchman happened in sign language as we dont understand each others language. That day, I came back from office only at 7PM so, had no clue if L came or not. However, next day, I'd given my number to the watchman and asked him to call me once he sees L. The watchman promptly called me and I spoke to L and asked her why left without informing us , told her that I felt bad that she abruptly left  and that I tried contacting her umpteen times and that he daughter did not respond properly to my calls, and asked her to come back again. When I returned home that evening, mil told me that L had already come and would come back for work the next day onwards..So, I'm now glad that L is back and the vacancy is filled with the right candidate :) More on sincerety of L, and the difference she makes to our house. Thats for a different post

Changed views..

We have seen a number of organisations/NGO's working to make the lives of transgenders a little easier, helping them to live with dignity,  and so far I was quite agreeing to such initiatives. All that was till y'day when I had a first hand experience of 2 transgenders harassing two young salesmen for about 30 minutes. This shop is a newly opened one (opened just y'day when this incident happened) with two salesmen literally worshiping before facing every single customer. Two transgenders enter the shop and start going about their business. When they were offered Rs.10, they started arguing asking who takes a meager 10ruppess these days, do the salesmen consider them(tg's) so cheap and below dignity that they give 10Rs, and demanded a whole figure of Rs.1000 (!!) as its a new shop. They literally told the figure out and was demanding the sum. The salesmen tried telling them that it was a new shop and they are yet to see customers and they would try to give them a better amount once sales pick up(if they come after about a couple of weeks) and all such conversation happened .
In the meantime, shoppers stayed away from the shop for fear of facing these two. We were now caught inside the shop and those two blocked the way , hence I signalled S to go upstairs and wait there till the way out is cleared. To our surprise, even after 20 minutes, the argument continued, now it was quite heated, and what do you know, the tg's were in the stairs proceeding to follow one of the salesmen who came to the 1st floor. Finally, they were shoved off with 100 bucks .  The salesman told me that that was the money he had for the days food and that was taken away forcibly.

I agree not everyone are of the kind who demand exorbitant amounts like these two did y'day or ask for a fixed price or continue to stay on at a place for long, but some of them do(like the ones y'day) . And when you are a witness to such incidents, you really start thinking if its worth at all  giving any amount to anyone who begs,rather demands as in the above case.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What do they want?

I've been on an interviewing spree..I do take interviews at the organization that I'm employed with, but this particular vacancy has become a little too difficult to fill in..In this case, I'm in fact releasing "offer letters"  almost to 90% of the candidates that had applied and interviewed, but the probable employees are rejecting the offers..Is it inflation or too many opportunities in the job market available or they would consider and take a decision after scouting the market for some time or just on a whim,they want to figure out what is their employ ability??I surely don't know..I wish I knew so that I could change my style of recruitment process..Instead of prolonging further, let me tell what position this vacancy is for. Its for a house-help position, which is getting increasingly difficult to close the opening day after day.. The offer that we make is well above the market price and in fact, we have given 15% hike twice in the last 2 months.., and our house is spic clean most of the time, the utensils that we use can be counted, and as such its an easy job at our place compared to many other similar job openings..

It all started when on a fine Sunday morning when we had invited guests to our place for lunch . MIL called up the maid to ask her to come for work a little early as we were just back from a 3 day trip to my parents' place and thats when she(we) got to know that the maid has also gone to her native . We have no issues , rather who are we to even have an opinion about her going to her native or elsewhere..All we asked her to do was to inform us that she would be on leave on so and so days , so that we can plan accordingly and need not wait till late evening and roll our sleeves to clear out the pile of work..In fact, before we left for our trip, she could have let us know that she would be on leave..Probably something could have come up urgently that she had to travel, fine, she could have atleast given us a call. anyways, MIL got a little upset and raised her voice and asked her why she hadnt informed her..Thats was it! I kept calling her time and again to check when she would return, but with different responses every time: either switched off, not reachable, or her daughter would pick up and say her mom was not available, and at one point , she refused to pick up if I called from my mobile..So I had to call up from office land line . Finally, she was in possession of some utensil of my SIL, she I'd asked her to return it back. Maid comes after about 15 days and says she would go to her native and be back..I call her back again to ask when she would be back , there comes a reply from her daughter that he mom wouldnt come..

-- Is this what we get in return for treating a maid like one member of our house?
--The number of sarees, shirts , trousers, salwar sets, pay hikes whenever she has asked for, bonuses on every occasion...all these  has no counts and if the maid has decided to quit her job, wouldnt she tell it out..Does it require repeated (almost 50 times) calls from my end to figure out what she is thinking in her mind?
--I don't want to mention any of the above here, but what really is bothering me is that we have in fact clearly mentioned to her why mil raised her voice that day, and this is no reason at all for her to behave this way. In spite of it, what made her to quit all of a sudden? For all these years of acquaintance, is this what we receive in the end? 
--In fact, we did not even tell her when my gold earrings(2 pairs) got lost, when we knew for sure that it was her daughter who had flicked it. The maid was loyal to us , hence we decided that it was my fault for having kept the rings outside , and that I should have been more careful. And we thought it was not right to hurt the maid when the fault was on her daughter..

Now, we appointed another maid, for more salary and half the work of what the previous maid did.This lady was regular most of the time for one month, after which she started showing her true color..she didnt turn up for days together, this was AWOL, on calling up, he husband started telling many twisted stories and finally thru the tailor (who had sent her) , I get the message that mil was giving her more work off-late and thats the reason she is not turning up..

I really dont know what to say..I got enraged on hearing this..She came only for 4 weeks, out of which for 10 days, only mil was at home, while M and I were travelling, and as I mentioned earlier, we (esp, mil) uses very limited utensils even for an elaborate meal..This lady was also given enough food, prompt salary, was never questioned when she would turn up at 3pm on some days when her ususal time was 10 am.

I'm sure that are many house-helps who are very loyal, (our previous maid was ) and have a sense of gratitude for what they receive from their employers. But, why are many people not? Whats wrong with this class of people who simply don't recognize how well they are being treated? probably, stricter and a thrifty behavior from the employers side is what they are expecting? Do these people expect that we dont ask them why they went missing without informing us? Do these people expect that we dont ask them to any work , but pay them every month? What are their expectations? While I may not be in a position to fulfill their requirements, I would like to understand them..

We have finally appointed a maid just before I started typing this. Here's to a good relationship.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bye London, untill next time..

Yes, already a week flew by, with no thoughts of office, schedules, the change in professional life coming in, relatives, maids, the humdrum of daily routine..How relaxed it was!!

Woke up a liitel late and while M had to take a cal, I refreshed myslef, hogged on the burger bought last night and took off to Regents Park, recommened by the person whom I met at the cathedral adjacent to Borough market. Pointed out to M all that needs to be packed and left home to absorb the beautiful morning sun and the perfect weather..Walked from regents park station to the park and the park is a really really huge one!! had a look at the map, decided which direction to walk and then started walking..Since it was a Saturday, may groups had come for playing cricket, football etc.. I was surprised to see many young children playing cricket, with umpires, score keepers, with boundaries drawn, with players in their cricket gear..So was teh football teams , children as young as 4 years were being brought in and enrolled for camps and it was such a delight for the eyes to saok in the beauty of the many colors and the way the wee little ones were manouvering with the bats and balls.. There were also teenagers in gropus playing volley ball, cricket, football.. My heart was very light and I enjoyed watching these little ones play and scenes of myself along with M enrolling our child/children in such sport camps, and watching them play and getting delighted in how they play was running in my eyes and head..How I wish all this happens sooner..! Sigh..Anyways, I kept walking stopping near the camps to watch the paly, I reached the other end of the park, and while I was seeing the route map, I heard a large thudding sound someone calling out name of "John", Before I could just turn my head, the accident had already occured . The person riding the bicycle had fallen to the ground after being in the air for a few seconds..The imapct was deep, I suppose as he wasnt able to move his leg or body and move to the other side of the road. By them, traffic started flwoing in and 2 men donned the cap of traffic police and diverted the traffic.

A jogger who happened to see this volunterred to help as he was a Doctor,. It took some time for the Dr to reach the spot as he had  to go a full round before he found an exit. I was all the while witnessing what was hapening: the father admonishing the son to be alert while crossing roads, fellow bikers stopping to help the fallen one, men willing to divert traffic,a doctor who happened to witnessed this readily willing to help..

Afetr the crowd moved, I walked through the park soaking in the ducks and pigeons residing in the pond inside the park , admired the beauty of the park and  took the route to the nearest Tube station. Went through Baker street, visited the Sherlock Holmes museum and returned to the hotel , only to get scoldings from M for being so late, for not telling him properly what needs to be packed and what to be left behind..Anyways, by the time I reached the room, all was packed and set and I hardly had time to bid byes to the room.(yeah, I'm insane that way)..I checked once teh room and the rest rooms, and made my way to the check out counter..I digged on the cup cakes and the chips that was left and we put out luggages in the hotel and set out to wander London the rest of the day.

First, we set out to the Science Museum , and M was quite fascinated by the artifacts of the engineering marvels of yester years and so was I. Had our lunch at the bunego restaurant and left for the Bond Street. From Bond Street, went to regents Street , had sandwich at Subway and before we knew , it was already 5:30 and now it was time to go to airport. Came back to Gloucester Road to pick up out luggagae and took the train to Heathrow. Another incident which needs mentioning here is : While we were travelling from South Kensington to Bond street, I felt so thirsty and rememberd having a bottle of juice in my bag, it was so tighlty closed that when I opened it, it burst out with a sound and with splashes of juice spiiling on me and the lady and man seated next to me in the tube. I've never eaten in a tube all these days and now, this incident made me to be at the receiving end of stares from the man and woman, wlady esp..Had the man not been with her, her startes told me that she would have gave sharp remarks to me..I apologised to them..Just yday I was caught for travelling without ticket and now, this splash incident and I was telling M that I did have an adventourous stay here and that I need to egt abck now ..

I had a good vacation, happy one, with no (or very less tension, for a a couple of times may be) stress,..Overall a good trip..Next post will summarise a few more things that are are in my mind..Will add snaps too..

Thank you London, Thank you M, Thanks Lord for making this trip happen..Heres to many more ..

Where notion of time

After much thought as to whether to spend the day in and around London, wnjoying the beautiful weather or to visit Stonehenge, I settled on the former. Decided to take the ferry to Greenwich. Took the ferry from the St.Pauls' pier. Walked via the Greenwich Park uphill to the Maritime Museum. A short trek, I would say, after a very long time. Had a wondeful view of the city from the hill and also saw O2 from there. The day was cloudy with the skies threateining to open up anytime and it did and was drizzling and raining on and off.

Spent time in the muueum, took pictures on the longitudinal line (yeah, the 7pound ticket is for this pic only!!) , got drenched n the drizzle and spent soem time on the hill top before proceeding to the city. Thought pf taking teh tunnel to the other side of Greenwich initially, but then dropped the plan, proceeded to the market , had Ethiopian food for lunch and went to Cutty Sark DLR station to board the tarin to Bank. This is where the dram for the day starts..

Unline all other tube sttaions, this particular station that runs trains on the DLR line does not have the gates that opens up when you validate the Oyster card. Looks like there is a counter somehwre eon the side of the entrance and exit of the station where one has to swipe in. This particular information I got to know much later, just before a probablity of spending some time behind the bars in a foreign land ..

Yes, I boarded the train and was making plans for the rest of day. Tahts when this ticket checker walsk in and asks for my Oyster card and my card doesnt show that its been signed of at Cutty Sark before boarding the train and the ticket checker asked me to wait at Bank where he would "talk" to me before proceeding to check others. The lady who was sitting opposite to me gave me curious looks and gave an expression that meant "all the Best/good Luck" I decoded this expression much later only, for I was pretty much cool and was pondering inside my brains if I swiped or not..Travelling in London, one need not sue brains at all , as all directions are spoon fed and you just need to follow directions.  I was still mainitaing my cool and was thinking where I would go next. Little did I know what was coming up at Bank.

Bank station arrived and this was the last station for this particular DLR route, and this white man aka, the ticket checker asked another colleague of his at the station to "take care" of me , while he would deal with another fellow traveller who hadnt swiped his card ..This new TC had my complexion, so I assumed him to be Indian origin. On his questioning, I told him that there was no gate 9as other tube stations) where I could swipe my card and I handed him my card to deduct t amount for this travel. This erson was not taking any of it and started giving gyaan about how Indians never listen or see anything, there are announcements that the counter for swiping tha card (none of which I heard when I wasin the station), and there are notices giving directions to people towards the swipe counter (which I couldnt catch too)..He presented me with teh option of paying fine..I told him that I'm a tourist and that I have no money to pay, he proceeded to say that he cant help me in this regard as there are cameras everywhere , he even pointed to one camera where all our conersation was being recorded and he was just doing his duty, failing which it would become a big problem for him and hsi job..I kept repeating myself that I ahd no money and gace details of how I've come here as a tourist while my husband is at work. The conversation above repeated over and over untill he asked for my ID proofs where in my passport, Chennai was mentioned and thats when he asked "Tamilaa??" "Amman Sir" was my reply and I thought to myself, "Didnt you recognise me for soo long?I have a brown skin, with oiled and plaited hair and an appavi look, why did it take long for you to recognise??" anyways, now he was a little soft and confirmed whether I've come to London seeking job and when I assured him that  next day was my flight back home, he felt convinced and spared me..Took me aside to a place where there was no camera and asked me to just leave without stopping anywhere in between in case someone stops me to question. By the time he left me, he had almost filled up half of the memo , and I returned back to check if he had filled all the details and this filling would cause any problems in the short/diatnat future. he showed me the memo that he had crossed it completely and had written Invalid on the same. relieved was I and I ran to the exit of the station and called up M to narrate the whole story and like a person out of sanity, looked everywhere for cameras that would capture how I'm fleeing :)

From Bank, proceeded to Holborn to Covent Garden .Reached Covent Garden and saw a place that sold tickets for musicals, stood in the line , but when the queue didnt move for about 20 minutes, left the place and proceedd towards the Covent Garden market. Waht a place..Covered area full of shopping joints that sold anything and everything from stationery, edibles, to expensive pieces of jewellery. I wished I had bought some pieces of silver jewellery , earrings especially.I wanted to come along with M , who has a wonderful taste and is my official clothes/jewellery/ selector :) . The market was clearly demarcated that shops that sell quality items were put up in one part , while a different section of the market had local stuff, the things that you find regularly at Burma Bazaar in India.
Once I was done with Covent Garden, went towards China town, not withstanding the smell of the fried Noodles and various other stuff emnating from the place, proceeded towards the tube station and got down at South Kensington. My cousin had recommended  the cup cakes in Humming Bird Bakery , since South K had a store of H. bakery, went to the store and the aroma from teh shop was too irresistible. Made a beeline in the 15x10 ft shop and stocked my bag with a couple of cakes and walked towards Gloucester Road. Passed via residentail areas and was dreaming what kind of people do live here in such posh villas, enjoyed the pictureusque lanes and on reaching Gloucester Road, a sense of belonging passed down my spine and it was indeed nice to see the tube station, the Tesco, Bombay Brasserie. Picked up water bottle, and a pack of chips to satiate my craving of fried something and proceeded to the room.

M had been to the pub with his colleagues and when M was back, shared with him the days events and since both of us were too tired to go out for dinner, asked him to grab some burger at the Burger King nearby and we called it a day.

Wimbledon, here I come!

Day 5: Today was booked for Wimbledon and the Shakespeare's play at the Globe. Enquired from the Wimbledon office that the tour starts around 10AM . So woke up a little late , had a hair wash , picked on muffins and salad from Sainsbury and proceeded to the South fields tube station from where took a long walk to reach the Wimbledon tennis courts. Passed via Wimbledon Garden and could catch a glimpse of a pond/lake inside the gardens and made a mental note to enter the garden on the way back. It was a rather long walk to the tennis courts and I did enjoy them..Could spot many Indian looking faces on the way.

Reaching the court,caught a glimpse of the statue of     and proceeded to pay the entrance fee and joined the group. The guide started the tour by asking each one of us who are favorite tennis sportsman/woman is and put forth out a few guidelines that needs to be followed during the tour of a hour and a half or so. We first went to Court No.1 and then, moved via Henman hill to Centre Court. From there, proceeded to Cort No:18 where the longest match in the history of Wimbledon was played in 2010 and then called it a day. The tour was Ok,in my opinion , not as wonderful as the previous tour of the Lords. added to the slightly boring tour, the sky also opened up then and there . Anyways, after the tour, went around the museum which had in its display tennis racquets and balls that were used when the game was played in its formative days. There were also stations where we could watch the last game (of the winning set) of the Wimledon finals of the yester years. Spent some time and left to Southfields to take the tube to St.Pauls from where I could go over to Globe for the play.

I wanted to walk the Southark bridge, (since I had already walked across the Millenium and Tower bridges) , hence got down at Monument and took a walk to the other end of Southark, traced the Thames River Walk path via Borough Market..Now, since it was noon, the market was oen and busstling..Checked through the stalls, , bought some fresh fruits and proceeded to the play. What do I see inside the Globe??Scores of people standing and watching the play, for all of 2 hours and 40 minutes..Those in the standing ard include lots of school going children. Does this show the interest they have in watching playes??  Fitting to the name of the play, "All's Well that Ends Well", the troupe did a wonderful dance at the end and we all enjoyed too. After the play, proceeded to the Borough market and had lunch at a pizza corner in there. Along with fruits, which M does not touch, stocked some chocolates and Lebanese delicacies for him.

Took a walk again towards the Tower Bridge, where I mae friends with a Taiwanese tourist who had taken a trip to London for a month. When I checked on how she managed to get amonths break from work, she replied that she had quit her job when she was denined a month long leave. She was working so hard for a few years, looks like and she just wanted to take a break , hence decided to quit the job and once she gets back, she would either search for jobs or continue here studies, whatever it w, she would decide after enjoying her vacation. I was awe at her courage and how steady her mind was. I havent come across many (read any) in India who would dare to do such kind of stuff. This reminds me that I need to email her and the man whom I be-friended at the Cathedral the previous day. The usual lazy me (:

We took pictures of each other and we also clicked a snap of ours and while I left towards the Tower bridge, she said she had other plans that was away from the Tower Bridge. Feeling happy over making friends and re-discovering the social-me , proceeded towards the tube station to get back home.Took the tube to Gloucester Road and felt a sense of belonging while coming out of the tube and seeing the all familiar Tesco and Bombay Brasserie.
 At the room, Switched on the TV, flipped through channels, watched a programme wherein the anchor inteviews a couple to get details on the home that they were planning to purchase, would find probable matching onees and would take the couple on a tour of the houses. Took in the view of the city from our room on the 10th floor and hummed myself some tunes untill M arrived from office.

Once M came from office, we proceeded to Piccadilly Circus area and roamed there for some time, before we stopped at a Mexican place for dinner. Had a good dinner and came back home, and called it a day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Already in the middle of the vacation?

Cant believe its already the 4th day and past 3 days flew by without a thought of office, catching the bus, waking up early in the morning on the multiple alarms, thinking whether to change the job or not ...and the train of thoughts..What a relief it has been so far..

Today, again S has to travel to a place outside London and hence started early. I woke up a little late, had a relaxing English breakfast at Garfunkel's and started off to Lords. Took the tube to St.John's Wood . The amount of time I took to walk from the tube station to Lords was lesser than the time taken to reach Grace Entrance which is the visitors entrance from where tickets needs to be purchased and where the guided tour starts. Since it was a long walk from one end of the stadium to the other, called up the museum and informed them that I would be a little late and checked with them if they would still allow me to join the 10AM tour. Joined the tour group around 10:20 , when the group had already finished visiting the museum and proceeding towards the stadium. The person at the ticket counter was sweet enough to ask me to come back to the museum so that I can catch up with what I'd missed in the 12noon tour..

We went to the Long Room and the guide introduced us to who have access to the Long Room, and how do players enter the pavilion, and some of the quirky stuff that players have done before certain big matches. From the Long room, we proceeded to the Committee room and were told about where the Queen sits and watches the match..It was quite funny that all of us wanted to sit in that particular chair :-)

From the committee room, we proceeded to the Dressing room. This was the visitors dressing room as the English dressing room had suffered a broken window in the previous test match , it was getting readied for the upcoming matches. Hence we weren't allowed inside. I'm not a cricket buff, but have developed interest over the years, after having marries S who loves the sport , and so is my mil. Anyways, it was news for me when I couldn't spot our master blasters name in the name board there which records details of those who score century at Lords. So is Muralidharan's name not to be seen in the bowlers name board..Life can sometime be very weird nah..Lords which is considered to be the home of cricket does not have the greatest and great batsman's names, but features not-so familiar names..

From the Dressing room, we went over to the stadium, where we could open up our cameras and click away till we get bored..Till then, we weren't allowed to take pictures in the Long/committee/Dressing rooms. People who travel alone/visit places alone will know what it is to ask others to click a snap of theirs..Still, I did ask others to click mine and I clicked pics of the ground from various positions in the stadium. We were allowed to go around the seating area and I imagined how the view would be when a players are on the ground by seating in various positions. It is my conclusion that the more upstairs you have yourself seated, the more difficult it is to figure out who is doing what..You'll definitely get an idea as to where the ball is going, or when the bowler is bowling or the catch or 6 or 4, but it is difficult to figure out people on the ground the farther you are seated from the ground. People who have watched matches live from the grounds might know this, but for me, I used to wonder if we'll be able to watch the match from the ground as comfortably as we do from our drawing rooms, especially, will we be able to see who is doing what when seated in the last rows..something that I found quirky was that the front seats didn't have roofs above them, whereas when you go upward, you are sheltered from shine or rain..It is my assumption that tickets are expensive for front seats and prices decreas as you go farther..and hence, when you pay a big amount for ticket, you'll be provided more comfort (here, a roof above your head)..

Next, we visited the J.P.Morgan Media Centre, and got to know that it was built recently and it was well equipped technologically..The media people will have a good view and a cool environment while watching and reporting the game.

We moved on to the nursery ground and got to know that one end of the nursery ground is just 8 feet above the tube path and we can actually sense moving of trains while standing in that area. The tour ended here and we were free to visit the Lord's shop for shopping. There were 3 others who seemed to have missed the first section of the tour and we marched along with our guide to the museum. supposedly, they were not very keen to join the 12 noon group for the museum tour, hence they did it by themselves..I joined the 12noon group and got to know some tid-bits about the Ashes cup.

This is the first time I'm visiting a cricket ground and I was super thrilled having gone into one and having got to know some tid-bits about the game/ground , I was already thinking about what all I would share with S.(The funny part is S knew all the information I gathered that day ever since he was a teen) .

From Lords, I went to Baker Street, roamed there for some time and headed to mansion House to visit Tate Modern.  Before going to Tate Modern, I visited St.Paul's church and basked in its huge structure for some time and when I almost reached Millennium Bridge, the skies opened up and it was getting very difficult to walk when the winds grew stronger. Hence, joined two women who were taking shelter in the building complex adjoining the bridge. Since many joined us there , along with another woman and her son, I went inside the building only to eb driven out by the receptionist there..Thanks to the son, who thought he had all the freedom to walk and wander inside what was supposed to be office premises. When the force of rain lessened and wind appeared gentler, I trusted my umbrella to protect me and walked towards Tate Modern on the other end of the M bridge.Halfway along the bridge, rains started pouring heavily , not to mention forceful winds, I enjoyed it, but didn't know in which direction I would fly the next moment..Yes, there was hardly anyone on the bridge and for a moment I don't know if I wanted to just there or catch hold of the next person passing by (as I completely lost my balance) or go back or proceed forward(for I was stuck right in the center of the bridge)..As I type this sitting in my study, I am able to relive that moment . I simply wanted to anchor to someone ,didn't bother about if that was a man or woman (who would dare to care when there is a choice between being thrown away by wind or have a chance of surviving!) .I reached out to another young woman coming in the opposite direction, but she was struggling to manage herself and her umbrella..However, I managed to reach the other end and entered Tate Modern to find that I was completely drenched, and the pound notes in my pocket weren't spared..Good that the passport was not soiled..

Spent some time at Tate Modern and covered most of the galleries that interested me. I didn't have interest looking into the pictures that depict poverty,malnutrition, scenes of flood-hit and worn-torn areas, human pictures in general..As such sights are common in media all the time in this side of the world. Had a pack of salad from Sainsbury, so digged into it at the cafe there and by this time, the rain had stopped, so, made an exit. I didn't have any plan in place now, so since I was already near the Thames River Walk, decided to take the walk. What do I know, when I proceeded to talk taking in the smell of the rain drenched pathway and the tides of the river, and the bustling activity in the neighborhood, I glanced up to see the board which read : Globe", yes, its the Shakespeare's Globe!!   The hall was packed with young and old alike , and I could spot lot of school going children in the crowd. Browsing through the calendar of events , I decided to book myself into a play. On enquiring, figured out that all tickets to the play Much Ado About Nothing"  was sold out and there were very few seats left for "Alls Well That Ends Well". After having multiple conversation with the person on the other side of the counter as to what is a seat with a "restricted view", booked a ticket for myself for the show on Thursday noon 2PM.

 Having booked myself for the 2PM show next day, I continued the river walk, now there were quite a few requests from couples asking me to be their photographer and I took the pleasure in clicking multiple pictures of each of them till I was myself satisfied with the outcome..One of the pics that I clicked of one particular couple came out great and they aa-aahed--oohed over the pic.I felt delighted too. Enroute, I checked out the various restaurants that displayed their menu outside to check if any of hem had some interesting stuff in them for us,vegetarians. One particular restaurant caught my attention, that was "The Real Greek", I stepped inside and enquired about the details of the spread, timing and if reservation is  required. While I proceeded toward the Tower Bridge, I got to know what are "London Bridge, South ark Bridge and Tower Bridge". I also witnessed the opening of the Tower Bridge when a ship had to cross the bridge. One particular name board held the direction to Borough market, and that ringed a bell in my head :my cousin had mentioned this name while we met on Monday asking me to visit the place to get a feel of the place. Though there were name boards showing directions to the Borough market, every direction the boards led were empty. I wasn't sure if I had to walk more to reach this market . By now, my legs ached for a break, hence went inside a cathedral and sat on a bench. Here's when I made friends with a person who introduced himself to be a teacher of French and German in schools in London and as a part time job, he was also doing some work for the British Government. I was surprised to hear him talk in Hindi and knowing that he has relatives in India, in our very own Hyderabad and he that he has visited India and loves to learn and speak Hindi. We started talking/chatting and in the course found out what places he would suggest to visit for a tourist. He also mentioned that the Borough Market opens at noon and closes around 4ish and that the cathedral where we were seated is a very old one and its charming and beautiful in the inside and recommended me to visit. When it was time for him to leave, I went into the church and found that all characters in  Shakespeare's tales were painted there. Prayed for a while and continued the river walk .Now, I reached the Tower Bridge and walked past the Tower of London to the tube station on the other end.

Today, M and I decided to visit my cousins place in the eat , in the suburbs of Canary Wharf and we decided to meet up at Liverpool St to grab something to eat and from there, we would come over to the Bank station and take the DLR to Mudchute. Before proceeding to Liverpool St, since I had some more time, I went to Leicester Square and went isnide China Town and roamed there for some time. We went to my cousins place , caught up , cooked and had dinner and called it a day. By the time we returned home(hotel, that is..Another post is required to narrate how I got so attached to the hotel we were in, especially the area we were put up for the week, Gloucester Road. I felt I belonged there :-)) , it was past 11 and we will wake up tomorow to the second half of this holiday session

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tuesday morning, S had to go to Belfast. Hence, the alarm was scheduled to ring at 3:45am. I woke up suddenly to find the sun rays seeping through the curtains into our room and I was shocked for a moment and already started thinking if S has missed his flight..And I turn to the clock to see it showing 3:05 AM.relieved, went back to sleep only to be up again at 4AM. After sending off S, tossed and turned , and finally woke up and got readied. Had b'fast of pizza and left for changing of the guard at the Buckingham palace. Before going to the palace, went to Westminster , and en-quired the debate viewing hours in the Parliament and the service timings at Westminster Abbey. Walked to the Palace via St.James park. and when I reached there it was 10:30AM and people had already started thronging around.. En-quired a security guard on the best viewing place, and sneaked through the crowd and placed my backpack right in front of the palace gate. Crowd was beginning to swell and there was a family of 3, a mom and her two daughters among others around me. The mom was preparing her daughters as to what to expect during the ceremony. You know what she said , here it goes  : "Two guards, one from either side (pointing to directions) will come forward and one will hand over the customary equipment to the other and the changing of the guard is done. It will happen so soon that you might probably start thinking "Is this what this entire hoopla about changing of guard is?Is this why I waited for 2 hours?" Well, everything in life is like that..We build up expectations, desires, and one fine day,, it happens, and the moment passes by too , and we'll be like,"Has <xyz> already happened? Have I already experienced <abc> ? Is this what all is? " We keep anticipating for something or the other all the time and we ignore the present and when we get the opportunity to experience what we were anticipating for long, it passes by so soon, that we start building up desires for something else..and this thought process and journey goes on and on..."  <end of what that mommy said her daughters>

She told this sitting on the compound wall of the palace right next to me and it hit me so hard that I thought probably that was meant for me. <another post for the profound impact that it had on me>.The ceremony was quite an experience vieing it among thousands of tourists like me.  After changing of the guard, left for Little Venice (as suggested by my cousin the previous day) . At Little Venice, took a river boat ride to Camden Town .The market at Camden Town was similar to the kind of shops in Ranganathan St in Chennai, small shops selling knick-knacks and people teeming them..If you are an insider, then this is a good place to shop. Else, tourists can visit the market to get an experience of it and there is nothing worthwhile buying there (as people wouldn't believe that the gifts are from London  if you get gifts  from this place). Left the place and came over to St.James' park, had my lunch there admist pigeons who seem to have an enormous capability to sense slightest smell of any eatable even from a distance..I'd infact parked myself in a place along the road side (outer boundary of the park in order to not to attract the pigeons) and little did I expect that in a few minutes after opening my lunch packet, I was to witness a row of pigeons walking towards my side. Fed them some bread pieces .

After lunch and brief rest at the park, left for the evening song at Westminster Abbey. We were given pamphlets that described about the history of the church and the sequence of the prayer which was very useful.It had narrations so clear that that it said when to stand, when to kneel and what song the choir will sing. After offering prayers, came to the Parliament only to be told by the security that there was a long queue inside and it would take an hour and hence she advised me to come after about 30 minutes.Spent time around the Parliament area, soaking in the sunlight, the traffic and the people around..Then, joined the queue in the Parliament and I was allowed to go inside in about 15-20 minutes. This was the first time I was visiting a Parliament (haven't visited the Parliament of my own country of residence) and the had a good experience. came back to the hotel and waited for S to arrive. We went to the nearby Singaporean hotel for dinner and called it a day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Travelogue- day3 in London

Tuesday morning, S had to go to Belfast. Hence, the alarm was scheduled to ring at 3:45am. I woke up suddenly to find the sun rays seeping through the curtains into our room and I was shocked for a moment and already started thinking if S has missed his flight..And I turn to the clock to see it showing 3:05 AM.relieved, went back to sleep only to be up again at 4AM. After sending off S, tossed and turned , and finally woke up and got readied. Had b'fast of pizza and left for changing of the guard at the Buckingham palace. Before going to the palace, went to Westminster , and en-quired the debate viewing hours in the Parliament and the service timings at Westminster Abbey. Walked to the Palace via St.James park. and when I reached there it was 10:30AM and people had already started thronging around.. En-quired a security guard on the best viewing place, and sneaked through the crowd and placed my backpack right in front of the palace gate. Crowd was beginning to swell and there was a family of 3, a mom and her two daughters among others around me. The mom was preparing her daughters as to what to expect during the ceremony. You know what she said , here it goes  : "Two guards, one from either side (pointing to directions) will come forward and one will hand over the customary equipment to the other and the changing of the guard is done. It will happen so soon that you might probably start thinking "Is this what this entire hoopla about changing of guard is?Is this why I waited for 2 hours?" Well, everything in life is like that..We build up expectations, desires, and one fine day,, it happens, and the moment passes by too , and we'll be like,"Has <xyz> already happened? Have I already experienced <abc> ? Is this what all is? " We keep anticipating for something or the other all the time and we ignore the present and when we get the opportunity to experience what we were anticipating for long, it passes by so soon, that we start building up desires for something else..and this thought process and journey goes on and on..."  <end of what that mommy said her daughters>

She told this sitting on the compound wall of the palace right next to me and it hit me so hard that I thought probably that was meant for me. <another post for the profound impact that it had on me>.The ceremony was quite an experience viewing it among thousands of tourists like me.  After changing of the guard, left for Little Venice (as suggested by my cousin the previous day) . At Little Venice, took a river boat ride to Camden Town .The market at Camden Town was similar to the kind of shops in Ranganathan St in Chennai, small shops selling knick-knacks and people teeming them..If you are an insider, then this is a good place to shop. Else, tourists can visit the market to get an experience of it and there is nothing worthwhile buying there (as people wouldn't believe that the gifts are from London  if you get gifts  from this place). Left the place and came over to St.James' park, had my lunch there amidst pigeons who seem to have an enormous capability to sense slightest smell of any eatable even from a distance..I'd in fact parked myself in a place along the road side (outer boundary of the park in order to not to attract the pigeons) and little did I expect that in a few minutes after opening my lunch packet, I was to witness a row of pigeons walking towards my side.

After lunch and brief rest at the park, left for the evening song at Westminster Abbey. We were given pamphlets that described about the history of the church and the sequence of the prayer which was very useful.It had narrations so clear that that it said when to stand, when to kneel and what song the choir will sing. After offering prayers, came to the Parliament only to be told by the security that there was a long queue inside and it would take an hour and hence she advised me to come after about 30 minutes.Spent time around the Parliament area, soaking in the sunlight, the traffic and the people around..Then, joined the queue in the Parliament and I was allowed to go inside in about 15-20 minutes. This was the first time I was visiting a Parliament (haven't visited the Parliament of my own country of residence) and the had a good experience. came back to the hotel and waited for S to arrive. We went to the nearby Singaporean hotel for dinner and called it a day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Guess where I'd been to? yes, London ,it is! Ever since I got my tourist visa late December '10, I've been waiting to travel to this place. And finally, the opportunity came and I grabbed it. And What a wonderful holiday, it was!! (I'm beginning to get some belief that things really do happen at the RIGHT time, and this time is not decided by us, but by a Highe Supreme force). Though I had a dozen things listed out to shop before the vacation, I didnt buy a thing , courtesy, S's work schedule during the days preceeding to the travel. Nevertheless, I used the clothes, bag, shoes and other paraphernalia that was bought years ago and they were put to good use,especially the shoes.

Saturday dawned bright , we did the packing and were all set to catch our early evening flight. We had a comfortable two-seater and reached Dubai at midnight and spent time around the terminal doing some window-shopping. The next leg of our journey was spent having a good sleep to be ready to spend the Sunday sight seeing in London. Though the hotel that we were booked into stipulated a check-in time of 12 noon, we managed to checkin at 10AM itself..Freshened up, we left the hotel to explore London. Firstly, we went to tesco, then bought our sim cards , and then went to Sainsbury's  and bought some salad/muffins. Came to hotel, finished up whatever edible we bought and left for the proper touristing ..

We went to the Thames alongside the Big Ben, went to the London Eye, saw the Big Ben and walked along the Westmister Abbey, Parliament Square and took in the beautiful but unpredictable english weather while we went to the Buckhingham Palace via Downing Street ,House Guards Place and St.James' Park. There at the palace, there was a huge crowd gathered to witness the parade of the 120th year of the Salvation Army and we joined the crowd to cheer the parade from 12 countries. From there, we marched to Trafalgar square , ate at Mc.D . This was the first time in my whole little life that I've walked so much for about 3 hours, and I felt my legs were beginning to call out for help..Hence , we took the tube and reached Gloucester Road (this is where we were put up). We walked the stretch in G.Road to check out the restaurants and took away pizzas for dinner.Reached hotel and called it a day.

S had to visit UK on a business visit and I tugged along with him. Hence, the next day, on Monday, S had to go to office and I was all mby myself to explore the city.Since it was raining non-stop ,I was a bit hesitant to venture out .hence, walked to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Was surprised to find a loong queue even before the museum was opened. However, got a map, and covered all the zones (orange, red, blue zones). Needless to mention, all the models were working perfectly and there were good explanation for all the artifacts displayed. It was close to 1 PM by the time I was done with the musuem . Walked over to Albert Memorial Hall via Imperial College of London , visited the Albert Memorial too and clicked a few pics. Since my stomach was calling out and there were no McD or Subway or Burger King around, I walked over to Siansbury's to grab a salad , bread, muffin and a smoothie. Only later I realsied (tubelight flickered and started to emit light :-)) that I could have taken the bus from museum to Sainsbury's. Anyways, on the way back, took the bus and went to Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum was too huge to cover in half a day. Got the map and decided what all sections I wanted to cover and visited them. Both the museums were wonderful and awesome. A good experience. In the evening, mu cousin suggested that she would come over to meet us. Hence waited in the South Kensington tube station for a while, and once she arrived, we went to Pret a Manger and caught up on each others lives to some extent and she suggested a few places to visit too. From there, we headed to the hotel where she said a quick hello to S too and left. Now, S and I went to Oxford Circus, walked through Oxford Street and when it was time for dinner, we had a fight on where to have dinner (Baaah..The last thing I expected in the vacation..I think it was a kala tikka, as my cousin was like all praise for S !!) ..Finally, went to Mc.D(could have gone here even without that silly quarrel), came back to the hotel and called it a day..

Day 3 in the next post. And the pic is slightly skewed..Will correct it later

Monday, May 30, 2011


and unable to make a decision..Or should I say, decision is made and I'm not certain if the decision taken is the correct one or not. Last week , including the weekend that passed by was highly streeful. This is when I have two job offers at hand, submitted my resignation, have no work in the office except for transition, and actually supposed to be a time where I should just be relaxed, cool and looking forward for the next assignment.

Took help from a well-wisher about an hour ago, expressed my concerns and am feeling better now.

Is it normal for people to feel anxious about any impending change, especially, while changing jobs? I've been in this organisation for 6+ years now and I've gotten inside a comfort zone here, because of which I'm ambivalent about changing jobs. While one part of me wants a change (that's the reason why I even prepared my resume , floated it around, attended interviews and landed at one) to re-discover myself, to test myself if I'm smart, strong at heart, a chance to take things at stride , an opportunity to stay calm and relaxed, an avenue to mingle and make new friends/accquaintances, probably a change in schedules, an opportunity in learning something new and different, , to just go out and see whats there outside, to try my luck at a different organisation, with a hope that things will get better on personal front with this change, a faith that good things are now beginning to happen..  At the same time, another side of me is scared , is terrified as to how the new environment will be, as to how I'll adapt to the new team, how the people and mamager will be like, about the work and inclusivity in the team, if I'll get to work from home , if this is the right time to change at all, if I should be waiting for some more time till I decide on my personal front and then make a move, ...

I've submitted my resignation, and now serving the notice period. I'll stick to the decision taken and see how life takes it course and I trusting in Lord .

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First of many

Yes, this is my first post from our brand new laptop, which we purchased as a gift to ourselves for our wedding anniversary this 2nd of May. We have been pondering to buy one for quite some time now, and the better half had left the decision to me to choose one. Me being me, took nearly six months to decide whether to buy one or not (since I was already suing the office laptop to work as personal one too) and then to decide on which brand/model to buy..Finally, we brought home a new laptop and I'm beginning to fall in love with its cool features, refreshingly bright color and the newness of it..Hope to pen many more happy posts from this laptop.

May is the better half's birthday month and while pondering over the gift for his birthday, I decided to surprise him by inviting his friend , whose birthday also falls on the same date over for lunch/dinner. Checked with the friend for their convenience, checked with MIL (since we were returning from my place after attending functions that morning of the birthday) for cooking arrangements, bought return gifts for the friend's kids and things were going as per plan, when I suddenly revealed the plan to hubby a few hours before lunch time. We had a good time , the kids were awesome, especially the little one was over enthused and was full of energy.She mingled so easily with all of us, strangers to her..Her image was running over my head all through the next day too. Even now, as I type, I marvel at how happy and social that 4 year old is. Touch wood. I'm hoping this is a new beginning to our social life.

Two functions (Sumangali Prarthanai and Swamy Samaradhanai)  which were supposed to have happened before my wedding took place this month. Thank Goodness for making it happen. There were so many hurdles all these years for these functions to take place and the last one month saw changing and re-changing of dates for these functions multiple times. And added to this, my periods also misbehaved causing much anxiety. Prayers to multiple Gods and Goddesses were offered and Thank you lord for listening to the prayers. The days preceding to the function were brimming with anxiety and fear. At one point of time, I felt so damn saturated that I felt drained to even worry. Anyways, the functions went on smooth. It was also my dad's belief that once these religious rituals are done , of course with involvement and with good intentions and  good thought,  good things will begin to unfold . Now that God/ancestors have Himself/themselves accepted our offering, all of us strongly believe that our prayers will be answered.

The day preceeding to my husband's birthday , we were at my parents place to attend the above mentioned functions and our extended family also participated. It was my sister's plan to celebrate her BIL's bday and she organsied cate cutting session. Since there were two other kids around whose b'day also falls in April/May, we decided to make it a combined celebration (by having their names also on the cake). She is awesome in arranging such stuff and she did a wonderful job indeed. We bought gifts for all three of them, cut the cake and had a good time overall. Appu, as I always tell you, you are the best est thing that has happened in my life da. God Bless you darling.

I've come out of my cocoon and landed myself two job offers, I've come out of a shell to make some effort to invite people home , to give surprise party (however small), I'm trying hard to remain postive and look at the glass as being half full ,to be optimistic and to have faith and hope. Need to wait and watch how things unfold.

Monday, May 16, 2011

been long..

yep, if not lot, something has been happening at my end..some small change..I've resigned from the current record for posterity : 11 May 11 is the date when I'd sent my resignation..Have got two offers ..will select one among the two shortly, though a preliminary decision has already been made..

I have spent 6 years, 3 months in this organisation, have seen crest and trough in career, have seen the lowest point of personal life while employed here , have made countable good friends whom I can trust and look to, have made umpteen accquaintances , have had wonderful managers who were very supportive (most of the time) through thick and thin, have learnt, have also done some time pass, have been intoruduced to blog sites, have had the freedom to browse all round the clock, have learnt a fairly complex technology which has added weight to my resume, have committed mistakes, have been cornered, have lost and regained trust, have observed many admirable qualities among colleagues, will try to imbibe certain good attributes in the fothcoming endeavour, ..all in all, the graph has been preety decent..However, at this point in life, I want a change, a positive change at that..I'm craving for good things to happen in my life..I hope this change is the beginning of all good things to come..

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cal Trip - Day3

How come 2 days flew so fast? Felt like I was just on the flight, and now its time again to board the flight, this time, to return to routine..anyways, after much debate on the plans for the day, settled on visiting the science city. Checked out from the hotel, paid a visit to the Iskon enroute to Science city and then got dropped at Science city. Went around a few exhibits, and saw a 3-D show and a Documentary on the Nile River. The documentary was good.Met a family from TN and we got introduced to each other and went along with them to see some exhibits. Having another 1 hour to pass, croseed the road to check out on the handicrafts exhibition, but it was closed. Was supposed to open only in the later part of the day. Anyways, started the book which I'd cariied along. It was time to leave cal and head to B'lore. Enroute to the airport, M and his colleague were picked from their office and now the vacation comes to an end.
My aunt and uncle were at B'lore that day attending a wedding reception and this uncle was the one who was very keen to visit our house ever since we moved here. There wasnt enough time fro them to visit our home and then catch the bus at night. So, we drove from airport directly to the hotel where reception was happening, had dinner there, got introduced to a few distant relatives , saw aunt and uncle off to Chennai and we drove back home. It was good to be home!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cal trip-day2

Started the day with a sumptuous breakfast at the Taj. Met with one of husbands colleagues who beleives in the Isckon way. all through the breakfast, he got on to giving a discourse. because of which, I wasnt able to thoroughly enjoy the food. Before I left for the trip, I was attending a discourse by Nochur Sri.Venkataraman on Bhagavatham. The discourse was supposed to continue for another 3 days while I would be out of town. While listening to this person, I had a feeling I was not missing any of the spiritual discourse of Sri.Nochur V as I was already listening to one.!

I started the day with Victoria Memorial, spent a good two hours there, eductaing and re-capping what history books have taught. Left Victoria and went to India Museum. Spent another 3 good hours there, wondering at all the various exhibits ranging from science, medicine, geography, art, and what not. Left for the hotel and caught up with few portions of MMKR movie. Then, enquired about the steam/sauna at the hotel and left for the spa. This was going to be my first experience with spa. Tried the steam and jacuzzi, though couldnt enjoy completely.
When M came back after office, we got refreshed and went to Park Street. Walked along the by-lanes , and had dinner at one of the restaurants. Then, we went on a trip to view Colonial Calcutta. The guide cum chauffeur gave us information on the various buildings, how they came to have the names they bear now, age of the building etc. The drive was awesome . Returned back to the hotel and called it a day.

Calcutta, ahoy!

Calcutta aka Kolkata was the one metro among the erstwhile 4 metros of India which I had not visited till last week . When the better half informed that he was travelling to this place on business , I couldnt find a better opportunity to tag along and visit the place. So, there I booked the tickets , much to my own surprise without much thought and started googling about places to visit, eat and shop. I had even disclosed the travel plan to all who cared to ask and listen. Usually , so far, I havent had the habit of revealing my plans in detail to many. Now, I am having a vacation after a llong loong time (last time, we had been to Kurumba village enroute to Ooty many years ago). So, I decided to have a good time and not worry about office stuff or anything that would disturb me.

The previous day of our travel being International Womens Day, I was all dressed in a beautiful maroon saree to the office, had a good time enjoying  the events organised in our office. Had mehendi too which provided a cooling effect. Not sure if there is someone who conspires to somehow disrupt my peace, just after lunch, I see a series of emails asking for my comments/suggestions to solve a critical issue. Phew!! Of all times, should these mails come when I plan a vacation and just about to wrap up things at work?? Had discussion with colleague based out of the the same location I work in, made sure to assign work in my absence and asked people to ping me when I'm out of office. My boss calls me multiple times, but I'm unable to talk to him because of the low batetry and poor signal strength . Called up the boss later in the evening, informed him that I'll be unable to support the next 3 days, cant attend any conference calls and indirectly told him not to be disturbed. Got some lecture, nevertheless, this didnt put me off completely.

Took time to pack clothes, pack stuff that I might require for the travel and stay, and was all set. Wednesday(March 9th) dawned bright , we got readied and boarded the cab on the long drive to the airport. I've driving to the airport after about 3 years. All my flight travel prior to this one has been on work and this was teh first time I was taking the flight for personal reasons and more importantly taking the flight with the husband beside me. I tried my best to put office tension behind my back, and travel light. I wouldnt say I was 100% successful in not thinking about office, however, I was close to the mark :-). Squirmed in the flight, yes, I'm claustrophobic, couldnt get sleep, chatted with the better half . Poor thing, the husband had to get on to work once we alight from the plane. So, I was resisting myself from not pestering him too much.

Alighted from the plane in the humid Kolkata which welcomed us with a temperature of 35 degrees. Dropped husband in the office and I drove to central parts of the city where our booking for the hotel was done. I enter Taj bengal and I went WOW!! Every aspect in the Taj campus is a testimony to the brand , the luxury, the quality and the legacy!! I have stayed in good resorts in the past, but this one, though not a resort is the first 5 -star rated hotel I was vacationing in. Freshened up , and was time for lunch. Upon husband's insistence, I reluctantly went to The Hub in the premises of Taj. Why reluctant? because I was not very OK with spending all of 1500 bucks for food, on myslef. Was very unsure even after entering the restaurant. Not sure what made me start with the starters. Had a 5 course meal, relaxed, enjoyed the food and the ambience.

Came back to the room, checked the calcutta guide,ordered for a DVD player, browsed the channels in the TV and dozed off, only to wake up when I call from the husband. Now, the DVD player also came, and I watched some portion of a movie whose dvd I had carried along. Dressed up, and was now ready to paint the city. Checked with the concierge the timing of Kali Mandir. Now, I was already having a nagging feeling about spending on lunch( I need to make a point here: I'm no miser. I love to spend, love to buy stuff and indulge my loved ones than indulging myself). so I was a lil bit averse about spending about 30 bucks a kilometer on the taxi, if arranged via the hotel. Inspite of the husband insisting on taking the taxi from the hotel, I walked out on the road , bravely in a city totally new , in a city where I dont understand the local language, and only posses an average Hindi speaking ability.

Saw a few people on the road just waving their hand to board in to a taxi. I did the same too and asked to be taken to Kali Mandir. I was dropped at the temple and I was charged 30 bucks for what the meter said Rs.17. I wasnt sure if I need to argue with my poor Hindi speaking skill. hence, got the change and proceeded twoards the temple. As soon as I stepped down from the taxi a group of priests swarmed around giving details about the rates to be paid for a quick darshan to the Goddess. I dismissed them and walked forward and could see only a line of stores usually found in front of teh temples . I couldnt spot any trace of the temple gopuram which is usually seen in the temples of the South.  I asked for directions from a passer by and proceeded forward. Waited in a long queue , while on the queue, observed that devotees were performing waht I assume to be archanas. A lady who stood behind me told me details of what is the bes way to get these pujas done in a Bengali mixed Hindi. Had a darshan of the Goddess, and now, proceeded to Birla Mandir. The taxi driver was not sure of the timings of the temple , nevertheless, I went to the temple. There, we are not supposed to carry camera and there wasnt any locker safe. Hence, with the guidance of the security guards in the temple, I left the camera with the Calcutta Ploice who were stationed in fornt of the temple. There were 3 men, 2 in uniform and the third in plain clothes. The two uniform-clad men directed me to deposit the camera to the man in plain clothes. I blindly trusted these men and left my newly bought camera with him and proceeded to the temple. On returning from the temple, thankfully, the camera was safe.

Back at the hotel, freshened up, M and I left for dinner. We chose the Mediterranean cuisine at Taj..Need I tell that the food was awesome. But, one fact which proved to be true yet again is that you really need to ne a non-vegetarian when you like to taste different kinds of food. Because, even in the mediterranean  menu, we hardly had options to choose from , being a vegetarian. Anyways, the quality and taste was awesome and we called it a day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

30 days of self-restraint

March 7 -April 5 : Period to watch out the words that come in jet speed from me when in rage. Period to observe how I tame my anger. Self test period where in I test how strong willed and determined I am. This period will see how I slow down, take life as it comes, not blame anyone for things that are beyond my control, especially the husband. Time to accept things that were and that are and try my best to look up at the postive side of things ..Off late, I'm getting consumed by an uncontrollable rage at the rate of once a week, which is definitely not doing any good to my phsical and mental health , to my husand , to whom I take the rage and vent , and to us , our marriage which is getting shakier by the day due to my behaviour. So, I'm determined to observe this self-restraint period and this blog will record the highlights of each day . We'll see how it goes and the outcome at the end of one month.

Will update this post every night or the next day morning .

Sunday, February 27, 2011

To work or not

Spoke with one of my friends after a looong time and we took the opportunity to update each other. Since the two of us are sailing different boats, but on the same lake towards the same destination,, when we voiced out our concerns, fears, opinions, emotions buried under our so called happy faces, it felt as if we were having a conversation with our own mirror image.. Yes, it was not surprising to find the similar thoughts that goes on in our minds, still surprising that we were able to voice it out.Probably, we have grown so tired keeping thinks to ourselves. Since it was a weekday and we couldn’t continue our banter for a long time being at work place, we had to cut short. We have been planning to meet up (our residences are 5 kms apart!)  for the last 2 years and still haven’t found the time to do it.  That’s my other goal in the next 2 months. Fix up a time and meet up, else days, weeks, months will roll by and we will always have some reason to postpone.

This friend of mine , H and I have been considering quitting our respective jobs and taking a break for quite some time now, but have always been ambivalent about the same . This time, she tells me that she has decided to quit and have already submitted papers at work place. Now, this has got me thinking ,(this has been in my thoughts for a long time, but now, the thought has only popped to the front and the thinking has become more intense) on the same lines. I’m unable to reach a conclusion, as always.

One part of me wants to try it out , that’s is, take a break from work so that I can be relieved of the stress that comes from travelling to and fro to the work place ,relieved of the hassles due to work itself and the politics at work. Mom suggests that by being at home , I could take care of my health better and the relative stress free environment will do good to me. While I’m very much OK with this, the other part of me is not sure if staying at home all day, for weeks together will keep me sane. As in, I will tend to keep thinking about only one thing (as such, I’m obsessed single mindedly about only one thing for the last few years now), which will in turn spoil my mental health. This part argues that atleast the routine of going to work will keep me occupied .

I’m not sure what to do. I’ve been in this cross roads for a long time and now, I would like to take a decision and be at peace with it.Every now and then, this thought pops up, whether I should continue to work or quit and take a break. The better half is very much open to the idea of quitting job but has left the decision making part to me. I do not know what to do. On one side, I would like to try it out, as this is one of the things that I haven’t tried yet. On the other hand, I dread being at home at a stretch , waiting for a miracle to happen. With nothing to do,(other than cooking and surfing and reading), I might tend to get more depressed. The day I find that I’ve conceived, I’m going to stop going to work, but till then, what is it that I need to do? My gynaec suggests that I don’t stress myself, but she doesn’t prevent me from going to work. She says it’s a call that I have to take. Does any of you know if staying at home is suggested by doctors for conceiving ? Does it really help? I know people have these doubts of whether to continue to work or give up after they have their babies. I’m here, not sure what is the right thing to do even while ttc. Suggestions are welcome.