Quick Exchange #QuikrNXT

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We have been thinking of getting rid of our car for quite a while now. We had narrowed down a list of new cars that we could purchase. But since we had to move out to a place of our own, we fell a little short financially. Our alto was more than five years old and we did not expect much money once we sell it off. But once we posted an ad on Quikr, we got so many responses that we were surprised. Thankfully, we had registered for the QuikrNxt and hence we were not disturbed. The people interested in buying the car could text us and it was really convenient. We shared pictures of the car from every angle that the buyer requested. A guy even wanted to check the picture of the engine. Surprised and shocked that we were, we still clicked a picture and shared it with him. He seemed pleased and asked for some time to get back.

QuikrNXT helped us keep a tab on all the buyers and callers. Since it has this feature of saving the conversations, we did not have to remember everything. It was all there in the app itself. It was such a help that I cannot be more thankful. Earlier when I had to sell my phone, my number was out there and I was getting so many calls that it began to annoy me. There were a large number of crank calls as well that troubled me. In two hours, I had to remove the ad itself! I wish QuikrNXT was available then, where I could just chat with people and negotiate the deal. The phone number being private is a huge bonus as well, as there would be no fake buyers showing interest in the product. I had close to around twenty five conversations saved on the app. So after I finished work, I would sit down and take a look at all the chats and decide what the best deal could be for me.

In about two days I had the buyer come to my place and collect the car and go. Yes, it was the same guy who asked for a picture of the engine. We actually sold it for more than what we had expected in the first place. It was such a huge help. Since the budget for our car was slashed drastically after we moved out, the money that we got from the sale of this car was a welcome addition. Since the whole process was so quick and neat, we decided to pick up a used car only instead of going in for a brand new one. My husband and I searched for a good three days before narrowing down on a few options. We were keen on getting a Ford Figo and we found some really good ones available for sale on Quikr. We wanted only a black or a blue car and we were surprised to see many options available for that too.

So my husband and I decided to share the discussions. He was given three people to get in touch with and negotiate and I was given three as well. Thanks to QuikrNXT we could talk to these sellers via chat from anywhere and anytime. I would have discussions during work as well as it was not that troublesome. Once we got home, we would sit back and check the chats to understand who offers the best deal. It was quite an experience and we enjoying talking to the sellers as they were so passionate about their cars and took great pains to sell it to the right buyer who would take care of the car the same was as they would. We also felt the same while we were selling off our car.

We asked photos of the car from different angles to check that car has not been damaged any where. The last thing that we would want would be a dented or a scratched car. While we were content with everything, we told the seller that we would come to take a look at the car. We went the same day itself as it was not far away from our place. We scanned the car completely and once we were satisfied we negotiated the deal, and got an awesome one at that. We even got all the accessories included within the same budget. My husband and I were extremely happy with the deal. So within a week, we had sold off our old car and had purchased another one. And all within the same platform, Quikr.

Thank you QuikrNXT for making it so easy for us to sell and buy anything that we want.

This post is written as an entry for Indi Happy Hours -  Get a better Car with Quikr NXT! activity in association with Indiblogger and Quikr.

A Reminder

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Just a reminder
Of grey hair and weak eye sight
Is every birthday

Absolutely In Love #HairIsFashion

My Jet Black Hair - The look I have sported for years now

Almost everyone knows about how obsessed I am with my hair. I treat my hair like my child. Pampering it with regular massages and spas, washing and deep conditioning, oiling rituals and all that you can think of. My mane also loves me back as much I love it because I put my hair though a lot day in and day out. Blow drying, straightening, twisted hair knots, hair sprays etc etc. Also, I used a million shampoos on my hair thanks to the products that come to me for review. And yet my hair has always remained my shining glory. Not once have I had a bad hair day or a messy hair day. I always make sure that my hair is prim and proper before I step out. I always have a scarf and a hair clip handy, in case of the harsh weather. I do not even take care of myself this well! My hair gets and deserves all the love and pampering I give it.

The Auburn Blend & The Helix Flair

But over the past few days I have been thinking about doing something crazy with my hair. I was really bored with the jet black look that I have been sporting all these years. I decided that I need to get my hair colored and try out a new look. So fully determined and with the idea in mind, I walked in to the Lakme Absolute Salon located at the 1MG Road mall in Bangalore. I had an appointment booked and a stylist was waiting for me. I had already gone through the show shopping hair collection from Lakme Absolute and had two looks playing in my mind. The Auburn Blend and the Helix Flair. My stylist, Arun was very polite and patient and sat with me to discuss the look. As excited as I was, I could feel my enthusiasm go down as I saw the pictures of brightly colored hair in front of me. I did not want to look like a clown after all! So after much speculation and self thought I decided to go in for the Auburn Blend with just three strokes of red color. The Helix Flair had purple and that was enough to put me off.

I did not want something bright, but at the same time I wanted the streaks to be seen. Also I did not want the color to be jarring. My stylist suggested that I go in for the violet-red color, that would be perfect for my dusky skin tone and look subtle at the same time. So I just decided to rely on fate and put my hair in the able hands of my stylist. He first checked the texture of my hair and said that I had really good hair. That helped me relax a bit. Nothing like a little flattery to perk me up! He then told me that since my natural hair was so black and thick, there is no need for a hair lightening agent as the color will hold good on black. So after some serious combing, we decided on the areas to be colored. The first one was a thin steak on my side fringe. The second, at the crown of my hair, so that a steak can be split into two with a partition. And the third, right at my nape, so that it will stay hidden and be a pleasant surprise when I tie up my hair. I liked the idea and asked him to go ahead with it.

My Hair Before And During The Coloring

He went to the studio to mix the color, while I sat with a magazine sipping on to some hot green tea. He was back really soon and with extreme precision and care he divided my hair into sections. He then placed the aluminium foil beneath the section and began applying the color. The color looked so bright in the bowl that I cringed. My stylist sensed my fear and assured me that the color would not look so bright once washed. I was only relieved to a certain extent. After applying three patches of color he asked me to wait for thirty to forty minutes for the color to hold. I read more magazines, made small talk with the people around and had some more tea. Finally it was time for the wash and to see the actual color. Arun washed my hair and conditioned it and even gave me a head massage. I was in heaven. He asked me if I needed a hair cut, and I said that a trim would be fine. After a trim, my hair was blow dried. And that is when I saw the color!

Look Closely And You See The Color

Red! Red! It was red! A part of my hair was red! And it looked absolutely amazing. The cut went well with my round face and the color complemented my skin tone and my black hair really well. I felt so happy that I couldn't stop thanking my stylist. The color was not too bright, and yet a hint of it could be seen. Arun told me that after a few days the color would be seen more clearly. I was really really satisfied with the awesome treatment my hair received there. After thanking almost everyone there I came back home a happy lady. 

A week later.

The color bleeds for a few washes. It has been a week and still I see faint traces of color in the lather of my shampoo. The color looks much brighter and better though and I'm very happy with my new look. My stylist said that the color would easily last for atleast twenty washes. Its a good deal I think. I am absolutely in love with my new look and cannot wait to flaunt it off with different styles.

My experience at the salon.

The Salon And Arun - My Stylist

The staff was really really friendly and cheerful. My stylist was as enthusiastic as I was and that helped me a lot. He patiently answered all my questions and was extremely delicate with my hair. The salon offers a lot of services and the best part is that they are not pushy. Nobody forced me to try some service or any of their products, which came as a welcome surprise as the other salons I visit, always try to sell me some product or the other. Until now, I was getting my hair done at another popular salon chain, but now I'm absolutely moving to Lakme Absolute! The service is great, affordable and is a stone throw away from my house. What's not to like? :)

Thank you Lakme Absolute for a wonderful experience and making my hair look and feel so awesome! 

The Best Friend

© Dawn Q. Landau

This is the path that you used to take for school every day and I used to walk behind, guarding you and watching every step of yours. I would bark when the train was approaching to alert you much ahead of time, so that you don’t panic when the giant beast passed by. I loved you so much my master that it is now hard to believe that you are no longer here and that we will never walk this way together. But your thoughts would never be forgotten. I shall take this route every single day until I’m around.

This five sentence fiction is written for the topic 'Forgotten' at Lillie McFerrin Writes.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 27th February 2015.

Dear Mother

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"I'm really hungry, mom. Can I get something to eat?"

The mom goes away to look for some food. She looks around all evening and finally comes back with a small cob of corn.

"Here son, you can eat this."

"Can I have all of it?"

"Yes you can, darling. I'm not hungry today."

"But you did not eat anything all day right?"

"It's okay. If you eat, my hunger shall disappear as well."

"Oh mom, how can you always be so kind."

"That's how we mothers are, dear son."

"That's why I kiss the floor you walk on, mother."

This drabble(100 word fiction) is written for Wordy Wednesday #6 at the B-A-R.

Welcome To Karma Cafe

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Keep doing what ever you want to
Good or bad, you can choose the side
You can try to escape from God
From karma, you can never hide

It is a really simple mantra
What you give is what you get
If you choose to ignore this
For downhill, you are all set

It isn't hard to be good and true
Just do what you know is right
There is no point in snatching from others
Only within yourself there should be a fight

Always treat people really well
In return you shall get the same
If you think about religion and caste
Congrats for making it to the hall of shame

Make sure you are all sorted
Before pointing a finger at another
How hard is it to mind your own business
About others you do not have to bother

Stop peeping into others homes
When your house has the biggest hole
Do not pray for the downfall of others
Remember, karma is embedded in your soul

Be selfless and true to yourself
You know the mirror shall never lie
No point in putting up that facade
You shall be stripped when you die

The truth shall always prevail
No matter how deep you have dug it
Soon the secret shall consume you
You are bound to fall into the same pit

Look at the veneer of this place
It looks so happy and nice
The truth only lies inside of it
Before you act, better think twice

Here you only get what you once gave
No one shall listen to what ever you say
One fine day you shall make it here
Look out for the board 'Karma Cafe'

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 259.

Staying True

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Blogging has become an excellent medium to make money these days. Be it with reviews or with contests. Almost every post we write these days reaps some benefit. Be it in the form of a consolation hamper or a participating voucher. The recent 'Happy Hours' by Indiblogger is like a honey pot. It not only tests the writing skills but also the agility of the writer. I myself have sat for minutes looking at the 'Submit Now' button, hoping to make it to the 100 or 200 list. It happens you know, all of us need the extra cash/vouchers. A little extra never hurt anyone after all. But going all crazy and maniacal over it is something that is purely unethical. Write, there is no problem with it. But write about what matters to you and what you can connect with. That is how I function. There are so many contests and happy hours that I choose not to be a part of, because I not agree with the theme or I have no clue about it what so ever.

The latest happy hours by Indiblogger was about Pampers and the theme was to write about the bedtime rituals that you share with your child. I saw so many posts go up on this topic and more than half of them are not parents and the quarter of the rest were not married even! I was shocked by their imaginative minds. I have no clue about babies and their needs. Let alone their bedtime rituals. I saw the bucket list happy hour and wrote a post for it, because it was something that I could relate to. I have my dreams, my passions and my wish list. I just was sharing the same. Nothing of it was made up. And then there was this other happy hour activity about a phone being a valentine. I wanted to laugh my ass off. Here people are putting on their creative hats and writing posts about how to make the day perfect for your partner, and the same set of people are the ones who are writing about six reasons why a phone is your ideal valentine. Seriously, wow!

But the topic that surprised me the most was the Garnier pure active one where people were asked to write about the common problems they face due to pimples and the effects it had on their everyday life. See, I have been battling acne since I can remember. Plus, my PCOD problems are making it worse for me. But that is all there is to it. I use top class makeup to hide the scars and where the zits pop-out I just let them be. They are just a part of my exterior and have not hampered my life in any other way. Be it in terms of confidence or anything else. If the topic was to write about how you did not let pimples bother you, the I sure would have taken part. But this topic was all about using the product and talking about how you transformed into a beautiful swan from a pimply duckling. There was a large number if posts for this activity and I personally know some of the people who wrote these posts and I can safely say that most of them do not have even a tiny dot on their face, let alone a pimple. The lucky people who are blessed with spotless, flawless skin were writing about how a zit ruined their life and how they lost out on a partner because of it. No, I'm not kidding.

Blogging now is not how it used to be before. Earlier it was all about just expressing your views and sharing your experiences. Now it is all about benefits and prizes. Thankfully, I have managed to hold on to what I believe and have stayed true to myself. I will not praise a product/book just because I received it for free. The first condition that I mention to authors who contact me to review their books is that my review will be absolutely honest and brutal. My views and opinions are not for sale. All the products and websites that I review are also a part of my experience and something that I personally use or believe in. I have problems with my hair, so I accepted a hair challenge that came my way. Had I smooth, silky hair, I would not have bothered and I would have taken it as an insult. Obviously!

There are a set of bloggers who do not write anything else apart from contest posts and happy hours posts. And that too not just one. I know someone who writes atleast three posts per contest.  Maybe it is to receive the participant vouchers or the early bird prizes. Thankfully Indiblogger has limited their happy hours submission to just one post. The useyourand contest by Blogadda was one of the contests that was very close to my heart. I could open my heart and soul and write for it. This post of mine is an all time favorite post of mine as it reeks of me in every word. I may or may not win this contest, but I'm glad that I got an opportunity to write about myself this way. If not for this activity, there is no way I would have written so much about myself. Yes, the narcissist in me is dying a slow death.

I love the blogosphere and the ample opportunities it gives writers like me. Be it monetary benefits or just a platform to showcase our work. It is very easy to get lured by the temptations that come up every now and then. But we need to realize that we are niche bloggers and there are only certain things that match our style of writing or the theme of our blog. Not everything can be written about. It is very difficult to stay true ourselves these days. But it is not impossible. I'm glad that I have been able to hold on to what I believe and talk/write about only the things that matter to me or strike a chord within me. Posts which do not come from the heart might guarantee a prize, but I would feel like a failure inside for selling my words when I do not mean them at all. 

Am I the only one who feels like this?

Shut Up, World!

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I see myself in the mirror
Only I know the real me
Stop judging me you trespassers
All I need is to just let be

I am smart and work very hard
I also know to cook and clean
I will not bow down to conventions
Enough of this world I have seen

I shall dress the way I want
Being married doesn't mean I change
I shall continue to be what I am
My dreams are not bound by a range

There is no need for me to be like a man
I know my own strength and might
I do not need someone to tell me things
I know the difference between wrong and right

I choose what I do with my life
Nobody but me has a say in it
I might not be all sorted now
But I'm aware how the puzzle shall fit

I do not need praise or flattery
I know exactly who I am
Against the tide of others' venom
I'm the one who successfully swam

I've been through enough ups and downs
To understand how to lead a good life
Unwanted judgement shall only waste time
Cut that thought now, with a knife

I have loved, lost and loved again
But I did not give up on the feeling
People only have pointed fingers
No one was a part in my healing

I shall do whatever I want to
I will not listen to what anyone will say
My passions and desires are rooted deep
In every season I shall learn to make hay

I'm very happy in my own way
Made the best of whatever life hurled
I do not care what others think of me
So for now; just shut up, world

Compassion Is Long Dead #1000Speak

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Compassion is a word that I hardly get to hear these days. Now it is all about passion, interests and marching ahead without even bothering to look around us. In this fast paced life, all one wants is to rise and rise. Even if it means to step on the shoulders of someone else. Some where money took over feelings and people do not bother to care for each other unless and until there is a benefit. Monetary or otherwise. Compassion is a lost trait and nobody is in a hurry or in the mood to look for it. Compassion is something beyond a feeling of sympathy. It is something that should come straight from the heart. It should hurt. The pain must be felt for the other person. If not, then it is not compassion. These days people are busy mocking each other without realizing how the other person feels. I don't have a word to describe such kind of behavior.

I am sharing a few instances here, which clearly proved to me that compassion was long dead.

One day while I was walking back home from work, I heard some painful whines. I took a detour and walked to my next road to check what the noise was. I saw a man pelting stones the size of a shot put ball on a poor dog who was tied to a house. The dog was tied for God's sake, no way would it have tried to harm the man. I felt so angry that I started yelling at the man asking what his problem was. He said nothing, he just wanted to pelt stones at the dog. I warned him telling that I have contacts and will call the PETA people for cruelty towards animals and I asked him to walk off. To my surprise he walks inside the same house where the dog was tied and tells me that the dog belonged to him. I was in tears as I saw the dog's frightful eyes when it looked at its owner. This animal is supposed to be man's best friend and here the best friend was worse than an enemy.

The security guy in my lane is a nice man. He is awake all night to look after the lane and has a keen eye when it comes to trespassers. He is an old man and I'm sure that this is his only source of income. He is always sharply dressed. In the security uniform and with neat shoes. During winter I see him with a jacket and a cap and the mandatory stick in his hand. He walks around the lane all night, keeping even stray dogs at bay. I respect him for what he does as I know that it is not an easy job. Come rain or snow, these people are expected to keep a watch on the street. But not many people appreciate the effort this person puts in. I have seen people of the lane giving him stale food and sending him out to do petty errands. It hurts me every single time I see this man, crisply dressed in a uniform carrying a plastic cover of food from some house. On the tree that forms his desk, I see his jacket hanging along with a clean steel lunch box that I reckon is sent to him by his wife. And yet, people decide to give him cold stale food that they do not want to throw away. At times I see him carrying garbage bags from houses to the truck or buying vegetables for the housewives of the lane. That is not his job. He is a security officer who slogs all night so that the residents sleep in peace. But who cares, right?

The auto drivers in Bangalore are day light robbers, but not all of them. I take an auto to work every single day and once as soon as I got down from the auto that I had hailed, another auto driver who had parked his vehicle came up to me. He asked me if I knew a girl who was tall and thin and wearing a red dress. I said no and asked why. He said that he had dropped her to office but since she did not have change to pay him, she went up the building to bring back change. The poor man has waited for close to 45 minutes, expecting her return. It broke my heart to tell him that she would not return. He looked so broken that I ended up paying the money that I had received as change from my ride. It was not the total amount, but that was all I was carrying with me. I looked around for a thin and tall girl wearing a red dress all day around the campus to give her a piece of my mind. But there were more than twenty women I saw that matched the description, so I let it be. This is out right cheating and not just lack of compassion. Everyone works really hard to make money, the least people can do is to pay for the services they use.

These are just a few instances as I do not want to turn this post into a rant. You do not have to be a Mother Teresa and try to help people. Just don't do anything instead of troubling other people. Let people be. Everyone has a heart and feelings, try not to walk all over it. Humans, animals and plants included. Just mind your own business and try not to interfere in that of others. This is not asking for too much is it?

This post is written for ‘1000 Voices of Compassion’ where 1000 bloggers from across the world decided to lend their voices for Peace and Compassion on Feb 20th. You can follow the hash tag on twitter here.

The Open Balcony

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The open balcony was inviting me and I knew that I could catch a glimpse of the entire estate from there. The tall gate was locked and I peep inside to see if anyone was around. After being sure that no one was inside, I kick my shoes in the air, tie my hair high up and climb up the railing. I have never been in such a big house before, even if from outside on an empty balcony. The view was beautiful, but I had to hurry back before my father, the gardener of the estate finds me here.

This five sentence fiction is written for the topic 'Open' at Lillie McFerrin Writes.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 13th February 2015.

My Bucket List #BefikarUmarBhar

You only life once, so it is better to live life to the fullest they say. I cannot agree more. With the evolving times I'm glad to see the lifestyles of people changing as well. Yes, there are a certain few who still prefer to be the frog in the well. There is no point talking to such people. They shall dwell and then die in that well in ignorance. It is a beautiful world out there, it needs to be explored. There are so many things to learn in this world, it needs to be learnt. There are so many feelings in this world, it needs to be experienced. And for that you need to want to do it. Nobody else can do it for you. Such passions come from within a person and such passions need to see the light of day. Life is really short, and there are still so many things that I need to do. If I know that I'm set for life and no other tensions, then it is about time that I make my own bucket list.

 So these are the things that I want to do before I kick the bucket.

1. Travel the world.

This would be on the list of almost everyone I'm sure. I want to travel and explore new cities and fall in love with it. Every city has a story to tell and every story deserves to be heard. And I want to listen. I want to travel to atleast ten countries before I die. I have already been to three, so seven more pending. There is something wonderful about the pleasures of travelling. I'm born with wanderlust, and it keeps me dreaming. I want to scale the alps of Switzerland, climb atop the Eiffel tower in Paris, go on a moonlight boat ride in Venice, enjoy the view from the Grand Canyon, watch an opera at the Sydney opera house, walk on the London bridge, experience the chill in Canada and eat authentic Chinese food from China. Of course, this is just a gist. My list goes on and on and I seriously pray to God to give me the strength to fulfill it.

2. Be a best selling author.

I do not want to be the next J.K Rowling, but I want to be able to live off the money that I make from my books. It is way too early to talk about it no doubt, but the dream is too strong to be ignored. I want to write books for a living. My first book is just taking shape, but I know that it will see the light of day sometime soon. I do not want to stop at that. I want to write series of books and keep going. Danielle Steel is my inspiration and someday I hope that I'm able to write like her. Her characters are so real that you can see them around you. I first read her book when I was thirteen, and then I knew that if I ever become a writer I would strive to become like her. I want to have a number of books in my name. Not anthologies, standalone books. I want people to wait for my next book. I want to create characters that live in people. And I shall do all that I can to achieve it.

3. Learn Swimming.

I have been wanting to learn swimming for over ten years now. Shame on me for not having fulfilled it until now. It is not that I fear water, it is just that I have not found the time to go for classes and learn it. Strange na? I have always been fascinated by pools. When I visit resorts or travel, I look at the clear blue pools and envy the people who are swimming carefree in it. I want to be able to do so too. I have heard that swimming is the ultimate stress buster and helps in weight loss as well. That is another reason for me to pursue it. This summer, I'm gonna take the plunge. Literally.

4. Open a cafe.

I'm a lover of food and so is my husband. I love cooking as much as I love eating. It is a dream of mine to open a quaint cafe and serve some delicious food. Mainly gourmet desserts. I know there is serious competition in the food business, but when I'm ready I'm going to open a place of mine. Almost every conversation of mine revolves around food and baking is a passion as well as a stress buster. I want to put it to good use soon. Someday, after I'm retired and have some spare time from my writing, I shall give this a serious though. Somewhere in my head I can imagine a 50 year old me, sitting in my own cafe with a cup of tea and typing a story. Wow, that just gave me goosebumps.

5. Start a charity.

Presently I do all that I can to help the underprivileged. I donate clothes, books and money to a nearby blind school. But I want to do more. I want to start an online charity that enables people to transfer money and send other products to NGOs. I want to leave something behind for my kids to follow. I want to make an impact on people's heart and not only via my books and food. I want to help people meet their basic resources if not their luxuries. I want to connect the donor and the recipient directly and spread awareness about why this is important. It is not about being proud and standing on a pedestal to make myself look like God, it is something that I want to do to feel good about myself. I want to create a solid foundation that will continue even after I'm gone. One stone at a time, I am working towards it.

This post is written as an entry for Indi Happy Hours - Befikar Umar Bhar activity in association with Indiblogger and IDBI Federal.

Love Will Find You

Action Figures by Edith Vonnegut

It is not about how you look
It is all about how you feel
Love is known to break you apart
It is also known to heal

This emotion can drive you nuts
As well as bring you extreme joy
It can consume you totally
It also has the power to destroy

They say that love is blind
It can rob your other senses too
While you are basking in the colors
You will never notice the impending blue

Every form of it is precious
You may not realize it now
But you sure will be lucky
If cupid finds you with his bow

You cannot escape this feeling
It is present all around
Be careful whom you share it with
You do not want to feel all bound

You can hide where ever you want
Lock yourself inside with a pet
What you do not know is
With his arrow, cupid is all set

With colored wings it shall come
It shall strike only a few
You can run, you can abscond
But one day, love will find you

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 257.

The Lovebox #lunchboxANDyou

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My husband is a super foodie and is one of the most popular food bloggers in the city. Yes, I'm gloating! Everything for him revolves around food and thankfully for him I'm passionate about food too else I would have thought that he was a gluttony maniac. Almost all our conversations are driven around food and since I love cooking and baking, he is the perfect companion for me in every possible way. We love cooking together and travelling around the city in search of hidden nooks that serve some of the most delicious food. My husband is someone who is very passionate about the things he does and respects the things that are important to me. It is never about him or me, it has always been about us. In about two years of being married, he has relished every morsel that I have prepared and assisted me in preparing some too. He is the most important person in my life and is my most favorite person on this planet. I was a narcissist, but he converted me. He came into my life when I had almost given up on love. He helped me heal and waited for me without expecting anything in return. He is the center of every emotion that I feel within myself. He is the center of my being and my reason to breathe and survive. I love him more than anything else and I cannot imagine life without him. 

Food and its forms have always been a very integral part of our lives. He is a vegetarian and is proud of it. I'm a non-vegetarian who cannot get past a day without eating meat. Together we co-exist beautifully. He doesn't restrict me and I absolutely love him for that. We go to veg only places and then later visit a steak house, or the other way round. That's how our life has been and always will be. No compromises when it comes to food. Be it a spicy Punjabi curry or some plain old chaat. We relish everything together and express our views about it. I was never a sweet/dessert person until I met him. For me spice is the key, while sugar is the lock for him. After meeting him, I have begun enjoying sweets too. Cakes, pastries and anything with chocolate is his favorite. He is absolutely crazy about the choco lava cake, with extra chocolate syrup and preferably with ice cream. Another absolute favorite of his is the coffee laced tiramisu. He loves the contrast between the soft mascarpone cheese layer and kahlua soaked savoiardi biscuits. And so do I. So, if I'm sending him a lunchbox on Valentine's Day I would love to send him a freshly baked, still warm chocolate lava cake with a container of chocolate syrup to top it. The gooey chocolate center would still be warm as he eagerly tucks his spoon into it. Since I'm following the lunchbox theme, I shall have a love note inside the box as well. This is what the note would read. Rather sing.

Of all the beautiful things that I have
The best of them is you
In you I'm glad to have found
A love so pure and true

You taught me the meaning of love
I was smitten since the first date
There were no second thoughts
In you I had found my soul mate

Love is what I see in your eyes
You define the feeling in every way
Words cannot do justice
To everything that I have to say

Every old pain was washed away
We started life on a clean slate
For now, just accept this love box
Let us together drown in chocolate

'The Lunchbox' Premieres on Valentine's Day at 8 PM on &pictures.

We Could Have Been

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It was not easy to walk out of your life. I know I hurt you, but I was the one who was hurt more. I loved you so much that I couldn't look beyond you. My whole life was centered around you without me realizing it. It was love at first sight for me, but when we became friends and I started spending more time with you I realized that what I felt was much more than love. It was madness. We were as different as chalk and cheese. You were the sophisticated lady and I was the local hero. Yet, situations brought us closer. You were by my side through every moment of mine. You laughed with me during my good times and offered a shoulder to cry on during my low times. You were all that I needed. Your love helped me heal in more ways than one. Having you by my side made me win every battle. I could drown in your thoughts and wanted to remain there. We did not define our relationship. People called it "Friends with benefits", but I was sure that one day you would be my wife. Every night that we spent together made me fall in love with you more and more. You did not ask for a commitment nor did I feel the need for one. I know you belonged to me wholly. Years of being in love with you and having you by my side every night and morning seemed too good to be true. 

I knew that I was a lucky bastard as I had it all going right for me. You completed me and there came a time when I could not imagine myself without you. I was afraid that I could not function without you. It scared me to the core. What if you left me and I was lost forever? I was so enveloped in you that I could see no trace of myself in me. I am not blaming you my love, I am the sole one responsible for this. That is why I walked away, to find myself again. But that turned out to be the worst decision of my life. I did not know where to go and by the time I realized it, I was too far away to return. I had everything going in my life, except you. There was a void in my life that only you could fill, but I couldn't do anything about it. I got married to someone else owing to family pressure. Today I have no feelings for my wife and I try to search for you in her but in vain. I'm stuck in a painful life that I feel like not living anymore. Your thoughts plague me and the pain helped me realize why I was lost in you. There was no need for me to go search for myself. You and I were no longer two people. You were lost in me and I in you. Together we were one. Now I realize that. But not a day has passed without me thinking how life would have been had I not walked away.

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I resisted your charms for as long as I could. But when you are too careful, you lose control of the situation they say. And there I was, fallen head over heels in love with you. I was the polished extrovert and you the typical romeo who I would never have looked at if I did not know you already. And yet, it was love. I said east, you said west, and yet we managed to co-exist beautifully. You brought the fun in my otherwise black and white life. You helped me loosen up and I in turn gave you the love you desired. Nothing about our relationship was defined, but I felt that you were made to complete me. I did not feel the need to give our relationship a name as I had everything that I wanted, even without a name. People mocked us for not accepting the fact that we were a "couple" now, but it did not matter to me. I knew it deep within myself that you were my soul mate. Every night in your arms gave me the peace that I had been looking for since ages. Everything thing about you drove me crazy. The way you charmed people, the way you broke the rules and even the way you hurled abuses. Strange, for a city bred girl like me. Yet, I gave in completely to you. I knew if I had you I needed nothing else. I knew I would always have you by my side no matter what happens.

But when you walked away, I did not feel anything. I felt pain, no doubt but not as much as I had feared before. Not having you my life made me learn and do things for myself. I felt a sense of freedom and independence. It funny that I had never thought about it while we were together. Now I myself could do the things that you had been doing for me until now. And yes, I felt proud. All the pain I felt while you left had turned into something that I was now proud of. But that lasted only a while. After a few days I began missing your actual presence. But it was too late to turn back and look for you. I missed your jokes, your irritating habits. I felt like a part of me was no longer alive. I somehow moved on and got married, but I'm now only living a life of pretense. It has been years since you left, but not a day has passed when I do not think about you. I do not feel like doing any of the things that I learnt in your absence. Everywhere I look, I see you. There was no way that I could not be dependent on you. You were embedded in me; body, mind and soul. And there was so way that I could free my soul from me. I have it all going right for me now, but I cannot help but think how life would have turned out had I not let you walk away.

Action Replay - January 2015

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New year came and January too past by. Time is flying ain't it? I still remember the new year's eve celebration with the fun, frolic and alcohol and now it is time to start planning for Valentines day. Wow! If the last few months were about work, work and only work, January was all about house hunting along with more work. Yeah, you can imagine the effects of this deadly combination. After Cal's little brother grew up and started working, we decided that he needed his own space and privacy now. Currently we are staying in a 2 BHK duplex house, where one room is occupied by the in-laws and the other by Cal and I. It was about time he got some space of his own, so Cal and I decided to move out and give him our room. Cal and I had planned to move out to a place of our own immediately after marriage, but somehow that idea did not materialise. But now, we decided to find a place for ourselves. And boy was it one tedious task.

Bangalore the IT hub of India is a place where almost every IT person resides. Thanks to the humongous crowd, the cost of living has shot up and owners and dealers demand exorbitant amount as rent. The first couple of houses we saw made me want to scream out bloody murder. We are looking for a house around the same area we currently live in so that we are closer to the in-laws as well as our work place. And this happens to be one of the the poshest localities of Bangalore. The 1 BHK houses we checked were the size of a matchbox with a jarring colors on the walls. The bedroom of one house was so tiny that not even a single bed would fit into it. I was so disappointed that I wanted to scrap this whole idea of moving out altogether. Cal and I checked out so many other houses online but for the rent that they demanded I would have had to sell one kidney of mine. One day of house hunting in Bangalore and I was done.

But then on day two a miracle happened. We had checked out a particular property on an online site but the number provided there was not no valid. The next day, the owner of that house directly called us and asked us to go check out their apartment that they wanted to rent out. We went there with zero expectations, but the minute we set foot into the house, we knew that we belonged there. A spacious 1.5 BHK that includes a utility room and a balcony. And for once the balcony does not open to another house or another balcony. The balcony faces empty space and there is plenty of fresh air. I was in love. Within five minutes our decision was made and in a week the papers were signed and next Monday we are all set to move in there. We found a house in Bangalore in two days! You have no idea what an achievement that is.

The whole of January was spent in buying items for the house and juggling work. I bought all the products for the kitchen with the money I made/won from my writing. I feel so proud because of that. We are yet to pick up some appliances, but we want to buy one thing at a time and not pile on debt. The basic items are ready and we are good to move in for now. I'm so excited because I have never lived with just one person before. It has always been a family. This is a first for me and I cannot wait to live alone with the man I love. This phase is also going to be a test for my multitasking skills. I am neck deep in work and we now have to handle all the household chores by ourselves. I would never compromise on work no matter what, this would be put to test now and I hope to come out with flying colors. Until now I had my mother-in-law to take care of things when I wasn't around, but she is a housewife and has the time to do it. Here, both of us are working and need to excel in our time managing skills. This would also be the ultimate test for my OCD issues. I hope I don't get all hyper while arranging things in the house now. Cal is a tad bit worried to live with me because of this.

The new year started off with a bang with my story getting selected to be published as part of an anthology. My first work on print and I'm so thrilled. I even managed to write about sixteen posts inspite of being neck deep in work. So I'm pleased with how the year has started for me and I'm all set to start off a new life in a new place soon. I hope it all goes well and Cal and I learn to manage everything perfectly. Do pray for us!

Won & Lost

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In this boring court room
All I see is white and black
Screams, yells and accusations
With no hope of turning back

I was in love with this profession once
Then it all became a money game
I did not succumb to the pressure of it
Because of this I did not get fame

I believe in the truth and only that
To win I cannot fabricate a lie
People have tried to buy my expertise
Instead of selling myself I'd rather die

And then you walk in one fine day
I was supposed to be fighting against you
You were calm, composed and restrained
Almost like it was too good to be true

Accused of killing your man you were
His family had hired me for their fight
I had all the proofs on my side
I knew my facts were absolutely right

And yet I was drawn to you
Your big eyes drowned me in
Nothing of me was left in me
As I fell head over heels in sin

You charmed me with every word
I fell for everything that you said
The facts suddenly seemed meaningless
It was your thoughts that filled my head

I could no longer think right
That was when I committed the crime
I threw away the evidence files
I did everything to make you mine

You played along beautifully
Holding back and yet giving it all
I had lost the case already
I was just waiting for the judge's call

You walked away innocent and free
I waited for you to come to me
I remembered all the promises you made
I'll show you the life you wanted to see

I saw you appear with a happy smile
I was dying to make you my wife
Your beautiful face flashed before my eyes
As you pierced my heart with your knife

Mane Obsession - 1

My thick black hair :)

I have always been proud of my thick black hair. During my twelfth standard I had grown my hair long enough to brace my hips. My hair was the talk of the town, family and college. Thick, straight and jet black. I could do any hairstyle I wanted to and my hair was my best feature. But soon college was over and I had to go to Chennai for my work training. Having been born and brought up in Bangalore, Chennai came as a rude shock to me. The place, the people, the weather, the water, the food; I had problems with everything. But what I hated the most was what it did to my hair. The weather is constantly humid and sticky, making my hair feel oily all the time. The water was so bad, that it left my hair all dull and limp. Thanks to the sticky weather I had to wash my hair everyday. And thanks to the hard water, my hair lost its shine, thickness and it became all rough and dull.

When I came back to Bangalore after four months, my hair was beyond repair. I had no other go, but to cut it. I remember holding my cut hair and crying at the salon. I even carried it in a bag with me. After two days of weeping, I realized how creepy it was and threw it away. I took extreme care of my now shoulder length hair. I oiled it thrice a week, went for spa treatments and used the best of products. The quality of my hair improved to a large extent. The shine and the thickness returned, but the silkiness was gone for ever. My hair had become incredibly rough and difficult to manage. With the help of serums and leave in products I tried to smooth it out as much as I can, but it only gave temporary resolution.

Regular visits to a salon for a hair spa helped my hair a lot. Thankfully I did not have any hair fall problem. It was only about the roughness. I have a severe migraine problem, because of which I cannot tie up my hair. No matter how long, I have to let my hair loose all the time. Else I end up with a splitting headache. This only adds to the already existing problem. On top of that I regularly blow dry my hair and straighten it on occasions. Earlier no matter what I did to my hair, its quality remained the same and I was so proud of it. I had once colored my hair red and it still held on to the shine and silk like texture. But a brief stay of four months in another city, took away my prized possession from me.

People still love my hair. It looks really brilliant I know. But only I know how it feels. The day I wash it, it looks smooth and shiny. But after a few hours, it turns so rough and frizzy that I feel I'm running my hand through some coir threads. I spend so much money on shampoos and serums and yet this problem does not go away. Some shampoos made my hair feel smooth by forming a thin layer on each hair strand which made my hair look like plastic. Some serums made my hair look and feel great, but after a few hours it turns the scalp so oily that I feel icky. I have tried almost every hair product in the market by now, but the roughness refuses to leave my side. So just like everyone else, I'm forced to flaunt hair that looks wonderful but feels rough.

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When I heard about the Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition shampoo, I just brushed it off as any other. I had tried every shampoo from Garnier years ago and the results were always the same. Great looking hair that felt rough. When I received the product for review, I was impressed. It came to me in a single day and neatly packed. The shampoo and conditioner bottles do not have the trademark green color, but are yellow instead. I liked the packaging, with the green font on it. I'm yet to use it though, but the product smells really nice and mild. Thanks to migraine issues I cannot use anything with a strong odour. This one is something that I can use. I have zero hopes from this product, that it will soothe my rough hair. I hope I am wrong here and this one helps me with the problem that I have been facing from years.

More about the product and its benefits later.

Bedtime Routine

Copyright Ted Strutz

"Ruhaan, it is past bedtime and you are still watching TV?", I yell at my five year old.

"But mama, I have no school tomorrow."

"Still, you need to get to bed on time baby", I turn the switch off and then the lights and carry him towards the corner bedroom.

"Will you please read me a story about cricket until I fall asleep?"

"Sure my darling", I say and reach out for his tiny shelf of books wondering how his father would have read the cricket story had he not abandoned his only son who was born without limbs.

This five sentence fiction is written for the topic 'Bedtime' at Lillie McFerrin Writes.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 30th January 2015.

I Can Read Your Mind

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Valentine's Day is just two weeks away and I'm going out of my way to make the day special for my man. You see, we are moving into a place of our own soon and this would be our first Valentine's in this place. Movies and dinners are so passé, I want to do something special that shall leave my husband spellbound! I want to make this day the best day of our life by doing everything that he wants to. Most often than not, it is always about me during celebrations. But on this day I'm going to make it all about him. Oh yeah, everything single thing is going to be about him and only for him. And how would it be special for him? Because I'm going to read his mind and do all the things running inside it. Yes, this Valentine's Day I'm blessed with the super power to read minds! How awesome is that.

Its midnight and he is thinking about some dessert and I get him the most yummiest chocolate lava cake that I have made specially for him. He is stumped as it was exactly what was on his mind. And before he could take a bite I pour him a glass of champagne and toast to our fourth Valentine's day together. Love is such a wonderful feeling and I am so blessed to have experienced it. I hear a song running in his mind and an idea pops into my mind. I go get out the guitar and strum some random music and sing the very song only to see my husband's eyes open wide with shock. As he is thinking about how I am doing this, I continue to his favorite song and groove slightly to it. In a minute I have him joining me on the floor and soon we are tucked in each other's arms dancing! As I read his mind I hear all the sweet nothings going on I feel so happy. I am indeed to lucky to be married to him. He loves me a lot, I know. But today is special in every way. We finish the dance and the champagne and head to bed, still locked in a tight embrace.

When he's up early, the only thing on his mind is some hot breakfast in bed. I hear him and in about thirty minutes, I have a platter before him. There is freshly made crispy waffles with maple syrup and whipped cream, some freshly squeezed orange juice and hot strong black coffee, just the way he likes it. He asks me how did I know that this is exactly what he needed, I joked saying that I love him so much that I could now read his mind. He smiled and devoured the breakfast. He heads for a shower and to get ready. But I know that all he wants to do is just sit at home and relax as he had been under a lot of work stress lately. Just as he comes of the shower, I have an entire spa session set up for him. I read his mind for his pain points and I slowly start massaging him. The smell of the warm oil relaxes him as I see him enjoy the massage with a huge smile on his face.

After the massage, I knew all he needs is a small nap. I let him nap as I go ahead to cook him some delicious lunch. All the wonderful treats that has been running on his mind the entire day. Classy restaurants and candle light dinners are romantic alright, but nothing can beat the genuineness of a home cooked meal filled with love. Before he is up, I clean up the entire house and change the curtains and cushions to his favorite. I then set up the meal, on his favorite white cutlery. Nothing fancy, I have cooked all his favorite comfort foods. Garlic bread with cheese, piping hot pizza with onions, corn and spinach and some fresh aam panna to wash it down. He is soon up and I get him to the lunch table. He is surprised and emotional looking at the spread that I have laid out for him. We eat and talk about the four years that we have spent together. There is an overload of love and his face shows me how much he is enjoying the day.

The next thing on his mind is some cozy time with me. I play his favorite movie and quickly rush to make some caramel popcorn. I set it out on a huge tub and both of us sit down in front of the TV, munching on some popcorn and enjoying the movie. I see him having a good time and seeing him happy, makes me even more happy. As the time approaches 5 pm, I hear him craving for some hot coffee. I leave him and the movie for a while as I bake some cookies for him along with a pot of freshly brewed coffee. He is in heaven as he sees the treat that I have in store for him. The ability to read his mind and reading all the wonderful things he is thinking about me is making me fall in love with him more and more. 

After a wonderful evening, I read exactly what his mind says. I put on his favorite video game and leave him to it as I decide to whip up some fantastic dinner for my foodie husband. Apart from me, the only other primary thing on his mind is food. So I let him play his game and I get ready to cook dinner. I'm a pretty good cook but today it also was my super power. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach they say. And I was all set to live up to it. The vegetables danced to my tune as the spices added to the chime. My husband was thinking of some ice cream based dessert I could read and soon I was all set to make his favorite apple pie with ice cream. The apples were juicy and tender and the pie came out brilliantly well. I had made tomato basil soup, achari paneer tikka, butter naan and my husband's favorite bharwan bhindi. 

I then slipped into my little black dress and set the table for dinner. I dimmed the lights and lit some aromatic candles as I knew that my husband wanted a candle light dinner. I brought out a bottle of wine that we were saving up for this occasion. My husband finished playing and entered the dining room only to be surprised again. He changed into a fine suit, to suit the occasion and we sat to have dinner. It was a success in every way. Every mouthful was accompanied by compliments and I felt like a master chef. My husband was thinking so many good things about me that I began to blush in my seat. After dinner, we sat on the couch talking about us and the love that we share. It was magical and divine. Just as the day was about to end, my husband grabbed me close.

"This day was exactly how I wanted today to be. You are a very good mind reader you know."

"So, what next?" I smile and ask him.

"I think you know!" He winks and plants a kiss on my lips.

It was the most memorable day of both our lives.

This post has been written for Baggout's Blogging Contest on Valentine's Day. Baggout provides some awesome deals on Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Snapdeal, Amazon and 100+ other online stores.