My Two Cents On Feminism

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Over the past few weeks a lot has been said and done in the name of feminism, that is so not right. I am a proud feminist and will be one until the day I die. But that doesn't mean that I am into male bashing and fight over petty issues. First of all it is sad that we live in a world where feminism is a bad word. The chauvinistic world of ours made it feel so. Had the people of the world not been so chauvinistic, then feminism would have been just another word. Now that feminism is a word that everybody knows about, it is very important to understand the meaning of it. Feminism is about equality. Between men and women. Nothing else. Period.

Speaking of period, when this in-appropriate pic was doing the rounds on Instagram, many women came forward with applause as to what a brave move it was. I honestly was disgusted by that image. Why do you think that I have only provided a link to that image here and not put it up instead? Menstruation is a normal process and everybody who has had a class in biology is aware of it. I do agree that some women are treated worse than shit while they are on their period by being considered impure, given a different plate to eat and so on. And yet this doesn't justify the picture. A period stain is a girl's worst enemy because she doesn't want anyone to know about her period. Why? Not because it is impure or something, because it is something as natural as breathing or having sex. So do we put up pictures of people having sex or masturbating to prove a point now?

Awareness about menstruation is necessary and is very vital. But this is not the approach for it. It is not only the men who need to be educated about it, it is the women too. More often than not it is the women who puts the rules and conditions on the girl. And all in the name of God. It is utter nonsense. Having been a victim of it myself I shall stand up to have this mentality changed. Some people will remain as stubborn and ignorant as ever and we cannot do anything about it. There are a few who will atleast try to listen. They need to be educated about why menstruation happens and why it not a big deal at all. And this will not happen by showing pictures of how periods happen. Everyone is aware of how it happens and where the blood flows from. Why it happens is what people need to understand. Only then will they understand that it is a sign of good health and nothing to do with purity or evil.

And then came this #VogueEmpower video. I am sure everyone has seen it. I had not heard about it until I logged into Facebook last night. My whole timeline was filled with the shares of this video where people were applauding Deepika Padukone like never before. #MyChoice was smeared all over the page and I did not understand what the fuss was all about. And then I saw the video. You know what my takeaway from the video was? That Deepika has lovely hair and looks gorgeous. Nothing more nothing less. Nothing that was spoken in the video made sense to me. We saw a bevy of women appear on the video for brief seconds, but I wonder if they knew what they were doing in the video. The video has nothing to do about women empowerment. All it did for me was to find out which shampoo Deepika uses.

From depression to empowerment, Deepika Padukone is turning out to be the next Aamir Khan when it comes to social issues. As much as I applaud her for her strength and courage to come out and talk about depression, I am left wondering as to why she agreed to be a part of a video like this. Her best friend and director Homi Adajania has directed this video for his wife Anaitha Shroff Adajania's magazine Vogue, which doesn't surprise me as to why she is a part of it. When she agreed to do 'Finding Fanny' just for his sake, then this small video would mean nothing at all. But the message the video is supposed to convey surprises me. When the number of times the words 'My Choice' was repeated, all I wanted to ask was "Who told you it is not your choice in the first place?".

I agree about a few choices that she speaks about in the video. I agree to the choice to have sex before marriage. I agree to the choice to love a man or a woman or both. I agree to the choice to have a baby or not. But what was all about the choice to have sex outside marriage? Of all the women, Deepika should not be the one talking about it. She was the one who chose a public platform to talk about her ex Ranbir Kapoor's infidelity. The whole world sympathised with her for being the victim and soon the man was given the image of a play boy who cannot keep it in his pants. And now we have the same lady talking about her choice to have sex outside marriage, when her relationship with the playboy was not bound by commitment at all. Why taint his name in public, if you were to come up with something like this one day? If you have the choice to love temporarily and lust forever, so does he.

I love Deepika as an actress and as a person for the success that she has achieved based on her hard work. I do not know if she did this video to promote her upcoming movie 'Piku' where she plays a daughter who takes care of her father single handedly. Maybe, this is how she decided to show empowerment.

Image Source - Sadly, this is what we seem to be preaching.

Such videos and images only scream out for attention and does nothing else. #MyChoice applies to a man as much as it applies to a woman. This video just negates the possibility of the existence of a man. "You are my choice. I'm not your privilege"; this applies to the men as well. Why are we letting the man take blame for almost everything that is happening. The society including a certain number of women are to blame here for giving the man his special rights and ignoring the woman. But now, times have changed and the woman has begun fighting for herself. Not by pushing the man underneath, but by trying to reach higher just by herself or with the support of the man. Equality means that. Co-existence. In equality there are no special privileges or reservations for the women. In equality there is no screaming out for choice. Its your choice. Make it. Why do you need a point to prove it?

There are apparently 99 women in the video. Believe me, I was too bored to count. But I saw the whole video. I did not understand the snowflake bit, nor the bindi being the ornament bit. Being 'Infinite in every direction' made me want to laugh. First of all the meaning of infinite needs to be cleared out. And next, a man is infinite in his own ways too. If feminists like these go on preaching about their choices then soon men will have no meaning in our lives. A woman needs a man as much as a man needs a woman. Be it for companionship, love, sex or anything else. A woman is not expected to be seated at home, pregnant in the kitchen. Nor is a woman expected to be put on a pedestal and worshiped. A woman should live the way she wants to, just like the way a man should. No questions asked.

The world was just getting used to the word feminism when a new word was put across. Feminazis.

And why do I get the feeling that this is not the end?

A Common Place For The Common Man #DigitalIndia

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When a tea seller made his way to the highest seat of the country, like billions of people I rejoiced too. Having only seen promises all these years and never seen them getting fulfilled, I thought that the new Prime Minister would bring a change in a good way. If not everything, atleast something would change was the hope. The reason I voted for Narendra Damodardas Modi was that he has the right vision for the country. He has held on his cultural middle class roots and yet embraced technology and is so wonderful at it. His PR team is the most enthusiastic team ever and I love to see the tweets they churn out every second. It did not happen during the Congress reign. Let us face it, boon or bane, we are a slave to technology. If there is one place that everyone is present, then it has to be the online world. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has found his way out here and is making the most of it. And I'm glad that the head office of the country is encouraging this as well.

In this era of one-day delivery or same day delivery, the only thing that has remained stagnant and almost useless are the government offices. I remember taking three days off from work to renew my passport and yet it was not done. I stood in long queues outside the passport office, bribed the officials and yet nothing was done. Finally I had to use influences and get a letter from the commissioner to get my passport renewed. It worked like a charm. How, I do not know? All that mattered to me was that my work got done. And this is the exact mentality of every single Indian out here. And we cannot blame them either. Nobody has the time to waste these days. Everyone is busy trying to make a living and live a life, that no one has the time nor the patience to wait for their things.

What India needs the most now is to put the foot on the pedal and rise up to technology. It is not only about the head office and we IT employees who should go online. Every nook and corner of the country needs to get digital too. Digital India is a dream now in the eyes of every India. But if every Indian does a bit for it, then the dream shall be realised soon. Digital India is an initiative of the Government of India to integrate the government departments and the people of India. This is vital and I cannot stress the importance of this enough. It aims at ensuring that government services are made available to citizens electronically by reducing paperwork and ensuring transparency and zero corruption. No one would be denied of any information now while everything is present online for everyone to see. This also means that measures would now be taken to connect rural areas with high speed Internet network. About time this happened.

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Digital India has three core components. These include the creation of digital infrastructure, delivering services digitally and digital literacy. The most important one here is digital literacy. Education should be the key here and this is the only thing that will expedite the dream of Digital India. People of the country need to be educated about why technology is important and they should stop looking it as taboo or as something alien. It is about time people gave up their ignorance and embraced something new, for themselves. Awareness camps should visit rural areas and cite the importance of technology in day to day lives. If the government is willing to provide the infrastructure and the services, then what is the harm in getting educated to use them? Especially when it is the citizens who are benefited out of it. And you do not need a masters degree to check out a site and its services online. Basic literacy is enough to understand these things. The above statistics should increase and not only in population.

Once the Government services come online, then there is no looking back. Every citizen can just login and check what is happening with his/her applications now. And thanks to E-Governance, there will no longer be the painful task of giving bribes. Earlier a bribe would be required to get past each level, from the peon to the clerk to the assistant to the manager. And this is exactly why people like me loathe the Government services. At every step they expect money. E-Governance will ensure a transparent and seamless service to the common man. There should also be a platform online to register any complaints the common man is facing and fast action should be taken on them. The common man has just a few basic needs from the Government. There is no need for him to struggle so much to get his own things done. Especially when it is his tax money that is contributing to the salaries of the Government servants.

Yes, I used the term servants on purpose. This is to open the eyes of almost all of them who think that they rule the Government and how the common man is their slave. Some people feel powerful by turning away a few people. E-Governance would change all that. There needs to be a central monitoring system where every request and every petition should be monitored. E-Governance would also open up the employment scheme in India where a large number of people can be recruited to run Digital India. If the Government is only a click away then people would be more than eager to literate themselves on technology at its uses. It is about time, that few people realize that there is more than porn out there on the Internet.

Image Source: This & This.

E-Governance can easily accelerate the vision of a digital India. If every one of us support it. When almost everything is now available online, why not the Government services too? Every farmer, carpenter, driver, mason, clerk, manager, IT consultant, businessman would be able to use this with just a click. There is no prejudice based on caste or creed here. As educated individuals it is our duty to spread awareness about technology. Educate your neighbor, maid, security guard on how to access Internet and its uses. Talk, talk and continue to talk. By the time this is ready to be implemented we should have had created enough curiosity and awareness. People should wait for this to take off and help in maintaining it. Stringer rules should be put into place, making Governance a serious job and enabling a common place for the common man. R.K. Laxman would be proud of this, I'm sure.

The #DigitalIndia project is slated for completion by 2019. But if we do our bit in educating people about this, this dream can be realized sooner than we all think.

Intel supports the Digital India Vision. Intel is committed towards our government's vision of a Digital India. Through its ‘Digital Skills for India’ and ‘Innovate for India’ initiatives, Intel has been fostering technology as the enabler for creating a digitized India.

It Is Important To Make Mistakes

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The above image is my cover photo on Facebook. I found this image by chance actually and when I saw it I knew how true it held for me. We all make mistakes ofcourse, but how many of us actually sit back, analyse them and take away a learning? I did not too, until a while ago. But now I cannot imagine myself as a person, without those mistakes. Mistakes are not rejections, they are lessons. You need to be self critical and very mature to accept it and takeaway the true meaning of it. If you are blinded by ego, then well you will never realize that it was a mistake in the first place. Introspection and retrospection is really important in life. To grow and to understand the importance of situations in life.

Of course a mistake doesn't start of being well, a mistake. It is a normal activity or emotion that goes wrong somewhere due to various reasons. How you look at it is the key here. If you just want to forget it and move on, then it is a choice that you have to make. Because no matter how much you ignore or run away from it, it will come back to haunt you someday or the other. Most of my mistakes have been decisions. Either the decision or the delay in taking it. But then I saw through the clouds and found my silver lining in the form of learnings that I got to take back.  Initially I moped and cried over it, but later when my over active brain scrutinized the incident I saw what the reality was and what exactly the issue was. The next time I got it right.

I am an extrovert, but I am not a very friendly person. Exactly why I appear as a snob to most people. But that is how I am and I do not care what people think about me. I find it really difficult to trust people and most of life's lessons for me have been in this area alone. I only have a bunch of people whom I can trust and who I know will have my back always. But then some people have my back in such a way that they even put a knife through it. What was my mistake here you ask? To trust the person for the second time. A few days ago, the same thing had happened. It took me a while to recuperate from it, but I somehow did. I got my lesson then itself but somehow I overlooked it. But this time, I have the lesson engraved all over me. Some people are just not meant to be trusted in anyway possible. Also, some people will go to any extent to put the other person down so that they can shine. Enough. Twice bitten. I shall never make the mistake of trusting such people again. I have got burnt badly due to this. If this is life's way of teaching me the lesson, then well I have mastered it now.

A couple of months back I bought a top for myself online. I liked the prints and I thought that it will look good on me. My husband told me from day one that the prints are too book and will not look good. Yet, I went ahead and purchased the top. When it arrived I still liked how it looked. But when I wore it, I looked like a moron as there was too much going on with that single top. Something that looks good might not always suit you. Mistake made, lesson learnt. But it took me a while to realize it. I tried to wear that top in different ways with different skirts and trousers, and yet it did not look good. Thanks to this, the return period lapsed and I was stuck with the top that I knew I would never wear. I had to give it away for free to someone and since then I have stayed away from big prints.

The biggest mistake of my life was that I took my parents for granted. I only realized their importance once I got married. Almost everyone of us take our parents for granted, but it is time to wake up and see the struggle they put up for us. My mother is a working lady and yet she manages to take care of the house so well. She prepares breakfast and lunch before she leaves to work and packs our lunchboxes. By the time we come back from work, she would have kept some snacks ready. And by dinner time, a wholesome meal would be ready. All made fresh and hot, without any carry overs. It is because of her that I have love for food and am the good cook that I am today. After marriage as I do the same day after day I realize how hard it must have been for her to do that. That day I vowed to never ever take my parents for granted.

Mistakes teach us a lot, atleast it did to me. Knowingly or unknowingly. I'm the same person who wrote "Made mistakes. Never learnt from them. No regrets." in her introduction. But then I was forced to swallow my own words as they taught me more than what I would have learnt had I not made any mistakes. Today whatever I am, is because of the hard work that I put in. And a certain percentage of that can also be attributed to the mistakes that I have made. Life has been wonderful to me by giving me lessons in the form of mistakes. And I'm happy to openly admit that, yes, I have made mistakes. What is there to hide in that?

Make mistakes, learn from it. Did not learn anything? Don't worry, this is the mistake that you will learn from.

Two To Tango #OOTD

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On 22nd March, Cal and I celebrated our second year wedding anniversary. I still remember scheduling the post for our first anniversary last year and now our second anniversary passed by too. It is true when they say that times flies when you are doing something that you love and with the person you love. Cal and I have been together for over four years now and have been married for two. Nothing has changed since the first day and that is what I think is the secret of our marriage. There still is the same amount of passion, love, respect and everything else that we first came with. After marriage he did not expect me to become something else and nor did I expect him to change. I still am his lover and his best friend. The wife only comes later.

I got married when I was twenty six. Fairly young in my own standards as I wanted to get married only by thirty. But when I knew that the person is right, I did not find any reason to wait and I'm so glad I decided to jump ahead and take the plunge. I really, really love this man. He has stood by me through everything and has been my strength. He knows what is right and wrong and doesn't feel the need to abide by the rules of society. He loves me a lot and more than that, he respects me. He respects me for the woman I am, for the work I do and for the things I write. He doesn't want to be the woman who does things for him, sleeps with him and takes care of him. He doesn't want a maid, he wants a companion and I am exactly that. He can do his own things and he lets me do mine. We are as different as we are similar and yet we co-exist peacefully because of the trust, respect and love that we share.

And because of this, people think that I'm dominant. Sadly, today we live in a society where a man is considered to be woman's puppet, if he respects her or lets her speak. Every body has their own interpretations of things, but we decided to stick on to what we believe. We love each other and that is enough for us to survive. Our second wedding anniversary sealed this fact for us. Cal being the sweetheart that he has has booked a super awesome Sunday brunch for us at Ithaca, The Chancery Pavilion. Since this was a very happy occasion I decided to dress all happy and bright. Cal loves it when I wear a plain white shirt and jeans. That is one of my favorite comfort dressing too. Just like Cal and I, white and blue is the perfect combo and we know that it always takes two to tango! My husband, my perfect match.

Summer is already here in Bangalore and the heat is unbearable. So I wore a loose white shirt with blue denims. To add that extra spunk of color I wore flat shoes in bright yellow. The yellow also matched my bright blue Chumbak tote that he gifted me for the anniversary. After months of searching I finally found the perfect Lennon glasses to suit my face shape and complexion. With that, I was ready for the happy occasion.

Shirt: Street shopping - Commercial street.
Jeans: Levis.
Shoes: Street shopping - Commercial street.
Watch: Tommy Hilfiger.
Tote: Chumbak
Glasses: Street shopping - Commercial street.

I like to mix my brands with street shopped pieces and create a look out of it. Of course I do love my brands, but I love street shopping a tad bit more. More often than not, you would see me in a mix of things that I have curated for myself. At times I even stitch my own clothes to suit the way I want it to be. This is my first OOTD post. Honestly, until now I wasn't sure if I wanted to upload my own pictures here and talk about fashion and style. But then, why not?

How do you like this look?

A Foodie's Paradise #FarMoreSingapore

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The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear Singapore is Merlion, the creature with a lion head and a body of a fish. The second thing that comes to my mind is the Singapore Sling, the national drink of Singapore. New York has its Manhattan, Moscow its Mule and Long Island its Iced Tea. Formulated at the turn of the century, the Singapore Sling was initially called the Straits Sling, and was created as a lady’s cocktail, hence its pinkish tone. I have a friend living in Singapore and she had raved about this drink. It consists of gin, cherry liqueur, benedictine, pomegranate juice and pineapple juice from sarawak pineapples, to create the foamy top. This classic cocktail is expected to give a pleasant high and taste delicious. When I visit Singapore, this is the first thing that I would try. In Singapore, food is viewed as crucial to the national identity and is a unifying cultural thread. Unknown to many, Singapore is a food haven with a huge variety of cuisines. The food is primarily influenced by the native Malay with other influences of Chinese, Indonesian, Portugese influenced Eurasian and Indian. Singaporeans take their food very seriously and Singaporean literature declares eating as a national pastime and food, a national obsession. And that is something that I have in common with that country.

The cuisine of Singapore proves to be a significant cultural attraction.This is because Singaporean hawker stalls include a huge variety of cuisines, ranging from Malay food, to Thai, Indian, Western, Korean, Japanese and even Vietnamese food. These hawker centres are abundant and cheap, hence encouraging a large consumer base. Singaporean cuisine has been promoted as an attraction for tourists by the Singapore Tourism Board. The government even organizes the Singapore Food Festival every July to celebrate Singapore's cuisine. There is plenty to eat in the food-obsessed Singapore and I cannot wait to visit and indulge in them. Since I'm a true lover of food I have read about the cuisines of different countries. Singapore's cuisine has intrigued me the most thanks to their obsession with food and the abundant variety of it. When a country is so proud of their food, it must be worth it, right?

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I have a list of food items that I'm dying to try and I want to make sure I have it all. Yes, this is a part of my bucket list as well. I'm a hard core non-vegetarian and I know that Singapore would be a foodie's paradise for me. Having said that, I would want to try out the vegetarian dish called Rojak as well. This is a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The term "rojak" is Malay for mixture. The vegetables and fruits are tossed in a spicy fermented prawn paste sauce and a generous sprinkle of finely chopped roasted peanuts. The peanut lover in me has her eyes set on this one. The bak chor mee sua commonly known as bak chor mee or minced meat noodles is as tempting as it sounds. This simple noodle dish is often served with with mee pok or flat yellow noodles which soak up the fragrant mix of chilli and vinegar better, and bring a pleasant bite to, well, every bite.

The fried carrot cake is another surprise specialty here. I say surprise because you expect a cake to be sweet and served as a dessert. And when carrots are involved, you obviously expect it to be sweet. Made from an old-world recipe that’s been a local favorite for many years, carrot cake is also known as chai tow kueh and actually consists of cubes of steamed rice flour and white radish, fried in egg-like an omelette and garnished with spring onions. Served with sweet black sauce or molasses, it is perfect for those looking for a quick yet satisfying meal. Now that you know it, you realize that there actually are no carrots in the carrot cake. My love for crab is now known far and wide. I sit with a bowl of sauteed crabs and dig in with both hands. This is the closest that I have come to nirvana. Being a crab lover there is no way that I would miss Singapore's sensuous signature, Chilli crab. The tangy sauce is made deliciously fragrant with garlic and rice vinegar, while thickening flour and egg ribbons that are produced by adding beaten eggs towards the end of the cooking process are added to give the chilli crab dish the fluffy texture it’s known for. This is apparently the dish that celebrities ask for when they arrive here.

The best way to go over the moon here is by having some of the delicious and beautiful mooncakes. Mooncakes are usually round or square shaped, and are made up of a thin skin covering a sweet dense filling, sometimes containing salted egg yolks. The original filling for mooncakes is said to be lotus seed paste, but fillings like red bean paste and yam paste are also widespread. Modern varieties of mooncakes have also popped up in recent years, including flavors such as durian, ice-cream, bird’s nest, chocolate, green tea, cream cheese, chempedek and more.These look so pretty that you would think twice before eating them. These are mostly eaten during the mid-autumn festival which is also referred to as the mooncake festival.

In a country with so many stunning culinary gems, you wouldn't know which would be the most popular one. But one dish stands out above all the others which is Singapore's favorite hawker dish, chicken rice. The recipe for Hainanese Chicken Rice is adapted from early Chinese immigrants originally from the Hainan province in southern China. The dish is simple with bite-sized pieces of steamed or blanched white chicken, fragrant rice often cooked in chicken broth with pandan leaves, light or dark soy sauce, and a delicious ground chilli and ginger paste. This is a complete meal in itself and this is Singapore's choice for comfort food. And exactly why this is also my favorite Singapore food. The foodie me is salivating as I write this.

Singapore was only known as a tourist destination until now with very little spoken about its food. But on digging deeper you notice that what a treasure you have unveiled. I have tried all these foods at the Singaporean restaurant in Bangalore. But nothing can beat the pleasure of having authentic Singapore food in well, Singapore. I cannot wait to plan my trip to Singapore. Nothing else would be on my agenda except the food!

Masterchef Guptaji #KelloggsWaleGuptaji

When my husband and I started a page called 'Live To Eat' on Facebook we knew exactly what we were doing. We are both foodies and would go to any lengths for a good meal. We have travelled to different ends of the city to try out some food that we have heard about. Food is something that binds us together and almost all of our conversations revolve around food. Thankfully for me, I love cooking and I think that it is the purest form of love. I love cooking new dishes for my husband and serving him tasty food. It is really important to me that my husband gets to eat freshly prepared home food everyday. I'm not very fussy about food. But the one thing that I'm particular is about eating only fresh cooked food. I do not like eating or serving left overs. Infact I do not even repeat the lunch menu for dinner. Everything is made fresh and eaten hot. I'm proud of myself for being able to do this everyday inspite of handling a regular job.

Since I cook lunch everyday for us in the mornings, breakfast is usually kept simple. Like toast with nutella and peanut butter, oats with dry fruits or corn flakes. During weekends I have the time to prepare something like upma, semiya, paratha or a dosa. But it is during the weekdays that the monotony of the breakfast hits you. When you are a foodie, you want to eat a lot of different things and enjoy it. Due to lack of time in the mornings it is difficult for me to cook lunch and an elaborate breakfast. And yet the craving to eat something different doesn't stop. I've eaten enough of dosas, idlis and bread for breakfast. Now I want to try something new and delicious. My mother whips up some delicious breakfast treats, but she is far away from where I stay. Just when I was thinking about how to go about this breakfast thing I heard about Guptaji rather Masterchef Guptaji. That is how I like to call him.

His facebook page makes me want to jump into the laptop and eat the food that he posts. He has recipes for almost every thing and his facebook page has now become my personal favorite recipe book. But there is always a difference in cooking and having someone cook for you. I have this problem, I cannot eat much of what I cook myself. I know that the food is delicious, but somehow by the time I'm done with cooking it I'm already saturated. Now that my mom stays far away and I get to eat at her place only during weekends, I'm hoping that Guptaji invites me to his house for some nashta. You should see the items that he can prepare using Kelloggs cornflakes as the main ingredient. I'm salivating as I'm typing this. The first time I heard about his coconut laddoos made with cornflakes, I could not wait to try it out. But how do I get him to invite me to his place?

The secret of his food and its deliciousness is no longer a secret. Everyday I see a long line of people outside the Gupta residence waiting for their turn to try the delicious nashta. I do not want to get lost in that crowd. I think I will make my way into the house through his daughter. She seems to be young, chirpy and fashionable. Maybe I can share some fashion tips with her and leak out some of my secret shopping joints to get close to her. In that way I can end up spending some good time with her and can easily make my way to their house even. I know this seems so cheesy but my love for food right now is blocking all my other morals. You will get blindsided too if you hear about the recipes that are cooked in this house. There is sitaphal cornflakes, cornflakes chivda, cornflake balls with walnut and chocolate, cornflakes popcorn clusters and many many more.

What I have mentioned here is the literal names of the recipes. But Guptaji fondly calls them as Crush Wala Nashta, Celebration Wala Nashta, Nakhare Wala Nashta and so on. No matter what he calls them, together they can be called as Kellogg's Anaaj Ka Nashta. Because every food item prepared has the goodness and health of corn. It already is a winner when you know that something is delicious. But if it is tasty also, then it is an added bonus. I want to try all the items prepared and replicate them at home for my husband. I'm sure that I will learn more than a thing or two from the masterchef himself. For now, let me go and befriend his daughter. Probably I should take one of my new bags as a gift for her. Ah, the things that I do for some good food.

A to Z Challenge 2015 - Theme Reveal

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I still remember the first day of this challenge last year. I had an empty notepad staring at me to write something staring with A. And before I knew it the day had come to start a post with the letter Z. April 2014 was one of the best and one of the most difficult months of my life in terms of my writing. Writing continuously everyday, and trying to post on time; it was one hell of a tedious task but the experience was worth it! I met so many wonderful bloggers during this journey and got to read so many beautiful posts. We bloggers bonded over the stress and motivated each other to write everyday. The motivation helped me to push myself and write posts everyday inspite of being full time at work. Ah, what a journey it has been.

I was not too sure about signing up for it this year though. I thought about if for a good three days wondering what to do. The workload at office has piled on and I have my feet and hands in way too many buckets already. Although I try to write as often as I can, writing everyday would be difficult. But then I'm not the one to shy away from challenges. I know that my multitasking skills would be put to the ultimate test and I'm hoping to come out with flying colors. For those who do not know what I'm taking about, take a look here. And you will understand how important this challenge is in the blogging world.

My theme last year was 'Random'. I decided to write about anything and everything that I felt sticking to the A to Z theme. It worked beautifully! But this year I want to challenge myself and pick a theme and stick to it. But I want to be realistic also and pick an easy theme that I would be able to handle. 'Life' was my first option, but since Naba has taken it up I wanted a different theme. I know that Naba's posts would be much much better than mine and I do not want to compete with her on that. I sat all day wondering what to choose the theme as. I looked around me for motivation and saw that they were confusing me. Too many themes began to clog my mind. I looked at the bright yellow kurta that I was wearing and thought about 'Colors'. And then I realized that I probably am not aware of 26 colors to write a post about it every day.

Next I looked at the diverse crowd on my floor and thought about 'People'. But then I have pissed enough people already with my writings. As I was heating my lunch in the pantry I thought about 'Food'. That would have been an interesting topic but I'd get too hungry writing about it alone. So I had to let it go. A lot of other themes created chaos in my mind and troubled me all day. I had to put an end to all of it. That was when the most important thing struck me. What is the core of my blog? Why not go with that only as the theme. And then just like that my mind was made up and the theme is now ready to be revealed.

So, are you guys ready for it? The LOL theme for the A to Z challenge 2015, is:

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I might write fiction, poetry or just my thoughts. But the theme will remain the same. I will explore various other emotions attached with love as well. I have a few ideas brewing in my mind already and I cannot wait for April to start.

Have you decided on your theme for the challenge yet? Do let me know what it is in the comments.

So for now, let us all hold hands, pray and motivate each other. Also let us start writing the posts and keep it ready because before you even know it, April will be here! I hope we shall all survive it.

Unknown Jungle

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She walks into a strange house
With nothing but dreams in her eyes
Uncertainty hovers over her
But she still has to pay the price

Be it love, forced or arranged
The journey would always be the same
She gives up all that she had
Losing everything, even her name

There is no familiar face around
Just a hint of vermilion on her head
No one offers to ease her tension
They expect her to blend instead

The house seems empty at first
Since she is away from her comfort zone
With baby steps she needs to tread
Needs to embrace everything on her own

No matter how comfortable the place looks
She needs to think twice before doing anything
Suddenly her freedom ceases to exist
Her new family has now become her king

People stare at her with every breath
Waiting for her to go wrong somewhere
Its almost like they are looking to find fault
Every wall seems to scream out beware

It all depends on herself
Will she survive the test of time
Without any help she needs to win
Else she is treated like she committed a crime

It is strange how the human laws work
With no logic she is expected to adhere
No matter how conniving the others are
She is expected to bow down and be sincere

The uninviting space pulls her in
With its claws, holding her by her neck
Is she right in what she has done
No one gives her the time to re-check

She looks around the huge pillars
Her eyes flinching at the sight of the dome
Her fears will be left unconsidered
She needs to make this her home

She needs to accept it with all her heart
She is not expected to question or fumble
No matter how green and luscious the place is
To her it still is an unknown jungle

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 262.

Sharing Is Caring #WashBucketChallenge

My husband was more than happy to take up this challenge.

One of the most common terms used for a woman is that of a home maker. This is inspite of her having a regular job. A woman is expected to have been born with the multitasking skills of doing everything perfectly and at the same time. Every mother-in-law expects her newly wed daughter-in-law to be hands on with all the chores at home. What happens in office is none of her business. Such women even bring up their sons the same way. Like that of kings who do not have to lift their fingers all their lives. All that is expected of them is to go to office and earn money. They are not called the bread winner for no reason right? Nobody likes to eat plain bread. Who prepares the soup to go with the bread, who butters it and who pops it into the toaster? There is no need to mention the person who does all this. Why bother about what happens to the bread once the winner has done his duty.

Thankfully I am blessed with a wonderful husband who understands the pressures of the working woman. He doesn't expect me to wake up early everyday and cook for him. He doesn't expect me to iron his clothes and keep it ready for him. He doesn't expect me to wash the dishes and the clothes and keep the house spic and span. Even if he had expected it, there was no way I would have done it. My parents did not raise me to become a maid somewhere. They taught me to be independent and strong. And I'm so glad that my husband knows and understands this. He doesn't expect me to do the chores and nor do I. And yet this has never been a concern among us. Why? Because we do all the things together and without complaining. Infact we enjoy doing all the chores together, as we get to spend some extra time with each other and we talk about all the things that revolve around us. These times are magical as the work gets done and you feel loved and awesome too.

The reason I signed up for the #WashBucketChallenge is that I wanted to tell people that it is not only a woman who makes the house. It is the man and the woman together who build a house step by step with love, respect and mutual understanding. No one is the king or the queen here. It is a common kingdom that needs to be taken care of. Sharing is the basis of every relationship. First we share a conversation, then we share a friendship, then we share the love and soon we share a life. It doesn't stop at that. Sharing needs to be extended to all the things that form a part of the life too. Be it cooking, cleaning, washing or anything else. Just because you are a man doesn't mean that you are not allowed to touch the washing machine or the kitchen sink. A true man is the one who stands by his wife's side and assists her in her chores. If she is busy with a task, there is no harm in the man taking up the other task.

I'm glad to have found a partner who is a companion in every true sense of the word. The #WashBucketChallenge was a wonderful experience for both of us. We were proud to be a part of the list of couples who have taken up this challenge. I have seen so many men come forward to support their wives/girlfriends/sisters and mothers. This movement is just a beginning in the chapter of men handling household chores. We still have a long way to go before everyone sees the logic behind it and understands it, before harassing the woman whose husband is helping her wash the clothes. Some people take no time to point a finger at the woman and blame her for letting her husband do the chores. After all a husband is considered to be God right? But why do we need God in the first place? To help us get past things and assist us in our day to day endeavours right? Then technically shouldn't the husband be doing the same as well?

The #WashBucketChallenge is an eye opener to all the men and a section of the women in the world. They need to know that a woman's place is not in the kitchen alone and a man's place is not the office. They needs to interchanged at times as well to lead a happy and healthy life. Sharing is caring and it needs to be practised throughout the course of life. Be it at any point of time and be it for any chore. I'm proud of Ariel for bringing this out to the world and encouraging every man to take up this challenge. It is not easy for a woman to do everything in life just like how it is not easy for a man to do everything. If both of them hold each others hands and help each other by sharing the load of work then no task is difficult or tedious. Share the load and share the love. Nothing else matters.

This post is a part of the #WashBucketChallenge activity at is association with Ariel India.

Movie Review: NH10

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Cast: Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Darshan Kumar, Deepti Navel
Direction: Navdeep Singh
Genre: Crime/Mystery/Drama
Duration: 1 hour 55 minutes

I went to watch this movie with zero expectations. It had been more than three months since we saw a movie and we were in need of a desperate break from work, so my husband and I went to watch this one last night. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Anushka Sharma but since I had heard some good reviews about this movie I decided to go for it. NH10 also marks the debut movie of Anushka as a producer. Which is surprising because you do not expect a main stream commercial actress to produce or act in a movie like this. This is in no way a masala entertainer. The movie is bloody and gory. Exactly why it has an A certificate. A welcome burst of fresh energy from all the other typical commercial blockbusters until now.

NH10 starts with a night view of Gurgaon, the newest IT hub. Meera (Anushka) and her husband Arjun (Neil) are driving to attend a party for the night. The starting credits is their drive to the destination showing the tall buildings of Gurgaon and the ever bustling IT crowd. Meera gets a call from work during the party and she has to leave. Arjun stays back at the party as Meera decides to drive to her office in the middle of the night. All is well until a few goons see her and try to attack her car by calling in their friends to block her car from behind. Somehow Meera manages to escape in the nick of time but is disturbed by the events. Arjun is guilt ridden as to why he let Meera go alone that night. Thanks to their high profile connections, Meera is now bestowed with a licensed gun that she carries with her all the time for protection.

To take Meera's mind of this incident and most importantly to lift the guilt of his shoulders Arjun plans a roadtrip for Meera's birthday. He has booked a private villa, packed all her clothes and everything has been set. But little did they know what was in store for them. A little while into the journey they argue about the directions and soon just like every other man in the world Arjun decides to go the way that he thinks is right. And that is when they are welcomed to NH10. As they stop to eat on the way, they see a couple being dragged by a group of people and Arjun gets slapped in the process of intervening. To prove his manhood to Meera he decides to follow them and soon he and Meera get to witness an honor killing. Arjun accidentally shoots one of the people involved in the killing and thanks to this they now have death lurking over their head.

Arjun and Meera run to save their lives. Arjun soon gets stabbed in the thigh and is unable to move around. Meera somehow garners strength and leaves Arjun under a railway bridge and goes in search of help. Her struggle forms the story that shakes the very core of humanity. Her transition from a timid girl to the courageous woman stumps you and you take notice of the brilliant actress hidden in her. She emotes beautifully and her facial expressions change in every scene. You cannot help but notice her lip job in almost every scene. She can deny it all she wants but the truth is out there for all to see. Meera runs and runs and runs until she finds help. She begs and pleads with a police officer, his senior and the village sarpanch but each one of them comes with an agenda of their own. Will Meera and Arjun be able to survive this night? Will this be Meera's last birthday? Watch the movie to find out.

The script is tight bound and brilliant. The heroine is the hero of the movie and this goes on to prove why Anushka chose to act and produce this one. It was refreshing to watch her as a non-bubbly character this time. Her acting is realistic and she holds on to her own in every frame. Neil Bhoopalam as Arjun could have been anybody. I heard that Rajkummar Rao was the first choice for this role and I'm glad that it did not work out. He would have been wasted in this role. Neil does exactly what is expected off him and brings nothing new to the table. His yellow teeth in his closeups were cringe inducing though. I pity Anushka who had to kiss him. Darshan Kumar aka Onler Kom from Mary Kom is the main antagonist who punches and kills people like it is his hobby. His simple looks do not do justice to the role he plays. They should have cast someone who is menacing and wild. Gulshan Devaiah is the one who comes to my mind when I think of this character. Remember his act in Ramleela? He would have been perfect for this role. Veteran actor Deepi Navel is wasted in her two scenes and just like Neil, this could have been played by anybody.

There is no big face in the movie apart from Anushka and yet the movie succeeds thanks to an interesting script with precise detailing. The situations are crafted beautifully and the direction is good. I'm not using great here because in a few scenes the direction is shoddy. The villains apart from Darshan over act and take away the actual essence of the scene. The movie sure is flawed in its own way, but somehow it adds on to the beauty of the script and the strength of the story. I loved the movie but then again I like anything that is off beat.

My verdict: If you are a fan of commercial entertainers, then this one is not for you. If unconventional does it for you, it is a must watch.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Looking Back

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I have had my share of ups and downs
Life has mocked me many a time
I was handed pieces of words
But somehow I managed to make it rhyme

As I tried to solve a puzzle
Some pieces refused to fit
It was all in my own hands
How I wanted to handle it

I polished a few and threw some away
I made a picture of my own
Every turbulent phase of life
I managed to survive alone

People mocked and pointed fingers
I ignored them and moved on
In this manipulative world of ours
I refused to be any one's pawn

I set and defined my own rules
My mantra was, my life my way
For every decision and choice
I'm the only one who had a say

It sure was not simple and pleasant
But nothing feels good if it is easy
Life at times made me feel so awesome
And at times it made me feel queasy

But I never gave up on anything
I rose every time I was pushed down
I fought my way up the ladder
In pressures I did not drown

I have no regrets about anything
These lessons have only made me stronger
It was very easy to give up on quit
But I'm glad I held on for longer

It has been a wonderful journey
I have loved every road and every mile
Today as I look back at life
I can only feel thankful and smile

Linking to Poetry Jam.

Check Me Out

Today as I was getting ready for work, I looked into my closet and saw the abundance of checkered shirts that I have. Red, blue, white, green and in almost every other color. My obsession with checks started when I was a child. I was the girl who liked geometric prints when compared to floral. I was the girl who liked sneakers instead of heels. I was the girl who liked to wear shorts instead of skirts. I would wear a pair of jeans, some old T-shirt and throw a checkered shirt on top of it. With my sneakers firmly on my feet, I was all set to paint the town red.

There is something extremely comfortable about a checkered shirt. It can be worn in more ways than one and it adds a casual look to the entire outfit. You can wear it with sneakers, heels, flats, ballerinas or boots and still look effortlessly stylish. While checks look good in every color, it is the red one that stands out! These shirts are so versatile and so chic that it is a must have in every woman's closet.

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A checkered shirt thrown over a T-shirt and denims is one of the best ways to look causal. Carry a monotone bag to break the print and you have a winner!

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Wearing the shirt tucked into your denims is a perfect tom boy look. Wear flats to look causal, carry a large tote and let your hair loose to get the tom boy meets cutie look.

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Feeling feminine and yet want to wear checks? No problem. Just tuck the shirt into a well fit pencil skirt and put on your highest pair of heels to look uber chic in a jiffy!

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Who says you can't wear a shirt over a dress? Wear your checkered shirt over a plain dress and break the monotony of the color! 

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When it is too hot to wear layers, tie your favorite checkered shirt around your waist. Well fit denims and a baseball cap will add to the sporty yet sexy look.

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Flaunt those long legs with short shorts and a checkered shirt. Tuck it in and wear a neutral colored belt to beat the summer heat.

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Pair a checkered shirt with a feminine skirt to bring out the playful child in you. Complete the look with boots and you are all set for that date.

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Feeling bold and want to flaunt your never ending pins? Then this is the look for you. Team an over sized shirt with a bright stand out belt and slip on your favorite pair of ballerinas and get set to rule the fashion scene.

How do you like to wear your checkered shirt?

A Walk To Remember

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Today on this cold evening
Let us get lost in each other
Forget the world and its foibles
Holding hands, let us walk together

Look around at the world
Everything is so beautiful
Your loves does that to me
Being with you makes life fruitful

Looking at us, the sky smiles
Bestowing upon me its grace
I feel the chill down my spine
As you hold me in an embrace

Happiness was only a word
Until you showed me its meaning
All the bad was just washed away
With your wonderful forms of healing

Let us celebrate everything today
Life, love, togetherness and joy
They say it comes in many ways
But my happiness came in the form of a boy

Let us paint the city red
With our love and madness
We don't have to worry about getting lost
In your heart, lies my address

Today I can walk all night
Your love makes me feel strong
The mild wind is calling out to me
With you I can walk all night long

Let us make a mark on this day
On this simple evening of September
Hold my hand and don't let me go
Let's make this a walk to remember

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 261.

Together Forever #together

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Life takes its own course we know. It just moves forward in a sinusoidal wave sprinkling us with ups and downs and other perks in between. I for one have had one hell of an adventurous life. The course of my life has had more twists than the most scariest roller coaster in the world. Be it lost friendships, heartbreaks, professional lows and what not. But the Lioness in me survived all of it. Being independent does that to you. It makes you fierce and you want to sort out everything for yourself. You preach about how independent you are and how that gave you the strength to surpass every negative phase in life. Well to a certain extent it sure does. I'm a stubborn person who doesn't want help from anybody and strangely until now I have managed to get past everything just by myself. But the problem of being a strong person is that people know that you shall do it all, without any help. They also know that you will not go weak. But when you do, there is no one around for you. That's the saddest part about being a strong person.

The lowest period of my life was when I moved out of a project and was on bench for three whole months. You should know one thing about people who work in the IT industry. They get used to being busy no matter what the situation is. And I was a workaholic who wanted to be busy all the time. I was used to the chattering sound of the keys on my laptop and I was missing it. These three months gave me plenty of time to write and explore but since I was getting paid without working, it was eating me from within. At the same time I was diagnosed with a hormone problem and I began putting on weight. I had been a size zero for twenty six years of my life and then one fine day I wake up to see my clothes not fitting me anymore. I was shocked, embarrassed and frustrated. I was at home all day, that doesn't mean I was only eating and sleeping. I was keeping myself busy by working out, dancing, reading, writing and meeting friends and yet I was putting on weight. And everyday I used to go out to meet my then boyfriend as well. He was pleased with my weight gain as he felt that I looked too skinny before.

But this did not go down well upon me. I was never a vain person, but this somehow broke my confidence from within. Being fat was not something that I had imagined myself to be. Looking at myself in the mirror and seeing the obvious changes was depressing me. I soon became a size M from a size XS. The people around me were happy with my weight gain as I was finally looking fuller. I did not look fat in their eyes as I was tall and the weight spaced itself well. But in my own eyes I looked like I had turned into the Hulk. My confidence went so low and I felt embarrassed to shop for clothes. I hid myself and cursed my hormones to no end. I exercised more and ate a strict diet and yet there was no improvement. I continued to gain weight. From 45 kilos I had gone up to 62 kilos. Just mentioning this here gives me the goose bumps. I felt so low that I began to hate myself. I did not show it outside but it was killing me from within. The bold, confident me was getting lost behind the kilos and I was standing there helpless without being able to do anything.
I became moody and irritated. I was taking out my frustrations on other people. My then boyfriend and now husband was the person who had to bear the brunt of it all. I was angry with myself for no reason. I felt like a loser and my self confidence was scattered all over the place. He supported me in every possible way, but I was not the one to listen. He kept his calm and tried to placate me every time. I felt guilty for putting him through it. I felt guilty for not working. I felt guilty for hating myself. And yet there was nothing that I could do. Just as I was beginning to lose focus in life, he came to my rescue. One fine day in July 2012, he sat me down and asked me to relax. He then explained to me that there is nothing wrong with me and that I am perfectly fine. It took me a while to calm down, but when I finally did I could see his side of the story. I was not to blame for this, it was my hormones. And we all know that a woman's hormones is always all over the place. And it was something that could be treated, so there was no point in worrying.

He pointed it out to me that since I was not going to work everyday, the guilt was spilling on to other things. I was not taking anything positively because of this one reason. He told me that he would love me no matter how fat or thin I got. And also that I should not be thinking about my weight so much. He took me in front of a mirror and asked me to point out where I was fat. I could not do that as I looked fine now. He told me that since I was really skinny before, the weight does not show on me now. Had I been fat before, I would have looked like a swollen pumpkin now. That made me laugh. And I had laughed after ages. I felt so light that one instant. I began accepting the changes more easily since then. I started liking my fuller body and began to dress the way I always did. People complimented me for the toned body and it made me feel nice. My confidence was coming back slowly. Within a week I got a project and was back to work. People at work did not notice the weight gain and they told me that I looked happy now. That surprised me. And suddenly I was very happy with all the changes within me.

During this time I learnt that external beauty does not matter at all. And that love surpasses it all. I learnt that it is very important to be happy with oneself to live a good life, else life seems like a punishment. I learnt that with patience you will get the things you desire. I learnt that the people who stay with you during tough times are the ones who will stay with you forever. This man stood by me through everything. #Together we fought all my inner battles and made me the strong, confident person that I always was. He gave me the strength when I felt weak. He gave me the motivation when I was lost. He held my hand and we walked through the path of acceptance. Today after more than two years, I still look back at this day with a smile and when I see him next to me with the same smile on his face, I feel blessed to have him in my life. I #lookup to this man and #together I know that we can win every battle that comes our way.

India's Daughter

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I shall wear whatever I want
That's not an invite for you to touch me
I'm a woman just living her life
Why is it so hard to just let me be

I am not just curves and breasts
I have a heart and feelings too
I'm a human being just like you
But of course this you don't think through

My lifestyle doesn't define my character
I am free to do whatever I like
I can wear shorts and crop tops
Get tattoos and even ride a bike

I can drink as much as I want to
That doesn't mean I'm an easy target
Stay away you lecherous moron
Your morals you do not forget

I have had enough of this torment
I'm not going to succumb to your fear
I am Durga and I am Kali
I shall fight you with my sword and spear

I will tear apart that hand of yours
If you try to lay it on my body
Nothing about me is wrong or bad
It is your upbringing that is shoddy

India has forgotten about me
I shall remind them after your slaughter
I speak for all the women here
For I am this country's daughter

People need to realize that
I am the pride and not the shame
Rape is never my fault
Do not try to malign my name

I shall fight till my last breath
These goons should be put behind the bars
They are the victims of a deadly disease
I'm not the one who should hide my scars

Do not underestimate my power
I might look small and talk nice
If you want to see the burning courage
You need to look into my eyes