Care For Your Hair #NioxinNowInIndia

The products and the salon tour.

Last week I had the privilege of attending yet another blogger meet in Bangalore, this time organized by the wonderful people of Blogadda. This was my first ever Blogadda meet and I was super duper excited. First, because the people of Blogadda are so awesome. And second, because the event was for a hair product. If you know me even one percent you will know how obsessed I am with my hair. Third, I was getting to meet my favorite blogger Shailaja again. Since the event was at 12.30 pm, Shailaja and I decided to meet up early for a brunch and then attend the event. We had a wonderful time chatting and discussed a lot of bloggers and their work.

After the brunch we arrived at the Bodycraft salon in Koramangala and met a lot of other wonderful bloggers. A total of twelve bloggers were invited for the event. Now coming to event; the event was the launch of the hair care product Nioxin in India. We were first given a tour of the salon, which was newly constructed and just finished. The place was huge and beautifully done up. I love any place that has mirrors and this one was way too amazing. There was a separate section for the Nioxin treatment alone and the place smelt all fresh and dreamy.

Daisy, a Nioxin expert.

We were taken to a room where the team of Nioxin led by Daisy were ready for a presentation. Nioxin is a hair care system just for thinning hair. I have really thick hair and I was not too sure what I was doing there at first. Daisy started off the presentation and explained everything about the product. It was started by Eva Graham, when she noticed that her hair was thinning after her pregnancy. Nioxin is one of the best hair treatments in the US and now it is available in India as well. The presentation went on for a bit too longer than expected, but by the end of it all of us were aware of what this product is intended for.

Before and halfway through the after of the treatment.

Next, began the one-on-one consultation with the hair experts. I answered all the questions that the expert asked me and I mentioned my concerns as well. I told him that I had thick hair and did not face any problem with thinning. And boy, how wrong was I. When he held a hair analysing device against my scalp, I could see my hair follicles and the hair coming out of them. Although this vision was creepy and extremely disturbing, I could see that there was more than one hair coming out from each follicle and only one of it was thick. The others were really thin. The expert explained to me that there are two types of thinning. One, noticeably thin hair where the scalp is almost visible. Two, normal thinning hair like the one I had. He also showed me that I had an oily scalp, with dead cells on it. Yes, I told you that the visual was disturbing.

Nioxin has six types of treatments. From number one to six. After my analysis it was established that I needed the care of system five. He began the treatment with a scalp facial. Yes, I was surprised when I heard that too. He applied some serum like thing all over my scalp by parting my hair skillfully. I sat for ten minutes and then he washed it with the Nioxin system. First, it was a cleanser to neatly wash my hair. Followed by a revitaliser or a conditioner. Next, was the treatment serum that would enrich the roots and help combat thinning of the hair. Next, my hair was blow dried and styled. I felt so light and fresh after the process.

Nioxin is not available over the counter and you can get this treatment done only at Bodycraft, Bangalore. Priced at over 3500 per treatment (it can vary depending upon the length of your hair), it is surely worth it.

With my dearest Shailaja!
The Presentation.
Shailaja and I with Harish and Ankita from the Blogadda team.

The event was a big success and I got to meet so many new bloggers. I met Vidya again who is such a delight with a wonderful sense of humor. Manasa, Rumana, Krupa, Priyanjana, Madhumita, Knitha were some of the other beautiful bloggers that I met. That is the wonderful thing about blogging you know. You get to meet such wonderful fellow bloggers and develop a friendship with them. We all were given our Nioxin kits to use for the next twenty days and write about our experience. I started using the products today and soon you will hear more about it.

You can try and experience #NioxinNowIndia at your nearest salon. This activity is in association with BlogAdda.com.

The Temple Keeper

Still Life, 1907 by John Frederick Peto 

Her day starts before the rise of the sun
She cleaned the entire area until it shone
This place was everything to her
This abandoned temple was her humble home

No one knew where she came from
And yet she knew everyone on the lane
With a cheerful smile she greeted everyone
But a few others considered her insane

She walked holding her old umbrella
Carefully clutching her brown torn bag
Age had taken pace away from her
And yet she walked despite a lag

One day a kid left behind his hat
She returned it to him the next day
His mother refused to accept it
It was now cursed, I heard her say

And yet she guarded it with her life
Just like she had done with this house of hers
Some offered her money out of pity
Which she accepted and collected in her purse

She lay alone under the moon light
The hard stone was her makeshift bed
There was no blanket to protect her from the cold
Nor a pillow to guard her aged head

No one could miss her at this lane
Everyone knew her and yet stayed away
Her laughter added to the chimes of the street
But it all came to an end one day

She was nowhere to be found
People looked for her every where
Everyone was now suddenly worried
Until now, no one bothered to care

Days passed and there was no sign of her
Soon she was out of every one's mind
When I went to look for her belongings
The umbrella, the bag and the hat I could find

The temple now wore a deserted look
With dust and dirt like a barren ground
I collected her last memorabilia and left
For the temple keeper was no longer around

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 271.

Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day 2 for the theme Creativity and Inspiration, where I have used the above picture as my inspiration to weave a story around it.

Imagine. Create. Inspire.

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A few years ago while I was shopping, I came across a painting. The painting was chaotic and had way too many colors. But it looked beautiful. But it would have looked more beautiful if it had a theme associated with it. That is when I imagined a painting in my mind. Colors and patterns that tell a story. After getting back home I pulled out a plain white sheet and began drawing. The theme was "Our Love Story" and I included all the elements that brought us together. Be it the places we went together or the books that we read. If it mattered to us, it found its place here in the drawing. I included some patterns and drew our faces as well. And before I knew it I had a whole drawing in front of me. It was easy to leave it black and white, but colors played with my mind. Since the drawing was big, coloring it was tedious. And since it was more like a doodle with various patterns, I had to be careful with the colors. And the outline had to be perfect to separate one pattern from the other. It took me two whole days to complete it, but once it was done it looked gorgeous. Today it is framed and adorns the wall of our bedroom.

I was always a curious child, blessed with crazy levels of imagination. And inspiration. It doesn't take much to inspire me. I can be inspired by an image and imagine it in my own way. And then I will create a poem or an art piece out of it. Last week I was watching an episode of 'Castle' and it was about the five elements of nature. I was inspired by that and decided to do poetry capturing these elements. My last post was about fire and soon I'll be writing about the other four elements as well. Creativity is not rocket science. All it needs is some imagination or some inspiration. That is why I love the prompts from 'Magpie Tales' and 'FSF - Lillie McFerrin'. Magpie prompts are always a picture and that is the best ever thing to get creative. The elements in the picture can be imagined in many ways and you can create a story of your own around it. FSF is extremely challenging as it just gives a word as a prompt and you need to write a fiction piece using only five sentences. But it gives the best ever boost to creativity.

My mother is very creative. She is a fashion designer, an artist and an awesome cook. I get most of my traits from her. It is not hard to be creative. And yet it is not something that you can learn. Creativity should come naturally to one. Just look around, there are so many things that can kick off your imagination or trigger an inspiration. But if they all look like mundane things to you, then well, there is no point. Creativity doesn't only mean in terms of art or writing. It can be anything. Be it a new recipe or thoughts about something. But I have noticed that some people are not creative at all. It is not that they cannot get inspired, it is just that they refuse to get inspired. Such people are content sitting at home and watching soaps endlessly, instead of developing a hobby. It can be due to lack of interest or sheer laziness; either ways that is such a boring life to lead.

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Had I not been a writer, I would have been a baker. Had I not been a baker, I would have been a dancer. Had I not been a dancer, I would have been a painter. Had I not been a painter, I would have been a tailor. Had I not been a tailor, I would have been an observer. Today I have all of these traits in me and they contribute immensely to my creativity. The satisfaction that I get in baking a new recipe or designing a new top for myself is something else altogether. And this is all because I am constantly in the search for inspiration for something or the other. Being creative gives me a sense of freedom and a sense of independence. It makes me feel good about myself. And the very reason I started a blog was to unleash my creativity in terms of words, emotions and feelings. Soon inspiration transformed into imagination and creation became a must for me to survive.

Creativity cannot be learnt nor thought. It should come from within a person. It is a wonderful process of self discovery and learning. Only if you are willing to go through it. Having said that, creation is not an easy task. At times it completely consumes you and leaves you with nothing. But if you get it right, then there is no looking back.

Give in to it. Look around. Set your imagination free. Get inspired. Be some one's inspiration.

Imagine. Create. Inspire.

Linking this to Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day 1.

Immortal Fire

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It all ended the way it had started
Unexpected, passionate and without a word
I wanted to hold it within myself
But you wanted to be the free bird

Days after days, I waited for you
Hoping that you will change your mind
But I did not even see your shadow
No matter where I looked, nothing I could find

There was nothing great about you
And yet you perfectly blended into me
I was what I was when I was with you
Today, within me I can no longer see

I hate the peace in my life today
Your chaos is what I crave for now
I know that where ever you are 
You own me, it's an unsaid vow

The madness is getting on to me
I look for you in every breath of mine
I feel your touch with a drop of rain
And your voice in the flow of wine

I listen to our song endlessly
The chorus is now embedded in my vein
I hate the power you have over me
You are the poison that soothes my pain

No one else has made me feel this way
Only with you, I can be whole
You are the immortal burning fire
That quenches the thirst of my soul

Tap The Impulse #ItsPersonal

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Scenario 1: I'm stuck in a government office, waiting to get my passport renewed. And the government being the government, I'm given a token with the number 186 on it and am directed to a long line that is swirling around the office like a snake. Since this is my third attempt on getting my passport renewed, I decide to make it my last and join the line. A few others join immediately behind me giving me momentary solace that I'm not the last one in the line. It is going to take a long time, so what do I do?

I obviously cannot open my laptop and start surfing something while I am standing in a line with my elbows sandwiched between two others. And wearing ear/headphones and listening to music and looking like a jackass is not my cup of tea either. So what other option do I have? Reading may be. But I cannot concentrate with so much noise around. So I stick to the safest bet ever. To look through my phone. Since I have unlimited 3G, there is no compromise on my surfing atleast. I'm not the one to play games on the phone. So after mandatory checking of mail, Facebook and Twitter the other things that I like to check out are the online shopping apps. Even without an intention of buying, I look through the apps just to see what is trending on the fashion scene. And in case I like something, I buy it. I know it is on impulse, but if you are getting something worthy, why not?

Scenario 2: I'm travelling back home from office and I'm stuck in one of the deadliest traffic jams of Bangalore. The other folks in my cab are busy glued on to their phones listening to music or talking to their better halves. So, what do I do?

I try my best to make small talk with the driver, but he doesn't seem very interested either. So I spend my time by admiring the chaos of Bangalore. Suddenly a woman catches my eye. I look at her dress and immediately fall in love with it. I pull out my phone and start surfing through online shopping apps to find a similar one. I find many variants, look for one with the best price and place an order. Getting back home after what felt like an eternity in the jam, atleast I am happy that I got a pretty dress for myself. It all happened in an instant. Almost like love at first sight. But I know that this love will last for ever.

Scenario 3: A sudden office party is announced for the weekend and me being a tomboy only have jeans and shirts in my wardrobe. Since the party is two days away and thanks to the impromptu rains of the city I cannot even plan a shopping spree for myself. So what do I do?

While my friends are busy discussing about what all they can wear to the party, I start looking through the shopping app on my phone. Since I work for a secure client, Internet access is not allowed in office. But my 3G plan comes to use here. I can of course wear a jean and a shirt to the party, but all the talk around is getting to me. I see a dress on sale and on an impulse I look for my size and add it to the cart. Then I choose matching accessories and place an order. All done in an instant.

Most of the e-commerce sites and apps are mostly surviving only on one trait of the consumer.

Impulse.

Online shopping has given a new meaning to the term impulsive shopping and that is what is need to be utilized to expand this trend. Shopping is a very personal experience and a phone is personal to everybody. Not everyone walks around with a computer or a tab. But no one leaves home without a phone. You are walking on the street and see someone wearing an awesome shoe. On an impulse, you want some thing like that. You open the app, check for something similar and place an order. You visit your folks and see your dad's old shoe. Even though it is still intact and he loves it, on an impulse you want to get him a new one. Tap and click, it is done. Boyfriend is angry, click and order a new wallet for him. Bored? Just shop.

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Myntra is the first retail site to move from the computer to the phone only. And they are making the most of it. Their app has been given more than fours stars by the industry experts. Now that there are so many other shopping apps, what makes this one special? I shall not give you one, but three reasons.

1. Loyal Points: This is for the loyal customers as they get to save some money and yet enjoy better service.
2. Premium Shop: The application takes a subset of their customers and considers them as the premium customers. Premium products are offered at a low price for these customers.
3. Talk To Stylist: With the help of this feature you can get fashion advice from the leading fashion experts of the country.

So Myntra is doing a wonderful job in tapping into the impulse of the customers and both of them are making the most out of it.

Own Your Wings

artwork by Ulrike Bolenz

You be the woman that you are today
Do not worry about what others have to say
A strong woman is considered a bad influence
For their ignorance, you do not have to pay

Nurture your wings and soar high
The world will never be a place for you
It shall not understand your importance
Here you will always remain the minor few

Build your confidence and live strong
Do what you want with your head held high
Make a wonderful life for yourself
Don't let opportunities pass you by

You are not less than anyone else
You have the right to express your voice
Understand your worth and stand by it
You are definitely more than a man's choice

They will make sure that you will fail
But like a phoenix you need to rise again
They will pull and tear your wings apart
But you should not succumb to that pain

March ahead and do not look back
There is nothing for you around here
Make a world for yourself in your way
Be your own strength and let go off fear

Do not give up on anything that you want
With self belief, success come a step nearer
If the world tries to clip them again
You paint the wings on your mirror 

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 270.

Mane Memories

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Today I found my first grey hair. I expected to be petrified and go all crazy over it, but instead I smiled. Twenty eight years of my existence and my first grey hair, made me realize how grown up I am. No, I do not feel old. I just feel that I have grown up from what I was a few years ago. I stood in front of the mirror, parting my hair from all directions to check if there were any others. This took me back years ago, to a wonderful memory that I cherish till date.

One day I saw that my mother's hair had all greyed out and I decided to dye it for her. She even wanted a trim but was hesitant to go to a parlor. So I chose to step in. Armed with a pack of hair dye and scissors from her boutique, I spread out a news paper and asked her to sit on it. Adjusting my nerdy glasses I neatly combed her hair and we decided on the length that she wanted to keep. Slowly I placed the scissor through her thick locks and began snipping. The first cut was uneven and so was the second. The third one was more messier and there was no need for a fourth one. The decided length suddenly changed and by the time I was done with the hair cut, the desired length was reduced to half. I was all set for a sound hearing, but I got none. She loved it. She told me that now it would not take her long to get ready. Beaming, I mixed the hair dye and applied it on her hair with a tooth brush. Just like how I had seen her do the same to dad.

Most of her hair had gone grey and I was filled with emotion. I had seen pictures of her younger self where she had thick long jet black hair. I got my wonderful hair all thanks to her. But now looking at her short grey hair, I was on the verge of tears. Your parents are always your parents. You never really expect them to grow old. No matter how old they get they will always be your parents. It hit me like a bolt of lightening, that she was growing old. And she being she, sensed the discomfort that I was feeling. So she decided on doing this thing. For every stroke of the brush, she told me a story. She told me that her first grey hair reminded me of the time I topped class in the first standard. And the second one reminded her of my first medal. Another one reminded her of the first time I cooked something for her and another reminded her of what a wonderful daughter I have been. That was one of the most beautiful times of my life.

Years later when I was in my wild child phase and decided to color my hair red, she did not say a word. Instead she mixed the color for me and applied it carefully on my hair. I was amazed. When I asked her if she is angry, she asked me why should she be? She told me that we need to do whatever our heart desires. Just because I was a girl doesn't mean that I should not do a few things. That is when I realized what a wonderful mother she has been. She has given me the freedom to do whatever I want and has not once tried to interfere with my choices. This is the biggest gift ever that she has given me. She had no problems with the clothes I wore, or at what time I came back home at night. She trusted me to the fullest and that was enough for me to follow the right path only. Being a working lady herself she has always told me to give a hundred percent to my work. She loves going out shopping. She loves eating outside and watching movies. That day I realized that my mother was actually my best friend.

After the hair wash I noticed that my hair looked way too red and I cringed. But she told me that I looked nice and that it looked really stylish. Within a few hours I was in love with it too and I'm glad that she did not let me give up. Today as I look back, I see a plethora of memories that we share and how each one of it is so special. No one has ever come close to being the woman that she is today. At the age of fifty eight, she runs her own business and takes care of the family without any help. She has no maid to wash clothes or vessels. She does it all herself and she is the inspiration for the person that I am today. She gave me freedom. She trusted me. There was nothing else more that she could do for me. That was enough.

Today as I stand in front of the mirror picking out one grey hair after another, I cannot help but smile. I know that the next time I visit my mother, she would help me dye the greys as well. And that would be the beginning of another beautiful memory.

All that I am today is because of the freedom to choose that she gave me. I am not afraid to grow old today, as I know that I shall always have her by my side. Every grey hair of mine represents the learnings that she gave me. And the strength that she is for me. She, my mother, my first expert.

Check out the hair expert here.

Switch Off

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This weekend I did something that I thought I never could. I stayed away from my laptop and did not bother to do anything related to work. I did not check my mails, Facebook or Twitter. I relaxed a lot and baked to my hearts content. I stayed active on Instagram though, putting up pictures of the things around me. I love Instagram because it is a no nonsense social media. Just pictures and nothing else. I love posting random pictures there and that was the only place that I was available this weekend. Cal and I have never been home bodies, but ever since we moved out to a place of our own, we love to sit and relax at home. It had been four days since I had written a blog post, but a part of me did not care. Another part of me was itching to login for a few minutes and write something, but the former took over and I let it be. It is after such a long time that I have given such a long break between my blog posts. And you know what? This time I enjoyed it.

It is important to switch off technology and everything else in your life at times. It helps you de-clutter and focus better. I did not want to do anything this weekend. We just stayed in and relaxed. The heavy downpour only added to the already lazy feeling. I know I have already said this a million times before, but my house gives me immense peace of mind. Earlier it was chaos, chaos and only chaos. But here it is so peaceful and relaxing that Cal and I can just sit and talk endlessly. For hours and hours. Since most of Cal's work is on social media, he is bored of it too. This weekend we made some apple crumble and peanut butter cookies and watched Eat Street on Fox Life endlessly. It was one of the most beautiful experiences ever. We had tickets booked for a stand up comedy show that was on the other side of the city. We tried booking a cab, but thanks to the downpour nothing was available. Just when we thought that we would have to let it go, we thought why not take a long ride instead. So we put on our raincoats and set off on our bike. It was one hell of a romantic ride. That is why I like bikes over cars. I find bike rides extremely romantic as you can hug the person in front of you tight and enjoy the chill and the rain. Or maybe, it is just me.

Bangalore goes crazy when it rains. The traffic piles up and we were stuck in more than two jams. It was well past the showtime when we reached, but look at our luck, the show had not yet started. We collected our tickets, found our seats and then began one hell of a night. Cal and I love theatre and shows. We had enjoyed the last stand up comedy that we had attended a few months ago. This one was touted to be a laugh riot. With Aditi Mittal from AIB, KK from Evam, Ashwin Rao, Sourabh Pant and S. Arvind, this was such a wonderful show. We laughed until our stomachs hurt and were so glad that we decided to come in after all. Inspite of the rain. We had some yummy dinner and dessert and headed back home. The rain had stopped but there was this chill in the air. It was a pleasant and uber romantic ride. It was past midnight when we got home, but it sure had been a wonderful weekend to say the least.

I have never stayed away from writing for such a long time. Last week I was really busy at work, so I could not write on Thursday or Friday. I did feel guilty at first, but then I realized that almost every other blogger has slowed down their writing pace this month. I was first worried that I was not getting enough comments and views on my posts, but then I realized that most of the bloggers were away and had not updated their blogs even. I guess everyone wanted a break from writing after the hectic A to Z of April. And so I decided to follow suit. Stories and rhyming words kept teasing me, but I did not cave in. This time switched off meant off. And it was one of the best decisions ever. It gave me time to introspect and more new topics to write about. And staying away from everything taught me the most important thing about life.

Life is so much fun with simple things. A comedy show, a home cooked meal, a cricket match, freshly made popcorn by the husband, and a long conversation; these are enough to guarantee a lifetime of happiness. Cal and I cooked and baked together, tended to our little balcony garden, cleaned together and relaxed together. It was slow, it was peaceful. It was lazy, it was soothing. It was me, it was him. It was joy, it was love. I definitely will be switching off from the world more often now. And this time from everywhere. I want to go into hiding with my man and not bother about anything at all. And I'm sure I shall not be missing anything much.

Because we all know it. Life is more beautiful offline.

Skirt It Like Kangana


When it comes to fashion if there is a person I idolize, then it has to be Kangana Ranaut. Her sense of style has evolved from small town girl to high end brands. She carries every look with elan and pride. The confidence with which she wears her clothes and styles them is something that we do not find everywhere. She is laid back, classy and sophisticated at the same time. Everything that she wears looks so good on her. Be it a simple jean or a high end couture gown. She rocks both the looks. Her choice of clothing is something that has awed me from years. She knows her clothes and her body. The clothes seem tailor made for her and she carries it off like she owns it. Having seen her in almost every possible style, it is very difficult for me to narrow down a few favorite looks of her. Now that summer is here, I have put away my denims and trousers. It is time to show some skin and look cool. Skirts and shorts are perfect for that. Skirts and shorts can be worn in so many styles and yet look feminine. Below are a few looks that I have absolutely loved with my style icon donning a skirt.

Image Source: This & This.

A pencil skirt has never looked this good before. The black pencil skirt is so well fit that it looks like it was stitched on her. It has the right length; ending just below the knees to add an illusion of height. The neutral grey shirt and shoes go perfectly with the black, without standing out. The chunky leather belt and the black bag are all the accessories she needs to look effortlessly chic and stylish. Just when we thought that pencil skirts cannot get better than this, came her plaid skirt. You cannot help but notice the school girl feel that comes with this skirt. It is absolutely gorgeous and the simple silk top complements it well and yet does not take away the focus from the skirt. The tan oxford shoes look brilliant and goes perfectly with the skirt. Pencil skirts look gorgeous and mean business at the same time. If you are a little waist heavy, you can still wear them with a longer top. Fab Alley has a wonderful collection of pencil skirts that are very affordable.

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Summer is incomplete without the mention of florals. A floral skirt makes one look younger and feminine at the same time. Wearing a skirt that ends at the thigh and a solid black top was top class. The socks and the booties are not to be missed either. The wild hair and nerdy glasses only add on to the entire look and reiterates the fact that she is one of the most stylish women of our country.

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Neutrals are usually considered boring. But not when Kangana is wearing them. The flared tan skirt adds a flirty feel to the look. A plain white shirt completes the look along with a matching bag and oxfords. The oxfords seem to be favorite these days and I have seen her wear them with many more outfits. Flared skirts can instantly pep up a look. Similar ones are available in Only.

Image Source: This & This.

Maxi skirts are tricky to style, but not for this style diva. The powder blue maxi with a kurtaish top looks so elegant that no one but her could have carried off this look. Maxi skirts are perfect when you want to wear a skirt and yet not show too much skin. Showing off the mid-riff has been another staple this summer along with crop tops. But who would have thought of wearing the same fabric on a top and a skirt. Normally this look would have been a little OTT, but the natural makeup and neatly done hair makes her look stunning.

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Fusion skirts are a wonderful investment for summers. Especially for those who like traditional twists in their skirts. This royal blue skirt is so elegant that I want to go pick up one right now. The bird print and the hint of gold adds the necessary drama and I like the way she has kept the top simple and single toned. The black quilted bag makes an appearance again, but surprisngly it seems to go well with the outfit. Kaaryah has some wonderful fusion pieces. From blues to reds, they have every color on their palette.

Skirts are now easily available everywhere. With Indians embracing fashion more and more, online sites have a large collection of brands for skirts alone. They can be pencil skirts or flared ones, the choices are aplenty. With fashion now being just a click away, I do not see why anyone cannot be the next Kangana.

Two, Four Or More

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Cal and I have a problem when it comes to cars. We both hate it. There is something very unpleasant about the smell of a car. Inspite of using the best car perfumes, the stink still remains. I feel extremely claustrophobic inside a car. And the car AC is another enemy of mine. Even if I sit for five minutes in a car with AC I get a splitting headache. The stink then adds on to it making me want to puke immediately. To avoid all this we both always travel on our bike. We are extremely happy and comfortable with it, but society is not something that would leave us alone. People tell us to buy a car soon, now that we are married and all, you see. Well, I do not see. Both our work places are less than two kilometers from our house, so why do we need a car? And we love travelling on the bike. Next, people think that we are stingy and do not want to spend money on a car. Great! Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you have to buy it. Right?

Cal and I are extremely practical people and we know that a car would be a nuisance to us. We'd rather use that money to go on a holiday. But according to society we are lower class because we do not have a car. Two wheelers are for the poor people they say. A four wheeler is considered a status symbol, so what if it is bought on a loan for which you will have to cringe for the next eight years. As long as there is a car outside the house, people will think that the family is rich. Our society is a wonderful thing. The way they gauge people and their status is an algorithm that no Harvard student could have come up with. Two wheeler = poor. Four wheeler = rich. Two wheeler+four wheeler = decent rich. 2 four wheelers = very rich. Rented house = poverty. Own house (with twenty years of loan) = rich. More than one own house (with forty years of loan) = royalty.

First of all, who has the time to go about looking into the houses of others or what car your neighbor has bought? Comparison is the thumb rule of the Indian society and the jobless housewives are the harbingers of it. A two BHK house is considered a hut, while a four BHK one is considered a palace. And some people want to show off even when they do not have the money for it. Why? Because they need to look good in front of society. They have to maintain their "image" after all. No matter how fake or false it is. And even comparison has a few basic rules that people happily ignore. When you are at level one, you will compare yourself to the one at level two and then try to get there. You will not directly compare yourself to the level seventy five person and crib about not getting there.

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The amount of jewelry worn by a woman shows of the status of the family. It can be fake, begged, borrowed or stolen. But yet the status is established. Same to go with the thickness of the bracelet worn by the man. Such a ridiculous society we are a part of. A couple gets married and are immediately expected to buy a car for their use. Status check: one. Next they need to take all the loans that they can get and buy a house. Status check: two. Then almost immediately they need to have a baby, since they are now settled with a car and a house. Obviously, because a car and a house are the only things you need to think about before having a baby. Status check: three. Then you have to deck the baby in gold from top to bottom to show that they come from a rich family. Status check: four. Next when you die, you need to leave your property to your kids and they will fight over it. Status check: five.

Cal and I both come from rented houses and we have also moved on to a rented place of our own. We have immense peace there and we love it. But we are not expected to be happy and peaceful because it is a rented house. What will people say? Log kya kahenge after all? Bull shit. An own house or a car should be a necessity for the family and not just a status symbol to show to the society. I have always believed that when things are done just to prove a point to someone they go downhill right from day one. But who cares what is happening inside the house as long as people on the outside think that this is a rich family. I am disgusted by such people. Fakeness here takes a whole new level and this provides more fodder to the ever gossip hungry society.

Flaunting can atleast be accepted if you have the capacity to earn it. I see so many children flaunting off their parents money and so many wives flaunting off the money made by their husbands. And all this just to show the outside world that they are capable of owing something. Even if it is of no use to them, they buy it only so that they can prove to the world that they can afford it. As for me, I show the world one big middle finger. I live in a one BHK house because it is just two of us. Not because we cannot afford a two or more BHK place. We own a two wheeler because we do not need a car. And we hate cars. Society can place us wherever it wants to. We are not the ones to care about two wheels or four. One bedroom or more. We are people who buy the things we need. And not the things we want or the things we can afford. There is a huge difference between a need and a want and society sadly hasn't heard of the former.

Maybe if people understand the difference, the world will be a better place.

Your Choice - Your Story: Now Customise


While the online market is swiftly growing and offers us a world of mass produced goods, there is hardly any scope to personalise these products, which could really make them unique and offbeat. Imagine a website that allows you to customise products and add a special touch, the way you want. This is the next wave of e-commerce.

Say Hello to “icustommadeit”!

In August 2013 an online marketplace called 'icustommadeit.com' was launched, which connects buyers who wish for one-of-a-kind creations with passionate and professional creators of those goods, from around the country. icustommadeit was established on the belief that customization is the core of any merchandise today. The buyers connect with specialized creators by submitting a description or photo of what they want to customize for themselves. Creators, who are interested get in touch with ideas and send out their proposals to start the project.

icustommadeit is a wonderful platform were buyers get to virtually meet sellers and creators. You can glance through the category of listed products under CATEGORIES. Check out a range of their carefully vetted creators who’d be the best match to create whatever you desire. Look through their profiles and zero in on a creator best suited for you. You can choose to create furniture, shoes, jewelry, pens or anything else that you want. You if you can find a suitable creator, then the product can soon be yours!

So how does this work?

It’s absolutely free and takes just a few minutes. Once you have an idea, it can be a basic concept to a photo of exactly what you want, you can sign up/login with icustommadeit and submit a custom project request by filling up their project form. You can check out the various creators there and can also reach out to a specific creator whose work you find interesting by sending him/her a special invite. I personally am in love with the work of Gehna, Kreeli, Fatfatiya and The Pink Chair. You should absolutely check out their creations.

Below are a few of my favorite products made exclusively here:




Hazel Lust Sling Clutch: This golden/rust colored clutch is perfect to go with that LBD for a date night. It has a height of 18 cm and is enough to hold your phone, wallet and makeup.



Wine Bottle Pendant Lights: These look fantastic and perk up a room instantly. The metallic finish to them adds a nice rustic feel too.


The Garden Swing: This is my most favorite item on the site. The carved wood looks so antique and is perfect to be placed in a garden. This would be the best place to read a book and sip onto some coffee.

What happens next?

Once the idea is posted, the creators who are interested in the concept will reply with ideas or questions to help you refine your request. When you decide who you would like to work with, you’ll receive a detailed proposal outlining cost, milestones, shipping and time frame on your Instant Messaging Box/Mailbox. You can accept the proposal and the creation process begins.

You can also speak with your creator directly on the IMB till the completion of your project. You are free to share all your ideas, suggestion and can also vent out all your frank, free-spirited mindsets, preferences and details of the customized merchandise at every step. Remember the college projects that we used to do? Well this is exactly like that, except that it happens in the virtual world! How cool is that?

When will you receive your product?

As your creation nears completion, you’ll be able to review photos of your finalized project. You can get changes made even then. Once the final approval is done, the creator will ship your project directly to your doorstep. Once you receive your completed custom-made product, let the creator know what you think of it and you can also leave a review on icustommadeit for your product.

All this works when you are a buyer and join icustommadeit to get things done.

What happens if you are a creator and want to sign up with icustommadeit to sell your creations? Read on.

It is essential to create your profile as a creator on icustommadeit. Take some time to provide some information about yourself and your business. This is an opportunity to let the icustommadeit community know who you are as a person and what all you are providing. So, it is important to fill out a complete profile.

1. Tell them about yourself, your skills/interests and your terms and conditions (if any). Give them an account of yourself regarding your work, your achievements as well as your inspiration. Be sure to upload a photo to your profile as it is easier to recognize and relate to a face along with a username.

2. Tell them about your business in precise detail. Give out your information on your business background, your company name, address and contact number.

3. Enter your payment information. You will also have to submit your bank account details along with IFSC or Swift code and PAN card details. That is how you will make money from your creations.

4. Expand your portfolio. Upload maximum project photos and descriptions of your products to showcase your style and expertise, and add the price range. A portfolio exhibits your best work. Upload photos that are well-lit and focused. Always showcase each item from a few different angles. This will give clarity and also add to your profile.

5. After your profile is complete, our Creator Connect Team will review it. As soon as the team will review and approve it, you'll go live.

Please note that each buyer and creator account must be created using a unique email address. If you wish to sign both as a Creator and Buyer, you will need two separate email addresses.

This is how you get to be a part of the icustommadeit family as a creator.

So if you have the creative skills this is the place for you to be. Pitch in your idea and choose one of the many creators on this platform and give life to your bright ideas. If you are not able to find a matching bag for that dress of yours, do not panic. Just get it made at icustommadeit. You can also get shoes and jewelry made to suit all your needs.

These would be the perfect gifts to a loved one. You can include a customized message in your product for them to show how much you love and care for them. Make the most of both world with icustommadeit. The gates to bespoke are now open!

Know more about them here:

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Adam's Apple

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Adam was not in a very good mood
He had just had an argument with Eve
It did not occur to him that she was troubled
All she needed was one day's leave

He saw her weeping in the corner
His love for her melted his heart
He walked towards her to sort things out
Someone sure had to make the start

Eve began to pour her heart out
She was tired of all the household chores
She had to cook, clean and do the laundry
Along with scrubbing the doors and floors

The words then tugged Adam's soul
How had he not understood this
Eve was his love and not his maid
How had he given this a miss

From the next day he followed her around
Assisting her in doing everything
Eve began to smile day after day
Her husband was normal and not the king

This gave Eve the time to look after herself
She began to look more good day after day
Adam was now a very happy man
He was glad he heard what Eve had to say

Eve began showering more love on him
A caring husband was all that she wanted
When he tried to dominate over her
All she felt was painfully daunted

Love began to bloom more and more
Both of them had ample time to spare
With the chores being shared by both
They enjoyed the skies and the fresh air

Soon it was time for the junior to arrive
He came out one bright sunny day
Adam was determined to teach his son the lesson
Of how women are not maids without pay

Junior Adam grew up watching his dad
He too learnt how to respect a woman
He assisted his mother in tiny things
He wanted to grow up to be a gentleman

Since he started at a very young age
He assisted his wife soon after she came in
He loved, understood and helped her always
Doing laundry, cleaning and taking out the bin

The next generations followed this too
Adam and Eve were happier than ever
The world was now a wonderful place
Thanks to the chauvinistic apple that Adam ate never

I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.

My Mom, My Genius #YoursHonestly

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I first saw the world through your eyes
It then seemed like a very nice place
But when I came out to face it
I was frightened by its dangerous pace

You told me not to be afraid
And that nobody can ever harm me
All I had to do was be truthful
In your eyes, honesty I could see

I followed in your footsteps
From adolescence to teenage
You left me free to see the world
Without enclosing me in a cage

Even while surviving on basic means
You asked me not to feel bad about it
You taught me to earn honestly
And then slowly save bit by bit

It gave me the strength to accept the truth
I found it better than sugar coated lies
But I was confused why others were not like me
They denied the truth and found lies nice

You asked me to ignore all of them
And that I had to be true only to myself
That lesson is engraved in my mind
In truth I had found my helpful elf

From the day I started writing
I have only focused on being honest
Others did not find this right
Ignoring them was what I did best

It is because of this lesson of yours
That I have achieved everything today
No matter what anyone says
As a part of me, honesty shall stay

You were a teacher in more ways than one
All your lessons came without a fee
I am proud to be a part of you
This is your daughter here, #YoursHonestly!

I am writing a letter about how a mother teaches honesty to her child with the Max Life Insurance i-genius #YoursHonestly activity in association with BlogAdda.

Reflections: A To Z - 2015

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I know I'm a little late in writing the reflections post, but better late than never right? April has been a wonderful month in more ways than one and this A to Z challenge sure made it a memorable one. When I took up the challenge last year, my theme was random and hence it was easy to write about everything that I wanted. But this time I decided to pep it up a little and challenge myself more. I chose a theme and me being me it had to revolve around love. Shades of love was revealed as my theme for the A to Z challenge 2015. When I decided on the theme, I thought that it would be easy to write about love and its various shades. But as the challenge progressed, I began to run out of ideas. The worst part was that I was neck deep in work and hardly had any time to write or schedule posts. Every post was written on the same day and published immediately. I started off well.

Awakening came out good as a stand alone piece, but it left lots to imagination in the end. Maybe someday I will make a complete story out of it. Nothing brewing in my mind as of now, but one day I surely will complete it. Black & White was really close to my heart as I love black and white photography. The Magpie prompt was perfect to bring out this poem. It was written in under fifteen minutes and I was lucky to have the words flow out of my heart. Cinderella was conceived when I couldn't sleep at night wondering what to write the next day. I just thought about the fairy tale and decided to add the twist of a woman's love for shoes in it. It worked well and people liked it. Doll House was another impulse. I read about a divorce case in the papers and wanted to write about it. Calling it divorce would have been too negative, hence I chose to show it via a child and her doll house.

Ex Files was something that I wanted to write since a while, but never came around. But when the letter E started back at me, I knew it was about time I wrote it. F could not have been anything else apart from Food. My love for food has always been the purest and it sure had to find its way here. God was a controversial subject and no where related to love. Then I saw a Facebook page called I Love God. That sealed the deal for me. People love God more than they love themselves. That is what I tried to show there. Hunt was written when I had just five minutes to spare. I had no clue what to write and just checked the five sentence fiction and friday fictioneers page. An idea struck and out flowed a revenge drama. Illusion had to be written considering all the recent events regarding women and feminism. It was my take on the #MyChoice video.

Joker would be my most creative post. I was thinking of writing about the love for life through a game of cards and this is how it turned out. Kohl was a very personal post as I know someone who has undergone a similar situation. Kohl also is a very important part of my life and I had to give it a tribute. Lust is my favorite sin and I can write forever about it. Last year I wrote about love and this year it had to be about lust. The Marriage post was straight from the heart based on my surroundings. I see so many women struggling to handle marriage and work and in-laws. I wanted to show that a marriage is only between two people. Everyone else is an outsider and you should not think about what they think about you. Nidhi had to be written considering how girl children are treated these days. Ocean Of Life was an extension of Nidhi as well. When I saw the picture prompt on Magpie the title flashed in my mind and I stuck to it. Thankfully I found words to do justice to the title and the picture.

Pretense was my least creative post. I have written two similar posts earlier and now I wonder why I chose to write on the same lines. Maybe lack of time or tiredness. Quill was another story that had been brewing in my mind since a long time. None of my grandparents are around anymore and this was my tribute to them. Rain had to be a post when the theme was love. I love the picture that I found to go with the post. Scars is and will be the post that is closest to my heart. It is me stripped of every veneer in that post. Travel is another love of mine that I recently discovered and since I was traveling soon, I had to write about it. Us is again another personal post. It is all about the problems we faced as a couple and how we stood by each other and faced it together. Just us, no one else.

Viscious Cycle was triggered due to recent events. I wanted to keep it crisp and small, but I am not used to short poetry. Hence the idea of a picture poem came up. Work is my worship and my first love. I respect anyone who work for a living and I wanted to show that in my post. X-Rated Hypocrisy is my most realistic post till date. I have lost count of the number of times middle aged/old women have asked me about my sex life and connect everything in the world with sex. I had to get out my frustration. Yellow was conceived when I sat with my yellow coffee mug reading the newspaper and noticed how much I loved that cup. And anything yellow for that matter. Zoe was all about me. The she is the post is actually I and my best friends actually do call me Zoe. The post was scheduled as I was travelling the previous day, and I wanted it to be the finale to the challenge. That post is my reflection. In every possible way.

So that was it, reflections about all my posts. I tried to stick to the theme as much as possible and I think that every post does speak about a shade of love. Even if it is just a tinge. I am so proud of all the bloggers who took up this challenge and stuck to it religiously. I met so many new writers and was awed by their spirit and dedication. Challenges like these make me feel so proud about being a part of this blogging world and actually succeeding at it.

I survived the A to Z challenge two years in a row! Now, let me go have my cup of tea.

Do let me know which was your favorite post among all these in the comments!

Color Riot With Engrave

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The first thing that we did when we moved out to a place of our own was to hang our name plate at the entrance. The name plate was sent to me by the wonderful people at Engrave. I wrote about them here. Just to refresh your memory, Engrave is an India-based design collective engaged in the pursuit of creating unique lifestyle products with fine craftsmanship. They believe that personalized gifts are the ones that are cherished the most. Therefore they are committed to offering an ever expanding range of simple to create canvas prints and laser engraved products. They combine the finest materials with a master craftsman's eye for detail to produce top quality products and gifts, perfect for any occasion. They have a wonderful collection of photographic plaques, name plates and canvas prints. You can go in for the standard ones, or you can choose to customize them to include your own photos or designs. But I told you all this during the last time only. Why am I talking about it again? Because now Engrave has something new to offer to all creative and art loving enthusiasts like me and you.

Engrave is now promoting various artists and craftsmen to showcase their talent and make a living out of it. This means that they are giving new artists a platform to showcase and sell their work. I am extremely proud to be associated with someone like them. Engrave believes that every art piece needs to see the light of the day and is helping artists do the same. And we are not talking about amateur artists here. The artists promoted by Engrave are professionally trained and are in need of a platform to showcase their work. Engrave is giving them the opportunity to do so. When I saw the work of some artists, I was awed. Such excellent work that they can give Piccaso and Da-Vinci a run for their money.

Take Abhinav Kafare for example. He is a professionally trained artist but he has not let his education impede his vision in any way. He has developed a doodlesque style of his own. His largely black and white work relies heavily on negative and positive spaces and often incorporates abstract perspective that adds depth to his creation. Not one to be tied down by convention, his work can be found in the most diverse of places from random walls on the ghats of Benares to advertising campaigns that have won the prestigious Cannes award. Engrave has collaborated with him and decided to give him a new canvas every week. When I saw a few of his art pieces, especially the black and white ones I was reminded of Mario Miranda and the walls of Brittos in Goa. Beautiful doodle style art that come to life on its own. Just as I was going gaga over his black and white work, I saw a few of his colored canvases. They were brilliant and I couldn't help but notice the bold use of color. They conveyed the right message and looked gorgeous.

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Engrave was kind enough to send me the 'Feetedelia' canvas print. This is an eye-popping take on the foot tapping feast that is music. You cannot miss the ample use of colors here. The red, the blues and the greens spoke to me and gave me a new dimension to interpret music. This 9x12 inch art work now enjoys its space on my bedroom wall, right next to the bright doodle art that I created. The art work did not come to me as a canvas sheet that I had to frame. That is the best part about Engrave. Their products are 100% complete and ready to use. The art work they sent me had:

Archival grade canvas: Meaning the canvas would not tear in years.
Giclee printing method: This is a method used by artists and galleries. This adds life to the painting.
Protective finish: The colors are guaranteed not to fade over 75 years. Talk about long lasting!

The canvas was hand stretched and inspected to ensure the highest standards and attention to detail. The print was framed and ready to hang out of the box and everything was included as part of the package, even the nail. It does not get much easier than this.

Abhinav Kafare even has art work that send out a clear message. His "Done is better than perfect", is a personal favorite of mine. And so is "Fortune favors the bold". I just cannot choose one here. But this artist can do more than just sell his products for you. You can get Abhinav to come and paint the wall(s) of your home/office/restaurant or retail establishment. Or you could commission a theme-based art piece to be used in your merchandise. Which Engrave could then mass produce, so that everybody wins. You can read more about Abhinav and his art here.

I'm glad that Engrave is providing artists like these a platform to showcase their talent and show the work their art. Please join me in spreading the word about this, so that talented artists do not remain hidden in their closet.

Check out their site here and their Facebook page here.