Monday, August 29, 2011

1 the challenge !!!

30 days

29 blogs (I can’t count this as one. Can I?)
28 years it took me to write my first blog
278 paragraphs
26th August – when I hit my first writer’s block
25 minutes, average time it takes me to complete a post
24/7 thinking of things to write for the next blog
2, 3 days – I got busy(lazy) in between and skipped writing
22 days after which I had to take an unexpected break
21.44 – time now (signing off my blog # 30)
20 pages of what’s in my mind
18 X 2 = 36 tags
17– Number of countries I have audiences from
16th July – day I started on my challenge
15 comments on the site – many more on facebook
14% of audience read the blog from a mobile or a tablet
137 results for ‘sangrywords’ on google
12 followers who have signed up on the site
11 minutes – time spent on thinking what I will write here
10 pm – usual time I sit down to write
9-month old as my youngest fan (I read it aloud to her everyday)
810 lines
7,500 words
6 blogs that were list of things I like, dislike, love, hate etc…
53 likes on facebook
4 readers from Reunion – I didn’t know where this was on the map
3 people who have featured the most in my blogs – S/S/S
1 the challenge!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A chicken or egg dilemma in the kitchen

I am looking for reasons why my chicken curry has turned out so sad. Could it be the masala (the spice mix), could it be the chicken - no, it has to be my husband! Yes it is him, he rarely gives me an opportunity to polish my culinary skills especially with Chicken. These days, when I ask him to get some chicken; he buys these small portions of curry from the fresh food counter at the super market.

Do you think he does that, because my cooking isn't up to the mark? Or is it that my cooking is not up to the mark because he often gets his chicken curry from the super-market counter.

I can't figure that in my head - it is a classic case of circular cause and consequence. It is one of those things that I can argue it both ways ....

After thinking long and hard, weighing pros and cons, looking at the merits of the case from opposing perspectives and after going through both sides of the story in my head, I’ve reached a conclusion.  I shall be making an omelette instead for dinner tonight. 

Image courtesy:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A year of unfinished projects

11 months ago we moved into our current place. It took us a good 3 weeks to unpack and settle in. Our place has these huge white and empty walls. We loved it and decided to do up the house with minimalist decor, which gives Smera more than enough space to play around. But there are some projects that we started and somewhere with Smera’s arrival all that took a back seat.

I wanted to put up frames and fill up the room with memories. Each picture, each frame has a story behind them and I have been postponing it for a long long time. It’s almost going to be a year since we moved and I feel its time we do something about this…

Curtains are next. We managed to do with our old curtains for the master bedroom and guest bedroom. Living rooms needed new ones, though. However, there is this window in our kitchen that is about 150X150cms in size.  The tinted glass on this window provides protection from sun and onlookers during day time. Actually it is more than just protection from the passersby, it provides live entertainment all day as it overlooks a business centre.  The onlookers take their revenge though at night by turning this window into a fishbowl.  We have been searching for a curtain for this odd-sized window… for almost an year….

The latest addition to the list is getting a swing for Smera in the balcony. Now that the weather is getting cooler, it’s just the right time to get her one of those. I hope to get this one done before my next year’s review of unfinished projects!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My 1st Writer's Block

I have been thinking of a topic for my today’s blog since morning. It’s almost evening and I still can’t get a proper opening line. I can now feel the pain of the people who do this for a living. It is a bit like the blue elephant paradox. If someone asks you think about anything but a blue elephant – a mysterious blue elephant appears in your mind’s eye. The image gets clearer by the second as you try to fight the thought. Yeah, what I feel is a bit like that – as much as a try I can’t get myself to think about anything worth writing.

Then I walked to my bookshelf in search of some inspiration. Somewhere between Bible and Bhagwat Gita, I stumbled up on this amazing tome. Flipping through its pages I told myself –‘This is it!  If this can’t inspire me, nothing can! ’.  I instantly fell in love with the way the book is laid out. Each of the words is carefully selected and given individual attention to form a wonderful medley of text. Despite the seemingly rigid order of events, remarkable thing about this writing is that  is it doesn’t matter where you start or finish – it makes sense every time.  It is one of the most influential books in the history of English literature. I feel extremely lucky to have come across it at this difficult stage of dealing with my inaugural writers block.

When you actually think about it, every book ever written, every speech ever delivered, every author ever lived on this face of earth should have borrowed from this. From Aardvark to Zyxt, Oxford English Dictionary has it all !! Just think about it, all of Shakespeare, the entire Obama rhetoric, today’s best-seller, next year’s booker prize – OED has it all. I just need to read them in the right order! 

Image courtesy:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things that makes me smile

How often do you think about things we take for granted?  I can hear you say - 'Not very often! - hey, there is a reason why they are called things that we take for granted!'. Indeed, I say, and my blog today is about things we that we often over look and have forgotten to like. 

It is those simple pleasures of life - offering us many a opportunities to enjoy, appreciate and explore. They are the things which give you a reason to smile in your daily grind that is filled with potholes, bumps, sharp turns and roadblocks. It is the bus-shelter and the road sign that tells you - take a break, take it easy. We should re-learn to treasure them. Here is my starter for ten.... 

1. Smell of new books 

2. Getting into crisp white cotton shirts 

3. Street Shopping and bagging a bargain 

4. Gossiping with my girlfriends

5. Reading cookbooks - It is more filling than a Dubai brunch

6. Singing in the shower (or Dancing in the rain )

7. Eating a Samosa – Brings back fond memories of school n college canteen days

8. Re-reading old hand-written letters, cards and emails

9. Cup of Vanilla Latte

10. Fragrance of freshly washed clothes  

Image courtesy:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Seven Habits of Highly Annoying People

Some people have a knack to bring out the worst in me. I have been trying hard to reform myself, but do what I may, these people tend to succeed in throwing me off-track every now and then. This blog is my latest endeavour to fight them off - by naming and noticing those demons.

1. People who think they are superior to others and treat fellow human beings like dirt

2. Folks who frequently interrupt and force down their beliefs, thoughts, likes and dislikes upon others

3. Individuals who think they-know-it-all and take it to the extreme and think they know you better than you know yourself

4. Have you come across people who act like an on-line comparison sites ? I have this but you don't have it, mine is better than yours.

5. FAKE people - they are not just pretentious, they are Finicky, Arrogant, Killjoy and Ego-centric.

6. People who whine and moan all the time - just the thought of their company is depressing.

7.  Lastly, people who criticize too much. See I told you they bring the worst in me!  

P.S. - All the demons described above are factual. However, I cannot guarantee any exact resemblance to anyone who is dead, alive or pretending to be dead. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A trip back home with my travel buddy

I will remember my recent trip home for a long time. It was very special for a number of reasons - most important being it was our first mom & daughter trip together, on our own. As Saju aka daddy had to travel on work for a few days to first London and then to Singapore. Instead of being home alone for 10 days me and Smera decided to visit my parents in Delhi.

Here are few other reasons that made our trip special

1.      I was terrified how Smera will behave in-flight. Would she keep everyone awake with her high octave vocal skills? Would someone come up to me and ask me to keep her quiet? My fears were not misplaced - she kept our fellow passengers awake. But to my pleasant surprise, she did that by keeping everyone entertained using her charming smile and baby-talk. She was so good that one person gifted her some money !!!
2.      10 days of unlimited pampering by her maternal grand parents, uncles and aunts. Wish we had enough days to visit Saju’s parents too.
3.      Smera took her first auto-rickshaw and cycle-rickshaw rides. She just could not control her excitement when she got into the auto. She was swaying in the breeze and holding onto the bars and yelling out of sheer enthusiasm.
4.      Experienced her first rain in Delhi.
5.      Smera took full advantage of travelling in the car without having to sit in her car seat.
6.      Lost all her hair to the barber. Daddy and Smera now sport the same look post her 'mundan'.
7.      Finalised our next 3-city vacation plans for this November.

Back after a break ..

I had to take a few days break from my 30-Day challenge as I was travelling with Smera.
I am back now and is committed to complete my challenge !
The funny thing about the last few days have been the withdrawal symptoms.
When I started on the challenge, I found it difficult to think of what to blog about...
But now after 22 days of writing, I find it difficult to keep a lid on things i would like to talk about....
Now that we are back, unpacked and settled back in our daily routine, I am looking forward to completing my challenge and continue writing
I now have a new address and have optimised the site for iPhone/iPad viewing - so if you have those funky toys do check out my new look..


Monday, August 8, 2011

Lightening the Load

Today I have decided to tell all... These are not necessarily the worst admissions of my life. However I would like to come clean today!

1.      I have fallen multiple times in drains and gutters while walking up a dark alley by myself. Basically, I never look where I walking, and have been told multiple times not to walk in dark alley. So, what do I do? I kind of forgot that every time.

2.      I am very lazy, even though I really wish I wasn't. Generally, I hate getting up, cleaning, exercise, or doing anything laborious. Sometimes I feel like I'm an 80-year-old

3.      I am not a morning person. I genuinely want to be... I secretly envy Saju who springs out of bed before 7am, with a smile, goes to the gym and has this desire to "get the day going." The only place I want to go in the morning is back to sleep. I am, conversely, a night person. Which means when Saju is falling into bed I'm the one chatting away, trying to think of questions to keep him awake :)

4.       I try and pretend to really enjoy current, understand music, but I mostly can't identify with it. I'm happy with the stuff I grew up listening to. I know the tunes and the words, and new music scares me. I like anything from the 70s, a lot from the 80s, most of the 90s.

5.      I am pretty much scared of everything. Snakes? Spiders? Lizards? Cockroaches? Owls? Mosquitoes? They all freak me out. Yes, mosquitoes – they love biting me and I don't like anything buzzing around me especially when I sleep.

6.      I can never, ever make a decision without worrying about what I might be missing out on. I think this habit really puts off Saju, but he chooses to silently bear with my perennial state of perplexity.

7.      It doesn't matter how careful I am with my handbags, they always end up a filthy mess on the inside with crumbs, crushed old receipts and gum wrapping papers. When I peer inside, I remember that I'm really not all that refined.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Packaging 101 – My Experiments with Smera – Part 3

Some days Smera just refuses to eat. You can dance, sing, or let her play with a tap of running water but none of this make her open her mouth. So today was just one of those days when I was struggling since morning to make her eat.

By 4 pm I had given up all hope and was thinking of giving her milk. As the last trick in the book, I pulled out an old used jar of her favourite Hipp Organic Fruit Puree from the cupboard. I re-filled the jar with home-made apple n banana puree. I took it her and pretended as if I was opening a new bottle for her and offered her a spoonful of the puree.

VoilĂ !  Smera finally opened her mouth. She quickly finished what was offered to her and was asking for more. Hmm, this is interesting – surely rose by any name should smell like a rose, especially to an unadulterated mind of a 9 month old. Clearly not!

The other day I was watching a Ted talk about perceived value. The speaker told a story about repositioning a breakfast cereal by changing the ‘viewing angle’. I wasn’t entirely convinced then, but after seeing what I saw today, I stand corrected.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shopping Stalemate

I wanted to shop until I drop but it ended up me dropping trying to do some shopping.
It feels like it always happens to me – the day I decide that I want to go and splurge, I can’t find a single thing that would fit me or my budget.

It is as if the stores know that I am coming and they hide everything out of my sight. Could that be right? This entire week, I have walked in and out of so many stores, and yet I couldn’t a find a single thing that would excite me.

“What’s going on?”  I asked myself.  Should I get a personal shopper? Is it inflation? Maybe I missed the sale season?  I slept over this last night thinking I might wake up with an answer. Eureka moment arrived late this afternoon – I have an expensive taste! Suddenly the whole world was making sense again – that explained why overpriced accessories were finding me.

Whilst this flash of brilliance helped me feel better for about couple of minutes, that chic yet pocket-friendly top remained elusive.  I was about to give up hope, but we ended up at Lamcy this evening. An hour of window shopping and trials at Lamcy proved fruitful – not one, not two but three tops from Matalan! What’s more I didn’t have to pay a single penny for it – we redeemed some of our Airmiles.

Then a thought occurred to me as I was wrapping up our evening with a Haji Ali sandwich – Maybe I was looking at the wrong place? Maybe. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Have you heard of TED?

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It is a Not-For-Profit that organises a series of talks every year on a whole range of topics. Attending one of the conferences will set you back by quite a bit, financially. But every talk is available online through for you to watch any time for free.

I should share here that the inspiration for me to start writing blogs came from the Ted Talk below.   

In an age of sensationalised 24/7 newscast, TED is a breath of fresh air. It lets you listen to some of the brightest minds in the world today. TED lives up to its aim of championing the ideas worth spreading. Depending on the mood you are in you could choose to watch videos that are Courageous, Funny, Persuasive, Ingenious, Jaw-Dropping, Beautiful, Fascinating, Informative, or Inspiring.

You could then choose talks by topics such as Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Science, Culture, Arts or Global issues. If any of you or your friends would like to listen to TED in your mother tongue, selected talks are available in a number of vernacular languages including Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali and Tamil.

As a start I am listing my top 10 TED favourites based on what I have watched to-date. Hope you'll like it


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Staycations Worlidays - A Total Washout

I am a stay-at-home mom. I feel privileged that I have this opportunity that I can see her growing up. With our little one, each day is new a milestone.

This is a bit tiring job as it’s just the three of us. Our part-time maid comes for a couple of hours everyday and I manage the rest. There is nothing more satisfying than doing everything for Smera. But I must confess I get tired and especially as Smera is at stage where she needs round the clock supervision. And after eight and half months of this routine I felt I needed a break for few days.

 So I put forward a proposition to Saju – a 1 week stay-at-home vacation.

  1. He gets to relax and de-stress himself – read a book, watch movie & sleep
  2. He gets to spend some quality time with Smera.
  3. He does not have to spend any dough on flights and hotel etc.
  4. Ultimately I also get a break as he can help me with Smera’s everyday routine.

It’s been 4 days but he has been in office more than home. A total washout by any standards - few words of wisdom from what I learned this week

  1. Staycations are a bad idea – If you want to take time off go disappear
  2. Worlidays sucks – You makes no friends with this – nor at work, neither at home
  3. Bury your Blackberry –  Find a place to go with weak signals

Now, looking forward to November when we take some real vacation….

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

All That Glitters ………

I don’t know what it is with me and gold, it keeps trailing me wherever I go. My association with gold started very early on in life with Gold- spot. For those who don’t know, Gold-spot is Fanta’s predecessor. I can still vividly remember, the outings with my dad, where having Gold-spot was a regular feature.

So here goes the list

  1. Gold spot at India Gate
  2. Gold medal at school (lemon and spoon race)
  3. Golden Temple – a trip worth taking again
  4. Gold facial - part of my bridal package
  5. Gold jewellery at my wedding (in my bank locker ever since)
  6. Gold watch from Kenneth Cole
  7. Gold and Diamond Park – My previous office location
  8. Gold frame aviator Ray-ban
  9. Gold prices – tracking them as a hobby

Speech is silver, silence is Golden – being the chatterbox I am, I always break that rule.  

My top 10 eats

UAE’s national pass time is eating and shopping. You can eat when you go shopping or you can shop when you go eating. They both go hand in hand here in Dubai.  And just like everyone, I have a list of places that I frequent for my occasional dose of comfort food. I must say I play it safe when it comes to trying something different.

If you are a real foodie, eating out can be an expensive affair in the city. However, me and my better half believe in finding best value for money deals wherever we go. So here is my list of top 10 places where you can eat for less than AED 60 for a couple. In certain places where the portions are big, I have assumed that you are also as shamelessly sharing like us.

  1. Goan fish curry at Nawab restaurtant
  2. Matador pizza at Oregano
  3. Green Curry at Ban Khun Mae
  4. Chicken Espetada at Nandos
  5. Nasi Goreng and the Seafood Paella at More Café
  6. Campenllo in pesto with chicken at Vapiano
  7. Spicy chicken shawarma at Al Safeer
  8. Everything at Saravana Bhojan Shala
  9. Mango fish curry at Calicut Paragon
  10. Chicken Katsu Curry at Wagamama

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