Monday, October 31, 2016

#466 : Day Thirty Nine - Quote of the day

Remembering the Magic inside me, I sat down and completed my target of 1K words today out of the 2K I have to write to finish my short story. More over, NaMoWriMo is kicking off tomorrow and I decided to sketch out characters and chapter outlines, with little success though. Again reeling in self doubt I almost thought of giving up until I decided that winning doesn't matter. Trying does. I might not write 50K words, but I sure should write enough to publish the novel sometime next year.

PS. From tomorrow, I'm starting a new series in my blog. Hint - If you are an ardent fan of a one very talented music director, you really would love this series.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

#465 : Day Thirty Eight -Quote of the Day

Yet another attempt to finish the short story I started with little success. I wanted to complete it and post it today. Words failed to flow. Restlessness set in. That feeling of helplessness and pure irritation drove me mad. Reading random things on the internet always helped me apart from listening to music. That's when I stumbled upon this quote. I'm not there yet. I don't if I will ever, but that doesn't mean I cannot get there. While there were few nice people who are near strangers who helped me out and motivated me last time around I wrote about my block, there were others who celebrated it. What was so shocking is that they are supposedly my well wishers. They call themselves that yet, they love to see me stumble, discouraging me with a pessimistic thought that I really cannot write with that commitment. I have a crazy schedule, yet I make it a point to write. It's the thirty eight day since I started writing one post per day. I've not stopped, I may have stumbled, but I'm closer to the goal than I was yesterday. Take that! Live with it!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

#464 : Day Thirty Seven - Celebrating Food - Photoblog!

Given it's Deepavali today and I'm almost wasted thanks to all that food and some hectic shopping, I decided to take the photo route. Below are some pictures of my experiments. Strike that, successful experiments. May this occasion bring prosperity and well being.

A5 100% Baked potato with herbs[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2307" align="aligncenter" width="605"]Azra 100% Oreo Chocolate Cake[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2151" align="aligncenter" width="593"]img_0948 Banana Walnut Cake[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3012" align="alignnone" width="594"]IMG_0757.JPG Multi Grain Bread[/caption]

Friday, October 28, 2016

#463 : Day Thirty Six - Makeup!


"Smile is the best make up a girl can have" said Marilyn Monroe. No denying that what Monroe stated is true, but it doesn't hurt to put on actual makeup to feel better. This blog post would possibly invite the wrath of people who are against the concept of makeup. Truthfully speaking, it's a matter of choice. It's my choice to step out without makeup and  it's my choice to go out fully decked up too! Shaming some one for their choice of attire or hairstyle or beauty in general is vile.

Makeup shaming is for real. It's pains to see girls as young as 10 years old, dabbing on that shimmery red lipstick to "keep in sync" with the trend and to avoid being left out. The labels given to a woman who doesn't wear makeup or doesn't have that perfectly done hair seems puerile. Then again, if you decide to humor the world and flaunt that beautiful Russian Roulette MAC lipstick which probably costed a bomb, you are labelled a slut. There is this ludicrous argument that anything done in moderation is the key to success. How do you define moderate in the context of beauty and make up? Is applying a little lesser quantity of that beautiful lipstick moderate? You are still using some external element to enhance your beauty. Sounds a tad too hypocritical.

Then again, there is this doltish delusion that all women who are beautiful or dress beautifully aren't the brightest bulb in the box. It is apparent that who soever had coined that adage of not judging a book by its cover has failed miserably.

Wearing makeup or not, at the end of the day is an individual choice. It's a matter of confidence for some, while matter of lethargy or disinterest for others. Only an imbecile would assume that a woman dresses up for others. Trust me, we women really do like to feel better, if make up or the lack of it gives us that, what qualms do we have decking up or not. In fact, if you find  a woman patiently applying make up, layer by layer, be in awe with her. She has immense patience!

Here is to all beautiful women. Trust me, you are beautiful.

PS. That picture is my makeup loot. I decided to splurge and my bestie from US was kind enough to get me all of it when I shipped all this stuff to her place. Sarika, I owe you :-D


Thursday, October 27, 2016

#462 : Day Thirty Five - Pure Body Natural Dead Sea Mud Mask - Review

Continuing with the beauty and wellness from my previous posts yesterday, today, I've decided to review one product I purchased recently. I'm not a fan of artificial face packs, but I decided this one is worth a try. I stumbled upon an article which elaborated the benefits of using different types of facial clay - Bentonite clay, Fullers Earth, Dead sea mud, French clay and what not! Except fullers earth the other names were as good as Greek to me. Given that natural remedies take their own sweet time and there are times when we hope our skin miraculously cleans itself, such masks can be of good help.

With acne and boils popping up periodically, fullers earth and sandal paste are my best friends, until I discovered this - Dead Sea mud mask. As per the label and product descriptions, it is supposed to be 100% natural. The product label also claims that this mask removes dead cells, draws out oils and toxins, reduces pimples and black heads.

Azra 100%

Instructions for use - Apply a layer of the mask on clean skin with mask brush. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Use once a week for effective results.

Smell and Feel - The mask is neutral smelling with no infusion of flavoring agent. The texture is that of a smooth paste and is grey in color.


Feel - Normally, any face mask tends to tingle as soon as it is applied. Surprisingly this mask didn't really tingle until it  dried off. I left the mask on for about 15 minutes and I kind of fell asleep only to be woken up by my alarm to wash it off. It neither felt cold nor hot. I washed it off with warm water by massaging my face in circular motion.

My skin felt super smooth and moisturized. It didn't leave my oily face dry like most of the packs do.  I realized that my boils had reduced considerably, especially on the forehead region. Also, roughness around the jaw region had reduced. I wondered if the effect would really stay on. It's been three days already and my skin is still the same!

The downside of this product however is that it's cost and availability. I purchased it on Amazon US for $14.99 and a friend got it for me. I had shipped it to her place. If one were to ship it to India, with skyrocketing postage rates and import tax, it simply would be too expensive. It's also available in India for INR 1971. I know, it's darn pricey! .


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

#461 : Day Thirty Four - The perception of beauty

"Oh come on! Look at her hair, I'm mean how can she really live with it? It's so curly. She hasn't even styled it properly!" said a young lady pointing to me. If you've been suggested that you spends thousands to straighten your hair and polish your face, read on.

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder truly. While some people call me beautiful there are the others who take to criticizing me harshly for my curly-frizzy hair and no-so-smooth face. Of course, I'm not alone. In fact, there was this picture of a woman of African origin doing rounds as to how dark she is. She was labelled the darkest person alive on earth. It fails to occur to me as to what purpose can such harsh criticism and scrutiny serve. Does appearance matter?

Yes, it does. A healthy appearance does matter. However, the definition of being healthy varies on a case to case basis. Enough as be said and little has been done about those pointless fairness cream ads. One can't possibly rip of their skin and replace with a ligher colored skin to satiate the wagging tongues of mentally unstable humans can they?  That debate is way older than I am and is worth refraining from.To me, any person criticizing about outward appearance in terms of skin color and 'fashion; is mentally unstable. What matters truly is well-being. Applying makeup is your choice, commenting on others for not following suit isn't!

Obviously, beauty is of two types - Internal and external. One cannot exist without the other. No matter how much amount of make up is used, you can't really camouflage the state of well being or internal beauty.

Using makeup is a personal choice, but staying fit and feeling beautiful is a mandate to lead a healthy life.

As a continuation of yesterday's post, sharing my personal routine to having a healthy appearance.

Basics - It's wise to maintain impeccable person hygiene. Wash your garments and  cut your nails. It's fashionable to flaunt your bear claw nails, but ensure it's clean.

Facial care - What you eat plays a major role in how you look. Some people are blessed with high metabolism while there are some of us who aren't so lucky. Gorging on oily foods and junk items would simply result in your face and hair loosing at it's sheen. Fruits, raw vegetables, nuts and water works wonder to your skin.

If your face is oily enough to start a refinery, you my friend, need to take extra care as you are prone to developing acne. Unfortunately, I'm blessed with oily skin and thus acne and breakouts aren't alien to me. To tackle that problem by it's horns, I formulated a routine and it's helped.

Ensure to keep your skin clean and chemical free as much as possible. Washing your skin with lukewarm water twice a day helps. Use a Turkish towel to pat dry and do not rub in. Finger nails aren't your best friend if you suffer from acne. Investing in a good oil control soap, preferably organic will help. The best option however is to use the good old gram flour. Miracles won't happen over night, but after a period of time you will feel the difference!

Aloe Vera, the highly marketed plant actually does work wonder. Investing in a tiny pot of this plant is certainly the best decision you can make. I apply the the sap of Aloe Vera for about 20 minutes daily and wash it off with lukewarm water. My skin has become smoother and all the painful heat boils and acne have shrunk off considerably. Again, Aloe Vera is comparatively faster but do not expect for a miracle.

Sandal, turmeric and rice powder paste - This paste totally works and shrunk off a painful boil over night. Ensure to use Sandal stick and organic turmeric for best results. Some people are allergic to sandal, it is advisable to do a patch test before you try it regularly.

Wash off make up properly - We love our makeup, but we fail to remove it off properly. Again, investing in a good cleansing milk or the good old gram flour is a must.

If you are always on the move, there a couple of face-scrubs and packs which really help! Stay tuned to know more about them!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#460 : Day Thirty Three - A Healthy Routine

A recent conversation with a friend made me realize that there are certain things I am actually doing right . I'm neither a fashonista nor fitness freak, but I ensure to stay active. This routine of mine is not a recent one, but was developed over a period of time and required internal motivation. A bout of hormonal imbalance caused by stress resulted in a lot of harmful changes. I'm sure I'm not alone in this struggle. Every woman goes through this I suppose. I simply hope to do my bit to help all the beautiful ladies who are struggling with such issues to our gender.

Time management - All of us juggle multiple roles and more often than not, we don't spend time for ourselves. Spending time in taking care of your self is the first solution to all problem. That pending presentation, the half complete spreadsheet, that bucket of unwashed clothes, the big pile of unfolded clothes, can really afford to wait for the 30 minutes you decide to spend yourself. I consciously spend about 45 minutes for myself. It's a habit hard to inculcate, but think of result, I'm sure you would be motivated.

Physical activity - The age of strenuous and back breaking household work is long gone for the urban women. Our food and our lifestyle impacts us in every possible way. Do that dance routine you've wanted to do always or play that sport you wished you did! Or if you are painfully shy to go out and work out, Yoga and aerobic exercise are the best. It's the YouTube era. Search for workout videos and do them. Or even better, there are apps to help you learn and do basic workouts to ensure you have some physical activity.If you can't really afford to do all that, mop and sweep like there is no tomorrow. Wash that big pile of clothes all by yourself without using the machine, take your dog for a walk, water plants and la, your physical activity is done.  I spend about 30 minutes working out intensely apart from helping out with household chores. Knee Push ups, Squats, Inchworms, Hip openers, Halasana, Butterfly posture, walking and jogging at times - That's my workout routine. I either hit the local park with my dad or use the Runtastic App to workout at home. My stamina and immunity levels have increased. It didn't happen overnight, but over a period of 3 months. Added bonus - I shed off a bit of flab and I'm working on shedding off the rest.

Food - Watch what you eat and how much you eat. Portion control and sticking on to a time is the key. We ladies tend to skip breakfast and that's a big no. Most of us are also very conscious about confectionery and junk food. The more you consciously abstain from indulging the more likely you are to gorge on all of it one fine day. It's okay to have that one bar of chocolate or that plate of pani puri once in a while. Inculcate the habit of munching on fruits and raw vegetables. Trust me, they are your good friend. I've noticed visible changes in my skin texture since I started including fruits in my diet. Don't cut carbs all together. If your body doesn't co-operate you might end up with side effects like hair-loss or fatigue or worse, you might put on weight. I've been down that road. The trick is to balance carbs that you don't over eat or under-eat. Green juices and soups are very effective. A lot of us have white patches in our face due to vitamin deficiency. I had that ugly patch too. I made it an habit to consume green juices including drumstick leaves and spinach juice and la, it all disappeared in two months and till date it's not returned.

Stay tuned for a series of posts on wellness and beauty! Hope to have been of some help!


#459 : The Three Wise Monkeys by Jeet Gian : Review

“We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
We shall overcome someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We shall overcome someday.”

These lines remind me of my moral sciences classes in class 5 when we sung this song with all notes out of sync. Our teacher, who tried her best to make us all sing in tone, gave up at one point eventually. Nevertheless, it was so much fun. One character in the book kept up the self-motivation by singing these very lines. Thus the nostalgia!

Amar, Akbar, Antony – our three monkeys, aka the protagonists, are honest chartered accountants. They had passed their CA exams with much difficulty and eventually had set up their own practice. They struggle to find clients. They finally see the light in the end of the tunnel in the form of auditing for three clients. Slowly, the tunnel falls apart piece by piece and they are caught in a web of money laundering and other illegal activities.

It is apparent that the writer is a chartered accountant as he has perfectly illustrated the process of setting up an off shore account and a company to launder money. The title, the narration and general writing style implies that the humor is a stronghold for this writer. However, characterization and too many sub plots marred the joyous experience of reading a humorous story. There were simply too many characters and at one point I lost track of who was want and why they were there in the book. The sub plot involving secondary characters like Suma and Ruma were given way too much importance and veered off from the central story. At the outset, it seemed like the book really didn’t have a proper plot in place. In fact, there were times when the book reminded me of the famous song Bhaag DK bose form the movie Delhi Belly – Fast moving story sans an actual story! Nonetheless, the intended plot became after the cops got involved into the chase. The detailing could have used some good edits.

MY SAY: The book is worth a read for its humorous dialog and fantastic detailing on as to how to set up an off shore account and launder money.


Monday, October 24, 2016

#458 : Day Thirty Two- A letter to the chauvinist in my coffee table

Dear chauvinist,

Hello there!

I've been wanting to write this letter for a while now,hoping that you would read it eventually. You see, it's of no use telling all this just to you. There are the likes of you who also need to assimilate and understand what I'm about to elaborate.

Yet again today, just like a few hundred times before, you interrupted me and asked me to stop talking when we were all discussing about national politics.Apparently, I didn't really know what I was talking about as the topic under discussion was politics. You obviously have a problem with my gender. I suppose it's your insecurity at play. I've ranted enough about how you and the likes of you, mansplain us supposedly weaker gender every time we talk about the so called male oriented topics like technology, sports or politics.

I really don't need to prove that I'm as capable as you are in participating in such a discussion involving sports or technology or politics. However, I pity you thoroughly for being so ignorant and borderline uncouth. According to you, my gender of people are only capable of gossiping or talking about clothes, accessories and cooking. Guilty as charged! We love our gossips and clothes. Does that ever mean that we don't follow politics or sports or technology?

Before you go on to argue that I might be an exception and not all women are the same, let me give you an example. I spent a major part of my schooling in a girls' school. There were about 38 of us in our class. Hold it right there. I know for a fact that your brain is probably working overtime, conjuring up an image of stupid bunch of girls in pigtails swooning over handsome actors and dreaming about marrying one such guy. Not denying it didn't happen back then. What also happened was this - We followed cricket. We played cricket inside our class standing on benches using exam pads as bats. We engaged in debates about social issues and followed politics with almost the same interest as Bollywood. Most of us from that class are now successful Charted accountants, Engineers, Doctors, Bureaucrats and Fashion designers today. Now, consider graduate education. My class was a girl majority and I studied Instrumentation - predominantly a male oriented field of education. We organized Tech seminars and participated in a lot of technology related activities. Of course, we also indulged in a lot raging debates in various topics.

I do agree that all that time slogging inside the kitchen and the house before we rush off to work leaves us with almost no time to catch up with newspapers unlike you. That doesn't mean there aren't other ways to catch up. Technology has long ago stepped in making information way more than just accessible. We do keep track of things you know. Not to beat you at it, but to be an informed and responsible citizen.

I suppose you are still way behind your time. We have women leaders heading the country and ruling the roast at corporate yet here you are stopping one from talking because of your insecurity. Open your mind, look beyond.

It's technically not possible for any human to know every single event or information happening in this world. The same is applicable to you and me. I might not know things you do and you might not know things I do. Next time you want to make your point, put forth a logical argument backed by facts. That's how it is done. That's how I do it. When I don't have a problem when you go on and on about nuances of cooking, the so called women dominated area, I fail to understand what problem you have when I talk things with facts backing to boot.

May be your knowledge is half baked? You are your own enemy, you know?

Hoping you that you don't go on behaving like this, for who knows, you might be talking to the next head of the nation or of that of a tech company.

Yours sincerely,

Just another young woman oppressed by the likes of you!

EDIT 1 : If this write up feels like it's addressing you directly, it's on you! It's your conscience at work you know! 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

#457 : Day Thirty One - The Big Cat - Photoblog

The Big Cat  at Mysuru Zoo.

The Tiger is a powerful animal which symbolizes powerful energy. It hunts efficiently to make the ultimate kill. This shot of such a powerful animal stretching out like this looks so comical that it reminds me of the scene from the Tamil Movie Winner, where actor Vadivelu would be stretched out just like this and a couple of kids on a Tri-cycle would come hit him.

On a serious note, this picture is a proof of one thing - However powerful one may be, we all have a lighter side. A side which might not dominate our prime behavior, but without that trait we  would all be zombies.

PS. Phew. 50 posts since I started this blog. Hoping to hit century. Right time to thank few people - My dad. He is my unpaid publicist. Without his and Mom's support, I wouldn't really be here writing away today. Bragadeesh Prasanna - for reading and critiquing my stories, without your feedback, I really wouldn't know certain things. Dinesh and Raja - Two gentlemen who comment and read whatever I write, very regularly. I've met them just once in person and haven't interacted much at all, yet the encouragement they give is just way too much. In fact, there were times when I felt low that people don't really read my work, these two people were unknowingly present to bolster up my spirits, so Thank you. I'd be failing in my manners if I didn't thank this person - She told me I can't possibly keep up my commitment and write daily. She made me doubt my very strength, my writing skills. Wallowing in self doubt, I almost gave up until a random dialog from a movie made me realize that I was fool to doubt myself. If you are reading this, you know who you are. Thank you. You hit my nerve, very kind of you to remember that I don't give up when challenged. Last but not the least, to all those nice people, known and unknown, whose random comments and likes motivated me bit by bit. Thank you. Hoping to hit many such milestones.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

#456 : Day Thirty - Humma Humma on the beach

It's a plesant evening and I'm writing from a beach side resort over Wordpress mobile. I wondered why it didn't occur to me to bring my head phones and listen to some class music. The weather and the atmosphere is so perfect for some class music by ARR.Tu Meri Dost would have been a perfect choice. 

Just then came on Humma Humma, the peppy number from famous movie Bombay blaring from the speakers, Arvind Srinivas of the Vijay TV super singer fame was performing live. 

My mood changed completely. I wanted to blast off and dance. All my woes and worries from the day evaporated. The power of music isn't it? 

The song obviously needs no introduction. ARR's voice and Nagendra Prasad's dance - the song is an absolute ruckkus! The comical part - This song has a permanent place in my Zumba routine, so I wanted to jump in and dance! 

While I enjoy the song, you can find it here - Humma Humma

Note - I have no intention of writing much today! I'm busying soaking in the atmosphere and the song while trying to write out the character sketch for my book.

Friday, October 21, 2016

#455 : Day Twenty Nine - The bare tree - Photoblog!


Dark clouds looming over, threatening to lash out .A beautiful bare tree standing as if challenging the cloud. Is the tree really bare? Or is it a sign of a new beginning?

This photograph was taken on a windy Sunday en route to the Servalar Dam - Vikramasingspuram - Papanasam. I snapped this picture using my Samsung Galaxy Grand phone. Till date this has been my favorite picture and probably the best I've shot. Do note that this is an unprocessed image.

#454 : The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy : Review

Reading a work of historical fiction is joyous experience provided the story and the narration is perfect. The term ‘perfect’ though varies from person to person.

Gabrielle (Gabbi) is quintessential modern women in the age where women are branded only fit for child bearing. She aspires to become a painter and strives hard for it. Fate plays the villain in her life when a rich baron chooses her over her sister as his to be wife. She is utterly devastated and devises a scheme to flee to Paris from her hometown, Laval to find her grandmother and live with her. Fate plays villain and she fails to find her grandmother. What follows is the story of young girl’s fight to freedom.

The story was quite outstanding in many aspects. First, the narration was spot on. Old age Paris – the description of sights, the fashion and the culture seemed so realistic through the writer’s eyes. It is evident that the writer has done a fair bit of research. Given that gender of the writer, it does seem easy to assume that she mustn’t have found it difficult to step into the shoes of Gabbi and elaborate her character. In contrary to popular belief, the times have changed. Women are allowed to vote and are way better off today than they were during the 1900s. Agreed we still have a long way to go, but imagining such oppression is quite a difficult task. Needless to say, the writer has executed that task with such perfection. Other primary and supporting characters were also etched out perfectly. The plot has enough twists to keep the reader engaged. Brownie points to the writer for describing Paris and its culture so vividly.

The cover art deserves a special mention. Its simply exquisite.

MY SAY: An Engaging read!


About the book

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Digital

To know more about the book, head to the spotlight post here!


#453 : The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy : SPotlight

Brenda Joyce Leahy

on Tour October 17-21 with the-art-of-rebellion

The Art of Rebellion

(YA historical) Release date: June 15, 2016 at Rebelight Publishing ISBN: 978-0994839985 252 pages Website Goodreads  


Released June 15, 2016, by Rebelight Publishing, this beautifully written, lush piece drops you into tumultuous and breathtaking late 19th century Paris. Sixteen year old Gabrielle dreams of becoming an artist but her ambitious parents agree to an arranged marriage to an aging Baron. In protest, she runs away from her provincial home of Laval to Paris, the City of Light, intending to live with her grandmother and pursue her passion for art. Her bold plan disintegrates as she arrives in Paris to discover her grandmother has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Alone in the capital, Gabrielle wonders who to trust: her new artist friends or the handsome but irritating stranger she met on the train, who just might be stalking her. Gabrielle’s pride, ambition and impulsive nature thrust her into Paris’ underbelly of betrayal and abuse. Will she find the courage to begin a new life on her own terms?

The Art of Rebellion was on the Calgary Bestselling Fiction list in August 2016


the-art-of-rebellion-brenda-joyce-leahy Brenda Joyce Leahy loves historical fiction and thinks she was born a century too late but can’t imagine her life without computers or cell phones. So, perhaps, she arrived in the world at just the right moment to tell this story. She grew up on a farm near Taber, Alberta but now lives with her family near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta. After over 20 years practising law, she has returned to her first love of writing fiction. She is a member of several writing organizations, including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) The Art of Rebellion is also profiled on the Humber School of Writers’ website Brenda is also a member of the Historical Novel Society and leads a YA/MG writers’ critique group in Calgary. Visit Brenda’s website Follow her on Facebook | on Twitter Follow Rebelight Publishing on Twitter Buy the book: Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble


You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open to Canada residents: 2 winners will receive a copy of this book





Thursday, October 20, 2016

#452 : Day Twenty Seven - Baked Potatoes - Recpie


What you would need -

  1. Potatoes - Medium to big 500 grams

  2. Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tablespoon

  3. Italian mixed herbs - for seasoning

  4. Pepper powder - for seasoning

  5. Salt - to taste

  6. Olive Oil - 2 tablespoon

  7. Cheese - Grated, to taste.

How to?

  1. Cut the potatoes into a semi- elliptical shape and par boil them.

  2. In a bowl, mix Olive Oil, salt, pepper powder, Italian mixed herbs and ginger garlic paste.

  3. Add the mixture to the parboiled potatoes.

  4. Grease a tray or a Tawa with oil and spread the potato out evenly. Cover the tray with foil paper if possible.

  5. Preheat the oven to 200 Deg C.

  6. Bake the potato for 35 Minutes.

  7. Flip them over mid way if you haven't covered with silver foil.

  8. Grate cheese over the potatoes and bake for  10 minutes and la, your herb roasted potato is ready!

PS. Another experiment which worked out well for me. 

PPS. Thanks to some much needed motivation by Dinesh and Raja,I managed to write a couple of paragraphs to my story. I am not there yet to my old self, but it's a good start! 

#451 : Day Twenty-Eight - Being Strange

A l'ouest - The name of my blog in French means a strange person. The Webster dictionary defines strange as unusual or surprising. Sadly, the modern definition of strange has morphed into something negative and un-cool.

If you aren't tuned to the latest trends of fashion, you are strange. If you don't enjoy popular movies or TV series, you are strange. In short, the society has this mindset of having to fit in a box. But what if you didn't? They either love you or hate you for being different.

More often than not, you are labeled strange if you don't stick to that definition. Is it fair? Of course not, but life has never been fair.

The above quote beautifies being strange. There is nothing beautiful about being strange. It's just an idealistic romantic notion. To be labeled strange and being ridiculed is nothing romantic. It's sickening and pessimistic. Romanticing any negative aspect of life will not solve the issue at hand. Each people have their own trait. The difference of traits is what makes us truly human. Respecting and understanding differences is the solution.

Easier said than done, but isn't it wise? I wonder!
Note - I know I promised to compete the story  I started. Unfortunately, writers block happened. So the delay. Hoping to bounce back soon! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#450 : Day Twenty Six : Quote of the Day!


Today was one of those days when all light seemed dull and the prospect of light at the end of the tunnel seemed bleak. That's when this quote popped up in my mailbox from a newsletter I subscribe to. Should I be happy?

My brain seems to have shut itself off today. No creative juices flowing through today. Stringing up a paragraph of words seems so herculean. I wanted to complete writing the short story I started writing last week yet I simply sat staring at the screen. Is it writer's block? Or is it a  burnout?

Whatever it is, it seems to have been triggered by something that happened today. I wonder!

Monday, October 17, 2016

#449 : Day Twenty Five - Pothys Boutique : My shopping experience

This shop has been one of my favorites since it opened. Situated away from the insanely crowded area of Panangal park, this is one place to go for decently priced unique collection of clothes.I'm no Fashionista, but I find this place to be the perfect destination to shop for ethnic wear. Though the unique collection is projected as the USP of the store, I'd say their customer service is their USP.

It's festival season and the store was buzzing with a lot customers. The parking was full and the shop was nearly packed. Me and my sister, we were on the look out for ethnic wear. We decided to shop for Anarkali sets. A shopping assistant helped us pick dresses. The fitting was perfect as expected. We completed the purchase and had given our clothes for the sleeves to be attached. They asked to wait for an hour, so went spent a good one hour roaming about the shop and looking at all clothes.

Being a stickler for punctuality, I approached the stitching counter exactly an hour later. To my complete surprise, our clothes were ready and neatly packed. We had left the shop feeling blissful after picking out the perfect dress.

That feeling of happiness didn't last long.On reaching home, we discovered that the pant and shawl for one of the sets we purchased were missing. We mused that we would have missed it in the store. Our parents stepped in. They called up the store and the customer representative asked us to come over. We reached the store and approached the first person we could get hold of. After all, the store was quite packed and most of the customer reps were busy helping other customers. It turned out to be the purchase manager of the floor, we were last sitting - Mr.Moorthy. He patiently listened to our grievance and checked with the person who had billed us and also serviced us while picking out the clothes. They were sure that they had packed all the items and we had received it from them. He then took us to the CCTV recording area. Thanks to a phone call that my dad received while we were shopping, we were able to pinpoint the exact time during which we were present in the store. Using that time frame, the operator combed all the footage and confirmed that we had indeed received the pant and shawl and hadn't dropped anywhere. He gave his number and asked us to contact the next day so that his team could check after the shop had emptied out. He promised to find the missing items if it were present in the store.

The next day we called him and he guided us to meet one Mr.Ramesh, who as the purchase manager of the ethnic dresses floor. He once again checked with the CCTV team if they had recovered the missing pieces. Unfortunately, they weren't able to find it and we had to buy something that matched the top.

What is commendable is that -

  • It's festival season and they could have outright refused to help us, yet they did.
    The product in question is comparatively of low value yet they spent a good two hours helping us out.

  • The had that genuine drive to help us. We didn't coax them to help us out yet they did.

  • Almost all the staff we spoke with were very polite and courteous.

  • We realized that we had been possibly robbed as we used the metropolitan bus to travel back home.

Customer service IS the USP isn't it?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

#448 :Day Twenty Four : Carpet Weaving - Jaipur


Jaipur - The city which fascinated me for it old style architecture, pretty bangles and handloom products. I had a chance to visit the government run co-operative society which sold beautiful handwoven apparels and carpets. Given that we were touring during the onset of summer, we lost track of time due to abundant sunlight. It didn't occur to us to actually take a look at the time. We spent a about a good hour in the shop admiring extraordinary work of art.

What : The above picture is that of the traditional carpet weaving stand. The weaver sits behind and knots the strings using a needle in a patterned manner to bring a shapes and designs. There are other several such techniques being used to weave a carpet.

Why : Handloom. The very word is a fascination for some people. The beauty of a handwoven product, be it a saree or a carpet is unmatched. It is worth every penny being paid. I clicked this picture in a hurry before they confiscated my camera!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

#447 : Day Twenty Three - Runtastic Results App

Today, my laptop decided to sulk away and take a nap and thus I had to resort to posting from my phone! 

Using a 4.5 inch phone to blog can be a pain for some one who enjoys listening to the rattle prattle of the keyboard. That sound somehow always boosts my creativity. Yet this experience of typing out a post from a touch screen is somehow exciting but still a pain. 

Without much delay, today's topic - Runtastic Results App. My phone has become my best friend off late in motivating me and pushing me to work out. My routine normally has some kind of physical activity. I either walk or jog or dance or do yoga. 

A random article I read on Facebook took me to this app - Runtastic results. The app has two versions - the free and premium version. 

The premium version includes a diet plan with workout plan. Below is a screen shot of the same.

That's basically a complete package to loose weight. 

The free version however has limited yet comprehensive enough workout to do! 

Each of the above categories have enough workouts for basic to advanced level with video tutorials and timers or rep counts for each level. Plus before each workout there are warm up workouts to ensure you don't pull your muscle.

Verdict - it's a good app for someone who wants to stay fit and do it in the right way. The tutorial videos are good and quite elaborate. The app as such doesn't crash and has a neat interface. 

The app also shares data with Apple Health kit and Google Fit. 

Motivation has to come from within. If one can find that, then this app is pretty handy in satisfying that urge to move your lazy self! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

#445 : Day Twenty One - Women's Wardrobe & "Clothes shopping" : Decoded


It's been three years since I wrote this blog post elsewhere. Not much has changed. No, strike that. Nothing has changed. With the festive season around, I believe this should be shared and could be of some use to the poor menfolk who accompany us shopping.

Inspiration for this blog post : My daddy dearest!

To be precise, his outright refusal to accompany me and mom when we decided to shop clothes for me. Oh right, he did give in a couple of times, but that doesn't count at all.

Read on why!

Before we go into my case, a little prelude about women & their wardrobe shopping behavior ( I can't claim to know much though I am girl. Most of it based on observation. Reason : You'll understand why when you finish reading)

TYPE 1 : The Real Random Picker.
She wakes up in the morning and pulls out what ever comes to her hand first. Though she ensures the ensemble is coordinated enough ,most of the time she is real gorggy  when she picks her clothes for the day.

Her shopping habits : She is most likely to be an impulsive and an obsessive shopper. she virtually picks which ever clothes she likes when she sees. She has a very dim idea of what her wardrobe actually contains. When she realizes her wardrobe is overflowing, she would clean up,discard and create the same mess all over again.
TYPE 2 : The Organized Random picker.

She wakes up in the morning, stares at her wardrobe for good ten minutes and picks her clothes. An on the spur decision as to what to wear for the day. That's her style

Her Shopping habits : She doesn't plan her shopping exactly. Its more of on the minute desire to go shop. Yet she knows what she own and picks clothes which appeals to her at that point of time, but she ensures her wardrobe is unique enough with no repeats.

TYPE 3 : The partly organized picker.
She decides what clothes to wear at least a day before hand. Yet there is no guarantee that she would stick to it. She might change her decision and pick something else. Her moods reflect on her "what to wear" decisions.

Her shopping habits : She knows what to buy and when to but, but at times a little impulse pops out and she tends to step out of her normal pattern. Nevertheless she has her wardrobe under control

TYPE 4 : The Perfectly Organized picker.
She decides what to wear a least 2 days beforehand. She has a schedule of "What to wear" based on her daily agenda, she has contingency clothes set apart. She has her clothes sorted based on occasions and how old they are.She re-arranges her schedule every month. She knows what she needs.

Her Shopping habit: She is a meticulous shopper. She shops to the need ( The more of "Just in time Inventory"  kind of shopper). She is virtually devoid of any urges to buy that one piece of top/skirt/tee which is so tempting.

So now we have covered the basics on women shopping "Pattern" ( The topic of "What to Buy" is worth more than one separate blog post! I am not getting into that right now). But how many women are there in each category?

Type 4 is a real rarity. Type 4 kind of women are the business type who are mostly executives and stack their wardrobes with suits and whole "formal" range.

Type 3 is rare, but isn't unheard of. I'd say about  give or take 5% women belong to this category.

Type 2 is the most common type. Say about 70%

Type 1 is not a rarity, yet not common ( You get the drift!)

But a note of fair warning here, We ladies tend to shift categories over a period of time.

Now coming to why dad refused outright.
I am a hybrid between type 2 and type 3 ( Most of my friends tend to be a cross between Type 2 and Type 1! But I can't afford to be type 1 due to obvious reasons (Read: MOM))

In chennai, there are many shopping spots where we get clothes right from dead cheap to insanely expensive.

I prefer to shop at T Nagar, Pondy Bazaar and Pantheon road.

T Nagar! I don't think there is need to elaborate about this place to Chennaites. But for the rest of folks, T Nagar is a overcrowded shopping hub where you can pick anything ranging from electronics to clothes to groceries to accessories to what-not for a reasonable price. Plus, T Nagar is just a stone's throw from my home.

I normally go shop with a particular color or pattern in mind but I am not too rigid about it. I tend to visit at least 3 shops before I pick one dress. But hey come on! Choosing from so many colors, patterns, materials isn't easy. Now that my work life has turned into a circus, I hardly get enough time to shop, but when I do, it's simply wise to utilize it to the maximum.

We women have almost infinite options. What do men have? Trousers (Max Shades of Black,Blue,Brown,Cream,White),Shorts,Cargos,Shirts(Just the usual Stripes/plain/checks), T-shirts, Kurtas, Coats, Jackets, Chinos? That's almost the entire list. Colors like yellow, maroon, orange etc etc don't qualify really though they seem to be the latest fad.

Women have all the above said clothes PLUS a whole range of skirts, tops, blouses, Various types of salwars in What-Not Colors and a long list of other stuff. Above all, we have to shop for matching accessories,Bags! Phew! So its a whole colorful world with lots of options to pick from. Not an easy task.

All said, at the end of the day we girls want to look good in what ever we wear and we take efforts for that. Not a crime! Moreover, I've seen men take more time picking out clothes in spite of their meager options unlike us. Is it even fair to expect us to be done with the task in a short time?

Now you decide! Is shopping for us an easy thing to do?!

PS: Dear Daddy! Be a sport! You are blessed with three women in your life. Peace.