The Magic of Lists

Every time I open Chrome, I find myself gravitating towards self help blogs which talk about habit formation, which is quite an interesting topic. For we are our habits and our habits are us. Every moment that we go through is a result of our habits, then if our habits are so important, how is it that I have ignored this very important topic for such a long time of life. Maybe because, we as humans tend to incline towards drastic events rather than the teeny weeny bits which actually help shape us. The topic is very vast for me to wrap my head around. But, what I realize is that habits are the basic minutiae of our life. What prompted this you may say, the fact that we were exactly in the middle of the year, July 2. And while I am not a huge follower of yearly resolutions, it nevertheless always is on my mind come January 1. Then it got me wondering about the status of the said resolutions around the world at the halfway point. Which led to me think about the factors which make or break resolutions.

For the most common resolutions, I think, would be around health, finances, family. And if the unused and expired gym memberships of many a people, including me, is a sign, then some of them have already been waylaid. Hence, the literature of habit formation. And they are quite interesting too, not the boring yada-fact-yada-statistic kind, these blogs/books tend to explore the underlying cause for their habits and they then encourage us to explore our habits and their causes, which is certainly not an easy thing to do. Because 95% of our lives are spent on others, talking/gossiping/praising/critiquing/admiring/hating  others, and the other 5% is spent on shopping/cooking/earning/traveling etc etc. This realization was was quite a shocker!

So…. in order to know myself better I have turned to the magical world of lists! Lists!!! The boon of word documents! The bane of official documentation! And the survival guide for humans. Now a days, I find myself turning to lists.

  • Are you happy? Write why
  • Are you sad? Write why
  • Are you depressed? Write why
  • Are you beyond ecstatic? Write why
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What experiences do you enjoy?
  • What do you not like doing?

See, a list already! And every list has taught me something about myself! Are you interested? Are you excited? Are you both? Then start with it already! Your phone, your pretty little notebook, your laptop. Whatever is nearby, start a list and discover yourself!

P.S. Some of the blogs that took me in this direction are The Happiness Project, James Clear among others. Peace!

Made In China

How often have I heard this word. It’s supposed to be ubiquitous, we keep hearing about the adverse effects that these manufacturing factories are having on the environment, especially now that Earth Day is so close by. And I always thought, but there is nothing I can do about that, so why bother.

China is supposed to be the largest plastic product producer, but so what?! I thought. Do go through this link to see how bad the situation is!

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This brings me to my tale. One fine day, like most other days, I was standing there minding my own business. Waging a war against those cunning spiders who always seem to come back to avenge my last web cleaning spree. And then I see the magic words “Made In China” written across my duster and I was surprised that I hadn’t noticed this before. And now that I think about it, I have never actually given a conscious thought to the things that I am getting for my house. And then started the hunt, the hunt for the “Made in China” Label.

Nothing was spared, kitchen was raided, bedroom was invaded and the living room was pervaded(Poetic Freedom allows words that don’t make sense! ) Lo and Behold! It was everywhere! TV Remote, mugs, scissors, bedside table and the list goes on and on… When did all this stuff come in! So, started my hunt for local made eco friendly alternatives to this stuff and here waited another surprise. It’s just not available! Even if it is, it is exorbitantly priced! An eco-friendly lemon squeezer is priced at Rs. 3000, a basket to hold all the living room clutter is priced at 4000 and a jug is priced at 3000, you get the idea.

Then what is a middle classed person to do! How do we find affordable beautiful local eco-friendly alternatives to all that rubbish that is sold in our supermarkets! My search is ongoing, if you know any resources which would help this cause, please do let me know!

Highway -A Must Watch

There’s been a lot of hoopla about the Oscars today and today is the day I watched a movie which probably won’t be much talked about in our award functions like IIFA ( An Indian Version of Oscars, per se) But this is a movie that will forever be etched in my heart. The movie, ladies and gentlemen, is titled ‘Highway’.

If you know Indian music, you would be familiar with A R Rehman, and he is the reason that I went to watch the movie today. I really liked his composition of the songs if this movie and wanted to listen to them in those huge audio systems of the theater. Hence we landed up at the movies, fresh from office. And I’m glad that I did it.

The movie is about a girl who is kidnapped and she discovers herself during this journey. Sounds improbable, impossible, unrealistic and supremely filmy. And it is filmy, but the heart of this movie is right where it should be. There were scenes I went ‘Pfft… Like this would happen in the world out there’ and there were those moments where I went ‘I know this situation, I see it around me all the time!!’

The cinematography is out of the world, the moments that make you realize that there is huge world out there and it is just a wish away. And coming to the emotional part of the movie, I’m a directors dream. If the director wanted his\her audience to cry their hearts out, I would make their wish come true. But what was different with this movie was that I was still crying 30 minutes after the credits. It left that big an impact on me. The movie explores the freedom that comes with being yourself, the self-knowledge that only traveling can give you and the realization of courage which is discovered in unexpected circumstances. All in all, a movie that I would watch again and again and again and again.

If you are in the mood for a supremely sensible, wildly beautiful movie with a soul. Get out there and watch it before it leaves the theaters forever!

The Tales of Apartments

For the first time in my life, I live in the strange urban contraptions called ‘apartments’. I have always lived in houses with small rooms and huge gardens. So I was very skeptical about my fitting into an apartment with no green lung space. And the closest we could come to having some greenery around us was to stay near a lake. So we took that chance. And surprisingly, I am liking this apartment experience. There are many things I marvel at. Some things that only apartments can provide, I think a lot of us see only the sad side of an apartment while conveniently forgetting the perks it offers. So these are some of the interesting things that I have come across.

  • Thousands of people live in an apartment complex. But have you noticed that at any given point of time, the complex is always shrouded in an eerie shawl of calmness!
  • Take an apartment tour. When I did a tour of my complex, I came across so many different kinds of living.
  • The unkempt balcony of a bachelor pad
  • The overflowing terrace garden of a plantsman (Apparently, it’s a word!)
  • The heavenly smell of sambrani (A mum must definitely live there!!)
  • A clothesline full of toddler clothes which never fail to make me smile, such small clothes 😀
  • The whirring of a washing machine which heralds the onset of a weekend
  • The constant barking of dog, a golden retriever, in my case. It barks just when I am about to lose myself in the folds of my blanket. We must have been enemies in our past life
  • The fairy lights that glow and glint and make you think of all things magical
  • The ‘Howzzaaat’ of the perennial cricket match played by kids
  • I confess that I become something of a peeping tom during these tours and these bouts always provide a magical insight into my neighbors lives 😀
  • I love taking a walk through the corridors of all the floors, each house is decorated in something that makes them house a home. And I love observing these touches. The yellow wall that welcomes visitors, a funny door mat, a door that rivals the sercurity of a bank with its grills and padlocks and all 😀

These are my tales, what are yours?! Do tell, I am all ears! 😀

Flicks of the week

Since we have moved to Bangalore, we end up being in front of the TV a lot more than we would back in Hyderabad. Which has resulted in me following a series, I know, I am probably the only one in this metro generation who hasn’t followed FRIENDS (Me mentally preparing for all the assaults that are coming my way for saying this!). But I always found it boring, unrelatable (Unrelatable is definitely a word in my dictionary)!! So, I have watched lots and lots of Big Bang Theory (Love Sheldon!! Anyone say otherwise?) And the last couple of movies that I have seen have definitely made a huge impression on me and they were mostly in Telugu. Me liking a Telugu movie is a rare occurrence indeed, so I thought this warrants a post! So, here goes:

This was an unexpected surprise ( I find that phrase so funny, is there an expected surprise! Yes, my amma planning a surprise is usually an expected surprise! 😀 ) This movie stars a big time Telugu hero, Mahesh Babu, who isn’t exactly known for his repertoire of roles. He usually does formula movies, so this was what I expected. But it turned out to be completely different. This movie showed strains of Schizophrenia, which is a totally new concept in Tollywood industry. A Beautiful Mind showcases this concept in a lovely manner. Nenokkadine basically revolves around a son wanting to seek revenge for his murdered parents, this concept has been done to death by the Indian movie industry. But the manner in which they go about it is completely novel in this case. Along with schizophrenia, this movie also talks about eradicating hunger, genetically modified crops. All in all, very interesting wouldn’t you say!

Verdict: If you happen to feel like watching a zara hatke Telugu movie, try this out!

What can I say about this movie! It is so darn wonderful in every aspect, do you have a movie that keep going back to, which you can watch again and again and again and then some more. This is that movie for me now. It is a fairly low budget, under the radar movie which is very easy to miss. But do not let its rustic appearance fool you for a second. This movie focuses on an old couple, Appadaasu and Buchchi Laxmi, who have lived their lives in a way that we can’t tell where one begins and the other ends. Imagine your grandparents and you have them. Just watching this movie reminds me of the omnipresent garlic smell in my mom’s/grandma’s saree. They love their lives amidst their lush green garden which gives them some luscious bottle gourd, sensual brinjals, the ever tantalizing mangoes and much much more. The old man goes ga-ga over coconut chutney, bobbatlu, dappadam, laddu and many such South Indian delicacies. He knows his jaggery and his filter kaapi. And the director has so beautifully captured his childish enthusiasm towards food, the attached detachment (read: serious demeanor) towards his kids and his immeasurable love towards his wife. When you see the old lady cook her fare,  I was salivating, which was pretty much the entire movie. And there are so many Telugu literary references throughout the entire movie, which was just the cherry on the cake. And the movie contains a beautiful message of living in harmony with nature, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I noticed that throughout the movie which only shows one couple living their daily life in their beloved house, not one trace of plastic was found. No plastic buckets, no plastic covers, no plastic spoons, so plastic stools, no plastic Tupperware dabbas, no plastic anything!! Imagine living a life without plastic, I can’t! And this movie showed me that we can live a life without plastic and I am definitely trying to decrease my carbon footprint after watching this movie. And better grab a box of tissues before you sit down, because you are going to need it!

Verdict: Please watch it ASAP!

Imagine Ladakh! Helloooo, are you there or have you already lost yourself in the glorious landscapes of it! Now imagine a Telugu movie in Ladakh!! Bouncer! It was the first time I watched a Telugu movie being shot in Ladakh, I would watch it for just that, if not anything else. Now, do you love Indiana Jones or do you love him? Now, if you do this movie would interest you even more. There is so much different about this movie, the locales, the plot! This is basically about a guy who is trying to find the lost treasure of his ancestors and while on this quest, he comes across Taliban, a treasure hunt, an archaeologist, an ardent devotee and Hinglaj Mata temple which is interestingly located in Pakistan and it happens to be Shakti Peeth! The signature dialogue of the movie which the hero repeats often enough quite caught my interest:

‘naadi kaani koti rupailanina naaku vaddu. naadi annadi ardha rupai kooda vadulukonu’  (If it is not mine, I will not touch it even if its a crore, but if it is mine, I will not leave even a rupee)

Verdict: Watch if looking for a move with amazing locales and some treaure hunting

How many times have I watched this movie,you say? At least 15. And I never get bored. It’s about a mother-daughter duo. The psychiatrist mother is getting remarried and the daughter is a rocker guitarist who wants to attend an audition on the day of the rehearsal dinner. A recipe for a fight, but then their souls decide to swap the bodies. So, it’s the daughters soul in the mothers’ body and the mothers’ soul in the daughters’! Ha! Classic! And the day they have is quite hilarious! The Mother gets her ears pierced and The Daughter wears a chignon. And they need to figure out a way to reconnect with each other to get their souls back in their proper places, and all before the wedding! And this movie tells us so much about a generation gap, about understanding different schools of thought and about accepting each other, in such a sweet way that it always gets to me!

Verdict: A sweet movie to cheer you up on your blue days

What is What

Warning: Some major ranting ahead, please do not read if in a bad mood.

I know that I’ve been gone for a long time, and I am really sorry for it. I may not be back for a long time again, sorry for that too. But everything seems to be a mess, I see all you beautiful people living, loving and posting out there. And I wonder if anything is the matter with me.

For, each post that I do not write seems like each opportunity I missed out on being me.

I have always known that I am not a very ambitious person, not at all career-centric, no inborn talents to speak of. And I see everyone out there who are doing things they like, things that normal people are supposed to do and they enjoy it. Then, is something wrong with me. Everywhere I look, I see ads saying some BS like “Chase life, chase your dreams” But dreams have never been so clear to me. My dreams consist of small things like reading a book while sunshine warms my feet. Like sit amid-st some green green trees and do nothing. But these are so minute that they are meaningless to be called as dreams. I have been working in a software firm for over three and a half years now, I know that it is one of the best companies to work for and that a lot of people would die to be in this position. But something rankles and something rattles my mind…. and my heart. I feel like this is not what I want to do, but then what do I WANT to do. Every time I think of a sabbatical or quitting, I see colors. Glorious colors of the aurora borealis, the pretty turquoises and the sunny yellows. But then WHAT NEXT looms over my head. And everything goes back to being Black & White.

The routine trudging from the home to the office and office to home seems to me like something out of a scene of 1984. The roads speak to me, they say “Don’t I know you enough already?!” Even moving cities hasn’t helped me. Sure, it’s different but a major chunk a.k.a 9 hours of the day are gone in the same old routine of work. People ask me what I would do if I quit, but I do not know!! Sometimes I think I want to NOT have a plan. After all Indians are about plans. They know what their unborn kid is going to be, they know what the next day is going to give them.

So tell me, does NOT having a plan, an ambition, a passion make a bad person or just a sad one?!

Save it, Print it and Flaunt it! [Art Work]

Your search for art work ends here. I have been looking out for stuff to decorate my new home with. And all the art work that I have checked out though being gorgeous tends to fall on the expensive side! Don’t they all! (Sigh) So, imagine my whoop of happiness when I happened to come across this site. The rijk Museum has digitized their collection and we can all now access their images and download them!! What a treat! I have always loved paintings, I belong to the type who can just hours at a painting, you know the silent comatose like people you find in a museum, but such museums are hard to find here. So this was definitely a treat for me. Even if you don’t want to download, you could check them out.

All the software engineers out there who are lucky enough to belong to the companies which allow access to sites like Gmail, Facebook etc will understand when I say that Facebook becomes a habit. The habit compels you ( much like the Imperius curse, if you do not know what that is, then I don’t know you :P) to do the following steps:

1. Open your browser

2. Open your Facebook Page

3. Do a page down

4. Close the page, before your manages comes sneaking

This is repeated every 2 minutes!

Now I have decided to substitute Step 2 with the following

2. Open the Rijks Museum Page

So, in case you are looking out for artwork to update your home or if you just want to gaze and wonder at some of mankind’s most wondrous creations. Head on over here!! So what are you waiting for!

To further tempt you, this is a sample of what they have to offer.

Of change (Among other things)

So many things have changed and so many more changes to come!

It’s official, we have moved to Bangalore err…. Bengaluru and we are here to stay! It’s been 3 weeks now but the city didn’t charm me the way I thought it would. Well, the area I live in, at any rate. I used to live in Hyderabad, in an  area that was filled with trees and I loved it. So when we decided that we would be moving here, I was delighted as I read TGND, whose blog I love. And she posts a lot about the beauty of Bengaluru. You can read some of them here, here and here.  So you can imagine my despair when I came here and all I saw was concrete jungle. It was quite a shock!

But… (there’s always a ‘But’!) over the weekend we had a chance to visit the old Bengalure and we grabbed it both our hands. We started off with a leisurely stroll across Church Street with the aim of visiting Blossoms Book Shop, again courtesy TGND. And what a delight it was!

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It is a book lovers h(e)aven! I was ogling at all the books and didn’t know where to start. Do you know those baskets that super markets have, the handheld ones. There were people who had those baskets and they were full of books!! I wanted to ask them for a photo, but didn’t want to come across as a stalker. Imagine you being in a book aisle and no one around you. Suddenly a person comes up and asks for a photo! Sounds like quite a scene! 😀

We followed that up with a trip to the famed MTR and had their yummilicious bisibelebath! OMG! It is to die for! Followed that up with a visit to the Egg Factory. We are gluttons, what can I say! But it is MTR which was the food highlight of the day! The smell of the long-lost Udipi restaurant just stole my heart away. Totally recharged, we were off to explore M.G. Road and it was quite a delight. We winded up the day with Cubbon Park, it was such a pleasure to be surrounded by the greenery.

That is it for now, my folks! Hopefully, much more to follow. I for one am eagerly awaiting to explore more of Namma Bangalore! 🙂

Crochet time!!!

Crochet! Crochet! Crochet!!

That is all I’m doing these days! Me sitting in a pool of yarn with a crochet hook in my hand! =)

I’m always looking out for knickknacks that I can gift to my loved ones! And this art form lets me make them!

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And crochet is an instantly gratifying hobby, you get to see the results of your labor.

My mom’s birthday is just around the corner and I thought of making something for her and off I went. Finding crochet supplies in Hyderabad is difficult, to put it mildly. So I had a hard time getting stuff and I had to make do with what I have. In-spite of all that, these coasters are the result of some serious fun that I had!

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And this is how she received it!

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If you want to make some of your own, here’s the link!