Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 : Resolution Time


The countdown has begun for 2011, the year of the Rabbit according to Chinese Astrology.

It has also been declared as  International Year of Forests and International year of Chemistry by the United Nations.

As G K Chesterton said, "The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul."

With the view to have a new soul i made the following 10  resolutions for the year 2011.


1.  Remember to count my Blessings.

2. Read.  Read more.  Read even more.

3.  Travel to trace my Roots instead of the clichéd holidays.

4.  Make regular trips to PVR Saket and Spice in Noida so that i don't miss out on great Hollywood movies. ( I get to see all Bollywood movies in my home town).

5.  To become more Tech savvy.

6.  Pray that the year is Positive, eventful and memorable for all my loved ones.

7.  Not forget important dates like anniversaries,  Birthdays and more.

8.  More outings with my Daughters.

9.  Eat Healthy,  Watch my weight.  Meditate. Stay Calm.

10. And last but not the least, to add dimensions to my Blog posts.

Wishing you a rocking 2011!











Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hullabaloo in Chandigarh

Chandigarh, the City Beautiful is close to my heart.  For in the city is situated my Alma Mater.  I spent 5 eventful years of my youth there,  getting my PG in Chemistry.  The first year in GCG was a different ball game, even though it is a hallowed institution,  for actor Poonam  Dhillion had studied from there and yester years actor Sonu Walia was in our batch.

Every night there was a roll call in the hostel ground,  where all the girls assembled and our Warden would  make sure no girl was missing. Every now and then we would hear news about some girl scaling the boundary wall and  bunking both the college and hostel, but i was not in that league.  So we sulked and brooded and waited for our precious day out .We were "jailed" inside the hostel and could go out only on   specific days.  Never having experienced anything like this in my 16 years of life i found that suffocating to say the least.  So after Pre Medical while many of my batch mates stayed back in the college to complete Bsc, i opted for Chemistry Department in  Punjab University

The women's hostel in PU  was a great one as there were absolutely no restrictions what so ever. You could go in and out as per your liking but had to be back by a specified time.  If you needed  to go for a late night you had to mention the details in a register.

Post education i made a few trips to Chandigarh but this one was special as we were celebrating  the Silver Reunion.  Towards the end of 2008,  one of my batch mates formed a group on Google and since then more than 20 of the  batch mates had been located and were in touch through common e mails.  In the past two years,  more were traced. The  date of the  Reunion had been decided two years ago and it was on schedule with no changes.

Hubby and my younger daughter cold not accompany us but my Dad had to visit a relative in Chandigarh , so Dad,  me and my elder daughter started our journey in the taxi at 6 am from Faridabad. We crossed Sonipat and  Panipat and when we were a few kms away from Karnal the car gave out a strange sound. The driver stopped the car on the side of the high way and opened the bonnet to examine what had gone wrong.  There was bad news. The fan belt had broken.  The driver fidgeted with his tools  trying to fix things but when he realized he was stuck on the highway with a car that refused to start, he talked to his malik on the mobile. He then  told us he would go and get a mechanic.  Beginning to feel restless at this unexpected turn of events we got out of the car and stood on the highway watching the traffic  whizz by. Half and hour  later the mechanic and the driver arrived at the spot on a bike. The mechanic too fidgeted with his tools and came out with a solid bolt which had broken.  And then the mechanic and the driver started haggling  over money. Once again the driver made to call to his malik.  Finally an amount was settled. money handed over to the mechanic,  and the mechanic went back to get the broken part.  We waited and waited but the mechanic never came back  The driver who was in contact with the mechanic informed us that the spare  part was not available so his malik was sending another  taxi, an Indica.  He further told us that the  taxi would  reach within 15 minutes minutes as the driver  was speeding at 120 km/h.  But the minutes passed by and there was no trace of the taxi.

 We had been stranded for more than 2 and half hours on the highway when the driver informed us that the Indica with the number plate 5932 was heading towards us.  By now my daughter was  decidedly fidgety and as she  complained and i soothed her... "Dear we cant miss the Reunion. Its happening after 25 years.  Be a sport.  Well surely reach Chandigarh  in a few hours". The next 45 minutes were spent  standing on the edge of the road , looking for the fateful 5932 number plate  among the the cars whizzing by on the highway.  But still  no luck.

 By now  i had  lost all hope of the Indica ever locating us on the highway.  I had visions of  three of us standing on mid road with our luggage around us, waiting for a passing truck to have mercy on us and take us to the nearest town.  Finally, when we had been there for 3 hours and half, our driver who was constantly in touch with the Indica driver,  frantically started waving his hands, and in the next few seconds the much awaited  Indica arrived.  I heaved a sigh of relief .  I would make it to Chandigarh after all.   And to the much awaited Re union.

We had been travelling in Indigo which  has a decent boot where all our luggage had been  kept. Now with the smaller car we had to keep part of the luggage inside the car. It was uncomfortable but i shuddered at what was to come next.  But that was on reaching Ambala. For  now  we were back on the highway on our way to Ambala.

Now the programme  was that we had to pick up 2 relatives from Ambala and together all of us had to visit our relative in Chandigarh.  For this purpose we had opted for Indigo so that we could sit in convenience.  But  now we had a tiny Indica  with us. We reached Ambala, and picked up our relatives and explained  our misadventure on the highway and apologized to them for the smaller car.  So there we were, four adults squeezed in the back seat, straddling our luggage in our laps, shuffling  our butts every now and then in our seats, in the vain attempt of trying to get a few more inches of seat space .  As my daughter complained  i whispered to her, " Its ok.... we cant miss the Reunion  dear! My friends are coming from all over India and abroad".

We finally reached Chandigarh despite the discomfort in the car, and went over to our relatives place.  That over,  i was dropped at  my guest House and Dad and the remaining relatives went back to Ambala. We settled in our room and relaxed for a while. It had indeed been a taxing day as we had been up since 4 in the morning.  The excitement of seeing some of my friends after 25 years was building up now. I was only a few hours away from all the action in the Hotel where the Reunion had been arranged.

Finally the moment arrived and i walked into the Hotel Banquet Hall with my daughter.  Sure there were a few familiar faces, my friends from NCR and then there were those which had changed over the years.  One by one the intros were done and the magic of the Univ days came back. As the evening progressed  more and more  families kept coming in.  Handshakes, hugs, photographs and more happened all over.  Once everyone who was expected had come in, there were three rounds of introductions.... first the batch mates, secondly the spouses and last of all the kids.  Then there was a round of songs by the  singers and an impromptu dance by one of my class mates as he couldn't stop his emotions from overflowing.  It was clearly a case of role reversal as our kids watched the animated conversations and clicked photographs for us.

Dinner over we were all gifted a beautiful memento  



 and we all left, with the plan to meet next morning at Student Centre in the University.

The next morning we assembled at the Student Centre which was the nerve centre of the Univ, right next to the Library.  The Centre housed indoor games and a Cafeteria which was very popular  with the students.  We sipped espresso coffee in the open pavement




 and reminisced about the chole bhature birthday parties we had there.  Once everyone  had arrived we walked through the campus to our department and it was here that memories came flooding back. There was hullabaloo all around




 as we forgot our age and  sat on the corridors, inside our classroom, and regaled each other with incidents  from 25 year ago.We sat inside the Auditorium which was the venue of our exams, and last of all went inside the Labs where we  had  more fun than study. And we merrily posed for pictures amid joy and laughter.

The next stop was Talwar Dairy in Sector 15 where we had the famous flavored paneer.  As could be expected the Market has become high profile.  It was now time of  visit Capital Book Depot the classiest Book shop of Sector 17 market, which is incidentally owned by a batch mate's father.  It is indeed a one stop shop for book lovers of Chandigarh .  Everyone picked up a few books and we were given a gracious discount by Uncle along with a classy Calendar and a booklet of quotes.

It was lunch time and  we moved to Hot Millions Restaurant. Since it  was Christmas, the restaurant was crowded and wore a festive look.  But we had our reservations and enjoyed the Buffet. Lunch over we assembled near the fountain in the Market Square and finally bid our good byes with promises to have regular meets in future instead of after quarter of a century. My daughter and i strolled in the market and did some shopping and finally went back to the Guest House.

The next morning we left for Ambala, picked up my Dad and  headed back to Faridabad.  It had been a wonderful Reunion, a dream come true.  Friendships forged and memories shared in youth are the most precious and everlasting  ones.  Despite the misadventure on the highway it  was a wonderful trip and i look forward to our next meet. Thanks a ton to my daughter for being such a sport!












Wednesday, December 22, 2010

South Asian Reading Challenge 2011



Its time to say goodbye to 2010 and hello 2011.  The countdown has begun and in just 9 days we will enter a brand new year.  So its that time of the year when you sit and jot down lists of  resolutions.  While i still have to  make my list, one of the top resolutions is to revive my reading habits

And then i came across a post by Shilpa Garg about a unique Reading challenge called the South  Asian Challenge.  This is the brain child of S Krishna, who is aiming to popularize books about South Asians and by South Asians.

Here are a few books i plan to read in this genre:

The lost  flamingoes of bombay by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi


Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal

Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah

Madras on Rainy Days by Shobhan Bantwal

Modern Spice by Monica Bhide

The Music Room by Namita Devidayal

One amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Place of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somya Gowda

I hope to source these books form Khan market in Delhi, If you too want to join and sign up for this challenge click  HERE

Happy Reading and Happy Challenge! Wishing you a wonderful 2011!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Delhi Indiblogger Meet

When i came to know about the scheduled Indiblogger meet via an email, i was mighty surprised and happy too.  For i had read about meets in other metros but  somehow there was never a talk about a  Delhi Meet. So i registered myself and looked forward to meeting fellow bloggers  whose posts i would make it a point to read , besides remaining in touch with them on Facebook.

Since i  drive only locally in Faridabad , i  have to be dependent on hubby and his driver for trips to Delhi and NCR.  But for this occasion hubby had some important work and couldn't spare the driver. So i had no option but to call in my talkative but reliable Taxi wala from my neighborhood who is always a safe bet if i am travelling on my own.

The networking started  early morning .  Messages on Facebook.  Calls to fellow bloggers in Faridabd and Delhi. Exchanging phone numbers . SMS and more.

Ritu Lalit a blogger from Faridabad and my mentor into my foray into blogging decided to go together as we live in the same town.  We reached the Religare Art Gallery, the venue of the meet in CP an hour late.

  As we walked in, Vineet Ranjan welcomed us and asked us to log into our indiblogger ids.  We did so and settled  down in our seats.




 The screen in front of the room displayed  the message " Abha Midha walked in 1 minute ago".  This was indiblogger's way of welcoming its arrivals.

The introductions were already taking place and the mood was one of camarderie.  No serious dialogues  for sure. Like Addy's Brainwave intro was " I blog about serious stuff like how to date 3 girls at  one go!"
There was more laughter with  other bloggers remarking about the number of visitors to their blog.

In the mean time i got to meet many bloggers whom i had know virtually .   Prerna     .  Indian Homemaker,  Tikuli,  Purba Ray,    zephyr,   Pankaj Batra,    Arushi,   Sangeeta. And Anshul Tiwari

Among the so many new bloggers i also happened to meet Shayon,   the guy from Mint. Shayon, it was gr8 meeting you and i am waiting for you to email the video clip you took!

Introductions over it was time for the sponsors to conduct a friendly quiz and hand over hampers to the winners.

It was now time for cordial game, the ice breaker.  We were each given a chart paper and a pen and asked to hang the paper on our backside.




  We were asked to draw caricatures and give comments to our fellow bloggers.  The room was suddenly transformed into hectic activity with each blogger trying to get max comments and  caricatures.

There were 3 winners and then we moved to the refreshment room  Post refreshments there was a healthy  discussion .  One of the hot topics debated  was the attitude of the  people of the city of Delhi.  Many shared their experiences especially those who had come from other states.  The general feeling was that Delhites  needed to be more  warm and friendly towards  other people.

In the last segment of the meet we were handed envelopes from Blanket of Relief and asked to donate in cash or cheque and place it in the drop box. Each one of us obliged happily.

Finally it was time to wrap up the  meet.  There were brief addresses by the Blanket of Relief and Religare representatives.

To me the meet was an eye opener and i realized that blogging was more than a hobby but a serious business.  I am so glad i could attend the meet.

There were only 2 things missing.  One was Renie Ravin. It would have bee great if we had an opportunity to meet you.  Never mind, next time. But the Indiblogger team  did a wonderful job for sure.  The second was the case of missing T shirts.  Anoop i hope you remember your promise!

That was the whole affair.  Next time there is an Indiblogger meet in your city do drop all agendas and make sure you attend it.  I promise you you wont be disappointed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why Citrus?

Winters this year are colder than they have been for years in Delhi. To keep good health and avoid being sick here is a simple remedy: Go Citrus! The fruit market is selling bountiful of oranges and keenu, so make sure you take your dose of VitaminC

Citrus Fruits are a rich source of Vitamin C, or Ascorbic acid.  Vitamin C is a water solube vitamin.  It is vital for the production of collagen, a protein essential for healthy skin, bones , teeth and gums.  

Deficiency of Vitamin C leads to Scurvy which shows in form of swollen gums, bleeding, loss of  appetite, aching joints and fatigue.

Citrus fruits are good for  skin too Regular intake could help to nourish skin and delay aging of skin.



Lemon

The exact origin of lemons remains a mystery, though it is believed that lemons were first grown in India, China and Burma. In India  lemons are an integral part of the diet especially as an ingredient in salads, chaat , bhelpuri, pickle and the hugely popular nimboo pani especially in the peak of summers.

Lemons are an excellent source of Citric acid. They contain antioxidants and cancer preventing compounds. The high acid content helps to flush harmful bacteria out of the body. 

Drinking lemon juice in warm water in the morning is a ritual with many health conscious people practise. Drinking lemon juice in the morning hydrates the body and triggers the production of enzymes needed to digest breakfast. This is highly recommended by dietitians for weight loss too.

Lemon oil can be used to treat stress, infections, asthma, insomnia, skin and hair inflammation and stomach problems.

Oranges


Oranges are perhaps the most common and loved citrus fruits, forming an important part of breakfast,  the world over.  The fruit was first cultivated in the Middle East in the 9th century and introduced into Europe by the Moors, Portugese and Italians.

The vitamin C content found in oranges provides antioxidant protection against cancer causing free radicals and help to boost immune system.  Vitamin C can also reduce the severity of inflammatory conditions and help to combat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Vitamin C can also reduce the risk of death, cancer and stroke. Oranges contain substances called limonoids which are proven to fight cancer of skin, mouth, lungs, breast, colon and stomach.

Grapefruit


Grapefruit is another fruit from the citrus family though not much popular in India. It was first available in 18th Century in Jamaica.  The United States became a major grapefruit cultivating nation and orchards can be found in California, Arizona, Florida and Texas.

Grapefruits contain lycopene that has anti tumor qualities.  Lycopene has highest capacity of any phytonutrients and can reduce the risk of Prostate Cancer in males.

The Pectin found in Grapefruits can reduce cholesterol levels in blood.

Sweet Lime

Sweet Lime is the most popular and easily available citrus fruit in the marke, all year round,  though it is mostly consumed  as its juice.  In every corner of every town or city one can find a juicewala  with his aluminium juicer as seen in the picture on the left.

Vitamin K found in limes is essential for healthy clotting of blood.  Vitamin K content in lime also reduces risk of age related osteoporosis, bone fracture and cardiovascular disease.

Juice sold by the juicewala is definitely better than the the packaged ones available in the market as the preservatives  added tend to some loss of vitamins.




Citrus fruits have also found their way into modern cosmetics as moisturizers, face washes , soaps and  even detergents for their special benefits.

So go ahead and buy your stock of Oranges and Keenu that have come in the market and pay regular visits to your neighborhood vendor selling fresh juice for you cant live a healthy life without your dose of vitamin C.