Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas at Orchard Road

The smiling server at the fast food chain says "Merry Christmas".
There are red coffee mugs at the neighbouring Starbucks.
Bright flashy lights that come with a "high voltage" warning.
Tall Christmas trees with their glitzy ornaments & some caroling.
Special deals; discounts; and queues for the free gift wrapping.
The "Sale" signs on the display windows are prominent & strapping.
Spend $100 on your bill and you get vouchers to shop some more.
With lucky draws you could win a car, phone, or shop even more.
Christmas on Orchard Road is not at all a subtle seducer;
Nevertheless he pulls another girl from the heartland into that Louis Vuitton store.

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 in retrospect

It's that time of the year again! 2010 flew by; it was probably the fastest and busiest year of my life. The little toddler at home was definitely the highlight of the year. I don't think I ever consciously chose it, but work, friends and rest of the family took a backseat in my life this year - I was too busy being a mum; it consumed all my energy and heart and soul. There's positive growth to report on that front - While in 2009 I was an anxious, apprehensive mum; in 2010 I was a more confident mum and happier for it. So K may be a sugar-junkie and late on his potty-training milestones; but he is perfect & I am unfussed.

While H adapted easily to being a banker by day & a dad by evening; I had difficulty taking off my mother-hat that easily and was caught wearing it at work many times! Fortunately, I have a hugely supportive bunch of people at work.

I watched more TV in 2010 than ever before. And used the 'pause' button on the tv remote more frequently then ever before. Dining-in was always prefered to going out; and there was never enough incentive to wear that pretty black dress. But off-late, I am getting myself out of the rut. I dropped a size this year; yay! That got me motivated to pay some attention to personal grooming. I have a love-hate relationship with my new hairstyle (I love it the day its blow-dried & styled in the salon; hate it the following day). And as soon as I finish writing this post, I'm going to get an appointment for a pedicure.

That brings me to my resolution for the next year - I want 2011 to be more about me. I think I'll always be a mother first (as if I have a choice about that!) but I know I can be other things too. It takes energy & time, and I will work towards finding that.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stressfree in Sydney

We had a long weekend for Diwali and combined a work trip with the long weekend to spend some time in Sydney. We simply walked around the city aimlessly, sat at cafes along the harbour and watched people walk by - - it was a much needed break from what has been very busy and hectic time at work for both H & me.

But since you asked, here are some interesting tidbits of random information from the Sydney trip:

1) We were neighbours with Russell Crowe! We never saw him of course, but our hotel was right next to his house in Sydney.

2) The Aria awards were held on the same weekend when we were in Sydney; and while we were walking along Circular Quay we watched many limos and flashlights and saw many Aussie celebs. We had no idea who they were; but they were certainly celebs and they performed live at the awards ceremony next to the Opera House that evening.

3) I climbed to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge! I was nervous that I may feel dizzy at that height; but it was actually quite an easy climb. Well done, Radha!

4) Cafes in Sydney serve the best coffee. Ever.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


We are proud home-owners in Sinagpore and moved into our *own* place over the weekend. Apart from the nightmares of the corporate slavery we're going to have to sustain over the next 30 years to pay off that huge debt; we are settling in fine. The past many days have been all about lampshades, curtains, sofas, toilet fittings, baby-proofing material, and many trips to a far-flung furniture mall. And the past few nights have been spent in the middle of many unopened cardboard cartons.

I had read somewhere that moving houses is one of the most stressful situations in the human experience. Well, this one was comparable to the World War. We have moved apartments 7 times in as many years (and across 3 countries), but this one was the most difficult to deal with. We have been in denial about how much crap we've accumulated over the years! We miss the old neighbourhood. Besides, Kabeer continues to call this his "new home", but the old place as "home" and that breaks our heart.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I feel whiney today.

Two of my least favourite things about Singapore are happening simultaneously this year - Formula One & Mooncakes.

Formula One is the week where all roads to & from my office are blocked off; the trains are crowded (because the roads are blocked) and everyone in the city seems to be ready to spend hundreds/thousands of dollars for VIP seats/ walk around tickets/ bars with a F1 view/ Singapore Flyer/ any tall building or hotel. I don't get the sport & I don't get what the big deal is (except maybe Hamilton - he's cute).

Also, its the mid-autumn festival and nobody at work stocks up on Oreo cookies anymore; because there's always a mooncake delivery from someplace. It's not just that I don't like eating mooncakes; but more the fact that I always try one out when someone says, "Try this one, its different from the usual mooncakes"; that makes me want to kick myself. By now I should know that my taste-buds and mooncakes are not friends (even if its a cool sounding flavour like champagne-truffle)!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

K update

K is at that unpredictable age where we are always unsure about what could catch his fancy. Like, when we ask him what his favourite car is, he replies either 'dumper truck' or 'garbage truck'. He finds worms very cuddly, but teddy bears not so much; he always makes an effort to walk into dog-poo when playing in the park; stares up the skirts of women at malls; and thinks food is always tastier in other peoples' plates. Since his last bout of fever, he has been fascinated with the thermometer..."Mama, temperature?" is his recurring request these days.

On a more 'normal' note, he's turned into a little gentleman in the past few weeks. While he would previously point to the cookie jar and shout "more"; he has now started saying "more please". Any gift is now accepted graciously with a "xie-xie" and with a smile*. "Hello, how are you?" is responded to with "authum" [which is the baby word for 'awesome'].

Lastly, here's an interesting update - He has Justin Bieber's hair now! Oh alright, I know I need to get him a haircut; but thought I could put a positive spin on it!!!

*The sweeter & more chocolatey the gift, the wider is the smile- that goes without saying!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The text message

I am the introvert's friend;
The one who's wary of conversations,
But fears loneliness more perhaps.
Who wants to be in touch,
From a distance only however;

I can make it easy for him;
I can make that happen,
The illusion of being with people,
Without the messiness of strings.
Who am I?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Catching up with old friends

These were all real conversations from Frankfurt...It was so much fun catching up with you guys!!

H: Do you think German shepherds are called 'Shephards' here?
R: Do you think Frankfurters are called 'ers' here?
Li'l I: (looking at the handout of the church service at the wedding) Amma, I want to order fish curry!
U: (on the apple-wine tram) Why would they serve Apple-wine here; can't they offer Riesling instead?
Li'l R: mamleyameamalalapumalama...
Li'l K: Eeeya!

The Adriatic Cruise - Part 2

The last two ports on our cruise were the two jewels we hadn't heard of/ known of before and completely took us by surprise by their beauty. The island of Rhodes was one. We visited the old Acropolis in Rhodes followed by the Old Town of Rhodes - which is one of the prettiest medieval towns on the planet and like being on the movie set of Lord of the Rings!The Palace in Rhodes was classical Greek. It was in this prestigious palace that Kabeer decided to start screaming, "Mama, poo-poo done" over & over again in a loop until we had to explain to total strangers that he was just in one of those moods and he in fact had not done any poo-poo!!!The next port was Dubrovnik on the Croatian coast. By the time we reached Dubrovnik we had really had enough of history and medieval towns, but Dubrovnik literally pumped life back into the tourists in us!:) The Old Town - which has been restrored by UN after the Serbian shelling during the war in the 1990s - is breathtaking in its architecture, sculptures, old pharmacies and palaces. The antiqueness of the town really takes one back to the Middle Ages; and the natural green beauty of the port just completes its look. Couldn't get any prettier than this - Venice, you have been over-shadowed!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Adriatic Cruise

The Adriatic coastline is pretty beyond words.

We left Venice and the next port was Bari (Italy). Near Bari, there's an ancient town called Matera which is believed to be one of the oldest human settlements that is still inhabited. The town is completely carved out of stone [and therefore called 'sassi'] and makes a really pretty picture!After Bari, we visited 4 Greek ports. The first among them was Katakolon which is the port closest to Olympia. We visited the ruins at the stadium of the ancient Olympics and marvelled at how advanced the ancient Greeks were.The port of Katakolon was our first peek into the bluest blue of waters that we would see for the rest of the cruise!The next two ports were the most famous of the cyclade islands in Greece - Mykonos & Santorini. Both of them were pretty, but Santorini's O'ia town with its postcard blue-n-white, cobblestone pathways, cliffs, pink flowers, waters and all the pretty things just took our breath away! The sunset in Mykonos was our favourite moment on the trip!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


So as I was saying in my last post, we landed in Venice next. There's no denying the beauty of Venice, its quaint bridges and cafes; beautiful structures and the gondolas. We had seen so many movies shot in Venice, but when we saw the real thing we realised we had under-estimated the size of this city! It wasn't just one Grand Canal and a couple of small ones; its a much bigger city than we had imagined it to be with many, many water-lanes and bridges. Its a miracle that the Venetians find their way from anywhere to anywhere without getting lost.But we were slightly disappointed with Venice. There were just so many tourists there (and we were there on a weekday too!) that it felt more like a flea-market than the romantic place we imagined it would be. Really, there was bumper-to-bumper human traffic on every bridge and every corner of the city and we couldn't soak in the beauty of the place as we would've liked to. The blazing sun and the infant in our arms* didn't make things easy either.
* Obviously the ancient Venetians didn't provide for prams and wheel-chairs when they planned a city of bridges!Next, we embarked on a cruise ship and started a cruise along the Adriatic Sea. But that deserves a separate (and long!) post.

A wedding in Frankfurt

I have not posted on the blog for a while, but there's a good reason for that. We were holidaying in Europe for 2 weeks! First up was Frankfurt to watch one of my oldest friends get married in a beautiful ceremony in one of the prettiest cathedrals ever. An ancient heritage venue, a bright red sari, beautifully henna-ed hands, yellow sunflower bouquets, a bilingual service; it was all so romantic and lovely!
Next, we went to Venice & I so want to write more, but its also my first day back in office after a long break; so will write my next post while taking a break from scrolling down that long list of unread emails.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


So why do Cobb & team think "inception" is such an impossibly difficult thing to do anyway? Isn't that how advertising, peer pressure and housing bubbles work? Because someone 'incepts' an idea in our minds which we believe is our own? Hacking into dreams probably is the most expensive although the coolest option, yes!

A great thriller of a movie, by the way!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Baby no more

K is officially a toddler now. His crib has been converted to a bed; his cloth-shoes have been replaced by Crocs; he's off his Avent bottles and on to straw & sippy-cups; his gibberish is slowly turning into real words. The pace and enormousness of these changes are exciting and also slightly depressing. I'm proud of my muchkin's little milestones; but can't let go of the babyhood which I already so miss.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The kind of stuff that make Sundays special

Butter-chicken and roti for lunch.
A walk with K; him on his 'elephant car'.
A late night movie with friends.
Pictures of friends on Facebook & a 'like' button under them.
Unexpectedly finding black trousers that fit well, at the mall.
Threading of some bushy eyebrows.
A sleeping baby. In his own crib.

The universe is finally paying me back for all the heartache & headache it has caused me over the past 2 weeks (involved a taxi-strike & non-stop rain in Mumbai, a nasty viral infection & K, a nanny on leave, a tough work week in Singapore, a botched up flight booking, and more).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Starry Nights

I love star gazing. This weekend, we spent some quality geek-time looking at the sky through the telescope. I could go on about the different sights we enjoyed & admired; but then it would be like narrating an incident which is interesting only if you see it first-hand; not when you hear of it. I am however, going to blog about why I thought the experience was so special.

People love to go on top of tall buildings & insert coins into binoculours to see the tinyness of humanity & its creations below. Looking at the universe is exactly the opposite perspective & therefore special.

The expanse of the universe is a tremendous sight. You feel a sense of being inconsequential in size; and simultaneously feel like an essential & invaluable part in the scheme of things; like there must be an important purpose behind your existence in this mega-project called the universe. It prods you to question your beliefs & re-enforces them the next moment. And it makes you feel incredibly closer to those close to you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Little joys in life

Your chubby hands, wobbly walk, loud chuckles, short pajamas, mouth smeared with strawberry yogurt, incorrigible words, pretend phone-conversations, drooly kisses, sparkly smiles.

I could keep watching you forever & not get bored!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What's going on lately

* I've been pondering lately whether I really know what the term "true calling" means. And if I do, is this it?

* I learnt that Atlas Shrugged is going to be a movie. And so is Life of Pi. Don't like the sound of that!

* The dilemma of a working mother has been nagging me quite persistently. Always treading that fine line between a 'good mother' and 'guilty mother' can be tiring. Seeing a completely guilt-free father doesn't help either.

* What's the saddest thing you've read recently? For me, it was this.

* Kabeer has 4 teeth now. And he's not afraid to use them. He has also decided that "papaya" is his favorite word.

* There are too many articles written about China, I agree. But thought this one was interesting. "Of the 22 Chinese corporations listed on the Fortune Global 500, none are privately held"....did not know that! By the way, I had an interesting conversation with two colleagues from work - one who grew up in Mao's China; another who grew up in pre-unification East Germany; and there was me who grew up in pre-liberalisation socialist India. It was weird how similar & dissimilar our experiences were!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Harischandrachi Factory

This turned out to be a lovely movie. Phalke stumbled into a movie-tent and watched a silent English movie about 100 years ago and decided to make India's first motion picture. And the journey that followed was an inspiring, sensitive, humorous and passionate pursuit of one eccentric but visionary man's single-minded resolve.

What I liked about the movie:

1> It's made in Marathi. I wonder whether there was the temptation to go the more financially lucrative way of Hindi-cinema; but it wouldn't have been the same movie if it had.

2> For a story about success-against-all-odds, the movie is remarkably devoid of melodrama. And it doesn't lose its sense of humour.

3> Loved watching Mumbai in 1911. Although a lot of it is seen through pictures, people and dialogues (Dadar was a suburb on the outskirts back then!:)); but the movie hasn't done a bad job of portraying Mumbai through its sets [considering it would've had the budget of an indie Marathi movie].

4> The director has a gift of story-telling through his characters. Loved every single character in the movie - the eccentric protagonist; his immensely supportive wife; his mature little children; the nosy neighbouring kaku in Girgaum; the chai-walla turned movie-heroine Taramati; they all have their moments.

Monday, May 24, 2010


We went to Melaka over the weekend. Our hotel was located right in the middle the UNESCO World Hertiage Site; the really old town, its shophouses, the remnants of the Dutch fortress and churches,and the rest; and we enjoyed walking around the town.
You know, sometime you visit a place & find it too touristy or too commercialised .... that happened to us in Melaka. But somehow the touristy culture has added to the atmosphere in Melaka. There's this whole "bag-packer in Asia" vibe to the old city - the kind of cafes & flea markets on Jonker Street; the sort of people you meet; I can't put my finger on it but I thought it was young & adventurous; and a far-cry from the sleepy old town I expected it to be! The Cafe Geographer on Jonker Street felt like Cafe Leopold in Mumbai.

Btw, Kabeer is totally enamoured by the trishaws in Melaka!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mumbai again

It seems like ever since I decided to lose weight the universe has been conspiring against me. I was in Mumbai on work last week and this was my lunch menu through out the trip:

Wednesday - Kombdi-wada from Gomantak
Thursday - Garlic Pepper Prawns from Mahesh Lunch Home
Friday - Keema Pav from Cafe Excelsior
Saturday - Crab Masala from Gajalee
Sunday - Brunch at Just Around the Corner

Dear Food-in-Mumbai, I love you very much; but now I'm stuffed!

PS: Had a lovely time with family over the weekend & watching Kabeer bond with his cousin was priceless!! :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Me, Kash & Cruise

A play from & about Bombay came to Singapore; so obviously we had to go watch it. Directed by Rahul Dacunha, "Me, Kash & Cruise" is a story of 3 friends who meet at St. Xaviers college - one is a brooding arty-type guy, there's a pretty, perky & rich South-Mumbai girl, and there's a simple-minded Delhi-walla who's recently moved to Mumbai; and the 20-odd years they spend together in Mumbai.

And then there's Rajit Kapur who appears in the play as different but all typically Mumbai characters - as a police hawaldar turned moral police; as an ardent Ganpati procession dancer; as a marketing guy with an American accent and incorrect grammar; as a roadside hawker selling sex solutions; as a angry sword-bearing man during the riots; all are small but impactful & entertaining appearances on stage.

This Mumbai girl who is narrating the story - equally enjoys the company of intellectual and brooding Kash as she does the classless but fun Cruise with his simple fundas in life. The background score as well ranges from the "Beedi" Song to "Take my breath away". It's all very Mumbai. Loved going back to that city for 2 hours in that small theatre hall in Singapore! :)

Some of the lines were hilarious too ( "Kash, you wore an ear-ring, never played cricket and then did a B.A.; obviously my dad assumed you were gay!")

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Hurt Locker

I've been out of touch with Hollywood lately, but following all the awards, we finally watched "The Hurt Locker" last week. I thought it was a movie with a few weaknesses and a few strengths, but on the whole, it moved me.

The movie is about heroism in war, and about the adrenalin-rush of being in an intense war situation. I won't say I relate to a soldier who craves the adrenalin of being in a bomb squad in Iraq; but I thought him to be believable. And the movie put me in this soldier's shoes and read his diary of time spent in Iraq where nobody can be trusted and no place is safe. Of course, it was not a regular war movie - it was horrifying (without being gory), it was edge-of-the-seat stuff and it was a new "American-soldier's-unapologetic-point-of-view" on the war in Iraq.

But having said that, a war movie is a war movie is a war movie. Wars are always ugly; and they're uglier when fought in the middle of civilians; by soldiers from a culture & place so alien to the people they'r meant to be defending. In a way, a war movie set in Iraq might have well been set in Vietnam 50 years ago and it would've been almost the same; only the communists are now called terrorists and landmines are now suicide-bombers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mission Birthday Party!

1. Invitations
2. Food & drinks
3. Return gifts
4. Helium Balloons
5. Party hats

Monday, March 08, 2010

11 month old with a personality!

Watching a baby grow up is a fascinating thing; not just as a parent, but also as an observer. A baby is born with nothing more than basic instincts - a survival instinct; an instinct to suck for food; and perhaps a faint instinct that tells him who his mother is.

And now at 11 months he already has a 'personality'. He has a mind; he has thoughts; he has preferences, he knows cause-n-effect, he has intellectual curisoity, he has a massive ego for such a tiny thing, he knows anger and fear (anger was perhaps a more easily acquired trait than fear), he has a vocabulary, and best of all, he understands love and reciprocates it.

Its like witnessing the whole breadth of human evolution in a short timespan; and it's nothing short of witnessing a miracle.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Our precious acquisition from Bali....

is finally framed and hanging on the wall in our living room!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Holiday in Bali

I admit, Bali is not the same when you go there with an infant. We weren't those carefree bag-packers on rented 2-wheelers; we were the resort-by-Kuta-beach holidayers! It's not something we used to do in our pre-parenthood life, but something we don't have too much trouble getting used to! :) Some picture memories...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Haiku from Mumbai

A big white wall
"Keep Mumbai clean".
Thoo, a red splutter.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bose - Special screening in Singapore

Sounds like an interesting film & I want to watch. But more importantly, I would love to hear Shyam Benegal talk about it. (PS: Have I mentioned on my blog that I met Shyam Benegal once long ago - when I was in B-school & he was making Zubeida - and I remember thinking that I didn't want him to stop talking!)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Lost - The final season

H & I have been exchanging our theories about Lost & are waiting for the final season.

We both agree that the guys are stuck in a time-loop (In the last episode of the last season, the man-who-is-Locke says to Jacob “They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt, it always ends the same”…Jacob replies…"It only happens once, anything before that is just progress”). Apart from that, we don't really have any theory that works. It better be something good!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A tooth is sprouting!

I'm going to miss the toothlessness :-(

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Working from Mumbai

I've been working from our Mumbai office all this week on a short work stint. It's been kind of strange. I'm working in Mumbai after 6-7 years; and although I love it here, I have to admit sometimes its just not the same Mumbai for me anymore (I'm just nostalgic, not anti-progress).

What else? Was my first time on the sea-link this Monday. It's no doubt an iconic structure & the Mumbai skyline looks deceptively pretty from it (especially with the morning sun & haze). But in terms of delivering what it was supposed to do, I guess its a case of too little, too late - the traffic at both ends of the sea-link is terrible! Takes me around 2 hours to get home every evening. Used to be 1.5 hours 6 years ago. Without the sea link.

But love the perks of working in South Bombay - Have had most of my meals at "Ideal Corner" enjoying some great Parsi food; have cutting-chai every afternoon & a deep-fried snack which is otherwise avoidable has become a must :)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Movies I watched

Avatar: I was disappointed with the movie. Visually, it was undoubtedly beautiful, imaginative & the mega-scale of it was breathtaking. I was a bit envious of the animation team; I wish I had a job like that - to let your imagination lose & to dream up a new & beautiful world. Also, 3D was fun*. The movie on the whole, however, was not so great for me.

3 Idiots: Had a good number of hilarious moments; I was laughing aloud in the movie hall. But the rona-dhona/ giving-the-social-message scenes spoiled the movie for me; I wish the movie had just stuck to being funny. The vaccum cleaner delivery scene made me cringe & the newborn responding to "Aal is well" made it worse (the experience of suction-delivery was perhaps all too close to me); and it irked me how everyone on the college campus seemed ready for suicide at the drop of the hat. Btw, I distinctly remember this joke from when I was 7 or 8 -"The Pakistani astronaut spent billions of rupees to invent a pen that would work in space & then the Indian used a pencil".

Sherlock Holmes: Haven't seen the movie yet; but I'm dying to. My friend M thinks the movie is not meant for us (as in those who grew up reading Sherlock Holmes); its like finding out Santa doesn't exist. But the thought of Robert Downey Jr & Guy Ritchie together makes me want to watch anyway!

* H thinks Chota Chetan had more fun 3D effects than Avatar, can you believe it?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Back from India...

It was the kind of break that deserves another break to recover from the break. A wedding, a jetlagged 9-month old & a whole lot of family & friends!