January 27, 2012

Foto Fridays - Week 2

I had a sudden urge this week to read books written by Indian authors. So I searched on Wikipedia for the Best Indian Authors of 2011. I picked out few titles by random authors and made my way to the neighborhood library. To my disappointment, other than 'The Namesake' by Jhumpa Lahiri, not one book was readily available at my branch. :-(

So what do I do ? Request the librarian to order a copy from the main library and head out ? 

Oh no no ! :) I ask her to order a copy and then wander about looking for other prospective pickup.

Leaving the library with nothing in hand and mind to read is a huge sin for me and my bedside book shelf.

It's a good thing that there is no limit on the number of books you can take at one time. :-) 
No book limit makes 'GR' a happy girl ;-) Take a look at my book shelf - 

Eddie my Teddy
Read.. read... read....

Any suggestions for good Indian reads? 

he paints were inaugurated for use last week on a "Om" that I drew. :-) 

The first time the drawing was free-hand done with the brush. 


The next attempt was a detailed one. I searched for an authentic outline on the internet (like how the Indian mythological series show them). 
"Om" - The beginning and the end

And then used the strokes of the brush to fill it up.

Nevertheless, b
oth the attempts now adorn the sacred wall of the house. :-) 

 photo Signature2016_zpshf23y4i0.jpg

January 21, 2012

From the little 'Prankster' in me...

My dear 'M',

I like surprises. And I love giving them as well. The sheer joy of surprising someone, which either scares/delights them, is a wonderful feeling. For me, it means whole lot of planning, determination, efficiency, co-ordination and will (to safe-guard the secret till the moment) ! 

End results - The surprised person is happy, confused, excited and very importantly, relieved. :-p

Last week, I planned a surprise for you. And I want to confess, it was executed very much like an actual crime. :-D Let me now give you an inside peek of this crime.

Mission : 'M'
Aim : Surprise 'M' on his birthday
Partners in crime : A group of closely-picked individuals
Time-frame : 15 days

It all started in the last week of December 2011, before New Years', when we were on the road trip returning from New York. When you were off on one of your restroom breaks, I announced to the Fast Friends gang, that your birthday is around the corner and that I wanted to plan a surprise. They were all game for it. 

Visually, I had images of how I wanted it to turn out. But practically, it was a milestone yet to be achieved. 

Choosing the guest list - First and foremost, we needed the partners in crime. It had to be a wise group of people who were perfect in execution. Enter the "cast" :-) 

- "Mrs. Hyper" and "Mr. Cool" - Being the true experts in party planning and decoration, there was no way I could manage this surprise on my own. They took care of the complete makeover of the party room. It was an easy transformation from a boring room to a decorated birthday arena. During all the pandemonium, their son, the sweet lil "Mickey Mouse" was more than just helpful in everything.  

- "Mrs. Juliet" and "Mr. Romeo" - I am a complete dunce when it comes to buying gadgets or guitars. My initial budget, shamelessly set at a measly $25, wouldn't have been enough to purchase a branded formal shirt, never mind a branded watch. It was definitely going to be the cheapest gift a wife could have got her husband, until this lovely couple suggested - "Why don't you gift him a guitar, he is willing to learn since forever or a reading tablet since he reads a lot?" I wonder who should actually be your wife. Me or them? :-D Anyways, their swell idea  made me re-think my budget. After all, It had to be a birthday you remember for years. 
Amazon Kindle Fire

- "Mrs. Wrapper" and "Mr. Store-keeper" - Because they stay less than 25 feet away from our apartment and considering the fact that you know every nook of our home, could I think of a better option to store all the party stuff? While Mr. Store-keeper booked & paid online for your birthday present, Mrs. Wrapper took utmost care to innovatively gift-wrap it.

- "Mr. Anna" - The experienced criminal of the lot, his expertise helped me to choose the most important area - dining restaurant for the evening. He also saved me a run by picking up the cake on the D-day.

- "Miss. Madam ji" - The co-ordinator of the crime. She was the most enthused partner in the entire crime and enjoyed every aspect.

- "Mr. Escalator" - If there was 1 person who knew about your professional area of work and could scare you with technical project issues and major escalation surprises on the day of the birthday, it could only be your team member. :-) 

- "Mr. Jersey bro" - Last but not the least, strict instructions were passed onto your brother and gang to not wish you on the D-Day. Sweety, no matter how bad you felt when your brother didn't wish you at 12 AM, always remember - family never forget birthdays. :-) Nevertheless, the prank which made you think otherwise, was strike-on. :-D  

We laugh, We flirt, We Love... 

2. Shopping - In India, I could wander off anywhere, after office hours if I needed to purchase a gift for you. But here in US, even if I were to go to the local library, you knew I would never go alone. In order to get some time away from you, the gals of the gang created a perfect scenario so that you would believe it - "Girls' shopping day out" :-P This must have been the only time in the history of shopping, when 3 girls got together and avoided Macy's, Victoria Secrets, Zara and the likes to do serious party-shopping :-D And to justify our shopping to you, I entered an accessory shop to pick up 3 earrings each for $1. So honey, next time a girl tells you she got only 3 tiny earrings after a whole day of shopping ..... Don't believe her ! :-D 

3. D-Day - When we retired for the day after speaking to our loved ones at home at 1 AM, you easily drifted into a long slumber. On the other hand, I was sleepless and kept waking up to check the time and ponder if things would go the way it was planned.
The first birthday gift :-)

At 10.30 AM, when Mr. Store-keeper secretly placed the gift bag outside our home, knocked and ran away, you followed behind to check who left the mysterious bag. The way you stepped out of the house, on the (-2 deg celsius) snowy morning
bare-foot was a sight not to be missed :-D

3 PM was the decided time when everyone was supposed to sneak into the house to setup the place. So when at 3.15 PM, you were so caught up watching the online movie and wouldn't budge from the couch, your wife had to convince you with medical c**p :-) "Let's go to the temple now. Look at the weather outside. It is so sunny. I need to go out right now to soak the afternoon sun. I need my Vitamin D." ;-D

 At 5 PM, when the gang back home was not done decorating the place, I took you to the Starbucks shop near our home, to while away the time. Just a mind teaser - Do you really think I enjoy the expensive cuppa coffee at the mall, when I can make steaming hot chai in my cosy home and sip it sitting in the warmth of my couch? :-) 

I deliberately took you to the same music shop from where I had purchased your guitar. While you were fascinated by the enormous selection of acoustic and electric guitars it had to offer, I was walking away from you to sms the gang to know the status at home.

The hardest moment was to keep a straight face at 6 PM, when Mr. Escalator called and informed you about a huge project escalation email from the client on a "weekend". He triggered the urge in you to go home ASAP and check out the email. You stood there all tensed and frozen and I ... well, I was laughing in a weird manner. Hee hee ;-p

As we left the mall, I smsed the group to be ready. When we climbed the stairs to our apartment, my heart was pounding in my neck ! When I snatched the house keys from you and  pretended to open the main door (even though the lock was left open ;-p), I knew this is the moment. You wouldn't switch on the lights. So I obliged. And then - "SURPRISE !!!" :-)

You were left gaping at the group of strangers who stood in our hall with eye masks. A
t first, you thought they were thieves but honey, in that case, your wife should have been screaming with fear not with happiness. :-D

You finally understood the events of the day and were relieved to hear there was no escalation in the project. :-) The sumptuous dinner feast ruled the evening. The last surprise of the day was the most dynamic one. The guitar was gift-wrapped and hidden in Mr. Cool's car trunk. At the restaurant, just before dessert, Mr. Anna and Mr. Cool took supposed "restroom breaks" to hand it to the concierge desk lady. She walked over to our table with the guitar and presented it to you. I can vouch the look on your face, at that moment, was worth a million-dollar !

Happy Birthday LP !

You enjoyed the birthday and I enjoyed planning it for you. I have now realized that you were not the least bit suspicious of me even when the occasional blunders took place in the last 15 days. :-p Wishing you many many more years of surprises ... 

You are truly a Life Partner ! :o)


Disclaimer : The author doesn't take responsibility for the above nicknames as they were provided by the birthday boy, himself ! :-)

 photo Signature2016_zpshf23y4i0.jpg

January 20, 2012

Foto Fridays - Week 1

Here comes a new line of weekly posts ...... 

**Plays trumpets & drum rolls** 

"Foto Fridays". Cool na? :) 

I love taking snaps. It captures the moment in the best manner. I have an external hard disk filled with photographs as early as 2005. It is sheer bliss watching the old memories as there are numerous joys and tears in every snap.

Now I am not a professional photographer but I believe, my picture can speak a thousand words. (It's also an easier trick for me to escape writing those long posts which nobody reads anyways ;-p)   

The first snap this week is an interest I wanted to start a long time ago. Better late than never, I guess. My raw materials are finally ready - Acrylic paints, brush set, color palette, blank sheet, a pen, tissue and water. 

Now I wonder what my first project is going to be... hmmm ! ..... 
Painting - A long lost hobby

Another one from the collection, this snap goes on to show how the Life Partner (LP) and I are constant companions of work all the time. 
How many laptops is "too many" laptops?

To the extreme left, you see the LP's work laptop, to the right you see my work laptop and the center one is the personal laptop (a.k.a. the internet station, junk download spot, music zone, mini theatre, blog machine etc... etc... You get the picture right.... ;-p Oh.. Special mention - Notice the LP on the desktop strumming his guitar ;-) Ain't "I" a lovey dovey wifey? :-D )

So, as my caption mentions, how many laptops do you think is "too many" laptops? :-D
 photo Signature2016_zpshf23y4i0.jpg

January 4, 2012

Fast Friends

- Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Yes/No
- Do you get accustomed quickly in the company of complete strangers? Yes/No
- Once friends, do you keep up the friendship? Yes/No

I remember answering these questions in every personality or behavioral training undergone till today. Only wished, the answer hadn't been so straight-forward - "Yes" or "No". Why not - "Maybe" or "Sometimes" or "I don't know". It's not like you can never change those traits. Anyways, at the end of all those exercises, I realized I was an introvert.

Personally, I always knew I am an introvert. I take time to open up. A really long time. Because I believe in taking my time. Sometimes, I get judgmental of the people in the process. I realize that's not right, but it's true. Remember the saying - "Don't judge the book by its cover". There are past instances where I implemented this principle  in the opposite sense. 

The first impression of friends has been correct at times and wrong at others. But it always led to the same personality trait of mine - introversion. Few of my friends who know me well would have the same opinion based on how I befriended them for the first time.

We take seconds to mingle with few and for some, even ages look less. 

Take the case of my closest college friend - the poetess. She sings well and expresses her feelings in perfect words. During the first year of college, I made a late entry into the course and ended up with no familiar faces around me. Reason - ? Well, let's just say I was forced to join this University-affliated recognized state-level course compared to a personal choice of a distance-education correspondence. I will save the details for another post ! :-)

So, here I was all alone in the class, looking for some company. The "poetess" seated right in front of me had her own group of "sahelis". Neither did she acknowledge my presence nor did I interact with her. So instantly came my first judgement - she is a snob ! After many days (which means after ages of lone-some crying, hatred for the college and people around), I fostered the courage to speak to her and introduce myself. Even that one act was not enough.

Finally, after a couple of days since I spoke to her, she came up to me and then began a long friendship.

What makes us judge a person so fast? Their body language, their attitude, the way you expect them to speak, the way they actually don't speak? Why do we take so much precaution in opening up to a person. Would you call them strangers even when they are part of your college class or job-training batch?

Today, when I look back, I laugh at how a funny instance led to the beginning of a wonderful friendship between me and another close friend at work - AB :)

My college class-mate helped to form his first impression. Our college was a combined institution made up of 2 halves - 'X' and 'Y', located next to each other. The institution belonged to a wise septuagenarian who named them after his two sons.

Even though people hailed from the same institution, they took pride in stating the name of their half. :) 

So, on the first day of our corporate training, my friend says - 

Class-mate : "Have you met AB in this batch? He is from our college but from 'X'." 

Me : "Is it? That's weird... How come we never saw him after studying in 'Y' for three years?"

Class-mate : "Beats me....... Why do you think people say - 'X' is better than 'Y'?"

Me : "What? Who said so?"

Class-mate : "AB said so. When I spoke to him the first time, he mocked at me when I told him we are from 'Y'."

Thanks to that conversation, when I got a chance to speak to AB myself, I started by ridiculing his side of the college. How kiddish, I know ! But seven years later, AB has been very supportive as a friend and we can pass hours by teasing and pulling each other's legs. 


Times have changed since then. Working in a profession where you get to meet and work with new people every couple of months, it has become a refreshing change to make friends by the day. The number of good friends keeps increasing in my email list and my Facebook list :p

Let me share a more recent experience. My organization has a yearly stage event for its customer and employees here. And the last couple of months were the busiest for me and 'M'. I personally didn't want to offer taking a lot of responsibilities. So my bright idea, to avoid being pulled into the organization committee, was to perform a invocatory classical item and buzz off. :)

But like how "Man proposes and God disposes", I ended up being the dance coordinator for the event. Great going, GR ! But that was not the worst. My creative mind came up with numerous themes for the evening. Realistic but a bit far-fetched, I guess. Like a bowling game, all of those themes kept knocking off the plate due to lack of employee willingness, no response and dearth of participants. The final attempt - presenting 'A Bollywood Musical' and roping in 'M' as a replacement :-D.

From 8 people, the number kept dwindling between 6 and 8. I lost my cool one day, and decided - 3 couples it is. Merely 10 days short of the event, the practice sessions started. I knew, letting the situation take its stride was not going to work, considering my self-respect was at stake. So there, my introvert side shed and gave way to a new side :)

The new 4 people with whom we met as strangers, danced as partners and interacted like long-lost friends and that turned out to be really amazing. Common backgrounds, interests, likes, dislikes all put together made for one good group. The performance was enjoyed and much appreciated. But more than that, a silent routine life suddenly took a sharp turn and transformed to a busy, hectic journey. Now, the 6 of us, plan group outings, games, shopping, lunch/dinner, parties, New Year's Eve plans and what not ! 

Looking back at the 10 days of the practice sessions now, I realize I have always been reserved and quiet. But when you come across amazing people, they can force you out of your virtual shell. I wouldn't call them my best friends but instead my "Fast Friends" :)

This post is dedicated to all my wonderful friends.... :-) 
 photo Signature2016_zpshf23y4i0.jpg