November 29, 2012

New blog finds from 2012

For a change, I decided to write on the NaBloPoMo prompt for today. For details on the daily prompts, click here.

The writing prompt for today says - "Tell us about three new blogs you found this year".

Well... there have been many new blogs that I found this year. I feel inspired when I see so many talented writers use their writing skills to portray experiences and more importantly keep their readers engaged.

If I had to list 3 of my umpteen new finds, they would be -
  1. Life etc. - It's a beautiful lifestyle and photography blog by Magali Vaz. She reviews brands, fashion, games, books and what not. What I like best about this blog is the simple yet elite look of the site. The posts are beyond awesome and I love reading her. :) Highly recommend it.
  2. Occasional Musings and Ramblings - I recently discovered this blog and I am impressed. The author, called "Brahmin in Boston", is a soon mom-to-be Gemini girl. She blogs about her experiences of life - good or bad. She also reads non-stop which is another huge like from me. What I like about her and her blog is that she has a fighter spirit towards life which inspires me. "If all's not well, then it probably isn't quite the end".
  3. Palakkad Chamayal - I decided to opt for a cooking blog as my third fetch. This blog is the best when it comes to preparing traditional South-Indian recipes or famous North-Indian cuisine. The author - Kaveri Venkatesh is a mother of 2 lovely kids and has a sweet yet simple blog design. Her recipes remind me of my mother's way of cooking - which is straight-forward and easy to implement. If you are a total foodie like me, go check out this blog.
I shall be happy to know your latest finds of new blogs from this year. :)
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November 28, 2012

What's on your wish list ?

There's this white board in one of our office hallways which is openly accessible to the passing crowd.

Every week, somebody posts a question at the top of the board. You also have a marker and duster provided beside the question. Any passer-by who wants to comment just picks up the marker and writes down his/her answer.

Last week, the question was - "What's on your DVD rack ?" I saw so many different answers on the board ranging from famous sitcoms to popular movies and documentaries.

This week, the question is - "What's on your wish list ?" Before the end of this week, I will post my reply on the board too, but I saw 1 response on the board which touched my mind today.

It read - "Get my 2 boys back home". :(

Tell me, what's on your wishlist ?
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November 27, 2012

I like fun introductions ...

Today was a fun day at work!!! [Past couple of days have been great at work. And I love the fact even more that I am blogging here about it 2 days in a row... fun times !]

One thing that I observed since my move to this new project, is that I meet new people almost everyday. And they are different from the ones I usually meet from the previous day. So its a new meeting, new faces, new names and new roles to remember for the work ahead.

So after a major deadline in the past 2-3 weeks, things have settled down a little for the team to have time for acquaintances. Today, at the onset of a 2-hour long meeting, the project manager (PM) decided that it was time that everybody loosened up, broke the ice and got to know their neighbors.

And hence, to help facilitate this, the PM started the meeting with a fun introduction round. Not the usual round of name and role details in the project. Today's introduction was -
  1. Your name
  2. The team you belong to
  3. Your favorite vacation spot (a place you have either been to before or want to visit)

At the time of my introduction, I said that my favorite vacation spot is London, UK. No prizes to guess why :) If you missed my earlier post, click here. You can also check out the slideshow on the right sidebar which showcases my favorite destinations.

What was also interesting was that people listed all kinds of places from Miami (Florida), Colorado, Las Vegas, India, California, Hawaii etc. Not many likes for European countries other than my vote for London and a couple others who wished to visit Italy and Spain. The PM himself wished to go to Yokohama, Japan for his favorite destination.

During all this conversation, the PM also asked if the others in the crowd had been to the called out destination preferences. And it turned out I raised my hand on 2-3 instances - like for Kerala (India), Dubai and Europe. To this the PM said - "Looks like GR does a lot of traveling !" You bet, I do :-P Considering I am a more of a nomad these days marking more states on my personal map and moving to new locations every 2-3 months, this is my 2nd relocation of this year.

Hey, I am not complaining as I am enjoying the journey while I can. :)

So tell me, what is your favorite destination spot ?
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November 26, 2012

Do u haves ur spells cheque ons ?

Don't worry. I know my spellings well. :)

The post title is inspired by a funny incident that happened at work today.

I lose my mind when people mispell words or use bad English.

But today I wasn't mad when this happened. I smiled, laughed, teased and kept remembering the funny moment.

My manager gave a task to four of us to review a document by end of day.

So this colleague 'A' scheduled a meeting with the business team early afternoon. Everyone discussed through the meeting agenda and 'A' kept track of the meeting notes which would go into the document. He completed filling in the details and set up a review meeting with just the four of us in the evening.

At 4 PM, when we sat together to review the end-product, this is the conversation that followed between 'A', 'M', 'R' and me :)

'A' : "So this paragraph talks about the source system that is in question."

'M' : "What's that again ?"

'R' : **Looks at a mistake** "A, you need correct the spelling. It should be 'required' not 'require'."

'A' : **Corrects the spelling** "Is the 2nd paragraph fine ? Does it need any modifications ?"

Me : **Confused after looking at the word - hirarchi** "A, you mis-spelt 'hierarchy'. It's not spelt as 'hirarchi'."

'A' : "Oops... Sorry."

Me : "Sounds like a Japanese word." :-D

'A' : "Seems like my spell-check feature is not functioning." :-/

'R' : "I think the original meaning of this sentence up ahead was different from what is typed here. I think you wanted to say - 'This approach would open a can of worms and raise a lot of questions.' It currently reads as - 'This approach will open a warm hole.' " :-D

For the next 15 minutes, our table was in total splits including 'A'. We kept hiding our heads under the table to control our laughter.

When we were finally able to compose ourselves, we continued with the review.

Me : "A - you need to correct the spelling for 'where as', 'initial', 'identify' and 'occurs'."

When we were finally able to complete the review 1 hour 15 mins later...

'M' : "Are you sure you have corrected all the words. Especially the warm hole!!!" :-D

I guess, 'A' was just having a bad day :-)
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November 25, 2012

Travel Diaries : London, UK (New Year 2008)

When I read the theme for this week's WOW, I immediately took out my hard disk and skimmed through the gigabytes of photos. I believe in treasuring moments and what best way than to take a snap to capture the memory. It was a tough decision to pick just one old snap of the lot but I did manage to pick one.

This photo was taken at the Big Ben, in London, UK on 1st Jan 2008. I had traveled to Central London with my office colleagues to witness the fireworks at London Eye. A first time of all sorts, this New Year's was thrilling, adventurous and filled with fun. The fireworks that evening lasted for only 10 minutes but the journey there-on has been ever-lasting.

The memories associated with this snap are innumerable. My stay in UK was my most memorable and will always have a special place in my heart.

For starters, it's the first time I traveled abroad to an unknown place all by myself even without friends/family as it was a work assignment. Apart from the travel, there have been many other reasons for which I will appreciate this place. This trip taught me independence in its true sense. I was very confident of one fact in life - that I can never feel confident from within. But after this chapter of my life, I learnt to speak, interact confidently with seniors/clients, and handle things on my own.

Traveling in India had always been a fear. But in UK, I traveled in trains and buses regularly to work which helped me in this aspect. I always shied away from understanding the intricacies of knowing how to handle a house and cook for oneself. In UK, I braved this fear and got an opportunity to explore these areas. The most happiest memory and a moment for utmost pride was renting my own apartment :) Life taught me many valuable lessons in this stint and though it seemed hard at the moment, it became my strength thereafter.

My life changed for the better after this journey and I thank my stars for bringing on these experiences ! :)

Tell me, what has been your most favourite memory ?

**This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda
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November 21, 2012

Travel Diaries : Cincinnati, Ohio (Mr. Anna's birthday)

Last weekend, LP and I headed over to Cincinnati, Ohio to surprise Mr. Anna for his belated birthday celebrations from 14th Nov 2012. Excited to be back in Ohio, we started from Bloomington on Saturday and reached our destination in 4.5 hours.

At Mr. Romeo and Mrs. Juliet's home, the surprise was decided and we hid ourselves in their bedroom closet to avoid Mr. Anna from suspecting on us.

After what seemed like an eternity, Mr. Anna kept chatting with the folks keeping close vigil from any off-guarded secrets. :-P Once the cat was out-of-its-bag, LP and I sprung out of hiding to surprise him. What followed thereafter was an evening of good conversations and amazing food.

Leaving you with some snaps of the evening -

Dinner at Mexican restarant - Casadores

Finally, a game for bluff and monopoly.

Mouth-watering lunch the other day.

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November 20, 2012

Need a break...

Earlier this month, I was all excited to start this month-long activity of online blogging with NaBloPoMo, which gives me a chance to get into the habit of posting every day. Everything was as planned until my body decided to go on a "break". 

It all started few days ago when I sensed this constant uneasiness in my head even after hours of sleep. Made me wonder what I was doing wrong. I pondered over it and came up with few possible reasons.

  1. Lack of sleep - I have been sleeping well but there are days when you feel groggy and lazy even after hours of sleep.
  2. Over-strain - Work, cooking, online movies, hours of mindless surfing took a toll on my eyes.
  3. Increase of eye power - Constant glaring at the laptop both during work and at home has increased my power and my eyes tell me it's time to get them checked.
For now, it turns out to be a combination of reasons 2 and 3. My appointment with the opthamologist is next month when it will finally dawn on me whether my power is shooting up.

What this also means is, I need to take a break from my long hours of working/lazing in front of my laptop to rest my eyes. Hence the delay in getting up to speed with my daily blogging. A backfill of posts is highly required. :(

So tell me, how do you take care of your strained eyes after spending hours at the computer ?
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November 12, 2012

Happy Diwali 2012

Can't believe it's a year already and here I am posting about Diwali again. If you missed my earlier post on Diwali in 2011, here it is.

When I think of Diwali, my memory takes me back to my childhood in Bahrain. It was mummy's responsibility to take care of the sweets every year. There were some that were made at home and some that were purchased from the local South-Indian hotel. Baby bro and I would sneak into the kitchen and start eating them even before the festival day. :) Aah the days when you could gorge on dozens of sweets and not worry about weight or pimple issues. "Calories" ??? Whatever that meant or however it spelt back then. :p Too bad, the old metabolism rates have disappeared into thin air.

Diwali is never complete without new clothes. Shopping for new clothes and jewellery starts days ahead. On the day of the festival, we would wear the new attire and go to the temple.

I know I have said it here before and I will say it again. I love making the "Rangoli" for Diwali and this is the most interesting part that I always look forward to. Eager to reach home after school to start the rangoli, I would keep wondering what design mom had chosen for the year and what colors need to go into the design. Once at home, a quick lunch and it was time to spend the next 5-6 hours at the doorstep or the stairway surrounded by colors of different hues.

The men of the house - Daddy and baby bro would stop by occasionally to judge the effort. Actually, when I come to think of it, I remember my baby bro would pool in with mom and me to help us. As usual, he always ended up fighting with me over how much area I could have to fill colors and how much area he could have. Nevertheless, he always got bored in the first half hour and walked away to play. The moment when he walked away was always, sheer bliss ! :p

Diwali, in India, was a totally new and refreshing experience too. Twelve years back when I moved from Bahrain to India, I was sad that my childhood was being left behind but little did I know that it would open doors for many other opportunities and possibilities and one such opportunity was "celebrating festivals".

In few places of the Middle East, we are not allowed to fire crackers in public. In India, this experience has been different. As kids, baby bro and I missed this fun. However, on the other hand, we have never gone over-board as well.

Although we refrain from purchasing noisy rockets or large crackers due to the pollution it can cause, every year we do make it a point to celebrate with some for sure. Years have gone by, but the charm of the festival still amazes me and what I miss most on this Diwali is the company of my family and loved ones because that is what makes every occasion even more special.

Here's wishing you all and your families a very Happy, Prosperous and safe Diwali ! :)

Snaps of this year's celebration - 

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November 9, 2012

A "Perfect" Day...

Don't you just love it when the day whizzes by in the most "perfect" manner ever ? **battling eyelashes**

Today was one such day. :)

LP is in town for few days and I'm on top of the world ! Work is also demanding at the moment but I am enjoying it as I prepare for a new role, get to read and ramp up my technical knowledge and who doesn't like learning new stuff... Touchwood !

If you had seen my earlier post, I had mentioned there were quite a lot of developments happening around the relocation. Well, now things are definitely falling into place.

For starters, the apartment formalities are done and dusted. Thank God !

Next, the movers delivered our luggage (stored at their location for close to 3 weeks) over to the apartment today. The couches, bed, coffee tables and all my stuff is finally arranged. The kitchen is yet to be setup but that's an ongoing activity for me now.

The first thing LP and I always take care during a relocation is to get registered with the local primary physicians. If we had an emergency health situation or need immediate attention, it is highly recommended to have a local doctor treat you who is aware of your medical history and background. Another item off the checklist. :)

The last few weeks have been so tiring physically with all the moving out and moving in of apartments. So we decided to spend some quality time at a good restaurant in the evening. An enjoyable evening with good food and a round of Barnes and Nobles booksellers makes me a "happy" girl. :)

Now, it's time for a good movie and then beauty sleep for a brand, new day.

So tell me, how has your Friday been ?
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November 8, 2012

10 Random Things About Me...

1. I am a "true" introvert. I like my space :)

2. If I had to relate myself to one of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. characters, it would have to be "Monica". Yes, I am very obsessive with all my stuff and everything needs to be clean "my way" ! However, just so you know, my favorite character from the show is Chandler.

3. As a teenager, I was petrified of entrance tests. I always chose never to appear for a career-defining exam, come what may. The fear went to such an extent that I "almost" decided not to continue professional studies after 12th Std. :)

4. If not an IT consultant, I would have been a professional classical dancer. I was and am still fond of my first love and passion. Someday, I dream of opening my own dance institution in the years to come.

5. When I relocated to India from Bahrain for my higher education, I could not speak the local language - "Hindi" at all. If you heard me speaking 12 years ago, I guarantee you would be on the floor laughing your stomach out. I'm glad its not the case now. :)

6. I love driving. Having your own car to drive for work and pleasure is sheer bliss.

7. People say I have a good memory. ;) If I meet you today as a stranger, and then lose touch with you for the next 10 years, chances are that I will still remember your name and still recall where we last met.

8. I am scared of being the last one to enter meeting rooms or conventions crowded with people. Either I have to be one of the first few to reach the venue or else I think of ways to sneak into the room unnoticed. Goes on to say I can't handle the public eye.

9. If I am traveling, I believe in planning my trip to the very last detail. Very unlike the LP who likes traveling on the spur of the moment. :-p

10. I live by this quote - "A son is a son till he gets a wife, a daughter is a daughter for her entire life." 

Now, tell me 10 random things about yourself.
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November 4, 2012

Looking forward...

The weekend is over and "Monday Blues" are setting in. But there's more to the week than just office and work.

For starters, a major chunk of work has been taken care of and that is the "apartment". Finally moved to an apartment with the immediate household stuff. Believe me, lifting up and heaving heavily on heavy bags without anyone to help is not so much fun.

But on the other hand, setting up a new home has always been exciting and I hope this one remains as exciting as the other homes. :)

LP would be here mid-week. Can't wait to get to the end of 3 working days already....

The luggage in the storage should arrive before the end of this week. It was easy to eat out but now I crave for home-made food. I had major plans to cook dinner today. What I hadn't anticipated is my lousy last-moment packing. My kitchen bags had everything stocked up - right from vessels, vegetables, ingredients, ladles, spoons... and what not....

As I got ready to make the curry, I searched for the knife... But couldn't find it. That's coz I forgot to pack it in my kitchen bags and shipped it with the other bigger luggage.

But I managed to make some quick lentil soup which saved me. Even the  little things make a huge difference. Lesson learnt. :)

A major release at work is right around the corner and I may have to work next weekend. :( Hoping that plans change at the last moment and I don't get called in at all. :)

So tell me, what's your week looking like ?

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November 3, 2012

Empty voices...

This post was picked as a WOW post by BlogAdda in the Write-Over-the-Weekend initiative ! :-)

"What's that noise?" I stopped and looked up. They were sitting right in front of me. I looked at each one of them. There seemed to be a little voice coming out from everyone. I strained my ears hard to hear it. But more than what I got to hear, I felt the voice within them. 

To my left was Mr. R, looking thoughtful as ever. He had flown down 1300 miles from his home to be here and he didn't like it. It was an important day and he missed his family. If he was home, there would be celebrations, laughter, fun and togetherness. But all he was left with was monotony, loneliness, sadness and silence. He strained to focus. His mind was drifting. Half-heartedly, he took a deep breath and sat upright. There was a deadline and he had to type. The celebrations would have to wait until the upcoming weekend.

Mr. M, who sat in front, didn't seem disturbed. After all he had aged. There were no celebrations at home at this time of the year. He sat quietly, typing on the laptop, occasionally gazing at the screen and back on the keyboard to find the letters. This place was his home away from home on weekdays. He didn't miss family that much. All he had to do was drive 2 hours and then he would be at home. But he chose to stay here from Monday to Friday. His kids weren't missing him and so he had to keep himself engaged. But he always pondered - Did they ever miss him ? Maybe not. They were adults in their early 30s. They had their own families to look after. But what about his wife ? Didn't she miss him ? She lived alone after all. It looked like a mystery. And he wasn't affected by it.

Mrs H. had a story of her own. Seated on the right, she pretended to work. But she couldn't. Her 2-yr old son was crying in the daycare and she had to work. She wanted to take him in her arms and sing him a lullaby. But the nearest she could do was pray and hope that he stopped crying and went to sleep. This job was her second chance to start working. Her eyes welled up. She shrewdly picked up the thermos and got up from the chair. Walking towards the vending machine, she lowered her head and wiped her eyes. It was too early to leave for home. She had to wait till another 5 hours.

As for me, I stopped from typing on my laptop and attempted to explore each of their lives. My body was present but my heart was not. I missed my life partner who worked in another city. He wouldn't be home until 4 days. As my mind wandered, I looked out the window right beside me. The November chill sent winds gushing through the office lawn. All the trees swayed here and there. The leaves dropped one by one on the ground. I noticed a squirrel climb to the top of the tree and it paused. I looked at it and it stared back. Seconds later, it ate the nut it had in hand and ran back down the tree to fetch another.

Time was ticking and my inbox beeped with a reminder - "15 mins before the next meeting". This email had to go out now. I looked back at my laptop and started typing again. It was just another day at work.

(Images courtesy - Google)

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

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November 1, 2012

Favorite Quotation

My favorite quotation would be -

"Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life." ~ Mark Twain

My friends are the oxygen of my life. Remove them from my life and I would become breathless. I am a strong believer in friendship and for me, this is the biggest truth in my life.

Books are my best friends ! I would panic if I didn't know how to read or express myself. In the book - 'The Namesake', the author describes books as the mode of travel with which you don't have to move an inch. I couldn't agree less.

It's amusing when the author describes conscience as "sleepy". I believe our conscience dictates our actions based on our choices. The inner sense of being right or wrong helps to define our conduct and motives. Now, if the conscience was put at rest, the world would always appear nice and beautiful.

Tell me, what is your favourite quotation and why?
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National Blog Posting Month 2012

I had been searching for such initiatives earlier last month and couldn't find one.

Thanks to PB's post, I got the right direction to find one such event. :)

Let's see if I survive this entire month with posts and blog all the way till the end.

You can find the details of this event here. Do visit and leave your comments :)
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Are these reasons to rejoice ...

Now let's see...

1) I have the car all to myself, I can drive to wherever I want...

2) I can order food and eat all kinds of cuisines I want from restaurants...

3) I can stay up as late as I want on weeknights...

4) I can sleep as late as I want on weekends...

5) I can shop all that I want and spend as much money as possible...



But it's still not enough, honey !!!
I miss you LP and hope you miss me too ! :-(

Note : LP is away on an assignment in New York and I have all the time to while away here thinking about him. ;)
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