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What a year 2014 has been!

I struggle to describe how this year has been – completely mixed bag of feelings; but change was never going to be easy and we both knew it when we took the plunge. Loads of great memories made – amazing time spent with cousins, old friends and made new friends on the way! Still getting adjusted to the work culture , different ways of working and getting to know the colleagues! Changes, changes, too many of them, especially at work! But hanging in there, sometimes loving it and sometimes hating it 🙂

Realised that the same place to a tourist and to a resident is probably equivalent to Dr.Jekyl & Hyde.

Loved and hated my train travels – read more books this year during my daily commute than I did during any year in Dubai – this place makes you fall in love with reading! Learnt the art of balancing the book or the kindle in one hand and embracing the eerie silence in a crowded tube. Also developed a new found respect and love for my Mumbai’s local trains. My wish list for 2015 is to have one day of tube travel sans the signal failures, trespassers on tracks and fire alerts!

Experienced 4 distinct seasons for the first time in my life – I would not trade anything in this world for London’s beautiful summer and spring! Did our best we could to travel around whilst we were settling into a new place – Manchester, Nottingham, Cardiff, Cotswold ,Burton on Water and Southampton! How much we had missed the clear blue skies and greenery during our time in Dubai – it is so soothing to drive on these roads and travel by train; I cannot even describe the blissful feeling.

4 stadiums visited – few local grounds and parks visited! What a place to watch cricket – all the stadiums need is my loud, non-stop , enthusiastic , exuberant Mumbai crowd to liven up the atmosphere. Tickets cost a bomb but the cricket viewing experience is just surreal – I wanted to chronicle it but I really struggled to blog and put up my thoughts owing to busy days at work & DIY household tasks!

Our neighbours here! Oh we are so blessed on that aspect – our first neighbours in Dubai are now more dearer than our family and here we have pseudo parents! Our downstairs neighbours are the most adorable British couple I have met and they pamper us with love and food and thanks to my lovely 90year old neighbour I got to attend her lovely fun-filled English tea party on her 90th birthday we celebrated on our community lawns!

Missed Dubai loads – my friends and the food! I’m still not sold on the fact that London has great food – Dubai is still miles ahead in terms of quality, variety and value for money! London is also too huge and most eating spots are concentrated in central London ; missed our Dubai weekend routine of hopping into our car and getting away for a nice brunch, breakfast or exploring new eating places from your local cafeteria to 5stars! We hope to change that this year 🙂

Urrggghhh I hate how this place is expensive for nothing – movies and eating out – 2 things we absolutely love and were our weekly to-dos for last 5 years in Dubai. Here we watched 3 movies at a theatre last year – one is lack of time and two paying double the price we paid in Dubai! Yes, yes I will stop cribbing now !

Never thought I would hate the rains – London ensured I did! Does not even pour – just keeps drizzling and irritates the hell out of you! Wanted to whack the rain gods and tell them just pour your hearts out for once and leave!

My lovely 4 year old niece kept us occupied throughout this year – she makes me laugh, her vocabulary at this age amazes me, I love her Brit accent and clear diction , we love to fight and we love to make up and the best part is she tries out all my dresses & shoes because wants to dress up just like her Mavshi! She is the apple of our eyes and she knows it! Her best friend is her uncle and when he is not with me she gets upset, because no one plays with her as well as her uncle does and the rest of us are of no use to keep her entertained! I love the drama queen she is – but she is growing up too fast and I’m beginning to miss my little munchkin!

Managed a long visit to Mumbai and quick trip to Dubai – realised now I have two ‘maykas’ (mom’s house)! My Dubai friends and colleagues pampered me crazy when I was there and realised how much I missed not having them with me here, but I also felt nice that they missed me equally! I did miss not being able to visit Mumbai thrice a year – hope to make it atleast twice a year!

As a general observation of London – I love the fact that strangers smile at you randomly, don’t hesitate to start a small talk , come out to help you when you need it and are mostly polite! Finally getting a hang of the British humour and sarcasm – easier blending in if you are sarcastic 😉

I’m more busy at work and home and get very little time to be online or blog but like every year I will make the promise to do the best I can here on this space!

So 2015 is here and hoping it is a great one for everyone – London though has the tough task on hand of getting me to love her 😉 Staying here is not easy, I keep cribbing but you already knew that is what she says to me!

P.S: Got Sachin’s autobiography signed from the man himself – how could I not mention this!

Why Henry Cavill is the Best SuperHero of the 21st Century

Christian Bale as Dark Knight – Perpetually Brooding Hot

Batman

Robert Downey Junior as Iron Man – UberCool Hot

iron man

Michael Fassbender as Magneto – Magnetic Hot

magneto

James McAvoy as Charles Xavier – Charming Hot

prof x

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine – Always Angry Hot

wolverine

But Henry Cavill as Superman – He is all of the above and Scorching HOT

cavillsuperman1

He is simply gorgeous – I rest my case!

 

Ignored

You for long – how long it has been? Over 2 months. I’ve not penned down a single word in 2 months. I’m letting work and personal commitments get all over me again and back to ignoring you. I’m not making big promises of writing every day or every week – but you know I won’t be able to ignore you for long.

You are my treasure trove of memories – and I keep visiting old posts now and then, reminding myself that I need to create some new ones.

So for my few loyal readers and folks who keep asking me why I’ve not put up a post in long- I’ll try to make it up soon. Lots of recipes to update – friends are kind of pissed at me for only putting up pictures on facebook/twitter with no recipes to follow – that will be done soon.

I had a great holiday – a minor scare that preceded it and then missed once in a lifetime event with papa’s family 🙁 When you live abroad you can’t have it all !

Tons of things to write – even the cricket blogs need updating – lying dead for long! Champions trophy gets underway in 2 weeks time in England – not too excited but atleast there is India-Pak to look forward to and then the Ashes arrive!

So there you go – chances of you being ignored completely in the next few months seem very small my dear blog 🙂

Rant!

It really pisses me off when some of my friends/colleagues who are mums give me “gyaan” on how I have all the time in the world to pursue my hobbies – reading, writing, cricket, dancing, cooking along with my busy work schedules just because I don’t have kids. (I need to introduce them to some of my other friends/family – who are managing their careers, hobbies and kids to perfection.)

Here is a thought to all you moms who behave like they are the most busiest people on this earth – don’t blame the kid cause you can’t manage your time or prioritize.

You chose to have a kid – not an excuse for a lifetime – get over it!

STFU

How long have you been married?

Why have you retained your maiden name after marriage?

Do you have kids yet?

Why don’t you have kids?

You get to enjoy so much only cause you don’t have kids

Mint money now – good plan, you won’t work after having a kid will you?

 

I just have one question to these idiots who do not understand the meaning of “intruding my personal space” – at what point of your supposedly mature adult life are you going to learn to Shut The F%&k Up!

Switched Off…

from Facebook.

I went off it during my two week illness. Came back for a few days and then deactivated the account again.

I had really enjoyed Facebook until I realised it was getting too intrusive and it was making me claustrophobic. It was eating into my reading and writing space. Not that I’m a regular blogger but I try to be. Work is exhausting as always and between cutting down my online time – I started off by going off Facebook. Twitter time increases only when a cricket match is on – so that is  under control.  

This may be a phase and I may get back – but as of now I’m not missing not being on it. This is not to say I detest it or hate it – I still feel it has its positives and it helped me connect with a lot of folks and it felt good.

Facebook also gives you this lovely illusion from the many comments and likes you get on your photographs and statuses that you are very important and folks on your long “friends list” will miss you. Let me spoil it for you – it’s all humbug –if you didn’t already know that. Get yourselves deactivated from Facebook and see how many write in to check if you are alive;  only a handful will and you know who you need to be in touch with.

If you want to reach out to me – drop me an email or leave a comment on the blog and I’ll definitely get back. I’m pretty good at being in touch – always have been. My best friends and close relatives are severely disconnected online when so many modes of connection are available today; and they know it or rather take it for granted that I will be in touch no matter what – and they are right!

Toastmasters Project-2 “Public Transport and Me”

Remember I mentioned to you all that I’ve joined Toastmasters and put up my first speech 2 months back on this space.

We are to complete 10 project speeches in the year and I moved to complete my Project-2 yesterday.  The topic I chose was the one which has been very dear to me having lived in Mumbai 26 years of my life. It also won me my first award at Toastmasters. Yes, yours truly won the “Best Speaker” award for this speech yesterday.

“Public Transport and Me”

 

Staggering statistics aren’t they? Don’t worry I’m not here to conduct a statistics class. Dear esteemed guests and my fellow toastmasters, I’m here to share my admiration for the public transport in a city and why I prefer to use it.

The first 2 numbers represent the two lifelines of Mumbai – its Local Train System and BEST Bus system. Growing up in the busy, crowded, crazy Mumbai city, I have spent an approximate 21,600 hours i.e. almost 1.5 years of my entire life traveling in them. Are there any folks here from London? I’m sure you are tempted to make similar calculations in your head because the 3rd line of numbers represents the London Tube – “Mind the Gap”, one of the main reasons I love London as city.  However, I can also sense folks who have rarely used a public transport thinking “What a waste of time” – spending 1.5 years of your life traveling?

 And that is exactly my point – it was never a waste of time.

 I grew up in South Mumbai where buses governed my travel to school and college. All the institutions I attended were unfortunately very strict about punctuality, my parents were also very strict with me – as a student there was no way my parents were going to let me spend 10 times the amount on a cab just cause I could grab 15 minutes of extra sleep in the morning. So I had to catch my bus on time.

I got married and moved to Suburban Mumbai; my first office was at the other end of the town – 35 Kms of travel one way via train and bus. In my 1.5 years there, I never got late to work, catching my morning 7.41 train and then the connecting 9.05 bus – That’s how efficient the transport was or still is, despite the traffic woes in the city.

 Buses & Trains taught me discipline and value of time.

Now I was spending 2-3 hours traveling daily – so I figured out ways to utilize those hours.

Reading: I read a lot! Most  of the books on my bookshelf have been completed during my bus and train travel.  I would complete 2-3 novels a week. Newspapers were bought at the bus-stop /train station every morning by me and my fellow travelers. We would read them on our way to college/office – in our small way we helped the newspaper industry earn some additional revenue.

Radio & Music: My favourite companions: I would plug in my earphones and listen to the constant chitter-chatter of my favorite radio-jockeys and latest city happenings.  I’ve come to believe that all the radio channels in the world owe their popularity to the billion public transport users. If I got bored of the radio – I would switch to my mp3 player. When else do we take out 1 hour to listen to our favorite songs?

Information Gathering: Now, if you are traveling on the London Tube or any of Europe’s main city local transport – you’ll see most people with books or with their ipods, but my city Mumbai has to be different. If you seek information don’t bother searching on google/wikipedia, the ladies train compartment in the Mumbai local train is the best source of information on parenting, kids psychology, tackling in-laws, latest film gossip, politics, recipes, knitting, shopping, work, college life, fashion trends – name it and you’ll overhear it. I never eavesdropped but Mumbai trains are so crowded that even if you want to avoid listening, the conversations still fall upon your ears and you walk out a much knowledgeable person.

The Friendships I made: Only in Mumbai do you have this concept of “bus friends” and “train friends”.  We are tied to the clock and everyone ends up taking their specific trains every single day. I made many such special friends. They lent me a shoulder when I was upset, and they jumped with excitement on any good news I shared. In those 1 hour conversations we shared our lives with each other.

 Drama on the Roads: I have seen a family of 5 trying to fit onto the 2-wheeler ride, the bickering bullying bus and cab drivers, the guy proposing to his girlfriend in the 3-wheeler auto-rickshaw, the wife and husband fighting in the car, their kids making monkey faces at the other travelers and enjoying the chaos. I have watched so much drama on the roads that I rarely missed watching television.

Going Green: Without realizing I helped the world “Go Green” in a small way – by reducing pollution and traffic by not taking my vehicle. I do my little bit to reduce the carbon footprint. Did you know how much you can contribute by not taking your car out even if it is for one day? Here are some “green” stats. Also imagine the tensions you set yourself free from by not driving in traffic.

Dubai and Me: And finally, I came to Dubai in 2006 and needless to say we did not hit it off well owing to her lack of a good public transport system. The Metro construction had just begun; I thought I was the only one eagerly waiting for the Metro but I was proved wrong – that last statistic I mentioned in the first slide is about the Dubai Metro. I hope it will soon become a lifeline of this place – just like London, New York, Shanghai, Mumbai, Singapore have their lifelines.

I take the Metro everyday from work to home. I like the 7 mins walk from here to the station – I get to see the Burj lit up beautifully in the evening and even though the ride home is just 2 stations away; the 15 minutes spent with myself listening to my favourite music makes up for a tiring day spent at work

Yeah, I’m a public transport girl – I may own a car but I’ll leave her behind any day. I’m still a Mumbaite at heart when it comes to trains and buses.

I’m leaving you all with some words about public transport to take home today – next time when we meet let me know if you’d consider becoming a public transport person too?

Stop playing GOD



I woke up today to read this shocking article in Hindustan Times .Read the article and tell me if you don’t feel disgusted.

  

Girls are being ‘converted’ into boys in Indore – by the hundreds every year – at ages where they cannot give their consent for this life-changing operation.”

 

We women deal with enough crap throughout our lives – made to feel inferior to males around us all the time, made to feel secondary, made to feel guilty for being independent, for being our own person. Discrimination is a natural occurence in our lives. We women deal with crimes such as eve teasing, molestation, rape, where our dignity is stripped off daily. Worst is when our own kind are responsible for the crimes against us such as dowry, female infanticide and child marraiges.

  

I read these stories everyday about rape, molestation, dowry deaths, female infanticides – daily. It does not stop – it never will. But this news is just taking the whole “we want male child” to the worst possible levels.

 

What kind of parents are these? If your child is born with an abnormality, learn to deal with it. The child will have to grow up and decide what it wants to be and live his/her life as what he/she wants it to be. This is a disgusting statement from a doctor – what an insult to the profession this man is when he makes statements like this:

 

“When the child grows up, he or she would be confused about the gender he or she belongs to. This surgery can stop the child from having sex-determination disorder and psychological problems,” said Dr Milind Joshi, a pediatric surgeon who performs the procedure at a city hospital.”

 

Of the 200-300 cases cited so far, there was one instance of converting a boy to a girl. Who puts their child through this nonsense? Do the parents and doctors realize what it could to do to the psychology of the children when they grow up? Do they not have choice to understand what they were born with and decide for themselves? The girls converted to boys will be infertile and that is okay for the parents to live with as long as they can have a boy. How can you be so cruel?

 

 You morons by this act you are driving yourselves closer to extinction – killing the girl child. Yes that’s what you are doing – playing with nature. Did the mothers and grandmothers in these families forget that they are women and were born a girl child? What if they had been abandoned or converted by their parents.

 

There are people out there who cannot have a child and would do anything to adopt the girls you do not want. You morons you do not understand the value of this gift of god – a child – boy or girl is the most precious gift one is blessed with.

 

You don’t get to choose your gift and you do not get to play GOD!

The Other Kind of “Feminist” ?

There are tons of women folk in the blogger world who write about feminist issues – highly thought provoking ones too. Lots of causes are taken up and written about and wonderfully researched. I admire their patience and level of depths researched on the subjects they post.

I do read some of them and find them interesting. I follow this lovely lady blogger – she blogs on lots of issues and sensitive ones, some which are very close to my heart. I don’t know her much other than her posts and having shared a few interactions with her.

What happened in the last few days has left me surprised. I leave it for you folks to judge the whole issue – it is the first I’ve faced in my online life.  I was contemplating if I should  share this episode but then I felt I should. If I don’t speak my mind on my space then where?

Here is a post on Starry’s blog where she shared her anger or frustration at this video clip of Nadal-Steffi marriage proposals doing the rounds. Now some idiot titled it “Big difference between men and women”. I had seen Steffi’s bit on a stand-alone basis and thought she was extremely witty. Even when I saw this jointly I did not feel offended ( I would realise later what blasphemy I had committed towards womankind;-) ). I thought that in similar situations the woman showed much more wit while the man was left speechless. Now some women found it sexist , offensive that the clip shows that women marry for money. On Starry’s post – of those 50 comments, I was probably the only one to to have a contrasting  opinion that this clipping was no big deal and we women need to learn to take a joke.

In her next post she took bits and pieces from my comments and put forth her views.

My comment:

Aren’t there more important issues to be feminist about:-) some jokes we can let go:-). Do men take jokes well – guess am surrounded by the wrong men cause we take digs at them all time on ‘men traits’ and they take it well and we enjoy the banter 🙂 Not to say there aren’t those types that you point out 🙂

Her views:

“Do you feel there are less or more important feminist issues? If a man takes a dig at a woman through a joke, is it less important than ‘eve-teasing’ (better known as sexual harrassment)? Or what can we consider more important? Rape? Dowry? Female infanticide?”

Is it the same? Sexist Joke and eve-teasing, rape, dowry, female infanticide? Are we not belittling those crimes by comparing them to something as petty as a sexist joke.  By this logic there should be no jokes in this world – the Sardarji jokes, the South Indian-North Indian jokes, the Ghati jokes – If you have laughed over them, are you are being a rascist? If you joke about celebrities and politicians – are you being judgemental towards people? If you enjoy those marriage jokes – are you being sexist again? So where do we draw a line?

We need to laugh, to take a few things lightly, men-women banter is one of them. Was this clip that offensive? What if it was reversed – what if Nadal had said what Steffi did? Would I see an outrage from the men-folk? But maybe it would have again resulted in an outrage from women saying it implies “dowry”.

If you read my comments on the first post from where it all began – I just tried to lighten up the issue where I saw so many women all riled up against this bit. No where did I get personal or offensive or deride anyone’s views.

And here is a second thought,  in all probability if a guy did put this clip together, he probably wanted to see women outrage; which they did and he had his share of fun. Now sit back and think for a moment – if you had laughed over it and ignored it – the guy would be probably fretting for not getting the reaction he wanted. Go figure who has had the last laugh now.

Further Starry brought up the topic of discrimination against women drivers and I said sadly I have seen more bad women drivers than men – my experience, my opinion. I did not say this on behalf of the whole world. (Btw I got my license first, I drive a SUV and I drive very well. I land up driving most times, I’m the official driver when my girl gang takes off  and when going out with MDH, he sits in the passenger seat most times. So now do I qualify for the “feminist” category? Would my opinion count now ? ) This led to her post on “Are women bad drivers”. Writing a post is fine,  it is one’s blog – where one opines. Singling out bits and pieces of my one-off comments without knowing the person I’m was a bit uncalled for. We did settle it offline and she does tell me it is not personal.  I’m taking her word but I did feel the need to post my views.

I do not share or agree with all “feminist” opinions – but I do feel for a lot of women issues strongly. What kind of feminist does that make me or am I feminist at all if I don’t share the “common” views?

Until my next post you give it a thought and let me know what you think of this whole episode? Was it worth all this debate after all?

Why Moms are the Cutest…

Mumma is with me in Dubai for a couple of months. One of my cousins has gone on to be a famous fashion designer in the USA. We were surfing his website, when mumma spotted the “HOME” link and kept telling me “Minu can you click there I want to see his home”

Mum is the cutest!

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