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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Indulging with Oprah magazine

I had subscribed for a couple of magazines as a part of a donation program at my nephew'school and the magazines finally arrived a couple of days back. One of them, the Oprah magazine is filled with all goody goody stuff just to give you the right kick. Reading through it has been such a pleasure so far! I just wait to sit down with it. It has a perfume sampler in it so the magazine smells fabulous every time you pick it up. Ah! the small luxuries! :-) Happy happy! 

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Is it?

Albert Einstein once said that imagination is more important than knowledge. How true can that be? What is knowledge? The web says it is - "facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject". So now, what is imagination? The Merriam Webster dictionary says it is the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality. 

You see, how easy it is to collect information in this digital age? Few seconds is all it takes and it is open to the world wide web! Now, I am not down right putting down the importance of knowledge. It takes a lot a lot of time and effort to even get to the right state of mind to accept and perceive this kind of information, and one might actually lead a good life out of this knowledge. But a person may lead a much better life with lesser knowledge and more of imagination.

Think of some of the world leaders in various fields. Be it Gandhi, Mandela, or  the NASA team that successfully landed on Moon or Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg .Were they the world's most knowledgeable people? Probably not! But what really separated them from the rest of the world was their imagination. They imagined freedom, a passion to explore beyond earth and a world of personal computers and a digital era. They imagined something much much larger than themselves. Can you think of a world without them today? How very different it would be!

Oh imagination wins hands down! Absolutely.  

Here is another favorite of mine from Einstein:

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A road less traveled...

The older you grow, the more prone you are to mundane, routine things. I feel kind of sloppy even saying that, but its true for me. So in that light, its been years since I have actually participated in any kind of sport.

Came in an opportunity at my husband's office where spouses were also allowed to join for a corporate challenge. With many hesitations I joined their badminton team. After the first practice session, my limbs were taking a walk and were in protest. It hit me that its been a loooong time since I had moved around so much. 

I slowly got used to these guys and that was that! We had a blast. We somehow made time on weekdays and some weekends. My game gradually improved and it was so much fun just being out there. The funniest part was playing as my husband's partner. We fought so much both on and off the court that the captain decided that it would be better if we partnered with others. 

The tournament was extremely memorable. My stomach was churning before the first match. I hadn't had those kind of emotions in since my undergrad days. We were super confident and had a bad loss in the second round. We met the same team in the finals and had a nail biting double elimination. We won!!! It was unbelievable getting a medal. I showed them off to my parents like a kid. :-)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less

A quotation from C.S. Lewis (author of Chronicles of Narnia fame), it sets me thinking. In my opinion humility is about treating someone with respect and grace no matter what your intellectual, moral or economic stature is. In a way it is a kind of calm confidence that you have in your self and you don't let yourself turn into a pigheaded person.

For the most part I would like to believe that humility is one of my virtues but as I re-read this quote, I wonder, if I am confusing humility with being polite. Lets separate people into 3 zones. Zone 1: Super familiar people, Zone 2: People met here and there at office or say strangers in the airplane, mall etc., Zone 3: Globally, say kids in Somalia.

With Zone 2 its the best, because its so easy to convince someone for short term :-). With Zone 1, time to time they would have seen signs of impatience and haughtiness but still I would thing it would average out to be on the positive side. For Zone 3, its an absolute zero for I am so involved in myself and the first two zones that I just don't seem to care about anyone outside of it.

In answer to the exact question "How good are you of placing others before yourself?"  I would say, I am doing just about ok here. I could do better with both the first and second part of the quote.

Man, this is a deep topic and all I can think of at this point is hitting the sack. Toodles!

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

If I could banish one thing from this planet....Rape!

I imagine for a second that I am God and I have the absolute power to abolish something from my own creation, a mistake I made. What would that be? Now, I did see Elysium. But mankind is greedy and stupid. How could he imagine that I would banish death. Have you ever thought of actually living an endless life? How futile would that be!

Haha..that was fun, acting like God. Well, but seriously if I had that kind of power the one thing that I would banish would be rape. I am sure, most people would have heard of the rape incidents in India in the past few months. I felt like a sinking piece of metal as I read about them. Something that ashamed and saddened me to no ends. And the question that kept coming into my mind again and again at this cruel, sadistic deed was - Why? Why would anyone do this? Is this something designed in our biology? What forces men to do this?

There could be a whole lot of debate and discussion on this. But this what it comes to. I have listed out the factors that I think are the root cause of this evil in that order:

Male chauvinistic society with suppressed women

Extreme competition between men (economically/socially/physically) to prove their worth and extreme suppression

Man's dominance over women (physically/socially/economically), a way to ascertain his masculinity

Disastrous situations --> rape

Problem made stronger by weak laws

Continues on as a heritage - vicious loop!

Top all of the above with the fact that man is genetically wired to spread his seeds across as much as possible, whereas a woman to only receive, bear the pain, deliver and nurture.

I read  a very very interesting article here from a leading daily in India, The Hindu. It talks about how some other mammals are also known to rape, but the cruelty involved may be more characteristic of us pathetic humans. It also says that some native human tribes known for brutal wars and other masculine attributes, have zero instances of rape because of the inherent respect and equality that women of the tribe enjoy. Food for thought?

Perhaps our "Man"kind would be "kind" enough to think this through?

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Indian Menu Planning - Dec'13

I made a curry out of Banana tree flower - vazhaipoo (dish taken from here), for the very first time. It turned out wonderful! I am eating it after many many years I believe.

Menu planning  is the single most sensible thing I have been doing for the past couple of months and its a life savior for the crazy week days. Trust me, planning this out saves so much time! It was pretty elaborate when I began but it has trickled into something like this:

Palak Paneer, Oven baked Gobi, Bajri roti

Chole, Baingan bartha, Roti

Daal, Mixed veggie, Mooli paratha

Carrot, Pumpkin soup, Quinoa pulav

Cabbage sabzi, Kara kozhambu

Friday is always a surprise, you never know how it turns out, so I have something planned out just in case. Happy week ahead! Tagging this to I''m an Organizing Junkie's - Menu Plan Mondays.

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

This book is an absolutely riveting murder mystery. It has a special place in my memory as I read it while I was in S.Korea, mostly nestled in a cafe completely engrossed. The first chapter was a bit of a drag and you wonder where its leading. Mikael Blomkvist's career is tarnished and he seems to be doomed. How the Swedish financial journalist ends up with the job of solving a murder case, four decades old, in collaboration with Lisbeth Salander a social outcast and a mystery in herself - forms the story. What makes it more interesting is the Swedish backdrop. The characters and the chemistry between them is all very unique that way. Its a tad bit too brutal but my mother read it and she survived. :-)

Did you know that these book series were published posthumously? Alas, the author did not see how popular he became with his books.

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

If I had more time each day?

Time, that elusive silky thief! The older you grow, the lesser you seem to have. It seems laughable now that as a child we often wish for time to fly by so we could grow faster and do "grown up" things. Ah, now I wish I could go the other way round. This reminds me of a funny Woody Allen quote:

“In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people's home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!”

Okie, so moving on, if I had more time each day I would like to do three things:

1. Exercise/Meditate

2. Follow news around the world more closely

3. Write more often

My problem is this list usually has like 50 items in it and I am scatterbrained enough to keep randomly jumping around all of them from time to time. Focus is another of my issues. Enough said for now, will crib about it some other day. 

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Cheated a bit by writing 2 posts on the same day. But the snowstorm and the resulting power outage is to be blamed for that. 

The iPhone washer/drier survival story

Ah! the lovely surprise I gave my husband a few days back on Thanksgiving! I decided to start my day by doing some chores and promptly fished out the dirty laundry lying around. Dumped them all into the washer and began to prepare for some breakfast. breakfast, dumped the clothes into the drier, husband goes,

H: Where is my phone? Did you see it?

Me: Not really..trying calling it.

H: Hmmm..(picks up landline phone and calls his number)

Phone: tringgg...(muffled volume)

Frantic search for the phone. Horror at realizing that its is coming from the drier.

H: It went something like this -

Countless arguments on whose fault it was later, we decided it was best to focus on the phone's survival first. After frantically switching off the super hot, water filled phone and one day's worth of rest in a rice filled zip lock bag in the oven (multiple websites suggest to do so), the phone made a miraculous come back the next day. We took it to a repair shop nevertheless and changed the screen and checked it out again. $150 later the phone functions perfectly fine. All is well and life once again returned to normalcy. Phew!

NaBloPoMo December 2013

It is so hard to write in 10 minutes! It took 15 minutes for this one! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Second servings...sigh!!!!!

NaBloPoMo December 2013
This is topic is very close to my heart at the moment as I struggle to lose a few unruly pounds off myself. As I enter my 30's, gone are the carefree days when I huffed at people counting calories and smirked at people struggling to lose weight. Well, I have read 2 books on nutrition and diet this year, which is a miracle in itself. Man, its hard to lose even a single pound. I weigh myself in everyday and often blame the scale for playing tricks on the up and down readings it shows.

Sigh! the second servings are so hard to control. The worst meal of a week day for me is dinner. I am typically hungry, then angry and I gulp down a large meal before I can think straight. The diet books I have been reading suggest an astonishingly full meal with lots of snacks and multiple meals. At the crux of it other than the obvious no junk, no sugar etc., is a pretty low carb diet.

Strangely enough though as I try to achieve this, I find more and more that it makes sense. I ate a single roti (say a slice of bread) for dinner today with some lentils and veggies and I am surprisingly still full. I would usually eat three rotis. Am beginning to read the labels on food boxes finally, know the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, have begin to use quinoa, drink plenty of green tea, exercise regul *cough cough* rarely I am entering strongly into my 30's. Woohoo..

I may actually never stop going for seconds though, for in South Indian tradition, we have to complete the meal with buttermilk or yogurt. Lets just make that low fat, high protein Greek yogurt. :-)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vitruvian Lights

As we embrace the chilly winter this year, one thing that certainly cheers up everyone is Christmas lights. Vitruvian Lights is a lighted decoration that lasts from Thanksgiving up until the New Year. The lighting is well done and is actually pleasing unlike a few other wacko ones I have seen around here (seriously, they seem to turn the light on every single leaf on the tree).  If you are in the neighborhood, you should check it out. Its a wonderful place to stroll by, take some pictures and probably have a drink at the bar nearby. On Fridays during this period, there is usually a concert, few food trucks and some other funky stalls to make it more entertaining.

Lucky me! I live right over this area, so I get to see it everyday!

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Today's NoBloPoMo topic - half full or half empty, how do I view a glass? Well, I am perfectly fine with a half empty glass. I can always fill it up again as I need it. Maybe I would fill it with something different too!    :-) 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Location: 6701 W Parker Rd, Plano.

Living in a new city, we are still trying to figure out on things we can do and places we can visit. I plan to list out the worthwhile places here, so it may perhaps help someone else and also so that I could revisit them someday.

Arbor Hills nature preserve is a beautiful park, picnic area with a bunch of cemented and natural trails. We were genuinely surprised to see such a green, slightly hilly (OMG! yes actually hilly) terrain right in the middle of Plano. The trails are about 3-4 miles long, but could be combined to make a longer route. Enjoy nature lovers!

This would also be an attempt at my December month's NaBloPoMo event. Lets see how this turns out.

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day13: Five famous men I find incredibly attractive

I am skipping two days to keep up pace with August Blogging Marathon. Haha! This is one's gonna make some one jealoussss!

This is in no particular order and is probably as cheesy as it can get :-)

Gordon Ramsay, the super chef who uses the 'f' word like it were a part of his breathing rhythm portrays a hard exterior and soft interior. Sigh, even I feel like joining a cooking show. Though God knows, I would probably get into America's worst cooks. 

Surya! My undergrad days heart throb! He made many of us South Indian gals swoon.

Gosh! Prince William was perhaps my first major crush ever!

The 4th on this list is a fictional character, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Such men can rarely ever exist in true life and that's why generations of women love him. 

The final hunk on my list is someone whom I had to include in the list after many a threats, treats, bribes and occasional breakfast in bed - my husband of course! Love you..You are the best! Well, he is really famous in my world so that still counts :-)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day10: Highs and lows of last year

Marathon Bloggers's Day 10 post.

High: I lived in Grenoble (French Capital of Alps) for 3 months last year. It was heaven! I had to keep reminding myself that I was there for work not vacation. Hands down the best city I have ever lived in.

Low: I sort of did not have an address last year. I lived in 4 countries across 3 continents. Crazyyy living out of suitcase situations. I packed and unpacked so many times that I have had packing nightmares, if that even makes any sense.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day8: 14 facts about myself

Marathon Bloggers' next topic would definitely let the narcissist inside me indulge. I will try hard to make this a bit interesting for the other's though. So here are 14 "amazing" facts about this "me, myself and moi" creature.

1. When I was probably 6-7 years old, I was bitten/scratched (nobody could actually clarify which and I was just super dazed when it happened) by a neighbor's dog.  I remember that my sister used to periodically check on the dog to see if was ok for a few days after that. I was terrified of dogs for many many years. Now I am seriously considering having a dog as a pet (Texas being a super friendly pet state and all...)

2. I am the quintessential Jack of all trades, master of none. I dabble into too many things - writing, photography, drawing, running and the list goes on. As someone put it for me, while the horizontal line of my talents "T" is quite long, the vertical line is rather short.:-S

3. Decorating my apartment is something I love to do. My handy work can be on full display on certain things. This one got mercilessly pushed to our washroom. It doesn't look that bad right?!

4. My teacher in high school nicknamed me "Absent Minded Professor" for some of my lapses. My best so far has been forgetting my brand new phone at Macy's, which I had purchased an hour before on Thanksgiving day. Very thankfully, I found my precious item. I will argue to the end of the earth though if someone calls me absentminded.

5. I have loooong toes. A lady whom I was meeting for the second time greeted me saying "Ah! I couldn't place your face in my mind, but the second I looked at your feet, I recognized you. :-O. Who ever says that! 99% of my shoes are hence close toed. Thanks to my grandma --> dad --> me inheritance. Very rich I say!

6. I learnt swimming thrice and still can't swim! :-( I will keep it at it until I can finally atleast drift through water somehow.

7. Once, I had a close call while driving my car in downtown San Francisco. I was taking a turn and so was a huge truck whose rear tire (which was the height my hatchback), sort of jumped lanes and hit against my car. The worst part was, I was a minute away from my destination and my cell phone had switched off with no battery. I used the truck driver's phone to call 911 because he refused to do so. :-| Everything ended ok eventually.

8. I am allergic to avacado and pineapples. I don't know when I developed the allergy because I used to eat them perfectly fine in my childhood.

9. They made me the captain of the volleyball team in my college days simply because I was the most enthusiastic player in the team. I used to come for practice in the wee hours of the morning from my house which was about 15 km away. I would still be the first, when compared to the girls living in the hostel a few hundred meters away.

10. In high school I was actually aiming to become a doctor, but my scores didn't carry me through to it. In my childhood though I wanted to become a hair stylist.

11. I believe in some form of existence after death. Looking at the grand scale of the universe and our microscopic life on earth, there has to be some explanation to what the hell our existence is supposed to mean and that I am hoping will come to light after death.

12. Perhaps I could compete in a human mosquito trap competition. I am super good at just clapping them to death, which is very handy during the monsoon seasons in India. Didn't I mention before that I am multi-talented ;-)

13. Horror movies scare the wits out of me but I always pretend its no big deal to watch them.

14. Date of birth is supposed to be the last fact. Lets just say it involves three things --> Alphabets in English, Scorpion, George Orwell's famous book.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day7: Obsession with Zodiac Signs?

Day 7 of the August Marathon. Am I obsessed with zodiac signs? I was to some extent when I was much younger and first got to understand what the whole deal was. I was fascinated by my sign Scorpio and have obsessed over whether or not I have what it takes to be one. I have read over daily forecasts and have desperately tried to match it with what actually happened on a particular day, always looking for some mysterious hints.

Only after a sometime I realized that as I read the qualities of other signs, I could actually picture myself into most of those qualities. And the daily horoscopes are so general and vague that one could apply it to absolutely anything and everything.

So in short, zodiac signs are just some old fashioned mumbo jumbo in my opinion. Sure, sometimes if I am flipping through a magazine, I would definitely look over the daily/weekly horoscope section, just for some kicks. I used to read the ones from this site with some interest (in the days when iGoogle was popular). 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day6: Favorite Books

Thanks to Lopa, I am going to give the Marathon Blogger's August Marathon a shot. I have missed out the first 5 days. But who knows, maybe 6 is my lucky number. Today's topic is Favorite Books.

This is a tricky one. There are so many genres and the list of favorite books is ever growing. But I am going to list the top 5 that come my mind.

The first one is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I remember reading this book twice when I was 13-14. And it was quite a miracle because I never like to read the same book twice. But what was even more amazing was that I read this book 15 years later, quite recently and was still as breathless as I was when I had read it for the first time. Ooh Darcy! Sighhhh! I am just born in the wrong era perhaps!

The second is the Harry Potter series. The books opened up a Pandora's box I believe not just for me but for the whole world. Suddenly fantasy novels became quite the rage for people of all ages. For me it was like traveling to an alternate universe. I read so much of fantasy after this that at some point I had to stop myself and wake up to reality :-)

The third in this list is Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle. Its funny how I lay my hands on his work. Thanks to the guy who forgot his book in a train. I have read and admired many many murder mysteries of all kind (Agatha Christie is very close second), but Sherlock is just thoroughly captivating.

" I swear by my life and my love of it - that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine" ~ famous quote from the book

I remember writing a long essay after reading this book (when I was 19-20), part bashing the author and part analyzing and agreeing to what Ayn Rand says in Atlas Shrugged. And this essay was not even a school assignment. So it being written definitely means something. It left a deep impact on me. 

I am still reading this one, but I already know that this book will stick in my mind for a long time. Its a very very intriguing look into the life of Steve Jobs. 

And that completes my list! I know when I wake up tomorrow I may not agree to this list as being the top five at all. So before I change my mind, I am going to hit the publish button! 
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