Monday, December 13, 2010

Juggling too many balls at a time

New Year is round the corner and people are in a mood to party .So are we! Organising parties have always been a challenge for me and couple of other enthusiasts. It’s a great feeling when everything turns out as expected but equally lousy when things go wrong.
Scheduling it a month ahead gives us ample time to put things in order. It all began with a, “Hey! What plans for new year?” and we work our ass off to respond to that query. It’s not that we are compelled to organize but people know where to nudge when it comes to arranging events. This time I had intended to turn a deaf ear to that alluring question, considering the number of activities going on in my life but the fanatic me consented. This puts me in a spot where handling the pressure of moving to my new home and organizing an event will get challenging. Constantly I crib over the fact of never being able to say No to people especially friends even if that means sacrificing my personal commitments. I am talking about an enthusiast who has dug a grave for herself and expects me to join her soon with regards to planning the festivity.

It’s been four months since our interior work began and the task has been moving at a snail’s pace. Thanks to a bunch of lazy carpenters and to my dear architect friend who has no control over them owing to her soft nature. I really cannot blame her as it’s a tough job in view of the fact that her field is male dominated and it really takes a man to control these arrogant masons and carpenters. What had to be completed in 2 months got hauled indefinitely. Nevertheless I am completely gratified with the outcome. Hopefully we should be able to move by the coming weekend provided, the theme walls are done and additional furniture delivered on time. So far the wood work, light fittings and plumbing are done .Couple more furniture were added which included Adi’s bed, study table, chair, bar unit , crockery unit and few other ornamental objects to our existing bloated list. I must be fancying to have bought a mansion as opposed to a three bedroom flat. Hope God can help us draw a line as we could not stop ourselves from buying a few more appliances which includes all that you can think off. “Guilt has seized me completely” would be an understatement.

Getting back to the event organizing part, Co-ordinating is the key to getting it done. This means gluing our ears to the phone. Background work is always dirty especially fixing the caterer, arranging lights and sound, not to mention digging out games for kids, collecting resources for it, assigning people to do it and finally annoying them by constantly reminding them to do it
 Forgot to mention about getting the brat to do homework and study for tests amongst all the other issues. But I love being busy and that’s what keeps me going.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Singapore Thailand vacation

I have been feeling guilty of neglecting my blog for quite a while now. For the oblivious, we were on a vacation to Singapore and Thailand last month. After a brief stay in US exactly 9 years back, this was my first visit abroad after returning to India for good. It’s been on our cards for a while now, but our plans got adjourned due to various reasons which in itself deserves another post.

Let me begin with Singapore. It was 3 pm on 4th Oct when we landed in Singapore.As we got off the plane , it was drizzling outside and it felt like I landed in Kerala as the weather was warm and humid with a refreshing shower.A promising weather for a lovely vacation. There was a man in his early forties waiting to receive us at the airport . He was part of the plan arranged by our travels. He chauffeured us to our hotel located in Little India street. True to its name, that was the only place in Singapore which was a step behind the other areas in terms of cleanliness :p. You get a feel of being in Chennai as the area is populated with Tamil immigrants. If you don’t want to explore on other cuisines and stick to Indian especially Tamil cuisine, you are in the right place. Incidentally the streets were decorated with Diwali lighting and colors. I din’t miss the festivity of Diwali in India as Little India was even more pepped up with young people preparing for some cultural show in an empty ground.The streets were decorated with garlands, lights, colorful arches and lamps. After a brief refreshment at the hotel, we took a walk along the streets of Little India just to soak in the festive feel.
That night we were taken to the Night safari which is supposed to be the world’s first night time zoo. This zoo can be explored via tram and you get to see 8 geographical zones without much of a huff and puff. The open air zoo is dimly lit and it simulates the animals natural habitat. The visitors need not worry about being attacked by these animals as they are separated by natural barriers. There are cultural shows of which Creatures of the night show is an amazing spectacle being performed by the animals of the zoo. Hats off to the trainers who took years to train these creatures. Well! That was our first shot at Singapore and we were extremely tired and dozing on our way back to the hotel.
The next day after a sumptuous breakfast buffet, a van with 10 other tourists most of ‘em from mumbai were waiting for us to join ‘em. That meant interesting company for a city tour. It din’t take much time to get comfort able in each other’s company and soon we were enjoying places with ‘em. There was this couple in their early fifties who boasted about this being their 16th place abroad and how they loved travelling. The enthusiastic lady’s brag was a sure-fire entertainer. I guess with their kind of profile, I would do the same thing too.Instead of getting into details,I will leave you with some pics of the city.

By noon we headed off to Sentosa Island and guess who kept us company, none other than the boasting couple themselves. However Adi was a saviour as he kept them busy by asking about the places they visited and they were happy to have their fan ‘s undivided attention.
It was only an hour drive to sentosa island from our hotel .There were a series of attractions in this island which included Imbiah lookout, Fort Siloso ,Surrender Chamber wax museum, the Underwater World and Dolphin Show. The most mesmerising of all was the songs of the sea with a live cast, dramatic effects and pyrotechnics. Water jets, flame bursts, lasers and captivating music make this a one-of-a-kind entertainment spectacle that's fun for everyone .This is one performance that you won't want to miss.

An amazing day passed by and it was 9 P.M by the time we reached our hotel. Exhausted, we dived into our freshly made bed .We slept like babies only to find that we were too late for breakfast the next morning. Moreover the car that was supposed to drop us to Jurong bird park was waiting with our most privileged boasting company and hell we could not keep them waiting. Also we were supposed to get back by 12 P.M to catch the flight to Bangkok which was our next destination. However we reached the park on time and it was all worth the rush. It had an amazing collection of birds and I was surprised to watch their shows - Birds n Buddies and Kings of the Skies. Adi had a blast watching these shows.

Birds n Buddies Show

Its amazing to watch the parrot sing in 3 language and watch the macaws fly through hoops.

Kings of the Skies
Volunteers were all afire to participate in the show. The kids couldn't wait to get involved.The falcons fly so close that their wings sometimes brush against you!

Two hours wasn't enough to cover the 2.5 hectare park. But we managed to cover most of it and hoping that we din't miss out on something important. Reluctantly we left the park to catch our flight on time. In short Singapore was a fun treat for Adi and us.

Adventures in Pattaya and Bangkok will be my next post. Until then!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bunch of Morons

Rant Alert!
A string of untoward events have been taking place for a while now and I blame it on fate. The foremost was just after Ganesh celebration. A prospective client who had signed an agreement to buy our two bedroom flat unexpectedly decided not to and broke the news exactly a month after signing the paper. We were shocked at his abrupt change in mind as he was still looking for better options after getting into an agreement with us. Hats off to his guts to do so, especially after cautioning us against marketing our home for a better price. I get a feeling that he must have looked for other options even after getting engaged to a girl! I am worried about the one he is married to. Hopefully he isn’t reading my blog.
 Jokes apart, the bit that irked me most was the process that led to signing the agreement which in itself was an elongated and laborious one. He claimed that, it was the first time that he has been investing in a property and so the apprehension, which was at least tolerable. To my surprise, he walked in with a measuring tape the day he came to check out our home, to measure the dimensions of the house as he said he doesn’t trust the document. When that was sorted, he bargained over the price and the upright hubby budged to his terms. Hubby isn’t the negotiating type and wanted to avoid many rounds of conversation. He then wanted to check the authenticity of the documents. That took a couple of days and he returned satisfied. Finally he is ready for the sale agreement during which we clearly mention that the sale deed would be done only after 2 months during which time our new one would be ready. He agrees willingly and fixes the date for the agreement. This was followed by the process of fixing an advance amount to be paid for reserving the flat. That was only a meagre 2% of the entire amount. I was stupefied when he said that he could only disburse 0.1%. For a moment I wondered if he was picturing buying a couch. However hubby sensed trouble and preferred calling it off. We decide to step out of the deal while this man pursues further and manages to negotiate at 0.25%.” Dumb us “We agreed just to get him off our back. 
The rest of the story is predictable. He kept looking for better options within our own complex and unearthed one. He got back to us saying that he came across another one, which has 20 sq. ft. of extra balcony are and demanded his advance back. Ahem! He thinks we are clowns.  

The next incident doesn’t affect us much as this did. We had procured 15 bags of sand for civil work in our new flat. It arrived on a holiday and our labourers weren’t available on that day to store the bags in our working site. It was placed on the side of the approach road without much hindrance to the movement of vehicles. The plan was to move it as soon as the labourers return the subsequent day. By then, an overly vigilant member in charge of cleanliness of our apartment who is known for breaking rules himself walks up to the security and orders them to dump all the sand in the play area without verifying with us. When questioned about the hasty act, he declared that personal belongings should not be placed in the common area even if it is for a day. The funny part being that this man resides in the ground floor and for years his potted plants are lying in the common area. The irony!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Moving :)

Newsflash: We are moving to our new home, a 3 Bedroom flat within the same complex in a couple of months and this means more breathing space, being within the comfort zone, same friends and a very happy Adi. But yeah! Am going to miss my cozy 2 bedroom home where 8 years of my life seem to have gone by in a flash.
Taking a trip down the memory lane reminds me of how exited I was 9 years back when Ajith booked the 2 bedroom flat in CG . I was pregnant with Adi and we were living with my parents for a while as we had just returned from US for good. Ajith rejoined SAP after our return and it was a fresh beginning for us. The plan was to move after Adi was a year old and I remember celebrating Adi's first birthday a month after moving into the apartment. It was a rough start initially as our area was kind off secluded and construction of the second phase was just beginning and that meant more dust. Adi kept falling ill during the first three years because of the polluted air but got immune to it after a while. There were very few stores around then and to get essential things on a daily basis was a challenge. I was lucky enough to find a store that delivered grocery at our door step. But there was no stopping after that. Within a year of our stay here, super malls and software hubs became our neighbors and now this area is one of the most sought after spots in Bangalore. Four years later Atul joined us and our little family was happier than ever. Although it was heartbreaking to discover Atul's disability, this home helped me see the beauty of the innocent face that smiles up at me everyday, wiping away the minutest stress I feel. Many an afternoon was spent with the three of us lying lazily on the bed, me and Adi on either side of Atul, showering a thousand kisses. Well, that'll continue as long as we have a bed :).Each day Atul keeps me company as the other two leave to their respective destination and I cant imagine life otherwise. It’s like he is a part of me that cannot be de-tached.
Also, am going to miss the play area view from my balcony as it was fun to watch little kids play, fight, laugh, and cry all at the same time. Besides it was so easy for me to monitor Adi from here when he was little. He was a shout away incase he got into trouble.
This home saw me through a lot of emotions, joy, sadness, arguments, tears, excitement, anxiety and what life without this. It saw me through my kid’s infant hood which is the most important part of their life. I can still visualize 2 year old Adi shooting his way on a toy car all round the place, I can see him hiding in a little green basket which held his tiny nappies, I can see him trying to reach the kitchen counter in an effort to touch the forbidden items, I can see the little man trying to carry a big plastic doll double his size and tripping over it. I can see him running aimlessly and landing on his face on the hard marble floor. GOD! Thank you for all these moments in this sweet home. This home will have a very special place in my heart as the most adorable period of my kids life was spent here. Few months from now, I will carry these emotions to a new home and I am sure it’ll be special in its own way. With new hope and aspirations, I am looking forward to my life in the new home which has two balconies facing the pool. That sure is going to interest Ajith ;)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Adi's Big Day at Delhi

Adi’s dream came true and finally has his hard earned laptop all for himself and we are so proud of him. The prime motive of this trip was to attend the SOF award ceremony which was scheduled on 30th May where Adi and other toppers were being invited from all over India to receive their awards. If it was not for this, we would never consider making a trip to Delhi reason being, Delhi in itself cannot be treated as a quiet retreat and secondly the weather was absolutely not favorable considering the weather-wise pampered Bangaloreans. However, we booked our flight tickets a month earlier and after much debate over how to make the best of our trip, we decided to make a 4 day trip to Delhi which would give us time to explore the neighboring attractions too, the closest being Agra.

As the day of travel approached, Adi fell ill, which slashed our excitement by half and we even considered canceling our trip when his fever reached 102 the previous day. However the helpful doc gave him a strong antibiotic and suggested to carry on with our plans as it was not all that serious. Well the plan was, Atul would be taken care of by my mom while we go and have a good time. I wasn’t all that rest assured by leaving Atul behind and taking a sick Adi. My mum told us not to worry about Atul and while I was confident that she would take good care of him, it was Adi I was worried about considering the heat in Delhi. But as it was a once in lifetime occasion for Adi and for us, we opted to GO.

So we set off early on the 27th morning and Adi did well throughout the flight, plus point being that he ate well as compared to what he would have done at home. Thanks to his opinion that anything other than his mama’s food is appetizing .It was 3 PM when we landed Delhi airport and the minute we stepped out from the air condition airport environment onto the road looking for our prepaid taxi, the heat wave struck us with a vigor that took us by surprise. It was like we were suddenly pushed into a tandoor. The 5 minute wait was enough to burn our skin and as we stepped into the AC taxi, it was paradise. On our way to the hotel, I was trying to coax Ajith into canceling our trip to nearby attraction but he convinced me that Adi would do fine wandering around than being locked up within the four wall of a hotel room and so I gave in praying that all would be well. We rested that night in the hotel room and the next day we booked a taxi to took us round Delhi. Will take you through some pics

Rashtrapathi Bhavan

Birla Mandir

India gate

Parliament House

Qutub Minar

In front of India gate

Red Fort


By the end of it we were exhausted and after a scrumptious dinner of parathas , palak paneer and pepper chicken , all three of us slept like babies in our hotel room . The alarm went off at 5 AM as we had to catch the Bhopal Shatabdi express (fastest train in India, I am told) to Agra at 6AM. As we reached the station, I must say it is one of the worst I have ever seen. Let me warn you all never to look at the tracks as they are covered with shit and smells awful. Dirtier than Chennai , Bangalore I must say is comparatively better than these two cities. Mind you, am not talking about the Metro station in Delhi which I heard is the best of its kind. We wanted to experience the AC chair car on Shatabdi which is quite popular and it was definitely a pleasant journey to Agra which is four hours away from Delhi.As we got down at the Agra station we were received by this huge mob of tourist taxi drivers howling and fighting with each other to grab on to tourists like us especially foreigners. What irked me most was that, there were these two little beggar girls who were pulling each other’s hair with an intensity which could snap their necks off. Both were howling, crying and a man who tried to interfere to make peace between the two got scratched badly. Now I know why these people go back and give a bad picture of India. We managed to get away from this mob and booked a prepaid taxi to tour us round Agra. The first destination being Fatehpur Sikri which is a city and municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The historical city was constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar beginning in 1570 and served as the empire's capital from 1571 until 1585. Though the court took 15 years to build, it was abandoned after only 14 years because the water supply was unable to sustain the growing population.[1] The surviving palace and mosque are a tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site itself is a ghost town.

Inside Fatehpur

Fatehpur entry

Agra gate

Another capture inside Fatehpur

Most historic buildings in Agra are built using red sandstone. An example of this window grill carved in single block of sandstone

Anarkali's escape route after facing Akbar's ultimatum

Graveyard (Kabar) for the men in Akbar's palace. Women and kids were buried inside the buildings. We could see even a two foot long kabar, probably that of a toddler from 1500s

In front of Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal main dome as seen from the compound entry gate

Taj Mahal - part of the facade

Agra Fort

Mumtaz Mahal's kabar - Each flower on the white marble is made out of multi-reflector stones

We had to head back to the station by 6 PM to catch the train back to Delhi which was due at 7 PM. It was 11 by the time we reached Delhi and again we slept soundly not to mention that Adi did extremely well all through the journey and we kept him hydrated throughout the trip provided he ate well too. Fever was gone and now we had to deal only with some mouth blisters. Good enough bargain!

Finally the day arrived and Adi jumped off the bed early in the morning with anticipation carved all over his face. He chanted laptop for the whole 3 hours until we reached the venue . It was a beautiful morning and we were at the Chinmaya Centre of World Understanding auditorium dot 10AM. It was a huge place and was decorated very well for the occasion.We were received by the SOF volunteers and as we entered the reception we saw a group of equally proud kids and parents. On entering the auditorium, the kids were asked to sit on one side of the auditorium while parents sat on the other. The dignitaries soon followed and the function began and we got to hear some inspiring speeches of these dignitaries followed by prize distribution and lunch. The pics will explain the rest.

After returning home to Bangalore we unpacked his precious gift to find this beauty

Adi Khush hua :)))