Of A Nostalgic Evening

It is the weekend!

In other words, it is time of the week that I spend in places and corners of our home that usually stay ignored. Like, sit on the floor by the window in our bedroom to show my feet some sun; or stand in front of the bookshelf to decide which parallel universe I want to step into; or just rest on the ottoman stool before pulling out the fashion magazines I keep stashed within it! It helps me internalise the idea of the break a weekend is really supposed to be.

So, on this particular weekend, sipping some green tea I stand by the sideboard in our dining area. I like to call it ‘the happy corner’ of our home. Top reasons being, on it is perched our Jar of Joy, some pretty pieces of art and all our nibbling temptations! I think of lighting the tea candles to beat the grey outside. And, my gaze pauses at the greeting cards lined against the wall. Lovely ones, all from friends & family! I smile and pick each one of them to read for the umpteenth time.

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PHOTO: #ThrowbackThursday To Conventional Holidays!

Summer of ’09 was special for two reasons: I got the best hairstyle that I have ever had in my life, and my family, on the whim of my younger brother, decided to take a vacation!

Kuala Lumpur is a popular holiday destination; throw in Singapore for a few days in between, it is unbeatable! And that’s exactly how we planned it. We got ourselves a packaged tour. Itinerary prepared, accommodation and food taken care of.  And we stuck to the schedule! Stopped at all the tourist spots, took in all the history, read all the information-tablets, soaked in the sun where possible, tasted some yumm food and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

As it sounds, our time in Kuala Lumpur was quite contrary to the popular norm of ‘exploring the unexplored’ & the self-organised unconventional vacation(s) of these days. And it was perfect that way! Sometimes, when you want to spend quality leisure time with loved ones, you don’t want to be invested in the grander picture of how well you experienced your destination. The simply joys lie in how much laughter did you pack together, how many more happy memories did you create, and just how much fun you had in each other’s company, doing the very conventional of things!

Our 10-day trip to Kuala Lumpur & Singapore was exactly about all that. And, today’s #throwbackthursday post is to some of the choicest moments of our wonderful time there!

All Smiles

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Have you been on conventional tour packages? Were they fun?

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My Five Little Things of 2014

It only seems like yesterday that we packed our bags and with them our lives to move to London, which by the way was exactly a year ago! Life changed after that 9-hour flight. Settling into a new city, our new home, new jobs, newer (better!) lifestyle, and the totally unpredictable weather was not only challenging but also most remarkable, in every sense of the word.

And as we settled in, I began to appreciate life’s little things a little more, and with them have chanced upon some of life’s important truths too. Perhaps it was the distance from home and loved ones that made me think a lot more and these realizations slowly made their way into me /us.

Here are my top 5 things:

1. Sunshine

Living in the UK definitely makes you appreciate sunshine a lot more than you might have ever done in the past, especially if you have lived closer to the equator before. Longing for some golden rays into your bedroom as you wake up or in your living room as you sip your evening coffee, or even while you step out for a walk in Hyde Park – sunshine makes everything that bit sweeter.

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2. Homemade food

There is absolutely nothing better than a home-cooked meal. But it took me almost 4-5 months to realize this! I used to venture out everyday during lunch – from Habibi’s katsu curry, Whitecross farmers market’s stalls, Pilpel’s falafels to even the light-n-healthy soup-places like Pret and Eat. They sounded fancy, and tasted fancy too but all of them were lost on me in a few months. And eating out adversely affected my health too. Thankfully, Amma’s simple recipes came to my rescue and I began to carry packed lunch from home. Not only do I feel better after eating homemade meals but also have started to enjoy cooking in my kitchen, along with exploring the healthier options from time to time.

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3. Importance of exercise / discipline

I am still quite surprised how almost everyone here has at least one hour dedicated to exercising, every day! It does not come naturally to me at all. But, call it peer pressure or just a sense of inspiration from seeing people all around, I have managed to introduce exercise into my routine, albeit very slowly. I go to practice yoga at the sessions held near my home by www.ourparks.org.uk/ – If you live in London and love group exercise sessions, then you must sign up for these – the best part is they are free!

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4. Ties to our roots

Without sounding too melodramatic about it, I admit that it feels great to celebrate all our festivals no matter where we are. It reminds us of our traditions, our simple joys, our ways to get-together with family and friends and create more memories. Thankfully, London has all the avenues to help you celebrate any Indian festival that you want to. From Mehendis at parlours to Durga Puja pandals to firecrackers and colours of Holi, you name it!

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5. There is no greater support system than Family

I don’t think I need to elaborate much here. We thoroughly enjoyed the numerous skype and facetime sessions, the groups on whatsapp only added more colour to daily conversations and occasional long ones helped me steer away from any self-doubting traps. I cannot emphasize enough how satisfying it is to be close and in constant touch with one’s family and how happy it can make one feel!

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And I’d be lying I didn’t admit and add, that 2014 has only been about London! I constantly looked for newer experiences – whether it was in trying a new cuisine or discovering unusual cafes in the small alleys or the chic champagne bars of the city. More on all of that in a later post. Despite the grave requests from our friends and our own brave attempts, we could not manage to speak the accent (yet!) but we are so chuffed about the progress we’ve made to make our language sound a bit more colloquial! 😀

And with that thought, here’s hoping to an even better 2015!

Birthdays This Year

She celebrated hers with elan. He filled his day with all of his favourite music.
She wore her favourite pink kurta over a pair of lovely blue jeans. She spent a great deal of time, or so she claims, pampering herself in front of the mirror. Along with a sumptuous lunch meal that she cooked at home – which consisted of Matar Pulao, Gravy and Raita – she also baked a simple Vanilla cake and distributed in the apartment. Then, she went to bring her son back from his coaching classes and on the way home, they both stopped by for a round of chocolate-dripping pastries at a bakery. She spent the rest of the early evening reading some magazines and attending calls. But the celebrations did not stop right there. Around 5.30pm, she went to her friend’s place, who lives on a different floor in the same apartment and casually took her out for coffee at Cafe Coffee Day. After placing the orders, she announced to her friend with a bit of innocence and twinkle in her eye, that it was her birthday and that it was her treat!
Completely taken aback, her friend wished her a life full of happiness and joy in fewer words and many emotions; both teary-eyed, as they recalled while narrating the incident to me, came home in all smiles!
His was no less exciting so to say. He stayed up till late night following the first match of IPL-4 till the very last ball. He rejoiced at the fantastic win of the team led by MS, as also quickly caught up on the news flowing in about Crusade against Corruption led by Anna Hazare that has taken the country on its heels. He retired to bed, however, eagerly (and quite innocently I’d say) waiting for the first call of his day. With great joy, he picked my call at dot-12 and engaged in a witty-wise-and-funny conversation that is his forte. And when morning came, he was literally jumping about the home ecstatic at receiving his birthday present. His son was trying to show him the features of his new Nano iPod but he was simply overjoyed at the thought of listening to all his favourite NTR songs at the click of his thumb! He spent the next one hour learning how to use, loading music, checking all the new-age features – and well, the rest of the day, simply playing and re-playing his favourite musical pieces!
I guess birthdays are like that. It is that day of the year that suddenly brings to you joys unknown, from near and far, and fills your life with cheer and enthusiasm to take on another year. And more than this, it makes you a child again – allowing to enjoy yourself thoroughly and happily!
I say that with so much confidence because my parents did just that on their fiftieth birthdays this year! 🙂