Tuesday, 15 November 2011


I am a big fan of Paula Begoun who runs Cosmeticscop on Web. I think she is a lone crusader against the myths propagated by the owners and marketing departments of cosmetic industries which have entrenched in people's psyche as 'ultimate researched truth'.
What people forget is that Real Science which leads to drugs, molecules and techniques which can improve life is very much there and its slow.There are studies published - 90% of them are not tainted in spite of corruption in annals of science.

For people who are interested, read this article- 20 beauty myths .
If you want to really critically analyse , just type 'Pubmed' in google and when you enter Pubmed ,enter the studies she has cited under each myth. Read those research articles. or abstracts. And then decide for yourself....Do you want to blindly believe in sales girls and advertising and pay hundreds of rupees for useless products or do you want to make informed choices every single time and force the cosmetic industries to actually give a good product at a very good price...and then they may not have to spend lacs on advertising !

Cosmetic industries make huge profits on medioacre products and products where the raw material costs are paltry eg  lip balms [ they give just 4 gm of product  !] shampoos,conditioners and body lotions and inspite of that they mis-sell  and spread lies which get ingrained in the minds of misinformed !

I would love to know what you think about this .

Monday, 7 November 2011


X called me up the other day and said she had a shopping voucher from her measly company  which required her to go shopping.
I asked her what did her shopping voucher amount to . She hatefully blurted "thousand bucks".
Me : Your company pulled out all the stops this year ,huh ! How thoughtful....now you'll spend another 2-3k to spend that voucher?

X : HR in my company is Ivy league that's why they come up with these measly feel-good gestures......they are real talent.[she added sarcastically] Anyway, i wanted to buy some clothes  and probably some make up. Coming?

"When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking." - Elayne Boosler.

 Yeah, but that doesn't mean Men are less of shoppers than women.They just pretend to be not interested in shopping and then go out and buy a bombastic gadget which will make them feel and behave like a 5 year old.

Now, Pune is covered with malls these days.Infact, if i stand on X's terrace and throw a stone ..it'll land up in a mall. So we go to the latest malls- Phoenix and Inorbit which are neighbors.
My shopping experience in malls is limited to make up ,leggings and well a skirt. Most of the kurtas don't fit me and the one's that do fit are horridly expensive. For those people who know my sewing prowess, i calculate why these brands are ripping me off for a simple cotton kurta which will not last a single home laundry. X knows this and she still takes me along !

Phoenix and Inorbit have these stand alone brand shops..so while i window shop and swallow looking at the prices , X impatiently rummages the racks.We enter a shop where ambience is cold and floor empty. She picks up one kurta and shows it to me.

"Omg...its 1299 ! But you can wear it... see if you like",I giggle uncontrollably. The sales girl hovering around us glares at me.

Sales people have found new way of selling stuff at these hi-fi places: Look over the customer, make her uncomfortable if she hands over the garment wordlessly after trying it, glare at her if she checks prices before checking out the garment and lastly snobbishly answer her queries with every bit of lies they can come up with .

X looks at me and says : "its very similar to the kurta you are wearing. How much did you get it for ?

Me: Let me see,...2.25 mtr cloth at 80 rs per metre and i cut and sewed it in 2 days -with all the embellishment it cost me 200 bucks. 5 washes - as good as new"

X put the kurta down angrily and then went over to the western clothing racks.

X : Gosh.......how did the prices get so high ! Last time i went shopping and actually bought something ....remember that blue top ..it cost me 450 of this very brand. Now look at this simple top - starting upwards of 699 !

Me: [ i knew the prices had increased almost insensibly since i had been making more mall visits than her since last 8 months ] yep, i know...now just a branded jeans and top combo will set you back by 2-3k. Start taking care of your clothes, X .Soon, they'll become investments like gold !

X: [nodded ruefully] Yeah ,i already kicked out that maid .She managed to ruin our clothes while washing them in a  washing machine ! I wash stuff myself now....handwashing the ones which leach colours like crazy.

Me: You know what a price of the garments of these so called brands goes like : Rs 699 + 100 -for first time dry cleaning which  practically all the brands exhort you to do]. The price is exclusive of shrinkage, loss of color and durability of the cloth in first wash itself. If you do the math ,all that these brands are doing is recovering real estate and staff prices and their huge profit margins for very poor quality.

X: Oh yeah....i remember when we were kids ..my mom used to get our frocks stitched and they used to last forever. There were no washing machines....the maids used to wash and i remember my mom not letting them use brush except on collars and painchas ! And now within a year these ready-mades look old.

X pulled me out of the store and said ..."We'll go to the cloth market in camp and city ..i 'll pick up some material ..babban chacha still stitches . i'll ask him to make  kurtas and then mix and match with leggings i already have.You'll embellish them ,will you ?..please ...

Me : yeah ok . Maybe i'll stitch a kurta too for you . However, what will happen to the voucher ?

X: I will give it to my arch enemy !

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Sometimes X and me sit on the steps leading to Big Bazaar - the one near my house.In the background there is huge cacophony of traffic which irritates me while exhilarating X. I used to sit many times with my mom there.She used to get tired standing because after her chemotherapy  her knees and legs gave her pain .The pill Altraz she was on had among other side effects - leaching bones of calcium. So , invariably when i used to coax her during the 10 months after chemo and radiation but before the cancer came back in her brain, mom sat outside at those steps  while I finished buying groceries at the store.

So, now I coax X to sit with me - i still don't like the noise and all that vigorous honking but she seems to enjoy it while i reminisce about Mom. I miss her terribly and after her i don't think i'll miss anyone else so much. X and me are both losers however in different ways [she is going to kill me , I know, for saying this] . I believe however there are more losers walking around than truly content and happy people with everything going for them .. ..infact there are few people who have probably been just tapped lightly on the head by Life and not smacked or tossed around like a football ! X and me both have had hard lives from last 10 years.And both of us blame it on Fate or destiny !

X : Gosh ! whatever did we do to end up alone like this i mean we are 33 and not getting anywhere.I feel so lonely at times i wish my 6 year relationship had never ended !
Me: May be we should start new habits ! How about social drinking?
X: Social drinking ? Where ? We have no social life to speak of? Its difficult to even make new friends at this age ? Where have all the people gone ?

Me: I wish your relationship had ended earlier ...less pain ! 6 years and it went nowhere ! And about people ,...they are all married ! Married people have to compulsorily socialize with each other especially married indian girls. Most husbands don't like their wives spending time with their friends ...or so the women think ! Married people hang out with married people usually!

X : Why ?
Me: Its maths , i think.Things are easier to add up when couples hang out together.
X:[ sits thinking while  i wonder why do we end up talking all this crap]  There are only so many mall visits one can make. It stinks to be single middle class Indian girl ![she concluded... and sighed]

Me: Yes..i have been saying this all this time...and thats the only reason i want to get married !I mean if i find some one to just hang out or go on vacations with i'll think i have hit jackpot !
X: That's all ! That low your expectations are ? you want a touring companion ? What about love ? [she looked at me...wide eyed aghast!]

Me: Oh ...lot of my expectations have been silted and washed away by incoming tides through all these years ...is that so bad ? What's wrong with a touring companion ? I want to go and see the world and India which i can't do now alone. Its no fun alone for me .I guess i am not built that way. And love? Maybe its not for me...i have come to accept it.Anyway, if it had to happen it would have happened a long time ago.

X : [rolled her eyes at me and sighed ] yeah maybe...we don't even have ways to meet anyone anymore ..most of the guys on the market are either divorced or with kids.
Me: Oh..we might not even have kids to baulk at ..you know...its a possibility the biological clock ...
X: [she sighed even louder] yep...gosh its scary....are we destined to die unloved, alone and without progeny ?

Me: I hope not...i i desperately hope we don't die alone ..unloved because we are quite loving people ![ i tried to cheer her up]

X : Do you believe we are at fault? Do we make our own destiny ?

Me : [ i thought hard and put my arm around her to console and pacify her while i fought back my tears] If you had asked me 10 years ago...i 'd have said ..yes -we make our own destiny ! Not anymore !  I think...we can just clear the path ...you know..pick the weeds out,plant some seeds ..hoping they survive and grow into strong plants and trees and fill the path with beauty and fragrance. But the path ...where it leads and goes is beyond us.Where the path is destined to end and branch out is in some Superpower's hands',.....there is Someone out there who is pulling the strings and spoiling all our plans, X !

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Snip snip !

I have grown up wearing exquisitely stitched salwar kameez,frocks ,jumpers,skirts and what not simply because my mom used to stitch my clothes and my sisters'. When i was growing up there were no malls ...there were shops one went to buy the frocks and baba suits for children.Women usually bought material at mill stores -atleast that's what my mom did and gave it for stitching.Darzis were carefully chosen and good ones were stuck to. The quality for darzis were honesty and thriftiness in using the cloth and most women at that time had compulsory 'sewing ' class either at home or at schools.My mother of course went a step ahead primarily because she had 3 daughters to swathe elegantly. i don't ever remember my mom buying"salwar kameez sets". These sets which contain dupattas,kurta and bottom materials were unheard...instead people mix- matched and bought material at the shops and they scoured for matching dupattas .In doing so people usually bought only required material depending on the length and type of kurta or salwar they wanted.
Nowadays, the sets offer huge advantages..first you don't have to scour for matching dupattas.secondly the darzi cannot cheat you and ask for more material incase you are tall.For short people it doesnt matter because darzis have a field day because lot of material is left behind after he stitches and gives you the salwar kameez

Unfortunately nowadays, many women don't have any sense of material,or cloth requirement so they buy whatever the darzi says instead of doing mental calculations of their own. Here is the general rule of the thumb: if you are 5ft to 5.5 ft,wear a salwar of length-40-41" and kurta of 38" or less- you just need 2 mtrs for kurta ,2 mtrs for salwar of panna 42-45" i.e width of the cloth material.

The panna of cloth especially doesn't matter in kurtas because of the styles that are worn these days...sleeveless,halter necks and short sleeves. I'm 5ft 8" tall so i easily stitch  my salwar in 2 mtrs and churidar in 2.25 mtrs, kurtas in 2- 2.25 mtrs depending on length i want 40-43". I have got my salwar kameez stitched from tailors when i didn't know stitching and mom couldn't do it anymore- they never made the length of the kurta more than 43-45" [the time i'm talking about is when long slit kurtas with churidars were in fashion] and made piddly churidars from the sets though the salwars made were good.
Here are few tips i 'd like to share:
1. If you don't know stitching here is important things to look for in a darzi these days: your height has got nothing to do with cloth requirement when you buy standard salwar kameez sets ie. 2.25 -2.5 mtrs top,2-2.25 bottom and dupatta.If you are below 5.5 ft and thin ask your darzi to give you remaining cloth back especially if you have got a plain kurta and salwar stitched. Usually in these sets the panna of cloth is 42-46" ,the whole length wise cloth band remains after stitching if the darzi has folded and cut the kurta properly. Don't expect much from bottom part of the material set. If you have a hobby you can use the cloth and you can also use it to rafu /repair your dress in case they are get torn accidentally.

2.Ask the darzi to keep silai so that you can alter the dress if you put on weight
3. When you are testing a new darzi,check his stitching,salwar and churidar that he makes. A salwar should not ride up your thighs when you walk or sit with folded legs,the paincha [bottom part] of salwar should not be too wide nor too narrow.The fall of the salwar when you wear it should be perfect. Its meant to be loose and flowing and width [gher] as much as possible.
A churidar has to have 'chudis'. the chudidar is cut on diagonal fold of cloth so ideally its going to have joints.A smart darzi will and can add joints so that as much 'chudis' can be made and joints will not be seen too.

4. And most importantly- a good efficient darzi never ever spoils your clothes. If its a fitting problem take it back to the darzi and tell him, he can alter it.If he makes your kurta extremely tight don't go back to him at all with a second order.
5. Nowadays darzis charge price depending on locality they are sitting in and not according to their skill so your job of finding a good and reasonable skillful darzi is even more difficult.

Lastly, i wholly recommend learning basic hand stitching,repairing your clothes .Its one skill which is worth it.You don't depend for alterations on a tailor.It saves your time. Believe me,If there is extra silai on sides of the kurta you can rip it open and make space to accommodate a few extra inches in case you have put on weight or vice versa when you want to wear it . You will not have to wait and make a trip to the tailor for something as small as that. You can handstitch - you may find it difficult to believe in this age of sewing machines but neat handstiching is strong !
So, you cannot excuse yourself from repairing clothes because you do not have a sewing machine !

Sewing came to my rescue. Its destressing ,challenging and its one skill where if you do it again and again you only become better. Its my mom's greatest gift to me.In 3 years i have learnt from books, from mom and my aunt and now i can make salwar kameez, saree blouses, churidars,pillow covers ,curtains. Sometimes, hours pass by while I'm concentrating on a particular pattern making. I have now moved on from basic kurta and now i try to create patterns, piping, necklines and yokes.Sewing is an endless art - your creativity is your limit.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Hair raising myths

There is a whole zillion dollar market out there devoted to the simple act of 'washing one's hair'. Earlier people just used soap to wash hair.Infact i used to use Swastik shikai soap till i was 17 .My hair was fine  and routine was simple- oil your hair overnight and wash with soap the next day. On sundays or when i felt like it i used to soak shikakai and aritha pods overnight and wash my hair with that. When i started college , i heard about shampoos and then since shampoos offered great convenience we shifted to Nyle except of course Mom.

Shampoos are surfactant and detergent based. The ones which are marketed as organic,natural and other such bullshit have many chemicals that we don't know as yet. Most of the ones which are natural are just simply 'castile soap' based with lot of essential oils and some plant extracts thrown in.
The job of the shampoo or soap is to clean one's hair- that's it. Hair shaft is dead and is made up of keratin[a protein]. Its physical and chemical damage to the hair  - like combing through wet hair,coloring,stripping hair of its natural colour etc  which decreases the quality of hair.

Myths floated around by hair oil ,shampoo and conditioner selling companies:

1. Oiling hair is for stimulation of scalp and to moisturize it. I have grown up using plain coconut oil.Its great and when i want extra pampering or when i am bored of coconut oil, i use sesame oil. Don't expect oil to reduce hairfall,turn your hair black ,remove dandruff even if claims are made on the bottle.Herbs which stimulate the scalp are rosemary and brahmi.Homemade brahmi oil will de-stress you when you massage your scalp with it.And that de-stressing will ensure less hair fall.

2.Hairfall is because of many reasons. In women,too much worry and shock, after long illness,too much junk diet and no fruits and vegetables,antibiotics and steroids usage...and the list is endless. From outside, the worst foes of hair are- too much styling products, too much of chemical treatments.

3.The quality of your hair is genetic - how thick or wavy ,curly ,straight,fine limp hair or gorgeous thick mane. You can only improve upon the appearance with hair appropriate styling.Learn to be happy with whatever you have.

4. Shampoos contain SLES and its brother family of surfactants  wash off the dirt and the natural oils. That's why your hair feels rough and dry after the wash.  Conditioners were invented to hide the dryness shampoos cause . They stick to hair shaft as a covering till the next wash.No amount of vitamins in shampoo do any good because its immediately washed away. In conditioners a few chemicals like silicones do protect the hair from environmental damage. Most recently i heard how silicones are bad. Silicones just coat your hair and reflect light making them appear shiny.Silicones are the stuff you pay for in a styling serum.
In fact,since hair is dead all the vitamins in the conditioner is not going to do any good.

5. Your water supply may be harming your hair. Hard water does not allow even normal clothes washing detergent to remove stains from clothes. Either you require more detergent or more scrubbing and soaking.The same thing is for your hair.Hard water really messes up with your hair and makes it dry and rough when you wash with shampoo.
I've heard oiling and then shampooing controls dryness. Adding vinegar /lemon juice post rinse helps a lot in hard and not so hard water.

6. Wash your hair less if its dry and more if it turns oily in a day or two. Use any cheap well formulated shampoo for the hair type.Expensive shampoos unfortunately are not better.When choosing a shampoo, read the ingredient list and don't get swayed by the mention of aloe vera,chamomiles or any such plant components or vitamins.

7. Paraben free: If you are allergic to parabens only then go paraben free otherwise if paraben is not used as preservative then something else has been used...something that you don't know of because hype is not created around it as yet. Believe me, we ingest knowingly and unknowingly so many carcinogens in form of vegetables and fruits laden with pesticides, the grains and dals which are grown on chemical fertilizers that a paraben containing shampoo is relatively harmless. If you want to blow your money do so on organic vegetables and dals, rice and milk not on some organic shampoo !

8. Your hair and skin is dependent on your diet. Period!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Beauty on sale !

You know , I'm one of those people who is fed up of cosmetics and creams that don't work.I'm quite done with advertising claims so much so  I no longer hear them.I have been on a different quest from last 10 years - products that consistently work as per their formulations and intended use.

Being a post graduate in microbiology ,I was always wise to 'antiseptic'  and such claims.And then having worked in pharma and having studied chemistry made me curious and suspicious.
While I was growing up, India did not have so many products in skincare and nobody had even heard about sunscreens and face washes.All i had was Lakme and Ponds and then later when i was a teenager Garnier came with its facewashes and moisturizer and cold cream. However, Garnier was priced higher than Lakme and Ponds so very few girls of my age actually used it. We had a family soap- Lux which served as face wash ,handwash and bodywash.All of us used  Wipro or Godrej Shikakai soap for hair.All was fine with the world !

Then chaos started.I don't know if anyone remembers- Nyle was first indian mass market shampoo along with Clinic Plus. Both of them were 'detergent-based' Can you imagine ? For a longest time, all high end shampoos had only SLS as main surfactant.

I have been stickler for reading everything on the bottle or packets before buying it so reading ingredient lists  is only happy chore for me.The only problem was all the Indian skin creams and shampoos never ever had any ingredient lists. So like everyone else I learned stuff on the go and being curious Internet only whetted my appetite for knowledge and chemistry behind everything.Plus i had a lot of good sense which prevented me abusing my skin or hair with wrong and harmful products.

This is what i have learned from education,observations,logic,good sense and from mistakes over the years.

Traditional soaps are made from lye[sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide] mixed with fats[animal tallow,lard,vegetable oils ]. When people say soap that is what they mean. So when companies say 'soap-free'- they mean they have added chemically fractionated surfactant like SLS,SLES ALS,ALES etc. along with other chemicals.Nowadays, i have seen SLES been added in premium soaps- especially those companies which claim to be natural and herbal.

Now many dermatologists and cosmetologists don't advocate the regular bar of soap especially for sensitive skins.The only reason is commercially mass marketed soaps contain fillers,dyes,strong fragrance and ph is towards alkalinity.Sensitive skins and diseased skin don't take too kindly to such harsh soaps whereas a well formulated bodywash is moisturizing,mild both in fragrance and dyes and ph is more towards the acidic state. There are plenty of mild body washes in the market but i prefer Dove,Olay and Palmolive, J&J because they are cheaper,with practically zero colour[Dove and olay] and not too strong fragrance and do the job well.
Now skin is the same everywhere so there is no reason why a bodywash can't double up as facewash. I use the bodywash on face too and only carry a facewash at work or when i go out.I don't have acne on face and my skin is normal to oily.
I avoid strongly coloured facewashes or bodywashes with essential oils and prefer unscented or mild fragrance.I think there are plenty of well formulated cheap and awesome facewashes in the market today. I like Garnier[full ingredient list],Ponds ,Everyuth and Neutrogena[for oily skin] -most of them contain SLES besides other ingredients.
However, i am so used to soaps so i use all the affordable ,mildly scented and less colored ones like Dove, Khadi soaps
Common sense says that any kind of peptide,vitamin,and any such additive in face and bodywash is only for timepass and to fool people into paying more.Pay more if you want to but not under the foolish notion that its going to do you any good because the body wash is going to be washed away so where does the ingredient have any time to work its magic[ ie. if we assume that the vitamin or such additive is in sufficient quantity in the product]
For make up cleansers i love Cetaphil, Garnier and Nivea cleansing milk. Affordable and great. I find that sesame and coconut oil work great too.

Skin creams:-

Why do you think you need a skin cream? Only for two reasons :- either to moisturizer or to act as medicine for the skin. To moisturize a well formulated product needs humectants,lubricants - it doesn't need essential oils with strong fragrance,colour or irritants. A general rule of the thumb is the more irritant /chemicals you pile on skin the more irritated your skin will become. The clove oil or mint oil that you love so much has potent chemicals in it. Everything in Nature too is chemicals/molecules- the one processed in the labs are just fractionated into individual ones. People have a pet peeve against mineral oil. Its just a lubricant without color and fragrance and that's why its used so much .Its cheap effective lubricant.Mineral oil has different properties than natural oils like olive,sunflower,sesame and only because different oils have different fatty acid compositions.But oils have only one quality they moisturizer the skin by making a layer on the skin and that's it.The oily layer doesn't allow water to escape and hence the skin looks alive and hydrated.

Humectants like glycerin,honey etc attract water and keep skin moisturized.There are plenty of cheap effective moisturizers like Vaseline with spf ,Nivea,Emolene . My favorite is glycerin mixed with rose water.I just increase or decrease the glycerin amount depending on the seasons.I use the body lotion on face ,body and feet too and only when i require. I don't have the time to sit and moisturize everyday.

If you want a cream to do you any good chose one with Vitamin C, B ,A and cell communicating peptides .I have not seen a single potent antioxidant cream on Indian shelves as of today which is affordable and in sufficient quantity.Most of the costly night and day creams are just fluffy moisturizers.So if any one knows a potent cream do recommend.

Scrubs and masks:

Your skin is gentle and when you wash yourself your soap or body wash exfoliates the dead skin cells very well. So why beat a dead horse ? Most of the scrubs are harsh walnut powders or god knows what - i think they are fit only for the feet. The last time i bought them i washed my feet with them.For once in a while i use the really affordable one- Everyuth -ultra mild and i love the nivea scrub . But i use only once in 15 days and that too if i remember to use one. I don't buy any masks at all and never have...if i feel like 'masking' i just mix yoghurt and honey with turmeric and apply on the face.


I have been to dermatologists 2-3 times and not one of them ever recommended sunscreen to me. I have brown skin.However, My sister has sun allergy so she develops sunspots if exposed to hot sun.Her dermatologist recommended calamine lotion and some white paste to be applied only on sunspots  when she goes out. Of course she wouldn't ..only white cricketers do that ! So she wears a sunscreen.
Brown and dark skinned people are blessed lot .The melanin in our skin provides a natural SPF cover to us so that we can resist burning more than pale skins.Currently,the following filters are FDA approved suncreens/blocks.This might not be the comprehensive list however to you and me it gives a fairly good idea.
This is what i think:-
1. You need to apply sunscreen every 2 hours if you have been out in the sun continuously.Only then it helps.Lets face it who does that?
2. You need to apply a UVA and B filter. What i do is apply Spf 15 sunscreen with both UA and UV B filters - i have found an oil free one. Since you need to apply frequently you need an affordable sunscreen - a Rs 1000 + won't do. I use Lacto calamine everyday since it contains zinc oxide,if i go outdoors i use fabindia's spf 15 oil free sunscreen. Other one i use is from chemists -Suncote gel on exposed parts.I also love Garnier's spf 15. I usually skip moisturizers since sunscreen are pretty greasy on their own.
3. Read the ingredient list for above FDA ingredients and only then buy and remember the chemical should be within first 5 ingredients on the list to be effective
3. Most importantly i carry umbrella in summers and wear full sleeved cotton coat or avoid going out in sun if not required.

Sometimes when i am too lazy i don't use suncreen at all.C'est la vie!


I don't bother whether its paraben free or not since i'm not allergic as yet of preservatives.I use the product before its best before date .I buy only those products closer to manufacture date that way i have plenty time to use it up.My take is - if its paraben free then they have used some other preservatives that we don't know as yet.

Cruelty free:

i don't buy this crap and don't bother with it. I 'll never buy any overpriced product just because its cruelty free. Any new molecule has to be tested in animals for toxicity, tolerability and allergy. If not animals, do you want the product to be directly tested on you?
The companies claim cruelty-free saintly and piously only because all the ingredients they use in their formulations and cosmetics are tried,tested and validated in the past.
All the people who claim how icky 'chemicals' are and swear by natural and herbal crap will be better off not using any make up,most of the expensive and nonexpensive bottled creams and shampoos because 'chemicals' are everywhere.

P.S: Brand reccos are based on my usage-none of the brands are paying me to say so.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Where is my affortable leave in conditioner ?

I have grown particularly steadfast about my affordable effective an easy to use Garnier leave-in conditioner.You know, those green bottles ! I have waist length hair and since i stopped oiling just to comb hair i have been increasingly dependent on Garnier leave in conditioner so that combing long hair doesn't become a nightmare !

I really don't care what is advertised about leave ins but the Garnier one made my hair soft and easy to comb and i required only a little of it. Now that my bottle is about to get over , i went to buy another and guess what.....its discontinued ! Off the shelves !

I searched so many malls and shops just to find some bottle of it. There is not a single leave in conditioner in the market in that price range. There is some fancy  looking L'oreal serum which is costly. I'm experiencing withdrawal symptoms and am dreading combing hair without one.

So,Garnier where is my leave in conditioner ? :(

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Thrills of Banking

I've finally reached a conclusion that poor customer service by Indians for Indians is our trademark.Either that or I'm a magnet for poor customer service and cheaters.
Last year i opened an account with State Bank of India ,Pulgate,Pune branch. Anybody who has opened an account knows that one has to attach all the required proofs before a/c is opened.Now nationalized banks are class apart. They are Government employees therefore i doubt they can be fired for being obnoxious, poor service, mistakes ,etc etc.

Here's what happened to me and which has cost me heartburn ,umpteenth trips to the bank and lots of cursing.

1. They opened my a/c after 12-13 days.They told me they'd inform me but they didn't . I made 2 trips just to find out if my a/c was opened.
2. On my third trip ,they gave me a/c no. in which one has to immediately deposit Rs 1000 which i did.
3. I had asked for cheque book and internet banking facility which they had NOT activated even though i had filled in the details in the account opening form and the debit card was to arrive at the given address.
4. Days passed and  I did not get the debit card so fearing loss of the card, i went to the branch and there it was -lying safely in the cupboard of Mr Branch Manager ! Now the bank manager growled about why the address was not written on the forms properly. I growled back "why will i not write the correct address for my own account" and i told him address proof was already given to the bank. He refuses to believe that i had written correct address on the a/c opening form .What an idiot !
5. Then i go and waste an hour for internet banking pin and ids at the behest of a rude unsmiling bank lady.
6. I log on to internet banking to realize the data entry people of State bank of India have conveniently written only "Pune"  for address. Poor courier guy. SBI bank had left it for postal dept to figure out where i lived in Pune.
7. On my fifth trip, I go to complain to bank manager that my address is not there at all on net banking so how do i receive anything ! I waste another hour by the time 3 idiots open the a/c on respective PCs to find that indeed the address field is empty.One has to imagine the greatness of banking institutions run by the government - addresses are not important to them !
8. One idiot of the bank asks me to tell her  the address while she updates . Of course, she did a bad job of it and now there is the correct address followed by wrong area. Something i realized later on the net banking page.
9. Amidst all this i suddenly get another shock.The day my a/c was opened happened to be June 30 -last day of the quarter. So guess what ? The great SBI bank deducts min.balance charge even though on same day i deposited Rs 1000.
10. On my 8th visit i go and again complained to the bank manager. Yep i did lot of complaining but they have worn me. He tells me rudely he can't do anything about it because it was automated [i now realize that this is a lie- they throw all the blame on computers and automation.So never ever believe them !] He directs me to another idiot Mr.Despande- his asst.manager. Both of them rudely tell me the same thing .I ask them to close my a/c because I've had enough.They tell me to wait for a year otherwise there'll be more charges. I ask them for email id for their superiors or complaint forms. Now, when i say this- Despande tells me there are no such forms and he asks me to write the complaint on blank page.I do so and then take xerox copy as my acknowledgment with his sign and stamp.
11. Well, what happens next, you might ask....well nothing happens. The trail goes cold ...around 25th July 2010. I resurface around may 2011. Why the delay you might ask ? My mom was terminally ill and it became impossible for me to pay visits to SBI bank's idiots.
12. Armed with the xerox copy of the complaint and an approval form for mobile no. i go to the bank. I ask Despande whether anything has been done in past one year....he doesn't reply properly as usual and then he looks up my details on his system and promises me to reverse the charges that day itself ,saying i won't need this complaint letter anymore. I also give him the mobile approval form.
13.Again, nothing happens . Now I'm thoroughly harassed and beyond angry -I've just settled down in comfortable numbness .Yet, i make 10th visit to the bank only to find Despande on leave and the lady whom he gave forms in front of me feigned surprise. But i had lost patience- i categorically told her that forms were given to her in front of me and why nothing was done about it.She took down my number and a/c no.Of course, i didn't expect her to call me  or to do anything about it.
14. I call Despande after 2-3 days and he takes down my a/c number and doesn't do anything.
15. On my 11th visit ,i go with a/c closure form having made up my mind to close the a/c. Despande asks me why i want to close it. Heaving and too tired to repeat the above details i just mentioned that there is no service and that I'm happy to  leave the bank.He immediately pulled up my details and asks some lady to reverse charges then and there.As for mobile number updation they have lost the form and he's asking me to redo approval thingie.
16. Now i'm a tired woman with charges reversed without interest.
17. One more thing, i had also send two complaint mails via SBI website for which i got docket numbers and an email saying they have forwarded the complaint to Branch manager ,Pulgate. It goes without saying the complaint emails went to the dustbins and arrogant lazy SBI people didn't do anything about it.

Why write such a long tirade on the blog?

1.To bring to everyone's attention that such things happen and thank your stars if this has not happened to you.However,BEWARE. It could happen to you.
2.State bank of India is a lousy bank and don't open an a/c there at all.
3.Banks are your enemies. They are not accountable to their customers and levy charges ad hoc so yes they can reverse charges too.
4. Its good thing my religion forbids me the eating interest off my money .Banks profit from interests and charges.
5. Employees of banks lie and usually they don't know what happens in their own banks.They don't have proper and up to date knowledge of the banking services or charges themselves. This is true for private banks too.
6. Bank employees are there to mislead,misguide ,withhold information so everything becomes YOUR responsibility.
7 Since banks are saving paper and therefore trees, they DON"T inform you about revised charges, changes in interest rates..nothing zilch.So rest assured, anytime anywhere banking ,easy banking are "MARKETING WORDS"- hollow and untrue.Its your responsibility to keep checking their websites etc.
8 If you take interest off your money, then beware, when you close a/c in any bank they have to send the chq for interest accrued to you - just remove all your money from the bank because from experience i can tell you they don't bother to send your accrued interest by courier once your a/c is closed.They just eat up the money.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Why didn't she talk about what troubled her ?

Amy Winehouse was found dead at her home.Nothing more is known as yet about how she died.However a lot of talk is there about how 'troubled' she was ! Every now and then ,here in India .we too hear about tragic deaths of celebs/models- most recent one was that of Viveka Babajee. The case scenario is usually the same: a young successful ,beautiful woman[ or a handsome guy],living alone.
There are many people who live stark alone in Indian metros- not just celebrities. They have either superfluous candy friends whom they either chat only via their Blackberries or Laptops. They have their Facebook ids crammed with a number of 'friends'.
They have friends who say hi only through facebook or on chat or worst drop one line in six months via email.There are young people who literally stay alone in a flat,clobbered to death by 'efficiency and productive driven' corporates and made to work 60 and more hours per week. And then there are people who are married but are still alone since they can't really talk to their spouse openly.Then there are those successful and not so successful young people who always have people to party,drink and probably do drugs with..yet alone.There is no real connection between people these days.Money,especially people who are on fast track to earn money ,buy cars and bungalows as young as possible don't want to 'waste' time talking to people,listening to people ...sometimes their own family members.When was the last time you acknowledged the fact that your mom cooks for you, takes care of what you like. Or the stuff your sister/brother does for you. When was the last time you thanked them? When was the last time you appreciated your wife/husband selflessly and genuinely ?

So whenever a lonely, stifled person commits suicide its a reminder that people who actually loved/liked him or her didn't take time out to keep in touch .When i say keep in touch.....i mean met that person face to face.So the truth is when the callous media throws up 20-30 articles with inputs from psychiatrists around such deaths - its pathetic.Don't be surprised at such deaths. It could be you or someone from your family next.

In Indians, I know inappreciativeness and not saying thanks and sorry vocally is wired in the genes. However, since we are already on the bandwagon of aping western values , might as well ape the good stuff too ! Look around, we no longer live in joint families where without sacrifice it was impossible to live in one.

Mobiles,facebook,internet are just tools .They are just 'businesses'. They are not replacement for real people,real conversations and that backslapping camaraderie.I wish for those times when it was ok to drop in to meet friends.I wish for those apartments where neighbors get to know each other.Meeting up with friends should be as simple as lounging on the verandah on hot summer evenings and not some fancy restaurant and spend money there to get a feeling of having 'done' something together.

Staying alone in another city or being married doesn't mean cutting off from your families ..especially your brothers and sisters.So talk in person because 90% of conversation is non verbal,listen and be patient the way your grandpa's generation was because there is a price to pay for 'I want it now'.And yes, good relationships still take time to build and have to be nurtured and something tells me so long as we are still humans, we cannot go against Nature.

So why didn't she talk about what troubled her ?
Its because she had no one to talk to ,empathize with her or even be concerned enough to take her to the doctor.The rest is bullshit.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Pipe dream

I'm prone to day dreaming. i don't need a place or permission. I can be happily sitting in the crowd and then suddenly zone out. My mind is home to 3D motion pictures . If Spielberg ever got to know my mind he'd probably never have to scout for scripts ever again ! That's how 'productive'  is my mind. No sir not just the day but even my dreams run into panoramas.That's why i prefer lots of food for thought which is uncomplicated, doesn't tax my little brain too much ,is full of romantic ideas and yes i get swayed into dizzying heights by idealism.

I'm a thriller happy person. Not for me the gigantic 'save the world kind' thriller but the average daisy[or is it pansy ?] like Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes,Mary Higgins Clark.Not too much gore and a solemn murder in  pretty English countryside is what makes my day !

Just the other day i sat amongst relatively unknown relatives ! I'm an average conversationalist - usually it stops at 'how do you do' with unknown people however the movie in my head pretty much makes up for actual conversation and its much more pleasant.I had just finished reading an Agatha Christie where 2 people were murdered - one was pushed off a cliff and the other was poisoned.How convenient ! Most people in Christie's novels are bumped off either by choral,arsenic,morphia.
So i had a lot of information to imagine  and make movies about.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

All about Men !

Any girl who has dated and many Indian girls these days do date albeit probably under a disguise their mother,father ,brother and chachi doesn't recognize ! Anyway, dating is outdated especially the concept that is tittered about in every romantic book or film.For a girl ,dating is as hazardous as the flu in the winter season.There are 2 categories of Indian girls who date: the one in her right mind  who has dreams of 'this thing will go somewhere' and she likes the guy and the other who wants to date for gifts, going out and general time-pass because eventually she is going to get into an arranged marriage and if she's lucky find someone who understands and gets to know her.
The girl in first category is usually looking for love and has taken the responsibility of finding someone who understand and gets to know her before marriage.
Why i say dating is hazardous? Because men can con you with lot of Bullshit about love,understanding and even about knowing you if you are not smart and can't see through their lies.

In this ripe old age i've finally seen through most men. Here is the list of my observations:

1.They are cowardly and will make excuses after excuses instead of telling you the honest truth and face your wrath and tears..that means they'll hang you till you finally get the message.On your own. Meanwhile they have made good escape.

2. Men are like gadgets.Its all about functionality.What is the use of that fancy looking mixer grinder girls, if the mixie does work well? The same is with men.Don't pay much attention to what they say or what they wear -see what they do, how they behave in situations. Always ! If you have been blind as a bat after observing more and listening to him less you will soon realize who he is underneath.

3. Men love the word "Busy". If they want to avoid you or simply want to get the message across to you that they don't love you or care about your feelings - they'll prime everything with the word 'busy'.Too busy to call, too busy to meet up,in fact "too busy" for everything you can think of. Run when you hear the words 'I have been busy" and run even faster when he says it with slightly annoyed ,slightly exasperated and tired look.The fact is- no matter how busy he is he'll make time to call you and let you know if he really loves you and your feelings matter to him.This applies in arranged marriage meetings- those initial 3-4 meetings when you briefly get to know him. If he doesn't ever call to meet up or doesn't talk to you because he's 'busy' then there are good chances he doesn't like you and is probably forced by parents to hook up with you.

4. Men don't like clingy women. Yep its a fact ! They might not want you to work outside the house ,hang on to their words and do as they say but the moment you start to emotionally hang on to him ,he'll shrug you off like an insect especially if he is not married to you.

5. Sometimes men do get an epiphany and they speak the truth . So when they make you sit down and tell you anything- they mean it. They have already decided ,reached their conclusions and then since its so clear to them some brave ones will tell you as it. At that time don't rummage your thinking and imagine he doesn't mean it ! Or he'll change his mind or he's confused !He means it !

6.Men are mostly selfish and want the girls to revolve her life around him but will NOT do the same for you.Yes, even if he's married to you and actually loves you. So, get a life and keep a life even if you are painfully in love.So that, if at all he leaves you - you are not stranded amid sea without a life-jacket.

7.Don't ever proclaim your love to him first.Even if you are dying to say it ,DON'T !
 Yes , I know this is old fashioned but thats the way it works.They will have no value for you or your love if you declare it first.Yup there are exceptions- about 2% of men where it won't matter if you tell them first.

There are books and then there are BOOKS. At an quite ripe old age i came across a book about men and women . Now i always steered clear of books about love and relationships through out my teenage and not so teenage years. One fine day, i realized it was a stupid thing to do.After all , how much did i know about men anyways? I didn't have a brother, not many guys as friends throughout school and college.And those friends i had were mostly the decent sort !. Where did i have the wherewithal about jerks, jerks disguised as gentlemen, cowards pretending to be gentlemen and losers !

I'm sure i've loads to learn.However,there is one book that every girl should read if she's into dating -'He's just not that into you' by Greg Behrendt'. Its hilarious ,brutally honest and will effectively shatter all your belief about romantic love and about men for ever and simultaneously raise your self esteem. Currently, there is no hype and and hoopla around it [books should not be read because of the hype around it anyways] but this is one book that every mother should pass it on to her daughter !

When i read the book, i had already learnt few of the facts by Teacher called Life yet it had certain pointers for me which i found astonishing [Men could do this too !]
So give it to women in your life and pray to god their hearts get never badly broken !


God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you're taking away from God; you don't need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven't figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don't believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time — life and death — stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand. Therefore I don't think that the laws can be considered to be like God because they have been figured out.

Richard Feynman quoted in Superstrings : A Theory of Everything (1988) Edited by Paul C. W. Davies and Julian R. Brown

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Random Aunty: So what are you doing these days?
Me: Nothing much ! Running the house ?
Random Aunty: So what happened to the job?
Me:[smiling.. i always try to grin and bear because random aunties can turn nasty overnight and spread unimaginable rumours about one ] - Still searching for one !
Random Aunty: Oh ok So why not go to the gym ? You need to be fit [implied: lose weight]
Me: Wow ...that's a great idea it never occurred to me !
Random Aunty : You are still not married so you need to be fit !
Me: I was fit once ,aunty 4-5 years...fit and younger...didn't get married ! So how it'll help now...especially all the boys in my age bracket  i see these days are balding,paunchier and inflexible themselves.
Random Aunty:[rolled her eyes- everyone seems to be rolling eyes these days !]
 Oh let it be. They are guys.. ..na.Everything goes. They might be horrible looking but they want fit girls !
Me:[by now i was feeling like a filly -ready to be bred] They don't need to be fit ?
Random Aunty: [again rolling her eyes]: its like this only !
Me: Ok aunty... u know i do go for walks and do a lot of work and eat less sugar .................

what we talk about...

Me and X when we talk - we really talk ! Here is the sample of one of our conversations.

X:- What made him go away ?
Me:[shrugging] Just reminded him whether he had a mother and sister at home ! And the fact that i walked away really fast !

X:[rolled her eyes- well if you knew her- she's always rolling eyes at me or sighing aloud]  You are watching too many serials and 60's movies ! You know that statement is outdated . You need some gaalis !
Me: Yeah maybe you are right !
X: What is your range of gaalis and status of your fighting spirit?
Me:Well, let me see,....'you donkey,monkey ,bastard ,kutte ,kaminey ....
X: Yeah.... you give them in hindi, right? You need some more gaalis in hindi and  marathi.
Me: like what ?.......kulta,karamjali,...?
X: [sighs] You are still stuck in 60's ! And those are special ones from saas to bahus ! No use on men !
Me: You know .... i don't really use F*** word !
X: F*** word on men just slides off . Instead of forgetting and refraining to molest i think it just reminds them of u know- your sex !
Me: Oh may be then that's why there is no less of eve teasing, groping ..girls are using more and more of F*** word.
X: [tilts her head towards left and thinks]...fine  it makes sense .I 'll stop using it now !
Me:[i get a brainwave. I frequently get brainwaves when i talk to people ] What about Love- love is another four letter word any way ! Just tell the guy I love you to freak him out and he'll  run light years away from you !

X:[her eyes shine] wow ! Brilliant! It'll work  ALL the time. Add a moony expression and jaw dropping possessiveness and follow him everywhere like a puppy. Wow. great way to get rid of all unwanted attention ! Me - will definitely try.

Me: Good luck !


I'll let you know when X pulls out all her guns, right now at the office  moony and puppy eyes are all she needs to ward off Office  and  out of office romeos !

Sunday, 22 May 2011

People !

I wish that i had experienced differently. However, i've noticed and experienced repeatedly how poor or low income people are more deceitful,rude, liars,cheaters bigtime and ungrateful.I'm talking about drivers, the mochi,the vegetable vendors,rickshaw wallahs.maids and other domestic help,security guards etc

They have grandiose images of themselves, they want money for no work if that could be possible, they don't work with responsibility or any accountability.They are the ones who perpetuate the baksheesh culture. The majority of maids and drivers don't inform if they are not going to turn up.In practically every city autos and rickshaws are supported by their unions and actually encourage rude,goonda type behavior.

I have a small incident to narrate. I gave my nearly new kolhapuri chappals to a mochi to paste up the soles. He keeps it for 24 hrs and gives it to me the next day.Now this is the person whom i frequently go for repairs.He did shoddy work of pasting the soles..now come on how wrong one can go with glue ?
 The soles came off and i couldn't wear them even once.I went back to him.Now the real drama begins.
He told me to keep it and that he'll do it later trustingly i kept it with him. Now he knows i stay in opposite building to where he sits with his illegal occupancy of the footpath.I go back the next day and he says its not done and asks me to come after 2-3 hours. I go after 3 hours and he tells me he forgot to do it and then he asks me to come the next day. Irritated , i go to pick up my slippers the next day while i'm running an errand. Now this is my 4th visit. It is his closing time. I request him to remove from his packed stuff and give me since i've already come.He becomes rude and starts shouting.and then amidst heated argument he says:  pehlo toh doosri baar leke aaye aur main karke dey raha hoon toh bhi problem hai.....'then he started talking all random stuff.I argued with him about all the chakkars he made me do.

Now this was his way of punishing me ,he didn't remove and give me the chappals because he knew he'll not be paid again .For the shoddy work he already had taken 20 rupees from me.Of course it goes without saying that I'll not go to him again nor send anyone to him.

I find its become increasingly difficult to get any work done properly  from people even after paying them their quoted price in India. 

Maids and servants are treated well in most places but I've noticed the more one is lenient with them the more they take you for granted and take you for a ride. They have no value for stuff that you give them because for them its just second hand ! And once you get into habit of getting everything free of cost there is no value to it.
My father has been fleeced of money twice by the shop boys in the name of illnesses, weddings etc because my dad is trusting.
I have heard numerous stories in the business how shop boys steal and make money by selling the merchandise in the owners absence. Its so rampant that owners ignore little thefts and try to appease the workers because its even more harder and time consuming to train a new one !

When i hear real life incidents of maids and servants ill treated i feel like laughing nowadays those incidents are much lesser than the theft,burglary and murders by servants and other help. Poor people are to be pitied ? No way ! Its the middle class who has nowhere to go !

Carpenters,plumbers and electrician are nowhere to be found easily. One has to waste money and bear with whatever they do. Their work ethic is such that they'll not even go that extra mile to do good work. They are extra rude with ladies or they go out of their way to fleece women because women don't understand all this stuff.
Result: The repairs have to be done again and again.

I wonder when these workers will become professional if not honest.Everyone knows one could be a horrible human being so long he is good at his work and is professional.Going that extra mile is mandatory only in private white collar jobs ?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


I thought i am beyond crushes. The age when crushes hit has long gone and i'm into the alleys of aggressive virtual and real networking for arranged marriage from quite some time.

My cynical ,grim barrier broke when i first laid my eyes on him. I couldn't believe my lazy  heart and even lazier nervous system could quickly jump, somersault and thud in the same breath.
I've had only 1 crush in my OLD life which stopped at crush and only I crush which ran amuck and metamorphosed into real love.
Yep, i'm talking about that cocaine like, ignoring sirens and jumping over the fences kind of love. However, the cocaine i think ran out and the 'real ' love turned into a 'real' life !

Anyway, I was talking about the crush . My crush is none other than Hugh Jackman and the precise moment  my eyes glued onto him is when i saw him in Australia.
Yeah, the famous possibly photoshopped, manipulated bathing scene !

By the way, Its a huge pity that English movie channels on TV have been censored ! Where is the fun of watching a Woody Allen or risqué without those wonderful kissing scenes which i think for the record Indian movies do it so very badly !

And why are we kissing on the screens anyway ? Mom and dad take chotu, monu sonu to watch movies in multiplexes !


Food,feul,doctors, medicines,carpenters,plumbers,Pune autorickshaws,Pune PMT,malls,restaurants,vegetables,meats,multiplexes - everyones and everythings prices has increased !

The only thing that seems to have decreased in value is human worth,human lives,good character,honesty,sincerity,the stuff that mom and dad do for you, girlfriends/boyfriends/husbands/wives...............

And the money plant!

The things i obsess about are.......

......either too expensive, difficult,nonsensical,beyond my control,and sometimes too mundane.

Extra virgin olive oil: Few people know that i love everything to do with pastas,pizzas,meditarranean food ,italian cuisine and mexican food.I think i cook and conjure more indie- italian ,indie-pastas than anyone i know amongst my middleclass strata[both DB and otherwise].i think i was italian/french/spaniard in my previous janam. Now, extra virgin olive oil on my pastas and pizza and salads i love..but i don't love its PRICE.

I hate the fact that aisles of every great and not so great supermarket is lined up with bottles of olive oil sold at horrendous prices.And the fact is on those supermarkets we poor indians don't even see the really good quality olive oils.
To come to think of it - its like the premium alphonso from Ratnagiri/raigad or any of those mango growing belts which one NEVER gets to see in the local markets!

Back to EVOO- I recently saved up to buy it after hunting for a good price for good quantity -obsessively!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

End of a story !

Ok, someone i know got dumped[let's call her X]. Well, I think it was long coming and she should've  dumped him first !
As it usually happens the jerk didn't care to explain why! X reconciled to the fact that she'd never know and it didn't matter.However to my weird sensibilities ,it didn't seem ok.
I'm one of those people who want to know the truth and only the truth as i'm not flippant about love ,sex and everything in between ! According to me he owes her the truth ! That's the least he could do !

I've heard and read about this umpteen times.People suddenly turn coward and chicken out while leaving a long serious relationship ! The most common bull shit they say is - i don't want to hurt him/her more.

Hurt ? You have already hurt him/her ,buddy !

I wish more people demanded the truth. People don't realize closure comes fast and a lot easier when you know why you were dumped. When you think about it,... sometimes maybe.....its really them not you who is the problem !

The more silent and ambiguous way the person leaves the more hurtful and  personality changing the experience it is. More often then not, people stop believing in love though they might or not say it . Maybe a short term relationship doesn't warrant explanations but the long drawn out definitely do !

I really think that there should be a class offered somewhere on how to breakup in an honorable fair way ! Like all good things, this quality springs out of a solid character but so few have one !

Monday, 28 March 2011


I don't like birds. And i dislike immensely the homing ones -pigeons ! I'm fairly tolerant to birds primarily because one really has no control over all those crows,kites,hawks,pigeons flying about.I even admire the raptors viz eagles ,vultures ....from afar.Tell me to caress a lovey dovey pigeon i'll probably freak out.

I'm not an animal hater however I'm not even a petter.Pigeons mess my balconies and i've to clean it. A most particular pain ! Pigeons lay eggs in the balcony [they'd lays eggs in the house too if they could enter and stay inside for long] and i have to worry about what to do about those eggs. And i hate that.

I very much mind the way pigeons messed up my wheatgrass plants and ate up my methi seedlings. They are extremely intrusive ,stubborn and i suspect dumb too !

I hate the way they give me evil side glances when i try to shoo them away. I don't like the way they perch on my wet laundry ! I wish someone would make a pigeon repellant !

Crows just caw caw and they never enter the house. Mynas are nonchalant about humans and don't even look at us. Sparrows are non existent in Pune- I just came back from kutch- gujarat trip and i saw sparrows there ! I wish for sparrows..they were plain little busy things and not intrusive of my space. Where I stay, i see a parrot probably once a year...i see more kites, hawks and eagles. That reminds me- I have never seen a bat in real life -only in movies !
I saw peacocks and peahens in kabrastan in ahmedabad where i went to pay respects [ziyarat] to all those great people ! And peacocks don't care about humans either ! He didn't even look once at me though i stared and examined him from near for almost 15 minutes.
So i think most birds don't like humans too.


I'm terribly missing the food cooked by my mom. The last time i ate what she cooked was one and half years ago. Then she fell sick only to never get up and make that chicken manchurian or that khichda !Instead she ate what i cooked for her for  6 months while she could still eat it and another 4 months by feeding tube through her nose.

She never cooked pasta - that was my thing ! She gave up trying to make gulabjamuns when they came out ruined the umpteenth time.She stopped making idlis and dosas - i soaked the dal and chawal and ground the batter and works from last 10 years or so. She always made khichda, biryani and kaadi chawaal and manchurian.Hence i am not fab at those.She made the rotis.

I miss her meals - those quick ones conjured out of nothing. Or those leftovers transformed. I remember the days she wouldn't want to cook but would eventually go to the kitchen before Dad came back from shop.

I miss the bhajiyas she made most sunday evenings. My dad has stopped asking for bhajiyas now.

I promised her i wouldn't cry and i don't except when i remember her sufferings and her last days. When will that day come when i don't remember her sufferings  but just good old school days  when i used to throw my bag on the bed and run to the kitchen to see what she had cooked that day !

I'll never get to eat that food again !

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


I  belong to the Maggi noodle generation so when i came across this article it confirmed my worst fears. There goes a last minute saviour of a growling stomach !.
In our house we didn't eat Maggi everyday while growing up -  it was a someday thing, 'mom is sick' day thing and 'nothing to munch at home'  thing.
Mom and dad made sure we didnt grow up on staple diet of Maggi. However when i met some out of station friends at college - they lived on Maggi. And i 'm talking about  a time when ' low salt' ,'low fat' ,no trans fat ' didn't even exist in mindframes of people. It provided a cheap filling for a hungry stomach with just added water. Who could beat that ?

Nowadays i eat noodles with lot of vegetables thrown in along with some garlic,pepper and ginger  and yeah the tastemaker is really salted so more water  to make it soupy.
I also came across a way to prepare noodles by which wax and other chemicals can be removed . I don't know if it would help but no harm in trying. Just cook the noodles as mentioned with some extra water  and tastemaker then drain the broth. Just use noodles on pile of vegetables to assuage the guilty conscience.
Do you think this would help ?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Myths about skincare

I've reproduced this article from here. Since there is constant bombarding of fanciful advertising - i think there should be more such articles.

1.Regular steaming is very good for the skin.
Steaming of the skin especially face is good to a certain extent as it opens up the blocked pores and facilitates easy removal of blackheads . But using it on a regular basis can cause large open pores. It is advisable to use it once a week for just 1-2 minutes.

2. Oily and fatty foods / chocolate, can increase or cause pimples.
Dietary factors are not involved at all in causing acne and food restrictions are unnecessary. Of course a healthy diet with lots of fresh green vegetables, fruits and plenty of water (8-10 glasses a day) generally helps one achieve a clear glowing skin.

3. Oil massage before a bath gives a glowing skin.
Any type of massage improves circulation and is good. But the best results of oil application are obtained if applied soon after a bath, when the skin is moist and well hydrated. Oil applied after a bath helps retain the moisture within the skin.

4. Soaps and shampoos which produce more lather are better cleansers.
Lather production is dependent on the addition of foam boosters to soaps and shampoos while cleansing to related to their detergent content. Hence the amount of lather produced is not proportional to the cleansing activity of either soaps, shampoos or bubble baths.

5. Household cosmetics are harmless.
Not all household cosmetics are good. Turmeric of course has its benefits on the skin, by reducing hair growth and acting as an antiseptic. But many of the household cosmetics sensitize or irritate the skin and many of them can cause comedones. Should be used with care.

6. Cleansing milks, facial packs and facials are more effective ways to clean the deep pore Soaps are equally effective for deep pore cleaning and the above offer no added advantage.

7. Regular use of pumice stone and various scrubbers clean the skin better Pumice stone or scrubbers of any type only dry the skin taking away the natural oil content of the skin. In fact years after using these products one can develop blackish pigmentation on the arms and legs . Cleaning the skin with hands along with a soap on a daily basis is good enough to keep skin healthy and clean.

8. Medicated soaps are better than ordinary ones.
Skin has certain organisms which normally live in the skin. They fight the bad organisms which invade the skin and acts as a defence system. Medicated soaps remove the ‘good samaritans’ and thereby destroy these beneficial flora. Medicated soaps also produce dryness and are not recommended except for certain recurrent skin infections/acne.

9. Application of Kajal improves eyesight and growth of eyelashes.
Kajal is used entirely for cosmetic reasons and does not help eyesight or growth of eyelashes in any way. On the contrary some cheap brands can cause conjunctivitis and eye allergies.

10. Suntan helps clear acne.
It may temporarily mask the acne, but continued exposure to sunlight may cause irritation and premature ageing in the form of wrinkles and fine lines. There is no scientific link between sun and acne prevention. So always protect your skin with a sunscreen of SPF (sun protection factor ) of at least 15. And remember to get one that is non comedogenic (one that will not clog the pores on your skin)

11.  Cucumber has a special ingredient that decreases bags under eyes.
A cool cucumber may relax the eyes no doubt, but it has no special ingredient. It’s the cool temperature of the water content of the cucumber that brings down the swelling. Cold helps constricts the vessels and brings down the redness.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

I've a grudge against 'natural' products

The word 'natural' as we know is the most abused word in cosmetic industry. There was once upon a time in India where we had Ponds cold cream, Afghan snow that women happily slathered without bothering what went inside. Then came Lakme with their moisturizer and winter care lotion - all in liquid form.

Now , its natural here and organic there and between chemical to natural there are umpteen confusing ingredients  on the bottle.

There is a whole lot of spoilt companies who are fooling people with this word natural. To me  besan + milk is natural and not that bottled ,stable at room temperature for days on end cleanser. Reetha +shikakai when boiled and strained make a dark brown concoction while there are so many bottles of shampoo  which are clear almost white labelled as shikakai - reetha shampoo. How does that become natural?

The only thing i like about Khadi is soaps and well the khadi cloth ! The shampoos contain SLES  and CAB which renders it unnatural in all the technical sense of the word.
And let me not even begin describing Lush !

How do they justify high prices on the basis of natural and organic , beats me ?

People kindly be informed - don't buy so called natural products because of their self blown trumpets - buy them if at all based on same parameters as the  heathen 'unnatural' products. Rest assured , you are paying as much for luxury on these products as say- mainstream product lines like L'oreal or even Lakme.
Yep ..the sad truth is all those lavenders ,citruses and kiwis are only 'motivational' ingredients in the form they are used in the formulation .Most of them are only fragrances and that too strong fragrances that actually does no good to the skin and may even cause allergy breakouts on sensitive skins.

Yes there are natural products which work  like honey, milk, turmeric, neem however it ALL depends on the way they are used and their stability depends on freshness. So mixing that honey with few lemon drops and washing of the face will help in its straight undiluted form but its not really helpful when in the bottle and often they are only 'motivational' ingredients.To sell !

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


"The opposite of love is not hate its indifference'.
As far as I recollect ,the first time i heard this saying was on Oprah Winfrey show years ago.At first it did not make sense - hate is such a maligned word.
But people who have experienced indifference will immediately nod their heads in agreement to above saying.I think hatred and the person who hates you can be disregarded, ignored but how do you ignore someone who is indifferent to you ?
The only way you'll eventually try to rule out  that indifference is by being indifferent yourself.

Monday, 7 February 2011

50 random things about me

I saw this post on fellow blogger's space and she did a real good job and i wanted to do one too .
So here i go: 50 random things about myself.
  1. I learnt sewing dresses and salwar kameez ,kurtas and curtains, pillow covers only 3 years ago.And strangely  i'm quite good at it.
  2. I love miserable,pining, aching  love stories. Especially when the protagonist is a male who preferably dies for love .Therefore i think 'A tale of two cities' by Charles Dickens and 'Jude the Obscure' by Thomas Hardy are the best love stories.
  3. I talk about books i like -impromptu.To anybody who will listen.And i can go on and on !
  4. I get uncomfortable when people praise me. Nowadays, i don't understand if the person is really praising me or just following some vague rule of etiquettes ! 
  5. I love pasta,dabba gosht and chinagrass pudding.
  6. I love only my mom's biryani. And i haven't eaten one since she fell sick and will never eat since she died 2 months ago. I can't eat biryani now at all because it makes me miserable.
  7. I can ride only a bicycle- not a bike or car because i'm shit scared of Pune traffic
  8. I'm cynical
  9. I don't give gifts but only money simply because its too confusing and secondly because in my mind's eye i can see the person i'm gifting talking about how bad the gift was !
  10. I like flowers even a bunch of daisies can perk me up and make me happy happy !
  11. I think the most romantic thing anyone could do for me is - if i fell sick [ God forbid- since i'm horrendous freak when i'm sick] he could care for me ,take care of my food and medicines and Be there.
  12. 1 haven't seen a single movie in theatre since last 8 years and i have lost interest in doing it too.
  13. I'm honest -sometimes too much.
  14. I'm shy....even if i'm perkiest,loudest etc !
  15. I love dancing but wouldn't be able to if my life depended on it !
  16. I have a bad temper.
  17. I eat sweets  and a lot of it only when i'm depressed.And that's quite often since a long time in my life.
  18. I cry easily - yup  movies, books and other people's tales of sorrow.
  19. I'm quite gullible and have only acquired good sense recently {doubtful !]
  20. I 'm a lipstick fiend. And now , everybody knows it !
  21. I'm a stickler for loyalty and quite easily break relationships if i feel betrayed.
  22. I don't express love verbally ... never have.Yup, i could write paens ,send email, in a card but can't express with my voice face to face.
  23. I'm misunderstood all the time.
  24. I  will wear out most of my clothes till i can. I acquired  this from childhood days because my mom used to stitch me and my sisters clothes uptill  last 5 years.I think its criminal to waste.
  25. I embroider my ridas with my 2 hands.[ a kind of burqa].Everything from tracing to beading and then mom used to stitch it up.
  26. I think that Internet is the greatest thing about this century ..i doubt if anything could beat what Internet has done to businesses,relationships and fraandships !
  27. I'm klutzy. I fall trip and hurt myself probably a thousand times in a day .Its a miracle that i'm still alive.
  28. Yup....in addition i've never suffered a fracture yet.
  29. I laugh loudly.
  30. I think Calvin and Hobbes is the Greatest comic strip ever !
  31. I make mean pastas, pizzas and idlis !
  32. I don't exercise but i'm everready to walk. I'll probably walk even if i'm a little sick.
  33. I hate to be overcharged and cheated and fret,fret fret till eternity.
  34. I nag people i love.
  35. I love going for a drive. i think sitting on a good sturdy bike and going for a drive with a guy is extremely romantic and extremely fun in case its done with friends.
  36. I am  rude and sometimes unknowingly and unintentionally.
  37. I get turned on by generous and extremely large hearted and wise guy- a really practical and wise {genuine wisdom only !] person !
  38. I love love Les Miserables, Pride and Prejudice,Anton Chekhov's story 'Grief".
  39. In my second life i want to be a lookalike of Audrey Hepburn.
  40. I get up late in the mornings although i sleep early at night since i'm a light and poor sleeper.
  41. I hate action bloody super hero kind of movies and don't watch horror because .....yes i get scared ! Only exception are Alfred Hitchcock's masterful creations.
  42. I've climbed Sinhagad tekdi  3 times in my life .I want to climb all mountains in the world however i doubt that'll happen !
  43. I think eating out is justifiable only under following circumstances: a] no food at home/don't want to cook b] romantic date c] staying away from home.
  44. I'm not ambitious nor street smart.
  45. I love icecreams 
  46. I love chocolate anything !
  47. Lately,I watch TV A LOT! Too many shows which are crap !
  48. I love my independence and hate it when people demand to know each and every minute detail of my whereabouts.
  49. I can wander alone in the markets...actually its more out of necessity than want these days :(
  50. I don't have girly girly friends :(

Saturday, 8 January 2011

We suffer ....but not in vain !

Here's an interesting article.
Please Don't Have a Nice Day
I'm kind of relieved that I'm not alone in thinking about pain,suffering and depression as probably a push - sometimes they are just the push ,a knock on the head - absolutely required for human race.I've learnt certain lessons only because of good solid knock on my head and melancholy and frustrations. Infact  I have learnt nothing from happy moments - not even gratitude ! Gratitude  i learnt from bad times and remembering to be grateful always is still a task !

"Human resilience is really quite astonishing. People are not the fragile flowers that a century of psychologists have made us out to be. People who suffer real tragedy and trauma typically recover more quickly than they expect to and often return to their original level of happiness, or something close to it. That's the good news—we are a hardy species, even though we don't know this about ourselves. The bad news is that the good things that happen to us don't feel as good or last as long as we think they will. So all that wonderful stuff we're aiming for—winning the lottery, getting promoted, whatever we think will change our lives—probably won't do it after all. We're resilient in both directions. We rebound from distress but we also rebound from joy."
-Daniel Gilbert from Stumbling on Happiness

Friday, 7 January 2011


Ok ,I think I've fetish for lipsticks ! I have tonnes of lipsticks and as far as i can remember I've completely used only one - a nude from Lakme ( this was easily a decade ago). My Mom got alarmed whenever she saw the dabba full of lipsticks and i think she mentally calculated how much i had spent.Now my spending on lipsticks increased alarmingly in the last decade which was full of strife,heartbreak,frustration ,stress,pain and general stupidity.The last decade was also the time where i worked jobs so i had the money. So ,like decadent selfish youth, i splurged and am still splurging on lipsticks.

Now don't get me wrong...I'm not a make up person however...I'm a lipstick person. During my teenage and twenties i seriously ( naively) thought kajal and lipstick means make up. So a beautiful palette of eyeshadows and blushes which was gifted sat gathering dust in the cupboard because invariably we 3 sisters ( yes ,we shared make up when we were naive, unselfish sisters) thought foundation and eyeshadow ,blushes was too much make up.

Now I'm talking about an age when Lakme ruled the roost in India and foundation was worn to make one whiter !

Why talk about make up now ??

Well, you see i accidently came across a make up blog and since then trawling makeup blogs and reading about all the beautiful blushes and stay on eyeliners is a kind of stressbuster in my miserable life.
Hurrah for internet and for the fact my father can afford one!

I also learnt how cleverly applied makeup can highlight features.And its trickery - make up is trickery ! And more importantly , I learnt about Chambor, Mac, Revlon,Maybelline and the stuff they hawk and of course now in hindsight i realize how some of the stuff from Lakme was really bad.
Maybelline i knew when i was in senior college . But hey, i always thought it was very expensive. Of course i now realize Revlon and Maybelline is just a drugstore brand in US and retails there so cheaply yet they are so costly in India. They retail for far more in India. But then in India, all make up is costly - especially the really good stuff and sometimes the bad useless stuff as well.

Now recently to stub my loneliness and grief, I bought eyeliner Prunella and Cocobar and metallic black and pledged to My Mom that i'll use my makeup, iron my clothes and be as well dressed as i possible can.More importantly use my lipsticks and not buy stuff which I'll probably never use !

Wash thy face

Since i'm conventional and since i did not have mom who always wore make up..i readily believed whatever my mom said especially about cosmetics and creams.
Now when my mom was young or for that matter well into her thirties they didn't have something called 'facewashes'. In fact i don't remember seeing multitudes of ads on Tv for facewash till the time i turned 15 and that's when i bought Garnier facewash and my mom wondered why i wanted to waste money. I'm a Mama's girl and that was true even when i used to argue with her, tell little white lies( yep, she has caught my big lies ALL the time- since i'm very bad at lying ).Anyway, so though i bought the tube i never really let go of 3 cheap recipes which always worked for me. I have a smooth wheatish brown skin without blemishes or pigmentation. Now , I've turned a full circle after last so many years of experimentation on creams, facewashes, shampoos and other blah blah.

Here are my failsafe recipes for fuss free facewash:

1. Mix fine masoor dal powder 1/2 tsp with 1 tbsp of milk (use full fat if you have very dry skin) then add 1/2 -1 tsp of lemon juice depending on the quantity and mix and apply to your face. Now if you have time - add 1/2 tsp honey ,a pinch of ambahalad.You can use this any time of the year.And to make this super easy for you- subsituite milk powder for milk, omit masoor dal powder for dryer skins or mix oats powder.

2. Another cheap deep cleansing face wash for pimple prone skin is honey + lemon juice+ mild reetha water .Apply and wash off after 5 minutes. Mild reetha water can be made using 2 reetha soaked in 1 glass of water ,mashed filtered and stored in fridge. Add a pinch of sodium benzoate to this to increase its shelf life.

3.Another simple face wash is dahi + honey + pinch of ambahalad.

You can add and minus a lot of stuff from these basic recipes depending on your knowledge,time and patience.The smart thing to do here is make this stuff for one-time use only.
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