Monday, 31 December 2012

wil mindsets change?

Will Indian mentality change? Maybe in another 100 years? maybe when there is certain amount of erosion of 'plain wrong' 'values and traditions'.Or may be when women become dying extinct species in India !

Overheard in Pune's PMT bus..........

Lady:[in marathi- i am transliterating] get up. Ladies seat.
Man:[ seating in ladies seat ]: ladies seat what do i do..i am going to get up after few stops,sit that time.
lady: [to the conductor]: see, what he is telling..
Conductor: Oh ,you have sat uptill now na...chala chala get up.

The man mutters under his breath and gets up and vacates the seat.

Just few stops away i was standing there and i didn't even know that ladies seat enforcement was even being done seriously in Pune PMT. When it was introduced in pune nearly 5-6 yrs back, men resented it. Like stubborn asses, they refused to get up from marked and allocated seats. Now the buses have gone to the dogs and most markings have disappeared.As far as i know, ladies have stopped asking men to get up from ladies seat.Men still stubbornly occupy them.Conductors and PMT doesn't care.

After all this drama,an extra smart gentleman with a 10-12 yr old son in tow starts his monologue.He goes like this:

Man: [in educated marathi] There is ladies bus na to Hadapsar.Ladies should travel in ladies bus so they reach safely and men too can comfortably travel.

Conductor didn't reply back.

The point is not that men don't deserve comforts....but how much ? They are physically stronger than women.They use their physical strength and boast about it and show off whether in sports, office and at home.Yet, ALL the unpaid work is done by women.They come home to housewives, clean house, fed and bathed children and home-cooked food all free of cost and yet they grudge the basic rights of women which were anyways theirs to take.When it comes to sharing of 'outside the home' spaces, the hearts of Indian men shrink to minuscule level. They DON'T want women to share all their spaces: office, playgrounds, pavements ,public transports.They think all this belongs only to them that's why the few times i have travelled with my Dad in Mumbai locals they have pointedly told me that 'there are women coaches'.

Pune men are even more smart: they want women to wait for rare ,once in 5 hours PMT -only women bus so that they [men] can travel in peace !

Saturday, 29 December 2012

a person died........

      the Delhi student who was gang-raped died at early hours today in Singapore...and Delhi police ramped up and secured vital points of Delhi and made some zones inaccessible to protestors.This is what Delhi police can do ! Probably ,anywhere in India police would do the same ! The police personnel are probably wondering what is the hullabaloo is all about. After all, it was not a terrorist attack ! just some girl raped.......died.

        Girls die all the time in India.True, men die too !But in India and other developing countries,women die mostly because of trauma, abuse and incredible hard lives...that's the difference !

I am for capital punishment for rape and castration for minor rapists. Rape also could be made non- bailable offence! The noose could be tightened and made so tight that men in India would think thrice before taking advantage of women in vulnerable areas and positions.

The men who commit rape should not be allowed to cover their faces in public.Their names should be printed and paraded about.

For medieval mindsets and patriarchal norms in India , we need medieval punishments and deterrents. Otherwise apathetic men and women like Kakoli Ghosh will continue to spout bakwas and remain in power !

If capital punishment is made for rape,it may not stop rape but it might motivate Indian men and women to bring up their sons more responsibly and may instill more confidence in women to move about freely in this country. The girl died ....and this has instilled fear in parents of girls and indian women of all ages.

If nothing is done about this Indian women will live in fear and rapists and indian men and women with patriarchal mindsets would have a huge margin !

Saturday, 22 December 2012


I have been following the increasing outrage and public protest  over the gang rape of the 23yr old student.While she copes bravely and according to televised reports is mentally stable and coping with her injuries,Delhi's young are out on the streets.

And that's good ! Majority of protestors are young people ! That is a good sign ! Why are there not similar public protests against the police,lawmakers, law enforcers and finally Government all over India ?

Are police and bureaucrats only there to make 'money' while they hold Government offices ? The aam admi like me and you are hassled everyday by this 'democratic' governance which quietly accepts bribes and tokens and gifts just to do their work.
And then that too they don't do properly!

Police force is dominated by men.They always have been since so many years. Couldn't they be sensitized towards crimes against women? How many more years will that take ? And meanwhile, do they expect women to keep quiet and not demand justice and suffer in silence ?

Police women [ the few there are] are useless and unkind to other women so clearly being a woman in law enforcement will not guarantee anything !

Rape is not just about sex. Men don't understand RAPE !For them its sex at ALL costs ! Women who bring up sons need to drill in their minds that touching a woman without her consent is NOT ACCEPTABLE. Parents who bring up sons need to drill this again and again and again till their sons get this message. It needs to start at the very young age.

Please talk about sex to your sons or go to a doctor who can answer all questions about it.Teach your daughters to not be coy or mistake possessiveness for love and not flirt for favours !
Lastly, stop ostracizing rape victims ! Its not her fault even if she wore short skirt, went out alone with the guy on a date,or just trusted a friend.Its not her fault if the husband didn't understand 'No', or that leech of an uncle took advantage of her young age of 3.

Ostracize the rapist not the victim ! If Police force of India CANNOT respect women and do their jobs then may be we don't need this kind of lethargic police force !

As a nation, India has failed ! Indian women are still going around in circles of Indian culture,values,responsibilities with a whole lot family honour dumped on her frail shoulders !

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Indian men

Men don't care about rape .Indian men more so !No wonder when heinous rape cases make headlines...most men keep quiet and slink away. Women get angry and depressed and sometimes both!

Women get afraid ..Indian women are habituated and trained to live in fear. So much so when brave Indian women live on their own and are actively choosing their virtues and vice , indian men have a problem with it.They don't want indian women to breathe ,live and be happy without them. They just want them to cook,clean and breed for them without asking questions.

Indian men talk a lot about culture.... they make sure their wives and daughters remain within 'culture'then they go out of their homes and stare and stare at every passing woman.Some men think its alright to stare and make the indian woman uncomfortable!

Here i want to tell you my experience. I went on religious trip to Kerbala [Iraq] 2 years ago with my Mom and Dad. From the moment I stepped on battle weary and bombed Iraq,i experienced a freedom of different kind...the men there [Muslim majority country] didn't grope me,not one stared at me, didn't bore into my eyes while talking to me.I was a foreigner there wearing a colorful rida among their women in sea of black.

They were gruff and aloof and mostly avoided talking to us [ though Iraqi women did talk with us indian women in the mausoleums].But not one man made me feel conscious of being a woman the whole 12 days i was there.I felt free in a burkha clad Iraqi city.That is what i still have to feel in India !

Indian men are socially warped..because they want to cover up their women in the name of culture and then go out of their homes and tear off clothes of a woman and rape her because her jeans was too tight or skirt too short.
I think its not about clothes because even saree clad women and salwar kameez wearing women are raped in India.

Women and men in India are bringing up boys too lightly,too much undisciplined.Mothers don't know what their sons are upto.Parents here hide the son's faults, don't give stricter punishments. Something is fundamentally wrong with Indian society and the way its brings up its children especially men.

Men are not gods, a solution to all your problems,woman!Recognize what harm your son is capable of .Instead of insisting he becomes a MAN,just insist he becomes a human being...a decent one at that !

Stop sweeping everything under Indian values and culture.

Monday, 3 December 2012


There are films and then there are Films !

I watched Aiyya on TV 15 days ago and now i have already seen it thrice.Its come on TV quite early since its release and that means the film has not probably done well in theatres as other 'B%%&*&* films have been doing.

When i saw the film , i instantly felt it may not have done well simply because it was woman centric, Not Khan oriented, and it was Not derogatory to women as Rowdy Rathore or such trash dished out in the name of mainstream 'entertainment'.

Before any one jumps at me..i tried to see Rowdy rathore when it came on TV.It was pure F&%&%* Bullshit. I just could not tolerate the innuendos and pure rustic derogatory portrayal of women both in lyrics and the dialogues.It induced an headache and i lost interest halfway through the movie.It was not funny and not worth a penny.

On the contrary, Aiyya was pure fun. Rani Mukherji was innocent, funky and sexy all at the same time ! I wanted to see the film for Rani since in the promos she sizzled and was sparkling in every weird dialogue of the film.I wished I had seen it in a theatre but i am so disillusioned by Bollywood films that wasting 200+ and make an effort to go to the theatre is too much work for me!

The whole concept of a middle class woman following her nose [ literally] dreaming,lusting after a guy of her choice was great.

Such a different and refreshing film ! The loud comic scenes were devoid of cheap thrills and for the first time i actually laughed at the slapstick comedy. Slapstick comedy by women ! Even the melodrama was endearing !
No boring repetitive reference to heroine's patli kamar and how it enthrals and makes the day of the hero. No bakwas on how a woman should be ! No bikini in one scene and then salwar kameez in another. No unnecessary and forced drinking and shooting drugs to sport coolness or heartbreak.

Rani's character Meenaxi even runs away on her engagement day to wait for the chance to speak to the guy of her dreams.She brings him home and frankly asks to get married to him.How cool,liberated and reeking of bravado is that!

The end of the film seemed hurried and there was something missing in certain scenes but overall the captivating performance by Rani stole the show.

Prithviraj played the supportive role and was an apt 'object of desire'.Prithiviraj was hot, period !

The day dreaming scenes where Rani drifts off to ultra glamorous avatar completely different than her day to day life was completely relatable by me.I used to notoriously and vicariously live in my crazy dreams and i was always more beautiful, more glamourous, and slimmer with a perfect figure in my day dreams !
How cool it is to portray this reality of most of us middle class ordinary girls and women !

The movie was fresh fun and i loved the background score when the credits rolled out at the end !

A different woman oriented film.Go watch it for Rani Mukherji..i like her better in Aiyya than Black !

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Most of us do facial to relax and hopefully undo some surface level damage to the skin. Nowadays i have heard dermats doing some curative level peels and facial which mimic the effect of a facelift. Completely remove the old skin to reveal new skin.Well, i have no idea about them since i haven't got it done.

I want to share the basic facial I do at home.I am always amazed by how little amount of ingredients is required for a facial at home and most of them are there at home.There are so many delicious sounding kits available in the market by most brands. I haven't used any but i am sure they must be getting the job done if you don't expect the moon from them and don't believe their claims.

Here's what i do:

1. Cleansing:

I usually wash my face with a facewash before i start.Then depending on my mood i use either a ready made mild scrub like Ever yuth 's ultra mild scrub. I like this one its papain based [papaya enzyme] or Nivea Pore refining scrub face wash directly [ i don't know if its still available in india]. For extra exfoliation i either use plain table salt/instant coffee powder and gently rub it on the face. Sometimes when i am out of scrubs,i apply cleansing milk[ i use garnier/lakme] and then use salt/ coffee or cocoa powder and rub it all over my face and neck for 2-3 mins.

When you rub your face be gentle.You'll usually require only 1/4th tsp of salt/ coffee powder. Do it only for 2-3 mins.Keep applying water if skin feels dry.

2. Massaging:

I don't really massage my face because i don't know how to.So whatever little i know i use simple gentle strokes. I apply either olive/sesame/jojoba/apricot oils from the bottle in winters and coconut oil in summers.Sometimes i mix a little of oils with my moisturiser and apply. The point i am trying to make is i use whatever is on hand and what i feel like using at that time.I use refined oils and olive oil i use is usually the light yellow one [ so not extra virgin oil:I rather eat extra virgin olive oil than put it on my hair or face]

Massage and apply oil or cream till its soaked in.


I have 2 standard recipes for face packs: For winter: In milk i put lemon juice, let it curdle then add honey,ambahalad and manjisth powders .Then depending on requirement,availability and mood, i add either powdered oats/masoor dal powder. Sometimes i add kokum butter/moisturiser to it.

In summers: I mix multani mitti with milk/ rose water add, sandal,manjisth and ambahalad to make face pack.

I keep the pack for 20 mins.

I usually have some herbs like licorice, neem always around so i use them too sometimes.I remember once i used my regular moisturiser as base and added neem powder and oats to make face pack.It works really well.

I wash off with water and dry with a towel. I usually don't find the need to moisturise afterward but if you do you can definitely apply a moisturiser or serum.

That's it. I admit its not fancy but i like how clean, smooth my skin becomes afterwards.In summers especially,the multani mitti pack dries up oil and shrinks pores,cleans the skin all at one go.

If you try it do let me know if it worked well for you as it has for me.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength No Chip Nail Color

The first cosmetic i purchased when 12 was a light brown Lakme nailpolish. I didn't even know how to apply neither did Mom. You see, my mom never used nailpaints.

But i still remember how i used to apply in diwali vacations and how i got rapped on knuckles by nuns in school because i didn't remove nail polish when school restarted. I didn't know there was some thing called nail polish poor mom found one for me and scrubbed my nails clean. I promptly forgot about the nail polish until i found it in my drawer after some years ...dried and flaky.

I somehow never became a nailpaint fiend. My guess is its because it required time to apply well and then to dry and because i grew up in times when only 'actresses' or 'bold' girls wore bright nail polishes [read red and its shades!]. So i got stuck with a mental framework and subtle light peach,pink or mocha colors.

I wore light peach,lilac,light brown,nude,light pink through out college. Half the time i never had to remove nail polish- i worked with ethanol,acetone, hexanol,toluene in the lab through out college. On top of it, my nails chipped and broke easily. Here i want to tell you i have slim long fingers and nails so i was quite happy with their appearance even though I couldn't grow nails longer than 1/8th of a cm.

I am impatient with nails so though broke i used to use Maybelline express finish and Revlon. Only these 2 were available besides Lakme which talked about fast drying and long wear about 14 years ago. Its only now that there is Colorama. I have used Colorama [maybelline]. They are quite ok but some shades chip like plastic in about a day. I still use Maybelline Express Finish and Revlon. Revlon has hopeless colours now - nothing new. But these two are the only easily available ones which survive more than 2 days on my nails.

So my search lead me to try Sally Hansen.I asked my dad to bring Sally Hansen Diamond strength nail paint. It costs nearly Rs 500 in india and that too online. I haven't seen any in stores in Pune.

Since,dad would bring from US i asked for one. Its cost him $4 -$5.He got me one called 'Pink Promise'. For shade and other details go here.
<p>Diamond Strength No Chip Nail Color</p>

The USP of this range is touted as: No chip.

And Chip it DID NOT !

The colour was warm light sparkly silver pink and to test it i put only 2 coats without topcoat.

It lasted a week on me. Can you imagine ? Here i would like to add that i do lot of house work and wash utensils with my hands without gloves. I am telling you this only because i was so surprised that it lasted a week....I would have been happy with only 4 days of perfect nails because most nail paints don't follow through their claims especially 'No-chip' claim

So can you imagine how long it would last on some one who doesn't do much with her hands.

Other things i noticed is : No smell/vapors of anything otherwise nailpaints smell of toulene or something ! The Maybelline Express Finish have acetonish/or aldehyde smell so does Revlon.

I plan to try one from Sally Hansen's regular range too.

Go get hold of it...if you have friends in US ask them to buy you some.Or buy from india.... I don't know just try for yourself.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Fem Bleach

I don't have any aspiration to become fair - never had. I'm pretty happy with my skin color.However, i do yearn for alabaster, pore-less, perpetual young, clear, smooth skin. Ideally , i'd prefer if i never have to consider botox or other surgical treatments for a smoother skin. Alas ! i know its not going to happen.I 'm growing older and the skin will become wrinkled and i'll look old and as yet there is no miracle in a jar !

I bleach [ home bleach kits] primarily for smoothing skin and lighten facial hair.And most women do bleach for exactly those reasons. Bleach creams have existed since god knows when..and for most its a quick fix for smoother fairer skin.

All home bleachkits are same inspite of claims of gold,silver diamond ,neem, turmeric and other such crap . However,if choices have to be made i choose on how fast it works,and whether my skin turns red after bleaching.There is nothing extraordinary in home bleach kits. Its pure chemical reaction which takes place on surface of the skin.

I have used Olivia,Ayur once , older Fem bleach twice. I used to use Jolen quite often untill one day i got a packet with empty activator container and jar with half cream when i bought it.They all turned my skin red for a day or so.

I use bleach only on face and neck.....too lazy to use anywhere else !Infact, i was so sour with bleaching that i stopped bleaching for 3 years during my mom's sickness [i stopped many things like doing eyebrows which i used to do religiously since 15 years of age, cutting my hair - i used to change my hair cut every year. I have tried all hairstyles out there. I was a maniac . ....I chopped off perfectly good long hair for a boy cut].

Then one day 6-7 months ago i spotted Fem Bleach and decided to give it a try. My skin had taken a beating and i had to go to a wedding and i wanted temporary gleam !

I purchased the blue one for wheat colored skin without any expectations.When i used, i experienced 2 things: 1] it didn't burn at all 2] it didn't turn my skin red afterwards.

With just the minimum amount of activator it turned my skin smoother,even and lightened facial hair. I used it strictly as shown in the pamphlet in the box. I was so happy. For the first time i could bleach properly without any trial and error with the bloody activator.

So yeah , i recommend Fem Bleach to bleaching maniacs out there who bleach for every reason,season or rhyme !

Saturday, 20 October 2012

heart attacks and women

Most of the women live in the knowledge that 'heart attacks [ congestive heart failure,myocardial infarction ] are 'MEN'S DISEASE'.
Years and years of magazine articles and health spreads of everyday newspapers have gone on and on about symptoms of heart attacks in men.

Here is a talk from TED which will quickly dispel all your myths !
health threat women face

The moot points are :

In men, heart attacks are loud, quick and painful.Yes , groping left arm pain and chest pain and when they are rushed to hospitals and when labs are done most indicators are high which gives a clear indication of an heart attack.

In women, signs are subtle, chest pain  may be there or not or even slight. Some experience conflicting symptoms like nausea and uneasy sensation or giddiness. And the cardiac indicators on the lab tests are not high enough sometimes to cause alarm in the doctors .So diagnosis is poor. So in a women it largely goes undiagnosed on time and treatment modalities are also not as effective as in men.

The good news is in India doctors have woken up and are aware that women present heart disease symptoms in different ways and are actively and seriously looking when women come with even a minor chest discomfort or other symptoms.

What can women do for themselves ?

1. Recognise the new stats and be aware . In india breast cancer is still a greater killer in women because of late diagnosis in most cases. Similarly be aware and take care of your heart.Do those preventive health check ups.

2. In India more and more women are working late hours, are doubly stressed..........and more importantly we have to fight for everything that is actually is our God given rights. India is not the best place to be a women but i'm hopeful that things might change. In india women work in the house and outside while roles of men are still only as breadwinner. I know being a care taker is hardwired in our DNA but take good care of yourself too. Don't blame yourself,feel guilty or ashamed and if you do actively try to learn skills to combat these feelings.Don't be in hurtful relationships or friendships.Don't care what others are telling especially those who point fingers at you and trying to make you feel bad by judging you.Don't lose yourself in trying to be a good wife ,good DIL or daughter or even a mother. Ask the men in your lives to help you. Bringing up children and running a household is even his responsibility. Seriously, having children and how many and even marriage is a choice.Women face the brunt of pregnancy and bringing up children so its only your choice alone.

3. In india,in conservative households, leftovers are mostly eaten by women and fresh food is given to men. While there is nothing wrong in eating leftovers, make sure its eaten by all or make food only in required quantities. This requires paradigm shift because i have seen women are in charge of cooking and preparing food in such households yet they treat themselves like this.Hold men to different standards: If a man cries or helps in the kitchen, cooks food,cleans the house and is vocal about his feelings.... ITS GOOD !He doesn't become less of a man in any way.If you want to be treated equal and want gentler men , stop saying boys don't cry and bring up boys like human beings instead of MEN !

4. Go for your walks. Instead of taking a rick for 2kms walk if you have the time. Take stairs instead of lifts. Exercise. More and more women have pauch just like men because they have stopped doing physical work and are sitting in office and working on computers.Go do your errands and make the men in your life too and even your children otherwise how they will learn to maintain an active physical life.The funny thing is even maids i see these days are fatter !
The only way to increase stamina unfortunately is 'resistance'- when you strain against something or pull weight ! So don't be afraid to pick up heavy bags or stuff untill and unless you have been told by doctors not to !

5. Don't try to be like men...they are NOT very good role models! Smoking ,drinking,drugs,chewing tobacco and paan masala give the same high to women and men. But women physiology is different then men.These substances when consumed will affect and lead to horrible diseases !So not worth it !

6. In india,men are not trained in household chores by their mothers so for some women it becomes double work of working outside and then doing household chores too. So either spend on help [ which is a different pain in itself- finding good reliable help] or plan to do only this much and delegate other work to husbands and kids.While you are at it make sure you teach your sons and daughters to cook and clean up after themselves if nothing else !

7. Why do i stress on learning to cook- hey its directly related to your health. You decide which oil you use and how much. You decide how to cook a certain vegetable and how much. How much personalization will an eatery,cook or even a fancy dabbawallah give you ? So untill and unless you are a millionaire with an obedient and health conscious cook who will minutely follow your instructions you better learn to cook whether you like it or not. Eating junk food and surviving on maggi all the time because you won't cook or won't make time for cooking your meals will directly affect your health and weight.

8. Make informed choices that are good for you. Don't just do what others expect of you.I know for most women this is very difficult especially simpler, meek and gentle natured women.Do only stuff which makes you feel good and not used.And making these choices is going to be a constant battle.If you are gentle and trusting as person, predatory men and women will try to undermine you in different ways and complicate your life.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Avocado oil

I first saw an avocado and ate one on my brief visit to Bengalore.Its a funny fruit, green on the outside with a huge pit in the stomach and flesh with no taste of its own !

Goes without saying i didn't know there was an oil pressed from the fruit and yeah even has a butter- avocado butter.

One of my friends got me Avocado oil from US - Now foods brand a 100ml bottle. Its edible and also to be used in personal care as an emollient. I had asked her to get Apricot and avocado oil if possible since i had heard about these exotic oils which are unavailable in India easily and effortlessly.

i used Avocado oil mixed with coconut oil in winters only for luxurious pampering on skin.So i knew it to be super moisturizing, non greasy and gives a soft conditioning effect on the skin even after shower.

One day when my hair felt drier than usual i thought of using avocado oil on scalp alone. My scalp is drier than hair on most days.i didn't expect anything but just after shampooing alone my hair was smooth,frizz free and soft ....moreover my scalp felt soft and conditioned too. I usually oil the scalp more and just lightly the hair strands. No other oil has given me a conditioned soft scalp especially after shampooing with the sole purpose of removing oil !

My hair didn't require any conditioner. They 'felt' conditioned,'fed' and soft to touch.Well, its been a year since i have been oiling with avocado oil atleast once in approx 40 days.Its only an 100ml bottle and i'm already on lookout on how i can procure avocado oil easily in India. Any answers?

I'm in love with this oil. Will switch to avocado oil completely once i do manage to sort out procurement issues.

Do try it. I recommend for dry, parched hair and scalp !Just a simple oil massage and shampoo it out as usual ! Just plain oil with no additives,essential oils or herbs . Don't boil it with any herbs in it. Just use it out of the bottle !

All time favourite songs

I have always been extremely particular about what music i listen to. Mostly i have been neurotically loyal and fastidious about what i really like. Goes without saying i don't listen to what i 'tolerate' or don't like. Well , that's why i usually don't listen to Radio until and unless i remember when my favourite tracks are played.
 I have a huge list of favourites. India's musical legacy is so rich and diverse that there is so much of variety to listen to and like.

The list is in no particular order :

1. Suriili Akhiyon wale- Rahat fateh ali khan. Like his father Nusrat fateh ali khan[ who is my favourite too] his voice is like silk and very suited to melodies. I like his other songs too but Surili akhiyon wale is ethereal and the music is superb.

2. Mirza Ghalib's nazms sung by Talat mahmood and Jagjit Singh. I am crazy about Talat Mahmood's and Jagjit Singh's voice. They have sung lots of ghazals and nazms and really for Mirza Ghalib who better than these two.

3.Music from Hindi film industry especially of 70's and before holds a special place in my heart. There are some movies which are known more for the exceptional music and beautiful songs. My favorites are Guide,Arth,Bazaar,Ghar,Anubhav,Ijaazat,Aandhi,Teesri Manzil,Umroa jaan, Pakeezah and Bandini.I have grown up listening to these songs and they are part of my childhood.

4. ABBA,Nazia Hassan,My fair Lady,Cliff Richards,Sting,Eagles,Ronan Keating -These too form a part of childhood and youth.i am not fan of hard rock and couldn't really bear the loud music in discotheques. But i love disco,jazz. In pain ,sadness ,failures and disappointments ABBA has stood me through. Not many people know that whenever i feel pain and am hurt...Dancing Queen plays in my head automatically. That is the way i go past that pain /hurt. I still blast ABBA as loudly as i can to block out pain and hurts. I want to be buried with ABBA and Beethoven's 9th Symphony playing in the background if it would be possible!

5.Beethoven's symphonies,Joplin, Rachmaninoff- I have heard a few pieces of western classical but am no expert on it.Beethoven is my newest love. I have heard Beethoven more and seem to instinctively drawn to his music- angst and pathos . His 9th Symphony is favourite from what i have heard so far.

6. Deewana by sonu nigam. This album is my favourite of this singer. Each and every song.

This list is no way complete.There are so many gems which are waylaid..........

What are your favourites ?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Do you remember the movie Aashiqui ? Well if you don't know the craze it garnered and about the movie then i guess you were born after 1993 !

This is not the movie review...but then why am i talking about it ? Well, because Ashiqui along  with QSQT is tied in with my teenage years.My blessed years when i was in 8th ,9th and 10th standard.

To tell you the truth i hadn't seen the movie in theatre at that time. My parents were never movie mongers. And i heard about Ashiqui and QSQT from girls at school. I was in all girls school. I don't know how all- girls' convent schools are these days [ for that matter- i don't identify my school years with school going children in these times] but when i was in school most of the girls' were just curious about boys and usually the bold ones had talked to and played with guys. Otherwise all we did was fantasize about romance and pretty clothes after seeing them in movies!

This was the time when movies- was just about song,dance and romance...and pretty much nothing else. The songs of ashiqui were sung in school by girls in free periods,in competitions etc. They became big. Well ,I hadn't seen the movie then ! Knew about the songs because they were blared everywhere on probably every festival !

I saw Ashiqui yesterday on TV for the first time. And it seemed so cliched ,so innocent, so full of hamming and so typical !

Ashiqui had everything - a typical formula ! It has the hero writing a letter with blood, staring up at the heroine through her window, a side kick - a best friend who just keeps hanging around the hero day or night and has all the time and money in the world.A leaky story and convenient twists in the plot which all Hindi movie scripts were full of then yeah worth a watch especially if you have blown up 200 bucks for Rowdy Rathore kind of movies !

The movie is full of melodramatic overacting and the hero and heroine notably forgetttable and wooden. The dialogues are typical 90s with ....main tum se pyar karta hu shouted from the rooftops and across the roads. The romance these days on screen is more practical and real [ well, as much as they can be !]

Another flare that Ashiqui portrayed was of 'love at first sight' . I mean true love at first sight kind ! A rarity in these ascrambled times. I didn't believe in love at first sight then and nor do i believe now but the 90s movies were full of that. The hero swears of true love before he exchanges names and 'how do you dos' with the heroine.How cool and cheesy is that? Makes one believe that such a love might exist !

The heroine was a change. For a country obsessed with fair skin, there is this dusky brown and very tall heroine who doesn't look like one !Kudos for that !But somehow, we didn't see much of her later !
The heroine is also shown wanting to be independent and is later shown helping her lover..though that macho guy misunderstands her and fights with her. But then like all Bollywood movies it ends on a happy note.

Well, those were the days...............

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Ode to Mom

My Mom was superhuman. You see all those moms in Bollywood films pushing cloth through the sewing machine sadness writ large on her face ....well sewing machine part is where the similarity ends.Instead imagine my mom . ....Cutting pattern for colorful frocks, dainty midis, tops for skirts and even school uniforms and she worked in between preparing meals,praying and shopping for groceries !

My mom made sewing looked pretty and a breeze. I have always seen her cheerful and slowly working away on a dress or punjabi.Earlier i was too young to understand the kind of hard work and intelligence that went in sewing clothes not just kaam chaloa but beautiful and dainty which looked like branded ready-mades.

Now that I sew myself i know how much work it is to make a perfect kurta which looks like  ready-made. I am my Mom's daughter as i grow older i am more her than ever before. I started sewing properly 5-6 year ago- from knowing nothing to actually sewing garments !My journey is still on. I have never been to classes. i learnt from books, and by actually doing the old fashioned way !

I regret the nakhras i did.. when i got older. the neck is too small ,its not the color  i want ..its not the style i want. When i look back now, i guess i was spoiled because i have grown up wearing pretty frocks,skirts salwar kameez made by mom. Now that mom was growing older, and I taller, and with 2 other daughters i guess life took a toll on mom.

When i see clothes in the market today ...everything in malls is boring and absolutely with almost zero patterning and outrageously costly at that. i sew simple kurtas with trimmings , lace and that too looks flamboyant compared to those available in malls.

Nowadays i feel i wear simpler kurtas than i wore in my teenage and early 20's - Mom made so much more intricately patterned kurtas and salwar kameezes when we grew up.Sigh ! I have lots too learn in sewing to be as good as Mom. I wish i had started sewing earlier.

My sisters i feel are dressed even more poorly when it comes to indian wear.They buy off the shelf because they don't know sewing and i guess not interested either.There is nothing wrong in that but i feel sad because we have Mom's legacy - when we were poorer my mom made us look like Rich man's daughters-always dressed well.She utilised every scrap and every half metre of cloth remaining to make us and the house look good.

I recycle clothes usually those which are still strong and barely used- just like mom. Instead of throwing away unwanted barely used clothes we can turn them into some new clothing or a bag or something . Possibilities are endless ! Sometimes i get overwhelmed and do give away because you guessed recycling requires lot of creativity, imagination and proper planning. Since i am not married,i don't have kids i can make pretty frocks for and therefore recycle at a faster rate ! :-P

Mom i miss you and wished i had started sewing under you earlier and therefore for a longer period of time !

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

yeh na thi hamari kismat........

दिखाई दिये यूं कि बेख़ुद किया
हमें आप से भी जुदा कर चले

जबीं सजदा करते ही करते गई
हक़-ए-बन्दगी हम अदा कर चले

परस्तिश की यां तक कि अय बुत तुझे
नज़र में सभों की ख़ुदा कर चले

बहुत आरज़ू थी गली की तेरी
सो यां से लहू में नहा कर चले 

- मीर ताकी मीर 
तुम न आए तो क्या सहर न हुई
हाँ मगर चैन से बसर  न हुई
मेरा नाला सुना ज़माने ने
एक तुम हो जिसे ख़बर न हुई

-मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब 

 नुक्‌तह-चीं है ग़म-ए दिल उस को सुनाए न बने
क्‌या बने बात जहां बात बनाए न बने

मैं बुलाता तो हूं उस को मगर अय जज़्‌बह-ए दिल
उस पह बन जाए कुछ ऐसी कि बिन आए न बने

खेल सम्‌झा है कहीं छोड़ न दे भूल न जाए
काश यूं भी हो कि बिन मेरे सताए न बने

ग़ैर फिर्‌ता है लिये यूं तिरे ख़त को कि अगर
कोई पूछे कि यह क्‌या है तो छुपाए न बने

इस नज़ाकत का बुरा हो वह भले हैं तो क्‌या
हाथ आवें तो उंहें हाथ लगाए न बने

कह सके कौन कि यह जल्‌वह-गरी किस की है
पर्‌दह छोड़ा है वह उस ने कि उठाए न बने

मौत की राह न देखूं कि बिन आए न रहे
तुम को चाहूं कि न आओ तो बुलाए न बने

बोझ वह सर से गिरा है कि उठाए न उठे
काम वह आन पड़ा है कि बनाए न बने

`इश्‌क़ पर ज़ोर नहीं है यह वह आतिश ग़ालिब
कि लगाए न लगे और बुझाए न बने

-मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब 


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Do you need a lipbalm ?

May be you need one in Antartica ,Artic,Alaska or maybe even Canada throughout the year. .....But do you need one in india? That too a 150-200 bucks chapstick?

Frankly speaking , i don't understand the craze about lipbalms except perhaps that one would like them because they are orangey, strawberry like or even minty !

Earlier only a cream colored horrible smelling chapsticks were available and most people i knew while growing up applied petroleum jelly [vaseline],coconut oil or desi ghee that too in winters when even smiling became difficult without a little grease !

 The first chapstick i bought was cocoa one of Lotus for merely 60 bucks probably around 6-7 years ago.I really liked it. It was soft like lipstick and it actually worked in winters.Earlier i used it only in winters...then i got addicted to the sheen and started using it almost throughout the year [most days when i remembered it,that is]

Well, that started a circle....untill one day a brick fell over my head and i remembered i had only used vaseline in winters that too over oil layer for so many years after my toddler phase and i never had chapped lips except due to cold wintry winds.

And here i was diligently applying Nivea, Neutrogena and had finished 2 tubes of lotus lipbalms and still everyday i got up in the morning with chapped lips.

Well, i had to test my hypothesis- Were lipbalms just a temporary barrier and were actually causing my lips to dry up through out the year ?

I have stopped using lipbalm from last 2 month :- cold turkey ! i still use lipsticks but over a layer of moisturizer or olive oil or ghee. I have 2 tubes of Nivea fruity shines which i use over lipsticks for guess what - shine !

And i am happy to report my lips have gone to back where i had left them ages ago. They are soft and smooth and not cracked at all and i plan to continue the same in winters with of course a thick layer of vaseline over the oil/ghee.

Moral of the story: I don't think you really need lipbalms - the lipsticks these days are super moisturizing and i think lipbalms perpetuate dry chapped lips through out the year instead of only in winters.
But if you want to use balms/jelly in lieu of lipstick, I think it'll function as a barrier,make it easier to smile,improve the look and feel of lips temporarily and probably never 'cure' chapped lips !

Do you agree? What do you have to say ?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Lotion -Potion!

I am not a lotion person . I never remember to apply moisturizer soon after a shower[ usually i don't have the time]. I remember and apply moisturizer only in winters when my skin is dry and stretchy[ in winters stretchy skin is hard to ignore and therefore applying a moisturiser is a requirement].

However, i love pampering myself and i find a simple oil-sugar scrub both relaxing and moisturizing ! I have been applying oil long before i knew anything about abhyanga or anything about ayurveda. My mom used to ask us to apply coconut oil after bath if skin felt dry and stretchy when we were kids and she used to do the same. Coconut oil is ubiquitous in india and lightest of most oils.

I came to know about 'winter care lotions ' when - you guessed it- Lakme introduced it in the markets ! So , for Pune's winters [ almost 16-17 years] we bought our first winter care lotion that everyone in the house used.

I didn't know about OCM except till now. I never knew that i was 'OCMming' when i applied coconut/sesame oil on my face and washed it off with face wash or soap. For years i applied oil to my face and body before bath atleast once a week..... .just plain oil , sesame, coconut and recently olive oil sometimes.

Now ,of course, OCM [oil cleansing method] and abhyanga is all over the internet and TV and the hype around ayurveda and the interest is tremendous!

You don't have to moisturize.In India, some cities are humid and hot and others are dry and hot. We are being sold huge on moisturizers and body lotions ! But everyone doesn't need it all the time and in every season. And believe me in winter months, the commonly available lotions are just not enough.

Most people break out because they use fragrant rich lotion on wrong skin type and in wrong season ! We definitely don't need 'body butters'. For most people a water based emollient or a light coating of mineral oil or petroleum jelly would be just enough.Anyways, that is what is there in all those lotions out there ! ---Paraffin liquidum[ Paraffin oil], Mineral oil and emollients like cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol etc.

For the longest time, I use to mix petroleum jelly in my normal light lotion for winters when i was college going girl always short on pocket money because i had read it in some hindi magazine and it worked ! And i still do that in a pinch. You'll always find petroleum jelly in my house !

Moreover, all of us have 'dry spots'. Like some people do lot of housework or hard work with hands for them heavy moisturizer for arms and hands is a must in any season ! I have dry facial skin and dry areas on arms and legs so i moisturize only those areas.

For some years now, i do oil massage only once in 2-3 months because of laziness, and lack of interest ! So i do the next best thing, I mix kokum butter in my regular moisturiser and a bit of glycerin and make my regular moisturiser 'heavy'. Sometimes i do add a bit of fresh coconut oil and i mix up small batches and use it in winters. I find it works just as well !

I usually buy big bottles of Nivea or recently i am using ayur's moisturiser because it is light and not greasy perfect for summers and rains !

In past i have worked with ,Nivea, garnier Body coccoon ,Khadi .I find this way i don't need to buy separate moisturizers for different seasons and there is no clutter.

I use Kokum butter. It has established antiaging properties and is excellent for skin. I buy 250g-500g of kokum butter whenever i go to my Mom's native .I melt kokum butter and use it straight as night cream too. I use it on my feet and elbows and from last 4years it has worked well for me. If you can get raw unrefined/ refined cocoa butter or shea butter you can use it the same way.

In a waterbath, take a clean dry cup and melt your kokum butter[or any other nut butter] once melted just add your lotion and a bit of glycerin. Make small portions and store it in fridge if you want to . There you have your rich lotion. Kokum butter will thicken up the lotion and if used in more quantity will make smooth lotion into a cream. So use little and increase quantity as required. I use 10-20 gm in 50 ml of lotion.

There is no need to add fragrance. I don't recommend any fragrant plant oils in skin care especially lotions. For people who have dry skin and extremely dry skin.I recommend Cetaphil.

However, for normal maintenance of skin and for lazy people like me, oil massage once a week would do wonders ! I prefer plain coconut or sesame oil but then again peanut, light vegetable oil would work just fine !

Monday, 20 August 2012

Curioser curioser

Eid ul- fitr comes every year and everyone who knows me knows that I am muslim.Colleagues over the years have seen me fasting if not praying namaaz over the years at office premises.

Nowadays eid is fitfully given some media coverage over news channels and practically everyone in government jobs enjoys eid holiday and so do those in schools and colleges.

And yet, people forget to wish me 'eid mubarak'. They do not forget to ask for sheer kurma and seviyan[ especially the colleagues] but they don't want to come home for it.Most them can't even remember to say two words' Eid mubarak'.

Over the years , i hadn't realized this and used to always ignore this but it has piled on.Most of my non muslim friends do not wish me on eid . Years ago i used to go out of my way to wish 'happy diwali and send ecards  so they receive on the main day ,used to call up and wish happy diwali first but nobody did the same to me on eid. It struck me one day ...that my friends who belonged to 'majority' knew nothing about my religion and were not even interested to know. They were happy with very superficial knowledge which media like newspapers or TV dispersed. They were not interested my festivals...and funny thing is all my friends and acquaintances are educated and well to do.

They know about sheerkurma and seviyan but they don't wish on eid !I know they know because they ask for it ! They know there are two eids in a year  but most don't know which one is which ! This is sheer ignorance when even an average 'uneducated' muslim knows  a lot about Diwali, holi, raksha bandhan and christmas. Muslims are largest minority in India its high time the majority took some pains to get to know us well.

Anyway, i had to unwillingly reach to a conclusion and make a decision. Now i wish only those people 'Happy Diwali' and 'Merry Christmas' who wish me 'eid mubarak'.Sounds petty, I know but i have been going out of my way for years and years.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Lessons that ought to be taught at school

Exams have been done away at school or so i have been told. The small shoulders of school going children can carry only so much.The argument was competition for more and more 'marks' was driving Indian parents mad who in turn drove children mad and suicidal !

How about a volte face? Why not teach the children at school both at primary and secondary the life skills and habits that will actually do them good.
When i was in school we had moral science  and art and craft as a subject. In senior years[ VII,VIII,IX  and X] we girls at this convent school were taught basics of cooking and sewing with cold zeal but nevertheless a subject where one could get marks in SSC.

I can personally vouch that all the skills which i actually use i learnt at school. I didn't have to but it just turned out that way.There was way more innocence and respect for authority and we had okay teachers - most of them were average and lazy but there were 3-4 who were really good and most importantly kind ! Our class room size was around 50-60.

I or my sisters [we all studied in the same school] never really had issues with studies . We were hardworking, quiet students and we scored more than 85 % always.We got plenty of certificates for best student and one my siblings got them every year for every subject. My parents were cool,non competitive and naive.They thought we are scoring well so career wouldn't be a problem. Of course they were wrong : getting a job and advancing in a career for a Muslim woman was rarer and still rare in India.

Most people like to blame Muslims for lack of education .Look around there are so many educated muslims but they are still a rarity in Government jobs and muslim woman is just a statistic when it comes to competitive job markets. There is still no affirmative action as such for poor muslims.Thank god India's economy opened up .. now a muslim has equal chances in private sector. Atleast an educated muslim will get a job even if he has no contacts ! In india ,most muslims are business men : you can work and pray on your premises without the majority looking at you suspiciously or worst distrusting you just because you pray namaaz.

So here's what i think ought to be taught in school along with history and maths because from my experience i know a few years down the line when adulthood and responsibility stares down at you, you 'd wish for better coping skills and life skills.

1. Money management:
    From what i have seen around me: parents these days spoil their children silly.   They talk the language of money. They bribe and console with money. And then they are surprised why their children turn up the notch and heckles and are spoilt rotten !In some cases they have no respect for parents anymore.

Money just buys comfort and not happiness. Its value is only 'ascribed value'. Its only important when you don't have much or less of it.I think schools should take up teaching money management depending on their ages because most children learn nothing about it at home.

2. Moral science: I know ,...why do we need morals ? Disgusted as we may be with what is happening in India at present i doubt if present generation of kiddies are getting any moral education at home. There is no nani or dadaji to teach ethics and in some cases parents themselves have sketchy moral boundaries. nowadays, dadi or nani don't interfere in their grand children's upbringing in urban homes so as to not have clashes with the daughter in laws. Mothers don't have time to teach morals and Indian fathers [most of them] as usual do only one work: earning money and then sit and watch TV.

We used to have community living and moral science classes uptill sixth std. I was ok with those classes while i remember most of girls used to groan and complain because they used to not even pick up their plates at home and here in school we had to weed out gardens, water plants etc

3. Good manners:
   yep,strange as it may sound it would do well to teach very young boys and girls good manners at school. Nobody teaches their children to say thank you and sorrys strictly at home barring a few well mannered parents. Well mannered parents rarely translate into well mannered and conscientious children.It'd do world of good if guys were specifically told that urinating on the road as a norm is not ok and neither is clutching their private parts. Eve teasing is not ok. I think Indian boys are brought up very lethargically by parents when i think bringing up boys is a challenge in India today. One has to just look around and there are so many negative role models for guys. Girls are usually brought up like second class citizens and told to sit and talk and laugh in certain way. Be truly equal and teach the boys too !

5. Life skills:
      Cooking and bit of sewing, how to pay bills,How to buy and how to save . How to say no, how to be assertive, how to differentiate between good and bad, about consequences

We had knitting and crochet classes one year, art and craft another and i did what i wanted to do unabashedly. it helped my Mom knew sewing. But if i didn't have those classes at school , the germ of doing something with our own hands would not be sown in my head. I have knitted 5 sweaters in last 15 years, made atleast 17 salwar kameezes in last 5 years and countless repairs and alteration and mending.I Embroidered 7 ridas and 2 punjabis. I learnt the basics of embroidery, fabric painting and sewing at school. i doubt i would have done so much if i had not learnt in school. Sewing is delightful and instantly empowering !

And yeah teach the boys too. Teach them cooking and mending pro-actively so that they 'll see women less as housekeepers and more of human beings !At the same time they become self reliant and not mama's boys remembering mummy for only food and housekeeping !

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Diana of London !

The Big Bang Theory is my favourite sitcom and  for some one like me who was nerdy and geeky throughout school and college, Dr Sheldon Cooper is eeriely likable and lovable !
So 'Bazinga' has made way into my spoken English vocab permanently. I don't use slang much and my repertoire is also limited in that. So after i picked up 'chumma' ages ago ,'bazinga' is full throated and extremely energetic alternative to hurrah for me !
But this post is not about Sheldon Cooper but about a lipstick ! I purchased 2 Diana of London Surprise Lipstick in last 8 months or so. Prior to that, i didn't know anything about the brand .I had seen a couple of counters fleetingly : somewhere !
For those who don't know much about the brand scout its website here

On a whim, I purchased Ruby touch from DOL Surprise lipstick range.  I love cream matte finishes and these were advertised thusly.
I applied it and I was floored.

Its creamy, one swipe lipstick.Settles into a matte finish within 5-10 minutes and is light comfortable on the lips. The best thing: It covers my dark pigmented lips in one swipe and stays put for  5-6 hours with drinking and light eating.My lips are dry though lip balm is like my second skin . But like Revlon's Mattes this is moisturizing and smooth on lips !
It has light smell but disappears on application.If they make it fragrance free it'll become a perfect tube lipstick in Rs 400-525 range.

No lipstick does this - no revlon , no max factor. Infact i have used and loved Revlon 's Superlustrous range but this DOL lipstick is in comparison with Revlon's Matte Lipsticks.  And my issue with staying power of most lipsticks is solved.

Those of you who love matte creamy lipstick get this asap ! Its long lasting without claiming so.
And those who are fair and porcelain will love the nude and pink based colours !

The only problem is the colours in Indian markets are very European ! Except for 5-6 dark shades, most colours are jhatak and suited for light fair to medium skin !

Yet ,i suggest trying the shades if you find a counter or if ordering online dusky girls stick to darker shades.
I have bought  :
1.Ruby touch - a reddish wine with brown ...its beautiful !
2 Sunkist - orange-brown with muddy pink tones - aptly named sunkissed . It is as i imagined because this one i had ordered online !

I paid around 300 + for each but now the prices have increased but online you can get them discounted off the MRP. I'll never pay Revlon''s asking price of 450- 525 again[ barring Revlon Matte range] because these are better and superb !
 I just hope DOL doesn't mess with this current formula they have and only changes it for the better !

My camera is non functional at present but i 'll upload swatches as soon as i can so please bear with me !

P.S: DIANA OF LONDON has not paid/ gifted me to do this post

Friday, 29 June 2012

Hair care

This is my entry to some contest[Dove Hair aware App].. but i was going to write this anyway...this story is about my hair which though dead has mind of its own !

I did not have 'hair problems' while growing up . I was a content teenager and young 20 year old as well. I have chopped off my hair at least once a year for different hairstyles simply because i had a neighborhood parlour aunty who gave me fabulous hairstyles. A new haircut drastically different every year became my thing !

I used to use Soap on my hair - a blasphemy on many counts today. The truth is i still do sometimes ! I have tried practically every cheap and decently priced shampoo in the market in last 18 years. I have used Dove too and Dove is up there with all its contemporaries. But i love Dove conditioners and hair masks more. Its easy on the pocket ,moisturising and a little goes a long way.

My hair problems started when i fell ill with typhoid when i was 26 . After the antibiotic course, days of illness my hair fell off in clumps. It became half of the previous thickness and it has never been the same.
But i had to hold on to whatever hair was left so  i listened to my mom ...Again !
Here's what i did and am doing to maintain my hair:

1. I eat healthy diet ..i mean if you can forget that our fruits and vegetables are loaded with pesticides ..then yes i eat more of unpolished brown rice, chapati instead of bread . I  try ..I do!

2. My hair care is pretty simple. i use hair oil - the pure oils . massage and keep over night.I have used coconut oil mostly mixed with castor oil. But i have been making my own herbal oil with coconut oil.But since we girls get easily bored.. i have used til oil and olive oil too.

3.Wash my hair with reetha and shikakai liquid: in a pinch however i use shampoo !

4. I apply egg mask twice a month.
    Here's my recipe for it:
   Take 1 egg , 1 tbsp of lemon juice and castor oil 1 tbsp and any other oil like coconut oil 1 tbsp and blend it happily to almost make mayonnaise out of it. You can add curd to it too. I apply this properly and keep it for 3-4 hours. I wash off with shampoo because i hate the smell of egg in my hair.
But i swear,...this makes my hair BIG,bouncy and shiny for days to come.If i have henna around in my house i soak it in lemon juice overnight and mix it too in this pack[ about a tablespoon of henna]

4. Another thing i do regularly is vinegar rinse. I buy brewed vinegar for this. Whether i shampoo or use reetha liquid i always do vinegar rinse.
When i have time i do this :
I apply conditioner after shampooing , keep it for 5 minutes and then rinse out with diluted vinegar [ 1 tbsp of vinegar mixed with 1 cup water }

5. I have not colored my hair ever. Now i am gearing up to be happy with few silver strands i see and delay coloring my hair as much as i can.

I have been following this schedule for last 9 years . i don't have dandruff in my hair. I do get occasional bouts of hair fall but i know its either because of hormones or some medicine and stress. yes I have been under constant stress from last 12 years !
So you see …and that is the end of my hair problems !
I have done and am doing so much for my hair and skin and like my Mom use to say if I had  taken half the care for my body i would be slim, athletic and a model ! C'est la vie !

Monday, 18 June 2012


We all love giving advice especially non-tailored random advice. And especially advice the knocks of life that we went through made us learn. i was very big on giving advice when i was in college and more so in my early twenties. I am generally an outspoken and opinionated person who unfortunately was always well read in her life so giving sage advice came easy to me merely on heresy.
Now, i know how stupid that was...just because you happen to read a lot and therefore know a lot more doesn't qualify you to give advice. But old habits die slowly and sometimes not at all and therefore this blog. This blog is only about one thing which in real world matters 0.00001% - my opinions !

The first people who disregarded my advice were my sisters. They rebelled ,ignored and generally dismissed my advice on anything without even listening. But they did that with my parents too.That put me in my place but at that time i didn't realize that i have to stop giving advice to deaf ears ! Years went on, and it slowly dawned onto me that they don't want good and bad advice from me or my parents.  My mid 20s and late 20s and early 30's now were full of turmoil. I couldn't catch a break. Nothing was working out of me and then my mom fell horribly sick never to stand up again. I am running house ,cooking and cleaning buying groceries from last 6 years full time.  I am unappreciated and zombied and suddenly i realized i stopped giving much of advice from last 5-6 years to anyone !
A cruel reality is that my so called blood sisters who are now 30 and 33 don't do or take up responsibility even when told or specially asked and they have conveniently put all on me because i am unmarried and staying with parents.
 So prerequisite of giving advice is to assume the person whom you are giving advice is dumb, innocent, vulnerable....and as in my case this might not be true at all !
Now, my advice is not to give advice at all until and unless the other person begs for it ! Of course, this is only in real life. Blogs, your writings  and other creative outlets are strictly your domain so you can dole out advice by liters if you want !

Yet, old habits die real slowly and since nicotine like patch is not available for advice giving, arguing and anger i have consolidated few things i 'll never say to close or random people after a lot of thought now ! There are some advice in this list which i have never said because they have never appealed to me and there are some which i was guilty of.

  1. Be positive : i mean what does it anyway mean except a blood group ! This is the example of a total random thing to say.Its patronizing and condescending and when you tell someone to ' be positive' you have assumed the worse about the other person's frame of mind. As far as my experience goes most people including the sad, alone ones are usually hoping for the positive in every outcome of their lives. The depressed,disillusioned and sick are fighting their negativity in their lives - all they need is support and understanding. Saying  'be positive' is unhelpful and cruel to this group of people and a short cut !
  2. Why don't you do this /that to your face , wear this or that !: yeah seriously, are you a trained fashion designer or an expert ? Even the experts don't open their mouths untill they are paid for it ! I mean, women get so vicious about other women that they run them down behind their backs ,make fun of them . Get this, people like and unlike you on basis of clothes you wear or don't wear , how much make up you wear or don't wear are talking because of their insecurity. Just let it slide off your back like Aishwarya does and you have won !
  3. Why don't you eat less and work out and become fit ? : Women all over the world hear this a lot ! In India, we go a step ahead and decide arranged marriages and dowry on how fat or thin the girl is ! Your body will tell you when you go overboard, there'll be a wakeup call someday when you have been substituting food and pastries for emotions and happiness. But sadly, this is one thing which you have to decide yourself. Enough is enough you'll say and make lifestyle modifications to become fit. I think this is the only area where only parents can nudge and not 'push' for superficial reasons like marriage or sex appeal.
  4.  Why don't you try more, work harder ! : There is this notion in India that people who don't try or work harder are unsuccessful and less rich. This is the next most random advice doled out by successful and rich people and those who maintain status quo. People don't realize that they have struck out part by working for it, luck and by being in the industry which pays well just by being at the right time. I suspect many Indians already know this and that 's why most Indians push their children and pay through their noses to make them doctors, lawyers and engineers !There are people who have to struggle for every morsel and every opportunity and still they die without breaking even !So just thank your lucky stars and shut up !
  5. Respect him/ her they are older to you:  This advice is harmless and mostly results in uthak- baithak ! Respect is earned  so how much however you tell someone to respect someone the truth is all the salutations from young to old and junior to senior is only superficial and just good manners ! The British made the distinction between elaborate good manners and respect early on ! :-P
  6. Don't cry: ........or boys don't cry ! I have never been guilty of saying this to anyone since i am a big cry baby myself. And i think boys could do with little bit of crying now and then ! 
  7. Arrey, be happy and laugh na:  ....
    Or other form is you have so much going for you, be happy. Sages and wise people of the world have died saying this: you can't make someone happy or sad. So how meaningless it is to tell someone that they 'should be enjoying ,laughing and being happy just because they have xyz things and you don't [ the advice giver]
 See, after this list there doesn't remain anything to give advice on! Remember however, you may not give advice but you set boundaries what you'll tolerate and how much So opposite of advice i think is to set boundaries so human interaction don't grate on your nerves ! I have learnt about boundaries the hard way. Maybe some other time i'll talk about boundaries !

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Me and X were sitting on her porch the other day. Me and she, both were queasy and bloated [ yep our cycles matched this month !]. She was flipping through the magazine in which for the umpteenth time Vidya Balan said how 'proud she was of her curves' which X had read i think nth time !

 X: So curves are in !
Me: They were always in here in india... Kareena Kapoor and her publicist went crazy over the town proclaiming 'size zero figure' and spoilt the indian mentality briefly !
X: ...hmmm... so does curves being 'in' means i don't have to scramble to lose weight anymore !

i looked at her and said,
Me: Were you scrambling to lose weight? I didn't know ! Did you lose any ?
X :  just a couple of kilos ! [she said mockingly crying]
Me: [ i patted on her back and said] Hey that's good. Look, atleast you didn't gain any !
X: So, reallly tell me... guys who lusted after Vidya in 'The Dirty picture'....seeing the sales. Has the mentality changed?
Me: In marriage market ? For us?
X: God, it would be so great na... i no longer would have to lose weight just to improve my vital statistics to find a suitable boy in this wild indian marriage market. Wow, curves are in , curves are in ...! la la la

 Me: Wow, you are reading too much of these magazines and too much into Vidya Balan's proclamation ! Their lives are different ! And stop bothering about your weight are fine. He's got to like you the way you are. Look, we disregard so much in the guy's looks.. Balding head, horrible skin, ungroomed beards and then their other special qualities- mama's boys, can't cook, won't clean,won't help in household chores and what not !

X: [ she cupped her chin and murmured] I haven't seen a single guy in last one year with hair on his head. They were all in different states of baldness. You are right ! SCREW THEM

Me: [smugly , i said] Guys rejecting girls on body weight alone... not worth our time ! And stop reading these costly fashion and movie magazines . There is already so much BS floating around on TV, movies and in real people's real conversations.......

X; [ she slapped her thighs and looked squarely at me] There you go....

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Soaps and more

I love soaps and amongst them i love transparent glycerine soaps. Those green soft mush of happiness which leaves skin squeaky clean which no bodywash can compare. Rubbing soap across body is therapy. it takes effort and great smelling soaps with clean fresh scent can refresh the mind and tired nerves.
So when i came across this i had to give it a shot ! That article was about making exfoliating soap using a regular bar of soap.
In india, melt and pour soap bases are not availaable like in the West. So when  i wanted a scrub soap. ...well i had to buy one. When i looked around there were hardly any in the market. i think Khadi makes a couple [those that are readily available] and one is made by Nomarks  which is quite scratchy and i didn't like it much.

Now that soap is once more a luxury..[ it started as luxury and now seeing the prices of good yummy soaps is enough to send aam admi in a tizzy].. so when i came across that article i wanted my own scrub soap.Since i did not want to use the Pears soap i tried Medimix soap with glycerine. I like the clean scent of medimix soaps and the newer variants the glycerine and the chandan one are particularly good !

I needed something that will melt into a clear base.Here's what i have made:

A multani mitti with ambahald ,almond powder and rose powder mix scrub soap

-Scraped thinly a 3/4th bar of Medimix Glycerine soap in a bowl.
 -In a small stainless steel container. I added 4 heaped tsp of above mixture of multani mitti and herbs.Multani mitti was in largest amount in above mix.
- Then i added coconut oil 1 tbsp, i teaspoon glycerine,1 tsp water and mixed it well
- I kept the container in double boiler and added soap shavings and mixed well while the soap melted.
- I had greased small vatis with oil to make soap bars. You can use moulds for soaps if you have any ! I use cut outs of tetrapack juice packets,cheese spread plastic dabbis or steel vatis whatever on hand !
- hile still hot pour soap base in molds and air it and let it cool and then refrigerate for an hour and un mould.
- after un moulding i let it airdry for another 2 days and then use. I have been using this one from last 3 weeks and still 3/4th of it is left. Talk about economically sound with ample of good stuff.

i am in love ! Multani mitti  i know is so great as facepack. but in soap its like a proper mud soap. Its scrubby and totally clarifying and soothing.Each time, my skin is soft and glowing. I use it on face and in this summer the ambahald and mulatani mitti is refreshing. I have used this to wash my hair it lathers and works beautifully  when i haven't had time for reetha [ or forgotten to soak ritha] My hair is silky and clean. I always do a vinegar rinse after using soap on hair.
The color of the soap is dark brown maybe not very appealing but once you use it you are going to forget everything else.

A rose powder and sugar scrub soap

Another love. I have been mixing sugar with oil and ambahalad for my scrubbing and pampering sessions since ages especially if i have been mentally tired and depressed. It used to always cheer me up. When i feel angry ,upset, tired neglected and when i have the time i clean the house ,my shelves or pamper my skin and hair. Sugar scrubs is way to go for a less messier pampering session.

In this one i used Fiama di wills transparent soap, melted it the same way as above, added sugar [half cup for the whole bar of soap- you can add more] ,coconut oil, glycerin, rose powder 1 heaped tsp.
I have been using this one  alternatively with the multani mitti one. i love it superlatively!

For hair i have made the following combinations:

1] Shikakai and reetha masala [powder] boiled in hot water [ very thick almost dry paste] 1/4 cup and 1 medimix soap[haldi chandan ] shavings+ 1 tbsp of my ayur coconut shampoo+ 1 tbsp of glycerina and coconut oil.

2] Khus powder + masoor dal powder 1 tbsp each+half cup of coconut shampoo+ Half medimix soap [glycerine]+1tsp of glycerine and coconut oil

Both the hair shampoo bars are not hard but not very soft either. They lather and clean beautifully and are mild.They are beautiful and moisturizing and quick alternative to my reetha shikakai mix. Remember to dry them in soap dish in between uses.
it leaves my hair soft and i am liking it so much.
I think these hair soaps are going to last me for god knows how long .
I have a few combinations worked out for future soaps depending on availability of herbs in my know variety is spice soap of life !:-P

Even if you don't like soaps, i highly recommend that if you ever make only one. do make multani mitti one for summer. Start of with lower proportion of multani mitti and then make it up to almost half of the soap quantity.

Do let me know if you use any other soaps besides the ones which i have used.I have used glycerine ones because they melt into a clear liquid and i doubt if the regular soap will melt properly !

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