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 ?
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