Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Notion Of Love

Warning: I wrote this post listening to Phalguni Pathak, so the sugar content is dangerously high.

"Aur Ahista Kijiye baatei
Dhadkane koi sun raha hoga"

They made me fall in love with the whole notion of Love. I won't be wrong if I say that during those days, this song was like the national anthem of all the love-birds across India. A sigh would often slip through my lips, as I would watch the video with dreamy eyes, hoping that someone day I too would be embraced by the warmth of same innocent love. To this date, my heart never fails to go gushy mushy when I listen to Pankaj Udhas's voice. And the lyrics always succeeded in melting my heart into a gooey mess. Such beauty in those words!!

Jab saamne tum, aa jaate ho
kiya jaaniye kiya ho jata hai

The skip of beat, the flutter in stomach, the stupidiest grin, stealing glances and stifling smiles - Love is all that and more. It's when you run to the PCO on Sundays to make that one call, when the blue inland letters have too many hearts than words and when the silences are filled by racing heartbeats.

It also means letting go. To realize that maybe their heart belongs to someone else.

I might still sound like those giggling teenage girls, but can't help it, I grew up singing and dancing to Phalgani Phatak's songs, fervently hoping that someone someday would save my Dupatta from the car too. The lyrics of Yaad piya ki aane lagi flows through my blood like thrombocytes. :P

To be honest, I feel bad for this generation of Honey Singh and Disco songs. I know I sound like a thousand year old granny, or maybe I  just don't understand this whole new concept of showing Asses all over the video. Anaconda will never be the same.

I feel bad for the young that they don't realize that Love is innocent, like a soft hum of summer breeze, and yet profound. It's depth cannot be fathomed so easily. 

To be enamoured of that one person beyond which everything is a blur. And even after years, when you hold hands, it still feels special.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Of Lights, Laddu and Mehendi

I hope you all had a wonderful and happy Diwali :) I didn't want to let ICICI folks dampen my Diwali mood. So as soon as I got home, I cleaned the whole place, took out my Anarkali dress, which hadn't seen daylight since my arrival in Sydney and started making Besan k laddu. Now I zeroed in on this sweet because it was the simplest recipe I could find online. With my history of kitchen disasters, it was better I stick to things I can handle. :P

Here you go.

My first ever Besan k laddu.

Bought these Diyas from a nearby Indian store.

And Mehendi Cone too. I was up till 1 am, the night before, trying not to make a mess of my hands.

Tell me how was your Diwali :) You can share the links to your posts too. I am in a mood to read.

Have a look how Deepavali was celebrated in Sydney - Food Music Dance

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fraud Transaction of Rs 37072 on ICICI Credit Card

I am seriously stressed out  and hence this post.

I have used my ICICI credit card for about 3-4 years and just a few days before it was going to expire, two years ago, three fraud transactions were made by an international European flight website. The total fraud amount was around Rs 37,000. Since there were already few transactions on my card, the bill came to around Rs 55K. But, the total limit on my card was Rs 44K. I have no idea how this was even allowed.

So I called the customer care, registered a complain and was told that they would investigate and it would take 90 days for the  case to be closed. They had refunded the fraudulant amount back to my card. All good.

Now after two years, suddenly they sent a mail stating that the investigation decision was made in favour of the bank and I have to pay Rs 38K. Due to some god forsaken reason, they can't reveal how the investigation was done.

I mean, a multinational company like ICICI, can't even figure out if a transaction is fraud or not. What the eff is that? I have been going back and forth with their customer care (SR319478555, email - 0002MaA16BUBCT56) . But since the past 20 days, I have stopped receiving their replies as well. 

Today I saw that they had automatically deducted Rs 800 from my account, without even informing, to pay credit card dues. Now my account balance is Zero. I don't know if more fines will be added for zero balance.

I have repeatedly mailed and told them that I am not happy with the investigation decision and have complained to higher level too, following the steps as directed by the site. Of course, I received no reply to that as well.

Why are they still charging late fines and deducting amount willy nilly?

I googled for similar issues, and guess what, seems ICICI has quite a reputation when it comes to fraud transactions. Many customers have ended up paying huge amount. I don't want to be one such victim. It is highly unacceptable that after two years of silence I am asked to pay such an exorbitant amount, that too when these expenses were not done my me.

I am someone who pays bill right on time and my credit card history is clean. This is totally disappointing and unprofessional.

Ever since this incident, I have stopped owning credit cards. ICICI has scared me for life.

Kindly advise as this is absolutely distressing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Lens Mug

I am quite hopeless when it comes to selecting gifts for others. And to top it all, my husband is extremely picky and his selection is completely different from mine. Sympathize with me when I tell you that I spent nearly a month breaking my head trying to find that one 'perfect' gift for his birthday.

On the other hand, he had left subtle(!?!) "hints" that his eyes were on a particular camera lens. He was doing a perfect 'chance pe dance' because on normal days I would have asked him to put it at the bottom of our priority list. {shakes head} I did buy him the lens, but me being me, wanted to surprise him as well.

So I scanned through different sites looking for more creative and funky gifts for photographers. After doing an exhaustive research - checking the store scores and going through numerous feedback, I came across this absolutely cool Lens Coffee Mug on Ebay. There were many by Canon and Sigma, but since he owns a Nikon Camera, I  went ahead with this model. It cost be just $18. The shipping time was 15 days and I was hoping against hope that it would arrive on time.

With just one day to spare, the package did arrive.
At first he thought it was a lens, and was quite disappointed while opening the package.
"This is fake lens", he said, trying not to sound too harsh.
"Really", I said with a smile, took the cup and opened the lid.

The look on his face was priceless. I felt like a magician who had conjured a rabbit out of a hat :P He couldn't help looking and feeling it all day long. The whole idea of Mug shaped in the form of lens had given him a happy surprise. The interior is stainless steel and excellent for storing hot liquids too.

The cup now rests at his workstation and he takes it along to the meetings as well. Yeah, he's a show off. :P For the time being he uses it only to drink water, fearing that coffee might ruin the exterior.

Do you too find it difficult in selecting gifts? Do share :)


Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Fauji Brother

Last week I received a voice mail from my brother saying he is all right. That was the first time in two months I had heard his voice. He is up in the mountains somewhere, in depths of snow and no communication. The time difference doesn't make it any easy. 
We are very proud of our little Captain Saab, but we worry endlessly.  Recently he was caught in a landslide while climbing up, in an attempt to save few horses which had fallen down. Although he escaped with minor injuries, there's a sharp pain that keeps tugging our heart, making us wonder about his safety, 24/7.

Away from the luxuries of life, kindling fire in snow, strangely this is his passion in life. And being a veterinary doctor, his profession aids him to fulfil his lifelong dream of treating and taking care of animals. I marvel at his diligence and perseverance. But somehow I can never shed off his image as a little boy, with whom I used to fight over Maggi noodles and mobile phone. Now he is up there, somewhere, sworn to protect his country. Just a year ago he would dump all this laundry in front of mom and bribe my sister to make chicken curry. Now he is all grown up, painting the roof and getting electricity lines fixed.

Except for a handful, I have despised every movie or TV series made on Armed Forces. They think they get everything right with their flowery lyrics, famous faces and fake tears. I tell you, it's a mockery of emotions that a Fauji family goes through when their most beloved are protecting the borders.

Then comes up incidences like these!! (Manipuri student attacked)


There's absolutely no importance of life. Each news items further proves that we are totally devoid of compassion and tolerance. 

And I couldn't help but wonder, the minds are so filled with hatred for each other, what exactly is my brother protecting the country for? To be demolished by it's own people?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

BAD14: Inequality in Income

Last year I wrote about Blind Perceptions. This year - it's Inequality

The stark difference in distribution of wealth in India is so appalling that it’s visible in every nook and corner. Take for example Mumbai, on one hand it is home to numerous swanky bungalows, international celebrities and billionaire businessmen, while on the other hand, Dharavi is one of the largest slum dwellings in the world.

The roadsides in India are marked with sleek BMWs and crippled beggars. Behind most complexes in Bangalore where each flat costs about Rs 80 Lakhs to Rs 1 Cr, reside maid servants and helpers in shabby tents with leaking roofs.
I had once dropped a maid servant near her home. The living conditions were extremely pitiable, not to mention the possibility of diseases inhabiting in those damp and unhygienic surroundings.

I always wondered how did we let this happen? To our own country, our own comrades. Even after reaching Mars and becoming so technical strong, we couldn’t implement one good policy that actually is in the welfare of the citizens. Home to billions but still our country is lacking in people with progressive and radical ideologies and strength in character to turn those ideologies into reality.
Population explosion, Corruption, Tax evasion – we can point out all the reasons we want, but the harsh truth will not change. The rich is getting richer, the poor is becoming poorer.

House Rent is skyrocketing, tomatoes are sold at Rs 80/kg and onions seems to be replacing gold, even the middle income group is finding it difficult to make ends meet. The cost of living has more than doubled in the last couple of years, but the total earning is increased by percentage of just a single digit.

I live in Sydney now. An electrician, a taxi driver, a plumber, an IT professional, a receptionist – all earn in similar bracket and evoke same respect from the public. I do see homeless people here and there on street, but the government has policies to take care of them.

Philanthropy may help, but it is not an answer to our problems. There are many organizations and NGOs in India, diligently working towards educating poor children, teaching handcrafts and skills to empower women. Although it’s baby step towards improving the economic capabilities of our country, but something’s better than nothing.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Is it tough to be gracious?

I have extreme respect and awe for women who can drive. Mostly because I am such a hopeless nut. Imagine the scenario - I am on the driver's seat and Dad is sitting next to me. 
"Arey Beta, increase the speed", he would say. OK. Accelerator. Clutch. Change gear.
"Papa papa gear is not even moving...kiya karu... kiya karu".
Car goes ghadaghadaghadaghda.
Stop. Right in the middle of the road. 
And we all know how patient and graceful the Indian Traffic is.
They only reason I was shit-scared of driving in India was I could never handle the pressure other drivers put on you. My heartbeat used to race like rabbit. 

Well, there can be distractions too :P


I got my learner's license yesterday after clearing the online test. Our new car is automatic and my husband is hell bent on making me the driver for all our outings. So on Sydney roads, if you see the slowest car with a girl wearing a frightened lamb like expression, honk and say hi, that would be me.

This reminds me of an incident. One of my friends in Sydney was a newbie driver. While reverse parking she had hit another parked car. Although scared, she stuck a note on the car, apologising and gave her phone number as well, for the owner to claim charges.
But what she got as a response was absolutely astonishing.
The owner sms'ed her in the evening saying not to worry about it and even wished her a wonderful weekend. 

Ahh!! these people, they will just kill us with their graciousness. The first time someone gave way to me while taking the escalator, even though it was extremely crowded, I was surprised. For a moment I stared blankly at him, thinking - are you seriously letting me go first? 

We took out car for a spin this weekend and guess what, people give way. They let you move in front of them.

It's not a habit or one time thing. That's the culture here. 

I won't complain of this in India because I believe that would be equivalent to First World problems in Third world country, but, is it tough to be gracious and patient?

Hope you all a great weekend.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Paper Quilling - Flowery Frame

I had bought the glass frame three months back for just $2, hoping that it would inspire me to finish off the work, which was in progress for god knows how long. Blogging and travelling had taken over my priority list. But today, I am finally completed the flowery frame, and now it's hanging high up on the wall of my living room. 

This little girl is one happy Paper crafter :D

Using colorful paper strips, I first made these flowers and leaves, using the technique called Paper Quilling,

and then arranged them on the frame.

For more updates don't forget to like my Page - The Art of folding a Paper

Here are few Quilling Tips to get you started - Quilling Tips

Here's a Tutorial on how to make leaves - Quilling Leaves 
Tutorial on making flower - Quilling Orchid Tutorial

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Champagne Dress

I am a choosy shopper. Be it online or in a store, I take ridiculous number of hours, sometimes days, to pick a dress. Yup, I am the nightmare shopper wife :P So when my friends compliment me on one of my picks, I beam with pride. Like a proud owner I show off my prized possession. :)

Few months ago, I had randomly taken part in a Yoyomelody Giveaway where every participant was awarded a $30 gift coupon. 

Even before the coupon landed in my inbox I had scanned through the site, for more than a week to find a suitable dress. Finally settled for this Chic and Modern Chiffon Dress. Neither too short, nor too long, perfect for the summers. Light green isn't my shade, so from a huge list of colors I picked Champagne.

To be frank I was quite sceptical while selecting it and wasn't expecting much, but since I had a coupon I was ready to take the risk in selecting colors and experimenting with size. Before submitting the order, in the comment section I had added my height and wrote that I wanted the hem of the dress to fall on my knees.

The production time was said to take 20-25 days and shipping time another 10-15 days. I received the shipment after a month, from China. The bonus were the stamps stuck on the package :)

As you can see, the dress is absolutely gorgeous and it fits like a dream.The outer layer is chiffon, while the inner layer is satin. The ribbon around the waist makes the dress even more cute :)


** I wasn't asked to review the product, I did it because I loved it :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Little this and that

I stretched my legs under the office desk, only to have my heels tangled in the cobweb of wires beneath. With my legs hanging in air, I sat still as an important piece of code was in progress and if by any chance my heels pulled out the power cable, a whole day's work would be gone. With cat woman like motions, slyly I moved, saved my work and then one by one untangled my heels from the wires. Sigh!! the struggles of life!!


For the past two weeks my nose was in a temporary shutdown state. The previous two weeks it was a leaking cauldron. And before that allergies had built a mini home inside my sinus. This winter a permanent fixture of my style statement was a tissue paper. Not the Kleenex kind, but the sandpaper ones,  like-hand towels. It was during this time I discovered that Kleenex tissue makes me go into a catastrophic sneezing fit. My cheeks displayed all the shades of pink and red, while dark circles had spread into my socket. Breakouts marked my hairline. 

I complained about my flaring sinuses to my hubby, who out of love(?!?)  rubbed Amrutanjan all over my forehead, nose and neck. Ohhh my dead lord!! I felt as if the red fire ants were doing Hip hop all over my face.


The other day, I randomly sent my hubby a message saying,"I love you so much" {followed by some lovey dovey smileys}. He replied back with a short and crisp "What do you want now?". But when I reached home that evening, my husband was already there. The house was vacuumed, the dished were washed, the onions and tomatoes thinly chopped. I had brought chicken for dinner, and that too he volunteered to cook. :D Hmmm ... the trick does work after all {*wink wink*} 

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