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*} 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tips on Nail Stamping

Hello there. In my previous post on nail stamping I had published a tutorial on how to go about it. Check out The art of nail stamping

Many of my friends and readers had asked me how long do they stay. The trick that I use to make nail polish stay for longer time is transparent Top coat. I apply a transparent coat of nail polish before painting my nails. This also prevents coloring of nails as longer exposure to nail polishes might turn your nails yellowish.

Once I have applied the design I add another layer of top coat so that the nail polish don't chip off. This makes the design last atleast a week.

The nail polishes that I feel stay longer are Revlon, OPI and Sally Hansen. If you feel that your nail polish is about to chip off, apply a layer of transparent coat to stick it back.

I hope this helps. Stay tuned - more tips on beautiful nails, coming your way.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Drabble: Your Idiot!!

"...I don’t say this often but I love you, always". She finished reading the letter and slammed it in his hand, furious and embarrassed. He looked on, smiling broadly.
"No one has ever written anything so beautiful to me."
"Then why didn't you read it. You received the letter like ages ago."
"Hey, I couldn't understand your handwriting”, he said innocently, “all your R U V W look the same. But see I saved it, so that you could read it to me."
Uff!! you are such an idiot”.
Your idiot”, he said and crushed her in a tight embrace.


Like most of my stories this too is based on true story :P  

Written for Write Tribe 100 words on Saturday prompt, inspired by the following quote.

I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.
― Anne Frank

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Clean Freak Chronicles

Monica Geller is the role model for all the clean-freaks around the world. Any friend who's obsessive about cleanliness and tidiness and neatness and all other such "ehhh" things that scares the life out of housemates, is lovingly called Monica. You won't believe how pleased they are if you name them so.

But to be married to one, is a whole new deal. I feel like I am enacting various characters from Friends - Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Joey while my husband is The Monica. Or maybe he is Sheldon and I am Penny.

I mean seriously, if he wanders at night to clean the house, I won't be surprised. Our apartment is clean by normal human standards, but by his standards, it's a living dump of entropy. The scissor should be in the cupboard next to bowls and plates, blazer and coats packed in covers and hung towards the far end and  the shampoos arranged in line by height (increasing or decreasing - yeah atleast I have a choice here). Well, while I am shampooing I am more worried about they burning my eyes rather then their god forsaken height!!

To be honest, I am Intel 4004 when it comes to processing all this information. I completely shut down when such complicated instructions are fired at a rapid rate. His latest policy in the kitchen after washing all the utensils is - instead of putting them on the shelf for drying, rub each one of them with a towel to soak all the water and immediately put them in the cupboard. Where on earth does he gets all these ideas from? Is there a guidebook to "Tips to make your wife go bat crap crazy"?

It took me more than 3 weeks to finally comply. Why... because I am lazy!! :P

I have separate boxes to keep my clothes, paper crafts, books and nail polishes, while he keeps his camera stuffs far far away from my reach. He is forever scared of me messing his painstakingly done arrangements. The days I make paper crafts are the days of his eternal pain. We have carpet floor and pieces of paper tend to stick to it. I could feel his eyes watching me, and with each piece of paper falling on the carpet, I could hear him wince. Of course I have to clean up, brush the carpet and put things exactly where they were.

The only time I am inspired to fold and refold the clothes is when the internet the down. I even found the perfect gift for this birthday, the clean freak house slippers :P Need to find a store that sells them.

Are you too living with a clean freak?

All pictures - courtesy Pinterest, Tumblr, Google

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