Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vote for the most fashionable netaji?

I'm thinking of a softer word for 'hate' in context to dental appointments but then I'd just be lying to myself. I just cannot stand them. Not because I have dental issues, but because the six monthly appointment is nothing but an opportunity for the dentist and his team to open the Pandora’s Box! Pandora's Box that would bring loads of surprises and money to them and nothing but pain and trauma to me. You think you're going in for just a "regular cleaning" as you were told but it's far from that. Cleaning, x-rays, polishing, flossing, gum tests... the list goes on followed by the dentist "consulting" with you on his plan of action post his discovery... jeeeez. Hate hate hate.

Saw a rather unusual and fun news piece this morning about our very own desi politicians getting a makeover! Wow. Politics and fashion are both dear subjects to me but rarely do I get to see the two dating. This is my day! Turns out that in the midst of Lok Sabha elections, the fashion design students of INIFD (International Institute of Fashion Design) are planning to give our politicians the much required change in outlook. The students are working on a perfect blend of modern looks and traditional Indian attire for our leaders. The institute is also holding a nationwide contest for students to transform the regular image of leaders. "If Barack Obama and Michelle Obama can feature on the cover of international magazines for their style quotient why not our own leaders," asks the insti's VP.

Manmohan Singh, Advani, Mayawati, Laluji and Narendra Modi are the five netas who have been chosen for the coveted contest. This is a challenge I would be very hesitant of participating in if I were a fashion design student. I mean, what's there to work with? Very unfit bodies with huge paunches, utter lack of personality in most cases, the traditional look they must sport which limits the stretching of boundaries, the non-existent color palette that most prefer and the fabrics (khadi for the most part) they wear. Sure there's still plenty that can done within the realm of traditional men's wear going by how far Bollywood has taken this but it's going to be far from stylish from where I see it. As for Mayawati, no amount of glamour quotient can help... the moment her lips part and her mouth opens, all bets are off. Ditto for Laluji. Lekin just because my imagination is stalled, doesn't mean this wouldn't make for an interesting trend.

If this trend picks up, maybe we can have a Mr. and Ms. best-dressed politician contest a few years down the line. I can visualize it already with Amitabh Bachchan giving out the awards with an impressive speech that would project it to be a lot more substantial that it would actually be, and the Amar Singh-Jaya Bachchan duo winning most of them!

Aishwarya's 'tears of joy' would be "precious, special and real" ;)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The first 100 days

Congratulations Mr. Obama. Today you are a 100 days 'new' in the White House.

Guantanamo Bay closure, wifey on Vogue cover, setting a timetable for Iraq, hugging the queen, implementing your green dreams, your dog moving in, stem cell funding, first grandma almost becoming a celebrity, high profile execs returning huge bonuses, stock markets dancing high-low and era of the swine flu... it has been an interesting set of 100 days!

I remember the day I first heard about your nomination for presidency. You weren't one of the faces that had come to light from active politics that got media coverage. Active politics it sure was, but not something that put your name instantly on the lips of every American. I watched you as you progressed through your campaigns, as you used words that were stronger than rocks to share your vision/your ideology/your proposals, as you emerged cleaner from every allegation bestowed upon you by citing facts but never stooping low, as you displayed intelligence, sincerity and commitment to politics and vowed to clean up the gigantic mess that you would inherit one day. I watched you as you surfaced as one of the top two democratic candidates. I watched you as you put up a strong fight against Hilary Clinton, who was perceived to be a stronger and more experienced candidate.

I watched you and thought, notwittstanding the slightly funny name :P, he is a wise man, he's genuine, he's very learned and beyond articulate. But he doesn't have the experience to take upon himself this mammoth task and follow through. Not to mention the racial issue that would be hard for millions of Americans to overcome. And I wasn't alone. But against all odds, your stemmed victorious! What a victory it was. I remember standing at LA Live during your inaugural speech with 13 mega screens and loudspeakers and sharing that space with hundreds of fellow proud citizens as they cheered, clapped and let tears flow down their cheeks at 9 am. I have to admit I was quite cynical about all the big promises you made and the perfect words you used to convince us all.

That was the day and today, a 100 days later, I have no doubt in my mind that this country couldn't have found a better man for this job given the circumstances. There's a lot you have done and there's a lot more that needs to be done but I know you will sail through whatever adversities come your way and accomplish everything you are set out to do. And even though I'm not gung-ho about your wife's fashion sense like the rest of the country, I'm all praise for you and in you, I trust.

p.s. Any word on the green card rut?

Photo credit:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Re-spiritualizing India

If you've ever paid attention to anything written about Tom Cruise other than movie reviews/angel Suri's designer dresses/shopaholic wifey dropping thousands at barneys/comparisons with a midget/rendezvous with bestie Beckham/speculations of him being gay (don't tell me you haven't heard this one... i have insider info on it :P), you are probably familiar with the term 'Scientology'.

Tom Cruise, amongst other celebrities, has given immense popularity to this concept or rather the ideology of Scientology. I've read a little here and there about it and I still have no clue what on earth it is. Sure I've found vague descriptions like "A system of understanding how the brain is wired and then using that knowledge to produce better results in life -- whether it's in the field of academics, relationships or professionally. It's not psychological babble in the least." but that usually leaves me with a 'whaaa???'. It's hard to decipher even when I have my non-effective thinking hat on which is rare.

I came across a news story this morning about how the Director of the Scientology tour in India has been promoting it since the past four years. Reports say they have trained thousands of civil defense personnel in Maharashtra, among the police in Bangalore, Delhi and Mysore as well as in the Border Security Force in Kolkata.

I was beyond baffled. Training defense personnel, police and BSF in Scientology to do their job better? Really? How about equipping them with ammunition that isn't 100 years old, basics like night vision glasses so they literally don't just shoot in the dark, uniforms that protect from severe weather and slightly believable salaries so they don't have to resort to corruption, for starters?

Or maybe it is effective and I'm just ignorant on the subject. The challenge is to figure out what it is without "submitting yourself to the scientology principles" which is something I would never be tempted to do, sober or drunk. Why do I recall 'electrifying a tomato and listening to and giving a response to it' or 'return of the space gods aka aliens' or 'delivering a child in utter silence' in context of this subject? Isn't it just pseudo-religion based on science fiction?

The Indian Scientology tour director concluded with "India is so huge, that we're going to have to train a lot of people to reach out to the masses."

Beware India... or someone please enlighten me.

Photo Credit:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Twisted tales of the rich 'n famous

But he's on track now and that's all that matters! Ever heard that? How easily do unsuspecting minds buy that crap? I love it for the drama, the irony and the twists.

Too many stories based on the same plot keep surfacing from time to time. The latest one to hit the tube is Salman Khan's commercial where he very pretentiously wears a 'being human' shirt and innocently says 'Apni zimmidari se mat bhagiye. Responsible aur zimmedar logo ki zaroorat hai is desh ko.” and making me waggle my left eyebrow. Okaaay. So he poached some poor endangered species and then he killed a pedestrian while driving drunk. He went to jail again for poaching the animal and the killing case was settled outside of court with lots of money and free DVDs of “Maine Pyar Kiya”. And now he's all set to preach. Sallu miya we love your fake accent and your over-the-top acting skills to death lekin please maaf karo.

It is hard to forget the Paris Hilton drama from a couple of years ago where the American sweetheart served a widely publicized sentence in an LA jail for 23 days for driving under a suspended license. On getting released, she got someone to write her biography about how jail time was not the breaking but making of her persona :P Her prison memoirs are work-in-progress. She also wants to work with women who end up in jail repeatedly to improve their lives. Ok darling, we heard ya... we see that you wanna be a better human being. God bless. But please spare us the preaching. Go back to your chihuahua and your extensions. Mwaaaah.

Khloe Kardashian wants to help people become aware of the consequences of drunk driving after she was jailed for a DUI last month. She was devastated and it hit her that she cannot play with the law for the third time. I promise you Khloe you'll be my next role model, as soon as I get tired of the current one. Deal. ;)

Call me crazy, but aren't these little lessons we all learn while growing up? Isn't it bombarded enough on our delicate brains during our precious teens? And it's far from being rocket science. So why tv campaigns and media coverage and talk show appearances and book signings from people who have "learnt from their mistakes"? Sure they're learning from their mistakes and it's a great thing for them. But now we're making them even more famous and possibly richer to "re-learn" the same concepts we'd learnt ages back. How bizarre.

Do we just need a famous case study each time around?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The unfair fairness

It was a lovely Sunday. Perfect weather, the most fattening Singaporean dishes at the farmer's market followed by vintage dress hunting at JetRag filled up my day. There was one more highlight to the day. The grand finale of MTV Roadies season 5.

I've been following MTV Roadies all the way, much like a hundreds of thousands of other Indians. It's a game show where courage and thrill come to life, a show that tests participant's ability to play politics and usually is gripping till the last second. It's somewhat an Indian take on The Survivor. I love it for the wackiest challenges (tasks) they come up with and the mind games the hosts play with the 20 something kids who're dying to get some fame/success/kick out of it.

Today's mind game was brilliant! Three finalists remained. Whoever would climb the mountain first in 110 F would be in a position to pick one of the remaining two finalists as an opponent. The third finalist would be out of the game.

Kiri, the very passionate roadie, who'd been trying to get into this game since 5 years, climbed the mountain the fastest. Just when it was time for him to pick his opponent, the two hosts who're known for their brutal attitude and harsh words began to confront Kiri. Host 1 was yelling at him to do the smart thing and pick the weak opponent suggesting that winning is everything. Host 2, doing the exact opposite, and asking him to pick the tuff opponent to get some respect since there's no big deal about defeating someone weak. Kiri, like any other normal person, had planned on picking the weak opponent. But 15 minutes of boot camp style confrontational yelling at him with two starkly different opinions made him weak in his knee. He picked the tuff opponent and lost!!! He lost the title he had dreamt of, the huge prize money that went with it and all the success that was to follow. Respect he perhaps won, but at what cost?

I was slightly upset since I was rooting for him. I was upset because the hosts had influenced him enough to change his decision. It was plain unfair. But then fair enough.

It reminded me of some turning points in my life and that tiny voice or voices rather that go off in my head any time I land up in unusual situations. I frequently find myself torn between two completely different paths I should be going. I've gone down one path and regretted. In a similar situation the next time around, I've gone down the second path and regretted as well. I am quick to blame it on people who convinced me to go down those lanes. I often feel it was unfair to me just because I am slightly impressionable. Shouldn't the onus be equally on the one who's counseling you if it didn't work out? But I've played the blame game and no one's had a heart big enough to admit it. Today it hit me that it is fair, fair because I'll always be faced with opinions and the ultimate responsibility of picking the solution should be on me. Me me me. And no one else.

That makes it so much harder though. I need some double chocolate ice-cream to forget about the uneasiness of it all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

94 years to call a spade a spade?

Today was not a regular day. Sure it was Friday, had a pretty good meal at Panini cafe (I've been wanting to buy a grill since I had that delish grilled focacia with a hint of garlic) and later celebrated my boss's promotion with what they call mini-farmies. And the anticipation of a weekend! But there was a hint of sadness in the air.

Today is April 24th, the 94th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Today is the day Armenians remember the atrocities their family members suffered at the hands of the Turk regime, the Ottomon empire. The genocide, which included a systematic killing of the Armenian intelligensia, executions, raping of women, and starvation resulted in the death of 1.5 million Armenians. It is considered by some to be the first genocide of the 20th century. But some maintain the numbers are quite inflated.

LA has a sizeable Armenian population. I'm quite fond of this community for their amazing food, their family values, the brats they raise (ok may be not that one) and the genuinely friendly people that they are. I noticed a lot of cars with flags and other signs of acknowledgement/remembrance/protest on my commute this morning. Little children in graphical t-shirts marking the anniversary were touching. Luckily I wasn't driving around the area where rallies were held else I'd have regretted yet another time for not setting up my car as a 2nd home. I don't recall this getting enough media coverage from the past years but today, Obama's stance on it made it interesting.

As I was reading up on it, it became evident that as a presidential candidate, Obama has spoken openly about the Armenian genocide and had made an election promise to recognize it as a genocide. But today in marking the anniversary, he chose to look for a softer synonym under the pretext that Turkey and Armenia are finally moving on and making efforts to establish ties and this would be taking a giant step in the wrong direction. The Turks have long denied allegations about the genocide and implied that the deaths were actually civil war casualties.

So while Mr. Obama has very articulately sidestepped the word "genocide", history and its facts, the painful memories of the past of those who've lost their near and dear ones and the sentiments of those who are merely looking for an acknowledgement of the horrendous event are still transparent and in the air.

May their souls rest in peace. Amen.

Need a stress-buster. 7th re-run of the MTV Roadies grand finale to the rescue!

Photo Credit:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Traveling ain't no simple pleasure anymore

So you need a little r&r to break away from the exhaustion of routine life? Think again, 'coz it might just be as much work as it's fun.

Planning, applying for vacations at work, booking tickets, reading up about the destination, checking with friends on the must-do activities and packing isn't going to be enough.

There's a whole other set of planning that lies ahead of you. The online kinds. If you are a young bee, you're probably wired to a zillion sites where you make daily appearances. Your friends and family know about the trip but not all your Facebook friends, your Twitter followers, your MySpace friends, your Orkut friends, your LinkedIn contacts, your Blog pals and whatever else it is that represents your virtual identity. Even with LinkedIn, you can share travel plans through TripIt! How awesome.

So is there a strategy you should be following? How soon in advance do you start mentioning it in status messages or tweets or blogs? Perhaps a week before with the "looking forward to" and "cant wait" kinds? Do you feel compelled to put your enthusiasm on hold because you don't want to go overboard just yet? I mean, once you arrive at the destination, you'll pick up on the local lingo a bit and see and experience things that you hadn't thought of... they'll make for much more interesting/funny/witty/cool non-stop updates, no? Plus, you get to narrate the story in super duper detail, through the 200 odd pics (cropped, touched-up and with special effects) you will post everywhere along with smart captions.

I've been witnessing this trend for quite some time now... and however sarcastic this blog may sound (I thrive on sarcasm :P ), I have to admit I have been guilty of indulging heavily in it as well. The concept of privacy is so obsolete now. If you're private, you're perhaps just boring. Or that's the notion people get. Plus it's fun to share, so why not! It's not like good old days where you are bombarding people through extra-large emails that clog their mailboxes... you're just putting it out there, whoever wants to see will see. And hey, if anything, you're just cheering them up by giving them a chance to take the trip through your eyes. So what is the big deal?

But I wonder if there are any invisible boundaries that one should follow. Are we putting too much out there?

Too much pointless thinking... go catch that flight. Bon voyage!

p.s. Keep the pics coming :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The look 'n feel of spring

The almost-triple-digit temperatures are more than a subtle reminder that spring and possibly summer is in the air. Thanks to the global warming phenomena, the concept of distinguished seasons seems to be a thing of the past. It's all hotchpotch these days - rain in November, an out of the blue heat wave in January, and overly chilly nights in April. I for one am a warm weather being. Having grown up in the tropical weather, I detest the idea of wearing layers and layers of clothing and parking myself in front of a space heater when all I wanna do is put on my shorts and go for a quick run.

Spring's finally here and I have a semi-permanent grin stapled on my face. As I look around, I see a few new trends, a few new colors and some blast-from-the-past designs as the "in" things.

Spring and beige seem to be as far removed from each other as me and non-veg. But don't be fooled by the notion of beige. It's back with a hint of freshness this season. Thankfully it isn't the boring beige, but a shade of it, like an earthy undertone for day wear, a slightly gold-dust kinda texture for evening wear and fun patterns of khakis for anytime wear. I see it in all kinds of outfits - cute tops, shorts, shirts, casual dresses, club wear, maxi dresses, the list goes on.

The one trend I'm excited about is the neo-hippy look. I haven't tried it yet to see if I can pull it off. But I guess if beaded necklaces, head bands from the 70s and lace-up sandals don't add to your spirit, what will? Bangles and oversized necklaces seem to be the accessories to own this season. Go for an inexpensive version since they go out of style too quickly.

Some more trends to watch out for:
- White with arty black stripes all over. Lots of pretty skirts and dresses around to check this trend.
- Paisley tops/dresses and watercolor prints in chiffon are quite a fad. My personal favorite too. Get one slightly long top with a cute elastic neckline and it's so versatile. Wear it with jeans or leggings, wear it as a dress with a low-waist dressy belt, wear it with spaghetti and make it off-shoulders, or with shorts for a perfect cool look.
- Strapless is on its way out and one shoulders are in. And so are tons of different sized straps so get whatever works for you.
- If you're tall and skinny, I'd def. try out the jumpsuits. H&M has an interesting collection.
- Believe it or not, neons are back. But just a hint or it, like a neon spaghetti peeking out of a white tee. I would pass on this one though.

- Finally, regardless of your size, maxi dresses are a hit. Be sure to wear heels or platforms to give you that tall model-like look.

The thing about trendy clothes is, you can find it for a 100 bucks and for 20 bucks depending on where you look. So pick what works.

Keep it stylish!

PC: Websites (Forever21, BCBG, Banana Republic)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Britney's circus comes to town

I am over-age and out-of-range for her songs. The million and one girls in backless tops, micro-minis and high heels between ages 15-25 at her show tonight were giving me that signal loud and clear. Besides, I've never been a die hard fan. I'll occasionally listen to them and they make for great dance numbers but I wouldn't put me in the "omg omg I have to have her new cd coz i like totally love her" category.

Britney is in the middle of her Circus tour and tonite was one of the four shows in LA. I decided to stay back a little after work just to peek in and catch a glimpse of her new avatar for a few minutes. The show was a major sell-out. I could see a clear divide in the crowd... tons of young girls and some gay men. A few couples were spotted too here and there as well.

The pussycat dolls were the opening act and put up quite an electrifying show. They kicked it off with 'Dont you wish your girlfriend was hot like me' which had the crowd swooning. They were in their usual bejeweled lingerie and their moves were as raunchy as it gets. They sang everything from 'Buttons' to 'Jai Ho' and put up a splendid show! Next came the circus team. It actually was a cross between circus and cirque-de-solel and the acrobatics were fantastic. After much anticipation and excitement that had filled the air, Britney finally made an appearance. Of course they chose none other than Perez Hilton to introduce her. Brits descended from a carriage from the sky and she was a welcome surprise with a newly toned body, glittery outfit and great stage presence. As the show progressed, Brits went seamlessly from one song to another, one choreographed dance to another, one outfit to another and charmed the crowd. The stage set-up, dancing lights and surround sound were just like any pop concert.... energizing. Some of her acts were quite sexually charged but hey it's showbiz. I could almost hear heartbeats going up and down as the crowd responded to her moves.

The one thing about sharing the same space with a sea of young peeps in an environment like this is the contagious energy. The enthusiasm just gets you so high on life!

On my way back I was thinking about Britney... her rise to stardom, her talent, her unprecedented success, her weddings and annulations, her turbulent life as a mom, her wild lifestyle and attention-seeking drama that she's resorted to. One could just see the entire trajectory as she rose from the ground up to reach the stars and fell back on the ground. She is a living example of 'if you think you can do it you can', whatever the 'it' is, amazing or disastrous.

But tonite's show gave out a whole different vibe. Britney is back to stay, this time around. And on a separate note, I wanna be 16 again!

photo credit:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

An affair with my SLR

I'd waited for years to buy my SLR and now I can't let go. It's bulky, not sleek, I only know 50% of the functionality and the darn lens cover keeps falling off but I cannot live without it.

I don't know why I waited that long to own one. I can't even remember when I fell in love with photography to be honest. Having grown up in a family of architects and interior designers, I had developed an eye for arty things, well most arty things anyways. But if anyone brought up conversations around sculptures at the Getty Museum or paintings at the Louvre or why Van Gogh's sunflowers was a stroke of genuis, I usually make a u-turn and run. I guess my own creations, good, bad or ugly, tend to hold my attention a lot more.

Years back, I stumbled upon a set of pictures that were nothing short of stunning. Each picture spoke volumes about the story it was narrating. I was captivated. I just knew that second that I had to discover this process
of capturing moments through lenses and making them immortal. So I enrolled myself into a photography class. 50 bucks, an annoying German instructor and a summer later, I was equipped with the basics. But one
wrong camera after another, and hubby doing a brilliant job of casually losing them in European hotel rooms, I finally decided it was time. I went through an extensive process of product comparisons and finally landed up with a Canon Rebel XT 8.0 megapixels digital SLR black beauty. Things started looking up. I finally had the ability to see, capture and crop moments with my own perspective. It brought me happiness, pride and creative satisfaction. It also fueled my imagination a lot. I was in love, again.

But greed does not spare human beings and I was no exception. As I experimented and explored more, I was subconsciously making a list of all the add-ons I wanted. Much like when you're in love and when the novelty wears off, you want the guy to propose, with a 2 carat ring, with your name engraved in it, then get married, in Rome, on a yacht, followed by a lovely honeymoon, in Tahiti, and who doesn't want three beautiful kids, and a dog, and a fully-upgraded house, with a big backyard, and a nice pool for them to play in? You get the point. So here I am, with my extensive list of add-ons... a super telefoto lens, wide lens, fisheye lens, angle finder, filters, polarizers, more memory, external flash, the list goes on. I'm not a professional photographer (I'd kill to be one but I'm not) and chances are low that I'll ever do photography for a living so no suprises here that I'm badly caught up in the confusion of how far should I take this hobby.

If only I had enough time in the day, to be good at my day job and have 3 evening jobs of my liking, my life would be purrfect!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lemonade or Mojito?

Summer days are almost here. What better way to quench your thirst than by a dose of lemonade? Of course you can straight dive for that Mojito if it isn't the middle of a working day. This is just a 'cooler' substitute.

Here's a quick recipe of the most refreshing lemonade, Indian ishtyle.

- 2 ripe lemons
- 10-12 fresh mint leaves
- small piece of fresh ginger
- 2 glasses of water
- sugar, black salt, black pepper, a pinch of chaat masala

- Squeeze lemon juice
- In a blender, add water, lemon juice, grated ginger, half of the mint leaves, black salt, black pepper, chaat masala with ice cubes and blend
- Strain and pour into glasses
- Garnish with the remaining mint leaves and lemon slices
- Serve chilled


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why Freida Pinto bugs me

Envy. We girls have a birth-right to that feeling. Can't live with it and can't live without it. I've had my share of it and I'm happy to report that I left it back in high school. Can hardly recall a day when I've been jealous to the extent of it being unsettling since I started college.

Fast forward 10 years and Ms Pinto becomes a global sensation overnight. I'm happy for her movie being such a massive hit and all that. That's not the annoying part. The seriously annoying part is the accolades she's getting for being a 'style icon'. Elle honored her with the 'top best dressed woman' award and others followed suit.

Here's some food for thought. Any 20 something who lives in a metro and is a part of the modeling world is more than exposed to the nitty-gritties of fashion. Umpteen fashion shows, edgy designers and trendiest outfits is what you see between happy hour and dinner. If that doesn't get you an 'eye for fashion', what will? Add to that the fact that she gets to walk the red carpet for the best award shows. The likes of Chanel, Oscar De La Renta, Valentino, John Gallieano, Zac Prosen et al are dying to dress her and send her a ton of unreal stuff just to 'try out'. So what is the big deal about playing Cinderalla and picking an outfit from the sea of glitzy glamoury stuff? Or may be it is and I'm just jealous :p

I think the biggest blow to me was when she walked the ramp for Dolce & Gabbana... Dolce & Gabbana people... at the Milan fashion week. First off, Milan is sacred to me. I've had plans of going there just to bow my head and touch the land to offer my respect. And she gets to wear a rocking outfit and strutt the runway. Then she does it for Chanel again in Paris. It is K I L L I N G me.

And now George Clooney wants to go on a date with her? Is he on crack?

Anyways, to make peace with the whole thing, I'm going to lean on my designer friend Ed (Ed makes and sells the most fashionable and inexpensive stuff at the downtown farmers market under a tree) to reproduce that D &G dress for me under $30 !!!

Changing with the reality tv shows

What is so shocking about ten twenty-something girls in sexy outfits, sporting a ton of attitude and colored hair seducing a couple of guys with a sensual dance one minute and cursing them with hard-core gutter gaalis the next minute? Should the shock value come out of the fact that these are Indian girls or the fact that they're doing this willingly on national tv on MTV's Splitsvilla?

I have to admit that I enjoy watching these shows from time to time and sometimes even get hooked. But it definitely makes me feel ancient. I cannot recall friends or peeps in my extended circle talking about boyfriends openly with their families unless it was supposed to turn into something rather serious like an engagement, which was considered the eventual goal of every affair during my college years. Dating has evolved to be a rather casual concept now. People talk about going on dates like they were going to eat gol guppas and not one raises an eye brow. Eventually every society has to come out of its shell and India has, on this front in the recent past. But the media explosion of it all is a little hard to digest.

Since when did it become aceptable for guys (contestants) to run around the beaches of Goa to 'collect' kisses from men just to win a contest? Or for girls to get into a 2 piece in a pool to flirt with guys over a glass of wine? Only if you look closely, you'd know it isn't The Bachelor. Why would girls have to win the challenge of 'the best bikini body' to be the ultimate winner on these shows?

What is interesting is, where are the moral police when the young and the restless in India are watching and getting influenced by these shows? They sure seem to be on high alert any time events like Valentine's day come around. The drama that erupted in Manglore by the Shri Ram Sena workers who had taken upon themselves to ensure that women knew their "boundaries" a la Taliban style provoked much rage and criticism only to be subsided weeks later without them getting banned. But when such incidents surface, does anyone take a second to think that it's ok to do things that are 'fundamentally against our cultural and moral values' at joints where the elite hang out or as a part of the reality show but the rest of the country stands to suffer when they indulge in such acts of liberalism.

I'm not for or against either. It is a democractic nation after all. But I wonder if the youth of India is confused about what is considered a decent act in public eye anymore.

My bday... oh my bday

I almost have no memory of my life prior to my 1 year old baby... and this is my first bday since the kiddo, so considering that, this was my best birthday so far :) It was a thursday... and although I had mega plans of taking a day off, in the light of current state of economy and expectations from employees, I just went ahead and decided to work thinking it was going to be just another day. Turned out to be anything but.

For lunch, I decided to drag a friend to
Zucca Ristorante, an upscale Italian hotspot. We start walking out and something wierd got into me. I suddenly started craving samosas which is odd coz I never crave them. So I mentally ran a google search in my head and zeroed in on Gill's. Gill's indian cuisine is this majorly shady place a few blocks down from work. It sits deep inside a hotel where I don't think anyone but bums and sex-offenders might consider staying. But their food is yum and it's generally crowded. We walked in, order my samosas and chaat to go and relished every bite catching some fresh air at the fashion school's compound. When I got back, peeps at work found out through a colleague and had gotten me the most amazing black and white tweed jacket at lunch from Macys next door... along with a delish chocolate cup cake. Wooo hooo.

On my way home, I got a call from one of the kiddies in my little one's crew to go straight to a restaurant to pick her up. I went there to find a ton of ballons, cake, gifts, awesome chinese food and a few kids along with mine who were throwing me a surprise bday mini-party. It was beyond touching and so fun! And that was supposed to be the end of my big day.

But the next evening turned out to be even more special. Hubby was coming home and had promised a lovely evening out. I went crazily through a pile of clothes and found a beautiful silk wrap that I'd gotten god knows when but never worn. I made a one shoulder dress outta it and off we went to Beverly. Landed up in Tanzore, a hip and trendy Indian spot with beautiful decor and food that tasted like nothing else I had before. I sent compliments for the chef, and the next thing I knew, it turned out to be a romantic dinner for three. He shared stories of his glorious past from Bombay where he'd fed almost every celebrity and to make it extra special, brought out quite a few complimentary dishes for my bday. His cake was the most mouth-watering thing I'd had in a long time.

That's when I decided, one bday a year is not enough :P

Simply delicioso

My gobi manchurian (cauliflower manchurian for the non-dessis) is to die for, much like most of my other dishes when I have all the time in the world to make them and a little love to spare.

The best part is, how lazily I throw ingredients together in a new york minute and relish it fursat se. It's super easy but I don't kiss and tell so if you're one of my guests, you're not allowed to read this :)

Ok so here goes the recipe:

- Cauliflower florets
- Spring onions
- Knorr hot-n-sour soup mix
- Chilli garlic sauce
- Tomato ketcup
- Olive oil

- Saute cauliflower florets on high with some oil, salt and pepper until they turn slightly brown and crispy
- In a separate pan, mix the hon-n-sour soup powder and water and bring to a boil (it needs to be sligthly thick)
- Add florets to the soup, add a little chilli garlic sauce and a teeny bit of ketchup
- Garnish with chopped spring onions

I recommend the attitude of a perfect hostess - who's done enough slogging to make the best for her guests but isn't all about the food and recipes during party conversations. Put your best dress and smile on and talk away about everything under the sun.

Mmmmmm ... enjoy.

Recession and the BCBG connection

I'm just so sick of hearing the bad news everywhere. Giant corporations going bust, the downfall of wall-street, stock markets seeing the lowest lows in years, the likes of Madoff stealing people's live savings, death threats to AIG employees who won't return their bonuses, families losing homes for lack of income, layoffs, layoffs and more layoffs. After much resistance, I finally had to include the words 'occasional depression' in my dictionary.

Then came a bright Friday in my life where I stumbled upon a BCBG rack at Macys that had an 80% sign. Now BCBG and 80% are two things so not meant for each other. I mean someone can get fired just for accidentally putting that sign on that rack. Before I go any further, I must confess. I am a die hard Max Azria fan. The man has immense talent and incredible imagination. I've caught myself spending hours in his stores carefully studying patterns, designs, fabrics and the magic he weaves. I never try his dresses on. They're too beautiful to wear. And I've never owned one because it goes dead against my principle of not spending a dime over $30 for clothes. There's no point. I get bored of them and I haven't worn half of what I own more than once.

Back to Friday's story. So with slight shiver in my hands, I reach out for one of the four bottle green dresses in various sizes. It was stunning, complicated and sexy. I reach for the tag and after 1 reduction and the 80% tag, it was for $27.50. A $138 dress for less than $30? Is god teasing me? That'd be so cruel. I ran for the price check machine and it was indeed that. So I took a u-turn to look for the nearest fitting room when the deafning annoucement of 'we are now closed' hit me. Another u-turn and I bought it in a heartbeat hoping it'd fit me somehow. I could relate to all those lovely ladies who were trying on Cinderella's glass slipper in hopes that the glass slipper would fit and the prince would pick them for the royal ball. I came back home, threw stuff on the floor and voila... wait, no it's so complicated. Where do all the straps go? Ten minutes later, it fit like a dream. I was speechless.

At some level, I felt guilty for taking advantage of what Macys was doing to Mr Azria. But that's for another day.

The first lady has arrived... and how!

If you are wired to the media in any way, it is hard to miss this one name lately... Mrs. Michelle Obama. She enjoys unprecedented popularity home and abroad, and awes people with everything from her looks, her brilliance, her aura, her personality... name it and she's got it. This woman is being loved by the media more than almost any other in public life in the recent past. And deservedly so.

She's powerful and a great role model. Her quote when she was speaking to a girl's school in London was very inspiring "Being smart is more cool than anything else in the world" and she's a living example of it.

The one thing that I seriously do not get is why the heck are people going ga-ga over her fashion sense? Her black-n-red dress at the inaguration was nothing short of a disaster. Her yellow dress at the swearing-in ceremony was just so wrong, it should have been banned. Her J. Crew cardigans in London and her oh-so-next-door black and white dress when she met the queen doesn't even deserve a mention. So why the A+? And her Vogue cover was certainly not worth the swooning. Let's just leave her fashion sense alone and focus on other attributes, shall we?

p.s. Isn't it a little too soon for a wax figure at Madam Tussauds?

Grand kick-off

I woke up one day in 2007, saw myself surrounded by bloggers wherever I went and decided to ride the wave. So I did a brilliant thing and got myself a profile on It's a big sense of achievement when you create a profile online. I went to bed that night thinking about all the wonderful things I was going to write about.

Next thing you know, its April 2009 and I got nothing... not even a joke for a blog. That's just me :) It's my birthday (ok it was last week... whatever) and I'm thinking about the new me this year and blogging is definitely one of the hundred and fifty things (one of it being a choreographed dance with hubby... hah good luck to me on that) I wanna experience this year. So here goes my first real blog.

I read Amitabh Bacchan saying that the one thing that defines a blogger is commitment. So I'm commiting myself to one blog a week. That's not too much work. Besides, as my kiddo grows, instead of making mental notes to share the zillion things I wanna share with her, I can just point her to this ;) Ok so now I have a goal and a reason. Perfecto.