Thursday, October 31, 2013

Liebster Award!

Sounds awesome, innit? After some reading, I found that this blog is a award for a sweet newbie blogger. Ain't I glad to receive it? :D

Nikhil from Aficionado presented it to me. Thank you! So, as it goes, you are supposed to answer some questions and create ten more and pass it along to ten bloggers you know. Oh well, I am not sure if I know that many bloggers, but I sure will answer the questions I was tagged for.

Here you go:
  1.  If you get an option to change your name ,what would be your new name?
I'd name myself Ananya. I like the sound of the name, it means the same as my name! I like it so much that I named one of my cousin Ananya!  
  1. Why do you blog & what keeps you going? (actual reason)
I blog because I have this urge to throw up my thoughts onto something concrete. I love to write, I am not a writer or by any means a proficient professional someone, hence I blog. To be honest, I am a lousy blogger. I am not regular, I have phases where I blog twice a day and go on a hiatus for the next two years.. So really, it doesn’t keep me going. But I always come back for more!
  1. Of all the places you have visited so far, Your favorite place & why?
I love the city of Chicago, simply because it combines my love for a crazy big city with the peace and quiet of a small town. It has all the awesome restaurants, quirky stores a big place is home to, but you can always find something small and laid back around every block. Chicago is home to a huge lake with a beach as well..what more can you ask for?
  1. Anything that you would change about yourself?Five rare random facts about yourself that most people don't know?
That’s like a lot of questions disguised as one! I’d like to be more optimistic and self confident!
·         I collect stamps like a crazed maniac.
·         I love to sing. I really wish I could.
·         I look extremely extrovertish..but I am shy.
·         Love > Career for me. I think. Lol.
·         I normally maintain that I don’t have regrets: I wish I could go back and not screw up my college grades in one teeny bit.
  1. Your favorite TV show/movie/book? Answer one or two or all.:)
My favourite book is Harry Potter for sure.
TV show is hard – Friends, Big Bang Theory, Dexter, Castle, Sherlock, Pretty Little Liars, Game of Thrones, Khichdi, Powerpuff Girls, Hum Paanch are the few!
I am not much of a movie person.. but I do love the Star Wars series.
  1. One particular thing that you miss from your childhood days?
Playing outside in the sun for endless hours.
  1. If you had one wish, what would it be?
To be able to apparate between India and USA.
  1. An awesome moment that you can never forget?
To win the Harry Potter quiz, first prize, amongst 48 teams. Do or die.
  1. Now a cliché one: If you had one superpower ,what would it be?
Haha, I guess I already answered that. But one can always have more! To be invisible.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's My Reason To Pray?

Praying is one of those words that invokes a series of thoughts, memories, images -  almost like a film reel, for me. I was born a Hindu family, where my grandparents did everyday aartis twice a day and my dad followed suit, my mom wasnt that stern but she kept all the fasts and did all the ceremonious pujas. Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi were all a big deal in my house. Yummy treats and hours of chanting shlokas and hymns in the name of the lord. My grandmother made sure that all of us girls knew the regular shlokas and could recite them at the drop of a hat. I must say she did a pretty good job at that, even after so many years, I remember all of them and can recite them in one breath!

School. I went to a Christian school and can put even the devout Christians to shame in singing Christmas carols and such. I had a Muslim best friend in school, and I learnt a lot about the religion, thanks to her gracious mother and her attachment to Islam.

Fast forward a few years and my family found peace in Soka Gakkai – a sect of Buddhism, practicing the philosophies of Nichiren Daishonin. My family is still Hindu but they follow this philosophy as close to their heart as they can. They are bi-belief, if you will.

Me? Oh yes, I am supposed to write about myself. With my life dotted with so many religions, such lovely spiritual intervention, I’m supposed to be the quintessential believer of everything God. Unfortunately, I am not. I don’t like to say I am an atheist, because honestly, I am not that smart to support the statement and I do look for solace when everything else fails me. I like to call myself a Believer. Agnostic, not really. I don’t really worry about the existence of God. I just believe in certain things, people, phenomenon which drive my world and gives me hope in the time of despair.
So, what really do I pray for? I am not your regular devotee, so I don’t really sit crosslegged in the temple and beg for the highest marks in English and the passing grade in Maths. I go out, I wish for the tree across the street to always be green, blooming and provide shade to everyone. It’s my way of praying, or believing. I believe in the squirrel jumping from one branch to another that she wont ever hurt herself. I will for my mom to get into the prestigious school she applied to. I pass on my belief to my grandmother who is aging, and losing hope. I chat up my grandfather, who is one of the brightest stars in the sky, asking him what was the hurry to leave us all behind. I hope the cute guy from across the table is catching my eye and would walk up to me and give me his number. My heart cries for everyone who is killed, raped, tortured and I wish for the sun to shine bright on their lives. I believe in the unchartered path that mother nature wants me to take. I will for everything to be serene and calm and undisturbed. I work hard for my peace of mind, and harder for food on my table. I am grateful for all the luxuries I have in life, and count my blessings for being so loved.

I think about you, I think about me. I hope for the best for everyone I know and occasionally deduct blessings when I am extremely irate. I don’t sit in front of idols and chant shlokas anymore, mainly because my grandmother lives far away and can’t see what I do and also because my ceremony, my prayer, my ritual and my causes seem more realistic and answerable to me. I find it so much more relaxing than sitting in a puja for three hours dressed in your finest and thinking about the time when you could just run off.

But that’s me. I respect all religions, not to say so because I love being cliché but more because I have been in close contact with a lot of them and I see the goodness behind them all.  I will never insult your ceremony, if you invite me to your puja, I will sit there and listen with utmost attention and do everything needed. I will still dress up every Diwali and do the usual puja, but that's not my idea of praying. I am not the kind to do communal praying. I respect you if you find solace in the age old ceremonies and rituals, but I am more of a free bird. Having said that, I have always been very attached with agarbatties. Call it nostalgia striking back or just the heavenly aroma, I always have some lighted at my house. It just converts a house into a home instantly. I don't use it to signify anything related to a ritual or a ceremony, because, honestly, I make my own rituals and pray in my own special way, for perhaps the same things in life! But aggarbatties invoke a lot of memories, from diwali (lighting one aggarbatti to last through your entire stock of ladis) to housewarming ceremonies, to watching it light up and turn a brilliant shade of orange and playing with the embers, to fancy variety lavender and all that jazz. Cycle has like been the only brand which everyone in my house preferred and we always had a overstock of them! This festive season, I think, I'm just going to buy some of the simple Lakshmi Pooja Packs for my room and my home to remember my childhood and get all those beautiful memories rushing back.

This post is in association with Pure Prayer - Cycle Agarbathies.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Sector 17, Chandigarh, India

I think I love this particular click of mine. I love balloons and this is just so quintessentially Indian and reminiscent of my childhood. Balloons tied to the electricity pole in a busy market. Bright, big and beautiful. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Bhai, Tu Rende!"

Now if you read that the exact way it's supposed to be read - you're a Delhiite. Congratulations! You may now sit back and enjoy my little post.

Yes we've all read a lot about Delhi and it's quirks. I know. *Yawn* But this is straight from a Dilli ki bandi now lost in the foren country - US oye - and wanting to talk to you guys and get the apni Dilli waali feel aur baat. Kya kehte ho, bhailog? Oh, and you bitches too.

I think it's safe to say Delhi is my favourit-est city ever. I love Chicago , but woh paraya hai. Dilli toh apni hai. It's not news that I grew up in New Delhi. I was born, raised, bred, and bruised in the overpopulous capital city of the "developing country" for which Apple released the iPhone 5C, India. Ofcourse we know better, if you're a south Delhi brat you would never be so cheap and LS to buy the 5C.  If you're from Rajouri Garden/Pitampura and your "Daddyji" owns a big shop in Rajouri market and you wear everything Zara - you still wont buy the iPhone 5C. Arre usme gold cullur nahi hai and nahi touch lock hai yaar. If you're from the East Delhi belt, you still wont buy the iPhone 5C because "dude Def Col is like 20 mins from the DND". So who will really buy it? I guess the suburbans. Or NCR as we say. If you aren't smiling by now, it's pretty evident you've not been in Delhi enough, and might I suggest you take a detour and find something more suitable and not cringe-worthy? :D
That's how we roll. There's this great big divide and no GK resident worth her money will have the same swag as a Rajouri-ite. But the moment you turn against Delhi on a whole - you just kissed your own fate goodbye. Ladies can get real badass, boys. They really can.

That pretty much sums up Delhi. Bhai hum kisi se kam nahi hai. We got the swag, we're big city kids, we rock the parties - but still need to be back by 10 PM because well we're quintessentially Indians and papa kya sochenge?

Actually, more than that, Sharma aunty kya kahengi? Next kitty party and you're going to be the hot topic of discussion! These ladies have more resources and connections than NSA, CIA and all these agencies put together. There is little that they wont know about you. They'd talk to housemaids, sabzi wallahs, press wallah and even the kooda waala to know more about the couple that just moved in next door. Also, you're doomed if you're not into kirtans. You're ofcourse doing drugs and are a bigda hua ladka/ladki if you dont attent every navratre ka kirtan and mata ki chowki that your colony hosts. These women are superhumans. I am not kidding. Beware of them if you just moved into the big bad city. A tip: Don't wear deep neck blouses or you're just done forever.

Achha, lets talk about the public transport. "Yaar main metro main hoon zara Green Park aaja and pick me up haan?" Life is so stressful and isn't everyone just trying to get a 5 minute ride and feel elated for the day? The stress is from dressing up well and passing the daily New Delhi onceover done by each woman who is taking the metro for the day. It's not about what your style is. It's about how many women are getting green with envy looking at your outfit. Now THAT'S what we call as "paisa vasool" or getting your money's worth.

Aur dosti toh kya dosti hoti hai! Jab zaroorat ho toh koi na tapke and when you really don't wanna hang out there is an army of hungry bastards at your doorstep. Be it getting the latest DVD or the new season of Game of Thrones, be it a lunch part at a swanky restaurant or loaning out INR 5000 or even just trying to get you hooked up to the cute girl who is your family friend.. the moment you arent up for anything you hear the quintessential Delhi tagline - "Bhai, tu rende!" tere bas ki kuch nahi hai.

Yup. That's really what we are. We can be shallow at times caught in the circus of a big city - but seriously, we love a good chat and if you buy us samosas we are your new best friends. We love to give out our opinions and directions to the best golgappe waala in the gali. So howevermuch I've scared you, dont ever think twice before stopping us and saying Hi because "Yeh Dilli hai yaar.. aur yahan hum sab kitne bhi kameene ho, par andar se dil ke saaf hai" :D

If you really want to know the meaning of something in italics in the article, feel free to shoot me an email and I'd be happy to translate it for you. :)