Monthly Archives: March 2013

Holi Ke Songs

Standard

On the festive spirit of Holi (it’s also my first Holi in 10+ years), let me share some of my favorite Holi songs that make this festival of colors so special and unique. Holi, usually held in March, the beginning of the Indian summer, is the perfect festival to drench your friends and yourself with colors and water. Dancing to some favorite and classic Bollywood tunes makes Holi complete.

Here are some the classic songs that should be on everyone’s playlist:

1) Rang Barse (from Silsila)

Amitabh sang this infamous tune that still is probably the most popular holi song. It makes you get into the Holi spirit instantly.

Amitabh singing the tunes of Rang Barse

Amitabh singing the tunes of Rang Barse

2) Holi Ki Din (Sholay)

Hema Malini, Damendara, and even Amitabh dancing and having a blast right before Gabbar attacks their village, who can forget this movie sequence? I probably think this is the song that made Holi songs a grand part of Indian movies.

The song that started the Holi craze.

The song that started the Holi craze.

3) Ang Se Ang Laga Na (Darr)

Have you ever seen Sunny Deol (known for his two left feet) dance? If no, this is the perfect song for it. Yash Chopra did it again (first with Rang Barse) in making an evergreen Holi song. Who can also forget Shahrukh disguised as the angry dhol wala (drummer) in this song?

Shahrukh partaking in the Holi spirit

Shahrukh partaking in the Holi spirit

4) Holi Khele Raghuveera (Baghban)

I think Amitabh Bachchan is the face of Holi in Bollywood. Almost 20 year after he drove the nation crazy with Rang Barse, he danced to Holi Khele Raghuveera with the dreamgirl herself, Hema Malini.

Amitabh and Hema Malini recreate the Holi magic in Baghban

Amitabh and Hema Malini recreate the Holi magic in Baghban

I am looking forward to dancing to these classics for Holi. What are you favorite Holi songs?

Interesting tidbit: the popularity of Holi can be witnessed in the 5K Color Runs being organized in numerous cities across the U.S., where runners are doused in different colors.

Advertisements

Home is Incomplete without Food

Standard

So, I am in Thailand for a while and since I have landed have basically been eating like there is no tomorrow. Thai food is relatively easy and faster to cook when compared to Indian, but sometimes the lack of ingredients takes away that authentic taste.

Phat Thai

Phat Thai

My first dish was Phat Thai at the airport itself at 6 in the morning, and lunch was Kapao Kai, known in English as Basil Chicken, and it is one dish that I can possibly eat every single day. I do try making some of the simpler dishes back in Mumbai such as Tom Yum soup, Pasta Tom Yum, Som Tam, and Boonsen.

Macaroni Tom Yum

Macaroni Tom Yum

Som Tam or Papaya Salad

Som Tam or Papaya Salad

The streets of Bangkok are a foodies paradise, and here you will find everything from a meal for under a dollar to one that will set you back by a couple hundred. And both ends of the spectrum are an experience in itself. One place I would definitely recommend is Vertigo at Bnayan Tree. And since the city is also a shoppers paradise, the malls are packed with unlimited food options as well, from donuts to gourmet.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit

Being a tropical country, fruit here is quite abundant as well and most are available year round. In India that was mainly apples and pears. Here I have been eating rose apples, sweet raw mangoes, ripe yellow ones, yummy guavas, and longan.

Since I am going to be home for a while, my plan is to learn the dishes that I crave the most in India from my maid. And hopefully I can replicate them once I am back in Mumbai.

Kutiyo Naam

Kutiyo Naam

Learning today: Kutiyo Naam.

Beep Beep, Honk Honk

Standard
Beep Beep, Honk Honk

I was once told, while first attempting to learn how to drive almost 10 years ago, that if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere in the world. Fortunately or unfortunately, I never learned how to drive a gear (stick shift) car the first time around. I actually learned driving the easy way, with an automatic car and that too in the U.S.

So did I master driving in India the second time around? I would like to say yes! It did take 1 full month, and my car still stalls on the road at times, but that doesn’t bother me as much. My biggest accomplishment while driving, I have finally started to listen to music. The first two weeks of me driving by myself, I would have pin drop silence so I could concentrate not only on the gear change but also on the crazy traffic.

Some interesting scenarios in my relatively new driving experience:

1) If you were a bad driver in the US, India will make you a good one 🙂 Lol, there are no rules, everyone just pretty much drives however they want. Just watch out for you car.

2) Even at night, some cars/people won’t bother to turn their headlights on. If they do, they probably have their bright lights/high beams on. And almost everyone does it, so you just have to get used to it.

3) People, especially motorcyclists, will scream at you for no reason. This actually happened to me and I was in tears 😦

4) Most people already know this, but the road is for everyone and everything: from camels to elephants to cows, to yes, even people just crossing roads as they please.

5) Nothing phases you anymore once you start driving here, as you see it all. People breaking rules, stopping for no reason, use no turn indicators (which is one of my pet peeves), but also being able to park cars in the tightest of spots!

6) Driving is more of stopping, waiting, or crawling in traffic. Seldom, actually may be just once, have I gone beyond the speed of 50 km/hr (approximately 26 miles/hr).

7) All this stopping and breaking and pressing the clutch gives you, surprisingly, very good leg strength-especially for your thighs!

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

But yes, I too am a firm believer of the old adage; if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere! So go ahead and try, it’s an experience like no other and one that might even give you a great sense of satisfaction if you master it 🙂

Share your own driving stories. Did you master driving in another country?

Where is my Pregnancy Glow?

Standard

When you read or hear people talk about being pregnant, 90% of it is all about how much fun it was, the glow and that it is a blessing. The not so fun side of it is something that you experience on your own, or hear about only after you are already pregnant. So, there is no time to prepare for it.

There is the constant nausea during the first trimester, which is also the time, your jeans stop fitting you. The rest of your wardrobe ceases to fit midway into the second trimester, and any new clothes you buy will be too tight within a couple of weeks. I am yet to find pregnancy jeans anywhere here in India, so have basically been living in loose kurtis and leggings.

My Pregnancy Attire

My Pregnancy Attire

And do you have any idea how difficult it is to apply or remove nail color! I mean you literally have to go into Yogic poses to reach your toes. Waxing is a strict no-no from the doctor, as the pain could trigger early labor. And all that squatting to pick anything from a lower shelf or something that you dropped kills your thigh muscles, if you did not include squatting in your pre-pregnancy exercise routine.

Sleeping on your side, while supporting your belly on a pillow makes it difficult to turn or find a comfortable position. Half the time the pillow ends up on the floor mostly with the cover somewhere else. And even the most simple acts of sitting and getting up from a couch can get troublesome towards the end of your second trimester.

A lot of these things you only find out about when you are reading the pregnancy books. I wish that articles covered more beside the glow, so that one is a little prepared. Also, people should be a little less judgmental if someone decides to say that the pregnancy was not all fun.

I am not saying it is all bad, looking at the sonogram and trying to predict a boy or a girl, and identifying body parts definitely has its moments. So is pressing your belly and waiting for a kicking response. Trust me it is so much fun and weird at the same time that someone that tiny already boasts of intelligence.

If you are pregnant and reading, or planning of trying for a baby, just know that there are others like you who are having trouble and it is not smooth sailing all the way for them either. Enjoy the parts that you do and cherish them, and ignore the people who judge.

Guest Diaries: Working in India

Standard

Hello Readers, we thought we would mix up the routine a bit and feature some guest bloggers. This week’s guest blogger, albeit a new one, is my sister. She too made the journey across two oceans (Atlantic & Indian) to try life in India. 

Say hello to the newest member of the professional working world, me! I have to say I have started my employment journey not in US (as I was hoping to), but in India itself, which is a big change may I add. My linkedin job status is only a day old, but I already have a couple of aspects to address regarding working in India. And, I will highlight again, this is whole different culture.

Though I don’t have vast experience working in US, I have had a handful of part-time positions while studying and myriad of Styling for workobservations through my work-a-holic friends. Thus, starting here in India, I have set myself for a whole different ball game. For instance, yesterday while talking with the HR manager, I was introduced to the concept to tea breaks. We have two allotted tea breaks, one in the morning, and one in afternoon spanning for 15 minutes each. These breaks are supposed to allow for some discussion about our projects, but mainly are a chance to revive some energy by enjoying hot, piping chai (tea), enjoy bits of juicy gossip, and munch on some laughs. I have experienced this, and am thankful for the breaks as 8 and half hours of just sitting is not really my cup of tea. The HR was also very helpful to point out that office hours are strictly from 9:00am to 5:30pm. This means that coming in early and leaving early does not work, contrary to the US where completing 8 hours in whatever time frame is justifiable. I was already being told that I coming in at 8:30 am was not really going to work. So in short, what pops into my head is strict rules that one has to follow. Am not saying one working in US does not have to follow basic guidelines, but there are flexibilities to what is the norm of following office duties. As for here, I think rules serve as a basic framework on what people have learned to follow, starting from the rules of classroom.

My work space

My work space

Another observation that I addressed today to a female colleague I was conversing with was about sexual harassment policies for the organization. As I was going through the HR policies, I spotted no section on it and was advised by a dear friend to definitely look into it. What my colleague answered was that there is no harassment whatsoever as this organization is reputable and people are on friendly terms. I, of course, could not muster up the courage to specifically ask about sexual harassment, but the answer does do justice for right now.

So within the time frame of 2 days, this is what I have to report back. I bid you ado with a note that I am on probation for 6 months before I can take any sort of leave. Wish me luck. 🙂