Monthly Archives: May 2014

First Birthday

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It’s been a while, but my parents were visiting and I just did not find time to post. And then for the past week my internet has been giving me issues along with the electricity going off at random times, since its summer time here in India, which means random cuts.

We celebrated my baby boy’s first birthday on the 17th of this month, going with the ‘Little Prince’ theme. And so accordingly after much search for a good baker, we placed an order for a castle cake, which also included a few of his favorite toys.

With the birthday boy!

With the birthday boy!

My parents kept telling me they had not found tickets, and completely surprised us by arriving at our doorstep. It was the best gift (at least for me). There was a lot of shocked screaming and a bit of crying on my part, which scared by baby a little bit.

Pre-party red velvet cupcakes

Pre-party red velvet cupcakes

We chose an open terrace venue, and invited just immediate family and our close friends. Since there was enough space for the kids to play, they enjoyed as well.

The castle shaped birthday cake with a few of his favorite toys

The castle shaped birthday cake with a few of his favorite toys

Food wise we went with a menu that was more kids oriented, and it included mini pizzas, pasta arabiatta, pav bhaji, hakka noodles, manchurian along with ice cream.

For party favors, we gave all the kids little knick knacks such as stickers, candy, scented erasers etc, in these adorable blue themed Chinese food boxes.

The next few days we spent going around the city with my parents and them spending time with their grandson.

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Bollywood 2014: Films to Watch Out For

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I am a self proclaimed Bollywood junkie! In my childhood, and to a certain extent even now, I can tell you about about all the latest movies, their directors, who is sorta dating who, and what the red carpet verdict for a person was. With the Cannes 2014 in full swing, and the Hollywood “Summer” just starting, what better time to look at some of the promising movies Bollywood has to offer.

The first half of the year was actually quite uneventful. There were actually only 2 movies that I thoroughly enjoyed: Hasee Tho Phasee and Queen. Two States and Highway come next in my list. But with the “big” directors like Anurag Kashyap, Raju Hirani, Dibarkar Banerjee, and Farah Khan all having films lined up for films this year, it will surely be an interesting and exciting year at the movies.

So I present my list of movies to watch out for in 2014

1) P.K. (Mid-December)

When did Raju Hirani ever go wrong? I can still watch MunnaBhai M.B.B.S, Lage Raho MannuBhai and 3 Idiots numerous times. I mean I even know the lines to some of the scenes, especially the one from 3 Idiots when Kareena sneaks into Aamir’s room and jokes about all the funny names Gujarati food has 🙂 With Aamir and Raju Hirani teaming up again, one surely just expects MAGIC on the screen. Anuskha Sharma joining the duo just makes it more intriguing. Another Aamir movie that I await for!!

 Aamir Khan


Aamir Khan

 

2) Bombay Velvet (November End/December)

Directed by Anurag Kashyap and set in the 1950s is this drama about love, violence, and jazz. Now when, at least in the past 20 years, did India have jazz a theme? Anurag Kashyap has said that he wanted to make this film for the past 9 years! now that must be one crazy interesting story! I think Ranbir is a fabulous actor and I have actually missed him on screen since the monster hit of 2013, Yeh Jaawani Hai Deewani. There is quite a few stories revolving around this movie- from Katrina and Virat frequenting their significant others on the movie sets to Anuskha new “make-up” technique for her lips. But in all honesty, even more than the movie, I am actually waiting for the songs 🙂

 

3) Bobby Jasoos (July 4)

Vidya Balan donning the role of a detective. I love detective dramas/thrillers and so wished that Bollywood turned out more of these. I loved Talaash and Kahaani! The movie description of being a detective had me sold from get go!

First Look of Bobby Jasoos

First Look of Bobby Jasoos

4) Bang Bang (October)

The official Bollywood remake of an unnoticed Knight and Day , starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, with Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif. I know I differ from several people when I say that I actually enjoyed Knight and Day and will watch the movie for the story. Most people I know will probably go for this to see the intense chemistry between Bollywood’s most good looking actors, Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif….and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

 

5) Detective Byomkesh Banerjee (December/Feb 2015)

I know this movie might not see the silver screen till next year, but I just wanted to let everyone know about it! Another detective drama is there!!! YEEEESSS!!! I want to see how Dibarkar Banerjee brings alive the first Indian detective.

So these are my top 5 Bollywood movies to watch out for. Do you agree to disagree?

 

Beating the Summer Heat: Ways to keep cool in the sun!

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The Indian summer is here! In the States, “Indian Summer” was the time when there would be a slight heat way during fall…temperatures will slightly increase and it was a pleasant change for everyone before the gruelling winter hit. However, in India, the term has a whole another meaning. It is not something we look forward to. Indian summer actually means ACs blowing full time, strategic planning of errands to avoid time in the sun, long afternoons and mango season!

Last year I was off at the Teach for India training camping and therefore really didn’t experience the Indian summer. This year there is a whole different story….I actually have summer holidays and am figuring out ways to keep cool. Here are a few techniques I am using to get past the next month before Monsoon hits us.

1) Plan your errands! Really!

Gone are the times (aka winter) when you could run errands at any point of day because the heat didn’t affect you much. I try to get as much errand work done before noon or then after 5:30 PM. Morning temperatures are around 25 degrees Celsius (approx. 77 F), so it makes for a pleasant time to get out and get all the work completed.

 

2) Drink tons of WATER!

I know this sounds ridiculous. We all know we should drink water, but do we really take enough of it. If you are used to various drinks, try out some coconut water, Lemonade (Nimbu Pani), Lassi, Rasna, or mango shakes!

A Mango Milkshake!

A Mango Milkshake!

 

3) If budget permits, book a vacation to the Northeast.

It seems as it every other person I speak to has been or is going to the Northeast of India, which is graced with beautiful mountain ranges and amazing weather for us suffering in the heat. Some places to check out include Sikkim, Leh Ladakh, Dharamshala, Dalhouise, Spite, etc. But book these vacations far in advance as you might need a lot of paperwork/permits (depending on place).

 

4) Use the Pune style

This is something I have primarily seen in Pune. The ladies/girls do an excellent job of covering their face with their scarf/duppatta to avoid all dust and heat. I think it acts as a pretty good sun block! You can style it up with a pair of nice shades as well! Give it a shot 😉

 

A lady using the dupatta to protect herself from the heat!

A lady using the dupatta to protect herself from the heat!

How are you keeping cool this summer?

Photo Projects

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After days of finding a convenient time, we finally had the handyman over today to put up frames. Lots and lots of frames.

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A while back (well…three years to be precise) my sister in law and I decided to frame photographs and have them put on the wall along the stairs. We finalized the photos, got the prints and then just forgot about them for almost two years. Then a couple of months back we re-did the printing, got the frames, and finally today we had them nailed onto the wall. I love having photographs around the house, and I hope everyone who comes over enjoys looking at them.

A closer look

A closer look

When my husband and I did our Art of Parenting course, the final project was for us to come up with 12 qualities that we would want our child to have as he got older. Instead of just listing them out, we were asked to be creative, with the purpose being that the child views it every day, and these qualities are instilled in him subconsciously.

Qualities Project

Qualities Project

We wanted to work on a photo/frame based idea, and my husband gets all the credit for getting our idea into a finished product. After a few months of sitting in its packaging, we had it put up today as well. And if you have small children, I think this project is an excellent idea.

The first six qualities

The first six qualities

And the final six

And the final six

Everyone loved the end result, and it just made me feel that we should have gotten around to it sooner. I aim to not stretch projects for this long in the future.

Wedding Fever

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I just got back from a month long stay in Chandigarh for my brother’s wedding. And boy was it fun! We Punjabis are a loud bunch, and we get louder when we meet after long periods of time. And this time was no different-I was meeting many of my cousins and aunts after almost two years.

On a side note, this was the first time I was flying alone with my baby, and both ways the flights were completely hassle free. Yay us!

Anyone who has attended an Indian wedding knows that there are multiple functions that take place over a few days. We had the Mehendi, where all the ladies apply henna on their hands, then the engagement/cocktail on the 13th of April. And on the 14th the Haldi, wherein the bride and the groom have turmeric paste rubbed all over them by family and friends, and this was followed by the wedding.

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My cousins and I dressed for Mehendi

 

At the end of the engagement night, sometime after midnight

At the end of the engagement night, sometime after midnight

The Haldi usually takes an extreme turn at some point, and my brother had his t-shirt ripped, and ladoos rubbed all over him.

Pre-Haldi Dabang photo session

Pre-Haldi Dabang photo session

The wild haldi

The wild haldi

 

The wedding itself started at 7:30 in the evening, and lasted well into the wee hours of the morning, with most of us heading to bed at 6:00 am the following day.

All set to get married

All set to get married

With shoe bodyguards on ether side

With shoe bodyguards on ether side

And they are married

And they are married

It was a fun trip, which included way too much shopping, late night gossip sessions, and numerous sleepovers.