Diwali nostalgia

family, Fashion, friends, India, Look of the Day, Madness
Diwali is always a special time at home. A house crowded with cousins and relatives, a big bag full of crackers, and the hullabaloo and ruckus specific and special to your family. But over the past couple of years, diwali has been filled with only two things – decorations and (lots of) photos. Cousins and friends are now scattered across three continents and I miss those times. Luckily we are a family who click photos for every random thing right from a baby’s first sneeze  to hanging a new painting on the wall, so there are always hundreds of albums to browse through every time you feel nostalgic.

One pic shows me holding a sparkler in a hand tightly wrapped in a handkerchief. Before you think I had an accident of any sort, that was my dad’s way of protecting my delicate hands from the flying specks of sparks. Another pic shows me lighting a match and bursting into tears (probably out of fear). I was five. Fun kid I was no? There was this one instance where we were all supposed to take a pic while waving sparklers around in the air. One cousin got a little too excited with the hand waves which resulted in burning a part of my hair. Although it was very little (a few strands) the smell took absolutely forever to leave!

You could be living in a far away land with relatives in India or, like me, you could be here at ‘home’ and your family scattered all over the world. But its just not the same without them! So I compensate by pushing myself into decorating, buying, re-doing, creating, dressing up and clicking loads of pictures… to browse through for another day!

p.s I din’t shop this diwali (surprise suprise), so I just threw together a festive-ish outfit and headed for lunch. Red (is always) = big festive occasion, so problem solved! 😉

p.p.s An outfit shoot after almost a month! We were so excited that we ended up with too many pics. Hence the slight overload!

Skirt&Shoes: Street shopping(Hyderabad) | Top: Max | Necklace&bracelets: street shopping |
Ha! This is one cheap diwali look! 
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Highlights of 2011

Blogging, creativity, family, friends, Musings
2011, where do I start? Do I even want to start? Even thinking and recollecting what this year has been like seems like a chore to me and added to that is the fact that almost every blogger is doing a year end round-up post. But I did want to write this post ages back and since one of my new year plans (the word resolution totally puts me off. Hmph.) is to complete every task and idea that I have, here I am penning down this totally imperfect and incomplete list of highlights.

2011, you are a blur to me. A whirlwind that tore through my life, scattering my carefully laid out plans, throwing away my ideas in every direction possible, trapping me in your angry arms and leaving me lost and confused. Okay it wasn’t that bad. 

I joined Art classes in January which I had been postponing since 4 or 5 years! I started attempting paintings which I thought were totally beyond my capability and they turned out to be amazing! Plus I had an amazing time with fido! 😉

Then came February and I was busy planning for a trip to Sydney. It got postponed, work got disrupted, and I got super annoyed. Just as suddenly, everything fell into place and before I knew it my bags were packed!

March and April were spent in sunny/rainy Sydney. Beaches, long drives, shopping – A LOT, eating – A LOT, and being very lazy at home. And then the worst thing happened. I had to leave *sniff*

Much to my (and many others’s) surprise, I started style-blogging in May. I took baby steps because I was so extremely conscious. Initial posts were bad, photography was worse! But I think I’ve improved now (Feel free to disagree! ;))

June came but the rains didn’t. It was my birthday month and I had finally, miraculously gotten over the feeling of ‘growing-old’. I din’t feel bad one bit, and it was a very pleasant day when compared to my previous birthdays.

July marked the arrival of family from abroad. Whole month was spent ooh-ing and aah-ing over my little nephew! Nothing else! 😀

Attended my cousin’s wedding in August. I met her after almost two or three years. Had a great time with cousins, with midnight visits to the beach!

September and October were spent being buried under books. So much for all the studying. Results were not good 😐 September proved to be a month where I was constantly doubting my capabilities whereas October proved to be one of the best months of my life!

Rest of the year, November and December  were mostly a struggle. A struggle to find a balance, to find the right path, to make the right decision, to choose the correct option and to find answers.

Blogging-wise it has been a great year. Started writing at two other blogs too! I met some really brilliant people, all thanks to my blog. The kind of talent that is spread across blogosphere never fails to amaze me. Such genuine brilliant writers and stylish ladies!

I do not want to tag this year as the best or the worst or anything for that matter. I just want to let it be, for no year is perfect!
And in Peevee’s words (for I simply loved them!) You say GAH? I say double GAH to you 2011!
Happy New Year to one and all! And 2012 – bring it on!

Pink and Blue

friends, Indian wear, Look of the Day, Musings, saree
Sweltering heat in the middle of “winter” – check
Heavily embelished work saree – check
Sitting outdoors in the heat in your heavy saree – check
Crowds and crowds of people – check
Trying my level best to avoid people stepping on my saree – check
A friend who has worse luck than you (‘coz she broke her heel right in the middle of the crowd and had to literally drag her foot) – check

Perfect way to spend a sunday morning, don’t you think?

Another friend of mine got hitched. Yeah shocking. When she gave me the news two weeks back I was secretly happy that I had finally run out of weddings to attend. All my friends have been very consistently getting married one after the other over the past two years. Just when I thought this would be the last one for a while, another friend dropped by today to give her wedding invitation for next Sunday.

One thing that I don’t like about weddings is standing in those long queues that lead up to the stage so that you can go wish the bride and groom, shove a gift into their hands which is immediately swallowed by the huge gift-pile behind them (and sometimes is even lost), give them a hug and stand for that obligatory picture with them, with those harsh camera lights shining on your face, and the rest of the crowd staring at you. I don’t know about other weddings but this is the case with most Indian weddings.

Now if and when I do get married, there is NO WAY that me and my (future) hubby are going to stand like a pair of statues on the stage and wait for 500 odd people to slowly push and shove their way and come up just for the sake of a picture. I’d rather walk around and mingle with all the guests even if my feet drop dead at the end of the day.

In fact I have quite a huge list of do’s and dont’s for my wedding. A lot of specific do’s and dont’s. And I can be very stubborn and moody when things don’t go my way(specially if its my wedding!), so my family is going to have a tough time with me! Make way people – a full fledged bridezilla is on her way!

Saree – borrowed from cousin.
Next weekend I am sticking to my simple and elegant personal choice from my own wardrobe!

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The sleepover

friends
Three friends. A whole night of endless fun. A lot of crazy laughter. Yummy cake and food and more laughter. That’s the best way to sum up my weekend! The next best thing to a spa weekend is a sleepover! It refreshes you like anything!

We realized slightly late that it was friendship day yesterday. And for old times sake we an impromptu plan to have a sleepover, a much needed break from our hectic routines. What started as a simple plan went on to become one of the best-est nights of my life. It has been days, no scratch that, months since I’ve had this kind of fun. Well, if you throw three girls (who have known each other for years) together, with the whole house to themselves, and the whole night stretching ahead with endless possibilities, you can only expect one thing – craziness!

I literally had to drag myself out of bed today. Mondays! Urrgghh! There are only three things that can get me out of bed on mondays. A paycheck.  New clothes. A strong cup of coffee. But today even these refused to work. Thats how awesome last night was.

But I must say I do feel charged and refreshed! No sign of the usual Monday Blues! 
Back to regular style blogging from tomorrow! Until then.. have a nice day! 

A few more mentions!

friends, Musings
The weather has been absolutely divine since the start of June. There is no torrential downpour as yet, but its been pleasant and breezy with occasional rain almost everyday(Do i sound like a weather report?). One part of the world is complaining that it feels like Autumn, another part says its stifling hot but right now, right here its perfect 🙂 Jealous yet? Don’t be. It wont be long before the second summer is back. Unfortunately i can’t say that i’ve been making the most of this wonderful weather. This week has been crazy. It’s running. No, its flying. Its barely even there! Am exhausted already.. and i still have 2 months of the same hectic routine to manage.

This is going to be another of those ‘Thank You’ posts. Yes the continuation of the longest ‘Thank You’ that is going to be said in blogging history! Also Nidhi from Anything but Ordinary was sweet enough to ask me to do a guest post for her blog. You can check it out HERE.

And now,

Her writing reminds me of my own in so many ways! Its fun, to the point with a generous dose of humour(am i praising you or myself? :P) I love reading her blog.. you can’t help but chuckle! Although she’s pretty new on my followers list.. she’s already made her way into the ‘favourites’! She’s a chocolate obsessed, coffee lover and i look forward to sharing a cup of coffee with you someday! Thanks for all the love! 🙂
The first thing that attracted me to her blog was the name. And she is as unique and mystical as the name suggests! She calls the stuff she reads as weird but i find it extremely interesting. If you are on the look out for a blog that is totally different from every other blog you have visited, then you wont be disappointed! I love the way she writes… very creative and enchanting! (Read her Soul Mates Series and you will NOT be disappointed!).
Well well well… where do i start with you Mister? His cheeky comments leave me half amused and half exasparated. But his comments and his posts both make me think. And i mean some ‘serious thinking’. He has a way with words. They just flow effortlessly, like a never ending stream! To say that i like reading his comments and posts would be an understatement. I totally look forward to it! (Am sure you’ve got a question or two to ask me by now?). All kidding aside, thanks for following and thanks for the support 🙂

Be back with more later! 🙂

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

friends, Look of the Day
My life is about to move on from ‘boring’ to ‘super busy’. Am happy because its time i move out of my comfort zone!

I have a lot to do. I have to start studying again! Feels so weird…. I almost forgot what it feels like to sit in a classroom and try not to doze of 😛 . Am just preparing for a few exams and i seriously hope i have the time and energy to read. *fingers crossed*. All you kids who are in college or have just passed out of college, shower me with studying tips! Although i know what you would say..  read a day before the exam. Sometimes an hour or so before the exam. That worked pretty well for me in college, but its not going to happen now!

Moving on to the actual stuff, its been 10 months since i started blogging. All this while this blog was the only consistent good thing in my life, while everything else has been topsy-turvy. I don’t talk much about my work or personal life here, so all i can say is that when everything else was falling apart and changing and then mending… this was one constant source of entertainment and support for me. I’ve changed a lot because of my blog and the constant support of some very special people and i believe i’ve changed for the better 🙂

I want to specially thank a few people for all their love and support and honest feedback. So i thought i’d do this one at a time. I don’t just want to post a bunch of links here and say a ‘thank you’ because you guys deserve a lot more than that. So be happy that you are getting featured here for free! 😉
(Please bear in mind that this is in no particular order! I din’t want to crowd everyone’s names in one post thats all!)

Maithili from One Such Story has been an avid reader of my blog. She loves writing just like me 🙂 although she is wayyyy better than me! She relates to most of my posts, writes whatever comes to her heart, has an amazing imagination (You should read her Unknown Intensions series and you’ll know what i mean!) and i always always look forward to her comments on my blog! So thank you Maithili and i look forward to seeing you on my blog and also reading yours!

Raji from What Raj Wants has been following my blog for a long time now! She’s fun and sweet and pretty and her posts make me laugh! She writes about everything under the sun right from music, and her friends to snippets from her exciting London life all with a dash of humour. She is the only one who has given me the most sensible advice about my ‘birthday blues’ until now which was ‘You don’t have to be excited for your birthday as long as everyone else around you is!’. So true Raji! Thanks for sticking along with me and my blog! 🙂

Look of the day :
This jacket/cardigan was something i bought against my better judgement. It was one of those things which i loved when i saw it in the shop and hated when i came out and resigned myself to the fact that i would never be wearing it. But after pairing it with this outfit, i loved it! It look bright and adds a fun touch to the outfit!

Jacket -Topshop
Yellow lace tank – Topshop
Trousers – Too old to remember!
Shoes – Rubi shoes

Have a lovely weekend! Mine’s going to be super busy!

Slim and Fit

Fashion, friends, Look of the Day
For the first time in my life i know what overweight people go through. All my life i’ve been thinner than thin. I’ve been a stick and an extremely depressed stick for that matter. Now that i’ve finally put on some weight and i (somewhat) resemble a human being, i’ve suddenly realised what it means to put on weight and to go on putting on weight. Now, am no where near my bench mark yet. Am still a little underweight, although it doesnt always show. Am fit now, but still have a long way to go. My stamina is better, my energy levels are better. So i should be happy right? Right?

Not quite. See i have this (old old old) pair of dark blue UMM jeans, a size 26, which was always loose for me. Yeah, i was 23 or 24 then.. told you i was a stick! Anyway now it fits me like a glove. So naturally my good old UMM is my current measuring tape. A perfect size 26. And i want to stop at that! All this while i have been concentrating so hard on gaining weight, and that too in the right way, not just by eating fatty foods (although pizzas and pastas have been the major contribution), that i never gave a thought about “What after that?” 
So my current mantra + obsession = Gain weight NOT inches. That 26 has got remain the same forever…err..!!!
All i need to do is figure out how.
I just finished half of the Baskin and Robin choclolate ice cream now. Its a must in summer. Always present in the fridge. Empty cartons are regularly and religiously replaced. Had a pizza yesterday evening because i couldnt think of anything to make at home. And the day before that, ate out, at a friend’s party. I can only remember that far.

Feels good to admit your sins… Am not going to stop eating all these things, but i really want to include some protein rich food in my diet. I did that in the initial days of my am-going-to-gain-weight-no-matter-what phase. But once i reached a satisfactory point, i just stopped. 
So starting from today! 
1)Healthy eating with not-so-generous doses of junk food
2)Regular exercise 
3)Gain weight NOT inches
*Goes off to eat ice cream*

Look Of the Day :
It was a friend’s bachelorette party and the theme was either black, white or black and white. Thought i’d pair black and white because they look great together. Then i thought i’d pair yellow and white because they look great together. I realised i dint have to pair anything because i had a perfect dress in black, white and yellow. My closet never fails to amaze me!

Anyway that was a big fat lie. I went shopping and searched high and low for anything black or white the previous day. ‘Previous day’ shopping always works for me but this time it dint. Then i found this pretty little thing hiding in my closet and *TaDaaa*

Very simple for a party… just the way i like it 🙂

p.s – Head over to ArtyHeart’s blog to participate in the contest and win a fabulous summer clutch made by none other than the super creative and artistic Pranita

Contest open only until 8th June!

Girls Night Out – Dinner

friends, weekend
Just when i said i had no plans and i was going to spend a lazy sunday at home… something had to happen right? Life doesn’t let you be lazy when you want to.. It comes rushing in the form of two best friends – Shwetha and Rashmi, who make you move your lazy butt and drag you out to an awesome dinner… Not that i needed much of dragging!!! We started with a crazy photo session… which we hadn’t done in a long time… and when we had finally built up an appetite with all the running around(photos somehow make us all kiddish and giggly)..we headed out to dinner.. After placing an extensive order.. we decided that the lighting in the restaurant was perfect for a few shots. Finally when the food arrived we grew considerate enough to stop disturbing everyone with our flashes. When we were done stuffing ourselves.. we headed home.. aaannnddd.. why am i even writing all this???

I got a warning request from one of them that today’s post had better be about this.. so here it is! To many more such nights(and days)!

On saturday i happened to catch ‘Dhobi Ghat’ [ A Hindi/English movie ]. I had a lot of expectations from it. Its a out and out art film.. Not everyone’s cup of coffee..err…tea. In the reviews it was mentioned that it wont really appeal to a person from Mumbai, but others would definitely get a feel of how life is in Mumbai.. Thats the only part i dont agree with..  Every metropolitan city is the same.. You really cant find that big a difference.. especially in moden lifestyles..  There was nothing in the movie that i found new.. or that ‘opened my eyes’ about Mumbai/life in Mumbai.. Its typical everywhere.. Its just a stereotype that has been continuing over the years(when there really was a noticable difference int he lifestyles and choices of people in different cities). Then again this is just my opinion. And… oh ya Good that they din’t have a break in the movie.

[p.s – This was supposed to be yesterday’s post… but with internet server being down the whole day (grrr) managed to post this today.. also it made be realise am becoming even more addicted to internet(if thats possible!)… so starting today.. gotta bring down!!)

p.p.s – Welcome to all the new followers! To my world of coffeeandmadness!
            And thanks for following!]

Food for thought….

friends, thoughts, weekend
Am really hyper right now because of all the coffee and tea i had today… not to mention jumpy and talkative..Yes i know my blog says ‘Coffee and Madness’ but i have reduced my coffee intake a lot over the past few months.. so yes am on a high now!

Today we went to an amazing new restaurant for lunch called ‘Khan Saab’. Completely Mughal and royal (Even the washroom was labelled ‘King’ & ‘Queen’ instead of ‘His’ & ‘Hers’ so you can imagine!) And at the entrance we were greeted by a huge elephant (not real of course!)

Almost everybody was stopping by to take pictures so even i did! Unfortunately i dint have my camera so had to adjust with my cell..
And for a place that looked so extravagant and flashy…(It was more like a palace than a hotel)  it was unexpectedly not at all pricey.. The food was fabulous, the service was good, and very very cheap! So definitely worth visiting again.. Spent the rest of the day window shopping (and ending up shopping) all the while struggling to walk and cursing my shoes for the horrible shoe-byte that i was getting but that dint stop me from walking..

OK enough with the review.. Now back to serious stuff.. I was chatting with my friends when we started talking about what hypocrites we all are.. all of us.. I really doubt if there is anyone who is not a hypocrite. We all automatically have a different set of rules when comes to us or the people we care about. And anyone who says he/she is not a hypocrite is seriously kidding themselves. I think the only slight distinction is the level to which you show it. Its one thing to be hypo critic in trivial matters, rather than completely and shamelessly pretend to have virtues, morals, religious beliefs, that he/she actually doesn’t possess. Again this all my point of view and i could of course be wrong. Some may say that it doesn’t matter what it is – trivial or huge – if you are a hypocrite, you are, and that’s it. I guess it all comes down to the same thing – there is no good or bad or black or white. Its always the gray shade in between where you find yourself stuck up.

It reminds me of a dialogue in ‘No one killed Jessica’ where a guy says- that every body, every police officer takes bribes, but the distinction is as to why they have taken a bribe.. for doing something good, or just being plain greedy.

I think that’s the maximum level of perfection we are ever going to reach. It sounds pessimistic i know, but as i said i only believe there is a gray area. Unless we have a different set of rules for ourselves, its impossible to survive. The best we can do is try not to hurt others because of our ‘rules’ (easier said than done!). I guess its a very debatable point. Even a thief picking your pocket in a temple is praying to god that he shouldn’t be caught. Everybody has an excuse ready for each and every action of theirs. Who will be deciding if its valid or not? If you try to measure a person’s level of hypocrisy on a scale of 1-10 there would only be a particular ‘range’ but no definite number (i hope that made sense!)

Well anyway… the more i think about it, the more confusing it gets! That’s just the way we are (Bad ending to a debatable point i know). So sleep tight and please do think about it and but try not to heat up your brain like me!
                                
                                                                                ♥
                                                                         Chandana

Highlights of 2010.

family, friends, Musings

1. I made a major major decision regarding my career.. no doubt it was tough.. i still dont know where am heading.. but gut feeling says its the right path.. so thats good for now..

2. I have taken some major major decisions in my personal life… they have turned to to be great! Much better than what i expected.

3. I have fallen sick only once last year.. dint get my usual cycle of cold-cough-fever every 6 months.. so double thumbs up!!

4. The fourth consecutive marriage took place in out family this year… assuming ill get married in 2012 or 2013.. people wondering who’s going to fill the gap for the next 2 years.. but i feel its best we break the trend.. the sooner the better!

5. After school i think this was one of the best years… not to insult my intermediate and college days.. i did have fun then… but this is completely different.

6. The maximum number of hours spent away from home was in 2010. Thanks to “DELUXE”. Certain people will know what i mean. I have also made some very good friends.. again thanks to DELUXE and Cognizant. Thanks Srinija and Keerti! Wouldnt have survived without you.

7. 2010 has also marked the arrival of 2 new members in the family… am talking about two sweet, cuddly babies waiting to get pampered.. of course they have not yet arrived technically.. but they are on the way!!!

8. My first real foreign trip happened in 2010.. and incidentally the longest one.. ok well second trip.. but i dont consider Mauritius as foreign somehow…

9. Went on my first official business trip to bangalore.. typical executive meeting.. catch a flight in the morning- attend meeting – catch the evening flight back home.. except that.. i spent the “attend meeting” part shopping with my cousin, while my dad acutally attended the meeting..

10. Am finally driving my car.. and by that i mean regularly.. i learnt for the first time in 9th class, and it was followed by one long break after another.. Finally happened in 2010!

11. I put on weight. Haha.. now thats the true Highlight!

12. This marks the end of a very busy year and the start of an even busier year. (The only difference is in the things that am doing)

                         A special ‘Thank You’ to all the people who have made a difference in my life this year
Mom & Dad – For everything
Sri – For eating my brain as always and for all the nonsense and sense that we talk 🙂
Shwetha – For all the fun, gossip, never ending philosophy, lots of laughter and lots of crazy stuff, for the time we spent together, for considering me your best friend. Still . (haha)
Rashmi – For being the awesome person that you are. No matter after how long we meet.. nothing ever changes!
Srinija – You helped me survive deluxe. I guess we helped each other out! For all the cribbing sessions that we had(how i miss those!), and the plans that we made (and the ones that flopped… like ummmm… tattoos? i dont think i can mention the others here!).
Keerti – For being the (sometimes exasperating) Miss. Perfect that she is 🙂 For all the motivation to get out of office at sharp 6! and for going shopping at 9 in the morning !
Gopal – For being the mentor and guide that you were and still are.
Amuktha & Anusha – For all the things we went through and shared.. for 6 years! Its only brought us closer.
 Bharath –  For talking.. just talking.. after 23 years! No i actually i dont even forgive you!
Apurva – For being back to how we were before 🙂  The moment we meet… we are lost in talking.. there is no stopping us!

     And also to many more people… strangers who have been an inspiration… acquaintances turned into friends… poeple somewhere who have somehow touched my life.

     The New Year spirit is becoming infectious.. I think i have caught some. I was never a New-Year-Celebrating-Kind-Of-Person. But this time i thought i’ll just go with the flow… Just like how i optimistically think that “Its a new day tomorrow!” whenever am down in the dumps.. i thought ill extend that to “Its a New Year!”.

So…
HAPPY NEW YEAR!