Thursday, November 27, 2008

A rose, a prayer and hope for Mumbai…

November 26, 2008. Terror has struck in Mumbai again. More than 24 hours has passed since it all began. And, the situation looks far from over. My company’s Mumbai office remains closed. Updates on the number of hostages, innocents killed and injured are continuously being aired on National Television channels in India. A small portion of the news telecast of the Canadian channels is also focused on the Mumbai mayhem. Hotlines are being setup for Canadians to call and enquire about their family’s safety in Mumbai. It is Thanksgiving in U.S today. When people are celebrating family and togetherness in U.S, hundreds of innocents have lost their lives and families in Mumbai within a single day’s time.

The Toronto office here is very quite today. It is a much awaited and normal working day for many of the employees. Especially since it is Thanksgiving and the U.S offices are shut down, there are no phones ringing. No one is talking and there is a continuous eerie silence all around. The Indians at work have being getting updates on their families and loved ones’ safety in Mumbai. Most of them wore a painful expression.

And, then there are some noble fearless men, whose life ended on this very day. These men are the real bravehearts. Constables to even assistant police commissioner. Officers, who fought till their death for the release of hostages. The deaths of ATS Chief, Hemant Karkare, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, ACP Ashok Kamte and the other officers will be mourned by Indians around the world.

Here is a rose for these bravehearts, a silent prayer for those who lost their lives and loved ones and finally, a poignant hope for Mumbai’s safety.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fall Pictures!!!

It was high time I posted these pictures. And so here goes...

As soon as we arrived near the lake..

Driving past the colors...

A church in the midst of all these colors. And, yes we did go inside. I always had this belief that if you go inside a church you have never been before and make a wish, it will come true. So I convinced the others to join me. :)

Cottages near the church...

I took this picture standing in the middle of the road. Lucky that the cop in the car right ahead did not give me a ticket...:P

The beautiful lake...

Colors and more colors...

Twilight pouring in...

My friends standing near the picturesque lake. It looks like they were embedded in the picture. This garden and the surrounding area was so beautiful, that you had to actually see it to believe it! And, the family that lives across this garden in their lake side cottage are so lucky!

Oh, do I envy them?

The road next to the restaurant where we parked our car...

Watching the sunset from the patio...

It was just breathtaking!

And awesome...especially because it was so quiet and beautiful. Something like we were sitting in the lap of nature...:)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What a weekend it was!

Last weekend was fun. It was thanksgiving long weekend here. And every day was well spent! On Saturday we went to watch the fall colors alongside Lake Simcoe, passing the towns of Barrie, Jacksons Point, Orillia and Sutton. I will add the pictures and more details in the next post.

Sunday, we hosted a party for some of N’s classmates and their wives. Actually his classmates and their wives are the close friends we have in Toronto. We get together once in awhile randomly at someone’s place either on birthdays or any other special occasions. The parties don’t happen very often simply, because they are doing their MBA. The wives earn and manage the family, which of course we are very proud of. :)

Anyway, the point is that this is the first time; we are hosting it at our place since they started school, a little more than a year ago. I would again like to think of the delay as just a coincidence. And most importantly, I had never cooked for more than five people when they were going to be 10 of them. So, my confidence level was somewhat low. However, the menu I had prepared was quite extensive.

Vegetable fried Wantons, Paneer Tikka and Beef fry for Starters. Masala Rice, Daal, Kadai Paneer and Chicken Fry for main dish. White chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream for dessert. Drinks were N’s department. I don’t eat Beef, but wanted to prepare it for the beef lovers.

Most of them are vegetarians, that being the reason for more veggie items. All the items were my recipes except for the brownies, which was taken from Tartelette. The preparations for the party began on Saturday morning. I went to the Indian store and bought lots of Paneer. After shopping, we went for the fall colors trip. In the night, I baked the brownie and cooked the meat so, I just had to fry the meat and prepare the rest of the items the next day. To my surprise, everything turned out well. I wish I had taken pictures of the final served items. The brownies looked exactly like Tartelette’s. Check out the picture here.

Everyone reached an hour and a half later than they promised. That was good in a way since I got to take rest after a full day’s cooking. Ok I got to admit that I started cooking on Sunday morning at 11.30. And it went on till 5.30pm. Oh I almost forgot, I also cleaned the apartment in between. Cooking is one way for me to destress, so I enjoyed the entire effort. To top it all, the compliments I received put me on cloud nine. Come on, who does not enjoy getting compliments? :)

Everyone enjoyed the food and the party was such a big success. We played some games at first. Soon enough people started dancing. That really surprised and made me happy at the same time. Wow I never had seen that before in the other parties we went. So, in essence, maybe, this party gave them all something more than the usual. I was the DJ. The apartment was bustling with both Hindi and English music. We had so much of fun. I am still contemplating on posting the dance videos here in the blog. :)
Wicked me!

By 4am everyone left and Monday was supposedly rest day. Somehow, when you had so much over the weekend, it is hard to sleep for too long. Maybe that is why we went for brunch with my parents and the rest of the family. After all, you should do at least something with your own family on Thanksgiving Day, right?

Have fun and wait for the fall colors pictures. :)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Back to Toronto!

We came back to Toronto on the 3rd of September. Now, you may all wonder what took me so long to post. Well, I have to just say that it is better late than never! So here we are, back to ‘our home away from home’. Hmm...Why do I call it like that?

My sister’s wedding was on August 16. It was very beautiful. The entire function and the day. She looked gorgeous and we were all proud of her. I stood by her side to make sure it was her happiest day. At the end of it, somewhere in me, I had an inexplicable feeling. It started when it was time for her to leave to her in-laws. A feeling like a part of me was going away. Oh don’t get me wrong here. Definitely it was such a heart warming experience to see her get married to her love. They do look good together and love each other a lot. I know for sure that she will be very happy and also taken care of very well. However, something was bothering me. Like I said earlier, I did not really know what, back then.

Now when I look back I can easily consider few things. It could be the fact that from then on, she had to stay with her in-laws more than her own family. Something, like I would not be able to be close with her as earlier. Or that, she has to get adjusted to new surroundings and new people. All of this until they go back to their own apartment, in another city where they both work. It was almost like she was being uprooted from her own family and put into new one. One, which she would have to live with, more than the other one. If only the Indian tradition could be changed. Like instead of the girl moving to her in-laws, the guy should move to the girl’s place. :)

I think now most of my uneasiness has gone away or is slowly fading away. Maybe it helps to see her happy and enjoying married life. She is also going to be here in Toronto for a short while.

So the 40 days vacation we had gave me a lot. Some reality checks, some sadness, a lot of happiness and most importantly the feeling of being ‘at home’.

After all, home is where the heart is, isn’t it?

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

26 already? No way!!

I am in India right now. Actually I am on vacation for my sister's wedding. There was so much to do. Inviting, visiting relatives, shopping and with all that comes a huge bit of travelling too!

However, I suddenly realized that it was my birthday. I am turning 26 on August 14. I just can't believe that I am nearing THIRTY! I need a break! I need to go on a cruise. I want to go vacation in Europe. I want to get through Mckinsey`s Aerospace & Defense Practice. And very soon I will want to start a family! Seems endless I guess.

Ok, now on I am just going to relish and really live every moment, instead of missing out on the very precious one life we all have by creating endless lists of ambitions... Well at least that will be more like my normaly self, which is....

Live life to the fullest every moment!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

You have got to see this!!

Few weeks ago we visited the Niagara Falls. It was something I was looking forward to, since the trip happenned somewhat at the time of our wedding anniversery. Kind of an anniversery gift. :)Ok this is what I took the trip as, even though it was mainly planned to take my husband's friend who was visiting from Detroit.

So off, we went to enjoy the mystic beauty of the most wonderful and picturesque falls I have ever seen.

Please check out the pictures.....

First look....

Second look and I was mesmerized....

Check out the mist covered falls!

A careful look and you can see a boat in there....It is called the 'maid of the mist'

Check out the rainbow in the background....

To be continued.....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Three years and still on....

So I am back. It took me a while but I am back to my favourite pastime. Work never ceased and so I never got time. I would never complain about work, since I enjoy doing it but I definitely feel bad that I had to abandon my blog for a while. Well you know after work, cooking, cleaning and again work... the cycle goes on. To top it all cooking is something I really enjoy, so you see there is never a moment of regret. Of course my husband ‘N’ is subject to all the experimentation. I guess he has no other choice. : )

Now, my work is really important to me. I am not a hard worker so it is kind of exhilarating and overwhelming. I am glad to complete three years in my job. I kind of feel like it is a landmark. Maybe because it is my first job and work is always hectic. There is always one or the other project on. Sometimes more than one but it still keeps life interesting. Like a good learning experience.

So, it is nice to have the job you actually enjoy doing and a kind boss who always understands and supports you. However, the wish to become an entrepreneur someday, does not go away.

Well I guess it is good to have an unaccomplished ambition. : )

Have fun and keep enjoying!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Work, work and more work....

Dear readers,

I am sure you are having fun. Well, if you ask me, no I am not!

I am bombarded with work.

More and more work. Three projects at the same time.

And of course stressed too.....

I need a BREAK.

Expectations from boss rising. Well, she is not really familiar with
Art Of Living's first teaching yet. Expectations reduces joy!

Bad for me!

My home laptop crashed.

The office laptop is given for repair due to a hardware problem.

I am expected to submit one project by Friday.

How am I working now?

Using a desktop which is pretty fine...AS OF NOW!

And.........surprise surprise!!!!!!!

I AM waking up early nowadays, reaching office early too.

And...of course working and working.

So, basically I am in a soup.

I apologize for not updating my blog. As soon as I finish this project, I will make up for the past two weeks. Keep smiling and have fun. :P

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A view which can chill you!

Some pictures to remember the last few days of winter in Toronto. :)

View from the balcony! Scary?

It was real sharp! Kind of an ice stalactite as opposed to the normal calcium carbonate stalactite. :)

Spring was right on the corner so the snow was melting but never knew it could take this kind of shape on the roof,

It was nice to see the snow melt but somehow I knew it would take quite a long time for the whiteness to disappear. Well, the above picture proves that. I still found it hard to believe that spring had officially arrived!

What can I say, I am enjoying every bit of the chillness. :P

Monday, March 10, 2008

It is not really a game....

Recently I had a conversation with one of my MBA classmates. It’s been three years since we got in touch so initially I thought it was nice to catch him online. I am going to jot down the summary of the conversation.

He: Hey!!! wazzup?
Me: I thought for a moment. It clicked suddenly. Oh yes he does not just mean what is up. He wants to know how I have been, how is work, how is life going on and what’s the latest news! That is how he is. A person of few words. I have been good, pretty much enjoying. I guess that covered all his questions with few words again :). What about you?
H: I am cool, rocking here in Mumbai. Well, you know what I mean. :P
Me: No I don’t know what you mean, but I did not say that of course. That’s nice.
H: So, how much did you lose?
M: huh? What do you mean? This donkey, does he mean how much weight I lost?
H: Money due to the U.S recession?
M: Oh like that. Nothing atall because I did not invest.
H: What? You never invested?
M: Oh yeah I never invested in stocks. I never felt courageous enough to do so. Does he not have any other question to ask? Talking after three since completing MBA and all he can think of is STOCKS.
H: Why? Didn’t you manage stocks well at school? He is referring to the portfolio I managed gaining a return of 7 percent in three weeks as a part of my MBA program. That is nothing compared to using real money.
M: It was not involving actual cash. It was just an academic project which was stress free. Plus in real life you have to use your hard earned money.
H: Surprising! I thought you must be minting money with stocks.
M: Well, I still have the passion for stocks and…I also play fantasy stock exchange. Oops why did I give away that info?
H: What?? You play that game? That timepass game?
M: What’s wrong with that? It is a good way to play with stocks without actually investing real cash.
H: Ok, here’s hoping you will get the courage to actually invest in stocks someday. :P
M: Thanks and no kidding I will do that someday when I feel confident enough.

It really did make me wonder why I never took the initiative to invest in stocks. I know I did seriously consider investing all of the Rs 5000, which I received as salary for my summer internship job. However, I ended up giving the money to my dad. After I got my job which anyway paid more than Rs 5000, I still never got the guts to invest. Then I thought I will wait for my bonus. The bonus came and went but it did not happen. One fine day, I decided that I would ask for a really huge pay hike in my salary and if it works out then I will invest. It was an inner tactic of avoiding to do it, since I knew my company would not give me that much of a hike. Something like convincing myself on it. To my surprise, they did. They gave me exactly what I asked but as usual nothing happened on the stock front.

I used to give information on what stocks to buy and what to sell, to my friend who used to sit next to me. He appreciated the gesture and took all the risk and gained robust returns out of it. I wonder how he could rely on my advice and go for those stocks. What if those stocks crashed? For one sure thing, I know he would not have hated me but he still took the risk. It is like he believed in me and was sure that he would not lose money. Wonder how much time it would take me to believe in myself and take the plunge? Well, for the time being I know I AM JUST NOT READY. :) And for the record, I do enjoy playing the game, you know what I mean. :P

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pictures and pictures....

Some of the snaps I took for Christmas which were long due for posting! :P

Somehow I liked this view a lot...

This kind of fascinated me!

It was a really huge Christmas tree...

Something which made me smile....


Another one...

There were few snow storms in the past couple of weeks. A glimpse of it. :)

View of the highway 401

View from the balcony

Misted and the blizzard went on and on!

Hmm the balcony!

I wonder how the cars could move....

The temperature was -30 degrees and it was declared a holiday!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A fall is more embarrassing than painful!

Last week, it snowed almost every day. On one such day, while I was walking to my office, my shoes sank into the snow; I lost my balance and fell. Now, falling over here is never unusual since most of the days I have seen it with other people. The only point I am trying to make is that I have always been on the watching end than the receiving one. Once I felt really sorry for an old lady who could not match upto the nasty wind and fell with a big thud. I rushed and helped her up all the while hearing her swear to herself in words I could never imagine.

The winds during the winter season can be very strong and chilly and that is a part of Toronto’s character. It never gets extremely cold but a small exposure to it can bring a shiver down your spine, it is that strong and frosty. I remember once I chuckled after seeing a lady firmly hugging a tree fearing that the wind would sweep her off. After walking past her and almost loosing my balance, I knew for certain that I underestimated the power of the wind. Morale of the incident? Make firm steps when you walk. Also, hold onto anything if you feel you are loosing your balance. Anything? Hmm that is for you to think wisely! :P

So, back to what I started with. It was a cold morning, misty and white. I just did not feel like getting out of the cozy bed. The alarm which was initially set for 7.30am was snoozed to 8, and then 8.30. At 8.45 I woke up with a start and realized that I was going to be late for work. It was 9.15 when I was fully bundled up and walking to work with every effort onto beating the cold instead of biting it. There’s a short cut which I take every day to reach office as fast as possible. So, basically the actual 20 minute walk is reduced to 10 minutes. If you ask exactly what kind of a short cut it is, I would say cutting across the backyard of another apartment by walking on the snow covered meadow, to reach the walkway which again leads to the highway bridge I have earlier mentioned. That reminds me, if there was no highway the distance to my office would have been just a five minutes walk.

Anyways, standing before the snow covered meadow, I hesitated for a second before I made the leap but it was too late. The damage was done. Before I could blink I knew my legs were totally buried in snow. I should have taken that as a warning and come off but I just went on thinking that I could make it. I struggled with my hands in the air to keep my balance and made it to the edge of the meadow. I felt a severe pain in my legs and realized that my legs hit the cemented edge of the meadow and I fell flat on my back. I could hear someone asking me whether I was ok and needed help. That’s when I realized that my eyes were closed; I was still lying flat and not making any effort to rise. He even asked if I wanted him to call 911. I was totally embarrassed. I got up on my feet with pain but felt more embarrassed to see people coming across to see me. I told the stranger that I was fine and continued walking slowly. I could see the stranger explaining to the others what just happened and all I wished was to just vanish from that area as fast as I could. I never looked back and continued walking, this time faster. I started feeling the pain more after I was settled in my desk. Moral of the incident is never take shortcuts when the snow pile’s height is half your height. :P

Pictures taken on the snow storm days coming up in the next post. Till then take care and have fun.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The never ending wait..

She was worried and desperate. A part of her made her feel that she was not mature enough to handle such situations. After all she was only 19 years old and for that age she was still childlike in many ways. However, people who knew her closely believed she has already gone through a lot, with her mother passing away the previous year. They felt she was strong and could handle anything. Outside the operation theatre, she held her kid brother close still reassuring him.

“Everything is going to be alright”, she said confidently once again. Ron looked at his sister with earnest eyes and believed her. It was more like a reassurance for herself. She did want to believe what she was muttering but only if those pictures stopped playing in her mind. It came in sequences, the moments she spent outside the ICU last year. She was alone, waiting and waiting till something inside provocated her to dash inside the ICU. The only time the doctor came out was to ask her permission on giving artificial respiration. “Yes, please do whatever you can to save her. Don’t worry about the cost atall”, she quickly said. She did not really know how seriously ill her mother was, though she was still coming to terms with the reason for her being in the ICU. In seconds after demanding to know her mother’s condition, the doctor explained. Words were being uttered but she was still searching with a ray of hope. The last words of the doctor struck her like lightning. “I am sorry” She was shocked. She stood there motionless. The doctor’s words kept resonating in her mind. She screamed, she felt darkness around her and saw her whole world crashing down. Her head felt heavy and she blacked out.

“Didi, do you want something to drink?” Her thoughts broke and she was relieved to come back to the present situation. She suddenly remembered that her brother addressed her with respect only when he wanted to make her feel loved and cared. “Do you want me to ring up uncle again? I am sure if we tell him that we are alone outside the theatre, he will come with all our relatives. ”, Ron said.

“It is okay, everybody is busy at work, anyway they all know about daddy and they could have come”. She remembered with previous experiences, her friends were more helpful than her own relatives.

There were few others nearby, waiting outside the ICU which was next to the theatre. She knew that those were the relatives of a lady who gave birth to a premature baby. She had seen the baby earlier when they carried the baby in the incubator, to the baby specialty hospital fearing the infant’s health. It was the smallest baby she had ever laid her eyes on, maybe not more than the size of her palm. The relatives outside were informed that both the baby and the mother’s life were in danger and anything could happen. The lady’s husband looked like a ghost white and ready to die if anything would happen to his family. There was a silent whimper from him when he was not even allowed to touch his new born. Once or twice, the relatives of the lady looked with sympathy on Ron and her. At one such instant, she rose and went upto the lady’s relatives and said, “Don’t worry, both mother and baby are going to be fine”. She thought she said that but those words never came out. Instead, her eyes said it all. The relatives nodded in reply. Slowly hours crawled by. The eight hours all of them waited outside seemed to them like it took forever. Her brother would check in between asking if she wanted anything to drink. She would not even answer his question but would say a silent prayer. And the wait would go on.

Suddenly the door opened and the doctor came near her and said.
“Your dad’s operation was a success, he is doing fine. She jumped with joy. She hugged Ron and both of them cried out with joy. “Would you like to see him? , asked the doc. At that same moment, a nurse came out of the ICU and informed the relatives that both the mother’s and the new born’s condition were stable and that the baby is responding to the treatment in the other hospital.

She went inside the ICU where her dad was brought in from the operation theatre and kissed him on the forehead lightly. She could see that her unconscious dad had tears dried on his face. She thought about the pain he must have gone through and tears trickled down her face. Ron was allowed to go in when she came out. She smiled at the lady’s relatives who smiled back at her. The husband was inside with the lady and the relatives were waiting for their turn to see her.

She walked slowly and steadily towards the exit of the hospital. Tears were trickling by. It was tears of joy. She stopped and looked up with her hands outstretched. She could feel drops of water falling over her. One by one till it started to rain and wash away her tears. She stood there feeling it go away. Slowly she felt weightless.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sometimes a promise is better than a resolution…

First of all, let me wish all my readers a very happy and prosperous New Year. Sorry for being this late.

I mean whatever is written as the title. I thought of having a New Year resolution, something like earnestly updating my blog. At the end of the whole thought process, (which took nearly one and a half month since my previous post :P) I decided that it would be better to just promise my readers instead of me just having a New Year resolution. This is just because I know I would not keep the resolution! :P
But let me assure you my faithful readers, (especially my close friends) I will keep the promise that I am making in this post. From now on, I will definitely update my blog atleast once in a week and there will be no more gaps like this. :P PROMISE! No kidding this time.

Christmas was different for me from the previous years. It was snowy and….hmm different. I spent time with family and friends in their parties. I spent time with my husband since he had his Christmas holidays with his MBA going on. I slept a lot and watched too many movies. Departed, Bourne Ultimatum, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Good Sheppard, Shooter, Premonition, The Namesake, The Heartbreak Kid, Donnie Darko, Oceans Thirteen, Live Free or Die Hard were some of the too many movies I watched. In the end, the dvd rentals, Blockbuster started giving us free rentals due to the number of dvds we rented out from there. :P I really had no other job. Ah yes there was one important project deadline which kept me busy when I wasn’t watching movies. Overall, I became free only after the first week of January.

So, here am I now back to the hectic work schedule. In fact, today it wasn’t that hectic, which gave me some space to take out time for this post. I spent close to one hour today counting the cars passing outside my window. It is a beautiful view so you never know time passing by. I will post some of the snaps I had taken during Christmas time in the next post.