I want to experience the paradise on earth and God’s own country :-)

It is extremely tough to write about that one place which I would love to visit with my family or friends. There are many places through out the world and in India which I want to visit provided I have enough money in my bank account. From London to Paris to Egypt to the U.S.A. I want to roam around the world if not in 80 days , at least in 800 days. Before roaming around the world I would love to cover the beautiful places from my own country – INDIA. As they say India is incredible. The cultures , colors , festivals and anything about India never ceases to fascinate me. I would love to do some job in travelling and travel around the country but alas! I am stuck with many other things and hence can’t even think of it. The two places which come to my mind right now are Kerala – God’s own country and Kashmir- the paradise on earth. Being in the company of nature gives solace and you don’t even need any company when you are in the God’s company!

Kerala is on my hit list from long. Probably we will be going by the end of this year and I am damn excited about it. KERALA . The very name soars my spirits. The lush greenery , boat houses , the coconut trees and serenity surrounding you where ever you go is for sure heavenly. If I plan a trip it will be with my hubby.

One of the most exhilarating experiences in Kerala is staying in a house boat. It’s a dream I have from long. The back waters of Alappuzha and Allepey are famous. Riding on boat with hot fish curry being served and a beer to chill is heavenly. You can even spend the night in the mid of the water surrounded by palm trees. The thought it self is exciting. I have seen many of my friends’ pictures from Kerala and it sure became one of the top 5 places I want to visit as soon as possible. There is a movie in tamil and telugu where they show the picturesque Kerala which just sets the ambiance to be in a romantic mood 🙂 The heroine (Samantha) belongs to Allepey and the hero (Nagachaitanya) goes to visit her. More than the songs and the music it is Kerala which makes the movie more romantic.


Boat house in Allepey back waters. Image source : “here”



                            
The above video is a romantic song from yem maya chesave movie shot in Kerala back waters under a moon lit sky. This movie and the song are two more reasons to get attracted to Kerala 🙂

Next place which comes to my mind is Munnar which is a beautiful hillstation in westernghats. To see the plantations , to enjoy the natural beauty of  foggy hills and wildlife I want to visit Munnar.  There is always some thing mysterious about the hills and those beautiful hamlets. You can just get lost and have a conversation with your self sitting in midst of the hills and hamlets. One more attraction of Munnar are the beautiful home-stays which no one wants to give a miss. I would love to just rest in nature’s lap. I am sure I will fall in love with the place.
Beautiful and mystic Munnar . Image source : “here”
As I never dared to do paragliding till now, I would love to try either rock climbing or paragliding with my husband’s encouragement of course. The last time I tried paragliding in Solang valley- Manali I was not successful . I climbed till some point and got back down as I couldn’t muster enough courage!

Wayanad is another scenic spot in Kerala. It is called the “Land of Paddy fields” . The lofty peaks and the fields make the place look straight out of a wall poster. I would love to go trekking here to Chembra peak. Banasura peak and Brahmagiri are other important mountains of this district. The wild life sanctuaries and waterfalls here and there are the special attractions of this place. I remember reading about “Vythri resort” in Wayanad and since then I am just dreaming about staying there!


The place is perfect to unwind and get seduced by nature. The tropical rain forests and breath taking views are beautiful. I am sure it would be painful to leave the place once the holiday gets over. I also want to experience the Ayurvedic spa and aroma therapies of Kerala which are world famous. What can be more better than being pampered in midst of the dense greenery ?:)


GLimpse of Vythri resorts :Image courtesy: http://www.vythiriresort.com
Varkala beach or the Papanasam beach is located to the north of Tiruvananthapuram. Its a calm, sparkling beach which is believed to have medicinal properties. A dip in holy water is believed to purge the body impurities.There is a two thousand year old shrine the Janardhanaswamy temple on the cliff over looking the beach. One can climb down the steps to reach the beach. A paved foot path runs along the cliff and the view is breath taking. Varkala for sure is one of the best beaches of India. Like the mountains and cliffs beaches are also endless and mysterious. The shacks and the quaint beach houses make the place more scenic. I would love to watch the temple festival which happens around April.

Birds eye view of Varkala beach. Image source: “here”
I am sure I will have a grand time with my better half in a scenic place like Kerala by staying in the  Boat houses in the back waters of Allepey , visiting various churches, temples, bird sanctuaries (Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary) , Periyar National Park and by enjoying the traditions and cuisines of the place!! India is a mysterious land and I always love exploring the various cultures of our country. The fact that one travels in a Car with Haryana license plate talking Bengali and listening to Kolaveri di always amuses me keeping aside the fact that we have regional or any other kind of conflicts. Travelling surely detoxifies us. 

Kashmir is also on my hit list and I am sure I will go there atleast once in my life time. Travelling to Ladakh and getting clicked at Pangong lake is in my wish list. I want to watch the snow caps and ice glaciers and experience the himalayas to the fullest.

Pangong lake . Image courtesy –“here”
I am glad to say that I went to Manali and Rohtang Pass and touched Himalayas for the first time in my life some where around july in the last year. That sure was one of the happiest days of my life. Below is a snap taken at Rohtang Pass.

Me standing at the Rohtang Pass

I dont know how long this post will get If I start listing out all my travel desires. I want to enjoy the food and art in Italy. I want to sense the freedom in the USA. I want to see the calanques in France and even cover all the seven wonders 🙂 I am glad I visited one of the seven wonders which is the “Taj Mahal.”


If wishes are trains and planes I want to board them all 😉
I want to end this post with an incredible video showing incredible India!

Few stanza’s from a poem I wrote for the mother nature during one of my journeys.

The colour of the sky and water is pure white and at times deep blue.
Gazing at them makes you feel godly and true!
Where do these vast creations start and end, we have no clue.
The sky and sea merge at some point blending the hue!


The withered leaves of a tree are so brittle and brown.
They no longer breathe life, they always fall down.
Indicating the past should be forgotten saving a frown.
A new memory and a new journey helps rather than a mourn!


God’s nature has different hidden lessons to learn.
To just sit and watch it is a great treasure one can earn!
When you cross the phases of life and wherever you take a turn,
The things which will always be with you are stars, sky, sea moon and the sun!


This post is written for  Indiblogger’s Creating Happy Traveller’s Contest sponsored by Yatra.com.

Please visit Yatra.com’s website at   http://www.yatra.com
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"An aromatic journey down the memory lane:-)"

Early morning aroma of filter coffee instantly rises the spirits.
Reminds me those mornings of exam preparation to be in merits.
The smell of a new book or the morning paper always makes me elated.
The words travel from my eyes to mind giving rise to images animated!


The sweet smell of roses in the garden reminds me of grand mom’s place.

Her love for gardening used to create a colorful atmosphere which exuded peace.
The scent of the incense sticks reminds me the holy Fridays,
when mom always lights them up, gives alms to the poor and prays!

Image source:“here”


The smell of coconut oil reminds me those lazy Sundays,

when I used to have head bath after the long oil massages.
Sundays were meant to watch duck-tales and jungle book.
And then have a sumptuous lunch by mom who is a magnificent cook!


The cool breeze with whiffs of various recipes is amazing.

The aroma makes me hungry and the stomach starts rumbling.
The mixed aroma of boiling dal and spices brings back the school days.
The days when mom used to pack lunch boxes in innovative ways!


Then comes the whir of the washing machine and the strong smell of detergent.

The sounds and smell remind me the office training days spent in queues at laundromat.
The queues lead to new friendships , talks, gossip and at times an interesting conversation.
The place where people used to hangout more than the clothes for some relaxation! 😉


The fragrance of a freshly baked bread or other confectionery is tempting.

The taste-buds tingle and diet chart goes to dumps as mouth starts watering.
Brain says no but heart always says yes and manages to win over the brain.
I treat myself with a pastry or an apple pie as it is tough to refrain!


The smell of the wet mud always pushes me down the valley of memories.

Rain and nostalgia go hand in hand digging out the deep thoughts from centuries!
The aroma of hot Pakodas and tea is so inviting during rains.
A sip and a bite energize me releasing me from all the pains!


From morning to evening smells engulf us and impact our mood.

Depending on the kind of smell mood can be bad or good.
Some smells take us back in time. They make us sit and brood.
A certain smell brings a random memory and acts as an allude!

Image source :“Smiley”


This is my entry for Indibloggers’ “Smelly to Smiley” contest in association with   “AmbiPurIndia.”


Do visit Ampipur’s facebook page when you are here – https://www.facebook.com/AmbiPurIndia.

"It’s a girl" – The three deadliest words in the world- by Evan Grae Davis

After watching many inspiring TEDXvideos at the “Idea Caravan” by Franklin Templeton investments, the one which touched me is “Its a girl” video by Evan Grae Davis where gendercide is highlighted. Gendercide is a major issue in countries like China and India where male to female ratio is as high as 120:100 . Sex selective abortion , merciless infanticide and violence at any stage of life are some practices to get rid of the unwanted gender which most of the time is female. I was moved after watching the video and also the trailer of the short film he made. Evan being a film maker has roamed around the world and knows many unbelievable facts and statistics but he says the one which moved him immensely was the sight in a village some where in the fields of south India where a women strangled 8 girl children mercilessly and buried them in the inner parts of the field. I was baffled like Evan when I saw that she mentioned  what she did with zero emotions and zero remorse but the thing is it is all a vicious cycle. She didn’t want to repeat the history once a girl child is born. I am not supporting her act which is a horrendous crime but in some regions of India or china or to that matter any other country where a woman is treated with disrespect in many communities and where a woman is just considered as a commodity or a carrier of the child and where you have to pay to get her married this is bound to happen. Specially for women below the poverty line it is tough to thrive and be independent and fight.

 Last year a program hosted by Aamir khan titled Satyameva jayate was aired on starplus which dealt with many humanitarian issues. The very first episode relayed on 6th May 2012 dealt with female foeticide. You can watch the episode below and know some unbelievable facts of India. This is not the issue faced only by people below the poverty line. Even well educated folks , people staying in villas and bungalows also get displeased when they come to know that a girl child is about to enter the family. They mercilessly kill the girl foetus or worst part is they kill the girl baby once it is born. That’s the reason finding the gender before birth is a crime in India but where there is a law there are too many law breakers too. Every one easily knows the sex of the child by bribing the doctors. You can watch it all in the episode below to know how the corrupted doctors ease the crime. I was literally in tears when I watched this episode. 

                                        
      If you cant access the video above watch it here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG3WygJmiVs Its a one hour episode of Satyamev Jayate (in Hindi) on female foeticide

A viewer gave feed back  after the episode that nothing can be solved by going against Rajasthan govt. An appeal to Rajasthan govt may lead to speedy court trials but he makes sense as it is not the problem of just Rajasthan. The solution to this issue seems tough but by such episodes we can at least spread awareness and imbibe sense in to people.

When we look at the bigger picture of female foeticide/infanticide issue it shows many intertwined problems which are age old norms and policies of our society like dowry which is a nightmare for many people who can’t bear the bulky demands , a girl’s education which is not that important and many other age old traditions. Female is a burden and a downtrodden sex and will remain so as per many ignorant people. In the patriarchal society we live in even literacy doesn’t help in educating people. People believe in what they want to and do what they feel like with out giving a second thought to horrible consequences. The forced abortions of China stumped me. People who work for the family planning council drag the women for the forced abortion. In few places as there is scarcity of girls they are bought from other states and countries for marriage. There are many stories through out India and through out the world which we are not aware of.
From female foeticide to dowry crimes to acid attacks to honor killing India is topping the charts. All these problems are interrelated! We are one of the countries progressing fast. Our technological progress makes us feel that we are living in the futuristic era but our society and happenings make me feel we are living in the darkest possible time of the century!

The facts are astounding and unbelievable. If a mother in a rich family flees to protect her daughter , a daughter in law runs to TV channels requesting them to save her life as she would be burnt with kerosene by her in-laws and husband. If a woman buries the just born girl child fearing the wrath of the society and future problems she would face, a father gets her daughter married to a person who is double her age or kills her to save family’s honor. We are living in caves and we are dangerous than the wild animals. A snake eats its off-springs as it is hungry immediately after delivering baby snakes but we eat our off springs as we all are  hungry for the guidelines set by our idiotic society . Human race definitely is not very empathetic or sympathetic. People talk about crimes and forget. If some one raises voice against an influential person he would be silenced or bribed in no time. I am not totally supporting media intervention but as media gets more involved many social atrocities hidden under the carpet till now are seeing the day’s light and sometimes even action is taken against the criminals!Even in Aamir’s program few cases were taken to the fast track court. I haven’t tracked if all the criminals are punished but I did not hear much after the end of the first season last year!
We can give funds to victims and raise our voices but I am not sure how to uproot the “wrong” thinking many have here . Just yesterday I was watching a documentary where a NRI girl Radha came to India to just understand why the mindsets are like that here! The insensitivity , the patriarchal society , the upbringing and false notions people imbibe and follow religiously from the day they are born is outrageous. Women are always considered a weaker sex , treated like one and hypnotized to actually believe that they belong to a gender which is many rungs below the male gender in many parts of the country. This video below shows various happenings which are hard to digest. Every one must be knowing the Dec 16 gang rape incident in Delhi. Criminals don’t fear punishment here. They are so damn used to court trials and delayed judgments. The acid attack victim Tuba Tabassum brought tears in my eyes. I can just pray that all these victims get justice and those cold blooded criminals who want to be superior at any cost should get punished ASAP. They must not escape the wrath of innocent beings around them.  Neither a girl’s dressing nor her outgoing nature is an excuse for a boy to get provoked. No reason is good enough to justify the filthy crimes like rapes or acid attacks.
Coming back to female foeticides and infanticides the statistics just spin my head. In the below video there is also an orphan age home where they bring up the girls . Most of them are dumped in dust bins like trash just after they are born and some are just abandoned and some like Evan said are brutally killed. There is no compassion , no sensitivity and no humanity among us. I feel helpless when I think about bringing a revolution by  educating such people. I really wish people wake up from their sound slumber , have a reality check and do their bit when ever it is needed ! 

The above video made me sad and helpless. When I think of the general perception many would have developed about India over the years I just can’t argue or say some thing to contradict their belief and support my country!

Have glimpse of dowry deaths in India ” here ” . From Sonali Mukherjee to Tuba there are innumerable acid victims . Recently after a long fight supreme court regulated acid sales. You can read it here – http://newsclick.in/india/acid-attacks-women-new-rules-regulate-acid-sales/ More than one million child deaths  are reported in India – http://www.unicef.org/india/health_491.htm, We really need a strong pesticide to get rid of the foeticide.  India contributes to 1/4th of the world’s child deaths.We are at the verge of becoming non-humans. Its high time to speak out and bring a small / big change around you. 

Evan Grae Davis and his team have made a short film – “It’s a girl” . Check the trailer below. Its now being screened in America , Australia and Europe.

Know more about the movie here –  http://www.itsagirlmovie.com/
                             
I hope the protests don’t die down and the rage doesn’t get diluted once the headlines change the next day. I wrote the poem below with slightest hope for a change on the international women’s day highlighting the atrocities against women.

Is this a real “Happy” Women’s Day?

Happy women’s day to all the women.
Happy women’s day to all the men who are with women to get rid of the bad o”men”.
A happy women’s day is not to just brag about the day.
A happy women’s day is not just some thing to show off and say!

The real happy women’s day is the day when she is actually happy and not in fray.
The real happy women’s day is when there is no looming cloud which is grey.
Let’s take a small oath today that tomorrow should be better in every possible way.
Let’s just join our hands with the hope of a better society and let’s get together and pray !

Hope the day eventually comes when she gains respect from all.
Hope to make her point she always doesn’t need a brawl.
Hope both the genders stand on the same plank and there would neither be rise nor fall.
Hope a woman will not be objectified and be treated like a pal!

The woman is your mother who thinks you are her best creation.
Even God shuns thinking he is none to frame the rules for this relation.
For every problem you face a woman can be your sibling and give a solution.
She can be your best friend and advise when there is a commotion!

Before advising men fellow women should learn to treat each other with respect.
Rather than pulling each other down, one should think about their better prospect.
Before asking others not to ill-treat you, love yourself and build supremacy over you.
Stick to your words and do not lose confidence how ever hard people try to break you!
You me and every one build this society we are living in from ages.
It has good, bad, ugly embedded and also malicious people in the disguise of sages!
Hoping that every one can be free spirited and not live in the self-built cages.
Hoping the way many think and want others to think gradually changes!


Image courtesy :“here”

Check ” Evan Grae Davis’s” TED x video below.

This post is submitted as an entry for the Indiblogger-Franklin Templeton Investments “The Idea Caravan”  Contest.
Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.
 
For more such inspiring ideas go to – http://www.ftideacaravan.com/ and do your bit.
Thanks for reading

Drive to Nandi Hills -"A drop from the heaven!"

Early morning road trips need immense patience and effort as getting up early needs all your strength and on a weekend it is more challenging. Weekend is supposed to start late. Getting up at 12 , having brunch at 1 and tea at five is our daily routine but few weeks back we decided we have to get our lazy bums off the bed as Nandi hills is famous for its sunrise. 

Nandi Hills or Nandidurg (Anglicised forms include Nandidrug and Nandydroog) is an ancient hill fortress of southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is located just 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bangalore. The hills are nestled between the neighboring towns of Nandi, Muddenahalli, and Kanivenarayanapura. (Source : Wiki).

Morning was breezy and it started drizzling as soon as we started at our home in white field at about 5:30. The drive was extremely pleasant and I realized after long that early mornings are divine. Luckily as we stay in whitefield the drive was short though as a second thought I wanted it to be long. As the roads were clear and as cold waves waved a “hi” every now and then I wanted to have a longer drive to Nandi hills!

We clicked this on the way. This was actually the first click during the road trip. I loved the structure but was not able to recognize the name of the building.

As we continued to drive we came across tall palm trees swaying in breeze. The clouds got denser and darker and it started getting more and more cold as we approached the hills. I realized at that moment that it would be tough to catch the sight of the sun. The thick blanket of fog covered the roads and hills. 

As we entered the zig zag roads with hair pin bends it all got foggy


Driving on the zig zag path was tough and we left our car’s head lights on to be safe. Our Renault Pulse was shining bright in all its glory.

On the way we came across a group of monkeys huddled together so as to stay warm. Few were busy grooming and few were busy snatching the eatables from the visitor’s hands. Few had the bored to death look as and when they saw the daily tourists!



After clicking monkeys , clouds and trees I realized that I should give a chance to the man behind the wheel to be a part of the album.


After capturing few magnificent snap shots using our NIKON L 810 we continued driving slowly as the fog was heavy and the vision got blurry. As and when we entered the main entrance there was a long queue for tickets and due to all the travelling in the cold dense fog there was a long queue even at the entrance of toilets! To my dismay I was the last in the toilet queue and my husband was the last one in the tickets queue ! There is no need to explain the worse condition of toilets. The mental image of any public toilet in India holds good. To my disgust I had to pay 5/- for the 30 seconds torture inside the bathroom . Phew!

To shed off the mental image and to again lull in the natures lap I took my phone and the camera for capturing some snaps at the entrance.
This one looked straight out of a movie to me!


Near the ticket counter

Once we bought the tickets we wasted no time as the fog might get lifted. We drove through the entrance to the park and the Nandi temple. At the entrance I found unusually tall Opuntia and Cactus plants. They are xerophytes( desert plants) with thorns and beautiful flowers. May be they loved the climate and responded happily by becoming gigantic.
Tallest cactus I ever saw. Not sure if it is cactus or opuntia !
Inside the gate it was more heavenly. The path sure felt like it was leading to heaven and Gods.



The view above brought the poet in me out and in no time I weaved the below lines and absolutely loved them.

“The path ways to heart are always foggy but we like to walk till we see the destination.

When the fog gets lifted and destination is near we are no longer interested to walk.

The path ways to heart are cob webbed but we move forward cutting each string.

When the path gets clear we get scared to move even an inch from where we stand!”


We parked our car at some point and walked up hill and down hill .We were too mesmerized to feel the sleeplessness. In fact we were more energetic once we breathed the pollution free air. I wanted to sit on those steps for eternity but as time will not halt I had to leave the spot to explore the area more! The benches submerged in the fog are an added attraction to Nandi hills. Where ever you go you will see the benches covered in mist!

We spotted a white building which looked like a palace constructed in sky. I so wished I owned it. It was magnificent and was shining like a pearl. There was a Nandi near the porch which adorned the building. We could spot none hence did not know the significance of the building. We assumed it to be a resort or a club!



We strolled lazily and leisurely. The fog refused to lift off. It was heavenly and we couldn’t spot sun. It started getting chilly as there were frequent drizzles. This reminded me many bollywood and tollywood movies, songs and specially the climax scenes shot some times in hill stations or in rain. After walking for a while and clicking hundreds of pics we came across a Nandi temple. I found a rose in full bloom there and immediately captured it. Sadly as and when I clicked it an elderly man in his mid 60s mercilessly plucked it :(. I glared at him. He must have got scared as he left tip toed. 

A rose is a rose is a rose!


Idols inside the temple
Can you imagine a south Indian movie song here ? 🙂
I can!
We reached the highest point of Nandi Hills standing where one can see the canopy of fog covering the Bangalore city. Thats when I realized the secret behind the pleasance of the city!


After the strolling and lazing out for more than an hour we remembered that we ate nothing since morning as our stomachs roared. We started towards the restaurant which we spotted on the way. It was flanked by monkeys who were all set to snatch what ever you are holding in your hands. From Araku valley to Manali to Malaysia I get scared of these monkeys on hills. Once I ran as fast as I can and covered some 300 steps at Batu caves , Malaysia in the shortest possible time which easily can be printed in the Limca book of records! After successfully saving ourselves from monkeys we went in and ordered hot dosa and veg pulav. It was a bliss to relish the food watching the fog, hills and trees. As we were eating a monkey hopped in with a speed of a light year and took away the left overs from a plate in the adjacent table!

The hot yummy dosa
After few more clicks and idling we had hot elaichi tea from a tea stall just out side the restaurant. It was extremely relieving as I felt dizzy due to my numb head.



The drive back home was pleasant too but the fog got lifted and sun slowly started peeping out of the clouds.  



As soon as we reached home we crashed and had a sound sleep for two hours. This was the perfect road trip we had in Bangalore so far and it was a Sunday well spent when we realized waking up early in the morning all together gives a different perspective of the day. Such trips are good even in solitude but I had the best company which made me more peaceful and I absolutely relished the beauty of nature 🙂


A bye with a sigh- 

This post is written for Indiblogger’s “The Perfect Road Trip” contest in association with “Ambipur“.
When you are here do visit Ambipur’s face book page- “AmiPurIndia”


An eerie chat!

The night before I was reading a book and doing some research parallely to write an article on celebrities who died in a mysterious way. Just then my mobile blinked with five add requests on we chat. First one showed a name Jiah Khan and the number was 03062013. Second one was from Marilyn Monroe , third from silk smitha, fourth from Divya Bharathi and fifth from Parveen Babi. Every one had strange phone numbers which looked like dates. I got scared to accept the requests. I was feeling too jittery but still gathered courage and added all of them.

Jiah Khan : “Hello Afshan. Hope you are doing good.”

Me:  “I am good but who are you and how did you know my number?”

Jiah Khan : “I am of course the actress Jiah Khan. We just realized you were trying to write an article on celebrities who had an untimely death. Thought we could talk to you!”

Me: ” But how can you be online?!”

Jiah Khan: “Worry about it later. Don’t you want to talk to us?”

I sat with all my attention on my we chat window and responded to Jiah.

Me : “Of course. You can talk and hello all of you!”

Marilyn , Silk Smitha , Divya Bharathi , Parveen Babi : “Hello dear!”

Me : “It feels so weird to even talk to you all. I feel so bad that you all had to die in a mysterious way!”

Divya Bharathi : “Ya! God’s ways are mysterious at times!”

Me : ” You were my favorite Divya! I used to adore you.”

Divya: “I know. Feels good to hear it anyway 🙂 .”

Me : “You died at the age of 19. I felt so bad. If you were in movies for some more time I am sure you would have given a tough competition to all!”

Divya: “Thats a compliment. Thanks!”

Me: ” Apologies in advance for my question. Was Sajid Nadiadwala responsible for your death or was it a suicide or an accident?”

Divya : “Apology accepted but lets just say fate killed me. I was like a candle which glows its brightest before it dies!”

Me: “I am really sorry Divya. Do you know that after your death you were immortalized in Iran as a beauty queen. You still live in our hearts!”

Divya: “Thanks a lot!”

Me: ” You are just 25 years old Jiah and you committed suicide. Why were you so frustrated 😦 ?”

Jiah : “You can read it all “here”

Me: “I have read it but the thing is you had a bright future ahead of you. Why is every one making a man the center of their universe? It saddens me to the core.”

Jiah : “You will not understand it. It is very tough to live like a normal person and react to normal emotions when you become a celebrity!”

Marilyn : “More over if you are weak you will be considered a misfit.”

Me: “Hi Monroe ! You are an idol to many you know. People believe your quotes till date . I myself have few saved in mobile. The below one is one of my favorites.”

Marilyn : “Oh ! Thanks. That feels good.”
Me: “You inspired 1000s of women but you left us too soon dear Marilyn. You are an inspiration.”
Marilyn : “Like I said you are more valued when you are gone 🙂 “
Silk Smitha : “That is true and some times others get value when you are dead . I have seen Vidya Balan reaching the zenith of he success after acting in a bio pic based on me!”

Me: “That movie for sure moved me Silk. Wait. Your original name is Vijaya Lakshmi right ?”

Silk: “Yes. Thanks for reminding me my name. Brings back many memories!”
Me: “You died early too at the age of 35. I will not ask the reasons and bother you but I want to appreciate you. You indeed were successful till you lived!”
Silk : “Ya success till it lasts gives you name and fame and getting true love and respect is next to impossible in film industry!”
Parveen Babi : ” Ya people don’t even recognize you when your glamour fades. They don’t even knock at your door to even show pity. My body was found by police 3 days after my death. Even my last rituals were not done as per my wish. I was a Muslim but got converted to Christianity but my relatives buried me as per Islamic rites”
Me: “I am sorry to hear that Parveen. You were a role model to many you know. Your westernized features revolutionized bollywood. Jawaan-e-Jaanemann is sung by many till date”
Parveen : “Thanks for your appreciation . Stardom or the thoughts of it don’t entice me any more.”
Jiah : “Neither me!”
Marilyn , Silk , Divya  : “Neither us!”
Marilyn , Silk , Divya , Jiah , Parveen : “O. K. Afshan. You have a good time and stay happy. Its time to leave now!” 
Me: “Please stay for some more time. I want to ask few more questions.”
Jiah : “Now we have some other important work to do. If we want to contact you again we will add you using the same number. Till then take care!”
As she typed that last sentence all their names disappeared from the chat. They were not in my contacts list any more. I did not even say bye. As I watched the screen I felt that my kitchen was glowing bright . It was so bright that I got momentarily blind. When I slowly lifted my head to look in that direction I could see the back of five women who stood hand in hand. They slowly vanished from there. The next day it came in headlines of TOI that many people saw spirits of few women in their residential areas during different hours of the night. My article was half way and I was still in shock remembering the chat from the night before. I realized the phone numbers were their death dates. Just then my mobile rang with a beep sound and I got an add request on We chat from 29072004 with a name Nafisa Joseph flashing bright . . . .
The recent suicide and many other related articles I read made me write this post. How many ever questions we ask, the answer to why people commit suicide is always complex. Hope the suicide rates drop and that momentary decision to commit suicide gets altered!
This post is a part of “Indiblogger’s”   “We Chat With Anyone, Anywhere” contest. If you like this post you may like another post too . Please read at “A Conversation with Khans”

Do check out the cool “We chat” ad and the details on You tube –“here”

A Conversation with Khans!

After a friend suggested I downloaded we chat from appstore which is a beautiful app to chat with any one on the globe and do much more. I won a contest and got an opportunity to talk to the “Khans” of bollywood. With out Khans bollywood is incomplete and I cant thank my stars enough for getting a chance to chat with the Khans. I not only got an opportunity to chat but also to record and present it to the world. Now who is not interested in their cat fights , cold wars and open rebukes.

In short Indians are fond of any news or gossip bollywood dishes out. I was given a date and time when all the Khans would be “online”. I added and invited all of them to a group chat. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that Shahrukh Khan of all was online first. The conversation went some thing like below




Me : Hey Shahrukh ! I can’t believe its you !

Shahrukh: You gotta believe Afshan. Chote chote mobiles me aisi badi badi baatein hosakti hai ( In small mobiles big things do happen) 😉

The sentence ringed in my ears exactly in SRK’s tone!

Me : Oh ! I am just lucky to get a chance like this Shahrukh. I am a big fan.


Shahrukh : Loads of love and hugs to you Afshan.


Salman: Ohhu Ohhu!

Me: “OOPS! Salmaan Khan. You are finally online. Wow!”

Salman: I came online five minutes back Miss. Afshan. Was just keeping silent as you were busy with your hero!

Me : “Oh. I am sorry Sallu. I am so glad you came!”

By that time every one was online.

Me : “So we all are finally here. Its like a dream come true ! Wow. I still can’t believe it. Pinching my self hard to believe : ) 🙂 “

Saif : “waaaw . Don’t pinch hard baby. It might redden and pain but laal mere dil ka haal hai!” (red is the color of my heart.)

Me: “Saif ! Welcome to We chat.” 

Aamir : ” Oh my God ! What a bad opening line it was Saif.  Looks like you are adopting the humor skills of some one else.”


Me : “Hello Aamir . How you doing ? Why don’t you have a pic on your profile?”

Shahrukh : “Perfect people don’t do self promotion Afshan. Don’t you know that? 😉 “

Me :  🙂

Aamir : Who needs a pic when I am all over. “Humse door jaoge kaise, dil se hame bhulaoge kaise … hum woh khushboo hai joh saason mein bastein hain, khud ki saason ko rok paoge kaise!” (How can you go away from me? How can your heart forget me? I am that fragrance which lives in the breath. How can you stop breathing?)


Me: “Wow! Good one Aamir!”


Salman : “Wah ! That was some opening line Aamir. Bravo!”


Shahrukh : “Some one is trying to copy some one else’s forte of romancing here!” 


Me: “Guys please don’t start here. Let me hop over to others and Aamir please put up a pic. It will make us feel good.”


Aamir : “If you insist. Hmmm . Ok I shall put one!”





Me: “Hello Irfaan Khan. Why so serious ?”


Irfaan Khan : “Because I don’t talk nonsense and waste time!”


Me: “OOPS! Sorry Irfan. So my question for you is how does your success feel now? You have been in foreign movies and both fared well. We all loved Slumdog and Life of Pi and Paan Singh Tomar was sure a legendary movie. Congrats on your success!”

Irfaan : “Feels good to see that you at least recognised it. Good films have no value and no awards you know”.


Shahrukh : “Oh! Stop cribbing Irfaan. You already bagged an award and still you are not happy!?”


Me: “Anyway . Welcome Arbaaz. It is nice to see you after a long hiatus.”


Arbaaz Khan : “Glad you noticed now. Other wise I was thinking Munna to badnaam hogaya!”


Saif : ” Ya Ya ! You are going to put Munna badnaam hua –  a gay item song in Dabaang 3 or what.? LOL!”


Shahrukh : ” Ha Ha! That was a good one Saifu . Gimme five!”


Salmaan :Zyada baat kia to itni ched karenge ki conphuge hojaooge saasen kahan se le aur @@#*(@ kahan se!”


Arbaaz : “Wait and see all of you . With Dabaang 3 we will earn so much that we will be buying all the IPL teams.”

Saif : “Aah ! Wishful thinking Arbu. Who will watch Sonakshi Sinha again and again? I mean C’mon man she comes in my dreams and scares me these days!”

Salmaan : “Hold your tongue Nawaab Saheb. Your wife acted in fevicol song. She was obliged to act with me 😉 


Saif : “And that is why Dabaang 2 was a hit!”


Shahrukh : “Give me five again Saifu!”


Aamir : “These petty fights are some thing which don’t interest me. Thats why I don’t come to award functions or such group chats!”


Shahrukh : “Ya Ya! It is rightly said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy :P “


Me : “Shahrukh please. Aamir doesn’t like jokes . So please refrain !”


Shahrukh : “O.K. Shhh. All of you! Let M.R.Perfect talk here!”




Fardeen :Sniff Sniff


Me : “Oh my God ! Fardeen. You were also in the group right ? Why didn’t you say hi? I am really sorry Fardeen !”


Fardeen: “I am really hurt. I want to leave this conversation. No one noticed me.”


Me : “Listen Fardeen. I am really sorry!”


Saif : “Arey vaise notice bhi kaun karega ? Who will notice you man ? Pyar tune kya kia aur uske baad tune kuch kaam kia ? “


Shahrukh: “Oh my God! Saif. You are on a roll today. What did Kareena make in break fast man? My stomach is aching from all the laughs!”

Saif : “He was in “No Entry” after which Salman never gave him entry in any of his movies. LOL!”


Shahrukh : “Guys. I need a loo break! I am dying laughing here.”


I was suppressing smiles but as I was the host I did not reveal it. Fardeen left the conversation angrily.

Me : “Guys. Please behave. I was given just one hour time slot to talk to you all and ask questions but you guys are just too much. Please co-operate. We are running out of time! My apologies Fardeen. Hope you check my reply later!” 

Salman : “Just because you acted in a zombie movie which fared well you don’t have to sit on cloud 9 Saif.  Don’t forget Agent Vinod and Cocktail where only heroines played pivotal role so that the whole team could be saved from bankruptcy. By the way do you know that your look alike works in a gas station. I am forwarding his pic guys. Have good laughs!’


Shahrukh : “Oh! Come on Sallu. You don’t have to be so rude. Ya we all know Ek tha tiger earned 100 crores and all that but even kids are not watching when it is getting relayed on T.V.!”


Irfaan leaves the conversation.


Me : “Guys. It is my sincere request. Please stop fighting. Irfaan got pissed off and left even with out informing!”


Salman : “Ya Ya. Jab tak hai Jaan over acting karega na khan!” 

               (Till he is alive SRK will overact!)

Aamir : ” Sorry Afshan. I also have no time for this nuisance. We shall chat some other time. I also have to go for shooting of a song from Dhoom 3!”


Saif : “LOL!” 


Aamir : “What is so funny in it ?”


Saif: “Action movie and you! The combination is slightly funny.”


Aamir : “See you Afshan. I have no time for these virtual skirmishes!” 


Me : “


Shahrukh: “You mocking JTHJ. You know right that I smooched your girl Katrina. Did you watch the movie ?”


Salman : “Enough of this nuisance. Sorry Afshan. Even I have to leave this conversation!” 



Arbaaz : “Bhayya! Wait. Even I will join you. Have to discuss the budget of Dabaang 3 . Bye Afshan!”

Saif : ” Ha ha ha . Some one’s sentiments got hurt Shahrukh. You should not have done that!”


Shahrukh : “Arey its ok. No one is  prudent here. By the way is your tattoo intact? Your wife won’t be happy if it got smudged or some thing!



Saif : “Oh ! Come on . I do have it. There is no need to flaunt it always right ? Anyway I am getting a call from Kareena. Its time for yoga classes. Sorry guys. I too have to leave!”


Me: “Saif before you leave can you please forward a wedding pic which is not seen by many. I would be humbled!”


Saif : “Of course pretty lady. You are the host. Here you go!”




Me : “Mashaallah! It sure is royal Saif. Thanks a lot”

Saif : “Pleasure is mine. Ciao all of you!”

Me : “So its just you and me now Shahrukh and my one hour is also over. I just want to end this conversation by saying that I love you a lot and I am eagerly waiting for a fun movie from you!”

Shahrukh : “Sure dear. Wish me good luck. Even I have to get going. Wish you all the very best!”

Me: “Can you please forward me a latest  still from Chennai Express?”

Shahrukh : ” Here you go!”


Me: “Wow Shahrukh!You made my day. All the best for the new movie and see you!”


Hence the conversation finally ended with many conflicts between KHANS. So you now know what happens when all Khans come under one roof , I mean one chat group ! I was not able to ask much but it for sure gave fodder to news channels for a week.News channels got in to disputes to buy the copyrights of this recorded conversation!

I became famous over night and earned a lot. 

A person who can interact and chat a lot connects well with the people and remains a “people’s person!” So what are you waiting for? Download “We Chat and chat away to glory! I am hooked to we chat from the day I downloaded . Few plus points are

  • Unlike many other apps we chat works with a unique id and you can use it on a tab or an ipad or ipod too.
  • The special emoticons are cute and funny.
  • Video call is pretty clear and it feels good as it is free of cost 🙂
  • Voice message option is great too.
  • One more great feature is you can log out when you are not using it 🙂
  • If you want to know who is online you have a unique shake option and also a look around option if you want to make new friends. 
All these features make this app quite unique!




Do check out the cool “We chat” ad and the details on You tube –“here”


This post is a part of “Indiblogger’s”   “We Chat With Anyone, Anywhere” contest.
Thanks for reading.

"The Ultimate girls get together with Kitchens Of India"

Salma came to India 2 years after her marriage. She was dying to meet her friends. Rather than meeting for an hour in a multiplex or a restaurant she thought of throwing a party at her home. By the time the idea flashed in her mind it was too late. The cook who usually cooks for parties at her mom’s place went on a long unplanned leave.She was staying for a short duration in India and wanted to make the most of it. She got tensed as she wanted to invite her friends for a pyjama  party which will be filled with loads of fun , chatter , gossip and never ending leg pulling. She craved for the moment and got tensed as she couldn’t think of a solution for the party. Her mom was sick and she was not a great cook.

When she started casually browsing in her laptop absorbed in thoughts she came across the gourmet products from Kitchens of India where she could even order the ready to make mixes easily. Kitchens of India became her life savior and she knew what all to order instantly. Four of her friends were non vegetarians and they would settle for nothing less than chicken biryani and mirchi ka saalan which is Hyderabadi delicacy. She added that to cart . She ordered Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani mix , Mutton Kolhapuri , Murg Methi and Mughlai Paneer. For the other four friends who were pure vegetarians she ordered vegetable Biryani mix and Dal Bukhara and shredded mango chutney. She was impressed by her choice of dishes .


She moved to the dessert section and selected Jodhpuri Moong Dal Halwa which she and also her friends love to have. She was so impressed by the collection that she selected the strawberry mint and jodhpuri moong dal halwa from gifts section to give them to her best friend.  She was so happy to purchase them all at such low prices.


She made some rotis and rice for her friends and in no time she conjured all the tasty dishes. The food spread was wide enough to lure any one. She was excited by her apt decision. She got fresh and decorated the dining area and bed room. As it is a simple pyjama party she didn’t lay much emphasis on decorations. She decorated the table with candles for dinner.

Image source :“here”

She decorated the bed room with newly bought satin bed sheets and pillows. In excitement Salma hopped all over the house cleaning every corner so that it sparkles

Image source:“here”

She sent a reminder on her invitation mail which she sent a week back requesting all of them to reach on time. The reminder was some thing like below.

Hey Girls, 

Tons of chit chat , gossip and many good movies and needless to say yummy food is waiting for you. 
Come soon!
Image source :“here”


Love,
Salma.


Every one gorged on the food and had helluva fun. Salma’s ideas clicked and every one loved the candle light dinner idea and the cute satin bed sheets adorning the bedroom. After they had a content dinner they played some nice old songs to time travel to college days and their chit chat did not end till the wee hours in the morning. With their tummies and hearts full that was the best party they had in recent times. When all girls get together its not just the useless chat. They discussed future plans , their wish lists , dreams and aspirations too in midst of relishing the moong ka halwa. The party was the ultimate pyjama party ever.


Salma was overwhelmed and carried all the memories to the U.S.A. She eagerly started waiting for the next pyjama party in India. She recommended Kitchen’s of India to all her friends in the U.S. and also got many instant mixes for her self before leaving 🙂 

So how was your weekend party ?

Do visit “KitchensofIndia” and enjoy the Indian cuisines 


This post is submitted for the contest “My Weekend Party with Gourmet Food” by Indiblogger and Kitchens of India.