13 to 30 years

When we just started to talk about our first periods to an age where we happily talk about missing a period and sharing good news.It just so happened that I recently met some of my girlfriends from my school gang called ‘gorgons’.

And it just occured to all of us that we are going from 13 to 30 this year as a crazy gang and its amazing.

We are 8 of us and a mixed bag in personality, demanour, style and looks but with a beautiful core and the mix makes it even more special to be together for this long.

We are today, in slightly different phases of life… new mothers, newly weds, few singles. 

And to see the smooth transition of our conversations overtime from food to make up to clothes to gossip to holidays, work, kids and families is somewhat overwhelming.

 Never the less we laugh our hearts out when we meet… still basking in the glory of innocense that we cherished in our teens … and till date proud to say stupid things to each other and laugh about it without feeling judged.

Down the memory lane, last 17 years have not made much difference to our inquisitiveness and sharing and caring… all we have added is sharing our bedroom details to some extent 😉

To be ourselves and say silly things and clarify later… yaar I can say this only to you guys 

Just be able to vent out anger at times…

At times just meet for no reason…

Do night stays and try drinks, talk about sex and actually reach an age where you are married and it’s no more the hot topic … instead kids and in laws occupy more conversation space.

How life just moves on from being chirpy girls to chirpy women.

We all know we have grown up and some responsibilities dawn on each one of us… but when we meet … it feels great to feel irresponsible again… like laugh, eat and talk stupid… who cares…

Age is just a number… we hold on to years of growing up together and cherishing big and small events of our lives from near or far but with lots of love in our heart.

P.S. – We are not flowers, we don’t decay

We are not seasons, that go away

We are not wind, that blows away

We are together, we would stay 🙂

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Beach or mountain?

Sand under my feet or a rocky terrain,

Gush of the waves or the rattling leaves,

Warmth in the tan or coziness of the hills,

Melodies by the beach or echo in the valleys,

Calmness of the ocean or serenity of the hills,

Restlessness of the sea or Stillness of the mountains…?

“I am a beach person… I love the sea, its wideness, calmness, the sound of the waves, the bright sun, walking on the sand, taking a dip, just sitting and waiting for sunset… and more” my own voice resonates in my ear whenever I had to answer the question – Are you a beach or a mountain person?

I associated hills with never ending drives, uphill climb and motion sickness “Why are we going to a hill station? What will we do there, there is just one mall road and some view points for site seeing? What is to see there in mountains?” But less did I know they were much more than what a child in me could not fathom.

I had no doubts that I am a #beachbum until this year when I happened to visit a few more hill stations (Chikmagalur, Coonoor, Kodaikanal) and loved every bit of the short trips I made to the mountains. With each trip I only felt I like them… I like them more and more … the peaks, the roads, the drive, the stillness and the warmth in the cold breeze.

The sea seems seamless, I know there is something beyond when i heard I am deeper than you could think; I flow free and merge where I be. I don’t stand still, I keep moving with forces within and external’ whereas the mountains bound my vision to go afar, resounding – ‘look at me and only me, I stand here in heat and cold, in rain and mist; I stand true and by you. It is not what is hidden, it is not what is beyond, it is now that you have and behold.’

P.S. – If Sea summons you again and again, mountains want you to stay forever!

Posted in Beach or Mountain?, Colors, Emotions, Girl, Hillstations, Human, Travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We Should Be Excited About Olympic Games and Support India

Lets be more supportive by knowing more, watching team India, encouraging them and sharing their struggle.

I read how pseudo celebrity, Shobha De belittled those who have worked so hard and reached the most coveted competition, ‘Olympic Games’. It is so sad and demeaning.

It just triggered a thought which is to be a little more excited for Olympics and encourage team India’s confidence and let the Government know that we do care and there is worth in investing in our players. Do your bit.

Learn More: Did you know India is participating in Gymnastics for the first time and Dipa Karamkar is the first ever Indian gymnast to compete in the Rio Olympics? In total, India is participating in 15 out of 28 Olympic sports – Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Field Hockey, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Rowing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weight Lifting, and Wrestling. How many did you know?

dipa1

Get Inspired: Why don’t we take out time to read about the games and those participating in it? And try to know how they reached there and maybe inspire our selves/ kids/ neighbor’s kids but definitely not mock at their effort. I myself have played sports and I know how much effort, perseverance and will is required to excel a sport. It was overwhelming for me to represent my school/ state as a kid… I can’t even imagine how overwhelming it would be to represent your country at an internationally famous event.

Encourage Participation: India’s participation in 2016 Rio Olympics is at an all-time high with 124 participants representing India (it was only 83 in 2012 and less than that in earlier years). It makes me happy that not only the overall number but also women participation has gone up, the number of women participants has doubled from last time and we all should feel proud of that.

Share their struggle: Support them because if they get medals, we would brag about it and flaunt their hard work as our pride. But, at the same time, even if they fail we should not disregard their sweat. I am sure they want to win more than you want to see them win. You will forget about the medals they win or lose, may be by next day, but they would live with that feeling till next Olympic arrives.

If they fail, we as a country fail and if they win, we as a country share the victory. It is very disheartening to lose when you have put in your heart and you know the world is watching you. And always delightful to share your happiness when you win with those who have been encouraging you throughout. 

So, share, like, tweet and #damnit support #TeamIndia at Rio Olympics to your best.

Posted in Braveheart, Colors, Dipa Karamkar, India at Rio Olympics 2016, Olympics 2016,, Rio Olympics, Rio Olympics 2016 | Leave a comment

Punish the Rapist and not the victim!

Here is what I felt 2 years back when the horrifying rape case happened in Delhi – https://ctulika.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/torn-choked-raped/

And now, when we had just settled in, talks about the rape had just subsided, we see rape news going viral on social media, protests being carried out; schools, offices, household discussing it yet again!

Last time it was about taking the traditional mode of transport and hopping onto an empty bus, not being vigil enough … although she was accompanied by a man, still it happened. This time, used a modern app, ensured safer mode of transport i.e. booked a cab by one of the known taxi services, UBER …still it happened.

I am forced to wonder who to blame… the girl – for not being vigil in the car, the illiterate barbaric driver, the company for lack of verification, the society for not being able to inculcate moral values or the Judiciary system and Govt. for not taking action against such crimes…?

Where is the fear of committing a crime? Where is the punishment… is all I want to ask? Why so much delay… why are we waiting for others to suffer?

2 years have passed, rape victim lost her soul and her life, and her family suffered and would still be feeling the pain. Yet there is no so called ‘Justice’!

We all are waiting for one such news to go viral and hear conversations in colleges, schools, coffee tables, office lunch hours, at home that a strict rule has come out and the rapist has been punished… and not just jailed where he is getting 3 meals a day and has started to feel at home.

We might not steal because we were taught it’s wrong and we don’t have a right over other people’s things and belongings. Also, the fear of being punished by law or perhaps God (in many cases) holds us back! But, Rape isn’t about a thing. It’s about the person itself! Where are the teachings …? And where is the punishment?

What can Women do…?

Women can’t stop going out, keep men at home!

Women can’t do purdah, let men mind their eyes!

Women can’t stop working, let men manage households!

Women can’t lose their independence; chain such men for life!

(But, dear ladies, don’t forget to be vigil, as society will not change over night!)

P.S. – Women fear being raped each day. Don’t you feel that the fear of being punished is missing?

Posted in Braveheart, Emotions, Girl, Human, India | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Delicious 20 of Mumbai/Pune Streets

One of my favorite cuisines is Maharashtrian food for the simplicity and ease of cooking and consuming. It gives you a perfect mix of tasty and healthy food. Take a look at what all you are yet to try from this list:

ANYTIME SNACKS

1. Vadapav
Undoubtedly it tops the list; it is almost synonymous with Mumbai. This is a regular snack of millions of people living in dream city. Rich, middle class, poor, the habit of vadapav is common. For some, it is a daily morning ritual; for others, an evening snack; for rest it is an anytime available friend. The strong garlic taste, with green chilies on the side, the batatavada in the pav is all that you need on a rainy day. You can hear your hungry stomach say Thank you when you need that quick instant meal on road side.

2. PavBhaji
The ravishing red-orange bhaji (mashed vegetables in lots of tomatoes) garnished with coriander and lemon along with buttered pav (bread) is the best ever meal. Good mood, bad mood, no mood, this dish can hardly disappoint you. There are many distorted versions of the dish across the country. Though, I hope that in Mumbai there is very minimal chance of anyone going wrong with it! Do Try!

History – This was originally a laborers meal. A labor force worked in a mill and for their lunch they needed whole some food which was filling and gave them the energy to work for second half. So it’s a lunch meal where the buttered pav provides you the carbs and energy and bhaji is a cheap alternative where you mash all available vegetables (primarily potatoes) to make thick tomato gravy to have with pav.

3. Batatavada
It is also a common snack available throughout the streets. It is a fried potato ball wrapped in besan, consumed with green chutni, garlic chutni and green chilies. It is the key ingredient of vadapav. (Batata is potato in Maharashtra).

4. Dabeli
It is also known as Kachhi dabeli as it renders its roots to Kutch, region in Gujarat. But it has been adopted my Mumbai and Pune with so much ease that it has become one of the popular dishes here among students, professionals, anybody walking by the roadside. It is a bun which has dabeli masala (mixture), served with garlic/tamarind chutney. Masala is the key to its taste which comprises of potato, red chili, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, lemon and coriander seeds, peanuts and sev. It has various formats like cheese dabeli, butter dabeli, spicy, non- spicy etc. All of them are garnished with coriander, pomegranate and sev on top.
It is another must have and was a part of my everyday snack during my 2 years spent in Pune.

5. Bombay Sandwich
There are 2 kinds of sandwiches popular in Mumbai. One is which you get on small cycle kiosks around every corner, they have two variants 1. In raw bread 2. Toasted bread; these are simple small white bread sandwiches, cut into 4 pieces – stuffed with boiled potato slices, tomato, onion, cucumber and beetroot along with butter and mint-coriander chutney spread. It is a popular morning, evening snack among service/working class. It is more popular because it is pocket friendly. Even though it is not the richest-in-taste sandwich around, you wouldn’t mind trying, as it gives you the joy of simple taste in life.
The second sandwich, known as the Bombay CLUB sandwich, has tasteful and hearty connotation. It is immediately defined by its huge size, 3 slices of sandwich bread (double the size of normal bread), loads of cheese (on top and inside) and hot chips on the side. The ingredients are more or less same – Tomato, onion, cucumber and additional cheese which makes a huge difference. Also, it is grilled which gives it that classy edge. It is one wholesome combination of healthy vegetables and tasty carbohydrates for a yummy stomach-fill.
It is available @Chowpatty beach and small shops in regular markets.

6. Bhelpuri
It is another popular snack to rub off the in between hunger pangs. A popular dish which found its way in all other states quickly because it is quick, easy and tasty solution to anytime hunger. How to make it – get all ingredients (purchase them from market, rather than preparing them at home like earlier times), put everything in a bowl, add chutneys, MIX and EAT!
I think it is associated a lot more to girls because of its ingredients like keri (raw mango, chutneys- tamarind and coriander). It is a low calorie snack. I wonder if dieticians suggest this to all ‘I want to lose weight’ gang of girls 😉

7. Sevpuri/Sev puri dahi puri (SPDP)
Sev puri is one of the favorite evening snacks for people who go out for their evening walks/ take their kids out to play and at times who just get out of the house specially to eat sev puri. It is a quick and light snack – where they use 5-6 pieces of gol gappe or mathri and add boiled potato, onion, tomato, keri, chutneys- sweet and sour, coriander leaves and lots of nylon sev (very thin sev) to top it all. It is mouthwatering indeed!
SPDP is a variant of sev puri with curds added to it.

8. Misal pav
We already know that Mumbaikars/punekars love pav and they would pretty much consume anything with it. Here is another locally consumed pav dish called ‘misal pav’. Misal is a spicy curry served with pav. It contains sprouts (aka matki in Maharshtra), chiwda mixture, fasrsan, sev, raw cut onions, lemon and coriander. It has an overpowering taste of the mixture in slightly thick red chilli gravy. It is a different and yet again easy to prepare meal. Delight yourself with the spicy local dish!
There are many variants to it like sev missal, dahi missal etc which varies from one city to another in Maharashtra!

9. Ragda patties
It is one of the most relished Indian fast foods snacks. It is consumed from North to south under different names. In North it is called aaloo tikki (and has its variant like tikki with chutney, chhole tikki, sukhi tikki etc). This is widely available at local vendors near bus stop or crowded market or at halwai (sweet) shop.
In Mumbai, it is one of its kind, they call it ragda patties; ragda refers to the gravy made from boiled dry peas with onion, tomato and various spices and patties refers to the tikki (cutlet) made from boiled potatoes. They spread hot peas gravy on top of tikki along with chutneys and raw cut onion and then relish it!

10. Pav bhaji pulao
It is a variant of a normal pulao, where we cook rice and vegetables together. Pav bhaji pulao, the rice and bhaji are cooked separately and later mixed and tava fried together. It is a good spicy substitute to a regular pea’s pulao.

11. Thepla
It is a very thin methi ka paratha which comes with pickle in a small packet. It is also a borrowed snack from Gujarat but has become a regular part of Mumbai/pune finger food. Often you will find people carrying lots of Thepla in trains with pickle while travelling for a day or so in tains/buses and even in planes .

12. Kokam
It is the only odd item on the list because this is a drink. A fresh and tangy tasting kokam drink can make your dull day better in summers. It is called kokam as it is made from kokam fruit, similar to a tomato in appearance.

13. Shrikhand
It is the yummy chilled sweet yoghurt that Marathis vouch for. It is made of strained curds, sugar and garnished with cardamom or saffron. Traditionally, to prepare shrikhand, yoghurt is tied in a cotton cloth and left under pressure to drain. It is also available in flavors – mango shrikhand is the most popular flavor in its season.

BREAKFAST

14. Matar-poha
I know poha is at first instant related to Indore and then to any other city in India. But, let me throw some light here, Mumbaikars/Pune folks are not far behind in Poha consumption. They love their Poha breakfasts and it is like a morning celebration in various pockets of these cities where you see Poha as one of the key dishes in the breakfast spread. It is known as matar (peas) Poha which is garnished with nylon sev and coriander and is a heavy selling breakfast item on road side kiosks, small shops and Shetty restaurants.

15. Sabudana vada
This is almost like an aaloo tikki in look and feel, just that it has an additional ingredient i.e. sabudana which makes it taste different. Sabudana enhances its taste. It is deep fried tikki and tastes fantastic with coriander chutney. It is also one of the most consumed dishes in hindu households during navratra fasts.

16. Sabudana khichdi
This is a very simple and quickly made dish. Sabudana is soaked overnight. Then in the morning, in one tea spoon oil add jeera, small cut potatoes, salt, green chilli, peanuts and sabudana; and your sabudana khichdi is ready. This is also consumed during navratra fasts. It is an abundant source of starch and carbohydrates.
There are many other version of this dish, where people also add onions and tomatoes to make it suit their taste buds.

17. Idli-chutni
Unlike south India, where idli sambar originates, Mumbai/ Pune adapted to their own breakfast habit as idli-chutney. They serve you idli along with diluted coconut chutney for breakfast on road side kiosks. And at many restaurants, you can opt only for idli chutney or order extra sambar, as per your taste and liking.

Other MEALS

18. Aam-rus puri
It is as simple and straight forward a dish as its name suggests – take mango pulp in a bowl and serve it with puris. It is one of the most loved meals in Western India! Mango season is celebrated with Aam-rus meals in families!

19. Pithla bhakri
It is a food known to be consumed by peasants of Maharashtra. Pithla stands for the thick besan (gram flour gravy) with garlic flavor. Bhakri is the jowar ki roti which has a coarse texture, mostly consumed in western India (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and some parts of Karnataka). The dish is served with thecha i.e. chutney made of crushed chilies and garlic in oil.
It is among one of my favorite dishes and you must have it on your way back from Sinha-gad trek, at a small dhaba which creates the right environment for the dish to be relished, when you are just so exhausted and famished!

20. Puran-poli
At last, the most drooled over dish in Mumbai, Pune or perhaps most of Maharashtra! It serves you the classic taste of sugar and salt in a single serving and makes you fall in love with the dish! Many people at first hesitate to even try the combination but eventually find that the taste only grows on them. A typical puran-poli is a sweet paratha made by stuffing jaggery and boiled chick peas in a chapatti (where the dough is prepared using flour, milk and ghee)! It is often served with additional ghee on the side and consumed with jeera-potato and curds as side dish in Mumbai/ Pune.

P.S. – I am hungry! Are you?

Twitter handle – ctulika

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I don’t know when I fell for it!

Bright shining sun on a winter day is the first thing that comes to my mind! The warmth, the ease, the comfort, the love, the happiness, the simplicity, the hope, the charm, the subtle power, the romanticism, the faith, the urge is all found in those rays felt at your back on a cold day! All you do is lie down on your back and feel the assurance of those gleams cutting across the clouds and trying to reach you.

Yellow is that to me and much more. It so dissolves into my thoughts like a room with 3 white and a yellow wall. I choose the yellow wall and I don’t know why! May be I do – All the walls have a door, but I know, only the one on the yellow wall will open and show me light! I am lost in thoughts and I fancy that may be I am Alice in wonderland who will open the door and solve every mystery that lies ahead with utmost ease. And enter into a beautiful garden with so many yellow zarbaras looking at me with a bright smile.

Zarbaras :)

Zarbaras 🙂

A bunch of yellow Zarbaras at times is the thing to make a girl smile. A date would be perfect with yellow zarbaras presented to the girl, followed by a fine dining dinner (of-course!). Yellow reminds me of so many more things-what comes top of mind is sarso ke khet (mustard farms) – who does not want to get clicked once in those khet amidst beautiful yellow flowers (If you nodded give me a high five).

I never thought I could write anything about yellow, but suddenly in the last couple of years I have had this fondness for it. I want to buy everything in yellow, not just the dresses, t-shirts or footwear but even cutlery, notebooks, pens etc. In office, people even started calling me the yellow girl, not because I looked pale or so but because I wore a lot of yellow. For a very long time, I used to wear a yellow hair clip to office every day! It had become a part of my personality.

Left : A friend and Right : me Posing in our Yellow hair clips at office. Good old days!

Left : A friend and Right : me
Posing in our Yellow hair clips at office.
Good old days!

People did ask me if it was my favorite color, some even assumed it to be so. But that was not true or perhaps it was. Let’s put it this way, it was true that I liked yellow and I had also fallen for it subconsciously (and was in denial mode-pun intended) as everyone around me knew that I love yellow except me. Since childhood, I thought my favorite color was red, but not anymore. In fact, it was an infatuation to the bright color, to the power that red seized. I have off late realized that it is yellow that I love and perhaps very deeply. Although, as a child it did not even make it to the list of my favorite colors but today here I am, all in awe, admiration and love for Yellow!

Little child in me wants – Yellow shoes, socks, cap, umbrella; Yellow sofa, bed sheet, cushions, doormat;  Yellow hair clip, hairband, nail paint, earrings; Yellow dress, briefs, coat, saree; Yellow bottle, plates, bowls, mugs, spoons; Yellow bag, wallet, clutch, suitcase… may be an airplane too J and many more things… I know there are other instant mentions that cross your mind now when you hear so much of Yellow (Ignore them and keep your silly sense of humor buried)

P.S. – Yellow it is! Happy it is!

Twitter handle: ctulika

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A few lucky sperms, who get Unconditional Love !

This is to all the sperm owners and those sperms that were not wasted and are alive today as their beloved parents decided to forgo some part of their freedom and luxury to raise them and bring them to this world!

Before you read any further, please read the link below to get another perspective – https://ctulika.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/why-do-couples-decide-to-have-kids-across-the-globe/

Now, after that thought, many of you might agree to it, many might strongly disagree! After writing that piece, I felt that it reflects one side of the coin and it isn’t a fair representation of the whole truth. Undeniably, human beings are selfish! But are they selfish in all roles they play in life? Are they selfish as Parents? Could be! But, there is this whole deal about calling parents selfish… you might be looked upon as someone who is ill-behaved , has no values, no respect for elders, no etiquettes etc.

Parents can be selfish, at times for themselves and mostly for their children. The over rated unconditional love holds and demonstrates its true importance when used in context of mother and child! I would agree!

Couples might decide to have a baby for various reasons, but when they actually get to hold their  own child, even the ones who have hated kids through their life, whined at the thought of sharing a seat in flight next to a child, looking at a child in movie hall and cringing about it, giving them nasty looks when their parents are not around, just running away from attending family function where children could be found, have encountered an absolute connection and a new meaning to their life after that small little addition in their crazy world!

They might not have saved enough for their own vacation or bought best clothes for themselves, but try their best do provide all of it to their little one- be it education, sports, holidays, school trips, fancy clothes or gadgets. They might want support in old age, but they love to care about the crawling baby now, and are dying to see the child walk as soon as possible. They find support in the love of that child and want them to achieve the best in the world! A flurry of emotions and aspirations arise for the kid. To see him/her excel in each sphere (probably also to get that champion feeling when they get to brag about it to other parents ;))

To all the Parents who have raised kids, you might think you could have done more, but I am sure you would have done things more than you could afford or were permitted by your capacity. Your love and support to your children is incontestable and perhaps the only love which grows with time.

P.S. – A happy child only adds to their Parents happiness and vice versa! I do agree!

Twitter handle : ctulika

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