Sunday, July 09, 2017

Midyear Reading list

It's nice to record the reading list of the year. It gives insight to the overall mood of the year. And it's nice to know the new books read over tge year. Each year comprises some new books and old books, some new adventures and comfort from some old ones. So here it is , the list from the first half:

1. Enid Blyton: Malory Towers and St. Claires ( junior series) ....new books in your favourite, well they just can't be missed. And yes, I still love Enid Blyton books! They take you right back to childood. Of course now I have the added advantage of sharing them with my kid!

2. Robin Cook: Chromosome
3. Robin Cook: Crisis
4. Robin Cook: Marker
5. Robin Cook: Coma
( all rereads except Crisis. Nice and thrilling and good use of medical terminology. Makes you think where technology will take us.

6. Lindsey Kelk: What a girl wants...Don't recall but couldn't have been bad

7. Danielle Steel: The Apartment...a great feel-good book. Danielle Steele never fails to inspire.

8. Mitch Album: The Time Keeper ....eead another Mitch Album after a long time but it has all the magic to captivate you and a strong message

9. J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter: The cursed child....not upto the mark...would have been good as a book maybe but screenplay missed out too much of what this reader wanted to know. Or maybe we can just not get enough of Harry Potter.

10. Chetan Bhagat: One Indian Girl...tolerable...worth one read. Chetan Bhagat wrote two great books and then there were others....

11. Zoe Sugg: Girl Online ( part 1)....loved it....perfect for travelling...light, fun and humorous ..reading teenage books makes one feel light, fresh and young

12. Sophie Kinsella: Shopaholic to the rescue....long wait for this one....it was OK....could have been better

13. Agatha Christie: Miss marples final cases: Good like all Agatha Christies

14. Sabrina the teenage witch: it's a miserable life....reads like a comic

15. James Dashner: Infinity Ring: A mutiny in time....very absorbing after the first few pages....waiting to complete the series....the bad part: they leave ypu hanging for more!

16.M&B: Medical Romance: A family Christmas....can't remember so couldn't have been great or very bad

17. Lauren Weisberger: Devil wears Prada: Not as great as hyped....I have read better books woth similar theme. The author makes a light theme dark for no reason.

18. Danielle Steel: Wings....reread but again worth it

19. Agatha Christie: Death on the Nile: Good.

20. Carolyn Keene: Nancy Drew: sisters in crime...new book...was fun!

21. Carolyn Keene: Nancy Drew: Smile n Say murder ( and the next 2 after it)....good timepass

22. Ann Martin: Babysitters Club: seaside, seacity, Abby's Twin....perfect summer break fun!

23. Anne Digby: Summer term at Trebizon ...cotinuation of summer break

24. Cecilia Ahern: Perfect...a good concept but I like tge first part "Flawed" more. This was mostly running and struggle instead of that concept.

25. Lindsey Kelk:  I heart Paris:
26. Lindsey Kelk: I heart London:...This is a great new series. Light, fun yet with its own charm and  works well for travellers also. I read first one "I heart Vegas" when I was in Vegas and absolutely loved. It captured the essence of the city completely. The same with London, I understood the city better and wana go there.  The Paris one could have better in terms of description of Paris.

27. Melussa Nathan... The waitress: ....not bad but won't be reading more books of same author.  The book drag on too long with little to give.

28. The Martian:....there are some books after which it is tough to find another book to read because onlly rare ones match its level. This was one of those.

29. Roald Dahl: The Magic Finger....makes me want to read Roald Dalh again....can't wait to read it to my child!

30 Enid Blyton: Wishing Chair and the Faraway Tree...ohhh its fun to be in the world of fairies, pixies,  gnomes, treats and all that is magic!

Old is gold

A new friendship is like new book which one is eager and curious about. This is true even for mediocre ones. The new experience is still fun in the first reading. However the real gems are the time tested ones. The ones we go back to and want to read again and again and on each reading we feel comforted and gain a new understanding.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Interesting places visited in Mumbai

As promised here's the list of places visited in Mumbai. I didn't even get a complete year so it's less than 50 but then there are some others to see later someday:

1.Atriya Mall...Barbeque Nation...the best eventhough the mall is not worthy.
2. Phoenix Mall.. lower parel....
3. Marine Drive...the best way to explore is a walk from choupatty through the entire marine drive
4. Choupatty
5. Dadar beach
6. Dadar market....you will get everything there!
7.Cinemax Goregaon
8. Oberoi Mall goregaon
9. Shivaji Park
10. Viviana Mall, Thane
11. Mannat
12. Hanging Gardens
13. IIT Bombay....perfect like all IITs
14. Bandra beach
15. Mahim area...there is a unique charm in living across the railway track....large coconut trees all around and the train going along its way parallely...a great place for walks
16. Our Lady of Salvation Church/ Portuguese Church...Dadar
17. Matheran...ok not part of Mumbai but is a very charming place
18. Worli sea-link....a great structure...very beautiful and enthralling....visible from many places
19. 5 gardens....a good childrens park....there several clustered together
20. Siddhivinayak Temple
21. Bandra Marathon....a walk from Bandra Fort across Bandstand through to Linking Road
22. Shopping at Linking Road....a must!
23. Phoenix Mall kurla...Snow world...a lot like some of Delhi's bigger malls.
24. Bandra Barbeque Nation
25. Got to Work near bandstand....had the entire view of sea for many days. I had SRK as my neighbour (even if for workplace!)
26.  Ferry Ride from Gateway of India....saw the bluemoon :)
27. Gateway of India
28. Carter road....famous for Sachin's bat and house to many film stars
29. Elephanta caves...a little disappointing but the Ferry ride is worth it
30. Sewri jetty
31. Alibaug....the most common beach getaway for Mumvaikars.
32.Drive through Aarey area....the hills of Mumbai. Such a marvellous city to have both sea and mountains.
33. Juhu beach
34. Khar area...worth attending some fete or social event there
35. Naturals ice cream....ok so not a place but no Mumbai visit is complete without this....out of the world ice cream....you will forget all others  like Gelato when you try Gajjar halwa ice cream!

Some other places worth visiting

Mount mary church
Flora fountain
Prince of wales museum
Marve beach
Bandra worli sea link at night
Jain Temple
Iskon Temple
Walk of stars
Taraporewala museum
Film city Goregaon
Sahara hotel
Rajesh Khanna park
Joggers park bandra

Monday, July 03, 2017

When did 2017 fly by?

It's been a long time. Again. This time I didn't even realise it. It was when I opened the link for a share that I realised that 2017 has seen no blog so far. And here I had plans to keep have incremental posts each year again. I had plans to write more this year. Today I mentioned that I blogged only to realise I hadn't for over 8 months. But that's what's special about this space. I can come back as and when there is a possibility OR an overriding desire.

It's been a year of changes. Strife followed by peace. I came back to Delhi. So now it's time for the "Top 50 places of Mumbai" as promised. Also a time for comparison between the two places, my way.  Well I may be biased...and not towards Delhi maybe. That Mumbai time was like a slice of heaven. A life away from so much, a lot of struggle, but was such fun, such absolute freedom. It was like playing house! Only with a real child! We learnt a lot. We played a lot.  We created our first "home". And for the first time, I had no desire to go out. Just being home on hols was also great fun. I lived for weekends and evenings and that was despite liking my work! I found my peace. There was joy, laughter, dancing, play and peace. And then I came back. And found my calling. Or at least what seems like the perfect job for me. Where all pieces just fit together in so many ways. It's a  rare combination I know.  Instead of a wait, it's seems like an arrival. A happy place. Rest time will tell.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When I didn't Facebook my perfect weekend

I love social media as much as the next person does. I like browsing through articles and checking updates among friends. I comment and like appropriately. I even Facebook all major events with pics and words and also some fun events. It's fun. It's also a good way keeping record. It's nice to see "memories" through the new "on this day". So  a while ago when I had a great, picture-worthy weekend, I was about to upload pics. But I stopped.  I remembered how I would record the moments in my memory instead. I recorded how I felt that day and what made the day "fun" rather what we wore and how we looked.  And I remember it better than many other facebook weekends. 

It's fun to take pics and upload and share them but some memories precious without that process also. That sunset, the wonder and feel of the wind, the smell of sea will not be there in your photos or video but if you capture it in your mind, you will be taken back to that moment many more times.  The same is true for the taste of that lovely looking meal.  Some moments just need to be lived and that's enough to record them.

PG Express: It's worth the wait

Hi! The time has come. The time which I strived for so long. The time which every PhD student dreams of. The near end of this journey. When work is complete  from my side and it has actually been approved. All those years of work, passion, tears and frustration and a wait...a wait so long ...all have finally been validated. It's all worth it if it finally works out. The better it works the more it's worth it. It matters how satisfied the people associated with your work are.

The beginning of the end started last year. A hattric of acceptances and a great presentation. There was a research plan in the first year where I was told "You done a good job. Do us proud". From there we came to a full circle when the same person felt that I had done good and sufficient work. There are people of words and people of few words. The latter give out certain gems that one cherishes forever.

It's one thing to complete the work of your PhD and quite another to complete your dreams regarding your work. I was lucky enough to belong to the latter category. There came a time when I had crossed out all the  ideas which I had wanted to try at the beginning of my research. Of course some worked and some didn't but it gave a great satisfaction to be able to try all. There came another time when there were more goals: a certain category of publications, a certain number of "good" (or reasonably good)  publications, being able to present at a certain kind of conference. I was able to wind up my work with those goals achieved.

Next came another beautiful phase...the writing. Writing your thesis, completing the story which started years ago, it's a unique kind exhilaration. To create that first index and then subsequently add all the little analysis that you thought of. I remembering celebrating that first index. Then to create whole chapters. And finally to create your masterpiece...a dream that probably  starts the day you first look at any thesis: the Acknowledgement.  I spent a few days on my favourite masterpiece to make sure it was perfect and it included all the people who had been part of the journey in some way or the other. Dreaming up lines of acknowledgement had been one of my favourite procrastinations. Writing the thesis is a happy albeit stressful time. It's worth giving a little extra time because this is where you summarise all the work that you did throughout the years. For a while I loved writing my 1-2 pages a day and let myself absorb the feeling of writing my thesis . Later of course I paced up. Later it also became stressful, painful and tiring beyond exhaustion. The sleepless nights turned to sleepless months. Till there came a time when I was ready to let go.

After a period of lull, starts a agony of the wait and the questions and the second guessing. How will someone who has never seen you work find it?  When will  they respond? Will they ever respond? (this starts after a few months of wait). Then if you are lucky, comes a glorious day with the most beautiful words ever :approved! To see the confidence an external shares in your work, to see the pride amongst the people who have seen you work, made you work and sometimes even pushed you to work and know that finally all those years paid off, well there's no better feeling. It gives a validation to every thing you experienced throughout the years, through the jubilation and the tears, through the work and the wait, the ideas and the completion, the panic and the mini-celebrations.

It's all worth the wait.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Dear Zindagi

Time to try something new! In this post, I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda

Here's the Zindagi  video teaser




Dear Zindagi

Hi! It’s been a while hasn’t  it, since I last sat down and reflected with you? Well I have been busy with you as you well know…busy living the life. The older we grow, the more hectic you seem to get and ironically the less time we have for you. We rush to clear school, college, get married, have kids and then wish for them to hurry and grow up. It’s as if we are in a rush to get to some finishing line without realizing that it IS the finishing line. It reminds of Polyanna when she asks  “ where is the time to live?’
Oh, of course I’d be BREATHING all the time I was doing those things, Aunt Polly, but I wouldn’t be living. You breathe all the time you’re asleep, but you aren’t living. I mean living—doing the things you want to do….. Just breathing isn’t living!’

So what I want to thank you for is all the living I got to do while being alive. The small joys you offered: reading the Sunday times with my favourite cup of tea, playing with children, meaningful conversations, writing to my heart’s content and sometimes just a beautiful view.  It’s just that which I am going to focus on now instead of waiting for some ideal moment. Those are rare. Most are just small pearls of joy threaded together to form the necklace of life.

I wish I had known this as a teen when every small test, every small gathering appeared so scary.  The times when 80% marks seemed bad, when a slight ridicule seemed like the end of the world and when friends were limited to a particular circle and thus luck!  I wish I had known then that it was just one perspective which you were showing me. Later I would understand true friendship, value good companionship and gain the courage to rise above failures or just bid my time through a bad phase. Later I would understand how little other people’s opinion would actually matter if one is content from within. Every roadblock seemed mountainous until somewhere along the way I started enjoying your company, life. The basics pieces of life fell in place and I realised the rest are all just speedbreakers. 

Good company of close ones, peace at home, work that you enjoy and occasionally something new to look forward to…isn’t that all that we really need along this journey? Being lucky enough to have these basic ingredients for happiness, I say thank you zindagi. 



Friday, July 08, 2016

A new kind of love: work can be bliss

One reads many articles about "not having to work a day" if you love your work, if you find the "right" job. However, years of research can numb the senses. For a while I wondered how can one even know what the "right" job is if you spend some 25 years of your life being a student? The withdrawl symptoms may be too strong for you to actually like the idea of getting up for a 9-5 kind of job, much less actually sitting down that long for the actual task given to you.  Then I realised its like falling in love. It just happens and then there are signs that show it is "right". One sureshot sign: you know you love your job when working at your currently assigned task gives you a greater high than beating your highscore in your currently favourite mobile/pc game does!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Living in the moment

It's a good time this after-submission phase. It's "live in the moment" time for me. I get assigned tasks for one-two days. I like completing steps one at a time without going into the bigger picture and scary deadlines for a while. I enjoy the learning it involves.

I enjoy the entire process of cooking: right from picking ingredients, planning a dish and the actual process.  It may not always turn out great but its fun. And even more fun to cook in partnership :)

I enjoy the gym and yoga classes as per convenience and choice. I enjoy the freedom of time...free evenings, weekends....no burdens!

Time for family. Time for tv. Time for reading. Time for "me".