Monday, 31 December 2012

Cocktail Thoughts!

What happens at the end of every year? We look at the past year and hope for a better year ahead. Some party, some spend quiet time with family / friends / self and some BLOG!

2012 has been an year of new friendships. Some friendships were formed and gone before I knew it, while some strengthened. This year saw the birth of my food blog and temple visits like never before. This year also helped form my band of girls, who I know will stand by me through anything. Here's to all my girls - Aarti, Avanthi, Jenny, KK, Tasneem Aunty, Tasneem Akbari, Yalini, Pree, Ramaa Iyer, Ranjini, Uma V, Uma J,  - for all that we have done together and for all that we will.

To some new friendships - Sathish Kumar, Sindhu Sathish Kumar, Bharani Shivakumar - you guys have been great and I will always cherish the dinner, not to forget the lectures and discussions ;-)

This year saw the wedding of 2 of my besties - D and S. I am proud to have been part of your wedding celebrations, to have gained 2 families while being part of this wedding.

This year gave me a lot of health issues and has also given me the strength to overcome them. This year saw me lose and gain weight like nobody's business. It's now time to stabilize.

This year saw me visit the Superstar's (yes yes - the one and only thalaivar Rajnikanth) house for Navrathri Golu. Thank you Tasneem Aunty for the privilege and honor.

This year saw me read more books than the last, eat more food and workout more.

This year put me to test, strengthened my belief in the Supreme and has made me stronger.

This year has witnessed the death of lot of people - artistes, directors, some cold blooded shootings, rapes and the likes, and here's a prayer for peace to all their families.

To all those amazing bakers from HBG and my fellow foodies from CFG, you are the reason for the weight gain mentioned earlier :D Happy New Year :)

Last but most important, this year saw many highs and lows that helped put things in perspective, and through it all, you stood by me. Thank you - I know I can always count on you! Thank you for picking out furniture, thank you for listening to me banter, crib, cry and in the end making me laugh until I tear up and thank you for the insane patience. Thank you for making me cry today, and not letting go until I laughed again. And congratulations and huggs because this year has been good for you too! :-) (You still have to make up for missing my birthday, next birthday will come soon) Here's to you for making everything special! Happy New Year!

What the next year brings - I don't know, but I do hope it brings cheer and happiness all around. Less tears, more smiles, less anger, more peace, less stress, more ease and finally, lots and lots of love!

Here's to all of you that have been and will be part of my life - A very happy new year and joy and sunshine all around!

This tree outside my house fell, but this picture will always remain in my heart, for it showed that no matter how troubled times are, there will always be a bloom some day that'll make you smile and hope!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Enga ooru Chennaikku...

...periya whistle adinga... phee phee phee pheeeeeeeee!

Whew! OK. This post is part of blog tag titled The CBC Tablog and about 39 (the count is increasing by the day) bloggers write on "What Chennai means to me". This couldn't have come at a better time - a Tam friend settled in Delhi has been raining abuses on Madras (and that comes close on the heels of the criminal gang rape in the capital #epic facepalm)

Thank you Clement, for passing the game to me. Clement blogs at

I still cannot come to terms with calling this city as Chennai, so this post is going to have more of Madras references. I have lived in various cities - Pune (my home town), Bombay, Bangalore and have traveled briefly in Calcutta, among other cities. But, Madras is where I porukified during school, college, NIIT and post grad days.

I am proud to be part of a city with a rich heritage - a city that served as the British capital during the Raj. My Madras may not have a night life (oh it does, and some people don't want to accept it), but it does have a beautiful morning life, especially during the Maargazhi maasam. My Madras may not have all the four seasons, but it has its fair share of rains, heat, and a pleasant year end! My Madras may not have too many large malls (off late it does and it is the first city to boast of 2 IMAX screens and the first in India to have DOLBY ATMOS) but it has Ranganathan Street & Pantheon Road. My Madras may not host many firangi concerts, but it has the beautiful Carnatic season steeped in tradition.

The loud speakers, bhajanai ghoshti, kolams, kacheris, road side kaiyendhis, 5 star restaurants, midnight roadside dosai kadai, Saravana Bhavan, jay walkers, filter kaapi, to-a-large-extent disciplined traffic, hindu paper, mylapore times, madras baashai, world class schools, scenic ECR, marina beach, malliga poo, St. George's Fort, museum, Ripon building, MRTS, Central Station, tidel park, film institute, grand sweets, nalli, rasi, GRT, Santhome Church, Parthasarathy / Kabali Kovil, Sankara Nethralaya, Loyola / New / Pachaiyappa College, Ethiraj / Stella / WCC and other colleges, IIT, AR Rahman, Mani Ratnam, RajniKanth, Kamalhaasan, Ilayaraja, Richie Street, Parsn Complex, Gemini circle, Satyam Theater, AVM Studios, Vasan House, Pondy Bazaar, Burma Bazaar, Sujatha, Kannadasan, Nilam, Thane, Tsunami and many many more define this city I call home!

This is a city that rejoices at the first drop of rain and wears ear muffs at the first hint of temperature dropping to twenties. This is a city that doesn't need to worry about investing in heavy winter wear and storing them later on. This is a city that opens its arms to people from other states and is rightfully called "vandhaarai vaazha vaikum Chennai"

All said and done, whatever Madras may / may not have, it has a soul, and that - no one can take away.

Sun rise view from my abode!

followed by the morning kolam

Breakfast at ID, Satyam Cinemas

A walk in Besant Nagar Beach

Kili Josyam anyone?

Sunset at Besant Nagar

I pass the baton to GB aka Ganga Bharani, who lives in GB Land.  She writes blog books, short films, short stories and at times crazy articles. GB blogs at

Madras ku oru O podunga... Ooooohooooo!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Santa is coming...

... for this little boy in class 4. All of 8 years old, he wants a small TV video game. The keyword here being small. I can imagine how that kid must have chewed his pencil before writing this note, requesting Santa what he wanted. As yet, he doesn't know if his wish is going to be fulfilled and it's going to be a big surprise for him. I wish I could see that kid when he opens his pack.

As part of CSR in my office, instead of playing Chris Ma Chris Child with colleagues, they have initiated this activity where you get to fulfill one wish for an underprivileged kid.

I'd decided to put a smile to someone's face this Christmas. After all, we need to believe in miracles (and somewhere by telling that kid to believe, I tell myself too) That kid perhaps deserves so much more, but this is the least I can do to bring that small smile on his face.

I was moved when I read the note, few tears threatened to spill over; A gift to that unknown child, a  smile on that unknown lips, some happiness in that unknown heart - Merry Christmas sweetheart and A happy new year! God bless you, wherever you are!

PS: I may get this but I am waiting for some expert advice :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Kolam special - 1

With the onset of margazhi masam, the kolam putting skills get honed. Not that I do not draw these every day, but they aren't elaborate. It's usually more of a rushed star kolam on other days but this month somehow makes me wake up at 5 and spend a bit of time on the porch!

PS: It just hurts when the paper wala just frisbees the newspaper across the kolam and it's all gone in a flash. I intend to have a word with him tomorrow.

I have started with less complicated ones, and then move on to bigger kolams!

margazhi thingal madhi niraindha nannaalaal
neeraada poadhuveer podhumino nerizhaiyeer
seer malgum aaypaadi chelva chirumeergaal
koorvel kodunthozhilan nandhagopan kumaran
eeraarndha kanni yasodhai ilam singam
kaar meni chengan kadhir madhiyam pol mugathaan
Naarayanane namakkE parai tharuvaan
paaror pugazha padindhelor embavaay!

~Tirupaavai Paasuram 1

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Maargazhi thingal allavaa...

Today marks the beginning of maargazhi - a month of devotion, early morning bhajans, huge kolams, poosani poo, vaikunda ekadhashi, some pleasant Madras weather, the mist, thiruvadhirai - I will be updating this blog with the different kolams I draw every morning! The below is a sample from last year :)

I began this month with what I thought would be a good movie - Neethane en pon vasantham. If the movie had run for 90 mins totally, it would have made an impact. 153 minutes running time did no one any good. Especially the 2nd half called for some serious editing.

The director was confused, forgot the story midway, borrowed heavily from Alaipayuthey, the dialogue writer was somewhere stuck using just this one piece at least thrice - nee en inga vandha :P, the editor forgot to edit the 2nd half of the movie. On hindsight, he forgot to edit the whole movie and Maestro Ilayaraja - well - the less said the better!

Jeeva has matured as a performer, Samantha is a doll (and just that), Santhanam's comedy is spot on and new comer Vidyulekha Raman is the pick! She and Santhanam totally carry the movie on their shoulders.

The costumes are well designed which is a big plus.

All of you please watch this movie - yaam petra inbam peruga ivvaiyagam! ;-)

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday :)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Spa Senza - Sensuous

I am a sucker for Spas! The last time I'd been to Oryza - the Thai massage was so brilliant and the masseuse pulled me in different directions that I could have given Joshna Ramakrishnan a run for her money! (For the uninitiated, Joshna is a yoga instructor at 136.1 Yoga Studio). But it set me back by close to INR 3000 for 1 hour.

Prior to that I'd been to White Mantra in Bangalore. This is a luxury spa and the massage was great! The ambiance even better. We had a slightly difficult time finding this place but was well worth the trip (The lunch at Tangerine was an added bonus :D) This one set me back by a little over INR 4000 for 2 people! They even threw in a complimentary 20 min foot massage!

When I lived in Pune, Four Fountains was my favorite spa. Super affordable and luxurious, they have now started operations in Bangalore too. On weekdays, their rates are reduced by almost INR 200.

So, I was on the look out for affordable spas in Chennai. And that's when Spa Senza made its foray in Chennai. I'd earlier gone there for a fish pedicure and it was eewwwww. Seriously, the fish latch on to your feet as if they have never seen food in a lifetime! And that was the end of the fish pedicure for me!

I had some vouchers worth INR 1300 to use and decided to spend some time at the spa this evening. Spa Senza is calm, soothing instrumental music playing on (unless of course the annoying woman in the next bed decides to not silence her phone and talk with all and sundry).White linen hangs around the place, with a huge fish tank right where you can see them swimming around aimlessly! Instaglow facial, spearmint pedicure, deep tissue foot massage and a Head Back Neck Shoulder Massage - spent over 3 hours there and paid INR 2800.

Totally worth it - this place, you won't regret one bit, except, don't ever go for the fish pedicure!

On that note, the shade of nail paint that I chose to wear this time is called Hopelessly in Love. There's another shade of nail paint that's called "Makes Men Blush"

**Spa Senza is in Besant Nagar, right opposite the beach, next to Mash and By the Bay

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Mundasu Kavi!

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite poets ever - Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar. Every word, ever poem has inspired me, pulled me from the dumps, wiped my tears, made me smile, and dance with joy.

Be it kaakkai chiraginile nandalaala or kaani nilam vendum - the bhakthi is pure. And in verses like Agni kunjonru kanden, nalladhor veenai seidhe and manadhil urudhi vendum, the inspiration surges. I feel tremendous energy flow through when I sing these! Chinnanchiru kiliye talks about the love for a small child in the form of the Lord.

His genre varied, the tamizh unpolluted, the emotion raw - yet he struck a chord with everyone - adults and children alike.

Atma - a collection of soulful songs by Bharathiyar, rendered by Bombay Jayashree, still remains one of my favorite semi classical albums.

A friend so rightly quipped - Medai pechukkum, pottikkum mattume ubhayogapadutthapadum andha kavi-ku en vanakkangal

The meesai kavi continues to live in our hearts, through his words!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Hatrick weekend!

The last movie I saw was Life of Pi and Skyfall before that. I'd  missed the most interesting one - Argo.

Almost months after the release, when Satyam cinemas were closing out the shows for this movie, and S giving me that DUH look for not having seen this yet, I decided to finally watch this on Friday.

Inspired by a true story (they said that in the end credits), a serious funny movie, this is a must watch for movie lovers.

Had this been a tamil movie, I am sure there would have been at least one sad song when Harkins in stuck in the hotel in Iran, giving that puppy-eyed look when he misses his wife and son.

And then, mom and dad wanted to see Thuppaakki. S had seen it last week and told me it was "thoo pakki". And a whole bunch of friends said it was ultra brilliant. And a few others said it's fast paced and interesting and what not! I loved Vidyut Jamwal. I didn't bother to so much as give him a second look in Billa 2, but hey, this guy is hotness! Totally droolworthy! (Uma - please see this movie)

For once, I was okay with a Vijay movie, although it would have been better if they had chopped off all the songs and made it crispier.

(And dinner at ID was a given)

And Sunday morning, Talaash. A la Sixth Sense, you can break the clue in scene 1. But hey, I loved it! Totally loved that movie making has come of age in bollywood and loved the songs. Loved the fact that AK who didn't know swimming until this movie learnt swimming, especially for those difficult shots.

Oh, BTW, we had breakfast at ID.

I thought I will have a relaxed week, but it appears that my plans are already made even before I knew it! :-)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Truly vetti!

When I started blogging way back in 2004, there was so much to write and then it waned. And now again, I am back like the phoenix bird. Er.. not exactly, but you get the drift! I'd started a food blog and that's going good - a 100 posts to my credit so far, some amazing friends and still getting a hang of food tasting.

And then, I had lot else to write that I couldn't put on that blog. So this one, for everything else other than food! :-)