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Friday, 31 December 2010

Yay! Award is an award, and I won…..

I was qualified for Grand Prize Judging of my Quatrains and I receive a new year gift..

Okay 2010 was not so bad afterall, cause I won the poetry contest and received a prize too. What else would I want?

Seventeen individual “Quatrain City Poetry Contests” were held from the end of March through November on Ryze network at forum called ‘Wordmeisters, Poets and Writers-Unite!’, where by a picture was posted and members would post a quatrain inspired by the picture. I had participated in thirteen contests and had won six of them. Quatrains were judged on creativity, poignancy, format (if applicable) and content. Each Contest resulted in a winner and runner-up, both of which qualified for Grand Prize judging.

In Grand Prize judging, my poem was qualified as second runner up.

For my quatrain called ‘Criss-Crossed’

Hushed voices trapped behind colored frames
Criss-crossed, the thoughts rotate from side to side
Silence speaks under the pillars of courage
Whispering gently under its beams with joy.

Inspired by this picture

picture by Jack Huber

Now awaiting anxiously for my well earned gift: a copy of "A Poet's Primer" and one more book which will be either paperback copies of Jack Huber’s "Aspects Long Forgotten" or an electronic copy of Diane Tegarden's excellent "Light Through Shuttered Window."

Details of all winners here

Theme Party at Pattaya Beach

80's was the theme and I wacked my brain hard thinking of dressing weird, even brought some DVD to watch the styles of the 80’s, absorbed the pictures of back-combing hair styles, wigs and hair extensions, maxis, mascaras and dark lipsticks, but could not have enough courage to dress in that style, simplicity was my preferred option, with weird and crazy looks best left to those bubbling youth.

My bold and beautiful cousin came into my room dressed in a wig. It suited her, but then everything suit her and becomes a fad, so I just went along with her, holding by her arm, like an accessories for the evening.

The party was by the poolside, closer to the Pattaya beach, one hundred and twenty steps below our hotel room.

Most of the guests were dressed colorful clothes, which would be abnormal in any other situation but acceptable as was the norm. I had seen such scenes in Hollywood films but attending such party had a different effect. My cousin with a bald head, with his hair all brushed up on the centre of his scalp walked pass me and I didn’t recognize him until I looked closely and saw his smile.

And kids were in party mood too, with colorful wigs of purple and blue

Some of them boldly posing for the camera while some of them shy, hid behind their hats

All daringly dressed

All the cameras goes click, click, click,

There was food and drinks and there was music and dance
It was a lovely evening with lotsa fun

The party went on till late night, till the drooping eye lids of children reminded the parents that it was time to head back home.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Item Song Craze.

“I know what you want but I will never give you......mein tere haat kabhi na aahoon.” says the dancer as she seductively dances to the tune of ‘Shiela ki Jawani” with hundreds of guys dancing around her semi-clad body with only a thin satin sheet to cover her mid-reef (Wow! Farah Khan, would you like to dress up like that? I am sure you would too if you had a slim body of Katrina Kaif, bah!).

And this is the latest item song that is doing its rounds and driving every man crazy.

it goes..Sheeeeelaa, Sheela ki jawaaaaani.......(sabko karey diwani...)

People were raving about this song on twitter and in social media and complaining that it was getting irksome for women to walk alone on the road with Romeos were chanting away teasingly outside the college gates. Someone even wrote a personal letter to the producer, accusing him of marring the Indian culture and polluting the minds of dirty old men.

I had not heard about this song and had no clue about the fuss that was made over this song.(was away, travelling the whole month, had not watched the local music channels nor heard this song on radio) when I discussed it with my niece, (on my return back to India) she told me that this was the latest craze in the music world and lot of people were comparing this song with another item number called ‘Munni Badnam hui’

Now I had watched the video of ‘Munni Badnam hui and had found that dance quite graceful but I was not sure of this Sheila.

All Shiela has done is to drop her clothes, and get every man excited..

Whatever happened to those beautiful songs of yesteryears that had graceful dance and wonderful lyrics? Those songs like 'Mukaddar ka Sikandar, Pakeeza, Umrao Jaan, etc'

Ah well! well! well!

Seems like both these songs will keep the world entertained on New Year’s eve of this year

And Munni will come the long way

Or will it?

Shiela might know.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Un-visit to Shivneri Fort

The road was narrow. On one side were the steep hills and a deep valley on the other side. Our car moved slowly up the slope. I went click, click, click, like some curious tourist, clicking the pictures of trees, stones and leaves. Most of my pictures will be deleted ofcourse, but thats the advantage of having digital camera. As we neared our next site, I adjusted the setting of my camera to get different look. What setting I should set for our next site? Portrait? Landscape? I had read about Shivneri fort and was curious to visit it. It seemed like an important historical place to visit. This is the place where the great Maratha warrior Shri Shivaji Maharaj was born.

Shahaji, the father of Shivaji Maharaj,a general in Adil Sha of Bijapur sultanate put pregnant Jijibai for her security in Shivneri.Shivneri is a hill fortress with steep rocks in the mountain ranges of Sahyadri.

As we neared the historical site, we were in for a surprise. Such an important tourist spot and there was too much commotion. The honking is the next most famous passtime of our drivers in India. if the FM radio is not working due to poor reception in their vehicle, you will hear them honking for some music. a person with musical ear might rubbish this honking as irksome noise. But for un-musical person, there was a reason. There was no parking space, not enough space to drive through the road to reach the steps! All I saw was traffic jam.

Big huge tourist buses, scrambling for space with different sized cars, trying to reverse in small space to escape the mayhem, little wonder that the expert drivers were not plunged down the deep valley to give me some extra-ordinary shots..

My friends complained about the 700 crores rotting in Swiss banks when they could be easily used to beautify the tourist spots and create jobs for low income groups.

"Are not the authorities in the higher place aware that there are thousands of tourists who would be interested in visiting such historical places." grumbled my friend, "The least the government could do was to build a proper infrastructure to make the people’s life easier and pleasant."

There was open space one kilometer away from the actual site and those who braved to climb up the fort to appreciate the site had to walk a mile in the hot sun to board the comfortable vehicle which was parked so faraway.

Had I climbed up the fort I would have seen the museum and also a Badami Talav, my friends went up there and came back panting, sweating and grumpily shared their experience with us.  

I was not that brave to climb those steep and high rocks they called steps. I am a delicate darling and only pure comfort will suffice. I chose to wait in the vehicle, rather than climb up the fort and then walk back one kilometer in hot sun. I shut myself  from this commotion by switching on my smart phone and entering the virtual world, reading the comments of my friends on twitter and facebook. The face-to-face interaction in the real world is diminishing nowadays and online virtual friends walk into my mind to scream their rants. When I woke back to the real world surrounding me, I sat listening to the endless rants of my friends who complained non stop about our inefficient system of government and their insensitivity towards common man’s comfort.

I could not solve their woes and I am sure nobody will.

It happens only in India

Friday, 24 December 2010

Shopping for my niece

Who says women like shopping? It is such a boring job especially if you have to shop for others.

These days I am shopping for my niece because she has no time. She is studying medicine in Spain but needs some good clothes for her sister’s wedding and its me and my sister who are aunting.

My sas says she has found one nice store at Elco market in Bandra. I wriggle my nose. I don’t like that flashy market, it used to be nice market once upon a time, but now it has lost its charm. Every time I walk inside the Elco Market, each store assistant opens the door wide, inviting me to walk into their store and I am too embarrassed to refuse. I like to do window shopping but I can’t stand those grinning faces.

My sas and I enter the store where she wants me to have a lookie, lookie….

I really have no intention of buying from this store but when I enter, I see some nice kurtis at reasonable rates.

I ask for a seat.

The store keeper gives me few magazines, asking me to select some designs and he is willing to ape exactly the same pattern. The ‘picture in the magazine’ stares back at me as I try to fit those dresses on my niece’s imaginary figure. I am more interested in seeing intricacy of his work. He shows me his collection of ghagra cholis, mermaid style dresses, embroidered kurtis, saris, etc. The fashion keeps changing and every time I am out window shopping, I have seen new designs, new styles, and newer cuts. There is lot of creativity out there. Every fractured piece becomes a new design and miraculously it works fine. The craftsmanship of the tailors is amazing. There are quilted, embroidered work laced with colorful stones and pearls, some sequences of different shapes, entwined into the collage of typical ethnic styles. The designers use their skills to combine different colors for best visual effects.

As I leaf through different designs in various books, I am not impressed. I have some style of my own,( yes I do design sometimes) etched in my head. I ask for paper pencil and sketch the pattern for the designer to see. I have made five layered, pleated net gown with brocade border and matching belt. The brocade is laced with white stones at the edges. Next I draw brocade corset with halter neck and a long stole of net with brocade border. I select different shades of blue asking him to give a shimmering blue petticoat under the blue net skirt. I ask him to work out the cost.

He takes fifteen minutes to work out the cost of the garment that I have deisgned and then gives me the figures.

I faint

I think he is crazy, how can a simple garment of just net, brocade and stones cost Rs12000?

I spend another thirty minutes bargaining.

We arrive on a common ground of Rs10500.

It’s crazy. I have never ever worn such an expensive dress. I wouldn’t waste so much money on clothes which I might wear just once.

Well aunting is a tough job. Can’t disappoint my niece!

Dare I??

Monday, 20 December 2010

Eating Out at Vientiene Loas

Red, pink, yellow, white, there were flowers of all colors everywhere, rocking slowly with the breeze in the lawns, Christmas lights circled the tree trunks, announcing that the Christmas is just round the corner. Neat, narrow, concrete paths, leading to the tables where diners enjoyed the ambience as they munched on their meals. I waited patiently for diners to hurry up, finish up their meal and vacate their table, so that I could start my dinner. I was starving. There was no table vacant. This seemed like a popular venue. Here I was, at Poysian Pulkone, a Korean restaurant in Vientiene Loas.

One thing nice about visiting new places is that you are eager to try new cuisine, especially the specialty of that city; I am always ready to brave a strange meal. Many times, the food may not suit me and I get bad stomach/ allergies from too much adventure but that does not discourage me from trying out new dishes in new places. So here I was, in the restaurant famous for its BBQ cuisine. Every table was fitted with a gaping hole into which they inserted tumbler of burning charcoal, as soon as the new set of diners occupied the table.

Plates containing peanut sauce, salads, garlic, ginger, shallots, deep fried brinjals, steamed green chillies, a tumbler of clear soup, and assorted meat filled up every area of the table

A perforated soup plate was inserted on the charcoal tumbler,, and thus our table was set for BBQ in which we were expected to roast the assorted meat on perforated centre and soak them into the soup on its' sides.

A vegetarian person is most likely to starve here ( just sit at home for quieter meals) while others can roast the meat, fill the soup plate with the clear soup, add all the greens, and everything that is on the table, lace it with all the possible condiments to relish the taste.

It was a delicious meal and I think I did take an extra mouthful. (hafta watch my weight) I couldn’t help turning my head at ninety degrees to watch slyly at the next table. They were enjoying too

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Origami Birds

On our return from Ventiene Loas, we spend a day at Udon Thani, from where we were to board plane back to Bangkok. At the ticket counter, there was a bouquet of fresh flowers which were mainly orchids, and in between the flowers there was a small bird in origami. So tiny that it was surprising that my cousin observed it, she plucked out the tiny paper bird and pushed in my hands. The girls behind the counter were amused. They pointed to more such tiny birds in other bouquets and each time my cousin plucked it and placed it in my hands.

We went through immigration and waited for more than an hour in the waiting lounge.

When the announcement was made for boarding the flight, we stood in line. The girl, whom we had met earlier at the ticket counter was now waiting at the exit to check our boarding pass. When she saw my cousin, she smiled and presented her enclosed envelop.

There were 20 more birds made in origami by her, all made from flyers

Happy journey she said, smiling once again.

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