Friday, 25 May 2012

A love story... is it?

Ours is a different story…  how love happened to us.

We met according to a plan. Parents were getting proposals for me, they would meet the boys and then the chosen ones would get to meet me. If we both liked each other then the families would sit together. I was focusing on my career and education and not really looking at marriage. They had asked me to tell them if I had someone in mind but I didn’t. It went on for a couple of years, parents always respected my choice never forcing me to accept a proposal. One such meeting was with Rajesh, through my mom’s friend circle. We both are from the defence background our mothers had common friends. He was invited to our place with his parents. We met one evening in October 2004. After tea with family the elders asked both of us to go to my room and speak to each other.

We both were casually dressed, just ourselves nothing to impress anyone and we got talking. He was frank and spoke everything  negative that he thought he had. I was told that he was a Physics graduate, a First officer in the Merchant Navy and the eldest of his siblings. Extremely intelligent, having a good personality and very down to earth. I was weighing him on all those parameters. What made me really pay attention to him was that he didn’t speak any of his positive qualities or any quality for that matter!  He only highlighted negatives about him and his profession. Which was so contrary to the usual talk of saying all things nice, I found him interesting and of course different…. No sparks flew as yet.

After the meeting, mom asked me about Rajesh and I told her that he was okay. She would’ve conveyed it to his mother. Then I didn’t hear anything of him. Our mothers felt that we were a good match and were trying to push things from their side, he went sailing and I was back into my routine work. I didn’t feel like seeing any other proposal. Then one day in the month of April while I was on my way to work, mom called me to say that Rajesh’s mother had called and they both thought that we should get engaged that Friday, 22nd  April 2004. I wasn’t pleased with mom started arguing that I was working as a Lecturer in a professional college and it was exam time, how could I manage a leave. She started highlighting that it was a nice proposal and started complaining that I didn’t listen to her, the usual emotional talk. Giving in, I told her that I would try. That day I walked straight to the principal’s office requested for leave that Friday saying that I was getting engaged and that even I got to know just that day. We made some changes in the practical schedule and I got the leave sanctioned. In the evening my brother and I were going looking for a venue for the engagement. As we were driving, my brother  asked me whether I was happy. I told him that it was okay….he stopped the car , told me what else did I want, being from the shipping industry himself he said that Rajesh was a great guy, he had a good personality, he was earning well and he was a fabulous human being. It should not be just okay but I should feel happy about it. I accepted that and my confused mind was settling a bit.

We fixed a venue for our engagement, mothers were happy as our horoscopes had matched perfectly. Everyone was gearing up for the engagement. I called up my friends and told them that I was getting engaged in 3 days. Everyone was surprised but happy for me at the same time. Finally I met my would- be on our engagement. Then we started calling up each other and getting to know each other better.  Once he was coming back from his office and told me that he could pick me on his way back, He asked me to come to the point from where he could pick me. I told this to my mom, He picked me up and we just talked as he was driving, and he dropped me home. When I rang the door bell, mom was surprised to see me early. She asked me how I was early as I was to meet Rajesh. She asked whether we both had coffee together. I smiled at the fact that my fiance didn't even know that he had to make an offer for a cup of coffee. Somehow I liked that. Even now I tease him about it and he says that he didn't know a thing and how come I didn't tell him. He remembers what I wore that day and how I looked. Every time we pass the place where he picked me from he mentions it.

 He had to join back in the first week of May. We started sending emails to each other. I would wait to hear from him, would read the sms that he would send while at a port over and over again, in fact my phone couldn’t store so much of data so I started writing all the sms in a diary. It was a time for full communication.
He came back home after 4 months. Our wedding date was fixed for December 14th 2005. This was our real courtship we learnt everything about each other, about our families and the love grew into trust and friendship. I also learnt that he too had met a few of the proposals for him and nothing created that ‘wow’ factor for him. When his mother asked him to meet me, he had said that this was the last girl he was seeing. He often teases me with save the best for the last. I thank God for being that ‘last girl”. Finally the D- day arrived and we had one of the perfect weddings! Typical North Indian affair going into several days. As I moved into his home I felt that I knew everything as we had talked about it all. Though we are from different communities, the difference was hardly felt. We were blessed with our elder son Arnnav in 2006 and younger son Abhinav was born in 2009. We both feel that ours was an arranged love match! We have learnt to appreciate not just each other’s opinions and beliefs but also each other’s interests. He has been my biggest critique and a true friend. We do have our differences and our dose of couple fights but what remains is we have immense respect for each other as individuals and we take pride in each others achievements.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Internet is fun!

 Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day; teach that person to use the internet and he won’t bother you for weeks…

I belong to the generation born in the mid 70’s, where the school’s favourite debate topic used to be the, “satellite television- boon or bane”… oh! we spoke so much on that. We were the Doordarshan generation, where the television telecast used to be available only in the evenings, a few years later we started getting the breakfast news. Our first encounter with the computer was in the mid to late 80’s when computer was introduced to us in our schools. We had to enter the divine room taking off our footwear outside the computer lab (room). We learnt computers more my drawing the flow charts of events in our computer notebooks… mind you, I am not talking about the Notebook!  Starting from input and ending in the output. The boxes used were oval, rectangular, diamond shaped etc.  College days, studying Hotel Management we had very basic computer science or application, can’t really remember what the subject was called.. there was dbase, Lotus 123 and those big floppies a few years later the floppies became smaller and more compact.  It was quite an accessory walking around with a bunch of them. Each having different data, instead of carrying so many books; one had to just carry the compact floppies.

My first experience with using computers for some worthwhile purpose was when I started working at a 5 Star Deluxe hotel.  Fidelio was the new software that had arrived in the hotels at that time, in the late 90s. It had modules for the Rooms division; front office and housekeeping used to use that. It was great, a big development over the earlier software. Not much of internet was in use, emails were unheard of, mobile phones had just arrived. They were the size of a walky talky. The incoming calls were charged too, it was quite a big deal to have a mobile connection. The handset was expensive so was the network connection. The monthly bill easily could go into thousands. At least 6 to 7 thousand is what I remember of my brother’s monthly BPL mobile bill to be.

I got my first email id, a yahoo id in the year 2000. I still have and use it. That’s when I started seeing the fun side of the internet. Could send emails to my friends and instantly receive their replies, no hassles of posting  letters.. what is called a snail mail now. Could send greetings and messages in a matter of a few clicks on the keyboard. became a successful platform for people looking out for friends from their schools and colleges. Yahoo groups were formed for friends to exchange messages, basically socialize and catch up virtually with their friends and colleagues. Then came the era of social networking, Orkut was the first major one. Almost everyone had a profile there and we started looking up for our friends, neighbours, colleagues that we had lost touch with; suddenly everybody was here. People could check out profiles, pictures and chat as well. Again there were debates just like the ones we were used to regarding the satellite television. I guess the society just loved the debates and it was more of a walk down the memory lane for us, remember we belong to that generation or people even older who didn’t have all these lifestyle products and an amazing technology at our disposal. We loved just about anything foreign that we received from our friends and family members who made overseas trips once in a while.

Then facebook happened and it has changed the way people network socially. There are professional networks like the linkedin and many more. People do lots more over the internet now. Apply for jobs, check out reviews for hotels, movies, restaurants, travel destinations etc,  shop, pay bills, book tickets, create virtual albums, share  information with their friends. People even seek guidance from a similar interest groups. Now all this is available in our mobile phones. Mobile is always with the person and the world of information is with him on the go. Internet on the mobile is certainly fun. There is no scope for an individual to get bored at any moment, even if he or she is all alone.

For me internet has been a mode of connecting, keeping in touch with family and friends. I was a person who wrote letters, posted cards and greetings to my near and dear ones. That process has become so much convenient with the internet available on the mobile phones. There are so many apps available and the list keeps growing. Listen to the music, play games, check out articles and write ups, visit blogs and have reminders, get news flash and be connected with friends all around the globe, easily I have around 1500 contacts on facebook alone, if I need an information real quick I just need to post it on one of the networking sites and within minutes I’d have the information with me. If this is not fun then what is!

This post is an entry for the contest, Internet is fun on Vodafone, if you have liked it please do vote.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Lakme’ and Me

The beach under the mighty sun - Are you ready for some summer  fun?

Lakme’ … In fact that’s my nick name. In school a few people preferred Lakme over Laxmi, as that was a lot easier to pronounce than my name. In fact in the entire country there are so many vocal versions of the letter X.  Just like Vidya gets annoyed hearing the Bengali version of her name in Kahaani, I have had my own versions of  'those' moments. Not just in India but the moment a foreigner tries pronouncing it I get to hear even more innovative versions. My friends used to call me Lakme during my college days as I always used the products by that brand. Yes whatever said and done I love my name, that’s my identity and its special as it was given to me by my late grandfather.  I do love Lakme’ my partner for all these years.   

I have had my favourites from the nail polish, eye liner, foundation, compact, blusher and lipstick to the perfume that they came up with… God knows where the perfume went though!  At my first job with the Taj group of hotels I carried my favourite brand even there and got the shade of lipstick, blusher, eyeliner and nail polish to match the one prescribed by the hotel. Lakme was the brand my mother used just like a whole lot of ladies from her generation, though hardly a person wearing any make up… just the occasional lipstick and nail polish.  She was also the person who gifted me my first make up kit, 3 lipsticks, a compact and a nail polish. Sounds like a walk down the memory lane! Didn’t realize how Lakme’ has been an eternal part of my life!!

Sunscreen came as a gift from my sister when I was going on a holiday and she told me to use it as it helped the skin. It was a long while ago when I was in my early 20’s and didn’t really bother about how the sun affected the skin. But later realized that my skin used to get itchy and totally damaged every time I would venture on a vacation. I also did my own bit of research and learnt that sunscreen protects the skin against the harmful rays of the sun. It should be at least an SPF 15 or higher. It can be used by everyone including infants as young as 6 months old. Not just in the summers but health specialists advise wearing it all year round as it protects against skin cancer by helping in the production of vitamin D that prevents most forms of skin cancer. Ultra violet light can damage the body’s immune system.

The benefits of using a good sunscreen are many such as it helps prevent skin cancer. It shields the proteins like the keratin, collagen and elastin that keep the skin feeling firm, smooth and protecting against the aging of the skin. In fact some amount of sunscreen is there in all skin care products and cosmetics indicating how important it is. It can also protect against other diseases such as cataracts and immune suppression. The ideal way to use a sunscreen is to apply it 20 minutes before getting out into the sun and re-apply every 2 hours. It is certainly a good idea to keep a small bottle of the sunscreen in your bag and be sun protected and ready for the adventures.

Now I am a regular user of the sunscreen and have always stayed with my trusted brand. I am ready… rather Sun-ready for a trip any time. So Elena pack your bags and be with me as we head for our next trip to the Bahamas, the place that you’ll love for its beaches, tropical climate, sun, music and loads of fun!

Fun in the sun

Thanks for passing by, this is an entry for the 'Lakme Diva Blogger Contest' if you like my post do vote for