Saturday, February 26, 2011

Confessions of a Chocoholic

You have fallen in love with so many things, your love at first sight, first thought, first listening, first meeting etc... I started loving chocolate right from the first taste of the cocoa-filled solid nectar!

I may have mentioned my affinity towards chocolate earlier, and well, it's time for a post on it!

I guess I was "when-I-grew-a-tooth" year old when I had my first chocolate, must've been a Cadbury's Gems. Ever since then, chocolate and I have had several dates, almost every day!

I thank all my relatives out there in different countries who bring this heavenly goodness to my refrigerator! Out here in the hostel room with no refrigerator, I have to restrict myself to candies (which lucky don't melt, but aren't chocolate either. A sacrifice.)

Instead of boring you with my experiences with choconation, have a look at them yourself!

Hershey's... God Bless America!

Ferrero Rocher... Now, God Bless Switzerland!

Many a times, my substitute for a meal - chocolate bars! Mars, Three Musketeers, Snickers, Twix, and Nestle products made my tummy happy :-D

The perennially available ecstacy- Cadburys (scroll further down for more I-<3-Cadburys moments)

(Photo credit: )

And my personal favourite - Confeteria Rafaello! White cream, scrapes of coconuts, nuts on the inside, melts in your mouth. The fact that nobody else in my home fancies it that much gives me full freedom to consume it like a car drinking fuel!

A few advertisements, related to chocolates, that I love... Being in India, I'll stick to Cadbury!

This ad almost completely catches the mood of anybody enjoying a chocolate... calm and serene to start with and then being one with the chocolate itself- enjoying!

This is just a fun filled ad to get the attention of people to the chocolate (which can be as fus as this)

For the next one, a one word description - "cute" :-)

And this is how one must enjoy chocolates:-

Just another example of how eating a chocolate takes higher preference over proper presentation of self, (in some ways) manners (:-P) and other duties

Well, this is an abbreviated version of what I felt, translate into words, pics and videos! I was continuously teased by the Cadbury's Dairy Milk Silk ads today, which forced me into buying one (big thumbs up to the ad) and I enjoyed it while celebrating Pakistan's victory over Sri Lanka earlier tonight!

Chocolates, the reward for every occasion!
Yup, every occasion :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When Cupid Struck Me

It's February. Myths and urban supermarket legends have it that love is in the air, and Cupid lurks around with his arrows of love. I think Cupid struck me multiple times over the past few years... Well, I didn't get myself a valentine yet, but I've fallen in love with so many other things!!!

I love my family, they are me, I am them!

I love my friends, they opened up a new world to me, each of them, and I shared mine with them! It is fun, it is lovely, it is beautiful... to live two worlds by merely sharing your own!

I fell in love with the world around me. The skies so blue, the smell of earth during the rains, the endless deep, blue seas and oceans which flirt with every other parts of the world I only dream about!

I fell in love with myself, for I have just the perfect mind, heart and soul to be what I am! Some like me, some don't. Well, I love myself, so, the count is always positive!

I love God, for my faith in them has given me all the success I could've ever dreamt of, and allow me the freedom to keep dreaming in the same manner!

If heaven had to come to earth and make me love it, it had to take the form of chocolates! And I sure enough did fall in love with them! My craze for chocolates were rarely given second preference in my life! And I bet I will continue to keep it that way, even if health has a say in it!

My love from a young age had been in extremes towards cartoons! And I am proud to say I still love cartoons, the classic ones. The Hannah-Barbara ones, the original Popeye, Tom & Jerry ones, Looney Tunes, Boomerang! I miss them a lot. And I also miss talking about them to some of my best friends! Miss those conversations, guys!

I have 2 eyes to see all the beauty around me! Flora, fauna, structures and the most beautiful human beings to have tread mother earth! From the rose that grew in my garden, to the most handsome tiger...from the Taj Mahal to Mona Lisa... they are all worth falling in love with!

Even if I were blind, I would still be in love with all the music! You might've had love at first sight, I have had love at the first "hearings". I fell in love with the voice of Shreya Ghoshal. Actually, this post I write is because of this angel, whose song "Bahara" has been running in my ears for ages ever since another angel had introduced it to me! The slightest need of variance is completed by Atif and Kailash Kher!

The earth completes a day in 24 hours. But somehow I get the extra hours of world sports to myself! I don't know what I would be if it weren't for sports! I absolutely love cricket, or does cricket love me? Football grew like a rose-bud, basketball was my morning cup of coffee! I spent many days when I would stay up all night to watch football games, end up continuing with a basketball game early in the morning and then spend the day light watching cricket! If one spends all day with the love of his life, there is my love - sports! And she is adorable!

I love peace, in forms more than one. Quietness, always appreciated. I love calmness. Just shut your ranting mouth and listen to the simpler things life has to offer you - the rustling of the leaves in the wind, the chirp of the sparrows, the smothering soft sounds of the smooth paws of the cat dancing around an insect... Some things always brings that smile on my face, which make more sense than most things we say. Peace world over will be the ideal way to live! "Live, and let live", is old... let it be "love, and just keep loving"!

Wherever I am, was or would be, I will always love my nation, India. Half my name has a striking resemblance to my country's name. I can go anywhere in this country, feel so different, but feel one amongst them all. The cliche holds, unity in diversity is India's specialty!

My lovely post got delayed by a week because I had fallen in love with exams, which is kind of a hatred-love. You see, I don't like exams much, but I have to make room for the exams atleast two weeks an year, and they occupy my heart and soul for the whole duration! Of course it is a relief once they are over...
To all, wish you a very (belated) Valentine's Day!

- Dedicated to my future valentine... My dear better half, WhomSoEverYouMayBe, I will love you <3 !

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What the World Cup means to non-cricketing fraternity

Cometh 2011, and the whole CricketNation is ready for the biggest event in 4 years. Cricket fans all over the world have been waiting for this big event. But, in all this euphoria, some non-cricketing people from the cricket crazy nations seem to take a big beating. Here's my biggest attempt to step out of my shoes, throw it into the deepest oceans, and find some such people's shoe(s) and look into their lives during these terrible times.

Most girls are wondering what all this craze is about. "It is just a game yaar! 22 people will throw and chase one ball for 7 hours! Look at their uniforms! I wore better dress for fancy dress competition in my 8th Std annual fancy dress competition! And I won it! India hasn't won the cup in 3 decades, I won is less than 2 decades! I love Sonu Nigam, he is a good singer, you know! I watch his all the 17 TV programs that he comes on every week! But, why was he singing in English for the world cup opening song? See? World Cup is ruining him too! I'm happy the world cup is not on set max and sony! I can watch all the reality shows! hey, Raina is cute, na? (giggle giggle... and her friend says, 'no re, Kohli!!')"

And we move into another household to look at a typical Indian mother. She returns from her work at 4 pm, and awaits the arrival of her son from school. "Arrey this Bunty! All day 'world cup, world cup'... When I tell him to win the school science quiz cup, he will not study one bit, but now he is jumping like a monkey for some cup! Cricket matches go on ever day na, then why all this drama only now? When husband comes, he will sit in front of the idiot box and join Bunty. I have to remind him to remove his shoes and socks. Arrey babba! If India lose a match, I don't want to face any of these two, they become so angry. Our TV is lucky it survived so many Indian losses! I have to pray to God that India don't lose any game this world cup. My heart can't stand any more such atyachaar! One slightly good thing that happens when teir favourite team loses is that I get to watch some better programs on TV! They play the Dev Anand movie on Zee TV na, I so love his smile! Evaporates my anger."

Well, not all kids are cricket fans. This boy, X, is a football fan who bumps into the hyperactive cricket fan, Y.
X -" cricket world cup is over-hyped! it will lose the fizz in 6 weeks, you see!"
Y -" ya right, what do you know about cricket?"
X- " I know enough to say that it can't even feature 32 great teams for one main event. having 10 teams itself makes it boring enough! so long a tournament!"
Y- " You have no idea! You're such a loser! What do footballers do? they will play for some unheard 'club' in some unheard country and play just 2 or 3 games for their country. Cricketers take pride in playing for their country!"
X- " Your geography knowledge is zero! Footballers earn much more than the cricketers ever can!"
Y -" Oye, have your heard about IPL? Players earn $ 2.4m in 6 weeks in IPL!"
X -" ha! Footballers earn than in 6 weeks too, and play like that 6 more times an year! You do the math"
Y, thinking...then screams " Oye, people, X says cricket is a pathetic game and football is number one game!"
And then a crowd of angry cricket fanatics pour in and poor little X has to flee from the scene. Y gives him a champion-like look, standing straight, arms crossed around his chest, eyes glaring in X's direction!

All sports goods shop have a problem of their own. "See, I bought all the sports goods last week. All the cricketing gears have been bought in a jiffy. And look at all these other things lying around. Hockey sticks, basketballs, shin guards, dumb-bells... No one ever comes to buy them at all! The companies are not ready to deliver more cricket goods to my shop for another week, as they have delivery orders elsewhere. And companies that deliver other goods are angry at me because i'm unable to sell the other goods! Cricket has been in India for a century, why didn't they buy goods that time? Hockey is our national sport, but no one comes to buy them. See? there is a spider net over it! That's how much people have ignored other sports now! They don't even want to exercise! They just want to play cricket! God save these people! All these world cups are difficult times for us!"

Well, being in a cricket-loving oountry takes a toll on other people. Very soon, we will have cricket lovers from all aroud the world centering their gravity towards one occasion - the ICC World Cup 2011! Caribbean musicians will match the Lankan musicians beat to beat. Indian, Pakistani and B'deshi fans will have their notions echoing across the lengths of the grounds in (atleast) as many as 18 different languages. The Barmy Army will take a one-on-one battle against "the Kangaroos" from Down Under. The Proteas will show their Pure Proteas love every time the SA step onto the field, especially if a Friday, the Pure Proteas Day. It's going to be a buzz!

So, all you pretty girls who want to watch Roadies, or you dudes who want to watch EPL, or you mamas wanting to watch the old classics or others who take no interest in the game, try to get involved! Now, the world stops and cricket runs.

Bringeth ye World Cup!

Now, allow me to end the post. I've to now look for those shoes of mine which I threw into the ocean!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

There is a world in India, India is world over.

I've lived in India for over 22 years, but have not even seen more than an ounce of it. No, I'm not whining, I'm proud of it. Even after 22 years of exploring the places around me, I'm yet to see all that this country has to offer.

Geographically, ethnically, culturally, and otherwise- India is rich in them all. No minor internal trouble laden pain brush can paint even a bit of black dot on the beautiful painting that my country is.

I've seen the beach off the Madras coast, never since the beautification, but I know how long and beautiful it can be! The coast on the East is so much different from the coast on the West. There is water, there is sand. But they are not the same. Each coast has its own beauty. The beaches extend long into the land on the East, shells and conches of every kind drawing the interest of many. The beaches on the West coast don't extend long into the land with sands... They need to make space for the canopy of trees lushing with a beautifully contrasting shade of green against the brown sand, black rocks and blue sea. What's more... They all meet at the tip of India's mainland - Kanyakumari! If you are sea-sick, you are missing out on so many things one element of nature has to offer you. I've been to the Cauveri Delta's Pichavaram, with its Mongrove trees. The real beauty of the trees can't be written in the books where you learn about them. It can't be touched upon by me in half a page of beauty-writing either. Half an hour of boat ride on the salty waters of the delta, a close look at the trees, a pluck of its "flowers"...they are some things to relish. Young or old, you will cherish!

Still, I've never been to the Konkan beaches, or the gulfs of Gujarat, or the delta of Ganges. That's about beaches, many of which I may not even know! There are so many rivers in India, importance of which have been engraved in our history! The Indus Civilization, reputed to be one of the earliest and one of the best planned, was Along the banks of Indus. So much is the river's importance, that it bears the roots to our country's name. Ganges, the holiest of rivers to many Many people. The one river where people try to visit atleast once in their life time, in a hope to attain salvation.

Numerous rivers flow like wrinkles across the face of mother India. Here, though, the wrinkles only beautify her. Most of the Indian population depends on farming, directly or indirectly. In most parts of India, wealth is spoken in terms of land area, and produce reaped from it each year. The people love their land. Wheat or rice, sugarcane or jute. They are proud of it, because, they feed the nation! Rice farms don the South, wheat in the North. A reason why the eating habits of people in the north and south depend more on wheat and rice respectively.

have I seen them all? Gosh, no :-( . Will I? Maybe! Every train journey is an eye opener to a new world that had evaded my eyes all life long!

Where there is no human habitat, there are forests, of various kinds! Where there are no forests, there are hills and mountains. Where there are no mountains, there is the desert. Where there is no desert, there is Rann of Kutch. The geography is so wildly different within a span of a 1000 km, that you might feel you are in a different land! Wildlife of each of them differ from every other place. Indian wildlife, flora and fauna, are unique. One has to be here to see it for oneself! The seasonal flowers make you wait to watch them bloom. The animals in their own home habitat are nothing short of beautiful to watch. The lions in Gujarat to the rhinos in Assam. The tahrs of Nilgiri to the snow leopard of Ladakh. The tigers of Bengal to the pheasants of central-India. The elephants of the South to the camels of the desert. I've seen peacocks dance for rain, and five miles later, vulture wait atop trees for their prey!

Have I seen them all? Umm, nope! There is just too much to see, i would need all 9 lives... Oh, I'm not a cat!

The cultural differences are so many. People have nurtured and polished their cultures for ages through history. What one wears in Kerala is completely strange to a person in Jammu. What one speaks in Bengal may not be understood in Gujarat. What one eats in Uttar Pradesh is out of ordinary for someone in Assam. We all came from different regions, different races, different colours, acclimated new conditions and made it our own over the ages, spoke different tongues, wore clothes to protect us from sun/rain/snow/dust as the case may be...and we all come now to pledge under one name - Indians.

India is probably the only country to state and allow the freedom of religion to all its inhabitants. Because, we are all the same. Most religions were born in India. Some religions came to India and were able to blend amongst other religions, like it was water in water. So many languages are spoken in India. Why, some may not understand what the other speaks. But, there will be a smile on your face if an Indian sees another on any foreign land. Just the picture of another Indian brings back the memories of homeland, mother India. Most languages have a common root- Sanskrit. Many words in English can be traced down to Sanskrit origins. And, Sanskrit is older than English. Though spoken very less in modern India, there is still a living village which converses only in Sanskrit. Heritage, my people, cannot be destroyed.

20th and 21st century India has all been about development, being a global competitor, sculpting an image of the nation worldwide. Many famous people have brought the attention of the world to India and spread the Indian view to the world. Long ago, the British called India "snake charmers", meddled with us, and took away jewels and called us a "poor nation". Now, Indians are amongst the richest of people. One of the richest man has most of his profits thanks to Indians. The Pepsi you drink, is reined by an Indian. The largest govt organization in the world is the largest manned railway network in the world, The Indian Railways.

Indian education is recognized world over! When a South African told me that she would want her kids to be educated in India, I understood how good an image we hold in front of the world. No, Indians are not recognized as "geeks" or "nerds". My American pen pal said she enjoyed Bollywood movies as much as Hollywood movies. Indian image what we hold in our eyes in India, is pretty much the same as it is in others' eyes. One Slumdog Millionaire is not going to make the whole country be stereotypes as that! A Punjabi who settled in Toronto who was once accidentally addressed to as "cab driver", brought Bollywood to the city, took 3000 Indians to each game of NBA played in Toronto, and showed the world who Indians really are. For your information, he is Hyundai's largest car-dealer of foreign origin in Canada.

We have given the world the healing powers of Yoga and Ayurveda, we gave the world the taste of spices. We built the timeless structures like the Taj Mahal, we gave epics to the world. We gave the world magics of mathematics, secrets of astrology and other natural sciences which were figured out way before man could speak English. It is not hard to believe that we come from a separate world, from the Gondwanaland, which was an independently floating continent, later to be attached to Asian's mainland. We form the Sub-continent with our neighbours.

In this 21st century, we pledge to become a developed nation as soon as possible! The Indian youth are the technocrats world over, bringing home to technical know how and knowledge pool to drive India to the top! And as we do, we will continue to nourish the heritage and culture that has been breeding for milleniums in our household.

I might not have seen the whole of India, but everywhere I see, it is India.

To all my friends world over, we welcome you to India. For, we consider tourists to be divine... Atithi devo Bhava!

Mera Bharat Mahan!
Jai Hind