Monday, November 21, 2011

No more Night Night!

I love technology, the ease of communication, getting true global experience at your fingertips, be it professional life, personal life or just gossip life!
But technology is a sleep killer.
There was a time in our early married life, when hubby and I would pop into covers and get our favourite books out, read and doze away. If we did wake up in the middle of the night, it would be too painful to start the night lamp and read again. So a glass of water, and plop into bed again.
Sadly it’s different now!
Technology rules. At any time on our bedside, you would find two smart phones, iPad, laptop and lots of chargers and maybe one dust covered book! In the night if I do wake up, I check on V and then come back in covers and just start the i-Something. I might surf the net, play a game, read the news. And then after twenty minutes, I am wide eyed.
And then the glass of water/ walk around the house just does not work. I am awake. And then, the story continues, I am making my to-do lists, researching project work, reading some stuff. Basically anything that should wait is keeping me up in the nights.
I should switch from technology on my night stand to a good old book and glass of water! Of course, it implies I need to get an old school alarm clock

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Photography has ruined travel. Has it?

The title from the CNN article was enough to make me stop and read it. And then read it again, think about it, process it. Hmm 'Photography has ruined travel' one line I smirked about was 'My memories are framed by the 2x2-inch blurry screen of my camera. Not once did I look up to see the fish with my own eyes. '
It has happened to me before. Most recently in Scotland, I was so busy taking the right picture of the pony and my daughter feeding it the cut apple, that I can’t remember her squeals of her laughter. True.
Has photography really ruined travel? I don’t think so. The first thing I pack on a trip is our camera's (Point N Shoot & SLR) with their chargers. I need a camera to capture the moments. I often sit on our couch on go over the pictures from back then and smile. They are hundreds, but I still enjoy them all the time. I need my pictures. For myself. For refreshing the memories made, relishing the chocolate cake, smelling the coffee, reliving the laughter, everything. Pictures make travel and experiences more memorable!
Having said that, Yes, I do hate the Iphone/ smart phone cameras. Don’t get me wrong, I use them all the time, but somehow they don’t qualify as 'pictures'. They are just a log of activity done.
Anyhow, the other thing the article also touched upon was 'googling about planning a trip'. Hmm,  Guilty as charged. It generally starts with a Wiki search, followed up by travel reviews, some blogs and so on. One hour gone.
But that’s when it stops. Sumit and I then go to the library, get a travel book, be it Frommers, Lonely Planet whatever. But get the book, read it, mark it and then based on our 'antiquated research' plan a trip.
This is then followed up by finding the 'deals online' for travel, accommodation and what have you. Plan, Find, Book. Enjoy!
On a trip itself, we have often being condemned by family, that we are cut off. Guilty again. Emails are checked very rarely, Facebook, not at all, phones only for incoming urgent calls. Rest, it’s the trip, us, laughter, relaxation and of course the camera. And yes, the smart phone left in the car for the hikes.
What about you? DO you agree with the author that photography spoils the travel itself? Do pictures aid your trip, or do you say ' I have to snap this and put it on Facebook'?
Next, How do you plan your trips? And if you are backpacker.... hmm, when is your next trip? Count us in!
One post in draft for the longest is @facebook: Is it like high school all over again? But being on FB and enjoying it a lot, I hate to bitch about it. So the draft post, stays in draft a bit longer! Your views?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not so random thoughts...

I read this article 'Why I left India(again)' recently and re-read this today. I know this article has made rounds over and over again. It has been commented/ criticised, appreciated and murdered.
For me, it felt very real. I hung onto each word and involuntarily shaking my head. I think I can relate to where the author was coming from.
I have been out of India for a decade now. My formative and impressionable years have been out of India. I have been teased as NRI (Not Required in India).
I go 'back home' on and off to meet family, eat at familiar joints, try out new places, relax in air conditioning and appreciate the help at home. I go back since my family is there, it’s my native country. But more often than not, towards the end of my trips, I crave to come back to my familiar grounds. Being in 'vacation mode' might have a lot to do with that.
Being expats in London now, I am often asked: Where are you from? I should respond @I am from India, but more often than not my response is 'I recently moved from Chicago.'
Why you ask?
I can relate to my life in US much more than I can relate to my life a decade ago in India.
It sucks to say that. But it’s true. It took me a lot of time and courage and guilt to come out and say: 'I don’t think I am returning to India anytime soon, barring any life changing/ family health emergencies, we are living outside India'
Once I said that out loud, I repeated it and made peace with myself. Yes, I get scornful looks, raised eyebrows, OMG how can you say that and best of all 'Traitor'
I am learning to develop a thick skin now.
My family life, professional obligations and daughter’s upbringing and education has made definitely made a huge contribution in our decision/ state of mind. But if I look in the mirror, its more to do with 'My View Today'.
India is my native country. No matter where I go in life, what I do, I always will be Indian, my passport has little to do with it. I don’t have to explain how great, developing and changing India’s temperament is today. Everyone knows it. And I can’t even do justice to it.
I adore going back to India. Its home in all sense of the word. But sadly my Life is not in India right now. I may or may not return to India. But I do know wherever I am and will be, I will be Indian.
 It’s not the type of food, the language, the colour, and the clothes you wear; where you live that make you more or less Indian. Your ethnicity makes the foundation of who you are. Period.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The feel good ones

Here's the thing about feel good movies, you can watch them over and over again and you always finish with a smile.
Top ones on my list are- Serendipity, P.S. I Love you, Hum Tum and  of course Something's gotta give.
Recently on a long flight,  no better thing than watching a movie you can never go wrong with. I watched 'something's gotta give' for the millionth time!

But some how this time when I watched it, I payed a lot more attention. The subtleties, the contrast, the difference but still the unity in the movie is brilliant.
She likes French music, he owns a hip hop record label. She considers herself older than she is, and he is the suave, makes you weak in the knees type of 63 years old. The house, she is all white, beach house and serene. And he is in the middle of the city, all black, exciting. Her sheets are white, his black. His floor is multi levelled, and hers single  storied. She is not scared of being in love and he cant even commit to sleeping on the same bed. And the best difference in them. She is a Mac and he a PC.
I mean seriously?
Brilliant movie, brilliant casting and this time after watching it, my love for the movie grew a tad bit more! Till next time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Husband!

There are two things that have sort of become a pattern in my life after marriage.
Come my birthday, and for some strange reason, we are always, either moving houses, planning a move or some other big change.
Come hubby's birthday, we are generally on a vacation, about to leave on holiday or just returning from one.
But this year definitely was an exception to the rule.
We celebrated my birthday very much in Chicago. Of course the move to London was in the background (or foreground, since we moved 24 days after my birthday). But still we enjoyed my birthday and I loved every minute of the three day celebration!
This year for Sumit's birthday, which is today :-D, we are not in any sort of vacation mode. Well, Sumit had a stay-cation last week due to V's mid term school break. But that does not count. On his birthday, we are very much in regular school day- work day mode! But we definitely do plan to make the most of the evening!
So in the year of changes, this is another change to our birthday rules... :-)

Sumit, wishing you a very Happy Birthday.
Today is your day, let there always be music-full volume style, laughter- falling on the floor types, food- licking your fingers type and friends- got your back types and above all family - that can get your pulse ticking!
Smile baby, Life is Good!
Enjoy your birthday and oh yeah.... looking forward to the next year full of travels!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween in London

First my disclaimer, yes I grew up in India where Halloween is not celebrated, was not celebrated when we were kids. The first time i saw Halloween was when I moved to states about a decade ago. Since then I have been 'Holoweenified'! I know it’s not a word. But you get the gist. I might not be the most enthusiastic person in dressing up, decorating or even getting enough candy for the kids. But I thoroughly enjoy Halloween. For lack of better work it’s 'Spooktacular'
This was our first Halloween in London. The area we live in is filled with Expats, American expats at that. Our neighbourhood is known as the 'Halloween Central' Perfect. All I had to do is rush home in rush hour (wink wink) and then get daughter ready in her Tigger costume and head out with my pumpkin mask!
The class moms who told me its 'Halloween Central' were right on the money. Just behind our apartment, there were kids and more kids. All dressed up from cute characters from Disney movies to scary ghosts. The houses were decorated (Compared to States, very skimpily) but it was still really nice. My daughter was just amazed at the carved pumpkins. Yes that’s one tradition I can’t encourage. I am really lazy.

We went house to house, collected a big bowl of candy, chocolates, suckers and my favourite Twix! V got spooked by some skeletons. She said 'That skeleton was mean, he scared me, I roared back since I am a tigger' The weather was really nice as well. It was nice bumping into other parents from her school as well. V was skipping all the way and would point to houses and say 'We didn’t go there' Sumit and I were happily taking her around as well. In all honesty, i had to check myself and not tell V 'Don’t pick up Kit Kat, but please pick up the 'Twix'Hehe, All in all, Trick or Treating in London was a wonderful experience.
We came home with sore feet and hungry tummies. Ate dinner and put V to bed.
Now Sumit and some friends had tried unsuccessfully to look for some Halloween parades. We were still extremely enthusiastic to head out. With In Laws stepping in as 'Go out, we will take care if she wakes up' Sumit and I headed out to 'Piccadilly Circus'. And brace yourself; I actually wore my leopard printed stockings!
Sadly, since Halloween fell on Monday this year, there were not a lot of people. We still enjoyed ourselves. Walked around, went to the Ice Hotel, walked some more, bumped into the Director of Wizard of Oz, the Broadway show and then walked some more. Finally we saw the most creative outfit of the night.

Of course if I start writing about my Pre- Haloween bash at Vinopolis the Friday before, I can’t end the post. Summarising the night. 12 girls all dressed in skeletal costumes headed to Vinopolis and then spent the better part of the night enjoying ourselves immensely!

It was a wonderful Halloween in London.