The Cafe

He had noticed her the moment he entered the cafe. She was sitting on one of those large comfy chairs with her laptop in her lap. The 3 empty cups and a plate on her table indicated that she had been sitting here for quite some time now. She sipped ice tea while staring at her laptop.

In this crowded place, she seemed oblivious to anybody around her. Headphones in her ears, she looked like she had cut off from the world around her.

He forgot about his own laptop opened in front of him.

Dark ebony hair curled wildly around her face. She had loosely tied a section of it away from her face. Plain white shirt and blue jeans worn with pink Jutti’s. She wasn’t one of the many girls around him who hid behind layers of foundations, mascara, eyeliner and what not. He could not see any trace of makeup on her face.

She occasionally smiled at her laptop screen. Maybe she was watching a movie or some sitcom rerun. And her smile tugged at that place in his heart which he had long forgotten.

Her eye’s twinkled when she smiled and it made his heart jump. He wondered what she was watching on the laptop of hers which made her smile so prettily.

She was not a conventional beauty, but there was something about her that made you want to keep looking at her.

He could have watched her sitting there all day if she had not shut down her laptop, put it back in her rucksack and started to walk away.

He immediately looked down at his laptop, afraid that he would be caught staring.

Her every move towards him increased his heartbeat. He would never have had the courage to look up at her if she had suddenly not stopped right in front of him.

“If you talk as brilliantly as you stare, then do give me a call”, she said while slipping her card on his table.

She smiled that angelic smile of hers, winked mischievously at him and left the place, leaving behind a strong whiff of her jasmine perfume.

And all he could do was stare dumbfounded at her walking away while he silently blessed his stars.

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After Party

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It’s been two days since the engagement party and I still can’t completely feel my toes. My killer heels actually killed every sensation in my feet. I didn’t really dance much because there were so many people to meet and so much to do. I just kept running all over the venue to click pictures and meet family. And yet toward the end I ended up holding the heels in one hand and walking around barefoot.

That evening had all the elements of a crazy Indian wedding function.

We had a minor accident the night before the big day (Yours truly touched a naked wire and almost got slapped by my aunt for being so foolish. All the kids were then warned to be safe).

We had a nervous, jittery bride who came almost crying from the salon because she hated her look and the way the sari was draped. Though it was nothing a few cotton balls and safety pins couldn’t correct. Some anxious blabbering a few tears did help her though. 😛

All the guests arrived and the bride’s grandmother was still not there because the car she was in took a wrong turn and ended up taking a detour of nearly 2 miles.

But together it created the drama that is required to make a party successful. I somehow feel that it’s not really an Indian wedding function if till the last moment everybody is not panicky and running here and there to get things done.

And the feeling of watching your sister getting engaged is so surreal. You look at this girl standing there glowing like a light bulb, stepping into a new life with a twinkling solitaire, and wonder how old you’ve grown. It seemed like yesterday that we were playing hide and seek in our living room.

Though for me this feeling passed pretty quickly because I could smell the murg malai tikka’s being served around. Food, I tell you, just distracts me from being serious in life.

But the best part of the evening turned out to be the photo booth me and my cousin had organized. People literally went crazy getting their pictures clicked.

And now that I’m going through these pictures, I realize that photo booths work best when people are drunk. Some expressions are just priceless. Sober people rarely ever laugh like crazy while wearing star shaped glasses and neon wigs!

The above picture is a glimpse of it. I’m the one on the extreme left BTW. I barely have 3 or 4 pictures from the entire evening. And now that I think about it, it is probably because most of the time I was just stuffing my face with food and washing it down with some random cocktail instead of posing prettily and getting some decent picture clicked of me.

Also, I’ve realized that no amount of hairspray can keep my wild hair in place. Just two hours after the party began my hair was all over the place. Though my sister keeps telling me that it was because I kept touching my hair instead of leaving the delicate hairstyle alone.

Boom Boom Bang!

It’s that time of the year again. The roads are choked with cars, people are stuffing their faces with every possible delicacy ever known in the history of Indian cuisine, houses are spotlessly clean, there are fairy lights everywhere you turn, nearly blinding you and by now you must have forgotten  the number of times you jumped out of your skin because some random kids were bursting crackers somewhere in the vicinity, freaking the bats out of you.

Welcome to the annual Indian madness everyone! It’s Diwali time!

I love the feeling I get when this festival is around the corner. Unlike Holi where the oldies shy away from having a blast, Diwali is that one time of the year when every single person shall be out on the roads to shop, meet their relatives and be a part of the biggest festival in the country.

It’s sheer madness no doubt, but so much fun!  It’s that one time of the year when you get meet your entire extended family. There’s the yummiest possible food, unlimited gifts, new clothes and the one chance to get anything you want from your parents as a Diwali gift! Well, almost anything.

And as I write all this, I’m surrounded with the gifts and sweets we’ve received so far as gifts. Just one look at them and I know all my weight loss resolutions have gone down the drain. Not that I’m complaining. : P I mean no little black dress can give me the happiness like a box of kaju katli can. Or maybe it can?!? Damn it! I should have stopped at the first box! :-/

Oh! Well it’s too late now so I’ll just go and dive headlong into a box of laddoo’s.

Happy Diwali everybody!!! 😀

 

Its Festival Time!!

Kalakand, Gulab Jamun, Milk Cake, Kaju Katli, Jalebi, Boondi laddoo’s….

Every year when the festive season kicks in, I dump all my “I need to lose weight” resolutions and start stuffing my face with all the possible sweets I can find. I’ve already attacked a box of milk cake and I’m having extreme cravings for some piping hot jalebi’s.

With the Navratari, India enters into a month long festive mode. We have nine days of navratri’s which involves insane amounts of garba, then the durga pooja, followed by dussehra, then karva chauth, and finally Diwali and Bhai Dooj.

It’s a month filled with sweets, new clothes, innumerable pooja’s, dancing, amazingly delicious food, family get together, fairy lights, earthen oil lamps, rangoli’s and gifts.

I’m so excited about all the mind blowing food I’m going to eat!

I know I’ll be about 5 kg’s heavier by the time we wrap up the celebrations, but who cares!!

Shubh Navratri everyone!!

🙂

The Perfect Dress

So my sister recently announced her intention to get married and brought her boyfriend home to introduce him to the family. The boy was approved and his family declared as most decent.

Now three months later, after all the excitement and tears of joy, we are all bracing ourselves for the big day.

There are lots of functions that are going to take place before we reach the finish line of The Great Indian Wedding Drama.

The first one of these is the engagement ceremony.

It’s basically just exchanging rings and introducing the bride and the groom to the entire extended khandaan of both the families.

Slowly but surely the things are being crossed out from the ‘Things To Do’ list. The venue is finalized, talks with the caterers are on, designs for the rings are being browsed through and the bride to be is out shopping every weekend to find that perfect dress.

And this is when we come to the most important part of the entire drama. Well the most important part for me.

The dress.

That is what we are all waiting for. Well ‘we’ as in me and all the girls and women in the family. Ladies seldom have much interest in anything else other than clothes. And we are no different.

Everybody is planning and prodding and searching for what they want to wear. It’s the first wedding of the family and the excitement is almost killing us.

Though I’m not so much into clothes and dressing up but I’m equally pumped to find something appropriate to wear. It should be wow enough to make me look like the sister of the bride, but not so wow that it overpowers the brides dress.

And If I know my sister, who hates anything shiny, glittery, heavy, and basically anything that makes you look like an Indian bride, she’s going to pick out something really simple and understated.

And my love for bright pop colors may make me look overdressed in front of her.

Designer boutiques, local shops, Pinterest, Google, my mom’s sari collection, I’ve gone through it all.

I’ve shortlisted a few dresses but I’m still confused. Everything I’ve selected has either glitter or pop colors. And my sister might just pick out something in a pretty pastel color! This thought is driving me nuts!

I usually don’t care about the latest trends, fashion and stuff like this and wear whatever I like. If I’m happy and comfortable with what I’m wearing, I won’t give a damn to what others think.

But to overpower my very own sister on her engagement is not where I want to tread.

So now I’m running to every market in Delhi in sweltering heat to find that perfect dress for me.

And it’s turning out to be one hell of a job.

 

Let’s Meet The Future Son In Law

So my cousin recently announced her engagement. It’s a big occasion for the family and everybody had their share of things to be excited about. For her parents, they are glad to have a child finally heading towards settling in happy matrimony. For my grandparents, their first grandchild is getting married and they are thankful to god for letting them be a part of it. My parents are happy for her parents i.e. my dad’s brother and his wife.

As for us brother’s and sister’s, we are just excited about the shopping and the new clothes and the open bar. 😛

Of course we’re happy for her, but when it comes to weddings, I tend to get more excited about the fact that I get to buy new clothes!

And if you think the matter ends here, then you’re wrong. How can a wedding be fixed in India without the whole extended family being involved? Oh no sir!

We first need to meet the future son in law. And by ‘we’ I mean the entire family. Yes. The WHOLE family will meet the boy and his parents. Even though my uncle and aunt have already paid a visit to his house and met his parents, but we still need to get everybody’s opinion.

And let me tell you, meeting the future son in law is a very big deal here. Because in our culture the son in law is an extremely important person.

So to meet him and his family, a date and venue was decided. And since me and my sister have already met this guy a couple of times, we stepped back from attending the Oh So important meeting!

My grandma took things so seriously that she called up my mom to ask whether she should wear a sari or not! To which my mom casually replied that it was too hot to take care of the sari and besides it was not that big a deal.

To this my grandma very gravely replied that meeting the future son in law is a very important task. It should not and would not be taken lightly.

The finest cashew nut Barfi was ordered and everybody was ready before time. For my family, getting ready on time is an impossible task. So getting ready before time was a miracle!

Before leaving my grandma went over every preparation once again.

Sweets packed and kept in the car. Check. Sagan envelopes. Check. Everybody’s clothes perfectly ironed. Check.

Quickly everybody sat in the cars and off they went to meet the future damaad ji.

Four hours and a dinner later they all came back with such mega watt smiles on their face that me and my sister could barely wait to get the feedback.

The boy had passed with flying colors. His family was declared very decent and proper and his parents were highly appreciated.

I and my sister looked at each and laughed thinking about the actual engagement ceremony that is to be held in some months. If a casual meeting with the future son in law is such an hyped event, then the engagement is surely going to be one hell of a party.

For The Love Of Mangoes

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This is a picture of me when I was 6 months old and we were visiting my mom’s hometown. My mom is holding me up while my aunt feeds me a mango.

My mom tells me I barely ate anything else there but the moment a mango touched my lips, gorged on it.

I have always loved mangoes. Loved it from the deep down core of my heart. It’s the one fruit which when I bite into, my whole body just glows!

Give me a glass of Aamras (Fresh mango juice) and I enter into a trance.

Mango is considered the king of fruits. And in India where more than 500 varieties of this fruit are available, it’s nearly impossible to not have them.

And when the summer’s roll in, you can find nearly every eatery in India creating and  innovating new dishes which incorporate mango’s. There is mango rabri, mango lassi, mango rice, chicken in green mango, Mango raita, mango salads and what not.

In my home, mango shake is a staple drink every morning. It’s like a rule which has been followed for years. We begin the day with mango shake at breakfast and end it with freshly cut mango and ice cream for dessert after dinner.

I recently found this quote on the internet-

“Mango is like a drug. You must have more and more and more of the Mango until there is no Mango left. Not even for Mango!”

And this is kinda is true for me. Every year when mango season comes, I get addicted to the sweet, juicy, pulpy fruit. And every year it seems like this addiction is getting stronger.

Despite the fact that mango’s are sinfully sweet and have a comparatively higher caloric value than other fruits, and I’m supposed to lose the extra weight I’v gained during my exams, I just dive into the sweetness provided to me so lovingly by this fruit.

I wait every year for this fruit to come back and when the mango season ends, believe me I’m inconsolable.

If you ever come to India during the summer’s, do try this fruit. I’v tried mango’s from other countries when I traveled there, but they were not as sweet as the mangoes found in India.

It probably because India is a tropical country and the climate is favorable for the bumper produce for this fruit.

I remember when we went to London to visit family, my dad filled half of his suitcase with mango’s and took it it with us. Our family there was so surprised when we opened his suitcase. But the mango’s we took with us were so heavenly, that all of them vanished withing a couple of days. And now, every time somebody from India visits them, they make it a point to take mango’s for them!

India has numerous varieties of this fruit with every state producing a top class variety. I’m yet to try a major part of these, but I’m on my way to taste every variety that is being produced. The most famous one which is exported worldwide is the Alphonso.

But there are mango’s which are sweeter and juicier than the Alphonso, but they have a very little shelf life and can’t be exported.

And right now, I’m sitting in office, savoring this wonder fruit that I bought with me in a lunch box and I’m falling even more deeply in love with it.