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New Year Resolutions

May be it's the end of the year or may be it's me-being-me, but I am feeling a little reflective today. I guess it happens to everyone, every year. We begin to tally our year's balance sheet of achievements/disappointments and happiness/sadness and then make a plan for how we want the next year to look like. But (as in life) the year is only what you make of it. That's where New Year Resolutions come in, for most of us. (Trivia - Survey shows that most people give up on their resolution by the 26th January of the new year)

I don't remember making new-year-resolutions until very recently. I don't recollect why, but knowing-me it must be to stand-out and not follow the herd in 'making-resolutions'. However, my earliest memory of making a resolution is in 2006. I was taking an after-supper-stroll with my favorite uncle and we started talking about the coming year (2006) and the changes we would like to make in ourselves. That's when I decided that my resolution would be - "to not give advice unless asked". It was a good resolution for me because I seriously had to practice to speak only when spoken to and not impart wisdom unnecessarily. I can honestly, say that I achieved it over the year and with time I have taken it a notch higher - "don't take it personally when your advice is not accepted". I guess, the point I am trying to make is that new year resolutions do not come with expiry date. They actually mean that you have decided which step you want to take this year for 'the rest of your life'.

In 2007 & 2008 I did not make any resolutions but again, in 2009 I decided I wanted to do 10 pull-ups in one set by the end of year. Clearly, it meant that I could not do even one pull-up until December 2008. However, with Veronica's help and my crazy determination I was able to achieve that in less than two months. I cannot do them with ease, but I can still do them! (I was inspired by an Indian movie - Ghajini for this resolution.)

Again, it's the New Year's eve and I have not yet decided on any resolution. I guess, I do not have my Uncle here to help me reflect and neither am I inspired by anything around me. So I guess, all I hope is that 'may I come out a better person by the end of 2010'. Happy New Year, everyone!

P.S. I got my first 'Yawn' on the pervious blog spot! I guess someone doesn't like my fashion sense, seriously! Opppss!

In Fashion This Week

I am still high on the Fashion Journal idea I 'blog-lifted' from Jessica, last week. It has been fun clicking pictures all week and discovering my inner-dive-like tendencies. However, I have to admit I am terribly bad at this and my unease and consciousness is austerely visible. Anywhooo, here I am exploring my wardrobe and it's snippets!

Saturday - Shopping Spree

We (Me & Husband) were going shopping and it was really cold. I didn't want to layer-up. If I am going to try-on clothes I want it to be easy and simple. So I decided to wear a warm sweater (looks like a sweatshirt) instead of a big jacket! Also, I dig the Gwen-Stefani-sporty-look, but cannot dare to wear red-lipstick (ever!) This is my personal take on the 'sporty'!

Sweater - Criminal (London, U.K.)
Under shirt - Marks & Spencer (London, U.K.)
Tights - Thrift Shop (San Antonio, U.S.A.)
Shoes - Air Walk (San Francisco,U.S.A. )
Socks - Puma (Austin, U.S.A.)


Sunday - Casual Relaxing

One of my husband's friends was gonna come over for a short while. So, unfortunately I could not spend the Sunday in my tracks and tee. I had to dress-up (a little!). It was still cold, yet sunny! This was my chilled-out-sunday-attire to cozy up and watch movies all day :o)

Sweater - GAP(San Antonio, U.S.A.)
Under shirt - Marks & Spencer (London, U.K.)
Jeans - Miss Sixty(London, U.K.)
Shoes - Local Store (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil )
Neck piece - Flee Market (Tehran,Iran)


Monday - Dinner Party

We were invited for dinner at my Husband's boss' place. Perfect opportunity for me to play dress-up!Bold However, I had to be in sync with the weather and of course the venue. And since I am absolutely in love with the 'leggings-look' I couldn't miss an opportunity to wear them (now could I?) :o)

Sweater - Nordstrom (San Antonio, U.S.A.)
Tights - TJ Maxx (San Antonio, U.S.A.)
Belt - Ralph Lauren (San Antonio, U.S.A.)
Short Neck Piece - Gift (from Brother)
Long Neck Piece - Gift (from Mom)
Shoes - BCBG (Austin, U.S.A.)
Bag - Fendi (Dubai, U.A.E.)


Tuesday - Spent Thinking!

There was nothing special about the day and neither about the outfit. This is probably, how I dress everyday when I have nothing specific going on in my life. Simple, comfortable, and chic is how I like it. Plus, I love the neutrals for the winters! There was no agenda for the day except to run a few errands and live life :o)


Sweater - French Connection (London, U.K.)

Jeans - Urban Outfitter (San Antonio, U.S.A.)

Gloves - Stolen from Mom!

Shoes - Shelly (London, U.K.)


P.S. I don't think Fashion Journal is probably my thing ... Hmmm ... I will see how it goes! Btw, one more day and it'll be 2010! Yay!

About India & Indians



I love to travel. I have learnt that I am equally ignorant about many things despite being a globe trotter. My intentions are good (interest, curiosity) but the impact may be different (anger, frustration). Having said that, since I have a medium to clear some of the misconceptions about my country I will use this opportunity to do that (and promise to still be patient with future-ignorant-people, that I might come across).
  1. Curry - There is no one particular spice as "curry". To say it in simpler terms gravy is what we call "curry". So, I am sorry to burst your bubble but all the stores selling you 'curry powder' are basically just cheating you with a random mixture of spices which you can mix in your food. For sure, it will add flavour to your food but then you could have added any spices from your kitchen cabinet and achieved the same goal.
  2. Elephants & Lions - We do not have elephants and/or lions and tigers in our backyard. Like every other country they are in the forests or zoo. However, anyone who asks this particular question is inexcusable. Why on earth would we travel by elephants? Aren't half of us doctors/surgeons/engineers?
  3. English - How do we speak such good English? Do we learn English in school? - How else do you think we answer all the tech-support calls you make wee-hours of the night? Most certainly we didn't pick it up on the 20 hour-flight to your country! We speak the Queens english (probably even better than the Queen herself!) because the British ruled upon us for hundreds of years and left. But English stayed!
  4. Skin Colour - Most of the people from the Indian-Subcontinent have the skin colour - brown. But just because you are brown doesn't mean you are automatically Indian. You could be Pakistani, Bangladeshi or even Sri Lankan. Nonetheless, Indians come in all shapes and colour due to our varied geographic topography.
  5. Weddings - Though most of the times we have big-fat-colourful ceremonies but not all weddings are an extravaganza. We have Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsi, and even Jews to make India a melting pot of religions and every religion has it's own rituals. And this also clears the air about the fact that not all Indians are Hindus.
  6. Language - We do not speak 'Indian' and we do not speak 'Hindu'. Every state has it's own language, though 'hindi' and 'english' are the most widely spoken languages throughout the country.
  7. Weather - Is it always Hot & Rainy? Well, not always! It's hot in summers and cold in winters (duhh!) just like everywhere else in the world (except Australia probably)
  8. Movies - Our movies are not musicals. Song & Dance is just a format of our cinema. We take our movies very seriously!
  9. Wedding-band - We don't wear wedding-bands because it is not part of the tradition in most cultures in India (except Christian). So before hitting-on an Indian woman without a wedding-band, think twice! *smile*
  10. Poverty - If you are at all living in today's world you would know that not everyone in India is poor. You see Indians studying/working everywhere in the world, don't you? We are still a long way from being a 100% developed nation but we are working on it. Also, Thanks to Slumdog Millionaire everyone thinks India a poverty stricken country, but if you 'really' had brains you would notice that in the movie itself they showed that the land where the slums inhibited was occupied by a sky-high building, 20 years laters. Not that the building itself represent our economic growth, but I am just trying to make a point!
  11. Arranged Marriage - Though still a large number of people use this medium to meet their life-partner in India, it is not imposed on anyone. Only, instead of your friends, your family/relative organizes your first meeting and thereafter you are free to say yes or no!
  12. Gandhi - This is probably inconsequential but on more than one occasion I have seen people spell the name of Mr. Gandhi as Ghandi which is absolutely unacceptable as one can be ignorant about all of our culture but not about Mahatma Gandhi (you must live under a rock if you are that ignorant!).
  13. Hollywood - Do not believe everything you see in Hollywood movies about Indians. They tend to seriously 'stereotype us'. Every Cab driver is not an Indian in NYC, we do not eat Monkey brains (ref: Indiana Jones), all Indian women don't wear Saree, etc. etc.
  14. Food - All Indian food is not Hot & Spicy, just the one served in the so called Indian Restaurants is *skeptical.look* ... Also FYI, there is nothing as Chai Tea (Tea is called Chai in Hindi) and Naan bread is just no term! Naan is a form of bread but like you would never address "Can I have tortilla bread" similarly you cannot say 'naan bread'!
P.S. Everyone is welcome to add or edit this list. These are only my and my husband's experiences.

Fashion Journal

Over the last year I have been following a number of fashion blogs. A few days back I stumbled upon this really cool blog of Jessica Schroeder. What she does is, photo-journal her daily outfits on the blog with details about where she bought each item she is wearing from. Though I am aware that she is not the first person to have a blog on this concept but what struck a chord with me are all her outfits! I love them all and thats a first for me. Everyone has their own style and fashion-sense but her's resonated with me.

I, too like to mix-match my outfits, not have any one particular way of dressing. I like it all whether it's the biker-girl look with leather jackets and metal accessories or bohemian look with long flowing skirts and cotton blouses or a classic hollywood look with figure-huggin gowns and diamonds. I give a thought before putting on even my daily wear ... even if it's a simple jeans and top to do groceries. Over the years, I believe, I have finally found my comfortable-fashion niche. I am not intimidated by the fashion trends but instead try and incorporate them in my wardrobe only if it works for my body type. In teenage and early 20's I never followed 'the' fashion mantra, but I have realized it's actually true - Own a few good pieces and then mix-n-match. P.S. Don't forget to accessorize!

Well, so today I am 'blog-lifting' Jessica's concept and trying it for myself. I wore the outfit on Christmas day. My aim was to stay away from red & green deliberately to avoid looking like a Christmas tree. Yet, I wanted to look & feel 'fun' and 'merry'!

Photography courtesy my Husband
Jacket - Armani (Austin)
Dress - Flee Market (New Jersey)
Tights - Miss Sixty (Dubai, U.A.E.)
Shoes - BCBG (Austin)
Necklace - Flee Market (Ladakh, India)
Bangle - Old Navy (San Antonio)

Revisiting - Home Alone


I just saw one of my favorite childhood/slash/Christmas movie - Home Alone. It brings back so many memories. I was almost 8 years old when the movie came out. It was one of the first movies, I believe, I owned the video of (Remember the days of VCR and Cassettes, people?).

As a child I have grown-up in a big family filled with aunts, uncles, cousins and grand-parents. We lived in a pretty-big house considering it was about 15 of us inhabiting it. After viewing the movie I often wondered what it would be like to have the whole house to myself? ... run up-and-down the three storey building and make a big commotion ... may be put on loud music, ... watch television non-stop (until we turned teenager we were only allowed to watch 30 minutes of cartoon on television, on weekdays and an hour on weekends *distressed.face*), ... have ice-cream and chocolates for all my meals (we were only given 2 sticks of Kit-Kat every Sunday, imagine?). Well, it never happened, I was never Home Alone! Problem with having such a big family, living together, is that someone or the other is always at one's disposal to baby-sit. Or even worse - I had two younger brothers whom I had to baby-sit, incase all the grown-ups (together) were missing!

Irony of the whole situation is that now I am Home-Alone all the time and to tell you the truth, it is not half as much fun as I had imagined it to be ... I had hoped for the-kinda-stuff Macaulay Culkin was doing, almost 20 years back!. However, I still wanna go back home ... and then be Home-Alone! ... sounds crazy? Well, you never know, it might be fun. I am still a kid (at heart)! Nonetheless, such a sweet movie ... such a brave kid ... perfect for Christmas spirit ... still Love it!

P.S. Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin) : "You guys give up yet? Or are you thirsty for more?"

Eat to Live ... not the other way!


Another manic monday with too many things to do ... I wonder why all my errands always pile up on the first day of the week? Hmmm ... could it be, something to do with 'being-lazy-over-the-weekend' ... you think? ... Never-mind! Don't answer that :P

This morning, I have been thinking really hard about food vs people and food vs fitness. Specially, since it's winters and is exceptionally hard to keep my mouth shut! No silly, I do not mean too much talking ... I mean too much eating! You know, what I think the problem is? We over-glamorize the food we eat. We let the food define our happiness and satisfaction. I have had to learn the hard way but now I know better than obsess over what I eat (or not eat). Oh! a birthday without a big-fat-cake is a sacrilege - No! It is not. Holidays without non-stop sugar munching are not worth it - Absolute non-sense. Buffets without over-load of desserts is a waste on money - Shut up! and get some brains.

I am not saying that I would ever have a birthday without a cake or go for buffets and not replace the main-course for desserts ... what I am saying is that I do not obsess over it. I do not have to have it! It's like you drink water, breathe air, ... you eat food (desserts included!). It doesn't require neurotic focus or attention. While I still crave my chocolates, cakes, and Starbucks among other forms of suicidal food, I have managed to (with a lot of will power) make healthy choices during the day which kinda balances out my acts of sin. Though I am no where near a perfect lifestyle ... but I am surely and consistently trying to stay on the path of attaining one (that ought to count for something! Right?)

Some random thoughts and affirmations to keep myself focused on my narrow waist :P
  • It takes about 6 weeks to make or break a habit
  • 90% of people gain all (or more) weight back in 2 yrs (since they first started losing it)
  • Toning your butt makes your waist look smaller
  • It takes 100 too many calories each day to gain 10 pounds over the year
  • A pound of muscle burns 9 calories while a pound of fat burns only 2
  • Eating oatmeal, citrus fruits and honey can boost your sex drive

P.S. Just an observation, that this is my first post in 2 months about health and food. So there ... all you people who think I only write about fitness! Hmph!

Life Without Compliments

This is the outfit I am talking about down below!

Is it me or compliments from strangers always seem way more earnest than from your friends & family? Take for example, a couple of weeks back I was wearing these really old boots (still in excellent condition) bought in my college first year. Oh! those wonderful days when I used to wear my title as a 'Spoilt Brat' with pride and always managed to shine in all it's glory. Those were the days when the word 'budget' didn't even exist in my dictionary. You want it? - You buy it! - That was the motto I lived by! ... until the tragedy of growing-up happened ...

Anyways, back to my original story where I was wearing these boots since morning, which had now started to hurt me. I could also feel an excruciating shoe-bite forming inside. I had no choice but to walk in them till we got back home ... and then ... (wait-for-it) *drum.roll* ... this lovely woman who was passing by said, "I luuurrrve your boots!" and I swear the pain almost disappeared like magic! I looked down upon my boots and felt glad I chose them almost a decade ago. *pat.on.the.back* Well done, Tanvi! :o)

And again, this Friday, I was having an average day ... doing my daily errands ... living my life ... la-la-la-la-la ... sipping my choice of poison [at Starbucks] where a flock of teenage girls kept staring at me for what seemed like eternity. Then, when I went to pick up my coffee from the counter one of them came up to me, very sheepishly and said, "We love your outfit!" after which a middle age lady standing next to me joined her and said, "I love your shoes and I have been staring at them in admiration since the moment you came in." And there it is - My average day turned into an amazing day effortlessly. May God bless them all.

P.S. I do try and return the favor, whenever I can. Although I have to admit, I am a scrooge when it comes to giving compliments, but when I do, I really mean it :o)

Strive to gain pre-eminence


I love my country. I do! Really. Mera bharat mahaan (My India is Great) and all the shenanigans that goes along with it. We have a great culture, history and diversity. We are hospitable, warm hearted colorful people. But can we take a moment and address the facts which are not-so-great? We have become short-tempered people who highly lack in the matters concerning manners and common-courtesy. I have addressed these issues previously, upon my return from homeland in July (click here to read) but I touch upon them again today as a result of what I had witnessed this morning!

There was a traffic light failure at two consecutive junctions during the morning peak-hour (8:00 am). Of course, the traffic was moving at a slow pace due to this but guess what? there was no honking, no road-rage, no-one cutting lanes and beat this! there was no traffic police either. Everyone moved in an orderly fashion - letting one car pass, one at a time from each direction. And I am talking big transportation trucks, minivans, small cars, SUV's etc. etc. all on the same road. People even managed to help each other out in case something needed to change lanes or make U-turns, all with a smile.

How do you think this exact picture would have translated on Indian roads? Forget about a traffic-light failure, even when everything is running smoothly, people show complete disregard for each other and traffic rules. Why are we incapable of following rules? Why do we all believe that our problems are way bigger than the next person's? Why has all our olden-days charm and mystical mannerism blown up in smokes?

So while the West has well embraced Yoga, Osho, and even turmeric powder (curry) we are figuring out our way through Zumba, Paris Hilton and Tobasco. I am all for cultural exchange but not so much for a cultural drain! May be, I am being cynical but what if this is God's sense of humor where he has turned the table and offered India an economic growth in exchange for cultural-traditional bankruptcy? Have we really made our choice? Are we indeed a sell-out?
P.S. This is my 101 post on this blog. Wow! Would you call it a milestone? Ha!-ardly, right?

Ammunition for Life

Photography courtesy Christopher Micaud

I have been 'again' nudged about the lack of activity on my blog, so here I am ... After a week of self-loathing and abhorrence, I am back to believing that I am, after all, fabulous and fun-tastic! I mean really, it is what it is - some people change the world while others enjoy the 'changed' world! If we all starting slogging our ass 24/7 who is going to enjoy all the television, and movies, and shopping and traveling? Therefore, I am ready to bear the burden of this stodgy task - Bring it on! *big.grin*

One of the cloudy evenings last week, while I was still fretting over my dull-mundane-typical-housewife-life, I discovered a fundamental difference between myself and the world. You see, while I do love talking & re-visiting my childhood and discussing movies & celebrity gossip, I never like to give a detailed memoir of my life and it's daily activities. I particularly, dislike when people ask me specific questions like - 'Where'd you buy this? How much was it for? When did you buy it?' or 'Which hotel did you stay at? How much did you pay for the room? What did you shop?'. It's another thing if I offer to tell these details on my own but when someone asks it seems they are invading my privacy (I believe, in my case this is a hereditary issue as I have mastered the art of dodging these questions from my parents).

However, the true revelation from this analysis was that most people like to talk about the stuff that 'makes-up-their-day', while I like to talk about what was going on in-my-head during the day. For me, it is more interesting to hear about how one felt/what they thought/whom they met than listening to an empty narration of what one did/where they went/what they ate! Naturally, this has reduced my options of having a conversation with people all together! I used to believe I am an excellent company for all but as it figures out forget excellent only a few are even a decent company for me ...

Note-to-self - You are slowly moving towards isolation. Come back to life! :o)

Me Against Myself!

Photography courtesy Tom Corbett

I love analyzing myself and everyone else around me (as and when they come in contact with me, of course!). I am one of those over-thinkers. It might not seem like that on face-value but trust-you-me when I tell you that I am addicted to thinking. However, it's more like a hobby than a call for depression! I enjoy finding things that might be common between me and the world. I also enjoy observing people and making sense out of their behavior/words/habits. From the sound of what I am saying it seems like I should have probably taken up Psychiatry or Psychology. But you know me by now, everything is a hobby for me but nothing a passion (such a tragedy)!

The point I was trying to make today was have you ever noticed that how some people seem more sorted in their head than the others? You might not know the person for very long or even closely but just in a few conversations itself you can make out if the person is a straight thinker or simply messed-up-in-the-head (for the lack of a better phrase). Often I feel, that one doesn't have to agree with what other person is saying they simply have to understand their point of view and the logic behind their words/action.

It's the lack of this 'logic' or streamlined thoughts that makes us doubt the sanity of the person and/or argue with him/her. There are very few people whom I have met that I can say are clear-headed and sorted. Don't mistake them for older and hence wiser. They are young and of today's generation. It's, I assume, inherent quality which can be developed by education but has little or nothing to do with age and qualifications.

I rest my thoughts for the day and continue with my another wild weekend :o)

On a solemn note ...

Queen Rania of Jordon

I woke up in-the-middle of the night in a sullen mood. I tried to go back to sleep but thoughts kept me awake. When I tried to track back my thought-stream I was amused that it jumped from movies-to-life-to-marriage-to-communication-to-ambition-to-cancer-to-women-to-men-to ... it went on ...

I found myself wondering about Queen Rania of Jordon, out-of-the-blue. First of all, I find her explosively beautiful (not that 'beholder-beautiful' cliché). She is married, has four children, and is an advocate, a philanthropist and a humanitarian. She is extremely charming and is putting her charm and intelligence to good use - world aid! I admire her for the multi-tasking she does and all of it with such grace.

From Queen Rania my thoughts jumped to Lisa Ray. She is a Canadian-Indian actress whom I loved in the movie Bollywood/Hollywood. In my opinion it was a cult-movie which was a laughing riot. I watched it for several days on repeat mode! She is currently fighting Cancer. I had read her blog posts several months back and it ached my heart (still does) to read about her struggle. (but hey! Sistah can write! She should publish it)

Amid all these thoughts and all these women I cannot help but wonder the meaning of my own life. All these years I have believed that I am born to do something great and special but now I feel the time is running out and I haven't even figured out what that 'special-deed' is? I read about all the achievements and struggles of these women, admire their courage and resilience, and then continue to wonder ...

Eventually I spent 5 hours lying awake in bed figuring out my purpose. Haven't found it - yet!

Happy Birthday, Husband!


It is my Hubby dearest Birthday today, so here's wishing him a very Happy Birthday and many more to come :o) P.S. I love using the word 'Husband' ... don't know why!

I have been missing in action for past few days but then no one seems to be missing me either. Hmmm. I guess it's a Holidays and everyone is busy with family, vacations et al. Few days back I was extremely sad that I am stuck here in the USofA, while everyone else is heading back home for the Holidays. However, Christmas cheer seemed to have caught up with me and I am all high-spirited and elated with joy! I just can't seem to stop smiling. First I couldn't point out a reason for my sudden 'glee' but now I seem to have narrowed it down to two :

1st Reason - My New Apartment, I Love it! It is spacious and all my pictures/posters/decorative stuff have a place of their own. I finally have enough space to fit in a dinning table where I can sit down and eat in a civilized manner (and anyone who knows me knows that manners are way up on my priority list!). I have a cable connection after 2.5 years. Can you believe I survived without watching TV for that long? Well, I suppose having Internet helped, but still ... can you imagine!

2nd Reason - My Family and Friends. I know it sounds completely cheesy but really! Often people ask me how I live alone so far away without any friends/family close by? But I never feel they are far away. They always manage to make me feel special. You want examples? I will give you example! Few days back, it was my Uncle's birthday (whom you might recall was impressed with my strength when I picked up a heavy table). When I called him up to wish him at the end of the day (with time-difference and everything) I asked him how his day went and he answered that, "Now that I have spoken to you, it's perfect!" Now isn't that just the sweetest thing to say? Then again, while I was moving apartments this weekend, I didn't have access to internet for 24 hours and due to all the work I couldn't reply to my sms's and/or blackberry messages. My BFF (whom we all know as Anita) decided to write a long-long email to me because she didn't wanna lose touch with me and told me everything I had missed out on in the last 24 hours. That's got to be the sweetest person on earth, right?!?! And that's not all, everyone now and then if I am not active on facebook I get these random messages from friends saying they miss me - "facebook is not fun without you!" - melts my heart every time! I also, have a sister-in-law, Soomya, who is most generous with her compliments to me. I have never known anyone who can say nice things all-the-time to me (Really, she likes me even when I am at my worst)! Hence, I have given her the title of my No.1 Fan! Well, I can go on and on and on ... I have too many wonderful people in my life. I seem to have made a smooth transition from being a social butterfly to a secluded 'virtual' butterfly (haha!). Oh! and last but not the least, my husband always says "Everyone loves you!" and that makes me grin even wider.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

P.S. Watch your weight! (like that is 'actually' possible! Hahaha *wicked.laughter*)
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