I am in love with a girl.
She is sweet, she is innocent,
She is lovely, she is lovable,
She is the girl, I once dreamt!

She has a place,
Too deep in my heart.
But I can never trace
Why she is so far?

She understands my emotions
But doesn't accept her too.
I wish her love she mentions
Wish only I can do!

When will she come to me,
And say you're mine, I need you.
In her eyes love I wish to see,
For her happiness, then anything I'll do

Then all her pains,
Silently I would bear.
And not allow her eyes,
To have a single tear.

But till then wait I will,
Silently, though heart will cry.
My breath ceases, I get still,
Yes, I will wait till I die!

Wish she shows her love,
Before it is too late.
Before I disappear,
If this is to be my fate.

But I will wait even then,
My love will be accepted one day.
She would come to me, her man,
And say, I wished her to say!

I pray my waiting is not too long,
Longer than I can bear.
I wish to sing duets, not a solo song,
I desparately need her near.

Come soon love, my heart is waiting,
Will you not give him what he wishes?
Believe your love and your feeling,
And your emotions are his only riches!
Hey Piyush!
Hiya Roohi :)
I am glad we took this vacation.
Absolutely, it was so much fun.
I guess in-spite of rough start, 
it turned out to be lot of fun.
Yeah, baggage not arriving after a long international flight, 
and with a kid is certainly no fun.
But I am glad, we did get our bags next day. 
Yeah, I am glad too. 
I fear what all we had to buy if we had lost our baggage. 
God knows how expensive it would have been!
Well you know what, it would have been alright,
that's the reason I had taken travel insurance ahead of time. 
And it paid also!
My Piyush, you are so smart!
(Grins and blushes)Come'on Roohi. 
But you know what, I think there is stuff 
I need to tell our reader from this episode. Will chat later.
Yes, yes, of-course, we should 
definitely spread any useful information. 
Love you <3
Love you too Roohi. 

Hey there! As I just told my Roohi, while our travel insurance did pay, there are many things I learned from this episode. I am sure all of us are aware of travel insurance policies which cover various problems associated with travel including lost/delay of baggage, flight schedule disruption, health issues, and so on and so forth. As a general practice it is advisable to take any travel insurance as per desired coverage required. And so I did.

Now when our baggage did not turn up along with us, it was a moment of panic. After all we were travelling internationally, were tired and had a 2 year old infant with us. When we approached airlines staff - they were of no help and asked us to file a complaint so that they can try tracking our luggage. So I did and with a heavy heart, resorted to proceed to our hotel without our luggage that night. I knew that we were covered for both loss and delay of luggage so in my mind I made a point to lodge a claim whenever possible.

I informed my insurance provider about my situation via my brother and they emailed procedure and forms. Given that I had not taken my laptop with me, I thought I will fill the forms when I return. Next day - our luggage did arrive - and in the joy, I just signed the paper the guy brought with him and took the luggage.

Now, later when I went through the email in detail about the claim procedure, I realized I had not taken baggage delivery receipt from this person which was a required document. I thought I will ask for the same on my way back.

And I tried that when we were checking in. However airlines was of no help, they took my email id with a promise that I will get the receipt via email. It never did on its own. I had to eventually raise a ticket and that got resolved in couple of days finally with the receipt being emailed to me.

Fast forward, when I actually set out to file the claim, I realized I did not have everything I needed. I had preserved some baggage tags and I thought I had also preserved all boarding passes. But somehow I did not. Anyways, I filed the claim with all the documents I could muster and the insurance company took 14 working days to process.

I had a cover of USD 100 for baggage delay and was expecting USD 300 as payment. However they approved only USD 100 citing the complaint was only for one luggage piece which was registered in one name and I also did not have any receipts for any emergency purchases. Yet they processed my claim.

Lessons learnt -

0. Take travel insurance. Remember Murphy's law, if anything can go wrong, it will.

1. Make sure each traveler's luggage is registered separately when checking in. The baggage tag identifies the name of the traveler and for insurance claim (especially in case of loss), it will be important that the tags are unique per person travelling.

2. Preserve all travel documents - boarding passes, baggage tags, receipts of any emergency purchase carefully until return.

3. Claim early should you have to.

4. When your baggage is delayed (potentially lost), make sure you file a report - this is known as PIR Passenger Incident Report in airlines/insurance terminology. Keep a copy and make sure it is correctly filled and signed/stamped by airlines.

5. Should you are lucky to get your baggage back, do take the baggage delivery receipt for records. Please note that there is cooling period - in my case it was 12 hours. This means that for delay of 11 hours they will not pay anything. For this reason it is advisable to take an insurance policy with as little cooling period as possible.

Do share anything useful I missed in comments for everyone's benefit!
Urban infrastructure in India is almost as extinct as Dodo. When you traverse the vast expanse of our hinterland you will notice the absolute absence of planning and chaos prevailing in each nook and corner. Yet there is an amazing sense in our nonsense, calm in our chaos, a pattern in our haphazardness. But this post is not about finding that needle of the haystack of our nation. Rather, I would like to write about one of the lesser-known, yet amazingly well designed, developed and maintained cities in India.

Close your eyes for few minutes and imagine this.

Wide, well-made roads, laid neatly in a grid fashion. Manicured lawns at each intersection, some with fountains, some with other artifacts beautifying the crossroads. Imagine low rise buildings, spaced enough from each other, following a pattern with soothing aesthetics. Imagine a park every few kilometers. Imagine well-organized clusters of areas each having park, school, dispensary, recreational area and all civic amenities.

No - I am not describing Utopia, this city does exist in our very own country.

The city I am raving about is Gandhinagar - the capital of Gujarat. This is the Greenest City in Asia with 54% forest cover of its total area. The planning was done by two Indian town planners; Prakash M Apte & H. K. Mewada, who had apprenticed with Le Corbusier in Chandigarh.

Here is city's map:
Image Source: Wikipedia

Since this is a city planned around being the capital of Gujarat - the majority of the population is government employees. Lately, people looking for a peaceful life have moved in here. The traffic thus on busiest of days is next to nothing. Traffic jams are unheard of here.

Image Source: Times Of India Epaper
With six lane main roads, you can easily drive around the city.

The city is well connected by wide central and arterial roads which follow a well-defined pattern as in the map. It is not easy to get lost in Gandhinagar!

The design of the city rivals best of the world. Divided into sectors, each block is self-sufficient for the population living in the sector. The design accounts for plenty of open space and well maintained manicured parks on each intersection and all around.

Image Source: Holiday IQ

The planning of the city with enough places to go around and relax makes it my favorite city in India. Take your car/bike/cycle, and just start driving. Be connected with nature, reach the next intersection, known as the circle in Gandhinagar lingo, gorge on some sumptuous snacks, take that "dees-gola" - crushed ice in a dish, enjoy the nice breeze while gazing at fountains - what more can you ask from urban life? The intersections or circles are a nice place for late evening romantic walks with your love. And Gandhinagar probably is one of the safest places in the country. So you can roam around with your partner without any worries and soak yourself in the simplicity and beauty of the city.

Just writing about the place is reminding me all the good times I had over here, may be it is time to pack my bags and get back to this wonderful city to relive the connectivity & design by driving around!

Prompt for #madeofgreat Zonal War

Information gathers from Quora & Wikipedia.

This is Cupcake reporting, from the Planet Earth. Cookie is busying with baking real stuff, so I took it upon me to keep our blog busy and readers engaged.

Poetry, politics, fiction, facts, news, commentary, world-cup, movies - I guess there is no dearth of topics to ramble about.

Being an avid fan of the world of celluloid fiction, I guess I must talk about some of the wonderful movies I have watched with my Cookie. Many of these are of-course the popular ones, yet, there are few obscure titles.

Thomas Gray said -

“Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

These unseen gems are worth every minute of the time we spent watching movies. May be by talking about these, we will help them not fade into obscurity. And I must admit, there are few movies which went beyond our inter-planetary intellect on first viewing. May be when you watch these, you would be able to help us unravel some of the plot mysteries :)

In this series, we will take up many titles, but today I will talk about a movie known as "The Frame"
It is an unusual story, dwells into quintessential topic if we hold the power to script our own destiny. The story starts slow, but as the pace sets in, you sit there sitting in awe of what is happening on-screen.

The narration, the pace, all picks up and keeps you hooked until the very last.

Director Jamin Winans has crafted yet another intriguing story. He has proven that it does not require mammoth budgets to tell beautifully interesting stories. All you need is "the real story", a good screen-play and a good eye for camera. Budgets do not make movies worth watching, people do by excelling in their prowess's - direction, acting, music, editing and what not!

** Minor Spoiler Alert **
It is very tough to tell anything more about the story without giving it away, yet I must say that the story nearly dwells in the theory of Parallel Universe. It is not shown explicitly, but if you have been a fan of series "Fringe", you will see the drift.

Go watch it for pure cinematic pleasure. And do let us know how do you like it!

Festivals are meant to bring back the joy in life, a relief from daily rigmarole. They are an occasion to celebrate and be alive, providing us necessary escape from the daily grind. And if you bring a little element of togetherness then it probably is the best concoction of happiness.

This Diwali our days were unexpectedly busy on all accounts. Coupled with family being unwell, we could not prepare the traditional sweets until the very onset of the festival. We decided that it will be wise to get sweets from outside this time. It was a practical decision given that there was hardly any time or energy for anything otherwise. And thus we got house cleaned and all in anticipation of the festival.

One night, few days before Diwali we were talking reliving our nostalgic memories of weighing gujiyas and what not. Suddenly we remembered my mother who had reluctantly accepted the fact that there will not home made sweets for this Diwali. I guess that was a trigger enough for us to decide that we will make few gujiyas at least if nothing else.

My mom is diabetic and we decided to try Sugarfree Natura this time, for its ability to provide natural sweetness.

I bought all the ingredients:

Maida 1/2 KG
Ghee 1 KG
Khova 200 gm
Cardamom 10 gm
Sugarfree Natura powder

We wanted to keep this as surprise so it was time for late night cooking in the bedroom using induction plate and utensils.

We first 2 spoonfuls of ghee to maida and kneaded it till it became sticky. Then we added water and prepared the dough with kneading until it became like play-dough. Then we covered it with cotton cloth, else it would have become to dry to roll.

We then set out to prepare the filling. We powdered the cardamom. Then heated the kadai and put khova in it. No need to add any oil as khova when heated becomes greasy automatically. Soon it was rolling in our non-stick kadai.

We roasted it till it became brown in color. We then let it cool and mixed cardomom powder and Sugarfree natura powder and kept it aside.

Now was time for rolling the wrappers for gujiya. We rolled it in small puri size and then filled with little stuffing, closed the puri, stuck the edges and used our groved pizza cutter to cut it in shape. After it was cut, each gujiya was placed under the cotton cloth to avoid drying.

Once we rolled out all, it was time to fry. We heated ghee in the kadai and when it was ready, deep dried all few at a time until slight brown in color. After draining the excess ghee, gujiyas were neatly stacked in dried air tight container for the surprise next day.

And yes - the next day look of our family was indeed priceless :). We really loved our joint cooking session and hope you will get inspired for yours!
Sometime the moment will come 
For me to depart 
Someday it would be the last moment 
That I hear the rythm of my heart 
But I know there will be no regrets 
That I will be content 
For, throughout my life I would have loved you 
Each moment I lived 
For you would have been meant 
And if I would be given few moments more 
I know what I will do for sure 
I will love you sweetheart 
Just as always I did 
Just as always I do 
Dear, I will love you 
But if I could not speak on my last day 
My heart will confess through my eyes 
That always loved you, 
Loves you this heart 
Even when he dies!
It is amazing how life fosters its little surprises on you. You are so sure of yourself and then it just unfolds a new side of you which you never knew. Graduating through various stages of life I have grown as a person, as a man with the new responsibilities life brings at each stage.

I learned to appreciate nuances of herbs & spices when my wife needed me to be the true man of the house taking care of culinary responsibilities when she was carrying. I learned how important it is to not to leave your stuff behind, lest be ready for an impromptu lecture on etiquettes or lack of them. Jokes apart, it does makes life easier if you keep it clean then and there, rather than leaving to a mystically future date. I learned to appreciate the fine art of loading a washing machine properly with proper segregation of colored and white clothes when I noticed my wife struggling with her dual responsibilities of being a home- maker and full-time IT job.

And thus I thought I have learned everything a man has to or can do.

Boy, I could not have been more wrong! When our daughter was born the immense joy she brought with her was accompanied with a sense of urgent responsibility. Suddenly here I was, a newly arrived father who only wanted to provide only the best for his kiddo. She was so delicate, so fragile and so soft! How could I not search for the softest of stuff for her? And thus I arrived at my own list of must-have skin essentials for keeping baby's skin supple and soft.

5. Wrap
Is it velvet or is it feather
Can it be any softer than either
Searched nook and corner and found the softest wrap
Tucked in it, my baby has the most beautiful nap

I am glad we live in an era of globalization and finding the finest of wrap which suited her delicate skin was not that difficult. I had access to internet for research, reach to specialized malls and shops catering to baby needs and thus I managed to find the perfect one for my little angel.

4. Soap
Skin needs its moisture, and yet needs be cleaned
Soap can make it dry, thus I have gleaned
How do I solve this dilemma - to do or not to lather
And I found the one soft as feather

My quest for finding the soap which could effectively clean my baby's skin, and yet leaves it supple and smooth retaining its delicacy resulted in the specialized all in one liquid soap. Simply love the texture of this product which is specially designed to let skin retain its beauty while effectively cleaning it of dirt and germs.

3. Lotion
Soap as much as soft it could be
A touch of moisturizer certainly helps
For a bit of dryness can irritate the skin
But a lotion can bring back the grin

Howsoever smooth a soap can be, yet it is a soap. Post the bath, it is our ritual to apply the specialized baby lotion and cream. A fair application of this makes sure that her skin regains any lost moisture and remains soft and shiny.

2. Oil
Little massage with baby oil
Is all the kiddo needs
It makes the little body strong
And skin soft, singing a song

And before the bath my baby has the ritual of a quick oil-massage with her favorite olive oil. This age old tradition I believe is a fantastice way of connecting with the new born. I have done it for her and the connection you feel with your child is impossbile to describe in mere words. For the love it conveys and for the skin repairing and replenshing effect it has, this is a must item in our list.

1. Pampers
The skin needs its cover, thus the need of clothing
But not the artificial synthetic ones, 
Only a few can provide the protection
Yet be soft and Pamper the skin without abrasion

Like all new parents, we experimented a lot with various options for underwear - from the cotton nappies to all sorts of diapers. Cotton nappies though good for skin - had the issue of keeping child wet through the night if they wet the bed (which they do at that age!). And this could cause cold and other issues. The synthatic cloth material of many diapers did not suit the skin of our baby at all and she developed rashes - till we found and started using Pampers. These are made of premium material and our daughter was super comfortable in them until she graduated to being an active potty-trained toddler. 

Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy.

And yes, we also make sure the clothing material of our daughter's dresss is natural cotton in summers or natural wool in winters. Synthetic material though is cheap - and looks trendy - is no good for the soft skin. Cool cotton is what brings the best of being chic - and protected - for our daughter's skin.

0. Love
Nothing can be more important than the touch of love
Baby knows how to feel before she can talk
She needs to know she is cared about
The umpteen kisses and love, she needs without a doubt

A healthy mind in a healthy body is what we all parents strive for our kids. I guess, the most important ingredient in this is a healthy soul - which is nourished & nurtured with care and love. Little random acts of togetherness supplement this bond between the child and the parents - and without a doubt is the founding ground on which a healthy child, with a radiant skin can thrive.

When did I start, I do not recall,
But continuously walked alone, as moments crawled
I have been wandering in a relentless quest,
In endless search, with not a minute's rest
What am I looking for a peek,
What is this thing that I seek?
Is it treasures and riches,
Is worldly wealth what my SELF wishes?
Or is it the hunger of power,
That it wishes on itself shower?
If these are not what I desire,
Then what is that I aspire?

A friend's love remains missing,
This is what I've been wishing!
A friend who promises that souls are pledged,
A friend without words who is expressed,
A willingness to listen, a pair of helping hands,
A whisper from the heart that someone understands...
Is such a friend I desire exists only in dreams?
No, difficult it may be, impossible never seems,
For, there's something priceless I offer -
To a true friend that I decipher,
Love, understanding and my care is what I will give,
And above all a promise of friendship till I live!!
I'm alone sitting in darkness
And there is gloom all around.
My companions?
Sorrow, despair, failure-
Utter silence with no sound.

Thinking ceased, actions stopped
Breathing difficult, life robbed.
I feel everything is lost-
My courage has disappeared,
My confidence shattered
My hope crushed-my will caught.

Will this way I disappear?
With no care, nobody near,
Will I die with nobody to cry?
Will I perish with nothing to cherish?

No I can't allow myself
To be lost in this way-
I would have to come out
Come what may.

Then how with my depression I can fight?
How can I clear this darkness leading to Bright?
How across this sea of sorrow will I swim?
---I can do it by efforts in rythm.
I can do it by my perseverence,
With my toil and labour immense.

I wa swrong, darkness blinded my eyes,
Now I can hear in my failure others' cries
Yes I am loved, I am cared
If not by everyone, at least by few
And those few for me are like pearls of dew!

I would accomplish the impossible
My courage?--Their love
My hope?--Their care
And they?--My Saviour.

I would have to keep their faith in me,
I would have to prove my worth for their love.
And I know, I can do it
I can do it, because they are with me
Always to look after me,
Take care of me & guide me,
To make me reach my destiny,
Wish I fill the color in their dreams!
If I can, by any means...
Lap of Nature 
I am lying 
The river murmurs 
Trees whisper 
Birds chirp 
Colours of the rainbow 
I behold 
No thoughts 
No brain at work 
Heart content 
Just one emotion 
Its so beautiful! 
Is this Heaven? 
This is Heaven! 
Echoes the heart 
Is this Dream? 
This is Dream!! 
But has come true 
I can feel the serenity of the peace 
Its love everywhere 
Says the river, 
Say the birds 
Softly says to me every tree 
This love of Nature 
It sets my Soul free...
I am in love with a girl.
She is sweet, she is innocent,
She is lovely, she is lovable,
She is the girl, I once dreamt!

She has a place,
Too deep in my heart.
But I can never trace
Why she is so far?

She understands my emotions
But doesn't accept her too.
I wish her love she mentions
Wish only I can do!

When will she come to me,
And say you're mine, I need you.
In her eyes love I wish to see,
For her happiness, then anything I'll do

Then all her pains,
Silently I would bear.
And not allow her eyes,
To have a single tear.

But till then wait I will,
Silently, though heart will cry.
My breath ceases, I get still,
Yes, I will wait till I die!

Wish she shows her love,
Before it is too late.
Before I disappear,
If this is to be my fate.

But I will wait even then,
My love will be accepted one day.
She would come to me, her man,
And say, I wished her to say!

I pray my waiting is not too long,
Longer than I can bear.
I wish to sing duets, not a solo song,
I desparately need her near.

Come soon love, my heart is waiting,
Will you not give him what he wishes?
Believe your love and your feeling,
And your emotions are his only riches!
Though I may not say it often,
I do wish that you know.
What I feel for you,
Never in words I put though.

When I touch softly with my eyes,
And look with eyes gleaming.
I mean to say I've been at work,
Dreams infinite for you weaving.

When in silence I think of you,
I hear my heart beating for you.
In spite of emotions that I hold,
In words its difficult to mould.

I tried to say what I feel,
My heart's secrets I tried to reveal.
But its so difficult to say it all,
When I wish to say all things, big or small.

So I simply echo my soul,
Speak the words at the last,
I love you for what you are!
I love you sweetheart with my heart!!
DISCLAIMER: This blog-post caters to the people above the age of 25.

It is easy to gift something to a woman. The choices are practically infinite and options galore all over should you decide to show your gratitude or express any other emotion by means of gifting.

But alas, same is not true for men. How many birthdays & farewells have we seen men being gifted any other thing apart from a watch or a tie or a shirt or a perfume? Some adventurous ones might get cuff-link. Maybe a book - but I guess the list of options ends even before it practically begins.

This poses a very difficult problem for someone wanting to gift something to us - the hominis - the kindred of men!

Gifting as such is not an easy thing - if you want to be considerate about the person receiving the gift. We all want to present something which can evoke emotion and make the recipient feel cared for, thought about. This act of transpiring heartfelt emotion from materialistic gifts for men seems an impossible task.

Yet, the daunting never give up.

If you are facing the same dilemma faced by thousands of wannabe gifters to men - do not worry. Help are few gifts for men you can take a look.

But how about getting little more adventurous? There is a lot of interesting stuff waiting to be picked up and gifted to the worthy man. Like these gifts for him you may be tempted not to gift.

Image courtesy here
While it purely depends upon the taste of the person you are gifting - for each man has his own choice of poison - for the connoisseurs of spirits you may want to look at Scotch as a gift as one of the options. It certainly can please your man if he is an explorer of the drinks menu to sit back and relax.

Image courtesy here
So don't hold back, be adventurous and try out unconventional gifts. Everyone likes to be surprised every once in a while, and what is a better way than to gift something thoughtful which suits your recipient's taste? You will make the person feel special, for if you have taken time to think about the gift, your effort shows. It is an incredible feeling to know that you are cared for and thought about, and a little gift can go a long way in confirming this feeling.

How adventurous have you been?  Do leave your stories in comments, I would love to listen to yours!
The other day Roohi and I were talking about investments and avenues available for investor of today. Everything can be done with a click now - this was unimaginable just couple of years back. I still remember the time when I used to call my investment agent who used to bring paper based forms for application. I used to get paper statements.

All that has changed.

Now there are multiple platforms like FundsIndia and FundSuperMart where for you can create a free account and use their platform to a zillion investment options - mutual funds, bonds, fixed-deposits and so on.

Most significant benefit of such platforms is that you can get a snapshot view of your holdings across options in a single view. Not only that, you can redeem your investments with a click of mouse should you desire. They also provide all sorts of reports for your records and submissions (ELSS documents to be submitted to your office for tax saving investment proofs).

The convenience is immense and obviates all reasons of a lazy mind like me.

I am sure once you explore these, you will get hooked and will not turn back. It is an awesome habit to start investing small and these platforms make it extremely easy to do so.

Even CAMS, which is a transfer agency is providing several tools for online transactions. These tools help you track your investments without having to create an account provided your correct email id and/or phone number is registered.

Folks - go explore these, and take that first step towards the awesome journey of little investments which yield huge rewards in due course of time. After all drops make an ocean!
The digital age of ours has offered many benefits, many comforts - more than we can possibly experience or enjoy in one lifetime. This comfort, however, has come with a price - a price we have paid, and continue to pay with the ever increasing divide between people. When we watch videos of friends having fun together, it brings a nostalgia in our hearts, striking a chord we feel we have lost ages ago. And we do not take a moment to click the "like" button. But in the real world, the rigamarole of life ensures that our human-to-human interactions are minimal.

In this dreary desert of digital nothingness, there are few things which can help us keep our sanity alive. Like, shutting that "like" button for a change - and instead calling the person right away to tell them we had a good time.

Or even better - taking that bike/car out and endeavoring to meet them in person. Don't you think the world was a better place when we used to roam around in shorts and used to call upon our friends without having to worry if they will be there? And did we have not the most amazing of fun in those impromptu visits punctuated with loads of nonsensical laughter and fun accentuated by the common sense of happiness emanating from our young selves? Those silly jokes, those childish games, those fights, making up and then fighting again - though was the routine, but don't we remember the most trivial of things with most fondness?

I guess heart aches for things which can never be brought back. Yet, there is so much in the current lives we continue to loose and later regret. Our relationships with people, our connections with real humans, our attachments are slowly withering away in the desert air of apathy and lack of time for each other.

In the process of having, have we not lost all we had? Did we not feel the happiest when we had but nothing? With giving our hearts and souls away, we indeed have amassed a lot of materialistic wealth, but our inner self is thirsty, sun-parched devoid of the warmth of friends and kin. This perennial shallowness of our times is eating away at the core of our existence. We are forever angry and with everyone.

I feel, all this can change with little effort and a bit of care. What if we throw away digital and embrace old-school style. Little meetings can soothe very old aches.

Meeting real people, making new friends, talking to a stranger, engaging in activities which makes us human - if we do a bit more of this on a daily basis, I think we can still regain - all is not yet lost. The shimmer of hope is there - and can become a fiesta of fire if kindled with smiles, love and laughter. We can still experience the joy of real togetherness if only we begin to care.

See this video which shares similar emotions about discovering real togetherness -

A fictional story - any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

Bang! An explosion and I woke up, drenched in cold sweat. I was breathing heavily and had a bad headache. The world seemed to be spinning. Feeling my forehead, I felt a slight bulge. What had happened? The darkness around felt nauseating with the smell of alcohol and traces of smoke. Did I had it too much last night? I tried hard to recall, but the darkness, eerie silence and sound of dripping water in the leaking tap did not let me concentrate. Damn, leaking tap. I again forgot to close it. I vowed that it won’t happen again. When I opened my eyes it was pitch dark around and I had to grope around to settle myself down.

My hand touched something cold. Water bottle! I gulped water. My throat seemed parched with thirst and water soothed me a bit. My sleepy eyes got adjusted a bit to the darkness. Why was it so bloody dark? Did I not leave the bathroom light on? May be there was no power.

Five minutes of heavy breathing and few more sips of water brought some of my senses back. I remembered my meeting with her. It was a good meeting. We started off on a cold start, but soon struck a chord. It was a short conversation, but she agreed. I was happy and partied with my friends. Couple of beers and few puffs of cigarette later we had a great time with no worries about tomorrow. After all she had said yes. My forehead twitched. Damn, what happened? Oh yes, after last few of my friends left, envying at my luck and I closed the door, I turned and stumbled on the beer carton. The pain of hitting the edge of the table came rushing back in that recall of the moment. I remembered how I struggled to get up and crashed on my bed with the impact of the hit along with the cocktail of emotions which surged out of my drunken state and my joy of meeting her.

Water bottle was empty and I was still thirsty. I struggled to find my way in the darkness to reach the light switch. The light brought back the unspeakable horrors committed around in my room. My heart was racing. I remembered one of the friends had commented - "You never know till the last minute." I panicked. What if she changes her mind? What will I do?

Ting tong.

It was 6 AM by now.

I slowly walked towards the door. I made sure to move the carton to the side with a kick and opened the door. "Saab jhaadu laye ke nahi?" - she asked. (Did you get the broom Sir?) Kantabai did keep her promise to come from next day.

My faith in God was instantly reaffirmed.
अब मेरी लड़की बड़ी लगने लगी है…
कल वो मेरी हथेली पर समा जाती थी,
आज गोदी से बाहर निकल जाती है ।
This is the poem I wrote for the 'raindrop challenge' by papercut on AllPoetry.com. Thought that I should share it with my poetic friends to know what they think about it...

(An attempt a Haikuish composition on life - the description is longer than the poem itself!)

Nearest to heart, closest to me you will always be, 
This intimacy is heartfelt, eyes never can see. 
Being a father is akin to enrolling yourself in a lifelong journey of learning and rediscovery of long forgotten values and ways of life. I still remember the day when I held my newborn daughter in my hands. That was a moment of realisation that I hold responsibility of another soul. With exposure to learning and meeting wonderful parents in my adult life, I was confident that I know it all and will be a wonderful father to my daughter. I will teach her this, and then a bit of that. I had it all sorted, all aligned in my big scheme of things to raise my child.

But G B Shaw said, a child is the father of man. I never did understand the quote, at not until I became a father myself. Every moment since then has been a moment of self realisation that how fashionably wrong I was.

First thing I learned was that we truly are capable of loving someone unconditionally, without ever getting anything in return. That overwhelming sense of love is a blessed feeling. I realised that I need to be a better human being in order to be a better father. I realised howsoever twisted we may be in our lives, we still want out imbibe the best of human values to our offsprings. I realised patience is the most important virtue when it comes to parenting and without it, the process can be really endlessly tiring. And this happened in the very first days of I taking up the responsibility of the father of my daughter. Without even speaking a word, that little bundle of joy triggered the process of my metamorphosis as a human.

I did not consciously make the choice, I guess being a friend to my child happened on its own. I have felt that without making mistakes we cannot truly learn anything. And as a parent I wanted my daughter to make hers, only that I be there to help should she need guidance. 

My endeavors at teaching something new to her have always left me enriched with an unexpected insight. They say the more you learn the more you realize how little you know.  I experience this daily. I have learned persistence from her while I was trying to make her eat. Every time I put a bite of food in her mouth, out it came like the speed of light. Every time without fail. I would have given up but then I thought I need to be as persistent as she was. And one day she relented :) 

And when she started crawling I realized how I had lost my curiosity as life happened. For there she was my infant daughter exploring the world around her, touching things feeling them and accepting the sense of belongingness. In the rigamarole of life we stop noticing.  We stop wondering for we think we know it all.  And how naive are we! My daughter wondered about everything from the door knob to the shoe. She listened to all sounds from the creak to squeak of birds. And she saw everything from colors of clothes to hues of the world. When I paused to notice her I realized I need to keep this sense of wonder alive in me.

As she is growing I have noticed what an amazing way she has with people. She is accepting of all without any kind of discrimination not like us adults who are laden with prejudices. As I teach her how to be careful with strangers, I am learning a little to be more trusting. As I introduce her to music I am finding a bit of joy in Chip n Dale cartoons. It is kind of interesting as she is growing to be an adult one day, I'm rekindling the kinder-spirit in me. Life does come full circle, isn't it?

Raising her has reminded me of true love of life. When I explain her thankyous and sorrys, I realised I was not saying the same as often as I should. 

As I trust her more, she becomes more trustworthy. I am learning ways of life in their true from her. It is amazing that I am able to apply same philosophies in my work life with amazing results.

I feel there is no better way to raise her, or should I say rise with her, than giving her power of choice in little ways. She is already a strong willed child and is able to take small decisions for her. Whether they are right or wrong is inconsequential in the long run. What is more important that in doing so I am empowering her and making her understand responsibility of choice. With each little step she is growing to be a confident person and a wonderful human being. 

I always wish that she lives her life realising every iota of potential life has to offer. That her childhood is is full of wonderful experiences, that in happening thus, "khuljaye bachpan" for her. I guess by being her buddy, her guide, her mentor we both are growing through our mutual experiences.

This post was written for 'Khuljaye Bachpan' contest by Kellog's.

I have struggling to be in shape since a long time but my busy professional as well as private life breaks my exercise routine every now and then. Also, I noticed that only working out is not at all helping me in losing weight. Being a mature person and a foodie, I do not believe in the concept of crash diet, which I know, in fact, has more disadvantages and harmful.

But recently a talk with a friend made me realize the magical properties of honey. It was already known to me that the health properties of this thick golden liquid have been valued since ages.
I searched online and came across Dabur Honey site where they have mentioned about the concept of Honey Diet, which I really understood and appreciate. Hence, I have started following this simple routine. Every morning, I wake up and start my day having a glass of warm water with honey. I now come to the good effects of this. A Spoon of honey taken with warm water in the morning is traditionally known to be useful in weight management. Yes, it is mentioned in our scriptures as well. The long hours at night that we spend sleeping, makes our body in need of energy early in the morning. And what kind of diet we take in the first 30- 60 minutes of our morning, decides the rest of our day. Taking honey kick start day with positive energy. Here are some of the benefits of Honey:

Honey has lesser calories than sugar and contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are good for health.

Honey is a good source of energy as it’s natural sugar and carbohydrates are easily digested by the body.

When used in your diet, Honey is known to aid in digestion.

Because of above properties, Honey can be a great replacement to sugar as a sweetener. Not only this Honey is known to help in cough and throat irritation. But what makes me marvel this magic potion is its effect on skin as well. My wife apply honey on her skin and trust me, seeing her glowing skin, I can vouch for its moisturizing and nourishing properties.

We have started replacing sugar with Honey in our recipes. Although, we are going about it slowly as we need to condition our tongues to break its old inclination to sugar. But yeah you can toss some delectable healthy recipes using Dabur honey as one of the main ingredients. There are many recipes and videos available, if you are scouting for some healthy delights, to cook in your kitchen.

I am feeling so much alive ever since I have included honey in my diet that I would suggest every body to get the daily dose of goodness of Honey and attune your mind, body, and soul to healthier lifestyle options.

Cricket has lot of impact over me. No, not because I am a great fan, that I am not or no more you can say as once upon a time I used to be. Still, the game that takes over the nation with its ever going tournaments, series, leagues, has its impact over me. My younger brother stops listening to me for important discussions as he gets really hooked into the game and does not want to miss on the scores. Even my elderly father teams up with him adding to my frustrations. On that, the teams that I manage in office goes for the toss hitting low on productivity during matches. People turn up late, sometimes even skip meetings, even if they attend it’s with half mind, focus takes a dive as they are worried for the score updates, and don’t even ask what happens when there is a final match! Well, we generally, screen the game to boost our employees! Being the senior person I have to face the brunt of my clients for my team when they are not being efficient enough. Can you stop them? You cannot. I understand their passion - being there, having done all that. And though I am no more interested in the game (but who knows till when!) I want to help these guys so that they can enjoy life as much as they enjoy the game. For being at responsible position, it is my job to help my people manage their life.

So when I came across UC Browser, I immediately came to know that I have found the solution to this problem. It is a mobile browsing service where you can Surf it All, Surf it Fast as it is faster, easier to use and has seamless transitions. Apart from many other features, it specifically features UC Cricket as a blue icon that opens to a space dedicated for every cricket fan, connecting them to the match wherever they are through live Scores with auto update, fixture and result, latest news and videos. Looks like UC Browser provide the best cricket service in India and finally, people can stay connected to the game while not missing out on all the little as well as big things important in life.

Here are some of the best features of this super Browser:

High speed Downloads with a resume option when interrupted and a smart file manager.
Cloud Sync that provides seamless switch by syncing your open tabs and bookmarks across various devices
Easy to use customizable speed dials, themes and add-ons
Improved Data Compression technology to boost the browsing speed
Download videos with just one click.

UC Browser, the flagship product of UCWeb Inc.- an Alibaba Group company, is available on more than 3,000 different models of cell phones from over 200 cell phone manufacturers. Hence, whatever your phone model is be it iPhone 5S, GALAXY Note 3, G6-U00, iPhone 5C, MX, 3MI, 3P6-U06, XperiaZ1, One or GALAXY Note2 or any other model, you can easily have UC Browser. It is compatible with all mainstream operating systems such as Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Symbian, Win CE, Java, MTK, and Blackberry.

What say? Haven’t I have figured out perfect solution for my people who are die-hard fans of cricket? What are you thinking? 
Download UC Browser from here, open UC Browser - HomeScreen - Find "UC Cricket" with blue icon.

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