The Aladdin's Cave

Hi, thanks for stopping by! The dictionary defines the idiom “The Aladdin’s Cave” as “a collection of interesting and beautiful objects”. Likewise, my website is a potpourri where you can browse and read from a variegated collection of articles on sundry subjects. Be prepared to stumble upon pieces ranging from noodles to analytics and from novels to friendships. Like what you read? Thanks a ton for being such a sweetheart. Don’t find it up to the mark? Well, blame it on back-breaking expectations ;) Jolly Reading!

Category: Home (page 2 of 2)

By a Blog—On its Blogger!

Marry in haste,
Repent at leisure,
That comprises the truth,
In no little measure!

Similar is my case,
Akin is my tension,
All down to my dysfunctional, so-called blogger,
Whom I don’t even wanna mention!

I chose her in a hurry,I was so rash,
And for all that recklessness, I get treated like trash,
No posts, no blogging bash,
So, naturally, no AdSense,
& I’m never gonna make any cash!

She used to put in hours,
Real long and hard,
But it was all a trap,
A ruse, a charade!

She promised to be a pro,
& did pen a masterpiece or two,
But that was in days of yore,
She just won’t dish them out anymore!

All she does of late,
Is try out different templates,
& the little she ever stores in drafts,
Oh! trust me, it’s the scum of the writing craft!

I wanna drag her to the court,
And make her do time,
But her sis and her uncle
Are lawyers in their prime!

What am I to do?
How long can I sulk?
To whom should i turn?
To get rid of this lazy bum?

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Me and Meri Navratri Maggi

Do u wanna know something silly??
A flock of people whom i consider to be extremely lucky are the ones who get their “Me and Meri _____ Maggi” stories printed on the Maggi packet.
If you ask me, that’s what real stardom is all about! I mean, who doesn’t know about Maggi? It’s like a unifying force, like a thread connecting countless hearts (or maybe, tongues?), like a yummy shrine to which we all get (happily) drawn to like a herd of possessed swine! 🙂
It’s an addiction, a habit, a ritual, a…well, words fail me. But then, we all know what it really is.
And to be able to share your Maggi story through Maggi with all the Maggi lovers out there – WOW! i think it’s quite a feat and it fascinates me no end.

And on more than a few occasions, I have fancied about giving it a shot. But then, let’s be realistic. I mean, what are the odds of it actually getting published on that sacred yellow wrapper? 🙁
Well, I needn’t elaborate on that. Nevertheless, the obsession remains – with Maggi as well as with its familiar, promising pack.

And today, when i do have a special story to share, I thought I shouldn’t give it a miss. I mean, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, right?
(I agree that it isn’t always the case. But then, in this particular instance, i am absolutely clueless as to the location of the bush, the path leading to the bush is strewed with bottlenecks and no matter how many birds to be found in that bush, i know each and every one of them is unattainable for me)
So even though I get to share it with only a few Maggi fans and even though my Maggi story is posted on my blog and does not adorn that much-coveted packet space, yet it’s some solace to see it here.

So here it is – Me and Meri Navratri Maggi Story!

My dearest friend Nimisha and I had observed a fast this navratri and it was quite a nice experience! As it was the ninth day of Dushera today, we were supposed to end the fast this morning. But Nimisha couldn’t consume non-veg even today (came to know about this only yesterday night 🙁 ) and so we obviously considered it quite pointless to go out or even place an order for home delivery.
(Sorry, no offence to vegetarians but that’s the way it works for us – especially after such a long period of abstinence!)
So today being a Saturday, we were both dawdling away the morning in bed, feeling not the least bit excited about the much awaited completion of the fast, our taste buds chiding us for our betrayal and we, quite defenseless against the rebuke.

And then it suddenly struck me and I exclaimed “Maggi!!!”
Without wasting a single second, both us friends were up and about, super-active, totally rejuvenated!
Chopped onions, tomatoes and green chillies and sautéed them, added the tangy Maggi taste-make, water and noodles and our yummy, ever-dependable Maggi was ready in no time!!
(Thanks to Shelly Bhabhi for sharing this mouth-watering recipe!)
And how we devoured it all in a revered silence!!!
A delicious end to an auspicios phase…right, folks? 🙂

(Please feel free to share your story about our favorite Maggi here, through your comments! After all, the location of that bush remains elusive for all of us, isn’t it? )

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…….She stood at the gate…at the very spot where he had left her…
It was as if she was rooted to the ground there…
Incapable of movement……
Oblivious to the rain soaking into the cold of the night….to the sound of the thundering of the clouds above..

Her sad, soft gaze had accompanied him till the end of the road…
After which, the treachorous turn had bereaved him of her eyes’ company…
And now vacant, they saw nothing of the lightning that cracked open the heavens…

The only thing she was conscious of was the feeling of a growing loneliness…seeping into her… threatening to engulf her whole being…
And she still stood there….utterly powerless against the potent pain in her heart….

And just then…when she thought she could endure it no more…a sudden memory returned to her in a flash…
It wasn’t hard to recollect….because it had happened just a few minutes ago…or was it a few hours back??..
She couldn’t tell for how long she had been glued there…

It was the memory of the last time he had hugged her…
With the memory, the warmth of the moment returned to her…
Spreading inside her…dislodging that dreadful pain…
Its place being taken by the warmth of love…his love…the very reason for her to continue to be…

She thought about the embrace…
About his whispered promise to return soon…
The completeness she had experienced in those few moments….
How alive she had been…how very alive…
She realized that she needed to feel that again…all of it…
And she knew he’d keep his promise to her…no matter what…

She gradually felt the strength of her body returning to her…
And she knew she couldn’t give up…
It wouldn’t be fair to them if she broke down…
He had promised to return…
And she knew that it was enough to keep her going…

She clung to that remembrance….
Playing and replaying it in her mind…
Deriving courage from it…from him…
For she knew he would salvage her…
The way he had done now…
The way he always did…

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The Good, Old Mays…(Part-II)

This post is a continuance of The Good Old Mays…(Part-I)
Sorry for the unceremonious ending of the previous part. I hope you can pardon such an indecorum on the part of a nine-post old blogger! picking up from where I left..

My mom and us two sisters used to spend part of the summer vacation at my nana-nani’s (maternal grandparents) place and my aunt and two of my cousin sisters would also join us there for the vacation. This was one of the major highlights of our holidays and we really looked forward to it. We four girls would be glued to each other and what fun we had! Doll-weddings, needle work, cribbing and doing homeworks, reading and narrating stories, playing games, sharing candies and chocolates, watching TV, being treated to ice-creams and kulfis and the special “Holiday” menu…year after year, we shared these days and thus ended up becoming the closest of sisters who still share such a special bond!

During this long vacation, it was only natural and fitting that we should miss our school friends but then we had our own special set of summer friends eagerly waiting for us in all the comics and story books! Chacha Chaudhary, Saabu, Pinkie, Tinkle, Champak, Tintin, Calvin and Hobbes…Just loved the whole lot! (Actually, still do!) You could while away the hours, lapping up the plethora of interesting stories that they collectively offered. You could just enjoy the read but if your imagination was wild enough, you were free to accompany one or more of those characters on their adventures and help them figure out ways to get out of the soup (as a rule, all these folks had a penchant to land into one ever so often!). And if you were in the mood for some real thrill, you could even decide to get in the driver’s seat and let the (ex-) protagonist be your sidekick!

A post about those days can never be complete without mentioning the innumerable games that we played! Some of them were the ancient and widely popular ones like ludo, snakes and ladders, spell-bound, kitchen set, doctor set, lock and key, name-place-thing-animal, “pitto”, “kabaddi”, hide and seek….and then you could improvise too!  The next few lines may appear very silly to you but you won’t know what fun it is till you’ve tried it!
OK, so at the risk of soundind extremely stupid, let me tell you about this very innovative game that my sister and me enjoyed so so much. It was named “kathin raasta” (tortuous terrain!). We would run all around, pretending to be traversing forests, rivers, mountains and deserts. My di would lead, doing running commentary to warn me of the impending danger and I would follow her religiously – not missing a single turn or bend or leap! Ya ya, i know it sounds silly but take it from me, there was superb coordination between the two of us and it superb fun!!

The only moderator for our high spirits was the sight of the school diary because in that was penned down the long and rueful list of “Holiday Homework” (H.H.W). Not a single subject was missed. No such stroke of luck. Mathematical problems, essays (and “nibandhs”), using pencil shavings to make an owl, filling countless pages of writing books in the hope of seeing some improvement in handwritings (didn’t really work for me :[ ),  learning the history and geography of India and the world by rote, developing familiarity with the plant and the animal world, understanding the sciences and forces operating behind practically everything that happens and a lot more – you were expected to master all this and be prepared to put your knowledge to test (quite literally) post the vacation. But to be honest, not all of it was detestable and then there was ample amount of time to whine and complain while working so you could complete it eventually. Not much in advance though – we all know how ten percent of a task is completed in ninety percent of the time and the rest ninety percent is somehow squeezed in the remaining ten percent of the time (:-P) Nevertheless, the purport of making the homework double as a killjoy failed miserably because we all know that there is no dampener potent enough to quell that happy, carefree mood!

So these were the some of the main elements of those blissful days and my heart really yearns for them…
The memories of those days stay as fresh as ever and never fail to bring a smile to my lips. It was like festival time – lots of fun and food, endless flow of cousins and other relatives,  many many hours to be pampered by your parents and grandparents and indulging yourself in all that is merry!

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The Good, Old Mays…(Part-I)

The month of May…

It brings back the priceless memories of such blissful days. We used to have summer vacations during May and June and what fun we had! Two months of unadulterated joy!
I was hoping to immensely enjoy this last summer vacation of my life but it didn’t work out as planned and I’m stuck with my training now. There is lots to do and no matter how optimistically I think, a trip to my home doesn’t seem possible in the offing.

Consider this post to be a sorry attempt to recapture some of the key factors that made these two months such a favorite with all us children. I call it a sorry attempt because no number of words and posts can do justice to the memories of those joyful days. Yet, i wistfully try…

First, about the week just before the holidays began…

The teachers used to get busy competing with each other, as to who can give the longest list of holiday homeworks and we children? Oh, we would be too busy making “Happy Holidays” cards to worry about it then. The newfangled e-cards are great – I, myself, being a proponent of (:-P) but they come nowhere close to the fun and excitement we found in making those scores of holiday cards in school. Our creativity was pushed to the hilt. Papers, colors, scissors and all the paraphernalia related to card-making flew all around. They came in all shapes, sizes, color and quality (quite literally!) But it’s not as if you could simply pick up any one you  liked…No dear. Not so simple. There was a very complex priority order that had to be adhered to. And if you were to digress, matters could get really, really complicated. But we were all pros there! So generally, no such sentimental mayhems preceded the holidays. As a rule, the best of the lot was for your best-friend (you could even let her choose!), then came your favorite teacher, then your lunch-friends, then other friends, then other teachers, then classmates, then bus-friends…This is a generic picture…you could change the order a little…(really, it wasn’t that complicated either-we followed it quite effortlessly!)

Summer vacation was synonymous with so many lovable things…and one of them were Mangoes! Pulpy, juicy, luscious mangoes!! 🙂 How we loved feasting on them…

They say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” I say, “Too bad, but I’m still thankful…’cuz mangoes do!” 🙂

Rightly crowned as the king of fruits, it used to be our staple diet for the vacation. Lichis, oranges and the throng of melons followed but mangoes beat them all by huge margins!

My cutest papa would get cartons and cartons of the best ones and stock the larder but the plenitude of mangoes was never an overwhelming issue for us. All of us used to rise up to the occasion and amongst us, handled the issue quite efficiently. Mangoes, mango shakes, guramma (a tangy chutney made from raw mangoes), pickles…we adeptly switched from one to another and were always ready for more! No “weighty” issues to make you feel guilty then…just slllluuurrrrrrppppppp!!! 🙂

(Sorry for the abrupt end…will wrap it up in the next post!)
To be continued…

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The Iron That Has Seen It All

This may seem an odd thing to write about but i am sure it’ll make perfect sense to the targeted group of readers viz. all my dearest hostel friends at my college VIT University, which will soon be my alma mater…(the very thought of this final goodbye is hurting like hell..)
And even if you’re not one of them, you can relate to it very well if you have been lucky enough to have spent 3-4 years of your life in a hostel and have made friends who make saying goodbye so so difficult…
So at a time like this, you can understand that there are so many people and things i want to write about. But words fall short to describe all that I’ve learnt and got in the last four years of my life. These unforgettable years have given me friends who make me feel as if I am the “Chosen One”. You don’t get luckier than this in friendship – I know this for sure!

This is a testimonial article about my iron, which has been an indispensable part of our hostel lives since the first year. It’s a simple, no-frills, elemental model from Philips. A steely base, a blue handle, a white knob, a red indicator and a white wire with a three-pin plug – that about sums it up. Told you, it’s pretty straightforward. So you might ask that what’s there in it to write about…
Well, i’ll answer that for you and then you can decide yourself if it deserves this token of thanks or not.

I am not an extrovert person and find it quite difficult to reach out to people. This simple appliance helped me during those initial days to make friends with people with whom i was later to develop a friendship for life. I used to lend it to the other girls in hostel and this got us talking. This simple need-based act paved the way for friendships that would later need no reason at all to sustain…

So all of us in our group shared this iron and everyone was fiercely protective about it too. You see, we weren’t allowed to keep these stuffs in hostel. Ask anyone who knows me really well and they’ll tell you that I am quite a law-abiding citizen but you can’t blame me for sneaking this one inside. I mean, how can you be expected to not have an iron in hostel?? It’s mindless to even think about that!
Well, so after availing its services, we used to hide it craftily under a heap of clothes or shove it in some corner or the other. It took a lot to keep it well-hidden from the watchful, scanning eyes of our wardens and supervisors who used to get a thrill out of seizing these so-called banned things. And we did quite a neat job out of it, given that it used to traverse rooms and even floors almost everyday and still managed to remain undetected!

It has been a testimony to the growth of our friendship…you could tell from the transition that took place in the way this sharing was carried out. Earlier, my friends use to message me sheepishly, asking if they could use it for a while. And after they were done, they would return it punctually, never forgetting to thank me for it.  As time passed by, it became “get the iron when you come”. Not very polite, but still, passable. The later years saw me rushing to their rooms with my rumpled clothes or meekly seeking their permission to borrow it for a while!

But most importantly, this iron of ours is entitled to this article (and much more) because it has been a participant of and a witness to the innumerable activities of the last four years which have made them so precious…the imperishable memories of our wonderful, cheerful, super-active, unimaginably enjoyable hostel life…

It saw us through the daily ironing for those killingly droning and some not so droning lectures…
It was there at our service when we got all dolled-up for those awesome treats – birthdays and anniversaries and results and commitments and siblings’ weddings and boyfriends’ accomplishments and friendships and no-reason treats…
It carefully and painstakingly ironed out each and every fold and crease and did its best to soothe our nerves on those dates, when we were oh-so-conscious…
It jumped out to us with frenzied speed (and heat) on those examination days, when our schedule used to be so over-stuffed that a mere minute or two was the max that this poor thing got to smoothen the crumpled garments…
It zealously celebrated the college-fest “Riviera” with us and helped us primp ourselves in trendy dresses, which further helped us to garner so many of those cherished pics!
It silently imparted its share of wishes and that much needed good luck charm to our formals during those anxious placement times and prayed for us…the way we did for each other…
It extended it’s ever-helpful hand (or should i say handle??) to us on our farewell day too, when we were all such a mess because we had to drape sarees and finally made us all look beautiful, gracious and lady-like…
It was there with us on those bad hair days when not a thing went right and helped us cheer up by donning some favorite t-shirt…

Ya, you got it right now!
Like my friends, who are there for me no matter what, this dear, devoted, vigilant and industrious tool has been with us through it all, seen us becoming the bestest of friends, sharing our joys and woes and never asking anything in return! Day after day, it proved itself to be a trusted friend…never betraying, never cranky, not even a bit demanding…It was just there!

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Balmy Bangalore!

The country’s all hotted up these days, speaking both literally and figuratively, what with the steadily rising mercury and the numerous piping hot news doing the rounds (the sordid IPL episode with all its muck and the melodramatic Shoaib-Sania affair-to name a few)!
These (metaphorically) boiling issues are obviously over-hyped and blown horribly out of proportions so that the paparazzi can earn a lot more than their usual bread ‘n’ butter. Unfortunate as it is, these so-called breaking ‘n’ shaking news are far too frequent to be paid much attention to.

But the sultry weather…God! you simply can’t ignore it.
It’s oppressive and sweltering and makes you feel so very hot under the collar (pun intended). Blame it on global warming (which, by the way, happens to be one of the favourites in the latest breaking news series!) or the zero tolerance and the whining nature of our generation or whatever, the fact remains that when it scalds, it burns…and it burn like hell…and it burns like it has never burnt before!

Having stayed in Vellore for the last three and a half years, I know only too well how it feels to be baked in a kiln. I guess people there should come with the label “sun-dried” or “to be stored above 43 degree Celsius”. It’s only April and the Sun God is already playing havoc in His little people’s lives and the horrendous conditions are likely to worsen during the forthcoming days. My friends and relatives residing in the different parts of the country have all become a harried lot – and I can’t blame them for their incessant cribbing. It isn’t pleasant being roasted alive.

During these torrid times, I just want to deliver a “Thank You” note to “Balmy Bangalore”…straight from my heart!
Sorry folks, it’s not to make you jealous or mock your plight. Having seen the worst of all, I wouldn’t even think of doing that. It’s just that it would be dashed too ungrateful on my part to not even acknowledge this rare and much-coveted gift.

Here, in Bangalore, it’s reasonably hot during the daytime and you wouldn’t venture out in the heat just like that. But once you step out of your office, you find that a fresh and breezy evening eagerly awaits you!
It blows away all your fatigue and troubles and makes you feel so light and perky!

The Wind God sends his dark and heavy clouds your way, with His best compliments, almost every evening and they are not of the type that just titillates and pass through, No, they are the promising ones that never disappoint. Be it a quick shower or a gale, they never fail! The fragrance of wet and soaked earth fills your nostrils and the upshot of it all is that the “dull-you” miraculously gets transformed into a totally-revived-and-galvanized-you!
And not to mention, an ultra-grateful-you too!

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The Wonders of Shopping!

The best things in life,
Surely come for free,
But an exception to this rule,
Is a shopping spree!

But it’s cash well-spent,
Though it’s scorned by the gents,
They’re alien to the happiness,
We get from a much-envied new dress!

The ‘new arrivals’ section,
It surely beckons,
Clothes, shoes, bags & what-not,
We just love the whole lot!

Hang out with friends,
Find out the latest trends,
And even if you splurge hard,
Don’t fret!
Because it’s the best thing you can do with your credit card!

A sure-shot means,
To de-depress,
‘Cuz post the frolic,
You’re bound to worry less!

Use it at times,
To watch your waist-line,
When you don find it in your size,
Set the alarm for an early rise!

You can charm your heart-throb,
By getting a new wardrobe,
Do it again and again,
And never get bored!

So heed my advice,
To have a merry life,
Never ever cringe,
From a shopping binge!

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Why Move MY Cheese??

Prefatory Note:
Presently, I am undergoing a six months training at Honeywell Technology Solutions, Bangalore. This training is a part of my curriculum at VIT University, Vellore where I am a final year student of B.Tech, Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Getting back on track, I would like to introduce you to the main motive behind writing this article.
( Well, just for the record, not every article that i write has a motive…so please don’t expect that! That’ll be putting too much pressure on a novice like me…It’s just that this one happens to have a motive! )

OK, without further ado. let me get started…
I read the popular and universal bible “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson some three years back, without finding much to relate to it then. Don’t get me wrong, please! I am not saying that I didn’t appreciate the book. Just that that at the time, I was pretty cozy and comfy at VIT and except for the bally tests and assignments, life was pretty smooth. So u see, the mice n men in the book could not really get me to empathize with them.

But when I first joined here at Honeywell, everything was all new and huge and scary and incomprehensible – the way these firms generally appear in the beginning. I hadn’t the slightest clue as to why I was here! I was provided with a login ID and a system in which I was expected to log in and work (presumptuous!!!). If asked to describe my location w.r.t the main campus, it would be URA, 4th floor, P.T.Area (the blessed last seat at the P.T.Desk…:-) )

Let me decrypt that for u…
URA         – Uranus, the name of the building (yeah I know!! People here are kinda scientific!!)
4th floor    – Well, that’s just the usual thing. Nothing cryptic about it.
P.T. Area  – Project Trainee Area

So I have been at this location for the last 45 days or so…busy google-ing, struggling, kipping and even working (yes!! Finally started to get the flow of things and make myself useful :-P)
The floor and the people there, my system and my spot- all started to appear familiar and homey and the long list of complaints that I had from life (which had been significantly stretched because of the recent changes) had begin to recede rapidly. All in all, life had started to pick up a steady pace yet again…

But come 23rd March, 2010…and comes the dreaded movement of my dear cheese!!

My location was changed…
FROM : URA, 4th floor, P.T.Area
TO       : URA, 5th floor, P.T.Area

Reason : Well, my manager and my team sit on this darned floor…  🙁

Effect   : Ah…Where shall I begin???

This seemingly minor change has made my life difficult not by a very few degrees. I mean, my secluded, silent, snug spot has been replaced by one that’s just at the end of a passage with cubicles on both sides. It’s ruefully located at the entrance of the P.T.Area. There are eight trainees here and no matter whose manager or teammate walks in (unannounced, of course), mine will be the first system they’ll cast their benevolent eyes upon! Can u imagine that?? It means…adieu to the cheerful google-ing and blogging hours and adieu to all the solace and ease I had been enjoying till now.

So u see…this unexpected and rude relocation has been the source of understanding and today, I can totally sympathize (and empathize) with the poor souls – Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw (For the uninitiated, those four are the very mice and men I mentioned earlier, who are expected to adjust and adapt after their lives have been turned topsy-turvy in the motivational novel – Who Moved My Cheese?).
I feel the way they must have felt (maybe even strongly!) and all I wanna ask is :
Why Move My Cheese??
And if you must, then why not find a better spot??

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“Miss You”

Beneath the shades of a raspberry tree,
amidst its fallen twigs, there’s no one but me,
the skies switch, to orange from blue,
the flaming red ball, says its adieu…

The mountains turn a dusky green,
the varied butterflies are no more to be seen,
the chirpy birds, and the satiny grass,
the babbling brook, rushing along the pass..

All these contrive on this balmy eve,
to draw out the sorrow, of a heart that grieves,
the pains that i strive to cloak with my smile,
are all the cause of these far-off miles…

The gentle breeze tugs deep at my heart,
this distance between us, tears me apart,
sad n dismayed, to the heavens i turn,
n humbly pray to the Powers that govern..

Must we suffer, must we pine?
to the mighty Fates, must we resign?
A sole wish mingles with the sun setting hue,
All i ask for, is a glimpse of you…

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