Day 6-10…Coming soon

So much to write…
Watch this space…!

Day 3, 4, 5

Day 3:
I cant remember absolutely anything about day 3…so I guess it wasn’t very intresting after all. I vaguely remember a very very busy day in the office, a lunch of Noodles with Beans , chicken and mushrooms and a late evening snack of cakes(yum) and fruits.

Day 4:
Was slightly more eventful-infact it was our first fun evening in Tel Aviv. We went to this place called Takhana, which is a very old station now converted to a classy square with busy shops, cafes and restraints.
Fun for some reason always involves loosening purse strings and I ended up spending a lot of well earned money-on Dead Sea cosmetics and wooden toys. There was this shop called ‘Think More’ or something that specialised in loads of wooden toys-from the typical abacus, train set and puzzle cubes, to some interesting items that can be used for magic tricks and parties.

Dinner was a small portion of Cheese Ravioli Pasta and Apple Cider at an Italian restaurant at the square and it cost 4 times the price of my lunch. But whereas lunch was an elaborate fare of humus, falafel, pita, fries, salad and pickled gherkins , -a lot of which I had to waste; dinner in contrast was a teaser-yummy , but far from filling!
Gourmet food you see….apparently you feast with your eyes only.

Day 5:
Last working day of the week and very very busy again.
Lunch was famous kebabs(lamb), with rice and beans and salad-again, I had to waste my food. The portions here are huge. You have to order a full meal…and wastage seems commonplace. Very sad really. I am a very good eater…I Don’t peck at my food and I usually leave my plate sparkling clean…but in the time I have spent in this country, I have had to accept that its better to leave the food I cant eat, than stuff myself and suffer bloating!

In the evening, we went out for drinks with some colleagues from work. I had a chaser which was fruity watermelon liquor shot followed by Margarita-all very expensive!
Drinks seemed to loosen up tongues and our Isralei friends told us a lot about their political beliefs, the tension within the country, its rich history, their frustrations and their view of UK and India. It was very interesting-the way they relate to us in so many ways. It was also interesting to hear their point of view on the Middle East debate.
I realised how little I knew about Jewish origins and culture…I also realised how passionate these guys are about their political beliefs. An average Brit cares two hoots about his roots or his history or the priorities of his politicians. Whereas an average Israeli is more aware of his society.
And that’s not surprising- every Israeli youth, at the age of 18, spends 3 years serving the army. This is compulsory for all able boys and girls –staying away from family, soon after school and serving the army in various ways-gives these men and women the education that a textbook never could and prepares them to deal with the hostile neignbours that surround them.
Each of them had a story to tell and the evening was definitely a window into the life of an average Israeli youth-who is by no means average!

Day 6:
Today is the day of Yom Kippur, which is a 25 hour period of fasting. At around 2 this afternoon, all shops, restraunts, vendors, stalls…every single establishment doing any kind of business-closed down. All vehicles have now taken off road and the airport has closed down. The hotel now runs a reduced service and we have been advised that bringing any food into the hotel during the hours of Yom kippur should be avoided.

In the evning we went for a realy long walk along the beach-lovely silver, fine sand and a cool breeze and people out in hordes celebrating their special day. Families were cycling, skating, walking…it was as if the whole town was out on the streets in hordes. Very special, very social and very warm.
Made us a bit homesick and poignant though-we remembered the good old times, when a power cut saw all kids and adults alike coming out of their apartments and spending time together, or the times spent watching movies on rented VCRs-in neighbours houses. We don’t do that anymore-we don’t grab opportunities to meet up with neighbours and friends and families often enough-not over meals or movies-but just like that-over nothing-sitting cross legged on the water tank outside the building or on the terrace and gossiping about everything and nothing in general. Just sitting out in the open, walking along the streets, laughing , teasing, running, catching each other-I don’t remember when I last spent time with my friends doing this…
How sad am I!!

Life is hectic…one day merges into another and everything is too serious, too measured, too focussed….
Yes, there is Arjun and yes he ensure I am overdosed on laughter…but a son or a husband or parents while most special…are not the same as randomly related aunts, distant cousins , crazy neighbours or nutty friends…

I could do with a Yom Kippur in my life-25 hours where you are not allowed to work or cook or watch TV or use too many other resources…I would happily spend my time on the streets engaging other families and exchanging stories…

Hmmm….

But in getting carried away with my gabble, I have forgoettn to tell you why the Jews observe this special day. Today and until sun down tomorrow, the religious Jews apologise to god for the sins they do to god, for their actions that hurt him or for their negligence or sins over the last year. They also ask for forgives for any wrongs done to those around them…
It’s a day for repentance…

On my part…if eating a slice of cake is a sin…then I have sinned more in the last 5 days than I have in an entire lifetime!!!

Talking of cakes, we went to the Carmel market this morning and there was so much to choose from-yummy varieties of chocolates, cakes, biscuits, olives, fresh fruits, dry fuits…an absolute treat! I bought some candies and cheap toys for Arjun(Ben 10!).
I was also very tickled to see lovely guavas the kind we get in India-so I bought some and have scoffed them up already. My friend brought date fruits-which were also very yummy-sweet and fresh-a bit like a ber, but obviously tasting like dates!

Another day I spent working long hours on blackberry …but it was an official holiday today and it was good fun…
Plan for tomorrow-another long walk and perhaps some pictures!

Day 2…And the calroies pile on!

And I am surprising myself by being back on the blog.
Time seems to multiply without kiddo and hubby around.
And whats more surprising is-I cant enjoy it half as much as I had imagined I could/would.

Went for a really long walk on the beach this evening-reminded me of good ole Chennai and the many evenings spent with friends or mum and dad strolling on the beach and looking longingly at ice cream vans. The difference was-all grown up and my own master-with nothing preventing me from buying the frozen goodies…all I could think of is how much Arjun would have enjoyed himself if he were…and then the ice cream didnt hold any appeal!

But hey…this is supposed to be my travelogoue…so lets not turn into into a monologue about Arjun.

So at this point you get to ask some questions:
1. ‘How is the weather’ did you say?
Well, if you ask me-too hot!! 30C at night? That beats the hottest UK summer daytime temp this year.
But every Israeli I meet tells me my visit is well planned as the weather has improved since last week and has become much warmer!! Huh!
I do remember my days in Chennai…but what I remember better is the last five years in London-and hey! we consider 30-really warm!!
Incidentally thats one thing in common between the Brits and the Israelis-they love to talk about the weather!A minor difference too-the Brits always complain whereas this lot seems v pleased-dont blame them!

2. Oh so now you want to know ‘Did I do any shopping’
Nope! Which if you are my husband-is very good news! But the bad news is-thats only because I havent been out in the market so far. Doesnt mean I dont intend to visit anyplace-I shall go sometime later this week and you shall hear all about it!

3. And do I plan to visit anyplace?
Well! Surprise!! I am here on work, so-NO!
But what about the weekend? Well!! Surprise again!
This Friday and Saturday is a special weekend-once every year, on this special day(havent yet picked up the name), people fast for 24 hours, try to use minimal resources, all vehicles are banned from the road, airports close down, shops areclosed-its as it city goes into hibernation and only thing you are allowed to is-walk. People come out in hordes to walk on the street. Apparently there is also a religious significance. Shall find out more and let you know. I am sure it will be a special experience watching all this.
At the same time, a bit sad as this means I dont get to do any sightseeing!
okay, scratch that-make it VERY sad! And they think my visit was good timing…if you ask me, it seems quiet the opposite..
But musnt complain-how often do you get to see a busy city go slow on life-it will be an experience of a kind and am looking forward to it.
it does however mean I need to stock up on food as nothing will be served from Friday afternoon to Saturday night!

4….Oh stop!
No more questions today!
If you are really even bothering with visiting this blog anymore-you can ask and I shall answer!

Otherwise…speak to you morrow then!

And btw-I am still a brave girl! I may miss Arjun, but I dont call him and ask him why he let me go…thats very very grown up. Isnt it?

Happy Birthday Rambhau…

Happy Birthday To you,

Happy Birthday To you,

You look like a monkey

And you act like one too…

 

Ok, I know its not the most original poem that has been written…But I did badly want to write a poem for Rama on his birthday! Unfortunately I have been hit by the writers block (some excuse that is!)

 

Anyways let me resort to prose- Rama is one of the few surviving friends in UK…few in UK that is…and a very very dear member of the extended(!) family!

Always trying to spread his wings, always trying to be different, always ready to experiment and usually always succeeding in what he sets out to do…he is someone we all dote on!

So here wishing him another great year.

 

25 is the sort of unofficial age for marriage eligibility for boys isn’t it?

 So RAMA, do expect loads of leg pulling, hint dropping and remark making going forward and be prepared to answer the question…’To, shadi wade ke kya plans hain!’.

And don’t even bother telling us once and for all,  that you have quiet a few other things to do before you can consider marriage-such as studies etc…we will still harass u! J

 

As for a gift…you have all our love and blessings…do you really need anything else? I didn’t think so either…

 

Finally a second attempt at a verse…

 

Heres to the past-an year awarded with smiles

A new home, a huge bonus, world trips!

And all those Marathon Runners clocked miles!

 

Heres to the present,

A day that’s all yours!

Cut your cake and treat your peers 😉

 

Heres to the future,

Wishing all your dreams come true,

May the pet goldfish live long

And may the pretty girl come along!

 

Perhaps you will build that six pack,

And surely your dreams will travel the fast track!

That elusive London marathon place will be won,

And swimming, salsa, new languages-all-Well Done!

 

But even if none of these things come true,

May we spend your next merry birthday with you!

 

 

The earth hour…

We participated in the Earth hour this Saturday evening…not very sure if it actually did any good to the environment and I wonder if any global leaders took notice of the fact that the lights were dimmed in one lone house in the Isle of Dogs…I suspect not! I wasnt disillusioned about what I was participating in…! But someone told me to switch off for an hour on a Saturday evening and assured me that the rst of the world would do the same and I was ready to do it…

Led me to think…why werent more people telling me to do more of those things that I know I shoud do, but dont…simply because I couldnt be bothered and because I am so pathetically unprovoked. Every time I switch on the telly or read the newspaper or look out of the window while travelling by road, I have people telling me what to eat and what clothes to buy and how to switch to a better car insurance.

Why isnt there always something glaring me in the face and asking me to save water and electricity and fuel. Why dont I have a choice between buying something thats wrapped in layers and layers of fancy plastic as opposed to buying something that packaged to be environmentally friendly. Why dont I get taxed for negligence everytime I leave the lights on in the house as if I were celebrating Diwali!
Is it enough to pay for these commodities we use? Shouldnt we be asked to justify why we use up as much of these precious resources that we do!

Or perhaps all these warnings and rules are around me and I just choose not to look at them!

Apprentice 2009!…Start of season!

My wed evening fix of prime time television has arrived. BBC 1 is now airing this years Apprentice-a reality show series that I have been following for the last three seasons-almost religiously!And people like me will be responsible for another season of the same rather unreal reality show!

Unreal because I suspect day-to-day business, even in glossy Alan Sugar world , has noroom for the amount of hypocrisy, unprofessionalism and stupidity that contestants on the show are allowed!
Having said that, its good entertainment! Where else can you see so many hot headed, shamelessly selfish, pompous fools acting like a conniving pack of hounds fighting for the last bite of the meat!

For the uninformed-The Apprentice is a BAFTA award-winning British reality television series in which a group of aspiring young businessmen and women compete for the chance to win a £100,000-a-year job as “apprentice” to the British business magnate Sir Alan Sugar.

More about this years show here-Apprentice 2009 and more about the mud wrestling that is typical of the show, here on this blog in days to come.

GNP…Well done Me! ;)

Naah…no good news on the weight loss front…not now …not ever by the look of things! 😦

But some congrjulations to myself on the work front. Got my first ever UK annual bonus this year…and though it doesnt add much to my bank balance after the taxman has had a go at it…its still nice to get that extra something in credit crunch times!

And I also got an award last week from superboss for outstanding performance! Its been such a long time since I got any award, that I am quiet smitten with this one, even though its simply a meal for a couple that the company will take the tab for!

So…well done me!

Oh but then again…a silly award that I earned because I have been spending lesser time with Arjun than I would like, have had no time to visit the gym or friends or to read books and watch movies and speak to family…

Naah…the award doesnt make up for any of that…something for me to keep in mind the next time I snap at Arjun because I am distracted reading a mail on my Blackberry!

We are doomed, arent we. On one hand we have the convenience of being able to work from home.  On the other hand we have lost the ability to separate our professional life from our personal lives and the lives of those dearest to us!

Better stop…was probably just as well that I wasnt writing for so long!:)

Back…

I am back…not so much with a bang…more the cat with its tail between its legs!

This blog geared up full throttle…and gradually lost steam. Actually thats not true…there was nothing gradual about it. It really just vanished from cyberspace one one uninspiring Valentines day…

But we are back now…more mindless than before because the mind is really being used up in various unintresting quarters! There is work…which seems to be taking up all my time these days, then there are the household chores which I cant escape and then there is more work…and some more!
Mondays are blue, Tuesdays look up a wee bit better, Wednesdays prove never ending, Thursdays I waddle through…and then the weekend comes and it goes in a jiffy!

There…I have made the excuses and now just incase anybody does visit  this blog…expect to see a bit more from me than you have done recently! 😉

Happy Valentines Day!

Everybody from the older generation-Please! No arguing about ‘Valentines Days are not an Indian culture and there were no such “days” in your times’.
Well, your parents probably never celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, but you do today, so just accept that your kids will be celebrating things and events that didnt exist in your youth.
And dont let an odd sight of an irresponsible young couple making out on the beach rankle you and make you worry about which cultural dump we are leading India into. Most of us remember where we come from and are not likely to cross over our boundaries. As for the ones who have totally forgotten…they will have to be reminded…but all in due time. And rallying against a ‘day’ is unlikely to be a solution!

All my friends who are now parents – Hey, Valentines Day…!! Remember?!! Three years back you were giving gifts and exchanging flowers with your partner ? Perhaps planning a cosy romantic dinner or a getaway holiday? What plans this year? Let me guess…a gift for the kid? Or maybe like me a movie date with the baby?
No, no!! Its not the kind of day you celebrate by leaving the kid in the company of your spouse and having some time off by yourself for a change! It the kind of day you are ‘expected’ to celebrate ‘together’!! God, somebody help me remind this parenting lot
(Quick reference glossary-:
Husband-that man who occasionally helps  you with the nappy changes and tantrums and often pays the bills. Usually demands food, TV and laptop at regular intervals ;
Wife-that lady who weights twice what she did few years back and looks old enough to be your mom…but is actually just a mum to your own kid.)

All my friends who got married recently– Hey! Have fun today! Another day to celebrate! Married life is wonderful isn’t it…there are birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate. When life itself is such a celebration, you could use any excuse to show your soul mate how much you love each other, isn’t that right? Choo chweet and oh sooo romantic!!
(You saccharine Fools…Grow up!! Get Real…MARRIAGE…has it still not sunk in??M – I- S- T- A- K- E…what are you still celebrating??)

All my friends who have still not found ‘The one’You have to keep believing that there is someone out there who is meant for you and you will find that person when the time is right. But in the meantime you have to keep believing in love and in the dream that one day you will be with your special Valentine.
(Anybody who believes all that load of crap from Dil to Pagal Hain…bole to… truly ‘Pagal’ Hain! Loser, if you haven’t managed to find the love of your life so far, chances are that you suffer from bad breath or have a high repulsion factor or are simply not ‘sexy’ enough. Either ways, stop ‘dreaming’ and get real …you should be burning the midnight oil outside the marriage bureau)

The rest of you- Happy Valentines Day! Make the most of it with your loved ones!

(By order of elimination you are those friends who have found their love and are not yet married…very wise decision…don’t let evil society co-erce you into tying the knot :p)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Achy Breaky…

Naah…nothing to do with the heart…nor to do with the fact that its Valentines day…really truly achy breaky!

 

Well, there was a slight snow shower last evening and well it was a bit dark and errr…the roads were a bit slippery and I suppose I was a bit tired and..hmmm…and then again it could happen to anybody…infact I am very sure it happened to a lot of people last night and well it wasn’t such a big deal; infact I am sure nobody noticed it…the only reason I even mention this is well because…er…ahh..well…. OUUCHHHH!! It hurts!!

 

I do the Humpty Dumpty so often in my life, its not even funny anymore…and I did it yet again yesterday…I slipped and fell! L On the footbridge across the Thames this time around. The roads were slippery and well…it just happened!

If I had been pushing the buggy as I normally wld have been doing, Arjun would have found himself floating in the water in a matter of seconds, buggy et al, perhaps with me tugging at him as well!

 

It neednt have been half as bad though. I could have gracefully tripped and caught myself by the railing and could have basked in Santos anxious attention. Instead I plunked on the bridge making enough noise and causing enough impact to scare the ducks and gulls away and had Santo barking orders for me to get up as fast as I could.

 

Now don’t get all judgemental about the poor husband. In his defense, he used not to be like this. The first time he ever saw me fall he was the perfect gentleman and offered help, sympathy and all the consideration thereafter.

But now we know each other for almost 7 years and in these last seven years Santo has seen me fall at the slightest excuse(or even without one) atleast a dozen times! And every single time he has watched the catastrophic falls with a mixture of horror, humour and helplessness!

Eventually he has accepted what my parents accepted long back…no surfaces are safe for me and no footwear slip proof enough!

 

Now, if I had to pick the most embarrassing fall I have ever had, that would be a tough one! Without thinking too far back, there are various incidents in the last two years which stand out!

 

Last year we were at the Mudchute Farm for a childrens concert and an one and quarter year old Arjun who had barely mastered the art of walking challenged me to a game of Catch-Catch(Pakda Pakdi). So I was chasing him in circles and while he was doing us proud by his tiny legs and keeping a good pace, I embarrassed both Arjun and Santo by falling down with a huge thud. I have never been able to look the sheep in the eye since that day…imagine the nightmares their poor lambs must have gone through on my accord…they probably weren’t sure what hit the ground!

 

On numerous occasions I have meant to occupy a seat on the tube, have missed a step and have landed on a poor unsuspecting co-passengers lap…well almost that is! But this surely doesn’t happen only to me? Do you not also sometimes end up on other peoples laps? No??? Kidding…rite?

 

Oh well, I am not going to keep talking about my follies! Not so much because I care about embarrassing msyelf…but thinking about each of those silly stumbles-in buses, on steps, in peoples backyards , on treadmills, even on a podium when I was acting as the master of Ceremony…reminiscing about these things makes me laugh…

 

Laughing causes movement and movement HURTS!!

 

(A good opportunity to thank Rama who was walking with me at the time-not only did he manage to keep a straight face, he even offered a hand to pick me up, which was a very very brave act indeed!)