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Saturday, March 08, 2014

A Men's Day?

Every March 8, while the brave, beautiful, hard-working and multi-talented women of the world are recognized and congratulated for all that they do, a handful of men dare to ask- "Why is there no Men's Day?" A question that deserves an answer rather than being just brushed off.

Don't get me wrong because I support the men in their dare to put up such a question. I am a feminist to the core. Get me started on what the girls should-do and should-not-do, or on rape and the reasons of provocation, or her-rights, I am sure to debate till either you agree with me or one of us drops dead!

Why I believe we need to celebrate Men's Day, just the way we celebrate Women's Day is because if behind every successful man there is a woman, the reverse is equally true. Men today do not shy away from cooking or changing diapers, giving their girls a chance to chase their dreams. Grocery shopping has been my grandfather's department for the last 25 years (that's how far I can remember), my dad has been helping around with the household chores since forever, my brother-in-law takes care of his boys when their mom is out for meetings and my husband takes charge of a lot of tasks when all I do is procrastinate. 

If the above line brought a mocking smile on your face or you uttered the words "Poor fellas!", then let me tell you very bluntly that I was not talking about YOU when I said what I did. I was actually talking about all the GOOD men out there, who realize that if a woman can share the financial load or if she can take care of your side of the family as her own, then the least you can do is to appreciate and help her back! 

The reason why International Men's Day (yes! we do have Men's Day!!) has not gained popularity is probably because a large section of the male population is yet to adapt to the changing times and it's demands. No! we do not expect you to bear babies (we know you are not equipped for that!), we just want you to be considerate and caring. Not much to ask for, right? 

This Women's Day, I stop-by to congratulate all you wonderful girls out there for the contributions you have made to the lives of your dear ones and to the society at large. I thank the ladies that I have grown up watching - my grandmothers and my mother. I know you have had tremendous support from the men of our family (and we all are proud of that!) but it's your strength and smartness that we, your children, owe everything to. I salute my mother-in-law for her courage and compassion. I am sure she was able to nurture it all through the years because of her husband's support. I haven't met him but I can say that because I see him in my husband, for a boy is a reflection of his dad.

Before I sign off, I promise that if I ever have a son, I'll teach him to love and respect the women in his life. He'd have fine examples in the family to learn from.
And if I have a girl, she'd be taught to love and respect the men in her life. They need it, just as much as we do.

Looking forward to celebrating International Men's Day this November 19 with a hope that more and more men become courteous! 

Till then, we are happy celebrating womanhood. Happy Women's Day!! 

Friday, March 07, 2014

All In A Fortnight In Charlotte

Waking up to see snowflakes dancing outside the window is beautiful, especially when you live in a no-to-rare snowfall zone! Getting the unexpected is real joy. Just when I had accepted that I had moved to a city that had no snow-shows to offer, it snowed. And not just snowed, it snowed pretty well. Covering the entire place with a thick, white blanket.

It was just what I had wished for.... a few hours of snow showers and a day to play :) The number of snowmen in the neighborhood clearly indicated that I was not the only one excited. Oh! but the accident counts, hours of traffic jam, deserted cars on the road sides and the slippery-icy roads did dampen the zeal. For the city and it's people, who were not very well equipped to face snow, the Valentine's weekend got extended, giving them time to stay warm indoors and to be with loved ones. Bonus!

Now, in only about 2 weeks time, the trees are seen blooming with flowers :) The branches bear leaves of the brightest green color that are so fresh. Last Sunday, when the temperature reached beyond 70, Charlotteans rolled down the car windows, shunned the woolens and were out celebrating the onset of spring!

And I write this post, I see a tree laden with white flowers waving to me through my bedroom window... the same window through which I enjoyed the snow dance performance only a few weeks back!!

From Winter I have seen that even blackness
is followed by the crystal rays of sun on snow.
And just as early stars sparkle more brightly
on their nighttime canvas, each glimpse of beaming light
becomes more precious as a foil to dark.

From Springtime I have learned the potent lesson
that all things surge anew. Just as the robin's song
pierces the weary heart with trilling joy,
so too does hope awaken even after
the bleakest season of the heart and soul.

- Lessons of the Seasons by Carol Knepper

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Look Who Just Knocked The Door!

I lose track of dates unless there are deadlines to be met or dear ones to be wished on their special days. And for the last few days, I have been in that mode. So, when I woke up to see 'MARCH 1' on my cellphone today morning, it actually took me some time to absorb it. February is a short month, we all know that but this one, it just went by in a jiffy. Not that I have any complains!

For me, it's usually the year-ends that are action-packed. However, 2014 is gonna be different. I already have a series of events lined up and the excitement is un-containable :D Two weeks from now, we celebrate my favorite festival - Holi, plans for which are already being discussed. Lot of travelling, fun times with family, shopping and food are the other things on my plate. While I am pretty sure that I am gonna be a busy-gal all through the next couple of months, I do intend to take a few minutes off for the Instagram Monthly Challenge that I just decided to take up!

Feels like the beginning of a new year :) Happy New Year March!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Do These People Exist?

Sanket and I have been high on movies of late. We have been watching movies like crazy. 'A-movie-a-day' is the motto that we have been living upto. The count rising to 3 on the weekends that we choose to stay at home.

The recent trip to the world of cinema that consisted of movies from both Hollywood and Bollywood, and covered a wide genre, introduced me to a bunch of really good people.

Image Source (clock-wise) : 1, 2, 3, 4

Have you ever come across the people whose faces are encircled in the above pictures? No, no! I am not talking about the actors. I am talking about the characters.

Jeet in Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana lost one of his eyes because of his cousin, Omi. Years later, when Omi makes a half-hearted attempt at apologizing, Jeet simply puts the topic aside saying "Leave it. It's OK. You are my brother!!" Leave-it!! Wow!! Now that's a heart of gold. Had I been in Jeet's shoes, I would have made Omi get down on his knees and made him realize what he had done. And this would have just been the beginning.

In Anchorman, Ron Burgundy's career as a hot-shot news-reader comes to an end because of a prank played by his girlfriend and co-worker, Veronica. Ron is reduced to nothing. However, months after that, when he sees Veronica in need, he jumps into a pit of bears to save Veronica's life. Call it 'True Love'! What else could have led him to do that.

Talking about true love, Anushka and Gauri are so cool about the casanova, Ishaan getting Anushka pregnant and then leaving her to be with Gauri in I, Me aur Main. The movie ends in the most idealistic manner but hey! does it really happen that way?

Matt Kowalsky chooses his colleague Dr. Ryan Stone to live over himself in Gravity.

A random stranger hands over a big bundle of notes to the guys in crisis in Fukrey.

In The Secret Like of Walter Mitty, photojournalist Sean O'Connell dedicates the cover of the last edition of the magazine to Walter Mitty, who has been responsible for managing the photo negatives that Sean sends to the magazine office from his on-field photo shoots. Something that in real life would have been taken for granted as one doing his job. Nothing more, nothing less.

All the above characters are inspirational but do they exist in real life?

Have you ever received a fortune from a stranger or a distant-forgotten relative? 
Or secret benefactors exist only in story books?
Have you ever forgiven a life-shattering ill done by someone? 
Or you still hold it in your heart?
Have you been appreciated over-the-board for a routine job? 
Or did you applaud someone for a task that they were just meant to do?
Have you had the pleasure of sharing a piece of earth with such awesome people? 
Or have you been so kind and generous yourself?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Allahabad- Beyond The Ganges

When I recently received an invite from travel expert Kendra Thornton to write about my 'hometown', I found myself in a dilemma. The twists and turns of life have presented me with more than one town to be called 'home'.

My ancestral roots are from Kushinagar and most of the family is now settled in Lucknow.
My parents are in Kuwait since almost a decade now.
I was born in Agra and brought up in Allahabad.
I moved to Pune to start an independent life.
Got married to a guy from Gwalior and shifted to Gurgaon.
Journeyed across the globe to call a small town in Michigan (Portage) my home for two years.
And I write this post from a completely new city - Charlotte.

To choose from a pool of such beautiful places was not easy. However, the city I picked is the one which has given me the sweetest and fondest memories- Allahabad.

Image Source

Whether or not you are spiritualistic, a history enthusiast, a keen traveler or a foodie, Allahabad is sure to impress you with it's offerings. The various names given to the city by the learned and famous, highlight the very best of the town. From being known as 'Prayag' or 'the place of offerings' during the Vedic period to being fondly referred to as 'Tirth Raj' or 'the King of Pilgrimages' by Lord Brahma, the city remains to be one of the most pious places in India till date. The great Mughal Emperor Akbar, gave the city it's name, Allahabad, derived from 'ilahabad', which means 'Garden of Lord'. It's not only ancient and medieval history that makes the city special. Allahabad has been home for 7 out of 14 Prime Ministers of independent India, thus getting it's name- 'City of Prime Ministers'.

A tour around Allahabad is sure to impress you with the town's rich Indian history and culture. What's better is that you get to taste some finger-licking delicious food at every few steps. This pretty laid-back city will welcome you with open arms and lead you through the by-lanes, ensuring that you have a pleasant visit.

What tops the list? Sangam - Kumbh Mela

If you are in Allahabad, a visit to Sangam is a must. The Vedas mention the existence of an underground river, Saraswati, which is said to meet the mighty Ganga and Yamuna in Allahabad. The confluence of these three rivers, known as Sangam, has held a very high place in the hearts and souls of pious Hindus, who believe that a dip in the holy waters of Sangam rids them of all the sins and evils.

Image Source : Wikipedia

The banks of Sangam, every year, host millions of pilgrims, who travel from all parts of the globe to be a part of the biggest fair- Kumbh Mela. Saints and sages, devotees and onlookers, media and foreigners, administrators and stall-owners, together took the gathering count to over seven million in 2013, on the occasion of Maha Kumbh, celebrated every 12 years. The preparations start days in advance for this two-month long religious fair that lasts from January through March.

Image Source : Daily Mail

Mark of History and of Religious Beliefs: Akbar's Fort - Hanuman Temple

Right on the banks of Yamuna is a magnificent fort built by Mughal emperor Akbar. The architectural beauty of this fort is par excellence. Most part of the fort is now used by the military and is allowed for public visits only on certain calendar days. This fort also houses the famous Akshayavat, the immortal tree.

Image Source : JourneyMart

On the foot of the fort is the famous Lete (Sleeping) Hanuman Temple. From times immemorial, it has been observed that the Ganges floods this temple every monsoon. People of Allahabad believe that it's Ganges' own way of worshipping Lord Hanuman.

Contibution to the Independence of India : Anand Bhawan - Swaraj Bhawan

The Nehru-Gandhi family holds a very influential spot in Indian Modern History. Swaraj Bhawan, which was formerly Nehru's residence, was used as a meeting place by the freedom fighters of that era to draft plans to gain Independence from the British. Right next to it is Anand Bhawan, the house in which India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru grew up. The building now serves as a very fine House Museum.

Image Source : India Travels

Colonial Architecture: All Saints Cathedral

The All Saints Cathedral in the heart of the city- Civil Lines- can be visualized as the crown of the city. This cathedral, made in red sandstone, marble and stained glass, by an eminent British architect, William Emerson, stands true to it's beauty even after more than 125 years.

Image Source : Wikipedia

Love for Art & Culture : Shilp Mela

The handicraft fair organized in December, brings together crafters from all over the country under one umbrella. Shoppers hop from one stall to another buying fabric, jewelry, pottery, paintings, furniture and what not! Between all this, are the amazing performers, pleasing the audiences with various forms of Indian dance and music.

Image Source : The Hindu

Keep your Calorie Calculator aside - FOOD

While on Allahabad tour, you are sure to be pampered with good food. Medical College Corner's chaat can beat anything edible. Dehati's gulaab jamuns that melt in your mouth, are sweetened to perfection. Netram ki Kachori is bound to tickle your taste buds with it's spicy taste. Raja Ram Lassi wala's kulfi is definitely not to be missed. Heera Halwai k Samose make the perfect evening tea companion. Churmura from the street vendors, Masala pepsi from Lallu's and Chocolate Truffle Cake from El Chico are a must when in Civil Lines. And do not forget to grab several boxes of Hari k Samose for friends and family back home. These samosas stay fresh for weeks and are found nowhere else except in... Allahabad!!

Heading to Allahabad? Must-knows

The connectivity to and within the city is not bothersome. Being perfectly connected by rail from mostly all the major cities of India and the several trains running between the country capital, Delhi and Allahabad, make it convenient for the tourists. Decent air and road travel options exist too.
Within the city, local transport can take you just anywhere, as long as you are ready to jump from one mode to another.
Avoid a visit during summers, May through September, as it's really hot and humid. If visiting during winters, be sure to carry a bag full of woolens and be prepared to face dense fog, especially in January. Winters are no respite either.


This post was done as a part of the collaboration project initiated by Kendra Thornton. Kendra is the founder of Thornton Public Relations LLC, which works to bring strategic and low cost public relations to start-up and established travel, consumer and technology companies. Kendra also appears regularly as a travel expert on ABC, CBS, NBC and CW affiliates across the country to share travel trends, tips and deals with millions of viewers every year. Prior to starting her own business, Kendra was the Director of Corporate Communications at Orbitz.com, one of the nation’s largest travel agencies.

Moving on to what Kendra, a Chicagoan, has to say about the Windy City:

You may think that Florida beaches and Colorado Mountains can offer the best vacations, but no place can compare to the fun you'll have in Chicago. Of course, when you're a native Chicagoan, it's easy to make this judgment call. As Frank Sinatra said, "And each time I roam, Chicago is calling me home, Chicago is why I just grin like a clown--it's my kind of town..." Chicago has everything you love for a great vacation. There's all of the entertainment, night life, baseball and of course, deep dish pizza, but that's not nearly everything you'll get in a metropolis like Chicago. It's about arts and culture, history, local landmarks and world-renowned chefs making a name for themselves in the Windy City. These are some of the best places to visit in Chicago whether you love to relax and take it easy or like to explore.

Time to Get Out and Find Some GrubChicago has no limitations cuisine. You'll find every type of fare here. If you want to stick to traditional American cuisine with some Chicago flair thrown in, it's best to check out the South Water Kitchen in the Loop. It's open at 6 am and serves all of your favorite items for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few things that you probably haven't tried before. One thing that makes this a great place for family travelers is the variety on the menu. Even picky eaters will find something to enjoy.

Oh Chicago, You Have the Most Beautiful Architectural Eyes - Whether you're into skyscrapers or just like historical landmarks, Chicago's got every kind of architectural wonder. Millennium Park is a great example of modern Chicago if you want to find some art and gorgeous architecture. Mayor Richard Daley had the public park commission in 1997 to restore an abandoned part of the city. Now it's known as the heart of Chicago. Millennium Park is home to incredible architectural designs, landscape art and local art as well as a variety of free cultural programs. It's fun to explore and also makes for some great photo opportunities.

A Cultural Hot Spot in Downtown - The Chicago Cultural Center is another place that locals gravitate towards because of its location and unique art pieces. It's located in the Loop across from Michigan Avenue. You get a real sense of Chicago just from looking at the many different pieces showcased here. There's always some kind of event going on at the cultural center as well, and it's completely free. That's another reason to love Chicago. When you're finished, you should head over to the Michigan Avenue Bridge to check out some of the landmark sculptures and founding history of this Midwestern metropolis.

Time to Relax and Unwind - There are all kinds of historical hotels, beds and breakfasts and other places to stay in popular parts of the city, but you really want a place where you can check out the Chicago skyline. There are a few hotels that offer an exceptional view of the city, but you'll be able to compare all of the amenities and rates on a site like Gogobot.com. It's easy to look up different hotels and select a part of the city that you want to stay in or sort hotels by highest reviews.


Before I sign off, I'd like to thank Kendra for the collaboration. It was fun writing about the city I spent almost 20 years of my life in and have not visited even once in the last couple of years. Brought back beautiful memories!! 

Thanks, Kendra!  It was awesome to have you here on Kreative Korner!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Anniversary, Love!

To The-Guy-Who-Rocks-My-World,

This is not the first time that I am writing to you and what you'll read here is definitely not new. You know it all and you know it well. You know what you mean to me and you know how happy I am to be with you.

We started our journey together as strangers, who tried to befriend each other in their own silly ways. This continues till date. No, we are not strangers any more but the inquisitive child within us, constantly tries to know the other one better and that's what makes us inseparable. 


I had heard this always that no two people are alike. Thank God for that. 
It would have been great to have paint brushes in both our hands and to smudge a canvas together but then, who would have selected the dinner-time movie! 
Music flows in our house- courtesy you. The walls are adorned because of me.
The tadka to dal is always perfect because you do it. Rotis are always hot because I ensure that.
We are never late, thanks to you. We are never early, thanks to me ;)
I get time to breath and you get time with your gadgets - courtesy US :)


Having talked about the differences, we cannot ignore the interests we share. Oh yes, we both love each other but there is more than just that! The little things that make life pleasurable. 
Like our love for food- anything, anytime. 
Like both of us sharing our interest for 'nautanki'. 
Like both of us staying up late at night. 
Like both of us valuing money but not over other important things. 
Like both of us discussing even the tiniest affair. 
Like both of us involving each other in every decision. 
Like both of us being honest with suggestions. 
Like both of us being sensible with decision-making.... and A LOT MORE.
You are not LIKE me.. you are a PART OF ME!


Years back, I just wanted to be with you. Back then, I did not know what that would mean. I did not know what sharing and caring was all about. I hardly knew what love was about. Each day that I spend with you, makes me realize how strong our bond is getting. How twined together, we are. Touchwood for that! 


Life has been a teacher and us- we have been it's obedient students. We have more often than once found ourselves at the crossroads of life, with a plethora of options to choose from. Together we have worked hard to pick up the best, not only for ourselves but for everyone associated with us. Cheers to all that we have achieved. Looking forward to all that's on our list to go.


As we celebrate our Fourth Wedding Anniversary, I just want to tell you that I love you till the end of times.
You are and will always be the man I have dreamed of spending my life with.
Though, we are thousands of miles apart on this special day, I need not say how much you are being missed.
Looking forward to be with you soon :)

Love always...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

October Oo-La-Las

What date is it? And which month are we in?

Ohh yeah... I celebrated my b'day last week. It IS November!
Wait.. What? My birthday is gone?? That means we are already into the second week of November, if not more :O :O

Remember how stubborn September was and it felt like October would never come to an end but Slow September finally made way for October. What is surprising is the rapid speed at which October flew by!! Much before I could realize that we had entered my favorite quarter of the year, we were already past one-fourth of it.

Here's a snippet of what kept me engaged through October... (not in that order!)

With October began the festive season. 
Karwachauth followed by Diwali preps kept the traditional spark ignited :) 
Too late to wish y'all a Happy Diwali nevertheless, 
my good thoughts and blessings are always there with all you loved ones.

Workplace all decked up for the biggest Indian festival

I had never felt the power of flowers being sent as gifts until this Karwachauth.
Sanket sent me these precious red roses since he was out of town.
With the bouquet in house, I somehow missed Sanket a little less :)
For the inquisitive, we had an e-Karwachauth. 
Thanks to Facetime :D :D

Karwachauth talks remain incomplete without mehendi (henna).
I showed you here and here, the mehendi designs I had done in 2010 & 2011, respectively.
This year, I decided to give myself a break and try the mehendi-walas.
To my surprise, there were almost 100 people applying mehendi, sitting in every possible place in the market.
What amazed me more than the head count was the sky-rocket prices that these guys were asking for and their tantrums. Anyhow, I had decide what I had decided and this is what I got. Sheer waste of money!!
Though, I loved the color. You know what that means, don't you :)

I now know from where did Santa Claus get inspiration.
From moms!!
My mom visited me this October and with her came a bag full of home-made food items.
Below are my favorites - Gud (Jaggery) ke Ladoo!
P.S.- I had the last ladoo a few hours back :( 
Mom, are you reading this!! 

Don't make faces people. This is our very own instant noodles- Maggi!!
Wondering why it's white? Because I skipped adding the spices ;)
Yes, Masala Maggi without Masala (only salt) 
Have you every tried it?

This selfie was shot while waiting for my SIL to get ready for her engagement. 
The great time we had discussing all the details & shopping overshadowed the wait time. 
The best was to see her just the way we had imagined.
You looked b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l Pallavi :)

OMG.. this one!
A sudden burst of rain and the city got flooded.

Slow September had me get a print of the calender.
I wanted to try, if the 'strike out' method shown in movies could soothe the soul.
It worked wonders.
O! I love countdowns :D

Thursday fasting means fruits in the first half and a lot of fatty food in the evening.
Sabudana wada was on the menu on one of those Thursdays.

The pictures brushed off the dust from my memory. I now know that October did not go by in a jiffy but I was actually a part of a lot of things :) There was a lot more that was not captured and is not shared here. 

Anyway... it's November! The month has brought with it a lot of festivities and happiness. I have and will be meeting a lot of people this month. Got a few biggies lined up too **Excited**.
More on this  next month :D 

Have a fantabulous November, my friends!!