Ah! Melbourne

Travel, of course! I love to travel. I love the mountains and the seas and the forests and cities. Traveling to some new place always excites me and is an all time high. So now i want to visit Melbourne. Why Melbourne? Well apart from the fact that there is a contest and my mind has been saying ‘Its your time to visit Melbourne NOW!’. Here goes the list, in random order.

a. Australia tops as one of the most favored destination list.

b.There will finally be a stamp on my  passport, which has been recently renewed.

c. A very good friend resides there.

d. Last but not the least i really want to win this contest.

It was like six years ago, when a very good friend of mine moved to Melbourne. Then what followed was a daily chat session where she described her daily life. Her new job, great people at the workplace, cleaner and less crowded surroundings and her taking the tram to commute back and forth. I painted a picture and tallied them with the images she posted on social networking sites. I wanted to be there. I wanted to experience what it was to live in this city. I wanted to visit the cricket ground , the markets where she shops (she claims these are from lanes),  the pub she visits, the sea front whose picture she keeps posting. In short i want to experience the sights and sounds of Melbourne so that next time we chat i know exactly what she’s talking about.

So other than bringing back very strong memories of visiting my friend in Melbourne and sharing her life for a few moments i do have other things too.

I want to be a foreigner in a country, look at it from the outside and get a cultural feel. I love the Australian cricket team, so of course i do want to take a look at the country they reside in.

Melbourne is also known as a meeting point of sports, cultural and foodie events.

The numerous cricket matches , tennis courts are imprinted in my mind i want to see these places first hand and next time i view it on telly i can shout and say ‘Yay i have been there!’.

Another major motivation to visit Melbourne is the Master chef competitions going on in Star World. The Australian edition showcases some great chefs and some great restaurants. Many have Michelin Stars, i want to try those places and taste their food and maybe meet the hosts too!

In short the memories i carry back would encompass some great moments with my dear friend, visits to the high level sporting grounds and a trip to taste those mouth-watering food at some Michelin restaurants.

(All images have been sourced from Google)

http://www.visitmelbourne.com/in

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Musings

She had a dream of love. Of a strong man for whom she was the world. Who would pamper her, protect her and encourage her. In short of that perfect man who would nurture her. Now that’s elusive as finding a dinosaur in this age. However he’s still there in bits and pieces in her eyes.

Like that day in the gas station, she got down from the motorcycle, shivering from the cold wind. He handed her his jacket, the one he was wearing. Love shone and yes that perfect man was there.

Another day in the children’s park. He came back early from work, rushed to where his wife was and hugged her tight. They kept walking hand in hand oblivious to the surrounding, their little girl skipping behind them.

The perfect man flashes in and out of her life, envious is what it makes her feel because she was lonely. She felt sad, her perfect man has disappeared.

 

A tiny love story

Toby loved to trek. On one of his far-flung journeys he met Emily. Emily owned a small cafe there. Toby loved the tea and cookies and during his two day stay visited the cafe four times. Toby did not like Emily, she was distant and spoke little.

The hills beckoned Toby so much he finally gave up his job as a manager in a firm, to settle down in one of these remote locations. He bought a small piece of land with his savings and decided to open a teeny store  selling handmade goods. All the goods were made by Toby , he was very creative and the pricing too was reasonable. Tourists frequented his store and he made good money during the season.

One day a woman walked in and was browsing along. Toby thought she looked familiar. However, she made a few purchases and after gathering some local information left the store. She was striking and talked well. Toby was quite fascinated. After that day they bumped into each other often. They had conversations and coffee. Finally one day she invited him over to her place for tea. Toby went, and after the snacks she got him the tea. One sip and it sent Toby back to Emily’s cafe. He was completely taken by surprise as that memory was quite powerful.

On probing further he learned that the lady whom he had been spending his time with was indeed Emily. Wow! what happened? Where did your glasses go Emily? Thoughts assailed him. Emily however had recognized him the instant she met him. She was a victim of an abusive marriage, but a car accident had killed her husband. With his death she chose to close the cafe and start a new life elsewhere.

By then Toby was in love with Emily. However she was still unsure, she liked his company but her past haunted her and she wanted to tread carefully. Toby was more than willing to wait.

So they waited as patiently as milk boiling on a stove, he did not want to frighten her and she did not want to get burnt again.

After several more dates, and tea, and time together, Emily one day did express her love for Toby.

So there it was, love at second sight !

My world

Little Dev was lost. No! he was sitting in his classroom and listening to the rhymes but he was just not there. He felt like going home, home where Dhruv was . Dhruv did not attend school , he was down with a viral fever. So mommy had insisted Dev go to school and have a fine time and Dhruv needed to rest. Dev was unhappy but papa gave him a task, he had to go to school to tell his teacher that Dhruv was unwell!

There was Dev, he got ready, ate his snack and walked with papa to reach his bus stop. He looked around to see two of his closest friends were missing! Everybody had the viral. What is wrong? Dev’s little mind could not analyze and he wished that papa would just take him back home.

The bus came and Dev sat next to a senior girl and went forlornly to school.

The day seemed long and Dev felt dull and sleepy. His classmate ‘Khyati’ tried to be friendly and offered to have breakfast with him. But Dev was missing Dhruv and their closest friend Adi. The teacher tried to cheer him up but to no avail he just wasn’t in the mood to participate in any activity in class. The cake and apple in his snack box failed to entice him but knowing mommy would get angry Dev just had the apple.

School over Dev boarded the school bus to go back home. In the bus one other boy was celebrating his birthday by distributing candies. Dev too, got one. He opened the wrapper and quickly had his share, mommy had warned him against having too many candies.  But he couldn’t resist it and the sad part was it didn’t lift his mood either. The sleepy feeling just wouldn’t go away.

His stop came and there was mommy to receive him along with Dhruv. Dev’s heart leapt. “Mommy i’m back home!’ said little Dev and hugged her tightly with his small arms. He got down quickly to tell Dhruv, his twin brother all about his day. He made up stories of an exciting day and Dhruv was all rapt in attention listening to them. Soon the trio reached home and mommy fed him his lunch amidst constant chattering.

Then it was time to go for an afternoon nap, while listening to one of mommy’s lullaby and holding on to Dhruv’s hand, Dev fell asleep. He was happy, at last the grey clouds had lifted and he was glad to be with Dhruv and mommy. After all what else could a three year old want? Simple world and simple needs.

The last few minutes

Yes the cab has arrived! Yes i have packed all my stuff! Yes i have my emergency kit in my hand bag! The hugs are going on and the good-byes are underway. Yet there are some jitters, what is it?

It is that time of that year when i usually take a break and head off to my parents’ place.

It is that part of the visit when my vacation is over and i have to say good-bye, back to the grind!

I hate this part.

I hate saying good-byes and see-you-soons.

It feels sad and strange, it feels orphaned too!

But i know i will visit them soon , again after a year and the days fly by.

However i manage to keep my composure, breaking down seems so easy and silly too! Since its been years i have left my parent’s home. Also i have my own kids to think of, already teary eyed and sad.

Leaving that house means i am on my own again with nobody to give me advise, even the unsolicited, unselfish types!

Oh! Those seem irritating at times but even then i miss them.

I have very little time now as we head off now to catch our flight back home.

So ciao friends catch you on the other side of my world!

Of tresses and stresses

Another weekend, another Saturday! As i stretch lazily on my bed ever so reluctant to start my day a thought flashes across my mind. Oh! no! today i have to take my kids for a haircut. What’s so great you may wonder? Well hair cutting is similar to wrestling without the Olympic Medal of course!

I summon all my energy, get up and get ready to face the challenges ahead.

Around 10 in the morning i dress my kids and bundle them out of the house saying we are going ‘grocery shopping’. They happily trudged along with dreams of candies and chocolates swimming in their eyes.

I marched them straight to the salon. As we entered the premises, my elder one said staunchly ‘ I don’t want to cut my hair and become a boy’. With promises of turning her into Barbie instead i made her sit on the high stool.

Snip, snip, snip goes the scissor as the hairdresser furiously trimmed her hair, making eye contact with me now and again to be reassured that yes! please make it shorter still. My daughter looked grumpy and kept peering into the mirror to see whether she looked like Barbie yet! After thirty minutes of snip and snap , with all hair dusted off her, my little girl emerged and after a careful study burst into tears. ‘Momma barbie does not have hair in front and so short!’All kinds of consolations followed and she finally shushed when i told her that her hair will soon grow back.

Then it was my younger one’s turn, even before she sat down she started howling. She imagined that she was being given an injection. After a hug and a pat and a million kisses she finally settled down. Meanwhile the hairdresser was giving me impatient looks ‘ Madam please quieten the child’…..or ‘ Madam don’t worry’ etc..as i was interpreting them. If children were so easily dealt with won’t we mothers had been a peaceful lot!

The man said ‘look down baby’  and my girl looked up, he said ‘ look to the left’ and she looked to the right. After twenty minutes he looked frustrated and my child looked hysterical and i looked ready-to-enter-the-arena. After some gentle persuasion i took her head in hand and tried to keep it steady as the man went snipping here and tucking there etc.

All this while D, my younger one howled and screamed as if she was being butchered alive.

Anyways work ninety percent accomplished i asked the hairdresser to stop, made D quiet and rushed her out of the salon.

Imagine my surprise when she stepped out and twirled on her little toes to exclaim in delight that she has turned into a Barbie.

‘Then why do you scream inside the salon?’ I inquired.

“I remembered the pain of my last injection and could not control myself’……all this from the mouth of a three year old.

As we trudged back home, D and G happily pranced along as i looked bedraggled and felt sore.

and we soaked!

To begin with i was not an Indiblogger, my better half was! So there i was attending the meet along with him, i took it as our ‘me’ time. Since after having kids we hardly got to be by ourselves so this was just a good outing in my mind.

We reached the venue ‘Capitol Hotel’ just in time. We grabbed front row seats as those were the only ones left and the host was asking us to come forward and occupy them. I was a bit reluctant as i was not exactly sure what i was doing there after all!

The fun began then, every Indiblogger was asked to identify themselves, say a few words about their blog and reveal a secret. People had fun things to say and some were not sure too, i was quite amused since these were the very same people writing words by the dozen, so creative yet when it came to talking, so unsure. Writers are a little reclusive i might conclude. Some said really hilarious things which had all of us double up with laughter. I remember a gentleman saying that his parents did not know he was a batman, some lady saying that her parents were completely unaware that a genius was living in their midst, etc.

This was an extremely fun session, and like a painting on a canvas i could see different strokes of writing, all under one roof. Then it was my better half’s turn he also revealed that most of his protagonists in his write-ups were inspired by me. I was quite impressed, wow! i must say i have a colorful personality because his writings had all shades of grey, black and white.

The chatter ended to be followed by games. Groups were formed and each group was given a t-shirt of a different color. Ours were blue, what followed was disappointing and yes it was fun to be a part of such laughter and frolic. Even though i did not win, my husband’s team won and there we had a Samsung DVD player for ourselves.

What followed next was a tea break. I was quite hungry and so was he. The spread was nice and sumptuous. There were sandwiches, pastries, some snacks and of course tea and coffee. In between grabbing a bite i had a chance to chat up with two bloggers. I kind of liked what they had said during the introduction session. The conversations were funny and informative and for a change i was not talking about children, family, daily grind et all. I loved what they had to say and one of them indeed made me realize my forgotten dream of writing away to glory.

Tea break over we all trudged back to the hall, smiling faces, full stomach maybe droopy eyes too! Then it was the last phase as Mr. Girish held a session on Surf Excel Matic. It was a funny session, with vibrating molecules all around, and i had great fun as we managed to win a gift hamper full of Dove and Lakme products and a bean bag from there. We had to answer questions about Surf Excel matic washing powder.

All in all it was an eventful meet. The ambiance was great, the conversations were funny, the food was yummy and last but not the least i got back my confidence to pursue my writing. I finally became an Indiblogger myself! Hip, hip, hurray!

The way we are

Shikha loved to have friends. The more the merrier for her. Any new place for her meant a whole new set of friends. That obviously did not imply that she forgot her old ones. She clung to each relationship tenaciously.

In this way Shikha spent her years growing up and transformed from a teenager to an adult. Then the day dawned that Shikha finally got married and moved with her husband to a new city.

She was looking forward, as a new place implied more opportunities and more friends. All her life Shikha had grown up in one place, most of her friends had left the city and so this change kind of excited her.

She settled down in the new city, they had rented an apartment in a big apartment complex with over six hundred families living there. Joy knew no bounds as the prospect of meeting new people excited her. The first opportunity that she got was the Diwali celebrations in her new place. The celebrations were organised by the community people and everybody thronged to attend them. All the women were vibrantly dressed and the menfolk too looked very dressy. People mingled all over and there was a lot of food to add on to the festive gathering. Shikha attended it with her husband, however both of them being very new,  did not know anyone. People did not smile, they huddled in their groups, they seemed wary of newcomers. In spite of all this Shikha managed to strike conversations with a few people, however the next moment they again went back to being someone you didn’t know. All this seemed very strange to her.

Her husband consoled her by saying that time would help her make acquaintances. Time came and went and Shikha was still unable to open up and strike friendship.

Now, she knew many people but it was always limited to exchanging a few words on the move, either in the lobby, inside the lift or in the pathways.

Shikha put all this down to the fact that maybe something was truly wrong with her but her efforts persisted.

Then one fine day she got a call from an international number, her very dear old friend was coming to India and wanted to meet her, could she make  a trip to her home town?

Friendship starved Shikha got all pumped up and drew up plans to visit her hometown. She even persuaded her workaholic husband to take a ten day leave and join her for the trip.

The tickets were bought, the days sealed, she called her friend up to discuss her plans.

Plans!!!??

Her friend had no plans, she was going to be busy with her family and actually that itinerary did not accommodate Shikha. She would meet her, she said, but there is no plans.

Shikha felt terribly let down, here she spent a small fortune in getting her last minute air tickets, had cajoled her husband to take a leave and there is no plan in place?

She drafted a mail , pouring her heart out but she could not finally send it as that would mean the end of that friendship. It takes a lifetime to build one and a second to destroy it.

Then a chance conversation made Shikha realize that friendship is like a mirage and in most people’s lives, today, that is always number 6 or 7 in the priority list.

Reality dawned and that event taught her such a lesson that today Shikha is like one of the odd six hundred families in her complex, she has done away with befriending people.

New entrants amuse her and the old ones pave her way, shows her the modicum of behavior.

Atleast now she is at peace with herself, knowing the fact that nothing is indeed wrong with her but maybe something is wrong with the society at large.

As I danced

The lively music, the beats and sounds always managed to lift Tara’s moods whenever she was in the dumps.Tara had a lousy day, she worked as a lawyer and the case she was dealing with right now had become a bit messy to her liking.

The pub was always her place to get out of that mood. She was itching to dance. Finally she could control no longer and headed to the floor. She was a natural and as music flowed through her veins she was transported to a different world.

Dance had always been her first passion. Ever since she can recall she was swaying to any songs she heard. Her mother enrolled her for dancing lessons in a nearby school. Those were happy days, as she would look forward to dance classes after school, twice a week.

Her talent and training ensured that she got to perform in lots of shows and functions. She loved each minute, dressing up and performing.

Then one fine day her parents stopped showing up for her shows. Her grandmother was taken seriously ill and her parents could not leave her alone. Though Tara was given freedom to pursue what she liked they could not be present along side with her.

Tara continued dancing, mixed emotions consumed her during the shows. There was joy as she danced but there was sadness as her most nearest people were not able to see her. As the days rolled by her grandmother’s health deteriorated further, she was diagnosed with cancer.

Her parents got so busy with managing and arranging finances that nobody noticed Tara’s world shrinking. She had cut off from her friends, as her parents were too busy to ferry her back and forth to their birthday parties. She had started making excuses for not attending dancing lessons, which her mother put down to plain laziness.

In effect Tara was drying up, she had managed to find a hole and stay inside. She simply took refuge in studies and just put in all her efforts.

The efforts did pay, as she became a lawyer in the long run, but leaving dancing had robbed Tara of all the joy in her life.

She had one serious relationship however she got out of it the minute she was required to commit. She had lost her first love and commitments were not easy to come by for her.

So there today Tara was all successful and bright, however what nobody knew was that she often took anti-depressant pills to keep up her flagging spirit. She was perennially sad deep within.

Childhood experiences are the strongest in one’s life and some leave a deep impact altering one’s personality completely.

The secret of truth

Her hands were sweaty and she tingled with a funny sensation. Her dark eyes danced and she could contain no longer. The heaviness grew and it felt like she was carrying a thousand pounds. She had to tell someone or else she was bursting at her seams. She had a secret!

Isn’t this the feeling we all get when we have one of our own and it needs to be kept tightly to our chest? However every secret is incomplete until it is shared with someone. Then does it remain a secret? It just becomes more secretive because now you have someone to share with. I have often wondered about the similarities between a secret and love. Both needs to be shared to be even more stronger.

So little Deena had a secret, she had an extra apple in her bag. Now this is nothing so special, you might wonder! However it was, Deena was a child laborer, she worked in a restaurant in the evening and attended school in the morning. That apple was her lunch smuggled to her by the loving lady who was the caretaker of the restaurant. Deena  would generally attend school with a banana for lunch. That apple was precious and Deena took a peek now and then to check whether it was safely tucked away inside.

Lunch hour came and went but Deena was too careful and did not want to reveal her apple to the world. She wanted to savor it alone and when no one was watching her. Deena felt insecure with food all the time. Her past has proven to her that food was precious and needs to be protected, preserved. After school as she walked back to the restaurant to begin her daily chores, Deena knew she only had a few minutes to herself. She took the road which cut across the railway tracks. There in a corner Deena sat under a tree and carefully took out the apple. After a loving look she just about managed to take a bite when another urchin appeared begging for food.

Now you might wonder yes yes she gave her precious apple away!

No!

Deena valued food more than anything else, her dead father and her five other siblings, whom her mother strive to feed ensured that.

She shoved away the urchin and hastily put the apple back in her bag. She ran, as fast as her legs could carry. She was not going to share food. Her secret safe she went back to work.

After work when Deena was very tired and ready to go to sleep, she fingered the apple once more. It still lay in her bag like a precious stone. Deena was about to curl up and go to sleep when she noticed her younger brother sobbing away quietly. After some prodding she understood that due to some mischief, her mother had refused to give him food.

Hunger is a demon Deena knew that, however she always believed in the strength of a family and looking out for each other.

Her secret had to be shared.

Out came the apple shining in the reflected street light and there spread a smile on her brother’s face. He was only four years old. With a promise to be good the next day he took the apple, to devour it. Deena was happy for her brother and glad to share her secret.

Family ties are strong and needs to be nurtured, however adverse the situations might be.