What I’ve learnt so far…(love, relationships,women and men!)

So I was listening to the Sunscreen Song…a fave of mine whenever I’m down! And before you ask why….I am overtired and overworked and sometimes an instant pep up is in order…! The song got me thinking….I love relationships, love and dispensing advice ;-)…so maybe i should list out some of the things I’ve learnt so far…

  1. Love has got to make you smile…if there are more tears than cheers…you are in the wrong relationship!
  2. Women cry when they get hurt…men may not…that doesn’t mean what you say doesn’t hurt them!
  3. Dates are important…never let the woo-ing period ever end….even when the honeymoon does!
  4. Life is hard- cut yourself a break sometimes!
  5. Smile- even if you have nothing to smile about…just smile…it’s better than a caffeine pick up (and with my love for coffee if I’m saying that-it must be!)
  6. Whenever you’re going thru a bad day…there’s probably someone who’s going thru worse…so still count ur blessings!
  7. We’re all equally scared and doing things for the first time- women and men- it’s not that either sex is less scared; it’s just that certain people hide their worries a little better!
  8. Travel. See the world. Learn how amazing it is. The magnificence and largeness of the world makes you understand how you are just a small part of something incredible.
  9. You don’t know what someone else is going through… so give them a break if they seem unreasonable sometimes. You probably seem unreasonable to some people too!
  10.  Celebrate everything- the wins, the losses and everything in between.
  11. Care for at least one person more than you care for yourself. And don’t expect that back. Just care – cos you do!
  12. It’s never too late to start over.It’s never too late to change career path, life, relationships, anything. Follow your heart.
  13. Believe. Even when it seems impossible- believe.
  14. You are younger today, than you will ever be- enjoy it.
  15. Find friends. Make friends. Be a friend.
  16. Say ‘I love you’ to those you love for absolutely no reason at all. It makes you both feel good.
  17. Any conversation you have could be the last you have with that person… so be careful with your words.
  18. Write your angry emails and then save them to drafts. Go back to them later, read them to somebody- and only then send them.
  19. Show up or don’t be there…. Don’t just turn up. Give something your full focus else don’t be there…
  20. You are much more beautiful / handsome than you think you are!

P.s. (Palat says)-: I am trying to focus on a few of these this week… will let you know how it goes. And yuppp I did tone down the angry email before I sent it !

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The Exhaustion of Being

justbreathe

 

So over a dinner with friends the other evening, it seemed like everyone was suffering the same malady… ‘I’m exhausted!’… ‘Done by 9!’….’Cant’t get out! Don’t even want to!’

The problem, we realised was not age… (despite the snickering yawns) or our jobs even…. it was just mental fatigue and the aversion to just do anything after the very long days we were all working.

A movie, a dinner, friends… were just more work… no fun!

When did ‘stress’ replace the word ‘life’?

When did ‘monday blues’ become ‘everyday woes’?

Between traveling in the city, impossible deadlines and the non-stop desire to keep moving life just became one long never ending day.

Stop. Sleep. Breathe. The world won’t fall off its axis without you.

I had a great night’s sleep last night and woke up to a perfectly brilliant morning where nothing was more or less stressful then the night before… The world hadn’t stop turning and life was a little easier thanks to the fact that I was in better humour!

 

 

I want to change the world by doing NOTHING!

It didn’t happen to me…

It happened on TV…

And that’s our attitude… Buildings fall. Women get raped. People get murdered. Terror attacks happen. A cyclone devastates…

But it didn’t happen to me!

We want a better world for ourselves, for our future , for the future of our unborn children or our friends’ unborn children…and yet we make the grand gesture of—-wait for it….—–NOTHING!

Let’s cut the crap. Candle light vigils don’t help a girl after she’s been raped- punishing rapists do! Complaining about government organisations when buildings collapse don’t help- -stop paying off people and making substandard buildings! Punish the guilty and punish them quick. Don’t let’s live in a country where you can do wrong…and live a lifetime of sin with your lawyer just taking ‘dates’ for you every time. Let’s stop being afraid of punishment and its consequence. Let’s start being afraid of what will happen if we don’t punish- let’s look at that consequence instead.

Today you weren’t raped…you don’t live in ‘that’ neighborhood, wear ‘provocative clothes’ like jeans and you don’t step out of your house after 2 p.m….but that doesn’t ensure your safety any more because rapists are not afraid of the last- they can rape and then claim they are juveniles or pay off someone and leave the city… Ravage your life, destroy you and then just move and rape someone else. But don’t think about that… because it didn’t happen to you.

Your building hasn’t collapsed as yet…so why worry…it’s not like your life will be destroyed if it did collapse… or your home that you’ve paid so much for might be worth rubble…it didn’t happen to you!

And about the cyclone- well…you tweeted… what else can you do? Oh yes, you hash-tagged it as well!

Let’s read about it in the newspapers.

Let’s gossip about it in coffee shops…

But let’s do NOTHING!

After all it didn’t happen to me. Right?

 

Happy Birthday Aditya! Thank you for being mine :)

divya aditya-pangkor laut

Happy Birthday to my my husband, my life partner and most importantly to my best friend!

Aditya and I met years ago (he remembers the exact date) during the only Malhar Festival I participated in… He can tell you what I wore and where we were standing…I can only tell you that he was gorgeous then and even more handsome now! Aditya is everything I’m not- he’s polite, balanced, relatively calm and composed and well just all ’round a really nice guy!

Over our years of friendship and now marriage, I have met so many people who have known him from school, college or football and the one thing they all seem to have in common…is that they like him very much and respect him.

I love that. It’s wonderful to think that you have an amazing man by your side….but when so many others say the same… it just makes me beam with pride.

Everyone who knows us knows that Aditya proposed to me when I was in hospital, just diagnosed with ADEM. With left side paralysis, an incurable disease and on steroids – I was the last person you’d expect to be making marriage plans with. But Aditya saw what I didn’t see….he saw promise, he saw hope, he saw me and with his eyes I learnt to see me the way he did! He’s the best person in a crisis, the calmest person in the hospital and an absolute pillar of strength during any ill health (tho like my friend Michael says…”With you and your health, he has no option but to be calm!”)

Thank you Aditya. You are my favourite person to talk to, fight with, argue with,chat with, watch movies with, gossip with,watch TV show marathons with and do plays with!

You’re still the person who chooses my favourite pair of shoes; who fixes my belt on my jeans (yes Gaurav I’ve put that in…cos he does ;)), who loves me exactly the way I am- loud, a touch too honest,highly emotional and always stressed. You never asked me to change and seem to enjoy my erratic craziness.

You’ve taught me the value of a great friendship, the fun in a good debate and that we don’t need a million people around us to have the best time- we just need each other (and Cookie :))!

Sorry for all the times you were right… but you let me win any way… because I am NEVER WRONG :)!  (Since this apology only comes once a year…on the birthday…you might as well take it!)!

Thank you for being the best thing in my life ( yup you are better then a cup of coffee for me (for those who know me…that’s a very high compliment)).

I love you.

Aditya Hitkari. Express photo by Prashant Nadkar, Mumbai. 05/07/2006

p.s.- had to include you with pictures of your 2 girls… cos well both of us (cookie included) wanted to be a part of your birthday post 🙂

J. W. Marriott in Bangkok

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I travel to Bangkok a lot. From one of the dirtiest cities in the world 12-13 years ago, it’s cleaned up become fancier, more welcoming, more modern and just a wonderful shopping destination and a quick flight from Mumbai! I have therefore shifted a lot of hotels- hotels close to the malls, hotels out of the city… My new favourite however has to be the J.W. Marriott Bangkok.

Two MTR Stops away from Siam and a single stop away from central, this wonderful hotel gives me a bit of sanity from the frenetic mall culture of Bangkok! Towering gloriously above the fashionable Sukhumvit district, this hotel has a good mix of clientele ranging from long staying guests, businessmen to shopaholics like me!

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If you do want to stay at the J.W. – I suggest you stay in the Executive Level rooms. For a very small additional charge you get to use the Lounge.The Lounge in the J.W. is tastefully decorated, spacious and has an indoor and out door sitting area as well as an internet area with a Tv and couches for a more relaxed coffee/ tea. Check-in is done on the 16th floor for Executive Level guests and the check-in is quick and efficient and over a cup of coffee and something to eat.

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The Executive Level rooms are nice,though a tad small. You have free internet access everywhere in the hotel and the speeds are wonderful. For a super-connected social networking geek like me…that’s always a big plus!

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Why do I like the lounge? Well firstly it’s large and the food is amazing! Unlike usual Hotel Lounges the tapas and hot meals vary every day!You have an incredible breakfast with a live egg station, japanese counter, cereal, cheese and bread counters and of course your customary cold cuts , sausages etc. If there’s something missing and you want it- they’ll make it for you! After breakfast , in casephoto 1-1 you get hungry by about 11:30 am or so…there’s always some muffins in the oven or some sandwiches and peanuts for you to grab and go with- along with a takeaway coffee or chilled soft drink/ juice. In the evening The Lounge has an array of drinks and wines. It also has salads, hot and cold tapas and wonderful live stations where burgers are flipped, fish is seared, rolls are made and sushi is rolled. Every night is usually a different theme – so after an American burger night with fries and onion rings (from their New York Steak house downstairs), don’t be surprised to go Japanese (from Tsu the Japanese restaurant) the following evening or Italian… The food is tasty, filling and perfect and after a long day on the streets of Bangkok or in the malls- it’s wonderful to unwind over a drink and fabulous food before you let the Bangkok nightlife draw you in!

Cost-: $260 a night approximately for the Executive Level room!

Best Times To Travel-:  For me …any weekend I need to escape… but generally October to Jan are peak months with the weather being significantly cooler…else Bangkok is perfect for those like me who love the heat!

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Istanbullish!

And then there is Istanbul the place where Europe and Asia collide and you can see a whole other continent just across from you! Istanbul is a trip that brings back incredible memoreis- a city of contradictions much like me… fiercely traditional in so many ways, yet modern and forward thinking in so many others! An unplanned trip to combat ridiculously high stress levels and no plan at all we arrived in this gorgeous and friendly city and checked in straight into our hotel the Grand Hyatt. We had chosen this hotel because of it’s proximity to the bustling and wonderful Taksim square , a universal hub of activity every day, through the day and through most of the night!

The Grand Hyatt was disappointing. A business hotel with many rooms, it lacked the warmth of the city and the professionalism of a hotel. The staff seemed underpaid, overtired, curt and inhospitable. IT IS DEFINITELY NOT WORTH STAYING HERE. The room we had been given (despite Aditya being a Gold card member and having requested non-smoking) was a smoke filled mess. It took ages to get ready and though we’d paid for a view- we only had a view of the top of the hotel porch! I have yet to stay in another Hyatt after this horrendous experience!

I would recommend highly the fabulous Ciragan Palace which I recommended to my parents who had a fabulous time there or the converted prison on the banks of the Bosphorus which is now the Four Seasons!

Luckily we were determined to make the trip amazing, so we just dumped our bags and off we went exploring. The first thing we realised about turkey is that the street food- the kebabs were amazing. Fresh , delicious and easy to travel with -we set off to discover Taksim square. With its incredible shops, cafes and restaurants- this lively walking street has a taste of Istanbul that keeps bth the locals and tourists hooked! Lots to do…lots to see…lots to taste! We even found a cafe that we loved, loved, loved- The House Cafe with the most glorious turkish coffee!The afternoon went far too quickly and after a quick change , we headed to a branch of The House Cafe(yes we loved it that much!) which overlooked the Bosphorous! The city was glorious at night and after drinks and dinner , we bundled off into a cab and the chatty cabby took us around the city showing us some of the sights and the football stadium (to aditya’s great delight) where a match was being played! We had a long day the next day and so we quickly headed to bed!

The next day , we headed out to explore the Old City- the historic centre of the city. From the columns of the Byzantine empire, to the Hague Sofia,the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace, our private tour guide was exceptional. She made us walk fast and she talked even faster and there seemed more information that we could absorb because all of it seemed so incredible, so beautiful, so historic. It was wonderful going with a private tour guide for just the 2 of us because Turkey is a stop over for many cruise ships and when the cruise ships dock in Istanbul, scores of tourists descend on to the city and try and see all the historic sights and try and get a little bit of Turkish flavour all in a few hours- so if you don’t start quickly and don’t move quite fast , you will be caught behind one of these huge groups.

The Blue mosque is still a place of worship so please dress appropriately here. It is also wise to avoid ‘Namaaz'(prayer) timings and Fridays as the crowds do build and it is difficult to see how beautiful the architecture and the tile work is here.

The Hague Sofia has a column with a hole where if you can place your thumb in the whole and rotate your hand the full 360 degrees you are supposed to be granted a wish. Many people were in line and despite bending , turning and body contortions they still couldn’t do it! Aditya tried to….! I was very lucky though and on the first try , my hand did the full rotation and I received some amazed applause from bystanders… My wish? Well it keeps coming true..? Huh? Well you’ve gotta guess!

And then we were off to the Bazaars- the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar… Like the names suggest…the Grand Bazaar is filled with more curios, maps, knick-knacks and the Spice Bazaar filled with the most incredible, warm spices and flavours…. You can get lost in walking thru these bazaars and in case you’d like to buy something- bargain a little- they expect that!

After an entire day in the Old city -we were off to a romantic dinner to G by Karaf a restaurant on an island a few minutes away from the shore. A boat picks you up and in 5 minutes you are at the restaurant!

After a delicious dinner it was back to Taksim square and the incredibly lively bar 360! With views of the entire city , this buzzing night spot is always full. Great music, great drinks and great food keeps it a favourite with locals, expats and tourists alike!

The following day we explore Istanbul on our own using local transport, trams and discovering new hidden corners of the city. With the friendliest locals we’ve ever met- we always managed to find our way ,minutes after we were lost thanks to some incredibly helpful souls!

Istanbul is a land steeped with tradition and culture , yet gloriously modern, incredibly forward thinking and magnificently proud!

Best Times to Travel-:April to October tho April may be a bit rainy and October a bit chilly!

Cost-: Approx $500 a night! But stay close to either the old city or to Taksim square to cut down travel!

The DREADED MONDAY MORNING (after a break!)

It’s that Monday post the incredible vacation! Schools are open, work is on schedule and traffic is a b!@%h! You wish you were back in bed/on the beach/shopping! You wish you were anywhere but back because back seems even more awful now especially after than incredible break!

That’s the thing with breaks….once you taste freedom and the enormous possibilities that the world holds in store NOTHING is ever the same again!

And so how do you deal with THAT MONDAY MORNING!

  1. Ease in to it… now that the breakfast buffets aren’t happening and the single egg and dry toast don’t look as appetizing as the holiday ‘uber-indulgent breakfast’ did, ease in to the day slowly.
  2. Get a good night of sleep ending with a great book, favourite tv show, or warm tea! Make sure you are SMILING on Sunday night…it’ll make monday a heck of a lot easier!
  3. Lie in bed just a bit longer on Monday, it’ll help with the ‘work-lag!’
  4. Dress up! You look good, you feel good!
  5. Load your favourite songs on your iPod! That way despite the awful, crawling traffic and the annoying RJ who talks too much; you have some great music that can make the morning infinitely more in tune!
  6. Take the 11 am break! Grab a cuppa, a quick chocolate, a walk outside, a facebook sneak peak! Take the BREAK!
  7. Remember you don’t have to finish everything TODAY! If the one thing the vacation taught you , it was how important it is to make time for yourself and your family….so before all the amazing life lessons we learn while on break run dry- REMEMBER IT and CELEBRATE IT!
  8. Call the people you have to, have to call today! The rest…well, you have a whole week left!
  9. Take an hour for lunch- the full hour! Even if you have no lunch and far too much work- Monday’s are overwhelming as it is and the Monday after a break is super tough! Acknowledge that and breathe! It’ll make you more productive!
  10. Get a 3 p.m. break and catch up on birthdays and gossip, coffee and conversations! You’ve almost made it thru the toughest day post vacation!
  11. Get off work on time! You won’t finish everything today. You don’t have to. You have a whole week left and you got thru a whole day! YAY!
  12. Get home. Have a warm dinner, catch up with friends, relax and pamper yourself! EASE INTO WORK AND THE WEEK ELSE you’ll just feel angry , frustrated and cheated! an expensive break and the joy you felt with it would have been washed away by a couple of hours back at the office and you definitely don’t want that!
Don’t be guilted by people for taking your break. You work hard. You deserve it! Enjoy the new tan and the glowing skin and remember the trick to the happiness we feel on vacation is that on vacation we make ourselves a priority! Make yourself a priority EVEN ON THAT MONDAY MORNING!!!!;)