31 Dec 2008


chinki doll and porcelain doll!

mummy and urmila

yesterday was the ultimate bollywood-glutton's [that's me] day out! perhaps i'm the only girl who doesn't fancy shopping much.....trying out millions of clothes ruffles my hair and mood [especially if i like stuff made for the super-anorexic which naturally don't fit me], actually i only tag along because shopping expeditions spell eating out *yay*. you wouldn't believe that i actually fell asleep in a shoe shop a year back! i even heard the music playing in the mall as 'i walked in closed shoes' after a weary day of a long unsuccessful quest for the 'perfect closed shoes' [ courtesy Urmila].

so yesterday I was out with my regular jing-bang, my 'fairy god' mother [well almost, because she's wherever i am, or vice versa] and my 1/4 Deepika Padukone, 3/4 live porcelain doll Urmila [we'll decide the ratio later]. we initially wanted this dress code for the three of us, 'a vest' suggested mom, but she dropped the idea after I said, 'if we all wear a vest, everyone will be forced to look east' [sorry lame!]. so we visited fabindia where i politely said, "wow! this is really nice" to every second thing i saw so that both of them would hurry up and buy something. then we visited moshe's and picked up a dessert each. i had this thing called Gooey Chocolate which was chocolate crusted and oozed out more chocolate which was div-ine!!!! everyone eyed it and dug their spoons into it slyly [and actually got away with it!]

then we whizzed away to colaba causeway.....its a good place to learn to dance because you have to constantly step back, front, sideways, bend, slide through [only a 'shimmy' was missing] so as to avoid colliding into other lonely orbits. i was feeling all tall when some foreigners double my height passed me [errrr......]. then there was this trinket seller who was digusted with my bargaining skills [and made no effort to hide this], probably because i laughed like a hiccupping hyena every time a quoted a low price [its very easy to start me off]. so finally, after buying nothing ,we rested our weary backsides at theobrama where we shared a sandwich and had a chocolate brownie each [different ones though]......chocolate surprisingly corrects my mood and makes me fresh, chirpy and energetic again [much better than that red bull anyway, it tastes like my Dr. Desai's worst syrup medicine which washed away the taste of everything good for sometime]

anyway, then we went to Nariman point, clicked pictures and flashed those tourist-y smiles. we hitched a horse called Krish [and you thought only I was filmy] for a huge round around Nariman point. while we were on a ride, we sang all our favourite Hindi numbers [i started this naturally] as loudly as possible [Krish's master must have thought we were tipsy] and I continued to sing them while we were walking.......the breeze was cool and refreshing and made my hair fly in a filmy way [i felt no less than Priyanka Chopra in Dostana in that song, Khabar Nahi].......

after touring our ancient family hotel we sat down for....yes.....yet another meal! [this was our final, final dinner ok!]. Badshah is the best place EVER for pau-bhaji and falooda......since we were so full, we shared the pau bhaji but obviously things like underwears and desserts can never be shared! my Badshahi falooda had a bit of the best of everything in the world in it, so i didn't bother to even glance at what the other two ordered. there are two things that keep me absorbed.....i won't flinch till its done......one: writing exams.....two: eating desserts.......

ok......now i think i've scared my readers! i appear as some sort of female bakasur! someone you can never trust with your [abbe.....not izzat] food...... relax! relax! i only do that once in a while.....otherwise i'm pretty much under control..... no really! ek thopdyat deil, don't snigger!

30 Dec 2008


now that i'm this self-proclaimed food and bollywood critic.....let me get started on my adventures and mis-adventures with food <3

one place i'll never forget [or forgive] is Cafe Basilco. i had been there around three years ago for an 'elegant' breakfast with my mom after reading those million reviews about this place which gave it the thumbs-up sign. okay, so we travelled all the way to town on a Sunday for a breakfast more exciting than our regular idli-dosa-cornflakes and guess what we got? ............

not so fast, i have to build up the drama for our brilliant [anti] climax! so i sat there fingering the menu with my crooked finger, reading those mouth-watering descriptions that cheat customers into buying the same old regular dish....rehashed! we placed our order.....mom ordered something that sounded fairly normal [read not more exciting, innovative than what we usually have at home] and i ordered something that sounded exotic.....i can't remember the name, or the description, but i remember the waitress lighting up and saying that i must try it.....what was the description....fluffy something something with delicious blank blank accompanied with blank blank of your choice....bah! no use, i can't remember the exact description.....but oh! how it sounded! so after waiting, peering, flashing polite smiles at the staff around us, i was presented my dish...the ultimate dish which was meant to bait me, make me a regular customer......cafe basilco's 'agni pariksha' and it turned out to be......gasp! gasp! gasp!................UPMA!!!!!!!

WHAAAAAAAT!!!!!! i travelled this far for UPMA! i mean.....UPMA.....are you serious! *sob sob* MA......UPMA??? *sniff*..... i could have had the same UPMA, 100 percent original, 1000 times more delicious, 10000 times cheaper at home......of course, the one at home may have a few stray strands of dog hair but its better than eating my own hair in frustration!!!!!

[i got dessert as a consolation, but it wasn't brilliant enough to lift up my dampened spirit......]

29 Dec 2008

RNBDJ and Ghajni

yup! i've seen both the movies and i'm not going to make this review overloaded with purple-rage sarcasm to show off my wit and writing skills like most other critics. ok, so let's start: while rab ne bana di jodi warms your heart, Ghajni makes your head boil!

Rab ne bana di jodi was light hearted, funny, emotional.....like sweet-and-sour chutney, very delectable. of course, you have to be an ardent shah rukh fan to fall for both his characters in the first shot: Suri being a nerd with a samosa for a nose, Raj being extremely annoying and too loud but of course, king khan did a great job in both their skins. Anushka Sharma was fresh, cute and very confident. she glowed on the screen and was a pleasure to watch. i don't know why the critics spoke so little of her. they've got these very strange parameters which frighten me!
of course the movie was complete with its dose of song and dance. however, there were very few characters compared to other yash raj movies which had truckloads of 'punjabi parivars' which was quite a relief. 'Tuj mein rab dikta hain' has been sung so sensitively that it echos true love with every note <3

Ghajni was stuffed with nail-biting violence [yes, i was even biting my toenails during some of the fight sequences!]. it was picturized extremely well, with not one scene being out of place or context. Asin was spunky, lively, with excellent expressions and dialogue delivery not to mention a great wadrobe which made her look even prettier. her character was extremely believable and very easy to fall for. Amir Khan was fantastic as usual, but sort of freaked me out the way he jumped on the villians and growled and grunted at them like an animal. he almost reminded me of Hari, my dog, in his worst mood. it seemed like he beat up everyone he saw throughout the movie! Jiah Khan did her part well, but perhaps people didn't like her because she made the movie longer with all her blondness and hindrance in our hero's plans. Ghajni, the villian, was convincing, but I couldn't help laughing when he kept calling our hero 'short term memory loss' and said 'yaad hai woh rod' as 'yaad hai woh road' confusing the audience a bit.

in the meanwhile, these heroines are giving me a complex. all of them are helpful, kind, sweet, dutiful, peppy, spunky, beautiful, good dancers, lively.....abbe! bas bhi karo yaar! don't they ever get mood swings, bad hair days, or boils?

25 Dec 2008


the newspapers are full of them.......so are our conversations which used to be full of wit and gossip......no, i'm not talking about terrorists, but negativity.
yes, the year has been pretty low in terms of the stock market, humanity, politics but don't we get scoops of that in the newspaper every morning? the air almost creaks like achy limbs with dull, restless silence......so i've decided, i'm not going to carry this legacy of sorrow like its some 'foward-to-at-least-ten-people-or-you'll-have-bad-luck' chain mail.....i'm going to shake out of it, even if its through one blog, one person.....only if the atmoshpere changes, the droopy, heavy atmosphere, hanging like a heavy black coat on an old hunchback.....only if this feeling changes will times be able to change. the worst things possible have happened, so now things can only get better and i'm going to transmit these vibes of excitement and change for the better.....

today i was watching 'jab we met' for 10 millionth time and i feel happier, lighter, charged.....if one movie can make so many people lighten up.....so can one person, or one blog and that's what i'm trying to do. no more depressing poems, no more heavy droppy articles.....make things snappy, say it from it your heart....
let me start by being grateful......Rhonda Byrne's 'Secret' says that being grateful is the first step towards lightening up the atmosphere....
i'm greatful for all the angels in my life....you know who you are and what you mean to me.....we all must have hurt each other, some have written nasty blog comments and sometimes when i look at facebook profiles i feel like i'm living in some parallel universe cut away from you all....but i love everyone who has walked into my life [some a little more or a little less than others] because all of you are here to write my fairytale, so hugs and chocolates from me <3
i'm grateful for me.....and i think 'me' sumarizes everything i have to say about 'me' because i don't have to explain me to anyone because i already know who i am.......

so, keep dancing, humming and enjoy every minute of yourself and if people glare at you....well, they're just envious of your free spirit.

<3 empress of gib and gab,
warrior of the light [http://www.warriorofthelight.com/engl/index.html]
tolerable, tolkien-like teen

*hum hain rahi pyar ke, phir milenge, chalte chalte!*

21 Jun 2008


i was watching this show on MTV called Splitsvilla. its quite an interesting concept where 20 girls try to woo 2 boys, and its being hosted by Ranvijyay, the winner of the first Roadies. the first two episodes were fairly interesting and the characters of all these twenty girls [not very interesting, if you ask me] and the two boys have come out quite clearly by now.

Varun Saini, one of the Splitsvilla boys [who was also seen in this season of the roadies], is exactly like some of the wannabe, stupid, shallow, effeminate looking boys i know. in every episode he feels some 'connection' with a different girl, depending on who looks 'hot' to him. from what i've seen of him in Splitsvilla, the only quality that excites him in a girl is how 'hot' she looks. he rarely appreciates the girls for the effort they put in, whether it was this girl who was slightly nervous while singing a song for him, or poetry which a few girls write for him. infact, he blantantly makes hideous faces while they're trying to put in their best. his 'vision statement', his pathetic pick-up line etched on the MTV website is, "nice pair of mountains, when will i get a chance to climb them!". i do like shockingly bold people, but on the whole, i find him pathetically unattractive, though he acts like the cat's whiskers. i seriously can't fathom why some girls in Splitsvilla find him 'hot': he overall appearance or personality seriously doesn't attract me!

then there's Vishal Karwal, a kind, sweet, gentle, sensitive, chivalrous man. he doesn't only measure girls according to their oomph quotient, but tries to find streaks of intelligence, humour and etiquette in them too. in the first round, he was actually upset about dumping [eliminating] girls, because he thought it was too early to dump them, since there wasn't much scope for interaction initially. he always looks genuinely dissapointed while dumping girls at the end of each round.

from the first show onwards, I had found him cute and sweet, however, what he said and did today really bowled me over. he fired this particular conceited, arrogant girl called Hoorzan before dumping her and said that he was upset and ashamed by her behaviour as she showed disrespect and attitude to her fellow contestants by interrupting, walking out and even laughing while they were trying to woo the boys. he told her that she wasn't better than anybody and that everyone had an equal right and equal chance to be on the show, because each of them had something special in them. he said that if she was a boy, he would have broken her bones and teeth for showing disrespect and that he was really angry as he'd never spoken to a girl like this before. he even asked the other girls how they bared with her and said that they should have given it back to her as she hurt their self-respect. he concluded by saying that no one should let anybody hurt their self respect, ever, no matter what the situation is.

Varun, the lizard, on the other hand, according to me, showed disrespect for this girl who was singing, just as Hoorzan did; but he quickly agreed with Vishal, said something mean to Hoorzan about her habit of laughing for no reason [?] and dumped her. Vishal spoke from his heart, without pretence, which was clearly seen. Varun, on the other hand, snapped at the girl half-heartedly and reluctantly, but did so to win respect from the girls as Vishal had just won......

i always thought that boys would woo a girl only if she is hot and terrible irresistible, even if she is arrogant and ill-mannered. What Vishal said today made me realize that it's not the case with every boy.....he has truly won my respect, changed a few opinions and thoughts and made me an ardent spiltsvilla viewer.....

2 Jun 2008


i recently watched this play at Prithvi theatre scripted by late Mr. Vijay Tendulkar, called Kanyadan. set in the 1980's its about this Brahmin girl called Jyothi, born to a middle class family active in the scene of politics, mature, sensible, well-to-do-beings. this girl wished to marry a Dalit man, whom she doesn't love, but just wants to 'break caste barriers' as her father has always encouraged. she does face objections from her mother and brother, not because the boy is a dalit, but because he is an odd-ball: violent, abusive, hot-tempered and awkwardly wierd and scared. supported by her father, she marries him, bears with his physical and mental abuses just so that she can reform him.

the last scene was a memorable one where she yells at her dad and scolds him for his beliefs and virtues he has made her grow up with, which, while teaches her to be a reformer, makes it difficult for her to leave her husband as she'd feel guilty she didn't bring about 'change' in him.

Arun Athavale, her husband, played by Joy Sengupta has given a brilliant performance. from the change of his body language from a scared, wimpering Dalit, to an arrogant, famous dalit writer, his rash-temper, his awkward way of showing affection [which made me shudder]....he was the best. he truly made me feel revolt and loathe for his character which shows the power in his performance.
Radhika Apte, who played Jyothi had also delivered an excellent performance. i simply adored Rajendra Gupte as Nath, Jyothi's father, not only did he act well [the sudden sobbing in the end left me stunned], but his character was cute, doting and at the same time, respectful, with good values, most of which i agree with. one of them was that he NEVER imposed his views and decisions on anyone. he always expressed his sentiments and views, but left the final decision to the person it concerns. Lillete Dubey was wonderful as a worried, anxious mother and Raaghav Chanana, the mature, concerned son of the family did his part well.

but i was shocked by Jyothi's inability to leave her husband. he was a dalit man, hurt by his past and history and thus takes all revenge of his ancestor's difficulty, his troubled, difficult childhood and circumstances on his brahmin wife, which is upseting and rather disturbing.

my mother often says that the boy you decide to marry should come from a good family with a decent background and upbringing. earlier i used to scoff and tell her that it depends on the boy himself and has got nothing to do with his family, but i guess, i'm wrong. it does rely on the upbringing of the boy. boys often get influenced by the way their father treats their mother. if they are used to chauvinist dads or abusive ones and meek, ill-treated mothers, even if they are educated, a large part of them would expect their wife to be like their mom, while they assume the part of their agressive dads.

sometimes, parents treat and bring up their sons and daughters differently, conciously or subconciously. while they try to teach their daughters to be meek, sacrificing and caring, they let their sons get away with murder. this makes them think they have an upper hand over women and many of them may not give women the respect they deserve. this also sows seeds of a terrible epidemic called 'double standards'. while they enjoy at night clubs, party around with women, they think girls 'invite trouble' by enjoying at night clubs, going out with their friends.
its sad and disturbing that women have to curb THEIR OWN RIGHTS because of such cheap, double-standard men. its terrible that in a democratic country we are deprived of such basic liberties like walking safely on the road in the middle of the night!
note: this may not be related to 'Kanyadaan', and i don't mean to demean men. there are lots of mature, sensible men who do not have sick minds and are fair to all. they respect opinions, are trustworthy, along with being charming and witty.

16 May 2008

of exams and 'maricream'

bonjour monsieur, mademoiselle, madame, or whoever is reading my blog! this particular post shall be rather frantic in half english, half french as i have my french oral exam tomorrow! je aurai mon francais examen demain......blaggghrrr! forget it, i don't even think its gramatically correct............

qu'est qui ne va pas? je mal a la tete......i'm going maaadddd preparing for my upcoming final [important sigh], ninth standard examinations, we have two, or even three papers for most 'matieres' and to top it all, we're being told that our exams will be extremely hard/taxing/ long and that we'll probably flunk/ not finish it/ not 'crack' it! thanks.....that makes us all feel sooooo much better, especially since other kids are yelling their lungs out, shouting and frolicking in my lane, completely enjoying their 'vacances'.

plus, i have to stick around ten million mental notes in my mind so as to remember trivially important 'tips' for every subject * say 'merci' and 'bonjour' as frequently as possible, be as polite as a frenchman during your french orals*

'poissons' are supposed to be good for your brain, right? [fish, i mean!] well, to a certain 'fish-icream' called mari-cream has been invented, which, though doesn't carry a whiff of fish, allegedly carries all the useful proteins and is 'rich in flavour'........the only hitch is....its inventors, scientists of Central Institute of Fisheries Technology [Cift] are still waiting for entrepreneurs
or venture capitalists to buy/fund this project..........so it may take way for this product to actually come out in the market.......its still in the research and development stage of its product life cycle. if and when somebody buys the idea, they'll first have to conduct market research to 'anticipate the needs and wants of their target group in a changing and competitive environment' and before that they'll have to find their target group [fish ice-cream anyone?].....ahhhhh.....there's business studies pouring out of my nostrils [i already have a cold to add to the cream [pun-unintended]]

okay.....i better stop, or i may be asked to calculate the volume of mari-cream in a cone with the radius of........stop! stop!.....or maybe find the volume of it, if its concentration is 0.5 M and it has 10 moles...........okay......i've got to stop.........i'm babbling.....using precious internet time and space. you'll hear from me after my exams and there'll be sensible articles minus the nonsense and frustration...............bye! au revoir! merci de votre gentillesse!

caution: this is a pointless article full of the frustrations of a holiday-straved 14 and 3/4 year old.....read it in exchange of your sanity....

9 May 2008

The Great Divide

okay.....its not what you think from reading the title. It's about the suble [?], underlying [ahem?] politics in my school, which suddenly hits you when you have reached and/or crossed grade eight.
till the seventh standard, you frolic about with your set of 'best friends', weep on the last day of seventh standard on the last, huge '7A' class cake, promise your everlasting friendship, love and unending phone calls to all, and then.....
......you're in the eight......you pay small visits to your ex-classmates [ who have now taken ICSE/ IGCSE] for, about two days.....and then the ego inflates like a large baloon before our bosoms. you start calling your best friends, 'these IC's', or 'those IG's'.

you stop talking to, or even acknowledging each other by some invisible barrier [invisible from the other side of course] as each 'segment' thinks they're being targeted/neglected/ignored by the other.

Facebook groups prop up with 'YAY IG ROCKS' or 'IC BATCH ONLY, WE RULE' and all those asine groups you force people to join and make them part of your IC/IG war.

its not escalated to a really high level in my batch [or maybe it has, but i've not noticed as I acknowledge and receive acknowledgments from everyone I know, whether they're 'IC's' or 'IG's' or even peons].

Anyway, 'subtle bitching' actually, open taunts against each other prop up, or one 'segment' picks on a single child or group from the other. Some keep in touch with their 'other segment' friends but on a superficial, pathetically artificial level.

even during the farewell party we had thrown for the year tenths, the IC's and IG's were setting separately, pretending they never knew the other existed, pretending they had forgotten what wonderful times they'd had together with each other before these divisions came up.

on a large scale, this is exactly how wars take place.....we've divided ourselves.....the world into countries, into races, caste, creed, colour, and these divisions, the ego, lack of respect and logic for other people and their believes lead to war. To top it all, to add to the 'cream' GenNext, who are supposed to be the 'Olympics-torch-hope-flame' for the world are pettily arguing over minor divisions like the of class rooms and exam boards.....

Cheers to all the brilliant 'IG's' and 'IC's', you attend Model United Nations conferences, solve pressing issues, give [farcial] speeches on anti-war and anti-discrimination, while back at home.....hypocrisy.....you make distinctions and divisions amongst your own friends.......

20 Apr 2008


now for a small break from Russia......

we had a small puja at our hotel, New Vasantashram, last week......as much as my folks believe in it, though I'm not an aeteist, I despise pujas. You sit there, in front of an eye-burning fire, the smoke tearing your lungs apart, your body decked in finery and sweat......

after a few hours of sheer torture, it was time for 'pet pooja', ie, feasting.....we ate in banana leaves [instead of plates], heaped with generous portions of rice, puris, beans, 'saar' [spicy orange gravy to go with rice], raita, citrana [coloured rice]......hmmmmmm.............then it was time for dessert.....

my eyes sparkled at the mention of piping hot kheer, an excellent epilogue to the meal......the cook [a simpleton, I guess], poured the hot kheer on my banana leaf!!!!!! as much as I enjoy doses of video games, this was certainly not fun! I had to struggle to balance the liquid kheer on the leaf, without letting it touch the chutney or flow out on my pretty salwar-kameez AND try eating it at the same time ...... now that was challenge!

i struggled for ten minutes, rolling the leaf as a pipe, clipping the edge, tipping it this way and that, holding the struggling white vermilcelli and milk between my fingers [yes, there wasn't a spoon], while the 'bhatrus' [those who performed the puja] laughed, wobbled their hairy jelly stomach in bouts of roaring laughter.....

how i managed to get up with my legs asleep, without falling or spilling the kheer out is another story.....i won't bore you with that though!

8 Apr 2008


the next day, Monday, all of us were smartly dressed well-ironed formals. i felt like a pretty wannabe-secretary straight out of a Hindi movie, complete with black formal pants and a smart black blazer, straight black hair and an important looking file. but today, I was exceptionally nervous as i had to make my opening speech on behalf of the five of us representing Germany [in different comittees] in front of 300-odd delegates.

all the schools were seated country-wise [according to the countries we were representing in our comittees] in a huge hall in the place called the 'international bussiness center'. my hands were cold and I was shivering with anticipation. Coats and bags were piled on the walk-way and i was scared of tripping and making a spectacle out of myself [i've very accident prone you see]. One of our deputy secretary Generals was screeching in her piercing hawk like voice, "DAALLLLEGITS PLEASE MAANTAIN DECORAAAM, TAKE YOUR CHEERS" [delegates, please maintain decorum and be seated].

Finally, the opening ceremony started [after about ten-fifteen looooong, booooorrrrinnnngggg speeches that acted like sleeping pills for the coup of us]. the Secretary General was picking out chits as to which countries would deliver their opening speeches [in batches of seven]. my country, Germany was picked in the second last batch when I was virtually dying of anxiety. Finally, when it was my turn to speak, my shoes clipped noisily against the wooden floor of the stage and then i realized..... i was speaking to a bunch of half-dead, gum-chewing, ipod-listening people. most of them had curled up around the comfy seats and were peacefully snoring! Nevertheless I delivered my speech about peace and human rights along with quotes by Kofi Annan. i received congratulatory note from another delegation, and appreciation from a few of my classmates, so i was quite content by the outcome. two of my other classmates: a representative of Bangladesh and a representative of U.K. also delivered quite apt speeches [few of the only ones i could actually understand]. then there was this crazy delegate of Iran who made a rap song about his country which was ripped apart by other delegates. the delegate of U.S.A. went a step too far and said, " if you don't agree with us, we'll screw your country." which created quite an uproar.

post lunch, we were asked to go to our respective comittees for an informal lobbying session. one of my classmates and me were in the same committee: the ECOSOC, where we were to discuss the role of transnational businesses, steps to eliminate the negative effects of brain drain and ways to control urbanization. we could choose to sit on any table to discuss the topic we were well versed with and discuss our draft resolutions. on our table, the delegate of China and me were the only active [or rather hyper-active ones], so we merged our resolutions and saw that our merged copy didn't compromise with either of our policies. China, a developing country, and Germany a developed one, so our resolution covered areas to benefit both developing and developed nations. however, the other resolution had more signaturies [very clever] and thus more support.....we were anxious to see the outcome the next day...........

that night we had a delicious four-course Russian meal in a quaint Russian restaurant overlooking the beautiful winter palace. so, the day ended on a rather good note......

6 Apr 2008


The cold dark streets of Russia, with shady looking, mud ridden cars wizzing by, interlinked lanes shining under the moonlight, the occasional droning and drudging of the trams.....i felt like i was flying above them all....but this time I wasn't in Aeroflot, instead, I had my nose pressed against the huge, double-glassed windows of room number 6051 in a hotel overlooking an eerie street.

I had risen at around five in the morning [Russia time], taken a bath and was all ready for my [9' a clock] breakfast. my yellow bag was loaded with my camera, passport copies, money and a few creams and balms. everything was so unaturally quiet that i found myself drifting into a fairytale reveire only to be shaken by a gasp from my room mate who came to investigate the rather large shadow crouched behind the curtains.

Breakfast was a variety of cheese and breads and meat slices, omlettes, cottage cheese pudding [a rather sour delicacy], jam and chocolate tarts, muffins, juices, yogurt...cereal, milk.....whew!! [this sounds typical Enid Blyton] i had a little of almost everything, taking care not to load the imp in my tummy as we were geared for a rather long day.

half the schools had not yet arrived as the conference was to begin on Monday. So, all of us, along with our guide Cathy, visited quaint, historic cathedrals, an eerie graveyard with the busts of famous Russians, an expensive souvenir shop [we stopped here for a long time], the jaw-dropping winter palace, the cathedral of spilt blood and several yellow coloured buildings which gave dull, sun-less Russia a vibrant feel.

for lunch we stopped at a pizza place, where no-one [including the waitresses] understood a word of what we said. most of us chose a pizza with what looked like door knobs on them [they were actually pieces of chicken and mutton]. though I'm accustomed to eating veg fare, i was keen to try out new things since this was a once- in- a- life- time oppurtunity [and the veg food was rumored to be awful here] and as our rather irriated teacher told a bunch of fusspots, its a shame to have khakras and theplas in Russia. the pizza with goat cheese [which tasted like omlette according to Vivek, who generously handed me a piece of it] was absolutely lip-smacking.

We then traveled on a 150 m [or longer] escalator. Initially, i thought it goes straight ahead, so my heart skipped a beat when it took a sudden downward plunge. for around five minutes i couldn't see land and had Russian advertisements and smooching Russian couples on the opposite escalator to entertain me. We then stood before two rather large, automatic doors [ I initially thought they were elavator doors] which opened to reveal a train. the train whizzed so fast that i found myself swinging like a pendulam despite clutching on tightly!

we had the whole evening free, so after dinner at the Russian McDonalds, all of us curled up in a common room and watched AliG [wierd!] till we were dead bored and sleepy.
the first part of the next day, the morning, the breakfast, the bus journey was rather the same. two other schools shared the bus with us today and we were taken to another old cathedral, the winter palace again, but this time from the inside. the palace was beautifully done up and also had a throne for the king who died here [after he was assisnated near the cathedral of split blood]. it wasn't a really big room, since the king supposedly had a phobia for open spaces! we also saw the famous Hermitage muesuem which had masterpieces from some of the century's most celebrated artists!
in the evening, we attended a cultural programs, a mix of tradtional countryside music and lively dances, followed by an introduction a representative of each school had to make about the school they came from. each speech was a letdown, except the one made by the representative of our school, Ambika. Her speech was the only well-formed, well-thought out, elaborate one and I felt so proud seeing the Indian flag pop up in a powerpoint introducing each school from each country.
after this, we had an elaborate, four course Russian meal at an old university. all schools were seated at 'hogwarts style' long tables where we were given delicacies made of mushroom, grain, chicken, mutton....hmmm.....delicious. the vegetarians had to make do with rice and boiled vegetables, [but that's what you can expect in Russia, where meat is a real delicacy, and veg food has little or no place.] I was glad that I had experimented with typical Russian meals as there's no point fussing and cribbing about the food, its a part and parcel of traveling and visiting new places.
back at the hotel, most of us were given a dressing down for being terribly fussy and imprudent at dinner, so the day ended rather sourly for the fusspots!


I recently had a really tiring trip to Russia, with a few of my classmates and teachers to attend the Saint Pettursburg International Model United Nations, which was a big 'ooh-aah' for most of us as this was our first international conference ever!

Fifteen of us arrived [half-asleep] at the international airport in Mumbai from where our flight was to leave at 7. But, obviously, because of those stupid airport procedures we had be there around four hours early. To our displeasure, the arrival-departure boards we going besurk with the timings of our flight. Initially we discovered our Aeroflot flight was a day late, then it moved down to ten hours and finally to fours hours late!

After a rather dreamy breakfast [sheera acted as an energy booster for me] and hours of snoring and drooling on the airport chairs, we finally boarded our plane at 11 a clock in the afternoon. The journey from mumbai to moscow seem to take forever [not to mention the time difference trying to make it seem shorter than it actually was] and pillow fights [courtesty, Abdullah], endless sessions of whispering [I couldn't hear those dark secrets, of course] , a rather queer Russian movie and cloud-watching didn't seem to help at all. I tried falling asleep but was woken up by a low, groning voice, "Fish or Chicken?" [Uh! i thought they usually asked "Veg or Non-Veg"] and so, chewing slowing and cautiously like a cow [the food was tasty though] I spent the rest of my monotonous flight.

All equipped for the killing cold in a dark blue cap [with a large pompom of top and a bow around my chin], a huge red jacket, cosy gloves and a bright coloured scarf, I attracted sniggers from virtually everyone around me. We were out for barely a minute and then had to stand in the sweltering hot, crowded, creepily silent Moscow airport in a two hour long line! The airport was packed with people towering over us who were somber and silent and didn't even exchange stares or glares! we were the only ones chatting rather loudly till our turn came.

Of course, Aeroflot was as efficient as my [darned] printer yet again. The fifteen of us were split into two different flights, while our teachers were coming in another flight an hour later. After a good dressing down from our teacher, who was purple with choking rage, Aeroflot put us together in one flight which was supposed to leave from another airport three hours later. We boarded a bus, our hands red from the biting cold and clutching our slippery bag handles and reached the airport within half an hour for the rest of our relay race: to catch our last plane on time.

So began a one-hour-five-minutes [or longer!] ride to St. Pettursburg in a rather uncomfortable plane [the seats were as flexible as Prabu Deva and seemed to bend and dance in all angles]. By the time we reach our hotel it was two in the morning [so around four in Mumbai] and of course walking along the endless corridors all the way to our rooms [gasp! gasp!] took another hour or so. I vaguely remember floating along the corridor, sleeping [while walking] on the handle of my bag!

whew! a whole day of aeroflot and disturbed sleep! i shuddered to thing of the return journey.......


to all my blog readers, i'm extremely sorry for being slack and not updating my blog, but so many things were happening around me, that i just withdrew from blogging for some time. but now i'm starting all over again and i promise to update you with juicy tidbits every week....watch out....cause I'm back and my blog is going to be bigger and better than ever!