Ads - A world of their own!

I love Ads!

I was always noted for watching commercials in between, rather than the movies :-|
Seems the media does care for people like me. There is this program in Channel 5, "Sport Rockz",on Mondays 9.00 PM, dedicated to sports Ads :-) No irritating programs in between !!

These were my fave 2 from today's show!
First one is a dance Ad - Ballerina Vs Dancer

Second is on Football. You are gonna love this!

Am sure you are humming a tune by now :-)


My experiment with the wax!

When our parents were here, Dad found this beautiful book on candle making. He was browsing the library for a good candle making book, as Mom is very interested in this. On a weekend, we went "arts shopping" and made beautiful gel candles. I was so thrilled about it that later they sent me a big block of wax, to work on. Then on, making a square candle for our room has been in my to-do list. 
As part of making the weekend eventful, I attempted it yesterday. 
Since I don't trust myself to continue candle making, my thrifty mind does not want me to invest on 'must have' items like double boiler, wick holder or dedicated molds for candle making
I was saving the empty bottle of olive oil for quite a while to use as my square mold. I used a long tooth pick as wicker. Double boiler was an old sauce pan strategically held in place to get enough heat from boiling water in another bigger sauce pan! (Everyone says, never heat the wax directly on stove top)
If I continue to practice and perfect this, I will surely buy the gadgets soon. 

The only causalities were my last minute panic and screams to get assistance to keep my dummy wicker straight in the center. Of course, instantly Manu engineered a technique to solve the on-site technical glitches! (I think I made the right choice by marrying him)

It was fun making this beautiful little turquoise candle :) 


Cheer me up!

I am observing a new phenomena these days. The weekend is usually fun. But, as the week starts and we slip back into the normal schedule, I can feel the fun draining away & stress catching up. 
I attribute this to the extended commute these days. My present employer is doing quite well in Singapore. So well as to construct a new building. It has a new chic layout, compact desks, beautiful lobby, spacious balconies, all makes it good to go to work. The best part is the meeting rooms. They are spacious and bright and numerous. At least one side of the meeting rooms are full windows :-) Obviously, I am so glad because my work involves lots of meetings and it was struggle getting a meeting room booked in the old place. 
Now the 'But' part. The major issue is, the place is way too far from my home. I spend an hour each way in trains and bus. This commute directly eats into my home-time. No wonder I get so worked up. So far, Thursdays are the worst. That's when the weekly stress is max and weekend is not at the nearest. 
This Thursday, on my way back, I decided to stop by Harbor front and spend a solid hour to go see the people in the mall. I always felt that people look more beautiful  in the ambient lighting of this particular spacious mall. On the way to the cafe, I saw a small exhibition and I found this beautiful set of Kitchen towels. Its a gradient set of blue and green and turquoise & 100% cotton :-) Wasn't too expensive. Deal !! 

It was instant crush and I brought it. Immediately, I felt very happy and went home.
I can use the cafe-therapy next Thursday :-)
When I explained to Manu the reason why I was beaming when I came back home, his first reaction was disbelief! How can a person be so happy after buying kitchen towels ? I don't know, I never thought about it before.
Was it the instant satisfaction of spending money knowing that you get a desired output ? 
Is it the tangible element of the shopping results, in contrast to the intangible power inside your credit card ? 

Or was I unknowingly missing really beautiful kitchen towels ?  
What else am I missing ? Let me see where next Thursday takes me ;)


A week

I have been having a very rough week. When I look back, it seems like the toughest one I had in the whole year. To start with, not everyone back home are at the best of their health. I was also down with fever. Then, the throbbing leg pain forced me to consult a specialist. Thank God, he diagnosed it as an inflammation and nothing long lasting. But I have to spend precious weekend hours doing physiotherapy.
Then there were some totally unexpected set backs, which is still a challenge. I will have to take few tough decisions (life changing ? Naa, maybe temporary change) within the next couple of days. Finally, me and Manu were at a stage where we started thinking about our long term plans and took some.  But, the next morning we observed potential cracks forming in our 'stable' platform!
We were trying to cheer up and we prepared home-made chocolate yesterday night, to mark the weekend start.
The only good thing this week until now was that the scales showed that my weight had gone down by a Kilo :-) :-)
Today I was clearing my emails. My dear friend, Sita had mailed me the funniest link ever . It is a collection of many funny auto corrects
It made me laugh for 20 minutes plus, non-stop. Ofcourse, it took so long to read. I had to take breaks to stop myself from becoming a case of "She laughed herself to death". Literally, I could not breate, I had to grip hard to prevent from tumbling out of the chair.

Sita, you really made my weekend ultra light :-))


Airport Tragedy

In between the Bali posts, I want to share with you a very sad accident we witnessed at Changi airport. This is the worst airport tragedy I have ever seen. I sincerely hope this will remain the worst!

As an after effect of this accident, I could see the bonding between the "spiritual" brothren of the world. I have observed judgemental & racist people, especially in the airport where multitude of nationals come together. But, this adversity brought forward the unity among the humanity and everyone was trying to console the person who caused the wreck. I knew that I would have to face troubled night if I did not know what the guy had to pay for this. So, for the sake of self, I stood strong against the tired and sleepless me + feverish Manu to see the outcome. The group ended up purchasing many bottles of Ballantine's & did not have to pay for the broken one.

Still, What a terrible waste of spirit.
May this not repeat!


Bali - Go Ubud

We had our plans all set to go Rafting with Nickie & rest of our friends, once the dive camp is done. Usually the end of diving is associated with depression and strange behavior like trying to stay under water in the pool. So, the idea for going rafting right after the dives sounded good.. The activities associated with water is more exciting. But, Manu was catching cold and showing signs of fast approaching fever. So, we had to take the hard choice of abandoning rafting. But we still were planning to move to Ubud.
Since Divya and Seleena  recommended the Git Git falls, we thought of taking a detour to Singaraja, on our way to Ubud. We saw multitude of temples on the way. We stopped at Batur first. The place and people were getting ready for the major upcoming ceremony on the full moon, over the weekend! I still don't know what these people do for a living and a full time job. They are at a temple in the mid-day making some offerings!

As the hunger stirkes, we decided to stop at a place on the way. A very small and tastefully decorated place, which serves western and Balinese food.. Price is not too cheap, but the food was beautiful and delicious with generous portions. To top it all, the view was amazing! The restaurant is facing the sea :-) Would recommend you to visit this place, if you are near Batur. Restaurant name - Mar Puthu. Oh, they have free wifi too.

See the scenic route ...

As we travel to Git Git, I was talking to Gade (our driver) about the Balinese culture and beliefs. I was too curious that, even with the hell load of toursits and modernizations, how is this simple and religious life preserved in Bali? Is the younger generation as religious as the ones before? I even dared to ask him, do you find it a disturbance to have so many visitors here ? Maybe Bali and people need a break ?  His answer was quite simple. " We, Balinese, believe in Karma. If we do bad things, we will suffer.  There was a time when some Balinese had stopped going to temple or give offerings to God. But, they all had some disease or problem or bad luck; which taught us not to deviate too much from the old practices." He insisted on having more tourist coz he sees it as an opportunity to make Balinese get over the poverty!
Thats the key.. Belief and faith is what drives them!

Anyways, back to the landscape.. We reached the parking spot for the waterfalls. From there, a long walk is required to reach the falls. The path is quite beautiful with small common house, rice terraces and unavoidable souvinier shops. The falls and stream is very beautiful.. And seeing the statue of Gods right at the mouth of the waterfall, I couldn't help smiling.

Next stop is at Ulun Danu temple, quite beautiful reflections.  The place was misty and a bit cold. After Bali Kopi and snacks, we went into this small serene temple. (Ticketed entry at 30,000 IDR/ Pax )

Later, after an hour plus drive to Ubud we were reaching the location by night fall. I got a glimpse of the night life, fancy restaurants, shops selling wonderful clothes/ interiors.. We drove on to a quiter lane, with rice fields all around. I was wonderfing where my stay would be. When the driver was finding it hard to locate the place, I got a feeling that itz going to be a wonderful stay :-)

As promised by the owner at the home stay, it was a beautiful Balinese cottage in the very midst of a rice field !
Wait for the next post ..

Photo courtesy - Dragonfly


Bali - People names

If you have been to Bali or have interacted with Balinese people, you would have noticed that many Balinese have the same name. Most of you may already know the secret. But it made me go crazy at first. But now that I get the gist of it, I want to share it with the rest of the world. At Tulamben, the resort manager's name was Wayan. The driver who picked me up from airport was Koman. My dive guide was Koman, but his daughter was Wayan. The guy who picked Seleena and Jersey to join us for the dives was Madhe while the guy who drove us from Tulamben today is Gede. The owner at the homestay we chose is named Madhe, while the wife is Wayan!
Now, do you notice a bizzare pattern here? No!
But, do you see that most people have same names? Thanks God, Yes!
It is not a coincidence that all these people I came across have same names. But, it is intentional !
When we were having dinner at Koman's mum's place, he explains everything to us. The names are Gender Independent, which solves a big mystery. Then comes the norm for naming the kid. The first born "children" is named Wayan or Gede or Putu (I haven't met any Putu yet). Second "children" is named Madhe or Kadek Third born "children" is named Koman or Nyoman & fourth "children" is always Ketut.
We continued the rapid fire round with our questions.

So what about Fifth child ? Can you guess ?? The sequence repeats -- There comes Wayan ;)

So how do you address people in a group? What Koman say is, usually they have a calling name (Nick name), in each gang ! The friends decide the name to differentiate among themselves and use it.
What is your nick name ?
He is called 'Mojo' by his colleagues & 'Wayan' is seriously being nominated as 'Osama'.
How about surname ? Can you use that to distinguish?
Yes, but it might not be unique, coz for kids, parents chose a surname which they like.

Today when we were on the road, we saw a bunch of school kids and we smiled and waved at them. Then I heard Manu questioning himself. How does the teacher call for a single student in the class ??? How does she manage to do the roll-call ?

Bali - The east side

We have this trip planned for more than 6 months now. And this weekend we finally set off to Bali :-) It has been a while since we went under water. So we decided to do the diving part first. The best dive sites in Bali are towards the East. After a hell load of research and talking to many contacts, Manu found this amazingly pleasing budget resort called Puri Matha beach bungalows which is a dive resort. the major highlight is that the well famed USA Liberty Wreck is right in the resort beach ! Yeah, so before the divers start coming in from all parts of Bali, we get to go in first and see the wreck and marine life in and around it (minus the crowd)

The moment I called and talked to Wayan (the manager) I knew we are gonna like this place. The price is good, place is newly renovated with a few cottages added new and he is as friendly as any Balinese will be. From the few travels we have had, I have interacted with a lot of hotel staff. None of them have replied my e-mail saying - "I confirm your reservation. Me, the room and the staff are ready for you. We are waiting ". Tulamben in a long drive from Denpasar airport. As we reach around midnight & plan to dive and do nothing else for the next 2 days, we opted for pick up. When we met the driver, he immediately called Wayan and since it was 12.30 AM in the morning, I was greeted with a Good Morning from the other end of the line.
After the 2.5 hours drive, we reach Tulamben. Our cottage is right next to the beach and the pool. As we took a stroll around we could see a million stars and Manu pointed out the Milky way cloud for me :-) Too much excitement and I found it so hard to fall asleep ..

This is why we got a beach and pool view room :) 

The cottage where we stayed. Sorry for the eyesore sarong ..

The dive shop

I begin the morning with Balinese coffee. On the days I dive, it is difficult for me if I eat something. But for Manu its the opposite. He needs to eat more! Our dive guide Koman consoled me saying "My tummy feel strange when I eat and dive".

The dives were amazing(I can talk about that later). It was my first shore dive, but not so easy to do shore dive here as the shore does not have sand. It is completely covered with Volcanic pebbles of all size and shape. In between the dives, we rest in the shore and find some place to have lunch. Rest of them are finding interesting stuff to eat while I stick to my beverage buffet. Later comes Koman's little girl, Wayan(!) and friends. As in the rest of the world, kids are still scared of me! I wonder why.

She is the tiniest one in the blackNwhite dress & she so much wanted to swim in the ocean ! 

After the evening dive, we showered and found a small motorbike and went out for dinner. We went to the restaurant where Koman's mum works. We ate the grilled chicken and local fried rice which she made. I was telling Koman that its not so common to get to eat your mum-cooked-food in restaurant.

I have read about the Balinese snacks items.. which are small and short and sweet... So, the next day morning, we were planning to get to the market after our first dive and pick up some food. Later after the second dive, I could snack on them during the long break. But after the first dive, we did not have enough time and energy to go out. But, there comes Koman's wife with the food I was looking for ..
My food for the day

After the dives, we sit on the wooden outdoor courtyard near the pool and enjoy the rhythm of the crashing waves and I am writing this :-) Of course I took advantage of the pampering and calmness of this place & did nap in between. I was dreaming of a giant crab moving towards me, when Manu woke me up!
This is where I sit down to write/nap/enjoy the ocean, when I am not under water

Today morning I head to the restaurant to have a good breakfast. We are not diving today, but moving to next location, Ubud. Did I tell you, this restaurant is so far my fave place in the resort .. See it for yourself.

Bali is a touristy place and Tourism is the livelihood of the locals here. So obviously people will try to make a good profit out of each visitor. Haggle a bit and once you settle on the price, the service quality will impress you. The only issue we ever faced in the resort was that we could not find floor mats.

The trip is so far extremely good and satisfying. Tulamben has pleased us and set the expectations of rest of Bali, quite high. Sincerely hope that Bali will be a happy thought by the end of the trip :-)


Food Review - Santa Fe Tex Mex Grill

A tuesday, we went to check out some interesting city scapes after work.
I know itz not even mid week, but how I could not resist some restaurant food, when it was in such a proximity. I was in no mood to cook dinner later. Plus, I did work out during the day!
We decided to repeat our fave restaurant in Somerset. Yep! Time for some Mexican food. Its just next to Cuppage terrace. We love Fajitas and especially the ones @ Santa Fe. So, we didn't care to order or try any other mains. Do order one of it and I am sure you won't regret it!

The chimichangas are super delicious. Sorry guys, we finished them so fast that I had to take a snap from the menu.

Being this time of the month (Got the Pay-cheque 2 weeks back ), it is a bit expensive place.
But, yaay we were lucky to be going out on tuesdays .. 1 for 1 Mains :-)

Don't be disappointed even if you choose to go on weekends. You get free drinks. They have Erdinger too !

They have another outlet at Marina South Pier, which is in a boat. I have been to a birthday party hosted there. With ambient lighting and the waves and little swaying, itz a romantic place.


Moving on ..

I do remember talking to you all about the weightloss journey & the fat percentage. After a while, the scales were like on a break, resisting to move either ways. Stagnant as a rock, at the same number every time I step on.

These days, Mom and dad are here @ home and we get sumptuous amount of delicious mom-made, home-made food. Also, we have been visiting charming cafes & a few restaurants as part of the daily trips :-) (I do intend to write for you, about one of my restaurant. Soon... very soon). Naturally the scales had started going up little by little.

This week we have collectively decided at home that I have to get back on my weight loss track. In the past 5 days, I have finally overcome my emotional struggle, and have conquered the urge to snatch food from Manu's plate. Neither am I taking mid-night trips to the pantry when everyone else is asleep.
Today morning, it was so comfy to sleep that I skipped the walk. To compensate, today evening we are gonna skip shopping and go to a nearby park for picnic :-)

Maybe itz the healthy foods combined with "kilometers & kilometers" of walking (Mom & me have kind of made a pact to cover max number of shopping malls within this month!), the scales have started tipping down !

I will keep you updated :-) :-)


Sweet sweet life :-)

This post is dedicated to the biggest sweet tooth I have ever seen - one & only Vava (sweet little girl) of our family, Milu Ignatius:-)
It is not a surprise to anyone that I am a foodie & am totally glad about my passion, except for the fact that I need to cut down a bit now and again to bring down my weight to the goal limit. Of all the food & drinks, sweets take the last step in the ladder.
But, I vouch my whole life that only a few other food can match the satisfaction, the sweet explosions this heavenly wine infused Black Forest can create in your mouth. Until I had this cake, my fave sweet stop in Singapore was "Secret recipe". The first bite of this Black Forest from Canelé, topped everything!
Once, during my stay in Chicago, a friend of mine offered me a choice. Either to spend the time going up the iconic Sears tower Or to go for a Dinner& Dessert spree. We went to the Greek town for dinner, followed by a long ride for a drink at The Signature Room on the 95th floor of John Hancock tower & dessert at Cheese cake factory. Even now, when am writing this, I can feel the rich creamy cheesy feeling all over my brain. And I was so sure that no other cake in the world is so good.
But, I stand corrected!

This is the best piece of cake I have had until now.

I wish Milu would visit Singapore soon, at least just for this ..

A million Thanks to Nickie & Carol, for introducing me to Canelé.


The new vase

 I tend to buy Orchids on a weekly basis. And other than the beauty, there are a few reasons on why I choose them over others.
1. We get to buy varieties of Orchids at a very reasonable rate in the markets here.
2. In my calculation, they are the most economic flowers, as they last for a week in the dining chamber. Later, when we buy new flowers, I trim the oldies a bit and I can move them to my kitchen shelf
3. They fit in the slim vase, which doesn't take too much of a space from the dining table.

I love the look of Orchids on wine bottles. Manu comments its coz I tend to buy only few flowers to save money! The narrow vase is always my excuse for it. Anyways, as I keep looking at them again & again, I realize that they deserve a better look and I chose the one with this beautiful green-brown. Only now I need to remove the sticker to make it look better.
Ladies, the easiest method (if the wine label is attached with a sticker adhesive) is to soak the bottle in warm water . I filled the bottle with water, capped it and then immersed in a bigger vessel filled with hot water. It peels of so easily.

And here it stands :-)


Over cautious we are

This is not the first time I am coming across a totally unwanted sign. But, somehow the caution signs in Singapore haven't stopped amazing me.

How the push door is gonna open unexpectedly ?
Come On! It is a transparent glass door.
You can see if someone tries to open it from inside.
Even Manu gave up trying to find a logic behind it!

Y this pampering , my dear Singapore ?


The shocking percentage!

My Gym has a machine to check the body fat percentage and other sophisticated numbers related to health. After 3 months of workout and a weight loss of 5 Kgs, I had enough courage to step on to it and the result did blow my mind off!
Quite depressing numbers they were.

The BMI is still in overweight range, which is fine for me as now. Coz I know that by continuing my weight loss, I can steer it to the healthy range pretty soon. But now this new number - Fat Percentage is bothering me a lot! This one is way off the limits and am not ready yet to share it publicly.
Ideally, ladies are supposed to have a Fat% of 8-15. See what Wiki says.
The technique used was Bioelectric Impedence analysis. Only consolation I get is this statement:
"When comparing outputs from a Tanita scale to an Omron Body Logic handheld device the Tanita scale overestimated the percentage body fat in college-aged men by 40% and in college-aged women by 55%.[" My Gym has the Tanita scale! But, then on further browsing, I found this chart provided by Tanita Ltd. And hence I am officially obese!

The more disturbing process was the analysis where by the instructor was shell shocked. He was telling me that in his entire career,  my results is the first time he is coming across, with the Fat mass higher than muscle mass. This leaves me so very anxious about my health!
So, as usual, I did my research and the only solution is diet control (read - healthy food) & gain some muscle mass. So, I started the much dreaded weight training. Nickie & Eric are teaching me the correct form and different sets of work outs. Hope I will be able to see the % creeping down soon.


Oh! How much I miss all these ..

I miss all the fun we have in Kerala ..

The lush Greenery and the open space everywhere ..

The delicious street food with the tastemaker being the pollution :-)
Somehow, this tastes so much better when from a roadside stall.

The spontaneous fun we can find :-)

The commotion that comes out of no where, for no particular reason!

The long long train journeys, varities of Mangoes , The dark thunderous rain, Festivals, and loads and loads more ....


Paranoia Kicks in !

The trip to India has left me emotionally very weak and paranoid.

I heard too many incidents on cancer, tumor, vital organ failures and many other fatal diseases. Surprisingly, this is affecting people in my age group, which makes the impact harder. As Priyanka put it right during a discussion yesterday, few years back Cancer was a disease which affects people whom we do not know.

PS : This gets a special mention here coz this is the First ever sensible statement from her, from the time I met her !

But, these days every other person has lost a relative or friend to these chronic diseases.
I have given a lot of thought to it and came up with some actions to execute ASAP.

• Make more people aware of these, and hence the post.

• Grapes - The first fruit we always pick up while shopping. But, seems it is the crop most sprayed with insecticide. So, at home, Mom soaks it for 4 hours in salt water and rinses it. I plan to make Manu do those, if he ever buy grapes!

• Just out of curiosity, I soaked the apples in water over night. I notice a white colored substance sticking all over the the peel! I have decided -Am always gonna carry a peeler whenever I carry apple for snacks. I still don’t know how to remove the wax coating from apples. So, I always choose the apples from the not-so-beautifully polished basket, sitting next to the Red-delicious shining ones.

• Cabbage always tastes delicious with brown rice & Mom taught me an easy recipe. So, it appears very frequently in my kitchen. I heard a shocking fact from Raigon. Since cabbage grows layer by layer, each leaf will be sprayed with the pesticides! My budget is still not big enough to allow me to go to organic shops. So, I decided to reduce cabbage consumption. And even when buying, I should buy the small ones, rather than gigantic ones. Also to wash each leaf thoroughly.

• Chemical reaction which plastics have with warm food never occurred to me until Manu’s Dad explained to me. So, all those beautiful containers are tucked away in the cabinet and we are using only glass or porcelain dishes to microwave/ store/ reheat the food. I find it challenging to bring lunch in glass dish though. Maybe should go back to the old style steel containers to pack lunch.

• I have started cooking regularly- you must understand that it is daily. This gives me control on the ingredients, how many times I wash them, no re-use of the oil, cook hygienically. We had more than enough street food, the snacks fried in zillion times reused oil combined with the dust and dirt from the polluted road side . Aah.. How delicious they are!!

• We have decided to have dinner from home every day, at least on week days. Probably we should schedule dates like once or twice a month to eat out. Lunch is still a challenge, coz even if I cook extra for the dinner; somehow we are left with nothing for the next day. I should improve upon my estimate. I have decided to stop my take away lunch, from Monday on.

• Most of the patients I heard are neither drinkers nor smokers. So, I am going to investigate on the positive effect of alcohol and tobacco to fight against these diseases. I believe in the theory “Innocent until proven guilty”.

• Travel more frequently and actively. What if I die before visiting Grand canyon, Puerto Princesa , Manarola village & the Jaisalmer desserts. And do whatever else I have ever wished so hard.

• Re-visit my insurance options. One friend’s insurance money ran out by the first phase of treatment & he is still pending the Liver transplant :-(

• I am still debating with Manu on Why should we have savings .
What if we save money & still get some disease. Will have to give whole load of money to doctors, which in turn won’t be enough and then I would still die of the pain. Then, what’s the point?

• And the ultimate question. What if I am actually diagnosed with the disease? What should be the next step?

• Think further, what are the critical points I have missed out until now.


Color Color which Color ?

Maybe itz some sort of personality disorder, which has finally revealed itself. These days, I have started having a strange affinity towards bright & fluorescent colors and bizarre patterns. Itz quite shocking to myself and others who know that I am always inclined towards black clothes and dull accessories! Last time when parents were here, after the first week they thought that my company might have rules to wear only black or grey to work ! ;)
Anyways, just wanted to let you know that the colors have entered my wardrobe some how!

Which one do u like better ?


Encounter with the Bath tub

While planning the trip itself I knew that this is meant to be a bit more painful than the rest of the holidays. In this post, I am not gonna talk about the emotionally disturbing times which are going to occur soon when my little nephew leaves, and then later when we return to Singapore. But, only the physical ache.
My pain tolerance level is so high that I start feeling the pain when I see someone else is bleeding. I am scheduled to undergo wisdom teeth surgery today afternoon! So, everyone in the family is quite convinced that the night time fits and sleeplessness I have these days are mainly coz of the thought of the surgery. We planned to reach home 2 days before the surgery to spend some pain free, happy time with the family. Sadly, it is not that pain free any more.
In India, it is quite common for us to walk bare foot, especially in religious places. So, by the end of the first day, my feet are quite dirty. Not out of habit, but out of necessity, I had to scrub my feet clean
I clearly remember leaning over the bathtub to reach for the scrubber. And then the Bam!#*! Next thing I know is that I am on the floor with the pain shooting from my face. As I try to scan a mental image, the first thing that hit me was, Wow, the bathroom is quite big. I am laying whole length on the floor and still the door is sooo far away. I am not even inside the bath tub! As I opened my eyes, I saw the blood gushing out of a small deep cut in the knee. I could see the deep red marks on the shin bones and feet where it had hit the tub and eventually the floor. I had to take a minute to compose myself to lift up and take a look at the mirror. I saw the unexpected. The right side of my face is bloody!! The corner of the eyebrows is the origin and I could not feel the pain from the cut coz of the impact my face had on the floor.
My right cheek bones are prominent now. I have heard that having prominent cheek bones is a sign of beauty, but am sure itz not the case with my face, especially clubbed with the purplish blackish ring around my eye. I hate the fact that in a single moment, I did so much damage to my body that it hurts from the Feet to Leg to Neck to Face!
The only fun I am having out of this is when people visit and enquire about my unsightly face. I make the most dramatic expression possible and sadly tell them that my husband is beating the hell out of me! As they turn and stare unbelievably at Manu, I enjoy the startled look on his face!


My Update - It might be motivation to you :-)

Guys & Gals ...
I have a wonderful news to share. After 3 months of dedicated work out & almost sticking to my diet, I am starting to see results.
My face has become smaller.. My chubbier cheeks have returned to being just chubby ;)
I can run a bit faster and I don't need pause to catch breath while running to catch the bus. So, I get to be on the same bus as my friends
Well, (Here you have to imagine me jumping up & down) The scale is showing 4 Kilos less.
Another point to note here is that the scale is static for the last 2.5 weeks. Stupid thing is not tipping down! But somehow I can fit into few of my old clothes! Maybe my muscle mass went up!

People at work have started noticing & the ladies are coming to Me for weight loss tips and Motivation. Since I have done whole load of research on this area, this is one thing I can help everyone with.
Major fact - I have not gained weight during any of the 3 vacations I had this year. I plan to keep the strategy on for rest of the year :)

I am going to India tomorrow for multiple reasons.
Thatz where I should be wearing my Salwar suits and maybe Saree too. Hopefully, I can fit into the clothes which I had from 2011 beginning. Then, I can escape shopping, especially for bigger clothes. If I do not go shopping, I will get to spend more time with my li'l nephew ..

See, I knew there were multiple benefits in losing weight ;)

If you were thiking about starting work out & getting fitter, just start on it right now !
Get Moving !!  


The App that revived my heart beat

Last evening, the power button of my phone stopped responding, and so did my heart. How it happened is still a mystery. Who is responsible for the destruction is still questionable. I am still working on the case.
My phone almost always remains in silent mode. Mainly Coz I believe the phone is for me to contact people, when am in need. I am quite popular for not picking up calls (I don’t realize it is ringing 95% of the time) and not responding to messages. Even Manu does not list me as his emergency contact.

Poor Manu was contacting me for emergency (Read - To locate me and pick me up from wherever I was lost). I had reached home earlier and conveniently forgot to inform him. Itz customary of me to carefully place (dump) the phone somewhere, as soon as I reach home. The phone kept ringing & as part of silent mode, this thing kept on vibrating until it finally plunged to the floor. My visualization involves the phone diving deep with head first & the power button absorbing the impact of the fall. End result: The display is not cracked, but the damage is done. The Power button does not respond.

The suspects:
• Manu – The guy who kept on calling. Shouldn’t he realize that I am not picking up for a reason?
• Nexus I – For the irresponsible jump it had with head first.
• Me – Since I was sick & tired, I made the mistake of forgetting about the phone & Manu!
• My carelessness (Manu insists this), which I clearly don’t see anywhere in the picture!

Anyways, later when Manu reached home and helped me to locate the phone, we found it in a coma state. It wasn’t responding to my multiple desperate attempts to turn on and bring it back to life.

The major problem, which I have never given a thought about, is that there is only one interface to wake up the display And/Or power up the phone. Through the night I prepared myself to spend a fortune on a new hand set. Which means, I will have to give up on the next travel plan :-(

But, over the past year, Winson has taught me ask as many questions to a problem as possible. Here goes my line of thoughts -
Am I the first person encountering this problem? How did others fix it? Do everyone spend money for that? Do everyone go back to HTC and get this repaired? Well, are the spare parts even available? Google had stopped production of this handset almost a year ago. My last hope was colleagues who frequently travel to China. Later, my faith in Android developers beckoned me to search the net.

And Yaay !! Engineers are awesome! Thank you Guys!

You can trick the nexus one to boot up, by following the below steps:
1. Plug the phone into the USB attached to your computer.
2. Then pull the battery.
3. When the charging light goes off, reinsert the battery
4. If it doesn't work the first time, don’t panic (like me) Keep trying.
5. It took me 4 tries to see the result – ultimate wakeup.

Once it is boot up, go to the Market & search for the apps which will tweak other keys to do the power on. I tried these 2 on my Nexus One & they are great, no-nonsense apps which serves the purpose.
Fix Broken Power Button (I love this name, so I am sticking to this)

also seems popular.

Apparently, this problem will hit the Nexus users eventually coz of the design. This final revelation adds a major candidate to our suspect list.
• Google! Coz of the poor design.

Did the cable between the power button circuitry and Main board get damaged yesterday?
It could just be a coincidence that maybe I had just kept it down on the floor, of all the space in my home!


Bangkok Bang !!

At the very first thought, Bangkok is so far the most interesting destination I have been to. A reasonable argument could be that I am doing a recollection just within in 12 hours after the trip.

For a friends trip, the expectations were set very high, after our last ‘expedition’ to Surabaya. But Bangkok has reset those levels & have raised it to a whole new all-time high satisfaction index. This is definitely a place to re-visit & wish I could get more than a weekend, next time.

The city lives just for the reason that tourists can enjoy. The effect of multiplying the potential of this city with the untamed corruption is explosive. The channels the Thai Bahts can open is endless! Shopping is so amazing out there. The more you want to buy, you just need to walk a bit more. There is almost nothing that you can't get in BKK.

People, Bangkok is definitely the best which Asia can offer to compete with the Vegas phenomenon! Some guys from the trip were so adamant to rename it to the “City of Angels”.

As and when I get time, I will be writing about how much I hated this city the moment we stepped out of the airport. And later how quickly we could learn the system & it transformed almost magically to an enticing destination. Due to privacy protection laws, I will not be writing about a few happenings ;) 
But for guidelines, please do e-mail me & I can direct you to the experts!


Why Singapore always Busy ?

Majority of the people living in Singapore are always busy, always in a rush.
To attain something unique, to reach the sales first, to grab the first row in the gym class, To grab the free seat in the train .. I have been amazed at the crazy pace at which Groupon sells and the flight tickets get sold out .. In Minutes!!
This is what I deem as Singaporean culture.
I never agree with people who say that Singapore, being a relatively new found land and a multicultural city state, does not have a culture of its own! We are a highly competitive, aggressive and pro-active nation. Singapore, with just the man power, has struggled a long way to be deemed as a major Metropolis. Proud to say that Singapore has earned it place and respect in the world!
These are the up sides of it. But, I wonder at times, has the bad sides of this started showing? Can this small place handle this much population and aggressiveness? The increasing number of mistakes and accidents I witness these days is seriously concerning.

Why couldn't this guy wait a few seconds more until the bus goes by?


See where the evening walk is leading us to!

A few weekends back, on a Saturday afternoon we were out for the customary "long walks". One of our favorite targets for such walks is the Queenstown library. Perfectly far from home, vast space to relax, cushioned chairs and BOOKS !!
The travel section is a must-stop. But then, the next trip was (not the tense) gonna be Bali and that's quite far away. The guy came around with the gleaming eyes and kept ogling at the SE Asia section. It took me a second to set eyes on his subject. And then a second more to say Okay!
Couple it with the weekend cycling at Ubin with a crazy bunch, I got busy very soon, booking 7 tickets to BANGkok !


The Joy of childhood

The bliss and carefree moments of childhood ..
Am afraid I do not have good enough words to write about it. Even the pictures aren't doing any justice.
These are from my nexus, promise I will go on a photo shoot later on ..


I CAN Run !! So can you ....

People! Remember, yesterday night I was quite disappointed with the self.
After writing, I thought I should really go on that walk. There is a 2k trail right beside my place. The guy was busy with something else, so I went walking with music. Well.. After a while I got bored with walking and thought maybe I should run so I can reach home early. So, I started running….

And for the first time in my entire life, I ran 2.5 K without stopping! I did not have to take my customary stop every minute!! I couldn't believe myself! I realized, running ain't that bad as I thought before. This set me to thinking.. Why I used to hate running. I have so many friends who share with me, the extreme dislike towards running.

I have BIG news for all of you who hate running.

Actually, we don't hate running! None of us! We just dislike it because we are unable to do it. Itz the very basic human nature to get away from things which make you feel negative about the self. For me, running was a topper in such a list. But, with the regular hourly work out in the gym, somehow my stamina has built up. After yesterday, I am not anxious any more about running.

The secret for running/jogging is to build up your endurance beforehand. I never had this approach before and no one gave me this tip. Maybe there are a set of people who build up their stamina through running. But, for us who are demoralized by the very act, this isn’t the way. Our path is a bit different. We just need to pick our favorite work out, slowly increase our own threshold & then try running on a highly motivated instance. Just remember to stretch before and after, so that you don't injure your legs.

I am looking forward to have a good run over the weekend, in some new park or so..


O' Coffee Club

I left work today with plans to go shopping. But, then both of us were hungry. We just wanted to go to a quite place for dinner and we headed to the coffee club in Holland V.
The place is good & food is delicious, but the service is too late.

I ate the two whole pita pockets & side salad by myself!
Thatz okay but,  Do you notice the fries in the picture ??
I finished them too :-(
And the worst thing is I hadn't even wanted it! I kept talking and eating and didn't realize until the end.  
Forgot about the no fast food thing !!
Even today's workout was not that intense.

May be I should go for a late night walk, just to ease my guilt!


Singapore outings - Pulau Ubin

I have this impression that if you live in Singapore for a couple of years, it is lame if you did not spend a day in Pualu Ubin. So, during the last long weekend, when it was a not-so-sunny day,  I geared up with a set of friends to explore Pulau Ubin. 
The bumboat starts from the Changi ferry terminal in the Changi village. Its a $5 boat ride, return. There ain't any schedule, the boat leaves as and when it gets to 10-12 people. For $2, you can take own bikes to Ubin, on the boat. As you reach the island, you can see many bike rental & surgery (whatever it means) shops. The bike rentals range from 7-20$ for a day's rental.
Did you notice the board in Hindi?
Should I specially mention how glad I felt :-)

The major thing you get to do there is cycling through the blue, black and doube black diamond trails.

The quarries on one side of Ubin are quite a sight and a windy place to catch your breath.
It is worth to lug your cameras and tripods over, as well.

Since we live in the west end of Singapore, I had no intentions of going all the way back to Ubin. But, how can I leave Singapore without seeing what the Chek Java Wet lands are?
So, I started forcing the guys to ride to the other end of the Island. We didn't plan to cycle for so long, but we spend a good 4 hours on the bike. We were pretty famished, but had nothing in stock except a couple of calorie bars. There is an old shop-house on the way, where they serve lunch. It was well into the afternoon when we reached there. So, they were out of food. But, their canned beers are cold enough to fuel the cyclists :-) The old uncle is kind enough to give you free biscuits as well.

As we reach the wetlands, there is an information office. You are not allowed to take your bikes after this point. You can just leave it out there with the rest of the bikes and walk the rest of the distance. There is a viewing tower at the start of the wet lands. You can see all the way up to Pulau Tekong from up there. While some of us went up, few guys stayed back and peeled a coconut and finished it.
All over the wetlands, there are thousands of teeny crabs and other tiny little creatures over there, lots of shade to relax.

By the time you reach the Jetty, you would be hungry and tired, but I recommend you to curb your hunger for a little while more with the drinks. As you reach back at Changi, walk a bit further after the car park to the Changi village food court. End the wonderful day with the Hyderabadi Dum Biriyani or the Penyet stall next to it. People! believe me!! it is worth the wait!
I am planning to go all the way back there just for the food ;)

If you aren't that hungry, head to the food court at ECP for Chilli crab, to finish the Singaporean day.

Have you been to Ubin ?
If yes, Let me know how your day was.


I love this picture as a postcard

I took this picture when I was in Detroit during 2010 Autumn.It always feels like a post card to me..

Among seasons, I love Autumn the most !
The auburn colors entice me ..

A few more clicks from the set.

Have a good week, Folks !



A small cafe tucked in the inner streets of the city. On weekends, Tom N Toms is a quiet place for coffee and fresly baked pretzels. People can peacefully get their work done, or catch up with their reading and people like me can enjoy the food and drinks & be content by watching other people ;)
Oh, by the way, we get free wifi there.

Originally from South Korea, their Singaporean outlet is in the Icon building in Gopeng street. We stumbled upon this place on a sunday morning exploration.

The staff says the place gets busy during the week and on evenings.
Coffee is the same as we find in other spots. But I ain't any connoisseur & I was drinking regular cappuccino.
The pretzels are what make the people come back here.They have a hand full of variants. You can have either normal pretzels or stuffed ones.
We chose almond pretzel & wanted caramel on top. The caramel dipping sauce comes as an extra, for a Dollar. The quantity and price is a bit too much to pour on a 5$ pretzel.

Love they way they prepare the pretzles right in front of us.
Try the Cinnamon apple for the sweet tooth!