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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

eAuthor -Oxford bookstore

Hey

Wanted to share with you last evenings experience.. I got a mail from Hema,of caferati that the e- Authors award function is happening at Oxford bookstore, and so i thought i should chk it out , just to get an idea of what is out there and maybe get some tips from the writers and i am glad i went..

Apparently this e-author contest has been going on for 4yrs but this is the 1st time i am hearing of it,probably cos its the 1st time its happening in Chennai, since the store opened only recently.

Got to the store around 6.30,couple of mins before the function began. Mr Chandra,head of sales Oxford store spoke a bit and then Mr Sivanand of Readers digest spoke about writers at Digest and his take on some of the
stories by the winners and that they are going to be releasing a suppliment containing the winning stories in Feb & March 2007.

This time around,three ladies were winners.. They had written about 5short stories each and came out winners from about 5000 odd total entries.. After the prize giving ceremony, we were served Tea in glass tumblers,true Cha bar style and also offered cookies.

The 1st prize winner was Madhulika from delhi,she works as content writer at NIIT knowldege services ,1st runner up was Uma Girish from chennai,a stay home mom and long time writer( i have met her earlier, at our 1st readmeet and again at british council poetry circle meet),she is into non fiction writer and is currently looking for a publisher for a novel she has written... and the 2nd runner up was Srividya,who is away at Harvard doing her Masters, her parents had come to collect the award and her father spoke about her writing career, how it began and how his wife was the one to have encouraged her and the reason behind her success.

Post the ceremony, we got a chance to interact with the winners.. Spoke to Madulika about her work,writing and how she went about the stories,etc,just to get an idea on how to develop on some thoughts that pop into my head that i lose not knowing how to lay out into a story.....

All in all, i must say this was an evening that gave me hope , and was an inspiration for all budding writers....

For more info about this contest and to read the winning entries, you can logon to the url
http://www.oxfordbookstore.com/oxfordonline/services/e_author/index_e...

Happy reading ...... Happy writing.. more strength to your penss....

love n smiles
Aaarti :)
Tues, Dec 19 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Queen of Dreams...


Was reading this book called Queen of Dreams by Chitra Divakaruni, the book that is all about Interpretation of dreams where the main Protagonist not only dreams about herself but about other's lives too..

Had been talking about this book with my granparents and reading them excerpts fom the book,when gramma suddenly said "dont think this is all fiction, its not, dreams do come true". This made me think, "is it really possible", cos i had always thought dreams were more of fantasy and things we wish happened to us or some that came to us for no reason...

Gramma went on to explain about this one dream she had and still had up till last June/July.. Apparently her mom had a baby boy after her, but the baby died couple of days later and she hadnt even seen the baby, was told that he was fair, cute looking and had a mop of curly black hair..

Since then, she has had the dream of a baby boy,either playing about, or walking,crawling or doing something or the other and every time she dreamt this dream there was a birth in our family.. She had this dream everytime she got pregnant(with my mom n uncle's) and again when we were born too(me,my sis and cousin) and she smiled when she recollected how she had this dream suddenly last year around June/July and kept wracking her brains saying "there is no one who is about to have a kid in the family or is likely to have", cos my mom n aunt were done having babies :-) and Delhi uncle,well,there was nothing brewing there(or atleast thats what we thought).. and a couple of weeks later my Delhi uncle came over to tell gramma that they were adopting a baby and thats when Lakshmi came home. I was in awe and dint know what to say... Wow, who would have thought such things happen... Amazing...

There are some parts in this book where the author describes how certain images, things in our dreams are directly related to something about to happen in our lives.. and i think now i am beginning to believe in them too ....

For more about this book, check out

http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/books/queen_of_dreams/

Monday, December 11, 2006

Blore it is.. alas trip came to an end...3

Day 5

Couldn’t sleep much and so was up by 7… lolled abt in the bed and finally got off.. showered and had breakfast and that was when vincent sms'd asking if we can meet for lunch or coffee n i said lunch, so he said,ok and that rajesh(don,the guy i met in chennai) mite also come...around 11, I was off with lalli to drop her off at DH and then roam around a bit till it was time to head to Forum, I had said ok for this place cos I’ve not been there and wanted to chk it out.. I picked up 2T’s,1 for preeti n other for me with a tiny paw print in front and a bit bigger one on back..kinda cute.. preeti’s is black n mine is Grey..

So I got to FORUM at 1, and was looking around the stores- Westside,archies,landmark and LUSH(amazing store,it’s a store from UK, that has all organic soaps,body wash,shampoos,massaging soaps,etc and the entire store smelled divine,,,yummmmmy, but it was too pricey,so looked around and got out) and by then vince called asking where I was…and we met up, more chit chat as we waited for Rajesh to reach, apparently he hadn’t been to Forum before either…Vince said it was a good thing, cos otherwise his wife would have emptied his pockets..hehehe…

We then went up to the Foodcourt and I chose Mexican,and we had Quesedilla, and the guys had Tacos n lemonade,that tasted like some concentrate and nothing like lemonade. ;)

This is when things got interesting,, Vince mentioned that Anu was in town and then she called in a bit saying her conference was over and wen she heard I was there, she started screaming saying “I wanna meet u all,i don’t want to spend another min here”..hehehe..

then she asked if we could pick her up then called again saying she will come on her own.. since it will take her an hour n vince had some work, he said we could go to his office n wait.,his office was jus across the st from the other entrance on Forum, nice place… Me,rajesh(don) n him were there till anu got to forum..vince called her wen it was nearly an hour and madame said she was in a green saree and was in Forum basement in a car… So Don n I scooted over to Forum, where we found her in Landmark, Don had some work to finish,press release, so he went to do that and we did more window shopping there.. I bot some earrings for Preeti at Nik Nash,madame wanted stuff from there..

And vince called saying he was done with work,and will pick us up outside Forum, we walked out,and waited for him in front of an Apt complex next to Forum,that apt was SOO HUGEE , I liked it but instant dislike the min I saw a NO PETS ALLOWED sign… yuck!! Wat kinda place was it…

From there,we headed to MG Road n decided to explore some while Vince finished his meeting, so off we went to Brigade road,n decided to go sit in barista.. had a coffee there n Anu called saroja asking her to come meet us, she also wanted to buy a salwar n change but by the time we could do that Saroja n rajesh got there n vince was also done with meeting. CHAOS CHAOS everywhere..hehehe… so we all huddled into Vince’s car n drove around a bit n finally went to 100ft –Boutique hotel on 100ft road,near aunt’s house in Indra nagar…

The whole eve since we met Anu was spent ragging her non stop ,..hehehe..the poor thing kept screaming and she kept pinching, slapping vince n later I got some too… ouch ouch, it hurt… kept calling her teacheramma.. ;)

There we ordered some drinks – fresh lime salt, ginger ale, sweet lime n brochettes since Vince said he was going for sugar test n had to fast for 12hrs n Don had to go home n make up for missed lunch n dinner n we dint want anything heavy… so we ate that n it was nearly 9.15 n anu was getting jittery… so we said, aiyo pavam, poor thing, and headed to the airport, dropped her off n I got back home…. phew, what a day it was….

Day 6

Last day of my stay..L woke up feeling beyond hungry thanks to no dinner, and so showered and had an early lunch with bua n uncle at 10.30.. packed and got everything ready.. then went with bua to a sale held by her parlor lady..and then back home, had T n headed to the station.. too much traffic n gramma was ready to freak out… but anyways, train was in 1st platform n so we dint have to walk a lot.. and now back home….

Phew… am tired…. After all this writing, thinking, racking my brains to fig out wat I did over the week…. ;)

Blore it is.. 2


Day 3

Tuesday, the day I was looking fwd to.. Cos in the eve we had Mehta’s reception and then we were off to hosur… had spoken to my uncle asking abt Taxi, but around noon on tue, he said I shd just take their car n driver, cos it would be safer and was just till wed noon and they can manage… So,one problem solved.. went about the day and got ready around 5, n left home around 5.30 to Hotel Grand Ashoka ,near Race course.. had to fill gas in the car before that and finally reached the venue.. It was a huge place,all lit up and looking grand indeed ,after abt 10mins,anita called saying she is on her way and she be there in less than 20min, but reached after 25-30mins.. I was jus loitering abt cos I dint know anyone but Shweta’s immediate family, got to speak a few words with her before anita came,when shweta n her sis arrived in the car all decked up.. After anita came, we went into the reception hall that was a lawn converted into a hall ,lavishly decorated… Chit chatted with shweta, met her friends, talking to them a bit , gave her the gift and made a beeline for the exit .. managed to grab a few starters before we headed to the car to make our way to Hosur…

Caught up on whats been happening during the car ride n reached Hosur in abt an hour n 15mins, since we had the map from the invite, made it to the hall with no hassles just as the reception was abt to end.. said hi To Reena rungta who’d come with her hubby,2nd daughter-Prerna and mom, then went n took pics with meenal n Ram n then went to have dinner in the basement dining hall..There we met Meenal’s colleague from E&Y Smriti,who stayed with us at nite n left next day with her hubby who’d flown down from Delhi…

Were at the mandap till abt 11,and were pretty tired..meenal who had gone to have dinner was still missing, so we ventured to the dining hall and dragged her outta there and asked her abt our stay… She spoke to her sis n asked us to wait a couple of mins, during which we helped her out of the heavy jewellery n saree she was wearing into a salwar n finally got the Go ahead, to go to the hotel where Reena rungta n other guests were staying.. we hopped into our cars n got to the hotel.. It was called Hotel Sivaranjini, her jiju was there waiting for us… we then got into our room, Room no.313 with 3beds and a tv and a lovely view.. Too tired to do anything, we jus changed and crashed..>Smriti had some work to do, so I was chit chatting with her a bit as she worked on her laptop and then I dozed off…Bzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Day 4

Next morn I awoke around 6.30 jus as Smriti’s alarm went off.. we then got our wedding clothes ready and took turns showering n getting ready..1st time I helped someone else tie a saree, and told Smriti who was leaving early to double chk it with the beautician..;) that’s how much confidence I had in my skills..hehehe

After a couple of mins,I woke Anita up, she got up around 8, and then got abt getting ready by which time I was all ready… called Reena n went across to her room to give the dress I had bot her daughter,chit chatted with her mom for a bit by which time anita had gotten ready,packed and was out with all our stuff n ready to go. ;o)

We headed to the mandap, n I headed straight to Meenal’s room, where smriti n Seema(beautician) were getting her ready.. helped them out and came out with meenal.. by which time reena had also come.. we then went n had bf.. after that, jus sat n watched the proceedings..vidya also came by then… once the main wedding was over, all took pics with the newly wed couple, we did the same too.. oh,gave her the voucher too..hehehe… was making fun of how she used to be back in school,etc and how she has changed now,all girly girly…

Anyways, once all the hulla bulla was over, we were jus buying time and waiting to scoot from there.. but her sis insisted we have a quick lunch and so we obliged … J we left the mandap around 12, and went to the school run by Vidya;s aunt ,called Siddhartha village school, that is located abt 2kms from the hall and surrounded by hills n lush greenery… was a sight to see… spent some time there, looking around, changed out of wedding attire and by then it was nearly 1 and we decided that we better head back to Blore..

Reached blore around 2.30, and parted ways with anita.. she went to Dell to spend time with Gautam and then meet his parents n I got back home.. OH,we took a nice nap in the car, jus couldn’t stay awake… I got home and was lazing abt, dint do anything.. that nite we ordered out dinner and enjoyed the Rumali roti’s and sabzis..

Again, I crashed around 10.30..guess I dint realise how tired I was…

Blore trip... the saga begins... 1

A week in Cool city

It had been a while since I traveled and using my friend’s weddings as an excuse I decided to spend some time before and after in Blore.. I knew it would be a fun trip cos normally when I go there, I have a lot of fun and enjoy myself and am away from home, so no hassles for a couple of days.. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss home, I do, soo much.. keep sms’in mom and talk to granparents whenever I can or they will call to find out how I am doing and ask me if I really need to stay on for so long and not return right after the weddings… J

I left chennai on 3rd Dec, woke up nice and early at 5,and was off to the station by 6.30am by an auto.. Hopped into the train and waited for the journey to begin.. Its always frustrating while going somewhere cos we keep wishing the journey wouldn’t be so long and while returning it seems like we came back too soon.. wonder why??

Anyways, the train was on time, give or take a couple of mins, reached Blore Cant at 1pm,much ahead of the scheduled time, and I dragged my suitcase, with its wheels wobbling and whining at the uneven flooring in the platform and lugged my bag and made my way to the city that always makes me smile and look fwd, primarily bcos of its cool weather… After haggling with an autowala and finally hailing one that would come for a fair price, I looked fwd to heading home and begin my vacation… Got home,and was welcomed by aunt ,granma anc Rajan who were full of smiles and said they had been waiting for me.. hehehehe… guess they dint know wat was in store for them ;)

Day 1

After having lunch and informing those at home that I have reached safely, my cousin Lalli told me that she was gonna go meet her best friend for coffee at Brigade Road, hmmm, this gave me an idea and I said I shall tag along with her and do my own thing till she is done catching up with her friend.. Around 3.30,we finally freshened up and got out and headed to Brigades and were met by Raji,her friend.. So I told them to give me a buzz when they were done and we can head back home.. I loitered about the road, looking at some of the stuff on sale on the roadside stalls, picked up some earrings for myself and Preeti, bot a chain with a red pendant for her and did more window shopping.. That was when Anita called n i chit chatted with her and vids (who was in hydie then) and decided that I would pick up the gift voucher for our friend(s). and that’s when I went to this awesome book store called The Bookworm that stocked a lot of classics and old books… Very nice store.. .

After abt 2hrs of walking, I sms’d lalli asking her whereabts n went over to the Coffee day across Brigade road n met her n her pal Raji,who was lot of fun and we yapped a bit till we realised it was way past 5.30 which was the deadline given to us cos that day was Karthigai function and we had to be home.. so walked a bit,found a ric and got home..

Athai got lalli to wear a saree and we lit the lamps n had pori balls n appam.. meanwhile,vidya(my cousin) had called saying “aarti is in town, then we are coming over”.. so she,shanth and shruti came over and spent couple of hrs there, had dinner and then went back home.. always good catching up with her n shanth.. Their daughter is so cute and so adorable.. and wants everything to be in its place and yells out to her mom n dad if something isn’t right…hehehe.. was so cute to see Shanth obeyin everything she had to say… ;)

Dint do anything else that day.. jus killed remaining time at home,and dozed off by 11 or so..
Day 2

It was Monday, lalli was getting geared up for her 1st day at DH, and I went along with her, dropped her off and got the car to drop me off near Lifestyle.. Killed about an hour or so there, bot gift voucher for Meenal and a chain-earring set for Mehta and headed to Commercial st.. this is yet another area that is covered with stores and more stores and lanes and by lanes filled with tiny stores… Did some shopping here, bot myself a salwar set and 2pairs of casual footwear for preeti, went to KFC n had a burger (1st time visit to a KFC) ;)

And then got back to MG road, went to Gangarams (love this book store), browsed abt a bit, had decided that I wasn’t gonna buy any books unless they were really worth cos I got no place at home to store em, and so did more of browsing through and hunted abt for a book.. Explored their 1st floor stationary section, and picked up some postcards and bookmarks, that were kinda cute… hunted down the post office to send out the cards to ppl I was missing a LOT and got back home.. Saroja had called earlier saying lets catch up, but since it was nearly 5.30 n I had been out walking since 11, I got back home.. She called around 7 n asked if we could catch up for dinner, said ok… so, got ready, freshened up and made my way to her office, which is abt 10mins from aunt’s house on MG road, in a building called Prestige Meridian..

She works as a HR consultant at Watson wyatt worldwide, after couple of mins,came down, said hi,hugss and we walked down to Blore Central cos it was early for dinner.. Looked around, I dint buy anything,that place is beyond expensive.. She picked out a shirt and then realised her helmet n jacket were in office, so we walked back to her office, said hi to her colleague, and picked up all her stuff and started walking towards Garuda mall,which is abt 15mins walk from her office,jus around the corner from Central.. she got a couple of calls n by then we had reached Garuda, hopped on the escalator n reached the 1st floor n madame suddenly realised the Central bag with her shirt was missing.. Shit..we dint know where it had fallen off, so trotted all the way back to upto nearly her office looking for it, but NO LUCK … we were pretty disturbed but she insisted that we go to Garuda n grab dinner, maybe the shirt wasn’t meant to be hers she said…


Sigh… we walked around from one escalator to other n reached 5th floor n went to Kobe, nice quaint place n had sizzlers there.. took some pics of each other, a rose on our table as we waited for food.. She had Fish sizzler n I had a Veggie sizzler… was quite good.. nice n hot.. it was nearly 10.30 by the time we left that place,and I got a ric and got home n she went back to her office, picked up her bike n went home..

Phew,what a day it was…


The saga continuessssssssssss..................Read on....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

December ....

The phone rang and woke me up at 6am today and now am wishing i hadnt answered it.. Sigh... Brought the news that an aunt who had been ill for sometime had passed away... How i hate this month but i also love it for completely different reasons....

Even though you know death is inevitable everytime it happens, it just bogs you down and throws your life off balance and makes you wonder, whats the point of living... It will be a year since my doggy died and now i have more reason to not look fwd to this month even tho this is the time that all are in a Happpy Chirpy mood thanks to Xmas and new years... Why not remove this month from the calendar??? yea, i think i would like that..

This month also means a lot to me cos it brings back a lot of LOVEly memories of times that i cherish and look fwd to happening again... So, am in a ping pong state when it comes to this month... Sigh... wat do i do??????

Tete á Tete

Tete á Tete

What does one do after settling into a new place? . Get down to business of course. And so like any sane person I too decided it was time to get going and find myself a job. Started scanning through the paper looking for good openings in HR or in Training, and came upon an Opportunity with a Networking company that was looking for HR Generalist. I promptly sent out an application and began the dreaded process of waiting to hear from them. My prayers were answered sooner than I had hoped, and I got a call from the Head of operations, Mr. Andrew* who asked me to come over and meet him the next day around 4pm.

So, the next day I got ready, was a it apprehensive about how the interview was going to be, because it had been nearly a year since I had attended any interview. Reached their office, and made my way to the 2nd floor and as I stepped out, was greeted by a Security guard who went about asking me if I had an appointment and who I was here to meet. Gave him the details and took a seat in the waiting lounge, took a survey of the place and thought to myself “this is not a bad place to work at”. Couple of minutes had passed and I saw a head peep through the door, look towards me and say, “Please come this way”. Now, I wasn’t sure if this was the person I had come to meet or someone was guiding me to him, but I meekly followed him. He led me into a discussion room, handed a paper in front of me and asked me to fill it out and Poof, He was gone!

Took me a couple of minutes to get the form filled out, cos it was quite extensive and wanted details pertaining to my Education details right from 10th std to my MBA, took me awhile to recall my pass percentage in High school and College, but managed to get it completed. Mind you, this form was not short and sweet, it went on and on. Was starting to get antsy as I was sitting in this small room and the air-conditioning was also pretty high and I was starting to feel cold.

Finally, the door opened, and I thought it was the same person who had given me the form coming to collect it but it was another person who walked in and took a seat. It was Mr. Andrew*, after the formal introductions, he started with work related questions. Things were going well, until he interrupted me as I was telling me about my prior experience, to ask if I knew Spanish, and if I was fluent in it, I replied, “Yes, Sir, I do know the language but am not very fluent in it”. After a couple of nods he asked me to continue, only to break in once more, this time he asked how comfortable was I working in an office which was predominantly male dominated. This caught me off-guard as I had worked in big firms before this and had worked with both male and female colleagues, and it basically had made no difference to me, so I jus responded “yes, Sir, I am comfortable working in any kind of environment:

That was it, he dint ask anything further but kept looking at the form I had filled out, nodding his head couple of more times, and looked like he was muttering something to himself. I was perplexed, cos I had never attended an interview that was so vague, where I was feeling lost. Anyways, that was the end of the interview, with the promise to call me back, he showed me out. Now, we all know what it means when a person says “I’ll call you back”. Off I go in search of more opportunities and hopefully something will come along soon.

Aaarti © 27th Sep

The eve with my friend...

Day before evening, I called my friend meenal and we decided to meet up at her place around 6pm.. Were talking about meeting at Café coffee day but then she said since she was home alone, we might as well catch up there.. So I said ok, and made my way to her place after getting directions from her ofcourse.. As I spoke to her on the phone, I got her to take me through from my place to hers and she was pretty accurate mind u.and I managed to type it out on the pc and took a copy of that along with me..

So armed with directions and a sweet request from her to buy some eats on the way I hailed an auto and made my way giving directions to the auto driver… My head popping out of the auto as I looked for the landmarks she had mentioned, cos the one thing I dint want was to get LoST… not that I cant find my way back, but still, dint want to do chakkars n end up spending more and listen to the grunting of the autowala… ;o)

On the way, I stopped off at Hot breads, bot a croissant, and a veg roll and 2honey bee cookies (they looked like biscuit topped off with tooty frooties).. Found her place with no sweat, got off at the gate and proceeded to her apartment when the Sky opened and it started to drizzle.. just about managed to get into her apartment and I think it started to pour…

Was sure good to see her, cos now thanks to our busy lives, we hardly meet up.. The occasional sms or calls is it.. Strange na, esp since we were two friends who kept in touch during school and college days when meenal dint even have a phone (am not talking abt mobile, am ref to good ol landline.) we used to write each other letters and she would call me without fail on my Bday. And now thanks to mobile, we are more in touch…

Anyways, walked in and we started yapping about how long its been and abt her wedding.. She proceeded to show me her wedding saree and blouses and I was teasing her abt her fiancé.. She was the kind who always said she will never be able to find a guy who is compatible with her and with whom she will tie the knot.. So it caught us unawares when she announced that she was getting hitched, that too to a telugu guy.. All of us were and still are curious to meet this guy who had changed our friend’s heart and makes her smile and blush… And when I looked at the clock, time had flown by and it was nearly 7.30pm.As they say, time sure flies when your having fun..

So we continued our chit chats, called another friend and surprised her.. and then were talking abt the wedding and how its all come together and she is REALLY Finally getting married… hehehe.. Yea, I know, it’s yet to sink in that our friend is tying the knot and joining the rank of Mrs..

In between all this, her fiancé, Raman called, and I kept ragging her and the poor thing was trying to have a conversation with him…. And finally gave up and told him she’ll call him later… ;o)

So anyways, we spent couple of more minutes talking and I told her that me and another friend would be coming to her wedding and she better make some arrangements for us … It was time to say bye and make my way home..

What an evening it was… an evening filled with memories, talk abt school days, catching up on all that has happened in our lives and looking fwd to new beginnings.. ……………..

Aaarti © 29/11/06

Life is a flower ...

We live in a free world
I whistle down the wind
Carry on smiling
And the world will smile with you
Life is a flower
So precious in your hand
Carry on smiling
And the world will smile with you

When every race is run
And the day is closing in
I dont care about the world
Im living for the light
Dont cry for me today, ah-ah ah...

We live in a free world
I whistle down the wind...

I can not be your judge
Mr. jailer is your host
Hes keeping you inside
And hides you from the world
No catcher in the rye
Can help you from yourself

We live in a free world
I whistle down the wind...

Please mr. agony
Release them for a while
Learn them the consequences of
Living without life

We live in a free world...

I love this song by Ace of Base....so true, so beautiful... Enjoy your life...

Aaarti (c) 4.30pm