Merry Christmas Peeps

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And so, we celebrated yet another Christmas today. This year’s Christmas, after one year, was again spent in Pune, and again celebrated with my best friend of three years, Parnal. It was a simple celebration … red and white balloons, few stockings, and a home-baked cake, followed by Christmas carols and Serendipity.

For those who would like to know why I celebrate Christmas with so much enthusiasm every year, in spite of being a Hindu (hey c’mon people that’s racist by the way), I would like to tell you all that I had the fortune of being brought up in a convent school. It brings to me that amazing nostalgic feeling of being in the school once again … performing dramas, singing carols, attending the holy mass, and other celebrations that began a week before Christmas holidays.

School was so much more fun around Christmas. And you won’t believe, the chocolates we used to get for Christmas. They were made by the nuns in our school in their convent, and did not taste one bit good. They were made entirely out of bournvita, but they were sweet, and they were chocolates, so that made us happy anyway. Good times.

So, that’s why, Christmas, for me, has been and will always be just as important as any other festival. I still remember how difficult it was to manage decoration in the small town of Pachora last year. But me and my childhood bestie had a kick-ass Christmas party anyway. I missed her a lot today. I am hoping she had an amazing Christmas too.

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So, what did I get for Christmas? Well, I have everything I need for now. But hey Santa, thanx for stopping by anyway.  😛

Merry Christmas you all. 🙂

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Happy Birthday Buddy

Dear Bhuvan,

Like every year, this year too, I am not going to be able to make it to your birthday or gift you anything. And I am not going to blame the distance this time. If I had taken enough pains, I would have easily got a cake delivered to your footstep. But the bish that I am, I have unfortunately turned into a busier bish, and have therefore not been able to do absolutely anything for your special 22nd birthday. Neither have I written a poem this time. For that, I am extremely extremely sorry, and just hope that a heartfelt (and publically published) letter would suffice.
It must have been almost six years now I think, that I have known you. I vividly remember you preparing for your boards and me struggling to clear my diploma exams. And one fine day, you came along, and have since been, a source of constant love, care and support. And I could not thank you more. You are, without a doubt, my number one favorite person in the world. And not only have I known you, I have practically grown with you.

God alone knows how many phases you have seen me go through, the quit-engineering-and-follow-your-dreams phase, the becoming-a-writer phase, the writer’s-block phase, the i-can-totally-be-a-photographer phase, the i-am-the-best-blogger-ever phase, the don’t-get-married-against-your-will phase, as well as the freed-bride-to-be-turns-into-a-total-slut phase. And only you know how you have managed to handle me as I have brought unworthy guys into my life one after the other and broken off with them. Only you know how you have managed to not judge me, and love me just as much as you did years back. For that, I cannot possibly ever thank you enough.

It is yet another birthday buddy, yet another Christmas, yet another New Year, and you have grown yet another year older. I will not say wiser, ‘coz let’s face it, you are wise enough. If you could deal with ME all these years flawlessly, how much wiser do you have to be!

So here it is, my birthday wish,
I really wish I could have said it with a gentle kiss,
I wish you all the happiness and luck,
And I wish you to have a million buck,
I wish you have whatever it is that you wish,
Just be the way you are, you handsome bish,
I wish absolutely all your dreams come true.
And know this that I love you too.

Happy Birthday Once Again.

Loads of Love,
Your Best Friend,
Smilesalotlady.

New Girl in the City … Again!

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It has been eight years that I have moved to Pune … eight absolutely fantastic years. There is so much that this city has given me, that i just couldn’t ask for more. However, I was yet to realize that I have just existed until now, I was yet to live here. And a month in journalism, I have started to live the city, seeing it in a way I have never seen before, in an all new way, an entirely different way.

My life, earlier meant being in the confines of my hostel, home, college or workplace, going to fancy dinners, heading out to clubs and bars, and going to the most popular hangouts. But now it means eating at tapris, having roadside chai, eating whatever and whenever I can, and traveling however I can. My work needs me to explore, every little part of the city. So, all I do is talk to people, know their problems, put their pictures in the newspapers, and sometimes make them feel like superstars. 😀

A few days back was my first time in Pune local (such a shame), but oh my, was it a hell of an experience! On an assignment to Pimpri, I boarded the ladies coach of the 9 o clock local. And trust me, I have never felt so liberated. Unlike other cities, Pune is so much better when it comes to traveling at odd hours. I did not get one stinky eye, not one stare, not one nasty comment on my way to my cousin’s place, which meant me getting down at the station, taking an auto rickshaw up to a certain location, and then walking the rest of the way. A lot of people will tell you a lot about the Puneri patya, however, this is the face of Pune, they don’t tell you about.

And what happened yesterday proves my point even more. In all these years, I have not once been ahead of Camp. However, I had to go all the way to Magarpatta City on an assignment. Although I had my photographer accompanying me on my way there, I was in a fix when I was to come home, on my own, especially being a GPS-challenged chick. It was only because of two angels, two lovely lovely angels, the auto-rickshaw wallahs who led me to my area that I got home safe and sound.

So, I am in love with Pune, heart and soul, for being the city it is, along with the Puneri Patya, with the sarcasm, and also the nasal tone! And I thank it, for welcoming a new girl in the city, yet again!!

International Tea Day Special – 5 reasons why I will absolutely NOT quit tea

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Celebrated all around the world today was the 10th International Tea Day, and if you are an Indian, your early morning chaai ka pyala is surely an inseparable part of your life. We Indians use tea as more than just a beverage. We use it for the very special “kandepohe karyakram”, for breaking a bad news, and even to share a good one, for knowing someone better, and trust me, we love our conversations with tea way more than we love them with coffee. Because you know, pakoras and samosas just don’t go that well with coffee. On the other hand, anything ranging from Santosh Bakery’s khari biscuits to Kayani’s shrewsberrys taste beyond amazing with tea. Also, since the time I have got into journalism, it has become an inevitable part of my life too. Although it already was, there were like a hundred more facets to cutting chaai that I was yet to discover.

For journalists, right from getting a story to the in-between breaks of the never-ending chase to the relieved moments after your story has gone for printing means a cutting chaai. I have had the most interesting and inspiring conversations with fellow reporters as well as editors over chaai. So, you all get it. I love tea, from the very bottom of my heart. And this post is especially for all the people including Paarnal Patni and my Mom, Rekha Patil, who have consistently been trying to make me quit tea. Here are 5 absolutely valid reasons, why I absolutely never break off my loving loving relationship with tea.

1. I get awesomely good at conversations.
Trust me, most of the times when I am talking sense, it is only because I have had tea like just a few minutes back.

2. I get very good at riding my bike.
You guys do care about my safety, don’t you?

3. I get great story ideas for the newspaper.
And chaai is the reason why my boss loves me.

4. I get great post ideas for this blog too.
Yes my dear readers, you can henceforth thank (or blame) tea for whatever I have rambled on.

5. The connection I feel with fellow chaailovers is deeper than … well, just lovers.
Totally like beechde bhai-behen at Kumbh ka mela.
Guy I just met: He is going to take like 10 more minutes to arrive. Let’s have chaai?
Me: I love you yaar.

P. S.: The reason why I am publishing this at 23:24, is because it was not until 21:30 that I found out it was ITD. And then of course, I was gone to have a cup full, where I also clicked the above picture for you guys. (NOT MY HANDWRITING 😀 ) Happy International Tea Day, people!!

We are Punekars. We absolutely cannot follow the traffic rules.

It has been a few months now that I have started riding a scooty, and have therefore only recently had the honor of witnessing the amount of knowledge our lovely Punekars have about traffic. And it is quite a lot, I must tell you.

Here in Pune, the zebra crossings are absolutely invisible to us, and we will absolutely never let the pedestrians cross roads peacefully.

Also, we do not quite understand numbers either because we think 10 = 0 when displayed on the traffic signal. We start our bikes when it is still 15 seconds to go, and speed off by the time its 10. We are cool, you see. We are Punekars you see.

Unfamiliar to us is the rule of overtaking only from the right. Here in Pune, we overtake from both the sides, which thereby makes us the smartest riders in the world.

We are also extremely technically-challenged, since we may put on the left indicator, and would however take a sharp right.

And helmets!! Oh, don’t even mention them to us. Because, if you do, we will protest. Because, you obviously are gaining some benefit by being concerned about our safety. It spoils our hairstyles anyway. And we are Punekars, we don’t invest in things like helmets. We’d rather spend a fortune in the hospital, after getting our heads broken.

Proud to be a Punekar.

P.s.: If you do not get my sarcasm, stay off my blog!

PMS Blues

It was only a few years back that I was introduced to the concept of what is another name for mad cow disease they say. It is called Pre-menstrual Syndrome aka PMS, the syndrome which can turn the sanest of women into godzillas on the loose. Oh how jealous I am of guys! And how much more jealous I am, of all the girls who do not PMS, neither pre nor post, and are completely deprived of its physical as well as mental trauma. I am writing this post for each and every one who do not understand PMS one bit, including the guy who keeps asking me if I am PMSing each time I express an emotion, and the girl who keeps telling me it’s all psychological. Well, guess what, IT IS NOT!

Here are two scenarios to explain what poor girls like me go through:

Scenario 1: I get back home from work.
On Normal Days: Yayyy!!! I am back. Today was so amazing. You know what … I found this amazing story, and my boss was super proud of me. He is going to put it as the lead story tomorrow. Also, I saw this really cute guy on my way back home. He smiled like the widest smile I’ve ever seen. Now I am going to cook something really nice for dinner.

On PMSing Days: WTF!! Why is everyone on me today! No one likes me at work. I especially think my boss totally hates me. Maybe he is planning to fire me. I gave him a good story though, he said it was good. Well, that’s what they say before firing someone too. Maybe he’ll fire me on the month end, no, maybe this week. OMG he is going to call me right away and say I’ve been laid off. The traffic was like the worst today, people kept honking like crazzzyyyy. What’s the deal with that anyway! Why hasn’t he called yet, he totally checks on me at this time of the day. He is totally cheating on me. He texted only twice today. Although he was sweet and all, but they are usually sweet even when they are cheating on you. Daddy has also not called. No one, no one loves me at all. This place is so messy! Why can’t my roommates clean for once, why is it only me who has to realize it is time to pay the rent, or to refill the handwash. Why me! Why me!! Why me!!!!!

Scenario 2:

I am running in the park.

On normal days: Wow, is this like the most amazing morning or what. It is so sunny, and beautiful. (puts on iPod) That’s like the best song ever. Running is so much fun. I love it. (smiles at fellow runners)

On PMSing Days: What the hell! Why do we have to wake up! Why do I have to wake up?! Why do I have to run? Why can’t I be one of those mean girls who hog on food and are as thin as a rake. Why me God, why me! I know you totally hate me. Why else would you put me through something like that. It’s just so unfair of you to be partial like that. Everyone should have to run to stay lean, everyone should have to give up on burgers, everyone should have to think twice before having the oh-so-amazing beer. Why me!!! 😥

I hope the above two scenarios will pretty much clear all the doubts that you laymen had in minds. I am also hoping that the particular aforementioned guy will continue to be with me (and other unmentioned guys with other poor girls like me), in spite of my PMS blues along with the aforementioned girl, who I would like to be my bestestest friend forever.

Note: Pre-menstrual syndrome is a serious issue which can lead to extreme mood swings. One should, however, not let these symptoms control their lives. Appropriate lifestyle changes can definitely help you in dealing with PMS better. If the symptoms worsen, kindly seek medical attention.

Concerned,
Smilesalotlady.

I knew it was never going to work out. I knew we were never going to be able to be together.

I knew it all.

I understood it all.

I knew we were going to fall on our faces, flat. I had done this in the past, because of which I had lived through hell, and almost died because of the pain it had caused me. But I was unable to stop myself …

From being with him …

From smiling and laughing with him …

From falling in love with him …

Head over heels.

I was loving every moment that I was spending with him. The way he looked at me, so much love in his eyes. The way he held my hand, like I was too delicate to be touched. The way he smiled at me, like nothing was going to go wrong as long as he was with me, and like we were going to last forever. He was making me feel alive again, after what seemed like an eternity.

So, I was going to do it. I was going to take the leap.

And by that time,

I already knew I was in love.