A Birthday to Introspect

It was my Birthday yesterday. A very important one as I am stepping into the last bit of my twenties. Before I get into the details, do you know that I am a cusp, and that too of contradictory zodiac signs? Yeah! If interested, just google Leo-Virgo cusp and you’ll see. I need a Nobel Prize for handling myself! 😛

So I have these mixed emotions coursing through me. I am excited to know how the next decade will be, but also, dreading it. The fact that I couldn’t accomplish the things I thought I would by the time I was 30, kind of puts me down. I do have one more year though. I am super relieved that I finally cleared CA, an ordeal in itself.

Be that as it may, either the life lessons have increased recently or I have begun to observe life more. There are a few things that the last few months, weeks and days including this day taught me. Let me share them here:

  • If you have faith in The Power, your faith along with your efforts will give you what you need. Sometimes, ever so miraculously. (The way I cleared CA)
  • Sometimes, our desires aren’t fulfilled. Not attaining our desires will encourage us to explore new paths and discover other potentials (I became a freelance writer and an entrepreneur as my CA course delayed).
  • There will always be two kinds of well wishers in our lives – the ones that ask us to stay put/hang on until we die and the ones that ask us to quit/try something else. Either could be right. But Listen to your body, mind, heart and soul. (I was asked to quit CA as much as I was asked to keep writing. They were well-wishers, but they weren’t me.)
  • It is difficult to take the path less trodden, but you will be one among the few who experiences life in a different light (Let’s just say, being 29 and unmarried is difficult, but interesting).
  • Even if you feel worthless, get up and get some work done. If you just lay there, you will in fact be unproductive and worthless. (A reminder to myself to face those goddamn interviews.)
  • Always have a hobby. If you don’t have one, start doing random things and find an activity you enjoy. It helps you clear your head, enjoy your own company and appreciate yourself better.
  • Your Birthday is the right time to take stock of people in your lives. More often than not, you will see the difference in your well-wishers. (Between a Birthday filled with Chocolates & gifts and another with none of those, a close friend decided to leave.)

Now on a lighter, yet important Birthday note:

  • HBD sounds like an official acronym sent by a boss who is too busy to sit down and talk to you, and treats you like a vending machine that dispenses work. If you want to send a Birthday wish to someone, take the time to type the words fully or simply don’t wish. That would be much better. Honestly 🙂
  • Friends to whom I haven’t spoken in years, called me. That was heart warming. I haven’t spoken to them in such a long time and yet they decided to take out their phone, dial my number and wish me. I have never done that! I should. I will, from now on. 🙂
  • I learnt today that I could use the FB Birthday reminders to bond with people. I could give a personal touch to my wishes so that they smile seeing them.
    I barely wish people seeing FB reminders because I remember the birthdays of the important people in my life. Besides, I always thought that FB wishes were impersonal and mechanical. But some wishes today genuinely made me happy. Most of them were simple Birthday wishes, but in complete sentences. They struck a chord because the well wishers had taken the time to type out those words and make them more personal.There were some others that made my day. Here are two of them:1.PNG24.PNGThough one-sentence-wishes, the personal touch in them is unmistakable. I will, from today, make a difference in the few Birthday wishes I send out.

As for today, I feel good having spoken to a lot of old friends, and having met up with a couple of them from my innermost circle. It feels good to be remembered and to be loved. It inspires me to appreciate and love people better. 🙂

Happy Birthday to ME ❤

With Love,
~Myself ♥


Aangan Downtown Restaurant Review

Let me begin with this: I feel like I have found treasure near my house. Having been a part of a Facebook group ‘Eat Kochi Eat’, I kept seeing great reviews about Aangan Downtown Restaurant and had added it to my must visit eateries list. If you have read my earlier posts, you’ll know that I love making lists!

Last month was Amma’s birthday and since my sister wasn’t in town, we decided to give Amma a surprise dinner whenever my sister got back. We also had fund constraints. So eventually, even if it was late, we arranged for some cash and made a quick plan. I was entrusted with choosing the restaurant since I keep listing the eateries I want to visit. Besides, I am always crying about the mouth-watering posts in the FB group.

We reached Aangan Downtown which is at Palarivattom. It isn’t at the main road and hence not very visible. If you are someone who goes by first impressions, the moment you enter, you’ll love the place. The ambiance and the staff were very welcoming. They showed us to our table and suggested some of their specials.

I am enlisting the dishes we had for the ease of reading them:

  1. Soups – Have you ever felt that soup sort of decides your appetite? It is like a performance. If it starts well, it compensates for tiny flaws later on. But if starts bad, you really don’t look forward to anything that comes later.a) Cream of Vegetable Soup -Before I get onto this, I need to tell you about my Grandmother (Ammamma). She is an amazing cook! She is a tough critic and I rarely find her appreciating restaurant food. I guess you know where this is going. She absolutely loved the soup. Her exact words, if translated, would read, “I don’t think I have had a soup this delicious ever. It wasn’t spicy, but it sure was creamy with the right flavors!”
    There is a saying in Tamil, ‘Vasishtar Vayaala Brahmarishi nu Sonna‘. Vasishta is a sage and it is astounding when he mentions another sage in a good manner. (Dear Tamilians, I am really sorry for screwing up the explanation 😛 But you get it right?)b) Naadan Kozhi Soup –

    Naadan Kozhi Soup from Aangan Downtown Restaurant
    Naadan Kozhi Soup

    Which is Kerala chicken soup as prepared with the countryside flavor. Oh my! It was spicy in a good way with flavors that tickled our taste buds. It was quite watery with ample chunks of chicken. If you are looking for something thick and creamy, this one isn’t for you. But, I’d say the naadan kozhi soup is something you should never miss. 😀 By the end of it, I was eagerly waiting for everything we ordered.

  2. Starters – We ordered Chicken 65 and Gobi 65. Well, the choices were too many, we needed both Veg and Non veg and so settled for these. Again, they were really good. They were the kind of ’65’s you get in any good restaurant. No extra flavors.  Crispy Gobi and well seasoned chicken with lots of crispy curry leaves. I am a fan of curry leaves. When they happen to adorn something really delicious, I ensure that the plate is empty. So we did. 😀
  3. Main course –  Our expectations had reached sky high after the starters and the soup that we took a while to decide the main course. There were so many options, high expectation and too less space. If only we could borrow some tummy space from someone 😛
    After much deliberation, we landed on:a) Paneer Kizhi Biriyani for the beautiful lady aka Grandma :* – I did try a morsel and wasn’t very impressed mainly because I am not a fan of the tinge of sweet in normal dishes. Plus, it was a bit too bland for my taste.

    Paneer Kizhi Biriyani from Aangan Downtown
    Paneer Kizhi Biriyani

    b) American Chopsuey – It was served well with a fried egg on top. It was saucy and crispy and yum in the beginning. But as I mentioned earlier, the tinge of sweet began to over-power with each morsel. On the other hand, Mom just loved it! So, I’d say the dish was perfect, just changes with each person’s taste. 🙂

    American Chopsuey

    c) Chicken Steak – Ooh lala! It was very soft, rich in flavour, steaming hot and with the right amount of vegetables on the side. It was a sure winner for the remaining three of us.

    Chicken Steak from Aangan Downtown
    Chicken Steak

Once we were done with our meals, when Ammamma was about to get up to wash her hands, the staff enquired if she needs a finger bowl. It was a very nice and thoughtful gesture. Not only were the staff friendly, but the owner too came up and had a little chat with us. Overall, a foodie-friendly place! 🙂

Food – Too Good (4.9/5)
Ambience – Excellent (5/5)
Pricing – Our bill was Rs. 1200 for 4 which is very reasonable for Cochin standards, the food, the service and the amount we hogged.
Location – Palarivattom, Kochi (Click for the Location on Map)
Favorites – Both Soups and Steak

Aangan - Downtown Multicuisine Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Quilled Greeting Cards

I have been hoarding some Quilling papers and tools for a long while. Since my exams are over, I decided to make some quilled greeting cards since Christmas is round the corner. Nobody sends letters or greeting cards these days since the advent of e-mails and everything that followed. Wouldn’t it be really great when someone finds that they have a real paper greeting card this Christmas?

So, I started out with my quilling and suddenly I couldn’t stop myself. Apart from the Greeting cards, I made a picture which I call, ‘The Blue Haired Girl’.

The Christmas Tree & the Presents
An Angel
All the angels & the decoration
The Blue Haired Girl

I ran out of glue and so had to stop. Else, as I had threatened my Amma, the room would have been filled with quilled Greetings. 😀

So, do you like them?


 Linking this to  100 Happy Days – Day 92


Grand Procession of Maa Kaali & HER Padaarpan at our Residence

I have been blogging for many years now. All the while, this space was filled with my ideas and words. Today, for a change, we have a guest.
Abhinav Kumar is an Engineer by degree, a fashion freak and loves traveling. He has graced A Few Handpicked Things with a post close to his heart since it forms a nostalgic part of his childhood. Hope you will like it as much as he enjoyed writing it. Don’t forget to check more of his writings on StyleBurp.

This is a delayed, long- due post from the 6th day of Navratra of Maa Katyayni. I want to make you all aware of this very beautiful ritual or tradition, you can call it. This is a much-awaited event of Ramleela in the city for which people wait with full excitement and eagerness. People come from nearby villages and small towns to witness this event and also to take blessings from Maa Kaali. We take blessings from Maa Kaali too.
This is an old tradition from several years ago. I have seen and heard from people that on 6th day of Navratri, a person is selected from local akhaara to play the auspicious role of Maa Kali at Ramleela. But this is not merely a role because, in the opinion of the locals, it is the incarnation of Goddess Kaali herself to bless the people.
This person is trained at least a month prior to running and is given dry fruits and nutritious diet to keep him fit to run across the city. On the 6th day of each Navratri, a grand procession of Maa Kaali is organized twice every year where he is painted all black from neck to toe. A long mask with headgear is worn by him along with a sword (real) and khappar for prasad. He sits in the temple to worship Maa Kaali followed by hawan. Amidst the worship, he gets up, takes his sword and starts running around. This is being said, “Maa Kaali ka aavesh aa gaya”. A real sword is given in his hand and if any killing takes place during this procession, up to 7 such accidents will not be considered for filing a case against him.
The procession starts with the dances of eunuchs as this dance is considered sacred on this day. Then, comes the procession “Shaakinis, Daakinis” where some people get thrilled and children get scared seeing them. The other attractions of the procession are “Jhaankis” of various Gods and Goddesses depicting their Leelas.
Not only this, but 5-6 laanguras also travel with Maa Kaali and they all are painted in yellow as you can see in the pics below. These 7-8 people run around barefoot all over the city which is incredible and unbelievable, but it is true since I have been a witness to this myself over the years.
All the pictures are taken at my residence’s entrance or outer area where Maa Kaali comes and blesses us with other citizens too.
After traveling across the city, Maa Kaali proceeds towards the Ramleela and plays the character there and the procession ends with Maa Kaali ka Jaikaara.

This post is written as a part of #BlogForward – a guest blogging initiative with my amazing blog buddies from team WriteOn.


A Day to Extol the Legend – A R Rahman

Well, a day late!

My playlist brims with the songs created by the legend who was born yesterday and so, how can I not come up with a post? I initially thought of singing one of his songs and tried recording a few. It has been more than a month since I sang and so, it turned out to be pathetic. Finally, I managed to record just a portion of one of his masterpieces. Since I thought that is too less, after a lot of deliberation, I decided to compile a list of my favorite A R Rahman songs too.

So, here goes the part where you bear with my singing. Thank God for ‘On’ and ‘Off’ buttons. 😀 I apologize for the off tones and the wrong pronunciations, if any.

If you like the song and haven’t heard the original, you must. 🙂

ARR is known for his very own unique tunes that take the weirdest and mysterious routes when we expect them the least. The best example being the lines in Ae Ajnabi.

Vo Jo Doodh Dhuli Masoom Kali
Vo Hai Kahan Kahan Hai

When I heard them for the first time, I just sat there perplexed thinking, ‘What was that?’ The lines before these were moving smooth and simple and then suddenly, there came a gush of unexpected notes so unique. At first, I wondered how Udit Narayan sang that portion. It was pure magic. And then many years later, I wondered how someone could create music that unique, with so many twists and turns. Later, I found many such unexpected twists in Rahman sir’s songs. I could only bow down to the maestro. 🙂

Shhh… He is weaving magic 🙂

Image courtesy: Official page – arrahman.com

Here are some of my favorite songs by him:

1. Puthu Vellai Mazhai (Ye haseen vadhiya) and Kadhal Rojave (Roja jaane man) are my favorites from the movie. The maestro was known to the world through this movie and the songs in it took the world by their spell. These two songs still give me goosebumps when they are played unexpectedly in the public.

2. Uyire (Tu hi Re) – This soul stirring song from Bombay has been sung and played a million time and yet it remains evergreen. I wonder what made him compose this melancholic piece filled with so much desperation.

3. Roja Roja – Many aren’t aware of this beautiful song from Kadhalar Dinam (Hindi: Dil hi Dil Mein). Ae Nazneen Suno Na (Enna Vilai Azhage) is another breath taking number from the movie. The second stanza takes it to another level. Here is the song ‘Ae Nazneen Suno Na’.

4. Piya Milenge – Raanjhana has many more songs that caught people’s attention. This is my favorite because of the sufi-ness, Sukhwinder Singh & Rahman Sir.

5. Anbe Sugama – This song from Parthale Un Paravasam has a lot word play. I had written about this in this post earlier.

6. Yeh Jo des hai Tera – You can’t help but be proud about our country when you listen to this song. Whenever this plays in school/college, right after ARR’s Vande Mataram, that is when the Republic/Independence day celebration becomes complete.

7. Vennilave (Chanda Re) – He has given lots of wonderful songs in Minsarakanavu, this being my favorite. Maana Madurai and Poo Pookum Osai (Awaara Bhawre) isn’t far behind.

8. Ae Ajnabi – I have already mentioned the reason why I fell for this song. When Roja and Bombay were released, I was a child and didn’t know that there was someone called a Music composer. Somehow, when I fell in love with Ae Ajnabi, that was when I began to realize that this and the rest in my playlist were ARR’s creations. Ae Ajnabi is my Neem Tree 😛

I Had to Make Another List

I began to prepare this list and then, I realised that the number of songs were increasing beyond control. It is difficult for a Rahman fan to list just a few. Hence I jot down some more songs that I have to mention. They were my favorites when they released. The fever has abated but still, I like them. 🙂

  • Khoon Chala
  • Lukka Chuppi 
  • Entrendrum Punnagai (O Humdum)
  • Snehidane (Chupke Se). All of us were crazy about this one.
  • Rock Star – I like all the songs in the movie. But Phir Se Udd Chala, Kun Faya Kun & Sadda Haq top the list.
  • Behne De –  An enchanting music, this one’s got! I don’t know why, whenever I listen to this, I imagine myself climbing a mountain. There is a lot of energy in my imaginations. 😀
  • Jodha Akbar – In Lamhon Ke Daaman Me, Jashn E Bahara and Khwaja Mere Khwaja. The last sufi one stole everyone’s hearts. There is something about this sufi music and then there is something about AR Rahman’s music. When the two merge, bliss it is!
  • The legend of Bhagat Singh – His patriotic songs convey the right emotions. They hit the heart where it must, point blank. Des Mere and Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna convey extreme levels of patriotism but the two songs are entirely different.

Songs From the Movie ‘Boys’ 

This require a special mention. This movie that lured teenagers, was released in my tenth standard. We had several music channels that played every song from this movie day in and day out consecutively. People who never watched Tamil until then were flocking outside the theatre to watch it, many of my classmates being among them.

These songs began the fever. In my eleventh standard, I knew all the songs in the movie fully and when teachers were late to class, my classmates used to ask me to sing them. I have sung them a hundred times! Maro Maro, Girlfriend, Dating, Please Sir, Ale Ale, Secret of Success, Boom Boom 😀 I knew them all!

The Must Mention Fast Numbers

Muqqala, Urvasi, Humma Humma, Chayya Chayya etc are still feet tapping numbers. You can’t just ignore them. I grew up listening to the first three and they were all everywhere. Musthafa is still the best friendship song ever! I have many more songs to add in the fast number, but if I list them all, I’ll never stop will I?

Hence, I am putting an end to this post extolling The God of Music. The greater fans will know that I haven’t done any justice to the list. I never can. Wishing a lovely year of music to the legend that is AR Rahman, I sign off. 🙂

PS – I have confirmed all the details given in this post with wikipedia. If there has been any misstatements, kindly let me know. 🙂 Because, being a fan doesn’t mean I am always right, right?

The Year in a Capsule

100 Happy Days – Day 75

Happiness is A New Year! Happy New Year!

31st Dec 2015, 11.49 PM

I hear a lot of activity around. The dogs are barking mad since the fireworks have begun. There are a lot of vehicles on road and an ambulance is rushing past. I pray that whoever is in it gets well soon.

As 2015 comes to a close, here I am doing what I love the most; writing. I cannot help but remember where I was 365 days back, at this time. I was on my Lavy (Hero Pleasure) with two friends, exploring the roads of Cochin on New Year Eve. The roads were heavy with traffic and we were wished a Happy New Year a thousand times by random people. We passed through a street whose walls were entirely adorned with lit candles. Later, we had ice cream and reached our room by around 2 am.

Fireworks explode in Marina Bay against the skyline of Singapore during New Year's Day celebrations

And now, I sit here, by my laptop. Look at the difference. The year has been similar too, with its highs and lows.


  • Won a couple of contests and a really big, unexpected one. I still wonder how that happened.
  • Two of my poems were published in the Magazine Writer’s Ezine. You can read them and let me know if you like them.
    One Lie
  • Ventured into freelance writing and wrote for half a dozen entities. I learnt a lot from each experience. Also, rejected some due to exams and I regret that deeply. This is how we learn, right? I know what to do next time I get a lot of work amidst exams. Go for my passion. 🙂 It isn’t as easy as said, but I’ll fight it through.
  • I completed the 30 Days Book Challenge where I discussed various aspects of different books I have read.
  • I began the #100HappyDays challenge, recording my happy moments in my blog. I couldn’t finish it in 100 consecutive days, yet I decided to complete it as and when time permitted. This is one. 🙂
  • Lastly, I changed my ‘Shades of myself’ page. I have been intending to write a proper one for a long time. I made it by the end of 2015.


Not much progress on the CA front.

 I attended my first interview, got the job in one of the hot shot companies. With time, I realised that the corporate life alone would kill me. I realised that more than earning in lakhs, I preferred earning less and having more of ‘Me’ time where I could rejuvenate myself with some art and writing. I learnt what sort of job I shouldn’t take up. 🙂

Random Acts of Kindness

I came across the Flower Granny and with the help of some lovely friends in the Blogosphere, gave her some money to pay off some of her debts. You can read about it here.

I also came across a group of students from USA who decided to buy a toy to a child who was running around in Marine Drive. I stood their watching the kid’s reaction, the students clicking pictures with the kid and when I had the time, I too took a picture. He was very happy. So were we. You can read about it Here.


  • A cousin of mine whom I have never met, visited from US this year. His wife, knowing me through Facebook, gifted me a queer diary. It has 365 leaves with a question on each page to answer every day of the year. There are 5 slots to answer the questions for 5 years and finally compare the answers and see the difference. I absolutely loved it!IMG_20160102_001859.jpg
  • Another cousin who is of the same age as me stayed at home for a couple of weeks. As children, we have craved to be together a lot. But it was never possible. But this time, we enjoyed like never before. This time, I got to know her better and moved a hundred steps closer to her.
  • I was sleeping one evening and my little sister ordered pizza for me from her savings ❤ What more can I say? It was a big moment for me 🙂


  • Went on a trip to Ezhattumugham & ThumbormozhiIMG_20151218_145536.jpg
  • Explored my very own Kochi and even now, I feel like going back there.
  • Read Divergent, Insurgent, Life in the time of Cholera and half of Book Thief this year.

This were just a few among the hundreds of things that turned the hands of the clock this year. How can I not mention the lovely friends I found here? There is one thing about friends from blogging. You could know them too well because they write their hearts out. I have been wanting to know more and become closer to some of them here. I wouldn’t mention names here. Let it happen with time. Hopefully, 2016 would help me with that.

Here is to writing more, making more friends and laughing more. Here is to living! Wishing all my blogger friends and readers a mind-blowing New Year! 😀

Do let me know how yours went by.


PS – The image with the red fireworks is from a compilation of pictures of New Year from celebrations around the world by The Telegraph. You can see the compilation Here.

I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda

Never Compare Those Trees

She gaped at the tree so tall and sturdy, the stars and the lights shimmered in her eyes. The shiny colorful balls hanging, the candy canes,  the presents wrapped and left so carelessly beneath the tree, She looked at them all and her eyes widened with awe. Not for too long though, for she looked away. She stood there thinking for a while. The tiny marigold plant, they called the Christmas tree, drooped from the weight of the tattered, colored paper ribbons. It wasn’t even a quarter of this tree.

She sighed. She had always wanted to have those huge, green, plastic trees, to climb atop the branches and hang the different shapes and colors. But they were poor. Mamma had to earn all alone for her and her three sisters. She walked past the house, longing for those balls of happiness, looking back now and then, as though she might own them at her will.

I watched her looking at my huge plastic Christmas tree. I couldn’t bear the sight and so, I decided to follow her sans her knowledge.

We turned the corner twice and the road became steep. We walked a mile further and then she stopped in front of a tiny hut. She opened the tiny wooden gate. I gaped in awe at all the marigold blooms. Her hut was lit with yellows and oranges solely from the marigold plants that had spread around. As my eyes traced the plants one by one, they fixed on a particularly large one with color papers and bits of confetti hanging from the tiny branches.

She ran to her golden Christmas tree, opened the tiny ball of paper she was holding, took out some broken balls and stars and adorned her tiny tree with them. I gaped without tearing my eyes off the field of yellows. I yearned for a marigold. I did not have a single plant at home, for there was no space in my apartment.

I’d prefer a hundred marigold Christmas trees to the single plastic one I had. For nothing could beat the feeling of real things around you. Plastics are just that. Unreal.

I walked to the shop nearby. I could hear the carols playing in the background. I bought some balls, bells and stars of different colors, tiny Santas and snowmen too. I gathered them all and walked to her hut. There she was, arranging the broken balls.


She turned around and recognised me, “Hi”

“I was passing by and noticed that you have a lovely Christmas tree here. But, the stars and bells seem to be broken. I have some extra Christmas decorations left and I have no room in my tree. Do you mind decorating all the marigolds with these?”

“But Christmas is over. I was just hanging some things I found in the street, just the bits and pieces. We generally decorate the trees before Christmas. I don’t think I’ll need anymore. Thank you.”

Her answer came out gradually. A reply well thought of.

“Do you still see decorated trees around the neighborhood?”, I asked softly.


“If Christmas is over, they should have taken them all down. Right?”

“Yes. But…”

“Christmas doesn’t get over in a day dear. It is a feeling. You can choose to keep it as long as you want. Similarly, you can choose to decorate your tree whenever you want.” I said, extending the packets.

She looked at my hands and then back at me. A smile spread across her face. Then came the suspicious look.

“Are you sure that you don’t want them? My mother tells me that I shouldn’t trouble anyone.”

“Oh! I am very sure. If you don’t take these, I’ll leave them in the cupboard. They’ll turn sad and lonely. Besides, I am the one asking  you a favour and troubling you, right? Won’t you help me use them?”

“When you put it that way, erm… I will take them.” she said. “Mamma wouldn’t say no to that. Mamma says we should help everyone.”

She took them from me and wobbled as she walked. There were too many for her tiny arms. She placed them near the plants and then turned to look at me.

“Thank you so much.”, she was beaming.

“Can I ask you for another favour?” I asked.


“Can I join you in decorating all the trees?”

“Yes! It will be fun. I will call my sisters too.”


Image courtesy: Here

She ran inside and called the others. We decorated all the plants around her hut. They brought some light bulbs with only a few working lights. I ‘remembered’ I had some lonely lights at home and brought them some. After an hour of shouts, laughter, joy and giggles, I stood in a heaven. I do not remember a Christmas more beautiful and lively. Their hut seemed to nestle amidst a thousand colored fireflies. I do not remember seeing children so gay and happy. They invited me inside and insisted that I have some soup.

That night, as I walked back home, my heart brimming with joy, thinking of all the tiny happy faces and giggles, I resolved to spend every Christmas this way. “Mamma look! Our trees look the best in the neighborhood!” the girl had cried. She was right. Her happiness was contagious.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was playing in my head. I was the Santa for those children and those children were tiny Santas for me.


Image courtesy: Here

I reached home and looked at my plastic Christmas tree. It wasn’t too bad. I pined for some real plants in my apartment. But it was too small and I had no time to water them. This tree is what compensates for their absence. I wondered about how our desires differed. Those who had real things around them preferred the unreal ones and vice versa.

I sighed and smiled. I was about to retire to bed when I heard a thud outside. I went to the balcony and looked around. There was nothing there. As I was about to go in, I heard it again. And then, some swishing. My eyes gradually accustomed to the darkness and I saw it. My neighbours were dragging a pine tree across the road.

Before Christmas, they had chopped the pine tree from the woods nearby. I remembered it standing tall in their courtyard with all the shimmering decorations and lights. Now that Christmas was over for them, they were discarding it, in the same woods. They took it alive and abandoned it dead. They left it there and walked away and I saw the tears. I saw the blood where it had been chopped. Dried blood. I smelled the sorrow and heard the shivers in the cold of the night. I watched the tree die in the dark and closed the curtains.

I walked back to my plastic tree and smiled. At least I did not kill anyone this Christmas. I valued this plastic tree more than I did, few minutes ago.

It is how you treat a Christmas tree after Christmas that defines who you are.



PS – It has been very long since I wrote a short story. This is a happy moment for me and hence, goes into my,

100 Happy Days – Day 72

Happiness is writing short stories


Found my Christmas Lights

In the earlier post, I mentioned about how Christmas is important to me. There was a twist in the tale though. On 22nd, I was informed that I should accompany my sister to Bangalore for a training. At first, it sounded like a good option. But gradually, I realised that I will have nothing to do in Bangalore, all my Cochin based Bang settled friends will be coming home for vacation and my sister will have classes all day. Even then, it’s just Bangalore! I could do something, right?

We reached on 24th morning. It was Christmas eve. My sister left for her classes. We got accommodation in the college guest house which looked like a deserted, haunted place. The windows faced an empty basketball court and the all the rooms in the floor were locked except ours.

I spent half the day doing this & that abd after lunch, decided to take a look around the area. It looked nothing like the city. Well, the city is 20kms away. This was one of the rural areas of Bangalore. With time I realised that even some of the residents haven’t heard of the place much. Which also meant that I was far far away from them. My hopes were coming down. I couldn’t think of spending 6 days like this.

I had brought two books and a laptop. It wouldn’t be too bad. Besides, my sister had told me that we could get wifi here. It was still okay. With wifi, books & my blog, I wouldn’t have a problem! I slept during the rest of the afternoon until my sister came back.

“They are asking us to shift to the next block in a room with another girl. We are the only occupants in this entire building. If we want to, we could stay here.”

I didn’t want to share a room. But, it wasn’t safe inside a deserted building. Specially when the room didn’t have an attached bathroom. So we decided to shift. We were taken to the said room and suddenly, it felt better. This room seemed more lively and there were people around. We decided to go out for a walk.

The girl whose room we were sharing had asked me, “Do you celebrate Christmas?”

I said we do.

“There are a lot of Christians in Kerala and Goa right?”

“Yes there are. Do you celebrate?”

“No. We don’t”

I knew the answer already. That is why I did not tell her that not only the Christians, but all of us celebrated. I wanted to tell her how beautiful it is. But I knew that she wouldn’t understand. I’d just be giving her some boring lectures. So I didn’t pursue the conversation.

I settled in the cot next to the window and slept early. I will wake up to Christmas the next day. Christmas with no lights and sound. I missed my Christmas tree.

The streets of Cochin dance with rice lights. All the buildings are decorated like brides. You don’t know where to look these days. Year after year, the decorations keep increasing. The streets look all the more beautiful after the rains. The raindrops shimmer around the lights, the cool breeze tickles your ear and you smell Christmas in the air. Every 10 feet presents you with tiny shops that sell stars. Stars in the shape of stars, in the shape of balls and some in the shape of supernova – pretty much an exploded look. There are also a wide variety of christmas trees for sale – green, gold, silver, green with whites for snow that appear and disappear alternatively.

By 20th of December, almost every commercial building and many of the houses have stars hung before them. Santa Clauses hired by huge companies dance to the tune of drums and attract customers. Some have statues of Santa Claus built. You could also see the trees beautifully decorated outside most of the buildings. Some homes simply decorate a huge plant or a random tree. I find that amusing. I like how they find the same happiness without purchasing a Christmas tree. I used to do that. 🙂

I woke up today, 25th December in Bangalore and forgot that it was Christmas. When I remembered, there was no one to wish. I called up my mother and wished her. I have plans for tomorrow. But today, will be just another day. I had breakfast, received so many wishes and replied to them all. I felt like the room was beginning to stink. Since it was cold, we didn’t bother to open the windows. I cleaned up the room and opened the windows.

I smiled.

I opened the next.


There were my Christmas lights.

My christmas lights

If I were to forget that I was in Bangalore, I’d definitely have thought that this is Kerala. The windows faced few trees of which one had yellow-pink flowers blossoming all over. The sunlight was filtering through the leaves and I could listen to the birds chirping. I switched off all the lights and watched as the window swallowed the entire sunlight.

I didn’t have any christmas trees. I didn’t have the rice lights or decorations. I couldn’t listen to the carols. But it was still okay.

I had many trees with the sunlight adorning them so beautifully. I heard the birds chirping and suddenly I felt like I was close to home. This isn’t what christmas looks like. But it sure looks like home. 🙂 I just had to open the windows.

You can see those tiny flowers on the left

Anoop tagged me for the #itsStillOkay challenge and this is my post for the same. I’m defying the rules since I’m posting from my phone. Please feel free to take up the challenge on the topic, It’s still okay.

Much Love

The Christmas Spirit

100 Happy Days –Day 71

Happiness is Celebrating With Your Loved ones


Another Christmas! Those who know me will also know that Christmas is one of my favorite festivals. And why not? With all the colors, lights, the cold, the carols, santa and his reindeers, the gifts of course! It is one jolly festival with laughter and colors.

I missed out on celebrating Christmas during the last 2 years due to CS exams and so I decided not to write it this time. I wanted this Christmas. During the week, I took down our Christmas tree from the loft, and fixed her up. We bought some decorations for the tree and I had them in my bag waiting for the right moment to decorate.

And the best thing happened! My cousins came home all of a sudden. We had a nice chat, ordered some Chinese food and as we were eating, I remembered the tree. I love doing things I love with people I love. And decorating a Christmas tree only gets merrier with more people. After the dinner, I brought out all the stuff and there was a pandemonium! It was joy to the ears.

As you can see, there are five decorating a tiny tree 😀

“I want the boxes!”

“No! Dibs on the boxes!”

“No way! I want them!”

There is an attempt to grab something. My sister has the boxes and she authoritatively hands us one box each. She keeps the rest.

Erm… in case you are wondering what boxes are, I wondered in the beginning too. I understood when I saw them and I wanted them too. So correcting them wasn’t wise. Getting my hands on the boxes was the need of the hour. By boxes, we meant the tiny gifts that we hang around the tree. 😀 In ten minutes, our Christmas Tree was all decked up and ready. I absolutely love those ten minutes and I wish we had a bigger tree so that we could have done it for longer.

Take a look at the lights, snowmen and the ‘boxes’


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So, did you enjoy your Christmas? Do let me know how you spent the Christmas Month 🙂

Merry Merry Merry Christmas!

Delving into Kesari

Kesari is one of the easiest sweets to prepare. Let me assure you, there is no compromise on the taste. Kesari is the oblique yellow sunshine melting in your mouth. For me, Kesari smells like home with the rich aroma of ghee and fried cashews.

Are you thinking about any of those relatives who cannot have too much sweet? To make it healthier, Kesari could also be prepared using Sugar-free Natura instead of sugar. Here is how:


  1. Sugar Free Natura – 25 Pellets
  2. Semolina (Rava) – 1 cup or 250 g
  3. Ghee – 1 cup and a few extra tea spoon-full.
  4. Water – As required
  5. Cashew – A few
  6. Kismis – A few
  7. Yellow edible color
  8. Cardamom powder – One-fourth tea spoon


How to Prepare:

  1. Fry the semolina in 3-4 teaspoons of ghee. Keep frying until it turns light brown. Keep it aside.
  2. In 2 teaspoons of ghee, fry cashews and kismis until they turn brown. Keep them aside.
  3. In half a cup water, add the Sugar free pellets and heat the water. Keep stirring until the pellets melt.
  4. Add the fried semolina to this mixture and keep stirring to avoid formation of lumps.
  5. Add half cup of water, the remaining ghee, yellow color and  cardamom powder.
  6. Keep stirring until the mixture turns thick and the ghee begins to float on top.
  7. Garnish with the fried cashews and kismis. Serve hot.


Kesari is a very common sweet prepared here for festivals like Deepavali, Navratri, Karthikai and also they serve it for marriages and functions. But you don’t have to wait for another occasion to prepare this. Do it right now with the above handful of dishes and let me know if you liked it. 🙂


I had begun the #100HappyDays challenge in July. But I couldn’t carry out the challenge the way it is supposed to be carried out. I missed a day or two in between and finally, when I had to study, I stopped it entirely.

Earlier, when something like this happened, I used to stop it midway only to start again. But this time, I decided that I would continue the challenge. Rules can be broken and when it is for the sake of something related to happiness, it doesn’t matter at all. Hence, here I continue the challenge:

Day 60

Happiness is Thrikkarthika/ Karthikai Vilakku

Due to my exams, I couldn’t celebrate Navaratri or Deepavali. So, when I realised that it was Karthika the day after exams, I decided I would celebrate it. Though we didn’t keep many lamps, the few we kept looked beautiful.


It looked all the more lovely with our neighbour’s set of lamps.


My little friend from upstairs also joined me. We arranged the lamps, distributed sweets and then took lots of selfies. 😀

Just like Raksha Bandhan, during Karthikai, sisters pray for their brothers while brothers give gifts. I met a very good friend of mine and he gave me a gift that day. Since I do not have any brothers, I felt very happy.

Yet again, time proved that some things, no matter how tiny they are, mean a lot to us. The joy is always in the little things. 🙂

Tomorrow Is The Big Day!

Things haven’t been going as I had expected. I began the 100 Happy Days challenge thinking I will be completing it by September. I had decided that I’ll celebrate Onam properly this time by putting Pookalam on all ten days. I had planned to go for a game of snooker and bowling this month. Nothing has been going as I had planned.

Do you know what else I had planned? To buy myself an awesome gift this birthday. Remember I had written a post (Here it is) on August first where I didn’t disclose the main reason why I liked August so much? There were some of them who had guessed it right. I like it because it is my Birthday. And tomorrow is the day! 😀 😀

100 Happy Days – Day 59

Happiness is my Birthday 😀

To sum up last year, it is similar to the first paragraph. Right now I am sitting here with my lips and gums numb after a root canal treatment. The doctor has assured me some pain on my big day. 😛 In short, nothing went as planned. I thought I will be home tomorrow waiting for all the calls and pampering, but I’ll be attending classes from 7am to 7pm. I thought my sister will be here running around me and wishing me but she cannot come due to her hectic schedule. I wanted to become a CA before this birthday and I thought I will be employed by now but well, here I am.

On the bright side, I just casually went on writing posts without expecting anything much. And my posts were appreciated by many people. In the last one year, I did make some difference in some people’s lives.

Oh! And I did find some wonderful friends right here in the blogosphere! 😀

I don’t even think people around me remember that it is my birthday. All that doesn’t matter! Do you really know what the worst part is? I had planned to gift myself a bournville and I can’t eat it. As I told you earlier the dentist scraped out some portion of my tooth and filled it in and it hurts. What a terrible fate for the chocolate lover!? Anyhow, the moment I am well, I will be gifting myself the Bournville.

Until then, you all read this post and first thing, wish me tomorrow morning. If you wish to send me gifts, I luuuurve clothes, chocolates and Harry Potter merchandise. 😛 Jokes apart, some love, wishes for my happiness and prayers for me to clear my CA Final will be of some great use. 🙂

Thank you all for all the love.

PS – I won’t be blogging frequently until November. So, please keep me in your memory and prayers


Rangelz 🙂

August is Here

Two things:

  • I would like to warn you all in advance that there is going to be a lot of ‘August’ boasting around here. Most of you won’t be able to relate to any of this because, it all happens in my head.
  • If any of the other 11 months are reading this, I would like to apologize. This is how I feel.  If I say this to any person, they will probably hate me for this. Only my blog listens silently to all that my heart has to say. 😦 So, here I go.

Thus begins the month of AUGUST!

It is one of the two months I love! The other is December for Christmas, Santa, Reindeers, snow and lights.

The moment I woke up today, I took a deep breath and felt the joy in the air. I know. I know it is all about mindset and that everyday is similar if you view it in the same manner. But I don’t want every day to be the same. I want August to be that:


100 Happy Days – Day 51

Happiness is the beginning of August

I love it for what it means and for the sound of its name. As far as I am concerned, there is no other month named with so much of majesty.

I love it for the way it heralds the Malayalam New Year with gaiety, bringing along with it, the festival of flowers – Onam. It is the month in which, I see the richness of our culture. I see the rush reducing, the greenery and the colours increasing, the roads lining up with flower sellers, the television reminiscing the earlier days of Onam sans all the technology, people getting back with their families, greetings being sent and received. It is when the Onam preparation begins.

I cannot explain the beauty of floral carpets adorning the homes and offices. August grabs my attention towards the nature and our culture.

Are these reasons enough for me to go all gaga over August? There is one more. A very apparent one. Just one guess and I am sure you all will get it. 😀 But, I won’t reveal it now. I’ll reveal it at the right time. 😉

PS- Did I say that I loved how Augustus Waters loved in TFIOS? Another reason to love August.

How We Refrained From Finishing The Cake

I had written a post earlier about preparing a cake in the easiest of possible ways – No oven and just 4 easy ingredients. Click HERE to read it.



I had been speaking highly of this cake to a friend but never prepared it for him. So, I decided to prepare it for his birthday.Obviously, it was a surprise. But after preparing it, we didn’t have any opportunities to meet since both of us were busy. After a couple of days, I opened the refrigerator to find a brown colored substance, 3*3 inches in measurement. You guessed it. My cake had shrunk.

Ah! No! I did not use any of my magical powers.  That was my sister and the little baby in our house, my grandmother. 😛 They took turns to ask me, ‘Can I have a piece of your cake?’ How can I deny requests that are asked so sweetly? I kept saying yes. Now that the cake was almost over, I called up H and told him about how he missed my cake. He was depressed I must say.

100 Happy Days – Day 45

Happiness is gifting (pieces of) self-made cakes

Not for long. We decided to meet yesterday. I shaped the remnants of my cake well and took it with me. My sister and I placed a tiny candle on top of it and presented it to him. He was elated, ‘You saved the cake!?’ he asked with a broad smile. That made my day.



Sisters’ Day Out & The Creepy Guy

The story starring D (my sister) and I continues. Since there is a huge gap of 9 years between our ages, we weren’t together for long. I left for my high school when she was in her 2nd standard. A tiny doll that she was, it was very difficult to be away from her. When I was back after 5 years, she was in high school busy with her studies, tuitions, extra activities, entrance coaching etc. By the time she gave her 10th boards, I was giving my CA finals. When I was free, she was preparing for her 12th boards after which, she was free and I was  rewriting my finals. You know how bad this was.

For the last couple of months both of us have been free for the first time and we decided to manifest our Sisters’ Day Out. After years of planning,

100 Happy Days – Day 41

Happiness is a day out with your sibling.

I woke her up and asked her to get ready for the day. Our first stop was the Gold Souk Mall. Google told me that they had gaming there. However, when we reached there, we got nothing. We started off to the next mall nearby – Lulu.

We went to the sparky’s gaming area searching for a two player game. We decided to play Air hockey.

Air Hockey

It consists of a smooth surfaced table, 2 mallets that act like bats and a puck that acts like a ball. All you have to do is to pocket the puck into the opponent’s side socket which wins you a goal. Obviously, your opponent would try to defend the socket. The fun in the game is due to the smooth surface. The puck just runs around the table, ricochets of the side and you really can’t predict which direction it would go to. Here is a sample Air Hockey table.


We did not know how long we had for the game to end. The score was 4-3 where I was the one with 3 goals and finally, I pocketed the puck again. But by then the game was over and the scores didn’t change. D claims to have won. But technically it is a draw since neither of us knew that it was over. (C’mon! support me please).

unnamed (1)
A wall art in Lulu mall that I particularly loved!

Movie and Lunch

Next on our agenda was a movie. I know it has been a long time since its release, but we badly wanted to watch it. So, we walked into an almost empty theatre to watch Tanu Weds Manu. You know what!? Screen 2 in PVR has got purple seats!!! 😀


Since we had our lunch in the theatre, the next planned activity was bowling. Oh! I love bowling and I have been wanting to take my sister for the same. We started towards Central Square Mall since the rates are low there.

All I know about bowling is that I must try to knock down the pins using the ball. And of course, stepping on to the lane would be foul. Keeping these in mind, I began the battle. No matter how many times I told the ball to go straight, he kept going towards the sides. Sometimes he would give me hopes by going right through the center of the lane for a while and suddenly move leftwards. Leftwards! Why always leftwards?

The happy part is I bowled a strike once, when all the pins were majestically knocked off. My lovely sister didn’t notice my moment since she was having a nice chat with the staff there. :/ In any case, I did bowl a strike! 😀

After the game, we found a beautiful photo corner where I pestered D to take my pictures. I love posing and she yields when I ask her to take pictures. Here is one where I am pretending to walk into the woods. 😛


Things were going as we had planned and so we decided to give some clothes for stitching at Convent junction. After this, we visited the library. Trust me! It is very hard to leave a library with the scent of old books and racks of thousands of written words. We took Dan Brown’s Inferno and Markus Zusak’s Book Thief and somehow got ourselves out.

Next, we went to the Marine Drive and sat there for a while. I never get fed up of that place with all the trees, the water and the breeze. We walked up the rainbow bridge and then returned. Here is a view of the waters from there.unnamed (2)

Chaat and some shopping

It was already 6.30 PM and G, my best friend was waiting for us at convent junction. We hurried to meet him and the 3 of us had chat – Panipuri, samosa chat and sev puri. He had promised to accompany us to broadway for some purchase. We traipsed down the streets of “broadway” which is named ironically since only one car could go through the roads at a time.

After a long, happy tiring day, we reached home around 8.30 pm with a full stomach, a happy heart and some lovely memories.

The Weirdo

Oh! That reminds me. At Lulu, there was this creepy guy walking around and staring at us. My sister kept telling me that he looked so weird. He slowly walked towards the escalator. As he was being carried up, he kept looking at us. While he walked away, his eyes were still on us. Once we reached Central mall, we saw him again! D kept saying that it was so scary. On the other hand, I thought it was exciting! Like in fairy tales, a weird guy who follows us and then tells us that we belong to some other world. That, it was time for us to fulfill our destiny. I kept thinking along those lines.

Anyway, that was the end of him. I mean even if my hunches were true, I cannot tell you right? Because the other world is always hidden from human beings. I won’t be able to reveal the truth. 😛

The creepy guy did spice up our day! 😀