An online journal of an ordinary girl

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014 Posted by Anu 1 comment Posted in , , ,
Only few more hours away from the historic #indyref moment in Scotland, and I can already feel butterflies fluttering in my stomach.  I have kept my polling card along with other Id documents ready to be able to vote for the Scottish Independence Reference tomorrow.  It's a history in the making, and we are very glad to be part of this.  

As an expat living in Scotland, and as a commonwealth citizen, I am eligible to cast my vote and have a say on this referendem.  That for me is a moment that I will relish with pride.  I came here only for few months, which turned into 4 years now.  To say that Scotland has been a beautiful home, I can only recollect all lovely memories spent in this country. 

So when I got the responsibility to vote, the first thing I felt was honoured.  But the very next feeling that peered through myself was the fear.  I made up my mind immediately that I should be selfless and vote for what is best for Scotland and its people.  But then, my heart reflected back saying "Who am I to decide what Scotland wants"!

Sure I am just an ordinary immigrant making a living here.  But if I get a chance to voice my opinion on good and bad of #indyref, what should stop me from that?  

I want to make an informed decision and a right one.  Hence I took time to read through all the materials available in the internet to keep myself up-to-date with Yes & No options. 

There's always 2 answers. Say no and be safe and be part of the largest kingdom, share common wealth and live happily ever after, as always. Say yes, if you are different, a risk taker, but want to feel the sense of freedom and democracy.

There's still myriad unanswered questions lying in front of people. 

What will be The currency?
Will Scotland survive after independence? Do they have sufficient wealth?
Will the unemployment shoot up?
Will the tax payers have to pay more money?
Will Scotland be part if EU and Schengen Agreement?
What will happen to the pension and benefits?
Will the immigration policies change?
What about the bank and mortgage interest? And the value of the properties?
Who is taking the North Sea reserves?
Will there be a currency reunion with rUK? 
Any Land borders between them?

Many have changed their decision from yes to no, and no to yes. 

I have been supporting Yes, and my decision remains the same even today, after reading and taking to people who tried to persuade me.  I am altruistic and I feel every country has got the right to be free, independent, and make decisions for what is best for it's people rather than depending and relying on somebody who sits 1000 miles away. 

When countries smaller than Scotland could do it, I don't see a reason why Scotland cannot do.  The country has rich natural resources and can built up an economy as strong and bigger and better than rUK.  

There could be some teething issues immediately after a Yes vote and on deciding on lot of the above factors, but that's the whole point of having a referendem - to make right decisions that are best for Scottish people.  

Many people who are voting for NO are actually wasting what is called as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  There's no second chance for Scotland if they miss this referendum.  They basically think that Scotland will be screwed up if they go independent.  They want the best of both worlds. But for how long could a country be under the shadow?  If the countries are better together, then why has the unemployment rates went up? Why do people have to pay more tax?

I don't know what impact the YES vote will have on my life. Not sure if our jobs will be secure, if tax rates will go up, or what will happen to our immigration status. I don't want to evaluate it either. 

I am happy to embrace whatever decision the people are about to take in few hours. Pretty overwelming!

Will Scotland break up with UK after their 307 years of relationship, or continue to be together? We'll know the answers in 24 hours. 

More info about referendem is given here:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_independence_referendum,_2014

 

Friday, 31 January 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014 Posted by Anu 13 comments Posted in , ,
It seems as if 2013 has passed just like a wink of an eye, and the new year splashed like a wave on our face.  Even before we could wipe it off and reminisce the gone days, a month is already over.  What is it?  I feel like the days are going faster than supersonic flights! I dug this blog from 100 feet below the ground, dusted it off and have adored a new dress very recently.  So, it wouldn't be fair if I don't leave a scribble or two.  Atleast I wanted to write here before 2014 ends!!

Wishing you all a very very happy new year.  I wish this year brings tons of good memories to cherish, and all the goodness of wealth, health and happiness come knocking at your doorstep!!

2013 was a super busy year for everyone, I guess.  Partly yes for me! I was not too occupied, but I can't stop myself from complaining about how less of time I have every single day!   I was busy building networks both online and offline, making some groundwork and progressing in personal goals, and learning some basic html to survive the blogworld.  When I think of 2013, all good days of yesteryear come flashing.   Here's some highlights of what I did last year!!

***

I started my new travel blog in 2013. But when I started it,  I did not know what I was doing. I simply created it. But every single day, I discovered the potential I had to create a niche travel stuff on my blog, but I had no clue what or how to do it. I read gazillion other posts and browsed pages every day to understand how travel blog industry worked, and what potential it had for me on long run. I discussed about having a niche couple travel blog with S, and then started the groundwork for our blog. That's a lot of work I did. May be there are simpler ways to do them, but I had to make mistakes and learn from them. I made mistakes, made corrections! I spent days charting out a meticulous plan for the travel blog which apparently I never followed till date! Started building network with other travel bloggers, created social media profiles, went for custom domain, learnt some html to design the blog (the most challenging one so far!!). I still have a lot of work to do to improve the site, it's content, increase the reach and pageviews etc. I am only 20% or so on my way, but I feel satisfied.

***

 S and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in 2013.  It was a special moment for both of us.  I always say, "oh God, has it been 5 years since I've married you?", but on the other side, I know I felt like I've known S for ages.  He is a great blessing and one of the best things that happened to me.  I can just go on and dream about as many things, because I know S will make those dreams come true.  We are completely different individuals and our opinions are never same, but we strike a chord when it comes to how to enjoy life. Be it travelling, our everyday lifestyle, "live-this-moment-happily" attitude or not having any intention to save for the future, we are partners in crime!  I am not a troublesome baby, but I am tough, arrogant, stupid, silly, irresponsible and expensive wife! I think God knows that a person like me can only be managed by someone like S!

***

 I took a big decision to quit my job and ....and...and.. sit at home doing nothing!  I do have a 1% of regret, probably the only thing I am regretting so far.  It was not the easiest decision, but I felt I needed it.  Needed the time for myself. When I think about it, I still can't say one single reason why or what made me quit the job.  There's myriad reasons behind it.  But more of it on another post.  On a lighter note, I enjoyed the summer of 2013!  I mean, for all these years, I would have to only listen to people saying "Oh it's lovely sunshine outside" while I sit behind the glass window on my work desk! And I would wait for the weekend to enjoy the summer, when the weather will turn out to be bad, windy, rainy! that's Scotland!  So, back to 2013 summer. I went walking all days, spent my afternoons reading books over a hill, near the canal, in the meadow, by the beach.  I did a lot of people watching, and understood there were a lot of people jobless like me, spending their days trying to burn calories, or play with their dogs! It was a lovely time, and I felt bad that I missed such good moments for 3 previous summers! 

***

  Although it was for a very short time, our vacation to India is one among the most memorable moments that we will cherish for lifetime. We had a very special family celebration back home and all our time went on giving away invitations, making arrangements for family get-together et al.  But its good to see all the relatives in one function rather than visiting them separately right? Saves a lot of time, and its lot more fun when all are together! 
 ***

There are some hobbies which get buried deep down somewhere as we move ahead in life.  One such passion for me was dancing which rooted up last year. I always dance.  Like a bathroom singer, I am a home-alone dancer.  I dance when I cook, when I see my favourite song on the TV, but making a performance on stage was something I thought I forgot.  I met like-minded bunch of friends who were interested in dancing, and viola we made 2 performances so far- for dussehra and diwali, and now we are gearing up for our 3rd one!! 

***


 We travelled a lot in 2013 (Read our 2013 travel moments here). Both within UK and within EU. We hunted down the best flight deals and believe it or not, it saved us a lot of money. For instance, from Edinburgh to Oslo round trip, the cost was £35 per person. It was like getting a jackpot! We became more methodical in making our travel plans (may be they came after years of experience?). We divided the responsibilities between us like S took care of transportation (air/train/bus/car etc), and I took care of where to stay, what to see, where to eat etc. It worked really well for us.

 ***

These were my tiny precious moments of 2013.  I am hoping this year I will not ignore this blog like I did last year. I want to learn more of html coding, or simple tips/tricks on working/altering templates.  If you know of any good internet materials, please share your 2 cents.  See you all on my next post, until then bye!


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013 Posted by Anu 16 comments Posted in ,

Today's theme is "OLD" as in buildings, vehicle, books etc.  This picture represents old building - a withered old house at the backdrop in Valletta, capital city of Malta.  

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Posted by Anu 14 comments Posted in , , , ,
There's not a single soul who's not apprehensive about cancer.  The very word has such a power that it brings jitters to your whole body. I am no different here. It isn't actually the fear of What-If-I-Get-It syndrome, but it is some kind of a strange feeling that baffles my mind.  One that is daunting, and leaves me with heavy heart invariably when I hear someone say "Do you know, X is diagnosed with cancer"!! 

I am a bold woman, but this very hideous word "cancer" stabs me every time I hear of it. It mocks at me; at everyone. It ridicules at the science, human intelligence and lastly, human emotions!

Do you remember Lisa Ray's Yellow Diaries, a blog she had been writing while taking treatments for cancer.  I was a regular reader of her blog then, and reading each and every post brought unstoppable tears into my eyes. Undoubtedly, she was such a determined and strong-hearted lady, she fought cancer so positively and kicked straight at its ass!  I've always wondered where she got such a strong will. I admired her for that, was awestruck at the way she held her courage. I made up my mind if ever I'm diagnosed with cancer, I will have the willpower of 1000 Lisa Rays inside me and I will f*** that filthy cancer off my body, cell by cell!! 

Little did I know then that not only one should be strong if they had cancer, but equally show the courage when someone among the kith and kin is affected.  That realization came late, very late! I understood the fear I had was not for myself, but about my near and dear ones! What if someone close to my heart is diagnosed with cancer? How will that put me as a strong willed lady?  My courage was put to test! It came in the form of 2 of my close ones who were diagnosed with cancer.

Actually both of them were women, and they were very dear to my Mom.  One was her dear sister, and another her best friend.  Ever since my childhood, I've known them, and have a special place in my heart too, just like they had for me and my family. Although my whole family were shocked about the news, it was my mom who was totally devastated when she heard the news, both of it at the same time.  Both of these women are really brave and have managed the family without any support for a good long time.  I am extremely proud to have known them.  

But when I had to confront one of them personally, that became my biggest challenge of lifetime! It was customary that whenever I go to India, I never fail to visit aunt's house.  I wanted to see her, but didn't know how.  The reason was that my Mom kept updating me about her current treatment, and her situation.  I knew she'd lost weight, not able to walk, lost her hair completely. I wasn't sure if I could hold my tears tight when I see her eye-to-eye. Eventually I did, at-least in front of her, but couldn't keep that fake smile for long enough. I had to rush to go into loo and have a private space to open my water reservoir.   And then I did not see her eye to eye until I was there, but continued to smile, and be happy. When I was about to leave, I did hug her, kissed her and asked her to be strong and left.  Came back home and again went to restroom to re-open my reservoir. It's difficult to confront them, right?

Not just cancer, the news is also contagious!! At one point, I felt it was like some Cancer-mania.  That's the only news I heard about, always! In a given time, I've heard of 6 people who were diagnosed with cancer. When you hear of someone (not very close or someone you've only heard of) affected with Cancer, you pity them a lot, talk about it, and say "May God be with them" "Let God give them enough strength", and probably forget about it! 

But our perspective about it changes when we see someone from a close quarter battling this disease day in and day out, managing the family chores, trying to keep the family happy, keep themselves motivated, and not wanting to see or hear those pity look or words from the family/friends.  They and their family need physical help to manage day-to-day chores, may be financial help to combat the treatment expenses, and tons of confidence and moral support to face the upcoming battle.  Not our "I am sorry" face!! 

I understood that chemotherapies are expensive, and are extremely painful. And the whole body tend to react and will have a lot of side effects.  Like pins and needles in legs and hands, body pain, muscle ache, shivers, alopecia, and a lot more.  And while taking chemos, they can't stand for too long or do household chores just like how they would be doing them earlier.  The family should be able to understand this and help the patient with daily chores.  If its the woman of the family who is going through therapy they need someone to clean the house, cook food, wash clothes and take care of other myriad household work.  Of course, it's possible to keep a maid help for all of this. But how many families can afford this?

After my own personal experiences, I am sharing 5 do's and don'ts that one can/can't do to support the patient and their family. 

DO'S
1. Help them with breakfast/lunch or dinner. 
2. Spend quality time with them at their home.
3. Do any help with the household chores like cleaning, ironing, putting clothes on machine, cutting veggies, mopping the floor, buying weekly groceries, picking/dropping kids at school etc.
4. Talk about things that motivate them, success stories of surviving people, and help them gain confidence in facing the chemos/operation/therapy.
5. Be normal, as you used to be with them. Nothing more or nothing less.

DON'TS
1. Don't say "I am sorry to hear this news".  It sounds very depressing! 
2. Do not say "let me know if you need any help". Just do it.  It's obvious they need help and don't expect them to ask each and every one to help them.  But sure they wouldn't mind if you do help them in anything.
3. Don't keep reminding them that they have cancer.  
4. Don't cry in front of them.  
5. Do not sympathize them. Let your sympathy and empathy only be in your mind and action. 

All these pointers are from  my own experience. If you would like to add any other points, do add them in the comment section.  

For all the time I've thought that fear was universal, until I saw multitude of famous personalities that starting fighting cancer in their personal lives. Yuvraaj Singh, Nelson Mandela, Manisha Koirala for instance.  The name list keeps growing, but they've successfully battled this dreaded disease and have come back with a bang - pretty strong and happy! 

This does teach us that nothing can stop someone from living and enjoying a life!!  

Friday, 16 August 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013 Posted by Anu 17 comments Posted in , , ,
It's the completion of 6th year of blogging for me.  A moment to be proud and happy about. Years passed by, but my complaints haven't reduced. I still am the same person that moan about how less I spend time on writing.  Leave that apart, I can't believe 6 years has rolled on!!  So, on that note, "a very special blogiversary wishes to my dear blog.  If not for you, I'd not be the person that I am today. Love you loads!" 

Also, I am back from India after having a great family jubilation in Chennai. 2 weeks there had just flew like a supersonic flight, that my heart was heavy this time when I boarded the flight back.   Back last week, and I saw 2 movies - Thalaiva and Chennai Express - both of which are not worth a review in this page.

Well, well..with that note, I sign off for now.  Take care.  

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013 Posted by Anu 16 comments Posted in , ,

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013 Posted by Anu 26 comments Posted in , , ,
The flight journey and experience is always different and depends on where you sit.  Agree or not?  I am talking about short duration flights (1-3 hours) and travelling in low cost local/ international airlines.  Not the long journey international flights on Boeing or Airbus.  

While I usually nail the window seat without fail (no, I don't use kerchief to get a seat), there were very few instances that I missed. Particularly when I am travelling in low cost airlines (3-3 seating arrangements).  I mean, Who would want to pay additional money to get an allocated seat. I have often been lucky enough to get window seats, even in those instances.  

I get excited, every-time, always if I had to sit on the window seat - like a kid; like that's my first time flight experience! I fix my eyes into the window so close that my nose literally touches the window.  I keep peeping outside. I take pictures.  I take videos.  I see the 30000 foot view of the city.  I enjoy the altocumulus clouds until the plane disappears itself into a huge cloud. When all I see is just a white space, I start concentrating on other things.  I put my ear-plugs on, and start listening to music.  Read the in-flight magazine.  Or take out my novel and start reading them, until I see that white space emerging into a land mass again. 

But the scenario is totally different if you sit in the aisle seat or middle seat. For instance, middle seat passengers are on their own world - either day dreaming or sleeping!

The sad group of passengers are those who sit on the aisle seat. Having to give-way every now and then to their co-window and middle passengers who go on to check the functionality of the flight sanitary conditions or probably to check their own ;)  

As the aisle passenger fastens the seat belt, the middle passenger will have the urge to go for a pee-pee interval. When he returns back, the window passenger might remember that he never went for one in a long time, and disturbs the whole row to go to release the acid.  The game doesn't end there. 

Just when the aisle passenger is getting comfortable, his hand is accidentally hit more often by air hostess and other passengers when they walk down the aisle.  Not to forget the fact that they are the first to be disturbed by the air hostess to show their hospitality! Talk about it.  There's more!   Can the aisle passenger ever take a peaceful nap just like rest of the passengers? No, I guess!  

Once (and I think that's the only time) I had this not-so-fortunate-moment to travel in the aisle seat.  As I fastened the seat belt, switched off my phone, I was eagerly waiting for the flight to take off. I noticed my co-middle passenger was playing crosswords for less than 5 minutes.  As the pilot announced the flight take off, he closed off his eyes, hands locked tightly and bent his head down. As expected, the co-window passenger was looking outside the window.  

Not less than 10 minutes the flight took off, and when I looked around, half a dozen of people had already dozed off.  My husband is like that! Seriously, I just don't get it!  I can never sleep in a flight! #confession

In few more minutes the flight reached a certain altitude, thankfully. I switched my phone to airplane mode, and plugged my earphone.  The total journey was 1.5 hours and never (ever) in my life, 1.5 hours felt like 15 hours to me! That's actually the 2nd time in the same month that I travelled in the same airline company.  I din't want to re-read the in-flight magazine over and over again!  And to add to the blue, I kept my book inside the suitcase that was put on the overhead locker some 30 seats ahead of me. What a blow! 

The unsettled me, started to look around, front and back, to observe something interesting.  From an aisle seat, you can atleast see a dozen of people, right??  I love observing people, but mostly in an open space like a square, or cafe or parks. While sitting in aisle seat seemed a bit claustrophobic to me,  observing people came as a savior!    

My husby was sitting on another aisle seat few rows behind me (sadly, the last passengers to get into the flight) and he himself is a classic example.  He slept with one hand on his chin, and another on the magazine which he never opened. His head was rested on the front seat. I know he can sleep anywhere as long as he gets any of the 4 things - a book (that is his sleeping pill), bright sunshine and nice breeze (his cradle), anything that is moving like bus, boat, train etc (would be his lullaby). You don't want to know the fourth one right? ;) 

What surprised me was, there's a lot of people out there like my husband, as in "take a seat, and doze off types". Passengers sitting near the window seat have mostly maintained the same posture by bending their head slightly over the window with their closed eyes.  

There was this old man sitting in the middle seat diagonally behind me.  The moment he closed his eyes, his mouth opened automatically.  He even snored briefly.

A teenager with the head phone sat behind me rested his head on his own seat. With his eyes closed, every now and then his lips and head moved (perhaps to the rhythm of music!).

A nerdy looking woman with her reading glasses was lost in her book she was holding - Fifty shades of Grey! 

A small girl was holding her stuffed doll and was probably as bored as me.  We met eyes quite often.  

The air-hostesses were not looking appealing at all. One of her even looked very old.   

After some observation, I started to type all this in my notes, and already finished listening to 20 something songs, the much needed flight announcement about the "preparing for land" came. In less than 20 minutes, I released my seat belt and disembarked the flight.  I was so happy and relieved - so much like someone who just released the acid after controlling their bladder for an awful long time! Talking about it, my middle and window passengers had great bladder control! They never disturbed me throughout the journey :)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 Posted by Anu 29 comments Posted in , ,
Always there!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013 Posted by Anu 18 comments Posted in ,
After a long time, I am keeping my hands on my laptop.  The saga of laptop booting problems and Trojan virus had made me mute in the e-space.   I din't bother much about checking my email, or Facebook updates or that 100 + unread posts sitting on my reader.   So, to sum up, last few days has been rewarding and I felt like I had more time than usual.   I saw some new releases, read few books, and had some "me" time.  

Recently I have seen controversies coming up with every film that gets released.  XYZ party putting allegations on a movie and referring objectionable scenes/dialogues or because it has portrayed a community in a negative manner.  Where has all these come from? Have we become so intolerant?  A movie should be seen as a movie, an entertainment factor.  If everyone starts taking things personal and gets offended, we have to stop seeing films. My message to the common men who are creating such controversies - If you are getting offended with a movie, just don't see it! Simple as that! 

Well, I saw 2 movies which created a lot of controversies, but here's what I saw in the movie, and what I felt about. These are purely my opinion.  

The hustle and bustle of much talked Vishwaroopam movie is slowly settling down, but I managed to see the movie first day first show here on 25th Jan.  While my hands were eager to type in a blog post about the movie immediately, I just wanted to remain silent and let everyone enjoy the movie as much as I did without any bias.  I loved every bits of movie. Kamal Hassan has proved he is truly an universal hero.  Be it the elegant Kathak movements, or the way he transforms from his effeminate look to a fierceful combat person, he has done an amazing job.  The combat and other action sequences were superbly handled and easily pumps out the adrenaline out of us. An electrifying action/thriller movie, which you can easily see more than once.  But why this movie got into the ban or aggreviated communal feelings is beyond my understanding.  I couldn't see anything that might hurt Islamic sentiments. The bad boys as shown in the film are Al-Qaeda terrorists and not a common man! People please grow up. It's a movie, and a really good one! 

I also saw Mani Rathnam's Kadal (Sea) movie. I liked the movie - not a lot, but liked it as a fan of Manirathnam. It was not the best of Mani's, especially when he sets high expectations on his movies. Predictable and weak storyline is the major drawback of the film which is supported overshadowed by some amazing performances, cinematography and music. I wouldn't be wrong, if I say, the movie was owned by Aravind Swamy- A perfect comeback for him! Newcomer Gautham Karthik proves that he has dutifully carried the 'acting gene' from his grandfather and father. Showing the sea color in different moods, backdrops of every scene, nativity of fishing village were skillfully captured. And capturing cyclone Neelam isn't an easier job that Rajiv Menon handled too well. I can't miss out ARRji in this.  I still wonder how he carefully chooses the rhythm and tune for ManiRathnam and make them so special and exclusive.  The song Nenjukulle, which is my favorite song in the movie, and which I carried a lot of expectation, got lost behind the conversations and was not given much attention in the movie.  Magudi song was used well throughout the movie.  Overall, in my opinion, the movie can be a one time watch.   

So what have you all been doing? 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Monday, January 07, 2013 Posted by Anu 10 comments Posted in ,
Hello people! First of all, I wish you all a happy, healthy and fantastic new year ahead - a year that you will always cherish and whose memories will always linger in your heart.  

Last year was fantastic personally for me, with job change, friends and family visits,  lots of travelling, and an increased effort in blogging! Thanks to Project 366 - which I never completed, but managed to write an impressive 178 posts.  

What's for this year then? I created a new travel blog - "My Footprints around the world" in http://travelwithanu.blogspot.co.uk/.  

So go ahead, and do visit my new blog.  Let me know your thoughts and suggestions, please.


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