4 things that I miss terribly about India!

I have been meaning to write this one since the longest time, but so are a 100 other posts. Better leave it at that. You know how you go somewhere & miss things that you left behind. I don’t mean loved ones & memories, even things. I had few strange revelations regarding  what all I miss from India after I moved to Berlin. That’s why I felt the need to document it. Some are really obvious things, but read on to know the weird ones:

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  1. For-granted things: There are many things whose existence I didn’t even register in my daily life and I miss them. No, I am not talking about easy access to water instead of toilet paper in the toilet :D.  I am talking of things that I really didn’t register in mind while living in India! Coriander, for example. My mom is a coriander lover and she puts excess of it in every dish if she has coriander at hand. I used to be super mad about it and tell her that I don’t want coriander leaves in my food every time and that too so many. Now, here, many times, I miss coriander leaves in my food & I don’t like the other breed available at regular supermarkets (is it parsley?). So, I sometimes buy it for a very high price at Indian grocery stores. Imagine, dhania (coriander), something that is given for free many times by veggie sellers in India! 😀 I can also mention missing Chole Bhature, something that is definitely not one of my favourite fast foods back home but I still ordered it once while eating out.
  2.  Street Markets: Talking of veggie sellers back home brings me to street markets. This is a fairly obvious one. Indian street markets, especially if you live in Delhi, have a character of their own, each one of them and I miss every one of those. Be it the strictly hipster Paharganj, the book lover’s paradise on Sundays – Daryaganj, the shopper’s delight Janpath, the truly Tibetan experience – Majnu ka Tila or the shiny, bling-y wedding shopping haunt but with tiny, dirty streets – Chandni Chowk. Phewww! I miss all of them. cl3a5jd
  3. Street Food: This is so cliched, it isn’t even funny. It’s hard to find someone who has lived in India throughout their lives and they do not miss Indian street food while in abroad. I am going to go ahead and put a picture here so that everyone is salivating right on their laptops! Go people! 😀 I think I should also mention here Berlin is very cosmopolitan when it comes to food & it’s so much easy to find Indian food, even if not street food. By the way, a place near my house here sells Indian street food, yet to try it.IMG_0423_Fotor
  4.  Fabindia: Haha! Never could have even imagined this one. The only article I have from Fabindia right now is a toner spray, which is actually a gift. The last thing I bought from them was Kurtas for my father with his money. Fab India is expensive for my student life right now but whenever I am near a store, I enter it for window shopping & now I miss doing that. 😀
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    Source: http://www.urbandesis.com/2014/10/urban-bites-fabindia-singapore/

    5. Taking my friends to Big Chill: Not a thing about India this is, but it is on my to-do list when I am back. That’s why the post is not called ‘5 things’ 😛 Big Chill is one of Delhi’s favourite places to dine at, including myself, when wanting to have Italian and I don’t know how I have never written about it. I wanted to take my B-school friends once there because none of them have been there. We came to our respective campuses in Europe before that could happen. So, yes, it is on the cards once I am back!

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    Source: nomadicrider.com/2011/02/khan-ka-khaana-eating-out-at-khan-market/

     

That’s all I could think of. I know many of you are living abroad since so long, PB, Shruti di, Bikramjit & so many of you whose blogs I love reading! 🙂 Do share what it is that you miss, if anything at all!

 

Campus Life :’)

Hello there!

I don’t feel good about not writing here since a long time. However, this is not the only thing in my life that’s facing the wrath of procrastination, almost everything in my life is a witness to that.

I am a promise keeper though, I mentioned that I’ll do a post about my MBA campus in India before moving to Germany for the second leg of my course. I wasn’t able to write a post because the last few days in college went by super fast, before moving to Berlin, but I took lots of pictures on my last day in college, simply to save for this post. 🙂

So, here it is, MDI Gurgaon, India in all its glory. I should also mention here that campuses outside India are usually not very huge but then, I have a hundred more reasons to miss my campus life, definitely one of my most cherished times!

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That would be ‘Gurukul’, the block where all the classes and lectures happen. Gurukul is a Sanskrit/Hindi word meaning the place of the teacher where people used to go for studies in olden times, the name of this block is quite fitting!  That small pantry like canteen you see is always booming with people despite the fact that everyone hates the canteen guy in this particular canteen. After all, its the easiest way to grab a bite in the 15-minute breaks between lectures.

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This is the garden in front of the block that you just saw and some set of hostels.

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‘Change Masters’, fancy name for our mess and few hostels are also situated in this building. Since the girls hostel for my batch was a little far off, most of our time was spent in this particular building only. Oh, I miss having hearty breakfasts in the mess now! 😛

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This is the customary campus picture, if you search for images of MDI Gurgaon, you’ll find prettier and photoshop versions of this block – ‘Scholars’! I cannot say why. 😛 This block houses library, auditorium, faculty offices and other such things.

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This is the other side of Scholars and I believe that this side also deserves some love when it comes to the pictures on-line of our campus.

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I really, really miss walking on this road. It was simply perfect, taking strolls on this road. It is the main road in our campus connecting all the blocks.

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I consider myself lucky that the dual degree has given me an opportunity to have a taste of studying here in abroad, as it is an altogether different experience. However, even before coming here, I knew that nothing would be able to replicate the charm of campus life. Chilling in hostels all day long when you have so much pending work to do, going to places only because you have a discount coupon or a free Uber ride for that place, taking strolls at midnight in the campus or playing cricket ( 😀 ), checking the autowallahs right outside the campus smoking up, walking up to the tea stall right outside the campus and feeling immediately secure when you enter the campus premises after coming back from somewhere in the night. Every campus has some peculiar and fun things attached to it, one that is gloriously peculiar for MDI is ‘Jha ji’. He is a parantha (Indian stuffed flat bread) stall owner who comes to our campus only at midnight, say, from 12 am to 5 am. He probably makes the best paranthas I have tasted in my entire life, and a lot of people can vouch for that. Keeping aside the paranthas even, this guy Jha ji is so peculiar in himself. He is a super slow guy and probably a lazy one at that because he skips coming to campus many a time. Finally when he comes, the crowds outside his stall are huge in the middle of the night and due to his slow nature, people have to wait for hours to get a single parantha (no exaggeration there). Well worth the wait though. In the bone chilling Delhi winters, he reduces the frequency of his ‘campus visits’, so during that time, whenever he comes, a mail to all the batches is circulated by someone who sees him coming or whoever calls him to check whether he is coming. ‘Jha ji on campus’ is a celebration time.

Writing all this, I am now acutely aware of how much I miss the campus life. All kinds of experiences have their own charm but campus life is literally irreplaceable in the strictest sense. I wish I had lived more semesters in hostel during my engineering too because engineering life is anyway so different, a good hostel life on top of it would have been perfect. I really envy NITs & IITs people (two major engineering colleges in India) where it is almost compulsory for students to live in hostels. Not to mention that NITs & IITs have gorgeous campuses! I am sure for many of them, their engineering time was the best time of their lives. For me, it may be my post graduation time, the time that I spent in this campus! 🙂

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Life Lately | Belated Monday Mumbles 15

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Some of you guys wanted me to write about my B-School life and share more about my campus, but I don’t know why that never happened.

I also went through issues in my personal life and I was anyway never fond of the process of writing about personal life (so far), so probably due to that also I didn’t write anything about campus either. There’s also another big reason, a B-School life is extremely different from any other sort of campus life (or so I believe), hence it’s difficult for me to put down in words. As you may have noticed otherwise also, I am not very good at penning about my life. However, I did not want to end this year without giving a tiny peak into that. I’ll definitely try to share pictures of my campus before I move over to the second part of my degree in Europe. However, as of now, I can only tell you small bits of how it’s different, because I wish to be at peace that I didn’t end this year without writing anything about it.

The biggest difference remains of sleep. Nobody ever sleeps. Not even the people who have nothing to do. Although you will always have something to do, but my course, international management, runs faster as compared to the flagship course. In the flagship course at least, people can easily get time, still they won’t sleep and will keep chilling/partying till the wee hours. There’s the constant running around for breakfast and coffee breaks in between classes, where you get frustrated with the mess queues & what not! It’s funny how even in post graduation, you meet all sorts of people, the kinds you met in graduation, maturity in terms of age is not really necessary to be found :P. You meet the ones who cry for marks, the ones who think they are the coolest people on Earth, the ones who are actually cool and fun to be around, the anxious & scared ones, the ones who still choose to be nice after all these years of seeing this world and so on. The collective cries when a company is visiting campus and you are supposed to dress up in formals is a common phenomena and even companies don’t leave a chance to make fun of it. 😀  Its a very unique kind of a life and I am happy that I managed to live it. I wish it lasted longer, than the Europe bit at least, because there you are on your own and there’s no campus life as such.

I may not be good with words when it comes to writing about my life, but I’ll definitely try to share pictures sometime soon.

And with this last Monday Mumbles for year 2015, I usher in the New Year. May it be a very happy year for all of us! Here’s to hope, happiness & love!

🙂

Love, Srishty

7 Personalized Gift Ideas for special people in your life!

20141212_2156001 Who doesn’t like personalized gifts? Many a time I come across these wonderful posts about thoughtful gifting ideas that I thought it’s only fair I too compile a list of ideas, for I know that they can make the person receiving the gift really, really happy. Today’s Friday’s List is about just that, few gifting ideas that will make someone cry with happiness:

  1. A diary full of 365 (366) days: I am so proud to admit that this is entirely my idea, I did not hear about it or read it anywhere but it completely occurred to me :P, if it is a famous thing, then I am not aware of it. I cannot stop shouting that I thought of it on my own, hahaha! Annoying habits aside, the idea is to make a diary for someone where you write something for them or generally write anything on each day of the year and gift it to them on their birthday or any other special day. I don’t think I need to explain how overwhelmingly beautiful this would be, right?
  2. Birthday postcards: For example, someone is turning 22, so you make 22 postcards with each postcard mentioning a quality about them or something like that. You can also call it making mini greeting cards. This can obviously be customized for other occasions as well.
  3. A personal calendar: A cousin of mine loved me for suggesting this to her, that was sometime back. I think this is pretty popular by now? Many printing websites and local stores like the ones who print pictures on coffee mugs offer these calendars. You can get a table calendar made for each of the months with pictures chosen by you and you can also put certain quotes, special marks etc on certain dates of your choice. I have never seen a wall calendar of this sort but that would be a great idea! I got one made from Printvenue.com and due to some offers, it came out to be extremely cheap, while the quality was really, really good.
  4. A letter: Irrespective of how clichéd this sounds, if you have given a hand-written letter to someone or received it, you know how cherished it is, no seriously, if you haven’t done this till now, do it. I received this as a gift and even the envelope was personalized, I can’t begin to describe how good it felt.
  5. Treasure Hunt: This is actually what triggered this post. I have had the idea of doing this post a long while ago but forgot about it. Today I came across this post where she organized a treasure hunt on her husband’s birthday with every clue leading to a gift. I think it’s a wonderful idea and wanted to share it with you guys right away.
  6. Explosion Box: Ok, tell me, how many of you did not know about this? 😀 It’s basically a box that you make (or get made) which is tied with a ribbon. It’s made in a way that when you untie the ribbon, it opens up like a flower blooming or like an explosion happening and goodies are revealed from inside the box. Here’s a blog post for your reference. Now the downside with this is that it requires a lot of effort if you decide to make it yourself, there are also professionals who make this. Also, I would like to add that if you are planning to gift this, consider the personality of the person. Most of the explosion boxes that I have come across are very frilly and elaborate, many people are not into that, mostly guys, if you are getting this for a guy, consider going easy on frills and fancy stuff and fill the box up with things important to him.
  7. Sweet gestures: I am leaving out the obvious yet thoughtful gifts like the book someone wants to read, handmade greeting cards etc because everyone knows their importance anyway but I did not want to leave out on sweet gestures. For example, preparing an elaborate meal for someone. For example, my blogger friend Shruti Di’s husband surprised her with a donut name. For example, getting gifted with a completely surprise party. For example, preparing a Rangoli with flowers for someone who’s into Rangoli and flowers both in the night so that they wake up to that. I think there are many such little things out there that will totally make someone’s day.

I consider myself lucky to have gifted or have been gifted most of these except point 5 and 6, and since I really like thinking about innovative ideas for gifting, I am definitely going to come up with some more, either myself or from amazing posts that I come across. Tell me about yours. 🙂

My Favorite Books of 2014

I love reading yearly roundups, but it’s so hard to do myself. I don’t really remember what exactly my mind state was in December 2013 and how it differed in 2014. Even if I do remember, it’s hard to put in words. Maybe I’ll do one next year. 🙂 Overall, this year was a little hard on me personally but that was expected. I hope 2015 is better in that sense. Work wise, it was fine, some tough things like office politics but some good things like Philippines trip as well. On the blogging front, I made good friends which was not expected, as in, I never thought that relationships develop this way as well. However, I don’t think the blog saw a lot of growth if we talk numbers. That was all about the roundup bit, now coming to my favorite books of 2014:

1. Nobody Can Love You More: Capture

This is undoubtedly my most favorite book of 2014. I highly recommend this book on the red light district area of Delhi by Mayank Austen Soofi. I have written about him here. I can’t quite put my finger at what it is that makes me love this book so much but few things I like are the attention to detail towards the people of the red light area and Mayank’s favorite muse, Delhi. 🙂 I also love how this book touches a lot of aspects of GB Road but very objectively, no judgement being passed on anything and the author tries to show us the other side of the lives of the people there, by people you would expect the prostitutes but not just them, the children, the pimps, everyone.

2. Game of Thrones: c2

I finally read it. More like, I was gifted this because some people couldn’t wait for me to finish reading this. 😀 Ok, nobody judges me but I have never read fantasy fiction. I have read none among Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Hunger Games etc. I know, very strange. I don’t know why I never got around to reading them but I felt that I may not like Game of Thrones as much as my usual real world fiction. I was wrong. I loved it. But the show is so much easier to watch. 800 pages * 7 novels is too much man! 😛 Book opinion coming soon.

3. A Fine Family: 23

There’s nothing out of this world in this book by Gurcharan Das but it completely resonates with my taste. Family drama + India-Pakistan Partition = I’ll like it. Plus, the India-Pakistan partition was way too important in this one which made me savor this a lot. This book took me on a journey to Lyallpur (now in Pakistan), Hoshiarpur, Shimla and Bombay tracing the lives of the members of a family which was very engaging. It’s hard to imagine a place that now belongs to another country which is so much similar to my grandmother’s place. The country itself is SO MUCH similar to back home is another story. Well, as for my family, we have had ancestral homes in what is now Pakistan and elders have stories to tell. 🙂 The thing that made this book even better was that coincidentally I could relate to a lot of things at a personal level too. The book opinion says it all.

4. The City of Djinns: 12

I am confused whether I like this or number 5 better but then, in liking books, there’s no black & white, right? When I started reading this, I had high expectations as I thought this would be about people and places in Delhi. Yes, it was but it was so much more than that. It had so much of history that I got bored a bit in the initial pages, but I started enjoying it so much as I moved on. It talks about so much of Delhi ranging from Mahabharta era to the British rule and so much more. In between, appear people from the real-time that we are living in whom the author talked to during his research. Before reading this, I wasn’t aware that William Dalrymple is a historian too. I only got to know it while I was at this book. Definitely worth a read.

5. Interpreter of Maladies: 34

When I actually read it, I liked it only so much. Even the book opinion that I have linked above would tell you that. However, I am reminded of this book every once in a while like a warm childhood story. Even when I was at it, I found it very warm because there was so much reference to vintage Indian homes and vintage Indian things but at that time, I did not know that I like it so much. I am definitely looking forward to more of Jhumpa Lahiri. By the way, she faces a lot of criticism on the internet. Anything in particular that I am not aware of? So far, I think it’s all about tastes. Maybe some people find her writing snobby or something. Let me know if you have anything to say about it.

6. The Runaway Jury:

456My first John Grisham and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I just felt that it was a little too stretched but then a complete page turner nonetheless.

7. The Guide: 56

All I can say is that it’s very different from Malgudi Days by the same author. It’s very Bollywood-like. It’s quite, ummm, spicy, so I liked it, I like racy fiction. However, till almost half the book, it was a little boring. However, after that, it takes such sharp and drastic  turns that you can’t stop reading it. All through, I could totally see that this is so like a Bollywood movie, completely understand why a movie was made out of it. So, take your call. However, it has a lot to do with human emotions and even if you are not into racy fiction or contemporary fiction, you might just like it. Book opinion in detail coming soon.

8. Poirot’s Early Cases: 45

Again, this was my first Agatha Christie. I love it! So much fun to read Poirot’s adventures. I don’t think this needs any introduction, I wish I had read it in childhood/teenage like most people. But then, the same goes for popular cartoons, movies, books. Hmph. :/

That’s pretty much it. I would also point out that after the first two, the numbering doesn’t really matter so much. I had a hard time deciding which one to put before the other but I guess I would never know. Lastly, I did not complete the Brunch Book Challenge. It was a very easy challenge overall with just 24 books in a year but I stopped reading for a while in December and could complete 21 and a half. I won’t be taking any book challenge till the time I become a fast reader (like I was in childhood) because I get too occupied with the numbers then and I am not able to savor the books slowly like I want to. Pheww, so tell me about your favorite books now. 😀