Crossword time

Creating a crossword puzzle was always on my list. In fact, I am not exactly new to it. During my MBA, I had created several such puzzles. But its been almost 7 years since MBA (WOW! That long already) and making such puzzles had always been something that I relished, especially theme based puzzles.

So I decided to pick up ‘places in Indonesia’ as my theme this time, to create this puzzle. For this, I wrote down all the places in Indonesia that I could remember and then looked up a bit on them. Some of these places, I have already been to so there was no need to check, but others, I came to know a lot about. I also thought this was a very interesting thing to do because I came to know many things, especially about the other major islands in this archipelago, such as Sumatra, Nussa Tenggara and Kalimantan of which I had almost no information, except for those place-names.

pradswordThe clues:

Across

3. Group of islands famous for their spices

5. Kalimantan’s major urbanized place

10. an important cultural center in central Java, going there alone would be too alone

11. here lies the eighth wonder of the world, the holy land of Buddha

12. home to universities and hindu temples in east Java

16. a politically dynamic part of northern Sumatra

17. Capital of Lombok

19. A group of three islands near Bali and Lombok famous for the underwater sports

20. A major cultural center located in south – central part of Java, still has a king and prefers horse drawn carts to taxis

21. A sonata was heard in a movie… host to reveral factory outlets of garment brands

Down

1. Indonesia’s third largest city and is based in Sumatra

2. Capital of Sulawesi

4. Capital of Indonesia

6. the house of dragons

7. Important place in south Kalimantan

8. an important international port on the eastern part of Java

9. the cultural go-to place in north Bali

13. Capital of Bali

14. famous for its Botanical gardens, a distant suburb to Jakarta

15. The huge part of island in eastern part, which is still inhabited by primitive tribes

18. Jungle where they still are discovering new species and forms of life

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I will be sharing this quiz with many of my expat friends here. Answers to be posted later.

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Memories…

I wanna make a memory…..

What are blogs – but the attempts to make memories…of what we thought and how we acted, what people thought and how they acted – the objects, the subjects and the vistas – all through writers’ eyes…

Granted, I have been quite lazy about making memories in this manner so far, though I plan to correct that soon – starting with this attempt to chronicle my trip to Bali last weekend….

The year in passing 2012 (actually it passed away a while ago..) brought new people, new places in my life – and was by far the most interesting year in my life…. went to so many new places… starting with Mahabaleshwar (!!!!!  – exclamation for several reasons) in February, Vietnam, Phillipines in March, Bogor-Gunung Mas in July, Yogyakarta in August, Singapore in September…and now Bali in January…..

So many places to write about…though I have been remiss. After we lost our Camera in Vietnam, resulting into me losing so many lovely pictures, the motivation to write, blog went away, even after owning a camera later….actually two cameras…. one sponsored by my husband, and the other by my brother who bought and shipped it to Indonesia…

Though with new year, I resolve to make more memories – written accounts of the memorable occassions here… starting soon with a post on the latest Bali trip.

Sampai segera…

My Blogging Career Part 2

Second in the installment of my 5 part series….(yes, I had 4 other blogs before starting to write here. Actually, 4 that I can recall)

Like my previous post, If you dont have ‘the means or inclination’ to read such a lengthy post, please check conclusion section in the end 🙂

 

Blog#2

Name: Life is a roller coaster, just gotta ride it…!

Link: http://panna.pitas.com

Year: 2002 Feb onwards upto March 2003

Random Post: Very difficult to select random post since I updated this blog quite regularly and back then I would mention full names of other people, which might get me into trouble after all these years 😉 I have random posts for you.

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Absurdities (Contd….)

Hmmm…here’s another ‘set’ of absurdities; rather I should call them Jackasses V 1.1 or something. Cause they are advanced kinda absurdities.

  1. Pakistani Custom officers arrested fishermen from Porbandar and whacked them and tortured them to avenge Pakistan’s defeat against India. Every blow was made swearing something at Sachin and Sehwag! A news channel had made a report on it. The customs released those people. But they were badly beaten up. What a sick mentality! Cricket is a ‘game’; but here in subcontinent, it has become more of a prestige issue. Infact in this case I’ll call it a mental disorder. This craze! Cricket has become more of a glamorous facet of everybody’s lives. Criketers here enjoy larger than life status. And people dream of making career in Cricket and earning those big bucks! I had read somewhere that the dutch and canadian players play cricket as hobby. Most of them are qualified professionals belonging to varying fields like medicine, engineering, banking etc. In their case overall attitude is totally different. They play for sheer pleasure of the sport.

  2. Finance wizard of India, ‘Hon.’ Mr Jaswant Singh has exempted Indian cricket team from taxes for winning the matches in the qualifying round. Now assuming that the ministry of finance works for growth and development of Indian economy, I can’t understand how this move will contribute to that noble cause…maybe, I’m dumb when it come to such complicated matters… but what I understand is that such a move really demeans hard earned money of an average Indian.

  3. A famous fairness cream’s ad was banned recently as it degraded women, especially the darkskinned. Tell me one thing people, if AC black apple or whatever it is can be accepted then why not this one?? The liquor ad tries to give solace to some despos and fairness cream ad tries to give solace to the plain Jane group. On that aspect both seem to be doing some social work. 

  4. Today’s city-edition of a national daily has an article by a famous socialite, arguing for Mandira Bedi. She implies that Bedi brings a certain feminine aura to those boring cricket discussions. Well, if anybody was to go by Bedi’s witty statements, I’m sure, they’ll get a wrong impression about Indian women. Bedi apparently has made female population tune into set max. I think that’s debatable. She might have made males who know nothing of cricket tune into set max. Sandhya Mridul and Maria Goretti are also there to act as glam dolls. And I think they do their job very well, with grace. Bedi was refered in that article as a buxom beauty. If that’s the right interpretation of her ‘dynamic’ appearance, I seriously need to improve my vocabulary. In fact, I feel the socialite who has written this article can bring that aura vagaira in a far better way.

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WHOA!!!

Saturday’s win was absolutely smacking! Not because it was against Pakistan, but because the visual treat that Sachin gave us…. Sachin himself described this as his most important innings…it not only gave us victory, but also boosted confidence of our players. Off course like any other Indo-Pak match, this one was also full of sledging and all masala: Verbal abuse was a given, at one point, a pak fielder sweared at the Umpire. All the people here in subcontinent would have understood it; fortunately, the umpire couldn’t! On the other hand, one saw Dada, the ‘asli bengal tiger’ clutching his locket and praying like a crazy while yuvraj and dravid were playing. It seems, this last minute precaution helped India definitely. In the spectators, some people were praying Allah/ doing Namaz for same reason, but Dada’s prayers were more intense. In India, Balasaheb Thakre had apparently appealed to lord Shiva (It being Mahashivratri here) for the Indian Victory. And off course the Lord yielded to such a high profile prayer. But there were just a few wise Indians like him. Most of the Indians forgot lord Shiva and spent entire day in front of televisions watching the demi-gods into action. Streets were empty, shops were closed; it appeared like a black-out or something around 8.00 pm,yes, to most of the Indians and Pakistanis, it was a war-time, on the playground! There’s a Shiva temple near my home and people literally queued at 11.00 pm to take darshana. Through out the day, the place was deserted. Jubilations that followed the Indian victory included fireworks, the bands, liquor etc. Ice cream shop in our area got sold out at 11.45 in the night. Something which it had never faced throughout 7-8 years of its operations. There were ‘Maha-Aartis’ dedicated to Sachin, perhaps conducted by same people who had burned his posters 2-3 weeks ago. WHOA!!! people ARE crazy!!!!

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CONCLUSION

  1. I really have no idea why I thought my life was a roller – coaster ride back then! If like in the movies, I could go back in time and meet my past self, I’d have told her – ‘yeh to bass trailer hain, picture abhi baaki hain meri dost! You’re practically picnicking!’

  2. On this blog, I have used lots of jargons, phrases etc. I was preparing for management entrance exams and the wordlist is the only thing that really interested me frankly. 🙂 That explains it.

  3. I must have watched 80% of cricket I have ever watched during 2002 – 2003. The world cup. Yes. That was the pinnacle of my interest in cricket. Not that I wont watch an interesting match anymore. But yes, I will prefer something like How I met your Mother or Big Bang Theory over cricket nowadays. In that blog, more than half of my posts must have mentioned ‘cricket’ atleast once.

  4. I seem to have come a long way from the socially aware person that I was… I am not exactly proud of this.Though my social awareness at that point of time again can be attributed to the management entrance exam that I was preparing for… 🙂

  5. I still dont like Mandira Bedi and if it isnt embarassing enough that I have commented on her looks, I have admitted to liking Sandhya Mridul and Maria Goretti. Seriously I dont even remember how they looked like and spoke… 🙂
  6. This was my first serious attempt at blogging (though as per an entry in that blog, it was my 4th blog!!!). I changed its template several times and eventually had written code for my own template. I tried to learn basic HTML for that! I was really interested it seems. Though as the age has progressed, my interest and aptitude for all tech things seems to have vanished. Anyways, it wasnt a great design, but was functional. Archiving was random. Whenever I felt like :). If anyone checks it now, the fonts and pictures all seem to have gone. The page is actually on the verge of dying.

  7. I think the comments from total strangers (only a couple of my friends were aware of this blog and they never commented online, and am mostly sure, they hardly checked) is what actually prompted me to keep going. Some of these strangers (who commented on my blog btw) are now public personalities! I follow them on twitter, but I dont think they remember me…I didnt keep in touch later…Those comments are not there now as the widget seems to have undergone changes.

    I need to archive this blog somewhere. While most of it IS nonsense, it is sometimes nice to remember those times…

My Blogging Career Part 1

 I am not sure whether I should call it a career or not. For the present lack of my ability to come up with a better word, let it be that.

It was 1 am. Swapnil was totally absorbed into an intense slumber and I for some reason had been counting sheep for a long time. I suddenly recalled that I had several blogs before this one and went about checking whether those webpages were still active. I would eventually wish to archive all these blogs, but just felt it would be interesting to compare. The whole process of comparing itself made me a better person.

Here’s why…

(If you dont have ‘the means or inclination’ to read such a lengthy post, please check conclusion section in the end 😉

Blog#1

Name: Too cheesy to admit. So not putting it online

Link: Due to above, wont put here

Year – 2001 – 02

Random post:Dated Between November 2001 and February 2002

Mask

Are you really the one I know? Am I really the one you know? Least Likely!!!! Cuz you and I — both are wearing a mask!!!!! To make world appear we’re someone, who we’re really not…. We wear a mask of happiness when we’re sad..we wear a mask of sorrow even though we really can’t feel it. We wear a mask of cold and icy behaviour sometimes, sometimes we make ourself friendly with people we never would have imagined…. And why do we do so? Well…many reasons…. To please some people sometimes..to avoid hurting some..to hurt some people…sometimes just like that for fun. Sometimes to keep some secrets and mysteries,joys and sorrows by ourselves. Many masks, many motives!!!! ‘Why should we wear a mask’ is one question and ‘why should’nt we’ is the another. Cuz world in general hasn’t got anything to do with our feelings…. Sometimes, we say we ‘act’ because we can’t make out what others might think of our actions, words..!! But then if all of us wear masks, we can never know what others think of us, cuz we’ll never show them ‘real’ us and we’ll never know ‘real’ them.

Head’n heart
Work with common-sense! thats what everybody says… What’s
there to wonder… but still i can’t help about thinking of it. Yes, using logic
is the rule of the world; any decision has to be based on facts, evidence and
realistic approach…i know! still I wonder what about heart??? what if its
contradicting with any decision based on analytics? You’ll be happy that you
have taken most probable and logical decision, but in your heart you’ll know
that you are not very happy…that’s because you’ve not listened to your heart.
Yes, most will agree, adding that a decision has to be based on a consensus of
brains and heart! very easy to preach than to practice!!! Anywez, I don’t want
to ponder over it for better part because I know I’m never sad. I ALWAYS listen
to my heart. And I’m ready to pay for consequences….

Future

I was attending my QT lecture the other day when our prof told us that we hav to b more focused. Now what the deuce that means…more of hard work, eh? well, he sed don’t work hard, work smart!! good quote that!But what’s smart???? n’ywez, I just remembered it cuz of’nother thing he sed…he sed, even an entry in a good bschool wasn’t enough for a promising career.First few get selected and then to get the rest placed somewhere, the placement cell has to literally beg at times. But employers say that if previous 40 companies hav rejected them,they’re definitely useless……..whoa! got kinda scared that day. My career aspirations were practically based on an entry into JB or NM; but got to know that placement at NM was about 3% …. So what shud we exactly do to make everything perfect? climb everest? Well, this is our last semester and soon we’ll be open to the reality bites!!! infact we’re already experiencing them. All sort of serious discussions find their way these dez… what shall we do after the grads? go for PGs or look for a job? where will we be after say 5 yrs? everyone hopes to achieve what they aspire; but everyone has now realised that life literally sucks… Well, last 19th, we’d had a seminar.. the last of our academic yrs at our kolej. And I was discussing with the rest if we’ll ever keep in touch, when prachitu said that we won’t. I was kinda miserable at her reply; I came home and talked about it to momee. She sed,she’d lost contact with all the 4 friends of her group within an year of passing out. Yeah, she’s right, we alwez meet new and interesting ppl.Still, its nice to stay in an imaginary world. My group and I hav dreamed together of many things… In our dream for each of our friends, we hav reserved place for all of us.. Deepu and I could talk and imagine endlessly abt future…I just hope all dreams come true…AMEN!!!

CONCLUSIONS

  1. 10 saal pehle, Pradnya was philosophical… aaj bhi hain aur kall bhi rahegi!
  2. I shouldnt be mean to my younger college going cousins and correct their language on Facebook by responding to their statuses with correct spelling in ALL CAPS and thereby embarassing them in front of their friends. I too used words like cuz,mebbe, Kolej etc once upon a time. Arrrgh. I hope those cousins never discover this blog..
  3. My ex-boss and I have something in common – habit of putting multiple interorgation and exclamation marks. I need to forgive him for feeling insulted and angry on receiving emails containing the above mentioned punctuation marks in abundance!!!!! In fact I seem to have an additional ‘trait’ of taking long “…….” pauses.
  4. I was and still am presumptuous to  think that the readers will endure so much of verbal torture. (Kal bhi rahungi)
  5. My concept of what happens when ‘Life literally sucks’ has undergone a dramatic change.
  6. Whatever my undergrad friends and I dreamt of doing together never happened. I am not in touch with one of the persons I have mentioned there… but fortunately, with the rest 4, I am still in touch.
  7. Finally, it feels so nice to realise that I have actually achieved 1 thing that I had planned for future. Get into NMIMS. Though now I realise that my aim wasnt that high. It was reasonable. I didnt have disillusions about myself. Its not like if I had aimed for IIMs I’d actually have gotten into them.

Contd….. (here these dots are necessary)

Protected: Mangala Gauri Vrat – The ‘Abroad’ /(Abridged?) Version

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My Experiments with Food

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…”

The above sentence is the GRANDEST LIE I’ve ever heard – I discovered after marriage 🙂

Back at mom’s place, things were simple. My Dad as well as my brother are no – fuss eaters. They were always ‘trupta’. My father would be khush with anything remotely sweet tasting and my brother, with anything remotely spicy. Of course it helps that my mother cooks well too :). But essentially, I do not come from a family of foodies – as in we always appreciated good tasting food, but we rarely experimented with it…

Being a working woman, who had to tend to her in-laws, take care of children and juggle with day – to – day chores and cooking, my mother’s fare mostly would be traditional marathi karhade bramhin cuisine. She had her ‘days in sun’ occasionally when she’d make cake / chocolates/various rice/dosa – idli etc out of blues. She’d get most experimental only during summer vacations – she was a teacher back then and it would be a vacation for her too. She never got any help – even as menial as pealing potato skins from either my father or any other member of the family including my ajji. I guess I could say that in general the family’s apathy towards food extended in not being involved in the process of making it too…

My involvement with food – began I think – I must have been 7 or 8…it was summer vacation and my cousin brother Anurag had come over. He and my brother Pranav must have been some 4-4.5 that time. My mother had to go to bank for some work, it was afternoon and the elderly were sleeping. That’s when we entered kitchen and had attempted to make ‘sheera’ that I had seen mom make. The three of us set to work with both boys cleaning rawa (‘nivadne’) and I remember we ended up with a very ‘free flowing sheera’ – because milk wasnt enough and we did not know that water could be added. My father happened to come home early and caught us red – handed, which led to severe thrashing (for not only going near gas without supervision, but also instigating the boys into helping me)…

But my foray in kitchen began then… eventually as I grew older, I got more and more experimental during school days. I even made things with names such as ‘lavang latika’, ‘motimahal poha’, ‘sunshine cutlets’, ‘papad golden-rolls’ etc that I watched on afternoon cookery shows… apparently my experiments would go well and none of the concerned subjects (guinea pigs for my experiments) were ever in requirement of any medical intervention after tasting my dishes. Most of my experiments during school days went well (surprisingly 😉 )… except once in class 10, when I was alone and I decided to condense milk for making basundi. My friend Manasi telephoned me, we chatted endlessly and the milk eventually evaporated entirely, cream burned and smoke floated several floors above resulting in some neighbors coming down to check for fire…

Cut to my college and post graduation days… somewhere the lure of cooking vanished entirely. My girlfriends mostly were either career-oriented or ‘modern’ (in my mom’s language, modern=those who can’t cook before marriage) girls and cooking was looked down upon or was treated as mundane, never interested us particularly. My involvement in the kitchen began to be limited to helping my mum prepare food (which mostly meant ‘buying’ raw materials!! ha ha ha) or things like kneading dough, chopping veggies, making raitas, setting and cleaning up lunch / dinner things etc…

Things got worse after I started working. I would spend more than half hour in kitchen only on weekends!! But eventually I came around and started cooking meals on weekends having realised that my mom was ageing and it was most unfair to her to ignore my duties in kitchen. But it took a while to change my attitude towards cooking. Initially I would prefer making one – pot meals such as Paav Bhaji  to avoid even the smallest of inconveniences. Though eventually I began trying various types of fast food things like noodles, pasta etc which I had gotten introduced to during my college/work years. These new ‘foods’ never went well with my parents who till date don’t feel the satisfaction of having had complete lunch/dinner without eating rice/poli etc. So I would reluctantly revert to traditional food after experimenting once in a while…my food was always ‘edible’ – let me put it that way, though it wasnt as praised as during childhood… it was ‘functional’ and i too wasnt very interested in getting praised…

Well, cut to the present times… things are pretty dynamic in my kitchen. In a bid to experience the sentence at the beginning of this post, I set out with great gusto to impress my husband with my cooking, several plans and menus in my mind. I thought this was a chance for me to innovate, improve and eventually impress…Though soon my enthusiasm waned having realised that there are now disclaimers to cooking a dish which were non – existent at my mother’s place. Some of these include –  no oil, no/less sugar, no carbs, no cheese, no cream, only a handful of veggies (have you heard me rant about the only 4 veggies we seem to be eating? okra, baingan, rajma, chhole? you havent? you’d better not remind me) etc. Cooking within these constraints, is a challenge to creativity… and daily I am on my toes by 5 pm really confused about what should I come up with for dinner. ..its my daily battle 😉 , but I keep at it valiantly and so far havent given up…this is the most experimental that I’ve ever gotten in the kitchen in my entire life…..

So… if an attempt is made to cook within such constraints (and mind you – it requires deep creative thinking), and if it backfires, the cook is hardly to blame. Swapnil has however devised his own way of dealing with this. He tries to ensure that I make something which he has already tasted. ‘A known danger is always better than an unknown one’ – is his philosophy or maybe, he’s getting me to perfect that particular dish. In this manner we’ve had ‘khichadi week’, ‘Tomato Omelette week’, ‘Dahi Pohe’ week and so on… Any which ways, my husband while avoids ‘unhealthy’ food is a closet fan of all these items and I make attempts once in a while to appeal to his taste buds. I have never been able to match his standards of great food…yet….

There have been times when my cooking was complimented (by other people) when we were hosting them. Which only earned smirks from my husband, but seeing as the only other options that remain for him are order from out / cook himself, he has come around a little, even encourages me once in a while these days… though the way to his heart is definitely not through his stomach when it comes to my cooking… 😉

All this encourages me more to prove him wrong 😉 and makes me set out with more determination to look up recipes… 🙂

Why this country needs to set its priorities right

As a ‘housewife’ (!! – I am so short of pressing panic button – I am NOT a housewife please. Everytime at the immigeration counter I have filled in my occupation as ‘housewife’ and partly died. Anyways). Yeah. So as a housewife, I have begun to keep a tab /make decision on what we need to replenish for the week etc – atta khatam hua hai. But dont buy Pillsbury – buy the other one stacked next to it. Or… Kande sampale. Ek kilo lagtil, batate matra ardha kiloch haa (ikadchi swari diet var aahe). So, ever since I have begun to make these decisions (And buy things) – I have realised that this country really needs to set its priorities right – for a third world country. The following examples will explain why:

  1. I made ambyachi daal yesterday. (May I gloat now ;p). Since its past gudhi padwa and I happened to remember that, I realised that if I were in India, probably as a new bride, we’d have organised a chaitra gauri haladi kunku at my in-laws’ place. So ambyachi daal and panhe made out of kairi would have been the fare for the occassion and if I cant have haladi kunku, I might as well atleast make ambyachi daal on my own. I promptly went to Indian store and bought chanyachi daal (gram dal) half kg for INR 100, hing for INR 75. (I paid them IDR – but for readers, I’ve put things in INR today, just to get my point across). Then I walked down to the farmers’ market to buy raw mangoes (kairi). I thought of saving money and decided that instead of 1 kg/ aadha kg etc, I’d just buy 2 kairis. 1 for daal and the other for panhe. I thought though it wont save lot of money, atleast it’d save some of my husband’s money. Since I dont earn, I thought, I needed to save etc. So I just picked 2 kairis from the lot. These were smaller kairis. I looked at price on the counter. It was in IDRs and on ‘per kg’ basis. I thought I read somewhere 3.4 lac per kg, but then I thought that since I was buying only 2, it wouldnt make sense comparing prices at this point. I went to the packing counter where they weighed it and pasted a price tag. I looked at the price. In INR terms, 2 kairis were costing me somewhere close to Rs. 200. Atrocious. In India, they’d have costed me less than Rs. 20. I looked around. There were very few shoppers. I stealthily walked back towards the kairi counter and left those kairis there. Then I came across another kairi variety, the larger ones. I picked 1 huge raw kairi. Saw the price. It was lesser than previous one. I thought, I’d manage with 1 kairi since it was huge. Again I got it weighed. This time, in INR terms, it was Rs. 125!! Finally, I realised that I had been hoping to make ambyachi daal since gudhi padwa and I bought it concluding that probably its gonna be long long time before I think of buying kairis again!!! Anyways, the daal turned out to be fine. Not too great – I couldnt grind it into granules. It was smoother. Ambyachi daal without its usual granular form can only be ok, not great. This is because the mixer has only 1 blade and its not what we use to grind into granular manner. Anyways. Since Swapnil is on diet, he just ate little. (Or thats what he told me for not really eating a lot) – I liked the daal though. It was fine. 😉
  2. The evening previous to that, we had gone shopping with Swapnil’s colleague’s wife who is going to India next week. She bought a blazer for IDR 50,000. In Indian Rupee terms – its Rs. 250!!! Another friend bought herself a purse, a huge fake leather bag – which cost ~ Rs. 200. That same evening I bought half kilo mung daal for Rs. 200. All the while that I was with those 2 women, I kept on thinking that I was living in some wonderland where things were quite cheap and it would be so awesome to live in a place like that. But then I bought mung daal and came back to the grounds. Also, when Swapnil bought a litre of milk for some 13,500 IDR (which is close to INR 60+) again I realised that this was not a wonderland, but a topsy turvy world.

So the conclusion – food is actually costlier than clothes and accessories?? please buy lots of clothes and accessories and maintain your image, no matter that you may starve!! This country really needs to get its priorities right.

Back Home Finally

We’re back home finally after almost 3 weeks. We landed at Jakarta today, early in the morning and reached home by ~ 2 am ish. It was nice to be home finally. I have lived in my Jakarta house for only 2 weeks I guess – but for some weird reason, I had already begun missing this house since last 4 – 5 days. Whether it was due to how safe I felt living in this area or due to the fact that I had all three rooms to roam about (instead of the single hotel room that I was confined to these last 3 weeks) I am not sure… but sure it felt like home when I stepped in.

The trip was entirely business trip – so we did not travel much. Rather, except a one day trip to Tam Coc, we havent travelled at all. So I dont bring with me, the memories of sites and scenes of natural beauty that a typical traveller would. (Whatever memories of Tam coc I had – are now with person who stole our camera) But within these 3 weeks, as someone who hadnt really ventured outside her comfort zone till last month, I had too many things to note  – the daily lives of people around me, especially in Hanoi, where I spent almost 2 weeks – dividing my time between trips to nearby lake, watching TLC and Star World in the Hotel and thinking and worrying about what we were gonna eat for the day…
Okay, it was not just those things, I also had lots to observe whenever I was roaming around these streets. After my camera got stolen, I took some pics on my blackberry phone for the remaining days that we were in Hanoi. While I am of course gonna crib about the picture quality everytime I upload such a photo, I am glad I actually do have some pics. Hanoi is a lovely place. Lovely weather and a lifestyle so different than what I led before my marriage….

In Manila, I havent taken a single picture. We were staying in CBD area and though there were some interesting things that I observed, the place was as cosmopolitan as say Mumbai. Besides the business center area was always full all the time, it being CBD, most of the guests were there for work and I hardly got any chance to update the blog from Manila. Still, Manila too is interesting in some respects and I hope to find time to update something about it.

Xin chào Vietnam!

(The above heading means ‘goodbye Vietnam’. If there’s any other meaning to the phrase, then its unintentional and you may send your comments / criticism to ‘Yahoo answers’ please) 🙂

Well, I COULD HAVE actually taken the pains and looked up the phrase for goodbye  – I HAVE bought a small book of Vietnamese phrases afterall… but looking how painful the language seems, I have duly handed over the book to Swapnil who will actually need it from time to time since his visits to Vietnam would be quite frequent…. anyways. On an unrelated note, the purchase of this book was a good bargain, where the seller reduced price from 950,000 Vietnamese Dong to I think ~ 200,000 VD. In conclusion, (of this unrelated note) Indian tourists will enjoy shopping in Hanoi, where bargaining rules.

There are just too many things that I wanted to write about my time in Hanoi. I have spent about 2 weeks here. But I have to wait for Swapnil to come to the hotel so that I can surf. But then he always has some carry over work and I dont want to intrude. I had the option to update this blog daily from the business center of the hotel. But the laptops are in reception area and the staff begins to hover around the table if you sit longer than 15 minutes. Writing has been one of my favorite things to do and I stop thinking at all if someone keeps hovering nearby. Another reason why I have been avoiding updates is the photos. You see, our camera has been nicked off (or we have lost it). We dont remember at all 😦 :(. There were so many pictures that I had taken… 😦 besides, that also means there wouldnt be pictures from Jakarta too for some time, till we replace (if the ‘New Sponsors/Management’ decide/s to) the camera….

There wont be any pictures from Manila too… which is our next destination. Tonight we fly to Philippines, again on business trip.

We will be for around 4 – 5 days in Manila and again I will be spending my days in a hotel watching Star World. Gosh!! I have watched so much of television in last few weeks that the total hours I spent in watching TV ever since I came abroad would probably exceed the total amount of tv I have watched in my entire life before getting married….  now I am an ardent fan of American Idol  – season 11, all the programs of TLC channel, How I met your mother and cartoon network. I am blabbering. Like usual. I am sure that if techsupport and my former sponsors/management are reading this blog, they will probably feel like I am sitting with them and chatting… or for that matter – my mahilamandal. I miss the gals too.

So, goodbye Hanoi, goodbye Vietnam….