Saturday, December 31, 2011

How I Met My Husband......."Chance favors the prepared mind." Part- 6

Continuing my story: Be careful what you ask for, for you might really get it

I always have the habit of imagining things and day dreaming, building castles in the air.  It was and continues to be my favorite pastime.  In my dream world,  I am  everything that I am not in reality – mature, sophisticated, educated, cultured, witty, friendly and a warm person who gets along with everybody.  Well I am sure we all indulge in this kind of wishful dreaming. Which is good in a way up to a certain point.  Unbelievable as it might seem, that’s what happened in my life. I literally got what I had asked for..... but wait, before you jump with joy and relief, ( that at last the story is over) life has lots of twists and turns before it lets such things happen.

Not long after that day, my father did get a phone call from this man who introduced himself as a business man from Bombay.  He happened to be in Madras on some official work,  and while he was visiting one of his friends, he had come across my horoscope by chance. You  see this friend also had a son for whom my horosope was sent, but because his son got an offer of a job from the U.S. he had deferred the idea of marriage for the present.   So the 4 or 5 horoscopes that his parents has accumulated were promptly handed over to this business man from Bombay for his son who was of the same age.
 Of all the horoscopes thus in the hands of this businessman, only mine matched with his son’s.  So here he was asking my father whether he could come and meet us, ( just the way I had imagined) since he was returning to Bombay the next day. Now isn’t it surprising that such a thing should happen out of the blue ?  
Well wait till you hear the rest of the story and the other surprises which were in store for us.

The boy was an IIT graduate with a doctorate from the great and venerable United States of America. My father was over the moon and just could not believe his great good fortune.  He was absolutely thrilled, literally jumping with joy, and said  yes,  he  was most welcome to meet us anytime.  And  so this businessman along with the wife of his younger brother landed up in our place for initiating the formalities.  It transpired that out that his brother’s wife was of the family who were neighbours of my mother’s family many years ago in Triplicane in Madras.  Now Triplicane is the quintessential  Brahmin quarter in Madras (as is Mylapore) and it was therefore not surprising either that  the lady’s elder sisters were my mother’s friends from long ago.   As they say it is a small world indeed, which was especially true of the Iyengar Brahmin community.  My parents were happy that the people were known and  it would make things  so much easier to take forward.  The businessman was happy that things had turned out as they had. He said his son and his wife were planning to visit Madras in a week’s time for the very same purpose of viewing a few prospective brides and I would be included in the list.
 The day finally arrived when  the boy along with his parents was coming to see me.  I was in a daze, as though in a dream world,  since contrary to all previous experiences, things were going without a hitch as per my imagination in this case.  But at the back of my mind,  there was a constant fear that there could always be a slip between the cup and the lip.

The party arrived at the appointed time on a Friday, and were climbing the stairs leading up to our home on the first floor of the Besant Nagar colony where we lived.  I was looking out from the window,  to catch the first glimpse of the boy as he got off the car. But alas! the person I saw accompanying the business man, looked just like his father, only a little taller than him : you see that business man was only about 5ft tall.  All my hopes came crashing down, for despite his qualifications and other accomplishments,  I just could not imagine myself married to someone who was shorter than me.  Things are different today when even short men like Aamir Khan have so many women falling for them :  what with body building, physical fitness  and what not, etc., all men who are fit irrespective of their height look good and attractive.  But not so about thirty years ago. 

Coming back to my story,  I was in a a terrible fix now : why do such things always happen to me only?  

There was no rational answer to that question.  I was called in and introduced to everybody and  would you believe  that the person I thought was the boy was introduced to me as his uncle. Well there seemed to be no end to the miracles!  The boy, whom I had missed catching from my earlier spying,  actually was  nice, looked very decent , cultured, well-mannered and was nerdishly quiet and he was not short. There was something nice about him, about the way he smiled which endeared him to me.  I was commanded by my father (not by the Boy’s party) to play a tune on the guitar to display my various skills.  I was fed up singing songs and playing the guitar to every Tom, Dick and Harry. In fact I used to get pretty upset with my dad for making me do that every time even while the concerned people never really cared for such things. My father like most parents had to always show off his children’s talents.

  Now I was in a fix, for I had one favorite song,  which I was always ready to sing, whenever the request came from either the boy's party or from my father. Soon I was to notice that whenever I sang that song, the boy's party literally ran away, giving some vague reasons for not wanting to pursue the matter further. (the song: Na Tum Janu na Hum Jaane, a famous Hindi song picturized on Dev Anand and Wahida Rehaman). Don't get me wrong, I was not a bad singer, it was just superstition on my part, thinking that by singing that song, somehow the alliance would not click. ( For the bell in my heart never rang for any of those boys). 
I went in and came back with my guitar, and just decided to play some song and be done with the whole thing, I did not play the song that made people run away, for I liked this boy, and had no intention of losing him. However, I was very nervous, as I played another song in the guitar, for I had no idea whether it would do the magic, I had to take the risk... the song I played was the very famous,  romantic song of Guru Dutt, 'Chaudivin ka Chand'. This song is sung by a man to his lady love, but it was okay, for I was only playing it on the guitar.
After the so called music session, I left the room, only to be followed by my father. I told him, that I liked the boy. Relieved to hear no objections from me, he said, that he would inform them and leave it to them to move forward. (Probably he also  must have felt that, if we told them that we liked the boy, it might psychologically influence the boy also to decide favorably, now as you know one had to try all the tricks of the trade if one really wanted something very badly).
  As was the usual practice, the boy's side said they would let us know and left.
Anyway, within an hour,  we got a call from the boy's parents saying they also liked the girl and would like to take the matter further. They said that the boy wanted to have a word with the girl. Now knowing me very well, my father had strictly told me to keep my mouth shut, and only answer to the point. Anyway, I had no need to worry for the boy also seemed to be the "to the point case",  for he just asked me whether I was also satisfied with them, thereby leaving no room for anything more.
 My father as you all know, didn't want to let this fish from his net, decided it was better to have the engagement while they were there, so as to officially seal the deal, without further delay. It was decided that  the engagement would take place on the 24th of August a Sunday, itself for they were to leave  the same night by the night train to Bombay.
Did you'll notice one more thing, if things had not gone wrong with that Army guy, I would have been engaged to him two days earlier, instead,  just notice how things changed, I was to be engaged to another man just two days later.You get to see such things happen only in movies, or get to read them in some mushy novels, but it happened to me, it was something as they say 'stranger than fiction'.
The engagement went off very well without any hitch, to think my parents had to run around and make all the arrangements at such short notice.
Well, while the refreshments were being served, my mother got a chance to casually ask the boy's aunt, whether the boy was into drinking, smoking, and eating non-veg, bla bla bla..... and the aunt  threw a bomb, in fact threw many mini bombs .... saying......

This picture was taken in Portugal by a Photo Journalist, for she liked my bright colored dress very much and wanted to use it in some magazine showcasing Indian dress.
I know, I should have ended it here, but it has become too lengthy, so please bear with me I promise, I will finish my story in the next blog, for there is lots more to happen before that classic slip between the cup and the lip.
Thank you.

to be continued....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My never ending fascination for beautiful cloud formation and sunsets


Every evening as I look out from our balcony, I find myself  witnessing different kinds of sunsets and cloud formations, each one of them unique and very beautiful.... I am always ready with my camera to shoot as many pictures as possible before the sun finally sets.
The Sun is a big show off, always teasing me, pretending to set, and always peeping from behind some awesome cloud, which is no less a show off..... both the Sun and the Clouds vying for attention, trying to out do each other, but never succeeding for both look equally beautiful and amazing....
Here are some pictures, you can see for yourself the drama they create each day:

Finally they are ready to say good bye...
I am grateful to the Universe for creating such amazing scenes for  us to witness everyday, day after day.
Do you ever look at nature and admire its beauty, what is your favorite, is it the Sun, moon, rivers, birds, the clouds  or the rain what is it, that keeps you hooked?
Please share  with me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Its the month of Cakes & Candles It's December.. Wishing you Merry Christmas....

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. - Norman Vincent Peale

Even before Christmas has said Hello, it's saying 'Buy Buy'. - Robert Paul
One of the nice things about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with a present. - Author Unknown

"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."
- Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December."
- J. M. Barrie

"The best Christmas of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with each other"

"Christmas candle is a lovely thing;It makes no noise at all,But softly gives itself away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small"

The sun is gone but I have light: Kurt Gobain


                                         May the closeness of friends, the comfort of home,
                                                and the unity of our nation,
                                                       renew your spirits this holiday season.                         

Monday, November 28, 2011

How I Met My Husband......A Strange thing happened... the story continues.... Part 5

After formally fixing up the engagement date to 24 of August 1980, everybody seemed to be happy. The Army boy and his parents left. I could see, how relieved my parents were, happy at the thought that their youngest daughter was finally getting married. However, I was feeling the opposite, I felt burdened, and totally depressed by the turn of events. I would have to tell them what the boy shared with me, I was sure once they knew, they would definitely not like to take it further, and would cancel the engagement.
But, before I could tell them anything, my uncle, who was in the movie business (part time cinematographer), came with some free tickets for a movie called "Shankarabaranam", which was all the rage at that time. Since, I was in no mood to go anywhere, I stayed back at home. I was alone in the house and my parents were expected to come back only by 11pm after the movie.
Around 10 pm, the phone rang and it was the Army fellow on the line. He said he was glad he got me on the line, as he had something important to tell me. He told me not to misunderstand him or get annoyed with him, as he was calling off the engagement. I just couldn't believe what I was hearing, was it real or was I dreaming....

Then he went on to explain, how while he was lighting a cigarette, he recollected the conversation we had, earlier that day, and how although I had not commented very strongly about my reservations about the things shared by him, he could not forget the look of dismay in my eyes.
It led him to think  that, although,  he had very gallantly promised that, he would give up these habits picked up by him, it suddenly struck him, as to what might happen if he failed to keep his promise. 
Since he was not sure he would be able to get over his weaknesses so easily, he felt it would not be right on his part to make me suffer. And therefore, he had conveyed to his parents, that he was not yet ready for marriage at the present time.

He went on to add that his mother was well and truly upset with him for having led everyone down the garden path : I believe she was so angry and livid with him that he had to leave his parent's home and seek temporary shelter at his brother's place from where he had made the call. He said he was very sorry for changing his mind, but hoped I would understand his decision which involved both of us.

Well you know I could not have been happier, for once again some supreme power had come to my rescue and saved me in the last minute. I really admired him for being so thoughtful and sensitive for we get to meet such people very rarely. I admired his strength in looking within himself and thinking deeply about the situation and coming to a mature decision. I am sure he is a happy man wherever he is.

My parents,  when told the news were quite devastated to see such things happening again and again,
however, life has to go on. Now there was not a single horoscope to pursue, and it looked like things had come to a stand still all of a sudden.We were all suddenly enveloped in that 'calm' that one feels before a tsunami.... a deadly calmness that could throw us off balance any moment. Although I was relieved, still I could not bear to see them so dejected in life.

It was at this time I let my imagination run loose. I imagined, that it would be so good if by some miracle, somebody just called up, saying they had come across my horoscope and it was matching, and could they come and meet us. I let my imagination run a little further, (no need to be stingy in this area) by imagining the boy to be a doctorate in engineering (that too from a well known university of America,  the craze for America must have caught on to me too, now don't ask me could have been the effect of some mob mentality ....I really don't know)

I thought it would be so good, if we could just like each other without any reservations. Well as the saying goes, "Be careful what you ask for ... for you might just get it".
Well did  I get it?
Could such crazy imaginations ever be actualized?

We would have to wait and watch....
The blog is becoming too long and I need some time to put everything together, so I have to stop.
to be continued......

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cooking Up A Simple And Healthy Lunch

Today, the weather being cloudy and nice, I felt like making, some wholesome Biriyani with some Egg plant gravy dish which goes well with the Biriyani, and some Raita which is made with raw Cucumber, Tomatoes and Onion in yogurt.
This Biriyani  is made out of Brown rice with some Carrots, Peas, Cauliflower and some Onions and I topped it with some lightly fried Potatoes.
I sprinkled it with some Mint leaves and browned Onions: it really tastes good. Brown rice has a nice nutty flavor, and is also very good for health.

                                                    Try using brown rice it is really good.

The Egg plant dish has lightly fried  whole Egg plant, the small variety, in Tomato gravy, which  is a  perfect  accompaniment to Pulav, Biriyani, or just plain Rice. The Yogurt, with raw vegetables is another healthy addition to any  Indian meal.

Happy Healthy Eating!!!

Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other. ~Joseph Addison

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How I Met My Husband......."being on the horns of a dilemma" part 4

My parents were relieved, that at last their youngest daughter was finally getting married. I reluctantly said yes to this boy. The Army boy had left,  for he had just come on some official work, but his parents kept in touch with us through phone calls,  discussing the date for our engagement ceremony etc. etc. It was decided that it would take place on the 24th of August 1980. As the day kept coming closer and closer, I  got really worried and restless, I felt the classic shiver down my spine every time I thought about the boy and my marriage to him. I could not understand this fear building up inside me for no apparent reason. The boy was decent, his parents loved me, they were all well educated and cultured, yet why did I harbor such negative vibes, and felt something was not right, but I could not put my finger on it.
In the meantime, my parents went to Kanchivaram (a town famous for silk sarees), and bought all the wedding sarees for me as well as for others, they  were busy buying all the necessary things required for the wedding,  and people were informed about my engagement--- a big relief for them too as they were witness to almost all the alliances that had come my way, news has a way of spreading real fast.
I think one month must have passed, Oh! how quickly the month passed by, bringing me very close to my engagement day, making me dread every second of it.
At that point, I had lost all faith in life, I had no one who would understand what I felt, in fact even if I were to tell someone, they would just brush it off as pre-wedding  jitters. There seemed to be no escape, I was fully trapped. How could I tell my parents that, I just didn’t feel right about this man?
The bell was not ringing for this man in my heart.
They would want to know the reason, and I really didn’t know why I should not marry him.

The Army gang, along with the boy, came again to our house to discuss the various details regarding the engagement etc. At that time the boy’s mother suggested maybe the two of us should be left alone, so that we could get to know each other better. (bless her). So we just started sharing a few things about each other,  which was rather pleasant and nice, making me feel more confident about this man, and I chided myself for imagining the worst scenario for myself. He was really very good, with no airs, a really down to earth man. The more we talked, the more, I liked him, and all of a sudden, all my unfounded fears seemed to have vanished into thin air …. until,  he suddenly said he had certain unhealthy habits and that,  may be marriage would be just the thing  to give him the incentive to get rid of them. He started telling me about his addiction to cigarettes, and also his the habit of drinking, albeit only in parties (which I was sure were pretty frequent).  He attributed all these habits to being in the Army.  Life could be quite tough sometimes, filled with boredom and lonliness,  that’s what he said. I asked him whether he was a vegetarian, to which his answer was in the negative: he said he couldn’t do without eating non- veg, and then he described to me in detail how his father (who was a forest officer), his elder brother ( who was also in the Army ) and of course himself, would go hunting in the forest in a jeep at night times and kill some wild animal, make a fire right there and cook and eat  the poor creature.  He was so excited and seemed to be very proud of such adventures and accomplishments.

    To me all these things sounded very barbaric and inhuman.  I was shocked that I had said "yes" to such a person, for we were so very different from each other in every way.  The prospect of leading an unsettled and nomadic life in the Army, facing frequent separation, relocation, leading a nomadic life, having children whose education and schooling would perforce be disrupted frequently, and all the other accompanying problems, was daunting. (I had somehow brainwashed myself that they were nothing).  And to think, I would also have to live with his various vices (at least to my eyes), I somehow felt that things would not work out between the two of us.  He would be better off with somebody who was used to the kind of life he had just portrayed to me, for I know some people may find it fascinating, thrilling and challenging.  They might also like to accompany him on his trips to the jungle for hunting.  As the saying goes: "One man’s food is another’s poison."  Who was I to pass judgement? 
All I could only say that this man was not for me and could have no place in my life. I somehow felt, that I didn’t want to be involved with a man with so many issues to be resolved, and marriage would not be a solution to his problems. For him to change, the change would have to come  from within himself and not with the help of another person, and I did not want to make it my business to change him.
However, would I have the courage to speak about all this to my parents?
Why did I turn totally against him, for he was just being honest, nothing wrong in being honest, he was only confiding in me as a friend, and soon to become my companion? 
All these thoughts were haunting me, as I kept smiling and listening to him, with no expression on my face. I vaguely remember, his mom showing me a beautiful long antique necklace (the type that Bharatnatyam dancers wear), studded with rare and precious stones, saying she would present it to me during the wedding….. that it would go beautifully with the saree we had chosen for the main wedding…. how she was waiting for the day when they would have me as their daughter in law,  as she hugged me tightly.... and at that moment again my mind started sending me conflicting signals, for,  I felt how could I refuse to be a part of such a loving family….
I still had time to think it over, for the engagement was still about 15 days away.  Maybe I was being too negative about this whole issue, maybe after thinking over it calmly I might change my mind about this man, maybe he was not as bad as he portrayed himself to be.
What do you think, you would have done if you were in such a situation?
 Please think about it and give your honest opinion:  
Army Officer:
to marry or not to marry?

To be continued…………..

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How I Met My Husband.......A long flash back (Part 3)

Another day and another prospective alliance came my way : the boy was the son of an Acharyan (A theological/ spiritual preceptor – A guru ) in our ancestral hometown of  Srirangam near Trichy.  He was an engineer and was very fair and good looking ( that’s the way my dad would describe him in any case). He literally fell headlong for me the moment he set eyes on me. He made it very clear to my father also how he felt about me. He succeeded  in convincing his orthodox parents also and things were moving forward too quickly for my liking.  But I did not like him, and I was worried that somehow I would be forced to say "yes".  The very thought of going to live with his ultra orthodox family even for one single day was horrifying for me.  I would be compelled to wear a 9 yard saree in the orthodox madisar  fashion and follow all the "aachaarams"  (Rituals) and various other arcane rules of behaviour and conduct set by their highly conservative society, befitting his exalted position as the Acharyan (Guru) .   

In the meantime the boy started communicating with my father through letters and phone calls, how he was looking forward to becoming  a part of our family, that we need not worry about his orthodox family,as he planned to set up a separate establishment once married, and visit them only occasionally, that he would take good care of me and blah blah………..

His letters kept coming and I was really irritated by his persistence, and because of him my father started telling my mother how she was not training me also in our orthodox Iyengar way of life, for unless I was properly tutored in these matters, I would always shun  such practices which our forebears in their infinite wisdom had designed scientifically for our benefit only.  My mother and I therefore  got into a secret pact  never to let my father see, any more of the letters that the boy from Srirangam was shooting off.  Fortunately also, the boy’s father had lots of demands up his sleeves which my father did not like and so there I was once again saved from the fire,  but not before a little bit of frying in the pan.  You  simply cannot imagine how horrifying each experience was when you don’t know with whom you might end up for the rest of your life.
After several more prospective alliances,  and every alliance going nowhere, it was the turn of an Army officer to come my way.  You will not believe it  if I told you that by now I had seen and been seen by about 300 boys in just 4 years time. It sounds  implausible, but not so if you were resident in Madras in those days.

Let me clear the air here a little bit to say that my father was not such a hateful person as portrayed by me.  It was  just that the circumstances were different, and it was quite the norm to have dominating fathers in most households  those days.  I must do justice to him for the various other aspects of him as a good father, a good husband and a good man in another blog on an other day.
This Army boy ( officer actually) was also very good looking : he had to be, for my parents would not approve of somebody who was not - the basics were never compromised.  “Goodlooking, educated,  well employed and of good family background" were the minimum specifications.  Now you see, there was a time when my father would not even care for alliances that were advertised in the news-papers nor would he even consider boys from the Army, Navy and Air Force. But times had changed and beggars could not be choosers, and we could not afford to ignore alliances coming from whichever corner of the ring.  Since my father had himself been in the Army and later on shifted to work as a civilian in the Army, he was well aware of the shortcomings and disadvantages of an Army life.  He would say very few people in the Army had good habits and one couldn’t blame them : their life was very tough and there would be several instances when one just had to take what was coming,  and to simply grin and bear.  My father never smoked nor did he drink.  He was a Food Technologist for the Army and it was his job to test and taste everything, and approve these commodities for bulk supplies to the army personnel.  His brother’s sons were all in the Army and Navy and surprisingly none of them succumbed to these vices as well.   But could I expect the same from the boy who came to see me?
The Army boy and his parents did come on the appointed day, saw me and liked me very much.  I also did not really dislike him.   These Army folks exude a certain charm that is difficult to resist.  Other men can learn a few things from them, like how to treat a Lady, and to be polite and dignified with elders etc. Of course everything is fine with them as long as they don’t get drunk and misbehave in public, or even in private.

Well, getting back to my story, my father had convinced me that all Army people need not be tarred with the same brush.  He then brainwashed me to think of a wonderful life filled with parties and various activities that would interest me, and all the wonderful and exotic places in the far corners of India I would get to see and so on.  Of course, deep in his heart he knew that only part of it was true, and so did I:not everything  would be as rosy and cosy as portrayed by him.  My poor father, he was so sincere in his efforts, sometimes I was really moved by his sincerity and his determination to get things done, come what may. This waiting for the so called 'Mr. Right' can't go on and on, somewhere, someone has to put a stop. Accepting things the way they were, and looking  realistically at the world around me was the best option. The boy was good, in every sense, except for being in the Army, which was minor issue, one should always look for the positives  in life and move forward.
 Somehow I sensed a change coming over me:  rather reluctantly, I braced myself to look forward to a so called funfilled life in the army. 

I know you people would want to know everything right now, but it would be too long for a blog, so I have to try and keep it short and crisp, and share my experiences in parts without boring all of you too.
Does my story so far sound weird, well watch out for more weirdness to come......
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Monday, October 31, 2011

How I Met My Husband.......A long flash back: the story continues....

My parents started their search for a 'suitable boy' for me when I just turned 18. Now it seems so outdated to think of marriage at that age.  Even at that time it was pretty uncommon, but not for my father who always proudly proclaimed "I am the head of the family; I know what is right for everybody in the family".  According to him marriage was not going to happen unless we put in a lot of effort,  and we should always be open to proposals that might come our way.  Then there was the issue of horoscopes to be matched, and a whole lot of other nitty gritty to be tackled, before anything could move forward.  One had to start looking out fairly early,  as these things had to go through a long process, and  therefore, the "sooner the better" was the  philosophy followed by my father. 

Then of course, there was really no reason for panic, for there were many boys waiting to get married.  It started off for me with a boy who was a sales manager in a reputed company in Calcutta. It seemed very ideal for my father for at that time we were living in Calcutta and I was still in College there. But somehow I was not reconciled to the idea of marriage just yet, and the idea of seeing a sales manager was not so appealing to me : for some reason, I know not what or why,  I hated sales people. ( again no offence to people in the 'marketing' field)

But, as usual, I had no choice  in the matter, and I had to see the boy.  I did not much like him : he was just OK -  "nothing great"as my daughter used to say  to any proposal that came her way. Perhaps she had taken after me.  But the same casual manner in which she put it across to us, I dared not try on my domineering father in those days (excuse my constant use of " those days").  All  I could  do was only to pray for the best. However, things did work out well in the end in this case because the Sales Manager too  felt I was too young for him, and therefore unsuitable.

But my father being the type of person he was,  had beseeched every friend and relative to look out for a decent alliance for me. His aim was to get me settled before his retirement which was still about 5 years away. Somehow things were not turning out as my father had imagined, and I was saved the agony for the next 2 years. I could concentrate on my studies without any distractions and was even able to complete my degree. After my graduation, my father was transferred to Madras our home town, as his final posting prior to retirement.   From that very day, my problems multiplied.  Every other day somebody would come to see me, and again I never really liked anyone, though they were all quite good looking and well educated, the horoscopes matched etc. You might well wonder how my prayers worked every time, for somehow at the last moment things would just fall apart, and my father would feel crestfallen  that all his efforts went for naught :  but I was happy. To pass the time gainfully, I was allowed to  pursue my studies to the next level and also attend some art and cookery classes on the side.
A few fellows did come to see me, but due to reasons unknown, they all just fizzled out, I remember vaguely one fellow's father saying that my father was too dominating, another boy himself had the audacity to tell my father that, we were not up to his status, and some other fellow's father felt I was too young for his son and so on.....

Time was fast running out now, my father’s retirement day fast approaching, and he was filled with woe: his last daughter was still unmarried.  Several astrologers were consulted frequently as to find out why things were not working out for me despite sincere efforts on his part. The answer was the same -  that I was going through a bad period ( says the reading of horoscope) but we should not let up on our efforts, for the bad period was only temporary, ending soon and my marriage was surely on the cards.  
Then a learned astrologer discovered that my Lagna at birth had been miscast, and so a new computer generated horoscope  ( it was the time when computer technology was really generating a lot of interest) was made ready : there was however a section of astrologers who did not set store by the way a computer looks at the various Grahas/ houses in the horoscope. 
Astrology being such a science, that never two people would ever see eye to eye in the same matter. 
My father was now caught in a quandary : he did not know whom to believe or disbelieve, for both seemed right in their respective arguments (both horoscopes were correct).  As an even handed compromise, my father took both the sets of horoscopes for matching – try this, and if does not work, try the other ! 

Well, as days passed by, my bad period was becoming good,  all hurdles to my getting married had gone, according to his friend who was our official astrologer, and my father was relieved, when told, "bad phase has left,  your daughter could be married any time". 
With my dear, dear Father
Now the time had come to intensify the search for 'a suitable boy' more vigorously, not that the search had ever been let down. The astrologers went on predicting that the right time had come, but did it really happen, only time would tell.
And so the story continues to chug along, dragging,  like the little red engine slowly ......

This is blue train to Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh, which also chugs slowly through the scenic hills.

Wow! I can't believe it I have completed 103 posts till now.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31st Wedding Anniversary At Taj West End

We got a coupon to stay at any Taj in Bangalore for 1 day and 1 night where you get to pay half rate for the room and for the lunch.
We have Taj Vivanta in Whitefield itself, which is supposed to be very expensive, but we had lunch there twice and did not find any thing great, nor the modern architecture it boasts of, is spectacular in any way. Then we have two other Taj Hotels, one is Taj Gateway, and the other one is Taj Residency, both are not worth spending your half rate coupons.I suggested we go to Taj West End , which is closer to the old style Bangalore, just opposite the Race Course, it is a very pretty hotel set in a large beautifully landscaped  area and has an old world charm which is simply irresistible. It is like a resort, with absolutely no noise, and is very peaceful.
We chose Friday, (although our wedding anniversary was over on Thursday itself), as the coupons are valid only from Friday to Saturday, and this half rate discount comes only once in a year. What better time to make use of this deal, so here we were in Taj West End, one of the oldest Hotels of Taj in Bangalore.
In their own words:
" The Taj West End, a lush, 20-acre garden in the middle of Bangalore, a bustling city. Noted as a Leading Hotel of the World, The Taj West End is a sanctuary for today's discerning business traveler and offers up an array of cutting edge business technology, including Telepresence (high-definition global video conferencing) and a 24-hour Business Centre.

For the leisure seeker, there is plenty to do. Sip drinks under a 125-years old Banyan tree. Laze in the sun. Linger over high tea and let us demonstrate that even though the old days certainly had plenty going for them, the present is even better."

We had a wonderful lunch at their Restaurant: Mynt a place for fine Dining experience.
For upbeat atmosphere around the clock, there is no better choice than Mynt. Authentic Indian, Italian, Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine is served from large interactive counters and kitchens for an open, engaging experience.

Natural sunlight from skylights and tall bay windows created a lovely ambiance inside and guests who like the outdoors, could also head to the garden for an alfresco dining experience.

Their thin crust Pizza was  to literally to die for, you can see for yourself in the pictures above. They had lovely Italian food along with food from other Mediterranean countries, it was simply delicious, I wish I had place to taste every thing. I mostly had Italian and Greek food, I didn't go anywhere near our Indian food at all. Then there were freshly made ice creams, cakes, and plenty of Indian sweets for dessert, oh, my God it was too good. Their service  too was excellent.

 The next day for breakfast,  their choice of food was mind boggling, but this time the Indian Breakfast  was too good to resist, with Masala dosa, Rava idly, Pav Bajji, Tomato Rice, Upama, Adai, Uttappam and everything done to perfection.
Lovely fresh fruits, and freshly made fruits and vegetable juices were fantastic.
Of course, there was a counter for Western Breakfast too.
Their home made kind of filter coffee (Tata Coffee) too was excellent.
Now the rooms had sauna, steam also in the bath, and the regular coffee/ tea maker, plus the Bar.
They really surprised us with a chocolate cake,  which they had specially made for us as they knew our Wedding Anniversary.

Since we were close to Malleswarm, we decided to visit the famous Mantri Square/ Mall, and did some window shopping in Malleaswarm too,( we did not buy anything), in the evening after lunch, as we would never visit this part of the city,  because of the traffic jams in normal times. 
We had to eat tiffin at Sri Krishna Bhavan, which has been there for years and years and is very famous. So although we absolutely had no place to eat,  after our lunch, yet we stuffed ourselves with their Masala Dosa.
The next day after Breakfast we had to leave by 12pm.
It was indeed a good way to spend our 31st wedding anniversary. Now back to some heavy exercise and some good lean and healthy diet.