December 13, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera



This is a title which I have heard a lot about during my college days. Then there was a fad for philosophy, and the modern kind at that too. In this genre, Kundera was what many read, and quoted. At that time too, I started reading this book, but kept it off for later as I could not relate to what the characters were experiencing. 


The book talks of a doctor who has been living life on his terms, a divorcee with many girlfriends, but to each of whom he has been very careful never to be too close or dependent. He says its more of a physical relationship which he enjoys and wishes to keep it just that way. A woman who he meets on one of his official trips, walks into his life unexpectedly, and causes a change in his status, thinking and feelings. But, even as he is living with her, he still strives to keep his individual space where he enjoys afternoons of pleasure with his previous girlfriends. The book moves through phases where the woman is the one who is needy for attention, to how the man realizes the unknown attachment which he has with this woman and he moves countries to follow her. Apart from  the relationship and feelings which are so well portrayed, there is a background of the occupation of  Czech and how many citizens of the country flee to other European countries in search of a better and moreover a safer environment for a family life. 


As the author explains, the protagonist, Tomaz, is not a womaniser in the sense of the word as of this day. He has a fascination for the different, and he does not necessarily always look to take to bed the beautiful women. A woman taller than him, with a queer expression might also catch his fancy. He has a habit of trying to determine what would be a woman's expressions while making love, and when these expressions he can not determine, then he is turned on by this unknown. I am  unsure whether this would be called womanising or not. But as per the authors explanation, this would be more of a foray into the unknown and the subjects being women alone. Tomaz does not allow any of these women to cast a deep impression on his mind. That part of his mind is solely reserved for Tereza, his partner. 


As one reads the book, we get the feeling that Tomaz is trying to draw sense of his feelings regarding Tereza and how her feelings and moods affect him. I think its worth a read for sure, and it surely does put one in a thinking mode too.

Eons later

Its truly been ages since I have been on my blog, and even longer since I visited any of the blogs which I have been regularly reading. Why? There has been so much happening, so much travelling, and all clubbed together, I have been just too busy the past 1.5 months to do any blog hopping/ reading. I went to Delhi, then Calcutta, and now will be going to Delhi and Goa in the coming weeks. 


So the main update is I am currently unemployed, and I do not seem to mind it at all, a break which I have been wanting, and I guess as of now, with my health situation, its a good thing. There has been a revelation to B and me, and that is that I am expecting, and the best part was I found out at 4 months. Do not ask me how I managed to let something so big slip by unnoticed, but I did! So now, I want to just relax, be at home, help B with work, and keep myself occupied doing tit bits of what I wish to. 


Calcutta trip was amazing, and that requires a post of its own, and our anniversary Goa trip might just be clubbed with it. :) 

October 22, 2010

Unadulterated Rambling

When I have time on my hand, I write. And, when there are a lot of things on my mind, then getting work done becomes a far stretch from reality. I am sure B will say that getting any work done is always a far stretch from reality for me. I am inherently lazy, I want to and wish to do many things, but I am not sure how many I have eventually got down to trying my hand at.

There are some people who try to keep themselves occupied when disturbed by anything, but me on the contrary, I tend to ponder , think, fret and fume and waste a lot of time introspecting. Is all this time wasted, accounted for with a eye opening revelation, or a great decision which I made? In most of my past experiences, I do not think so.

Decisions which I take happen to be either driven by my less understanding of the situation, a wrong image which was given to me or maybe a wrong perception on my end. This might make it sound like I have never made any good decision in my life which I value. That is not true, what I say here is mostly on the professional front. All the decisions which I have made in my personal life which have not ever been attributed to anyone else but my liking, have always been to my complete liking.

Why all this rambling on the blog? I am again at that point, where I need to make a decision, again about my professional life, and all this I hope shall help me make that decision.

PS: I was just looking at my posts in this month, the titles ( to the right) and all I see is confusion, rants and what not :(

October 20, 2010

Just a short rant

I had vented out my frustration earlier too and following all the thoughts that came in from all of you, I have been thinking. 

I understand that throwing something which you have away is very simple and maybe seen as rash. But, when I look at it, I think whether is it the job responsibilities or the associated matters which are driving me nuts. And, the answer that comes to me is there is one side of my job which I do not like at all, and the other part which is comparitively fine. But, I would not say that I am learning anything which I did not know earlier, so then what am I getting from this job? The associated matters are anyhow very bad, and not at all to my liking, so all in all there is a quarter of my job, which I like. And is that sufficient to see it as worth it?

I myself am getting sick and tired of my sob story...

October 15, 2010

A festival misfit

I am not a great fan of festivals.

Hindu festivals mostly are drawn from mythology, and I treat that as a story ( an Indian fairy tale, if you may) and that I do not see how is supposed to be worshiped very devoutly. Its a time to gather, a common holiday for family to meet up in the craziness of the world, but anything more that, I am not too sure. This might also be the case as my parents have never lived in India, have never been a festival celebrating family also.

This is to the extend that, for us, Diwali was just another day, as both my brother and myself hated the sound/light of crackers and the smell of crackers too. We mostly just stood on the balcony looking at the sky for the far away rockets going up and were happy at the distant view. 

Pooja was looked forward to, as all books would be taken away from us on Ashtami night and there is just no work to do except play and enjoy. On Vijayadashmi, we would write ' Hari Shree Ganapataye Namah : ' and sit down to study for a few hours as a norm after taking the books back duly blessed.

Vishu is new year in Kerala, and on this day you just wear new clothes, and elders give money to all young for a good start to the year. Early morning on this day,  the first thing you are to see is the 'Vishu Kanni' which is all the good things in life, fruits, gold, money, rice, flowers, a mirror ....essentially a grand set up to ensure you see all the good stuff on the first moment of the new year.This again has really no religious significance, its just a celebration, a gathering and thats about it.

Then comes Onam, where we have never done anything, but eat a good meal. This was looked forward to, as living outside India banana leaves are a not a common appearance on the dining table, and eating on it is a luxury. The number of dishes prepared are phenomenal and the taste is just different on a banana leaf. But, again no religious significance whatsoever. This I am sure is not because we were outside Kerala, it is just the way things are in our family. And, I guess that's why I find it very difficult to associate a pooja of a particular deity with any festival as per mythology. I have just never ever known any of the stories, whatever I know is through my own curiosity. In fact, my parents never thought is important to pass on these pooja specifications and I guess they were also not interested in following it.

October 11, 2010

Gifts and rant

I have been thinking of why is it so difficult for some people to get gifts properly.  What I mean to say is, why don't they for once think about who they are getting it for, and get what that person would like. I agree that if you are not very close, generic items are a better bet, but even then, why not non tacky, non rainbow coloured stuff! And why would you buy these tacky stuff for anyone?

I like to put an effort into getting someone a gift. I am not the kind of person who can not just hand over things which are lying around in the house, unless its a great emergency! Even if I have to get something standard, I rather get that thing for the person than hand over something lying around uselessly. I know many might say, whats useless for you, might be great for someone else, but unless I am cent percent sure of that, I don't think I will feel fine handing over something I already have.

On a completely different note, I am contemplating leaving the corporate world and doing something on my own. I am scared whether I will be able to do it, and moreover the starting something by yourself responsibility is also kinda freaking me out. Frankly speaking, I think its just this job which is driving me nuts, but I am super pained by the way my day pans out. 

Have a look below and tell me if its worth it.
Get ready for work, pack lunch
9:45 - Leave the house
10: 40 - Pick cab mates from Indira Nagar
11:15 - Reach Office
........... skip the work crap and move to end of day
7:00 - Check when cab mates will be done with work to leave. We are supposed to leave at 7:30 and wait for 30 mins in case someone is delayed ( In most probable cases the answer would be 7:30 / 7:40)
7:30 - Check again with cab mates if they are done. ( Answer to which would be 5/ 10 mins more )
7:45 - Check yet again with cab mates and by now tired and irritated. ( Another 5/ 10 mins) 
8:00 - Finally leave!
8:25 - Cab mates get dropped off at Indira Nagar
9:15 - I finally step off the stupid cab.

Now someone please explain to me why is it that I am picked up first but dropped last. Also, why are some people always late! 3/5 days every week I reach home at 9:15 - 9:30 and what a time is that to get home and make dinner! I know my husband is super understanding, but I know his patience will run out one day, and I do not want that happening. 

I don't think its worth it, do you?

September 9, 2010

Back

There are some days when you feel very low, and the reasons might be many.
 
For me, these are usually those days which
  1. are followed by many happy days
  2. follow, when  you are back from home and missing parents
  3. you read blog posts which brings a lump to your throat
  4. you do not want to sit and work cooped up in a seat staring at a computer screen, but have to
  5. you can not find anyone free to talk to for a while to make you feel better

September 2, 2010

Going on a holiday :)

I am going to be taking a holiday for 5 days and head out of Bangalore. I am so looking forward to it ! 

Visiting family at Trivandrum primarily and from there we have also managed to squeeze in a short visit to Kanyakumari with my parents. We are planning to go on Sunday and return by Monday evening, the distance between Trivandrum and Kanyakumari being just about 4 hours by road. This time around we are planning to do the quiet calm relaxing stay, and we have chosen to stay at the Vivekananda Lodge which has sea facing cottages and a private beach too. I even have a book which is perfect for this calm sea front. I am reading Watership Down by Richard Adams, its about a bunch of rabbits who run away from their burrow in light of an impending disaster. Its been very interesting to note their lives and I am hoping to finish it by the time I am back in Bangalore.

I have been to Kanyakumari before, blogged about it too, so there is nothing new for me as far as the place goes. B has not been there, so my parents thought, why not? I am hoping to sit by, relax and read. My recent gtalk status message has been " I want a vacation where I just swim, eat and drink." I have got the sea but where I can't swim as the current is too strong. I am not too sure how I would enjoy simple veg meals, at least that was not what I had in mind when I wrote that status message! And,  there shall be no drinks whatsoever, firstly being at the Vivekananda Lodge and secondly being a family trip! But, nevertheless with the way work has been going crazy and the transport situation driving me nuts, I am just glad to get away from Bangalore for a while. 

So, that means I have to come up with a vacation plan soon, which comprises of the three! And, the more I think of it, the perfect place is none other than Goa!

August 31, 2010

Just thinking...

Some of those things which I need to do 
  1. Start taking a serious interest in the art of driving
  2. Have  to start sketching, one of my close friends will go crazy if I do not, considering the number of times she has told me this in the past 2 years
  3. Need to spend less time on the phone
  4. Post more regularly on my blog
  5. Read regularly, and not restrict it to the car rides to work
  6. Watch the huge list of movies which I have been amassing
  7. Plan a trip for this year end, come what may 
I have been thinking, and I think I have been taking my life too easy. In fact, someone told me so also. It did not feel good to hear it being said, but it started me on how true it is. I have been fixated on living each day that I do not even think of things which are long term. I do not think of the different hobbies which I had, and promised myself I would never lose them. I started working and then I stopped all that. When I stopped working also, I did not pick it up. I was just plain lazy. And now I want to pick it up. I have had enough of the time I spend on the internet which ends up me not using my time for anything else.

August 24, 2010

The lunch box issue

There is a lady in my office who likes to have soups! And she likes to make the same in the microwave, using my lunch box. This is the second time it has happened, and I do not understand how can it be so difficult to get a bowl if you can remember to get the soup packet.

I do not have an issue someone using my lunch box ( though I do not know why would someone want to do that, unless its urgent), but the soup cooked in the microwave leaves a red stain on the plastic, which I do not like. I had a clear plastic lunch box, and now I have an orangish tinge all over it. She has again borrowed the lunch box, and today I am going to inform her that I can not give it anymore!

August 20, 2010

Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair

Ladies Coupe is a concept which does not exist anymore in the Indian railway. But, I think they would have been a great place to make some wonderful friends. Those who think like you, and those who you would never come across else. Anita Nair looks at this coupe and its travelers in an interwoven way, through the eyes of Akhila, a 45 year old single woman and also through their own eyes. How Akhila thinks what she missed out, and what she would have rather not done. Women of all age groups are in the coupe and each of them show a different energy and zest for life. Some have given up, some have fought back and, some have realized their mistakes.

I enjoyed reading the book, a very simple read, but many a times it left me staring off into a distance, in thought about how my life would turn out. It questions so many things which we take as a passing phase and shows it in a different light. Small things which look harmless in the beginning, how it changes someone's life. There is a sense of despair which we associate with Akhila and wonder is it fate or she who led her life to its present path.

August 18, 2010

Death by stoning

How are we any different from the Taliban in Afghanistan. A religious gathering is replaced by a khap panchayat in India and death by stoning is replaced with some other means to kill.

That's all I see as a difference.

August 16, 2010

My Story by Kamala Das

I do not really remember what led me to this title, but once I read a few scattered reviews on the web about it, I thought its a story which I would very much love to read.

Its a story which is part autobiographical and part fiction. It traces the life of the author, Kamala Das from childhood through Calcutta, her ancestral home in Kerala, Mumbai and back to Calcutta. The story unfolds in front of us the family life and the married life of her parents. How she being dark made her the butt of all jokes at schools, and the extend to which the English teachers tried to hide these dark skinned children at all major events. She is shown to be a very good poet and well versed with classic English poetry at a very young age.

Marriage was a concept which was fed into her system since young, and she was groomed to fit the household of any suitable groom. A swift marriage and off to Mumbai. A changed, unhappy life ahead with a workaholic husband who needed her to handle the house and hand over her body. Its interesting to see how she starts to make friends int he circles she enjoys and one thing I appreciated was that her husband let her free as I think he understood he would never be interested in literature, poetry and history as she was.

Her children and her friends occupy her world, and its a story which flows through and its truly an account of a woman's life with the boredom, anticipation, fears and all weaved into one. I would not say its a must read, but its a book I enjoyed reading. Her frank accounts of intimacy and emotions has had this book seen in a completely different light, but at the end of the day, its a woman who is narrating her thoughts.


Image Source: http://www.mangobooks.net/dccurrentbooks/uploaded_files/books/bk_2377.jpg

August 10, 2010

Turning older

As of today,  I have three more years to get through this list of books one should have read before turning 30.

How many am I through? Which ones?

I am through just 5, and I am not even sure whether I would get through more than 5 from this list. As they say, these books are to open your eyes, but I do not want to realize all this world is about.. I want to leave the years after 30 also for some discovery !

Anyways, the ones that I have read are:
  1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  2. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
  3. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  5. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Do leave a comment on how many you have read from the list :)

August 3, 2010

Memories of My Melancholy Whores

A book which has been on my to read list for long. A very quick read, but with some great lines which tend to cast an impression.

The story starts at the 90th birthday of the protagonist, and his wish to sleep with a young virgin. Following this, it moves to show how two people fall in love with each other without themselves being aware of it. Him being a loner and she being poor might be the strongest of reasons to draw them together. His reasons is physical attraction mostly, and hers are just of plain gratitude for someone who has for reasons unknown been overtly nice to her.

One of the phrases which I particularly liked was  

" Fuck all you want, but don't die without fucking in love"

This is said to the protagonist by an old whore-friend.

As I have said, its a quick read and paints a picture of loneliness, old age and the thoughts that crosses the mind of a ninety year old.

Image Source: http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/102050000/102050726.jpg

August 2, 2010

A gorge-ful weekend

Now I know, a weekend filled with food and old friends is bound to be one of the greatest!

To elaborate, I met with three of my college friends, and I would say after long spells too. It was great to catch up and sit around talking. There is so much different that every person is doing that there is a great deal to understand from each of them. Some MBA stories, some research stories, and some stories of travel to places far and wide, they were great evenings of Saturday and Sunday.

With a far more than bad craving for seafood, the most probable place for us to head to was Coconut Groove on Church Street, Bangalore. The seafood is phenomenal, a great variety and all cooked in the amazing Kerala way! Gorged on Karimeen, Pearl spot, pork, chicken and mutton. I also realized their pork starter is excellent, was the first time I was trying it! This starter menu was followed with excellent idiyappam with mutton curry.

After all the seafood overdose, on Sunday, the food was to be all Afghani from up up north! Samarkhand it was. Galawti Kebabs have a way of melting in the mouth, and that is something one experiences here. Here too we tried the Prawns and grilled methi fish. The fish was excellent and the prawns was quite standard, just that the size of the prawns were appreciable. To top it, was the chicken dum biriyani, opened and served onto your plate.

Ahh... thats a weekend of bliss!

July 27, 2010

19th Commonwealth Games - Where is India headed?

The Wall Street Journal carried an article on the upcoming 19th Commonwealth Games and how under prepared India was just 70 days prior to the start of the event.

Full article link

On reading the article, especially the line "Recent efforts by world peers—China's 2008 Beijing Olympics, South Africa's just-concluded FIFA World Cup—will be hard acts to follow." all it showed was that how much ever the corruption, bureaucracy and likes affected these nation internally, when they are to face the world and prove themselves, both these countries did it. All said and done, the question remains, will India be able to do it?

Moreover, the work that has been completed does not meet standard and quality. A downpour had the false ceiling of the table tennis arena crashing! Work which will for sure take more then 2 months, are going to be finished ( hopefully) within 2 months. This will result in nothing but below par stadiums, swimming pools and such which shall deteriorate faster than they were completed.

With work moving at the present pace, I wonder how many sponsors do they plan on signing up. Except for Coca Cola, Hero Honda and Reebok, there isn't a single big name yet. Will a big brand sign up at the 13th hour? How will they advertise?

Above all, where is the metro headed to? It was to be completed by the Commonwealth Games, which is what I distinctly remember them saying, when they started work in 2005, and that was 5 years back!

July 26, 2010

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

A backdrop of Nazi soldiers, Hitler's regime, Jews and concentration camps. A girl who has lost her mother, brother and all to communism. She is put with foster care in one of the oldest, poorest streets of Munich. Her life changes and through her eyes, narrated by Death, we see the life and hardships of a German family. We see how the thoughts in Hitler's mind are not those in every Germans mind, how poverty and strikes them during this war, and how all they care about is their family and not whether they have a Jew living next door.

There are so any facets which are covered in this book, a girl growing up, making friends in a new place, learning to love and trust her foster parents, learning to read and falling in love with books, befriending the mayor's wife to read books, falling in love, watching people die in front of her eyes, etc.

The book moves through the lives of many people, and show their day to day lives, how the war affected them, their children, and what they went through to keep it as normal as possible for them.

As it says on the cover, its a story told by Death, how can you not listen. During many pages, one forgets that life of all these people is seen through the eyes of death, but in between our memories are refreshed with a sudden death and the details of how Death has a role to play, especially in a country ridden in war.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, its an easy read, but you are compelled to move with the story and see whats in store in the next pages. I also liked of the book was divided into parts, giving a illusion of a slice of life from each character.

July 22, 2010

Winds of change

I made many friends through college and school. And the percentage of friends with whom I am in touch with are higher from school than from college! This is a funny observation which I made when I was sitting one day on the balcony and thinking.

Many who I called friends in college are on my Facebook for sure, but I do not have any other consistent mode of communication with them. This makes me wonder, is it because when we are in college, we are older and hence realize that when we leave college, in most probability you shall lose contact with these college friends too. And, while in school, we are too naive to realize this and fight to keep in touch, which also makes us feign an attempt at keeping in touch with school friends more. I am not sure whether this is true, but just a thought which crossed my mind.

Something which I want to do starting today is, try to severe all those connections in real life which are just the Facebook connections. Let them remain on Facebook, I do not want to take the pains of writing a mail, or dropping and sms and not receiving any reply for either. As I say this itself, I see it as a harsh and difficult step to take, but I think I need to do this so that I free up time and thought.

I have 10 friends who I am on a constant contact with, and I wish to build on these relationships rather than trying to keep in touch with a total of 20 people. I have decided that if anyone wishes to keep in touch, then they can take a step forward and I shall surely take one forward. But, I do not want to take the first step to be left waiting.

This is a change which I need to bring about in myself.

July 14, 2010

Retarded Outlook

I am shocked that in a room where 15 people were sitting and having coffee/tea, they did not realize that the microwave was switched on for 3 minutes with nothing what so ever inside.

I have seen this happen many a times, someone keeps an X item for 5 mins and stops it in between at 3.5 minutes. They remove the X item and then shut the door, which results in the microwave proceeding to finish the rest of the 3.5 minutes with nothing to heat inside. Another variation of the incident which I have seen is that the person shall switch off the main power after removing the X item, which results in the microwave being set at 3.5 minutes, and the next person who wishes to use it being shocked to see the microwave start on its own when the door is shut!

I am sure it is not who ever uses the microwave does not understand the technology, its just that they do not care as its the office equipment!

This is such a retarded outlook to things!

July 8, 2010

A sinner in me

I have read so many posts on the gender stereotype tag, and many a times I wondered what would my list be like. Richa from Grad Life tagged me and here is me rattling away my share.

1. I hate wearing salwars, churidhars and all that fall into that category. I prefer jeans, trousers, skirts, and if I have to wear something Indian, it shall be by default a saree.

2. I do not like cleaning, putting things back in place and the usual household activities, I do not mind doing it when there is someone with me doing it, but I do not at all think its a part of me.

3. I have done my fair share of jumping walls, gates etc and I can do it even today if I have to.

4. I enjoy playing video games, started it when I was in class 5 and I still do  when my brother is in town. I have played games on the Sony Sega, Nintendo Console, PS 1 & 2, PSP and the Nintendo Wii.

5. I do not like pink t shirts, pink belts, pink ear rings, I wear what I like be it red, purple, blue, black or white. My wardrobe is never filled with girly colours, usually bold colours I would say.

6. I have no qualms of walking around in shorts when out shopping. I do not think that its the just the men who have the right to be comfortable. Just that my shorts might be a lot more shorter than theirs ;)

7. I love gadgets....recently got the Macbook Pro as my birthday gift. I am very specific about my cellphones, I need to know all the features, and most of the times, I have a list of things which I am looking for, and no sales person can deter me from that.

8. A complete animal lover. My wish is that I get to have a job wherein I am in contact with animals. That would be my perfect job :)

9. I hate sweets, Indian sweets especially with their sugar overload. Chocolates are accepted as last resorts.

Now on the alter side,

a. I apply makeup, lightly but almost every day of my life.

b. I like to sew and bake

c. I love shopping, and every few weeks I tend to feel I have no clothes!

d. I love being driven around and treated like a lady

e. I would love to get flowers, and I know I become teary eyed when I do.

As to pass on the tag, I do not know of many people who have not done it, so anyone who wishes to pick it up, feel free to. Let me know in the comment section that you would be picking it up, so I can come by and reads your sins!

July 7, 2010

Emails

There was a time in high school when all I received in my email inbox was FWDs. But, now, what I mostly receive is newsletters, subscription mailers, offer mailers, and in between all that junk, what the dear people in my life send. Another added feature is that now everyone one generation older are the ones who send me FWDs... be it about the bad luck if you don't send it to 13 people, or the health hazards of soya milk, KFC chicken source in depth analysis, etc.

This makes me wonder, is it the start of the internet phase and the information available, which makes you gullible to these facts. Initially I used to think it was because I was a high school girl, who would believe that maybe not sending it to 15 people would mean I would have bad luck for 15 years, but on seeing my mom also sending it to 15 people I wonder...

What are the different categories of emails you receive?

June 28, 2010

Mannequin Art

Fiberglass mannequins make the next art statement in NYC.

32 designers have been asked to each fashion a mannequin as they liked. Any theme, any fabric.The mannequins will be on display in the Garment District through September 3; after that, they'll be auctioned off and proceeds will benefit Materials for the Arts.

Click here to see the slide show of the mannequins on display on Garment District.

June 21, 2010

A woman of 13

Just met a woman who was married when she was 13, and was a mother at 14.

Where do things stand now?
  • She was advised by the doctors not have any more children due to an early childbirth.
  • She went on to study and work as a lawyer.
  • Her only daughter stays with her husband's parents, as they are the one's she is closest to and consider family.

I am not sure what I feel...

June 16, 2010

Bad luck, or maybe rotten

Its called bad luck, in fact rotten luck!

How many times is a bad thing if your boss finds you browsing through your personal mail/ Facebook?  I am not too sure, but I have been told twice, and he also added that he says it only every third time he spots me :( Now, that is certainly not good.

It is certainly not that I do not work, or I do not work hard. I plan my days, know what is expected of myself in a day and set to achieving it. But, I need my relaxations, and breaks, maybe quite a lot more than many others do. I usually keep thinking regarding my work as I might be browsing through Facebook, and in between I get back and jot down the thoughts which do cross my mind.

At times when I do think of it, I am not too sure that I like a work place which does not allow for some amount of personal place. Thankfully, my workplace is not that extreme, but maybe I am trying to push the limit a tad too much. Need to keep a check on my online activity.

Whats the situation at your work place?

June 4, 2010

How much is your soul worth?

I just did one such test, and I think this one is totally hilarious! 

The questions are real interesting too. Try it


My soul is worth $ 182,560 Soul Dollars


Whats the gender of your blog?


Here is my result
We guess http://vectorgaming.blogspot.com is written by a woman (56%), however it's quite gender neutral.




May 31, 2010

Child brides of Afghanistan

Here is the video released by the Human Rights Commission after the government has not be able to do anything worthwhile or take any action against these criminals. 
"I was shocked when I watched the video," said Mohammed Munir Khashi, an investigator with the commission. "I thought in the 21st century such a criminal incident could not happen in our country. It’s inhuman, anti-Islam and illegal."

If an investigator thinks that this is the first time it is happening, I am not sure what he is investigating! Why does he think the policemen at Herat return these two girls to be hands of the waiting warlord? Did they think they were doing something completely human, or completely in line with Islam preachings?

And now it seems there is another option too to threaten these girls with - forcing them to be suicide bombers

Sumbol, 17, a Pashtun girl, said she was kidnapped and taken to Jalalabad, then given a choice: marry her tormentor, or become a suicide bomber. “He said, ‘If you don’t marry me I will put a bomb on your body and send you to the police station,’ ” Sumbol said.
Forced marriage of Afghan girls is not limited to remote rural areas. In Herat city, a Unicef-financed women’s shelter run by an Afghan group, the Voice of Women Organization, shelters as many as 60 girls who have fled child marriages.  

May 28, 2010

Conserving water and efficient usage

Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

Everyone says this is what will be the situation in some days, unless something is done about the water usage today. There are innumerable sites and resources to read up on what and how things can be done to save water in a daily routine.

Mohan has hosted a contest on his blog on this topic, and this post is my entry for it.

I would like to list a few items which many a times are not thought of, and unknowingly many waste water through these actions.

  1. How many of us think of water saving when you are out looking to buy a washing machine?

If you are out, I would suggest that a front loading one would be any day lighter on the water usage as compared to the top loading kind. They might seem more expensive at first, but using less water also means using less electricity to heat the water etc.

  1. Many families I have seen wash clothes every other day, irrespective of the quantity of clothes. They decide its best to wash soiled clothes as soon as possible rather then keep them till a full load of the machine. And here they use the ½ load option to wash their cycle. What is not known is that a ½ load usually consumes around 65 % of the water as compared to the full load. This should not be too difficult to understand, considering the equipment was optimized for the full load capacity.

  1. How many of you drop the cigarette butt or toilet tissue into the toilet bowl?

I have been told by many that, the toilet tissue should disintegrate and not cause any issue to the drainage network. But, why is it that we have never thought of the water that this extra bit of matter requires to be pushed around. And, this water does come from the same source that we are trying to conserve.

  1. Many of us love gardens, so ensure that you water them during the early hours of the day to ensure the roots are able to absorb the water with least amount of water evaporating.

  1. While wet cleaning any premise, watch out never to use the water hose as a replacement for a broom. We often face maids employing this method while washing out the bathrooms.

  1. Another interesting aspect is many of us tend to wash vegetables and fruits under a running tap as opposed to filling a deep container with water and proceeding to washing the fruits and vegetables in that.

  1. A friend of mine had an aquarium, and what he used to do was whenever he cleaned his aquarium, he emptied the water into a bucket and he would proceed to water the plants with it. The water in the aquarium is nutrient rich, and this being used to water plants, I thought, was a great idea!

  1. In relation to pets, many a times when we give our pets fresh water, we throw the old water down the drain. Why? Why not use the same water to water plants!

  1. There are numerous times we are sipping on the aerated drinks or cold coffee and all that’s left is the ice. We promptly chuck that into the closest dust bin. That’s great, but what would be greater is if we chuck the ice into a planter and then the cup into the dust bin.

  1. In the garden, try to leave the dry leaves on the surface of the soil in the pots; this keeps the soil cool, prevents evaporation and over time will serve as manure too!
 
These are many things which I try to follow, not very difficult stuff, but I think on doing this, it shall certainly make a difference, in my small way. I hope there are some small things which you would have come to know in this post, and I hope you shall also try to do your bit!

May 25, 2010

My Name in Red by Orhan Pamuk

A few months back, I was looking out for some good reads in award winning fiction, and that is where I came across My Name is Red.

For 6 pages one holds a conversation with a corpse at the bottom of a well. It is telling us how it wound up there and it hopes for someone to come along and discover it, and also avenge the murder. These pages created a deep confusion in my mind, but it also brought about an interest in the style of writing employed.

The story is set in Istanbul, and opens with Black coming back to Istanbul after he left the city when he was a young boy. He returns, meets his miniaturist master, his fellow students at that time, who have become masters and full fledged artists now. The story moves through the lives of those linked to Black and his past, their present and then we walk through the years which were in between throughout the entire book. There are two stories which we see moving simultaneously; one is the love story between Black and Shekure (the master’s widowed daughter with 2 kids) and the murder mystery of one of the miniaturist (the corpse at the bottom of the well).

Another interesting aspect of the book is the chapter names and how each chapter is written in a first person narrative of one of the characters in the book. The history content is not too high, though there is a great deal of culture and society details which have been extensively portrayed. It’s a very refreshing read, and very different from any fiction I have read in a long time.

May 19, 2010

Big cats are a beauty to behold!


And, with today's human lifestyle, there is very little they can do to keep away from us.

Is confining them to small reserves the solution? They were free roaming cats and they might move beyond the reserve fences which you have built.

Cheetahs live in open grasslands which many at times serve as grazing land for livestock. The farmers tend to shoot or kill them in any other manner, when they are found to be attacking the livestock. The Cheetah Conservation Fund, works for a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship between these farmers and the cheetahs who share the same environment. CCF started its work in Namibia and has now started to extend to other parts of Africa too. They try to educate, and also provide feasible simple solutions to the farmers to try, such that they do not have to resolve to kill the cheetahs in case they are seen to trespass on private property.

Panthera is another organization which was set up with an aim to protect and enable symbiotic relationships between large cats across the world and the people who live near their habitat. Lions are the least affected amongst the cats, maybe because they are not seen to be of any great aesthetic value to the homes of the rich and famous. Good for them, they were spared.

In India too, I believe we need to understand the concerns of the villagers who live in and around the reserves. There has to be a reason why they do not care of the jungle and the animals that live in them, and I think a reason more than money should exist for it. At their position, money can be only a driving factor to an extend, I think there has to be a low understanding of how these animals are useful to them, and how they being in the jungle will serve to be more monetarily beneficial in the long run. 

I would not suggest that the monetary aspect alone be highlighted, but this can be a factor to create an urge within the villagers to protect the animals from poachers. I have seen in Kenya that there are many Masai villages just outside the reserve, and they charge a fee and take the tourists around their village and explain their way of life. This ensures an income for the villagers, but the tourists come in the first place all because of the wildlife in the Masai region. I am sure that every Indian village has abundant information to offer to tourists. Ours is  a country with varying practices across the states, and many of these draw their roots in practices in villages, which would be an interesting aspect for a traveller. These need to be cashed in on for the sake of the villagers and also the cats which live around these villages.

May 14, 2010

Cruelty to children: Child marriage in Yemen

I have been reading about Elham Madhin al Assi, a 12-year-old Yemeni girl who died from internal bleeding just three days after her March 29th wedding to a man who is a minimum twice her age. And this happened as part of a bride swap, where in the brother of the bride marries the sister of the groom, and this happens irrespective of the age of concerned individuals. I do not know what to feel when I see something like this.  Elham Madhin al Assi's mother is said to have told reporters, that the criminal killed her. What criminal? What did you expect? A man who is marrying a 12 year old is marrying her to shower her with dolls!!! I wonder if she is really bothered with her daughter not being alive anymore, and does she feel any remorse of what she did? Or even better, did she have a say in the matter? Maybe I am being too harsh on her, and the mother's role is just to explain to the daughter what is expected of her, and that sex is a subset of marriage, so please oblige!

This custom has been there since ages, and it is said to be acceptable as per Islam, where a parent has the right to determine when their children ( read daughters) are ready for marriage! It is also said that one main reason for the girls to be married off early is that, in many cases young girls are abducted and married by force, which leaves their parents not knowing their whereabouts ever again. The average age of marriage in Yemen’s rural areas is 12 to 13, a recent study by Sana University researchers found, and even more shocking is that the country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. And, I am sure that the mothers are also of the age group,  12 - 15 years.

How many of these kids can be expected to come out of their captive, abusive, illegal marriages and say that they want to study, and lead a life different from what they have been forced into without being asked. They are children, and not many of the children I see have it in them to stand up and say I shall not do this or to ensure that they are not made to do something which they are not interested in, especially when done so by their parents itself. Children see parents as the ones they trust the most, and believe, then how can they expect that a marriage, even if done without their consent, can be a disastrous life changing turn in their lives? Isn't it cruel to push them towards something which has seen only bad days, and to top it when they trust you so much!?

May 12, 2010

A few things about e-businesses

There are some things about the internet businesses which I see, and I am just listing them down.
  1. One can not expect a concept to catch on very quick, esp if its new, it requires the right kind of marketing. ( Twitter existed in 2007, but did anyone know about it? )
  2. One can not expect a bad looking webpage to attract any 'eyeballs'. This also does not mean you need to make it a artistic stop also, it just needs to be attractive. It cannot be always different from every other website out there, but it should be pleasing and help in getting the message you are trying to drive, across.
  3. If you say you are any kind of creative firm, your creativity should, rather must, be shown in the way you present yourself to the world wide web. if you are design firm, a typical client would base his decision on how your corporate webpage looks!
  4. Internet does not really have a first move advantage, but it does have a first impact advantage! So it is all about what you offer, and i believe its also about how it appeals to the eye.
  5. If you do not have what it takes to be a part of the present, then you really wont get anywhere. The world will determine your worth through your website. ( Images and HTML are so 90s )
  6. In terms of design, copying a single website usually does not get you anywhere, if you want to copy, make an impressive, intelligent copy! ( Rectify their errors and implement changes)
I am sure there are many more.. so would love to hear additions

May 7, 2010

If I were....

Loved it at Monika's and decided to whisk it away from Chandini's

If I were a month, I’d be February

If I were a day of the week, I’d be Friday

If I were a time of day, I’d be 10 pm .

If I were a season, I’d be  winter.

If I were a planet, I’d be Venus

If I were a sea animal, I’d be a dolphin

If I were a direction, I’d be South

If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be a Bookshelf!

If I were a liquid, I’d be Vodka

If I were a tree, I’d be a Apple tree

If I were a tool, I’d be a wrench

If I were an element, I’d be Ag

If I were a gemstone, I’d be emerald

If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a Congo

If I were a color, I’d be purple!

If I were an emotion, I’d be love

If I were a fruit, I’d be an peach

If I were a sound, I’d be the sound of chirping birds

If I were a car, I’d be an Jaguar

If I were food, I’d be a chocolate

If I were a taste, I’d be tangy

If I were a scent, I’d be that of water lillies

If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be Ankle cuffed shoes

If I were a bird, I’d be a pelican

Interesting don't you think??
Now its your turn .. leave a link to your blog if you're gonna be taking it up !

May 4, 2010

Food Labels: What we do and not read?

Today I came across a LinkedIn question posted by a user asking, ' Would warning labels on food make people eat better?' This was very interesting to me, as I wonder how many us read the nutrition facts table on the food packaging when we buy a product. Are we swayed by the claims which are made on the front of the pack? These package designs and writings are usually not approved by the government, and we as buyers usually accept the first thing which is staring at us, rather than making the effort to read the detailed ingredients and nutritional information.

Marketing products, coming up with new and innovative techniques, has been seen to be what every FMCG is looking to do. We find every product has a tag line which will vouch for taste, health or an international flavour. And these being in eye catching lovely colours do not make things any easier.

A new entrant in the vocabulary of shoppers is trans fat. Many products claim to be 0 % trans fat, but do they mention the saturated and unsaturated fats which are there in their products, and that too in substantial quantities. They conveniently put trans fat out there and claim it to be a dirt product.

Now the question is whether you will blame them, or would you blame yourself for not knowing what goes into your gut? 

May 3, 2010

Happiness

Many a times, some of my married friends have told me...you will learn with time that men just do not get the concept of gifting. They will take you out, spend money, all with no thought or issues. But, will they get something for you and surprise you...now that's something which they inherently are maybe scared of doing ( fear of us not liking it), and that is something which has an appeal to every girl, and that is something any amount of shopping together can never bring.

When these thoughts cross through my mind.. I feel maybe I am just being unnecessarily pesky and demanding. What is it that I can not walk and buy and feel good about it? There is perfectly nothing. I enjoy the surprises, so I should be the one planning and doing the needful to give a surprise... why wait for one! 

So, all said.. I think it is going to be a better tomorrow with less feeling bad and just happy about making him smile with my surprises.

April 28, 2010

Keep them nails pretty

Me being me, and me having always thought that I would know many beauty tricks... I am surprised I never ever thought of this before... well maybe prior to marriage I did not really need to know this.

When you cook, your nails tend to be slightly discoloured (courtesy the Indian spices) and then, you do not feel happy about it, not one bit...I hate having slightly yellow nails. The problem in wearing nail polish is that it tends to chip off easily and requires more time to be maintained. But, I recently realized that top coat, or colourless nail varnish is a great solution... it serves the purpose and doesn't chip off easily as its meant to be a top coat. Above all, it helps to keep the nails pink and white!!

April 27, 2010

Just an update

Here I am .. completed 4 months of marriage, and did these months feel any different from the past 2 years...not really! The only difference was that we had my parents visiting, and we going over to Delhi oh so many times! I did not mind it one bit... I think my heart is just still so much in love with Delhi...it was teenage love when I set eyes on it when I was 18!

Apart from the usual love and fun in life, I have decided now comes the time to work and shed some energy and gain some money. So, I have joined the bandwagon of working (professionals/beings?) once again, so now my days start at 8 and end at 1! Now if you do not call that working, what is... well actually even within that time, I am in office for 9 hours, and the rest is travel and prep time.

What is it that I do?
Its a discovery process which I plan to undertake... and I hope that it shall keep my spirits high. So, now I shall get back to work.

April 23, 2010

Places and food!

We travelled quite a bit this last week.. Delhi.. then Vaishno Devi... back to Delhi and finally headed back home on thursday! And while we were at B's place... we had some of the most awesome home cooked tikkis, samosas, and khichdi ....slurrrrppp ;)







I do not think I will do the whole travelogue thing for Vaishno Devi... but just pics and loads of them :) 

 I  was dead tired after the trek up and down... and now walk around with a crepe bandage due to a sprained ankle :(

April 22, 2010

Garden Help !




So I started gardening a few months back... made a lot of effort and was getting to be proud of my garden when I see some white stuff on my croton, assumed its fungus and got some neem powder, hoping that would do the trick... it did not :(  I think the situations is fast deteriorating... someone please help me.. what kind of a fungicide am I to apply... and do I spray or mix in in water while watering?

March 26, 2010

An Internal Conflict

I had a interesting conversation with minticetea, and it made me think on one particular aspect which she said. This is something which her husband happened to tell her in a conversation ..." .. that understanding is one thing… at this point you are giving logical reasons to yourself..but that won’t help your heart". 


And this is entirely what I agree with.. its a feeling where you know the situation, and you also know what is the right in such a situation, but when you are faced with the decision to make, you end up always making the wrong one. Why is that? Each time you also tell yourself that you should ensure that this same mistake is not repeated. In my case, this situation is more of a conflict with myself, which I am trying to resolve. A problem which I know is not a real problem at all, if I just make my heart understand that what I feel is not entirely acceptable... its just a purely heart felt emotion, but not a logical one, and also one which I can not really shove down someone's throat! I tell myself, and I seem to see the logic and also know that what I am saying is right, but when the situation arises again, there is a debate ongoing in my head as to whether I should be doing this or that, and my heart rules. I have been wokrking on this for sometime, and I see an improvement though I must say its is more so as I wish to see it! Or maybe not, thats just the pessimistic me speaking... :) 


Have you ever come across something like this?

Formations

Here is an image which I came across on the web and having had whisky with me for 2 years... I can totally relate to how they tend to curl and get themselves into the weirdest of poses! 


You should check out the many snaps which I have put on the blog of her... just click on the pet tag and that should get you there :) 

March 21, 2010

March 18, 2010

2 Ds

Driving... yes I am back to it, and with renewed vigour post marriage, so that I can get around to as many places close by on my own. And, also that in case of any emergency, I need to be sure that I am confident enough to drive through any kind of traffic. I have been driving in regular traffic, not the peak hours though, but it has certaiinly been an improvement over the way I drove before. And, the most important thing, I do not cringe every time a vehicle overtakes my car, or they honk for me to clear the lane for them to speed away. I just stay put if I feel that I can not do anything, and wait for them to realize that I am a new driver and hence they should be slightly accommodating.


Dieting.. I am starting today on it again, in fact I feel ashamed to be saying this, but I have been very irregular with my diet regime. But, one thing I do know is that I need to feel good about myself... which would also translate into I want to feel that I look good. There are times when that doesn't happen and then the diet and gym starts off on full rigor. I understand that these two are not going to give me any instant gratification, but it is a start to a healthy living. In my current lifestyle, I know that I do intake more calories than that is required for my body. This is the reason I try to track all my food and physical activities using www.dailyplate.com. I think it proved very useful for me as seeing the rich food which I was eating helped me cut down and also strive to include more physical activities so that I can eat a little bit more of more liked stuff !!  Yes... I know..I am dieting but there are some foods, read chips and fried stuff, which is impossible for me to avoid completely from my diet. Anyone I guess would agree that eventually you do live to have the small joys of life... and my small joys would be contained in a packet with fried potato slices laden with spices!

March 13, 2010

Yellow and Green Pasta

There are days when we wanna have a very quick meal... meaning we are famished and we are ready to scream at each other if there is nothing on the table in less than 15 mins. One of those days was recently, and we decided we shall have a Green and Yellow pasta :) I had some Arabiatta sauce and penne pasta at home. B rummaged through the fridge and came up with capsicum, american corn, peas and baby corn. So we christened what we are gonna attempt, as the Yellow and Green pasta.. 


What did he do?
Chucked the penne into boiling water, chopped finely the capsicum and baby corn, and poured a cup of hot water into the bowl containing peas and american corn to thaw it. Took a pan, poured olive oil, tossed the capsicum, then when they were there for a minute or two maybe, he put in the baby corn. Both were browned a little, then came the sauce, which was generously added, along with a little remaining tomato puree which was also found in the fridge. Check whether the pasta is done, then add a little oil, mix and strain. Let the sauce with the veggies warm a little, then add the american corn and peas and bring it to a slight boil. Now he just shoved in the pasta little by little mixing it continuously, and voila we had food to eat in less than 15 mins!
It was yummy and every single bite was eaten sitting peacefully in front of the Idiot box. That is an example of a very satisfying dinner which was served to me !

March 12, 2010

Hampi - A roll back in time


Hampi is one of those places which have been on my list of places to be seen before I leave Bangalore. The  others being Bandipur Forest Reserve, Wayanad ( in spite of being a Malayali I have not been here), Coorg etc. These are the places where everyone I know has been to, so finding a group to go to such places is also a task in itself. Considering this, we decided to go to Hampi ourselves, just the two of us... maybe like a honeymoon in India too :)


We took the Hampi Express late at night, and drank all the way into the night, as we had a First class cabin.. and moreover the one which has just 2 berths !!What luck ! So drunk as we were, we decided it was time to sleep around 2 in the morning, and we slept quite well too, the only problem being that when we woke up we realized, we had already passed Hospete and now we were at least 2 stop after. We rushed to the TT and explained that we overslept, trying our level best to ensure we were not smelling of alcohol! So he asked us to alight at the next station and take a general train back to Hospete, and that is what we did. But, just that the general train was worse that Bombay locals... I never knew such locals existed in Karnataka, but now I now.. they do in the north of Karnatala.


Anyhow, we reached Hospete finally around 10 as compared to 8 in the morning, and we chose to take the bus out to Hampi rather than a 100 rupee auto ride. The buses are not over crowded, they are clean and they run every 20 mins from the Hospete Bus station which is a km from the railway station. On reaching Hampi... we can looked up Shanti Guest House and heard good reviews about it too. It was on the other side of the river, so we took the ferry out, and Shanti Guest House is almost at the end of the road on the opposite side of the river where many shacks and guest houses exist. On seeing the rooms and the rates,we were not too pleased as we were sure that there would be many cheaper places with the same kind of rooms. Anyhow we stayed here, at the river facing room for 1200 a night, and then the next morning, took a walk and found a room at a much cheaper place called Gauthami Guest House. This place had amazing food and a very relaxed lounge like seating arrangement. Their restaurant is called World Peace Cafe, which served amazing pancakes and thupka!!


So after all the acco related issues were resolved, we got out and got ourselves a tourist guide book, and set about reaidng it and planning our next day! We were there for 3 days so we had the time and energy to readand know the history before heading out to each place. i have heard people tell me they have completely fallen in love with the place, and would be able to go back to it how many ever times you say. Frankly speaking, I was not that fascinated with it as it was made to sound. It is a place where you would go to see and absorb history once, but it certainly would not feature on my repeat visit places. Or, maybe I am of a different kind of person, hence the difference in preference.


Here are some photos of the places we did go to, and my camera does no justice to the true beauty of rocks, but nevertheless, whats a travelogue without pics!


Tungabhadra River
Sunset at Hampi
Shanti Guest House
Temples at Hemakuta Hills
Virupaksha Temple
Remnants of the old bridge across the river
Step Tank
And the ever famous, Stone Chariot at Vittala Temple.

March 4, 2010

What happens...

It is very sad when friends who were once close to you start to drift away. You wonder whether is it knowingly, or is it the toll of fast paced lives, wherein they have no time for any mode of contact? But, can you really be that busy not to have time for any form of contact? I have friends who fall in the category of 'able to keep in contact' and ' not able to..' and I think how much ever you say you are busy and completely swarmed with work, there does come a time when you are free to breathe and get your life back into your hands. And, I believe this is the time when you can get back in touch with all those who you missed in the weeks behind you. Work and pressure of so many things today make one become so self involved, you forget you need family and friends to keep sanity! 

The thought which scares me with my one such ' not able to...' category friend is that, what shall happen when I do get more busy with my life? Then there shall be no more efforts from my end in the form of unanswered calls or unanswered smses.. and obviously no effort to call when time permits from their end. More importantly, I wonder whether there shall be time for me to call someone who chooses not to answer calls, or would I rather call and speak to those who would be there to talk to... Maybe this is the angry me speaking, so a more calm and subdued me says that.... I am the kind of person who would call and try to keep in touch with those who are closest to me inspite of however crazily busy they are. But, till when can I just keep calling and wanting to be a part of their life?

February 27, 2010

Kenya - Tryst with the Indian Ocean

What is a honeymoon without lashing about in the waters huh? And the best part about Kenya was it being coastal offered us the Indian ocean to play in! We headed to Mombassa from Amboseli, a drive which took us close to 6 hours by car. The highway is very good and you will see all trailers going to and from Mombassa, which is the major port on the african east coast. 


City Entrance

As you edge towards Mombassa, you feel the humidity rising and the more familiar tropical coastal weather setting in.Once you enter the city of Mombassa, you see buildings which are easily 50 years old,many run down but still inhabited. The resort we were staying at Voyager, was beach side, a lovely place.. and as we drove towards it, we saw the villas along the beach of all the richest in Mombassa... it was something like the sea facing bunglows in Mumbai... but yes these are way cheaper as our guide told us. Another intersting aspect was that all these villas had very high electric fencing and also 24 hour security at the gate. Anyhow, once we reached the voyager ( which is designed to be like a ship, with decks and cabins for the guests); we had very little time to explore the surrounding areas. The beach was beautiful, and water was the perfect temperature to be swimming in it.. the only issue being that the under currents ended up trhowing out a large amount of sea weed. Anyhow we did see the sunrise and take a long walk on the beach before the crowds hit the beach. The tide rose as we were on our way back and the fun was the hopping and jumping through the corals and crabs which were all along the shore.


Crab hole
Crab entering back into its hideout

We took a city tour too, and went to visit the Fort Jesus, which is the most important monument at Mombassa. This was the point of entry to the country by water and this was also the way used in the slave trade during the later years.That was the last phase of our Kenya trip and I think I am of the opinion that Africa is a great place for unexplored beauty and holidays.  


View from Fort Jesus
 Ruins at Fort Jesus
Typical door architecture at Old town, Mombassa
A pier along Old town
A shop selling african craft items