Wella Kolestint

As I have mentioned earlier , I am not particularly fond of experimenting with my hair, at least not after the great ‘hair scare’ debacle I have been through earlier. So when I received the latest hair color ‘ touted’ as the best, i couldn’t hold myself back. I tried to experiment with my mom in – laws’ hair. Hey don’t call me mean now!  She loves to color her hair and does it often.

So armed with the new hair color , I set off on my mission– Cover the gray! Needless to say, she was very happy with what she saw in the end. Wella did live up to the expectations, although I would have appreciated if it stayed on a bit longer. Also, I prefer going for the streaks, rather than entire coverage.  I am definitely going to try it out on myself. Have a look at the new Wella Kolestint after application results.

Feel free to share your experiences!

The Fasting Fever

Every time I hear someone in my office talking about their ‘fasting day’ , I have a confused look written all over my face.  Especially when I see them gorging on biscuits which they claim can be eaten during ‘fasts’.  What was the idea behind staying hungry for an entire day, that too partially? My colleague whines that I  get the tastiest stuff for lunch while she is on a fast. :) Somehow, this has never gone down well with me, although I do respect other people’s opinions and their faith attached to ‘fasting’.  I never like the idea of holding the Almighty to ransom by forgoing a day’s meal.fasting, going without food

The major days for undergoing a fast is Monday, Tuesday and  Thursday. (why leave out the remaining three days and make them feel worthless! Never mind…) The concept of religious fasting is as old as the planet earth and Hindus are not strangers to this phenomenon. Some do it to fulfill their wishes, few do it  for a spiritual enlightenment and some, to simply shed off their pounds! I was never an advocate of the ‘fasting trend’ as I never quite understood the selective restrictions. For example, you can indulge in a packet of  hot fried potato chips while you are fasting!! Huh! Or treat yourself to a plate of Sago Khichdi. Who made these fancy rules ? And if you are constantly stuffing yourself , how are you fasting, for that matter?

Recently ,when we happened to witness the spectacular lunar eclipse and the world was going bonkers about the astronomical vision, some of my friends decided to fast on that fateful day! I was amused beyond explanation. Staying hungry because the moon decides to play hide and seek for a while!! And then it’s a different ball game altogether with people throwing or giving away food cooked on the previous day, emptying water cans and thus emptying the house of the lunar dosh. Gosh, I can write an entire post on some of the weirdest superstitions which we Indians believe in.

I always used to ask my mom about who decides what one decides what to eat while fasting…quite an irony, I know. She  used to give me blank stares followed by angry ones. :) Not that I cannot starve myself, but I do not see a logic to it. I can understand abstaining from meat or alcohol as it gives your system a  much-needed break, but going without food is simply going to give out embarrassing stomach growls. So while the entire nation decides to go hungry, including Baba Ramdev, I believe in living to the fullest and let the Almighty do the same! Amen :)

A ‘Fishy’ Tale

Ever got in a situation where you are tickled by a shoal of miniature sized, cute suckers? Oooh, the very thought Garra Rufa, Fish Pedicureof tiny mouths nibbling away at my feet, gives me goosebumps. So, when a fish spa opened up in a mall close to my place, I definitely wanted to check it out. I had read a lot about the miraculous ‘cleansing’ powers of the Garra Rufa fish a.k.a Doctor Fish and was desperate to have a look at it.

The spa salon was bright and freshly painted with pleasant colors with an occasional flower vase here and there. A huge square-shaped water tank with hundreds of Garra Rufa caught my eye. The very thought of surrendering my feet to these toothless healers gave me a prick.  My family had accompanied me and all of them were excited to try it out. So, each one of them got their feet sanitized by the assistant.  I tried to play  safe and ducked out at the last moment. I know, I am such a spoiler! I decided to capture this enchanting moment and went clicking pictures of all random things in the spa.

The tank was buzzing with the doctor fishes. My mom in law and the rest of the troupe decided to dunk in. Honestly, I never thought anyone would bear the tickles for long enough. I seriously wanted someone to agree with me on the fact that it is not easy  to get one’s feet mauled in a decorative water tank! The assistant checked everyone’s feet for bruises and cuts (obviously for the fear of infecting the fish as well as oneself) and then assured us that it will be a relaxing experience. She also told us that the tank gets filtered water and is cleaned every time a customer gets a pedicure done. So my folks got into the groove and happily put their feet into the tank.  Immediately all the fishes in the water gathered around the feet and began their work. All i could hear was squeals and shrieks of laughter. The expressions on everyone’s face was worth a watch. I envied them. One of my uncles gave up immediately as he couldn’t take it anymore.  It felt like a million needles pricking at your feet or like an army of ants on your feet, according to my folks. It takes around five minutes to get adjusted to the tickles. You can see the fish nibbling at the dead skin meticulously.

Since the fishes do not have teeth, it’s a relaxing affair. However i was still unconvinced about the fact that they are happily nibbling my foot. Imagine being tickled between the toes! Humanly impossible! After a 20 minute session of being pleasantly manhandled by the Garra Rufa, a pedicure routine follows. A regular pedicure by the assistant brings back some life to your feet which , by now, feels numb . The entire experience of 30 minutes was reasonably priced. By now the heels and soles of your feet resemble a baby’s feet. Each and every nook and corner of the toes and heels are cleaned thoroughly.  I kept cursing myself for missing the experience. It was quite a rejuvenating experience for my folks and they thoroughly enjoyed the fish pedicure.

Recently, I read some reports which stated that Fish Pedicure is totally unhealthy as the water in unclean and increases risks of getting infected.  It seems the Fish pedicure thing is banned in the US and some other countries. However, the fish pedicure promoters insist that the clean water is filled in the tank every time and special care is taken to keep up the hygienic environment.  May be these are just rumors to cripple the competition brought about by the Fish Pedicure spas.

I loved the experiment, watching my folks rolling with laughter and enjoying their Sunday evening to the most. May be, in future I shall get motivated enough to try the Fish Pedicure on my own.

Englishisms- Learning from scratch

Ignorance cannot be bliss all the time. Today when I was surfing the net, I came across a question which set my brain cells ticking! The question went thus, “What to call that groove above your lip?” And I found myself scratching my head! I wondered why it never occurred to me before.  To satiate my inquisitiveness, I decided to Google it! (Who else!) And lo, I just tumbled on to an entire list which answered such seemingly simple questions for which no one had the answer!back to school

To say the least, I was thrilled to learn the new words and was nodding all the way, because the questions were so familiar and related to our daily routine in some way or the other. At times, we tend to ignore the minute things, wherein lies the greatest details.

So here is the list from Webster dictionary for you to enjoy. I am sure you will be amazed!

Aglet : the tag covering the ends of a lace or point

Armsaye : the armhole in clothing.

Escutcheon: a protective or ornamental plate around a keyhole

Ferrule :  the knob on the far end of an umbrella

Keeper : the loop on a belt that keeps the end in place after it has passed through the buckle

Lemniscate : the infinity symbol (I learnt this in my Math books !)

Liripipe: the long tail on a graduate’s academic hood

Lunule : the whitish mark at the base of a fingernail

Minimus : the little finger or toe

Philtrum : that vertical groove above your lip

Punt : an indentation at the bottom of a molded glass bottle

Tittle : the dot over i or j    (My English teacher never told me this ! )

Tongue: a movable pin in a buckle that passes through a hole in the strap to be secured

Vamp:  the part of a shoe or boot that covers the front of the foot

That was some real enlightenment and I am glad I got to learn some new words, although i would never address a shoe as ‘vamp’ ! :)

Excuses You Can Use!

Excuses…..one thing which we all cannot live without.  How many times have you tried one to escape a excusesbothering aunt, a nagging friend, the call center guy and a million others getting on your nerves?  Well, it is the best possible way to get away without hurting someone!

So, here are some golden excuses which are used or ‘abused’ quite often:

I am busy—– Practically for anything!! You just have to bang the phone after saying this to prove it!

I am not well——Second most abused excuse after the first one, most probably to get a day off from work to attend an interview

Can you call me at say, 6 in the evening?—-To avoid a call center guy trying to sell a credit card, hoping that he would forget to call back, but bingo! He calls you again L

I have plans, sorry— To a clingy friend who is asking you out for a coffee

My friend had an accident and I have to rush—–Mostly to your mom, when you have to go out with friends on a weekend

I have lots to study —- Very handy, when you are being forced to attend a relative’s wedding

Will call you-——-While signing off after chatting with a friend (I seriously do not know why people say this when they are not going to call, in reality)

Hey, I think am getting another call, will call you back——- (In case your friend /relative are not in a mood to hang up. And yes, the call back never happens :) )

I am stressed out-——– A common excuse for smoking!

I am so tired today -—– Used often for missed gym sessions or morning walks ( I use this quite a number of times)

My watch stopped working—— On coming late to work

I am on my way already——- For a friend who is waiting on us ( but the fact is, you are still fumbling for the house keys :) )

My teeth feel so clean——– A perfect excuse for not brushing the teeth at night!

Chocolate is good for your heart——– Agreed, but that doesn’t mean swallowing an entire bar at a go.

From the above list of excuses, honestly, I have used most of them at some point of time. But then, who wouldn’t, if you are asked to attend a boring wedding ceremony when,you can while away your time with your girlie gang instead :) and I am sure most of us can identify with the above mentioned excuses( I am feeling better already :) )

Do you have any of your own ? :)

How Google Fooled Me!

As soon as I reached office, the first thing I did was check out my mails. This is my routine even before I start my Outlook :) The Gmail page looked a bit different today and that’s when I noticed a new feature from Google- Gmail Motion. Woah, what’s that? I wondered…The description said:

‘Gmail Motion uses your computer’s built-in webcam and Google’s patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into meaningful characters and commands. Movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels.’

I couldn’t wait to try this.Google does bring in interesting stuff, but this was very unusual. The page looked tempting enough. Google MotionI clicked the Try Gmail Motion tab instantly. And voilà!! Such a fool!!! I was fooled by, none other than Google as this is what I got to see :(

Google's April FoolA very clever trick by Google… Happy April Fools’ Day Guys! I have been fooled big time…What about you?? :)

Hair Scare

This is how my hair looked after the experiment I carried out on my poor tresses. Only, I wasn’t looking half as pretty as Megan Fox and no, I wasn’t pouting Bad hair daylike her either :( I learned it the hard way, that one shouldn’t believe whatever is written on one of those “10 ways to make your hair shiny” websites .

So on a sunny day, I decided to try one of those hair saving tips to infuse some life unto my flowing mane.

#1:

For squeaky clean hair, use a teaspoon of Baking Soda (bicarbonate of soda) mixed in your palm with water. The Baking Soda helps remove the build-up from conditioners, mousses and sprays to give you naturally clean hair.”

And I thought wow!! This looks incredibly simple and an inexpensive way to get rid of the shampoo buildups. Off I went to the kitchen and got hold of the baking soda which was resigned to a remote corner in my refrigerator. Usually I do not experiment much with my hair because i have heard such horror stories from my friends before. Since this was a mere cleaning ritual, I thought of giving it a try. I was so excited!  After reading the instructions carefully, I made a paste of baking soda and water, which I dutifully scrubbed on to my scalp. And then i waited for some good 5 to 10 minutes. All through the waiting period, my heart was beating faster and my mind was churning out unpleasant thoughts.What if my hair came out in clumps? How will I face the world? How will I pose for pretty pictures? With such negative thoughts, I decided it was enough and went in for a wash.

To my horror, after giving my hair a ‘good rinse’, I couldn’t see the promised soft, shiny,squeaky hair!!!  My hair was all sticky as if some one poured a bottle of glue instead of some so-called cleansing agent. My heart skipped a beat as i frantically began searching for my bottle of shampoo. All those unpleasant thoughts began hovering around my head like a halo. I was so damn screwed, I thought. Even after rinsing my hair with a shampoo, it still felt sticky ad messy. I was almost on the verge of crying when my dear mom in law stepped in to help me, after giving me an earful for being so adventurous. At that time, all I could think about, was my tresses, my shining crown of glory.

I cursed myself for getting into this sticky situation. I heard my hubby screaming out that baking soda should only be used for baking  purposes. I was in no mood for unsolicited advice. My mom in law handed me good old shikakai powder [Acacia concinna , thanks wiki :)] which is basically a mix of many herbs and has been in use as a conditioner since ages. With a frowning face, I again went in for a rinse , this time with our very dependable Indian version of shampoo. And voilà, I could see my hair was soft to touch and was regaining its natural texture. I was so happy that I danced with joy. I can say that was the happiest moment of my life. All the unpleasant memories were out  for a toss. My faith in desi shikakai was restored to its fullest.:) May be I messed up my ‘hairy’ experiment but I vow never to indulge in such a risk ever again. :)

P.S: This is my ill-fated experiment with baking soda and it didn’t work for me. Try at your own risk.

A ‘Begging’ Issue

Begging in India

Mumbai is known for many things, one being, home to the biggest slum in Asia.  Beggars are a daily sight in Mumbai, be it at the bus stand, at the temple doorsteps (that’s their favorite spot), railway stations, traffic signals and so on. Basically, they are a part of Mumbai & Mumbaikars have learnt to deal with it somehow. It’s heartbreaking to see kids begging on the streets so that their families can have a day’s meal. However, there is a difference between asking for alms and forcing someone to shell out a dime!!

Lately, I have noticed a bunch of vagrants on my way home. A mother along with 5 kids, accompanied by one more woman, are a daily sight at the traffic signal. The kids are all aged around 4- 5 years and one is a toddler , merely a year old. Since the traffic signal is near a big shopping mall, this is an ideal spot for them to earn their bread. Especially,during the evenings when the mall is teeming with people. The mother along with the other woman usually rests under a tree ( yea, there is still some green cover left in Mumbai :) ) while the children are always kept on their toes! Every time a rickshaw stops in front of the mall, the alert children harass the passenger for a rupee or two. The kids usually target young girls , college going kids & foreigners since they are an easy target and end up paying instead of shooing them away.

I saw one of the kids pestering a girl for money and when she didn’t yield to his requests he simply asked her for an ice cream and called on his siblings !! The girl literally ran for her life. This tactic works very well at times and the kids end up earning a ten rupee note right away. There was an article in a daily about a leading Bollywood actor being harassed by a beggar on a crowded street in Mumbai. This actor was in his car when all of a sudden a beggar landed in front of his car, yelling and blaming the actor for the so-called ‘accident’. It was later revealed that the beggar was just trying to make some quick money, knowing a fact that people would obviously sympathize with him! How smart!

This has turned into a big nuisance and people end up paying not out of sympathy but due to sheer frustration and irritation. I wonder, why don’t these women  do some house hold chores to earn their livelihood! I can understand if they disabled , but no, they are perfectly alright. Instead of giving the kids their due, they prefer to sit idly and let the kids suffer!! Is it because its easy money or are they plain, lazy?

Switch Off Your TV

Have you heard of the ‘No TV Day” initiated by a leading newspaper in Mumbai? I think it’s an amazing concept to just unplug your idiot box for a whole day. Can you imagine a day without your favorite pancake laden soap queen or the over the top, dramatized so- called reality shows? I know there are many around here who just cannot survive without this daily dose of distraction.

When this news got around, the residents of my building complex decided to give it a shot.  As such we never miss an occasion and greatly believe in the saying “Unity in Diversity”, although many of us see  it as plain “show off” :)  Anyways, so to force people out of their homes on a Saturday morning, we have day long activities like debate, sports, competitions for kids and elders alike and so on.  It promises a day full of nonstop entertainment along with a cash prize for the winner. How exciting!

Gone are the days when there were a handful of TV channels with creative content! Today we have around 30- 40 news channels (there may be more) all doling out the most ridiculous and the silliest of “Breaking News”.  News channels have gone worse than the nausea inducing daily soaps. Somehow, television has killed the thinking ability of the common man. Children sit glued to their TV sets instead .When I was a kid I would wait for the evenings so that I could go and play a game of badminton with my friends or indulge in my hobby. It was so refreshing and fun. With computer games and other forms of entertainment, outdoor activities have reduced greatly.

The “No TV day” on 29th Jan 2011, is a great way to shun the couch, soak in some competitive spirit and get moving, Mumbai!

What’s your hobby?

hobby A leading newspaper reported that the word ‘hobby’ is becoming obsolete  these days. When our very own desi babus were asked about their hobbies, some very funny answers were revealed. Some mentioned talking on the phone, wearing neat clothes were among their hobbies!!! And I thought that was all about networking and hygiene!

Surely, they were not serious when they mentioned talking as a ‘hobby’! Somehow in this world of technology, ‘hobby’ is a lost cause. Hobby is an activity which is pursued in one’s leisure time to relax oneself. Collecting stamps and coins used to be a favorite hobby for many of us and still is. It is a great way of keeping in touch with our roots.

I find reading purely therapeutic. I can sit with a book without budging for days on end. This is how I used to spend my vacations during my schooling years. :) Books can be the best companions. Lately, I have developed interest in arts and crafts. I love the idea of recycling. A carton box turning into a book stand, old magazines  into a beautiful collage, cold drink cans turning into lanterns and what not!! It’s amazing to see things getting revived and holding the fort among the new stuff.

With internet at our beck and call, it’s not hard to come up with creative ideas. But with social networking sites, Playstation and television keeping us busy, who’s got the time to indulge in creative and artistic things? Thankfully reading remains a favorite pastime for many of us even today. An ebook reader can never replace the joy of holding a hardback. Such is the bane of technology. It is up to us how we use technology to bring about self-development and growth. Do share some of your hobbies with me.