The Ladies Lounge- Currently Crushing!

Well let’s bring back some ol’ style posts, shall we folks?

I hope to make “Currently Crushing” a monthly feature.

Key words- I hope.

They will most likely be random favourites of the month, in no particular order. Stuff that I use and re-use and abuse. And most importantly, LOVE.

Let’s go then…

1. Creamy love, again– London Diary Ice Cream – Pralines and Cream.

The sweet things first...
The sweet things first…

With my perennially stuffed sinuses and on and off bouts of throat infection and one exceptionally nasty episode of laryngitis- I have all but given up on ice- creams.

When when I do relapse, it’s serious folks.

I go all out.

This is my current flavor of choice. Not chocolatey, not fruity, not vanilla, not too caramelly….

2. Caffiene fix– Hills Bros Cappuccino Drink Mix- White chocolate caramel

For the Latte/ Frappe/ Milk lover.
For the Latte/ Frappe/ Milk lover.

I am a recovering caffeine addict. So no more black coffees/ espressos. For now, this my coffee fix for the day. Have tried most of the Hills Bros cappuccino mixes. Like all. Love this.

3. Hair God– Loreal Professional Liss Control + Techni Art- Intense control smoothing serum

Tame the frizz.
To Tame The Frizz.

Only fluid/ cream/ serum/ gel/wax/ hair- thinggy that was able to tame the frizzy mess that was my hair in HUMID Kerala.

4. Face Bases – ZA True White Day Protector and Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion

Skin base.
Skin base.

I have vowed to start taking care of my skin. I am fast approaching the 3 o mark. It’s time.

The time has come to slap on the serums and primers. And of course, the sunscreens…

ZA is a subsidiary brand from the house of Shiseido. More pocket friendly in terms of price though. A SA at the ZA counter convinced me to pick this one up. Works as a good base under foundation and has SPF. Non -oily and no breakouts yet.

The Elizabeth Arden lotion is a lovely, light formulation. It dissappears into the skin. Love the subtle, fresh- cucumber- mixed- with- freshly- cut- grass smell. This one is a sample sized tube, intend to pick up the full sized version soon. Another excellent under- make-up product. But the SPF 15 does not seem substantial enough for the harsh, sunny climes that I live in.

5. Poor Lips, here’s to thy healing– Blistex- Relief Cream

Chapped- lips Saviour!
Chapped- lips Saviour!

My lips are dying. The winter is killing them. It’s on Blistex Life Support at the moment, barely alive…

6. Surgeon lippy– MAC lipstick TWIG and Lip-pencil SOAR.

My "work" lip products..
My “work” lip products..

These are what I have been wearing to work almost everyday. Sometimes together and sometime alone. They work great together. Understated. Sophisticated.

7. Brow Wow–  Benefit Brow Zings- Brow shaping kit in DARK.

Holy grail brow product
Holy grail brow product

The hunt for the ultimate brow definer ends. (Have reviewed it here)

8. Love at second sight– Lolita Lempicka Si Lolita Eau de Parfum

Lolita Lempika Si Lolita Eau de Parfum
Lolita Lempicka Si Lolita Eau de Parfum

A gift from Mr H. Has been lying on my vanity for over a year now. Have never been a fan of deep, spicy scents. Oddly the post pregnancy J seems to love this one. Have been generously spritzing this every morning :-). My signature scent (leaving my “old signature scent” Elizabeth Arden 5 th Avenue to brood alone) for now.

And the four- leaf clover inspired bottle, the scarf around the neck, the name as a rotating “necklace”- very chic indeed. Very Parisian.

I am totally inept when it comes to describing fragrances, so I shall let the website describe the scent…

The Scent of Happiness

So feminine, so wonderful… Si Lolita, the new fragrance by Lolita Lempicka invites you to a world of happiness.
An Eau de Parfum floral and incisive who vibrates of a new breath : the Secret Spicy Freshness of Sweet Pea.
The character of a feminine interpretation of spices, on the skin.

The Secret Spicy Freshness of Sweet Pea

The story of a fragile wild flower that is refreshing and pure, enhanced by the impertinent accents of spices, from the opening to the fragrant trail on the skin.

Pink Peppercorn top notes accentuate the fresh, exquisite citrus aromas of Bergamot and Mandarin.
A heart of Wallflower brings out the spicy fragrance of Sweet Pea whilst Heliotrope brings out its sunny character.
Peppery, spicy Elemi gum at the base adds a touch of spice to Amber, Patchouli and Tonka Bean.

A Lucky Bottle

A four-heart clover, inspired by both Nature and Couture. A new object of desire, extravagant with voluptuous curves emphasised with a gold outline.

A very Parisian creation :
Around its neck, a scarf with a floral and polka-dot pattern.
And the name, in the guise of a clasp which is engraved like a jewel.

 

9. Anytime, anywhere– Reading on the Lumia 1520.

Aah my lovely, sweet, wonderful Lumia!
Aah my lovely, sweet, wonderful Lumia!

Who would have thought? That of all the things this phone can do, I would use it most as an e- book reader!

People think I am just fiddling with my phone. They have no idea! Since I always have my phone on me, I also have a book (or two dozen!) with me at all times 🙂

10.  Prissy writing! Writing with a fountain/ ink pen.

Back to ..
Back to ..

I was always the weird, crazy resident who chewed gum 24/7, wore odd colored sneakers and wrote with a fountain/ ink pen (which nobody else was allowed to write with/ borrow). The minute one sees a case- sheet or a prescription written with an ink pen, they know.

Lost the habit for a while. It’s back.

11. Z Chair–  Fisher- Price Quick Clean Portable Booster

Travelling Mum's Delight.
Travelling Mum’s Delight.

Only way to keep Zoe in one place these days! The actual, full- fledged “high chair” lays abandoned in Doha.

This one folds down, and has a compartment at the back to store wipes/ tissues. Light and travel friendly. And safe. What more can a  Mommy ask for?

www.fisher-price.com
http://www.fisher-price.com
www.fisher-price.com
http://www.fisher-price.com

 

I guess that’s it folks. For the month of November.

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

Bringing back some order…

Things may change around here.

Apparently, this blog is becoming too random for comfort. So the Husband says.

Is it, folks?

It started off as  Qatar Expat Diaries, turned into Myriad Interests cum Travelogue. That then morphed into Dr J’s External (Public) Brain/ Journal. Now it seems to be veering off on to the Beauty and Style path. Eeks…

The focus early on was on writing, I stayed up late into the night; rocked the baby with one hand and typed with the other. I put up raw, unedited rants and rambles. I liked that.

Until I got bored of it.

Other than in the OR, there is nothing or no place which can keep my attention for long. And so Bangalore to Doha meandered along other paths, aimlessly.

I liked that as well!

And going by the humble yet steady views, so do the readers I assume.

The men, if all the womanly/girly stuff numbs your brain, then please ignore The Ladies Lounge. But my suggestion would be to read them as well. You may get a clue as to why we women are so bizarre and mental.

Yes. Order. We may have to work on it. Order is good. Especially now since My Time seems to be stretched thin.

We shall try. Really really try!

Till next time…

Dr J and J.

 

P.S.

Apologies for the staccato- ish strain of thought. And the oddly placed capitals you ask? Yeah… I read that darned book- The Fault in Our Stars!

 

 

Pre- dawn blogger ramble.

Zoe occasionally likes to wake up at odd hours of the night and search for Mama.

With eyes closed and mouth open.

And after Mama does what she has to do, and gets her sleeping again (it does not take much effort most times); she too falls right back into the welcoming arms of the Mr Snoozy.

Then there are nights like this.

When the baby goes back down peacefully and Mama is wide awake.

Like Red Bull awake.

I- just- heard- the- world-is-coming- to-an- end awake.

I- am- leaving- to – the- airport- in- one- hour awake.

Bl@#$% hell- why- can’t- I- go- back- to- sleep awake.

Aaah! She sighs.

Nobody tells you these things. It’s all part of the Secret Code of the Sisterhood of Motherhood. Only to be revealed once inducted into the fraternity, after which the knowledge is of no consequence anyway.

A few months ago, she might have turned to a book at such times. Or some trance music (don’t ask!).

Today, she lifts up the tired, old visage of Mr. Lappy and starts to engage the rickety, hesitant keys.

You know one has truly been bitten by the blogging bug when there is random, cerebration- emesis at 3: 30 am.

Working as a surgical resident and becoming a mother, with almost no break in between the two, can completely (and possible irrevocably) re-set and re- arrange sleep patterns.

The apparent taken- for- granted, vital necessity becomes a newly- appreciated, not oft-begotten luxury.

It ain’t all dark and bleary though. Both residency and motherhood blesses you with one gift.

The gift of Anytime Anywhere Anyhow Sleep.

Of Five Minute Supercharged Sleep.

Of Super- light, Sleep – Like- Almost-Awake Sleep.

On another note…

Most days she wishes she were a man.

Life seems so much easier for them!

Or maybe not.

For they are destined to marry and sleep next to crazies who begrudge them for their sleep and whine about the good things (to the entire world wide web no less) at 3 am…

 

4: 30 am? Whoa…

The dreaded alarm shall ring in an hour folks.

She considers wearing her running gear before trying to fall back to sleep. Might allow her an extra fifteen minutes of sweet, precious, lovely, fantastically, beautifully, wondrous sleep….

 

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

 

What’s on my book- shelf this week? And reading routine.

Hella folks!

My last “What’s on my book-shelf” post was ages ago. Things have changed a bit since then.

I am back to work again… Yay!

Have applied to a couple of fellowships as well, so I maybe a fellow soon.

Back to the crazy hours….

I have to get back into the game. Read up. Dust the old textbooks and open the journals that are lying untouched and brush up on the current literature. This means I will have to scale down drastically on my “non-surgical” reading 😦

No worries though. I am content. The book- monster is englutted.

I had a fantastic year. The break was exactly what I envisioned, in some ways.

I read like a maniac. Caught up with all my nerdy, bibliophilic peers who had left me far behind, thanks to  residency.

Pregnancy and Nursing Time was time well spent.

It’s time to move on. On to the next chapter of life.

So, what IS on my shelf this week?

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Twelve Years a Slave (on the iPad)-  You folks know my pet peeve. I HAVE to read the book before watching the movie.

The Hindu– Newspaper.

No Easy Day– Started it weeks ago. Then left for the Epic All- Kerala trip. Hate unfinished books.

CIMS– A drug index. Need to be up to date on all the trade names and dosages.

FEMINA– An indigenous Marie- Claire/ Cosmo mash-up.

The Caravan– Something I saw on the News-stand at my local grocery store. Seemed new. Picked it up. A journal of politics and culture, the blurb said. I love the tamasha, that is Indian Politics!

Surgical Journals- Finally got them out of their postal envelopes!

Stell and Maran’s– Ahem… need to start studying for endless exams again!

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I am old- fashioned when it comes to newspapers. I still love my morning paper with my tea/ coffee/ milk, first thing in the morning. And it better be a paper- version!

When in Doha, it is the digital version though.

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The local newspapers and the press are very different in Qatar. Gulf News (one of the very- few English dailies in Qatar) is sort of a “world- news- synopsis” with a barely there local touch. In a sense, one can never really know the “real news” in Qatar. Hence, I don’t bother buying the paper. I just skim through it anyway. I get my world news from other sources.

Sometime during the day, whenever I have time to spare, or in between patients or during lunch, I make a “news- round”. It’s a habit that I picked up from Mr. H. He is the true news- monger. The news addict. I am only a mild case.

The tabs are neatly book- marked and ready to go…

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Starting with the Times of India and and ending with Doha News. That satiates my inner news- hound.

The magazines are read in waiting rooms and on the dining table. It’s a habit that irks Mr. H to no end.

I read at the dinner- table.

I can watch TV, eat, talk to him and read a magazine at the same time. I truly can!

Magazines are light reads anyway. They require very little “brain RAM” is my routine defense.

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Journals and texts generally involve highlighting, note- taking etc., which is a pain these days. Lil’ Z wants it all to herself. The books, the pens, the notebooks, the highlighters…..

And I might have to get used to the occasional wrinkly page and torn up notes. I might need some therapy for that!

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Non- surgical reading is reserved for nighttime.

My down- time.

De- stress time.

Go- to- sleep time.

While Zoe sleeps and Mr. H fiddles with his laptop and reads more news analysis….

 

I read on all devices and at all places. 

 

So, what’s on your book- stand these days folks?

Any conscience altering reads that you might suggest?

And no, I DO NOT read in the toilet!

 

Till next time…

Dr J.

Goodbye Kannur! For now…

The wedding shenanigans concluded by Monday. At least for J and Lil’ Z.

With a train to catch, J decided to make a quick visit to the beach. A sort of goodbye.

A place of peace and calm for J. A place where Mr H and she had hid from the world. Six years ago. As newlyweds. (A story for another time, possibly!)

A massive triangular laterite fort, replete with a moat and flanking bastions, the St. Angelo’s Fort also called Kannur Fort was constructed by the first Portuguese Viceroy, Don Francesco de Almeida in 1505.

In 1663, the Dutch captured the fort from the Portuguese and sold it to Ali Raja of Kannur. In 1790 the British who seized control over the fort, renovated and equipped it to be their most important military station in Malabar.

Today, St. Angelo’s Fort is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort offers a fascinating view of the Moppila Bay and Dharmadom Island. Dharmadom Island, only 5 acres in area, is situated 100 metres away from the mainland in the Arabian Sea. The Moppila Bay is a natural fishing bay. A sea wall projecting from the fort separates the rough sea and inland water. Today, the bay has turned into a modern fishing harbour, developed under the Indo-Norwegian Pact.

The fort offers fascinating view of a natural fishing bay and a sea wall projecting from the fort separating the rough sea and inland water. (From keralatourism.org)

Lil’ Z had to see this place. Know it’s significance.

It was only a quick detour, en route to the railway station.

 

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The rainclouds gathered and the thunder sounded ominous war cries. It was time to leave. They shall go there again, soon hopefully; as a complete family.

They hopped onto a creaky auto- rickshaw with it’s almost- mental driver and headed to the railway station.

 

6
J and Z seem to live out of these bags nowadays.

 

 

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For the uninitiated- An auto-rickshaw!

 

 

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Waiting for Kannur/ Yeshwanthpur Express to arrive.

 

 

Goodbye Kannur. For now…

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

P.S. And yes. Any folks heading to this land, please do hop onto one of the private buses that ply the Kannur- Thalassery routes. It will be an experience of a lifetime. But be warned though, it is not for the queasy stomached or weak- hearted!

And the passangers have no safety gear on! Source- www.theautomotiveindia.com
And unlike the F1 driver, the passengers have no safety gear on!
Source- http://www.theautomotiveindia.com

The Ladies Lounge- Wedding snippets.

I wish I had made outfit posts. But I truly did not have the time or the energy. But I did click a few pictures, here and there. I thought you ladies might enjoy them.

I dusted out my heavily worked upon sarees and unwrapped the hibernating silks from their muslin shells. I also got the chance to finally shed some sunlight on and air my safe- deposited jewelry.

 

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My Saree for the Nikah (the wedding ceremony)
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I warned you of the bling!
Even the shoes aren't spared of bling.
Even the shoes aren’t spared of bling.
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A simpler, more functional high- low- cut chudidaar and mochis (a type of shoes) for the after- nikaah festivities.
Prepped and ready...while the little one naps.
Prepped and ready…while the little one naps.
Crochet for the after- party.
Crochet for the after- party.
A "uniform" for the Mehendi- all the cousins were supposed to turn up in off white.
A “uniform” for the Mehendi- all the cousins were supposed to turn up in off white.

 

Ahem…. I am not even sure I should share this. But then an outfit post wouldn’t be complete without the jewellery.

a

 

 

b

 

c

 

v

 

x

 

d

 

q

qq

 

s

 

The purses….. Clutches all the way.

n

 

 

w

 

 

t

 

 

I might go back to the old pattern of posting about specific topics on set days of the week. Haven’t done a grubbie Tuesday of  Runday Monday in a while…

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

A Thalassery wedding.

Weddings in our part of the world are colorful, clamorous, chaotic, boisterous affairs.

The focus is on the food and and merrymaking usually involves a lot of singing, clapping and jumping.

The clothes are very extravagantly embroidered, sequinned and colored. The guests might seem to be on a quest to outdo one another in terms of bling and shine.

If you aren’t accustomed to it, or have never attended a Thalassery* wedding (or any Indian wedding for that matter), you might have to head home with a splitting headache.

As a Malayali (Malayalam is a South Indian language), I should make special mention of THE GOLD. I might be disowned otherwise.We usually tend to measure our gold jewellery in sovereigns (1 sovereign = 8 grams) and kilos.

Yes.

Kilos.

It’s just how it is. Don’t ask me why!

These advertisements and pictures will tell you the story.

ish
Courtesy- Kalyan Jewellery.

 

jos-alukkas-banner-sig7ja
Courtesy- Jos Allukas

 

malabar3
Courtesy- Malabar Gold & Diamonds.

 

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Courtesy- Malabar Gold & Diamonds.

 

If you think this is insane…

In reality, it’s much worse actually!

And this is just below the neck!
And this is just below the neck!

 

🙂

Gold aside… what happens on the actual day of the wedding, you ask ? Here goes…

– A whole bunch of people from the bride’s paternal side arrive with the outfit for the morning. (The maternal party is responsible for the Mehendi night- the day before that is.)

– They dress her up.

– She piles on the gold.

– Everybody (the ladies) stares at the decked up bride.

– The bride’s senior male relatives and uncles leave for the groom’s house in a convoy. The groom has to be invited (to his own wedding!) you see.

– The aforementioned party come back, closely followed by the groom and his herd of raucous friends and uppity relatives. Males only for now.

– The Nikah, or the actual wedding ceremony occurs. Involves some more gold. And some praying and signing. Goes without saying, there is some eating involved as well.

– The groom is taken up to the “bridal bedchamber”. The newly married couple officially meet for the first time.

– The bride is quickly whisked away and the poor groom is hoarded by male relatives and friends from both sides. They is a lot of male camaraderie, bonhomie, wishing and back- slapping. Some sidey/ corny/ not- so – funny “first- night” jokes make their appearance.

– The groom goes back to his place.

– Lunch is served for the guest at both the homes (bride’s and groom’s).

– The groom’s female party arrive. A few important “dignitaries” come in first with a whole bunch of goodies for the bride. They doll her up in their own way this time. The bigger, more clamourous bunch comes in a little later. In a couple of buses no less.

– More serving and eating happens.

– The groom’s “bridal party” now claims ownership of the bride. They take her away to their place.

– As thought to fight for ownership and to “check- out” the groom’s place, the bride’s female relaitves go to the groom’s houses in buses of their own.

– The bus ride is an event in itself. There is dancing in the aisles and lots of screechy, un- melodious but very enjoyable single involved.

– At the groom’s house, again everybody eats.

– The action shifts to the groom’s house now, after the bridal party leaves.

– Ragging, introductions, teasing, staring…. the bride is under the scanner, while the groom chills. His turn too shall come, soon.

– A few hours later, another bunch of cars arrive. Filled with the higher echelon male relatives of the bride. To escort the bride and groom back to the bride’s house. For dinner.

– The first Groom Dinner is a mega, super- elaborate affair. He is stuffed to the brim. Poor guy can barely walk to his room.

– The cousins then make absolutely sure that he doesn’t get in easily. Some crisp notes to key members of the Cousin Company helps ease matters.

– It is generally well past mid- night by the time the bride and groom can get a moment to themselves.

– Then… well the doors are shut!

 

Phew. I cannot go on.

There’s more actually.

Before and after the wedding.

There is a lot of Going and Coming.

And lots and lots of food.

The food.

Well, it’s a food festival for almost a month. Not only on the day of, the food celebrations continues for several days after. Weeks even.

For example, this is dinner on day three, after the wedding…

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And this, about 5 minutes after tea- with more than half- a- dozen accompaniments!

 

This is why I love Thalassery weddings!

Arrrrgh, I’m hungry again…

Till next time…

Dr J.

* A town/ city in the nothern Kerala district of Kannur. And Kerala is a southern State in India.

This is why I love to fly.

Dr J anxiously waits for the boarding call.

In the days gone by, she would have loved the waiting time. She would have strolled the stores and had cup after cup of bad, overpriced coffee and  doughy donuts.

But not today.

Lil’ Z isn’t a happy chappy. She was dragged out of her bed at 5 am. The worst time to do so. She was then fed and changed and strapped into a car- seat. She even missed her morning nap.

She had her breakfast, cold and quick. She squirmed in her Ergo. Disliked the creepy security lady. Did some wailing and head- banging. Scratched Mommy a bit and is by now utterly pissed. The little one is a seasoned flier but everyone has their off days.

J wishes Mr H were there. He would know exactly what to do. He would probably pull funny faces and make weird noises. If nothing worked, he would become a human swing set. And that for sure would calm her down. But he isn’t there. And she better get used to it.

They finally announce it’s time. The very young and the very old are called in first.

Still many booted and suited, fancy looking people pretend they did not hear the announcement and get into line anyway. They are neither young enough, nor old enough to avail the privilege. They stand anyway. Gently shoving and getting ahead.

J can never get over this weird behavior. It’s not like you get special seats if you enter first. The plane will not leave without you either. What does one gain by the all the haste and hurry? The pushing and shoving?

Is it an innately Indian thing?

We are programmed to come first. To stand first in class. To beat your neighbor’s kid in everything. To secure higher entrance (pre- university exam) ranks than your cousins and friends and parents’ colleagues’ kids.

Skipping queues is a specialty-  you are considered smart and resourceful if you can get ahead cheekily.

J decides to wait it out. To let all the rude crazies go in first. She was in no mood to fight the crowd.

She is the last to board. She plonks herself in her seat and releases the cranky, squirmy baby. Z and J both heave sighs of relief.

J had hoped to do so much. He camera lay untouched. Her book lay unopened. Her iPad lay switched off. He iPod is lost at the bottom of the deep, dark pit that is her bag. Her phone lay neglected.

Take- off is delayed. A very nice gentleman decided it would be fun to go absconding after checking in. He walks in, ten minutes after departure time. Unperturbed. Obviously unapologetic.

J was starting to think that maybe her love for airports and flying is eroding. Suddenly, all she could see were the inadequacies and shortcomings.

The seats seem cramped. Considering her small frame of 5 feet 3 inches and 100 lbs, that is saying something.

The food is borderline unpalatable.

The flight attendant’s tone is screechy and her make-up reminds J of Zhang Zyi’s geisha look.

And right about when irritation was simmering into anger, the captain spoke. A deep, lush baritone. Sensual and intelligent sounding. Apologizing for the delay and saying they were ready for take off.

Just then, Lil Zoe also gave up. Decided sleep was the best course. And as the plane taxied across the runway, accelerating; J felt her coiled mind unfurl, her tense muscles relax.

J gently placed the sleeping baby in the bassinet. She rummaged through her humongous carry- on for her dSLR. It was a clear, crisp morning. And the sights were utterly, truly breathtaking. The photos don’t even remotely do justice to it.

Taking off...
Taking off…
Bye Blr... Again!
Bye Blr… Again!
The morning sky over the outskirts of Bangalore
The morning sky over the outskirts of Bangalore
Wonder what those water- bodies are?
Wonder what those water- bodies are?
Still blurry...
Still blurry…
Fiddled with the settings and....voila!
Fiddled with the settings and….voila! I swear it isn’t a painting.
!
!
By now Zoe has joined Mama in the fun.
By now Zoe has joined Mama in the fun.
Halfway yet.
Halfway yet.
First peek at the destination.
First peek at the destination.
The greenery is almost entirely coconut palms
The greenery is almost entirely coconut palms…and yeah it’s a city, not the Amazon!
Almost there...
Almost there…

And then they landed. And J still loves to fly. So does Lil Zoe apparently.

Till next time…

Dr J.

I never missed the city lights!

My parent’s hail from this beautiful town, dotted with coconut palms and stuffed with wild shrubs and trees.Lined by the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, it’s picturesque and like my friends say almost “resort- like”. True. But what I love about my hometown is the amalgamated seamless co-existence of the old and new. Of technology and nature. Of mud roads and fancy cars. Of air conditioners and open fire cooking. Of fresh, local fish and tinned condiments. It’s not awkward or weird. It’s sustainable, “best-of-all-worlds” sort of life.

For four days, I woke to chirping birds and went to bed with a cacophony of insect sounds as white noise. Mum picked fresh curry leaves from the backyard to garnish the curries. We had country eggs for breakfast and fresh, non–stinky fish for dinner. From peppercorn to bananas, we ate what we grew.

I still had air- conditioning, water heaters, satellite television, internet, 3G mobile network, cars to take me places….

I was surrounded by nosy but endearing cousins. Gossipy but well- meaning aunts. Hardworking uncles who also know how to have a good time. The concept of privacy and “me time” was alien. I like having my space and time, yet here I was; loving every minute of every intrusion. I guess it was the novelty of the whole experience.

I always thought of myself as a big- city girl. I loved the fast- paced lifestyle, the sights, the sounds and the city lights. Now the pace is tiring and uninspiring. The sounds are jarring and the lights too harsh.

Is it age? An actual desire for change? Or is it a case of the “grass always being greener on the other side”?

Not sure. But there is a small part of me which craves the simple life.

Suddenly, my city accent and language seems lame and phoney. All the technology makes me feel anti- social and I do not seem to know how to make small talk and mingle with family who I have not met for a while. My clothes seem funny and garish and my high- heels are downright impractical and foolish on the wobbly, mud and gravel paths. My female relatives stare at me with a mixture of awe, curiosity, amusement and incredulity. The male relatives probably think I’m cuckoo. Especially the ultra- conservative ones.

I belong to the “cross- over generation”. Plagued with incessant, dramatic changes, we seem to be caught between two- worlds. Lil’ Z will probably have no such problems. For her, the distinction between old and new will be more marked. She will grow up in the “new world”, unlike us who grew up int he “old world” but as adults are stuck in the “new world”. We will forever be confused and undecided. We will always pine for simpler days but will never be able to give up the present either. Stuck. In limbo.

I am not entirely sure what what I want from life. I never have been one with clear aspirations and defined paths. I sort of go with the flow and meander along. I am forever fickle and perennially undecided. But I do know one thing, I never missed the city or the city- lights; even for a moment, during the last four days. A part of me did not even want to come back.

Here’s my hometown folks, through the lens of my Lumia 1520….

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I have walked this path, this very path- as a barefoot and carefree toddler, about quarter of a century ago.
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In stark contrast to a place like Qatar, greenery pours forth from every surface. Unlike Qatar, workers are paid to get rid of unwanted weeds and shrubbery! 
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This one is hundreds of years’ old I’m told.
A private car-park! How different from the dingy, stingy basement lots.
A private car-park! How different from the dingy, stinky basement lots.
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These are not walkways, even cars pass through.
Pepper, bananas, coconuts, cashews, herbs, tomatoes, mangoes, drumstick, chillies, fire-wood....
Pepper, bananas, coconuts, cashews, herbs, tomatoes, mangoes, drumstick, chillies, fire-wood….
Even chickens...
Even chickens…

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I have no idea what these flowers are called. They just grow. As nature’s gifts to man who let her be; for once!

Till next time…

Dr J.

An epic trip!

Hella folks!

It’s been barely four days, since I last spoke to you folks. But it seems like ages.

The trip was everything I had hoped it would be. And more. I met tons of family, had kilos of great food and soaked in the lush greenery and sticky heat that my “hometown” (different from my “home”) offered. It was akin to being the proverbial “prodigal daughter”. I was welcomed with open arms and willing smiles. I was spoilt for choice in terms of homes, food, people and places.

I have vowed to never let this happen again. Where I stay away for so long. Family is a blessing which should not be taken for granted, I realize.

The train ride back has drained even the reserve energy within and Lil’ Z must be wondering why she is waking up at a new place every morning. Probably the reason for her uncharacteristic crankiness.

I better snooze for a bit. Am back to work from tomorrow, after a very long hiatus.

Another era commences.

Will share more soon.

Till then….

Dr J.