If We Were Having Coffee… 17th December

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If we were having coffee, I’d wish you a cheery hello and ask you about your week. Hope you had a great week. Saturday is here and you must be having a relaxing weekend.

As for me, I am tucked in a cozy quilt with a hot cup of coffee, and I am all set to have a chat with you. You must pardon me if you see me soaking in the beauty and the tranquility of the deep blue Arabian Gulf. Yes, I can watch the small waves lashing the shore with an occasional speedboat zipping past my view, from the comfort of my bed.

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you excitedly that I met a blogging friend in Kuwait earlier this week.

Now, there’s nothing new about meeting virtual friends from the blog world in the real world. After reading fellow bloggers’ blogs where we share our lives, passions, interests, fears, insecurities and much more, we get a peek into their lives. Their messages and comments of support and encouragement, affection and smiles, truly warms our hearts.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you that have you observed that finding another person who has a set of thoughts and beliefs that gel well with your sensibilities, or reading their well thought-out comments are enough to develop feelings and a sense of relationship with someone you have never met. A few exchanges in the virtual world are enough to give you the feeling that you ‘know’ that person. Of course, there have been instances, where a single comment has made me edge away from that person.

So, it is seems natural to take these virtual friendships to the next level by meeting in real life! Isn’t it?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have met quite a few bloggers in real life. And meeting them was like we had known each other forever.

So, when I met this blogging buddy in Kuwait, it was just the same. Moments after greeting each other we were comfortably talking as though we’d known each other for years. But here’s the catch. We had known each other not for years, not for months but….for just a month. Yes, you heard it right. We started visiting each other’s blogs during the November NaBloPoMo and a month later, we met in real life. Yes, I met the lovely and amazing Scorpria from Alphabet World!

In one of her blog posts she mentioned that she is in Kuwait and then I told her that I’d be in her city for some time. And that started it all first through comments on blogs and then emails which later moved to WhatsApp messages. And when we met, we talked non-stop about so many things and got to know so much more about each other. Yes, we also shared that this was the craziest meeting ever and how our family and friends were apprehensive of our meeting. And how we had to field their questions like “Would it be safe? What would it be like to meet someone you’ve only ever ‘spoken’ to online? Would you still like them? Would you get along?…”

For people who are not from the blog world, it is hard for them to understand that we bloggers are normal ordinary people with regular lives. But I totally understand their trepidation and concerns.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the best part of meeting Scorpria was that she invited me as her guest to ‘An Evening of Christmas Carols’ which was hosted by the British Ambassador to Kuwait at The British Embassy. It was all the more exciting for this was probably my first and the last time to be at any British Embassy. LOL!

I cant tell how nostalgic it was to listen to the Christmas Carols which I had last heard and sung in school decades ago.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it was kind of bummer that we couldn’t click a picture of ours. And that’s because phones were not allowed at the event and we both left our phones back in our rooms. We are hoping to meet again before I leave from Kuwait and I am sure we would not stop at clicking just one picture.

If we were having coffee, I’d take your leave, for tomorrow is a working day for me and I need to prepare a few things. Here’s wishing you a fabulous week and see you soon again! Take care!

Linking this to #weekendcoffeeshare

If We Were Having Coffee… 10th December

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If we were having coffee, I’d suggest that we walk to one of the cafes that are near our hotel here and select the one that has outdoor seating. We have been passing through these cafes every day and I quite like the stylish yet simple ambience of the cafes lining the busy road. I like the quiet on the roads despite traffic and people going in and out of the big brand stores, cafes and offices. The weather is perfect for sitting outside with that hot cup of coffee. Yes, the winters have officially arrived here in Kuwait. So, how have you been? Hope you had a wonderful week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am not missing home as far as the food is concerned. I have seen that meal time at a new place can be thrilling and it can be downright frightening as well. Though I have strong preferences about my food but I am willing to try almost any new food at least once. So, I am missing no opportunity to eat the Kuwaiti and Arabic dishes for I believe that the best way to learn about a place is to eat your way through! I quite like the shawarmas, fatayer lahme, kuboos and hummus, warak enab, katayef and a variety of meat kebabs and sweet dishes. But I do like coming back to our Indian food. The pastas, lasagne, sandwiches, shawarmas are great to eat but are not our comfort foods. Thanks to the Chefs in our hotel, there’s roti, dal and subzi on our plates.

Recently, we were at an Indian joint and we just went crazy eating chaat, gol guppe, idli, dosa, aloo paranthas, chhole bhature, dhokla and much more. Because we were a group of 7 people, so we could order everything in sight!! It was such fun gorging on all these things which we were seeing after a long time. It was like being at home in a foreign land. Can you believe that in all the hullabaloo of seeing the food we love, I almost forgot to click pictures. The realization to take pics for the blog dawned on me pretty late!

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am on a reading spree and quite enjoying it. Oh, that’s also because I have to race against time to complete my Book Reading Challenge 2016 . Of the 6 book reading challenges, I am on track for 5. I am lagging behind on the Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge where I had planned to read 150 books this year. I still have to read 41 books by December 31st. And that’s nearly 2 books per day. Seems difficult, but I am giving it my best shot.

If we were having coffee, what would you share with me? Tell me, tell me, I am all ears!

Linking this to #weekendcoffeeshare

If We Were Having Coffee… 4th December

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If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for postponing our weekly tête-à-tête by a day. Yes, I was bushed yesterday! More about it later, first things first… How have you been?  How was this week for you? 

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I had a very interesting week. I saw Dear Zindagi in a cinema at Kuwait with colleagues. Yes, Bollywood movies are pretty popular here and they are shown with subtitles in Arabic and English. I must tell you that I loved Dear Zindagi. It was such a refreshing take on life and its issues. I loved the life lessons that it put across subtly. And some of the dialogues of this movie are going to stay with me for life.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you very excitedly that I participated in a 11 kilometer walkathon yesterday. It was a first for me. And I totally loved the experience. It was wonderful to see people of all age groups and nationalities come together for this event. Oh, by the way, men and women had separate starts and had to compete within their respective categories. There were women with kids in the strollers and women in abayas and hijab (headscarf) too.

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I completed this 11 km walkathon in 2 hours and 4 minutes. And I am feeling pretty accomplished and proud of myself. The first 4 kms were a breeze and then the blogger in me came to life pretty strong as I started clicking pics en route and even chatted with a few co-walkers. That slowed my pace, but I regained my focus in the last 3 kms and covered up a bit. That’s the medal I got and the organizers sent the participation certificate with stats by email too.

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about this exchange that I had with this young girl during the walkathon. She was walking with her friend a bit ahead of me and I saw the two of them picking empty water bottles which the other people had carelessly thrown around. This act of theirs impressed me and I caught up with them and said that they were doing a great job. I asked if I could click their picture. They agreed immediately. As I took out my phone, one girl mentioned, “All these people (she meant most participants in the walkathon) are not Muslims. Real Muslims don’t litter around.” Her vehement statement made me look at her again. A lot of thoughts and incidents flashed in my head in a second. I wondered, why a simple civic act had to be associated with religion?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ll have to take your leave as I have to work on a part of my presentation scheduled in the morning. I wish you a great week ahead and I’ll be looking forward to our next coffee together. Cheers ♥

Linking this to #weekendcoffeeshare

I Know for Sure

Writing today’s post had been on my mind, since yesterday. A blank Windows Live Writer had been staring at me since yesterday. I stared at it for a few more minutes and then went on to check the Facebook notification alert. I spent a few minutes on my timeline and then clicked on a link that led me to Twinkle Khanna’s latest article. I read it and smiled and then moved on to another link of some another article and suddenly I realized that I had a task at hand.

I came back to the blank Windows Live Writer and stared at it for some more time. So, the thing is that I want to write but I just don’t know what to write.

A voice in my head said, write what you know. Writing about what I am sure of or am familiar with would be easy, I thought. Well, I wouldn’t know, until I made an attempt to do so.

So here I go with the list of things I know for sure…

  • I know how it feels to lose an unborn child.
  • I know that one small, thoughtful gesture can make a big difference in someone’s day/life.
  • I know what it’s like to struggle and wait for the success to come your way.
  • I know what it’s like to have to sell one’s most prized possession.
  • I know how it feels to buy it back too.
  • I know how it’s like to risk everything for an idea.
  • I know what it is like to hold on to the past.
  • I know for sure how freeing it is to let go.
  • I know what it’s like to live with fear of death of your loved ones.
  • I know what it feels like to lose hope and then finding it back again.
  • I know what it is to have pain so deep, that you spend countless nights crying yourself to sleep.
  • I know what it’s like to feel alone, like you have no one to turn to.
  • I know what it is to receive support from unknown quarters.
  • I know how it feels to sing at the top of your voice with the singer on the radio.
  • I know that failure is just what is needed to learn some important life lessons.
  • I know for sure that this post has a melancholic feel to it.
  • And I know for sure that a blank page is no longer staring at me.

What do you know for sure?

Linking this to #MondayMusings and NaBloPoMo

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If We Were Having Coffee… 26th November

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If we were having coffee, I would ask you to meet me at my hotel restaurant and we’d sit in a corner which gives the lovely view of the pristine blue  Arabian Gulf.

If we were having coffee, I’d say hello and offer you a hot cup of coffee of your choice, of course from the coffee machine in our hotel. My choice today would be café latte for I like my coffee to be milky and sweet. I have cut down dramatically on my sugar intake, but coffee is an exception.

If we were having coffee, I would like you to tell me how life is fairing on your side of the world. Hope you had a good week.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that earlier this week, we went to Kosebasi, a Turkish restaurant. We had ordered Fındık Lahmacun which is a traditional pidette with ground seasoned meat and Sebzeli Pide which is a Turkish Pizza with mushroom, corn and cheese. It was interesting to note that Fındık Lahmacun  was a boat shaped pizza while Sebzeli Pide was a closed pizza!!

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am pretty disturbed by a recent incident. Our family friend’s 12 year old son was caught cheating during school exams. This has saddened, shocked and disappointed all of us. The child is an all rounder who is not only brilliant in his studies but also plays a lot of sports and wins medals every time. I know that the parents have instilled  the right values in the child but still such a thing has happened.

‘What if it was my child?’ is playing on loop in my head.  And this makes me wonder as parents what do we do when our kids make wrong choices? I know, during our younger days we were guilty of misbehaviour too. But as parents, somehow, such wrong doing from our kids seems like an act of betrayal. It feels like a moral issue. Of course, we will address the issue, reiterate the consequences, help the child learn and guide him in the right direction. But what if all this fails? What if our kids throw their life away?  I know, I am letting this affect me too much and thinking too much into this one misconduct.

At this moment, I just hope that our kids learn from their falls and failure and turn out good at the end of it.

If we were having coffee, I’d take your leave and wish you a relaxing and interesting weekend and a great week ahead.

Until the next cup…

Linking this to #weekendcoffeshare and

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Being Grateful

It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. There are so many people in our lives who make us happy. As Marcel Proust said, these people are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. These are the people who make our world a bit more happier with their presence and leave a heart-warming imprint with their words and actions.

Today, I am grateful for…

  • The Indian chefs in our hotel who are going the extra mile to serve us Indian food. Kuwaiti cuisine, an infusion of Arabian, Persian, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines is pre-dominantly non-vegetarian. While I am a meat eater, I don’t prefer to eat it in every meal which is the norm here and so is the case with my colleagues. Also the regular menu has just a couple of vegetarian options, which we got bored of eating pretty soon.  We had a chat with the 2 chefs and they said that they’d be happy to cook special vegetarian meal for us every day and since the last 3 days, our hearts and tummies are doing a happy dance.
  • Aaryan, who showed extreme maturity at school. Both KG and I, during our WhatsApp chat had tears of happiness and pride in our eyes.
  • KG who is my strength and my biggest supporter. During our recent chat when I felt so lost and disillusioned. His words comforted and inspired me to believe in myself. And I am also grateful for the way he is managing it all alone so well.
  • The cab driver outside our hotel who greets us every morning with a cheery smile and good wishes even though we have never used his cab service.
  • The Indian staff at the hotel who stop by and chat with us in Hindi and go to such lengths to make our work and stay comfortable.

I must sign off now, as my coffee needs me. Oh, I am grateful for this hot coffee on this cold evening too!

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And I am also grateful to you, for taking the time to read this post!

Linking this to November 2016 Gratitude Circle bloghop at Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles and NaBloPoMo

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5 Hobbies I Love

I gave out an appreciative whistle when I I read this thought shared by Stan Jacobs. He wrote that to be happy in life, develop at least four hobbies:

  • one to bring you money,
  • one to keep you healthy,
  • one to bring you joy, and
  • one to bring you peace.

I quite like this thought and this made me relook at my hobbies. I pondered over my passions and wondered if they fit the bill of these 4 categories of hobbies.

And I must say that my hobbies which I pursue do fall in these 4 categories. Let me elaborate…

Hobby that Brings Me Money

Baking : I never thought that what would start as ticking off something from the bucket list would actually become a passion for me and would eventually bring in money for me. Yes, I started baking some 2 years ago as I wanted to learn something new. After a lot of trials and failures, I got the art and science of baking right. I so loved baking that you can find a cake at our home all points of time and my gifts for family and friends on various occasions were home baked cakes. This made my friends and their friends asking for cakes baked by me. I wouldnt have thought of it, but a friend pushed me to stop baking for charity and thus baking became a hobby that brings me money. Of course, it’s on a very small level but I know that it has the potential to become big.

Hobby that Keeps Me Healthy

Swimming : This is the only form of exercise I LOVE truly, madly and deeply.  I wish I could pursue it not just for a few months of the summer season but all year through.

Word Games and Puzzles : A few free minutes anywhere and I am on my phone racing against the timer to form words and solve puzzles. I like challenging myself and I believe these games truly stimulate and energise my mind.

Hobby that Brings Me Joy

Reading : I have a passionate love affair with books and nothing makes me happier than to live several lives while reading. I like it when I can lose all sense of time, all worries and stress of life, if only for short time, when reading a good book.

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Hobby that Brings Me Peace

Listening to Music : Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife – Khalil Gibran. And that is why I love to begin and end my day with music. I am not a big fan of FM radio because the senseless chatter of the RJs and the endless advertisements test my patience. But of late, I am listening to Mirchi Love at 104 which plays only love songs. They play best love songs and that too without ads.

What are your hobbies? Do they fall in these 4 categories? Do share!

Linking this to #FridayReflections and

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If We Were Having Coffee… 19th November

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If we were having coffee,  I would ask you about your week and listen to what all you have been up to too. I hope all is good with you.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am sharing this post with you from Kuwait. Yes, I landed in this small but wonderful country early this morning after traveling the entire night. This is an official visit and will be here for over a month.

After a rest of a few hours, we got busy with work and hardly had the time to look around. I hastily captured this view though. Yes, the window of my hotel room overlooks the blue and serene Arabian Gulf. Hopefully, I will be able to sit and gaze the big cars zip by the busy coast road and watch the gentle waves coming into the shore, sometimes soon!

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I was insanely busy this week. It was crazy planning organizing, stocking up the kitchen and other things for KG. Though I travel frequently but usually is for 3-5 days and the max that I have been away from home at a stretch, has been 18 days. But this time, it will be for over 40 days. While KG is pretty good at cooking and can do all household chores, but doing this sometimes or for 3-5 days is way different from managing all this for more than a month. And this is when he has a gruelling time at work too. While I have stressing about how he’d manage, he is cool about it. A part of me knows that I should relax, for he will make things work for him. But a part of me cannot stop myself from being apprehensive. Aah! The flitting and the fluttering mind.

If we were having coffee, I’d thank you for having coffee with me and ask you that do we meet same time, next week?

Linking this to #weekendcoffeshare and

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If We Were Having Coffee…12th November

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If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how did the week treat you? Hope you are doing well after the two shocks that we all got earlier this week. I steer clear of politics as it does not interest me and I just read enough to keep myself informed. But for the first time, I was interested in politics and that too of not my own country but a country that I am not associated with any way. Yes, the US presidential election caught my attention like never before. And when the big news came I was truly disheartened. But as Hillary Clinton said, “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead”, and I am crossing my fingers for that!

If we were having coffee, I’d check with you, if you liked Prime Minister Modi’s move to discontinue the two largest rupee notes. I think that’s a fantastic strategy to curb a lot of nuisance. Incidentally, I got my first new Rs 2000 note yesterday. No, I didn’t stand in the long queues outside the banks or ATMs, I got it from KG. In fact, I did go to an ATM near our home only to find it closed. Yes, despite the information overload, I forgot that the ATMs were closed on 9th and 10th November.  I quite liked this new Rs 2000 currency note.  It fits snuggly in my wallet unlike Rs 1000 note which would peep a bit out of the wallet pocket. 

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am wondering as to how I’d make the payment to the plumber who will be coming home to do some repairs in a short while. I hope he has the change for Rs 2000, which is highly unlikely though.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how wonderful it is to talk to women friends. This week, I spoke to two of my long distance women friends. I think I need to clarify this. By long distance women friends, I simply mean women friends from school or college or work or blogging world who stay far off from me. Ok, now that’s sorted. I needed to clarify that because sometimes, there’s a world of difference between what I say and how it is interpreted!! Now that I have digressed sufficiently, let me come back to my friends. I find talking to my girl friends so very therapeutic. There’s a thrill in knowing each other’s stories and having conversations without being judgemental. I love the understanding that we share and the support that we have for each other. We may not talk often, but when we do, we are on the phone for pretty long. And I enjoyed catching up with two friends this week. Do you have such meaningful and beautiful friends of the same sex?

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that this is it for this week. Thank you for having coffee with me. See you same time, next week?

Linking this to #weekendcoffeeshare and …

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99 Things I Hate

99 Things I Hate… OK, hate is a strong word. Let’s say these are 99 things that annoy me or drive me up the wall or make me red-in-the-face or plain raving mad!

I had done a post on 99 Things I Love, last year and absolutely enjoyed writing it. Inspired by that post, I thought of jotting down things that get my goat. No, all these 99 irritating things are not at the same level. They bring out negative emotions me in varying degrees.

So, here I go with my list of petty little 99 Things I Hate…hate-horizontal

  1. People calling dear to all and sundry
  2. Selectively replying of comments on blogs
  3. I-Me-Myself syndrome
  4. Painfully (and ridiculously) obvious pieces of advice
  5. The selfie kings and queens on Facebook
  6. Holier-than-thou attitude
  7. Talking loudly in public spaces
  8. Unhygienic food joints
  9. Writer’s block
  10. Selectively replying to birthday wishes on Facebook
  11. Arguments and wars on Facebook and Twitter
  12. Arm chair activists
  13. Books with poor editing
  14. Books with crappy ending
  15. People who don’t return my books back
  16. Loud burps
  17. Ironing of clothes
  18. Messy bathrooms
  19. Everything on FM radios except music
  20. Reality shows on TV
  21. Saas Bahu sagas on TV
  22. Being taken for granted
  23. The ‘Others’ Folder on Facebook
  24. Creeps and perverts
  25. My sweet tooth
  26. My aversion to exercise regularly
  27. Drama in real life
  28. Crappy internet
  29. Hotels with no (free) wi-fi
  30. Noisy eaters
  31. Driving. I have learnt it thrice and still can’t drive.
  32. When people force me to dance and that is when I can’t even dance to save myself
  33. Out of control WhatsApp group chats
  34. PDA
  35. Doctors who don’t listen
  36. People who decide to respond to texts whenever it’s convenient for them
  37. Non-stop hiccups
  38. Disinterested shopkeepers
  39. Poor customer service
  40. Washing clothes in the washing machine with a tissue paper in some pocket
  41. Washing things and damaging them in process
  42. Screaming kids
  43. Telemarketers
  44. Attention seekers
  45. Feeling anxious for no reason
  46. Paying for haircuts that I don’t like
  47. Getting up in the middle of the night and then not able to sleep
  48. Non-removable stickers or price tags on crockery and utensils
  49. Higher shipping charges on online shopping portals
  50. Heartache
  51. Mushy bananas
  52. People hating what I like
  53. People liking what I hate
  54. SMS lingo
  55. Bad hair days
  56. Being clumsy
  57. Jealousy
  58. ‘Friends’ who never pay
  59. Recycled and thoughtless gifts
  60. Finding other people’s nose in my business
  61. Grammar Jews
  62. ‘This page can’t be loaded’ message especially when I am posting a comment on a blog and I have not copied the comment as back-up
  63. People behaving differently in a group
  64. Wasted parking space
  65. Seeing kids display bad manners and their parents ignoring it
  66. Embarrassing moments that play on loop in my head
  67. Drama queens / kings
  68. Deciding what to cook
  69. Facebook pokes
  70. People who don’t respect their commitments
  71. Procrastination
  72. People who don’t value my time and efforts
  73. Pigeons and their menace
  74. Skin tight leggings
  75. Unrealistic love stories in books
  76. Dog ears in my books
  77. Plastic people
  78. Break-ups
  79. People who talk loudly on their mobile phones
  80. Pushy sales people
  81. Unreasonably expensive things
  82. Smug people
  83. When I find that I have nothing to wear
  84. Teleshopping advertisements
  85. Politics
  86. People dying way too young
  87. Foot in mouth syndrome
  88. Seeing people pick their noses
  89. Mind games that people play
  90. Emotional blackmail
  91. Frequent software updates on my laptop and phone
  92. Hypocrites
  93. Autocorrect mishaps
  94. Poor attention span
  95. Over dependence on technology
  96. ‘Share if you agree’, ‘How many likes for this…’ kind of posts on Facebook
  97. Herd mentality
  98. Twisted captcha on websites
  99. Forgetting passwords

Phew! This is finally done. Can you believe that this post was a work-in-progress for over 3 months. I remember writing 99 Things I Love in a jiffy. But listing down things I hate was not easy. Is it because love is stronger than hate?

Which things annoy you truly, madly, deeply? Do share in the comments box.

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