A Throwback To My Teenage Crush

Recently, I had the opportunity to work for the most handsome, suave and heartthrob of millions of girls, Rajeev Khandelwal. Yeah I know, most of you would be wondering that who on earth is this ‘Rajeev Khandelwal’. But for those who are familiar with the name, they know that there is one and only “Rajeev Khandelwal” on this earth.

There is a thing called ‘teen crush’ which is kind of crazy and common thing among teenagers to have crush on their favourite actors or celebrities. So like every other teenager, I was truly, madly, deeply in love with ‘Rajeev Khandelwal’. Logically speaking, it wasn’t Rajeev Khandelwal but ‘Sujal Garewal’, the name of the character he played in one of the most popular Indian soap operas in the early 2000.

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So, ladies and gentlemen please put your hands together as I introduce you to this amazing character and my teenage crush, ‘Sujal Garewal’. Wohoo!!

“Sujal” the name itself gives me goose bumps. Dream guy, heartthrob, thief of millions of hearts, is how I would describe him. Any girl would fall for him, he is that good. He is not someone like the Indian actor Hritik Roshan or British model David Gandy and not even like the German-Irish Michael Fassbender but he is more of a guy-next-door. Simply put, he is the-guy-you-would-take-to-your-Mum. Yeah, you know what I mean.

Sujal is an arrogant young guy who comes from a rich family and holds a reputable position in his family business. He doesn’t smile much; more reserved character and has the most appealing anger until he falls in love with a girl. His love story then leads to some romantic moments and some sad ones too, way too many misunderstandings, tear-jerking moments and lots and lots of songs. Songs?? Well, that’s the beauty of Indian soap operas. And believe me, every time Sujal cries on screen, I would cry in real life. The songs played in the background during happy or sad moments or just anytime still have the same impact on me as in those days. Also when Sujal who wouldn’t smile a lot but whenever he did, I would find a curve around my lips too. That’s the impact of his character. Well, well, well, let me use a cliché here – ‘Words are not enough to describe Sujal’.

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Okay so now fast forward to the current times when I am no more a teenager but a married lady busy in life carrying out her mundane work. With my teenage, I had also bid goodbye to my crush and it was all a thing of the past lying somewhere in the rags of memory. Then all of a sudden a special work project comes to me. Yes, “SPECIAL”. Why? Because it involved Sujal. You read it right, Sujal. Honestly speaking, I had never imagined or wished to meet him in real life and here I was going to work on his project. Wow! But this time, the only difference was that I had to work for Rajeev Khandelwal and not Sujal.

I was happy with the project but I must admit that at this point in my life, I wasn’t that excited as I would have been in my teens. So, it was kind of okay feeling. And then, there came a day when I had to call him over the phone for work reasons. Initially I was kind of at ease but gradually as I picked up the phone and dialled his number, my heart started beating fast. Soon there was a familiar voice coming from the other end of the phone. The voice I had heard many years ago on the TV and now on the phone. Without doubt it was Sujal. But as we started speaking, I realised that there were no love songs playing in the background, he did not utter romantic words, and he was not Sujal because I wasn’t Kashish (his soap opera girlfriend) either. And that’s no wonder why the voice from the other end said “Hello, this is Rajeev Khandelwal”.

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It was a short conversation but I felt my speech rushed out of nervousness. While his voice was calm and composed. Once through with the conversation, I looked up on YouTube a few of my favourite scenes from the soap opera. Some brought smiles and some did bring tears. But the realisation that dawned upon was remarkable that even though times have changed and lot of years have passed through, the memories came back fresh. I am sure Rajeev Khandelwal must have put lot of effort in his character ‘Sujal Garewal’ that even after years, his character can rekindle the flame.

And here’s a throwback to my teenage crush    

 

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Simple Rules for a Happy Life

One morning I woke up late and realised that it was quite late in the day already and as usual the feeling of missed out on the day crept in. The feeling quickly spread out towards every aspect, I felt so unproductive, so unorganised, disorientated. I have felt this earlier as well when I wake up late, I guess everyone does, but this was extreme, and large part of my remaining day must have passed in this. Come evening and I realised this that part of the remaining time which could have been used so productively was also spent away in these unnecessary thoughts.

I realised I can do better than this and then worked out some rules for myself. I have thrown in some additional ones which I am trying to imbibe in my life (Empathy 😉 )

So here we go:

Wake Up
Wake Up_Ms. Singh PostsWe spend such large part of the day feeling bad on the days when we wake up late, it was almost a habit for me. Well if you feel lazy and find yourself sleepy on some days then I feel it is fine to sleep 30-60 minutes extra if you can afford it. Over-sleeping has never done anything wrong (unless you are doing serious oversleeping like 12-14 hours), nothing wrong in little snooze and no need to feel bad about it. But yes if this is happening too often, then should take a look at your routine and go to bed earlier.

Clothes Clutter
Clutter so fills your mind, my clothes are a big contributor to my clutter and not just in my wardrobe but even in my head. So one Sunday, I took everything out of my wardrobe. Once it was all out, I re-arranged, tried mix and match stuff and put back only those that I needed. In fact I discarded all my clothes I didn’t wear over the last one year. Why? Because I didn’t need them for a year so I wouldn’t need them even in the future. Isn’t that a smart guiding principle?

Get Comfortable In Your Own Company
It’s recently that I have started to make some time for myself i.e. without doing anything special like being at a salon but just to sit and spend some time on my own.

Walk3_Ms. Singh PostsSo what I do is that I go for a walk. Even if I am going to buy groceries, I would go for a 10-15 minutes’ walk first. And believe me most of the ideas for work, blog posts and solutions to anything and everything comes to me during this time. Surprisingly, it has also helped me know more about myself. I love my company. Sometimes I would visit a coffee shop or a bakery and spend some time alone. So, do something on your own and in your own company; I am sure you will enjoy the company.

Take A Cold Shower
Yes literally, you won’t die, at least I used to think I would :D. This is a tip that motivational speaker Tony Robbins recommends.  So, one day to experiment if this tip really helps in energising me and my mood, I went under the cold shower. Oh boy! This actually works. So what I did was to take shower with warm water first and towards the end I took a cold water shower. Try it for yourself and you will emerge fresh and enthusiastic. It so invigorates you and it is also a challenge you take every day. This might not be very challenging for people living in warmer climate, I know, but do try if you don’t already.

Empathise With Others
Quite often we do not agree with other people, and we end up frustrated, angry. It could be a colleague, your partner, your friends and this seriously affects our quality of life making us unhappy.

Here is something I learned from a recent book I am reading:

Empathy_Ms. Singh PostsTake a moment to be silent on the thing you don’t agree with someone and allow them to express their opinion. Just bring this to mind that the person in front of you is also like you, they also want to be at peace, they also want to be happy. And having practised this I know I can understand the other person’s point of view, or at least where he is coming from, or why he is behaving in certain way. Making things much easier to normalise.

Amazing Swissland!

Switzerland! Hear the word and you start imagining the snow-capped mountains, glittering lake-shores and breath-taking landscapes. Just like they show in films. Wow! And this is how I felt when I was packing for my trip to this beautiful snow-laden picturesque country.Switzerland1_Ms. Singh Posts

At the airport while queuing up for my boarding, I looked around and felt that most people in the queue looked ‘expensive’. Yes ‘very expensive’. Well, some men were wearing  fine luxurious jackets while some were pulling posh label  trollies but  almost all ladies were carrying high end designer bags.

Once inside the flight, I was totally sold to the hospitality of the Swiss airlines. They are warm and friendly people, I must say. Except for once when I had a bad experience with this airline while flying from Switzerland to Nice. And that’s because the planes are crammed and they will only allow a ladies purse as hand luggage even though they mention “8kgs allowed”. Watch out!

IMG_20160106_144831-EFFECTSDue to work commitments my hubby couldn’t accompany me so my trip itinerary was planned by a lovely guide ‘I, me, myself’.  I was putting up at Zurich and planned to move mostly around the city with ‘Bahnhofstrasse’ being on top of my ‘To-visit’ list.

The Friendly Swiss
At the tram stop I had little difficulty figuring out the travel zones so I asked a man standing at the stop. But to my dismay, he did not understand English but he could make out that I was asking for directions. He tried his best in his Swiss German but with words like ‘Strasse’ for street and ‘Flughafen’ for airport, my brains couldn’t comprehend any bit of it. He waited for someone else to arrive at the stop and then to my surprise he asked the other person on my behalf for help. I was really moved by his helpful nature. Believe me Swiss are the most helpful people on earth. So, if you ever get lost in Switzerland and you do not know the local language, do not panic; you are in a country of great people. You will reach your destination safe and sound.

 

IMG_20160106_154037I reached Bahnhof, the main railway station of Zurich and looked around for the tourist information centre (i). One thing I have learned about Europe is its tourist information centre is pretty good.

You can be sure of getting not just good information but city guides, maps and one can even book tours here. Obviously Pricey

I took a stroll through the Bahnhofstrasse and realised this is one of the most expensive streets. Chanel, Hermes and Gucci stores – all high end designer brands were here. At the stores, it was easy to connect with the salesperson with a simple greeting ‘Grüezi’ meaning hello.

 

And my adventures
IMG_20160108_125234I had known that James Joyce, the great novelist is buried in Zurich, so  I decided to visit Friedhof Fluntern I reached early in the morning and I was surprised not to find a single soul around than I. The place had the quietude of night and all I could hear were my feet pressing against the leaves on the pathway. Suddenly the silence was broken by a loud noise. A noise like a growl of wild dogs or wolf or may be a tiger. What tiger? I turned back and started running so fast that I was about to slip the road. I became tired and stopped to look back only to realise that there was nothing behind me. And as I looked ahead I saw a familiar looking statue sitting on a rock with an open book and a cigarette in an uplifted hand. It was James Joyce’s statue. I felt wonderful and clicked a few pictures. May be the growling noise was only in my head or may be Joyce wanted me to come to him swiftly. In either case, my heart was beating fast.

IMG_20160108_182008My adventure trip continued into the evening as I decided to take a walk around the lake. Somewhere half way through, I walked into a lane and lost my sense of direction. It was getting dark and to figure out anything out of the map was straining my eyes. I had no internet connection on my phone. Just then I saw a group of people coming towards me with their leading man dressed like a vamp. It occurred to me that this group must be on a night tour and of course that man in vampire’s outfit must be their guide.

Well, it was already dark and my map was of no use so I decided to follow the group. Following the group, I came across a lovely pebbled street and it led up to a place called the Lindenhofplatz from where you get a great view of the city. The city looked stunning at night and I captured the sight in my phone camera.

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Finally the Snow
Well no trip to Switzerland is complete without going to the mountains, so towards the end I decided to  to go to the beautiful snow-laden Mount Titlis. I was gushing with excitement to see the snow; the snow I had never touched, never played with, and had never ever felt.

Titlis_Ms. Singh PostsMy journey from Zurich to Titlis started with a train ride with warm and pin drop silence compartments while outside the window it seemed like a slideshow of beautiful paintings one after the other. On reaching Engelberg, we were transported through a cable car to Mount Titlis. The Gandola ride took us even further on top of the mountain where I was welcomed by a big poster of a popular Bollywood film – DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge). The temperature was minus five degrees here and I had dared the snow in my canvas shoes. So, after an open chair ride called the Ice Flyer lift and a tour through the ice cave, I finally came to a café where I was surprised to discover Café Baileys on the menu. I placed my order and relished the small pleasures of life.

Here are some more pictures from my trip. Hope you will enjoy them and may even plan a visit to the beautiful Switzerland. The country lives up to the hype every bit and a must visit if you ever get an opportunity.

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‘When Breath Becomes Air’ – Book Review

“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”
         – Samuel Beckett

Recently, I have got into a bad habit of putting my alarm on two snoozes and then finally putting it off without waking up. It’s all because of my nocturnal habits and the recent fancies with Tia Espresso. I need to change all this. With this over-powering thought, one night I decided to go to bed early so I could get up and become a ‘Five A.M. club member’ promoted by motivational speaker and author Robin Sharma. Well, I was in my bed early but couldn’t get sleep so tossing and turning I lay my hands on the book that my hubby had just finished reading. It was ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi.

Forewords in the books are always meant to raise your interest in the book, but this one by Abraham Verghese, setting the context of Paul’s story and life was so impactful that when it ended with “Let me not stand between you and Paul,” I really could not stop.

The book is written by Paul Kalanithi, 36 years old on the verge of completing a decade worth of training as a neurosurgeon, died of stage IV lung cancer. Confronted with death while being a doctor himself, he has presented his own story and how things can change in life – one day a doctor and next day a terminal patient. He has highlighted the paramount truth of the world and that is, “death”. “It is the only fact about the world, like the distance from the sun to the earth”, he wrote in his book.

The way Paul has written this book, it never feels like he is not in this world but he is directly talking to you, opening up about his life, sharing his experience and the vast knowledge and not to miss his rich literary sense that comes from his innumerable readings.

He gives us the picture of the medical world and even simplifies the medical terms for us readers. He highlights that technical excellence is not enough but what is more important is the human relationship between doctor and the patient. He has presented various accounts of the need to establish human connection and how he would instil the trust in his patients.

He believed that if saving lives is the job of a doctor then guiding the patient or family to understand death or illness – as everyone dies eventually – is also his responsibility. Having lived the life of a doctor, treating and advising patients, he also presents the grim reality of how he faced death both as a physician and a patient.

Paul not just shares his observations in this book but he also gives account of his life events. He ironically mentions that cancer succeeded in saving his marriage at the least. This makes me think that how we fight or develop hatred for one another until something unfortunate happens to them and all those fights become meaningless but their life.

The Prologue by Paul and the Epilogue written by his wife Lucy in the book will burst you into tears. The book is moving and focuses on the reality of life. Death is a fact which is unsettling for us. We don’t want to accept it. Instead we fight, abuse, become greedy or sad. So, if life is unpredictable then why not just spend time being happy and create beautiful memoirs. Just like Paul did by writing this book which I think is his beautiful gift to the world.

As the back cover reads, “rattling, heart-breaking and ultimately beautiful”, it is every bit all of it and more, a must read for everyone.

I still start crying whenever I put myself in his place, not by the things he tells us in the book but the ones he does not say. How he must have felt that when his life was taking off, this happened to him. As he says somewhere:

“My life up until my illness could be understood as the linear sum of my choices. As in most modern narratives, a character’s fate depended on human actions, his and others.”

“But now I lived in a different world, a more ancient one, where human action paled against superhuman forces, a world that was more Greek tragedy than Shakespeare.”

Aah, it kills me all these lines, when I read it and again when I am re-reading it.

As he continues, his doctor tells him “This is not the end.” “Or even the beginning of the end. This is just the end of the beginning”, but he knows it is the “end of the beginning.”

Still he does not make you feel pity for him, he is still the doctor till the end, handling the difficult detail -in this case his own- ever so carefully and making you share his pain like a friend, family.

This is my tribute to Paul.

Beautiful, beautiful book, must read for everyone.

Book Review_Ms. Singh Posts

My Affair with Coffee…

Coffee is not my first choice but tea when it comes to picking up beverages. But cold countries, chilled weather can make anyone have a non-committal relationship or may be a permanent one for some with a well brewed cup of coffee. As for me, it’s more of a fling where I want it to be different every time I fantasise it. I want more creativity infused in my coffee. And this I think is more obvious when I place orders at cafés and I am always looking for something new to try. But now that list seems to be exhausted and I crave for something new. So I thought of bringing the café to home; of course, not literally. And guess what next? My hubby backed me up in my plans. In fact, he is the one who experimented making the café style coffee at home and I assisted him with the supplies plus clicking pictures for this blog 😉

So, my hubby and I did some googling and short-listed 3 Coffee based drinks. The first one is called Layered Latte, second one Vietnamese Egg Coffee and the third one is a coffee cocktail called Tia Espresso. Now, let’s get brewing!

For the Layered Latte, you will need:
Milk
Ground coffee
Sugar
Coffee pot or machine
Milk Frother

Copy of IMG_20160603_201241You start with frothing the milk, keep the nozzle touching surface of the milk and let the steam pass through. Be careful not to boil the milk. General rule that my hubby advices is if the milk has risen to double the height it was originally at, it is done. Pour the milk in the cup/glass you are going to serve the coffee into.

Brew the coffee in an easily pourable cup or may be your milk frothing jug.

Now comes the tricky part of creating the layers. The coffee has to be poured slowly so that it does not mix with the milk, but just sits on top of it. To achieve that the coffee is poured on a spoon into the cup. You start with the spoon touching the inside of the coffee mug, then pour the coffee slowly over the spoon so that it seeps into the bottom milk layer, separating the froth on top.

And there you have it: the perfect layered coffee or layered latte sounds fancy.

The second coffee we made is called Vietnamese Egg Coffee. Yes, this coffee has eggs in it 😉 This is made with Vietnamese coffee, but normal coffee should do as well. And I made it with Illy coffee.

To begin with you need an egg yolk (1 yolk per cup of coffee) and 2 teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk. Beat the mixture till it’s fluffy. Brew the coffee, add a teaspoon of coffee and vanilla extract (optional) into the egg mixture, and beat it a bit more. Pour the coffee into the serving cup; slowly pour the egg mixture on top of the coffee. Yay your Vietnamese egg coffee is ready.

 

The last one Tia Espresso is my favourite and I have mastered the art of making a near perfect cup. It has become almost like an evening affair for me. To me it’s a perfect way to end a beautiful day. You only need a bottle of Tia Maria in addition to all the other ingredients above in the post. And this one below in the picture is made by me 🙂

Start by pouring 50ml Tia Maria or Baileys (then it is called Café Baileys) into the serving glass cup. Take same amount of milk (I don’t measure but try to take similar amount of milk) and froth the milk, general rule again which I follow is what my hubby suggests; milk should rise to double the height you started with.

Pour the frothed milk slowly over the Tia/Baileys using a spoon, making sure it does not disturb the bottom layer and just almost sits on it (a little would get mixed though). Then brew your coffee in a pourable jug, and again slowly pour the coffee over the milk using the spoon. The coffee will seep into the froth and sit on top of the milk. And your drink is ready.

Since its weekend, try this wonderful Tia Espresso or the other two coffees whichever your heart desires and set the tone for a fabulous evening.

Ms. Singh Posts_Tia Espresso

What’s Your Cat’s IQ?

Sometime back when I was at a book shop and had wanted a little dose of motivation, I scanned through some self-help books. A small book lying on a rack in the centre caught my attention. I wondered “what could this be about, and how could you do it?” It was a book titled “Measure Your Cat’s IQ”. Seriously, yes!

I picked up the book and flipped through its pages and the first line read “So, you want to know what your cat’s IQ is like?”

Well, to be honest it’s not me who wants to know but it’s the book that wants to tell me. Anyway, I continued reading further. There was a questionnaire with four or five options and you need to answer them. Once finished, you need to calculate the responses and look at how your cat scored. Good heavens, there are so many things on this earth and even a book like this one. I need to up my IQ, it seems.

I went through the questionnaire and some of them read like “Does your cat keep its tail flat on floor when eating?” “Does he enjoy being touched around the neck, back and face?” “Does your cat persuade you to get out of bed early to fix him breakfast?” and more questions based on observation and activities of a cat.

Suddenly, I thought about a tabby cat that I know of. Beaming with ideas, I came home and decided to put the cat under the IQ test. So, for full one week I observed the cat, started taking its pictures and making videos. Finally I had so many pictures and videos on phone, it seemed like my phone belonged to the cat. Well, to be honest this activity increased my love for this cat and I decided not to judge it. But then I put the videos and pictures to a very good use making some funny gif images which you can see below.

And here is the funny gif I created. Have fun!

Does your cat pull on strings hanging from anywhere?

Does he protect the house from enemies?

 

Is your cat able to follow moving objects with his eyes only, without moving his body?

Does he play on its own ?

Pull a piece of string across the floor in front of your cat. What does he do?

Give him a soft cushion sheet and how he behaves?

Now, its time for the result.
And guess what?
This cat is not dim but a living Einstein! Wow!! 

Memes.com

PS: BIG Thank You to our friends for letting their cat spare some time with me 😉

My Cannes Moment

“Cannes!” The name itself gives you an idea of the glitz and glamour of the red carpet appearances of the A-list celebrities. You can imagine how excited I would have been when I got an opportunity to be a part of it. Yes, I am talking about the Cannes Film Festival. Ms. Singh Posts_Cannes2016_11

‘Festival De Cannes’ is what it is officially known as in France, is an international film festival where high profile celebrities stroll down the red carpet, the press capturing every moment and who-wore-what are the talking point for the next 12 days. And, that’s what we all know about Cannes. Right!

But there’s more to Cannes. So here I am going to tell you how I landed up at Cannes, my personal experience and what happens here. So read on folks…Ms. Singh Posts_Cannes2016

Well, my Cannes journey started somewhere in second week of May 2016, but the actual preparations of course had begun in mid-April when I was offered the project to promote a film at Cannes festival. I was thrilled and wanted to grab it anyhow. Finally the deal was sealed and I got the film project. I was working in the capacity of a Publicist for a film which was being premièred at Cannes. Yeyy!! What more could one ask for? Lots of shopping followed the excitement 😉

As I embarked on my journey to Cannes, the first stop was Nice airport. It’s a small airport around 30 minutes by bus from Cannes. Coming out of the airport I waited for my bus to go to Cannes and made a quick call to the owner of the property where I was going to stay. My God! She did not know a single word in English; sentence would be way too much expectation. I somehow in my broken French asked “Parlez-vous anglais?” to which she replied “non”. Then I was not left with much option than to ask for her “adresse” (I don’t know why I start speaking English with a French accent when talking to the French people 😉 But the lady was smart enough to cut the call and make someone else call me up on her behalf who spoke good English.

Lesson learnt: Know basic French. It’s always helpful.

Ms. Singh Posts_Cannes2016_2Finally at Cannes, I took a cab from here to go to Mougins where I would be putting up for the next four days. The taxi driver was friendly and he did know little English. I reached the villa and after relaxing for about two hours I started my work. In the evening, I decided to take a walk as Europe is best explored on foot. The walk is also good to know about the nearby places like the café and pharmacy that I discovered in this area.

Now, the next day I arrived early at the Cannes film festival and went straight to the enquiry and badge collection counter. I must say that the volunteers at the festival were very friendly and adept in guiding about everything. Post that I went straight to the Palais de royal, the main building at the festival where I met lot of people and it’s good for networking with the Press too. Then there are pavilions where there is even more opportunity for networking. Then my colleague and I headed for the red carpet screening of a film. There I saw Cheryl Cole, Aishwarya Rai, French musician Jean-Michel Jarre and many more celebrities walking the red carpet. Soon after like many other people on the red carpet, my camera phone was up in the air to click numerous selfies. Wow! That was my red carpet moment!!

Ms. Singh Posts_Cannes2016_3

Cannes… It feels Nice to feel and experience the aura of Cannes… Lights, camera and behind the scene action that goes into Cannes… Pretty women who check your bags and sing Bollywood song “Jaane Tu”. Hefty bouncers who don’t know English but speak the language of smiles… Young men and women dressed in red carpet attires awaiting that elusive pass… Photographers who click  with passion making a celeb out of each well-dressed visitor.. Pizza and Pasta..  Life is Palais de royale at Cannes… The Crown on the royale head is the tall, lanky and handsome suited-booted Uber driver saying “Allo” with a drawl, and effortlessly lifting your luggage. Never mind that the Latest Mercedes in the market that seats eight is his next new acquisition!! And I haven’t even begun speaking of the movies, yet….

Anyway, I am not going to bore you with details of my Day 2 and so on but I would say that the following days went into sending emails, media calls, première of the film I was working on and even more work. But all in all it was a great experience. So my advice to all those who are related to the entertainment industry, Cannes is a “must-go” place for you.

And, Here is a small list with some useful tips:

  1. The best thing about being at Cannes is that you can totally be yourself and do whatever you wish to, nobody cares. And nobody is offended. As the festival brings together people from different nations at one place, it is more like a melting pot of cultures with no linguistic boundaries.
  2. But then do dress up in smart formal and no sleazy outfits please. Still if you do, you may put yourself at a risk of being asked for a coffee. You know what I mean…lol
  3. Every person with a camera is not Press but they are local studio photographers who will click about ten random pictures making you feel like a celebrity. Later they will hand over their studio cards and ask you to visit their shops to buy those pictures. Or worse they could be running a shady website. And I am sure you do not want your pictures to be there. So, do not pose for them.
  4. Not everybody in France or Cannes to be specific speaks English. Just as we do not speak French. So it makes sense to have some basic French handy “Parle-vous anglais?”
  5. Carry coins to be used in bus. Euros of course.
  6. Smile and greet ‘Bonjour’ more often, it doesn’t hurt.
  7. Go to counters directly and seek help. Do not believe to what people tell you. Thank everybody who helped you or advised you as you may need them again. Anyhow that’s a basic courtesy too.
  8. You can also travel and see places around Cannes. The French Riviera, Mediterranean climate, and friendly and helpful people all around makes it worth to explore the city. Get busy yachting and cruising!

And finally here is what happens at Cannes…..

BALCONY CONVERSATIONS

So, I have another Guest Post and guess what, again from my dear hubby. I see a budding writer in him and this particular post is one of my favourites. I simply love this and I am sure you will enjoy this conversation too.

And here’s the conversation…. 

I checked the corner of my balcony to see if the pigeons had again created their nest, finding the nest again this morning, frustrated I went into the kitchen, looking for the dust pan to throw the nest for the fourth time this week.

With the dust pan in my hand I moved to the balcony corner, to get over with this quickly. As I neared the nest the pigeons flew away on to the iron railings of the balcony. I bend over about to slide the dust pan below the pigeon’s nest, to pick the nest and throw it, the pigeons looked down helplessly.

Almost about to slide the dust pan under the nest, I heard someone say “wait, wait. Can we talk about this?”

Astonished who is this now, I looked around, not seeing anyone I again readied myself to slide it under the nest.

“It’s me the pigeon who spoke. Can we talk about what you are going to do?”

More astonished, I turned my gaze to the pigeon still sitting at the railings.

“Never knew pigeons could speak, but am glad you spoke, even I have felt quite helpless, and not finding any way I have resorted to throw out your nest as a last resort.” I said, now standing near the nest.

Ms. Singh Posts_Balcony Conversations_1“But you don’t have to do that, we harmlessly lie in this corner occupying what, not more than half a square foot of your place.”

“Its not your occupation which I have a problem with, it’s what you do after that, if you remember I even let you hatch two of your eggs without disturbing. It is your way of living which is causing me lot of problems, look around what a mess you have created with your droppings”, I gestured the area around where lot of their droppings were lying. “You create such mess here, and these days I see at least six to seven of you moving in this area, and lately pieces of your nest have been choking my drain”

“Okay, I hear that, I didn’t know your problems. But that’s how we pigeons live, and from what I know even you humans do. Like you, we also get visitors and friends at home.”

“Very well, in that case why not make your nest on a tree and live as you like.”

“Oh, you think so, look around and tell me how many trees do you see. Where are the trees you humans have left for us.”

I realised I have gone on weak ground here.

“There is no point complaining about each other here,” mulled the pigeon thoughtfully looking away from me. “Why don’t you tell me what are the things you don’t want us to be doing, so that you do not face any problems because of us.”

“Oh, but why can you not look for some other place to build your nest, I believe there must be many vacant places which you can find if you make an effort to look around.”

“Being presumptuous is a very big problem of your species sir,” said the pigeon being philosophical, “what do you think, we did not look for any other place and occupied your esteemed corner as the first option. You won’t believe how rare pigeon real estate is in this area, I can safely say it is no less dearer than yours.”

“Ok fine you did try and there are not many places left” I reluctantly agreed with the pigeon “but then why do you all have to reproduce so much to have such big numbers. I believe its because there is no one to make you their prey, no eagles, cats.”

“Again no fault of ours that. May be I can say you are the ones responsible for this.” Commented the pigeon. “So as I was saying earlier why don’t you tell us what is it that you have problem with and we will try not to do those things.” It tried to offer me an honourable exit path.

I kept the dust pan on the ground and was leaning on the door now. I realised these pigeons are not going to go anywhere, not because of anything else but because they do not have any other place to go. So I thought better get the bargain of letting them live my way, and I started with the rules.

“Fine I will let you live here but, and its a big but, with the following conditions. And you will agree that if you violate any of these conditions you will move out. The conditions will be, no pigeon droppings here you go find some tree or whatever place to relieve yourself, no groups of pigeons moving around here. If you agree to these terms I will let you live here.”

This was what the pigeon wanted, “That sounds good, we are fine with your conditions. And we will make sure that we do not do these things here, after all we are like neighbours and we should respect each others way.”

“Carry on then, and don’t give a chance for me to do what I was going to do today.” and I looked at the watch, it was 8:45 “I will have to go now, I am getting late for work.”

“Yes, sure have a nice day, and now you will have one thing less to worry about,” said the pigeon and jumped into the nest still lying in the corner.

BOOK REVIEW- ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’

There are books that you read and want to keep reading it, as if it should never come to an end. ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ is one such book. It’s a story about us, about our family and our everyday life. The author Anne Tyler has done a fabulous job in terms of her narration and making you feel a part of her story. No wonder it was short-listed for The Man Booker Prize 2015.

Before I proceed with the review, I must inform you that I have not yet finished reading the entire book. There are 465 pages in this book and I have stopped on page 275 with tears rolling down my cheeks, and compelled to share with you that how good this book is. It makes me have no control on my emotions. The way the characters are portrayed and circumstances presented, I just can’t stop feeling about it. You live through its pages. So far the book has kept me hooked and my emotions over-flowing. And of course, I will finish reading the book tonight.

So, the book is about a family with which you can relate so much that it feels it’s almost your story, your own family story. And maybe you will also pick up a character that is like you.  Like I could relate to quite a few characters with instances like when one of the children complains that his mother did not give him the much needed attention in her life, which she did but how as children we don’t realise it.

To me one of the other very relatable things in the book was about the family stories that travelled down through the generations. In fact there are popular stories in every family about our grandparents and even their parents that each family member hears them being told and retold any number of times. These are the stories that define a family. Here too in the book, these two stories are the very defining and quintessential for its members.

Later in the book, you learn more about the problems in the family and how each member tries to solve it in their own way. Each character is well defined and you would be able to relate further more with circumstances. The book succeeds in narrating stories of three generation.

At one place when one of the daughters Jeannie cries out saying “Oh, that makes me want to cry” on seeing another family at their beach vacation, it fills my heart with emotion. It certainly reminds me of how I have grown up looking up at my neighbours and how the same changes were seen in their families too. Their mother and father who were young at one time now have grey hair with change in facial muscles. Their kids have grown up as young adults and even their daughters now have husbands, just as my sister and I have. “Well, they’re us, in a way,” is one of the delicate yet painful lines.

Then comes the most touching part in the book. And that’s about how our lives should end with a goodbye. How we all think that we should be attended by someone before leaving this world. But life and death have their strange ways; they come unannounced and not as planned. People leave without saying a final ‘Bye’ to their loved ones.

It’s a light and easy read. You wouldn’t get bored but would want to know more with every flip of the page. I must say that it makes sense for every family to read this book as it will help understand situations and answer the unanswered questions in families.

5 Stars, totally recommended for every kind of reader.

IT ONLY TAKES A LITTLE EFFORT TO BE HAPPY

This weekend I thought of introducing a Guest blog on ‘Ms. Singh Posts’ blog. So I started to think about whom I should ask for contributing to the blog. Then it suddenly occurred to me that why not ask my dear hubby to do the honours. After all, he has written and contributed his articles to various blogs and forums in the past. So, why not here?

Ok, now let me introduce to you my hubby. Ranvijay works in IT for his living and cooks unique meals which satiate everyone’s taste buds. When he’s not working he is busy making mobile apps and games, meditating or running to prepare for a marathon.

And here’s a small story by him…

I had always found him standing there, since I had moved into this new place. He was a giant in every sense, big, strong, tough looking. I had not paid much attention to him, I was not avoiding or anything, it was more like never bothered. But as days passed and I would sit by the window, I would find him there, calm, relaxed, just there. I sometimes did even start to feel as if he was smiling at me, and without even being sure I started to return the smile.

I was the one new in that place. He was so used to being there; maybe he was even born there.

Anyway slowly I started to observe him more, and started to see the details how he would enjoy the sun, the breeze.

As happens anywhere if you spend too much time in a common place, you tend to start communicating with each other, and so happened here. When I would be free in the evenings after a tired day of work and stress, I would sit by the window on the sofa with my warm cup of tea. Some daylight still left, although the streets would be empty by now. He would be there still relaxed and may be with a smile, it was always difficult to make out, but calm and peaceful he would always be.

And I did not realise exactly when, but at some point the exchange of smiles led to conversations. Those solitary evenings by the window, I would speak and tell my story to him, how I was here for work, and how I like the way things are, and many times I don’t like them as well. He would just listen mostly nodding.

I just felt better speaking my heart out to him, may be one feels better by speaking one’s heart out to anyone. But given the way he would respond, and make you not feel you are being judged, made me feel even better.

Some time passed and I won’t say I started to look forward to the evenings, but I would say I did feel nice when it came about everyday. So as I said, some time had passed and then I realised that I have poured out almost everything of mine, well not everything, but yes the things I need to crib about, my ideas, my pains, the things which make me happy, the unhappiness in the world, the pity…etc… and he does listen to me and is always receptive and favourable to all I say, but how does he feel about things, I asked myself.

So one day instead of blurting out what I am feeling, what is happening with me, I asked him about himself, how does he feel? Does he not get bored, restless, angry at things, people around him.

He said “No, I don’t get bored even though I have lived my life here, every day, every hour, every moment there are so many things happening around me, beautiful things that I just observe and it gives me such immense satisfaction, I would not disagree that sometimes you have to make a little effort to be able to see those things.”

“One thing I have learned in my life”, he went on, “is that you have to stop looking inside, get out of yourself to enjoy, feel the goodness, share the warmth of the world. Do not think yourself as anyone special or if you are entitled to anything, you are as same as anyone. Same as the labourer you pity, the rude man you hate, the beggar you saw, it is just that your circumstances were slightly different and you turned up where you are.”

“So, what I try to do is stay where I am, appreciate what I have, and try to enjoy myself, whatever the situation around may be. Not wanting the things to be different than they are now, that is what I try to live by.” He finished.

I realised these were very simple things really, but things which we very often forget. I thanked him and decided to turn these little gems into my daily resolution, and to remind myself of this philosophy every morning.

I really felt deeply thankful, this was indeed enlightening and life changing, thank you my giant tree. I respect you and all the trees even more, the way you can stand relaxed, calm, never angry, and stay in a place enriching everyone around you and always giving, even in this insight.

Ms. Singh Posts_Guest Post_2