26 October 2008

The Heart of the Home: The Dining Room

The importance of the Dining Room is fast dwindling in families today. It is no longer the place to sit down with the family and share the day’s activities besides the family supper. It has instead become an extension of the kitchen with the table being used, more often than not, as a work surface with each family member arriving and spending no more time than required to gulp the cereal down and disappearing till the next meal. In short the room is no longer welcoming.

Time constraints alone can not be blamed for this sorry state of affairs. After all one can always find the time for things that are truly important. A family meal once a day should be important. It gives each member sitting around the Dining Table a sense of belonging. It helps you sit down together and catch up on what’s happening in everyone’s life. For this to happen the chairs must be inviting and so must the room. If you choose to make your Dining Room a meeting place rather than a store room your family will appreciate it.

A few cut flowers in a vase on the Dining Table may draw an appreciative comment. A Side Trolley with an assortment of goodies will be enjoyed by the kids. They will have to be reigned in from treating it as a race car when they push it in from the Kitchen to the Dining Room. As long as they have fun, they will return to the Dining Room with less fuss. In fact they might enjoy meals at the table more than meals with the TV.

The Challenge to create a family friendly Dining Room is yours. Pick the right furniture, choose the correct linen, and get the ambiance right. It is possible even if you have toddlers around who do not understand that the good crockery and cutlery have been laid out. Don’t be obsessed with expected breakages. You used to put in that much effort for a romantic dinner for two, so why not make it a pleasure to dine with the full family.

25 October 2008

Colours in the Home

Countless Studies have established that the Human Being is highly influenced by the colours that surround him. Your energy levels respond to colours that they see. The clothes and accessories you choose bear testimony to that fact. While neutral colours like grey and beige may do well for building exteriors the walls inside should have more vibrant shades. After all, the home is not a stark, sterile, white hospital. So painting a room can give it an instant pick-me-up effect.

Each room has a different energy need and so the color that it is painted can influence that need. Even the accessories that you use should be blended with the colour scheme. In the Bedroom you need soothing shades that help you feel rested and not psychedelic lights that give you nightmares. Those belong in a Disco. Similarly for the Dining Room don’t choose a dull grey that brings on the gloomy mood of a rainy day. Make it a colour that is slightly energizing. So what color do you make the Dining Room?

Choose what feeling you want to enforce in your home along with your individuality. After all each colour has a variety of hues and shades that you can choose from. In fact some companies offer to create a paint shade that will be all your own at quite a nominal cost. The curtains and furniture upholstery also help in creating the predominant shade influence.

Here are the basic colours and their attributes.
White – Simple and Elegant
Red – Energetic and Powerful
Orange and Yellow – Warm and Cozy
Lime Green – Fresh and Rejuvenating
Blue – Cool and Calm

Personally I prefer my anteroom to be a calm and welcoming area. I have a touch of white thrown in to complement the basic blue theme. It makes the room seem light on the eyes and friendly. Besides blue is my favorite colour.
There are shades of red and white blended into the bedroom. My study room has a rather cluttered look most of the time and is an area I really need to work on. My Child’s room has Red curtains but is balanced with a neutral shade carpet which also absorbs the dirt and dust that goes with the territory.

So check out the shades available and pick those which appeal to you and make each room in your home a visual treat.

22 October 2008

Disorder in American Courts

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: This myesthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
______________________ ________________
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shittin' me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh... I was gettin' laid!
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS : Are you shittin' me? Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 P.M.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?
And the best for last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law.

Enjoy!!!! No wonder the Yanks are in a depression. Financial and otherwise!

21 October 2008

Gwalior follows Mathura: Tank Ride, Palace and Fort

For my son his grandfather represents two major activities. The first is golf which both of them play with equal seriousness. The second is Tanks, which both of them enjoy a ride on anytime possible. So it was natural for my son to be very disappointed that Grandpa came to visit him without his golf bag. To make up to him for this horrible happening, Grandpa decided that a tank ride was in order. Unfortunately there are no tanks in Agra, so we traveled to the closest Tank Regiment located at Gwalior. This was also one of the two regiments that he had served with making the ride so much easier and accessible.

We drove down with my hubby at the wheel of his WagonR and made reasonably good time. The roads were bad only in one small patch where some construction work for a flyover was taking place. I feel all stretches of Indian roads have this problem these days. Still we had no reason to complain, as we met up with our guides (in a good old fashioned Jonga) and proceeded through the various twists and turns of the town into the Cantt and finally the Mess Guest Rooms.

After our arrival Dad had to go for Tea with the Officers and Men. So we hopped in with him and hoped to finish our tank ride as well. In the time that it took them to fix up the tank and take it out to the training area we were shown around the unit offices and then we were ready. We went in the Gypsy to the place where the tank was waiting for us and a cheer was sent up by my son. He was nice and eager for the ride, although Panda Book was still in his hands. The Uncle who was waiting for us took him up and gently dislodged the Panda Book from his hand and in his excitement over the ride he did not miss it!

We had a nice ride on the way out but on the way back the driver decided to pick up the pace and we had a howling baby on our hands. We had a nice photo session and the two YOs (Young Officers for the uninitiated) showed my husband the workings of the Tank and discussed mechanical details while I took my weeping baby off the monster and stood talking with the RM (Risaldar Major) who had last seen me as an eleven year old. Then we came back to report our trip to Nani Ma and have lunch before setting out to the palace.

The Scindhia dynasty has turned part of the ancestral palace into a museum. AS have almost all the royalty left in India to supplement their meager incomes not that this royal family has financial troubles. An active political presence has ensured that they still retain the power that they wielded for thirteen generations. The museum had some very interesting sections. I personally was enthralled by all their crockery and the cut glass train. More details on this on the other blog.

The evening was spent watching a light and sound show in Amitabh Bachan’s voice at Gwalior Fort. Quite interesting if somewhat distorted recap of history. After all the victor will write history. Then we came back to the mess and met up with the rest of the unit ladies and officers at a formal sit down dinner. More about this in the other blog as well specially since this has become a rather long post..

20 October 2008

Spike or Pillar

I have subscribed to Yaro's online journey and am quite fond of reading his blog. It gives me a lot of insight into what a blogger can and can not do.
It also makes an uninitiated person like me realise that blogging can be quite technical. Like for instance his Pillar Articles which he uses as timeless pieces of information available to a wide audience for a long time. On the other hand I find that most of the articles that I write are Spike.
Which for the rest of us is an article that generated short term interest and gets some traffic to the site but is not going to have a long term effect. Some how i prefer Spikes to Pillars.
Pillars are hard work and research while Spikes are fun and games and giving vent to my expression. So though I bow my head to Yaro's expertise i am still more inclined to Spike than Pillar.
Hope it made some sense to my readers...
After all most of you are as lost technically as I am! :)

11 October 2008

Hare Rama Hare Krishna

My parents were with us for a few days and we decided to take the opportunity to do a few excursions into neighbouring towns. It has been my experience that one never goes to places close by to do sightseeing till some one gives you a push. So here we were my parents, my husband my son and I all on our way to Mathura. Krishna Janam Bhoomi to be precise.

We met up with our local guide on the highway at Mac Donald's since it was the most prominent landmark we remembered from our drive to Agra from Delhi the year before. Then we proceeded to the room that they had so kindly arranged and freshened up before heading out to the temples.

The first one we went to was the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan. It was reminiscent of my visits to Ayodhya. The narrow lanes that you walk through are infested with monkeys that come and grab anything that you have in your hands, usually resulting in loss of whatever sweet you had brought to offer as prasad. The curtains were closed when we reached as the "Bhog" was on and we whiled away time chit chatting before the actual darshan.

We were let into the little enclosure up close to the gods and my son was picked up from out of my arms by the priest who took him right upto the altar to do his namaskar. WHich my little kutti kannan did without protest amazing all of us given his distrust of strangers. Then we did the mandatory parikrama and hopped out of there with our garlands and prasad.

Then we went to the ISKON temple at Vrindavan which is called the Sri Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir and houses the samadhi of the founder of ISKON. It was very clean as compared to the first one and had a predominance of white colour everywhere. Also in every corner we heard the chants of "Hare Rama Hare Krishna, rama rama, hare hare" the tune made world famous by Dev Anand. We picked up the Gita in English and a little Krishna Statue that now sits on my altar.

By the time we finished it was 12.20 and we were told that temples close down for the afternoon at that time till 4 in the evening and so we retreated to the room again for lunch and siesta. Once again we set forth for Krishna Janam Bhoomi temple. this is the prison where he was born. I found myself wondering how the guys who lived right next to the temple must feel. They could walk over everyday for darshan and must be plagued by the millions who come to pay their respects.

At the temple we got a guide from among the policemen who were guarding the shrine. He took us through the cell which he claims has not been changed since the time of Kansa, but which I seriously doubt. The masjid next door was also shown given its infamous debut some years back in the news. We saw a mechanical doll show giving us a dekho into all those mythological tales we heard as kids. Then a little tunnel walk again depicting scenes from Rama and Krishna's lives. All in all quite nice.

After this my son wanted to know if we were going home...and when told no we had to visit one more temple his direct-dil-se answer was "Kyon?" Anyway not withstanding his reluctance we headed out to the temple of Dwarkadhish. The king of Dwarka's court. We went through the entire length and breath of the old city winding our big car through small alleys and thanking the lord that the car was not ours but a fauji one.

We reached took our darshan and headed back to the car only to be waylaid by a guide who insisted on us going to the ghat of the Yamuna near by and showering us with the so called holy water. He also kept up a steady litany of what Krishana did where in that stretch of land before finally releasing us. We finished and headed back to the room only to stop near Brijwasi and pick up the famous pedas.

Then we were returning to the room to pick up our car and head back to Agra when the staff car decided to stop in the middle of the crowded road. So we shifted to the pilot gypsy and rode back much to the discomfort of the entire retinue assigned to us. They were feeling bad and we were enjoying the unexpected adventure. Eventually the car did catch up with us at the room just as we were leaving. The drive back was uneventful and this post is too long so will continue the Gwalior exploits in the next post.