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I saw this contest on Parul’s  blog and from there hopped onto YOEN’s contest . Reading some of the entries from there, I realized, that I wasn’t the only one who had some ridiculous experiences immediately after marriage 🙂 . Some of the others had it far worse 😀 .  Please do check out the links here .

Anyhow, this is one contest which is hard to ignore (not because of the free books, silly, well, maybe that too 😀 ) because, I think its time I put down my wonderful memories for posterity’s sake. Its not everyday that you go on a honeymoon, do you 😛 ?!!

So, without much ado, here’s my story –

It was Jan 2007, just a couple of weeks after our wedding. We had a houseful of guests and it didn’t seem right to jump off on a honeymoon when they were at our place, for us! So the minute the last of the relatives packed their bags and left, we packed ours too and headed off to Goa.

Winter – Goa….awesome combination 🙂 !!

We had a morning flight from Pune and reached there much before the actual check-in time at the hotel. I spent the time strolling out on the lawns, checking out the place that would be our abode for the next one week. The BF finally got the keys to our room, which was on the top floor of one of the hotel buildings and didn’t have an elevator. By the time I huffed my way up, I swore never to come down again. But after one look at the pretty studio apartment and the pool-view balcony, I was ready to forgive and forget.

The BF meanwhile switched on the TV, checked out the sports channels available and declared himself satisfied . He settled himself in front of the television set and asked me if I could get him something to drink 🙄 .

The first day, we went down to the hotel restaurant for lunch. It was empty, surprisingly, since it was already 1:30 pm and I had to drag the BF away from the TV.  Country bumpkins that we are, the term called “room-service” never clicked 😦 . Anyhow, there we were, hungry and alone, waiting for at least someone to come by and drop us a menu card. A waiter finally sauntered in, ramp-walked to our table and neatly tossed us the menu ‘book’. We looked at him, he looked back nonchalantly.

“Oh well, must be a Goa thing”, we mused and went back to perusing the menu.

1 plate paneer tikka (6 pieces) [sic]  — 300.00

1 sweet lime soda —150.00

Yep, those were the rates. We aren’t really the stingy types, but seriously , the menu card had us reeling. The only reason we shelled out 450/- on those meager items was because I had reservations about walking out, so ordered anyway. The BF refused to eat a bite at that place.

Believe me, the paneer tikka could have killed someone if aimed correctly at their head. The lime soda came in a wine glass. Of the smallest size.

Anyhow, what is food when one is in love and on a honeymoon?? We spent the next few days roaming the beaches, driving along the streets, sightseeing and honeymooning. For a little trouble, we started making our own mini-meals in the fully-equipped kitchen. It was  the perfect time of our lives. Well, almost.

The fourth day dawned nice and bright. We roamed around some more, met up with BFS’s mother and aunt, who were thrilled to see me and the BF and then found a nice restaurant where we could hop in for some quick lunch. The family seating was on the first floor and again, surprisingly, we were the only people there for a long time. Not that the food was expensive or bad. On the contrary, it was pretty good. Anyhow, post lunch, the BF paid up and we started walking down. Or rather, he walked down. I simply tripped on the hem of my skirt and went rolling down the stairs, banging my head every which way and finally reaching the landing, curled up in a ball. The BF, my knight in shining armour, kept yelling, “Arre, pakdo!!” to the waiters below, who, seeing a human canon-ball hurtling their way, just made sure that they stayed away from my path. Curiosity and the concern for their marble stair-case as well as the loaded trays in their hands, had them staring on in earnest.

Picking up my dignity, my torn skirt hem and then myself in that order, I stood up, indignant about taking help. Shouldn’t have bothered. None was forthcoming. For some reason, ‘Humpty dumpty’ started playing at the back of my mind. The BF was still rushing down the stairs, concern and giggles fighting for place on his face. Its amazing how fast I rolled down. The BF joked later that it was my weight that made for the quick trip. Of course, he said that well into the third year of our marriage 🙂 .

Anyhow, I was too conked out to talk much. We drove back tom the hotel where the BF bought some Iodex and spent some time massaging my sore spots. Those marble staircases hurt like hell!! He tucked me in and closed the door, so that I wouldn’t get disturbed. I spent a fitful time sleeping, not really deep asleep, but too tired and in pain to get up. Finally, I mustered the courage to trudge out and find the BF. Only, he wasn’t there. I called up his cell, no reply. I waited. And waited. And waited.

After 3-4 hours of waiting, he walks in. Sweaty, grimy and with sand pouring out of his hair.

“I had the BEST volleyball match on a beach, EVER!!”, he squealed.

“Oh really”, I took the cold b***h approach.

“Yeah! I had some local kids on my side and the other team had Russians and Germans! You should have been there…I played really well”.

“I couldn’t have been there, you know. Just in case you didn’t notice, I have a bump the size of an egg on my forehead”, I pointed to the aforementioned bump.

“Ohh, its still there?? Don’t worry. It’ll go away. Don’t think about it too much. You know, none of us could speak each other’s language. The local boys didn’t speak anything other than konkani. But still, we had a smashing game. You should have seen the crowd that came to cheer us”.

“I couldn’t have come”, I said, making sure each syllable was shot out like a missile. I also made sure that my eyes were glued to the TV.

“Oh ho…..never mind, so tell me, whats for dinner??”

It took him a fraction of a second to take that line back, else, there would have been only one person returning from that honeymoon. Me 😐

———————————

By the  seventh day of the trip, good cheer was restored once more. We went on a trip to Old Goa and visited all the churches and craned our necks to check out all the zillions of paintings! It was with a heavy heart that we went back to the hotel to pack-up. We had a train back to Pune in the afternoon. I suggested to the BF that we reach the station early, you know, just in case.

“There’s plenty of time babes”, he cooed and took me on another trip around Panjim.

After one last lunch and some sight-seeing we went back to the station. Only this time, the train had already left.

Apparently, the BF had mis-read the departure time of the train (D-uh!!). The worst part was that we were late to the station by mere minutes. The train was departing as we entered the station…..had we reached a few minutes earlier, we could have happily occupied our AC 2-tier confirmed seats ! Alas, we walked out, lost in our thoughts. I wondered again, how little I knew of this man whom I married after 8 years of ‘getting to know him’. Clearly, I was lacking in my efforts 😐 .

He, on the other hand, wondered if we could get a bus back to Pune at the earliest, since the next flight was next day evening.  So thats how we returned. By bus, over the bumpiest stretch of road I’ve ever been on, sitting towards the rear and then, realizing as we headed towards Pune , that it was still winter back home!! In our Sun, Sand and Goa stupor, we had packed the jackets and sweaters in the suitcases which now rested on the bus’ roof.

We reached home at 5 AM, frozen, tired  and bronzed. The last thought I had as I crashed out, was that I wasn’t honeymooning with this man again, unless of course, I plan the entire agenda myself and then took the reigns to execute it too.

Its been nearly 6 years since.

We haven’t honeymooned again 😐

So folks, this is my tale. Care to share your’s??

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Here are the pictures and recipes of our prize winning entries for the cookery competition at work last week.

Frankly, I had intended to do a big and long dramatized version of the two evening’s events, but unfortunately, I have a VERY early morning tomorrow (need to leave at 6AM for an out of town engagement) and I received all the pics by noon today. Though I had the time, I also had two tornadoes to handle and switching on the laptop in their presence is like entering a tiger’s cage with raw meat in your hands 😐

Anyhow, I’ll start with the first round and then go on to the second round.

Here goes then –

Round 1

Mocktail : Splitzy Splash

Ingredients :

Almond Syrup (or any transparent almond flavoured syrup)
Kiwi Squash (we used Mapro)
Limca
1 Lemon
Crushed Ice
Fresh cream
Cherries, Lime slices, apple and fresh cream for garnishing.

Procedure :
Pour 1 Teaspoon almond syrup at the bottom of the mocktail glass.
Add 1 large teaspoon of Kiwi squash over the almond, pouring gently.
Squeeze half a lemon over the kiwi squash.
Top the glass with crushed ice.
Gently pour Limca over the ice making sure that the Limca does not rise over the existing crushed ice levels.
Beat fresh cream and gently place a dollop in the centre of the glass, right over the ice.
Decorate the glass with lemon slice and cherries. Provide a stirrer just before drinking.
Enjoy 🙂

Splitzy Splash

So immersed were we in wrapping up our work in time that it never occurred to us to click snaps. This particular snap was taken nearly an hour after the mocktail was made, by which time the cream had melted away and our dear apples were on the verge of drowning :(. Luckily, the judges arrived in time to appreciate that little effort with the apple (by me) and those cute stirrer flowers by my teams mate DiCh 🙂

Chaat : Jhatpat – Chatpat

Ingredients :
3 Types of base – Pani puri, papdi chat and Monaco biscuits.
Green coriander chutney
Tamarind Chutney
Fresh curd
1 Onion finely chopped.
1 tomato finely chopped.
Coriander finely chopped.
2 boiled potatoes
1/2 cup of boiled black gram (kala chana) .
1/2 cup sev.
Salt, chaat powder, chilli powder.

Procedure :
Mash the potatoes with the black grams. Add salt,chaat masala and chilli powder according to taste.
Make a hole in the puris used for Panipuri and stuff it with the potato mix.For the puris used for Papdii-chaat, place the potato mix over it. The same goes for monaco biscuits.
Once the puris are done, decorate with green coriander chutney, tamarind chutney and curd. Top it all with a little bit of sev
Arrange on a platter.

Jhatpat Chatpat

The pic is not very clear, kindly excuse 😐 I have better pics in my cellphone, but don’t have a cable to download it. Confession here, my only contribution to this dish is in chopping the veggies and also making that centerpiece rose 😀 . I have never really made chaat before and this dish belongs to my two diligent team mates 🙂 .

Apparently, the judges liked what they saw, enough to get us through the first round at least 🙂

Close Inspection by the judges!!

PS : Thats me on t he left. Had to cut out my snap because I’ve rarely looked this hot, sweaty and flustered in public 😦 (Blame it on the air-conditioning in the cafeteria that was turned out at 6:30 pm itself. By the time the judges arrived at our table, it was 8 pm 😦 )

—————————–

Round 2

Dessert : Gorge-ous

Ingredients :
1 Eggless cake
Fruits : Apple, mango,peaches,kiwi,cherries,sweetlime
1 bottle maaza
Fresh Cream
Raspberry jelly
Chocolate syrup (Hersheys)
Kiwi squash
Strawberry squash
Dry fruits and nuts

Procedure:
cut away the brown sides, base and top of the cake. Crumble it coarsely.
Chop the rest of the cake in 1 cm cubes and pour a little Maaza on them (not too much though, don’t want the cake to become entirely soggy)
Add a spoon or two of this crumble to the dessert bowls.
Add a layer of chocolate syrup.
Pour a little fresh cream over it.
Add a few pieces of peaches over the cream. Top it with a little Kiwi squah.
Pour cream over it.
Add the cake cubes. Top it with fresh cut mango cubes.
Pour cream.
Add chopped apples. Top it with scoops of jelly.
Pour cream.
Decorate the top layer as you like with cherries, dry nuts, jelly and squashes.

Gorgeous

Once again, the judges appreciated the decoration and those pretty spoon flowers made by my team mate 🙂

Side Dish : Cous Cous Hota Hai
Ingredients :
1 packet (250 gm) Couscous
Capsicums : Red, Green and Yellow.
2-3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2-3 lemons
1 cup chopped cabbage
2-3 chopped babycorns
1 chopped tomato
1/2 cup cream cheese (Amul cheesespread would do)
1/2 cup olives (green and black). Set aside a few for decoration.
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1 packet Tortilla chips

Procedure:
Soak the Couscous in boiled water with half a lemon, 1 teaspoon Extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste.
Set it aside.
Finely chop halves of the green, yellow and red capsicums.Add them to a bowl. Add the juice of 1 lemon to it.
Chop the babycorns, olives and tomatoes to the capsicum. Toss it well.
Add the cream cheese to this mixture so that the vegetables are evenly covered.
Add the couscous. Mix well.
The mixture should be in ‘upma’ consistency. Since our dish was served to the judges an hour after it was prepared, it had dried out.
To prevent this, you can also add a spoon of salad dressing to the mixture.
Chop the cabbage and the rest of the capsicums.
Add the couscous mixture to the centre of the serving dish. Surround it with the chopped cabbage and capsicum mix.
Surround the cabbage with the Tortilla chips.
Top the couscous with olives for decoration.
Drizzle some olive oil over the mixture just before serving.

CousCous Hota Hai !

Thankfully, the judges had heard of couscous (unlike the rest of the populace who kept wondering what this secret item is all about. Once the judges left our table (after spending less than 5 mins with us), the audience demolished the couscous in minutes 🙂

Frankly, we were disappointed by the judges’ reactions. They spent far more time on other people’s tables than our’s. In fact, we had to force them to take at least a bite of the dessert 😐 . There were other tables where the judges had spent close to 20 mins!! We were a little disappointed initially but our mood was cheered up instantly when we saw that our entire project team had come to cheer us on 😀

These were some of the dishes made by other teams :-

As you can see, these dishes were far more attractive and tempting than our’s. When the results were announced (starting from the two consolation and 3 positions), we were expecting the above entries to win. After the consolation prizes were called out, we dropped all pretense of expecting anything. It was clear that if we didn’t get the consolation, we weren’t getting anything! After the 2nd Runner up was announced, we even turned back to clean up our table and wrap up for the day.

So you can imagine our delight when at the 1st runner up position, our team was announced 🙂

The trophy and the smiles 🙂

The medal and the Trophy

It was much later that I found out the true reasons for our win  Teamwork + Effort + Taste !!

The judges were impressed with the efficiency with which we three went about our work.

Preparing the ingredients for chaat

They appreciated our neat table and the extra work we had put in. Most of the other teams had come prepared beforehand. Like the two dishes above. They were prepared at home and decorated during the competition. We were the diligent ones to actually start from scratch, right from peeling onions to plucking coriander 🙂

Anyhow, this win would have been impossible without the contribution and efforts of Dich and RuSo.

So thanks Girls…it was wonderful to be a part of your team 🙂

Love you all 🙂



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Yippee…..

My FIRST. WIN. EVER!!

La la la la la…..tra la la la la…la la la la….. *going round in circles*…..tra la la la la la la…….

Ok. I’m a wee bit dizzy with all this singing and dancing 😀

And oh, to clear the air, I’m one of the winning entries for Parul’s contest  and this is what I won :-

 

Mucho hugs to Parul and  err…. a virtual hand-shake to M (thanks a lot for selecting my post 😀 )

And yeah, hearty congrats to all those who won….and even those who didn’t. Because all your entries were worth a read. I really enjoyed doing this post and its obvious that you did too 🙂

The complete list of entries is here.Go and have your share of laughs before Diwali 🙂

*going around in circles once again*

…tra la la la la la la la ….dum dum dum..la la la …yoohooo hoooo…..la la la la la ……



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By The Water Cooler !!

Yep.

Those exclamations are justified. At least when it comes to me and my ‘office’ experiences. Foot-in-the-mouth-itis is a common ailment I suffer from. And now that Parul has opened a gateway to get hold of her book (pretty please , I Luuuurve your blog. Could you send that book over? No? You prefer reading the post first? Oh well. You asked for it 😀 ), I have no choice, but to disclose my office escapades (if you call it that, since I’m still employed (and not thrown out yet!!) ).

Here goes  –

—————————————–

FITM 1

So we are all sitting in a conference room, having a call with our on-site coordinators. The call goes on and on and on and everyone on this side is getting fidgety, eager to get out of the ice-cold conf-room and get back to their work.

But no one says anything. The on site coordinator drones on like a cassette recorder whose stop button doesn’t exist. I lose track of the content and in order to stay awake, concentrate on  a game of Sudoku from a friend’s mobile.

“…….and specially, we don’t want defects being raised from module <module_name> . We wont get any thanks for just the number of defects. Try and focus on….blah blah…blah….. Have I made myself clear? So <my_name>(who does all the defect-raising)), what do you have to say for it?”

And me, who was busy dozing, caught only two words out of the entire content….”Thanks” and “<my_name>”.

So obviously, being the generous person that I am, I said, “Thats not a problem , you are most welcome. I’ll make sure that we capture all defects from module <module_name>. And yeah, please don’t thank me for it. After all, its a part of my job profile. Ha Ha Ha”.

Silence.

More silence.

Client : I’d like to talk to <my_name> after this call.

Silence.

Shit!!

*************

FITM2

Once again, seated in a conf-room (I tell you, the root of the problem lies in these rooms. Its the atmosphere!!), tele-conferencing with the client (the same one with whom I’ve interacted with for the last ONE YEAR). The entire team is present, a major brainstorming session is in progress, when the client (on the other end of the line) , lets call him Ramesh, asks for my suggestion.

Me : I was thinking Suresh, what if ….

Here, I heard a lot of disturbance around me and people looking at me as if I’d lost it.

Me : (pressing the mute button) What?!!

A colleague : Dumbo, he’s Ramesh.

Me : Aarghh..Shit. Did I say Suresh?! Drat it (switching on the microphone again) Err…sorry about that Suresh, I got your name wrong.

Silence.

Me : Shit.! !! Ooops Sorry. Err…umm…Ramesh, okay, so as I was saying…blah blah…

(after some time)

Client : The plan seems fine, how about the estimations?

Me : We can do like this Sur….Ram….Sur…Ram….Suresh…Dammit!!

Thud. Thud. Thud.

(that was me banging my head against the table)

Client : Ummm….My name is R-A-M-E-S-H. Until now I had no idea it was a tough name to remember.

Me : (now the butt of laughter around the room) Really sorry about that Suresh. Sheesh!! Gosh. I need a break. Sorry to interrupt, but it’s not my lucky day today. Kindly excuse me.

By now, everyone was doubling over with laughter….yeah, even my manager 😦

Client : (to my receding back) By the way, WHO is Suresh??

And you know what?? I have no idea 😦 . I don’t know ANYONE named Suresh. I’ve NEVER had a colleague OR a classmate by that name. I’m still not sure what happened that day 😦

************

FITM3 (well NOT technically, but more a case of bad timing)

This was when I was a relatively new employee. Also, I was new to chatting (at least on the chat-engine types 😀 )

So here I am, chatting with BFC on yahoo. I complain to her that my lead is a snotty oaf and she’s driving me up the wall. BFC is full of compassion and sympathy.

A while later, the lead calls out to me regarding some new work. I’m not sure how to do it. So she comes over to my desk. And while we are working on the issue, a pop-up from yahoo messenger appears on the screen. From BFC. Containing the text , ” Is your stupid lead still troubling you?”

Damn!!

The lead saw it. I saw it. Since she had the control over the mouse, I could only wait for the pop-up to disappear. Though my lead didn’t say anything then, she was royally ticked off. She made it a point to harass me to the extent of leaving the company, but that’s another story 🙂 .

**************

FITM4

I had a colleague and manager , in the same project who shared the same name. Lets call them both Ashish.

I was sitting late in office (since the manager wanted to review a mail, but he had conveniently left for dinner ) twiddling my thumbs for him to return. At one point, I was so ticked off that I ranted to my friend Ashish (not the manager) on chat. The crux of what all I typed was ,”Our Manager is a jerk. I’m so sick of him bossing me around that I almost plan to report him to the Delivery Head”.

And as usual, I sent it to THE manager himself.

Aaahhh…..!!

The matter was shoved under the carpet with the manager and me pretending it never happened. Though ALL my friends had come to know of the incident and were laughing themselves silly over me.

Luckily, there was no action taken. I quit within a few weeks……it was all the pressure of something NOT happening 😀

***********

BTW, a quick refresher course on the rules of the contest :-

  • You need to write a post telling a story or an anecdote based in an office. It could be about you, your spouse, kids, neighbour, whoever – it just needs to be based in an office. It can be funny, serious, somewhere in between, but it needs to be based in an office. It can feature a single protagonist or multiple characters, but it…yes, I know, you got it.
  • You need to link to her post
  • You need to put By The Water Cooler in the title of your post
  • You need to leave her a link to your post in the comments section
  • If you don’t have a blog, leave her your entry in the comments section and it will be counted

Good luck 🙂



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