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Passport Woes : Help Needed

Dear Blog Friends,

My passport expires this December and I need to get it re-issued at the earliest.

Since I’m working in a far-off place now, I cannot make trips to the passport office and hired the services of a travel agency to help me out. The agency filled out my online application and submitted the challan for 1500/- to SBI. Since I had applied for Tatkal, they charged me a fee of 700/-.

Now, my concern is, I need to submit a Verification Certificate along with my documents. Obtaining the Verification letter by itself is not the impossible task. It is difficult because I don’t have the required contacts, but I’m sure I can work out something. Point is, when I checked online, the passport website mentioned that I also need to submit a self-attested affidavit on non-judicial stamp-paper. This is something that the agency did not inform me about. When I called them up, the guy at the other end said that I need to go to the passport office and confirm whether I need the verification letter in the first place.

I need to change two major details in my passport – My name (changed from maiden to married one. This is something I never wanted to do, but the passport office guys made me change it in all my documents when we were getting the twin’s passport made) and my current residential address . I underwent a police verification check last time for address verification. Since I’m now applying for a new passport with a new address, I’m assuming that police verification is a must. I’ve been told that the Verification Letter can bypass the police verification.

The agency guy also told me that I can check with the passport office if I need a VC in the first place. If police verification has already happened before, then I might not need to submit a VC. This has confused me a lot! Isn’t a police verification mandatory for every address change? And isn’t that why we need to furnish a VC? Everytime I call up the agency, they ask me to go to the passport office and verify the details. I’ve asked them multiple times if they can at least find out these details themselves and let me know. They refused, saying that they don’t have the authority to do so.

The reason I approached the agency in the first place was because I did not have the time to run to the passport office myself. Am not sure if the agency simply fooled me into paying them for their services or is this what the current procedure is?! Right now, they are waiting for me to collect all the documents (part of which they didn’t even tell me were needed) and let them know so that they can book a submission date at the passport office.

My problem is, I need someone to tell me what exactly is the right procedure to get a new passport under tatkal scheme and what documents are required for it. There are a lot of “IF” and “OR” clauses in the website that has me confused. The agency is no help either.

So if anyone has faced anything in Pune or anywhere else in Pune, please guide me to the quickest way to get this done!
Also, the website mentions that the verification letter needs to be from a Class 1 Gazetted officer. It does not mention whether the officer has to be from the same state. Is it okay if I obtain the letter from somewhere else other than Pune??

I’ll be much obliged ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks!

Edited to Add :-

I’m indebted to Sheetal for sending me such a wonderfully composed document for re-issuing of Passport under tatkal scheme. Girl, I’m seriously grateful ๐Ÿ™‚

So detailed is her her document that I want to post it here so that anyone of you who has any confusion/doubts can benefit from it. So here goes :-

===================

Everyone comes across a time in their life, when there is going to be a travel abroad, you want things to fall in place well in time and BANG! The passport is either not there, or expired or needs some amendment.
I went through the same too.
Then is the time you start searching the internet for all kinds of information regarding passport application and see how can you apply for one, how long does it takeโ€ฆ etc. and come across โ€˜Tatkal Passportโ€™ application.

Internet is flooded with information, but most of it is personal experience, which might or might not suit you exact needs.
Well this also is from personal experience, but I will try to keep it as generic as possible.

I applied for a passport re-issue under the Tatkal scheme. It is advisable to apply for a re-issue before the expiry date of you passport, however, you can apply for a re-issue until 1 year after the expiry. After that itโ€™s treated as a fresh passport.

How to apply for a Tatkal Passport: (Re-issue of a passport)

1. Go to https://passport.gov.in/pms/Information.jsp Read the instructions and then continue.
2. Fill the application form correctly, and fill all fields. DONOT keep any fields blank as the fields provided there are scanned and they cannot be hand-written.
3. Once done submit your application. The next page will show you your file number and have an appointment date associated to it. Please note this file number. [This is useful incase you want to print your application form again, if you forgot to save/print it]
4. Choose a suitable appointment date and continue. You can visit the passport office on your appointed date and time or till a fortnight there after, i.e, you can go for you application on the appointed date-time or till 15 days after the appointment date-time. If you fail to go within 15 days, then you have to refill the form and take a new appointment. Old application/application no will be discarded.
5. Once done a PDF will be displayed. Save this file. This is your application form that will be needed to be carried to the passport office.
6. Fields that are filled in this form by default are no to be overwritten or cancelled.

Fill the rest of the blank fields where every applicable. Parts not applicable should be filled as โ€˜NAโ€™.

Now comes the part of collecting the required documents for Tatkal passport. A lot of websites and the http://passport.gov.in itself lists the documents, but sometimes itโ€™s rather confusing.

Documents:
1. Photographs โ€“ 3 at least and keep another 2 handy. On a white or light background and your ears should be visible (else they think you are deafโ€ฆ Seriously โ€ฆ Do deaf people not have ears?!?)

2. Identity proof. PAN Card/Driving License will do.

3. Address Proof: Ration Card/Electricity Bill/Nationalized Bankโ€™s Passbook will do.

If you have changed your residential address in the last 3 years, then you need proofs of each address that you stayed in.

If you are applying for a name change in your passport, you will need the appropriate documents to support the name change, like an affidavit or marriage certificate (divorce letter etc.)

Then comes an affidavit โ€“ annexure I. This is required only for people applying under the Tatkal scheme.

1. The annexure I is a form executed (printed) on a Rs. 100 non judicial stamp paper and signed by a notary. (There is nothing special about a non judicial stamp paper, you can get it at the Council Hall or other advocates easily. They will charge you somewhere between Rs 120 to Rs 150 for a Rs. 100 stamp paper).

2. The signature of a notary is important. The notary will usually print it out for you on a Rs. 100 stamp paper and stamp and sign it for you. You need to attach your photograph where the notary stamps/signs the affidavit.

a. This whole process should not cost you more than Rs. 200 or Rs. 225 if done prior to you appointment and from outside the passport office. (Some known notary or from the council hall in Pune etc)

b. If this is done a the passport office, this will cost you Rs. 350 to Rs. 400 as they will charge you for the urgency and need too

Now the next set of documents is another one for the Tatkal scheme. There is another annexure F that could be attached. This document is NOT a necessity. This verification certificate (annexure F) can be seen as the one here: http://passport.gov.in/cpv/ANNEXUREF_vc_tatkaal.htm

If one cannot get the annexure F (because it needs the signature of some top officials which is not readily available), they can submit 3 out of a list of 14 documents:

The applicant also has the option to obtain a passport under Tatkal Scheme on submission of three documents from the Fourteen documents as mentioned below, provided one of the three documents is a photo identity document and at least one of the three is amongst the documents indicated at (a) to (i) and a standard affidavit (Annexure โ€œIโ€) on non-judicial stamp paper duly attested by a Notary:

(a) Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC);
(b) Service Identity Card issued by State/Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, local bodies or Public Limited Companies;
(c) SC/ST/ OBC Certificates;
(d) Freedom Fighter Identity Cards;
(e) Arms Licenses;
(f) Property Documents such as Pattas, Registered Deeds etc.;
(g) Rations Cards;
(h)Pension Documents such as ex-servicemenโ€™s Pension Book/Pension Payment order, ex-servicemenโ€™s Widow/Dependent Certificates, Old Age Pension Order, Widow Pension Order;
(i) Railway Identity Cards;
(j) Income Tax Identity (PAN) Cards;
(k) Bank/ Kisan/Post Office Passbooks; – copy of the first page showing the name and address and also a copy of the passbook entries.
(l) Student Identity Cards issued by Recognized Educational Institutions;
(m)Driving Licenses; and
(n) Birth Certificates issued under the RBD Act.

Make 2 sets of each document and arrange it in order for ease at the application center.

Carry the originals of the documents for the appointment. You might just need it!

Thatโ€™s all the documents you need. Phew!

Now comes the main part of going to the passport office.

If you reside in Pune, then you will have to be at the passport office at 7 AM in the morning irrespective of the appointment time. There will be a HUGE queue otherwise and you might not be able to submit your application. The passport office opens at around 10 am and is open till 12:30 pm.

1. Once the passport office opens, a guard will check your application and let you in. No backpacks allowed from here on.
2. Once you are in, another officer will now scrutinize your form and see if all applicable fields are filled properly.
3. He will then print a window number on your form. You will now have to go and stand in another line for your turn at that window no.
4. Once you turn comes, the officer at the counter will check your documents and order and verify them with the originals.
5. He will then ask you for the fee, which is Rs. 1000 for application and Rs. 1500 for Tatkal. โ€“ Rs. 2500 total.
6. Once he is satisfied, Yiippeee!!!, your application is submitted!
7. He will now give you a receipt, which will help you track your application online (though this is not truly at par with the actual status).
8. Your old passport will be stamped as canceled and returned to you.
You are now free to go. The passport will be dispatched to your address once its ready.

If the re-issue of a passport, within the expiry period did not have an address change or a name change (with respect to your old passport), then no police verification is required and your passport will be at your doorstep within 8-10 days (mine came in exact 8 days).

If there is some address or name change (with respect to your old passport), there might be a police verification required and you might need to visit the local area police station for the same. Usually at the police station, once the questionnaire of the inspector is over, he might ask you for a bribe. You ARE NOT REQUIRED to the bribe, since itโ€™s his duty to hand over the report to the passport office. He might threaten you that he will reject the application or delay it, but after a certain point in time, he has to send it to the passport office. If you arenโ€™t in any urgent need, avoid the bribe!

Once the police verification is done, itโ€™s waiting period, until your passport arrives at your doorstep which usually shouldnโ€™t be more than 2-3 weeks. If it takes longer, you will need to visit the passport office again (at the enquiry counter). The phone numbers on the site donโ€™t work!

I hope this helps at least someone in getting the passport ๐Ÿ™‚

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Since I wasย  a part of the Scout/Guides troops in school, Independence and Republic Days are very close to my heart. It wasn’t about the hours of marching we had to do. It was more about the freedom to bunk boring lectures, march in the sun during chilly winters (those classrooms were morgues!!) and be entitled to a bag of goodies (refreshments, we called them) after the practice. Needless to say, I didn’t mind a minute of all that Left-Right-Left ๐Ÿ™‚ !! Somewhere in my cupboard in B’lore, I still have my uniform, the indigo blue frock, brown leather belt, the tightly wound rope that hangs from the belt, the scarf, the line-yard and the beret.

My most wonderful memory of Republic Day has to be in the one in the year 1990. Though I was a Guide, in those days I also used to be a member of the school choir. Which meant, endless hours practicing welcome songs for the chief-guest along with the sessions of march-past, which means, an entire day off from classes ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ !!!

Anyhow, so there we were, soaking in the warm sun, waiting for the chief guest to arrive. For the life of me, I cannot recollect who the person was. I just know that he looked snooty and acted the part. He came in late but we were okay with it….we had come to school around 7AM and given the terribly chilly Bhatinda winter, standing for hours in the sun seemed like a boon. The chief guest arrived sometime around 8:30-9:00 AM. We sprung up from our chairs and lustily sang some welcome number. After the usual welcome speech by the Principal, it was time for the flag hoisting. The school band was in attention, itching to play the National Anthem as soon as the flag fluttered high. The chief guest stepped over to the podium, the sports teacher handed him the rope.

We waited with baited breath.

The chief guest tugged at the rope.

Nothing happened.

He tugged harder.

Nothing happened.

He tugged with all his might.

The by now severed rope gave way and the bundled flag landed on the chief guests head with a loud “Thump”.

A thousand plus children laughed uproariously while a miffed Principal yelled over the mike to “Keep quiet” and “Haso mat!!” Haso mat!! Indeed!! Was it even possible?!!

The Chief guest was seriously ticked off and the sports teacher, who had tied that unfortunate knot, was almost bent double, apologizing profusely ๐Ÿ™‚ . The music teacher started the harmonium, which was cue for the band to start playing and for us to start singing. So yeah, even though we didn’t ‘hoist’ the flag, we had our Republic day ๐Ÿ™‚ .

After that incident, each time I visit any flag-hoisting ceremony, I somehow keep wondering if the flag will open or just land on someone’s head ๐Ÿ˜€ย  . This in no way is an indication that I disrespect the flag, its just that having the flag give the chief guest (specially if its those kinds who think they are doing the rest a big favour) a nice public ‘spanking’ , is a thought too delicious to ignore ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, this year, I decided to take the twins along to my office, which hosts the flag-hoisting ceremony twice a year. The Chief guest is none other than the MD himself and the crowd is the usual one which comes every year. The preparations to take them along were started a week in advance. The twins were so eager that they were ready to sacrifice their sleep on a Saturday morning.

We left for my office around 8:30 AM (the old office actually. I now sit in the new office building at a different location). The twins were so excited that they didn’t even want their morning milk!. Once at the office, I realized that hardly a couple of employees had brought their kids along. My kids, not the ones to keep their opinions to themselves, wondered aloud how long they would have to stand around. I did a lot of “Shhh”, but obviously they are immune to that sound. Lui was social enough to shake hands with my friends and even talk to some seniors. Shobby hid himself behind my dupatta ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The actual flag-hoisting was a short affair. The twins kept disturbing me as I was singing the National Anthem…Shobby insisted loudly, “Mummy…please aap gao mat !!” Yes, everyone around now knows what my child thinks of my singing skills ๐Ÿ˜ . Anyhow, once the parade by security guards went by, we trooped inside for a hot cup of tea. I took a few snaps, posting them here :-

P1080103

P1080102

Shobby decided to dig his nose just as I clicked :(

Shobby decided to dig his nose just as I clicked ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Try as I might, the two refused to salute!

Once inside, they sat down with their cups of tea and quietly sipped at it. A few people came around to meet them, thankfully my children were well mannered and cordial with them all!

P1080109

Behind the water glass

The twins took a fancy for the water glass. They were stuck there for ages. I had to literally drag them away from there. A friend clicked this snap for me –

P1080108Don’t ask me why Lui’s bent like that ๐Ÿ˜

While leaving, I took the kids outside to a tiny garden maintained by my company

P1080110

The twins ran around for a while and then we left for home. On the way, the twins insisted they wanted the stick flags (those paper flags with a windmill attached to it). I bought two and we went back home.

Throughout the day, I reminded the children about the flag-hoisting and how we were free people now compared to being slaves earlier (blah blah blah… am sure it went over their heads). Each time, they nodded their heads sagely, excited only when they remembered the shower of petals from above, something they both LOVED on sight ๐Ÿ™‚

Overall, it was a day nicely spent. I felt glad that I did my duty as an Indian.

Towards evening, Shobby’s paper flag tore (both the kids were using their sticks as swords). He came running to me with the torn paper in his hands. “Mummy, this is broke”, he said and then holding out the piece of paper, added further,”Yeh kya hai?”

“Oh no!! This is the flag baby!!”

He looked at the windmill on the stick with a puzzled look.

“Toh, yeh flag nahin hai??”

*Sigh*

Some lessons still need to be taught !!

๐Ÿ˜

 

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Men Will Be Men

This morning, I was chatting with my project mates when the topic of Shah-Rukhย Khan’s latest film, “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” came up. This is how the conversation went :-

Colleague 1 : Trailorย gives away the entire movie. Shah Rukh is looking old now.

Colleague 2 : Haan…buddha ho gayaย hai.

Me : Of course!! He’s nearly touching 50 now.

Colleague 1 : But so is Salman. But he doesn’t look that old.

Me : Thats because he doesn’t have any responsibilities. He doesn’t have a wife or kids.

Colleague 2 : But Aamir Khan has two wives!! AND children. But he still looks young!

Me : Correction. Aamirย Khan has just one current wife. He was divorced from his first one.

Colleague 2 : But you forget, Aamir has three children!!

Me : I agree…but….

Colleague 1 : Hmmm…so the secret is this. If you want to look young, you either don’t marry or if you do, make sure you marry many times.

Colleague 2 : I agree…..the more a man marries, the younger he becomes.

Colleague 1 : Sahiย haiย yaar….ek wife aadmiย ko buddha karย detiย hai!!

At this point, the guys guffaw loudly and high-five each other, whereas I can only stare on in shock!!

Seriously, when will guys grow up??

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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 ๐Ÿ˜

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜ 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ . I have never really made chaat before and this dish belongs to my two diligent team mates ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Apparently, the judges liked what they saw, enough to get us through the first round at least ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ (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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )

—————————–

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜ . 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

The trophy and the smiles ๐Ÿ™‚

The medal and the Trophy

It was much later that I found out the true reasons for our winย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Love you all ๐Ÿ™‚



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We Won! We Won!! We Won!!!

We didn’t come first though.
But we did come in SECOND!!!
๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
*skipping around my cubicle*
Yay Yay Yippee Yippee Yay Yay!!!

Whew!
*gasp*
*Wheeze*
*Plonking on my chair*
Doesn’t suit my age to skip so much ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I’m off on a tangent here and I’m sure most of you would wonder what I’m rambling about !
Let me clarify. We had a cooking competition at work. After a lot of ‘hmmmm’ and ‘hawwww’ I registered my name along with two more members (Thanks DiCh and RuSo).
The rules were such :-
– No in-flammables allowed (no gas, no induction plates, no electric cookers, etc)
– No completely cooked product from home (partially boiled stuff allowed).
– Two dishes : 1 Mocktail and 1 Chaat (of our choice).
– Points for presentation, cleanliness and team-work.
– 1 Hour to prepare everything.
The second round had the same rules but different menu – 1 Dessert and a side-dish of our choice.
Needless to say, we barely knew any dishes that didn’t require cooking in the conventional way ๐Ÿ˜ . Somehow, we rustled up these in the two rounds :-
1 Mocktail : Splitzy Splash
1 Chaat : Jhatpat Chatpat
1 Dessert : Gorge-ous
1 Side-Dish : Cous Cous Hota Hai.

Apparently, the judges liked our efforts enough to award us the second place (out of 10 teams ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

Right now I’m too caught up with completing the work I ignored in the frenzy of the competition.
I’m getting back to my excels and reports now…..For the snaps and detailed recipes of all these dishes, will do another post ;).
Please do come back ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,



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I’ve been cribbing about my job for ages now!
Its not as though I hate it (that would come as too strong). I like it. But thats just about it.
A long time back, when I was in college, I found out, to my utter delight that I’m a very outdoor-sy person. You know, the kinds who has to run about for chores – buy some stuff, pay the bills, get hold of an electrician, etc.
It is rather funny that a person who has difficulty sitting in one place for more than 15 minutes, choses to join a field where she has to sit in one place for hours at a stretch. There was a time when I would be sitting at my desk at 8 in the morning, just to get up at 12 for lunch. There was loads to do at work. I was glued to the seat and my eyes were glued to the monitor.
I still wonder what I was smoking to come to this career decision?!!

The week I started my first job, I moved into mom’s empty apartment and started staying all by myself (before that I lived in a PG). Staying alone during the early years of my job was an eye-opener. I had to do everything myself. In fact, I even learned to repair stuff without the need of a whine-y repairman. Simple stuff like iron-press or electric toaster were easily repaired by me. I figured out how to fit the tube light frames and the tubes. Bulbs were a piece of cake.
I enjoyed doing these things. I enjoyed them far more than the 9+ hours I spent at work and even then, those hours were saved because of the presence of some really precious friends.
It wasn’t as though the work was bad. It was good. It gave me a good salary. Heck, I was good at what I did.
But I’m still not happy doing it (Unmana, if you are reading this, let me tell you again how lucky you are). I mean, I’m happy when I get the message at the end of the month that salary has been credited. It helps me feel secure and confident. It helps to contribute towards the house and splurge on the kids. It helps to pay the loans.
But what it doesnt help is the emptiness. The rather vacant feeling of disinterest.
I can handle this job in my sleep. But that doesnt mean it lets me sleep easy.
The BF says I don’t set challenges for myself. I swear I tried. I tried to up the ante. But what use is it to build the tower when the foundation is shaky?
I’ve been asking around lately. Asking for opinion on what others think I can do. Because for the love of God I can’t put my finger down on even a single thing I’m good at ๐Ÿ˜ . I dabble in loads of stuff, suffering from the typical jack-of-all-and-master-of-none syndrome ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
Of all the suggestions put forth by friends and relatives, the one given by the BF stands closest to what I believeย  in myself.
He said I should apply to be a proof reader.
Yes. I should be that person who picks out faults. The born critic. Thats the Libran in me.
The minute he said it, I knew this is what I wanna do!!
Darling BF!! He was so bang on!! Obviously, my pointing out mistakes in books to him while I’m reading, had something to do with it. The best part is that it comes naturally to me. Picking faults, I mean. Even when I’m busy reading a part of my brain goes in a tangent checking out the spellings or the grammar. I’ve listed both kinds of errors in books by reputed publications!!
I SO want to be that person who goes over what other people write (before getting published) and get paid for it ๐Ÿ˜€
So the good people out there…..help me out.
Please let me know where to start. How to start. What kind of qualifications are needed. What I need to do to get started. Any pointer will help.
Heck! If you become a famous author, I might just proof read your books for free!!
Please bite the bait ๐Ÿ˜€
(Just ignore the mistakes in this post. I’m rather excited, over-the-top and I have tons of work to finish before the weekend. Moreover, no one’s gonna pay you in case you do pick out the faults ๐Ÿ˜€ . He he!! I’m mean ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

 

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Confronting The Nemesis

Dear Nemesis,

Coming back here was hard. I knew I’d bump into you one day or the other and when that happened, I knew that all the bitterness and hurt of those past years would come rushing back. I’d feel like the little new-comer once again and you would be your same arrogant self. Its been ages since I last parted ways from you and thankfully, God was gracious enough to keep you away from me. But now, I see no escape but to meet you. To confront you with aย  …….smile. To forgive you the hurt that you caused, which I’m sure you are still unaware of.

From all the bad treatment you meted out to me, I learnt exactly what not to do when I started mentoring freshers. The experience has been wonderful so far. Whenever I leave a place, its the young ones who come up to me and plead with me to stay back. I’ve been bestowed with titles of ‘Best Mentor EVER’ to ‘best guide’, ‘best senior’ and the like.

And you know what? I’m on cloud nine. Because , after suffering the worst fate with you, I did not eventually turn into you. I’ve made my place in people’s heart, if not on the corporate ladder (You are most welcome to stay up there. If getting promoted means joining you, I’d rather not. Pretty happy where I am right now ๐Ÿ™‚ ) . Of all the things I need to do now, is to meet you upfront. You’ve been avoiding me since the time you saw me here. Its okay. Its mutual. But don’t be surprised when I make that move. This is one bridge I do want to burn after I’ve crossed it. I’ve carried this pain long enough. I don’t want to give you the benefit of it any longer. You are not that important anymore ๐Ÿ™‚ .

But yes, I do thank you, because you’ve contributed immensely towards me being the person that I am today. Because I am something to others which you never were – kind!

See you around. Cheers!!

 

 

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Hello folks.

After a hiatus of months (just ignore those itsy-bitsy posts I did in between) I now plan to get back to full-time blogging PRONTO.

No more procrastinating, no more dilly-dallying, just pure, old-fashioned blogging. You know what that means?

Yes, I plan to once more bombard you all with the nitty-gritty happenings of the MomOfRS household, not to mention, the ever-teeth-gnashingly-annoying twins. By the way, did I mention that I’m now back in my parent company? No? Well, yes I am. And though its all warm and fuzzy to get back here, I do miss the crowd back there at the client’s. I’ve had some really good time there (and some awesome friends too). There are good friends here too, but apart from a couple who immediately made me feel at home after coming back, most are busy with their respective projects and friends. In other words, they have moved on. This is the cue that I must too and in no time, I surely will ๐Ÿ™‚ . But in the meanwhile, I’m feeling a tad low, a lot apprehensive and mega sleepy (The food here is good!! I swear. I kind of over-ate today. Having an awful time trying to keep my eyes open ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ).

On the update front, Granny is doing a little better (Alhamdulillah). She still can’t talk, but at least she attempts to. Her eyes aren’t as vacant as before and her responses are a little better than before. All the docs have advised against hospitalization, requesting us to just give her tonsย  of TLC. And when a doc says that, we all know what that means ๐Ÿ˜ !! The twins, on their part are half the cause of GMIL’s progress. Lui spends some time each day, clambering on her big-dadi’s bed to press the old lady’s swollen feet. Shobby, who has recently developed an aversion to being kissedย  (I knew boys turn out like that sooner or later, never guessed it would be this early ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) holds no qualms in hugging his big-dadi and planting loud smacks on her withered cheeks. He doesn’t mind getting kissed back by her either. Talk about preferences!!

On the personal front, the BF is uber-busy, with me needing to book appointments to talk to him ๐Ÿ˜ ! And even then, he doesn’t have much time to chat ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . At home, once he’s back, the kids refuse to let go of him. so the poor chaps plays with the kids for a while before I finally manage to drag the brats off to bed. That reminds me, its been ages since I posted a snap of the twins. The last one I did was the one on their B’day post, which was in Nov!! The machines at work here don’t permit uploading of images *Grrrrrr….*, will have to do the needful from home, I guess!

I have a project interview tomorrow for which I’m ill-prepared. I’ll be fired with questions regarding a domain I know nothing of, but am keen on getting into. A little preparation is on the way but nothing teaches you as well as a good hands-on experience. Do pray that I get through (though secretly I doubt I will ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )
Thats all for now folks. Will keep you updated on the interview (and the food) tomorrow. Till then, Adios ๐Ÿ™‚

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Taking That Step

Thats it. I did it.

Finally asked for release from the project I’m working on. Something which I should have done about a year back, but given the level of procrastination I live in, it took me another year to conclude that working here has given me nothing in terms of experience or exposure (BUT it has given me some valuable friends for which I’ll forever be grateful).

I’ve been working at the client side for two years with no increment, or promotion and with neither of the two visible in the near foreseeable future. My managers back in my company are not here to evaluate my performance. The managers at the client side give their feedback and couldn’t care an iota what my managers do with that feedback. Also, I think I’ve suffered the ignominy of being a ‘contract employee’ for long enough. More of a ‘worker’ maybe. Not that I have anything against workers, but when I see all my efforts going to naught, its time to wake up and face the truth. All work and no pay indeed makes this MomOfRS a really angry employee ๐Ÿ˜ . I’ve finally decided to put my foot down and demand what is my right.Jab jaago, tab savera !!

But there is a small niggling doubt at the back of my head which keeps asking me if this is what I want. Not the release. I do want that. I mean the work that I do. I feel happy doing my work…..but not exhilarated at the thought of going to work every morning.ย  Is the job to blame or the work? Apart from the salary, what value has it added to my life? I spend more hours at work than I’d like to. I come back home exhausted and drained. The work hours, the long drive to/from work and beating the traffic make me more than tired at the end of the day. Even at work, I do something that I’m good at, but not exceptionally so, that I’m irreplaceable. The money it brings in is welcome, but where is the charm?? Did I lose it on the way to my 8+ year career? If yes, why didn’t I realize it before? If not this, then what? What do I do now that I can earn just as much to pay off the loans but still have time to play leap-frog with the twins?

Questions….questions!

(Time for me to take a deep breath )

For now, I’ll just it back and do the work assigned to me. And wait, till I get called back. Once on my own turf, I’ll think, and I mean, really think, what I must do with my life.

As ever, suggestions are most welcome ๐Ÿ™‚



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We had our business counterparts visiting us a couple of weeks back . They were two lovely women who were responsible for gathering the customer requirements and feedback and guiding us on what the market needs are. But I wont get into their professional expertise here. What I want to share are the inputs of the personal kind that I gathered from them.

But first, a little background. Lets call one of them L and the other M. They are both senior members in the team and with the client company for the last 11 years. Needless to say, they have an excellent professional record and an enviable standing in the company. Also, L must be nearing 50 and M must be between 35-40 years of age (I didn’t ask, for obvious reasons). B-U-T! They are both gorgeous !!

During their stay here, we had the opportunity to take them out for shopping and spending some time with them. These two women sure know how to keep their professional life separate from their personal. So, away from office, they can talk nineteen to a dozen about their kids and personal life, but once back in, they shed the casualness and become professional once again. It was amazing to see the transformation, because frankly, it was so effortless, I doubt they realized the change themselves! Lesson One learnt here.

For all the meetings scheduled with the two, it was embarrassing to note that they were always before time ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . I mean, we did try to make an effort to reach on time, but they beat us to it each time!! They didn’t mind letting us know that before coming here, they were coached on the IST and our interpretation of it. I felt a tad humiliated on that, but they were cheerful and didn’t mean it in spite, so I’ll just accept the fact that try as we might, tardiness is in our blood. So next time we have a meeting, it is best to leave a few minutes before time than to rush in at the last minute. Lesson Two learnt here.

L was recently married, a few months before she came to India. Even as we wondered at the decision of marrying so late (by Indian standards), we were humbled by her comments that she married the right man at the right time and in a manner that she always wanted to. That she could conduct the wedding on her own expenditure (it was extravagant, I tell you, them pictures don’t lie ๐Ÿ˜ ) . We, the ones who chip in (marginally) as our parents first struggle to earn and then spend it all on our weddings , felt rotten. Somewhere along the line, I feel we are way too pampered. Why do our parents have to spend on our wedding? Why cant we do it ourselves??ย  Maybe then we can ask Dad to cross off that obnoxious relative from the guest list ๐Ÿ˜€ . Lesson Three learnt here.

L and M don’t have children of their own. L has opened up her arms for her husband’s children (from his first marriage). We wouldn’t have guessed they weren’t her’s, going by the way she gushed about the kids and the way her face glowed with pride when narrating their achievements ๐Ÿ™‚ . M adopted two kids from far-off Russia, a pair of siblings, both boys. And the way she gushed about them was heart-warming too. I mean, it takes a large heart to be so encompassing, to learn to accept and love. And both these women love the children in their lives, we could see that ๐Ÿ™‚ . Lesson Four learnt here.

These two women stayed here but a week, but their sheer exuberance and enthusiasm was infectious. They weren’t prissy and uptight and even agreed to eat everything we piled on their plates. It was a far-cry from some other visitors I’ve seen who wouldn’t touch our food or water unless it was pizza or coke! L, the elder of the two was so energetic, she would put a 20-year-old to shame ! They were frank, open, welcoming and I guess this was the reason we extended our hospitality far beyond what we do for other clients. And, the best part, they never commented negatively about our roads or the markets or the crowd ๐Ÿ™‚ . I think they accepted India as they saw it whereas we still struggle to come to terms with what we see. Lesson Five learnt here.

We felt really bad that these two had to leave so soon…..I think I’ve learned a lot from them . And maybe, just maybe, they had some more lessons up their sleeves ๐Ÿ™‚

So here’s hoping L and M come back for a visit soon (at least L said she would ๐Ÿ˜€ ).



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