Friday, July 28, 2017

Things I want my daughter to know

I wrote this song years and years and years ago when going through heartbreak. I was confident my first born would be a girl. And I was confident that I wanted her to know what I was going through then, to know that her mom went through the same things that she will one day go through. Genuinely, through the sound of my heart breaking, all I had thought of then was I want my daughter to know that when this happens, it's ok. It's going to be ok. That feeling was so strong then, that years later now, I still remember the exact moment this song formed in my head for her. For E.

Things I want my daughter to know

That this world, it's a beautiful place..
It's crooked and twisted and dark,
but it's got smiles too.

It's got people who use people,
but people who just love too.

That you won't always smile and laugh
but when you cry, you'll be stronger for it

When you'll hurt, it'll hurt bad,
you'll feel that hole in your gut
and your mind will be filled with it - 
it'll hurt so bad, it will shut.

But you'll get over that too
and you'll smile, because baby, 
you'll have a beautiful smile.

There'll be times, when you won't know
you won't understand how things happen
the way they do, but, in the end,
the very end, you'll realize 
everything always works out good.

Every person who enters your life and leaves,
they'll spoil a few songs for you, my love.
But it's ok.. because somewhere along the way
it'll heal, and you'll appreciate it all again.

You'll have memories, 
which while making won't seem worth it.
But years down the line,
you'll thank your stars it happened.

You'll miss the people gone
You'll love every new person
You'll trust all over again, always
You'll recover when it backfires

You'll give up too at some point,
but love, at that point, I hope,
you'll have that person in your life
Who just won't let you, no matter what.

No one will ever love you
the way you will love yourself.
No one will ever understand you
the way, someday, you will understand yourself.

You'll be stubborn, you'll hurt your own self
You'll wake up, and then love yourself
And one day, you will know
That your happiness, is in your hands alone.

But daughter, I am sure
You will make your place in the world
You will make your life
And a family 
and then you will teach them too
Things that you'd want them to know

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Never Bloom Again

We sat next to each other, working on our laptops. My Grey'a Anatomy playlist just finished playing a soft, slow song. My mind was not on the song at all. The majority of my brain was occupied by thoughts about your closeness and the feel of your foot on mine. The rest was struggling very hard to finish the task at hand.

"Play that song again?" you asked me softly.

You are a heavy metal, people screaming into their songs kind of person. Your request surpirsed me into paying attention to the soft swing of the song the second time it played.

Lightning struck, now it's silent and dark
Like to try to light a candle
But for that, I'd need a spark....

Our luck changed, don't know what
Don't know when,
But it changed, and now it's hard
Not to dwell on memories

.. I know we'll grow, but we'll never bloom again
I'm sure we'll grow, but we'll never bloom again.

It made me uncomfortable. This song. It was clearly a prophesy of where this relationship was heading. I wasn't ready to confront that yet. And you were making me. You softly sung along on the second verse.

Now its cold on my side of the bed
Though you're near, you're far away
Partly here, partly gone

Our luck changed,I dont know why
Dont know when, I wonder where we would end up
If we could start again

I know we'll grow, but we'll never bloom again
I'm sure we'll grow, but we'll never bloom again.

I know we'll grow, but we'll never bloom again
I'm sure we'll grow, but we'll never bloom again.

I blinked hard, trying to make that little tear that was stinging my eye disappear. I knew I could do that, I had mastered that art in these last few days.

"It's beautiful," you said softly.

I nodded, gulped and looked hard into my screen. I was starting to fall in love with this hopeless song. Much like I was in love with this hopeless relationship.

I come from a land where you are born to belief. Where people pray on default. People have gods in their homes, on their person, in fashion and everywhere. I could from a place where God is everything.

And I have always been lost. I have always been in search. 

Monday, December 17, 2012


Sometimes, your last life catches up to you. Most times, it doesn't hurt, it doesn't sting, it just makes you wistful. It makes you miss the stuff you left behind. The people you left behind. The friendships that got eroded.

It reminds you of the crazy crazy times you had then. And you wish you had someone to remember them with. Someone to say to, "Remember how we were crushing on this song that time?" Or someone who shared the joy of an experience and won't mind revisiting it with you.

You miss the feeling of discovery. The feeling of newness. The feeling of exhilaration that you shared together. It doesn't mean you don't have most of it in your new life, but it would just be nice to be able to remember those times again.

Wouldn't it? 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pasta-E-Fagioli and some news

I have recently started writing food features for an online magazine, Leacock's. Yea, yea, I know its a funny name, but go check us out.

My first article for them of course had to be one of my funniest moments in cooking. The time Petrovski started cooking for me and kept me in the dark about what the dish was for almost 3 years. He made this Pasta and beans dish that he called Mac-N-Beans Russian style and it became one of our comfort foods. He does this thing where once he discovers that I like something, he won't let me know what exactly it is. Just so he can make/buy/get it for me all the time. He does that for wine too. I honestly don't know the name of my favorite wine!

Anyway, here is the pasta dish that I finally weaseled out of Petrovski. It's true comfort food. I din't grow up eating it, but I wish I had!


Monday, September 03, 2012

Samsung's Social Media Debacle

By the time this goes on air everyone will know about what Samsung's digital/social media team did. Yes, I lay the blame squarely on the Social Media agency, Digitas. Having worked in one, I know for a fact that you don't let things like this happen to your bloggers. Being a blogger too, I expect the SMM agency to stand up for the blogger.

Picture from Samsung India's Facebook page
Let's quickly go over the details. Clinton Jeff of Unleash The Phones and another unnamed blogger (it's easy to guess who, but since the blogger wants to be anonymous, let's keep it that way), through a contest held by Samsung Mobile India got invited to the IFA Conference being held in Berlin. Some insider details here - IFA is a big time tech conference. Usually held at different places every year over the world, it is highly revered. Most new tech gadgets have an unveiling, showing, launch or presentation there. Last year a phone brand I was handling also launched at IFA. As the SMM person of that account, I would have LOVED to take my developed posse of bloggers to that, but my super-rich, super multi national company did not want to take me itself, so my bloggers were out of question. We settled for simple handsets provided to the bloggers kind of reviews. It is common place for most big brands to have a blogger outreach program. Basically, the brands will reach out to bloggers who write about their product category and invite them to press conferences, blogger's meets, or handset review programs. Samsung, big brand that it is, held a contest to determine two bloggers who would get to fly to IFA, live in Berlin and attend the event on their dime. In exchange, the bloggers cover the event. IFA. Or sometimes, a specific event too, like maybe the Samsung Unpacked event. But cover it objectively. Just because Samsung pays for the trip there, they don't write all hearts and flowers stuff about Samsung. In fact they can choose to write about whatever the hell they please. Including other brands too. These bloggers though, were in for a rude shock, when Samsung, on arrival to Berlin, asked the bloggers to wear a uniform and present the phone to the media and public. From behind a booth, in like, an all Samsung covered uniform. In short, Samsung assumed that it paid for the ticket and stay of two booth attendants who came with some extras of being tech bloggers. Obviously the two refused. All hell broke loose. They were asked to do so or if. (They were threatened with no return tickets and no hotel stay basically abandonment). The guys ultimately decided to concede partial defeat and to wear a Samsung T-Shirt. But no booth attendance for them. To which Samsung guys wrote them an angry email.

At this point, the bloggers, being well, smart Social Media savvy people, chose to go online with all this. Nokia stepped up, offered them hotel stay and return tickets home at their convenience. Read More here.

So there are a few fair points to be made here. Internationally, this news is being made as an Samsung India mistake. Emphasis on the India. Nope. Sorry boss. All Social Media Managers in India do not operate like this. Since I exist, and I was honestly and seriously very passionate about my bloggers, I am sure others do too. I have friends, tons of friends, in the SMM business in India. None of them would dream of letting something like this happen. This gaffe did not happen because it is an Indian agency, it happened because some people at Samsung, and almost all the people at Digitas are idiots. I lay the lion's share of the blame with the agency. It is the agency who liaises between the bloggers and the client. The consumers and the client. How could THEY let this happen??

Second, if bloggers were being taken to IFA, why was an accompanying person from the Social Media team not there? The minute you have live social media coverage happening, a social media executive HAS to be present to monitor it. Bloggers are not reporters, they are more casual and more prone to needing help with something or the other. I don't mean that as an insult, but generally, a reporter is very well connected. He/she can get around problems much more easily than a blogger can. A publication is much more recognized than individual blogs, so that influence does not have the same kind of pull. Hence, a Social Media exec needs to be around. Someone who can flash a badge as a person on the Media team and help them around. It is absolutely essential.

Third, where is Samsung's Crisis management team? Social media wise as well as PR wise. In most of our big brand clients, we always had a Social Media Crisis Management scenario mapped out. For the smallest level of crises to the biggest, most media attention getting ones. And the actions on them would click into place the minute, THE MINUTE more than the involved people knew about the crisis. Samsung, has not commented on anything yet, their Social Media platforms go about as normal, and there is no communication about this entire issue from their end till this post went live. Why??? This, is the basic of all communication teams!

Lastly, what is Samsung's loss, is triple fold, Nokia's gain. Samsung is the brand. And it goes without saying that as a brand, you safeguard the identity and image of the brand like it's soul. Because it IS your soul. Samsung lost out on their positive image, any sympathy over the apple debacle, will dissolve over this and any positive coverage for a long time is simply stupid to expect. Bloggers don't forget that easily. They are a little like reporters in that way. After they let this happen, they did not even try to redeem themselves a tiny bit. They did not kiss and make up with the bloggers, no peace offering, no compromise, nothing. Kicking them out on the boot was even more stupid than any of the already pulled off drama. And then, Nokia swoops in.
I must say, Nokia, good move buddy. They cleaned up Samsung's mistake, offered the bloggers a new hotel, new tickets home and peace of mind. Nokia becomes the hero who had a cameo role. No one is going to stop talking good about Nokia for a while now. Not only does the brand have a good image, it also sticks by it. Nokia becomes, with one simple move, the knight in the shining armor. Good on you, Nokia. Well played.

The most important thing here though is, no, this is not an Indian thing. In fact, Samsung is a multi-national brand, and their Social Media is handled by another multinational company, Digitas. This was stupidity displayed at all levels. And that is the mistake of the agency, not of the country's attitude. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Your way or my way

So, it happened the way I said it would
You fell in hard, and dragged me in
You knew this would happen
the way I said it would
You would fall and drag me through

So, one day you called me out 'the blue
Had a random conversation bout you
I held the phone this side of the sea
Wondered if this would happen
the way I said it would

So, you surprised me as much as you could
Tried new things coz you knew
I would fall in for the new
It would happen the way I said it would

Of course I resisted as much as I could
Made up reasons, threw up tantrums
But you weathered it all through
And made it happen more than
the way I said it would

So, you stand at altar waiting for me
I walked up finally, crying to glory
You smiled at me and made me stop
You knew this would happen
the way you wanted it to.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Lola Rosa Cafe (Best Montreal Discovery Yet)

Location :  545 Milton, Montreal. 
Website : 
Damages : Average Expensive - $13 per plate (approx)
Food : Awesome!
Ambience : Very Boutique-y, homey feel
Service : Amazing, personalized and friendly

"I could issue an open challenge to any restaurant in Montreal to make a plate of Nachos better than this one!" said my extremely satisfied husband after he sampled the dish.

Seriously. It was THAT good.

And not just the Nachos. Going by a few online reviews, our first order was the Nachos. We ordered a half portion first, but when we saw the dish arrive on a fellow patron's table, we promptly changed it to a full portion. And we paired a black bean burrito with it. We definitely wanted to have the brownie there, so we chose to skip the appetizer or soups. Can't you tell how healthy we are? :D

The Nacho (notice the capital N) were served on a huge wooden chopping board (ingenious!). Let's discuss them layer-by-layer. First we had some amazingly crispy tortilla chips. They were pure corn, from the taste of it, and lightly salted with a bit of garlic pepper. Then came the black beans. Rich, thick saucy beans, full of flavor. Topped on that was a thick red salsa, bursting with the freshness of tomatoes and cumin. Next were lots of bits of avocados( my favorite!) and chopped scallions. And finally on top, rest two scoops of sour cream and shredded beetroot. The whole thing was topped with a generous helping of chopped coriander and paprika. Oh and did I forget the cheese? Of course there was cheese. Oozy, melty, soft cheese. All over the dish. And the whole dish was piled high on the chopping board/plate. Beautiful. Take a look. 

Next, the burrito. This was also one of the best burritos we have had so far in the city. Carlos and Pepe's had turned out to be an extreme disappointment already. 

The burrito was a nicely warmed tortilla, with black beans and corn queso served on a bed of salsa sauce. This was served with a side of mexican rice and fresh crunchy salad with a dressing that I could not identify but sure did love. Next time, we shall take pictures that  after having a couple of bites so you can see the insides better. 
The burrito was normal portion. So we finished it easily enough. But the Nachos. Oh my god. We were beyond full and yet we could not stop eating it. Really. We kept going at it. Both of us. Ashwinfinished the Nachos and although we were so goddamn full, we could not help but order the dessert we had promised ourselves. So it was brownie with ice-cream time.
Ah, piece of heavenly goodness. 

The brownie was soft with a nice crunchy top, dense, but fluffy. My immediate reaction to the first bite was, "Damn I wish I could bake THAT well!" Since Ashwin had finished the never ending Nachos, I took it on myself to leave no morsel uneaten of the brownie and proceeded to stuff my face with it. 
The people at Lola Rosa are really sweet too. We reached there just minutes before their kitchen closed since Ashwin had a match before, but they still entertained us. In fact, our server, a pretty young woman, was having her dinner that time, but in spite of that, she gave us her full attention and kept interrupting her meal to come to us and ask if we are ok, or we needed anything else. 

Near the end of the meal, the owner, Eric, himself came and asked us if we loved it. Nice. 

Now if you are from some weird planet and food and service alone isn't enough to pull you to a place like Lola Rosa, their is yet another beautiful facet to this Bistro. It's like a living, breathing, everyday, Post Secret Project.
The tables near their window place seating have little drawers in them. Ashwin noticed these when we were waiting to make a bit of space in our tummy for dessert. When I, the eternal explorer, opened these drawers, we found little bits and pieces of papers and notes. Little secrets or anecdotes that people had scribbled on them and left them there. It was beautiful. I went crazy after that. I opened the drawers on all the tables in our row (We were their last customers so the place was empty. Really. I do not embarrass my husband like that publicly!). It really was beautiful.

When we were paying the bill, Eric mentioned that they have a new restaurant opening in St. Laurent area soon. And that will have even more food! Color me excited. :D