Rhyming Thoughts Platter

Thoughts that I want to share with the world. Thoughts which are desperate to transform into words….


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A DIYer’s dream

I cannot believe this is my first DIY blog…. are you kidding me.  I am a person whose life depends on DIY, who can live without food but not without DIY.  ehem.. that might be too much of a drag.  I am a day to day DIYer who loves creating things out of garbage or inexpensive things.  I post the pics of my DIY projects on my Pinterest board or my FB page, and I am very much satisfied with that.  So what happened now, what was the need of writing this blog now.

Here is what happened, I got married 😛 and I got a chance to showcase all of my DIY skills at one place 😛 .  I think I was more excited to get married not only because I was getting married to the man of my dreams but because I was getting a chance to do lots of DIY projects, under budget and showcase in a single place. It was a challenge and I love challenges.  I was ecstatic.

Bummer… that means this is not exactly a DIY blog where I am going to show you how to make something. This is a DIY blog where I am going to share my experience of a DIY wedding reception.

Here was the deal.  I live in Massachusetts, USA and we were getting married in India.  The functions in India were taken care by my family(especially my sister, she is a future wedding planner 😛 , may be another blog for her).  But me and my fiance planned to have a reception here in the states.  He gave me a budget of 2500$ for 50 people.  Initially I thought may be it would be sufficient, but when I started enquiring about banquet halls and catering, I realized, it is going to be a tough call.

After looking for many banquet halls we finalized one place which was cheaper and was not coming with packages, unlike other places where we have to take all of their services along with the rental.  So the room rental(with tables, linens and napkins) with server and cake cutting fee plus taxes they were charging us around $830.  I finalized the catering which would cost us $720.  We ordered plates and cutlery online, got a very good deal from http://www.webstaurantstore.com/.  This costs us $100.  Point to be noted is we ordered more number of plates and cutlery as it is a wholesale site. The leftover will be used for future events.  I finalized the cake from a home-baker, which costs me $300

So now the total was $1950.  That means I had only $550 to do all my decorations.  Most importantly not much time.  So I have to decide what I am going to do myself and what I can buy.  Whatever it is, it has to be cheap.  First thing I did was finalizing what I wanted to do.  I wanted a photo booth with props, a guestbook with a polaroid camera, a hot chocolate bar, a kids zone with some coloring books, crayons and puzzles, a cake table, and lots of decorations including center pieces.

For the photo booth, I selected a design which was made of real flowers.  I went to the florist and showed her the design, she said it would take $300-$400.  I dropped the idea of making it with real flowers and thought of doing it myself with pom pom. I needed a structure first, for that my fiance helped building one, from PVC pipes that we got from Home Depot, spent around $20. I started making the flowers backdrop.  I bought few pom poms from wherever I would get in cheap, like amazon or sometimes Michaels(with coupons) or Christmas Tree Shop. But soon I realized I will be spending more if I continue to do this, as the structure needed lots of flowers.  So I decided to buy tissue papers instead, which costs me $1 for a bunch of them from Christmas Tree Shop, and make my own pom pom.  I might have spent max of $20 for all the flowers.  Luckily I had lots of tule cloth from a previous project. I glued all the flowers to that and voila my flowers were ready to be hanged.  Now I needed white cloth for the backdrop.  I bought 2 drapes from Christmas tree shop thinking I can use it later in my house(I always think of re-utilizing) for about $10.  The golden sequin cloth was very expensive so when I was in India for the marriage, I managed to buy them for very cheap, around $20. So the total cost for my photo booth was $70.hj8uq4fwrtq7cdqxztacug_thumb_26e6

I was left with $480 now.  Bought the guestbook from Michaels, thank God to the Christmas season, there were lots of discounts.  I made the first page myself. I could get the guestbook done under $20.  I bought the polaroid camera with extra films and auto mount dispenser of self adhesive squares from amazon for $80. I made a hanging with tissue paper to go on top of the guestbook for which I used the same tissue papers I bought for photo booth flowers.  So now the total left money was $380.

For the kid zone I bought some cheap puzzles and coloring books again from amazon for around $10. For the hot chocolate bar bought topping for around $10.  Bought a juice dispenser in which I intended to serve my own punch for around $15.  Ingredients for the punch cost $20. So total left money was $325.

For the centerpieces of all the tables, I wanted to use decorated bottles.  I never ever throw glass bottles.  Even though I have space crunch, still I keep it, I am the garbage collector :P.  I bought some spray paint bottles and painted them all. with different shapes and sizes.  Costs me max $10.  Also for the centerpieces I wanted to keep bouquet.  But during winter flowers are too costly, so I thought why not buy plastic flowers.  I bought 5 bunches for around $15 and used some flowers which were already there in my house.  A staff from the hotel came and complimented on the flowers. She was shocked to learn that the flowers weren’t real :D, that’s how real they looked.  So now the money I was left with was $310.rigpz5qjreuyce3yyzerpa_thumb_26be

For the cake table, I used some glass jars from my pantry and few I bought from Christmas Tree shop which I can use later in my pantry.  Spent around $10 for them.  Bought some chocolates, macrons, spicy Indian snacks for the cake table for around $100.  For the decoration of the cake table I bought few paper lanterns for $5. There were some big pom pom with my friend which she was generous enough to share.  So the total we spent on the cake table was $115, which brings us to have $195.  lcg97fkitqqdllsppjjbxg_thumb_2696

The room was small and with all these decorations it would have been enough, but still something was missing.  So I thought of making a drape kind of decoration for the roof.  It was Christmas time, so we thought of buying lights.  We bought 5 packets of lights for around $35, in which we used only 4. We bought white cloth for around $40. The idea was to tie heavy duty thread across the roof so that we can hang the cloth and the lights on it. Luckily the banquet hall had a hanging wooden block in the center of the roof, inside which we could easily place dumbbells and tie the thread to it for support.  Clever isn’t it. So for this beautiful decor we spent only $100 including thread and extension cord.  This particular piece of decoration enhanced the look so much that I am sure nobody would have noticed anything else would have been missing.

So now the balance was $95.  I wanted to make a backdrop for the place where we(the bride and the groom) were planning to sit.  So I bought few fans from Christmas Tree Shop and added it decoratively.  Around $10. As still I was having the budget I bought LOVE balloons from Amazon.  Also ordered bingo game and some 3m tapes for around $30. rigpz5qjreuyce3yyzerpa_thumb_26be

Finally went for a final round to Christmas Tree Shop to buy prizes for bingo and to checkout if I can buy anything that will add a zing to the party with the left money.  To my disbelief, I bought the prizes under $15.  Found some cool inexpensive stuff like crystals with lights which you can switch on and put inside water, it looked fab.  I had mason jars in my pantry, so I put those crystals with the lights inside it to give it a sparkly look. Found a bird cage which I thought will look good if I drape it with light strings I had in my house. Also found a white tree which I can place on the projector table to give an accent to the room for $20.  So all in all I spent those $45 by making the total left money to be $0.

I was very happy with the final product.  We had a gala time.  Everyone were very impressed with the decor.  The most satisfying part was, it was all done under budget.  So if you happen to live here in the USA, and you think if you have to do a event under budget and you always head to Dollar stores for that, I would suggest don’t.  Because with my experience the dollar store stuff is not of good quality and you will find only a set of things there.  Though Walmart is my favorite store for DIY raw materials, I would strongly recommend checking out Christmas Tree Shop.  Not only it has good quality cheap products, but you can use most of it for your home after the use in the event.  So its win-win deal.

 

 

 

 

 


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Living your dream

How it feels to realize your dream? How do you feel when you live in your dreams? Sounds good right? Sounds content.

It’s been a year now, moving to the USA, The Eagle. It was a dream to come to this place and accomplish and succeed. Though it was tough in the first few months but I nailed it. That’s definitely an achievement.
This day when I sit here in my rented one bedroom apartment, looking through the window, thinking of how the last year flew by. Like every year this year also flew by pretty fast, but this was an important year. I came to the states with big dreams and excitement and must say till date this country is making me amuse.

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Rewinding. The first city I saw was Chicago. I landed in Chicago and missed my local flight to Atlanta. Instead of panicking I was damn excited that I got a night to spend in Chicago. Though I could not see the city as I was too tired, but taking a peek-a-boo from the hotel window made me very happy.

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Atlanta was the place where I stayed for the first couple of months and it was magical. All of it. It was truly an American dream. The downtown, the Coca-Cola company tour, the amazing aquarium. It was fun filled. I loved the place where I used to stay. Often I used to go for long walks.

 

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Then it was the second city after Bangalore with which I fell in love with. New York. I was there for around 6 months and every day was a new day for me. Every day that city amused me. The best part of stay there was, after a tiring day when I used to come out of my office, the city made me smile, making me forget all my tiredness and tensions. Looking at the people, the streets, the parks, the shops, not to forget the cafes, made me happy. Mornings meant to be started with a bagel with cheese and a coffee (I put on some weight because of it :-P) I became a fan of bagels at this place.

 

 

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Then I moved to Boston. This city has its own flavor and color. Though I haven’t got much chance to see any of it because of the snow, blizzards and snow storm. But now the sun has started to shine and I am looking forward to know the city better.
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The best part of living here in the states was finding the adventurous bone in me. I really had a blast visiting the best beaches of Miami and Key Islands, Worlds highest falls Niagara, some cool lakes, mountains, Falls of Vermont, camping in the mountains and kayaking I the rivers of New Hampshire, flying Helicopter in Jersey and visiting Universal Studios and Magic Kingdom, Orlando.

Nostalgic. This is how it feels to live your dream. I am alone, but not lonely. That’s the best part.


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Beauty and the shadow

I was watching one of the FIFA matches the other day, the attacking team and the bull dogs of football, Argentina vs a very small team Iran. Nobody including me would have believed that a small team could give a very strong team this hard time. Knowing that Argentina will win, we just wanted to watch how many goals is Messi going to score today. And believe me we were expecting at least 3. But going till the halftime we understood that Argentina was having a tough time scoring single goal. The small team aka Iran was playing very defensive, the goalkeeper was doing a marvellous job. Till 90 minutes (the end of the game) there was no goal and we were sure that the match was going to be a tie. But exactly at 90 minutes Messy scored a goal.

After reading the 1st paragraph you must be thinking am I a football match reviewer. And if yes, then why is the title beauty and shadow. First thing, no I am not a reviewer. The reason I am writing this is I am amused by this series of events today. You must be thinking, so what? It was a thrilling match today, what’s the big deal in that. Yes indeed it was a thrilling match, but hold on to it, let me take you to another side of the story.

At 90 minute Messi scored a brilliant goal in the face of Iran. There was relief on the face of Messi, his team and his fans and at the same time disappointment on the face of the goalkeeper of Iran, his team and his fans.  At this point of time though I was supporting Argentina but my heart was with Iran. Talking to a fellow who is a huge Argentina fan, he said at least we won. So the point here is even though Argentina won with a beautiful goal, but a shadow of disappointment was dangling behind.  Being a very small team, which could have faced death long ago, the giant Argentina could only score one goal that to after 90 minutes. The expression on Messi and his fans face was not only of happiness of winning but also a relief that somehow at least they could save their ass from a small team. The beauty of happiness with the shadow of relief.

Many a things in life are beautiful but followed by shadow.  This is one of them.


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Revisiting Nandi Hills

After dropping the plan to visit Nandi Hills quite a few time, at last we started for Nandi Hills, last Sunday Morning. Nandi Hills, as the name suggests is a hill situated around 65kms from Bangalore City.  Its been more than 5 years in I have stayed in Bangalore but this was my second visit to this mesmerizing place.  I am wondering how would I have kept myself away from such a beautiful place.
The first time I visited this place was two years back. But this time it was nostalgic, literally.  Reason was, the first time I had visited this place, it was evening.  I chose to come to this place in the evening because I am too lazy to wake up early :P. When I reached Nandi Hills it was 5.30 pm and one and half hours for sunset.  It was too mesmerizing.facebook_1472664031
There was this fog which was making the atmosphere romantic and mesmerizing. I took a walk further towards the extreme top and then to my astonishment I found that the thing which I was feeling as fog, was actually not fog but CLOUDS 🙂
I was so happy to walk inside the clouds. It made my day.  I sat on the top of the hill and enjoyed the view.  facebook_-1016615840I was feeling as light as the moving clouds.  Far away from the chaos of the city, on top of the hill silently observing the clouds, hills, never ending fields, it was just amazing.  facebook_151088369
Don’t have any other words to explain that feeling.
But this time when I went to Nandi Hills again, I was actually surprised. From my last visit, I was having the impression that Nandi Hills looks beautiful.  But in the morning it was actually far more beautiful than I had imagined.  We reached around 6 am in the morning and there was a huge crowd.  We had to stand in a queue to take the tickets.  It was 7am when we went inside, but still it was so beautiful that my heart was actually floating with the clouds there.  We did not took the roads that was well maintained instead we took the “kacchha” road to have a feel of the greenery.  I took my camera with me but I stopped taking pictures because more than capturing it in my camera I wanted to capture it with my eyes, I wanted to live that moment again and again.   n2
Again I was feeling very light leaving behind all the tensions and chaos.  Slowly and steadily we reached the top.  And there the sun which was actually looking like a moon, small and white, was playing hide and seek.  I stood there and watched the sun for quite a long time and I noticed I was actually giggling, while watching the hide and seek of the sun.  Then we went around the mountain and chose one place to sit and have the confectioneries which we carried and watched the horizon.  This time I was not able to see the other hill and the endless fields as we were above the cloud. But the feeling of being at the top and not able to see anything below was really nostalgic.
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I spent nearly two hours there and returned with a feeling of visiting this place once more.
Note:
1. This post is written based on my experience.  The motive of this post is to express my feelings towards Nandi Hills.
2. The pictures taken from the first visit are taken from professional camera, but the pictures from second visit was taken from my Note II


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A day without Google

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We are surrounded by internet(atleast I am) that we cannot imagine a world without it. Have you ever thought what will happen to you if google is taken from you for one day. Eww.. getting gooze bumps. You don’t feel that. Ok let me do a reality check.

You are talking to a friend and incidently got into some challenge let say “How many titles does Roger Federer have”. Now how it will be settled down. Google search. Funny though, as in earlier days to settle down a challenge like this we need to talk to as many people around us but still wont get it settled down. But the result that google gives us is accepted by both the parties.

You came across some word whose meaning you don’t know and if you are a curious creature you will run to find the meaning. Where?? Google. We don’t go to dictionaries these days. Hardly people/pupil have dictionaries, instead everybody relies on google/internet or a digital dictionary.

You are getting bored in office, you want to read some articles on any topic say “Ice cream Sandwich OS”, what will you do, run to the library. A big NO. Rather you will search it in google and check which one you should read.

You want to go to some restaurant and don’t know the way. Yes you can call the restaurant and get the direction. But where will you get the phone number. More likely from google. Directions?? More likely google.

You are a developer and as usual you are coding some crap but thinking it is the awesomest. You get stuck. Who is yoursavior? Will you run to the developer of the tool that you are using. No. Yes you will dig into it by yourself but till what level? You will need help after a certain level. Last and the bestsavior,GOOGLE.

So many more instances I can go on with. Moral is google has become an integrated part of our lives, without our knowledge. Its hard to believe that we have lived in a world without google for quite some time(remember when you were kids, Oh these days kids cant even say that, Sweet Mother of God) . So enjoy the blood of google in your body.


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राजनैतिक अखाडा

हमारे देश का राजनैतिक अखाडा हमेशा ही गरम रहता है और आये दिन कोई न कोई चर्चा इस अखाड़े की शोभा बढाती है.  वैसे तो चर्चा अगर किसी बात की हो तो उस विषय के सारे पहलु सामने आते हैं, और इस मंच पर चर्चा से कहीं न कहीं देश की तरक्की जुडी होती है.  मगर सवाल ये है कि ये चर्चा किन विषयों पर हों, विषयों का चुनाव किस बुनियाद पर हो और चर्चा किस हद तक हो?

हाल ही में चर्चा का विषय बना सुपरस्टार शाहरुख़ खान कि टिपण्णी जिसमें उन्होंने आइ.पी.एल मैच में पाकिस्तानी खिलाडियों को जगह न दिए जाने पर खेद जताया.  अब ये बात किसी राजनैतिक दल को नहीं भाई और उस दल के कार्यकर्ता शाहरुख़ खान के विरोध में सड़कों पर उतर आये और उनके पुतले जलाये.  साथ में धमकी भी दी कि उनकी आने वाली फिल्म को रिलीज़ नहीं होने देंगे और काफी हद तक कामयाब भी रहे.  अब सवाल ये है कि ये राजनैतिक दल जो इस तरह से अपनी आवाज़ उठाते हैं, ये देश के हित के लिए है या बस अपने आप को लोगों और मीडिया में लोकप्रिय बनाने के लिए.  वैसे तो हमारा देश विश्व का सबसे बड़ा धर्मं-निरपेक्ष देश है. यहाँ के संविधान को अपने निश्पख्स्ता के लिए सारे विश्व में सराहा जाता है. इस संविधान के मूल अधिकारों में से एक है, अभिव्यक्ति का अधिकार.  इसके अनुसार यहाँ के हर नागरिक को अपनी बात कहने का पूरा अधिकार है.  यहाँ के नागरिक होने के कारण शाहरुख़ खान को अपनी बात कहने का पूरा अधिकार है.  अगर किसी को इस बात से आपत्ति है तो वाद-विवाद करे.  वाद विवाद के द्वार हमेशा खुले हैं.  इस तरह उग्र हो जाना, सड़कों पर उतर आना और आम जनता को परेशान करना कहाँ कि बुद्धिमानी है? और इस तरह संविधान के मूल अधिकारों को चुनौती देना कहाँ की राजनीति?

ये भी सही है कि वाद-विवाद से मसले हमेशा हल नहीं होते.  कभी कभी गंभीर कदम भी उठाने पड़ते हैं.  गंभीर कदम गंभीर मसलों के लिए उठाये जाते हैं.  किसी एक व्यक्ति विशेष कि टिपण्णी मेरे हिसाब से गंभीर विषय नहीं कि जिससे   सड़कों पर मोर्चे निकलना, पुतले जलाना, और तोड़ फोड़ करने जैसे कदम उठाये जायें.

हर राजनैतिक दल के अपने आदर्श, अपने दृष्टिकोण होते हैं.  और ये आदर्श , दृष्टिकोण कहीं न कहीं देश या देश के नागरिकों से जुड़ा होता है.  दल के नेता इन्हीं आदर्शों और दृष्टिकोण के साथ कार्यकर्ताओं को लेकर आगे बढ़ते हैं. लेकिन जब ऐसे अध्याय, उदहारण के तौर पर शाहरुख़ खान केस, अगर जुड़ने लगें तो ये आदर्श और दृष्टिकोण सब खोखले जान पड़ते हैं.  अब इस विषय को इतना खीचते हुए, तोड़-फोड़ करवाना, फिल्म कि रिलीज़ बंद करवाना, ये दादागिरी नहीं तो और क्या है?  इससे राजनैतिक दलों का दृष्टिकोण साफ़ चालकता है.

ये ही क्यूँ कुछ दिन पहले जाने माने क्रिकेट खिलाडी, सचिन तेंदुलकर, ने ये कहा कि वो पहले एक भारतीय हैं, फिर एक मराठी.  अब इस बात से साफ़ देशभक्ति छलकती है, इसपर किसी को क्या आपत्ति हो सकती है?मगर  आपत्ति  हुई,  एक  राजनैतिक दल को, जिन्होंने इस विषय पर काफी शोर शराबा किया.  जिस देश कि एकता और अखंडता पर हम गर्व करते हैं और अनेकता में एकता का नारा लगाते हैं , उसी देश के राजनैतिक दलों को मानो इन सब चीजों का मतलब ही नहीं मालूम.  इससे तो ये साफ़ ज़ाहिर होता है कि ये दल बस अपने बाहुबल से अपना मतलब निकालने में जुटे हुए हैं. देश कि तरक्की से इन्हें कोई मतलब नहीं न ही देश की जनता की सुविधा का ख्याल.  ऐसा विषय जिससे देश कि तरक्की हो सके वैसे विषयों पर आवाज़ उठाने के लिए इनके पास  वक़्त नहीं.  बस मीडिया में छाए रहें यही इनका लक्ष्य है.

इन सब बातों का ये मतलब नहीं कि राजनैतिक दलों को निष्काषित कर देना चाहिए या उन पर किसी प्रकार की रोक लगानी चाहिए.  ऐसा करना भी किसी के अधिकारों का हनन होगा. अपितु उनकी विचारधारा में बदलाव लाया जाना चाहिए जिससे इन सब बेकार के बवाल पर अनुछेद लगे और राजनैतिक दलों का सही उपयोग हो सके, अर्थात देश की तरक्की जैसे कार्य के लिए. इसके लिए ये ज़रूरी है के युवा पीढ़ी सामने आये और इन सब बातों को समझे.

हम बस यही आशा कर सकते हैं कि इन पार्टियों के युवा नेता इन सब बातों को समझेंगे और भटके हुए इन दलों की कमान अपने हाथ में लेकर दल का मार्ग दर्शन सही तरीके से करेंगे.  सही जगह और सही विषय पर आवाज़ उठायेंगे और एक अच्हे राजनैतिक दल होने का कर्त्तव्य निभायेंगे.