Friday, December 26, 2008

Wishes for Birthdays & Holidays

Yet another exciting year completes today and I have immensely enjoyed it over all despite of the low moments.

Thinking back, I realize that I have learned a lot of good things about myself and others along with some valuable lessons. I have realized that:
  • Life is truly beautiful and a blessing.
  • Family is irreplaceable and times spent with them make very precious memories for life time.
  • There are very special people we might have met for only a few hours of our life but they leave a lasting positive impression and we never forget for the rest of our lives.
  • There is no happiness like seeing people around us happy.
  • We become what our habits make us.
  • Praying to God is the only thing that works when everything and everyone else fails.
  • Whatever happens to us is for a reason and for our own good.
  • Letting go makes us feel much better than holding on.
  • One day we will have to leave all this behind and travel the rest of the journey alone and the sooner we prepare ourselves emotionally for it the better.
  • All the answers we seek are within.
  • You and I are here (in the world, on this planet, in blogosphere) for a reason and we have a positive effect on each other.

As I welcome my next year, I pray to God for the good all around and love and peace for everyone.

A very happy birthday to Avadh, Sneha, Nikila, Pooja MP, and me, along with our dear Salman Khan. :) Yup, we all have a birthday on 27th, except for Sneha; her's is today, on the 26th. Wishing all many many happy returns of the day.

To everyone: Best wishes for the holidays and happy new year 2009!

God bless!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Best Christmas Lights... the bay area are by Severns-Pease.

That's right! These guys have about 75,000 light bulbs flashing and dancing to the tunes of music played at a local radio station 104.1 FM. Every evening from 5:30PM to 11:00PM they're on and they're free for our enjoyment.

Some of my photos of the decorations:

More photos of Severns-Pease Xmas Lights are here.

And here's my low-quality video to give you an idea of what you'd see in real, which is so much better than this. :)

So if you're in or around the San Francisco Bay Area for Christmas/Holidays time, don't forget to stop by at this place. They're located at 1164 & 1168 Tangerine Way, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, California 94087.

View Larger Map

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Would you do this when you travel?

I would love to. :D

Check out this fun travel video of Matt Harding.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My favorite rain songs

First, it was this post by memsaab and then my previous rain post... I just had to do this one.

I know there's still a lot many more rain songs out there that I haven't had a chance to discover yet so I've included only the ones that came to mind right now.

Here are 16 of my favorite rain songs in a random order:

  • Most sensual: jo haal dil ka, Sarfarosh
    Aamir Khan and Sonali Bendre - now that's one sight we don't get to see too often. Totally love their pairing, too bad they didn't come in too many movies together. A seductive song in stormy weather. I adore how they match the colors of their clothes in this one.

  • Most scandalous: chal chal mere sang sang, Astitva
    Tabu and Mohnish Behl pair up once again after Hum Saath Saath hai. There's only one word to describe this song - scandalous. So are the lyrics and everything about it. It is the height of seduction, IMO. Sukhvinder Singh has done a fantastic job singing it. The entire song isn't a rain song but at least last minute of it is so I think it does count. Here it's kind of the other way around, he is out there running around in rain and she watches him from the balcony before giving in. What fantastic movie! I adore this pair, totally! They are just awesome together and have a great on-screen chemistry. Do watch if you haven't already for the drama and Tabu's acting.

  • Most playful: bheegi bheegi jaadu bhari.. boondon se baatein, Thakshak
    Yet another beautiful rain song of Tabu. She looks absolutely beautiful, playful and seductive at the same time.

  • Most melodious: rimjhim ke geet saawan gaaye, Anjaana
    I really wish they had picturized this song on someone else other than Babita. Rajendra Kumar looks very handsome as usual and the song is beautiful! Only if Babita was replaced by someone else, it'd have been so much better. I still like the song nevertheless.

  • Most traditional: megha re megha, Lamhe
    I call it most traditional, as it has actually all the signature things about rain: dance, saawan ke jhoole, romance, playfulness, happiness, excitement, sensuality woven in it.

  • Most beautiful: o sajna barkha, Parakh
    The kind of song that I feel like watching over and over again. This one's truly a beautiful song with very beautiful and young Sadhana and the rain almost looks real. Notice how the rains and trees too evoke the feelings conveyed in the music of Salil Chowdhary and the lyrics are of Shailendra. This one's based on raag khamaaj.

  • Most adorable: milan abhi aadha adhura hai, Vivah
    One of my favorite songs of recent times; it's not entirely a rain song but it surely begins in rain so I've added it to the list.

  • Most cute: idhar chala main, Koi Mil Gaya
    Watch it for yourself. Cute is the word. I adore this song for Hrithik's dancing and for the song lyrics/music.

  • Most sexy: tip tip barsa paani, Mohra
    The ultimate rain song! Akshay Kumar and Raveena Tandon set fire in rain in this one. ;) I love the way the singers - Alka Yagnik & Udit Narayan - have sung this one.

  • Most fun: koi ladki hai jab woh hasti hai, Dil To Paagal Hai
    This one really makes me want to just get up and dance. I think that's because of Madhuri Dixit's dancing. One amazing dancer she is in this one and otherwise. Truly an inspiring dancer and actress. It's quite fun to watch other dancers in the song too - SRK and the kids - all of them so energetic in their dancing, it's infectious.

  • Most romantic: rimjhim gire saawan, Manzil
    A very tall and handsome Amitabh Bachchan and Mausami Chatterjee who has THE cutest smile with uneven teeth that remind me of Shashi Kapoor's teeth, for their lovely smiles of course. This is one of my favorite rain songs. So simple yet so beautifully romantic. Love the way both of them hop around in rain and the cheery smiles on their faces and running and hopping through muddy puddles of water holding hands... aah so very romantic!

  • Most crazy: tip tip tip tip baarish shuru ho gayi, Afsaana Pyaar Ka
    I couldn't believe I remembered this one. Only had heard/seen it when it came out and then today. I like Aamir Khan's dancing quite a lot in this one. Actually, I like his dancing at all times, regardless of what movie it is so. :P

  • Most amazing: dil tera deewana, Dil Tera Deewana
    Out of this world! that's the only way to describe this one. It can't get any better. Dripping with romance and the music, lyrics, voices of the singers top notch! Not to mention the actors - Shammi Kapoor and Mala Sinha. I think no other actress of Bollywood has had as many good songs to her credit as Mala Sinha.

  • Most silly: na jaane kahaan se aayi, Chaalbaaz
    It's so silly it makes me laugh watching this one. Actually the whole movie is my favorite so the song has to be in the list of my favorite songs. Check out funny, playful, crazy, drunk Sridevi with Sunny D in this one.

  • Most sad: tujhe yaad na meri aaye, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
    Yup, I find this one the most sad one of all rain songs.

  • Most seductive: aankhon se toone yeh, Ghulam
    Again, it's a partial rain song but awesome one. Aamir Khan and Rani Mukherjee pair up for this hit number from Ghulam.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Leaves close up Originally uploaded by kananj
It was the second rain of the season that day and a Saturday! I felt like a little kid all over again. Made some cute little boats with paper cuttings. I could recall the regular boat, and the one with a little fin thing at the bottom, but the ship, I couldn't make. It was little too complicated to remember, that I know... in any case, I'm still trying to recall that so if any of you remember it, do share. :) The rain waters here in the US don't make big puddles like they do in India, the water recedes. So it was a little disappointing to see no water under the boat in a few mins, but it was good fun nevertheless. I eventually moved the boat to an empty flower-pot. :P

Boat Originally uploaded by kananj

While making the boats I hummed that favorite boat-making kiddie song in Gujarati that we had as poetry:

chaalo chaalo ne ramiye hoDi hoDi

baapu na chhaapa nakkama thotha
kaapi kupi ne kariye hoDi
chaalo chaalo ne ramiye hoDi hoDi...

(It means, let's make boats together; let's cut up dad's newspapers and other papers to make more boats)

Also got to see so many different snails and shoot them from so close, here's one of them. :)

Snail Originally uploaded by kananj

And some more rain drops on the leaves:

Raindrops on leaves Originally uploaded by kananj

The purple/lavender/white colored flowers that snail was roaming around on, searching for food, I think.

Flowers Originally uploaded by kananj
More rain photos here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Remembering Bapuji

Recently, I read that "the best classroom in the world is near our grand-parents' feet". I can't recall where I read it, but I really liked it. Then I realized that it's not only limited to grand-parents but any experienced elder family member so long as we are patient to sit with them, next to them to listen to them. And while I pondered upon that I realized that I had promised to Cuckoo that I will share this story with her.

Dr. Anantrai V. Dave A little background before I tell the story. A couple of months ago, I got this book from Nalinifaiba (mom's aunt, grandpa's cousin). First of all, thank you, Faiba! For sending this one. I didn't even know this book existed until then as it was written in the year 2000 after I left India and didn't know there were folks working on such a book since past few years at the time. It is a book by Shri Moolshankar Jeevanlal Pathak & Shri Kiritbhai Moolshankar Pathak; it is my maternal grandfather's life story. These are the two men to whom I am eternally grateful to for putting this book together because I've got to know more of my grandpa from this book than his life that I saw when he was with us. They've gone around and talked to people and pestered them to share more and more stories they know of grandpa to put this one together. I won't go into the details about that as it would fill up yet another book about how they started writing the first drafts and put together their collected information about someone who was not related to them but touched the deep chords of their hearts by how he lived his life and what he did. Tears well up in my eyes at every single page of thsi book and I feel more blessed reading each and every single story in it - to have such grandfather who is not only an inspiration to the family members but to almost every single person that knows him.

The book and stories are written in Gujarati so I will share that as well as my attempt to describe the incident in English.

ગરીબ કુટુંબ પતિ-પત્ની, બાળકો માંડમાંડ ગુજરાન ચાલે. વેતરાં અને ઢસરડાને કારણે પત્નીને ક્ષયરોગ લાગુ પડ્યો. મોડી ખબર પડી. ઍક્સ-રે જોઇને કુટુંબના દાક્તરે આશા છોડી દીઘી. સલાહ આપી થોડા દિવસની મહેમાન છે. થાય તેટલી સેવાચાકરી કરો. ભાઇને માથે તો આભ તૂટી પડ્યું. ગરીબ સંસાર ચૂંથાઇ જશે, બાળકો કેમ ઉછરશે વિગેરે ચિંતામાં તે પણ અર્ધો થઇ ગયો. કોઇએ સલાહ આપી કે 'દાક્તર અનંતરાય દવેને બતાવો'. દાક્તર દવેએ એક્સ-રે અને બીજા રિપોર્ટ જોયા. પત્નીને ઝીણવટથી તપાસી ગભરાવા જેવું નથી હવે તો ક્ષયરોગ કાબૂમાં આવી ગયો છે. જિંથરી ક્ષયની હૉસ્પિટલમાં લઇ જાઓ. હું ચિટ્ટી લખી દઉં છું. ખર્ચની ચિંતા ન કરતાં. બધું ગોઠવાઇ જશે અને બધું એવું ગોઠવાઇ ગયું કે એ બાઇ અત્યારે દિકરાના દિકરાને રમાડે છે અને સવાર-સાંજ ભગવાનની સાથે સાથે ડૉ. અનંતરાય દવેનું નામ લે છે.
Source: સમાજ સેવાના વ્રતધારી ડૉ. અનંતરાય વી. દવે, જીવન કથા (Life Story, Dr. Anantrai V. Dave - the one who vowed for social service)

Needy family, husband-wife, kids were barely surviving. Because of overwork and no proper care, the wife was diagnosed with tuberculosis. It was too late. The family doctor looked at the x-ray and gave up all hopes. Said nothing could be done now, just help the wife spend rest of her remaining life as best as they can. The husband was suddenly overtaken by this great misfortune. Suffering thoughts of how his poor family will be tormented, how will the kids be raised, bothered him. Someone suggested 'take your wife to Dr. Anantrai Dave'. Dr. Dave looked at the x-ray and reports and performed a detailed check-up. He said things seem to be in control. Take your wife to Jinthri TB Hospital, I will write a note. Don't worry about the expenditure. Everything will be fine and everything became fine such a way that today the wife has become a grandmother and day and night she prays to God along with to Dr. Anantrai Dave.
And today's fortune reminded me of Bapuji even more. It says "To be simple is to be great". May God bless him to be in a better state wherever he is and for me to be more like him.

God bless.