Friday, 28 November 2008

Mumbai under terrorist attack!

Three entire days have been spent in front of the TV - shocked, scared, worried, saddened, praying and hoping that this terror attack comes to an end, soon!! Whether we are in Mumbai or miles away from it, this violation of our security has shook us to the core...

Repeated announcements that it's all over at one or the other sites, only to be followed by gun shots and grenade explosions... WHEN WILL THIS END? Our prayers go out to the lives lost and their families, and we stand behind, salute and honor the brave soldiers and citizens who have been fighting against the terrorist, tirelessly.  The real heroes are our security forces, the Commandoes, NSG, Army, Police Force, and all the civilians (staff and guests trapped inside the different sites). The Indian Media and the world media has been reporting non-stop, discussing, interviewing, taking opinion, and covering the events as it happens, live on national TV... I think they need to step back and they need to be held responsible and need to understand what they are doing... can the journalists stop dramatizing the events, and can they stop giving away strategic information, which has and is only aiding the terrorists and their accompli. Enough is enough, this is not a time for the media and journalists to glorify themselves, but a time for the armed forces to carry out their mission!! Everyone except the armed forces needs to be sealed out of the areas under attack, and kept in the dark regarding critical strategic information, so the forces can carry out their mission successfully. It is clear that these terrorists are very well planned, organized and highly skilled, and that they were able to get a lot of compromising information through satellite phones and powerful walkie-talkie's, and all the information disclosed on the news channels has only helped them... please STOP!

We can only pray and hope that the media learns their lesson from this and that the armed forces are able to carry out their mission and end this... end this very soon!

I am still glued to the TV, every time I think about moving away or switching it off, I hear an explosion and sit right back... live TV - real TV... we all are addicted to it and we all encourage it, and we all are to blame... but we need to draw a line and stop!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Birthday Celebrations!!

First of all I would like to thank (please don't worry this is not going to turn into a Oscar acceptance speech...hopefully, even though it has started as one) friends and family for their love, wishes and blessings on my 27th birthday! I am so blessed to have you all in my life and love you all dearly :) 

I had a fabulous day/birth-day, courtesy hubby dear, thank you for an amazing day, love you so much and am so blessed to have you as my life partner and best friend! Thank you Ginny B and Tony V for coming at 12 in the night with the most yummy dark chocolate cake!! It was absolutely yumm and I look very chic in my Batman shirt Ginny B ;) Thank you Papa, for being here for my birthday and making it so special!! Thank you all :)

Mom and Dad you are in California, and I know if you could have been here with us, you would have. And I know you both are always with me, no matter how near or far by distance...miss you both sooo very much and love you both sooo much. I am so grateful and thankful to be blessed with the most loving, understanding, and supporting parents! I just pray and hope that someday I can be like you both :) Thank you for your blessings!

Birthday celebrations started at 12 in the night... Papa went to bed (rather pretended to go to bed) around 11.30 while hubby dear was running in and out of our room, ruffling and scuffling with paper ;) ... 5 to 12 am.. our flat door bell rang and of course I suspected something, but our monitor didn't show anyone outside and when hubby answered the bell on the phone no one answered, so we thought someone might have rang the bell my mistake (of course a 'yeah right' went through my mind and I suspected something ;) )... so we went to check and hubby ran down and right back up before I got my flip-flops on to go out as well... he came in with a slight hidden smile and added, no one is there... lets go back in... and we went back to what we were doing ... Papa pretending to sleep, Sunny ruffling and scuffling with paper and moi sitting on my lappy :D Then exactly at 12 am... Ginny, Tony, Papa and Sunny walk in with a candle lit cake, singing my Happy Birthday song :) (for all chocolate lovers it was an absolutely yumm dark chocolate cake!)...  followed by more singing, cake cutting and stuffing my mouth with the delicious cake... followed by birthday bumps! Tony V grabbed my arms, and Ginny and Sunny got one leg each... it was quiet an experience to get birthday bumps...  can't recall the last time I got them ... it was an amazing start to my birthday!!

Birthday morning, I woke up and ran to take a shower and get ready... only because, our plumber was going to come and fix the boiler for which he had planned to drain out the entire hot water reserve/supply... and I had no intentions of taking a cold shower on my birthday...  
One of my birthday gift/treat from hubby dear was a day of pampering and me doing nothing! So I got breakfast to start with and then a delicious lunch made by Chef Sunny! 

In the evening we went for a walk to Richmond (our high street) and hubby dear got me beautiful flowers and a orchid plant... followed by getting ready for my very special birthday dinner and celebrations with Papa, G~T, Boogs and Hubzy!  We went out to a thai place called "Thai Elephant" and had a lovely birthday evening... highlights were my birthday cake pictures with all the flowers (used for table and meal decorations) landing up in my hair! I was being flowerised (new word invented) by loved ones :) And Ginny B ordering a dish thinking it was going to be a nice big fried fish... but landed up being tiny fried fishes with their entire body in tact (including eyes)... it was actually quiet a yummy dish... mostly consumed by daring Tony V & Birthday Girl! :) And last but not least... Boogs dharam brasht time! Our newly converted vegetarian was given non veg food by mistake again and again and again and again... the entire night... that by the end of it she was scared to even eat the ice cream!...LOL

I had a fabulous birthday and a memorable day, thanks to everyone, specially hubby darling for making it so special! 

Love you all!!
Mattu ~ Daring Birthday Girl

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Euphoria... Change had come to America!!!!

Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States of America!!!!!

History has been made, this was a dream, and today it has become reality... Barack Obama is the first African-America President of the United States of America. Today we all have done it!! The highest turnout of voters in the history of America, unprecedented turnout (64%), and we all have done it!

It is a moment of change in America and a moment of change for the world, we are very optimistic and hopeful.  A new generations of politics is here. We needed change... we wanted change... and, we got change!!! A sense of great excitement and enthusiasm has taken over!

Heartiest Congratulations to all!!!!

I voted for the first time in my life, in my adopted nation, and so did my mom, and we both are so very proud and happy :o) 

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Congratulations Chachiji!!

Caring for students: Anjum Sibia, Reader in Psychology at NCERT (left) and others at a conference in Bangalore on Monday.

Bangalore: Students’ feelings and emotions impact their learning ability to a certain extent, according to a research study headed by Anjum Sibia, Reader in Psychology at the National Council for Educational Research and Training.

Ms. Sibia presented a few details of her paper titled “Caring for students’ feelings” at the three-day national conference on the social and emotional environment of students, organised by The Teacher Foundation, here on Monday.

Maya Menon from the foundation said that the conference aims to be a forum for academics and researchers, officials of government department, school administrators and classroom practitioners to come together and share their ideas, experiences and concerns with a concerted view to making schools gentler and happier places of learning.

About the research, she said it was taken up with an objective to attempting to understand students’ emotions influencing their learning as perceived by them in the context of self, home, peers and schools. The NCERT research was taken up in five regions in the country, with a sampling of over 1,000 students from classes seven, nine and 11 in each region.

The tools of the research were open-ended questions, critical incidents and incomplete sentences. According to the interim findings of the research, students express a wide range of emotions in relation to learning. They express different categories of emotions with differing frequencies. The research also showed that positive emotions, such as joy and interest, arose in safe contexts. Also, among students of classes nine and 11, boys expressed more feelings, both positive and negative, than girls. She said that the research showed that amongst all the different feelings of students, the most sighted feeling was linked to teacher behaviour.

A short film titled ‘Shades of our schools’ by Gautam Sonti was screened on the occasion. The film captured the interactions that happen between teachers and students in classrooms, playgrounds, corridors and staff rooms!

Change we need ~ vote for OBAMA!!

Hindi/Punjabi no longer a secret language in Videsh!

Today Papa and I went to Indian Embassy in London to get my OCI stamp... big YAY for that first!! I could write a book about my day at the embassy, some other day maybe, today I want to discuss an embarrassment caused by something we Indians often venture into abroad! Speaking with fellow Desis in our secret HIndi/Punjabi, thinking none of the non-desis understands, and we speak our mind, braving it with what ever comes to mind! ;)

Getting back to the story at hand, Papa and I had to drop off the passport @ the embassy by 12pm and pick it up after 3pm, so we decided to walk and explore central london, and landed up in Convent Garden (2 minutes walk from the embassy)... lots of shops, street shows/entertainment, and street stalls of food and interesting creations by aspiring artists, lots for passers-by to browse. While we were browsing though the Janpat style stalls, we came across art work of an artist I had previously seen on a previous visit to the same place. This artist - 'Chris' had copied his work from another very famous artist (can't recall his name), as i have seen his work before and jigsaws are also available in his work. But anyways, Chris claimed it was his own work/creation, when I had last seen it, so I began to share my story with dad in Punjabi. Today, Chris was not present at his stall, instead a Brit friend of his was filling in for him. So while we were browsing through the cards, he started to tell me how it takes Chris one year to create his work and it's inspired from another famous artist (basically he started to tell me something I had been discussing with Dad in Punjabi, on his own, which I found a bit strange as I had not enquired or initiated the conversation ~ Brit Sales people unlike American's don't take any interest in helping/talking to customers). Anyways by the end of it I landed up buying a card and when he retuned my change, he also added a 'shukriya' with a cheeky grin, to which I was astonished and embarrassed! The chap understood everything I had been saying about his artist friend being a copy cat... which was true, but the moral of the story ~ Gone are the days when Hindi/Punjabi was our secret language against the Videshi's ;)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Diwali 2008!

We had a wonderful Diwali @ G&T's place with the family! Delicious food ~ yummy chana-puri's, beautiful diya-decorations courtesy Ginny!, firecrackers - we only lighted some phuljharis (and watched other peoples firecracker show from inside the house, as it was too cold to stay outside for long), lots of gup-shup, a little wind, a little rain, and a little snow at places... fabulous Diwali 2008 in London! 

Some of us did brave it and go out to the balcony of G&T's penthouse, no 65! to light up some firecrackers, but after a few phuljharis we needed to thaw ourselves (specially Ginny & I), so we all ran back in and watched the surrounding firework shows from neighboring borough, from our cozy glass house :o), the view was perfect!

Thank you Ginny and Tony for making the evening so special, beautiful, and perfect as always! It's wonderful to be together for celebrations and you both always make it extra special for us :o) We really enjoyed our time, and looking forward to many more celebrations with you both!! :)

Love & Hugs
Gulabo & Gulab Singh

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