Friday, 4 July 2014

Uditi, The Doll

Just wanted to share the different moods of my niece Uditi, captured on lens, by Anindya on the day we visited them a few days back. She is a doll whom we have never heard crying. She is a heavenly bliss, whose sight always brings a smile on everyones face.

Excited to see Akanksha

Watching Akanksha having chips without sharing with her
Happy to see Akanksha offering her one

Frowned when Akanksha teased by putting the chips back into the packet

Waiting eagerly to taste it

"Aah! Please a bit first" :)
Confused with the taste (tasting for the first time)

"Umm! not bad"

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Spam Comments

From last few days I am receiving so many spam comments on a particular post that it is driving me crazy. My blog does not have too much traffic. But among these less traffic also I am getting on an average ten spam messages per day. It is not that I have not received such messages earlier but of late I am getting too many a day and on the particular post only.

Photo courtesy : Google
I do not know why my post A Healthy Breakfast is attracting so much traffic and that too all fake. I do not know much about the technicalities of blogging and now I am seriously getting concerned if there is any serious problem with my blog. Most of the spammers are from United States and RUSSIA. 

Is it normal to get such spam messages in blogs? I just feel if these spam readers would have spent a few seconds reading the post genuinely and leave a message, then I would have surely visited their blogs. I do not know what they get doing such bluffs. Are they able to attract any visitors doing such things? I wonder!

I sometimes feel to block anonymous comments but I have many anonymous friends who genuinely visit my blog and read and comment. If I do so, they will not be able to comment any more. The spam comments give me a feeling of window shoppers visiting a shop with no intension of buying anything, rather messing the shop. Aaargghhhhh!!!!

A screen shot of only a one forth portion of messages I received during 24th night and 26th June morning :

If anyone can provide any solution, it will be appreciated.   

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Scholarship Examination

Akanksha before entering the exam hall
Today Akanksha appeared for a National level junior dance scholarship examination organised by the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training(CCRT). She was one among three dancers of Manipuri Dance stream but the lone candidate from her dance school. But there were hundreds of students from the Bharat Natyam stream.

She was under the guidance of Guru Kalavati Devi, Bimbabati Devi, Kunja Singh and Arpita Saha. They amidst their tight schedules managed to regularly train her. Apart of her regular classes Akanksha was provided innumerable extra classes by them. We are really thankful to her school, her dance teachers and the seniors who helped her in every step.

Her dance teachers Sri Kunja Singh and Arpita Saha who accompanied her to the examination hall said that she has given her best and that they are happy with her performance- both practical and oral. For me the teachers satisfaction was more then anything else. Now, its upto the judges and God. Also want to thank Akankksha for agreeing on taking all the trouble in between her studies to prepare for the same. Though it was always pushing her from behind but I think learning the art was up to her. Willingly or unwillingly she abide by what she was expected of by the teachers and we the parents. 

Since the parents are not allowed to enter inside the exam hall I could not get any photographs. Sharing a few I clicked with my cell phone before she entered the examination hall. 

Akanksha with her dance teacher Sri Kunja Singh

Akanksha with her dance teacher Arpita Saha who took the major initiative preparing her for the examination

With Anupama Devi, her senior who was there to put the tilak on Akanksha's forehead and sing for her..

Akanksha with one of her fellow Manipuri dance contastant

Half the battle over and waiting for the final result. Do not know what the result will be but it is for sure that facing such national level competition will certainly help otherwise introvert Akanksha to open up and boost her confidence. 

N.B: Since I was busy with Akanksha with her final rehearsals I was not able to visit any of my friends' blogs. Will certainly be regular now onwards.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Miss U

Why do I remember you when I am sad..

Why do I need you when I am happy..

Why I feel so lonely without you..

Why hiding my emotions give so much pain..

Even when I have made up my mind, I will move on without you..

Why you keep lingering on my thoughts..

Its so hard to be without you..

Whom should I go and tell..

I hope you too feel the same..

Who else will know the pain..

Still we have to move on, as we have different priorities to meet..

Silently praying that you be always happy in your world..

But still after so many years, I wonder why..

Tears roll down whenever I remember you dad!

Miss you so much Dad!!!!!!!

You meant the world to me......

Happy Father's Day......

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Plight Beyond Hope

Photo courtesy Facebook 
Last Saturday I opened my Facebook and saw a quote uploaded by a fellow Fb friend. It read - "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always". Every time I read it I like it very much. I always find it so meaningful. 

That day the whole day I was alone as both father and daughter had a lunch invitation at dotty's dance class. They returned home at around 3.30 pm and the Mister went out in a hurry saying that he would explain everything after he returns. He just said that he was taking a nephew of us along with him and that he was going to meet a person he never met before. I was worried when he did not return till 12 midnight. I called him up and found that he was parking the car. When he entered, he looked exhausted and starving. After having his dinner he narrated what he was up to.

Anindya received a call from one of his friend from Bangladesh when he was in Akanksha's dance class, saying that a man from Bangladesh was in Kolkata and was facing trouble to cross the inter country border with the dead body of his daughter he took to Chennai for treatment and asked him if he could help him in any way. Anindya said that at first he thought that the person's daughter died at a hospital in Chennai and he wanted to take her body to his motherland and as he wanted to take a dead body he might be facing  some problems with the paper work. He thought that he would meet that person and take him to the concerned office and make the papers ok. But when he went there and met the man and listened his story, Anindya said he was awestruck. He could not believe what he was listening.

Anindya said that when he met the person, the man seemed to heave a sigh of relief, to find a fellow community man in a foreign land. Then he narrated what happened to him. He told that he is a teacher by profession and has two daughters - the elder one is eighteen years and the younger one is nine years old. His younger daughter was diagnosed with brain tumour in Bangladesh. To provide the best medical treatment, he brought her to Chennai, in India. But the tumour was in such an advanced stage that the medical authorities asked him to take her back home. But her condition was so bad that neither the airlines or the railways were willing to provide her a ticket to Kolkata.

But, a desperate father booked an ambulance for seventy thousand rupees (Rs.70,000/-) and started their journey from Chennai to Bongaon. Bongaon is the place near Indo-Bangla border, from where they were supposed to cross the border. In the ambulance was his wife, his eldest daughter, he himself and his ailing daughter. After travelling for quite some time his daughter looked quite healthy and fresh. He said that, he thought that might be with the thought of returning home she was feeling better. But the condition of the road was so pathetic that he himself, a hale and hearty person was finding it tiresome and he said how much his ailing daughter would have suffered. Suddenly, the girl made a sound like a hiccup and she never opened her eyes. 

The forlorn parents drove all the way to Kolkata with the body of their deceased daughter and got her admitted at a hospital where she was declared to be brought dead. The parents then continued their journey towards the border after taking the death certificate from the hospital. But it was not the end of their plight. They were denied permission to cross the border as the papers to cross the dead body was not complete.

The father then with the help of some local volunteers managed to keep the body in a morgue and his wife and daughter in a hotel in Bongaon and he booked a car and came back to Kolkata and the whole day he was wandering cluelessly from one office to another. It was only after Anindya and Santosh (our nephew) met him that the actual official procedure started. So, for the final permission they were asked to go the next day morning at 10 am. They dropped the man at a city hotel and they returned home.

Next day too Anindya and Santosh were  there with the man, struggling with the government procedures, till the job was done and they helped him board a train to Bongaon. The man after crossing the boarder called up Anindya to let him know that they were able to cross the border. After that Anindya looked relieved.

After I heard the whole story I was just not able to react. I was just thinking, what would have been the condition of the parents. If I would have been in that state I would have gone mad and it was also the reaction of Anindya. I was at the same time glad that Anindya was able to help the unfortunate father. I could not sleep that night and felt that God had shown me the truth of the quote with an example. It is so very true that, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always"


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Children's Summer Cooking Camp

The recipe book provided in the class
Akanksha today attended a one day summer cooking camp. Two days back she searched and got the address of the same. From then onwards she was pestering me to enrol her name. I had a talk with her dad and he gave the go ahead. Since she is so passionate about cake making and the class was concentrating on cake making, he allowed her to join.

Day before yesterday I talked to them and they asked us to join the class to be held the next day. But due to some unavoidable circumstance we could not but we were lucky to find that they had a class today from 11am till 3.30pm. First I was thinking that whenever anybody call them they might just ask them to come over. So with many questions in mind I took Akanksha there. I thought that first I would look at the environment, if it is ok I will let her continue else I would bring her back along.

We reached at the venue 15 minutes before time. The class was in the third floor of a reputed hotel. After we reached the room we rang the door bell. When they opened the door there were already few little girls of Akanksha's age. As we entered the room I had a possitive feeling. The lady who organises the class was already there preparing the materials and an assistant was welcoming the students and their parents and enrolling their names. The room was equipped with enough cooking aids and a big screen is fitted in the front, for all the participants to have a proper view of what the teacher is doing.

After I paid the money they asked me to come and fetch Akanksha at 3.30pm and ask me not to bother about her lunch and all, because they would be taking care of everything. As many more parents had left their daughters there and the ambiance turned out to be quite good I left.

Sharp 3.30pm I was there but from the glass door I could see that the class was still in progress. I waited in the lobby of that floor for sometime but found that a mother went inside, so I also accompanied her. The girls were in their final stage. They were wrapping all the things they prepared in the class. Seeing me the teacher, Mrs. Manju Sethia called me and told me that Akanksha was brilliant in class and that she already knows more than anything a girl of her age should know. She called her a passionate learner. I felt really proud. After that Mrs. Sethia asked the girls to keep on practicing what she had taught. Sharing a few photographs I just clicked with my mobile camera.

The class room

Akanksha smiling after seeing me

The different items they prepared

The cake she prepared but the ganache melted by the rime we reached home 

Akanksha posing with her final product

We thanked the teacher and took her permission to leave and came out. They have handed over everything they were taught in the class. They taught cake making, cake decorating, different types of chocolate making, two types of cookies, cup cakes and cup cake decoration. Akanksha told that they have taught many more recipes which they ate in the class. Akanksha was very happy attending the camp.

Reaching home she prepared a snack with oats, milk and honey which was very tasty. She just mixed one cup of milk, one cup oats and half cup of honey and blended it in a mixer. Then she greased the pre heated bread toaster with a little butter and spread the mixture into it and left it for two minutes and it was ready to eat. She told that her teacher served it with maple syrup but since we did not have the same at home she served with honey and it was really very tasty. She told me that the snack is called waffle and it is very healthy.

Waffle prepared by Akanksha

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Easy Shopping

The box that arrived from Amazon
Akanksha's class teacher has asked all the students to buy couple of books to read during their summer holidays. She had given a long list from among which the students have to choose any two or three books of their choice. From the first day of vacation Akanksha was after her dad to accompany her to the book shop to buy those books. When she was sure that her dad will not be able to take her to the book store she was after me. But it was so hot that I fear going out. So I asked her to search the net and find the best deal. 

I thought that she would take some time searching but to my surprise she searched three sites within minutes. She came to me and told that three sites are showing the same price but Amazon is the best because they are not charging any shipping charge. She also told me that the other sites are charging extra shipping charge for each book, while they will be delivering all the three books together. I was not sure and checked and saw that she was right they are charging shipping charge per book. But I was not sure about Amazon. I never dealt with them. But since the consignment was is COD( cash on delivery) I ordered.

I ordered the three books and a sunscreen lotion for Akanksha on 23rd May and they said that it will be delivered by 29th. Akanksha was not happy with the delivery date. She asked me to plead them to deliver it a little early. I told her that it might be better to cancel the order. Hearing that she no more complained. But I saw her constantly keeping an eye on the Amazon shipment tracking page.

The materials inside after we opened the box
On 26th morning when I woke up I saw Akanksha was awoke before me. She came to me running and said that Amazon had texted that they would deliver the material that day. I checked my phone and yes she was right. The whole day Akanksha was so excited that she opened the door each and every time she heard a footstep outside. But to her surprise the courier did not arrive till 6 in the evening. She then went to their site and opened an online chatting window with their customer service. I never knew about the availability of such a service. When I told her that I would not chat she wrote it herself and the customer service representative told that the material was out for delivery and that it would be delivered by the end of the day. She then told me since it is an international service they might be working as per their time schedule and she went to take a bath, leaving me grinning.

The three books and the sunscreen lotion
Within twenty minutes of Akanksha's interaction with the CS representative the courier arrived. It was sent through FedEx. The packaging was done very nicely. Hearing the door bell Akanksha, who takes so much time while taking a bath, came out within minutes. I showed her the parcel and she was jumping with joy. She asked me not to open and take proper picture so that I could write my experience with Amazon in my blog. She said that since I wrote about Flipkart I should also share my experience with Amazon and I think she was right.

It was my first deal with Amazon and it was excellent and hassle free. We just put the order and nothing else did we do and the material was at our door steps within 36 hours. It was a great feeling and I am loving online shopping.