To judge a foot by its wear!

My foot, rather.

Nah dont get me wrong! I’m not swearing!

I am referring to my foot, literally. I, in fact, have been wondering about the role of footwear in my life.

What triggered this thought, you wonder?

Well, I was in the kitchen, one day, trying to make some sense out of whatever it is that I was cooking and all of a sudden I realized that I was late for school run. I didnt bother to change as I was wearing an outwear already. I was barefoot, so I just pulled out of my rack the first pair of shoes I saw to slip on and scurried out.

Barely a few meters drive, I was at a signal waiting for red to turn green. Now, because of a perennial leg-ache that has been bothering me for sometime, I have this habit of taking my feet off my shoes, when in static mode in the car, to relieve the pain, even if briefly, from the tight grip of the shoes . So while doing that, I casually glanced down to my feet only to realize that I was wearing an old, dreary looking pair of shoes. I couldn’t care less. I didn’t think it was hardly an issue to freak out on, so ignored the shoes and shifted my focus to other interesting things on road!

But this li’l observation did set me thinking about people, some of my friends even, who would never go wrong in choosing the right footwear for the right occasion. So much so that if faced with a similar situation, they probably would have hyper-ventilated on the casual over-sight of picking an unimpressive pair of shoes to wear! 🙂

About two days back, again, I was on my way to drop Namnam for karate class after which I had plans to while away my waiting time by aimlessly wandering around a chic mall. I had remembered to be ‘dressed’ for the loitering-occasion with a new pair of jeans and top before stepping out of the house. But till the time I had stepped out of my car to go to the mall, I hadnt realized what shoes I had on.

I was wearing chappals!

I found myself wondering whether it would be appropriate to step inside the mall now. And I had a near face-palm moment when I saw all those smartly dressed people, wearing their shiny shoes, stilettos and platforms walking in and out. Yet again, I brushed aside the matter as a non-issue and walked in head on all confident hoping noone would give a glance to my feet!

As I was saying, I have observed that a lot of people give importance to footwear just as much as they would to their clothes, bags, hair, skin and such. I remember admiring this lady during a ride in Delhi Metro, a couple of months ago, for the sheer way she had ensured to dress up in a matching shade of green from head to toe! From gaudy green suit to green rubber band to green bangles to green nail-color to green clutch-purse to…yes, you guessed it right..green sandals! I couldn’t help wondering about the time and pain she would have taken to get everything so colour coded!

Would such orderliness in people also mean that they would be as disciplined about every aspect of their life in general? I wonder.

I have friends who have an impressive collection of footwear with a pair for every occasion. And I admire them for that quality, I really do.

Having said that I have never been so perfect, where footwear department is concerned :). While I do love to shop for shoes, more often than not I end up picking them, keeping in mind the multiple occasions I can use them in..so that I don’t confuse myself in deciding what to slip into! I make do with the same pair for most of the occassions, for (a) I’m lazy to decide which pair would go best with which of my dress, and (b) I’m just not so particular. The only thing I’m particular about is getting a regular pedicure and keeping my feet clean and crack-free as much as I can. But shoes, nay, not so much.

I’d rather spend that extra time on shopping for dresses, which is where my priorities on optimum splurging lie 😉

Even while packing for vacations, I stuff a maximum of two pairs of footwear and if need be I wouldn’t even mind pulling a pair out if it would mean I can make space for an extra pair of dress! I guess its more of a matter of where you choose to invest your interests and energy in, right?

So how’s it with you all? What role does footwear play in your lives? 🙂

P.S. Speaking of footwear, I’m seriously tempted to fling some of my choicest footwear real hard at some sick snooping politicos and disgusting journos for the way they have been shaming the nation with their acts ! Do you think I’ll get ‘atonement’ for doing that? 😉

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Milano Diario!**

Disclaimer: A long long long travel post! So in case any of you experience any dizziness while reading this post, suggest take a break, take a deep breath, make yourself a a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, and then resume reading :mrgreen:

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Surprised to see the Italian title?? Dont be. Its the after-effect of a holiday I went on recently, to Milan.

Visiting Milan was one of the most enriching and beautiful experiences. With a vast and rich history behind, exploring the city was a revelation to me. Every monument, every museum, every church, every lake, every village had a story to tell.

On the face of it, Milan may not seem like a traditional holiday spot. ‘Fashion capital’,’Business hub’, Financial center’ are one of the first few terms that come into mind at the mere mention of the city.

Of course fashion is very much ingrained in Milan. If on one side of the street one may find umpteen boutiques, chic shops that showcase the Armanis, the Versaces, the Pradas and the likes, then on the other side, there will be these discount outlets selling last-season’s cast offs making bargain hunters like me craving for more :). The city is a haven for ardent shoppers and window-shoppers alike!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele- a glass-vaulted double arcade designed in 1861 an dbuilt between 1865 and 1877

The arcade houses most of the major premium brands.

And when Mc Donalds decided to open a joint in the galleria, there was apparently a major furore by these premium brands to protest against its opening as they feared it would harm the reputation of the arcades. But McD was not the one to get disheartened by that. It still found its way….

Mc Donalds agreed to change the colour of its logo from the trademark yellow to golden as a compromise to suit the repute of the area and managed to find its way to the Galleria 😀

To reiterate further that fashion is indeed a statement in Milan let me attach below a hoarding which is a huge landmark in the city.

Giorgio Armani has been booking this hoarding for the last 30 years and it is apparently the largest hoarding in the city.

Having said that, there is far more to the city than just fashion and business.

La Scala Opera House, Duomo di Milano- the Milan Cathedral, Castello Sforzesco- one of the biggest castles in Europe ,built in 14th century , Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper are some of the treasures that the city proudly showcases not just because of the architecture and history behind them but also because these were buildings that were heavily bombed in World War II and survived the extensive damage.

La Scal Opera House, inaugurated 1778, is one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world

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Duomo di Milano- the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world took 500 years to complete

EDITED TO ADD A SNAP OF THE INSIDE OF THE CATHEDRAL

Evidently not as impressive as the exterior, but the designs were quite intricate.

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Castello Sforzesco- the castle houses many museums and art collections
Unfortunatlely we couldn't click very many pictures of the insides of the fort as Namnam was very tired by the end of the day

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A visit to see The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci’s was truly a memorable experience. After hearing about so many different interpretations of the painting, the most prominent being, of course,the one done by Dan Brown, seeing the original painting was indeed awe-inspiring and enlightening. But here again we couldnt click any photos as photography was not allowed 😦 However I have kept the museum tickets safely as a souvenir which I’ll share below..

Entrance tickets to Last Supper

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One of the other high points of our holiday was a trip to Lake Como which is about 50kms away from Milan. We booked this excursion though Lonely Planet who had highly recommended this trip. And it was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and unforgettable experiences I had had.

The lake is the second deepest lake in Europe measuring over 400m deep and it is the third largest in Italy. The lakeside town of Como is surrounded by snow-capped mountains where numerous villas and palaces are housed. Some of the villas have even been bought by celebrities.

Villa Margherita- owned by my boy-friend George Clooney 😛
A closer look at Villa Margherita
Bellagio, a lake village- had the most delicious gelatos from here!

I was also immensely impressed by the people there, much contrary to the impression I had of them before. I always thought Italians were rude and snobbish. But I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. They were warm, friendly and very helpful.

There were days when Namnam & I used to head out by ourselves to do our own bit of exploring. Let me tell you if you know which tram or train or metro stops near your hotel or the place where you’re staying you can move around the city without any problems. I found the trams so very well connected there and the people always ready to help. The fact that not many spoke English was not a constraint at all. Found them extremely forthcoming despite the language barrier.

The only downside to our stay was the hotel we chose. We stayed in AC Milano, a hotel recommended by New York Times and even reviewed by Trip Advisor. I didnt find the reception staff very driven or service oriented. None of them gave out a very warm vibe. They didnt have a 24 hour room service which was something I hadnt expected of a 4 star hotel. And they didnt even have an adapter!

Aside that every bit of our stay was worthwhile! And on that note let me wake you all up with this final snap.

So did that wake you up, all you peeping toms?? 😛 😛

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**Milan Diary

Bang my head, pull my hair!

Ever been around people who would make you want to bang your head on the wall?? I’ve been, a couple of times. In fact, I encountered one only yesterday. And I didn’t have to go very far, he was right here in my house. And that’s my cleaner.

Now, my cleaner is otherwise a very nice helpful person. Very hardworking. Very humble. An absolute blessing I must say when it comes to helping me with the sundriest(wonder if that’s even a word) of chores. The best thing about him is the ever-smiling persona he sports even when asked to do the toughest of jobs or when faced with a house that many a times looks as though it has been hit by a typhoon.

BTW he is very innocent too. Or so he wants me to believe. And that’s what makes want to pull my hair and bang my head on the wall! It irks me when people try to be ultra naive or make an effort to be sweet. AAARRRGGH!

Yesterday, I boiled milk and I spilled a small amount, ok a fair amount, on my cooking range. My cleaner, the innocent soul that he is, came in to the kitchen, saw what was very conspicuous and asked me, ‘ Oh the milk got spilled, huh??’. 🙄

And then a few minutes later, when he saw the AC dripping water droplets he asked in the most ignorant way possible,‘ Oh the AC is leaking, huh??’. 🙄

And then again, a little later he saw a few dark scratches on the coffee-table, out came, ‘Oh the table got scratches, huh?‘. He was unstoppable yesterday! And I was on the brink of losing my sanity.

The incident(s) made me realize that he is not alone in this world of ‘innocent’ people. There are many.

There are those who, right after you’ve seated yourself aboard a non-stop Delhi-Doha flight, ask you the very pertinent question, ‘Oh so you’re going to Doha, huh??’.

Or when you’re glued to your book with the title written in bold on the cover for even an ant to see and you’re just about to crack the Da Vinci Code, you’re fielded, ‘ Oh so you’re reading Dan Brown, huh??’ 🙄 🙄

I remember the wife of a very dear friend of my father’s who had this stating-the-obvious-while-trying-to-be-angelic syndrome. She had taken it upon herself to explain whatever we spoke or did, word by word to her husband, who BTW would be sitting right next to her.

For eg. if my brother smiled she used to say, ‘Nokku, M’etta, Raghu chirikkunu (Look,Raghu is smiling)’ or if my mother served them tea,‘Nokku, M’etta, CK chaaya undaaki (Look, M’etta, CK made tea)’.

And each time she would be more excited and more upbeat than the previous, with her loud louder loudest laugh!!

To this day each one of us in my family have a rollicking time reminiscing about those moments when Aunty visited us, although I’ll have to admit when I actually lived those moments years ago, they did make me want to bang my head on the wall.

When Namnam was born, I came across such kinds aplenty. Every time I told them I was blessed with a baby girl, they used to reiterate what I said with a question,‘ Acha ladki hui hai?’ and even go a step further to say,‘Koi nahi, agli baar ladka hoga(Never mind, next time you’ll have a son)’

Here I’ll admit that more than wanting to bang my head,I wanted to bang THEIR head on the walls and pull THEIR hair!

**Image Courtesy: Google Images

At your (in)convenience

Before I begin my long pent-up rant, I’d like to make it very clear that this post is not directed at any one particular religion, sect or belief. My frustration or anger is aimed at all those people who seem to care a lot about their faith thereby bringing about a certain amount of discipline in their own lives, but at the same time are highly insensitive towards the inconvenience they cause to others.

I left home to go out in the morning on Friday. It was only when I got out of my building that I realized I had chosen an inappropriate time of the day to go out.

Zuhr, the afternoon prayer was about to start and people who had come to pray in the nearby mosque had parked their vehicles in every possible direction outside of our building. The entire stretch of road was blocked. So much so that there was hardly any space for vehicles coming from adjoining roads, to pass by.Needless to say,I had a tough time getting out of that mess.

I was really bugged as I had planned to be at this place at a certain hour and I was clearly far from achieving it simply because of some people’s indifference.

Such nonchalance can be so frustrating! What if someone had had to rush on an emergency and this unwarranted hiccup was something the person could not afford? Aren’t indifferent actions of some people adversely affecting the day-to-day lives of their fellow beings?

Let me point out this is not confined to one region or country. I’ve seen similar things happening in India too.
Delhi and a few other parts of North India have Jagrans/Jagratas organized, in the name of God, every now and then, by some of His devotees.

Jagrans/Jagratas,as many of you would know,is a session wherein people stay awake through the night and offer prayers to God. They show their devotion by praising Him,singing bhajans and playing loud music with religious songs blaring through the loudspeakers. It’s a different matter, though that those bhajans would have a guess-game,of an interesting kind,attached to them. Guess the original film-song!

I’m not against praying or being devoted to God. I’m a God-fearing person myself.I have my own beliefs and follow to some extent, the values and teachings that my religion, Hinduism,offers. So I perfectly understand the sentiments behind people’s devotion and implicit faith in God.

What I don’t understand is the logic behind showing devotion so explicitly in a residential area, through the night, with deafening music, thereby hampering the lives of others.
Let me not even get started on those incessant political rallies and religious rath-yatras that bring cities to an absolute standstill.

All I’m trying to point out is that all of us are free to follow our beliefs and practice what we believe in. But do we need to do that at the cost of others’ convenience? Is that the right way to go about it?

I know what I feel or write is not going to make people think or behave any differently. The system will still function in the same manner as it is now.The people will still have the attitude of unconcern towards others’ feelings.

But I also know that this is a topic that has been brewing inside me for quite sometime and I’m feeling much better after letting it out. One of the virtues of blogging,I guess!!