Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Bye, 2011!

I'm so excited for the countdown tonight and the New Year's party! It's a tradition in our family to always cut a delicious cake for New Year's. I can't wait for the New Year's cake this year.

Image from
Wishing everyone a beautiful, exciting and HAPPY NEW YEAR :) Let's all welcome 2012 with open arms!
Image from
 My resolution for 2012:
To focus on the positive things in my life, no matter what!

Grammar Nazi

It's annoying to see "your" in the place of "you're" everywhere for some people (like myself). I still found the following comic from SMBC hilarious! :)

Visit SMBC for more!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Movie Review: Young Adult (Now Playing)

I watched young adult with a couple of friends, all of us expecting it to be funny and entertaining. I wanted to watch this movie because of Charlize Theron! I'm a fan and she delivered. Believable and engaging.

Charlize Theron acts as Mavis, a writer of the 'Young Adult' book series targeted for teenagers, living in Minneapolis. She's a lot like the characters of her own book series; lacking substance and maturity. She returns to her old town, expecting to get back her ex-lover from high school, Buddy Slade. Slade is already a father, who is happily married to his pregnant wife.

I cringed. A lot. I felt embarrassed for Mavis, cringing at her shameless attempts to get back Buddy, who is clearly content with his life. It's an interesting movie but I felt like the movie didn't reach some of its potential at certain parts involving her mental health. The movie scratches the surface about her alcoholism and hair picking, but doesn't dig into the issue. Considering it's a comedy, it makes sense the movie didn't focus too much on that aspect but I still wanted to know more.

Buddy and Mavis. Photo credit:

I didn't feel bored at any parts, though it's definitely not feel-good movie, if that's what you're expecting. Kind of a downer towards the end, but overall, entertaining and witty.

Favorite Quote:
Mavis: You can come to the city with me like we always planned.
Buddy: Mavis, I'm a married man. 
Mavis: I know, we can beat this thing together.

Rating: I give this movie a 6.8/10. My friends ranked it higher; 7/10 and 8/10.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Where's all the Snow?

Where's all the snow? December's almost over and I haven't even experienced one decent snow fall this season. I miss how snow transforms everything. 'Winter wonderland' is no exaggeration! The first snow fall of the season is the best. It's beautiful, exciting, and magical!

One of the many heavy snow falls of last year!
Of course, too much of anything is bad. When it's snowing everyday, the snow salt ruining your expensive suede winter boots, your car windows layered with ice, and your body feeling like its locked inside a freezer, it begins to get on your nerves. That's when summer's on your mind, thinking about ditching your winter gear and embracing the warm sunny rays and the fresh summer breeze on a beach with a cold drink in your hands.

Same place, different season. Look at the difference!

I'm still waiting for the first major snowfall of this season, and it's Christmas today. No white Christmas this year. Without the blankets of snow toppled on the leafless trees and dead brown grass, the streets and parks look dead. Still, what matters is the spirit of Christmas; you heard it before. The peace, love and joy! 
Enjoy your day with your dearest friends and family. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Short Story: Smile Through the Pain

Note: Prequel to the story, 'The Price of a Life.'

She sleeps peacefully in her bed. She looks like an angel; her grey hair looks completely white and translucent. It almost glows as the full moon sheds its light through the open window.

“Good night, mom” He softly kisses her cheek and heads downstairs.

She squints her eyes at the sun as it engulfs the entire room in its bright rays. She sits up and yawns, only half awake. She looks around the room, dazed. Everything looks blurry, like she is looking through a dirty glass window. She looks up and sees a hazy, yet familiar looking face.

I’ve seen this face before. Those sea-green eyes look just like mine. I think his name is Thomas… no… Timothy?

“You… you’re Ti-Timothy?” she squints, moving closer.

“Good morning, mom! I’m Thomas, remember?” he flashes a quick smile and reaches for her glasses on the desk.

“Here, put these on.”

Her head is muffled with thoughts and various images. She doesn’t move. He gently adjusts the glasses onto her wrinkled, delicate face and starts to help her up. The phone rings from the next room. He runs over.

She gets up and wanders through the kitchen and hears meowing outside the door. She heads towards the road, walking barefoot on the cold concrete floor. The cool, gentle autumn breeze sweeps up her thin hair. She doesn’t know where she’s heading but the streets look familiar to her, like she’s been here before, many years ago as a child.

“Hi, Mrs. Jamieson!” She turns to her side to see a thin, young boy with dark curly hair and brown eyes. He smiles at her. He is missing one of his front teeth.

“Okay, I’ll call you back later. I think she’ll enjoy it” Thomas places the phone on the receiver and returns to the room. His heart sinks at the sight of the empty room. Beads of sweat form on his forehead. Thomas runs past all the rooms, calling out for her. He dashes out the front door.

“Mom!” he pants, gasping for air, “Mom!! Where are you?”

He feels a gentle tug on his shirt.

“Oh, Jimmy…what’s wrong?”

The young curly-haired boy sobs.

“M-Mrs. Jamieson yelled at me! Sh-she said she didn’t …she said she didn’t know me! I asked her to play with me”

“Jimmy, you saw Mrs. Jamieson?! Which way did she go?”

Jimmy rubs his eyes and points towards the dog park. Thoughts race in Thomas’ mind.

I shouldn’t have left you by yourself, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I should’ve been more careful. You’re vulnerable and frail. You could get seriously injured, especially at this stage of Alzheimer’s. You’ve been through enough in your life, mom. You worked two jobs just so I could go to college. You never missed a recital; you always celebrated our birthdays, no matter how little money we had. I won’t forget how you smiled at me, even though you were in so much pain, battling with depression after dad’s accident.

Thomas runs through the park, asking nearby dog-walkers if they’ve seen an elderly woman.

“Yea, she looked very dazed and confused. She headed towards Mimico creek”

Thomas sprints towards the creek. He hears loud, playful barking behind the big oak tree.
“Mom!” Thomas collapses on his knees onto the soft grass, catching his breath.

The small brown Pomeranian in her arms licks her face, excitedly wagging its tail and barking. Her deep green eyes widen when she sees tears streaming down his face.

Thomas gets up and hugs her tightly.

“I’m sorry, Mom. I’m sorry. I’ll take good care of you, just like how you took good care of me.”

Short Story: Safety in Seclusion

Her sweaty hands tremble on the cool, rusty metal of the door handle. She reaches into her worn jeans and took out her jingling keys and click; she locks the front door. She takes a deep breath of the fresh spring air. She put her hands inside her fuzzy sweater to warm them. She briskly heads to the bakery store down the block, occasionally looking over her shoulders and side to side on the quiet, empty suburban street filled with rows of identical brick-red houses. The healthy green, groomed lawns and blooming buds and flowers are moist from the refreshing spring dew.

The melodic wind chimes in front of the small bakery noisily welcome her in, as the lighted sign ‘Leon’s Bakery’ in big bold cherry-red letters twitches on and off. She glances at the counter; no one there. The warm, enticing smell of buttery croissants fills her nose. She stares the glass display and the variety of fresh baked goods inside; giant chocolate chip cookies, double-chocolate cake, apple tarts, pecan pie, and her favorite, strawberry cheesecake. She turns away from the display to see a man with a dark, thick mustache flipped at the edges and intense black eyebrows in a white apron. He flashes his widest smile, his light hazel eyes twinkling.

“Lina, my dear! It’s been so long!” the burly man gives Lina a warm bear hug.

“I missed you, uncle Leon.” She fights back aggressive tears ready to leave her eyes, her voice cracking “I-I finally…” she trails off momentarily, wiping off the tears “.. .Managed to leave the house.”

Uncle Leon gently pats Lina’s back and pulls up another chair by the counter.

“I knew you could do it, Lina. Remember that me and Aunty Rose are always here for you, okay?”

Lina nods, biting her lower up, “Where is Aunty Rose?”

The sound of the wind chimes fills the store once again as a tall, frail-looking woman enters the store carrying a tan wicker basket full of baking supplies. Lina leaps out of her seat and hugs her. Aunty Rose hugs her back, stroking Lina’s soft black hair, “We missed you, sweetie.”

Lina remembers that harsh, winter day again- a day she cannot forget.

Winter 2009.

Lina walks home from the bakery, carrying a plastic bag full of cakes and pastries Uncle Leon baked earlier. Suddenly, she feels a jolt of pain in her lower back that momentarily freezes her entire body. She swiftly turns around, alarmed and confused to find two menacing grins. The thinner boy, Jacob has a lopsided smirk, his dark eyes hollow and smug. The short one, Damien, roars with laughter, crossing his arms. Lina’s voice becomes a whisper, “Why did you do that?”

Now, Jacob joins in on the laughter; his gaunt, angular face looks menacing.

“Are you gonna eat all that, you fat pig?” Damien glares at Lina with a disgusted face, eyeing her up and down.

“Oink, oink!” Jacob laughs, slapping his knee in excitement.

Lina’s right hand holding on to the plastic bag shakes. She could feel her face become hot and flustered, her ears almost burning in embarrassment.

“My weight is none of your business.” Lina sputters, “What right do you have to make fun of my weight, anyway?”

Jacob bares his teeth like a rabid dog, fuming. He grabs onto Lina’s coat and punches her repeatedly, ignoring Lina’s yelps of pain. Damien grabs the plastic bag lying on the concrete pavement and opens the box of warm pastries, throwing it on top of Lina. Jacob and Damien snicker, satisfied seeing the fear in Lina’s eyes.

15 minutes after Jacob and Damien leave, Lina slowly gets up, first on her knees, then all the way up. She wipes off the cake icing and crumbs of cake from her clothes, her knees trembling. She wipes off the hot tears burning her eyes, gasping for air as her throat feels muffled and twisted. Her lungs feel like they are about to burst any minute, like an over blown balloon.

December 3, 2009.

Dear Diary,

Today might just be the worst day of my life. Yes, it’s about my weight again. I would do anything to lose this weight. I hate being fat. I hate it so much. The only thing I hate more than being fat in my life right now is the depression. It’s like people think that if someone’s overweight, you automatically have the right to make fun of them. It’s not just Damien and Jacob. Even in the media, it’s always the fat person who’s made fun of. I find it funny how on TV, they show the big, fat kid as the bully, though in real life, the fat kid is the one being bullied.

Is it some sort of crime to be a few pounds overweight? I feel worthless and insecure because of my weight. Of course, this depression is like a vicious cycle and I’m aware of that; I eat more to numb my feelings and pain and in turn, I gain even more weight. I wish I could stop. I’m sick of being made fun of. This is eating me up inside. I made a decision today. I won’t leave my house anymore. Ever. At least at home, I feel safe and protected, away from people who can hurt me.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Math is hard!

In high school, my worst subject was always Math! It didn't help that I disliked asking teachers for help either. The only person who could make me understand math was my sister! And, the only person who I'd ask for help! But I have to admit, nothing made me feel more confident than passing my math tests with decent marks. Here are some funny math comics I came across:


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brand Names: You Are What You Wear?

You get on the subway and the person across you is wearing Guess jeans, Gucci sunglasses, a Burberry scarf, carrying a shiny Prada handbag. Obviously, my first impression was that she's rich.

A Vera Wang store display of a wedding dress in Toronto.
Brand names don't just sell clothes or goods. Most brand names are there to sell a lifestyle to a target audience, like Prada, Armani, Abercrombie & Fitch, Vera Wang, etc. These brands represent a lifestyle of wealth, power, high status and style. Even if knock-offs might look almost exactly the same as the originals, most people are only after the real thing.

When it comes to clothes or cars, people barely ever buy for only the use-value. No one needs the new iPhone 4s, or a Mustang. It makes sense, since first impressions are often based on looks, so it only makes sense that we want to look our best and maintain a certain image by the brands we wear.

So, are we what we wear?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Short Story: A Temporary Solution

“Munnaaaa!” Mrs. Chowdary grabs her keys and her limp burlap bag from the kitchen counter, “I’m going to the marketplace. I’ll be back soon.”

Munna enters the veranda, covering his ears. “Aba!” he moans, frowning, “I can hear you mummy, no need to yell.”

Munna turns on the large Sony TV in the veranda and flips over to E TV for the evening news, his daily ritual.

Corruption in India is at an all time high, in every level of society. Just yesterday, Vishal Bhatia, a businessman that works for Kavari Aluminum bribed the higher…

Munna doesn’t blink, “Chi! Why can’t someone do something about all this corruption in our country?”

“Munna, watch TV later. Finish your homework!”Mrs. Chowdary wraps a white handkerchief over half her face and heads downstairs.

She starts the engine of her new cherry-red Honda Aviator and zooms out of the garage. Beads of sweat trickle down her face from the blazing, unforgiving Vijayawada sun. She sneezes under her kerchief; the harsh smell of gasoline and dust from the honking autos, trucks, buses and two-wheelers irritates her sensitive nose. A large pothole at the side of the street almost sends her flying out of her seat and momentarily paralyzes her out of fear. After 10 minutes stuck in traffic, Mrs. Chowdary impatiently whirs out of Jammi Chettu Street. As she exits the corner of the street, she abruptly stops, tightly grasping her handle bars. She spots a police car in her rear-view mirror.

Two men dressed in identical khaki-colored uniforms swagger over to Mrs. Chowdary.

“Ni peru enti?” one of the men sputters in his hoarse voice; he impatiently taps his foot.

Why do they need my name? The police didn’t ask me last time.
Mrs. Chowdary sternly answers, “Rama Chowdary.” she asserts, readily opening her wallet from her bag.

The man with the thick black mustache folds his arms and glares, “license yedi?”

I knew it. They know I don’t have a license. One of them must be who caught me from last time!


The men smirk at each other, satisfied. One mumbles something to the other.

“You’re not supposed to be driving without a license. Don’t you know that?”

Mrs. Chowdary grumbles under her breath.

This is the second time they’ve caught me. They’ll definitely ask for more this time.

Mrs. Chowdary reaches into her wallet and pulls out 2 hundred rupee bills. She hands each of the men one bill each.

The man raises his eyebrows, intently examining the bill. He clears his throat, “inka.”

The other officer nods in agreement.

More!? That’s twice what I paid last time! It’ll be almost cheaper to just get my license now.

Mrs. Chowdary sighs and reaches for her wallet again. She hands each of them a 10 rupee bill.

“10 more rupees.” The man stuffs the hundred rupees into his pocket, “because this happened in our break time.”

Mrs. Chowdary hesitantly unzips her wallet again, visibly annoyed. She slaps two more bills into the man’s hand and darts away to her scooter.

Mrs. Chowdary parks her scooter under a large, lush neem tree by the corner. She strides over to the crowded, colorful market place buzzing with vendors and customers bargaining over fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. She thoroughly inspects the sapodillas and ripe custard apples, her favorite. Her burlap bag is already half full with jackfruits, guavas and pomegranates.

The nearby vegetable vendor next to the fruit cart simultaneously calls out to attract customers as the crowd passes back and forth; “Fresh okra, tomatoes, and ripe brinjal, good for making pickles.”

The frail vegetable vendor frantically fans himself with a newspaper in the overwhelming heat. His bony face looks gaunt and exhausted; his ribcage visibly juts out. His height and weight resembles an adolescent boy. Only his face and streaks of grey hair give up his age. His lively, energetic voice turns a few heads and brings a couple of customers over. The customers begin their inspection for the finest vegetables. Mrs. Chowdary hobbles over, her shoulder aching from the weight of her bag. She is impressed at the array of vegetables; maroon beets, long snake gourds, fragrant bitter gourds, okra, and cauliflowers the size of volleyballs catch her eye. She waits for the newly formed crowd to finish their haggling and transactions.

The vegetable vendor helps a customer with selection, and collects money from several others instantaneously; he is happiest when he is busy. Just as the crowd subsides, a he feels a tap on his shoulder. He turns to the side to find a man in a khaki-colored hat and uniform. The vendor braces himself for the inevitable. Mrs. Chowdary watches intently, “Greedy bastard.” she murmurs to herself.

“Permit yedi?”

The vendor lowers his eyes- “Ledu, sir.”

A menacing smile enters his lips, “Sare, 100 rupees evu.”

The vendor swallows his throat, “Sir, a man from the municipal corporation came yesterday to collect 200 rupees. That too, he came last week to collect 100 rupees before that. I don’t even make that much sometimes.”

The officer clenches his wooden lathi fiercely, a police weapon. The officer’s face is expressionless and his eyes look dead, staring blankly at the vendor.

The officer swings the thick wooden stick through the air and attacks the vendor, leaving him screaming in agony. The crowd silently watching in fear turn their heads in shame and guilt, knowing they don’t want to be involved. Others lower their eyes in sympathy. Some women gasp and cover their mouths and a child wails. Mrs. Chowdary covers her mouth in utter shock. She heard about similar incidents occurring frequently but to witness such brutality and corruption from a police officer, someone whose duty is to protect people, it made her blood boil.

“50 rupees more for being disobedient!” the police officer growls, grabbing the vendor’s collar.

A teenage boy in the middle of the crowd grabs a stone from the ground, his hand shaking. He wields it at the back of the officer’s head and dashes out of the crowd within seconds. The crowd instantly scrambles, making it impossible for the officer to see who attacked him. The officer tightly grips his bleeding head, a purple vein bulging out of his enormous forehead from his fury. The money in his hand is dirtied with a blood stain.

Mrs. Chowdary roars in laughter as she shares the incident with Munna.

“I know the boy was wrong to throw a rock, but I felt as if justice has been served.”

Munna clenches his fists in excitement, “That police man deserved what he got! Though, it may not necessarily be right, it’s better than doing nothing, right?”

Mrs. Chowdary nods thoughtfully, “Okay, but how will India overcome all this corruption?”

She stares at the sparkling marble floors of the veranda, “The bigger issue still remains, whether the officer got what he deserved or not. Are we capable of standing up against corruption when it’s seeped into every level of our society?”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why December?


I was sitting in Timmies on a chilly December day in Toronto, near the St.George station. The warm, sweet smell of cookies and donuts made me want to stay longer. I had a notebook with me. I started jotting down names for a new blog; A Voice in the Crowd, A Restless Mind, Flying Forward, Passions and Contemplations, and Dreaming in December. 

My favorites were 'A Voice in the Crowd' and 'Dreaming in December' since I felt inspired, planning about my blog in December. I liked the Christmas vibe to it and what it represents; joy, love, peace and dreaming in the holidays.

Christmas Tree at the Orland Airport on Dec 21, 2008 from a  Florida vacation.

I emailed and texted the list of names to my friends and they also chose the same choices! Since 'A Voice in the Crowd' was already taken on blogspot, I stuck with December.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Restaurant Review: Dev's Haveli

Dev's Haveli in Mississauga:

Atmosphere: It's a large venue (could probably seat a hundred!) and the atmosphere is inviting.
Food: The large variety of food is impressive. They have a lot more variety than Tandoori Flame. A wide array of desserts too, which I love! Overall, I enjoyed the food very much. Their gulab jamun was absolutely delicious.  

Service: The service was mediocre, but not bad. We didn't get our glasses refilled but our waitress was pleasant enough.

Price: $15.99 buffet Mon-Thursday.

Re-visit: Yes

Rating: 9/10

For more information: