Hair today, what tomorrow!   Recently updated !

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Since the beginning of time immemorial, I’ve had rather long hair (almost knee length or at least butt length for most of my life). Last year on women’s day I chopped my tresses in a bid to do something different, and went in for “shoulder length hair”. I know that counts as “long” for many but for me it was *rather* short going by what I had almost all the time. My biggest problem has always been how to keep my hair free from entangling and avoiding heartbreak (also known as hairfall that results from the aforementioned entangling). My hair is naturally wavy, and it tends to go rather frizzy if not maintained properly. Every hair wash episode is a mini project in the art of combing hair without entangling or breaking the long length. I have never tried any chemical treatments and have never straightened, streaked or coloured my hair. I go in for hair spa treatments from time to time to tame the tresses. In short, I’ve been a rather aadarsh bhartiya naari. And now that I have “short” hair, and tend to keep them open, I need all the help I can get to maintain my hair.

Now I can’t possibly pass off Monica’s excuses for my frizzy hair.

monica-geller1

 

Or try and tame them like this.

monica-cap

Or try things like this.

monica-friends-dreadlocks-beads

So I went in for something simpler..ahem!

.IMG_20150220_220013_1

(Ok, I couldnt help dramatising that image with textures etc)

Recently, Garnier contacted me and asked me if I wanted to try this product and review it, so here I am, trying out Garnier’s Triple nutrition range. Here are some closeups of the product that I am about to review.

IMG_20150220_215913_1IMG_20150220_215905_1

I was asked “Which is the biggest hair problem that you face?” Mine in decreasing order of concern, are:

  • Frizzy/Unmanageable hair
  • Rough Hair
  • Dry/Undernourished hair
  • Weak roots leading to Hair Fall
  • Split ends

All hair products have several claims.. be it hair masks, serums, shampoos, conditioners, hair oils and what not. Now I am about to test out the claims of this one! And I’ll be putting up my review as part of the #hairchallenge.

First impressions:

The appearance looks attractive. I like the bright colours. The bottles have a good grip on slippery shampoo-ey hands. They have a very convenient to open cap unlike many other brands where you have to struggle to flip open a rather tight cap and end up with hurting fingers and the shampoo splattered on the wall. The stuff smells real nice – but then don’t they all :).

Let’s see where it goes. Shall post a review update soon. And needless to say the review will be based on my personal hair experience and nothing else.


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Queen’s Luncheon 1

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Although I was making the meal & enjoying the luncheon in the aforementioned subject, I wasn’t the queen in question here. It was mostly the British monarch.

During my London & Scotland trip, I enjoyed Fish & Chips at various places. One of these places had served the chips or as we call them – potato wedges – with a very tasty minty mushy peas dip that I always wanted to try back home. I had also saved some Lemon Curd from Fortnum & Mason and decided to make the day a tad British my including these flavours in my meal for the day.

So here come the scrumptious details.

Appetiser:

Quick Recipe – Peel & quarter potatoes, sprinkle herbs & seasonings of your choice – I used thyme & zatar. Sprinkle olive oil, Salt, Toss. Bake. Have with minty mushy peas.

Minty Mushy Peas (Dip for the Potato wedges)

Quick recipe – Saute peas with spring onions & a handful of mint for 4-5 minutes, add a splash of water, pressure cook. You can also add water & put to simmer till peas are cooked but I prefer pressure cooking. When done, just puree them, add Salt, seasonings, a little lemon juice as per taste.

Main course:

Quick Recipe – Cook & drain pasta, In a large pan saute veggies of your choice, with thyme/rosemary, add pasta & salt/pepper. You can eat this at this stage too. I made spinach pesto by blending blanched spinach, garlic, cheese, green chillies & olive oil. You can add walnut or almonds too for a nutty taste. Mix pesto with the cooked pasta. Reheat if necessary. Eat with parmesan cheese shavings.

I followed this with a muffin & lemon curd from Fortnum & Mason :)

PS. Here’s how Jamie Oliver makes Fish, chips & minty mushy peas


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Had a Kneecap dislocation & now need MPFL surgery 8

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

It’s been a while since I’ve seriously blogged any personal stuff here or even blogged at all, for that matter. I’d been planning to get back to blogging since quite a while now (does anyone even read these blog updates anymore?) … but twitter always stood in the way of expressing myself in long form. Or even reading long form for that matter. I digress.

To cut a long story short, I’ve had a kneecap dislocation (patellar dislocation) & it turns out that one of my ligaments (MPFL) is now torn to such an extent that it needs reconstruction through an invasive surgery :( The post op rehabilitation time is 3 months to say the least to get back to normal movement. It takes longer to get back to an active lifestyle. And I’ve already spent 24 days in a brace (Immobiliser) following the kneecap dislocation. So I’ve been planning all these mini-projects to do in this bedridden state. One of which is, not just getting back to blogging, but also blogging through this entire experience as a coping mechanism & also as an education to anyone else who needs to know the medical details of such an episode (there really isn’t much in terms of personal experience online). Other mini-projects include knitting a muffler (nothing to do with the fact that I support Kejru), editing a hell of a lot of photography stock that I’ve accumulated over the years, purging faltu data from all gadgets, formatting/upgrading all software on existing devices and may be learning how to code ios/android apps. I might even get back to some of my favourite activities as a child – decoupage, papier mache etc. Let’s see how it goes.

Now the long version of what exactly happened.

2014 has been a pathetic year in many ways & just when I was getting ready to bid it adieu, it gave me the worst blow of the year – or later as it turned out, perhaps much more. So on 31st Dec, I got ready, packed some stuff, set out from gurgaon for my parents’ place in Delhi. During the entire drive I felt some discomfort about something not being right. But I attributed it more to the car. Reached home, parked car in garage and then proceeded to take out the stuff from the backseat. My laptop was nearby but the main bag was far off towards the other end. The backseat part of the car was on an incline and my right foot was I think between incline and flat. I made one lunge to get to the bag.. and suddenly my right knee snapped and i was SHOCKED beyond belief. I screamed inadvertently in pain and also realised that my kneecap had dislocated like it had once earlier, 20 yrs back. At least this time I knew what was happening to me, but then it wasn’t relocating back at all unlike the last time when I was a teenager. This time the pain was excruciating cos the knee joint just wasn’t snapping back. Then in about a minute it managed to snap back and I slowly gained cognisance of what had happened & the world seemed to be crashing in front of me. I sat down in that very backseat and called my parents, who were two floors above, oblivious to what all had suddenly happened. And then another dislocation happened just when i was trying to straighten my knee! Each time the pain was excruciating and the knee joint just wouldn’t come back instantly either! Then it happened a 3rd time too! The conclusion now, was to somehow shift the car back out of the garage, shift myself completely into the backseat and go to a hospital like that. With great difficulty, I managed to drag myself in to the backseat and finally my parents & I, left for the hospital… and on the way another fucking dislocation happened AGAIN!!! The fact that it just wasn’t stopping was most disconcerting! And i worried about how much damage each dislocation was causing!
Once we got to the hospital, an immobiliser was tied to my right leg (which I still have on, 24 days later) and I was prescribed medicines to bring down the inflammation around the knee joint & address the pain. An X-ray was done but it was just basic & X-rays don’t show ligament injuries. At that point my knee joint was also too sore for it to be inspected physically and chances were that more dislocations would have happened if an attempt was made. So after this whole immobiliser, wheelchair, stretcher, xray, wheelchair session, we left for home. I was told to visit again after a few days when my knee joint had “quietened down”. Now the next hurdle – my parents live on the 2nd floor. I’d asked the doctor the procedure to climb stairs in this condition and with great difficulty managed 2 flights of stairs of our ancient ancestral house. Everyone had missed lunch due to this medical emergency and now we finally got home to take stock of the situation & what was left of our new year’s eve. I finally broke down & had a crying, hugging session. The shock of the whole thing was just too much. I was just going about my day as usual and suddenly I couldn’t even walk anymore, was bedridden and was looking at, at least 2-3 months of rehabilitation time. The unfairness of it all was just hitting me. The fact that it happened while doing something I’d done infinite number of times was very disconcerting. (More on what makes it happen, later). I knew that my extra flexible joints (I can twist both my thumbs outwards and touch them back to the wrist) made me vulnerable to this. In fact I’ve already had a kneecap dislocation 20 yrs back.. but that was a walk in the park compared to what had happened this time. Ultimately I tried to make myself believe that may be something worse had been averted and I got this “gifted” instead, but at that point I could barely reconcile myself to the situation.
Next up – after a week, MRI and digital x-rays were done. By this time I had reconciled to the situation and since I’d already dealt with a kneecap dislocation earlier, I knew the challenges. Back then the medical advice I had got was hardly anything. 20 yrs later, things had obviously advanced much more. Now there were ice packs, immobilisers, physiotherapy sessions, the internet as a huge resource and what not. As a teenager, I was just given a crepe bandage and sent off. It took around 6-9 months to get back to normal back then, but once it was ok, I forgot all about it. I thought this time the recuperation would be faster because I was equipped better. But when we showed the test results to the doctor – the first thing he said was, this would have to be cut open and operated. There is damage to the patella (kneecap) and the MPFL (the ligament towards the inner side of the knee) is torn and would need reconstructive surgery. Blood drained from our faces. There was shock once more. None of us could believe that the situation was THIS bad. We decided to take another opinion. Then another. And another. This includes a govt hospital, a sports injury doctor and a different hospital. They all say the same thing unfortunately. So here I am, gearing up for surgery now.
I’ll be writing in more detail about how these things happen, challenges & what to do in rehabilitation. But first a tiny note to all gyaanis, free advice givers, self appointed experts & well intentioned but ill informed wellwishers – kneecap dislocations have nothing to do with weight. Any surgery in the knee is not the same as “knee replacement”. Anything to do with a joint is not about weight. Yoga though an extremely beneficial regimen, can not cure everything.
As I wrote earlier, I’ll be updating my blog much more frequently and hope to hear from blogger fraands as well as people who have been through something similar.


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Making merry 1

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ever since I arrived in London on 2nd June, we got busy with the tour around various departments at Kingston university campus. But it wasn’t just all work and no play. In fact right on the day we reached, after freshening up, we went to see the Graduate fashion week at Central London. On this particular day, the show was put up by the students of the Fashion department at Kingston university.

We reached the venue in Central London and the place was swarming with fashionistas of all shapes, sizes and genders. For me the latest fashions were already there to observe in the crowd itself. Once inside, I requested the people in charge to let me stand in the media box meant for photographers and clicked a few shots from there. The designs were quite interesting and some were extremely innovative and actually wearable. The fashion show was so professional in every way possible that I thought I had landed in a clip from FTv.

It didn’t look like some graduate students were behind this. And going by the kind of front row audience, it clearly meant serious business. Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic etc attend GFW, and the KU fashion grads are considered pretty employable by them. In fact this time,  the GFW was featured in times the next day!

We really enjoyed it and headed back to our hotel. On the way we got a tiny glimpse of Central London as well – The London eye, The shard and The Gherkin. During the Kingston tour days we always had lunch & dinner with Indian faculty or Indian students or Indian alumni. It was interesting to see their insights into the process & it was good to see them doing well for themselves.

On the third day of our visit we were taken for a ride (no pun intended) on a ferry along Thames. We got in at the pier right outside Kingston University’s international office and went up till Hampton court palace & back. We were the only occupants of the ferry so it was more like a private tour! It was very scenic and peaceful. The houses along the banks looked extremely lovely in the glowing sun. The Hampton court palace glistened beautifully as well. It was a nice break in between academic discussions.

On all the nights, we ate out at various interesting places, including (but not limited to) Jamie Oliver’s Kingston’s branch.

Got a chance to visit THE Jamie oliver’s restaurant .. The food was great – the service left much to be desired! Sadly didn’t bump into Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson or Heston Blumenthal on the streets of London :).
The ultimate culinary treat was given to us by Kingston university on the last day of our visit. On this day, we were introduced to a proper English afternoon tea experience at the over-300-year-old Fortnum and Mason! After reading about tea and scones throughout my Enid blyton-ised childhood I finally had the experience  and at a very posh place at that!

We had finger sandwiches, lots of different kinds of cakes, scones (both sweet and savoury) with clotted cream, lemon curd and jam & of course tea. There was a plethora of variety in the tea and I chose a flavour called “the wedding celebration” , marking the wedding of prince William and Kate. After this we checked out some other variety of cake that was kept for patrons .. Even though we were all really full, we took a slice of exquisite looking cake topped with raspberries on the top and sponge fingers on the side. It looked like a piece of art! All this while there was a pianist playing some lovely music. I requested him to play “Skyfall” and he complied happily. It was transcendental.
The day ended on an exciting note, with us hopping onto a hop on-hop off bus and taking in the sights of the city. The weather was thankfully playing a good sport and it was lovely to be outside! Overall, the trip was a great combination of enriching academia & interesting outings. I am thankful to KU for providing me this opportunity.
Though the Harry Belafonte “Kingston town” song is about Jamaica, some of the words hold true even in this case. “But I’m sad to say,
I’m on my way, won’t be back for many a day” .. Hope to visit another day!

(this is the 3rd post in a 3 part series. Click here for the 1st part & here for the 2nd part)


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Education expedition 1

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

I arrived in London on the 2nd June. We were quickly whisked away to Antoinette Hotel right next to Kingston University. Kingston is a quaint little place with cosy little houses. Lots of roses growing in everyone’s yard. The weather was perfect unlike the many predictions of rains. In fact it seems we got along a little sunshine here because it was after quite a gap that the rains had stopped. After freshening up, we went to see the Graduate fashion week at Central london. On this particular day, the show was put up by the students of the Fashion department at Kingston university. (More on that in the next post).

Nelson Mandela Said “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. How true are those words!

Right from day one, My colleague (a journalist) & I were taken to various departments at Kingston university, to get a taste of what all courses they have to offer. I must say that each and every department is highly specialised in its field with the latest machines, facilities & techniques to impart knowledge. We also saw the outcome of such knowledge at various places, especially the arts & design show put up by various sub departments of the art & design faculty. It was really interesting to say the least.

On day one, we met Fiona Curran, Senior Lecturer, School of Performance & Screen, to talk about the Performance, Screen & Film Making courses. Accompanying her were two Indian students as well. Both of them were quite confident about their prospects after the course completion. We were told  by them that making a movie without a sponsor is no mean feat, not to forget the difficulties faced as a female film maker, but they had ample help from the film making student community itself. It is a perfectly balanced ecosystem where everyone helps each other promptly knowing that one day they would be asking for help as well.

This was followed by a meeting with Shabana Ansari, an Indian student doing MA in creative writing. She told us that all courses are paired with another course which is more vocational in nature and can help students get a job till the time their primary occupation doesn’t get them started on a regular income. That is a very good strategy especially as far as the “subjective” skills like writing, film making, design etc go. Shabana has just come out with a book published by her as part of her curriculum and the pride was evident on her face.

After lunch, we went to a different campus of Kingston university (various departments are housed in the vicinity and some are a little distance away as well). This particular department was dedicated to Art & Design courses & facilities. We met Jake Abrams, Principal Lecturer in Illustration & Animation, who gave us a tour of the Art and Design studios and workshop facilities. The entire building was one large beehive of creativity. Various courses like Photography, Fashion, Architecture, Fine art, Graphic design, Illustration & Animation, Interior design, Product and furniture design, etc are offered here. Unlike the other campus, this whole department looked like one giant art installation. There was a show called the “moving image” going on, where all the departments had put up the creme de la creme works of each department. It was really amazing. It is not only interesting to see a new person’s perspective on something old, it is interesting to note the difference that new culture brings on Art. One example of an art installation is

It reminds me of childhood!

And a glimpse of the photography exhibition.

The next day, we met Professor Julius Weinberg, Vice Chancellor, Kingston University – who is ALSO doing an undergraduate course at Kingston university himself! Due to this fact, he knows the ins and outs of all situations faced by students. He told us quite a few interesting achievements of Students from KU. For eg. Kingston produces the most graduate startup companies in UK. Facebook – yes THE facebook invited product & furniture design students of KU to furnish their conference space with prototypes & they liked the pieces so much that they made them permanent. The illustration & animation students have received worldwide acclaim by being featured in the “creative review”. Photography grad student’s work was acquired by Tate gallery. There are so many accolades & achievements that they can’t be listed here. But one thing is apparent for sure. The students get a global platform to stand out on and they made full use of it.  He was also interviewed by my journalist colleague. The interview can be read here.

This was followed by a showcase of MBA, business courses and tour of Business School. Again this was a separate campus and a very green one at that. We met Kent Springdal – Senior Lecturer, Department of Strategy, Marketing & Innovation and more Indian students again. They were all very confident and had already started working on their startups. Most had prior work experience as well. Needless to say, this department seemed to provide them the perfect skills that all entrepreneurs need. They are all guided by dedicated mentors who are with them throughout the process. It’s a very good way of landing a job before the student visa expires!

We also met Dwain Reid – Entrepreneurship Project Officer whose main job is to assist budding entrepreneurs of KU. There are courses like the Enterprise programme that help students learn right from the basics of how to register as self employed to the toughies like Intellectual property protection, applying for funding, cashflow, PR, social media etc. The course can be attended by students of sister universities of KU as well. All in all it’s a very good bootcamp for all those who dream big.

On the final day we visited the Science, Engineering & Computing department & met Dr. Steve Barton who showed us around the campus. Needless to say, the faculty was very well equipped with all kinds of machines & devices – be it bio-medical or chemical. It was freaky seeing very large electromagnets and huge tanks full of liquid nitrogen for cryogenics etc! We also visited various labs & saw the students working on preciser than precise machinery to ascertain things that are eventually life altering. A very popular picture from the science department is this picture of lockers depicting the periodic table!

As part of the final touch, we did one of the most interesting things ever. We did a Tour of Forensics House including a crime scene! Well, the crime scene had been “fixed” for us, as is done for students of the forensics department. But it was really exciting as expected. Accompanying us was Tracy Davies, Senior Technician, Faculty of Science, Engineering & Computing. The forensics department at KU has a forensics house where they use animal entrails, real (animal) blood and a lot of other stuff to depict a crime scene. The students have to be “on job” complete in the required suits, collecting evidence etc. The crime scene set up for us wasn’t as gory thankfully. It had a toppled chair, a knife strewn about, strands of hair, half filled beer glasses and a tiny blood spatter to show trickle from weapon or trickle from finger. Here’s an example

 We guessed a couple of things based on the clues and felt really suave as if we were starring in CSI. However, those who do this in real life have a huge responsibility on their shoulders! Not to forget seeing so much graphic detail in the job, must be tough mentally as well. Sadly, We missed out on the lie detector test that had been planned for us earlier.

We also had interaction with the teams that prepare the students to get placements as well as the ones that help the students with their visa paper work right from pre-arrival days, till the final placement days. The work permit after graduation is THE number one issue all Non-EU students face. But the good news is that it’s not all that difficult if the job application process is done systematically in advance. Typically students have 3 months after graduation (down from 2 years limit earlier) but many land jobs before that.  Many students end up in unskilled jobs (eg. as waiters) just to support maintenance costs & the grad degree clearly doesn’t add anything in these cases. Understandably it can get difficult with a new culture, geography, environment etc as add on factors, but this sort of a thing is frowned upon and students are encouraged to plan their job applications in advance. All the student entrepreneurs, who don’t land jobs, also have an opportunity to get a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa given by KU to 15 deserving students each year. KU has the International student advisory centre set up specifically for helping out in these immigration and work permit issues.

Overall, the little slice of life that we saw at Kingston university was very enriching. I am sure the students here get world class education and seeing the track record of the univ, their students also get placed rather well. As someone said, Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. Even for us, non-students, it was a very enlightening experience.

Up next – the fun stuff at KU!

(this is the 2nd post in a 3 part series. Click here for the first part)


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube