Sunday, March 31, 2013


I just got back from my holiday a few days ago and as always I did some Duty Free shopping.
I don't know why but I go a bit crazy in duty free and shouldn't ever really be left there unsupervised.
I almost look like a child playing in a waterfall of goodies under a beaten down pinata.
Yes, the thought itself is a little scary.

But everytime I am at the airport I make sure I pick up a box of Godiva.
It's just something that must be done.

I have always loved the name Godiva. 
Godiva Godiva Godiva.
Ok, so I wouldn't name my daughter that but my love for the name made me look her up.

Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, who was an Earl.
She took pity on the people of Coventry who had to pay high taxes and appealed to her husband to reduce it and show some kindness to the people.
Leofric agreed on the condition that Godiva would ride through the town while naked on her horse.
Lady Godiva did so after procaliming that the whole town must be closed and that everyone must stay in their homes.
Only one man - Tom (of Peeping Tom fame) decided to have a little looksie and made a hole in his shutters and watched as Godiva passed by.

Everyone had a good day.
Godiva got to ride around the town naked.
Tom got to see Godiva naked.
and Leofric abolished the tax.

But somehow Tom went blind.
I'm not sure if that was a punishment for looking at a naked woman on a horse.
Or whether they made it up to scare other boys.

My research sort of ended there and I dove head first into a nice big box of chocolates.
Hope your day is just as sweet as mine.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Keep Calm and Happy Anniversary

This is for my avocado obsessed sister and brother-in-law.

Keep Calm poster created on Photoshop by me.

Here's a fruit and vegetable chart that helps you understand in which months you can find them.

Luckily, love blossoms in every season.

Happy Anniversary.

I created the poster on Photoshop. But for those who aren't familiar with photoshop, here's an App with which you can make your own Keep Calm Posters.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Is you Madonna?

I'm going on a little one week holiday tomorrow.
To the land of the 'We can make that too but bigger and better than you'.
You guessed right.
It's Dubai!

I planned this trip on an impulse and spent the last few days feeling nervous about whether they'd give me a Visa yet again.
Now, everyone thinks it's silly to worry about getting a Visa to travel to Dubai.
Because they welcome you with open arms and lead you straight to the mall where you can spend every last penny.

But, if like me you had traveled to the Holy Land, you may not have the same kind of confidence.
If you live on this planet, you will know that they are sort of enemies.

Every time I have travelled to Israel, I have been questioned about my constant need to go to Dubai.
Questioned so much that I start to wonder whether I am in fact a terrorist.

Luckily I got my Visa which makes me feel great and like the World is a happy place again.
All those Miss Worlds wishing for World Peace really payed off and it worked out well for all of us!

But, before all the jumping with joy on getting my visa, the last few days were spent in 'nail biting' nervousness of Will They/Won't They (give me a visa).
[The nail biting was added for dramatic effect. I think it's pretty gross to bite your nails.]

And then I found a million reasons as to why they would have to give me a Visa.
And I even had one that I decided to use as my argument with the visa people incase I would get rejected.
[It's always better to be prepared in these situations instead of the should'ves and could'ves later.]

So here's my brilliant argument:

You allowed Madonna!

Madonna trivia: She started her MDNA tour in Tel Aviv (since she follows Kabbalah).
And then went to the UAE and the rest of the world.

When I told my sister this she said, "You know there is a difference between you and Madonna, right?!"

And I told her, "Do not discriminate!"

We are all equal in the eyes of the Visa officer.

Or so I hoped.

Her question reminded me of this video.

"Is you Madonna?"
But, to be honest, I is Madonna.
Or rather was.
It was a fancy dress party.
And all it took was 2 party hats and some cello tape.

I even have photographic evidence but let's just keep that in the photo album.

See you in a week!

Happy holidays to me (minus the creepy eye scan at the airport).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Missed Connections

Photo of my copy of Missed Connections by me.
I received a book I ordered in the mail today. Yay!

It's like receiving a present from yourself.

You know it's coming but you are just as excited as you'd be if it were a surprise.
Yes, receiving packages releases endorphins (atleast in my case).

The early birthday present to myself is a book called Missed Connections: Love Lost & Found by Sophie Blackall.
I had read about it a while ago and bookmarked it for days when I have time for bookmarks (which is never).
Months later I checked it out on Amazon and had a little looksie and then went ahead and ordered it on Flipkart.

The book is a collection of illustrated Craigslist Missed Connections.
A longer than usual glance, a friendly stare, a moment shared.
In the most unusual situations.

Doing laundry in our building
Girl sleeping on train
We shared a Bear suit
The short descriptions and fun illustrations take your mind on a picnic.
Or wherever your happy place is.

Because as light and funny as this book may be, you do connect with it.

We've all experienced it.
You know what I'm talking about.

Like when you saw a really goodlooking man and you imagined him to have all the world's goodness.
He was sitting close enough for you to make good eye contact.
But not close enough to have a conversation.
So you just smiled for more than 5 seconds.
Which made you look slightly creepy.
But, since you'd never see him again, it didn't really matter.

Life goes on.
And we all live happily ever after.
Even with the Missed Connections.

You may want to check out Sophie Blackall's website, blog, etsy shop, Facebook page, Twitter page and other books & leave absolutely no room for Missed Connections!

Monday, March 18, 2013

C'est bon!

A friend of mine emailed me this video.

And it just made my day!

It's a Disney short with Mickey & Minnie (last name Mouse).
And it's in French!

You will hear a lot of café Croissant, café croissant, CAFÉ CROISSANT, café croissant.
It's like you're doing animated sightseeing of Paris in 3 minutes and even get a glimpse of Daisy (last name Duck).

Love it.

C'est très bon!

Have a great week!

[via DesignTaxi]

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Things everyone ought to know



Play an instrument


Play a sport. Or atleast find someone to nag you to do it

Remember the good old days

Learn from failure

Travel like Barbie

And most importantly learn to CODE

I wrote some of these things on my TeuxDeux list. They have a section called Someday. Just perfect!

Friday, March 15, 2013

White smoke

There is a new Pope in town.
And when I say town, I mean Vatican City - the smallest country in the world.

I always wanted to go see the Pope.
It was one of my obsessions - like wanting to meet Oprah (Thank God I'm done with that phase).

I really liked Pope John Paul II. Just because he looked like such a sweet old man.
But, by the time I made the trip, Pope Benedict XVI had taken over as the Pope.

I travelled to Rome in 2006 with my sister. And we managed to spend a day at Vatican City.
I am not Catholic, though I know all the hymns thanks to the school I studied at.
But it was exciting nonetheless.

We managed to visit Vatican City on a Wednesday - when the Pope held his weekly General Audience.
I was super excited to see the Pope and when I got there I had no idea what he was saying the whole time. 
It all sounded like Latin to me.
Maybe because it was.

But as we all know, Pope Benedict XVI decided to retire last month which created a lot of questions, bad Facebook jokes and silly Tumblr blogs.

And then on Wednesday night, a little after 7pm, a new Pope was elected.

The age-old process of electing a Pope with the Vatican Conclave began in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday.
While the 115 cardinals were still deliberating, a puff of black smoke was seen emerging from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel indicating that they had not yet chosen a new Pope.

It's sort of their version of Wait for it.

And when a new Pope was elected, a puff of white smoke was seen.
And the crowds were heard cheering in different tongues - 

Habemus Papam!

Il papa!

We have a Pope!

The new Pope is Pope Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He is the first South American (and first non-European) to lead the Roman Catholic Church as the 266th pontiff.

I can't say I agree with his thoughts on many things but I've realised that sometimes it's ok to just agree to disagree.
Here's hoping his election will do some good in this world.

[The secret recipe used for the black smoke is a combination of potassium perchlorate, anthracene (a derivative of coal tar), and sulphur. While the white smoke is created with potassium chlorate, lactose and a pine resin.]

All photos by me. Video from Pink Panther II.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I've always had this crazy obsession with stars.
I'm not sure what it is about them that fascinates me.
Maybe it's that they're so far away.
And are just so beautiful.

Like jewelry for the night sky.

Living in Bombay, you don't get to see starry starry nights.
You can count the number of stars you see every night.
Unfortunately the twinkle doesn't get past the cloud of pollution.

Which is why I'm always excited to head out of town just to get a glimpse of a starry sky.

A couple of days ago, I got such a chance and decided it was time to finally try to capture it with my DLSR camera.
Because if I shot the night sky with my phone camera or a point and shoot, I would've got a beautiful black photo.

I tried every setting I knew and went through about half an hour of taking some pretty bad photos.
But that changed once I took some help from a friend and Google and got the correct instructions for photographing the night sky.

So here's what you do.

Set it on M [for Manual]

Keep the Shutter open for as long as possible. Mine was set for 30 seconds.

And the ISO should be high. I set it to 6400.

And voila!
Photo by me.
I did get a couple of grainy photos in the beginning (because of the high ISO) and for some reason I wasn't able to adjust the aperture (f). Clearly I still have a long way to go!
But I had so much fun just learning through the whole process.

I didn't have a tripod so I set it on tables or chairs or then tables and chairs.
Till I got tired of doing the whole balancing act and finally just set it flat on the ground with the lens pointing towards the sky.

Sometimes the simplest things work best.

I clicked pictures till my battery finally ran out at 2am.
And had it not run out, I could have been up till sunrise.

I don't know what it is about stars that fascinates me so much.
They're just so beautiful.

Like a freshly baked cake dusted with powdered sugar.

Or maybe it's the amazing fact that we're all made of the same stuff.
Photo by me.
I love to look at the stars. Look how they shine for me.
Because when you stare long enough everything twinkles.

But how did the Universe get it's spots?
Why is the entire Universe dark? Even when it has so many stars to light it up.
Are we at the centre of it? And does everything revolve around us?

I look up at the sky and see all the constellations - Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Orion and Cassiopiea (those are the only ones I know).
And when you look at Ursa Major (Big Bear), you see a formation of stars that looks like a big question mark.
It is no wonder then that looking up at the sky leaves us full of questions.

So if you're looking for answers, keep looking at the sky.
Because as they say, 
it's all written in the stars.

Watch all the videos. It's worth you're time. They're pretty amazing!
Here's something for everyone!
Some jewelry, more jewelry and clothing for those who are so obsessed with constellations, they like to wear it.
And an iPhone & iPad App for stargazing enthusiasts.
And an iPad App for children that helps them learn about the Universe. It's always good to start early.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Do what you Love. Love what you Do.

I have always had a great appreciation for art. Of every kind.
And I also love it when others feel the same way so I can share my enthusiasm.

But what's even more fascinating for me is when people have their very own creative projects.
As a hobby and not as a business. Just because it makes them happy.
They have interests which may be completely different from their day jobs.
And it's just incredible when they convert these interests into hobbies and make time for it just for the love of the art.

While at the Machan, we met a really nice couple from America.
I needed to write something down so I borrowed a pen from them. It was a fountain pen.
And it had been really long since I used one.

Now I almost never compliment someone for their pen but this time I just had to.
It was just so smooth.
And when I said Nice pen, the man said, Thanks, I made it.


I have never known anyone who makes pens.
Because noone is crazy enough to spend hours and days making something they can buy at any store.

But how awesome a hobby is that?
He showed me pictures of the entire process.
He collects pieces of wood from anywhere and everywhere.
And he even has special tools to shape them.
Once they are shaped, he puts a protective coating and then attaches the metal fixtures.
It seems like quite a tedious process but I suppose when that's what you love doing, tedious is the last thing you'd call it.

The Ebony ball point pen and Amboyna Fountain pen by Glen Wingerd.
He showed me a series of pens.
The Ebony (from which the black keys of the piano are made) is jet black in colour and almost looks like plastic.
There was also a Cedar, palm, and many more. Even one made from the Jack Daniel's Whiskey Barrels.
Each one in it's own plastic case. Ready for gifting.
They all looked so different and beautiful in their natural colours.
And he even dyed one pink for his wife.

He was kind enough to let me take one home.
And I chose the Amboyna (a south-east Asian tree).
It had little holes in it which he had filled up with powdered turquoise.

You've got to love the details!

The Fountain pen made of Amboyna wood.
I'm in love with my new pen.
And so glad I met this lovely couple.
Not just for giving me such a beautiful handmade gift.
But for inspiring me.

Do what you love. And do it often.

Letterpress greeting cards by Yoko Sakao Ohama for Holstee.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Our very own wax museum

On my way back from the Machan, I finally made it to the Celebrity Wax Museum in Lonavla.
Yes, it actually exists.
And it's the first of it's kind in India.

I have passed it a few times but have never made it there.
I would always see the hoardings on the Expressway and be bursting with curiosity.
It's a wax museum in Lonavla for God's sake!
Wouldn't you be curious?

Now it's no Madame Tussaud's but it's still pretty awesome.
- With it's random selection of wax figures.
- Non-museum like museum.
- And it's in Lonavla!

All photos by me.
The Celebrity Wax Museum is by Mr. Sunil Kandalloor.
He says that it takes him a month to complete a wax figure.
And also mentioned how hard it is to get appointments with the 'stars' in Bombay.
I suppose they all want to be showcased in London.

Me and Hitler at Madame Tussaud's [2004] and at the Celebrity Wax Museum in Lonavla [2013]
And neither of us have changed!
Please note: I'm not a fan of Hitler. 
But, as they say on the hoardings (and car):
Why Visit London !!!

Especially when you have a wax museum in Lonavla.

I commend Mr. Sunil Kandalloor for building this museum.
You can see his love for the art, 
his dedication to this love which helped him realize his vision
and his complete craziness for actually going through with all of it.

Great stuff!

It's worth a visit.
Because how often would you be able to say that you spent an afternoon with Angelina Jolie and Saddam Hussein.

The Celebrity Wax Museum is open all days of the year from 9 am to 9:30 pm.
Tickets are priced at Rs. 100 for an adult and Rs. 80 for children.
And it's free for those below 5 years or under 120 cm.
[I don't really get the 120 cm concept. Is it free for those who are above 5 but short to make them feel better about their height?]

Monday, March 11, 2013

On the treetop

I've never climbed a tree.
I have gone swinging from the roots a couple of times but that's about it.
But a couple of days ago, I went straight to the treetop.
Luckily there was a staircase.

Panoramic photo by me (with a little help from my iPhone)
I went to the Machan in Lonavla.
It was my second time there.
It's like you're living in a salad while being surrounded by broccoli.
And as weird as that sounds, it was nothing but magical.

The Machan is made up of treehouses.
Yes, actual tent-like houses above the trees.
They stand on two beams and a part of it is suspended.
So they move a bit with the wind and even though that sounds scary, it really isn't.
And makes a great bed-shaking morning alarm.

It's such a well thought out place.
Where they use wind energy and solar panels.
Where you can be one with nature.
Without being surrounded by the creepy crawlies.
They also keep a tube of Odomos. As thoughtful as that is, it isn't the best packaging for insect repellent and I say that because I have known people who have brushed their teeth with it.
But what was really thoughtful was that they went that extra mile to make make a special day even more special. We got a Sky lantern! And got to make wishes.
It was somewhat like inception - A wish within a wish.
Does that make any sense?

I love nature.
But have never been someone who enjoys camping.
And even if there are 100 people in that tent, I know the insect is only going to bite me.
We just don't get along.
Also, I don't go anywhere where there isn't a proper toilet.

So this place was perfect for me.
I could check all the boxes in my list for the things that make up a perfect weekend getaway.
Pleasant weather 
Great food (that comes close to my mother's) 
Clean rooms 
No insects 
Starry skies 
A good and modern bathroom 
Nice people 
A guided tour ✓ where a man tells you about all the trees and which ones are good and which one will make your teeth fall out (that's right, there are evil trees too)
& Complete disconnection from reality 

Photos and drawings by me.
The Machan is so cut off from the world without being far from it.
It's so peaceful that 20 minutes of sleep feels like a lifetime.
You can hear every sound.
You feel like breathing in all that clean air has improved your hearing.
But that's not it. Miracles don't happen that easily.
It's so quiet that you can finally understand the meaning of pin drop silence.
Because if you dropped a pin you'd surely hear it.
And your iPad which sounds not that loud at home on full volume suddenly makes you feel like you're at a nighclub on only half the volume.
Every room also has an iPod dock which you really have no use for.

You barely get any network. And I love that.
In this day and age where conversations are replaced with text messages, emails and Likes, I think this is something we really need.
But who am I kidding? I am a Bombay girl.
Ofcourse I had my moments of weakness where I'd try to upload a picture on instagram or stalk someone on Facebook and almost walk into a tree.
Looking for network while staring at your phone and being surrounded by trees can be tricky.

But if you can do without network or can walk through trees, this place is for you.

I had the most relaxing time there and totally recommend it to everyone.

I left the Machan drunk with happiness.
It had only been a day but it felt like I had been away from Bombay for 2 weeks (the amount of time I think it takes me to feel like a holiday has changed my life forever).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just one of those days

It's just one of those days 
When I don't like cats

via brainpickings

On a good day I'm just indifferent.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Daily Dishonesty

These days my sister and I pretend to be vegetarians.
But we are only able to fool the world till we walk into a Chinese restaurant.
Because what does one eat in a Chinese restaurant if not chicken and prawns?
And the Chinese put it in their vegetarian section anyway.
Clearly we were born in the wrong country.

My sister has taken this charade to such an extreme that on some days she even thinks she's vegan.
We went to a restaurant for dinner the other night.
And when the man taking our order asked her what she'd like to eat and she replied with umms and then some more umms he proceeded to ask her the most obvious question.

Are you vegetarian?

And guess what she replied.


The man didn't know whether to laugh at what he thought was a joke or bring her an almost vegetarian meal.

And then we met someone who gave us the perfect term for ourselves.


Because sometimes we're vegetarian.
And sometimes we're not.
But, we're always flexible.

Isn't that just perfect?

Now I feel like I have a category where I belong.
All I have to do is find more people like me and form our own country.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy birthday Mother dearest

Photo by me.
My mother is one of my favourite people in the world.
She is the textbook definition of a mother.
Kind and generous and caring.

And ignorant about the music my generation listens to.
Which is why she was pretty worried about our safety when Swedish House Mafia came to town.

She's always thought about mine and my sister's feelings and I'll give you a great example that explains it well.
When my sister was a child, she entered a book balancing race.
And when she lost, my mother didn't want her to feel bad.
Because no daughter of hers should ever face the harsh realities of life.
The harsh reality being losing a book balancing race.
So she went ahead and told my sister that the girl who won had a square head.

I don't know anyone else who would've come up with a more brilliant explanation to justify our failures.

Happy Birthday Mama.
I love you.

And please don't feel bad about not knowing who Swedish House Mafia is. If you were listening to Electronic Dance Music I'd secretly be worried.

I hope you manage to read this on Flipboard.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I used to love looking at Jellyfish.
In books.
Where they're all pretty and they talk.

And then I didn't love looking at Jellyfish.
I was on holiday.
Swimming in the sea.
And then I got stung by what I thought was a plastic bag.
You can't blame me.
I live in Bombay where that would be more likely.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.
But I managed to survive without having anyone pee on me
And I'm so glad I did because this remedy is a lie.
And instead I opted for plain old cold water and bought myself what I think was the Israeli version of soframycin [we'll never actually know if it was because I couldn't read the Hebrew writing on the packaging].

But, from then on Jellyfish was the enemy.

And then I saw this.

Jellyfish lights by Roxy Russell
And I fell in love with Jellyfish once again.
I'm always fascinated with cool lights.
And this one is just beautiful isn't it?
And there is a bright side to it even when it's switched off.

It doesn't sting.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I love order.
And I think I was this way from the minute I was born.
I'm guessing my mother was probably running some sort of baby military school in her tummy.

There couldn't be any other explanation.

I arrange everything around me.
- Napkins according to size
- Books according to their type
- Notes in my wallet according to the amount
- And don't get me started about my clothes.
I actually have a chart hanging in my cupboard with a diagram explaining the arrangement of items.
And that's not even for me.
It's for my mother incase she decides to 'surprise' rearrange my cupboard.
[She did it once and though I was trying so hard to be grateful, the new arrangement was driving me nuts].

I on the other hand don't need a diagram.
For me, it's always in my head so even on those days when my cupboard gets messy, it gets messy within this arrangement.

I call it the Method in the Madness.

Others call it Neha needs help.

When I was younger, I'd sharpen my pencils and clean my eraser every day after school and keep it ready for the next day.
Yes, I actually cleaned an eraser everyday.
My pencil box was always fully loaded and seemed almost ready for war.

The pencils were mightier than the sword.

Ok maybe it was just OCD.

But then I saw this.

Amazing wall mural of 12,000 pencil crayons by blackLAB Architects

And guess what - people are calling it ART!

If only someone had seen my pencil box.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A stitch in time saves nine

Dolce far niente!

I learnt those words from Eat Pray Love and fell in love with them.
It means the sweetness of doing nothing.

And I can't describe my weekends in a better way than that.

Except for last weekend.
I attended my very first sewing class.
And second sewing class.
Well, there were only two anyway.

When I was little, my mom really tried teaching me and my sister how to stitch.
She bought us one of those stitching sheets with holes in them from the craft store.
I learnt running stitch and cross stitch and I played with it like it was a game.

Clearly I couldn't mend anything. Or even sew a button.

So I joined a beginner's level class at the HAB.
It was like Sewing 101 for Dummies.
The Dummies being my sister and me.

As they say - Better late then never.

I learnt how to thread the bobbin and the needle, sew somewhat in a straight line, and also how to do picot, buttons and button holes with a machine.


And I also learnt so many fun new words which I liked for different reasons:
Bobbin - it reminded me of eating Poppins (the candy).
Foot Dog - sounds like Snoop's brother (from another mother?)
Picot (pronounced peekoh) - it's French!

So here's the truth - I sucked at sewing.
It's not as easy as it looks even with our 21st Century machines that do half the work for you.
Last week I spent an entire day teaching myself HTML and in all honesty, that was much simpler than sewing.
But the feeling of having learnt something new was like a mini achievement in itself and it felt pretty great.
The HAB (short for haberdashery) is by USHA (of fan fame) and has a whole range of classes to choose from.
From how to thread a needle to actually being able to make stuff - the dream!

It is a wonderland for sewing and craft lovers.
They even have an amazing machine that does stitching as well as embroidery and it's all computerized.
That's right!
So you can be out watching a movie while the machine does all the work.
It costs a gazillion Rupees but if sewing + laziness is your thing, it's for you!

Dolce far niente!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Three Black Spots

Today is a super exciting day for me.
I woke up and I wanted to give myself a big hug.
Three Black Spots is now available in the Kindle store.
And I am the lucky one who got to design the book cover.
And I also did all the illustrations in the book.
Double Yay!

Cover design + illustration by me.
This has been my favourite job till date and I just had to share it on my blog.
This book is for everyone - those who like to read and those who prefer to wait for the movie.
I clearly fall into the second category but reading this book was actually fun.
Even without the popcorn.
It's light and is very easy to get through with it's many short chapters that tell you fun stories about a dog named Yoda.
Yes, Yoda the wise Jedi Master from Star Wars.

Clearly there's a thing or two to be learnt from him.

He has travelled all over the world, enjoyed many wine tastings and has dealt with regular human problems like bad haircuts.
Something we all can relate to.

He enjoyed all the good things in life and makes you want to do the same with yours.

Three Black Spots - Our Adventures with Yoda by Mina & Mohan Krishnan is now available on Amazon.

You can buy the Kindle ebook here.
You know you want to.

You can read it on your Kindle.
And if you don't own a Kindle, don't worry, just get the Kindle App available on iPad, iPod touch and iPhone. And it's available on Android too! You can read it on pretty much any device. See below

Go to link

Let me know what you think.

May the Force be with you.
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