the wonderful world of veena.

09 March 2015

a new home, a new beginning.

As I have been in the process of updating this blog and the content on it, I kept coming back to one recurring theme: it might be time to finally switch to Wordpress. It's something that I have been going back-and-forth on for a few years now, but the idea of moving all of my archives just seemed like too daunting of a task. I didn't want to do it.

But in the last few months, it's been cropping up more and more. I've been hearing about Wordpress for a number of years and have continually been told that it is easier to use, and with the open-source concept, I own all of the information on my blog [as opposed to Blogger, which is owned and run by Google]. And since I used Wordpress during my Wandering Samaritan days last year, I am somewhat familiar with how it works.

With my move back to Bangalore and few new series in the works, I finally decided it was time, and so I've done it: I've created a new blog and will be posting my new updates over there. It is still under construction and is going to take some time to get into full working order, but I've got to start somewhere.

As for my archives, they will continue to live here. It is far too much work to move them onto a new platform, and in a way I like the idea of a fresh start. In the initial months, as I build up the new site, I will be linking back to posts on this one, but soon enough it will be able to stand on its own.

I have loved getting my blogging beginning on here, but in a way this move makes me feel like I'm growing up just a little bit. Wish me luck, and come say hi on my new site!

05 March 2015

weekly roundup 03 // 2015.

It's March, it's Holi, and I go back to Bangalore in just over a week. Let's do this!

My favourite picture from the week:

[my favourite little ladies at one of the schools]
Links and things:

In watching this awesome UNICEF video about a girl in Ethiopia's struggle to attend school, I also discovered the music of SOJA, and now I can't stop listening. Great beats + great messages.

A new study shows that pregnant women in India are underweight. It's why we have such high birth rates but also such high rates of childhood illness and death.

This list on Smosh - plus the graphics - about things only book lovers will understand cracked me up. This is my life to a T.

A great piece on Friends of the Weather about the changes - both positive and negative - that tourism can affect on those "off-the-beaten-path" places. It's something I struggle with whenever I travel - especially in India - and I love the way Rachel articulates her thoughts.

On a slightly similar note, a great article from Audrey of Uncornered Market on travel as a force for good. I especially loved the shout-out for Reality Tours + Reality Gives -- my favourite Bombay recommendation!

In case you missed it:

February's photo roundup.

Happy Holi, friends!

04 March 2015

a new reading challenge! sign me up.

I recently stumbled upon PopSugar's reading challenge for 2015 and became so excited I could hardly contain myself. There are few things I love more than a new reading challenge.

While this particular one calls for reading 52 books in a year, I am not going to put that much pressure on myself. I just find it an intriguing challenge to find books in each of the categories that appeal to me and to read those.

There are also a few books I'm planning to read that fall into more than one category on the list. I'm still deciding how I will handle those, but in the meantime it has been fun to read through and think of other books I've read - even just in the last few months - that fall into certain categories.

Both books I'm currently reading, for example, fall into multiple categories:
  • The Seventh Child [Erik Valeur] -- a book with more than 500 pages; a book with a number in the title; a mystery or thriller; a book set in a different country; a book by an author you've never read before
  • The Smartest Children in the World: And How They Got That Way [amanda ripley] -- a book by a female author; a nonfiction book; a book based on a true story; a book set in high school; a book by an author you've never read before
As I finish them up, I'll decide which category to cross off. In the meantime, I'm getting excited dreaming of all the books I get to read in the next few years!

03 March 2015

bangalore eats: om sai skanda dosa camp.

If you are craving an awesome masala dosa in Bangalore, look no further than the Om Sai Skanda Dosa Camp on Cambridge Road. It's fast, it's cheap, and it's delicious, which is really all you can ask for in a masala dosa.

I generally tend to gravitate toward the darshinis and side-of-the-road places for things like masala dosas, partly because they are cheap and delicious but also because I love standing and watching them make the dosas. These places run like machines, and it is fascinating.

[making new friends and watching my dinner being made] 
[when he saw us taking photos, he put on a little show]
When I was in town a few weeks ago, we had dinner at Dosa Camp before I had to catch my bus back to Hyderabad. I had never been there before, and I loved it. The food was delicious [we also tried a vada], and I enjoyed making friends with the guys who worked there. I think they were all amused by me, and since it was early and a bit slow, they enjoyed my enthusiasm thoroughly. Bonus points for the people watching afforded since Cambridge Road was a mess of traffic [after-work people + festival crowd. yikes].

It's a must-visit if you're in the city and craving a nice masala dosa.

02 March 2015

in photos: february 2015.

A few of my favourite scenes from the last month:

[love these girls helping each other count]
[these two ladies have such great smiles and are always so friendly each time i see them. i think i'll miss them the most when i leave next week]
[partying hard on a saturday night]
[this might be the coolest sign i've seen in a school yet]
[and this might be the coolest school i've seen yet]
[hard at work on their english lessons]
[riding camels on the highway. just another day in india]
[sunrise over majestic bus stand. so glad to have a quick trip home in the middle of the month]
[i lived through the metro construction for 6 years, so i feel obligated to ride it as often as i can]
[dosa camp on cambridge road. one of the best i've had in bangalore]
[enjoying my biryani at paradise. thank you to the kind waiter who offered to take a photo of me]
[butter masala dosa and lots of chutney options. my mouth still waters remembering this lunch]
[my most favourite auto driver ever]
[so eager to learn new things!]
Happy March!

27 February 2015

weekly roundup 02 // 2015.

I'm back again. Looks like maybe this might become a regular thing after all? We'll see, but for now it has my attention.

My favourite photo from this week:

[the friendliest auto driver i've ever known]
Some links to articles and other fun stuffs:

Have you heard about the documentary The Wolfpack about 6 brothers who were locked inside their home in Lower Manhattan for 12 years with their only escape being the movies they watched incessantly? I am both fascinated and appalled and want to see this film.

Indian kids are using hand-drawn maps to map their slums and spur developmental improvements in their areas. As a map nerd and as someone who has worked in development in India for a decade, this makes my heart happy.

I love this idea of cities going car-free. Just imagine Bangalore or even Bombay with no cars!

A great article on Roads and Kingdoms about the South Park Street Cemetery in Kolkata. I would love to have a wander through there on my next visit to the city.

I cannot stop looking at the photos in Bridges and Balloons' photo essay of the Kerala backwaters. I can feel my feet beginning to itch...

In case you missed it:

My current favourite podcasts. Do you have any I should add to my list?

The books I've read so far this year. I'm one-third of the way through my goal of reading 15 books for fun in 2015!

What fun things have you seen around the interwebs this week? I'd love to know!

26 February 2015

book number five of 2015: alice's adventures in wonderland + through the looking glass [lewis carroll].

I have a confession: I never read Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass as a child. I saw the Disney movie a few times, but it was never really one of my favourites, and somehow I was never really interested to read the book.

Until a few weeks ago, that is, when it was continually referenced in Jeannette Walls' The Silver Star, and I finally decided it was time to give it a go. Combine that with a $0.99 price tag for the Kindle version of both books, and I was sold.

I took a few days off from reading during my quick visit to Bangalore, but otherwise I sped through both books pretty quickly. It's so funny to read such an old book after reading so many contemporary books recently -- the funny spellings and punctuation and the old English way of speaking kept me pretty entertained.

I'll admit that while I thoroughly enjoyed Alice's Adventures, I didn't find it to be as crazy and off-the-wall as I had anticipated. If I had read it as a child, I think it would have been much more fanciful than reading it as an adult. Or maybe it's just that my imagination is almost as vivid as Alice's :)

Through the Looking Glass was much more along the zany lines I was expecting. I loved the chapter with Tweedledum and Tweedledee and had good fun reminiscing about the Halloween Mindy and I dressed up as them [nearly 10 years ago!]. And I also loved Humpty Dumpty's explanation of the Jabberwocky poem. My class had to memorize that poem in 10th grade, and although I still remember most of it, I've never known what it meant. Even if Humpty's translation isn't entirely accurate, I'm still happy to have it.

Another fun part for me was to read it in my head with a British accent. I've been on a Downton Abbey binge-watching kick, so my internal British accent is pretty strong, and it made both the books much more entertaining.

Both stories were very quick reads and kept me thoroughly entertained throughout. I'm sad to have missed out on these as a child but am glad I finally got around to them now.

now reading: The Seventh Child by Erik Valeur, one of my Kindle First selections from last year. It sounds super interesting, but it's long, so it might be a while before my next book update.