Questions

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A toddler of four, she walked down the same path everyday holding her father finger to reach the children’s park round the corner in the evening. It was a routine they both enjoyed. Her days were eternal freedom. She observed. She analyzed the world around her in her own ways. Nothing escaped her eyes and she was bursting with questions all the time. It has been a few months since she has started talking in sentences- an achievement that she could not help but show off in every way possible.
It was a winter evening when the father-daughter duo walked out of the park and headed towards their home. She pranced and jumped, all the while asking anything and everything she could. A little ahead of them, there stood a man in his mid-twenties at the edge of the road, looking down at the drain with his back turned to the road- a awkward posture to her virgin eyes.
“Dad? What is he doing?” her shrill voice rang clear amidst the silence.
“He is peeing. Let’s go home.” The father replied. He was much at ease with his only daughter- she was his child and not just a daughter.
She stopped walking.” Why is he peeing there?”
“Maybe because it was urgent dear.”
Her chubby cheeks inflated further as she contemplated the idea of urgent bladder relief. All of a sudden she let go of her father’s finger, ran to the man and peered good-naturedly at his front side, much to his mortification and her father’s amusement.
“Sorry mister–, come back here kid- you are not supposed to do that.”
“Why not?”
Her father recognized a tinge of haughtiness in that baby voice that came somewhere from below his knees. She was mirroring his stubborn character already. He was proud.
“You do not watch people while they are peeing. That is bad manners and it is their private needs.”
She kept silence for a while more as they walk ahead from the spot. Her father was not used to this silence. He felt uncomfortable worrying that she might have taken his tone for scolding. And then she blurted out,
“Why is his one long? It is not like mine.”
For once the father was stumped. But he was her father after all.
“Because he is a man. You are a girl. They are different.”
“Okay. I need to pee. Can I pee there?”
“Absolutely not. It is unhealthy. You will fall sick.”
“But why not? He was doing it. Would he not fall sick?”
“You will wet your pants. Home is just a few minutes walking dear.” He chose to avoid the last query.
“I will take off my pants.”
“You are not supposed to take off your pants on the road dear. That uncle was wearing his pants, remember?”
“So… I can pee anywhere if I do not take my pants off?”
“No… because you cannot pee without taking them off. Men can.”
Again, she lapsed to silence. Her tiny head felt heavy with the “simple” idea of the “other” gender. Who are men? Any person peeing on the road is man. Are they good? Don’t they have bathrooms? A million more question fluttered around in her mind.
“Dad…”
“Yes?”
“I want a long one.”
“Men only have long one dear.” He was flabbergasted.
“ I want to be a man.”
Her father was taken aback.
“Why?”
“I can do anything and no one will tell me it is unhealthy or bad manners. That’s why.”
“But you do not need to be a man to do whatever you want to. You need to grow up for that. You need to study and become a great person. Then you can do whatever you want to. Grown up girls who study hard and become something worthwhile always can do whatever they want. Girls are equally good and better. You do not have to be a man for that sweetie.”
He stopped short. She was four and perhaps she can hardly understand what he meant. He never wishes to see her just as a girl but then, even he is bound to the society.
She just nodded and did not ask any further on this.
Twenty three years later, a pleasant February evening:
“Dad, I am going out on a trek trip.”
“Good. Who are you going with?”
“No one. I am going alone.”
“You cannot go alone. I will not allow it.”
“Why not?”
The potent haughtiness he had witnessed a score and three years back, now has been unleashed to its maximum in her voice making her voice hardly female.
“But my friend already went there alone and he said it is safe enough.”
“He is a guy. He can go and survive anywhere. You are a woman. There is a difference.”
“Who said I cannot survive? Why can I not survive?”
“You are old enough to know why not. Now no more questions.”
The first rule of being a female- “does not ask questions” was quoted to her yet again- a quote she has heard billions of time since puberty.
She silently went back to her room trying to remember the things he had told her once. Or has she imagined them?
The very teachings of childhood now became vague in the light of adulthood. She is a woman first and human later now. It does not matter if she is perfectly fit and capable enough to take care of herself. It does not matter if she is better trained at combat than most males. After all, she is a “she”. She is the goddess meant to be worshipped but not to be unleashed. She is meant to be pleased and pampered in her tantrums but never to be understood.  She is meant to be controlled for she cannot mind her own safety. She is meant to be always addressed as C/O and not by her identity- her name. She is to serve and never be thanked or ( am I asking way too much?) served. Her parent’s home is not her own, neither is her husband’s. Her womb is not her own but the family ‘s she never really belongs to. Her body is not her own, neither is her mind and never her will. She never really gets to choose who will touch her for there are many who will touch her some way, whether she wants it or not.
These are knowledge she was never taught but she imbibed with time. Painful truths- even more so for her who believed ardently the words she believe to have heard as a kid- the consolatory lies. She has lived enough with them so far. She did what she could do best now. She was his daughter after all.
A note fluttered in the morning breeze early dawn, stuck on the refrigerator-
“Let me fly dad. I am your child and not your daughter. Let me fall.  Let me get hurt. Only then you can really know that I will survive when you are not around.”
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Image courtesy: google images

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What would happen if harry potter was based in Kolkata?

 

Ever since I read the first book, my free times were mostly spent imagining myself as one of the students of Hogwarts. Sometimes, if I had the audacity to imagine myself as brilliant, I saw myself as Hermione- accompanying Harry on every expeditions and adventure. But I stumbled as I tried to follow him around given Europe or wherever the Hogwarts school is (you see, magical schools are really secretive about their whereabouts as per Bathilda Bagshot in Hogwarts: A history) since I hardly know the country. How nice it would have been had the story been set in Kolkata. The city of joy is a magic to be unravelled every day- every lanes and street hold their own history and magic that you can explore. What if there were…

Flying metros

Invisible to the muggles, flying metro would have been the perfect substitute to knight bus in Kolkata. You have to reach the metro station by either apparating, floo powder or with broomsticks and the train can take you across continents. It does not even need railway tracks and it is faster than aeroplanes. How cool is that?

 

Platform 17 ¾

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The new platforms of Howrah station are less crowded and hence the ideal place to reach the magical platform undetected. The chaotic coherence in the spirit of Kolkata is particularly manifested in the bustling heritage station which resembles platform 9 ¾ every time a train arrives at any platform. No- you don’t have to walk through the pillars here, though, it is too scary for an eleven-year-old. Platform 17 ¾ can be reached simply by flushing yourself down a particular toilet here.

The Diagon alley of Kolkata- icchepuron goli

The magical street where you can find everything you need has to be around Dharmatala in Kolkata. What can be more fitting that the central Kolkata region where you can find everything and anything. To reach the place that is located right below the Hogg Market, go inside New Market at the centre where the alleys within the market converge at the tiny shop in the middle. All you have to do is simply walk through the shop and there you are- at “icchepuron goli”.

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Floating school

Take a train to Hogwarts which is located in the heart of the Ganges on a floating coral island guarded by the Mer people. Wondering how a train can travel under water? Don’t worry- Hogwarts express is equipped with floaters or trained giant squids to pull it forward while a special water-proofing charm protects its engines. The school often rise up on the surface of the river- not that you would feel the lack of sunlight or air underwater as well. After all, Hogwarts enjoys a natural ambience even within the building itself with its enchanted ceiling.

Crows instead of owls

Kolkata has plenty of crows and the magical community can actually get a great deal of use out of the rodents simply by petting them and training them to carry your letters.

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Wands made of neem, mahogany, and saal

Wands made from the tropical and evergreen trees are the best choice here. A wand from the neem tree would perfectly match the ambience of Kolkata when to harry potter is set here. But resisting the urge to chew at it is an art to be mastered by many.

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Am I raving with my imagination? Even if I am, I do not care to restrict myself. Magic is madness. Magic is imagination and Kolkata are magic. So you never know when you stumble upon real magic in this city.

 

This Blogpost is an entry to the blogging contest, a part of the book launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in association with Kolkata Bloggers.

Image courtsey for all the images used in this post goes to google images.

8 Budget valentine’s day gift ideas for him

Usually gifting the girl on any occasion is not that difficult unless your girlfriend or wife is completely offbeat in their personality or taste. But finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for him can be tricky. Most gift shops focus on women-centric gift ideas since that is more commercially profitable, and finding a proper gift suitable for the day for your man becomes even more difficult than deciding on the perfect foundation. 😀 Guys too like getting pampered though few admits it and in fact, they do so as much as women. So here are some ideas that you can try out this year and surprise your boyfriend or husband that day and some of them actually would not cost you more than your effort and creativity.

The ready made gifts

It is understandable that not every one of us has the same level of creativity and then ready made ideas come to rescue. While a personalized paperweight or coaster looks fine, I always prefer something that would be useful and handy which he would always be using for some reason or the other.

Coffee mug set

The easiest option- personalize a cup with the best photos of your two for him. If you live with him, then get two such mugs.

Pocket notebook and pen

You will find plenty of classy choices and they can be the perfect gift for a serious and somber guy. Add a personal touch to the notebook with a handwritten note on the first page and trust me, he will treasure it.

Gadgets

Guys can never have enough of gadgets. If your budget is below Rs.500 then go for a pen-drive. There are plenty of choices which are high on performance, looks classy and has enough storage if you consider 16gb enough, that is. If you are willing to spend another 1000 bucks, then hands-free from top brands or a headset would surely get him jumping in joy.

Video games

Well, I am quite a novice in games actually and as far as my knowledge goes, now a days, the most popular video games are actually all online games. But if you have a boyfriend who is gaming freak you would know better about what he might want.

Clothing

This is easy- all you have to know is his size. His favorite sports jersey or a shirt he has been eyeing online for a while- you just need to be alert about what he is looking for. An extra tip here- try picking up during the sales season by January if you want to get something within budget from top brands- we all have to take care of our pockets too.

May be there are exceptions, but as far as my knowledge goes, most guys downright hate teddies so unless you want that to be handed down to his sister or someone, do not attempt gifting teddies and heart shaped pillows to him.

DIY gift ideas

DIY is a very romantic idea if you can execute it well. For often than not, they hardy cost much except being tedious even, but that much effort would not hurt when you are madly in love. The DIYs can be anything ranging from the ones listed here or simply arranging the day such that you can have some great time together- all you need to spare is some sincere thought to it and understand what he would enjoy too.

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Handmade card and chocolates

Guys like chocolates too and when you give a card that you have made yourself along with it, you really do not need to do anything else. Making a Valentine’s Day card is not exactly too difficult even if you are not good at painting- you can easily make a scrapbook of pictures you two treasures and also add quotes along with it- things you sincerely wish to say. Do not worry about your handwriting; if he is really into you, the words would matter, the handwriting would not.

Arrange candlelight

This arrangement would be even better if you do it properly at home. It is not very difficult to arrange. A couple of aromatic candles placed strategically around the dining room, and his favorite dishes preferably self-cooked if you can manage it. Oh, you can add a little handwritten note along with everything else.

Love notes

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If you have access to his home or room even when he is not there, you can make his day really special with these little surprises. Think writing a love letter in parts. Decide the number of notes you wish to give him and time them such that he finds them through the day around the house. You can set alarms at the given time on his phone when he does not notice. Put little gifts like a pen, or pocket deodorant, or key chain along with every chit and let him eagerly wait to find the next chit and the gift along with it.

Lastly, even if it is a special day for couples, in reality there is nothing like “particular” or “special” day for each other. You can make every day your valentine’s day when you have little surprises and almost unnoticeable gestures of care for your valentine. Gifting does not have to be elaborate as long as you are genuine with what you do for him or her.

 

Maybelline fit me matte and poreless foundation review

Searching for the right shade of foundation is one of those eternal “quests” a perfectionist woman has to go through. Being someone who prefers to stick to the sheerest formulas to avoid shade matching mayhem, I have always avoided buying a foundation. The first one I ever got was a pink toned one and looked ghastly on me which I turned blind to and still used it, the second one I got from online store and while it matched my face in terms of undertones, it is still slightly fairer and so I was quite excited seeing the shades launched here in the maybelline new launches fit me matte and poreless range. I always had difficulty to make the SA agree to jawline testing but this guy at the store complied and it became so easy to find what I need. After testing three shades I zeroed down to 310 sun beige which is the fourth shade of the range launched here.

Company claims:

Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • Available for different skin tones.
  • 6 different shades
  • 25% anti-shine perlite + micro blurring

The shade names enlisted on the website does not match the names on the bottles of the foundation at stores. The shade names on the bottles are 115 ivory, 230 natural buff, 128 warm nude, 310 sun beige, 322 warm honey and 330 toffee caramel.

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Price: Rs.525 for 30ml

ingredients:

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My view on the product:

The foundation comes in a heavy glass bottle with a black cap which is a screw down one. The brand name, variant or range and other details are mentioned on the bottle. The bottle is sturdy enough and it survived a fall soon after I bought it, unscathed. But the major complain that I have about the packaging is that it does not have any pump or at least a spatula so getting the foundation out without wastage is a tedious job.

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The consistency of the foundation is more creamy than liquidy. I usually shake the bottle and then pour on my fingertips and apply the foundation at one part of my face at a time. the foundation sets faster than any foundation ( Maybelline dream matte liquid mousse and makeup revolution the matte effect foundation) so it is better to go part by part than trying to do the whole face at a time. I have tried applying it with brush by stippling it and with fingers and the results with fingers were the best. I am yet to try it out with a sponge though.

The shade sun beige is meant for neutral undertones or yellow undertones and it is the perfect match for me, on my neck as well as face. In fact, in terms of shades, I am overjoyed to have found the perfect match at last which is not even tiniest bit darker or lighter than my tone. The shade selection in general would suit Indian skin tones well though I wish there were chocolate tones as well so everyone could find their shades perfectly. The darkest shade is dark enough for dusky to brown skin tones but in India at least, we have a huge range of skin colour and six shades are not just enough- especially when they have twenty four shades in total for this range in the international market. The coverage is medium and buildable to full. I prefer to use one coat though and since I do not have many problem areas building the coverage is not very much necessary for me.

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Staying power is quite good though the real test would be when summer arrives in Kolkata. Till now the foundation wears well for 4hours without any sign of wear and tear or oiliness which is the longest time I managed to test it outdoors. However the formula emphasises flaked skin and the matte finish can make the skin feel taut and dry. Though I have combination skin, it turns extremely dry on the cheeks in nose during winters and without proper exfoliation and moisturization, wearing the foundation can get difficult.

I have visible pores on my nose though nothing that is extraordinarily large and this foundation do cover them up well. The foundation however transfers if you rub your face somewhere. I discovered this when I hugged my sister who was wearing a white shirt- I suppose she would know what the yellow marks are if she reads this! Anyway, do watch out for such mishaps! I did not set it with any powder or setting spray and this happened. I have to see what happens when I set it with something.

The foundation photographs really well in artificial light and sunlight. If it match your shade perfectly, it would look fine in flash photographs as well. Overall, the foundation is a very affordable option that does meet all the basic requirements we have from a foundation on daily basis as well as during any party as well.

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if you look closely at the images,the encircled part is has some redness and pigmentation which gets quite covered after the foundation was applied

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easily available
  • Packaging is very sturdy and travel friendly
  • The shade selection is quite suitable for most average Indian skin tones
  • Matte finish
  • Reduced pore visibility considerably if you have average open pores
  • Keeps oiliness at bay for quite sometimes
  • Photographs really well

Cons:

  • The packaging- not even a spatula if not a pump
  • Emphasizes flaky skin
  • Rubs off on surfaces
  • Shade selection is limited when extreme skin tones are taken into consideration(chocolate tones)- not a personal con though
  • Most shades are yellow toned except the lightest two-pink toned women may have trouble finding their best match- again, not a personal con

Rate: 4/5

On a personal level, despite the troubles of rubbing off surfaces and packaging, this has become my HG budget drugstore foundation and I will buy this one again and again just for the shade unless I find another HG foundation.

 P.S: I missed out about the smell. It smells, as my sister describes “like beer” and I find her description just right. It has a very strong alcoholic smell which luckily evaporates within minutes of application. While I am not very sensitive smell of any kind so it is fine for me, someone who is might find this smell awful.

Commitment

“What are you going to do on Valentine’s day?”

“I have office that day. I cannot come.”

“Bunk office please!”

“And why would I do so? What does it matter?”

His question stopped her on her tracks and she kept silence and looked away hoping what he would say to her silence now.

“I may not turn up, but you are not going out with anyone but me.”

“And why not?”

“Just not.”

Just two words betrayed that he cared. The magic was back when Commitment was no longer an obligation.

 

New year Look- Burgundy Eyes

Today’s post is going to be really brief as I have to get going. This is basically a look I created for New Year and this one is comparatively dramatic than the previous one I did. I am not very fond of dramatic looks and even when i try to create something dramatic I end up creating something “mildly” dramatic- that is what I would call this particular look. I rarely use berry and burgundy colour  and in this look, I based entire color scheme around pink and berry tones.

For the eyes, pearl finish burgundy, burnt-sienna and chocolate brown as transition colour has been used. For the lips, I have used a subtler rose pink colour. The makeup is suitable for any berry toned dress and would also look flattering with emerald green and peach dresses in contrast.

Here is the breakdown images for the Look:

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the lip colour is from estee lauder double wear range- just ginger and topped with maybelline hypershine gloss in forever mauve

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This is the entire look. I planned this post for yesterday but got stuck in some work.

So, I am off to my day’s plan.

Wish You All  A Happy New Year In Advance and enjoy the day!

Quick christmas look

With the Christmas approaching and is in 3days, here is a look that I created for this year. You can say this is my own dress rehearsal for Christmas. 😀 Hope you enjoy the tutorial! The LBD gives so many chances to play around with your look and so after much pondering, I decided on the satin taupe shadow with lined eyes and bright ombre red lips.

I am not very fond of heavy base and hence started with simple cleansing, toning and moisturizing routine. Once the moisturizer got absorbed well, I used the Maybelline superfresh compact all over my face with the stippling brush and blended it well. I wanted a stronger contour than usual and hence contoured my face, nose and jawbone with the Freedom matte bronzer and a tapered brush. I finished the base makeup with hint of peach toned blush on my cheeks.

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the face products

For the eyes, it was also very simple. I used shade 1, all over the eyelid and then using shade 2 made the crease line. I blended shade 2 and 3 in the crease and finished with shade 4 as transition colour. Then I lined the eyes with the Maybelline colossal liner and it is done.

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products used for eyes

I emphasized the lips in this look and used a maroon toned red and a bright coral red together to create an ombre. I lined the outer part of my lips with the maroon lipstick and them applied the coral at the center of my lips. Blending them together gave a nice fiery red that is wearable in reality.

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for lips

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Forgive the saturation of the picture, I did not realize it is so bright unless I opened the link on my mobile to check the view of the post.