Tuesday, June 30, 2009


What comes first - the thought or the feeling; the act or the acknowledgement; the blog content or the blog title? And, does the order even matter?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wishful Monday

It was a hectic day at work, and I had quite a few deliverables. But, I could not stop myself from wishing. Wishing for my computer to crash, so I could just sit idly and wish some more. Wishing for my life to reboot just like the computer. Wishing for an escape to the mountains where the trees would give me wings to fly like a free bird in the misty air. Wishing for an instant swap of my old handbag for a spanking new Cole Haan bag....and so, my wishing went.

Therefore, I have decided that every Monday I will present to you The Wish List (wanted to be creative with the title, but after chowing down dumplings, fried rice and chicken with basil and chilli, my mind refuses to budge). Things, situations, ideas, whatever is on my mind as a wish, will find itself tethered to the words on this blog. Fair?

On a side note, Shikha and Dhruv are in Vegas enjoying their "us" time and also celebrating their second wedding anniversary.

I wish Kartik and I were also off to a place far far away...oh, wait I have some more wishing to do now.... : )


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Spicy corns

When the weather is gorgeous and you have ample time to waste -- what do you do? Oh, I would just drink tea all day and read tons of books -- but, obviously I can't because I would drive Kartik insane with this. So, keeping both of our interests in mind - I decided to make some spicy corns. Easy and tasty. Here's what you need to do:

1 bowl of frozen corn
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (iodized)
1 teaspoon salad masala or dressing powder (now, if you don't have this already, head down to the nearest Indian grocery store and get yourself a box of MDH 'Chunky Chaat Masala' and like always, thank me later)
3-4 drops of Lemon juice
A paper cup
A spoon
And, a look of complete bliss

Put half a glass of water in one bowl of frozen corn and nuke it (a la microwave it) for 2 minutes. Once its done, drain out water and put the boiled corns in a paper cup. Sprinkle red chili powder, salt, salad masala and lemon juice and mix them well.
Sit comfortably, take a spoon and enjoy...now if this doesn't get you bliss this summer, nothing will.


ps. Kartik's super calm if I read books while he gobbles the corns -- 2 birds one stone, 2 birds one stone :P

The Yard Sale

Yes, the yard sale. Its fun, its a quick way to make quick bucks on a lazy Saturday afternoon, and its a nice medium of interacting with different types of people. If you think about it, yard sale can teach you a lot about customer service and business management. Since Shikha and I will be marching down the road of client based business pretty soon, we took this yard sale event pretty seriously.

Here are some quick bytes of what this simple art of selling our (ahem, well it was mostly Shikha's) home goods taught us:
  • Staging the yard sale is just as important as making the sale. While you could pretty much put the stuff in any random order, it is very important that you make it look "wanted" to the buyers. Thus, the number one lesson is presentation -it has to be clean, crisp and inviting (don't be fooled by the word "yard")
  • What you are selling has to match with the price you are selling at. I mean, you cannot sell a 'slightly rusted' German can opener for 10 bucks, while the 'almost brand new' toaster is lying around for $5. The only way you can win customers is if you show them that they are not just buying an object but buying value as well. So, the number two lesson is to give customers a use value greater than the cash value you are taking from them. It may seem that you are giving up your profit - absolutely not. Instead, you will end up increasing the customer traffic
  • As the buyers are browsing through the stuff, there are 2 things that you can do: a) leave them alone and let them browse in peace and answer only when asked a question b) start up a small talk and ask them what they like, offer them suggestions while they are browsing. The key here is to know when to use strategy a) vs. when to use strategy b). You can pretty much gauge this right away when you share a 'hello and smile" with them. Once you have established that camaraderie, go for it! The lesson here, be pleasant and approachable and know when to back off
  • When the buyer truly wants something but is not willing to pay the price on the tag, what do you do? Just ask "how much do you think you would pay for this?" If he/she quotes a price that you did not expect, for example, the tag says $10, but he quotes $5 - just say, "how about $7 and we both win" Chances are the customer will be happy, feel like a winner and buy the item in question. So, the final lesson (if there is something called "final") is make customers feel like winners, and you will have no problems attracting more of them
Don't forget to have fun!!

Shikha and I know that we made a few mistakes, but instead of looking at them as mistakes, we prefer to call them experiences. Yard sale was great, and we had a nice time selling and meeting new people. This is exactly what we hope to feel when conducting our business.

Have a couple of pics for you....enjoy

and, a totally random shot of sun through the tree leaves (almost fell on the toaster while taking this one)


Friday, June 26, 2009

What inspires you today

Is it..
A sparrow, that on its fifth attempt, finally gets the ribbon undone, which was stuck on a tree trunk
so it can use it for building its nest. No hands, just a small pointed orifice and tons of willpower and 'can-do' attitude.
A pigeon who just tries its luck to grab whatever it can - if not this piece of bread...well, that tortilla chip sure looks good.

Is it..
The design principle behind this

The design principle behind this

Is it..
The story of Google, from being just another search engine, to being THE search engine of choice - a feat accomplished because the company was completely devoted to its product and most importantly its customers. They tried to fill the gap on the most basic functionality of the Internet, but in the most efficient and effective way.
The story of AOL, made a lot of profit, was a good growth company, had all the major media partners, but could never put a pulse on the customer's requirements. And, therefore, exists now as a web portal that you might just accidentally visit.

Want to know who inspires me?

Ms. Nina Danon

My French teacher, 80+, and busier than ever. She teaches 6 classes and does private tutoring as well. During lectures, she's very active and playful. She actually acts out the words to help us understand their meaning. You should see her when she is acting up the word "run fast" - youngsters these days are older than her, I tell you. She is truly a delight, and makes me want to aspire to live past 100... but with her kind of energy and spirit. God Bless her!

So, ask yourself today, honestly, what inspires you, for the answer will give you the courage and faith to take your life in the direction you only imagined of. Good luck :)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Crystal Glove is gone

Michael Jackson is no more. Wait, I need to double check this sentence for I cannot fathom the reality in this. It's like I have lost my childhood memory - poof, gone like that! I am so sad, that I almost choked when I tried to put my feelings about this news in perspective.

Shikha and I were his great fans, grew up on his songs and admired him as a performer. We would go nuts with the moon walk, we would let our hair fly in the wind like his in the "Black or White" video - not as cool though (side note: we were incredibly proud of him for including India's classical dance in his B&W video). We even asked our grandma to knit us that one white glove, with crystals on it. You see, you weren't really a superstar without the crystal glove.
And, now our crystal glove is gone.
MJ can easily be designated as the talent of the century and will truly be missed. May his soul find the peace he truly deserved.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Of broken glasses and weird looks from women

It was one of those feelings, one of those moods, where I just couldn't be myself - the happy, funny, silly me. And you know the worst part, that feeling was coming from my stomach, wait, or was it from underneath my stomach? Either ways, I was bummed and couldn't find a way to get over this feeling. And, because I was busy at work that day, I couldn't really find out why I was having this insane humming from my body. Seriously, if feelings had a sound, it would "hmmmmmmm."

So, as I was traveling back home on the subway, I was glad I had this time to disect, bisect and inspect what was going on with me? On a better day, subways for me are like sophisticated (and stinky) nap machines - you get on station A at 0.00hrs and you get off at station B at 0.40hrs - all for a million sweet zzzzzzzs :)

Back to what I was saying - I tried putting as much thought and energy as I could - and just as it happens with thoughts - they were going all over the place. Could it be something I ate - could it from that weird look that woman gave me - could it be from that broken glass I found on the road - could it be that something bad will happen and I am getting a signal???. And, so it went people.

We as humans have a tendency to make associative memory - we associate one thing as a cause of another and yet another thing as an effect. So, basically, unconsciously, I associated the broken glass I saw with omen - and that got hammered a little more when a random woman gave me a weird look. But, why would my mind go like that? The answer is, because it can. It is used to making associations throughout our lives - it catches such inferences from tv shows where they show if Joe (making up) had a question in his mind and he turned and saw a red traffic signal - that 'that' was the sign from God or from old tales that our grandparents told us about how when they sprinkled salt before they left the house, the evil spirits wouldn't touch them! In essence, we are never free and will always need the security of a ground to walk on.

Then few days ago I found this email in my inbox, which completely blew me away because it brought me closer to the answers I was searching for, and I couldn't wait to share it with you. Its a daily mail that I subscribe from Neal Donald Walsch's website. The email goes:

On this day of your life, Shivika, I believe God wants you to know...

...that it would not be beneficial to believe your Mind on matters that are very important to you.

Your Mind can base its conclusions only on Past Data that it has collected during your present experience of Physicalization. It has no knowledge of things existing through all Eternity.

In order to access data having to do with Who You Really Are, and why any particular thing is occurring, you would have to have access to data from outside your present Time Line. This data is only accessible through your soul. It appears in your life as a "knowing." Trust this.

Love, Your Friend....

Have such experiences you would like to share? Please - bring em' on : )


Monday, June 22, 2009

An ode to Red

Stop signal.
Stock price going down.
Auspicious rituals.
New Year celebrations.
Newly wed symbols.
Love, passion.

Oh, how the color red finds itself in so many things.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

When we were little, you were so strong that you let us hang on your arms - one on each side, and then you twirled us in circles. Like our own personal swing. Thank you for being our hero.
As we were growing up, you bought us whatever we wanted, and did not wince even once as we picked up our 20th barbie doll. Thank you for letting us create our own fantasy world with all the dolls and doll houses.
When we became teenagers, you protected us and made sure we did not waste our time making up our face more than making up our minds. Thank you for being our guiding principal.
Now, that both of us are married, you host dinners for us and cook this amazing chicken. You always crack the same jokes at least once, and we get a kick out of it every - single-time. Thank you for all your love and the laughs.
Papa, we are so lucky to have a father like you. Thank you for everything.

Your daughters,
Shivika and Shikha

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Grand Day

So, I am at Shikha's place today, and we just finished opening the shipment of our first order (before we opened the box, we said a little prayer and thanked God for this opportunity). We started at 10 in the morning, and its already 1 in the afternoon. And, mind you, all we have done is just open and inspect the order we received. And, guess what we found - yes, some pieces were damaged. It happens, I know, but it still makes you go "oh-o!" So, after we are done tallying up how much is good vs. how much is bad, the real work will start then. Taking a lunch break now...will post more later, and share some pics as well of this Grand Day!


UPDATE: We sorted out the items we need to send back and have taken a count of what we will keep. Next, we need to develop pricing of each product and also create an invite for the launch event. So many exciting things to do. You know, it is really a lot of hard work, but since this is a passion, it doesn't seem like that and time just flies when you love what you do, right?
Here are some pics I took of the eventful day that it was:

Before we start any work, we always take blessings of our God (Hindu tradition), so here we are taking blessings on our first shipment

Shikha going at it - opening the box

These are stacks of boxes with our jewelry in them -- cool!! : )

I took a shot of one of our earring styles -- nice, na?

Hope you enjoyed as much as we did : )


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Next Steps

As you know, I announced a few days ago that our jewelry order is here. But, I haven't opened the boxes yet. They are actually at Shikha's place, and am planning to go over there this weekend to do the "grand opening" with her. Both of us are very excited, because now we have something tangible to call our own.
Now, ofcourse, the work doesn't just stop at opening the box. We have quite a few next steps lined up that we have to take care of:
  • Pricing each piece
  • Putting product tags
  • Packaging : tissue paper, butter paper?
  • Shopping bags/pouches?
  • Save the Date and Invite for the launch
  • Display: trays, cases, stands, etc.
I do want to make a confession though. When I started putting together the list of things we have to do, all these crazy thoughts started running through my mind. I started questioning if I was doing the right thing by starting a business, if it all made sense, if we would have a turnout or will people buy our stuff. I am telling you, it was insane. I almost wanted to give up!!!
But, I realized immediately that these thoughts were coming up because I was shying away from putting in the hard work, the raw energy. I wouldn't be a success unless these basic ingredients are there and I had to halt my crazy mind immediately. It took some effort, but after I imagined both of us enjoying our passion and making our clients feel good, all the doubts and questions began to fade away. I am glad, in a way, that this happened to me earlier, I know now to keep such thoughts in check.

Anyhow, going back to all the next steps we have to take, if you have any ideas on how to be creative with our packaging and/or presentation, please do share. Would love to hear from you!



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

great day

This is my first. Really, this is my first. The first time I am blogging before leaving for work. How cool is that?
Ok, since I am a human, every now and then I get moments where I am not in a happy place and need something to cheer me up. And one day, when a similar feeling was creeping on me at work, I begged the internet to show me a relief. And it did. In the form of this awesomely incredible website. I love this website so much that I cannot go on without visiting it once everyday. It inspires me and makes me feel like the king of my own life, even when things seem to be going out of control. The site is called GREAT DAY --> go ahead and click on it ...you will be soo happy that you did.
And, that's precisely why I am blogging this early - because I wanted to share this beautiful inspiration with you for those unwelcome knocks on your life


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just cruisin'

I love New York city, and I cannot say it any other way. The streets, the people, the traffic -- all make it the perfect city it is. A city without unnecessary frills, without pretentions, and without stillness. A city that breathes life into you.
When I first came to the city, I was just lost. Lost as a kid in a toy store -- amazed by so much variety out there and didn't know where to start. This feeling of numbness paired with sense of being lost was so powerful and irksome, that I knew I had to start walking in any direction just so I could survive. Even after 10 years, I still get the same feeling whenever I am there.
This past weekend, Kartik and I were going to New Jersey to visit some friends, and were passing through NYC. As we were cruisin' down the city streets, I couldn't help but notice the infusion of colors and people all around me. Lucky for me that I was carrying a camera - so I made the best use of it. Check out the shots I took - and hopefully you can get the same feeling that I got taking these pics.

bright colors spice up the streets

thought this was an interesting shot -- can you spot my car??

somebody sure loves their plants

can't be new york without huge billboards

On a totally separate note, our jewelry order is here -- yeay! And, we are prepping ourselves for the launch...soo excited.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Only 15cm away

Tis' a lovely Saturday afternoon in New York. It was sunny in the morning but it just became cloudy...still tis' lovely. When I opened up the door to pick up the newspaper, this beautiful smell of grass, wet cement and listlessness hurried down my nostrils and transported me to a world that you read about in Tolkien novels. Very organic and very raw. The major affect of this aroma is inducing me with laziness, so much so that the remote control that is only 15cm away -- seems like a mile away and I am just too tired to reach for it. My husband, God bless him, is my perfect partner in crime, and we both lie on this lazy afternoon with just sleep and alternate worlds on our minds.


Friday, June 12, 2009

best blog

I have been going zonky (not sure what you get if you google this word, but this word aptly describes my state of mind, with some serious sound effects please) trying to get "inspired" for the upliftment of this blog - so I have turned to my good ol' friend - Monsieur Internet. I have been all over the world by massaging the keyboard with a fervor intent - trying to find out the answer to "what makes for a good blog?" And, then my eyes just gleamed with joy when I found an article, aptly titled "Times Best Blog of 2009" Oh, Lord, have mercy!! This was the perfect thing, and I was in a happy, cozy, comforting nook in the world! : )

You know what I did next --> I went like jockey on a horse towards the finish line - and pretty much scoured all the top blogs. I was impressed by most, surprised by some, and then disappointed by a few. But, I am happy I got my answer. I will tell you in 5 seconds, what that is.

5-4-3-2-1..... (my fingers and brain need this break people)

Blogging to me is opening my dreams, my aspirations, my soul to all ---> frosted sweetly with the intention of sharing insight that someone in the same boat as me could use. So, yes, the top element of a good blog is, i.e., # 1 is content. What is written has to resonate with the common folks; they should be able to understand what is being said, have a few laughs, and just enjoy themselves when investing their precious time reading page number 1,000,000,000 on the internet -- and the kicker -- that they always come back to this page number for more!

Now, I am a very visual person -- details matter to me. So, the presentation of the content becomes the next big thing, i.e., # 2 is style. What I noticed on all the top blogs of 2009 was their style was very basic vanilla -- literally. I was actually surprised by this finding because I went in thinking the blogs would be this cool flash loaded pages - but no. My fears of being a plain jane with my blog have been quelled for the time being until I find a style that truly speaks to me.

ah, the beauty of objectification...

Pretty much these 2 simple points form the crux of a good blog, and I am so glad I invested the precious hours after work (when your mind has already said its "peace out" and the eyes are next to go) to get to the bottom of it all.

I will say this for sure -the focus of Banno Raani would always be to deliver on its promise of documenting a dream being realized (top blog win or no top blog win) -- and even if I have to jazz it up with flowers or flash - I will leave no html unturned (I know its a bit dorky, but...)

Hugs galore!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Yup - the research is going on to make the blog better and more interesting. While that continues in the background, I wanted to share this thought blurb with you that I found scribbled in my notebook. Have absolutely no idea what my mind was going through then or where I was, but I found it to be kinda' sweet and so, wanted to share with you (because I am not tampering with the original, please ignore if there are any grammatical whoopsies!! : ) )

"It is not the beauty of the place, but the people in that space that make all the difference. Laughter, smiles, arguments, hey, even disses morph into the lilting tunes emanating from a piano. That, my friend, is pure beauty and nothing can replace it. Thank you for all the beauty around me; beauty in my freedom and beauty of my dreams coming true. Yeay to that!"


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Upgrade 2.0

Am working on giving this blog a new feel  -- so have been bouncing off ideas on how to make it more fun and interactive! Didn't realize that it would be such a task, but I am loving every "tired-eye" and "brain-freeze" moment of it. The pressure is on people...and knowing me, it would just have to be the best!!! : )

Wish me luck.


Monday, June 8, 2009


Tis' a Monday, so I decided to keep it short and simple...and, this message comes from the bottomest : ) bottom of my heart: I am so thankful and grateful for all the wonderful things in my life. Right from my wonderful, cutie hubby who loves my hair even when its super poofy,  to the delicious falooda ice-cream that just melts in my mouth, to the softest pjs draped around my legs, to the people who have inspired me - knowingly and unknowingly - thank you - thank you

Saturday, June 6, 2009

MKZ and Shiny Toy Guns

Have you seen the new Lincoln MKZ ads -- each ad has shots of car in multi angles, with focus on its new features, against the backdrop of catchy songs. My recent favorite song is by Shiny Toy Guns -- Major Tom (coming home). You can listen it here, and go crazy!! Like I am right now...
"4-3-2-1-......earth beloww us...drifffting, faaalling.." Love it love it!!

Ok, back to the point I was getting to. The songs are such a strong element of this Lincoln ad, that when you see the car and the background music playing, you almost picture yourself driving the car and being this major super star. Its that effective! The ad compelled me to proclaim to my husband (with a sense of urgency), "I want that car" - to ME!! A person, who wouldn't be caught making such bold statements unless she knows she cannot breathe another moment without the object in question. And, trust me, the list of things that I cannnot breathe without is definitely a concise one. What this points to is the power of marketing and packaging. It is very important to capture the sentiments of the prospective buyers such that they want to buy your product -- and, buy it now.

Part of Shikha and my endeavor is to hone up on our marketing skills. Like novice business owners, we have little or no experience with product placement/promotion, and since we understand how critical it can be to the success of our business, we are strategising (here's the word again...) on what our mojo will be. We are searching the internet and are visiting businesses with similar product lines to understand how they do, and what we can do differently.
Again, creativity is the key to this -- so, yes, we are experimenting with quite a few ideas of our own...will let you know once we can put some words around them : )

And, now, as promised last time, here are a couple of shots of our business cards. Rejoice, my friends, this is step # 1 of us zooming from a dream to reality!! : )

Pic 1 (above): a close up shot of the business card

Pic 2 (above): front and back of the card



Thursday, June 4, 2009

B cards

Me thinks Kartik and I are the only dorky ones around here, who still remember to celebrate our monthly wedding anniversary!! But, dorky-porky- I love sending and receiving sweet nothings on this special occasion and it really peps me up for the day...what to do, am your dorky senti girl!!! : )

Anyhow, I have a super cool juciy news for all -- our business cards are here!! yeay!! Well, I love the color and the font, and will be uploading a pic soon -- but, wanted to share this as soon I regained myself from a swoon-worthy experience. I know, like Shikha and me, you all have been waiting for the "whats' next and what's new" update!! So here it is -- we'll be flashing one of those now...hehehehh ;p

And, thank you for all your support as always ~

special hugs on this special day!!


UPDATE: A special shout out to the people at 123print.com who made the entire experience of picking a design to editing business cards to actually having the business card a dream. The website is very slick and is soo no non-sense and no cheesy flashing ads. There are categories to choose a design theme from, and there are oh! so many! The customer service is exactly what it is supposed to be : prompt, courteous and responsive.
A sincere thank you for giving us the business card of our choice -- its very special as its our first ever!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

just thought...

...if planes were shooting stars, i would wish on each one that flew by! or, maybe i already do  : )


Monday, June 1, 2009

Do it

Sometimes I don't understand, why people have to question other people's interests or hobbies?Is it because they are not able to bring about the fruition of their own desires and are jealous, or is it that they just. don't. care . Either ways, it bothers me no end...arrgh!
I mean how could you live your life without any hopes or desires or hobbies or anything beyond what you currently have? I am not saying that everyone should be fond of knitting or collecting stamps -- just some extra kicker in your life. Is it too much to follow through??

It is a new month - and that marks a new beginning. So, I challenge you to find something that you like and pursue it NOW!! Go ahead, search for something you always wanted to do, but didn't because you were either too lazy or thought it wasn't that important! It could be anything - even as simple as setting up that facebook or twitter account that you have been avoiding or joining that Guitar 1o1 lesson you dreamt of while studying for your exam....so, wake up, and  just.do. it!!!
(Consider this post to be that nagging voice in your head -- do it ..do it... do it..get off your cushiony lazy butt and do it..do it..do it)


ps. alrighty, I will make your life simple --> just click on  DOIT and it will get you the information you are looking for! good luck : )


Related Posts with Thumbnails