Best Italian Ever!

Ciao a tutti!

When I’m starving, there is this gorgeous restaurant here in Hyderabad that I frequent a lot. Situated on the 5th floor of The Empire Square Building, Jubilee Hills, is The Pasta Bar Veneto- an Italian rooftop haven for all food lovers! I am a sucker for Italian cuisine- it’s my comfort food and my salvation from hunger.

Though there are a variety of other Italian restaurants here- Via Milano, Little Italy and my once favourite Peperoncino (which currently has been shut down), nothing beats TPBV.

For me, it is the perfect place to spend time with my friends over scrumptious food or to spend an evening all by myself after a hectic week of gruelling exams. Moreover, they play awesome music here which makes the atmosphere even more relaxing.

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve visited this place. It is just beautiful. Both indoors and outdoors (although, I’d really avoid sitting outside on a hot scorching day). The stone and pebble pathway flanked by pretty shrubs and flowers leading to the inside of this pretty little place is my favourite.

The interiors are subtle, air-conditioned and amply spaced for a good number of customers. So are the exterior seatings strategically placed, giving you a breath-taking view of this beautiful city.

Moving on to the highlight of the place – the lip smacking food. The quantity and quality of the dishes is bound to satisfy your taste buds and the bucks you shell out here are totally worth it. Trust me the chefs here will NOT disappoint you. They have always been consistent in what they serve.

Here on, I’ll let the food speak for itself.

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These are not even a quarter of the dishes present on their endless menu, just a few of my personal favourite binge-ons. Coupled with a great ambience, generous staff and exceptional food, this place will leave you salivating for more. So go ahead, order yourself some appetisers, a pasta, a mocktail and bueno appetito.

Addio!

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

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Whirlpool Of The Web

Greetings to you!

Today is an exceptionally hot, drabby day. I did make some plans but well, Mr. Sun with his super hot rays managed to deter my spirits. So I ended up canceling them. Instead I rejoined Twitter (had made the account ages ago) and literally felt like a noob. A good15 minutes went by screening the settings and figuring out how it worked. Almost considered deleting the Twitter handle because I’m seriously not very regular with my social activities. But then, I let it be.

Now who doesn’t want to know what film Shahrukh Khan is filming for currently or which part of the world is Narendra Modi tourist-ing right now ( 😉 ) or which new person KRK has managed to piss off or what the celebrities are wearing at the Cannes or how the Royal princess looks like or what worthy serious, practical news the tabloids have to offer?!  

Despite a time-craving career to focus on (because apparently doctors are supposed to study all day and all night) you’ll find me browsing on various platforms (Google, Wiki, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube et al #entertainment #selfawareness) and shockingly losing track of time. And I’m sure most of you relate to me. Since everyone is a cool Mr/Miss know it all these days, the least we can do is, keep up with them right?! :P.  

On a serious note, the advent of the Internet has had mortifying effects on us and the society we live in. What started off as a luxury has now become a utility,just a few steps short of becoming a necessity coupled with new-age smart-phones- a tool you cannot do without. It is easily accessible these days. Don’t be surprised when you see your 5 year old nephew deriving entertainment,information,knowledge out of an Ipad or Iphone next time round. At that age I was probably learning how to form sentences, write and speak proper English. 

On the plus side, life has become easier in the sense that everything is available at a click or a swipe. The Internet has made life a tad too easy when I compare it to how it was as I was growing up. I barely had access to the Internet till I was in 5th grade and I was in 7th or 8th grade by the time I had learned how to use it properly for my purposes. I certainly don’t need to tell you how the scene is today.

Though it is an EXCELLENT medium transcending communication,cultural and regional/national boundaries and barriers; by providing an infinite source of vast information,learning and awareness and all sorts of entertainment one can possibly fathom, you cannot turn a blind-eye to the collateral damage it has done.

The more we’ve connected to the web the more we have disconnected from our real lives to the point of becoming dependent on it which is not that good an idea. Some of us have completely got lost in this whirlpool while some of us have succumbed to it in one or the other way. The ones who have learned to strike a balance between the virtuality and reality are the wise owls here.

Like everything, even the Web has its pros and cons.Neither requires mention as we are all well aware of it. As much as it has helped us to reach out to the world, it has equally distanced us from ourselves if we look keenly. Just remember that anything in excess is bad. And once something is on the Internet it stays on the net. Excercise caution especially when you are social networking. It is in your hands how you make use of this wonder web. If it’s a blessing or a curse, boon or bane,

You determine. You decide.

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui

Don’t Kill That Spirit!

THE SPIRIT STANDS!

“Set me free,” it roared

The binding girdles heckled loud,

Deep down in the dungeons, the Spirit stood

Lost, forgotten and forlorn.

Flashed before its misty eyes- clear and bright

How once the beating of the heart,

Gave it wings, brought it to life

And just as quickly, let it devour.

To break the shackles of the mind

The mighty Spirit surged anew,

Towards the freedom-promising light

Claim all liberty, this time it would.

All the blithe, he mistook for light 

Haughtily, burned it to soot,

‘Twas an endless battle it knew

And incessantly it ought to move! 

Weak and sore from all the pain

To let go of the controlling mind’s chains

From the ashes, the Phoenix rose

Only to be caged once again.

Against the feeble whisperings of the heart

Also, the malicious suppression of mind,

Prepared to battle another time 

Aching to be wild and free

Once again, the Spirit stood!

Hello my beautiful people!

All of us have that innate desire to be happy. Now happiness comes in all forms, one of them being  to succeed or being known for something we absolutely love doing- something which makes us a peaceful, contented kind of happy. Basically, in doing what we love.

But, oh but (I hate buts, don’t you too? 😦 ), not all of us do what we want or get what we want. Hell, some of us don’t even realize until it’s too late to know what we love doing and what makes us happy (whether it’s a job, a home, a dress, a person- anything)!

There is an inherent quality- a spirit in every single one of you out there which makes you different from the rest. Something which affects your drive to achieve your wants or desires. It could be relentless, dogmatic, sharp, laid-back, the Phoenix-like, the ‘try and try until you die’ one (probably my kind) and so on. Whatever it is, just don’t kill it.

Your spirits go through rises and falls just like your moods. Sometimes they function at an all time low where you almost believe you can go nowhere. At times, you feel so exhilarated that you feel you are the king of the world (I’m a die-hard SRK fan btw 😀 ).

However, your heart and mind play a huge vicious tug-of-war with your spirit. The heart may want what it wants but the mind has a mind of its own. Your heart may give birth to a wish and a desire and before you know it, your mind has convinced your heart that it is not good for you.

This might literally crush your spirit of doing the thing you love from the bottom of your heart, to pieces. Chances are, you won’t feel like doing it again at all, once that desire is suppressed which is SO SO wrong. It will eventually keep you from being happy or cause you to unravel emotionally in extreme cases. Be like a phoenix that rises from its ashes each time it dies.

So keep your spirits up and fighting. Don’t let anybody kill it through their criticism of you. You will have to tread cautiously, steadily, serenely, wisely and patiently at all times (especially during failures). They say, you lose some, you win some. But I would say, you go,get some! 🙂

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

Perfectly Imperfect!

After a tedious hiatus of ten or so days I’m happy to be back to the blogosphere. I am one of the lot of habitual over-thinkers strewn across this mighty planet. Last night, I happened to just ponder about the icky judgemental nature of we humans.

Ever wondered how much a person goes through in life  to be what he is today and what he will be tomorrow?! It is a pretty long struggle you know. And since homo sapiens cannot survive in isolation as has been reiterated from Adam and Eve’s time, we know how much the people around us impact us- starting from our family, to our friends, to spouses, etc. And to be judged by them? Imagine that!

What do we know of each others’ lives and everyday struggles to be subjected to blatant remarks with no pause whatsoever to our endless imagination? The answer you all know is- nothing! You are not making things any better by calling them names. I don’t understand how somebody’s life can affect yours when you are not even a part of their struggles. Do we really want to create bonds out of love or just picture a slideshow of people with quirky captions in our heads to make our life seem better. Or do we empathize with them genuinely? Either put a foot forward to embrace them and love them with their so-called shortcomings or leave them the hell alone.

Every one of us has been created in the same mould of clay but our souls are poles apart- the way we feel, we react, we laugh- each one of us differs from the other in every way possible. Nobody’s life is blessed with flawless-ness. Some of us are better looking, better versed, better clothed, better provided than the others. Whatever quality we lack, is compensated by God in some other facet which becomes specific of us and makes us imperfectly perfect. And we ought to be grateful for that.

We need to just focus beyond what we see through our naked eyes and penetrate a little through the soul of another and be more accepting of what does not necessarily please us. It is really a very easy thing to do if we just set our egos, insecurities, complexes aside and consider everybody our equal and not turn this into a competition of sorts.

The definition of what is perfect is totally subjective. What is good enough for me might not be up to the mark or just plain bad for you. The point is no matter how much you try to conceal or enhance your flaws, you are always going to let a part of yourself out to the world and open to judgement. And it is sad how it is all about sizes, numbers, appearances, bank balances, marks at school, social fame and other materialistic things which people chase today, blissfully unaware of missing out on something- much much much more meaningful.

Isn’t it the character we should be really vouching for?! I think it is.
You would not drive a potential good friend away because she doesn’t have the same phone as yours, would you?! Hell no. All these figures are just attributes to enhance your place in the society you live in. Please do not make this your criteria in determining somebody’s character.

Anybody or anything making you feel small or unworthy in ANY little or majorly hurtful kind of way needs to be shown the door out of your life. It is the right way to rid yourself of all the negativity you(or anyone else) does NOT deserve. Better alone than with those constantly putting you down. If in case  it’s your own bout of self-pity, ask that inner critic of yours to take a hike.

Don’t expect a flawless person in your life. You are most likely NOT to find one. Because no matter how hard we try and how many rules we bend or set up, there is nobody who is going to be 100 % right and you will land up alone. And I guarantee you that you WILL be judged- for all the good you do and all the bad you do. So better soak in that imperfection. If I had obsessed so much on finding the perfect people over all these years, I would have not been a part of the lives of SO many beautiful people I call my family and friends today.

I am a product of uncountable imperfections and through my bunch of imperfectly perfect family and friends, I have learned to look past the short-comings of people because all of us are amazing just the way we are – perfectly imperfect!

I think every single imperfection adds to your beauty. I’d rather be imperfect than perfect.

(Bollywood Actress)
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To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

Short Story #2 – The Memory Will Never Die!

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He woke up to the annoying snooze of the alarm on a chilly winter morning. Isn’t it vile to have been awakened when the most brilliant phase of your dream cycle is about to gain momentum?! Squinting, he reached out for the daisy-faced alarm clock bouncing insanely on the side table aligned to the wall next to his brown poster bed and put it to rest. It beeped a 10:30 AM. The alarm had been snoozing away for a good 2 and a half hours, he made a mental comment. He twisted and turned in his warm sheets trying to get back to the deep slumber he was so cruelly woken up from, but couldn’t.

His thoughts raced quickly in his mind, flipping through his working memory to recall what he had perceived just minutes ago. He was sure it was her. No. Yes it was her he reassured himself. She was standing beneath the blue sky, smiling at him, her arms wide open- beckoning to him and he had begun to move in her direction and was barely an inch away from her face when the vicious buzzing alarmed him. A brief smile spread across his face and disappeared as quickly as it had come. He lay there staring at the ceiling for a long time, reminiscing how her eyes, her beautiful face, her sweet words had cast an unbreakable spell on him and to his own surprise, a tear trickled down his right cheek and he involuntarily wiped it off as though embarrassed. Men are strong, he sighed. He looked at the daisy clock again and this time it struck a 12:05 PM.

Switching his gaze to the enormous window on the left, he noticed the golden beams attempting to tear through the smooth silk of the chocolate curtains. He was horribly late for work. Just as he consistently was for the entire week before and the one preceding it. I will remember to set the alarm for an hour earlier tomorrow, he made a mental note nonchalantly. He rose up unwillingly from his bed, rubbing his palms together softly, walked weakly towards the windows and drew the curtains apart. The bright light blinded him for a millisecond. The sun was high up on the horizon but the wind was still cold and dry.Quietly contemplating his thoughts, he soaked in the warmth of the sun. His handsome face shone like a pearl in the golden beams but if one looked at him with more concern he would point out that it was studded with sorrow.

He recalled his last winter with her- it was one of the best winters of his life and her presence had added a beautiful meaning to it. He had fallen in love with her perks- he adored how she rose into fits of rage when he didn’t make it to dinner on time citing work issues, her uncontrollable laughter when he humored her through his silly faces and bad jokes, her endless faith in him, her innocent dreams of riding the rainbow on a unicorn, her too-much-for-her-age wisdom and advise he could never do without, the way she ridiculed him when he sang like a wounded moose, the way she passionately read to him and the way she dozed off when he read for her on frozen days like these, how she snuggled upto him when she felt blue and instantly lightened up with chocolate ice cream in her stomach, or how she comforted him with her smile when he was sad and the way she lit up his day just by being a part of it. He could write a book with umpteen sequels on her-  that was how much he knew her, that is how much he loved her.

It was 1:30 PM now. He hadn’t showered for days he realized. He entered the king sized bathroom and the hot tub. As he showered he loosened his reigns over his tears and they came gushing through his eyes- hot and endless. For the first time in many days, he found his emotions running him down. He made no effort to fight the running stream- he just couldn’t. It was all too much to come to terms to- his loss. The past weeks had gone by struggling to cope with it but today there was no struggle. His throat felt dry and his stomach was in knots- he couldn’t bear it no more and he let out a piercing cry. And wept till he could cry no more.

At half past two, he came out of his room wearing the gray tee shirt she had gifted him on the Christmas of last winter and a pair of blue denim jeans. He refused to part from it on days that he stayed indoors, avoiding all possible social contact. He headed straight to the room on the right as he climbed down the spiral staircase. He stood near the door gaping at the unkempt room that belonged to his daughter. He picked up the mess as he walked in, frowning and murmuring to himself, “She wouldn’t have liked this mess at all. At all. At all,” as he went about this chore. He then came to the desk laden with piles of untouched homework and books against the yellow wall and could not help but take a look at the pictures hanging on the wall.

Yellow was his wife’s favourite colour. “Yellow was her favourite colour,” he remembered. Staring intently, he took the picture with the thickest frame off the wall and studied it. The faces in the photograph were smiling- he, his cute little daughter clutching onto his arm and his pretty wife. How he longed to see her lovely face again. He knew that he could not. For she was far out of his reach, beyond anybody’s reach, up above in the Heavens watching over him- she was his guardian angel now. Her last words had been “He is the best man in the whole wide world and you were so wrong about him,” to her estranged mother and “I always had a lovely time with you Daddy. I love you,” to him, as she lost her battle to a terminal illness. His fingers moved over his daughter’s face in the picture and he sighed in muffled pain, “I love you Sarah. Daddy misses you. Your memory will never die!”

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The End.

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui

Later is Now!

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“I will do it today”, said none of us- ever! If you still haven’t figured out the subject of today’s post, i’m going to give you a little hint- it is a state of yours where you’d rather spend hours in bed after opening your eyes updating your Facebook / Instagram / Twitter, check out that sale upto 50% off at the nearest mall, molest the joysticks of your PlayStation, binge watch Game of Thrones or sip on that sizzling mocha at the new Starbucks in town (the list is endless), than finish your pending task(s) at hand. Yes, you are right. I’m talking about the chronic procrastination we all invariably suffer from.

Procrastination is the reason why that room you thought of cleaning after your cousin’s wedding is still a mess, the preparation for that examination ten days away (as is my case) still hasn’t commenced, that presentation you were to submit to your boss still isn’t ready, that fitness regime you were going to start off with is still on the papers, that cross-trainer you bought for the same purpose is covered in dust, and those six pack abs under construction are well, still under construction- and also why I am unforgivably late in updating the blog from the past few days.

I’m quite amazed at how this fits everyone of us and wonder what makes us procrastinate so much?! It’s ironic how the jobs consuming most of our time and concentration and requiring top-notch priority are put off to a later time and then we panic as though we are at World’s end as the deadline draws near. If it’s the simple pleasure of indulging in our desires that gives us instant happiness, the monotony of the job, tendency to get bored easily, lack of interest/excitement, plain laziness or the undying faith in the fact that man works better under pressure- I’m not sure.

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So what’s the actual problem you ask?! In simple words it is that the early bird catches the worm and you’d rather be the one that rises late, generously letting the bird catch it, being satisfied with the little left overs if in case, there are any worms left, or worse – if YOU remain to see the light of day.

A man without passion and a drive to achieve something is as good as an aimless animal! I strongly believe that in order to get something done a.k.a be successful, you have to pull those socks up and shrug off the laziness parasitising your creative emotion and purpose so that you deliver nothing less than your potential. Like all things fine, the price of success only inflates with each climb of the ladder. That price my friends is constant hard work and a hungry desperation to emerge a winner in your own eyes.

This is not a subject of World Peace which I’m going to blow out of proportion. In fact, it’s just a ‘thought fuel’ to get your engines of will power and determination charged to run in steady speed towards your destination. I have fallen prey to this monstrous laziness often and with time and increasing responsibilities towards my goals, I have realized that intelligent planning and time management could actually lessen the unwanted delays. All I’m implying is that you learn to prioritize your goals each day- starting with the ones requiring immediate attention so that you are left with an ample amount of time to spend in recreation without your deadlines haunting you.

Scientists have deemed the youth of 21st Century, ‘lazier than their ancestors’ and let us face it, we are generally- pathetically lazy(especially we Indians). No, it is not as cool as we think it makes us. To all those swearing by laziness, trust me there is nothing more to it than low productivity, wastage of precious time, a goal-lag and an increasing risk to a variety of complex diseases- obesity, congestive heart disease, et al. The fruits of your labor can be enjoyed to no end but remember that it is the labor that yields the fruits.

Someone once said,

“Hard work never killed anyone but why take a chance!”

I bet there’s nothing in history that has been taken so literally.
The next time you wish to delay things, make sure the first thing you check off your list is procrastination itself! Because, Later is NOW!

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To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui.

Short Story #1 – The Assassin

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Ten short quick steps brought him to the other side of the room. There was a sound of breaking glass. In a moment he had jumped out of the window. The window, Clarke realized, opened into an empty street. Another bullet missed his right ear by a mere inch. He got on his feet, brushed his dark suit , glanced at the mafia men over his shoulders insanely firing at him from the window above and dodging the rain of bullets, he disappeared round a corner. He would now scurry to the docks where his ferry awaited him.

The life of Clarke Davies, better known by the code name – Agent 21, was a journey that imperiled his own life and seemingly of those associated with him. Once an assassin is deemed habituated to killing, there are not many options- how could his existence be facile?! The way he mercilessly butchered this man an hour ago, was in his estimation the most vicious murder he had ever committed. Clarke undertook all his gruesome missions under the cloak-name Agent Twenty One. Back in London, his remaining family was blissfully unaware that their man of the house  who they unconditionally loved, was in all truth, a brutal, ruthless murderer (a.k.a- a hit-man).

Davies provided services to a secret agency of the underworld, for wages enough for an entire generation of his family to lead a fine life of luxury and benefits- but the monetary gains never seemed to make any difference to him. The Agency was headed by a very powerful man, Clarke had heard but even after working for him since five long years, he was not faintly acquainted with his boss. He received details of his gory adventures in mysterious packages delivered at his home at odd hours after nightfall, and he had to set off on his enterprise on the fixed date and hour leading him to prevaricate to his unsuspecting hemiplegic father and a widowed sister.

Clarke wasn’t in the least bit like this before- he had been a happy chap, living a normal and a free life but a heart-rending, soul- wrenching event changed him, inducing in him the spirits of hatred and vengeance for all those who were responsible for the anguish he had undergone. His thirst for revenge brought on his record, five appalling murders. Taking advantage of this vulnerable and vengeance-driven indomitable man, the Agency Head compelled him to sign the contract and in return promised to provide him ‘safety’ from the Law. Signing the contract was inevitable those five years back since there was another underlying threat to his family posed by none other than his boss. Hoping that his new job might guarantee the safety of his family, he decided to never look back.

Hence, five years into the future, everyone in the underworld  identified him as Agent 21- an accomplished rifle shooter, effortless with ballers and a fearless Assassin. 

Clarke reflected on his life in the past five years, as he kept running ahead of and dodging the mafia men who were following him like mad bulls. He was suddenly tired of this life- he felt sick on seeing his blood-stained hands which had mercilessly taken dozens of lives- some innocent, some cruel. The men chasing him worked for a mafia don who he had recently put to permanent sleep. The murder scene refused to fade away from his memory. He had axed the head of the man before his family- the helpless innocent faces for the first time in five years melted his frozen heart. The weeping frightened eyes of the Don’s youngest daughter reminded him of his own son who was slain years ago by men akin to Clarke in their actions. He realized the malice of his deed as he turned a corner and reached the docks where his ferry waited for him. Two short jumps and he would be in his ferry and make his escape from the mafia men.

To the astonishment of the man waiting for him in the ferry, he suddenly stopped running. He came to terms with the fact that the life as an assassin never brought him peace, that it made him less of a human every passing day, that revenge was not sweet and murders could never be justified- neither his wife and son’s murders five years ago nor the murder of that little girl’s father this very evening. As he opened his eyes now filled with tears, the boatman of the ferry signaled him to jump in. He breathed a heavy breath, nodded his head side ways, turned to face the mafia men (now advancing towards him even more quickly), raised his left hand back so as to signal the ferry to be off. When the motor inside the ferry began to throb, it faintly disguised the sound of a dozen bullet shots that pierced the body of Clarke Davies.

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The End.

P.S. – This was written way back in 10th standard by me but i have altered a few details.The main lead of this story is roughly inspired from a character in a video game I used to enjoy playing a lot when young. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Appreciation or criticism is welcome in the comments sections. (:

To infinity and back,

Maliha Taqui