Archive | April, 2013

Ask Gull: How to do red lips?

29 Apr


I get this question a lot. But here is one a friend recently asked:-

I am not that fair, nor too tan-in fact I have a bronze skin tone. But somehow, the red lips suit me fine during the day time, while usually at night events they are a fail. What do you suggest is the best way to pull them off? What do you think am I doing wrong?

My answer:- Firstly, consider yourself lucky for every color works on that complexion, though cranberry or true reds are best for you. Second, ensure you have invested in a good, renowned brand’s lipstick because this one item you will use a lot, and the right lipstick will go with you a long way. (I had say, get this YSL)

The trick to wearing red lips is to keep the rest of your make-up minimal, for the paler your skin the better. So, put a nice concealer/primer to tone your face and stain your cheeks the most lightest, natural-pink you can (to make your skin look alive). Use only mascara on your eyes and coat your lips with your lip liner. Now when you put on the lipstick, your lips will pop, making you look sexy and catchy.
The reason sometimes our red lips don’t look at night events as good as they do in mornings is that we tend to go over board with the hair and makeup along with the jewelry at most of these events while during the day we usually tend to go for lighter looks. Red lips will always be easier to pull off with a white summer dress in the morning or a sparkly LBD in the night then with flashy bright-colored gowns and intricate permed hair-dos.

The clicks here summarize all that I said, which boils down to this-keep your face uncluttered.

Red lips on the red carpet.

Red lips on the red carpet.


Sunday Musings-Playing with time

28 Apr

Sunday Musings-Playing with time

The picture above is just a one thousandth of a glimpse of how cramped up my life is. How much I am being made to do at the same time.
Juggling-the word has lost it’s wonder to me, for its an understatement to what I am doing these days. All day, everyday.
But, despite contrary belief, I need to mention right now that I wouldn’t change my life for anything because every night when I fall in bed tired, groggy, my sentences making no sense, one line is clear as a bright sunny day in my mind.
“I am satisfied.”

Why, you ask yourself, is she crazy enough to love a messed up schedule where even breathing forgets to find a place for itself.
Because, I am doing all that I love, all that I care for. And I am working towards all that I want.
What I do is a topic for another day, the list is too long to confound you with right now. I have digressed enough already.
I want to share with my beloved friends here today the little tricks I have learned over the way that help me make the schedule a little less messed up and a lot more survivable.
Here is my humble guide to how to work your schedule the best. If even one person benefits from this, my purpose will be served. 😉

Love thy bed-from a distance.

Love thy bed-from a distance.

1. Don’t procrastinate

Since I started university, I have learned this lesson the hard way. Every second I waste in procrastination, I have been made to pay for. And usually at the cost of something even more important. I have lost on valuable opportunities or been stuck in unforgiving situations because of thinking, “oh I can do that later, right now I need to veg-out”. But now I pre-prep for things and if at some moment I don’t feel like doing one thing, I go and take up some other project. It keeps me from lapsing into days of laziness and from getting complacent. Believe me, once you fall in that cycle, its viscous.

Stay fresh

Stay fresh

2. Get your sleep

I cant stress on this one enough. If you are lacking on your sleep, you are processing slower then ever and even what you are doing at that pace, most of it is just filtering right past your mind. Your efficiency and the worthiness of your output decreases too much. But, I had be asking for too much if I had wanted to get an 8-hour daily sleep routine. So, here is what I do. Any day, at least once a week, when the work load is the least-or sometimes even when its not-I sleep till my body lets me (which usually is a good ten hours). Other days, I try to sleep at least 6 hours.

Laze around!

Laze around!

3. Find time to laze around

It might seem a little contrary to what I said about procrastinating. But hear me out. The difference here is that you ‘schedule’ in some you time, some telly or internet surfing time. You wouldn’t be lying around “instead” of doing something important, rather you would make time along with that something to give yourself a chance to relax. Plus, this will allow you not to let this ‘break” to stretch too long. If you master this one trick, you have gotten down the main part of the your time management done.

Eat smart

Eat smart

4. Eat healthy

What you eat is what you are. My mum raised me on this line, and its true. If you eat fresh, healthy, natural foods your professional behavior, your work efficiency, your alertness and the sharpness of your mind would be at your best. You eat crap, you will end up being and feeling like crap in every walk of your life. Golden rule-never skip breakfast and eat an hour before sleeping. Believe me, you do this, and your colleagues would soon be asking you how you can work well despite the long hours and the weird schedules.



5. Use caffeine wisely

People tend to over step their caffeine intake to a point where it loses its effectiveness. I personally avoid it completely on days I don’t have to do too much, like on holidays. I know if I make my body used to it, then I wont have that “magic emergency-helper” for waking me up when sleepiness is killing me at two in the morning.

Decide, stop wasting times.

Decide, stop wasting times.

6. Prioritize

I know its a cliché, but be very clear of what engagements matter more then others. Maybe that dinner this Wednesday is not as important as the client meet the next morning you just have to work for. Or maybe you can catch the drinks with your friends during weekdays because during this weekend you have a huge exam to prepare for. So, think a little before you commit to anything.

Be vigilant!

Be vigilant!

7. Finish in time

Its much better to have done with your assignment a couple of days before due. It doesn’t just give you time to relax before you can recheck it, but it also lets you off the pressure-hook and lets you look around at other matters too.



8. Balance with fun

All work and no play, makes me an irritable person. True story. So when I find myself with even an hour of free time, I spend it partying as best strikes my mood right then. It could be a shopping trip with my sis or a coffee date with my bff. Otherwise, I know, I had lose it.



9. Multi-task

Learn the art of doing this. Its high time. I am sure you already do it, in fact. Have you ever sat watching telly while eating lunch and talking to someone and texting another person all at the same time. Sounds familiar right. Well in work you can do that too. There are times where I am whatsapp-ing, talking to a client, eating and studying, all at once. Its easy, you just need to give it a try.

Finish in time.

Finish in time.

10. Utilize every second-

I don’t drive, not often. Rather I use that time in the car, or waiting in line at the grocery store or the time at gym, to do a billion other things. Like calling my clients, updating my calendars, my notes, making lists of this or that. Smartphones have made lives easier, all we have to do is recognize their potential. But not just that, at the lack of doing anything else, I have even taken power naps while in the car. If Japanese can do it, why cant we? 😉

11. Put away thy smart phone

They are useful, they are essential parts of our lives and working without them is now near to impossible. But sometimes I find it rejuvenating to separate myself from my smart phone and everything internet for a couple of hours. It usually makes me feel like the horizons have broadened, that the world has enlarged and sprung to life around me. Even though in reality it was just that I was limiting myself to a smaller world.

So guys, these were the ten tricks that have made my life much more productive and much less strenuous. A holiday trip now and then or a spa day once in a while are further perks to increase your own output. The truth is that I try to make my 24 hours equal 48. Impossible yes, but I atleast end up using every single second of those 24 hours. If you have been to London, you must have seen that people there carry their Kindles and their paperbacks along with them everywhere, so that when they have nothing else to do, they can use that time to catch up on their reading. That’s the ingredient you guys, the decision that every minute of your life is too precious to be wasted. Own that dedication, and time will never be able to
cheat you.

Happy Sunday!

Work hard, stay happy! 🙂


The higher we go, the smaller I feel.

14 Apr

Up, far above from the hassle and the noise of our polluted cities-where people are busy at being busy and no one cares what the others do, yet care a lot about what they think-above and away from all the empty, barren and discouraging surroundings, I found myself the closest to heaven that I have ever been.
I was in a place which had more colors then I could imagine, more peace then I had ever witnessed. It had a solitude that beckoned my tired soul, an eery feel that added a bittersweet touch to it and a loneliness that left me rejuvenated.


Here I met people that weren’t shallow nor fake, who didn’t care about my background or how much money I had. They just welcomed me into their private paradise and, while charming me with their hospitality, they let me quietly steal a piece of it and lock it into my memories from where I have often revisited those fairy meadows, those blue skies, those green valleys and, as the rush of the meandering rivers resounds along the chirp of the mountain birds in my mind and as I go through the shots my eyes took, reliving the trip, I am taken back to the place that strangely felt more like home then any place ever had.


This place, that I am ranting on and on about, it is in the Southern mountain ranges of Kashmir. I visited it last year on a whim. A last minute plan with my family as we enjoyed the my brother’s visit to us.
My family still teases me how I was the most opposed to the plan and yet I was the one most reluctant to come back from our quaint cottage high atop the mountain. The gorgeous, enticing cottage. They are right, but they don’t realize that I didn’t fall in love with the place just because I enjoyed it’s numerous sceneries nor was it only their presence that has imprinted the sounds, the smells, the feel of the place in my brain for an infinity. Rather it’s what it touched inside my heart, the mark it left on it, the connection it made with me which made me fall for it.
Far from the worldly pleasures, amongs the thatched roof houses, the terraced fields, the herdsmen’s quite banter and the wild horses, far from facilities like wi-fi and Ben and Jerry’s, I lost my heart.
And I lost it eternally.


Maybe it happened when I stood with my dad, hearing a local herdsman’s mythical stories about wild animals or maybe it happened while I sat by the lake, the lack of light in the too quite night covering it with a black shawl, misguiding in its depths and it’s safety while the dark mountains rose around it menacingly, majestically, proudly. Maybe it was when I ran around the fields surrounding our cottage in the pouring rain, while the clouds seemed to walk around us and my niece tried to catch up with me. Yet, it could as easily have been any of the other big and small moments I had there with my family that made it happen.
So I don’t know the when and the exact how, but this I know, that somewhere between trekking in the ranges of the Kashmir mountains to drinking coffee on a military base camp, I fell so hard for the echoing valleys and the piercing mountains that I still dream about the place. Still dream about going back to it.
And I will.
I remember as clearly as if it was just yesterday, how I had stood at the bridge on the lake, the two of them embracing each other so lovingly that the water passed at certain points partially above the surface of the steady bridge as it crossed from one side to the other. It felt humbling, the water spreading around me, and yet beautiful.
The last day of our stay, I had sat in the veranda which lead to the pathway going down to the water. I had sat there drinking coffee and watching the sunset, hearing the soft murmur of the mountain wind, smelling the distinct smell of dusk native to water bodies and memorizing the colors of the sky, the water and the far off sound of kids’ joy as they came back home with families, ready to be tucked in after a hard day at work. I wondered what the locals would do now. Would the mothers hover around their kids while their fathers made preparations to keep them safe and warm through the night? Or would they all gather around a large bonfire, the friends catching up on each other’s day, the fathers discussing politics, the kids exhausting out the last of their energies and the young girls and boys flirting.
I didn’t find the answers, and the charm in this case was the mystery, so I let it be as we braved a walk out into the cold, dark night, shivering at the howls or rustles we heard in the trees, and then laughing at each other. At the end of the week, when we finally said our goodbyes, to the people we had come across there, to the trails we had adventured on and the horses we had ridden on, we all drove away with a heavy heart and yet a ligher disposition.
The closeness to nature, the greenery, the peace had returned our calm, helped us attain our peace. Revitalized and rejuvenated us.
So, we bid adieu, but we didnt say goodbye. We all knew we had be back.


Baby don’t hurt me, no more!

13 Apr

Fairy tales.

Just look at those two words and see the things that spring into your mind, the words that you automatically associate with them.
Prince Charming.
Beautiful Princess.
An evil witch.
A happily ever after.


These are the thoughts that I used to associate with the two words subconsciously since I was a young girl.
I wouldn’t call myself being stupid. I was young, and all the stories I was told under the heading were about frogs becoming princes over a heart-felt kiss and evil giving in to the strength of love-scratch that, make it “true” love.
Don’t think me a hard, cynical, worldly girl who believes that all to be crap (even if to some extent it is) all I am really saying is, isn’t this approach just a little ancient, a little narrow minded?
And above all, extremely misleading for the kids? And sometimes a little chauvinistic too?
It took me a large part of my teenage years to realize that fairytales didn’t always come in packages of love and marriage and castles in the air. That each person had their own fairy tale, it was just a matter of perspective.
And true love already exists in our life in many forms, we don’t need to grab search lights and go looking for it.
Every one has their own dreams, fears, demons and happy endings. Some would be living happy knowing their family is healthy and there for support. Others would be satisfied knowing they made a place for themselves in the literary world, and so on and so forth.
Then why, despite fighting our own monsters and conquering our own evils, do we find ourselves lamenting we didn’t have the fairy tale life? The reason is simple-our elders failed treacherously when they defined fairy tales to us. For we were taught from childhood that a fairy tale life is just so and so-a damsel in distress saved by the strong man, etcetera etcetera -anything else can’t be satisfying. Nothing else could compare. And no, they say, this isn’t why women automatically take themselves as the weaker sex needing to be saved.
At the risk of sounding a little cliched, I had prefer saving myself before I let others. And I would be happy to let those others be my friends and family, for I could live without looking for a stranger to do the “saving”. I wouldn’t cry and moan that my handsome, rich, powerful prince wasn’t here to offer me his love yet.
I can’t be that thankless.
Yet, people do all this. They are happy, living without the turmoil of poverty or the ill health of family members or even worse things, but they say they have a hollow space waiting to be filled by all-consuming love. And before they can have that they need to look for that person who can give it to them. Then they can ride away in the sunset and…wake up the next morning feeling still dissatisfied? Keep waiting then my friend.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that people don’t find that love, but it isn’t everyone’s aim in life so why can’t we teach our kids that happy endings come in other forms too. That their aim could be different. That achieving your goals and dreams is the happiest of all endings.
We don’t all need to keep searching for that love. If it is our destiny we will find it, but for me even without it life could have a happy ending.

I can proudly say now that my Prince Charming isn’t a man. It might be something else, in another form, cause it can’t be a man. Not for me. I have hated the thought of being saved by a knight in shining armor. I want to be my own savior. And my goal-my castle-is a house full of happiness and peace, a world with some more calm, my parents to be in good health, watching over me and my place, as a surgeon, in some hospital helping someone.
And when I help that person, when I save their life, I want them to know their life just got turned into a fairy tale. That they beat something too, and that I was their knight in shining armor there to help save them. Yet they didn’t need too love me like crazies for that happy end, they were already on there way to it.
So, before I end this article, let me just add, those fairy tales from our childhood, what guarantee do we have that Cinderella didn’t get so restless with her life in the locked up castle that she ran away to Paris to paint? Or that Snow White didn’t give in to the psychological oppression of her childhood that she murdered her own kid?
Exactly, none.
I don’t want to spoil these fairy tales for you, I just want you to realize maybe your life in its own way is moving towards it’s happiest end. Don’t stop dreaming, but stop lamenting and enjoy what you have.
In the meanwhile, teach your children, that there is more in this world then glass slippers.


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