Day 1 – The Madness begins

The title must have been clue enough. Yes, I’ve been roped in to do another NaBloPoMo. 

I must get my head checked. Absolutely no two ways about it. Why on earth did I think that this is even remotely sensible. And that’s the problem isn’t it, I’ve jumped into this, tempted by Swaram’s words, feet first, without a thought around how I could possibly do this. And not the first time I’ve done that either. So no excuses really apart from posting what I can, as much as I can, and having fun while doing so. 

As usual, I am going to post both here as well as the book blog. Hopefully some of the long pending review posts will see the light of the day. You do notice I say, ‘hopefully’? That’s how much confidence I have in my own ability to see this through to completion, but at the very least I can try, as I promised Swaram 🙂

So all the best, my fellow marathoners. Let the fun begin. 

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Priceless.. Post 31

After the rant yesterday, it is only right that I talk about the wonderful people I know here.

I have mentioned before about how slowly, this city that we live in, has become home for us. We have lived a nomadic lifestyle ever since we got married. Moving cities, continents, enjoying making new friends, exploring different ways of life.. Each city had it’s highs and lows, and each phase had a different flavour.

This place that we are in now, has been idyllic, if I am honest. Living in a lovely, quiet, peaceful suburb, knowing that you have friends that you can rely on. Knowing that there are friends that watch your back, knowing that there are people you can count on. Knowing that there are people I can call – any time in the night, if I need to, in case of an emergency.

The love and concern that come in some boxes of food that concerned friends send when they know that I am not well, or offers of picking up daughter from school, or taking her for a play-date, when I am not well, just so that I get some rest.. Priceless, as they say. Simply priceless. That feeling of being cared for, a home away from home… How different would life be if not for such wonderful friends, who make such a huge difference.

And that completes the NaBloPoMo! Thank you, my wonderful blog friends, who have been so supportive of the non-stop rubbish that I churned out every day 🙂

People! Post 30

*Just a rant*

Some people just rub me the wrong way..

– People who talk only about how great they are, their children are, their spouses are..how good they are at their jobs..

– People who are so incredibly selfish, that they can walk over everybody – effortlessly

– People who bully and try to take advantage of people in a less comfortable situation.

– People who refuse to discipline their children

– People who gossip about people who are supposed to be their closest friends

And I can ignore most of these aspects when they have other redeeming qualities,  but I am at my wits end when I come across with one person with all these qualities, and when I don’t have the option of totally avoiding them!

To be bright and happy.. Post 29

.. is easy when everything in life is perfect.. But even small things can affect our equilibrium sometimes.. at least it does mine.

I had been feeling under the weather, the last two days. Just a cold, and a ear infection, it turns out.

On the way back from the doctors this morning, I was driving, feeling a little miserable with my aching ear, and wishing I weren’t ill. I ended up stuck behind a cyclist. The road was rather narrow, so I had to slow down and stay behind him until I could overtake. That was when I noticed that he had steel rod for one leg. Not even a  prosthesis, just a steel rod, and he was cycling!

I couldn’t help be amazed at his spirit. Here I was, feeling sad for myself, when all I had was a little infection. Here was a man without a leg, and even that wasn’t stopping him from making the most of his life. I wouldn’t have even noticed it, if I hadn’t needed to slow down.

It certainly made me count my blessings, and stopped me from wallowing in self pity. How small am I , if a cold and an infection is getting me down?

A Walk to remember.. Post 28

This is where we were last month, this day.. We had landed up at a village called Lizard. It was the last day of our holiday, and we just chanced upon this place. We found out about a scenic Coastal walk, and that appealed to all of us.. All I can say is, it was a walk to remember..

Doesn’t this look like that place from where Hindi movie heros/heroines would try to commit suicide?

I love the rocks, and the fence made of stones..

And this reminds me of something out an Enid Blyton book.. Swimming under that cave would lead us to some sort of a hidden hideaway of the bad guys…

And that’s the path that we took..

And chanced upon a birdie party..

Finally, we landed here- The Most Southerly Cafe, which serves the most delicious ice-cream! I would kill to have some now!

Actually I would kill for weather like that too! I can’t believe that end of April, we actually had summer like weather, and now, end of May, we have the worst weather possible! Anyway, I guess I should be counting my blessings – we got to have a lovely holiday when we least expected it!

We’re jumping on the bandwagon as well.. Post 27

.. the Kindle one, that is.

After talking, and discussing, and wondering, and pondering, we decided to go in for a Kindle. I had written about how I find real books far more fun, far more my way of reading. Well, it looks like we have been converted. Actually husband was always convinced that this was the way forward, I was the clingy, ‘refusing to let go of my books’ person. And now I have been convinced too.

I still plan to read books – real books, that is. I somehow, cannot give up books for an electronic device all that quickly. Especially, since we have the most wonderful library system here. I just love the huge library, full of books, and that wonderful feeling of browsing through the library holding books in my hand.. Yes, I am old-fashioned like that. An electronic device cannot give me that happiness, or so I feel. What finally tipped the balance towards Kindle is the fact that we are returning to India next year. Which means that I would have to buy books, instead of borrowing them – most of the libraries I have been to in India had been disappointing. I am hoping that things have changed, though. So given the fact that I would be buying more than I do now, I felt that Kindle would make more sense. More eco-friendly perhaps?

Husband has already ordered the first book he wants to read. I am still in my real book mode. I do plan to make full use of it during my India holiday. Instead of carrying books around, I could download them on the Kindle. Oh, now, I am excited! I am now waiting for it to be delivered! I can’t help wonder how we are going to decide who gets the kindle. I am sure we are going to be fighting over it 🙂 Husband says he has first right on it , ‘Coz he’s the man’, and apparently men have first right over gadgets. We’ll see, shall we 😉 This gadget might be a different ball game altogether.

Why do I feel like a turncoat, though? I wish I could push away that feeling of being ‘disloyal’, about turning my back on ‘real books’…

So all you Kindle owners, how do you find it? Are you happy with it? I know I should have asked this before ordering one… better late than never? And does it really feel the same as reading a ‘real book’? And how long did it take before you stopped reading ‘real books’ altogether?

 

Appliance love – Post 26

What is the one appliance which really makes life easy for you?

I am a kitchen appliance person. Every time I see an new appliance, my heart beats faster, unfortunately. Unfortunately because living a nomadic life in a rental house means that every new thing I buy means, more to transport the next time we shift houses/cities.

The one time that I bought things with gay abandon, was in Bangalore 7ish years ago. It is another story that I had to pack it all up in storage boxes, and they stay in storage boxes in Bangalore after all these years. When we first moved to the UK, we were sure of just the next six months. That meant that we bought only the bare essentials.Of course, renting out fully furnished apartments did make it easier. It was after 3 years there that I bought a full fledged, fancy food processor, mainly because husband had moved to a UK based company, and it meant that we could chose when to return to India, and were not at the mercy of the company we worked for. Then on, we started to get a little more adventurous. Little appliances, that caught our fancy, we would buy. I now have a few little things, which I tell myself, will be easy to ship to India, although husband maintains that it will be cheaper to buy there rather ship all these things from here.

Among all these things, the one appliance that I am deeply thankful for, is one that I did not buy, it came with this house. My dishwasher. Husband had been quite insistent that we look for a house with a dishwasher, but when it got down to house hunting, with all the criteria that we have, a dishwasher was one that got knocked off, quite early in the search. Given the condition of rental properties here, getting a rental property in an area we liked, is difficult enough. The last move of ours though, we got lucky. We found a house, which fit our requirements almost entirely, and had a dishwasher! Funnily enough, it was the only house, husband and I saw together – all the other viewings, I had done by myself. Does that make him lucky, I wonder?

Anyway, getting back to the topic of my dishwasher, I have actually come to recognize how much it eases my life. The pure pleasure of stacking the dishes, and pressing a button. Knowing that after a long, tiring party, I don’t have to worry about washing every dish that I own, or that I can use that fancy food processor, because I don’t need to wash all those fiddly parts anymore, knowing that by the time I get back after the school run, the dishes will be sparkling in the dishwasher.

Makes me wonder if getting a dishwasher is a feasible option in India? Sounds better than a maid, doesn’t it? No worrying about whether or not, she’ll turn up, or maids going on holidays? So, do tell me, do you know if it is a feasible option in India?

 

Lets chat about chaats? Post 22

I ran out of post ideas today. Started two posts and abandoned them. Sigh!

NaBloPoMo prompts are not all that appetizing either. The only thing that looks remotely appetizing is the thought of food. Some yummy, yummy chaat, which I have to make myself. Tough life 😦

I wish we could find one restaurant here which serves good chaats, have the time the sad excuses for a chaat make me repent the decision to eat out. I make better chaat than them, and that is something, because as you guys know, cooking and me are far, far apart. My friends however, make the best, tastiest dishes. One of them once made a delicious chaat with potato waffles, chopped onions, tomatoes and green chillies and chaat masala. It was so simple, and yet so delicious. All she did was toss it all together, and  it was ready. The most mouthwateringly delicious dish! I am drooling at the mere thought of it.

Another friend tossed up a chaat with similar ingredients, and everything else he could lay his hands on. It was, needless to say, delicious! We were on holiday, and I think that was the most satisfying meal during that holiday.

I grew up in a little town in eastern India. The golgappas and papdi chaats that we got there, was mindblowing. I still do not get that taste anywhere. It was only when I moved away for studies that I realized how wonderful they tasted. And also how tastes that we grow up with last us a lifetime. Some of the tastes that husband loves, I find flat, or boring, and he can’t understand what I like in some dishes. Also the addition of one little ingredient can kill the taste for some, while without that same ingredient, another set of people might hate the dish!

I had blogged about how I love fermented idlis and dosas. I just cannot eat unfermented idlis and dosas. On a side note, I have finally mastered the art of fermenting it. I found the right place to keep the batter in order to maintain the temperature to ferment the batter – perfectly! So as I was saying, I hate unfermented idlis and dosas. We know someone who hates fermented idlis and dosas – absolutely hates it! All a matter of taste, isn’t it? Husband hates orange and lemon cakes, while I love them!

So what is your idea of a perfect chaat? Do you like it hot and tangy or sweet and sour? Or do you like a good bhelpuri or is it the golgappas that you lust after? All I know for sure is, that I need to do some chopping and tossing now, if I need to get any work done. I have to eat some chaat, NOW!

Captured memories.. Post 21

Every time I browse through old pics, I can’t help be amazed at how different life was even a few months back. So when I think of life as it was when I was growing up, I can’t believe how different it was from what my daughter experiences today.

To just take one simple example, we are so lucky to be able to capture so many memories on camera. I remember how different it was when we were growing up. My parents certainly did not have half as many pictures as we have. The exorbitant costs of taking photographs reduced photographs to a ‘special events thing only’. Most of our childhood pictures are awkwardly posing pictures in photo studios or during some wedding or holiday. Even then, it would not be random clicks like we have today. No options for mistakes, developing a roll, was not a cheap thing at all, was it?

Today, thanks to technology, we just click to our heart’s content. We take all sorts of pictures, of anything that catches our fancy..  We fill up our memory sticks with anything and everything. All we need is a hard disk big enough. Not even bothering to delete pictures that are not taken well. Anything that helps us capture the moments that matter to us. Little moments spent together with loved ones. When I go to India, I come back with so many pictures with random things.. Some of them sweet memories, some just moments captured..

After daughter was born, of course, cameras and pictures took a different meaning. We would have the camera ready at all times.  Especially when she was younger, it used to be a race to capture everything she did. Her smiles, her cries – I actually have videos of her crying – yes, crazy first time mother, I know… Although as I was going through the pictures, I do realize that I don’t take as many pictures of her as I used to. Yes, she is getting bigger. The ‘aww’  moments are different. And not so often, as they used to be. And we have far less time together in comparison too. Which I guess makes me all the more nostalgic..

Now, let me show you the picture that started off this post ….

This was a picture taken in 2008 on our annual holiday to India. Daughter dotes on my dad. She would copy everything he did. One morning, he was reading the newspaper, when she grabbed a paper, and copied him. She sat there, pretending to ‘read’ as long as dad sat there reading his news.

Every time I come across pictures like this, I can’t help be glad that technology has improved to the point where we can capture everyday moments like this, to relive years later..