Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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W: Wish

April 27, 2015

So, Sayesha, Maya and I decided to something fun for W. We decided to pick the same word, Wish and make it a post on what we wish for another’s kiddo. This post will be about what I wish for Sayesha’s little munchkin, Xena. 

Dear Xena,

I don’t know how old you will be when you get around to reading this post. Blogging may well be dead then, going by the popularity of entire websites becoming popular based on ‘listicles’ and content generated solely using gifs (eyeroll), but I hope reading will still be in

When your Mom first told me she was pregnant, I cried. I cried because I was deliriously happy and incredibly sad at the same time. Sad, since I realised I wouldn’t be around in the same country to welcome you into this world. Trust me, growing up isn’t all that fun it might seem like when you’re , say, 12. At times you’ve got to make tough choices, and hope that they’re the right choices. 

Anyhow, when I did finally meet you, you were about 4 months old. A wee little bundled up thing, looking just like your Dad, and so, so precious. Our little fighter. Instant heartmelt. I recall sitting in your sunny living room, having you on my lap, and just watching, mesmerized. I also might have gone a little berserk with the camera, sorry about that. You can have your revenge when we meet next. 

Now, I have a little one of my own, lil A. A few years back, your Mom lamented that our kids and our sisters’ kids will only be cousins. At that time it struck me that yes, that seems unfair. We wouldn’t want them to be anything but sisters. But you know what, it’s okay. Sometimes all you need is a common love for a few things. That’s all it takes for a beautiful bond to be born. I do hope that you and Lil A, who is nearly 9 months old now will grow up knowing each other, and hey, maybe even liking each other enough to be friends. (No pressure!)

And my wish for you, apart from all the world-peace types – to grow up in a less polluted world, one that is safer for women, one where everyone is a little more kind towards each other, and where you have the freedom to be just what you want to be, and love who you want to love – is a simple one. 

To take you to Food street in Bangalore with your Mom, and see you beat her in a pani puri eating competition. 

xoxo

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F: Fooooooooood (Part one)

April 7, 2015

Yes, part two will come tonight, but for now, over to my friend Pizzadude, foodie partner-in-crime, and Mr. Nice Guy (for readily agreeing to do this guest post, without need for blackmail or arm-twisting, uh uh!). 

—-

The address ‘Block 66’ holds a very special place in my heart. It’s where I lived with two close friends of mine – Shub and S, a few years ago. Shub and I had been planning and strategising this for quite some time. Oh man, I still recall the excitement amongst us when the rental agent told us that we had got the house. New house, new area, geographically closer to friends and the beach (but quite a commute to work, ha!). The house in itself was quite big with minimal but tasteful interiors. Just the way I like it.

The most exciting part was of course the living together with Shub and S and all the things that she and I planned to cook. And boy, we did cook a lot! From making guacamole for the first time to a flambé like a pro. So I thought of making a short list of all the food (and drink) related memorable things that happened for the time that we lived there.

1. Apple Flambé

This was totally unintended. I am not even sure how it ended up as a flambé. All I remember now is that we chopped apples, put them in a saucepan, drenched it with some red wine (whose idea was it?), sugar and cinnamon and ta-dah! The mouth watering cooked apples slices with a hint of the cinnamon flavour along with a “sauce” of wine. Our very own version of a Glühwein.

2. Asian Noodle salad

We used to religiously follow this blog – The Pioneer woman. And I think Shub chanced upon this recipe. We knew we had to make it. We were a bit taken aback at the quantities of oil and garlic in the dressing, which we fine-tuned it for our liking. It came out wonderfully refreshing and I still make it whenever I can. Its my comfort salad.

3.  Guacamole

The first time we whipped it up, it ended up with too many onions! The polite guy that he is, S ate it without any complaints. Over time, I have improved a lot in making it and now my friend always insists that I make it for his birthday. 

4. Aloo bhujia

We didn’t quite make this. Instead this item was regularly purchased at the Indian stall near our block. Shub and S would practically inhale it. And then complain that they can’t control it. Once I hid a bunch of them in the freezer. Took them a couple of days to find it. I wonder if they still inhale it. (Shub: Hardly ever man, I guess the thrill was in the hunt :))

5. Bourbon whiskey spiked with Coca cola

Yes, you read that correctly. It was my birthday and my friends threw a kickass F.R.I.E.N.D.S themed surprise birthday party. As a drink, I was handed this large coffee mug filled with Jim Beam and spiked with Coca cola. I managed to actually finish it and complete the rest of the birthday party activities for the birthday boy. That was fun!

I have lived in a more luxurious house after moving out from Block 66. However I always say, Block 66 was the best house that I have stayed in all my life. Friends and fond memories are just irreplaceable. 

Shub & S, I missssss you two!! Let us be flatmates again sometime. And this time, I will *try* not to scream and run away when a flying cockroach makes a visit. 

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C: Cooking

April 3, 2015

A few years back, on a Valentines’ Day, a colleague of mine had asked me what plans I had for the evening. Nothing, I’d said. 

‘You mean you’re just going to go home and cook dinner?!’ 

I managed a feeble yes and wondered why that sounded so uncool.

As kids, sis2 and I would watch those cookery shows on DD and pretend we were hosts on a show while trying to whip up something new. ‘Ek tamatar, bareek kata hua.’ I clearly remember one of my earliest forays into the kitchen involved stuffed tomatoes. Summer holidays, ample time on hand and mangoes in season. We scooped out the innards of halved tomatoes. Mixed that with grated coconut and unripe mango pieces. Added salt and chilli I suppose. Stuffed this mix back into the tomatoes. (All the while acting like we were show hosts) Refrigerated and ate. Wasn’t bad at all. 

Sis1 was the most enthu about cooking and trying out new stuff as kids. I think her enthusiasm rubbed off on us. Eggs were a no-no at that point at home, so I don’t recall cakes. Lots of biscuits with dalda (shortening) were baked. There was pizza on a tava. I also remember baking my very first apple pie on my own. I also remember the crust and the filling and everything was perfect. On the second attempt I remember failed spectacularly. 

[2005-2008] When I moved out of home and to a new country at 24 was when my tryst with real, everyday cooking began. At first, a hostel setup with nothing but two hot-plate type electric stoves. Used it to the hilt. I even recall attempting sabudana vadas one those one evening. Yup, incredibly ambitious. 

After the postgrad year, I moved into an apartment with a proper kitchen with friends. Phulkas for dinner became a staple since then. I don’t recall when I began to experiment with non-Indian food, but since I loved eating out, at some point I guess I began to try and recreate those at home. There was an oven in that apartment, so my baking adventures resumed. I recall baking mediocre buns that had mold on the 2nd or 3rd day. Ginger cookies that turned out like rocks. And lasagna with supposedly pre-cooked sheets that didn’t need cooking, so into the oven they went directly. And thus pushed dinner off-track by about 3 hours. But when it was finally done, it was delicious. Again, I don’t recall cakes around this point. There was an attempt at granola that really needed a hammer to break. I recall trying to recreate something and ending up with A LOT OF red-chilli and garlic paste that was extremely spicy too. 

At the end of 2008, I had moved in with my foodie partner in crime CPD and S. So there were plenty of fun things we cooked up.

This post will need to resume another day. I had clearly underestimated the number of things I recall cooking! F for food memories, perhaps? 

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B: Breastfeeding

April 2, 2015

When I went back to work after my three months of maternity leave, a couple of my colleagues were amazed that  I already seemed to have shed the weight and was baby to my pre-pregnancy weight. They wanted to know how. Forever the wiseass, my standard response is this – I’m on this fantastic program where I can eat pretty much anything I want to and yet, the kilos melt away. 

‘Really? What is it?’ 

It’s called breastfeeding, I’d deadpan. 

It is true though. 

And as I’m slowly discovering, that is just one of its many virtues. 

Though we’d attended a session on breastfeeding before my delivery, I was still oblivious to how often a newborn baby needs to nurse. While I was aware that babies come with a huge baggage called Sleep Deprivation,  I had no clue that in the first week, I’d need to feed lil A every two hours, day and night, whether or not she was awake. (S tells me he was aware of this since this was mentioned in that session. But I didn’t really register it)

So there I was, my first night at home from the hospital, my stitches still healing, a newborn babe who was still struggling to latch on and bawling away since she couldn’t. Worse, she’d fall asleep as soon as she’d latch on. And then I’d desperately try to wake her up. It was exhausting. Soon, she wasn’t the only one bawling away. But that night somehow turned into day. 

And then, within a week, she began to feed on demand. Which meant no more 2 hour alarms at night. Yet, I’d get tired of constantly being at her beck and call and having pretty much no other responsibility than to change and nurse her. I’d get tired of the frequent and the random intervals at which she’d need to nurse in the early months. ‘But I JUST fed you half an hour back!’, I’d say. Or, ‘I’ve been feeding your for nearly two hours now. My back is killing me. Are you done yet?’ Gradually, I understood that babies cannot be um, reasoned with. 

And then one day, while nursing, she paused and looked up at me, looked into my eyes and smiled a little smile that went straight to my heart. It took longer than expected, but there it was, that feeling, finally. That bond. 

Things got so much better there on. I learnt to nurse lying down. So I was more rested. I began to take special delight in watching A as she nursed. Her languor at times, her no-nonsense single-minded gusto at times. And the hilarious squawks that she’d make while swallowing. 

We went on a road trip when she was two months old, and I learnt to nurse on the move. From being worried earlier that I wouldn’t be able to get out much, the trip gave me tons of confidence about being able to nurse anywhere. What’s more, this was as easy as travelling with a baby could get, I realised. No bottles, no sterilising, no baby food, no mess. I began to have new respect for the human body. At six months she was on her first flight, and I nursed her to sleep, during takeoff and landing and while waiting through long delays. 

And the soothing effect that nursing has on both of us? So underrated. You say oxytocin, I say zzzz. 

Today, nearly 8 months (gasp) on, I’m incredibly glad I’ve been able to do this. I often stop and marvel at the fact that this little puppy grew from being a mewling little babe in arms to a crawling, sitting, standing, screaming little monkey that’s nearly three quarters of a metre tall – merely on breastmilk. My respect for science, nature and the human body has never been greater. 

I’m hoping to continue for as long as I can, and until lil A is ready to wean. When the time comes, I hope I shall be ready too. 

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A: ARGH why am I trying to do this, again?

April 1, 2015

Right before you embark on a project, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself why you’re doing it and what you hope to get out if it. The project in case is the A-Z challenge. I’m being egged on by not one, but two enthu cutlet friends – one, as consistent as Rahul Dravid and as prolific as Sachin (yes, I just said that) and another, a once-upon a time blogger who’s hoping to comeback with a bang. It also helps that S, after a two-week ride to Chandigarh in Jan, simply went back to his old blogger login and created a new blog and began blogging away about the trip. Just like that. 

Clearly, there’s no dearth of inspiration. There’s tons of inertia to overcome though. And I’m hoping this challenge will help me kick that. I’ve been meaning to resume blogging for a few months now. To record my life as a Mom, to record my kitchen experiments, and above all, to have a journal of sorts that I will hopefully enjoy reading in the years to come. And, to do something that I so used to enjoy doing once upon a time. 

Above all, I’m hoping to find my voice words again. 

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Here we go again

March 20, 2015

When I discovered the whole wide wonderful world of blogging, I was 23, and it was a good decade ago. I can claim to be less naïve, claim to have seen more of the world, been there and done that, and thank heavens, wizened up enough to no longer type in sms lingo. And yet, here I am – far, far more self-conscious typing out this post, than I was the first time round. The first time felt like I was stepping into a whole new world, and like dipping my toes gently into water. This time round, it feels plain weird. (Yes, very articulate, as you can see.) Well, whether it was the recklessness of youth back then, or the caution and wisdom and self-doubt that comes with age now, I don’t quite know. But here I am, and here we go again. Wish me luck.

PS: No, it was not this blog. And there were feeble attempts to blog, as you can see, in 2012, on this *NEW*, *IMPROVED* blog- but that didn’t go very far. And I’d completely forgotten that I had even managed all these posts on this blog. Oh well. So, technically, here goes attempt #3.

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Sunday evening art: Say Geese

January 21, 2013

Image

Alright, so far with my attempts, as soon as I finish painting, I invariably hate it. In the case of the one above, I was actually delighted. I felt exhilarated. Partly at having finished a painting that late (I started nearly 6pm, did two tonal sketches, then skyped with sis, then went out, got home at 9pm and went straight to the room and started painting) Delighted partly at the final result.

How often does it happen that I actually like what I paint as soon as I’m done with it?

Never.

So, it followed naturally, that this morning I woke up – and all I could see were the FLAWS. (They’re still all there gaping at me.)

Oh well.

But I’m still pretty thrilled. That I got down to it and finished it last night. That it looks decent if I squint and look at it from a afar (no really)

I dread the day I’ll look at something I’ve finished it, love it, and still think it’s pretty awesome the next morning. And the next, and the next.

So as long as I keep hating at least parts of whatever I paint, I’m okay.

Currently reading: 
Michael Pollan's In defense of food. (Just finished The Man Within. Liked)