Oct 29, 2008

The new Karrrrrrrrzzzzz!

Oh! So you dont believe in reincarnation and rebirth? You dont believe poor Himesssss when he cried hoarse and nasal about ek haseena and ek diwana? I do I do, Himess; dont you worry. I do believe that something done in the previous birth comes to haunt you in the present. I do believe that! Oh yes! You dont believe me?
Look at this

and now this

You may ask me what is this and how is it related to what I blabbered!

Well, to cut a long story short, I have this feeling you see that I may have been Tom in the previous birth who made life hell for Jerry. Not that I blame myself. Jerry is no less a troublesome brat. But then to take revenge, I think (again), Jerry took birth as Tom in the present world and planned to get friendly with my watchman. The watchman of my building was so taken by this new Tom's cuteness that he has now literally adopted him and this Tom fellow now thinks he owns this building. He also knows how I keep away from dogs and cats. That rascal keeps bursting and enjoying the milk packets delivered by the milkman everyday morning in a small bag which I duly keep outside my house.

And now, the last straw! This Diwali, I took 1 1/2 hours making the rangoli as shown in figure 1! I was so so proud of it and clicked it in my digicam. But then as the morning dawned a new drama unfolded, and as I opened my front door, I literally screamed in horror. One corner of my rangoli was totally jeopardised by that nasty troublesome Tom! I was as much in state of shock as Urmila was in the new Karrrrrrz! I couldnt comprehend how thoughtless anyone could be to simply make a mess of and hour and a half of hard work! But then I consoled myself and I decided that I wont give it up so easily. So, I chopped and cleaned that one corner of the rangoli and converted it to what is shown in figure 2! Sigh, beggars cant be choosers you see! I am still sad, mad, upset!!!!!!!

grrrrrrrrrrr groooooooowl! You just wait, you Tom. In my next birth I will be born as ...as...as.. I dont know what. But I will ensure I will spoil the rangoli you make. You just wait and watch!


Oct 21, 2008

Down with GUNDA "RAJ"

Just today Raj Thackerey has finally been arrested. I know that he will soon be released but atleast the state govt and police proved that they are not “spineless” as Raj had named them.
Apparently the MNS workers entered the examination halls where Railway Recruitment Board was conducting their exam. They snatched the papers from the candidates and did all they could to ruin the entrance tests. This is taking vandalism and goonda-gardi to new heights.
I really do no know why Mr Raj Thackerey has to resort to such cheap tricks for gaining power. Its nothing new considering the same was done in Tamilnadu against HINDI, then in Karnataka against TAMILIANS and now here in Maharashtra against NORTH INDIANS. Shiv Sena had taken to a similar act of thoughtlessness against South Indians 3 decades back.
But all I want to know is that in these kinds of fights, where do people like me stand? My parents are born and brought up in Tamilnadu and Kerala. Half of my life was spent in Delhi and the rest has been spent settling in Mumbai. I have nothing in Tamilnadu except my roots. I have nothing in Delhi except sweet childhood memories. I decided to settle down in Mumbai because of the opportunities here. Both my daughters are born here. They are Maharashtrians by birth but their mother tongue is Tamil. I never looked at Mumbai as a foreign city. Delhi or Mumbai, it was always a place in My Motherland which I saw.
Does it not hold good for many of those north Indians settled here? Mumbai is a big flourishing city today only because of the outsiders who decided to settle here. If not for them, this place would have still been a village. Each one of us, so-called-outsiders, have contributed in some or the other way to its growth. And this is the reward we get for accepting Mumbai and toiling our blood and sweat here. Today it is North Indians; who knows what these lunatics will think of tomorrow. They must be taught a lesson. The government should take strict measures to curb them. I have come to office inspite of the trouble being created by MNS workers only because I will not support the cause of the Bandh against the arrest of Raj.

Raj Thackereys son is apparently studying in an English Medium school and has taken to German as his second language. Then what right does this man have to talk about Marathi Manoos? What is this cause he keeps flaunting? Are his followers blind? Cant they see they are being used? I even know of few of my educated-sensible-Marathi-colleagues who are his supporters which I find preposterous! Probably they will understand only if they move out of their home-state!!! The worst part is that in this fight for votes and power, it is the common man who suffers. This common man is Marathi; he is also Punjabi; also a Tamilian and also a Bihari! It is really a pitiable situation!

I sometimes feel we were better off before 1947. If the Britishers were still ruling us, we would have stood united; and loved our nation more than our language/place/religion. All this talk of Indian Shining seems dull when you see such political dramas taking place around you. Sigh! If wishes were horses……


Oct 18, 2008

Sweetiepie I love you sooo!

God has blessed me with 32 sweet tooth out of which 1 has already been removed thanks to cavities! But God forgot to bless me with an infinite capacity to burn those extra calories that come as a big thick string attached to all those sweets I gorge upon. I ask Him for the Nth time “why are the best things in life illegal, immoral and fattening?” Maybe He wants to teach me that nothing in life is for free; that for every benefit there is a cost; that I must keep on my toes always like all other animals on this planet!

OK enough of digression! Like I was saying, I have been too fond of sweets ever since I set foot on Earth. I can hog plates and plates of gulab jamuns; to the extent I won an informal gulab-jamun-eating competition while in college ;) I start consuming mysore pak right off the pan even before it is poured on the plate to be cooled and cut into bars. I start drooling even while the cake is getting solidified inside the oven; its smell making me float like Tom of the Disneyland! There is no boundary when it comes to sweet for me. From West Bengal to Gujarat; from Kashmir to Kanyakumari; anything with a dash of sugar or jaggery can woo me easily. Whether Jalebi or Jangiri, Roshogulla or Besan Ladoo, there is hardly a sweet I can say NO to. Why, I even go international! As long as there is no raw-egg-smell, I am fine with it. Cakes, pastries, doughnuts are great mood-lifters! I can eat chocolates even when woken up from sleep.
But now comes the twist in the tale! Though a good eater of sweets, I can hardly make them ;) My first attempt at cake made it too powdery (I guess too much of soda!) The second got itself burnt! There are 2 sweets which over the years have resigned to me unable to bear my constant nagging attempts. Let me share them with all those looking for such quick fixes.

One is called Cooker Payasam. Very very simple, I say.
1) Pour some water in the (pressure) cooker.
2) In another vessel (preferably a little tall one), pour half a litre of milk and add a handful of rice.
3) Put this vessel inside the cooker and let the cooker blow one whistle.
4) Reduce the flame and let the cooker be on low flame without removing the whistle for 20 minutes.
5) Let the cooker cool down. Remove the vessel, add sugar as per your taste and let it boil directly for a minute.
6) Add garnishings in the form of fried cashewnut and cardamom powder.
Your kheer is ready J Cool, isn’t it? No need of constant stirring and your kheer comes out thick and pink!

The second sweet is called 7-cup-cake. Please do not misunderstand this as sponge and baked cake. By cake, generally, we Tamilians mean sweet bars. Anything in the shape of cuboid :) So heres the simple recipe!
1) The 7 cup adds as 3 cup sugar (gulp! Oh its OK, we will go for 1 hour walking everyday for the next 365 days ;) + 1 cup besan (gram flour) + 1 cup ghee + 1 cup milk + 1 cup grated coconut
2) Mix all the above ingredients and put the mixture on the pan.
3) Keep stirring the mixture until the mixture thickens and leaves the side of the pan (this should take appx 1 hour)
4) Pour the mixture on a plate waxed with ghee
5) Allow the mixture to cool, cut it in squares and invert the plate on a piece of paper.
And you are done! For added taste, you can roast the gram flour before adding other ingredients.
So, THIS is going to be the sweet I plan to make this year( AGAIN !!!!) for Diwali. The rest are going to be ordered. Krishna (Sweets) saves all damsels in distress, you see! So, it might be jangiri or maybe badusha or maybe rava laadoo or teratti paalu or sigh, maybe all of them ;) Me and my sweet 31!


Oct 13, 2008

The Fancy Fortnight

Just packed up all the golu dolls and set the living room as it is normally. Last fortnight, my eyes didn’t even have the time to soak in the newly painted walls of my house and revel in it (before they are begrimed by the folks that inhabit the house!)! This week will be devoted for them only ;)
Just 2 days back, one of our company buses met with a horrible accident. One of our colleagues expired (male, 50+) and 2 more are in critical condition, apart from many others who have injuries ranging from mental trauma to severe cuts and bruises. Thinking of them makes me sad. When I leave for office in the morning, “death” is certainly not something which I think of. I only see a day full of workload and deadlines. By the time evening sets in, my mind again only travels towards my kitchen and the pending household chores. That colleague of mine must have been under the same state of mind when the bus was hit by a truck and snuffed out the life of him. His children were just settling down. He still had to feel his grandchildren on his lap. He still had miles to go.

Or maybe he was lucky. He didn’t suffer the way I see one 95+ old woman suffering in my neighbourhood; and its not just her, its even her children who are suffering seeing her bed ridden. But that’s a different story for another post, another time!

May God bless his soul and may God give strength to his family to bear the loss.


Phew! Finally finished reading “Chowringhee”!!! The book was gifted to me by one of my very good friends almost a month back and hailed as a classic. In his own words “Some books are just well written; the rest are immortal works”. Knowing his taste, I knew I was not going to be disappointed. So, I relished each and every page of the book and took my own sweet time to finish it; thanks also to the festive month.
The book originally written by Mani Sankar Mukherjee and published in 1962, has been translated by Arunava Sinha. It makes for a wonderful read if you wish to get an insight into the machinery called a hotel; the tears behind the smiles that greet you; the lives that thread together to form the fabric of hospitality; the stories behind the home away from home. Set in the 50’s, the book is a wonderful dedication to a metropolis and its people.
The story is a first-person account by Shankar, who has just joined a hotel called Shahjahan in the city of Kolkata. Here he meets Marco Polo- the manager, Sata-Bose- the receptionist, Karabi Guha – the hostess, Sujata – the air hostess, Connie- the cabaret dancer and as the stories seamlessly weave around each of them, the characters bloom into a larger than life narration who help Shankar learn his lessons of life. The style of writing is poetic at places and you can’t help becoming dreamy eyed. It’s the kind of book that you may read again and again and yet find something novel each time.
I am told that Suchitra Sen has based the movie 36 Chowringhee Lane on this very book. I have not yet seen the movie but after reading the book, I would surely like to watch it some day soon.

Yesterday evening, we went out to eat and I had the yummiest vegetable cheesy steak sizzlers after quite some time and I hogged over it like a pig; so much that I am sure my daughters will refuse to acknowledge me out in public places anymore. But seriously, I bow to all of thee who are great cooks; it surely is an art that defies me. How I wish I could cook all those magnetic delicacies which pulls my kids to the dining table every supper-time, happily, rather than being dragged there at gun-point! Sigh. I can only thank God that the way to my better-half’s heart is not necessarily through his stomach and he is not a fussy eater. Or maybe the poor guy just does not have a choice :P


Oct 8, 2008

Lazy! Crazy! Lamhen

Drafted: before the navratri started
Posted: on the last day of the navratri geee
(you get the drift.... lazy lazy lazy me!!!!)

Its Navratri time yet again.

  • # Its time for my yearly quota of the social meets. I realize that out of 500 odd flats in my colony, I know only about roughly 30 families. Gosh! What kind of social animal am i?

  • # Its time for making atleast my living room sittable. As for the rest of the house, you see, the toppling clothes from my cupboard refuse to stay put in their places, the books refuse to go back into their shelves, the dust refuses to leave the various nooks and corners of my house!

  • # Its time for taking out the sleeping dolls and idols from the loft and making a display of them on the odd number of steps. I had decided I will arrange the dolls in form of some theme this year but the wheel of time rotated faster than I could manage to run behind it. Maybe next year then!

  • # Its time for buying return gifts for my women friends. As per the tradition, we are supposed to invite women and girls and give them haldi, kumkum, coconut, paan leaves, betel nut, fruit and blouse pieces. But in these days of matching and perfect blouse pieces, these then become something that’s either circulated back or thrown and forgotten. So, I have given out small hand towels instead. Hope they are useful.

  • # Its time for making Sundals- the special timepass khana made of soaked and boiled pulses and a tadka of mustard, kadipatta, and coconut on it. This is actually one of the attractions of these 9 days.

  • # Its time for taking out my sleeping silk sarees from the cupboard and airing them by wearing them :) This year a special mail is in circulation in Mumbai as per which we have 9 colour code for the 9 days. So, women are supposed to be dressed as per the colour. Today happens to be PINK day!!!

  • # Last but not the least , its time for DANDIYA. How I love to close my eyes and dance bindaas. Today and tomorrow are the designated days that we will have dandiya in our colony. Looking forward to that now!

That’s the update from my end. How has Navratri been for you?


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