Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2 Dollars And 99 Cents

I had a very interesting conversation with my nephew today. He told me of his friend's mother who was an artist. Since I am always interested in discovering new artists, I looked her up. As I had suspected (and voiced to my nephew), her talent was housewife-mediocre and consisted of rajasthani ladies, flowers, etc. I was at my snarky best, but my nephew was strangely silent.

I asked my nephew whether he agreed with me or not. He said quietly, "Mausi, you do realize (1) she is doing what she likes and monetizing it, however pedestrian it may be and she has found a way; (2) I am also planning to work with music - I don't know how, but I do, and I may come across many snooty people like you, who will look down on me, because I am not good enough. I know how it feels, so I would like to be kind."

This was humbling coming from a fifteen year old, and I have been thinking about it long and hard.

One needs to be kind and people need to make a living, however, being a critic too is important. I would not like people not to make a living, but I think it is also important for people to be good at whatever they do. Mediocrity probably allows people to pull along and perhaps be happy, but excellence gives satisfaction and a feeling of achievement like nothing else.

Being the queen of mediocrity at a number of things I have done to make a living, I know that it pays the bills, sometimes really well, but also creates dissatisfaction and a feeling of general unhappiness. I hope all my nieces and nephews, try to excel at one thing at least. It needn't be their livelihood, but I think it could be the secret of a happy life.

I would love everyone's comments on this!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pointers to all married couples on how to treat your friends who are living together, single, widowed or divorced

Pointers to all married couples on how to treat your friends who are living together:
TREAT THE COUPLE AS YOU WOULD ANY OTHER MARRIED COUPLE. Its as simple as that. Don't try to match make, or exclude one of the partners from events or invites (you wouldn't dream of doing it to a wife or husband, would you?). Most importantly, stop questioning on when and if they are getting married. Don't bitch about the partner, even if you can't stand him/ her.
Pointers to all married couples on how to treat your friends who are divorced/ widowed/ bereft of significant other:Include in all events, as you did before. Don't remind of times gone by, to rub things in. Make them laugh, if possible.
Pointers to all married couples on how to treat single friends:
Include in all events, as you did before. Try and introduce to other singles, if not to match make, at least to socialise. Do not treat as social lepers or say stupid stuff.
Most importantly, remember that your friends who are living together, single, widowed or divorced are people too. Being sensitive and not stupid goes a long way.
The above post begged to be written because after a certain age, one normally socializes with married people, and some married folks just do NOT GET THE MEMO on being nice to people who aren't in traditional relationships.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

On Annoyance

I used to get annoyed with a whole lot of things that no longer annoy me, such as housewives, pet owners, bikers and grapefruit. The thing about annoyance is that one can live with it and perhaps grow out of it, mostly on realising that there are worse things and/ or becoming or owning the annoyance.

I now have a fresh set of annoyances which I am compelled to list.

1. Jealous, bored housewives
2. People who feed my pets behind my back
3. Sattu - actually this should have been at the top of my list
4. People who insist on walking on tracks and do not make way for runners
5. Assholes who do not give way to me when I am biking
6. People who cannot hold their drink
7. Overly thin people like Amal Amaluddin who people like George Clooney marry. Why George, WHY?
8. Overly thin people who don't put on weight
9. Stick insect women who wear skin tight jeggingy things and short teeshirts
10. My sister and mother in a cold war situation
11. People who feed stray dogs (if you love them so much, adopt them and take them off the streets ASSHOLES!)
12. The SO's non-shaving days - sweetie, its not a sexy stubble, it makes you look like an out of work struggling starving actor
13. Dirty cutlery
14. Bad wine
15. Half empty restaurants where the hosts ask you if you have a reservation
16. Fit people talking about chia seeds and the like
17. Name-dropping
18. Parents moaning about kids, education, precocity at dinner parties
19. The annoying anti-smoking ads in movie theatres
20. The supremely annoying manyawar ad which is only shown in movie theatres

So, what annoys you?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Summer Days - Brahmi Sherbet

My Grandfather had an Ayurvedic medicines manufacturing business. Apart from medicines, he also made restorative products like Chyawanprash, different kinds of digestive aids, gripe waters, syrups and a unique Sherbet concentrate, called Brahmi Sherbet*. Brahmi Sherbet was made from a mixture of herbs and aromatics, and the main ingredient was Brahmi herb.

On googling, I found that Brahmi is used for Alzheimer's disease, improving memory, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergic conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a general tonic to fight stress. People also take brahmi to treat backache, hoarseness, mental illness, epilepsy, joint pain, and sexual performance problems in both men and women. It is also sometimes used as a “water pill.”

Whenever we visited my grandparents, which was basically during every summer vacation (until I left for college), Brahmi Sherbet was offered to every visitor and guest during the summer months, the moment they would step into my grandparents' home. Brahmi Sherbet was a bright jewel emerald green in colour and had a sweet, herbally, vetiverish flavour. After dilution with water, it would become a bright jade green. The only reason why I liked playing around with it, was because it had a kaleidoscopish effect on the glass, and bright colours always fascinated me. At my grandparents', the Sherbet would be diluted with water from the drinking water hand pump, after pumping the handpump vigorously for ten minutes, to ensure really cool water. After mixing it with water, the Sherbet would be poured into tall, brass glasses. During the height of summers in Uttar Pradesh, the Sherbet would be so cool that there would be water condesation on the brass glasses, despite the water coming from a handpump and not the refridgerator!

I used to dislike it then, perhaps because the flavour was too complex for a child's palate. I would find inventive ways to avoid it and when nothing worked, I would pour it into the many plant beds that lined my grandparents' inner courtyard. I would also often do a disappearing act right at the moment Sherbet was poured for everyone and then slide in softly and clutch an empty glass at the correct moment and pretend I knew nothing of the one filled glass that was always left.

Apart from water, Brahmi Sherbet could also be mixed with cold milk. It would turn the milk into a light milky minty colour and I liked it better than mixing with water.

Last summer was brutal and we were off colas and other soft drinks. One wished for never-ending glasses of cool liquids. On one such soul-sapping day, my boyfriend demanded Roohafza. After being more than a little dismissive and a tad snooty, I finally took a doubtful sip of my boyfriend's Roohafza drink. The first sip of the sweet, herbally, floral drink suddenly reminded me of huge, cool, brass tumblers filled to the brim with Brahmi Sherbet. Funny, how the tiniest of things can bring back repressed memories. Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time and relive my life, and perhaps do things differently (read: drink the Sherbet rather than pouring in flower beds). Drinking Roohafza now, I can sometimes hear my grandmother's gravelly yet mellifluous voice ordering us to drink up the Sherbet.

* I thought Brahmi Sherbet was unique, until I googled it and saw Baba ramdev's Patanjali also manufacturing it now. No surprises there, I suppose?

Monday, September 08, 2014

Death Is Not The End

We attended a prayer meeting held for the dearly departed father of one of SO's friends in Delhi recently. It was at a Arya Samaj Mandir and I was generally appreciative of the no rites and a sober remembrance thing.

The Pandit (preacher) started off well by chanting Gayatri Mantra and other funereal mantras and shlokas and then, suddenly burst into a very Bollywood, "Chal ud Ja Re Panchi", which startled everyone off their wits and in my opinion woke everyone up and generally made everyone struggle hard not to burst out laughing.

Who needs entertainment, when friends and family offer themselves so readily. Right?

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Kathal (Jackfruit) Pulao

We have recently got a property that has coconut trees, a jackfruit tree, guava trees, lemon trees, lime trees and 2 water bodies. While a lot of work has been planned in the upkeep of the garden, we have already started enjoying the fruits/ veggies.

The last time we visited, we got a medium sized jackfruit (Kathal) from the Jackfruit tree. Today, I wanted to eat something nice for dinner, but didn't want to cook a spread, since it was only me, essentially. So, decided on a Kathal Pulao, which I have recently learnt. This actually, will take your mind off meat, as it hits the meat craving and satisfies the biryani kick and craving.

The recipe follows and since it is not really my recipe and I am not able anyway to stick to the exact measures in recipes (EVER), will mention only approximations.

Ingredients (Main):
Kathal (Jackfruit) - about quarter kg
Rice - 1 measure (cup or whatever measure you feel like - enough for 2-3 people)
Water - double measure of the rice
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp.
Onion - diced - 1
Cinnamon - 1 stick
Shahi Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Cloves - 2/3
Black cardamom - 1
Bay leaf - 1
Salt - to taste
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp (I prefer Kashmiri chilli powder)
White Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
Ingredients (For the 2nd flavouring):
Ginger - Julienned (1 tsp.)
Coriander leaves - chopped up
Juice of 1 lime
Onion - 1 - julienned and fried golden brown
Mace (Javitri) Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cream - about 2 tbsps.
Green Chillies - split - 2-6 according to your preference

Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes. Chop the jackfruit into bite sized pieces. Fry the jackfruit until it is golden brown. Take a pressure cooker, put about 1 tbsp. of the oil the jackfruit was fried in. Heat it up. Add the Cinnamon, Shahi Jeera, Cloves, Black cardamom, Bay leaf until they crackle, add the chopped onions and ginger paste, and cook until the onion is cooked (translucent to light brown). Add the jackfruit, salt, chilli powder and white pepper powder. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the rice and the water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat. Then add all ingredients for the 2nd flavouring, mix well, close the lid and cook until a single whistle. Turn off the flame/ heat. After the pressure reduces, open, give it a good mix and serve.

There, simple, isn't it?

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

I met the mob. It was very strange, but nice. My family is so small and individualistic, it is very, very strange for me to be in a family environment where there are 500 odd people all looking alike and being clannish. The good thing is that SO perceived my panic attacks and was a rock.

A very long time ago (more than a decade and a quarter) when we had only just met, fallen in love  and become friends, we resolved to never let go of our minds and to follow our own minds and not our parents, elders or anyone else's, because both of us felt we were responsible, mostly did right and followed rules and the laws. We've stuck to our resolve, but now looking back, it seems we were rebelling. Aided of course, by each other. I'm afraid both of us enabled each other's rebellion by supporting it. Still, apart from the one thing, no regrets.

And so, our lives have become pretty much one. In our minds, it happened long ago, its only now we are letting other people in. By other people I mean, our families, extended families and friends. This has so far been a happy experience. Ignoring negativity helps in keeping it happy.

So this is it....

C'est La Vie

I've started to paint and this is what the first tiny canvas looks like.
This is my life now. Exercise, work, cook. Wet, lather, rinse, repeat.
I love it. 


It's hard to write anything when your brain is one giant colander.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On Happiness

Sometimes happiness is just a plane ride away and it takes you years to buy that ticket.


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Woe Is Me

The baker got a PHUNKY haircut, and it makes him look like a cross between a macaw and a lunatic, when the aim was a jap hipster. So much fail!

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