Sunday, January 26, 2014

Has Google Maps become this accurate?

that when I checked the distance from My Location to Aprameya Swami Temple, it said 72 kms and viola, when we closed the engine to get off the trip, we saw that the car meter also shows an exact 144 kms!!

When has technology become so accurate?! With this, my expectations have also raised, how nice it will be if we were to be given the near approximate time to travel (depending on the current "live" traffic on the road) from one place to another?

Bangalore traffic needs no introduction, it is world famous. But still, there are only countable number of times when I've gotten ready first (after we decide on the time to leave home) and been on time. If we decide that we need to start early to office the next day, we'll fix a time and set up the alarm. Come morning, my mind will behave as if there is going to be no traffic and I'll keep snoozing the alarm every five minutes only to rush in the end and be late,eventually and get stuck in the traffic.

I want to record here how I think in the morning just so that many years down the line, I can come back here and laugh(hopefully by then, I would have disciplined myself!!) . I'll start calculating time for each chore, ie, 3 minutes for brushing, 7-10 for bathing, bfast preparation time: 20 mins, eating time:5 mins(or may be pack the dabba and eat on the way or after reaching office), and say misc: 10 minutes. And I'll end up with morning ablutions for 30 full minutes, breakfast preparation time will take another 30 - 40 minutes(cos I would have then realized that rava idli stock is too less or the power is off and I cant use the mixie to make chutney or the pongal has come like rice and there will be a war going on in the brain with all of this). So, needless to say, S will be all ready and set to leave after breakfast and I'll keep telling him 5 minutes (ingeyum intha 5 minutes than, meaning e theriyama 5 minutes solluven, ie, for anything and everything, it is standard 5 mins) and finally when we leave home, it will be a full 30 minutes or more than the time that we would have decided upon earlier..In spite of this repeated behaviour from me, S has been so patient enough and has never once shown his frustration ! Thanks a ton, dear for bearing with me! I will try and change ok? (try is the keyword here :) )

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Restaurant Review

Its been long since I posted my comments on restaurants where we dined..It so happened that we either went to the same tried ones or didn't venture out too much..Anyways here's some of them where we tried:

La Tagliatella :
  I wanted to have pizza and didn't want to go to Domino's or Pizza Hut. We decided to check out this new place where we had not been before and landed up in this restaurant located in 100ft Road,Indiranagar. One of the bungalows converted into this neat restaurant with walls adorning pictures depicting way of life in  Italy (I suppose) . We had a portion of Veg Green Salad (for appetizer) and Mixed Mushroom Pizza (The names are all Italian, I'm mentioning what it actually is in Indianised language) . The Salad portion is huge : three large squares of mozarella cheese ,crisp on the outside, very soft on the inside; English corn with pistachios, walnuts and a few other nuts, lettuce, olives, caramelized tomato slices all tossed in vinaigrette of your choice (we chose honey flavor and needless to say, it tasted yummy !) . The pizza base was so damn thin and curled in the edges and you need not put any effort in chewing the base.The base along with the cheese melts in the mouth. I hear that this is close to the Italian version of the Pizza and the rest (ie, Domino's , Pizza Hut) are US versions. Whatever it is, the salad and the Pizza were filling and we didn't have place for dessert. 
Price wise, a bit on the higher end, but compared to other places which charge a bomb these days for anything, I think it is worth once in a while.

Mama Mexicana:
   I get this craving to eat sizzlers once in a while and we happened to be at 1 MG Road this time and thought of trying out Mama Mexicana there. They did not serve sizzlers, but had the range of burritos, enchiladas, quesadilla, and Pizzas and Burgers. Since I was not upto again going back to making decision of where to eat , we decided to stick to this place and finish our dinner. So, we ordered Refried Beans Burger and Assorted Fungi Pizza. The burger was decent , nothing to complain, at the same time nothing to talk great about too (You should try out the Big Moth Burger in Chilis) . Pizza base was something similar to what we get from stores and just put on the cheese,mushrooms, onions et all and sprinkle olive oil and was served. Hard to bite and chew, the edges especially and cheese was also so-so..I dont think I would go back to this place again. 

Price wise, considering this restaurant was located in the mall and all that, price looked decent for most of the items on the menu.

Food Hall:
  Food Hall has a assorted bread section, salad section and live pasta section. The pasta is decent and can serve as a quick way to fill your stomach while you are shopping in the mall. Salad bar is good with assortments that you can choose from and it is priced per the quantity you take. One thing which I noticed in Food Hall is that there are samples of waffles, breads, hummus, jams etc kept for people to taste and the queue to taste these free food is longer than the queue to order and buy food..:)

   We went here on Deepavali day for Lunch and even though we were there by around 1PM, we had to wait for long to get a table (Like us, many had locked their kitchens on Diwali, I suppose). The attitude of those serving and the food itself was such a disappointment. The sweet got over and so they quickly made some paal-payasam which looked like just white water and one of the side-dishes had also got over for which neither did they apologies nor arrange for any replacement. The appalam was also low in quantity I suppose. But the price : needless to mention, higher than what they normally charge for this same meal every day. probably one dish was more this day and we never got to taste this one as it got over by then. Food quality was also not good that day, but even when we were done and walking out, we could see many of them entering to have their lunch. Overall, a bad experience and I for one, never vote for this place . Just that the SIL's family were also joining us for lunch and they are all prefer south-indian meals and they visit here frequently and so we chose this place. The attitude of the employees, the food quality and the price they charge : just not worth it..I would have cooked better meals than them , really.

MTR : 
  A branch of MTR is opened in 100ft Road in Indiranagar and we have had lunch there once. Good food , I would say, has both options of mini-meals and full-meals and full-meals has unlimited dosas, pooris which S relished. Sambhar and rasam are the uaual Kannadiga way, so you cant come to MTR and ask for Tamilian version of sambhar.  The main point which I wanted to mention is the tiffin that is served her. The quality is too good and for less than 200 bucks, you can have a full-filling tiffin for two. Compared to this Adayar Ananda Bhavan where the quality of food is not all that great and prices are increasing day by day, this one is definitely a winner.

Ganesh Bhavan:
  Why not mention the next door Ganesh Bhavan which serves yummy food day in and day out. So what if its a place where you will have to stand and eat , so what if the hotel's total area is 500-600 sq feet, so what if you can look at the kitchen where grinder is on in one side, dosa master is busy in other corner and onions are being cut in the third corner? This place served good food, be it tiffin or proper meal, this wins on a any day compared to Annapoorna. You wont believe if I say that for 40 bucks, you are served with unlimited quantity of rice,sambhar, rasam, kootu, poriyal, papad ,pickle and buttermilk. and the masala dosas here are a hit with me and Sambhar Idly is S's favorite in this place. If not for places like these, how will normal people get to relish outside food at a cost that suits their budget? Thank you,Ganesh Bhavan. May you keep filling the stomachs of all those who come to you.

  Located in malleshwaram, I have heard of this place before and got an opportunity to eat here while my friend and I went to Malleshwaram impromptu on a team outing day. She had masala Dosa and I had Mysore Bonda. Benne Dosa I hear is popular here and melts in the mouth. Inspite of my friend mentioning very less oil, there was generous oil in the masala dosa and it tasted good too. Just that there is no sambhar here, only chutney for both the bonda and the dosa. Good food, overall.

Squeeeze Bar :
    This place catches attention in Phoenix Market City Mall with its claim of healthier drinks: Parfait, fruit falooda, different fruit shakes etc. Dont get fruit bowl in this place, fruit bowl only costs rs.80 for the regular size bowl you can get in any cafeteria. And the parfait was Ok for the first time , it didnt charm me next time onwards. A branch of this is opened in RMZ Infinity and here, the prices are half of what is in PMC and quality is also good. When they say Thick shake, they really mean it here and for their store in PMC, I wouldn't go there unless there is a need to.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dhaavani Kanavugal..

remains just kanavugal for me..

I grew up in a town and paavadai-dhavani was neither too common nor too obsolete. You could still spot a girl or two wearing one when you walk by the market road. However, when I was in teens, the craze for schools to move over to salwar-kameez-with pinned dupatta started and it no time, most of the schools became converts. Only two schools in our town still had half-saree as uniform for 11th and 12th Std girls.

In hindsight, I realise the effects of hormones during my teen years .(romba seekarama gyana udayam varudhu ! Sigh!)..It could be a mix of all of these or some of these put together that made me behave the way I did then: inferiority complex admist my cousins who were all city-bred that I didnt want to pose myself as a "village-girl", or the way fashion was portrayed by the media and I was taken towards it or deep within me, I myself considered wearing half-saree meant I'll be a biiig girl and can no longer expect to be treated like a child , or because I have seen men passing comments /teasing as young girls in half-saree pass by (both in media and real-life) and felt disgusted and dreaded the day I would be subjected to such abuse. Something within me was a rebel against wearning half-saree that I was so adamant and protested against wearing one when I attained puberty. As such, in the community I belong to, we dont celebrate it that big compared to what I have seen and heard of how this event is celebrated with so much of fanfare (very close to how a wedding is or vividly I remember one of my classmates mentioning that this function will be grander than a wedding in some communities..!) ..My parents had invited all neighbours in the street we resided and some of our relatives landed down and I hated being looked at by all. I didnt like the concept of getting dressed up with saree/jewels/flowers etc and just be seated so that everyone can keep looking at me and come over one after the other and shower blessings. Wouldnt they shower blessings if I were in a salwar? I was such a rebel that day and Thankfully, (Thanks a Ton Amma and Appa) my parents didnt force me and I was allowed to be myself..In hindsight, I'm wondering what an effect it would have had on me if parents got pressured with what relatives/neighbours had to say and in turn forced me into doing things that I didn't want to at that time..

Fast forward to a few months, my aunt said that one of my cousins in Chennai obliged to wearning saree, got all decked up and caught everyone's attention for a few hours..My aunt was also giving me gyaan that this is an one time event and that I should have obliged etc etc..All through her monologue, just one time I felt how it would have been if I had worn the saree/half-saree , got decked up etc..(confused hormones, eh). But this thought was very fleeting and later , at various occasions, I didn't feel upto it to start wearing the half-saree

It was time to change schools after 10th, so, while looking for schools, I simply didst buy into joining this school (one of the two I 'd mentioned above) which had very good coaching, produced good results in 12th , just because the uniform was a half-saree.. It required so much of advice and convincing from my parents so that I nod my head for this school. But, (as they manasu pol mangalyam, though not mangalyam in this case :) ) I got admitted into an equally reputed good school which had salwar as its uniform..One big relief!! 

All through, the desire to wear a half-saree wasnt that big, and I didnt feel like wearing it forward, farewells came, I wore saree in those occasions and marriage happened and I started wearing sarees..Now, the real guilt trip started..

The desire to wear a half-saree is at its peak and doesn't seem to go down..But now, feel odd to wear a half-saree which is supposed to be an attire for young girls in teens.In the temple I visit once in a while in Bangalore, I have seen a couple with a kid where the wife/mother wears a half-saree at all the times that I 've spotted them..This convinced me to buy one for myself or at least try out one from  my sister. But, this thought would come up in Bangalore and when I go home, the actual doing will not happen..These days, whenever I see girls in half-saree (especially when I do a day travel to my home town, which I did recently ) riding a cycle, I get all nostalgic and regret for not having worn it..Now, I find half-saree is so much fun and you can actually dress up well in it and flaunt your teen curves ..I will let my daughter read this and hope she will not succumb to what people might think or say, but just follow her heart..I too followed my heart then, only that this same heart thinks and behaves differently at different times..:)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Upma Paduthum Paadu

Arisi Upma, that is..I make rava upma rarely these days, as somehow this wrong notion has gotten on to myhead that arisi upma or dhalia/wheat upma is better(for health,that is) than the rava one. 

Though the recipe for arisi upma is simple and can be made comparatively quickly too, the right way to prepare the same in order to get the final "udhir-udhiraa" upma is somehow dodging me..The main part which I'm not able to master is how long should I allow the upma in the cooker, ie, how many whistles should I wait before I sim it and turn it off. Today, it was worse : It went like this: Keep the stove in sim from the beginning (thinking I will switch off as soon as first whistle comes), then, when there was no sign of a proper whistle , I turned the flame higher, only to put things in the fridge and put in sim and then go and catch a quick glance at the clock and come back to put the stove in higher flame and this drama continued for some time until I realised enough is enough and bravely switched it off .. 

When I first made this upma, it came out as proper sadam (I had not grind it properly), next time, it had clumps (because I had not seived the ground rice+dhal+pepper+jeera), third time, it came out as koozhu (probably watre was too much), then it got adi pudichified, then, dry ...ah..let me stop here..Today, I think it came out a little better though I was not too satisfied, but the udhir-udhir types was seen , but a bit dry..

Arisi Upma, you better turn out well next time onwards Ok?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

55-er : Familiar sound..

With traces of mehendi still in her palms, she takes the sights of children waiting for school bus, joggers on the road and clear morning sky. She realizes how much she has gelled at her “new home” when she identifies  the whistle from the cooker in her kitchen among other whistles coming from neighboring houses. 

En Samayalariyil...

That was I think one hit song when this movie was released..

But, in my samayalarai, the dishes I cook turn out either good or not bad..I started cooking only after getting married, and prior to that, I can count the number of times that I have entered the kitchen..Yes, neither did my mom ask me to do anything nor did I volunteer to help her around. (Sis is one big masterchef right from an early age itself). I, on the other hand would eat anything that is put on my plate , and for that matter, I wouldnt even distinguish between less salt/correct salt/more salt in dishes..Amma would serve me first asking me to taste and I would be all praise for her cooking only for Appa to taste and pass his comments on more/less salt etc. In short, I was not a fussy child when it comes to taste, asking for different varieties of food etc, but I was a fussy get the point nah..I think sometime around higher secondary, I discovered my love for Norukku Theeni and my mom pampered me with murukku,seedai, rava urundai , thenkozhal and what not ..Thanks to Vengarai Mami (who lived closer to our home for a brief period) whom my mom considered a mother figure was more than enthusiastic to help mom in making all these savories.

I love vadams, not appalams and come summer I used to be the resident crow who used to gulp down the javvarisi maavu right after Paati spread it out in sheets in the terrace..Somehow, the taste of javvarisi maavu tasted much much better when eaten after it was put on the plastic sheet to dry than when the S.A.M.E maavu was put in a cup and given for me to devour! :)

Coming back to cooking , I learnt cooking by observing MIL and thanks to internet (last few years only). I didnt look up internet sites to find recipes and try at home when I was newly married..Cant point out the exact reason, but may be because I didnt have an inherent interest, I was scared of the comments that I would receive ( I got to know that MIL had told relatives when they enquired on my cooking skills that I didnt get chapatti round. I got so upset then..Wish I was more matured then and did not get so upset) and moreover, though it was not explicitly told, MIL held the keys to the kitchen, though not in literal sense. More of my own ignorance (I got aware of this one much later that the best way to reach a man's heart is through his heart :) . Had I known this earlier, I would have put some effort :) in the cooking department in our early married days:) ). And add to this a husband who is  totally non-fussy , and even if you ask what you feel like eating or what's your favorite, the answer would be prepare whatever you feel like for the former and get to know by yourselves rather than getting answers for the questionnaire for the latter. I should also mention that I also didnt have too much interest in cooking then. But slowly, I also learnt and graduated from helping in the kitchen, ie, the accessory stuff to making the complete meal myself. And then, started browsing for recipes, wait, just the regular recipes..Even now, I do a brief browse in the internet for lemon-rasam , pepper rasam, more-kootu ,thogayal recipes before cooking them..But, I can say that my cooking skills have improved (again only the regular meal here ) , considering that inherently I dont have that much of an interest and that I have not been trained formally/informally too.

I like the simple dal chawal than the sambhar..Sambhar is something that plays hide and seek with me..Sometimes, it turns out decently well, somethimes it turns out baah with taste of manjal podi (: rasam also belongs to the same category, sometimes it turms out tangy and yum, sometimes, I feel like I want to put the rasam pathram in sink asap (:  Veggies , kootu , simple dhal, : I love cooking them and I think they come out well than rest of the dishes..And Many thanks to my sweet heart in the form of husband who simply bears with all my cooking and never raises a word..For that matter, appreciation also has come rarely, but neverthelss, I pester him to appreciate me :) :)

One last thing before I complete the ramble: Usage of utensils : When I started cooking, most of the utensils will be in the sink at the end of my cooking adventure. But, I observed MIL in this aspect too and later learnt to plan before and during  cookingand now, I can say that I am efficient in this aspect..But still, there is lot of room to improve and I hope our child will  give the trigger of enthu to dish out food with lots a love, good taste with variety and healthy as well..Let me see what I write later :) Will come back to this space and update :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Sakarai Pongal, Kootu, Sambhar, Rasam, Vada was today's menu for Pongal. Untill higher secondary, Pongal was one festival where we could day full 5 days of holidays. Even if the main Pongal fell on a weekend, we would still get a few week-days off. It was not just the school that were off , most of the shops would be shut, vegetable vendors take off atleast for a couple of days, all in all, town will be virtually shut and its time for good food, loads of TV, play, and family..When it comes to play, it is just not regular play, but 2 days full of different competitions will be held in every street. Everyone from a child to dhadhi will have something or the other to take part in and win many prizes..

Starting from goli to running race (different lengths), music chair, rangoli, carrom , chess and even weight lifting for men. I have participated in a couple of years and won a third prize in at I was inspired to participate because of our maid's daughter,Jothi. She had great athletic talent that she would win any competition and in fact, she has told that the most of the utensils (yes, the prizes were plates, tumblers ,dabaras, tiffin boxes , and other stainless steel utensils) in her house were won by her during Pongal sports competitions.

Happy Pongal everyone! May our lives be filled with loads of sunshine :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Coming for a movie in a theatre??

Answer is "Depends"

If I want to go out with a girl friend AND if the movie is good, then, I'm game.
If its Kamal's movie or Surya's movie which I feel like watching (Varanama AAyiram : yes, Much hyped Vishwaroopam: yes, rest everything in the recent past : a big NO) , then, I shall come
If sis wants a company for a decent time pass movie, then, I shall accompany (Kadalil Sothapuvadhu Eppadi)
If we go as a team to a decent/good movie , then I'm game (Jodhaa Akbar)
If we go as a family to a decent/good movie, I will come along (Endhiran, Abhiyum Naanum)
If I pester S to accompany me to a movie which I want to wtach in theatre, and IF he agrees, yay! (Varanam Aayiram)
If as a team , we are fed up and just want to bunk, then just to be a team-player, I accompany (dont remember the name of the movie, but it was an English movie based on war)

The above are some of the situations that immediately come to my mind where I would like to watch a movie in a theater.

Even if its watching movies at home, I would rather go out, do some work- household cleaning or office work or read or listen to music or sleep than watching movies. Firstly, I don't have the patience to go through the dance/song/same masala : love-fight sequences that seem to be the backdrop in most of the movies. But, if its the song or dance or the romance I like to watch,then I'll be glued to the TV or PC.

The loud noise in the theaters puts me off and both S and I dont fascinate watching movies in theaters. We would on any day prefer the comfort of our home.So, going to theater is hardly on our minds.

But, growing up, we have been to theaters many times and I remember sitting on stool in the last row and watching Thevar Magan way back. I also remember going to some Vijayakanth movie (for lack of decent movies on that day) just to time-pass with my cousin who was vacationing at our home. Alaipayuthey is one movie which I have watched some 6-7 mines in a span of 1 or 2 days in the VCR  at home (Ahh..the teen hormones I say). Vaali is a movie where 3 generation were glued to the TV (granny, Amma, my cousins,sis and I) I watched lip-lock scene from Kuruthipunal along with an Aunt who was in turn watching my reaction. (I was glued to the big screen :) knowing that she is watching me...Sorry, I was confused how to react at that adolescent age, especially when someone is watching you) . Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal, Keladi Kanmani, Thevar Magan, Kaaka Kaaka , Mouna Raagam, are a few of them I would watch any day. Next to this list are : Naayagan, Michael Madana kama Rajan, Varusham 16, Pudhu Vasantham, Kandukondein kandukondein, Jeans , oldies like Paasa malar, Pachai Vilaku and few more which I'm lazy to type or doesnt come to my mind instantly.

But, some times, just very few times,  this movie mania catches me and I've blogged about it here : Movie Mania.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

All in a day's work

  • Engineer1 says he will not work on his allotted tasks in our project as he is lagging behind in a different project and wants to complete that
  • Engineer2 is unwell and is on leave and informs this only when I call him to check why he is not online
  • Engineer3 says she is new to the project (even after 3 full months of ONLY training) and hence will take time to complete the assigned work
  • Engineer4 does not pick up the repeated phone calls, neither does anyone in the team including the manager know what has happened to him
  • Engineer5 continues to argue that he will only code a rough copy and make sure thinsg work and will refine it later, and this later has never come in the last 2 years
  • When I want to vent all this out to the manager, I find a mail that manager is on leave on her personal work
All of the above happened today. Should I just close the PC and take a break?? But, I ended up over working and returning home very tired. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Music = Bliss

My Parents put me on to music class sometime around when I was 5 or 6. Initially, I looked forward to it and as much as I can remember, things went ok for a year or so. Then, my cousin also enrolled for the class and her voice was sweeter than mine. I don't remember the reason or the underlying cause, but I don't know what got into me, I started being a rebel when it comes to paatu class . I wouldn't open my mouth, I sang in very low voice and I don't remember what all mischief I did, but one thing that I can clearly remember is I created such a big fuss and did a big drama in the weekly 2 or 3 classes that we used to have. Amma even gave me a break thinking a break would calm me down , but none of it helped. My paatu miss, being the gentle soul that she was tried all possible tactics from chocolaty treats to taking the effort to send everyone else and lock the room and teach me..

Then , we moved from Chennai and finding a new paatu miss was a a big challenge in the new place , my sis came into our lives, and I got busy with co-curricular and school and paatu was forgotten. But,somewhere in between I developed an affinity towards music. Combined with the fact that my mother being trained in carnatic music in her growing up years and my dad being a connoisseur of good music (He had an eclectic collection of music cassettes from carnatic to ghazal to movie songs back in  80's), I too started enjoying listening to songs. It started with movie songs,carols and prayer songs at school, devotional songs for competitions and slowly graduated to listening to carnatic music.

Music has been my companion during college hostel days and during travel. Thanks to all these private TV channels and the round the clock music channels, at one point of time, if I turned on the TV, it would be only to these music channels. If I dont like any of it, the TV would be promptly turned off. 

And thanks to the organisation I worked for and the people seated around me, first thing I would do just after checking emails in the morning is to visit musicindiaonline or raaga and put on my head set. Anyone who walks into our office will wonder if it was a call center  for you can find most of them having their head sets on, just that people will only listen and not talk :)  I used to have more than 3 headsets and would be happy to give the spare to anyone who asks for.  There was also a phase (when I changed jobs , that is) that I simply forgot what it means to relax and listen to music..I was so caught up with the routine that I forgot that something called music existed. Neither did I listen during travel nor at home, forget about office hours. 

When I started to work,  an aunty who was a music teacher  stayed in the same PG as mine and a few of my PG mates were learning music/veena from her. I started taking classes from her but couldn't continue for long as the timings didnt work out. 

First music teachera evvalavu paadu paduthi irupen, thats why my wish to learn to carnatic is still unfullfilled. Ippo voice ellam very bad a iruku enpadu vera vishayam. 

Coming to the music that I listen to, it varies on the mood, obvious nah. majorly, I would prefer soft soothing ones compared to loud ones. Loud ones are also good to listen to during  the appropriate mood or situation. 

The Christmas weekend, I happened to attend a Live concert at Phoenix Market City after a very very long time (I forget when I listened to a live non-carnatic music concert last). Thanks to our proximity to a sabha, I have had the opportunity to enjoy carnatic music concerts from stalwarts like Unnikrishnan, TMK, priya Sisters and Nithyashree a few years ago. 

This one from Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal : Kalyana Maalai Kondadum penne is one of my most favourite songs,:the lyrics, and the distinct notes from various instruments are superb in this song I can make a huge list of my favorites from songs from Paasa malar movie to the most recent Aananda Yaazhai . I'm no expert to comment, due to the synthesiser and the technologically adavnced keyboards,  I feel the songs in the recent times fail to bring out the beauty of   the different musical instruments. The tune , the music,the voice behind the song, everything is good, but somehow,I crave for raw , un-adultered instrumental tunes many times.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What did I read recently?

Lucia Lucia is the book I read in December. Before this, I read Grisham's Innocent Man.  

I loved reading Lucia Lucia. Thanks to TGND for her reviews. I picked this up from the Blossoms Book house after a long search. The book is about the story of Lucia's life, daughter of an Italian businessman , being brought up around a loving family in the US of A in 1950's ( I need to check on the year). I could relate to Lucia in certain aspects. And the way the Italian way of life and the values of Italian family is portrayed is more similar to the traditional Indian values. So, I could very well relate to the Italian way of life described by the author and was intrigued to know if it was true . The story has a good mix of love, loss, hatred, food and good human bonding. The plot is about Lucia's life and more concentrated around her age between 25-35.

The books that I have read which John Grisham has authored has revolved around law firms. Innocent Man was brought home by the better half borrowed from his colleague. I got to know that this book narrates a real-life incident that happened in the United States and that was the reason I picked this one. I started reading this one sometime around July or August , but repeated murders and drag till about 100 pages or so did not interest me in continuing it further. This book lay in my bedside table for many months before I picked it up late November -early December last year. I was determined to know how the plot would unfold and glad that I did.  The police are unable to solve the a couple of crimes and are pressed to find the accused. The hero of the story is a promising baseball player but gets hurt in one of the games and is declared unfit to play. Even after therapy and rehabilitation, he is unable to accept what has happened to him and goes into a spiral of drugs/alcohol and minor social accidents which earn him a bad reputation and gets noticed by the police every now and then. Just because the police are unable to solve the murders, they falsely accuse the hero (sorry, I forgot the name of the character who is the prime in this real-life incident. Will go home and edit this :) ) and he is even sentenced to death. A last minute (just days before the D-day) turn of events allows him to come out free. The book goes through the circumstances that he faces ,the trials he undergoes and how injustice is met by him . To think that this is something that happened in his life and to think that this happened in the US which from the outside looks to have a system where any injustice can be brought to the courts by the common man is quite shocking. This story happened not too long ago, may be in 70's. The first 100 pages or so are a little drag, they describe every murder, but after thatthe pace picks up and its a good read.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bucket List : 6 Jan 2014

Hmm..Let me just put down what I have in my mind as of today. Will revisit later or add when I remember :)

In no specific order, here they go:

  • Learn a foreign language
  • Learn to bake 
  • On the cooking fornt, try to cook different dishes and cook decently  for more than 3-4 people :) by organising time well
  • Read more and write more
  • Have a garden and care for the plants consistently
  • Learn to drive a car. Its high time I do this now. 

These are not the one that I intend to achieve this year itself. like say, to learn a foreign language would probably take some action in this after a few years, but cooking, reading, writing , garden and learning to drive stuff, I think I can get started in these. lets see how they go.

Achievements ! : What is that?

I should have completed this post y'day itself for this is a short post. But, I was busy travelling, attending function and goofing up the plans for eating out .

Achievements : If you ask me, I'm unable to spot any particular thing to call an achievement ..Yes, I did stand first 10th , 2nd in 12th (lost the first place by 1 mark), first in few subjects, received a few awards in the organizations that I've worked for, but none of it I call as achievement, because they all seem so insignificant in the larger view of life. The other day we were organising all the documents and I was showing off my better half on all the certificates, medals , mark sheets etc that I'd accumulated over the years. We have gone through them sometime back and I used to be transported in time and feel good. But, as days go by, they all seem so insignificant. While we were sorting otu these docs, I didnt not dwell on it, did not feel anything great about all these papers, just made one comment " those days..Sigh!" and moved on.

While all these achievements seemed good at the respective moments in life, they seem to fade as time goes by. I feel being content and living in the moment are true achievements. because as we continue to do this, when we stop by after a period of time and introspect, we will have a happy feeling that I was happy and I'm happy. While we aim and strive to do our best in all that we do, struggles through various hardships that life puts in our paths, the light heart, strong mind and the will to take things as they come by will make us happy in our journey, me thinks..I somehow don't enjoy the journey as much as it should be done. My mind is fixated towards the result that I fail to enjoy the journey and when the destination arrives, the happiness is so fleeting that we have already started looking out for the next journey as life is a continuous journey , whether we like it or not.

It has taken such a long time to realize this, I hope I get to internalize this and put it into action and finally make it a habit  so that I may have something to call as achievement later.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Love of water

I'm a water person..I L.O.V.E being in touch with water. Be it drenching in the rain or feeling the crash of waves in the beach or simply washing legs every now and then and allowing the water to dry up by itself, I simply love being in contact with water.  My better half is just the opposite of me. While I love to hold hand in hand and simply feel the waves in the beach, he prefers to stay back and simply enjoy. At home, you can find him frowning when I get don't dry up properly after a wash. I like to allow the wet area to dry up by itself rather than using a towel, especially the legs.

And while cooking, I keep going to the sink every now and then , even to simply re-re wash the washed utensils before using. It's my habit to wash legs before retiring for the day , even during cold winter nights. S hates it when I climb the bed with wet legs. I like to splash water on my face every now and then, just that I forget in the humdrum of everyday routine. Even on the face, I like it when I wipe it off partially and allow droplets of water or the wetness to remain in the face in certain portions sometimes. Just to avoid unnecessary questions from people, I forcefully wipe off all the water. ( I wonder why people have to notice every minute detail and still be vocal about it. Hmph.)

While it  gives me joy is to just take in the drizzle of the rain, the smell of the wet ground just after the rain is something that I love too. Not to mention the cool breeze just before the rain. In Bangalore, I wait for the first rains after the summer months . Even for drinking, I hate colas and would choose water on any day. Rain and Water, please do bless us with the quantity that we require and kindly bestow the wisdom in humans to conserve water.

Friday, January 3, 2014

How were you 2013?

Dear 2013 ,

 Hope you are now taking good rest and browsing/reading through all your report cards from many of us around the world. Even if you dont receive a report card from the rest, please make sure to rewind, introspect what you had done and better give 2014 a sound advice and you need to guide 2014 to not commit the same mistakes that you are your fore-fathers committed. And for all the nice, happy stuff that you have done, please make sure to tell 2014 to double them up. Ok?

You saw us drag the selling of our house and eventually sold it off and we booked a flat in your year. You also saw us move into an apartment and you saw me adjust to living with less privacy than before. Thanks to you, I seem to have adjusted to it decently. You also made us explore the city to quarters that we have not ventured out, especially when it comes to searching a home for us to move in and Thanks to you for providing us an opportunity to live in a residential neighborhood with close proximity to day to day needs.

Job wise, it was a mixed bag. Thanks to you for moving me out of a project that was occupying most of the time that I was awake. You gave me opportunity to interact with seniors and long-timers in the organisation and improve my so called visibility. But, I didn't use it properly cos you put me into a difficult situation of having to decide between job and home. Nevertheless, Thanks for the opportunity given and please provide many such opportunities in the future and help me to make the use of it. A promotion was on the cards, but never happened. It would have been a good recognition if you had provided me one and that would have boosted my morale. You delayed the yearly hike and when it came, it was meagre. This again put me down and made me ponder if there is any use at all to the hard work. Instead may be I should have taken it not-so-seriously and taken care of my personal life.

Health wise, I undertook ayurvedic treatments for 5 months only to have no visible result in the end. Wasted a few months with a Dr who was trying a medication on me. Wish I had the good sense not to get into this one. Exercise was at an all time low and first half of the year I went on to make sure I didnt consume too much of junk food, but later part of the year saw me gorge on anything and everything.

Mental health wise, gosh, 2013, I went into a depression for a few months, those months were pathetic, with no interest in any damn thing, neither did I want to go to office nor be at home. Neither did I feel like going out nor eating. This phase showed visible deterioration in health and I looked literally sick and pathetic to look at myself in the mirror. I understood what real depression means and realised probably this is what drives people to take extreme  decisions in life. Please 2013, ask all of your forthcoming generations to NOT put me into this situation ever. EVER! Ok? I did come out of it , but it was so damn difficult and find that my solace is in spirituality and holding on to the Supreme Power stronger than before.

Spiritually, Thankfully, you gave us the opportunity to visit our Kula Theivam temple after more than 2 years. Dear Sai Baba, from a non-believer (I hate to say this), I moved in to your fold. Please accept me and please dont let go of me. I happened to get to know more about the miracles and wonders by HHMaha Periyavaa  and became his devotee (If I may call myself that, though I dont know if I'm fit enough to call myself thus). Following a few rituals which I believed in helped me tide through the rough patches in 2013 , but there were many moments, where I doubted the existence of any Supreme Power . I went searching for what to hold on to and finally kept coming back to God.

Family: Sister joined post-grad and she moved from home to stay in hostel. So, both of us having flown the nest, Amma and Appa found it a bit difficult and kept calling us to visit every now and then. I made few visits this years compared to the past , but went on a longer duration than before. But, time is never enough when you visit parents and I seem to get more home-sick these days more than I ever felt at college. Sigh! I would like to think S and I fought less this year , though I'm not sure if S would agree to this. Rather I should say, I reconciled soon after a fight or argument and made peace :):) Relationship with MIL did not improve to a great extent, but nevertheless, I have come to accept the way she is and am training myself to ignore those that I dont like and not to judge . Long to way, but still, attempting..

Food : I cooked more than the previous years during the weekends ,attempted to be better than previous years, not too many new restaurants were tried, (a separate post on this), we kept going back to Rajdhani if we craved for North Indian fare. Otherwise, kept visiting the places where we have tried and tested to satisfy the sudden craving every now and then.

I lost a dear family friend who joined our family to look after my fathers mother. she jelled with our family too quickly and was so sweet a lady who was always smiling and had a cheerful disposition all the time. Her thoughts continue to linger in our minds and I hope she comes back as my daughter. Anandhi aaaya, you are loved and please do come back as my daughter to be with us.

2013, I wished you blessed me with a child , nevertheless, please do guide make sure 2014 showers us this Blessing , ok?

Bye 2013, Welcome 2014. Here's to good health, peace and happiness for one and all.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welcome 2014 !!

And May 2014 bring out the best in all of us in what we do and may it shower us good health, peace and happiness :)

SM's Must-follow resolutions for 2014:

  •  Have unwavering faith and Trust in the Supreme Power and have faith that He will take care of you and develop the courage and will to accept whatever he gives You.
  • Try and Be Positive . Look at glass a half-full. Be grateful and thankful for what you have
  • Dont brood about the past or worry about the future. Try and Live in the present.
  • Temper: Try to take control over temper. Take a deep breath, drink water, close your eyes and look through the situation or whatever tactic you want to use, use it and just don't allow temper to take control of you. 
Miscellaneous resolutions which are also a "must-do"
  • Exercise regularly : Do yoga and walking at least 5 days a week
  • Cut down on junk food
  • Dont bother what MIL will say or the world will say. Just do your duty, dont worry about what others will say or do.
Resolutions: This very word has been a part of my life not only on New Years, but on many occasions. I'm known to making resolutions starting from "I wont log in to facebook for next 2 months", "I will not eat junk food for next 2 weeks", "I will try and control my temper and not utter pessimistic words for next 10 days in a row", "S, I wont fight with you, ie, I will not start a fight with you for next 1 month :)", "S, I wont ask you for any help like filling the water in the jug at night ", "I will keep my cup-board clean for next 1 month" etc..While I should say I have attempted to keep up with these resolutions most of the times, I have slipped or given up many times and made re-resolutions too:) . The resolution which I have consistently not tried following is " being in touch with friends/family/well-wishers".My very limited well wishers have got pissed off with me because I dont keep in touch with them often. I would like to change this a bit this year. 

So, lets hope all of us try our best to keep up our resolutions and reap all the goodness coming from it :) Hers to 2014 :) :)