Monday, 23 September 2013


Changes, even when planned, can be unexpected.

Take for instance, parenthood. Or rather, preparing for the l'il tyke to arrive, from the minute the line turns pink (yup, no blue here) until the baby's actually here.

And no, am not talking physical changes to the mommy-to-be (reams has been written on that, and this is definitely not the forum), but more of what happens inside the head: first, wrapping your head around the idea of having made a new little person, and then the fact that s/he will be here sooner than you know it. Nine months, forty weeks... call it as you will. Ultimately, it all boils down to a giant clock, counting down until THE day - but with anticipation that even the biggest and brightest New Year's Eve cannot hope to match. This feels like all festivals and celebrations in one.

It's not always anticipation, though, especially initially. There's also many more A-words: anxiety, apprehension, acute (insert word here - depression/ fear/ worry...), as well as good old mixed emotions. You don't need over-worked hormones to know that last one.  From happiness (or ecstasy even) one moment, to nail-biting anxiety the next, there's a gamut of expressions to run through.

What changes it all? Those first little kicks, the sheer acknowledgement of that tiny miracle inside of you - a rapidly beating heart, a small person fully formed and perfection itself... someone you can't wait to see, hold and cuddle. And shed a tear (or more) of gratitude for that snuffly little bundle in your arms.

Do you know, little one, that you already have Mommy and Daddy wrapped around that impossibly tiny finger? They don't have to meet you to know that you're what their world will revolve round. That while they're eagerly awaiting you, they're also sending up silent, anxious prayers that they should have the strength and ability to bring you up to being a good human being? That things such as gender, colour, whether the nose is too large or the hair too thin don't count? That to them, you'll always be their Perfect Little Miracle?

Monday, 19 August 2013

Monday, 22 July 2013


1 A steaming hot (giant) cup of coffee (of course!) and even better conversation

2 A good book (or e-book, in my case) and a light quilt to snuggle in to

3 A long drive (alone, with the significant other, friends... you pick)
   ... Yes, view from the front seat =)

4 Unexpected visitors at the kitchen window

5 Fritters (potatoes, I love you all, unconditionally!)
   ... No pics. They got eaten (and shared with above said visitor) :D

That's been what this past weekend's been like for the most part, with a movie thrown in. And some quality family time.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


No way! *said in a nasal twang*

The country woke up to a cringe-inducing clip on social networking sites recently, close on the heels of the Cannes Film Festival. Proudly starring in this video, courtesy some heavy duty PR machinery, was a wannabe starlet of Indian cinema who has migrated to greener pastures, in the belief that she has a bright and shiny career in Hollywood ahead of her. A blink-and-you-miss-it role in some production, another film that clearly even the editors of said film didn't watch... you get the picture.

However, that didn't stop the lady in question from spouting lines replete with rrrrrrolling Rs and a heavy twang that would make any Indian immigrant head for the hills. That the inanities dished out were beyond unimaginable were another story altogether. It was in horrified fascination that people watched, watched again and then almost passed out.

India, according to said twangy lady is a regressive, hypocritical society, where women get a raw deal the minute they open their eyes, how she was the first woman to kiss on screen (not true!!!), the first on screen to wear a bikini (rubbish again!) ... the insanity and ignorance were out of bounds.

Honestly, dissing the place you were born in, grown up in is so not cool. While things may not be perfect on various levels, thumbing down your country is not on. That you come across as an ignoramus is evident, but not that we care about that.

What's okay (even if you choose to shoot your mouth off) is sounding sincere, and not putting on a heavy, fake accent that you've apparently acquired while on sojourn overseas. C'mon, that's worse than putting on an accent after dropping a NRI cousin to the airport and returning home to the suburbs in Mumbai! 

All in all, that's an innerview (so she said; interview for the rest of us) that has raised the hackles of many, and with good reason. There's just so much nonsense that can be tolerated. 


Finally! Given the dismal non-starter of a monsoon last year this time, heralding in the rains a few days ago (and pleasantly early to boot) was such a welcome respite to the heat, humidity and random fretting about oh-when-will-it-rain-will-it-ever-rain.

For someone who loves the rains as much as I do, nothing can be more welcome than the wholesome cleanliness that the showers bring in. Dusty leaves on  trees crying out for a rinse just outside my windows, heat that seems to ooze out of every pore and the misery of having to step out in such scorching weather - well, they're now a thing of the past, at least for the next few months.

That gorgeous, almost edible fragrance (calling it smell just doesn't cut it) of the moist earth, the heavenly fuzzy plump peaches, deep red cherries and pink lychees flooding the local markets, fun and flirty umbrellas... the awesomeness (for lack of a better word, believe me) just doesn't end.

For those with a slightly lot more dismal viewpoint, there's flooded roads, traffic snarls, disrupted public transport systems, infection... ugh. I could go on, but I choose not to.

Go on, get out that rain wear (or maybe not; have you tried getting drenched by the sea, munching on hot lime-infused corn-on-the-cob?) and enjoy the rains! You only live once.

Monday, 25 March 2013


Love story. Historical romance. 

How about Novel About The Futility Of War instead? 

The first time I read Gone with the Wind, I was awed. Melted into a mushy puddle, even. Who could resist the charms of Scarlett, or the suave and dashing Rhett Butler? Not that I can even today, some multiple (in the range of 19) reads later. But with every read - and the passing years - it's come to mean so much more than just a romance that had infinite appeal to my (then) teenage self. It's like an onion, really - intricate, complex layers that you peel away each time, discovering something new along the way.

What starts off as a genteel romance is suddenly catapulted into an entirely different league altogether, and is symbolic of so much more. Note that I'm not siding/ opposing anyone here; it's just my understanding of a wonderful book. Neither am I going to get into should-we-fight-wars or why-can't-we-live-as-one or anything of the sort. There is always an opposite to everything, so I guess in some twisted, warped way, war is the way that is chosen(?) to counter peace.

I'm now at the post-war Reconstruction bit, and what Scarlett realises is so true - the war may have ended, but their troubles have just begun.  A battle, be it of any kind, leaves scars, most of which fade only over a long time - if at all they do. The energy one would have spent to safeguard themselves during the war is now expended towards rebuilding the tattered remains of life after. It's an uphill struggle, with pitfalls all along the way, and it's the survival of the fittest. These scars and the aftermath of war are felt for generations to come, in some way or the other.

As for the romance, that too changes. From schoolgirl to mature, Scarlett's relationships undergo a paradigm shift. From fun to calculated to deep and meaningful - the various shades are there for you to see, should you choose to.

I'm not sure there's any other book that I enjoy as much, each time I open it up. Back to reading, and possibly more observations as I go along...

Saturday, 23 March 2013


... Again.

The lurid rainbow is back again, as...well, ever. And deelish (of course).

This one reminds me of the Cookie Monster. And I lurve the Cookie Monster. All it needs are the googly eyes. And maybe a cookie.


Do you recall the time when to get people to use online services, merchants used to dangle plump, tempting carrots? Yes, free gifts included! (Refer previous post for detailed rant.)

Our phone service provider dutifully gave us a discount (of a negligible amount) - but it was a discount all the same. Why? On paying your bills on time and via the Internet. Worked for me. With or without the discount, really, but oh the convenience!

It's now the same word that's made it to My List of Irksome Things (and People). Especially when it has fee tagged to it.

So if I go book a movie ticket online, I'm shelling out an additional amount - a percentage of the ticket cost - towards convenience fee. Note that:
- Low to no cost involved for the theatre in terms of having people man ticketing counters
- Low infrastructure cost (no fancy counters/ signboards/ thingummies)
- The time people spend queuing up to buy tickets, they probably now spend at the food counters
- That translates to more revenue - because if you book online, you get food combos (which are not free, are they?)

I see theatres singing their way conveniently to the bank. As for me, yes, I didn't have to make a trip out to book my tickets. And yes, I didn't have to stand in line. But then, doesn't it work both ways? If it's oh-so-convenient for all concerned, split the goodies, I say!

Until then, is anyone headed to book tickets anyway, and can get mine too?

PS: Related airline rant coming up shortly.

Friday, 22 March 2013


Have never understood this one. Maybe it's just me, but could you help?

See, if I had to pay for it (the gift), it wouldn't be a gift in the first place, would it? And hence the 'free' is redundant. I know there are more such oxymorons out there, but this one somehow irks me a fair bit. One reason is, it's always visible - electronics stores that have sales! discounts! free gifts! Clothes that scream the same - buy one and get the other at half price. (And also a free gift.)

Which by the way, most of the time happens to be something entirely useless or even if it can be deemed useful (by a verrrrry long stretch of the imagination), it's not for me. 

What, for example, will I do with a tiny plastic box that is non-food grade? Okay, so maybe it can be used to store say, um, play doh, or odd buttons or maybe a stray piece of jewellery. Hmm. But then for that, said box needs to be of a reasonable size! The play doh itself (in a single colour) can occupy a box three times the size. Hmph. As for jewellery, it's not me. On that, whenever I remind the significant other just how much he saves by not having to buy me serious jewellery/ trinkets, he just doesn't see it the way I do. Apparently, the books and wardrobe upgrades cost a small fortune. But I digress.

The other things I've gotten often enough at grocery stores are sachets of soup and ketchup. The soup will always be tomato (ugh), the ketchup some shady brand(?) that I'm not even sure is ketchup. Could be plain pumpkin paste with food colour for all I know.

The worst that I can remember is this one soap (I forget which) that offered a diamond pendant with some zillions of cakes. I mean, really! Diamonds? On soap? Who were they kidding? Paste stones, most likely. Am not sure any amount of soaps (that cost well under a dollar each) can stare confidently in the face of even the teeniest diamond.

Conclusion: There is no such thing as a free gift, and if someone promises you that there is, it's time to turn right round and head off in the opposite direction. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Or a book. Or two. Um, maybe three. Or more. And a similar amount of movies.

The day just can't get more perfect, the day an delivery comes in!


While the title of this post may be generic, I guess I could amend it to say 'Why I Dislike Most Reality Shows'. Not sure how true that would be, though, seeing the sort of programming there is of the genre on Indian telly today. I'll tear apart discuss a cookery show here for example.

The show in question is the local version of an Australian cooking show, but that's where any similarity ends. I'm personally a huge fan of the Aussie version - stood in line to have cookbooks signed by the hosts at the risk of losing my iPad/ limbs/ life, that's how much I like/ revere them - but this one, um, NEVER. Here's why:

In the previous seasons, an actor was the host. While I have nothing against the said actor (some of his films have been entertaining), my grouse is against the concept of a non-chef (is that even a word? but you know what I mean...) hosting a food show. Food = Chef. Foodie is welcome, but does not sub for a chef. Acting chops do not sub for lamb chops. Capiche?

So that's been rectified this new season, for what it's worth. There are cooks now. You bringing out the bubbly, hoping I'm gonna wrap up this post? Nu-uh, not gonna happen, so plod on!

What's not changed is the melodrama. If it's a food show, shouldn't the focus be:
a. Food
b. Food
c. Food
d. On helping contestants (winners and non-winners alike) move ahead on their foodie dream path
e. On sounding and looking like a food show

What we have instead is a scary concoction of tears, sob stories and some more tears. And oh, by the way there's some food, off and on. Possibly for relief from all the crying, I dunno. 

The episode I shuddered my way through earlier this week had a contestant from rural India sobbing and gasping his way through a story about how he runs a roadside stall and has borrowed money till the cows come home to make it to the auditions. With a lot of cooing and murmuring from the judges, the man in question is awarded the coveted apron, which he almost collapses receiving. He then proceeds to touch each of the judges' feet. I mean c'mon, is this a family tear-jerker or what? Of course, there's suitable Hindi film music that's playing in the background.

Scenario 2: Ridiculously chirpy (read: sounded senile) lady from one of the metros, who giggled and twirled and chirped her way through her audition. Said something about how she's always on her toes, running behind her kids, spouse and in-laws. Twittered and simpered for additional (barf) effect. Do you think she didn't get the apron? Really? Hah!

Clearly, it's not about the food. It's all about the masala, the tears, the gut-wrenching stories, the poor underdog. WHERE IS THE FOOD??

I could go on... and on. Just that it's sorta sickening to. Besides, thinking about it only replays each ridiculous piece of nothing in my head, and that's unspeakable trauma I really can't bear.

My point is, stick to the  international format. If you can't for whatever (inane) reason(s), don't sully the original by attempting to pass off whatever it is you've come up with. I continue to remain a fan of the Aussie series, and the way that one goes, I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. I'd go back and buy the same books and stand in that same I'm-a-groupie-at-a-rock-concert queue just for that same scrawl across the pages. Rinse repeat.

So if you counter-argue that local flavour works, then fine. But DO NOT call it what you do. Call it the Remixed Version That Has Nothing To Do With The Original, thank you very much.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


Belated, of course, but then that's just me. When is it that I've shared holiday pictures just as I've returned? God forbid I try uploading photos while on vacation itself. Gasp!

So - *drum rolls* - here is a gorgeous rainbow over Cairns, Australia, taken in November 2012. Thankfully, such dreamy images don't come with an expiry date.


When you sign up on a social networking site, isn't 'social' the operative word?

I don't seem to understand all the brouhaha about privacy settings - who can see which picture, who else can comment on stuff updated, and how the neighbour's dog also adds his own two woofs to the 'likes'. The thing is, somewhere (in those reams of fine digital print that we didn't bother to read at sign up) in the race to mark our presence on these platforms, we do wave goodbye to some amount of privacy.

Sure, I wouldn't want my photograph flashing on say a dating site or *shudder* worse, but having said that, does it really matter if a friend of a friend knows where I was on vacay, soaking up the sun? Yes? Then here's a suggestion - maybe an online web album, with almost obsessive privacy settings is more the deal. That way, you share the link with just the people you want, and you're good to go. No random stranger (a.k.a. friend of a friend of a friend of a friend tagged) is poking pins into voodoo dolls, green with envy that you were in the Bahamas while s/he was at work, at that extremely stimulating (not) desk job.

Speaking for myself, I do use privacy settings, yes. But no, I don't have a coronary just because a photo was liked/ commented on/ shared by someone in my 'friend list'. The thing is, it was put up knowingly, right, with my being aware of that very possibility? So.

No? Still doesn't appeal? Then maybe it's time to pull out scented notepaper, pen and postage stamps. Stay in touch, the extinct good old fashioned way. Carrier pigeons need a job too.

Monday, 11 March 2013


So I'm happily browsing my way through my account on a popular social networking site over coffee this morning, oohing and aahing over some gorgeous pictures of marine life a cousin's captured, mentally transporting myself on an exotic Bali/ Maldives/ Fiji vacation. Happiness, marred by a another set of pictures that almost made me spill my coffee. Now that would've been a bad thing, huh? Precious coffee lost over what? Politics, I tell you. Meh.

Those disturbing images? Politicians. Those captions and rants? Political. Honestly, why on social networking? Don't understand why the We Love So-and-So Party and We Couldn't Care Less About So-and-So Politician groups/ pages abound, really. My perception of social networking must be warped, clearly, because all I use it for is to connect with friends and family the world over (albeit impersonal, but that's another story to tell). So why politics?

Sometimes, I marvel at those of us who can stay apolitical? unpolitical? through all the news and coverage that happens. But really, it does irk (and I'm being polite) me no end to see all those almost maniac articles and posts praising X and defiling Y. It's a tough job, not taking sides and being a happy fence sitter with a  coffee and reading only the funnies in the papers (okay, horoscopes too), without reacting to any of the garbage that is generously doled out on a daily basis.

Why the apathy? Why the dislike for politics? Well, personally, I think there's enough gore going around without adding further stress. Haven't seen many civil discussions over a drink or a meal that didn't turn into (sometimes ugly) arguments about A versus B. Call it escapist if you like, but I'm not one for the discussion.

Excuse me while I go brew another cuppa. Manna, this.

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Given its giant-ness, though, it was a meal in itself.


Read this somewhere the other day:

"The day God made Dogs
He just sat down and Smiled"

So true.

Here's Kiara, our building pet, darling of kids and adults alike. Getting on a bit in years (the once-gleaming black coat tells its own tale), but a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. nonetheless. That's just her.

You folks with dogs, you know what I'm talking about, don't you?


How many times have you thought about making that move - from your present comfortable job to say, turning entrepreneur? Mental math, back-of-the-envelope calculation, some serious number crunching later, you're still at squat. As are the most (?) of us. (As usual, I don't have statistics here. Ironic, given that I'm talking number crunching, don't you think?)

The thing is, you tend to be afraid. Afraid not so much of change per se, but just how much that change is going to dislodge your current fairly comfortable existence. It's about that security of the salary being credited into your bank account at the end of the month, versus a situation where, until you break even, you have losses staring you in the face. And bills to pay.

Take relationships. Those ones that aren't working anymore? How often do we just hang on to the threads, just hoping and praying that somewhere, somehow things will work out? We often fool ourselves into believing that things are fine, when they're about a few thousand years away from being so. All because to suddenly cut a person out of your life - a friend, a parent, a spouse - is a tough thing to do. And so we plod on.

Or on a girlier (yes! I made that word up!) note, a new hairdo. God forbid that long tresses are chopped short. Hello, they do grow back, y'know. Eventually. Or those highlights you've been dying to get, and envy anyone who seems to be carrying them off with so much aplomb - so much so your face turns an interesting shade of green, never mind whether your hair is coloured or not. You don't, because you're worried what the  significant other/ parent/ neighbour/ co-worker/ pet dog might say. Or worse, judge you.

Scary. That's the word. And so we shy away, take a step back, and dwell on what-might-have-been. Jump in, try something new today - it's a brand new day.


... couldn't resist this red velvet cake.

Happy St Valentine's, y'all!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


While in Australia, one of the things That Had To Be Tried were lamingtons, given that I'd seen them on Masterchef Australia and well, anything Masterchef-y, I'd wanna see/ try. It's just one of those things.

So here they are, just for you:

In their packaging, waiting for me to have a go with the scissors...

Opened, and waiting to be eaten...

And finally -
That yummy, jammy square of perfection.

Drool. Sigh.

Rinse, repeat.


... that not just my tooth is sweet. Gulp.

More to follow...

Sunday, 27 January 2013


The picture below is taken at a local crafts fair. While not entirely sure that crafts fair is the right word, it's the closest I can get to describing it. On display were scores of booths with (mainly) women hawking their wares, from spices (masalas) to hand-woven saris and bed linen to various savouries and sweets. These were people from the interiors/ rural Maharashtra, and the idea of this fair (it's an annual event) is to promote the artisans and their craftsmanship. While I (sadly) did not take any more pictures, here's one that struck my eye, as it was only a couple of days post Republic Day.

The Indian tri-colour you see? It's ingeniously made of papad, a wafer-thin, crisp lentil cake that is typically fried and eaten as an accompaniment to a meal. These are three variants - red chilly, plain with cumin and spinach.

Those tubs in front of the display? A smorgasbord of pickles! Yummy! 

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Of the green, healthy, full of anti-oxidants variety, but chai nonetheless.

Yes, my first love IS coffee - and always will be - but chai's also a good thing to have. (No, having to change the name of this blog has nothing to do with the continued liking.)

Which reminds me. I have these wonderful (or so I'd like to believe, since I was behind the lens) pictures of a visit to a tea estate/ factory in Sri Lanka. Hang on a mo while I dig deep into the innards of my laptop and unearth those pictures... Or maybe have a chai until then.


Not something we see too often. :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Who'd've thunk it?! Before we knew it, 2013 was upon us, and even sooner than that, we're one week into the new year. Whoa there, over enthusiastic twenty-thirteen!

Reminds me of when I was in school (no, nothing about those 'good old days' is coming up, so you can stop reaching out for that mouse already) - Moral Science class called for a list, one that was importantly full of New Year's Resolutions. In capitals, and heavily underscored too. I'd never know what to fill in, and invariably wind up every year with a very sketchy compilation, to be embellished after - casually, of course - taking a peek at the neighbour's laundry list. And maybe the person thankfully seated behind me. Or even two rows ahead. Anything, really, to plump up a list that would vaguely be along the lines of:
- I will clean up my cupboard without Mum reminding me to.
- I will do my homework every evening before I go out to play.

Guilt (from the aforementioned plumped-up lists) would then make me add:
- I will help Mum set/ clear away the table at dinner (which the sister and I did already, just that it made for good copy. Also added a halo or two.)
- I will dust the furniture.
- I will not fight with my friends.

Gawd. You'll realise that making resolutions was never my forte. Let's not even get into discussing actually sticking them out. That does not make polite conversation. Believe me.

Growing up (and with Moral Science class behind me), the easiest thing to do was to politely ha-ha them so-what-will-be-your-resolution-this-year-then questions away, something I continue to do even today.

It's a far better deal to pitch in with the good stuff as and when you see the need for it, isn't it, instead of a stuffy old resolution that you are (possibly forced to) keep, with no real result at the end of the day. 

That said, wish you a very happy 2013 (seeing that clearly the world didn't end), and have a wonderful year ahead. Cheers!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Friday, 4 January 2013


You know how when you're on vacation you're trigger happy? I'm not saying it's a bad thing; I'm one of the gang. I've been known to take a crazy amount of pictures - in high resolution, no less - that have on occasion resulted in a frantic search for additional memory cards. A mad dash to the nearest store in whichever city, and then only do I breathe a sigh of relief. Actually, not even then - I almost always run out of battery towards the end of a long, happily satisfying sightseeing-y day. Of course, Murphy being Murphy, I'll miss the best photo ops just then. Sigh. Such is life. To combat that, I learnt to bring with me a fully charged cell phone; that way there's a (possibly feeble in terms of quality) backup, but a reliable one nonetheless. But just to plug the iPhone here (and no, I'm not getting paid for this), rest assured that the iPhone 5 does an awesome job. Not remotely feeble. 

But back to the topic at hand.

I was in the middle of taking the most breathtakingly beautiful pictures at The Twelve Apostles, alternately gasping in awe (yes, it's that awe-inspiring) and peering through my (camera) lens. That's when I realised: do you really see as much as you should? Or do you merely view through the lens? Get the difference? While it may sound like merely a subtle nuance, I'm now thinking otherwise. In our rush to capture the image for posterity, do we then wind up actually seeing it only when home, while sorting through the myriad pictures? Would I have seen more, remembered more if I were to see the place, take it all in, absorb its magnificence - albeit sans a camera? I'm not saying no pictures, all I'm thinking out loud is, maybe a little less camera and a lot more eye.

So at The Twelve Apostles, while my camera did a fabulous job, my mind and eyes worked still better: those waves lapping at the rocks, the pristine sand, that wallaby in the wild, the gull soaring effortlessly into the blue... not all on the camera, and not stuff to be forgotten in a hurry.


If you were, in your childhood (and much, much beyond, as in my case), you'd have loved this afternoon tea as much as I did.

Here you go, a pot of tea (not in picture), with the most scrumptious fresh, warm scones with copious quantities of whipped cream and jam. Staggered out of the cafe probably definitely (much) fatter, but oh-so-much happier. Sometimes, you shouldn't make calories count. Or count them yourself.


Then why is it called 'breakfast'? Why isn't it just a meal? 

Sure, I get the point that maybe the items on the menu are those that are typically served at that morning meal, but still... It's not like you don't have say, soup and salad at lunch and/ or dinner. For that matter, miso soup is a staple at many? most? South East Asian breakfast tables. So why isn't it an all-day lunch?

Here's the yummiest all-day breakfast I've had recently, at a cheerful, bustling cafe in Melbourne: