Tuesday, March 23

See you on the other side...

People who wanted to know why the last post was deleted, here's the reason- there were some formatting issues and being a sucker for aesthetic stuff,i couldn't stand looking at it a second longer than i had to.. so,poof it went.

I have taken long breaks from the blog before ,but almost 3 months back i decided not to take any long breaks from here and keep writing.I have been faithful to my dear friend,bedazzled , blogged regularly and blog-hopped with equal panache.Also,in the last few months,i have consciously made this a book blog.. lately,i realize i have been deviating from that and posting random stuff..

I have also become colossally lazy and let chores and work accumulate.I am going to welcome the new responsible (ha!) me and finish up all the things i need to.. I am excited about the times ahead,but secretly scared about the discipline it demands. There is also this milestone which is breathing down me in approximately 3 months.. yeah,i am turning 30!!..Scary!.I know nothing ever changes from one bday to another,just that when you are in your 20's,you know you have time for all the monkey-jumping you want.And when the dreaded 30 looms up ahead you,you suddenly realize that you will have to get your act together ASAP and not careen off the way you did before..Some may ask whats in a age!! well, technically,nothing.Its just me !;-)

Anyway,Let me see you people in a couple of months...I'll miss your blogs and all your comments..If you need to drop in a line,my gmail address is always there..Have fun,guys.

Thursday, March 18

My love affair with Guacamole

I was never too interested in cooking until i quit work.However,even when i was working,i used to catch myself visiting one particular food blog.It was a blog by a woman named Sue.The blog always had pics of yum delectable cakes and treats..And,that was my first brush with blogging.Everyday,the first thing i would do at work even before i checked my official mails was log on to Sue's page and check out her latest culinary escapades..Things are so different now.. I love cooking and even though i am not an expert at traditional south Indian food(or any other type either!),i love trying out new recipes.There is something therapeutic and exciting about whipping up something new.

Last one month has been magical for my taste buds.. So many wonderful fruits,vegetables and food discovered..I realize why people call some food "Soul food".. Some food just puts you in a nice cosy-contented mood..So,when i discovered Guacamole a few weeks back,i have been making it/asking for it in whatever i eat outside..

I don't normally post recipes here,but today i am making an exception as my foodblog is almost defunct currently..I am sure the sole male reader of this blog will excuse me..

So,Guacamole is a yummy,creamy dip made with Avocados.It goes very well with tortillas and chips. Extremely easy and yum,it's increased my chip consumption almost 20 fold !!..I have been subjecting the boy to it so much that when we were picking groceries last evening,he asked me to lay off the Avocado this time ..Well,looks like no guacamole for me for couple of more days..bawllll!!

Avocado is actually botanically a fruit,but is used as a vegetable and is a native of Mexico.Wonder,why we don't get it in Chennai.. the climate is almost comparable here !!

All you need for the dip is..

1 avocado, very ripe
2 tbs. fresh onion, minced.(i prefer nicely chopped onion,not minced)
1 small tomato, minced
The juice of half a lemon
1 tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced

Simply mash up everything with a small mortar(the way it is traditionally done ) or a fork to bring it to a smooth,creamy consistency..Spritz the juice of a lemon and add the salt.You are ready to dig in.Goes wonderfully with both red and white wines.I have seen some people snip a few pieces of bacon into it as well..For veggies like me,the simple recipe works well..The first time we tasted the dip,we swooned.Also,surprisingly it tastes like Bhelpuri !!..Just a creamier version of our Bhelpuri !! yummmm!!

I wonder if there is some vegetable that can be used to replace the avocado.. Do let me know,if there is !! I am going to miss it when i get back home !!

Friday, March 12

Funky Sita Sings the blues

Do hop on Here to watch a modern adaptation of Ramayana by Nina Paley.Nina is an American animator whose husband dumped her on mail ;-( .. She read the Ramayana during this time and thought that her life resembled the story(well,not a perfect analogy,if you ask me!).She animated this 1 hour plus short film on her home computer for almost 5 years..Awesome animation.Go catch it, guys !

Also,Check out her blog at Nina for more dope on how the movie was made ..

Thursday, March 11

Mahabharata Unplugged

Book Name : The Palace Of Illusions
Author : Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Genre:Historical fiction
Publisher :Picador
Price:Rs.395;Rs.315 on flipkart
My Rating : 4/5

I have always believed that liking a book is almost like a self fulfilling prophesy.If you decide to like something,you will most likely end up liking it. That’s what happened to me with The palace of illusion.Most people I know raved about the book and instinctively,I started placing the book in the high pedestal of literature. If not anything,Chitra Banerjee has to be applauded for being gutsy enough to use The Mahabharata as a backdrop for her novel.Agreed,she chooses to use the widely known incidents from the great epic and only glosses over some important incidents.I expected some obscure stories to be woven into the narrative and was disappointed when all i got was what i have read before.But,one can't blame her for that.The book is more about what Draupadi feels than details of what happens in Mahabharata. And,Chitra Banerjee has achieved a home run in that department.Draupadi’s voice is clear,poignant and heart-wrenching at the same time.

I couldn’t decide whether Ramanand Saagar’s televised series had spoiled my imagination or enhanced it.As I read the book,I could only picturise Draupadi as Rupa Ganguli.In a way Chitra Banerjee’s take on Draupadi and several other characters tended to coincide with what I had seen on tv.However, I was fascinated by the writing,most of the times ..Like when Chitra describes Sisupal as one with a hooked chin topped by a sneering mouth,I wanted to applaud her imagination. The sparring between Draupadi and Dhai Maa is delightful and infuses the much needed comic relief to the narrative.

What I also loved about the book was the way the narrative was handled after the war.I expected the book to end at Yudhistar’s coronation,and was pleasantly surprised when the book continued with Draupadi’s journey even after the war. The writing is beautiful, no doubt about it,but sometimes the visual imagery was too overpowering and the language too flowery .At these times,Draupadi’s voice sounded trite and overly studded with similies and metaphors.Characterization of the Pandava brothers was predictable and grey(as is to be expected).The book is more of a love story than chronicle of intricate events of the Mahabharatha.Chitra describes the fatal attraction between Karna and Draupadi very well..I don’t know whether this love affair was spawned from Chitra’s imagination or whether it was actually the case in Vyasaa’s rendition. ..Whatever the case maybe,the tension between the two is awesome & palpable from the pages of the book.One almost falls in love with Karna,the way Chitra describes him. This is the biggest strength of the book.The other being a woman’s perspective to the epic,which has not been explored before.

I realize that I loved the book (despite it’s flaws) mainly because I am intrigued by the Mahabharata and it is difficult for you not to like something that gives a more human account of the epic that you have loved since your childhood. Overall,a nice read. It might not be the best retelling of Mahabharata,but I am sure this is the best Draupadi’s take can get. Four stars from me for Chitra’s beautiful words.

Tuesday, March 9

Santa's right here !!

After 3 whole days of bad weather,non stop rains and cold, the sun's back!! and so are my spirits..So,the other day the boy and I were trying in vain to cross a traffic signal.. 10 minutes waiting at the crossroads and still cars were speeding by..Abruptly,an SUV pulls up right next to us..And i think,man we are going to get mugged!..instinctively, i clutch my bag a little tighter..Unexpectedly,a sprightly teen gets out of the car,hands over*this balloon that you see above* to the boy and tells him..

"Would you like to give this to your girlfriend?".

We are shocked and manage to mumble our thanks before the cute girl dashes off into her car with such a wide smile that the dark,cold night suddenly seems warm and fuzzy.. Firstly,she called me someone's girlfriend,how cool is that(makes me sound younger ) !!.. and Secondly,we were random people and she made us smile with that simple act of hers...How many of us take the time out to make random people smile !!
By the time we managed to cross the signal(after another 5 minutes),we were still grinning,thanks to the balloon girl(i personally think she was Santa claus!!).

Later that evening,we plan to haul ourselves to a grocery store.. there is no public transport whatsoever here and we didn't have a car,so cabs were the only way to get to our store..And,finding a cab here is more difficult that finding the spirit of Shakespeare or keats..Somehow, we manage to get a cab and get to the store..Shopped till my limbs creaked and said they could take no more.. The wallet also seemed to agree with them. So,we decided to head back home and called for a cab..the cab guy said " will be there in 15 minutes ,mister".. So, waited and waited and waited ..in the cold,wintry night.Till the cows came home.Just that there were no cows in the vicinity.

Half hour passed. Another half hour was threatening to pass as well.After several futile calls to the cab company and some more wasted time,a cab pulls up and we pile into it,thankful that it finally arrived.As the driver fumbled with the address,we sit and knit our brows and frown looking at the taxi meter..Suddenly, a huge guy comes up and says that we got his cab..Unceremoniously,we get dumped on the pavement.. I let out a string of expletives and curse our luck.

As we are cursing more, a white sedan pulls up.

The guy driving the car gets out,says that he had watched us getting kicked out of the cab and says he'll drop us home,as it was pretty late.. We were too overwhelmed by the offer!!..Of course,we said yes and got a comfortable ride back home.

Does Santa Visit someone twice in a day ?and it is not even Christmas time ;-P!

Wednesday, March 3

Muchos gracias,lil place.

I am someone with the Footloose-gene. I actually think its fun to pack all my bags every few years,leave a place and start all over again.There is almost a finality in doing something like that. New set of friends,new places to explore and all. And,what gets left behind fades anyway with time and age.But,every once in a while you stumble upon a circumstance in life which you had no clue you would stumble into in the first place.You meet new people who are amazingly at your wavelength(which is not often!).You fall in love with that place, which is not spectacular or special otherwise.It’s just another place.What makes it so much more special is that you realize you might NEVER-EVER set your eyes on this place in your entire waking-walking life.Ditto for the people you found here.You want to shutter-bug (I know that’s a wrong usage of the word;I just felt like it described what I feel most appropriately) away the whole day,visit those secret little places that amused you and hope that your brain remembers the visual-aural assault 20 years from now,when you look back at the adventures and foils of your lost-youth.

You realize the most fitting farewell to this place is not to cry and feel this feeling of finality, but to hope that you would be back again someday,to renew your vow of love for the place.And, enjoy it the way you did years ago when you fell in love with it in the first place.Odds are that you might feel nothing.Odds are that you might still find that spark.All this applies to not just a physical space-a city or a town(as is the case with me right now),it might just be a phase of life you are at(which surprisingly is also the case ;-)).Maybe, I fell in love with the place only because of the stage of life I am currently in.Whatever it is ,it is love and you can't explain it scientifically.

Au Revoir.Till then,don't change.Stay the same.

PS: I realize i sound like a crazy-loopy-mushy-looney bin.That's four strikes against me,but heck a woman's gotta do what she gotta do!.And where else can she do it other than at her blog;-) !