Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's cooking?

I've been eating my hubby's head ever since we went to Agra and saw my uncle-in-law cooking amazingly. All men in the family were known to specialise in some or the other dishes. My mallu man always considered it a shame to get his hands on cooking. But thanks to the Agra trip and "Amul presents Masterchef India", now he's all excited to shape up his culinary skills.
Yesterday he googled for "Chicken Manchurian" and found 2 recipes. He bought all ingredients of both the recipes and was getting confused with both. One minute, he says he'll follow Recipe 1 and in the second minute, he'll switch over to Recipe 2. Finally I had to intervene for him to finalise. Ha, I forgot to say, I had been banished from my Kitchen as soon as he decided to take over.
But far from what I had thought, the dish came out so good that I was left licking my fingers and even forgot to have the accompanying rice. Laajawaab, meri Jaan... Masha Allah...
Today again he wanted to make the same thing and he had a reason too. His best friend from College is leaving Bangalore for Delhi by mid- December. So he wanted to impress him as well. Okay, go ahead. But I warned him - "Oru vattam chakka veenu muyalu chathu ennu vechu, eppazhum eppazhum chavumennu vichaarikkalle!"
This time the quantity was more and there was time constraint as well. But still I didn't go in to mess up his creation. By the way, why should I? He called me a mere soldier while he termed himself as Emperor in cooking. Ahaaa... So me who cooks everyday made a fool out of myself with all my efforts. Hmph!
This time, something was lacking. God knows what it is. Though it was awesome , it lacked the grandeur of its predecessor.
Anyways his efforts paid off. his friend was amazed .
All's good that ends well...
That's what he made- Chicken Manchurian

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A trip of a lifetime...

Now It's more than half a month since I've returned from my North Indian trip, which was more of a root-tracing yaatra than anything else. The yaatris included myself, my hubby and my mother-in-law. Two-way airtickets were booked well ahead in June but those dates were only thing we knew about the trip until mid- October.The rest of it was all God's grace.We reached Agra the same day we started and that too on a full-moon night, but we were not fortunate enough to see the moon-lit Taj. What a loss!

As for me, a typical mallu girl was suddenly transformed into a "bahu", "bhaabi" and "maami" and further I realised my husband was an Anglo-Bengali-Mallu.We ate hot jalebis and kachoris for breakfast and walked to the Halwaai for Rabdi and kullad-waala doodh in the evenings. While mummy and hubby talked fully in Hindi, I spoke Hindi to kiddos and English to elders. What if something goes wrong?!!
Since I dont want to write this as a travel blog, I'll give away useful tips for those traveling to Agra, Jaipur, Shimla and Delhi.

  • Visit Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) website and plan your Agra accordingly, if you are interested in the night-viewing of the Taj Mahal.
  • You'll find professional photographers at the Gates of the Taj. If you are interested in making albums of you at the Taj, confirm wih your photographer the number of pics to be taken and the rates as specified by the ASI (look near the South Gate of the Taj). Don't fall prey to the his marketing tactics.
  • Bargain for all items starting at half the price, actually they are worth only that.
  • Spend a whole day in Taj if you are very much interested in photography. My husband was and We went twice to the Taj. the second time he was more interested in shooting down the parrots, pigeons, storks and squirrels with his brand new Canon PowerShot SX30IS.
  • For those who intend to drive from Agra to Jaipur (like we did) - Start early in  the morning and keep enough money as change to pay the toll fees throughout. The roads are awesome though.
  • Buy audio guides only if it is being provided by ASI (e.g., in Hawa Mahal). Buy audio guides from other sources only if you are a die-hard fan of the place (e.g., in Jantar Mantar).
  • Needless to say, stock upon sunscreen lotions and drinking water. Dont forget your sunglasses too.
  • Revise on your bargaining skills again, thoroughly.
  • For those who intend to drive from Agra or Delhi to Shimla  - Start early in  the morning and never leave the National Highway even if you think there is a shortcut through some other road. You might end up driving a 100 km for 4 hours, thanks to all the potholes, sorry "pot-trenches".
  • Ideally stay close to the Mall road in Shimla and not in the Valley. Recommendation - Shiwalik Regency, Near Christ Church.
  • Visit Jakhu Temple, Kufri, Mashobra and Naldehra during the day. In the evening, visit Christ Church near the Ridge, walk the Mall road and do your shopping. Give your bargaining skills a rest, since Shimal does not favour it anyways.
  • I love the motto "I love Shimla, I walk" in Mall Road.
  • Amazing printed T-shirts are3 available at "REBORN" at the Mall Road, we bought 8 of them. Good collection, I must say.
  • Since, only 1 whole day was available in Delhi, we chose Qutub Minar, Bahai Temple and Akshardham Temple Complex. From Akshardham, we took the Metro and went to India Gate, which is beautiful at Sunset.
  • Akshardham Temple complex is an architectural wonder and leaving Delhi without visiting it is sheer foolishness.
  • It happened to be so that we finshed our yaatra with a salute at Amar Jawan Jyoti.
I'm trying to overcome my "writer's block" through this post.
Wish me luck, guys.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cuz disasters

Though I have only one brother (thank you Amme, Appe, I seriously didnt want more siblings), I have 8 cousins each from both my parents' side. This stats does not include the endless list of second cousins and third cousins and so on, who are equally important. ( I don't want to be disowned from the family property if they find out who I am, wicked me)
"The fewer, the better", says Ammachi (read, maternal grandma). She will be complaining that we all dont meet together, only until we do. Then when all her satanic grandchildren arrive, she'll be running helter-skelter with her hens. 
How I miss all that fun at home fighting with the 3-4 hours of Bangalore traffic...
As I have mentioned before, I'm married and is slowly behind led to the torture of "vishesham onnum aayille?" while my youngest cuz is still a toddler. A few days ago, she was crowned as the Ultimate Bandit Queen of the kin. She's the true replica of her ex-military father. Ammachi and Appachan along with all at the tharavaadu say in chorus, "Ho, ivalu aalu oru pirishaa!" Though all in my generation heard quite a lot of that, Neha is tasting the cream of it.
Uusual for an 18-month old lady, she's trying to shave her facial hair with a lost-and-found razor which belongs to her Dad. Thank goodness, the blade was missing. That little brat!
Earlier, her elder one had taken her father's mobile phone to her nursery. When her teacher found it ringing in her bag, she simply shrugged and said, "athente appaayedeya"
Sephy, the villain-est (dont know wther the word exist, i meant the superlative of villainousness) among the boys used to throw off his paternal grandpa's false teeth to the parambu and then the poor old man had to set out for a 'treasure hunt' in order to take a bite. 
Once when he hurt his leg as it got stuck in his Dad's bike wheels, I called him up to enquire how he's doing. To my surprise, it was Sephy who attended it.The moment he understood it was me calling, he asked, "enda viliche, kalyanam vallom aayo?". My jaws dropped hearing the question from a six-year-old chimp.

But the most embarassing one was during some marriage function or something.
The ex-military uncle mentioned above was blessed with his first child then. And his wife is lovingly called "Maya" at home. Maya aunty's father had also come home when all this happened and he was playing with his brand new grandchild, 3 or 4 months old then. Sephy and Amal was playing and running around, when they saw the baby being picked up by her Grandfather. These twosome did not recognise him and they questioned him and said "njangade maayaavide kochine avide vekkada", with the authority of their brother-ism. We didnt know where to hide our faces when the baby's grandfather looked all perplexed. 

Recently, my uncle said, "ivide ellaathintem kazhuthinu chuttum naaku aanu". Worst of it, he gave a character certificate to one of us. Unanimous reaction to that atrocity was- Avalku buddhi urachittilla, oru engineeringkaari, Alla pinne!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jack of all trades

Behind every successful woman, there ought to be a man ( and vice versa). This is not to ardent feminists, though. By the way, I have two- again no time for doubts. One is my appa and the other is ma hubby.

Oomph, all men are alike.
Husbands tend to act like dad, sometimes, oh no, most of the times.
I think I'm being philosophical. Clap, Clap, you there, come back...

Ahem. By the way, this post was supposed to be about my dad, who can mend anything, be it an unresponsive switch, a leaking faucet, a stolen textbook or whatsoever. I remember reading somewhere that elder daughters take upon their father. Whatever be it, we both have same temper, moreover, that I'm sure of.

10 random facts about my father.

1. He's a proud "Government Servant". When I was young, I used to feel very uneasy with that phrase being written in the 'Father's occupation' column in my school records. Now that I have begun working, I know what it really means.

2. He's a strict disciplinarian when it comes to telephonic conversation. It should go like this, as he like it...
    Caller 1: Hello
    Caller2: Hello, ithu njaana ABC.
    Caller 1: Ha, endundu vishesham?
    Caller 2: Prathyekichu onnumilla. Veruthe vilichatha
    Caller 1: Ok, sheri. Vere onnumillallo?
    Caller 2: Alla, njan vilichathu... nge, appozhekum vecho...

3. He has an amazing collection of screws, nuts, bolts, screw drivers and so on and on and on. And he has promised that these items will be inherited by my husband, who eventually will have a bigger collection.

4. He loves picking the pepper from the one and only pepper creeper which helplessly clings to the neem tree at home.

5. He loves bringing children from the neighbourhood to our house for the sake of a candy. He loves them and they love their "appachan" also, as they call him.

6. Modesty, thy name is, you my father. He goes around in Tees and Lungi, telling he's doing chukku kachodam (dry ginger trade), while he belongs to the Indian Economic Service.

7. He reckons my mother by her initials. I've not seen anyone else doing that.

8. He loves the song "pardesi, pardesi" from Raja Hindustani and similar song with background score using Jhilmill instruments. He and his car flies in that pace when the music is blaring and we stick our heads out of the windows throughout the journey. We are referred to as "bandmela sangham" by people who choose to remain anonymous.

9. Being a diabetic, does not stop him from laying hands on chocolate, achappam, aval vilayichathu and the sweetest sweets ever found.

10. He is a diplomat by birth, who can talk India and Pakistan out of their minds, that both these nations may eventually jump and drown in the Indian Ocean.

The above facts are not prioritized and may get updated sooner or later...
Now your truly have to get back to work...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fatal vikadasaraswathi (slip-of-the-tongue)

There was an air of scintillating romance and under the starry sky they stood.

She: Can I ask you something?
This is a question which all men dread, standing ovations are welcome...

He: Sure sweetheart, go ahead.

She: Do you really love me?
He: (Phew! I was wondering what she would ask.) 
       Yes, of course. You are my favourite wife.
She: Thud!

P. S. : No prizes for guessing what happened after she regained consciousness...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friendly woes

Ms M is my best friend and our first encounter  was extremely stupid.
It was our first day in College and we were filling the first pages of our student records, which later became masterpieces of our adventures of 4 years.
After completing my task, I was waiting for my turn to submit my record. Suddenly an aunty called "Mole, aa munpil irikkunna kochine onnu viliche". (the so-called-mol was Ms. M herself and the aunty turned out to be her Mom). M sat 2 rows ahead of me and so I had to give a slight nudge on her head as I didnt know her name (knowing the name was useless because the room had turned into a cackle house). Defying the theory of Newton, the reaction I got was quite "unequal". She turned and laughed out loud.
She turned around and laughed out loud. My jaws dropped, "What did I do?". Why on earth did she laugh like that?
The next day I found her sitting next to me in the last bench and this routine continued till the third year when she was put into a different class. But the dosti between us stays strong till date.
She was a bunch of weirdness and sheer foolishness sometimes, which made all of us in her class run away occasionally, saying "No, no, she's not with us". Four years of the graduate course syllabus also included teaching her how not to look foolish. It was moreover like training a puppy.

You'll have to admit that she's damn crazy. One incident goes like this. One day Ms M took a leave without informing any of us friends. So I called her up in the evening to find out what had happened.

Me: Hello
M:  Hello
Me: Nee innu evidaarunnu? (Where were you today?)
M:  Athe, eniku nalla sukham illaarunnu. (I was not feeling fine today)
Me: Endaarunnu sookhedu? satyam para. (What was the reason, tell me the truth?)
M:  hi hi hi
Me: Oh, you faked it...patti
       By the way, what did you do all day at home?
M:  Watched " Om Shanti Om".
Me: Oh really, did you understand the movie. (Actually, she's disabled in Hindi mode)
M:  Kurachokke, baaki okke njan oohichu ( I understood little, I guessed the rest).
      Pakshe enikoru kaaryam manasilaayilla (there was one thing I didnt understand)
Me: What was that?
M:  "bhaago", SRK kept telling that for a sequence
Bhaago means to run and Ms M didnt understand even that. What a waste? No wonder she spent the whole day watching OSO
SOS, Ms M, SOS...

She's an amazing friend and I wish all her dreams come true. Dont lose your heart over trivial things but focus on your goals, M. I vow to stand by you the same way you did during times of distress. You are a gem of a Friend, Ms M. Hats off to you...

Friday, October 1, 2010

The "KEEP CLEAN" campaign

One of the glass windows of the "Vayu Vajra" read "KEEP CLEAN". I've been noticing it for some days and now it has set me thinking the "immediate cause' behind such a label. There have been instances when I've felt the bus was a mobile trash can.
Once after settling into a window seat (I still love it, btw, everyone does) and fiddling with the AC vents to prevent myself from turning into a "snow woman", I took a couple of deep breaths. Slowly but steadily, my eyeballs popped out and my diaphragm began to force itself out through my mouth. Oh yeah, it was the distinct vomit smell coming from under the rear seats of the bus. Omigosh, it was getting worse by every second.
As the count of passengers increased, many a noses were out of shape figuring out what is wrong. Some looked under their shoes, some searched their bags for a buried rat or like, and some were looking across to others with the "I know, it's you" look. But sooner or later, people realized the real cause.
All commuters including me felt looted because the tickets are priced exorbitantly just for an additional "Vayu" in the name of the Bus genre. And lo, here the vayu itself was so "gwaaah".
As soon as a vacancy erupted in the first row, I ran and occupied it, of course much to the envy of my fellow passengers.Yippee! Though the result was quite pacifying, the yuck smell still lingered making me feel all dizzy.

May I have your attention please...
Kindly restrain yourself from littering the airport buses with the cups, snack boxes and bottles you get during your flights. And please try not to puke inside the bus. It may take great efforts for this due to the huge traffic jams during the peak hours. Your sincere attempts will be graciously acknowledged by yours truly and other regular commuters of Airport bus in Bangalore.
Bunch of roses for you in advance...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Daughter's day

Lucky a daughter and daughter-in-law, that I am. That's because I was born of a southie Amma and after marriage I was transferred to the care of a northie mom-in-law.
Amma was the typical Kerala mom whose eyes used to roll out even at the mention of threading of eyebrows. Her being a teacher made rules @ home even more stricter. Appa used to work out of town mostly leaving Amma and the 2 kiddos for the entire week and came home only for the weekend. She's always seen busy with something or the other.

Trivandrum being the capital city, was a destination for many of our relatives mainly during emergencies. Amma was always there to help and I have thousands of people out there to vouch for me. Rarely was she out of work, if all work in the world was finished, she would be seen inventing a whole new world itself to keep herself engaged.

At home, apart from cleaning and cooking, she'll be drying chilly/coriander/ rice/ dont-know-what in order to powder them and store it up or maybe she'll be making chips/kuzhalappam/ achappam/ chammandipodi/ pickle or she'll be embroidering a new saree. Oh did I miss the coconut drying session which is an annual ritual?

Apart from all this, she's a favourite teacher among her students. Being in this profession for more than 30 years, there's a huge populace on which she has left her mark. It's a pleasure being asked " LG teacherude molalle?"

Now about us.
We were the usual maa-beti duo who fought often, over silly matters, of course. But now after marriage, I miss her so much. Calling her up for general advice and recipes is just one slice of it. Fevers can trigger the senti over and over again.Yes, I miss her too badly when I feel sick with fever or cold. Maybe it's for the kanji and cherupayar thoran, maybe for the feeling of being guarded over, I cant find an exact reason.

What I know for sure is that I love you, Amma

On this Daughter's Day, my post goes out to all those daughters of the world who never realised their mother's love and the love they had for their mothers', until marriage separated them.
Go ahead and hug your mom, all your girls and Happy Daughter's Day...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

First things first

My first step into a whole new world...
Ice-breaking session is first in the agenda. Yours truly is a humble lass (packaged applause, expected) who an year and a half ago, lived with parents and a scringy bro in the capital city of Kerala. Though born to a family of a nuclear size, me took pride in being the eldest grand daughter in both parents' family.
Now the tables have turned, drastically...
Once I stepped into marital bliss, she was to be the youngest of her Gen-X in the family, which was huge, now counting themselves to 22 almost (one of us is on the way).
And about my Mr. J, he is the sweetest while sleeping. Oh I'm just kidding, he seems quite patient with the usual hell-breaking sessions of mine. Best friend, who in course of time agreed to bear with me for a whole lifetime.
Lots to share, wait and watch all out there...
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