Monday, February 25, 2008

Brownie points

My friend’s newly wed daughter moved into in her new home which she has to share with all her in laws. The mother of course like all others gave the usual lecture which did not go down too well, but the father I thought gave some very good advice which I would like to share. He told her – whenever you are making adjustments, which will be many, just think of them as brownie points that you can collect and redeem later in life. Very aptly put. Sound advice that you can apply to any situation in life. And maybe sometimes there is greater pleasure in collecting brownie points which you have no intention of redeeming.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Over a cuppa....

I was introduced to coffee drinking after marriage. Not that we did not have coffee at home. We did, but it was prepared differently. I was told that the family (in laws) had settled for packaged coffee powder by then, otherwise it had to be coffee seeds freshly roasted and ground each day and then powdered and placed in the coffee filter over which boiling water was poured, and as it passed through the powder it would absorb the flavour and drip into the container below. Once the coffee was made it was poured into a steel tumbler and placed in a davara . The coffee would be poured from tumbler to davara till a nice froth was built up.

The present day coffee pub culture is a source of wonder. The kind of coffee that is served - all flavours - and at exorbitant prices . At some places we would scald our tongue on hot coffee ( imagine drinking hot coffee with a straw!) and then on our way out ring the bell to tell them that we thought it was an amazing experience!! We ( read oldies) have realised now that these places are for the young and not for the serious coffee drinker.

We have over a period of time turned into tea drinkers. And our tea is more like boiling water with a dash of sugar and milk but having the strong flavour of the tea leaf.

I cannot remember when I started drinking tea or coffee. We had specific times for it at home ( when I was young). And it was served in bone china cups with saucers. All this has now given way to the mug. And colourful ones of different sizes!
Our favourite beverage was the buttermilk ( thaak - buttermilk in konkani). There was a huge ceramic container in which some curd or the previous day's buttermilk was placed and then milk was added to it and churned. Periodically warm water would be added till the butter seperated at the top. This was carefully collected and used for applying on the slice of bread, or when a sufficient amount was amassed it was heated to get ghee. The flavour of home made butter and ghee is hard to beat. We now depend on salted butter and bottled ghee! Once butter was seperated the watery buttermilk was poured into a container and we had this with all the meals. On hot summer days when we came home there would be the familiar glass jug with diluted salted buttermilk seasoned with mustard, corriander, and for the added flavour there would be finely chopped green chillies and a dash of asafoetida ( which was thought to be good for digestion). On even hotter days we were given ragi malt to drink since it was supposed to have a cooling effect.
My mother, always was one for experimenting with food. And she would serve us delicious milk shakes. One of our favourites was a banana milk shake to which drinking chocolate was added. We christened this drink the Chocoban.
Of late,despite all the hoolabuloo of pesticide residue in cola drinks, I have taken a liking for them. I find it rather soothing when I have the dreaded headache ( migrane?). The carbonated fizz does wonders. And to think that it was a prohibited drink at home when my kids were young as I strongly believed they were a source of empty calories ( with no worthwhile nutrient content). I still maintain the empty calorie bit, but for the relief it provides I am willing to overlook it all.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pictures from NH 5

The scenes along NH5 enroute Hyderabad to Nellore. The trees, not too many, were beautiful, we were zipping along too fast to capture all that I wanted to. The hills as you can see, were not left alone. Some had a temple, another had a dargah. There were a few lakes. The train track ran along for a while, though I could only get a picture of the goods train in one. The small villages alongside the highway were bustling with life. There is a picture of chillies that were spread out to dry. I would have clicked more pictures but refrained, as I thought my co-passengers were giving me strange looks as I photographed trees, hills and huts!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Paintbrush art

This was art created in paintbrush. Long long ago.( 2-3 years ago?) It was a fad for sometime.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

the house that was....

An apartment was advertised for sale. We liked the place. We decided to meet the owner and chat with him and check out if we could afford it. He happened to be a government officer. We decided that we would not speak about my father who also was in the same profession.
In the course of conversation we realised that we could not afford the place, however he was a nice gentleman and generally chatting about various issues when he suddenly turned to me and asked me my background and since he was persistent, I did tell him about my father. We found out that he lived in the same street as my dad had after retirement. And as we got up to leave he came and saw us off at the gate, which is rather rare in the present cadre of government officers. I felt that gesture was out of respect for my father. We came back feeling good even though the dream of moving into the apartment faded away.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ornamental plants

The Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae

Ornamental ginger - Zingiberaceae alpina
Two beautiful ornamental plants at the friend's farmhouse.

A day with my friends

A classmate of mine was in town. It was close to 28 - or was it 30 years since I last met her. She had indicated to a friend that it had been a long time and asked about my well being. And so, here I was with a group of friends from UG days heading out to a temple. My family was surprised. I am not one of those who visits temples on a regular basis. It was more an occasion to meet my friends. This was not the group I hung around with. Yet that did not seem to matter when we went out today, nor did the years we lost contact make a difference either. It seemed so strange.

We visited two temples in the area. The picture here is the Saraswati Temple at Wargal. And then we were heading back when we decided to stretch the day a little more. We took a detour to a farm house of a friend. And spent almost two hours just chatting, laughing and exploring the place. We had a great time.

No entry

Interesting sign board at the temple at Ratnalayam, Shamirpet.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A meal - no big deal.

With no one to cook for the past two days - guess ( or no guesses) what I was eating. Bread with cheese, bread with jam, bread and egg, bread with chutney..... infact, last night I suddenly paused to think which meal it was!! Breakfast, lunch, dinner .... what's the difference??
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