28 November 2010

My Oldest Book!


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I was ten attending my first school function (normally skipped them for an evening at home) and it was annual school day and they called out my name. Out of the blue, there it was, my name on the mike, through the speakers and into my ears. I sat shell shocked wondering if it was my overactive imagination playing games in my head, but no, I saw my teacher basically telling me to get my butt up on stage.

I was being rewarded with a prize. How grand! For months, that moment lingered in my head, like an echo. I had of course, unwrapped my present in a flurry on the way to KFC that I was rewarded with by my parents for being an achiever and to my dismay it was a book. "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" and worse still, on the right hand side it read: Complete and Unabridged.

This meant, I couldn't understand very much past the first page given the language was much too complicated for me at age ten. It would take me two long years before I could read the book. In those two years I read while I ate, under the covers in bed, while I was on the way to school, everywhere. I consulted the school librarian, to find me books that were a bit advanced. I read them too, and then I went two levels up. And yet, the first page did not make sense to me.

Then I started underlining words I did not understand, checked the dictionary, paid a bit more attention in English class and finally the day came when I finished the book. The story was fascinating, out of the world and nothing like I had ever read before. I decided then, that I would write stories. What followed then, was mad writing. And well, it still hasn't ended.

The reason this book is so precious to me, is because it's made me the person I am today. It was a present for achievement, and yet, with it I achieved so much much more. Who would I give it to? No one, it's mine to keep forever. It's a reminder to me, that not all things are easy at first glance, and sometimes, it's those elusive hard to achieve goals that are the most rewarding of all!

Lately

I've been thinking about what makes me angry about people. This generally revolves around what makes me dislike people, given, that I don't think I'm too fussy or judgmental as a person. Here are some examples of people I dislike. The main purpose of me putting it in here, is to cross check with all of you, on whether these are the types of people that you dislike too.. or if I'm just crazy.

  • Men who behave inefficiently. Like the sort that don't cook, don't iron, don't clean, don't run errands (pay bills), don't play sports but who think they know everything. My question is, when you don't do half the things everyone does, what makes you think you know anything at all?
  • Men who refer to a woman's body using any of the following adjectives: structure, figure (figaaaarrrr), plus one, minus 2 and so on. These are also the sort of men, who when driving would nearly crash into an oncoming vehicle because they're eyes were roaming.
  • Friends who want to know everything about you and earn your trust. Then when you least expect it, you hear from some one else, that this friend of yours has a boyfriend (that you didn't know about) or is married (that you didn't know about) etc. Unless you're frigging James Bond, why so secretive? Ok fine, you're a private person.. then why do you want to know everything about everyone else?
  • Women who forget they had a life before they had their significant others. The sort that you could have known all your life, to have them disappear on you completely, when they are in a relationship. The sort that would put the needs of the significant other, above and over everything else. I mean, really?
  • Women who play victim. Or Men who play victim. The sort that weave sad stories of their whole lives, such that you feel such sympathy for them that you know their life is so bad or people treat them so bad. This was a lesson for me, and a difficult one to learn. Somewhere in you head, you ask yourself WHY? Why do these sort of things only happen to THAT person.. and then you figure it out. It's that person that put themselves in situations where they can be taken advantage of. I mean, if you're an older woman dating a guy younger than you by 8 years, then it shouldn't be a shock, when he leaves you for a woman closer to his age or when he breaks up with you and the relationship does not work out. The only think you could be a victim of, would be your own out of the box imagination!
Ahhhhh.. feel better already :) So am I crazy?

20 November 2010

It's Me

When I shave my head bare, I know you'll watch the roots grow back with patience.

And if I choose to shave it again, you'll charge till you loose, and then watch them grow back.

When I clean your room, I know I'll find nothing,

Because everything you own, will be in mine.

It was black, then it went white till there was light and then some warmth.

Then there was a smile, some laughter and life.

Stone carvings moved, then danced and rejoiced.

The earth turned green, then different shades of blossom flowers.

The sky turned blue, and fluffy like cotton candy but white like fresh spun sugar,

And yes it rained crystal water tasting bland and simple but hot and chilly too,

But there were rainbows studded with buttons attached to strings that tied everything together...

It was not turning water to wine, but it certainly is a miracle of its own kind.

13 November 2010

Tasty Tangles- A Review

This weekend was about Nandos, or rather supposed to be about Nandos. They very clearly advertised (through Facebook) that they were opening mid week, this week. A friend and myself eagerly waited for today, and lo behold.. we got to the proposed site (Church Street) and found it still under construction. Reminded me of the wikileaks site, which was still saying 'under construction' while the Iraq War Logs were being talked about in all the media spheres.

Anyhow, crestfallen, we sat at Matteo trying to figure out where on earth to go for lunch. And in a flash of brilliance, my friend suggested Tasty Tangles for a consolation meal. Located in UB City, she'd passed by it many a times while there but had not gone to eat there, and as she explained, it was Malaysian, Chinese, Indonesian food. I did not say no.

We hopped into an Auto, by then having met up with another Nandos enthusiast, and made our way to UB. We were presented with Asian style tick tick menus- tick the food you want. Dishes come in either S or L. S is a one person dish, whilst an L would be suitable for a couple. And after some excited exclamations at some of the dishes she and I recognized, we placed our orders. The ambiance on a sunny Saturday afternoon, was good. They have the smoking and non smoking sections and fine wooden flooring and decor.

Dish 1: Indonesian Chicken Satay

Price: Rs 199

Rating: 3.5/5

Liked: The closest to a Satay reincarnation that I've had in Bangalore. The chicken was marinated (plenty 'o' garlic!) cooked perfectly, albeit thicker than the ones in Malaysia. You get four satays and well, they come smothered in yummy peanut sauce chunky and a bit zingy with the chilli.

Disliked: There were two things missing in the dish. Traditional Malaysian satay is cooked almost like a barbecue, grilled and fanned over cooling coal. While being cooked, it's brushed with a combination of a sweet liquid (sugar syrup, condensed milk, honey) mixed with oil. This generally makes the satay's flavor smoky and caramel crunchy. Both these elements were missing, but hey, maybe sweet is not an Indonesian thing!

Dish 2: Curry Laksa with Chicken and Prawn

Price: Rs 189 (S)

Rating: 4.75/5

Liked: The laksa! It was beautiful bean sprouts, shredded chicken, fresh prawns (de-veined- they don't even do this in Mal!!), coconut milk, chilly, chicken broth, bok choy, tofu (not paneer), caramelized onions, half boiled egg. It was lovely to eat something so close to home and both my companions agreed, they would definitely order the same thing on their next visit. The below detractions are small minute things, and let me be clear, it in no way detracts from any merits to this dish.

Disliked: Um.. well, can I be super mean and say that it was missing the little sweet calamansi lime that adds a little tanginess? And also, the soup could be a little bit more flavored and less coconut milky and lastly, the noodles. Udon noodles are Japanese, Laksa noodles are usually of two types- rice noodles or thick rice laksa noodles.

Dish 3: Roasted Chicken Egg Rice (Substituted Jasmine Steamed Rice)

Price: Rs 399 (S)

Rating: 3/5

Liked: Get this. When this dish came out my friend was a very happy woman, because it looked authentic. Roasted Chicken accompanied with a portion of rice with some chilly sauce (chilly paste, ginger, lemon mix). The chicken looked impeccable and well roasted, with a shiny crispy layer.

Disliked: Essentially it was the chicken. Unfortunately, the chicken was a little over cooked, rubbery and dry. Almost like it had been left in the roast too long. We got the waiter (Bahadur) to take it back to the kitchen but we got served the same thing, heated with a fresh portion of rice (!!). It was a huge disappointment. On this note though, the staff is very helpful, and they made it a point to come by our table and ask us if we were happy with our dishes. The sauce was also a tad bit too pungent with chilly.

Dish 4: Shanghai Lamb Noodles

Price: Rs 399 (S)

Rating: 5/5

Liked: The tender, well marinated lamb in the noodles peppered generously with thick mushrooms (I thought they were fresh Shitake mushrooms, though initially I did embarrass myself from looking at them, declaring them to either be mushrooms, some kind of root or pork). The noodles were cooked well and honestly, my companion finished it quick enough for us to all know he thoroughly enjoyed it.

Disliked: He didn't say anything.. I didn't see anything and I even forgot to take a picture of it (he ate it too fast), I guess it was really good!

Watered down with: Jasmine China Tea

Price: Rs 49

Rating: 5/5

Authentic tea, not in a tea bag, in a nice pot, served in a nice little Chinese tea cup.. drank it all up myself.

Over all this place is a dream come true for me, I'm already thinking of going tomorrow. To try out the desserts, because my Laksa filled me up earlier, I actually did not get anything else. You need to definitely give this place a try, kudos!

12 November 2010

Because I am a Girl, and a VAIN one at that

Today, I spotted a single white hair hidden amongst black. At risk of sounding like a drama queen/ vain/ naive/ silly woman.. I was devastated! Rather, I am devastated. I suppose the time's finally come.. to let go of shiny black and embrace shiny white... BUT WHYYYYYYYY MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Do tell me, what did you feel like when you found you're first white? And if you haven't, do me a favor and don't say anything at all!

07 November 2010

Celebrations



This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 16; the sixteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.




It was a hard ground that felt like sand paper. When he started his journey, it was the soles of his feet that were in contact with the ground, but now as he pulled himself closer to the station, it was his whole body. His elbows were scraped, bloody and fresh scab peeled bled out to leave a trail of red on the wicked hot dusty ground of pain and suffering.

All around him slow moving bodies crawled towards the direction of hope, all along leaving patterns of blood, sweat, skin and pus. These bodies had seen civil wars, droughts, genocide and lived to tell a tale of a people who now belonged to a nation listed as one of the poorest countries in the world. This is now, but before the list, was a struggle of massive proportions, under reported and quietly hidden under layers of stories of people around the world.

They walked, then crawled, then dragged themselves. He saw another man slump down dead next to him, and a voice inside him said, one less person to fight for food with. Then it was his turn to feel heady, light and heavy at the same time. He ignored the calling and moved faster. And faster. And then a dark blanket, a receding sun, some wild gazelles, the faces of his family lost, the screams of the women, men and children raped, shot and tortured.


A steady stream of water was felt by a hardened nearly numb tongue. His throat was shocked at the coolness of the liquid and some where deep in his stomach, that lay forgotten, he felt some weight. Foreign voices speaking in hushed voices saw him struggle to comprehend the fact that he had made it to the refugee camp. They supposed that he would thank who ever it was he thought was responsible for his arrival but left him alone to celebrate his arrival, against those who'd petered our mid way.

*********************************************************************************

This write up was inspired by Burundi, a small country in Africa. One of the world's poorest regions, I am sure there are greater stories that are in the making but untold.




The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

06 November 2010

China Bowl - A Review


A friend recommended that we head over to China Bowl to get some Kuay Teow. It's located below Vicky's La Terrazza, Koramangla 6th Block. I'm sure everyone knows by now, that I'm a huge fan of Malaysian Food. Char Kway Teow, is essentially fresh flat noodles fried over a very high heat, to give it a charred or smoky flavor with cockles & prawns, bean sprouts & spring onions with soya sauce & chilli. Of course, there's many variants to the dish, but as I said, a friend told me that the best one he's had so far was at China Bowl.

I went to investigate. I wasn't sure where to place my expectations, as I had placed them high many times before and got served chop suey (at Chung Wa), fried flat noodles (every other "Chinese" restaurant). So the first thing I did was a quick survey of how everyone else was enjoying their food. The restaurant has a contemporary, clean feel to it. For a Saturday afternoon, it wasn't very crowded but everybody there seemed to be enjoying their food- wolfing it down more like. 2 other ladies asked for the home delivery menu and that made me a happy woman :)

Dish 1: Tom Yam Phak

Price: Rs 90

Rating: 3.5/5

Liked: We ordered a vegetarian tom yam, which is unfair really. Especially when you consider one of the main ingredients to go into a tom yam is fish sauce. If you are looking for a tomato-tangy and spicy, then this is it. I was pleased to find galangal & lemongrass in the dish, make sure you fish it out before eating. My companion loved the soup, and told me to make sure I wrote it in here too.

Disliked: The fragrance of turmeric, that seemed inappropriate. Though there was a lot of diced lemongrass the flavor had disappointingly not penetrated the soup.

Dish 2: Char Kway Teow

Price: Rs 120

Rating: 3.5/5

Liked: The char! Finally, Kway Teow with the fragrance of one. I ordered mine with prawns and the combo came the closest to the real deal. So my friend was proven right.

Disliked: The Indianized addition of carrot & well, the dried flat noodles (always reminds me of fettuccine). Some one needs to start peddling fresh flat noodles!! Also, the spring onions needed to be cut one inch long & bean sprouts needed to be much much more abundant. I recommend ditching the carrots and everything else extra in there and for the dish to be LOADED with the two.
Dish 3: Burnt Garlic Fried Rice Chicken

Price: Rs 110

Rating: 3.5/5

Liked: The fresh, soft eggs & chicken in the fried rice. I know I may come off as being fussy, but given the fried rice doesn't have much added to it, it's important the egg isn't hard and crisy but soft. I would've loved some bacon in the dish too, would've made it yummy in my tummy.

Disliked: I'm not too sure about this, but I think the rice was basmati rice. Seemed to be a mismatch to me. Basmathi is great in fragrance and I've always felt it's a great absorber of flavors. That's what makes it great with Biryani or Ghee Rice or what have yous. It doesn't complement bland too well.

Dish 4: Diced Chicken in Sapo Sauce

Rating: 3/5

Liked: The aroma of wine (white wine I thought) and the softness of the chicken.

Disliked: Everything else. This was a typical sauce, with the standard garlic and chili base, topped up with chilli and blah and blah. One of those things you've tasted a million times before, in the kazillion chinese restaurants.

And special mention on the pickled cucumber & carrots. I loved them, sweet and sour and not overly pickled with a nice crunch. I thought the kimchi was slightly different, there was obviously some dark/roasted sesame oil, that added just a hint of uniqueness. The chili sauce is also a nice addition to those who like chili on everything!

Portions were more than worth the money (reasonable prices), three of us ate all of these and there was still some food left over. The service was good, with constant filling up of the water glasses and what not. Overall, China Bowl left us all satisfied. Will we go back? Probably.. I have my eye on the roast chilli pork. Sounds delish.

04 November 2010

Khalistan

I know a man at work, who's a Sikh by religion and thought. We were having a conversation at work today, and I asked him a question inspired by another Sikh friend. I asked him what were his thoughts on Khalistan.

I don't know very much about the issue, I knew of Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Mrs Gandhi (1) and the Sikh cry for a separate state. I thought I understood why the government said NO... because we didn't want to keep giving everyone their own freedom, because a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. At least that's what I thought.

Then today I saw the face of a very sober, calm and generally happy go lucky Sikh man turn awry, emotional and angry. He poured out his frustrations, and dominated, a 15 minute conversation and there's only one thing I clearly remember. He said that this country treated their kind as terrorists, when all they were asking for was equal representation.

Now, I took a step back. Firstly, isn't Sikhism just a separate religion? And aren't all Sikh's a part of us, the Hindus? Apparently, this was the same mistake the state government's been making as well. He explained to me, that during independence they were promised autonomy. The right to exist as a free state, with Sikh laws favoring the practice of a Sikh community- within this state, they would not be minorities, they would marry as per their religious ceremonies, they would NOT be classified as Hindus.

I read it up, the story checks out. The problem was, while this was promised it was never delivered. And Sikh separatism began, to reach crescendo with Indira Gandhi's death and all that followed- and thus the 'Sikh' became a terrorist.

Amnesty International alleges the separatist groups are at fault for human rights violations. What is even more unacceptable is that it claims, the Punjab police, the Indian Army tortured family members to reveal information on separatists, raped Punjabi women on house raids amongst other things.

Soon all the separatists moved out of the country, and New India began. The rat race, the speedy cars, the inflating prices amongst other things. So we moved on.. that's what the books say.

But today I learnt something about this gracious country's past and present. We need to make some apologies not to the cause, but to its people. For those who did not go out and burn houses, for those who felt victimized, for a promise we have yet to keep. And yes, that means we have to admit that we have made some mistakes. And we need to make ammends. No one's saying give the land away, but we need to attempt to create a world were we can keep at least some of our minority citizens happy. Even though we all know, it serves no political gain.