Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Food Blog

I must confess, I love eating. Which is one of my woes because loosing weight is becoming a loosing battle for me everyday, and I cannot stop eating! This is how my life sucks.

So anyway, I want to start a food blog, of things that me/my hubby cook. Simple and easy to make stuff. But I want to do it with friends.

If you think you would be interested to join the group and contribute to recipes that you love making, please be my guest and comment on this post. So when I create the blog you will also be able to put your recipes on it easily. What say?

Thanks
Anu

Dushera!


Growing up I loved this season a lot. First it marked the end of quarterly exams and beginning of quarterly holidays. I hate going to school and the promise of a ten day long vacation just made me happy. Of course the last day of vacation always made me sad and me, along with all my friends would look for Varuna's interference in bringing the monsoon a little sooner to our parts of the world. Which of course meant more days off from school and more play time with friends who lived around our house.

Then it also meant the coming of Deepavali. All I can say is that I have a few really favorite festivals and Deepavali ranks very high on it. I mean who would not like to go and burst fire crackers, dress up, eat amazingly good food, and hang out in the house for at least three days depending on what day D actually fell on.

I have been getting super nostalgic offlate. I think it has to do with the fact that my daughter is almost two now and when I take her to places, I explain everything in context with what I knew as a kid. For example, yesterday we walked into the Temple. The first thing to the left I saw Golu. Golu is arranging dolls based on a myth or some really cute dolls in small steps. It is definitely very Tamizhian to do it but I am not sure if any other states also celebrate Navratri in this particular way. So, I showed it to Babs and I explained to her what it is all about and immediately I could only think of my days past when I was a little kid totting along my mom from one house to another.



Golu


Mom used to dress me up in nice pavadai sattai (silk skirt and blouse) every day in the evening and we would at least visit a minimum of two houses a day. And this was the norm for the nine days. Some one or the other would invite us and we would sometimes have to go to as many as five houses on a single day. Of course only women were invited and my brothers would wait for me eagerly to bring in the dhonnai (bowls made from lotus leaf) filled with goodies, of which channa dal was the most common item. Each person trying to outdo the rest will always put a spin to things they give to us.



My daughter Babs wearing a typical South Indian pavadai sattai


First it was me accompanying mom because my brothers wanted my dhonnai. Then it was me taking mom in my two wheeler because we were now in Chennai and we could not just walk to friends house. Bigger city meant more travel. I used to wear my pavadai dhavani now (half-saree).

And then I had to drive mom around in my car. I was big enough to get my License to drive. It was so much fun. I miss those days.

I also miss seeing cars decorated for Ayudha Pooja. What a site it would be. It was also the day when most of the road accidents would happen owing to the large number of pumpkins that were broken to ward off evil eye.



Check out the decoration on the lorry. Cars will be decked up sometimes with small banana plants on either side. I am not kidding, people go really crazy to ward off evil eye.


We also had to put our books and pens and other things that would help us in life down next to god and take a break from work until the next day. I always had my math text and my Hero pen kept before God hoping that I would clear math...well that was until I was in my 9th.



Typical Saraswati Pooja setup. This is how it would look at my home too.


There was always holiday homework that we would have to do and obviously I would not have done it. And it would be this one day when I would need to take it out and work on it but amma would say a big NO to studying of any form. I would then sit up late to finish it off before school started the next day and then the wait for Deepavali would resume.

Phew...Long post...but this was a part of my life in India. Chinna Chinna Aasai...

Love
ART

Pictures above are not from my camera and are copyrighted to the following websites:
Golu: theiyers.net
The Lorry: photographersdirect.com
The Pooja: Priyaskitchen.wordpress.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Varayo Vennilave...

There was a time in my life when Brother and I would be next to our radio at 9 every night. It was time for a popular Tamil music show. I think it was called Geeth Mala. Also, there was the Sri Lankan radio channel that had real good Tamil music that we would tune in for. We would rarely miss it. We used to listen to comedy cassettes on our two-in-one and record our voices on a cassette to play it back when we would get bored during summer. We also had a record player in our house.

We would put our name down for the latest Tintin or Asterix that our lending library had acquired and would fight over it with other kids.

My friend would knock on the door very loud at 8 on Wed and Fri nights. It was time for Chirtahar or Oliyum Oliyum. We did not have TV and my neighbors across our door did. We would all watch TV together eating fruits and chatting. We would also see a program on animals called World of Science or World of Life together diligently.

Of course cricket, tennis and other sports were watched at the club which was just a stone throw away. Together we would cheer, boo, and cry. The club's canteen was always open to fill our happy or sad tummies. At that age I would go to the club to hang out with other kids than to watch TV.

We would go every Saturday night to the Open Air Theater in the club to watch movies, again we always made it into a picnic and fun event.

What fun memories. Our entertainment was plain and simple.

My dad got our first TV in 1989, and our township got cable TV the same year. They would transmit one movies a day and then had some random Russian and Chinese channels that sometimes had subtitles. The movies were fun though.

In spite of having TV in our house now, we would still go and watch it at our friend's house or they would come home. We wanted the company, the camaraderie and loved spending time together. Since TV programs were scarce those days, with Krushi-Darshan (Farmer's Vision) airing at prime time 7.00pm, we would all have dinner and go and hangout outdoors. Our parents would sit on the culvert outside our house and chat, while I would play with kids my size and my brother would hang out with his friends a little ways away. But, we were all together policing the place.

TV never ran the whole time. We had a lot of talk time and one on one interaction. We played a lot outside and enjoyed our time in the sun and rain. Crime rate was so low and life was so much simpler.

Now, things are so different. People are upset and frustrated if the TV does not work, if their favorite program does not get recorded on the DVR or if gmail goes down for half a day. Those days all this was non-existent. I cannot imagine I am saying "those days," already. But they are those days aren't they? Today this is an entirely new life.

For people born in my generation we have seen things go from walk man to a french fry size music player, from writing long letters to typing out words in a short form in e-mail. It was not a bad transition because we lived through it. My child might not know what a walkman is or what a radio/transistor looked like but she already knows what an i-phone is. I only wonder how my parents and yours kept abreast with these changes. Because, sometimes it gets difficult for me to catch up. I can only do either gmail or facebook or twitter at one time. Some people are at all three places at the same time. Phew.

I wonder how I lived those days. How could I have possibly entertained myself with just voice that came over a radio. How could I have written those 14 page letters to my friend in REC Trichy? How did I have the patience to wait for a reply? How could I watch Oliyum Oliyum that played one new song and 10 super old songs? How could I watch Rini Khanna read news on TV with barely any images? or watch a weather report that was outdated by 8 hours? When they said the storm will come tonight, the storm would already be over my house. But those days are simple...

I miss those days...

I remember a scene from the Tamil movie Autograph when Cheran will be riding on a bullock cart. The person driving the bullocks will ask him why he chose this mode of transport when he has so many choices. To which Cheran tells him, "I want to enjoy it before it becomes extinct and will only be present in the history books of little kids." Isn't that so true? Our life is not what it was and will never be because things that were a part of our childhood is not there any more!

In the end...its the memories that carry us ahead...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Selai Kattum Pennuk Oru Vasam Undu...

That is the first line of a song from the movie Kodi Parakuthu which stared Rajni and Amla. Well if you know me then you would know that I am a staunch thalaivar fan. I have always been one. The line tells that there is a special beauty for a girl who wears a saree. And oh my god! Do I agree with that or what???

Well the past weekend saw all my friends in sarees. It was beautiful. The color sarees bring to any celebration can be matched by none. It is stylish, classy, makes you look skinny, adds a glow to your face, and in all that it still comes out as being sexy. WOW! No wonder our country's population has no stopping point :)

When I was in school and college, I could never drape a saree myself. I never even tried. I would tell my mother and she would have one of her friends come and help me into a saree whenever I wanted to wear one. My mom draped a saree really well, but only for herself. She could never do the same for me. She would fumble. It was funny that we would both get into an argument and I would land up wearing a salwar suit. So from then on I had someone drape a saree for me. And I never learnt how to do it.

When I moved to the US of A, I was a bit lucky because I knew friends who knew the magic art and I tagged along, but when I moved to Dallas, I was alone. I had to figure it all out myself. I would call my sister-in-law over the phone and ask her to give me step by step instructions. It never looked right. I hated it. I slowly started to pay attention when friends helped me out.

Today after 30 plus years of existence, I could finally do it for the wedding this weekend. I got into my saree in less than 10 mins and I cannot tell you how proud I felt. I am the kind that is super comfy in a saree. I can run, dance, and do loads of masti in one but just could never figure out how to drape one. Now I have that conquered too! I feel so happy. And I am looking forward to more saree draping demanding occasions...bring it on people!

Love
ART

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alright! I will admit it!

I have said it here, and if you know me personally, you know that I can make small errors...like dropping a glass full of water or breaking a mug while taking it out of the cupboard.

But I am not irresponsible. I always return things to owners, I never forget important things and I keep my belongings to myself just fine. Well, that was until this weekend! In all the wedding Hungama for Sam-Shal's I lost/misplaced by Car keys and I have not been able to recover them yet. Numerous calls to the hotel and after bugging everyone I am still clueless...er keyless.

Thank god, as a forethought G and I had left a key with SD for a "just in case we lock ourselves out" deal and it came in handy. G got to go home with the duplicate house keys and bring our car keys.

I missed the reception dancing completely because I was running around trying to look for my lost keys. I felt really bad because I loveeeeeeee dancing and it was one of those rare receptions where G danced. G is not known for dancing. He is more of a verbal entertainer. But this time he got to dance and I could not even be there :(

The good part is that I was there for most of the reception which was super entertaining but at the end of the day I became, in Narsi's words, a Chabi-guma!!!!!!!

Love
ART

PS: Narsi, who cannot speak Hindi, called SD once a Chabi-guma because SD had misplaced his keys. It was hilarious because you should have also heard the accent and the emotion that went into it! And Narsi was there with me on that day when I was searching for the keys and aptly told me, so today you are the Chabi-Guma!


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Another Award!!

Thanks P...

I really appreciate your giving this one to me...means a lot...thanks for those kind words!

I want to pass it on to...

And Suchi...do you have a blog address?

These are the few who visited and commented in the last few posts! Thanks y'all. You guys make me want to keep writing!

LOVE ART


TAG!! Plus AWARD! Wow! What a nice combi

I got tagged by Shilpa and got my first ever award from her too!!! Yay Thanks...Sorry I have been kinda slow in responding...but here it is!

1. What is your current obsession?

Husband, Daughter, Food and Movies...

2. What are you wearing today?

Maroon kurti over black pants.

3. What’s for dinner?

No idea, depends on what I will pick up at a store.

4. What’s the last thing you bought?

A gift for my friend's wedding.

5. What are you listening to right now?

Silence and someone typing away in the background.

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

That she writes good blog...esp her midweek masala *wink* *wink*

7. If pigs could fly…complete the sentence?

Imagine the amount of stinky poo you would have to dodge falling on your head...yuckkk...gross...

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?

simple open toe slippers and a nice A/C system. I live in Texas and we take summer very seriously here.

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

To my parents house.

10. What is one thing you want to learn to do? (changed)

To bake and decorate cakes...

11. What’s your favourite quote?

Live and let live.

12. Who do you want to meet right now?

My mom and dad

13. What is your favourite colour?

White

14. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own closet?

My new halter...one and only...love it! Makes me feel nice.

15. What is your dream job?

I have a few...cake decorating topping the list right now...

16. What’s your favourite magazine?

None really.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

Shoes. One of those nice yummy pairs I have been eyeing for a long time now.

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

I really try not to judge that part...because I suck at dressing myself up decently...you can wear whatever but if you do not have the right attitude to carry it off then the whole ensemble will look bah!

19. Who are your style icons?

Few of my friends who dress like divas...I love to see them in different things and learn new stuff everyday!

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?

Short and layered...but have not had a short haircut in a while..Sept 18 you will see a blog on my new hairdo!

21. What are you going to do after this?

Work

22. What are your favourite movies?

Swathi Muthyam (Sippikul Muthu), Vedam Puthithu, and now Kamineyyyyyyyyy

23. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can’t live without?

Moisturizer, compact, blush, eyeliner. Always...I rarely go out without them on me...and if I ever do, I love it! I like natural but living in the US has made my skin super dry and I have to have moisturizer...which then makes my skin glow...so the compact...which flattens my face...so the blush...and I always wore eyeliner since I started college in India.

24. What inspires you?

Achievers.

25. Give us three styling tips that always work for you:

  • Jeans that fit well...both front and back.
  • A nice top that will try to hide the imperfections of front and back well but not look tacky.
  • Definitely Earrings and good sandals/shoes.

26. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?

I sulk. I feel sad. I talk to G about getting me some retail therapy. I of course, never do that...but land up finding my favorite jean and kurta which I have worn for about 1000 times now...at least.

27. Coffee or tea?

Tea!

28. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

I play with Babs, nag G make him feel bad too...and then probably watch TV/movie and feel better...hopefully.

29. What is the meaning of your name?

Small, Atom

30. Which other blogs you love visiting?

I cannot list each and everyone out...I love all the ones on my blogroll and more...

31. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?

Anything sweet...Can't get enough of sweetness in the world.

Warm brownie with vanilla icecream, topped with hot chocolate...yummm....

32. Favorite Season ?

Summer, when the heat is out, I am out of hibernation too.

33. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?

I am going to make G make some Pizza for dinner...so you will defi get that. I also do have some left over Aloo Palak that I made...so you can help yourself to that as well :)

34. What is one book that you would suggest the whole world reads?(new question)

Life of Pi. I really enjoyed reading this book.

Rules for those who are tagged:

Respond and rework – answer these questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own, and add one more question to the list. Then tag eight or ten other new set of people.

I would like to tag:

  • Asheeta (you are such a lazy ass that you need to do some writing and get that blog of yours going...
  • Megha.
  • Poorva.
  • Prashanti
  • Kavita
  • Shar
And everyone who is interested to do it. You are welcome to do so. And guess what...you get to keep the award as well!!! Yay!




Love
ART

Friday, September 04, 2009

'Tis one of those...

days when I want to say so many things but my fingers feel numb and don't want to do much typing. Yet, I am trying...

I have questions...do you have answers?
  • Do you think you are perfect? And if you are prefect, do you see others as being imperfect? And if you think so, do you go around flaunting your perfect-ness and correcting others?
  • Why is that, this particular long weekend is not exciting me?
  • Why do I hate changes so much?
  • Why am I not happy when I should be elated?
  • Why am I a heartless Bitch sometimes?
  • Why? why? why????????
Actually I am not in a total sad mood but right now thoda not upbeat...

Anyways, I saw someone online who had been missing for a while. When I pinged him he told me that his mother had passed away. I was at loss for words. It gave me a super jolt and I told him how sorry I was. He told me not to worry because he was fine. I was surprised to hear that but I was also happy. And then a whole set of thoughts ran through my head...

I remember my mother mourning for my uncle. She would not step out of the house of talk to anyone but us for more than six months. She somehow could not get herself to meet people and discuss it. So dad did not invite anyone over and mom did not go out anywhere with us.

And here, I see my friend online, if only for briefly, I was still surprised and shocked. Not that I judge him, but it just made me think. I concluded that in my mom's time greeting the milk man at the door every morning or buying veggies from the door to door vendor would be today's equivalent to being online. It is something we have to do no matter what the surrounding circumstance is. Mom could not avoid cooking and we cannot avoid checking emails or just seeing what is happening in the world through our 17" monitors.

When I had Babbi, I had to be online the very same day. No matter what. I had to check email, send pics, and all those things. But in my mom's time, I am sure she took rest or spent time admiring me...

Anyways...enough of my sadness on a Friday before long weekend...

Hope everyone has a Fab Labor day!

Love
ART

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

And then it happened...

When it did, it did not feel like anything big. It was simple and easy and we did not pay much attention to it.

I was making a phone call from his apartment. No one was there and I had a long chat with a friend of mine in Mumbai and was talking to her about G. She had found out information regarding G from common friends and she warned me not to date G because he was mean to one of her friends. I told her, "whatever," because in my mind I liked this guy. He was cute, funny, smart, intelligent, blah, blah, blah...

G came in just when I was hanging up and he sat down. I got up to go back to my apartment when he asked me if I was in a hurry. I said, nope. The only deal was that school was starting the next day and I wanted to get organized a bit for that. He told me to sit down and chat for a bit and I sat down and we both started talking.

He told me about his past and I did about mine. It was literally like we were both laying our past in front of each other trying to start something new. And at the end of it, when I expected nothing, he held my hand and told me, "I think I like you."

I was like, "what do you mean like me?"

"I think I like you as a person, as a whole."

And I was silent. My heart was racing. I had wanted this to happen forever since we became friends, which was like 5 days ago (on August 15th) but not like this. Well, I actually had no plan for it. Now I was scared that if I accepted too soon, then it might seem like I was being too ready. While I thought for a few seconds G asked me, "what are you thinking?"

"You are talking about serious thing leading to marriage?"

"Well, I am too young for that now, but if things work out for that long then why not?"

"Ya, thats fair enough. Because even I am not ready for a commitment you know."

"I agree."

Thinking I am super smart I told him, "Can we wait till the end of December, be friends and see how that works and then decide if we want to date?"

"Sounds like a plan." Now what man would not like to have a non-commital relationship? I think I gave him exactly what he wanted.

But unfortunately for him, from August 20, 2000 he was hooked to me for life. Little did he have an idea of what was waiting for him starting the very next day.

On the very first day of us being "friends-to-be-dating" I probably gave him hints that I was looking for something more serious than just trying it out and being friends.

  • I demanded that he go for long with me on campus late in the night.
  • I demanded he hold my hand.
  • I demanded that I know about everything he is upto. No secret between friends right?
  • All these and many more...

Well, in short I was being his girlfriend! Poor G did not make me sign a friendship contract and he was in it for life.