Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Football Widow's Diary Speaketh

Tom Brady we stand by you. Snow or shine.
Deion Branch, we hate you(atleast for the time being). And those darn referees need to be kicked in their butts. What was all those stupid calls? GRRRRR.
Anyone who passes comment on the Patriots game will be shunned :D

In other news, I am so kicked that Bengals beat Steelers. I still believe it was bad refereeing that cost Hasselbeck his Superbowl. Houzmandszadeh scored two amazing touchdowns and it is just an awesome feeling to watch the 'towels stink' :p

Speaking of Matt Hasselbeck, what a match he had! It was a wonderful game and Eli Manning was too lost to make any kind of comeback into the game.

Overall it was a pretty good NFL week. Pity we had to lose :(
What the heck?
We'll be back!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Do you know why

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy is a classic?

-- Because it is :D


I've been up since 6 AM. You know you are in for tough times when the first thing you notice is the coldness of the carpet. Carpet? Damn! Cement floors are supposed to feel cold not carpets. Summer, I miss you already!

One big mug of coffee and two pokes at The Mr's sleeping self later, I am cuddled under the rajai on our magic couch burning my favourite songs onto CD. No mood to cook our lunch or clean the house. Some days are like this, soft and slow; no amount of coercing would force your mind to think or act fast. I love such days when I can walk through it with a I-care-a-damn-if-I'm-late-as-long-as-I-make-an-entrance attitude :)


Okay, now my mouse pointer is playing hide-n-seek with me. I can't see it 'pointing' anywhere and I have to figure out its presence by randomly typing letters. So much for a smooth start. The songs I so meticulously burnt are not of great quality. Who would have thunk, two lines later my luck would change so drastically?

Anyhoo, the randomness of this entire post was just to tell you I've added a recipe to the Cooking Blog, and will add more in the course of the week :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Broken Patterns

Certain patterns remain the same even after years, despite the many emotional turmoils one goes through in life. Why does the mind always remember what one ate and puked at the Annual School day right after lunch at the neighbourhood Aunty's ? How and why did it make that connection?

There were patterns everywhere, even in the randomness of her mundane life, like the way she would stand in the living room and watch TV while brushing teeth. Years of shouting by her Mother and Ammayi did nothing to change that. Initially it was fun just to make Ammayi restless at her lack of finer feminine qualities. But soon she grew a liking for the burning sensation in one's cheeks when the froth had been held inside for too long. She would then slowly walk to the bathroom to rinse her mouth. When there was no TV, like the time she spent in the hostel, she would just come to her room and sit on her bed and stare at her sleeping room mates. But the pattern never changed. Not once.

Ammayi always stood at her post, in front of the kitchen with a tumbler of steaming, hot coffee and a big frown. That was another one of her pet peeves. "Young girls shouldn't drink coffee. Coffee will make you dark and your skin wrinkled like mine," she would claim. Shalini grinned widely and went to her room with the morning paper and wouldn't return till she heard Ammayi screaming about her being late for college.

For as long as she could remember, Ammayi had always been around. Shalini couldn't think of a moment not stamped with the smiling brown, wrinkly face, revealing her paan stained teeth. The day she rode her new Lady Bird bicycle and fell down, before she could feel the pain Ammayi was beside her, hurling insults on the many bicylce makers for their lack of integrity while manufacturing cycles. Shalini forgot her pain but not that soothing voice.

It was Ammayi's booming voice that announced guests and chided Shalini for her unkempt room and 'boyish' haircut. It was those knobbly hands which caressed Shalini's head and put her to sleep, every night. Every birthday, it was Ammayi 's voice that woke her up, softly humming a devotional song she didn't know the words to. And one day, just like that, without any rhyme or reason, that voice stopped announcing visitors.

She loved to stand and watch TV every morning, while brushing her teeth. One her way back from the bathroom, she would stop at the kitchen for a moment, grinning at a vacant spot before walking in to make herself a cup of coffee. Certain patterns remain the same how much ever we try to break them.

P.S: Title flicked from one of Suzy's latest beautiful renditions. Story was inspired by the title.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday Morning Flew

Fridays were my favourite, not just because they ushered in the weekend but it was also the day of 'Oliyum OLiyum' in the Doordarshan era. As a kid, I was quite regular with my homework. Amma & Appa had ordered this writing desk and a mini stool on wheels especially for me, from my grandpa (Mom's maternal uncle). I loved sitting on that desk and doing my school work. And on days when I got bored of the desk, I would lie on my stomach under the sofa, with just my head and hands out and write. And fridays being fridays, I was exempted from doing homework and I would spend all my time in front of the TV.

Do you ever wake up wishing you were somewhere else? I do. More often than I would normally like to. This is a beautiful country. I lead a luxurious life, in fact it is more than what I could have ever imagined in my little world but yet I long for the simplicity of the eighties, when the bell of the cotton candy man was enough to make you break into your best smile.

There is a bird singing outside our apartment and a few sparrows chirping sweetly to each other. Back in Tirunelveli, my Granparent's house was a traditional one with a long pyol(thinnai) in front of it. Every morning after washing the pyol, drawing the kolam, grandma would scatter grains of rice which would attract many sparrows. When Devi was around, we cousins fought among us for the honour of being "the one who brought the sparrows" for our li'l angel, every morning. The house no longer exists neither does our angel.

As part of every summer vacation in Tirunelveli, we used to stay a few days in Vadakathi Mathil, a truly remote village in the South. All the houses were mud houses with no toilet. Every one went to the woods/fields for the morning ablutions and then washed at the pump set. As kids who didn't care about the toilets, we loved to run across the fields, our skirts/trousers held above our heads, giggling and making fun of each other. After that age, I never wanted to stay in Vadakathi Mathil, with its open toilets and mud houses with no electricity. We lost those innocent moments, the day we grew up.

I doubt if my kids will ever see such traditional houses. Will they ever understand the romanticism of waiting for sparrows on a wet thinnai? Would they be ashamed to run butt-naked across open fields? One of the worst blows Fate ever deals is when it grants us what we want. Our superior technology, fancy gadgets and intercontinental travel. I wanted all of this. I surely did. I wanted a big house with atleast 4 guest rooms for all my cousins and their kids to stay when they came home, a big kitchen where all the aunts, grandmoms would meet,talk and fight about life, a beautiful garden with plants which my Grandpa can identify with eyes closed, a sunny verandah with an easy chair where Appa can retire with his many books and newspapers, a huge study filled with shelves and shelves of books where I would spend my time reaidng to my li'l ones....

The truth is I might get all the material things in the above dream without the people in it and that's what makes me wish I had never changed; makes me long for the uncomplicated life of yesteryears. Of budgets made in Eagle diaries, of walks on Marina beach every weekend and of oliyum oLiyum on Fridays.

Yes, fridays will always be my favorite. Coz Amma says, prayers said on Friday will most likely come true.

P.S: I need to cut short as I am very late for office.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Purple Nightgown

There it was, nestled between two old blouses I no longer fit into, my nightgown. I stopped cleaning and stared at it. Its bright colour seemed to talk to me from the deep darkness of my almirah, whispering my name seductively; a whisper I no longer wished to hear.

I never really liked it. Amma packed it into my trunk along with all the new clothes she had bought for me. "It's the latest design, kanna," she said unmindful of my protests. I could put up with the colour, a deep purple but what grossed me out were the yellow flowers and the white laces on the neck and sleeves. Three white buttons ran down the front of the nighgown which had more laces in some weird zigzag pattern. For some reason, Amma liked it and for some reason I took it with me.

I never wore it and definitely not when Vishal was home. He disliked nightgowns, even the seductively alluring flimsy one I bought on a shopping trip to LifeStyle. "Lingerie is a marketing strategy," he claimed. All those tips I received from my girlfriends on romantic and tantalising summer evenings lay forgotten in a deep corner, just like the purple nightgown.

I pulled it out from its hiding place and ran my hands through it. It felt soft, the laces were still new and the flowers were glaringly yellow. I ran my hands through the front, the white buttons conspicuous by their absence. I buried my face in it, taking in the moldy smell of a memory buried for 25 years; the memory of a passion that couldn't wait another lifetime.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Death by Choclate

For Vij,

The recipe for one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever had.
Hope you girls like it as much as my training group did :)

I will update the Cooking blog after the long wknd coz right now am all joshed about our trip to Montreal & Quebec. If only I can remember where I kept my camera charger :(

Have a wonderful wknd!

Celebrating ThoppaKutti

That's how Pillaiyar celebrated his day at our house, wearing party hats :)

Ever since I was a kid, the only God I ever liked or prayed to has been Him. With an elephant face and an adorable thoppai, he was the only one who looked more like a friend in my mind.

My first Ganesh Chaturti in Chennai as a toddler, we bought one of those clay images from the market, complete with a paper umbrella and garland. After all the celebrations when it was time to throw the idol in a pond, I threw a huge tantrum refusing to let them even touch my "friend". Amma claims that I rolled on the floor and wailed when Appa tried to take the idol away (I have no recollection of doing sth like that but knowing how I was/am a brat, it is a possibility :D)

Anyway, not wanting to get on my bad books(A wise decision if I may add), they finally gave in and "my clay friend" stayed back at home. Everyday I would do puja just for him and every puja ofcourse, began with an abhishekam. Now what I failed to grasp as a kid was that clay dissolves in water, albeit a little slowly. So with every passing day, my li'l Ganesha changed shape; missing a crown, an ear, a little bit of the trunk (The legend at home talks about how Ganesha sent all that clay back into my head but we shall not dwelve into that today). This went on till he was barely recognisable as The Elephant God tho to me he was always a chubby friend.

Then one fine day while I was sleeping (or out of town, I don't remember) Appa managed to take him out. I don't know if I cried or not after that but then later I found a miniature stone Ganesha to put my trust in, an idol I still have to this day. If you look closely in the pic, the dude wearing an orange party hat and standing in front of Nataraja is Him :)

This year I tried my best to make excellent kozhukattais but then when everything is perfect, sth else will go wrong. So Ganesha had to settle for kozhukattai paste( I had too much water in my idly cooker so they kinda stuck to each other like glue) which tasted very good but hardly looked the shape :D

Plus, I am sure He was just happy that I ended our argument and decided to talk with him and wouldn't notice the shape, or lack of it in his lunch :)