Friday, November 21, 2008

Can you think of a title for this one? I cant

Friday, wasn’t it a day of hair oiling back in India? I remember Ma telling me not to oil my hair on Saturday coz it was reserved for God Hanuman. There was something about him taking a oil bath on Saturdays and such. I don’t remember how that connected to not oiling my hair. Though I think she never strongly believed in it and hence wasn’t too pushy about not doing that. I also remember the long queue to the temple where people stood with oil and leaf mala to give Hanumanji oil bath. Often times the floor of the temple would be oily and slippery. I remember those little black things at the bottom of the oil vessel they handed at the store never actually fell on Hanumanji and how I always spent a few more minutes to ensure those always fell on Hanumanji. This annoyed most people behind me in the queue waiting their turn. Then came the part where you circled Hanumanji’s idol 7 times. Yes 7, not more, not less. So you keep count ok? There would be around 3 or 4 people circling Hanumanji at a time and each one reciting their own shloka, loudly enough for everyone to forget what they were reciting and start over again. Often times I either lost track of the sholka or the number of rounds completed. Unless Ma pulled me saying I started with her and we are done. Well the shloka reciting and round tracking wasn’t the only challenging part. Ensuring that your salwaar doesn’t get messy since the floor would be quite oily would be another one on the list of challenges. But the most and trust me when I say the most challenging part would be to- not slip and fall down. At one time I saw a women slip straight heading for a young college kid who also slipped dragging this other women to a dramatic fall. Me and my sis were behind them and gosh that scene was one funny picture. I don’t mean not to sympathize with them but people, people if you try walking at like some super speed, you have to carefully watch each step, don’t ya? Unless you know skating or something. The young college kid intelligently made his way straight out of the temple. Whereas the ladies ended up loudly blaming each other and the entire queue came to a halt. But even then going to temple on Saturdays was a ritual we never missed or at least tried not to.

Whenever Ma tagged along she found at least 20 people she would stop and talk to, grrrr. All the auntijis would then start the trickiest quiz. The quiz would involve some challenging questions which you try to answer with best either a yes or no. Each time the level growing tougher, question demanding more and more details. The aim was to collect as much information as possible, no harm intended. Question of the new stuff some neighbor purchased and information of how the 5th servant of some neighbour’s cousin from Vikroli quit would be provided without asking. Also there would be some critical evidence these auntijis would have such as how the women who fell, this wasn’t the first time she fell. Gosh now how does one manage to assimilate so much info I ask? Is there a stupid, stupider, stupidest kinda thing? Anywho this and lots of unwanted noise would then fall on my ears and I think my brain had tuned itself to filter this noise. But now that I think of it, the trips to temple were always fun. There would be nice vada prasad (the south Indian vada). Lots of people around, bells ringing when someone entered the temple, some dude who would ring the bell really loudly and people would look at him angrily and chant their stotra more loudly. The bhatji who seemed to be constantly in some kinda of hurry, managing his dhoti, reciting stotra and hinting people by mere looks and hand movement of where to keep the coconut, where to put the mala etc. And every now and then some dude would step to break a coconut into 2 halves and put coconut water on Hanumanji, thereby adding to the slippery floor.

Yet beyond all this, was the faith people carried with them. If you sat in the temple for a while, you would often see some youngster helping an old aunty (in her 70’s) who never missed her visit to the temple on Saturdays and never missed the 7 rounds around Hanumanji. Some stranger, a tenth grader would go around the temple distributing sweets coz he got admission in a great school. Just sitting there in the temple one could observe so much, isn’t it?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bake a Cake

This morning there was this big packet of candies in our office kitchen. I saw it when I went to get some water and told myself I would have one, just one after lunch. After lunch I went to the kitchen and it was all gone. Now who can eat so many candies at once? Has someone hid it in their office? I was so annoyed hmph! Lesson learnt- When you see a candy, grab it and eat it. I am so ready for the weekend I tell ya. Just to sleep in a little, not worry about work. And even more ready for holidays. This month and next, wow it’s like 2 long weekends, one this month and one next. So my resolution (Call it early new year resolution) is to experiment one new recipe every week, preferably on a Thursday or a Friday. Thursday to just get into the mood of weekend or Friday to actually celebrate the weekend. While I experiment and try out the new recipe, Jas adds perfection by tasting (now that’s a risk, isn’t it?) and adding any spices needed. Like he says, cooking is no art, just a science. You get the recipe and follow it perfectly nothing should go wrong. Well ahem! So this Thursday we tried Chicken Marsala. The first time I tasted it at Cheesecake factory, I simply loved it. When I looked up some blogs and website, realized its one of the easiest recipes. Am comparing this with rigorous Indian cooking involving grating and grinding coconut and all. So well all I needed was Marsala wine and patience. Voila! Yumm! Don’t believe me, try searching Chicken Marsala and you will find tons of simple recipes. What? Did you think I was turning my blog to some recipe blog? But since you all are so nice and are here reading my blog, I’ll share the link. Go ahead, try it and enjoy. And if any of you know some cool recipe link, please share. One thing I really want to learn is how to bake a cake. In India, there isn’t a huge tradition of baking cakes. My mum never baked one. I never learnt to bake one. Well, she did make some yummy Diwali sweets and I dream to learn them one day. But well, never a cake. Now being a beginner I would like to try out some simple cake, like mix and put in oven types. But I go to the store and look at these tons of packets, there is a dilemma of choice. So many brands, so many options, what to choose, which one? Oops its 5.37 pm gotta go. All you nice people enjoy the weekend cook some nice food and share some cake baking tutorials :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

What do you want to be when you grow up?

And it’s another Friday, time for another post. I don’t know when Friday became the day to blog for me. I guess it’s the happy feeling of weekend that motivates me to blog. Everyone around seems so cheerful and happy, just glad that it’s a weekend. I don’t have any gossipy gossip to share this week, so pardon me if this post seems utterly random. This morning started with watching a baby hippo video and god it made me so happy, yeah that’s how crazy I am. It’s been raining for 2 days straight and I am jubilant about it, even made ginger tea the other day. Seems just like July in Mumbai. When it used to rain in Mumbai I would run to the balcony to remove all the clothes put outside to dry. In that one moment I would look at the sky and forget the dry clothes, put out my hand and try collecting rain drops in my palm. Until Ma would yell “This girl doesn’t do one thing told to her”. Then I would run taking clothes from balcony to living room, dropping them on the sofa, while Ma would look angrily at the floor coz my feet would have wet the living room too. And then sitting by the window in train when it rained, oh how cool was that? I loved the wind on my face. Here it’s too cold to open the window hmph!

This morning my colleagues son came in office. He was screaming “Dad I want to be a fire fighter”. That got me thinking of all that I wanted to be as a child:

1. Wanted to be a doctor: Well yeah, until I realized they cut open stomach and such. I couldn’t imagine blood oozing and well just being around sick people didn’t make it all that exciting. Also my little brain would have squished due to all the trauma of studying those books.
2. Architect: I don't know what I liked about that profession. I just liked the huge drawing boards and sketching images. Until I realized how much math goes into building a one storey building and knowledge of sand and such errrr well I wasn’t so fond of it all.
3. Clown: I just loved that one character at the circus and decided that or the lion trainer, that’s it. That’s what I want to be. Until I saw the movie “Mera naam joker” or “Ek hota Vidushak”. Though I think, deep down am still a clown but putting up the act, nope not in my capacity.
4. Pilot: Oh man having wings, always wanted that. It was cool in those days, when women pilots were few. But the fact that I won’t see much land made me depressed. Skies don’t have trees, mountains, rivers, waterfalls hmph! And moreover I don’t take the whole take-off and landing too well ahemm. So that was dumped too.
5. Soldier: I was the one in my class to sing the national athem as loudly as I could. Stories of soldiers motivated me. I considered their attire was cool. But guess dodging bullet needs some completely different set of skills. One, I suck at running and two I am not sure I could ever shoot a human or any living thing for that matter.

Guess I still have a little streak of all these professions in me. I always was the medicine kit person for my family and loved giving a crocin or a cough syrup to anyone who asked. I still can’t tolerate a frame which is slightly misaligned. I still like to crack ridiculous jokes and make people laugh. Flying kite still feels like freedom. And finally, I am still a patriot, will always be.

Any of you wanted to join some profession you didn’t?