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156: Another Holiday Monday

5 Jun


What if I become broke? But oh my darling, what if you become rich?

I couldn’t help adapt the popular quote to this bookshop that I first visited as a child. It was a new experience because this was a bookshop of a different kind; one where they sold old books that smelt the best and even took back books you’d finished reading. 

It was just normal instinct to walk into a bookstore enroute the restaurant my friend A and I were heading to, to stuff our face with Mangalorean ghee roast crab. 

Our afternoon was delectable, to say the least. 

155: Sundays Of A Different Kind

4 Jun

This was spent sitting on a wooden seat at St. Patrick’s Church during Sunday mass, taking in Sunday mornings from a different perspective. 


It was followed by this debauchery with R, over conversations, laughter, reminiscing, and joy. 


Apt for a Bangalore Sunday morning after a long time. :)

Now on to the match!

154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

152: Homeward Bound

1 Jun

I’m off to Bangalore for a short while, dear friends. It’s a break I have been looking forward to, naturally, and now that it’s time to leave (yes, I’m writing this after my successful book hunt at the airport – I picked up Maharani Gayatri Devi’s memoirs), the wait has become even more unbearable. What once used to take us days to reach by train, now takes us not more than 3 hours – we’re fortunate; but now even these three hours feel like a lifetime. My check-in was smoother than I’d imagined at this hour – and everything went off with a happy, genuine smile from both sides – from the lady at the check-in counter to the lady at security check to my coffee waitress. It’s a great way to begin a day, that’s for sure.

I hope to be able to write regularly, but there might be more cheating involved during this period than I’d like to acknowledge. I’m referring to blog cheating and food cheating, of course. Sometimes it is hard to draw the line between these secondary forces that pull me to Bangalore – is it the food, the weather, the memories, the walk back in time?, because the one thing I focus a lot on, is food. I’ll write more about memories on a later post; but food really seems to take precedence. Going back to what I was saying is that I hope I can maintain this venture while I’m busy stuffing my face with the madness Bangalore has to offer.

See you on the other side, dear reader! Have a pleasant and colourful June! :)

151: Magical May

31 May

Here’s what it’s been like in pictures. 

Hot. 

Relaxing. 

Experimental. 

Filled with debauchery. 


And just plain amazing!

149: A Day In The Lives Of Most Of Us

29 May

I woke up very early for a Sunday. Given that I had to go in to work as well, it felt oddly fine to get out of bed before 7am; after all, there’d just be more time to do the things I’d wanted to do. Sunday mornings, according to me, ought to be spent savouring the best the weekend has to offer – it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s pleasant, it’s the calm you need before the rush of yet another week begins. Therefore, in order for my Sunday to be perfect, it needs to be hearty in a subtle, non-overpowering way. For that, I have always imagined either sipping my tea whilst inhaling the aromas of a freshly baked cake rising in the oven or while digging into said warm cake as I have my tea. There’d also be the ambient sounds of chirping birds, the rustle of a newspaper, the crack of a biscuit or two (though they don’t really feature in this act when there’s cake around), minimal conversation, and perhaps the subtle seduction of a guitar playing in the background as well. I achieved some of this yesterday; except there wasn’t any cake fluffing up in the oven because I’d run out of baking powder and hadn’t bothered remembering to get a new bottle. I sought the company of my blog instead, when I still had tea to drink and was done with my papers.

Today was a different set-up. It did involve the appropriation of my Sunday morning fantasies, except, it looked and felt a little like this; something that may be all too familiar to you as well.

Please note that this is the dream I was trying to achieve – sipping on my cup of tea with A, while reading the newspaper in the ambience of chirping birds and the aroma of a cake.

I woke up and by default put on some water to boil for tea. In the meantime, I got the ingredients for my cake ready, and was just about to start on this process when; and I will use the now atrociously common phrase “but first let me…” (not take a selfie, but…)

…add milk to this boiling water for my tea.
…scoop this cream that’s collected on top of this bowl of milk and keep it aside.
…gather all the cream I’ve been collecting and make some ghee (clarified butter) out of it, since I already have the cream at hand.
…turn the tea off (it was done by then and was listlessly boiling away and becoming too strong for our liking)
…get the process of ghee-making started
…put my cake batter together
…oil my hair so I can let it rest while I have my tea, leaving me with enough time to wash it once tea is done.
…turn the tea back on (it had cooled down by now)
…wake A up, because I’ve become his alarm clock now.
…get our tea and biscuits on the table (the cake was in the oven)
…say hello to my plants which are now outside my house (as A opened the door to get the newspaper)
…read while I have my tea
…but wait, let me Instagram this perfect moment
…skim the ghee off the kadhai (wok)
…enjoy my tea-time. Babska, enjoy the present moment, always.

This is endless. This happens to each of us. This has become a regular feature of my life which, if given precedence over everything else, takes over my ability to do one thing at a time (is that necessarily a bad thing?!, you’d ask), or anything else that I might wish to do (like sleep, for example).

Some may call it the ants-in-my-pants syndrome; I just call it the this-domestication-gives-two-fucks-about-living-life-in-the-moment. Sigh.

Having said that, I did end up having my (still) hot tea with biscuits, as I instagrammed a photograph and then proceeded on to read, while enjoying the ambience of birds, the rustle of trees, the shuffle of the newspaper, and the smell of freshly baked cake and homemade ghee that was bubbling away, all in the company of A. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and a great Monday today. :)

142: Cheating

23 May

Today I’m cheating, and confessing about doing so. Yesterday was one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a long, long time. The school is at its fractional strength what with all the kids, except the senior students, already off. It was quiet, calm, serene, and it had rained. There was no clamouring, no crowding, no shouting, no hurrying. If this is a blessing, then I feel blessed. I even got to walk back home in a faint drizzle and under an overcast sky; there’s nothing more a Bangalore girl can ask for during a harsh North-Indian summer May Monday.

And then my internet died on me just when I was about to ease into some yoga which I haven’t been able to indulge in for an annoyingly long time. Therefore, out went my yoga and out went any chance I had of blogging as well. So here I am, writing about yesterday, today. And therefore I confess.

Yesterday was meant to be enjoyed in its entirety I presume. So there was some uninterrupted tree and sky-staring time, followed by a long conversation with P which ended a good hour later when her baby had a poop-blast situation. Because A also got back home much later than usual and I had time at hand, I did what most self-respecting domesticated wives do – cook. I made today’s lunch, dinner, and perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast as well, last night. There’s so much food in the fridge, A exclaimed, almost in fright. I’d say there’s no better friend than boxes of fresh home food to tide us through days when the last thing I want to do is cook.

There’s a box of black chana stew, dalia (a savoury broken wheat pilaf), cabbage stir fry (made in a mixed north-indian and south-indian style), mangalorean egg curry, leftover rice, dal, one piece of tandoori chicken, and some other essentials – that’s enough no? :P

140: For Ma

20 May

This cake was a long time coming; one that I’d been dreaming of making but just never got around to investing time over, until today when it just happened. Needless to say, it was the most effort I’ve ever needed to put in for a simple tea-cake, but the results, as you can see, were fabulous, and just thrilling, to be honest.

Today is ma’s birthday, and it was absolutely fitting to have this bubble up in my oven and fill my house with the fragrance of love, and all things that ma is to me, and each of us. Besides, she loves her teacakes, and I cannot wait to make this for her, because we all have an Alex in us that needs to bite the Marty in us too. :)

This reminded me of two years back when I made ma her birthday cake at home; it was also the year I was moving away from home and her nest. It had to be doubly special for reasons still too emotional to describe.

Time flies, and here I am, sitting with another cake over yet another year that has arrived at our doorsteps.

While I can’t be with her on this day, and couldn’t be with her on this day last year either, this sense of serendipity makes up for it somehow.

Love is ma. Love is a freshly baked homemade cake, too. :)

134: Sunday Specials

14 May

While I stewed a brilliantly fragrant batch of dal, I hopped in for a leisurely shower (just before the water began to heat up thanks to the mad heatwave we’re undergoing), waltzed out, fried us some papads to go with our rice, dal, and salad meal, and had lunch ready for the two of us. A cooled down our hangout room, drew the blinds, poured us some beer, and had Bahubali 2 ready to watch. Little did I think I’d be watching the movie, forget watching it so soon. But watch it we did. I’ll tell you that I enjoyed both my lunch and the movie, but felt more satisfied by the former, and the experience, than the movie itself. At the risk of the many brickbats that have already flown my way, I am glad to have seen it at home, because it went on for longer than I could sit. As fantastical and intriguing as it was, I switched off periodically, especially when the sfx took over more blatantly than my unimaginative mind could stomach.

We had chilled mangoes to complete the experience, and as if that wasn’t enough, I cut myself whatever leftover banana cake I could, and had that with some ice cream as we closed the movie as well. It’s insanely hot outside, and everything has come to a standstill, including the forest that is growing on my arms and face, because we just can’t. It’s making me eat more, and eat sweeter colder things more. I cannot understand this shift in eating habits, but it has me scared because of just how much junk I’m consuming in the name of “light food”.

We watched planes last evening, once it’d become dark and was okay to step out for a drive. Of course a lot of me was tempted to hang on to a plane and get the hell out of this hell hole to a place where the breeze blows cool air and where the signs of rain really do usher in some rain and respite. I am not complaining, as much as I am lamenting the ghastliness that is this furnace we’re living in. And to think it hasn’t rained yet.

But I’m not letting this take away the specialness of my Sunday. Not now at least.

133: Friday Feels and Saturday Spiels

13 May

I didn’t, or couldn’t write much at all yesterday because I had a dinner party to huff about even though it was clear that there was no cooking on my part to do. Barring throwing some fries into the fryer, ensuring we had enough ice to soothe six summer parched party souls on a Friday night, keeping the beers in our fridge chilled the way my family likes it (though that was A’s job to take care of), and figuring out where we wanted to order from, there wasn’t anything else I had to do really. Except, I still was flitting around in those feels (also why I posted the picture I did, yesterday).

And that’s because the host in me, and more importantly, the dessert-maker in me couldn’t digest the fact that I hadn’t got anything to offer my family who was spending dinner with us yesterday. It’s a blasphemous thought, especially when I’m everywhere on social media when I bake, and nowhere when I have guests over. So in went a stack of mousses that I’d infused with coffee and layered with toffee cake crumble, ready to set for when it’d be time for dessert.

Except they hadn’t set or weren’t even close to setting. To be fair, it wasn’t a dessert to be made on short notice, and expect to set especially quickly under the summer circumstances that we currently are in. 45 degrees is no joke. Anyhoo, a prompt banana sponge was baked which not just added some literal cushioning to my semi-solid but beautiful mousse, but also made my house smell like it was the place to be on a Friday evening. I promise there isn’t a more inviting smell than that of freshly made food.

I’ve no idea where the evening went – before I knew it, it was past midnight and we’d packed my tipsy happy family in their car back home. We have leftovers to party with today, so there will be no cooking whatsoever; just shameless after-party binging of butter chicken, butter naan, chilled sirke waale pyaaz (pickled onions in vinegar), and of course some beer and tv to go along with it.

I reckon this is how some weekends ought to be. With exercise, which A and I seem to be avoiding like the plague. What a killjoy that was.