Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The 4 day, 2 city weekend

- Madras and Bangalore
- Gifts Galore (2 dresses, 2 pairs of earrings, 2 stoles)
- Meeting of relatives in hordes - from both sides of P's family.
- Falling very sick one night and getting very well in the chilly evening air of Bangalore another
- Seeing my kid brother in law pick up his plates, wash them and put them away as soon as lunch was done. Gushing with happiness at the way some kids grow into their circumstances. I had nothing to do with it. Still.
- Seeing a side of one's spouse that makes you understand why you married him in the first place.
- Ice cream and brownies
- The 1st ever sub 30 degree July in Madras in about a decade.
- Feeling so very loved by everyone I know. Feeling it descend upon my being as I closed my eyes and let the music from Varanam Aayiram wash over my soul. On my father in law's amazing music system with 4 feet high speakers.

Sometimes, happiness is only in retrospect. And there are times when you know as you live through it.

This was one of those. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


Longish day at work. Hand is starting to hurt with the ergonomics of the new floor. Thankfully typing from the iPad doesn't hurt as much as typing from a laptop.

R left for Scandinavia on holiday this evening. She's such a jolly kid that the floor is quieter without her. Alas, you know what you have only when it's gone. :-)

I had an evening meeting with someone that went much better than expected. When two people are thinking practically, the chances of them agreeing go up exponentially, no?

Today was the day I decide to put my weekend grocery shopping to good use, finally. Fennel, brussel sprouts, organic red cabbage and such others. Ravi and Aruna brought some authentic pasta they bought in Italy for me to cook as well. The penguin helped me come up with a cool menu given these various ingredients and my need for protein and fibre in dinner.

So here's what i finally made - warm cabbage salad with red peppers, brussel sprouts, chick peas, sweet corn and feta + balsamic + walnuts for garnish/ dressing. And a fennel,onion and broccoli cream sauce with lots of dried herbs to hold the pasta. I have to say the salad was fantastic while the pasta was strictly ok. But with good friends, come good stories and the pasta sometimes ceases to be the focal point of the evening.

All is well with the world, and I'm about to fall into bed. Perhaps the lack of exercise in the past few days will give me a teeny paunch at the end of this. Perhaps P will come home to an XL sized version of his wife (and not notice as usual). Perhaps telling the story of how I met P twice in a week means some significant shift in the paradigm of the universe as we know it. But all I can now think of is how sleepy I am.

Good night world.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Decent day at work. Lunch with a good friend, followed by chai and gossip. Evening celebrations at wine connection, robertson quay to mark an important milestone on a project close to all our hearts. Dinner at lallus place with her lovely parents. And a prayer for whoever needs it the most now. This truly was a good day.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Of good Mondays

I gave myself the lovely Monday I promised I would. Work was relatively light despite 2 people on my team being out.

The intern is done with his term here and heads back tomorrow so there's one less thing for me to worry about after tomorrow. I'm not saying interns are a burden, but really, they are.

My brother still refuses to take calls. Sometimes I wonder who the corporate slave with a busy life is, me or him. Then I have to remind myself. It IS him. Bwahaha.

I spent almost 2 hours with 2 people that I could well have become. App developers that I'm working with for some database we want to create to record intern details for future analysis. I hope they didn't feel like I was trying too hard to be all tech savvy, because really, it would be a shame if they saw through my lame attempts to be the geek I no longer know how to be.

I then went shopping with R in preparation for her trip to Scandinavia next week. Japanese Shops that sell good quality yet cheap goods are simply awesome. We had the most decadent dinner at billy bombers - milkshake, onion rings (really, fatboys has ruined me for onion rings) and a burger. And to think i was gearing up for today to be a running day. *hangs head in shame*

Coming home to an empty house with no P in it is taking some getting used to. I'm glad for 8tracks and mint tea that are keeping me company. And the imaginary people who are now reading this blog.

Good night to some and good luck to others. Muah.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Weekend of 2nd June, 2012

P left for some work related travel on Saturday morning, and won't be back until next Sunday evening. We had known for about 2 weeks that he'd be gone, and I kept wondering what it would be like. Note that this is the 1st time since we moved in together that P is out of town and I'm home alone (usually, I'm the one traveling for work leaving him behind to manage home, hearth and loneliness :D).

Well, one thing I was quite clear about was that I'd make the mostest of my time alone. This isn't to say that I don't do single person activities when P is here. But this is different, you know?

I plan to make this week ultra special and document as much as I can to remember it by.

Saturday was spent seeing P off, having the house cleaned and vacuumed by a professional cleaning service, a homemade brunch of scrambled eggs and chai with vv (who is also pseudo single ever since his wife left for INSEAD), fantastic south Indian lunch at Ravi and aruna's (that sambar kicked ass!), walking around plaza sing with the penguin, crepes for dinner and a lovely night in with Andrea and the penguin (wine and good music played a big role).

Sunday started blissfully late. The morning was spent on phone calls with friends and family (with the exception of my brother who for some reason has no more interest in speaking with me), lunch was brilliant homemade burgers with mango relish at the penguin's, followed by a nap and an evening watching zindagi na milegi dobara for the 4th time (we just wanted the Mexican amidst us to watch a nice Hindi movie set in Spain). Finally, I decided to say my thanks and wish for good luck at the tank road temple and came home to a quick and easy dinner of broccoli and Parmesan soup with olive bread.

It's almost childish to document every minute of the weekend, but I hate it more when someone asks me on a Monday what I did over the weekend and my response is a stupid sounding "I recall it was awesome, I just don't recall exactly what I did". So, stupid as this may be, I have to do this to ensure I don't forget what a brilliant start I've had to the coming week.

For anyone in Singapore who has me on reader, note that I'm basically up for something fun every single day of this week, so feel free to call and make plans. If I don't make plans with others, I'll be cooking new things, running and watching movies by myself, so one way or another, this will be an amazing week :-)

Saturday, June 02, 2012


My relationship with food and cooking over the years has come to evolve in a way I never expected. As a 15 year old, I resented my mother whenever she asked me to help in the kitchen. I sometimes suspect I was born a feminist, because my biggest gripe was that she wouldn't ask my brother to do the same. (He was 9 at the time, but that's not too young IMO, although my mother disagreed.) Consequently, every request for help from my mother was turned down with "I have to study". The poor woman cared so much for my grades and my strange obsession with being top of class that she actually let me get away with such nonsense.

When I wrapped up my board exams in 1997, I could avoid cooking no more. Mom was scheduled for a hernial surgery right after my exams, and after she had been considerate enough to move it out to follow vs. coincide with my exams, I had no furtheer excuses to stay out of the kitchen. I had a grace period of about 3 days to learn about basic things like chopping vegetables, sautéing them, boiling rice and making dal (a very basic Indian meal, if you will), before she was wheeled into the OR for surgery. For the few days after, my father and I managed the house. He cooked weird concoctions that were somewhere between sambar and dal while I stuck to my expertise of basic dishes and the household chugged along. I abandoned cooking right after mom got back to normal and didn't go back to it until 2005 in Singapore.

Heres the funniest bit - in that new house in Singapore, with the 2 other girls that I share my apartment with, on our very 1st day in the kitchen, it dawned upon me that I knew more about cooking than anyone else in the room. And only one of them was interested in learning anymore. So aparna and I learned our way through this fascinating new world of spices and vegetables until we tired of the whole thing and got someone to cook for us in a few months' time. To cut a long story short I never got back to the kitchen until late 2007 when I finally moved into a house with no help.

2007 became the year I would recover from heartbreak whilst putting my heart and soul into anything and everything that could distract me - blogging, running and cooking. I was here a lot then, documenting my adventures almost everyday. I found out more about Indian food in that year than I ever have. Again, this lasted until end 2008, when I moved into a house with full time help. (I see a pattern here - unless necessity beckons, creativity keeps its distance as well).

Sometime in late 2009 P and I finally moved in together and that's when necessity and creativity all converged into a set of never to be forgotten kitchen adventures. An oven was one of our wedding gifts - and so we experimented with baking for the very 1st time. We rarely had anyone cooking for us, so we settled into a nice rhythm where I played chef and he was my very able sous chef. He handled the chopping and the cleaning, leaving me with the most interesting bits. This was a big relief from cooking alone for 2 reasons - P is wonderful company to have (good job marrying this one!) and my hand was in much less pain because he took over the most labor intensive tasks.

At some point, the Penguin suggested I subscribe to food network and Asian food channel, and this marked a real turn around in the quality of my cooking. Pastas were more al dente, asparagus was blanched before cooking, basil was never chopped harshly and our eggs were now scrambled to near perfection.

When Andrea moved to Singapore, it also marked a phase of more fibre and protein inclusion into our food. Her insistence on a 2:1 veg to pasta ratio in pastas really made an impression on me, and so did the racers toolbox routine that the company put me through. Making tasty and filling salads became the new challenge. With less time on hand (p was working by mid 2010) and a greater awareness of nutrition, dinner time came to be marked by soups and salads, and almost no simple carbohydrates.

The last one year has probably seen the biggest jump in our interest and abilities (not to mention, courage).there have been soufflés, homemade breads, tikkas, frittatas, pizzas, vinaigarettes, burgers and more. It has been tough to document every single milestone, but inviting people to partake of them has made everything more memorable.

I'm one of the few kids in the world, I think, that enjoys my own cooking more than my mothers. And with no disrespect meant at all, only because we have such different areas of expertise. She can never make a salad like I can, and I can never make sambar as she can. And no matter what food i enjoy more, through this whole journey, I've come to love and appreciate flavors and the effort that goes into blending them into what can only be described as magic.

As for the kid that said she would never step into the kitchen in her entire life, marriage be damned, I believe she is now eating her own words (and a lot more).

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Life in 2012

At the beginning of this year, Mogambo and I started our own private blog to try and ensure we held on to everything that was memorable/ happy/ eventful about the year. The rationale was that so many years (30 in our case) have whizzed past us, and so many memories worth holding onto have sometimes slipped our minds. Now having a 2nd blog is no excuse to not write here, but you know how sometimes living your life becomes more exciting than writing about it? That's how this year has been. More later, but for now, I hoped to give this writing thing another shot. There's enough to say even with how much I tell the people around me and write elsewhere, so for that and to sharpen my writing skills, I will come back here. Hopefully.