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Sunday, 8 April 2012

easter booster

there is absolutely no problem in the world that a wonderful baking aroma can't fix. i thought so when i was walking back home from the doctor's today morning. just for record sake. am not ill. but hospitals and their distinct smell doesn't always keep me feeling my best.

last weekend we made a trip to barracuda to replenish the 'stocks'. the resort now has an organic gift shop called 'fine things'. very fine display though the tasting samples were over when we stepped in. as it was snack time i picked a pack of cheese twists that made everyone in the car go mmmm while we drove back. and i told myself i must make this at home.

my mom, the original master chef i grew up with, used to make cheese sticks at home. if i recollect she used just mix flour, butter n egg to make a dough that was flattened [or was it puff pastry? donno!] , cut into ribbons and sprinkled with shredded cheese. i called her up today morning to get a brief on it but as usual we spoke of everything else but what had to be discussed.

anyway in the age of google and youtube, no one is allowed to miss anything or anyone for long! so i found it - the recipe. almost the same ingredients. those mentioned in the back of the organic cheese twist's cover had edam too. i got some of that too from careffour.

between work calls and social greetings i couldn't really stick to the recipe found online. and the oven was already screaming hot. i took the chance and just did what i felt like with the ingredients by mixing them all up and kneading and rolling and cutting.... but to my delight ntn went wrong. i knew that when i got the aroma. i feel alive.

here is the recipe to blu's edam cheese sticks:
mix together a cup of all purpose flour,  1 egg, 1tbsp corn meal, 1/2 cup edam cheese, 1/3 gouda, 1/2 tsp dry oregano, 1/2 tsp freshly crushed pepper, 2 sticks of butter, salt. knead well. roll it out into half an inch disc, cut them out into fingers and place on buttered baking tray. bake for 15 mins till golden brown in pre heated oven.

its yum just as is... or with sm marmalade!

happy easter!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

luna and bullet_1997 revisited

i thought it was 14 years back. no it was actually 16+ years - when i reached my grand aunt's house in kerala after my 12th grade for some extra coaching. it was the time when everyone was standing upside down to make it to an engg or a medical school in india.

delhi was still waking up from winters and i said good bye to my friends who were busy aiming for AIIMS and IIT. i was quite certain i will be back in the city even if i don’t make it through medical or engineering entrance exams. it was a funny phase in my life. i cudn simply tell my family that i don’t aim what they aimed at for me. i was not fascinated by surgical instruments or math and was bearing the brunt of having scored more than 85% in the 10th board exams. in my school they automatically put top-scorers in A-division where you are supposed to pledge your life to become either a medic or an engineer. i used to envy my friends who got 'only' arts or 'commerce'. to keep me focused better i had tuitions everyday after school. i was scheming to get out of the trap.

trivandrum was a new place for me. i loved the new freedom after 2 years of book cramming. new bed room was shared with 3 other girls - all an year or two elder to me instead of my little sister who was always aping me to get more attention. new food. my grand aunt and great grand mother and plenty of cousins to spend time with made it less of a study break. the place was surrounded by temples that woke you up with their bells and chants early in the morning. the street smelled of marigold and diesel fumes may be because the house had a flower shop next door and passenger buses running right through [almost] its front gate.

i met roona there. roona thankam varughese. she was my grand aunt's family friend's daughter. she was also there for coaching purposes. my grand aunt had two daughters - one was studying for engineering and the other was going to soon join the elder sis. we used to spend a lot of time together but i bond best with roona. i fell in love with her vechuchira-style of spoken malayalam. the 'achayan' [christians from central kerala] slang. she barely ate vegetables and fondly spoke of her mom's chicken curry like it was a beautiful poem. though i was a vegetarian and poor eater i was fond of the chocolates my grand aunt stocked in her fridge. roona also loved them. they were the same brand that her dad got for her from kuwait. we shared it along with plenty of hostel memories and early-crush stories from school days.

the flower shop boys used to tease us calling luna and bullet [for roona and babloo]. the rest of the street's bystanders would murmur something inaudible if you did not look at them. probably they were upset for not getting enough attention. i thought so. and used to make eye contact to know how different it would be for them to shut up when we walked past and roona would stop me from doing that. she was just like many of my cousins in kerala and the coaching centre class girls who giggled mostly only when no one was looking.

i found the whole exercise of crossing the street very exciting - so many things to look at. an old frail woman who seemed like would fall dead anytime... was found sweeping the temple gates unfailing everyday - all three months of my stay there. a young boy walked and skipped and ran all the same time with 20 t-cups full of 'elastic tea' yelling at everyone who came his way 'to make way'.

that was an age when you pick colloquial slang at the drop of the hat. i could trick people to believe that i was from either trivandrum or vechuchira. malayalam, just like english or hindi, is a very funny language with many twangs.

well the most exciting thing about those days were that we used to go to the terrace to complete assignments and stay long after everyone at home went to sleep. mostly only to chat and laugh... and eat chocolates. oblivious of what future was to be worried about. kerala has the most beautiful night skies in the world.

around that time was the town's biggest festival - attukal pongala. where a lot of women assemble to cook and offer sweet porridge to their 'mother' or favourite goddess who fulfiled their wishes each year for them to come back again with more women. as millions come here - its quite a scene. u can compare it to durga poojo in calcutta.

from the terrace we would get the funniest view of the day's event where various-shaped women with their various accents sat, ate, chatted all day and slept near their porridge pot. i will have to blog another time to write all about this festival.

roona is very special to me though we have kept in touch sparingly ever since the three-month coaching-class got over and flew off to continue studies in various cities... found jobs that were changed... found life partners [not changed]... could not even attend each other's wedding. she shortened my pet name babloo to blu in one of her greeting cards... and that is how i found i could just be B'lu you know! its my brush name if you noticed.

i met roona last week after 16 years. its an inexplicable feeling when u meet a good friend after so long. after the momentary 'o my god look how fat we have become' yell... we became the teenagers that we were - amazing moment!

there are these few things i feel am really fortunate to have – to have a friend like roona who came all the way from bangalore to meet me despite her busy work tour. and to be able to serve a warm homemade dinner after a long day at work. felt so loved and rested - when she hugged me. this will last till we meet next. hopefully not so long!

Monday, 2 April 2012

8 hours and counting

have u ever sat for 8 hrs straight? a long flight may be? as my wings are clipped today i sat tight on my seat and got on an imaginary flight to save myself from stale-dom. where did go? no where really. but if you can jot down a travalogue for mental trips then here is one.

ever since my blog is on my website and the site is active i have been a bit hesitant to post a post. but natural, i guess.

persecution complex? nay!

what is it then? it is PERSECUTION COMPLEX in capital letters.

i have been wanting to write about my day without food, water, loo break. it started today at 7.40am... and i keep sitting on as i type out. last meal was previous night at 7.30pm.... so in all 12+8 = 20 hrs of fasting without water!!!

not exciting! just as torturous as it can be.

why did i do it?

to find out how it feels to restrict myself. lock myself up in my desk - literally.

its really sick to be told that you are seen taking a break and that it means that you are probably 'free' or rather a 'time robber'.

very sad association. well let me face it - it was my bad day today when i got told to not leave desk as often.

and i actually wanted to know what it feels to be desk-ed.

terrible is an understatement.

I noticed that i was peaceful. i was not hungry though angry. i was able to do my tasks at hand. it affects no one but me.

and its better to just do your work and go home than worry about the rules and policies in an office - especially if its not your own!

today’s lessons:

1. empty stomach does not mean empty head

2. active mind keeps you peaceful no matter how upset you may be

3. when u mean it do it

4. when u do it mean it

5. stamina is built on endurance

6. unless you try you wont know what is possible out of the impossibles

7. its good to keep office colleagues out of the friends circle

8. its ideal to have friends outside office

9. its great to have your own time and space

10. its good to pray when you are hungry. hope is a good starter ;)