Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Letter to Heaven, with Love….

A mother's love's a blessing, no matter where you roam,
Keep her while she's living, you'll miss her when she's gone;
Love her as in childhood, though feeble, old and grey,
For you'll never miss your mother when she's buried beneath the clay
(author unknown)

There is no love, like a mothers love. There is no strength, than your thoughts give me, There is no bond, that is stronger than ours..
Its strange that the day you left me is the mothers day…to make the pain so unkind… but memories help me get through.. when I feel so blue.
God being my guide, and you being my strength.. I wish you mothers day with all my love.. till I we meet again…sooner or later.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The way to a mans heart!!!

I am standing in front of everybody with my tear glands going to break, my feminine force going to over power my strong decision not to cry. Trying to control my tears, which might at any moment ooze uncontrollably, I was wondering how careless I can be. Its neither the burn that hurts, nor the red rimmed black mark over my lips that might leave people asking “Oh .. what happened to you, BS?” but the awful truth that the seemingly careless BS is still a long way to a mans heart through the culinary skill.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Born in a small traditional Indian family of countless cousins and big team of siblings.. large enough to make a cricket team, in Spring valley, I have heard this proverb at a tender age and I knew the importance of cooking. Every day was a celebration at Tharavaadu. I could feel the mixed small of spices and delicious curries Ammachi and aunts used to make not only tickled my taste buds. Being in boarding school from a tender age, art of cooking was always a mystery to me. May be that’s the reason why I was scared of that 7 letter word. When I reached primary school, one of my worst fear was about my poor culinary skills and I was worried what if my man doesn’t like my cooking.. I could imagine a fat and stout man with big mustache tasting my food and throwing it spinning the product of my hard work all over the place…

During the vacation time, I was allotted my share of work in kitchen. I would imagine myself making the typical hot and spicy meat curry with the Kaattirachi my grand pa would have got the previous night. Or I would think myself as a master of all the appam varieties .. my grandma would make like the soft puffy Paalappam, bit hard kallappam, my favourite cake like soft vattayappam, our Indian noodles, idi appam. But every time when I try to help them, I would be told other work like peeling the onion (that the worst and work I have ever done.), washing the plates or cleaning the room (this is rare). Kids were always given the task of ulli polikkification (peeling the onion). Its is not chuvannulli, then it is savaala.. or else veluthulli. It’s a never ending work.. when we are done with one batch of ulli poliking for irachi curry, next will come for thoran, and by the time we are done with that ullies will be ready for mezhukku peratti. And if we try to help the elders after this ulli polikkification, and plate washing, we are considered as total nuisance trying to invade their land. We would be told to go and play. With no option we wold take leave into the coffee plantation or the forest behind till dawn. My holidays will end with my plans shattered but becoming an expert in ulli polikking.

When I came to high school I started trying my hand in exotic cuisines directly, skipping the basic cooking. The only person who never complains about my food is my dad. when he, who finds it difficult to appreciate the best food my mother-the master chef makes, says my food is Good. Its the best appreciation I could get. My brother whom we call poutery farm, who can eat anything endlessly refuses to take what I prepare.. (what an insult). I was considering myself good in cooking when the greatest shock I got. My father got me a cooking book. That was a warning for me to improve my cooking.

The other day I spoke with Uncle J.Kadaplakel (don’t want my aunt to identify this uncle and see my uncle malnutritioned, losing his weight along with his hair, being deprived of F-O-O-D). part of it went like this

Me: hello uncle J?
Uncle J: BS, so what you doing at home?
Me: what else, trying my hand in cooking. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. u know’
Uncle J: so trying to trap S?
Me: kind of’ *giggle*
Uncle J: even your Aunt tried that. And she is still trying that.. *smile*
Me: did she succeed? *curious smile*
Uncle J: that’s what I said.. she is still trying *hearty laugh* even after 16 years.

Though I know both of them are happy together it’s a warning to all married girls.

Every time I try my hand in culinary skill, I will be left with a memory that will last at least for a week. Mostly it ends up as black marks over my skin. One of the basic and important point when you use cooker is to make sure the vent of the cooker is not closed. One of the best ways is to blow through the weight of the cooker to see it’s not blocked. It works. It works fine every time …when somebody does, but not with me. Today I was trying to make the Erisheri. The the beans was no cooked well even after two whistles. I thought of keeping it again and I assured the weight is not blocked before replacing it. I remember myself trying to blow through the weight and I heard a sound SsshhHH similar to the sound you hear when you pour water on the big tawa in Thattu kada to make mutta dosa. I was left with a funny mark on my lips. The hot-hot metal had left a goofy mark on my lips.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Is it really true? Tell me its not!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Height of Boredom!!!

Its an illegal photo.. but I cudnt leave without capturing this beautiful funny snap from Seematti.. the temple of silks.. in kottayam. I guess the baby's mommy might be busy shopping somewhere there..
isnt it Funny and Cute?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Indian driving

After several years in India, the road rules I am used to, coming and getting used to US road rules is tougher than my ever-hated pharmacology exams. Driving in India is an art, and a game unlike in US where they just follow the rules. Being a born non-follower, and a believer of the rule that “Rules are made to be broken” I was thinking of the Indian traffic rules.In India I am a believer of Karma. Depending on karma either you will survive or the other driver will survive.

Me in India: I love blowing the horn. It’s a way of expressing myself and letting other drivers joining me. I express frustration, happiness, sadness, irritation, or to wake up the sleeping dog in the road.. and I am happy others will join me with no objection and it will continue like a music (more like my brothers music). He who is loudest gets the right-of-way here.

Me in US: I doubt if their cars have one because I never hear any body using it. Am waiting for a chance to use it on somebody (at least I need to check if the horn is working, right?)
In fact I have forgotten the use of horn.

Me in India: I love India and driving in India. I just follow the instinct or move in my intended direction, whether it is left or right or center of the road. I can squeeze through the traffic, no matter from which side
Me in US: one of the major causes of husband –wife fight (i.e. us) here is the left and right hand ruleof the road. My sweet hubby kutty and paavam me goes out for a romatic evening for dinner till we reach the corner, and he tells me to keep right while turning left and before I could hear that it would have reached the left curb and my hubby kutty becomes an expert takes the vehicle back to the right lane. (that’s a rare occasion where I get to hear the Horn) Not only he becomes an expert in road.. but an angry, unromantic kettion. That’s not the end of it.. but the end of a romantic evening too and I sleep starving to death. :(

(I do not know why hubby-kutty who drives at 110 mph at a stretch in US free ways in LA-San Diego gets high BP when the highly expert and experinaced taxi driver tries to maneuver through the busy Bangalore Residency road through the narrow space between the Karnataka BMTCs and trucks at a speed of a tortoise per hour.)

Me in India: when I want to go for a movie (rarely happens) my parents, brothers, sisters, sister in laws all go together in one car, along with brothers kids, not leaving an inch of space. 8 adults and 4 kids go easily and lavishly in my car. In fact no need of a belt, coz there is no chance of being thrown out from the vehicle and I don’t find the use of seat belt.

Me in US: even my 1 year old nice has to have her own seat and I feel the suffocation of the tied up kid in safety belt and the separately joined child safety seat. And when the whole family goes out, it reminds me of Hindi movies- fight scene where some 5-10 vehicles follow the hero.

Me in India:
crossing the road in India is a chance to hold on to the hands of whoever is near you while crossing the road. And guess what you will love crossing road if you love adventure

Me in US: I wait for the vehicle to pass, and they wait for me to move… at last the wait ends when the driver puts his/her out and waves me to move on with a friendly grin… and I recognize I am not in India and how I miss India.

Driving in India is like playing the video game. The points will be added up when you overtake each car. And there are reward points when you overtake cows, stray dogs, trucks, goats, auto rickshaws and pedestrians and beggars. Oh.. How I miss India!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rocky in Action...

It’s after a long time that I met my aunt. A lot of changes I could see over the time. I was stepping inside with my usual baggage which follows me like the hutch dog. Where ever I go the small black bag pack which can hold my essentials follows..
The warm friendly welcome from my aunty was followed by a sudden change in expression which I couldn’t read ..

She screamed: “climb on the table:”
She was always a funny person, who liked playing with people and making fun of them, for their entire life. I dint want to be one.
Me: standing , trying to act cool, but still confused over the unexpected change in her behavior.
Aunt: “I say climb on the table. Climb .. faaaast..”
Me: what in the world is she trying to do with me. Still trying to act cool
Aunt: “edee, Beenakuttee. Rocky varunnundu. Aa meshel keran” (climb on the table before Rocky is here”)
Me: what a wonderful welcome!!
Wondering who rocky is. My aunt is a person who hided her pregnancy for whole 9 months and gave us a shock of life with his newly born baby Kannan years back. Is rocky another surprise?
Before I could think more.. I could see a dog coming running towards me, through the side verandah. And there he was , Kannan behind him.
Kannan: “B. chechi, Climb on the table”. This time it was more clear about who rocky is, and the reason why aunt was telling to jump on the big table.
I threw my ever-following bag pack (I was good in throw ball in school u see), and there I was on top of the table (good in high jump too) calling all Gods, and scary fierce looking rocky running around my table as if he lost sense.
It took sometime to make Rocky calm down.

I love dogs, ut not this one. He is good with them… pla
ys with Kannan. wags the tail and screws up her (I think it’s a SHE.. or may be it’s a HE) face and all I did was take few snaps of Rocky.. funny yet Scary.
Rocky is funny to watch.. just watch

*all that happened was Kannan opened Rockys cage to play with him, and I entered the house without his permission which made him go wild.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Take up your cross!!! Plan your lent!!!

I don't really consider myself much of a religious person but I do want to connect myself with the sacrifice of Jesus. This lent, I really want to have an effect on me. I wanted to observe the lent this time… the forty-day liturgical season that initiates the most sacred part of the Christian year. This time let it be NO-NO.. to all the Non Veg items. It all started with the ash Wednesday. Remember I am going to leave all my favorites for 40 days. (Its not 40 days but people say .. same like every senti-mummy dialogues which goes.. I carried you for 10 months and u *sob* and u.. *sob*. I dunno which mother carries for 10 months. Its 9 months 1 week.. Round it, its still 9 months. May be its extra bonus period you get Free with every pregnancy to claim.

Is there any connection between the stomach and consciousness? A great question indeed!! The latter serve as a reminder to the former.. reminding me.. “Beena . You are fasting”. “Beena You are fasting”. Its ok if the consciousness reminds me of the fasting, but it reminds me of the all tasty mouth drizzling NV dishes ammachi made, or the Big Mac Offer from Mc Donalds.. making you more hungry.. and reminding you of the temptations Jesus underwent. (Dunno if he had to face my favorite Big Mac offer temptation,..)..The sufferings he faced, his death and resurrection.

Wednesday morning :Day 1
Gave up fish, chicken, mutton, beef. Egg is considered as a vegetarian.. so I am a perfect follower of lent… the poor eggetarian.

Day 2
Its not difficult to sacrifice the meat or fish when I have so many other options from the loving heavenly father. I did not fall for the grilled beef we made in the evening.

Day 5
Sunday morning
A devoted christian in church by morning. It’s on the way that we decided to have Breakfast from outside. As a semi-regular cook, this is something, which sounds like music to my ears. It was difficult to select any vegetarian food, but I am a veggie of 50 days.. and I decided on a sardough, when mr. Hubby and MIL ammachi decided on my favorite buretto, which contains lots of meat.. a real devil in front of a true Christian. I was savoring the breakfast and I was half way through when I noticed the bacon in that.
It’s a difficult thing to decide.. what to do with the bacon in that. Its not that I can keep the bacon aside and continue with food, but ammachi wont be happy to see me keeping it there. She is a lovely lady who wants everybody to eat.. and reminds everyone every now and then to eat.

Scene 1
Me taking the bacon from the sardough and keepting it down. *sob*
ammachi looking at me and making a notion to eat it. New-daughter-in-law…who is not supposed to make a scene, gulps it down without saying word. Ammachi giving me a coarse look... a warning to the advise on healthy eating which can follow anytime.
Mr.Hubby not happy with my silly idea of fasting, and understanding the look of ammachi, gives me a still worse look.
In fact this dint happen... to prevent it from happening.. I gulped everything. A small piece of bacon only one day should not do any harm to my fasting. Should it?

Day 6 and 7
A strict follower of lent and a true Christian. It was then raaman, (Mr.hubbys family friend for years) and his family invited us for the dinner. A good intention!!

Day 8
A pleasant day at Ramans house. a Birthday party cum inviatation for the newly wed couples. (It’s strange that we are still called newly Wed. its almost two years and still we are called the new couples. Its partly because we did not visit much of our relatives after the wedding…but mostly the reason is this. My husband-kutty being the youngest of the small family of seven children…(all married except him) and petest and pamperest and soapiest* and what else. So till his elderrr sisterrrrs elderrrr daughterrrr gets married, who is still studying, we are going to be the newly wed Couples.
When the newly wed were offered the choice of fish or meat, I did not want raman or his handsome grandson (sshh!! secret *wicked smile*) to feel offended. I was again in the same dilemma. After all I do not like fish much. And I don’t want the imaginary carls Jr scene to be real. I left the lent on fish. *sob*

Day 9
A pure eggietarian plus fishitarian, and a follower of 50 day lent. *proud of mself*

Day 10
Lunch in SIL’s house. (sister in law… not son inlaw) *wink* .
A warm lovely lady, whose brunch invitation we couldn’t say NO, or reject, and it would be unfair. I go there thinking on somehow continuing with my lentism, without creating the imaginary Carl’s Jr scene.
A well-planned lunch in beautifully arranged room!
The smell of barbecued chicken drummets, kappa, fish curry, mr. Hubbys favorite pork, Thomas chettai’s (my SILs hubby) special beef dishes and other countless dishes.. which any lent follower can consider as the test of times. And there I am a strong willed Christian, who decided to put away all the temptations.

Scene 2
Mr hubby and Thomas chettai, SIL, ammachi, and the lent follower, relaxing on the table overlooking the beautiful garden…
Each filled their plates and me sitting with them, eating like a rabbit… I mean munching only on the veggies
Ammachi: taste this meen curry with kappa. Before I could say NO… it was there in my plate. It was then the Mr.Hubby showed his love on his wife, with his fav’ ham, and in a fraction of a second it was lying beside the salmon.
Thomas chettai: Dint you take the Beef? Taste it. Its good (of course, it will be. I am a fan of thegakothitta kanjirapally achayanmaarude beef fry).Neither did I want him to question his own beef making culinary skill nor did I want the Carl’s Jr imaginary scene to be real here. And if it happens, it’s going to be with 3D effect. So praying for all the sinners and the poor lent followers I had to start from one side… the side of chicken or the side of beef…

I began with the best of intentions, but I am not sure what I'm doing or what I want to be doing…
Its then that I turned to the Lord with some real question?
"Lord, it feels so good to be honest with myself before you. It feels very good to feel your presence in every way..
…in form of love..
…in the form of that beautiful jerkin which you made my husband buy for me from ROSS…
…in the form of gift card, when I really wanted to buy my juke box (or else I would never have got it now)
When you love me so much, do you want me to undergo all these Carl’s Jr scene every time. Do you really mean me to stay away from NV when you yourself did magic on two fish (not tomato curry) and five loaves to feed the multitude. God Understand me and bless me…

God to me “ I understand you. And don’t try all the icing works which you do on your dad to please me. But I understand you.. I really do. Of course I do understand the mental torture you had when you heard that Mc Donald gave that BigMac offer just after you started the lent. Dear child, eat everything you want to eat. Fasting is in the mind.
Instead do this :
Be happy.. Make others happy…
Avoid any negative thoughts... that’s what I want you to be during the fasting and later".