Saturday, 10 October 2009

indulgence on an impulse ...

maybe i decided to take a break from days of moping around and doing nothing, or maybe the shifting-of-the-saturn did really have an effect on my essentially indian psyche -
whatever be the reason, i had a sudden inspiration to bake some muffins. after a couple of not-so-successful attempts at eggless baking, i had given my experiments a rest for sometime (some = long).

muffins had been on my agenda for a long time (for the uninitiated - muffins are a humble variant of cupcakes, commonly had as a breakfast food in the US, the most common variants having chocolate chips, blueberries, or nuts), and since i like them a lot, had wanted to try out an eggless version at home - especially since k is a staunch ovo-abstainer !

i decide to give up searches for a direct eggless recipe - instead picked a simple recipe from here - and just substituted each egg with 2 Tbs. water + 1 Tbs. oil + ½ tsp. baking powder.
the recipe also calls for brown sugar, but since i didnt have it on hand, i just used regular sugar all the way...

the muffins came out really well - they were really soft and rose well, inspite of being eggless - sweet surprise indeed :)
an added bonus was the lovely aroma that filled the house as they were getting baked... mmmm !

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Bliss ...

There is no beginning and there is no end....
only a journey, with lessons learnt and to be learned...
every day is a thanksgiving, every moment a celebration...
I'll cherish my tears as much as my smiles....(yes, its ok to cry ...! )
I am thankful for Love, from all sources got, in all abundance showered...
there is no fear, and there is no doubt...
there is as much pleasure in pain, as there is pain in pleasure...
I have a smile on my lips, and a song in my heart - and that is all that matters...
I'll learn to see the beauty within, the same way as i see the beauty in sunshine and in moonlight....
I'll learn to Love, and I'll learn to Laugh...
and yes, there is that Heaven of Freedom, into which someday i shall ascend....

Saturday, 22 August 2009

A birthday bash

there are somethings that cannot be put off - even by an incorrigible procastinator like me. and topping the list of such things is birthdays - not just any birthday, but the birthday of a city ! yes, and why not ? what better way to show your love for your city than to celebrate its birthday....


370 years ago, this day (August 22, 1639), a contract entered into by the East India Co. with the local rulers for a piece of land paved the way for the birth of a city which has been growing ever since....Madras, or Chennai - call it whichever way you like, is one city that truly deserves to have its birthday celebrated....


from filter kaapi to frappe, carnatic to jazz, sada dosa to a Subway melt , kaasu maalai to crystals - here is a city where you can have it all ! vibrant, bustling, constantly changing, and yet still maintains a certain character and charm to call its own...

to me, and many like me, this will always be home, wherever our travels and may take us.....

it is indeed wonderful that the efforts of a thoughtful few have borne fruit and resulted in a birthday bash which this city rightfully deserves ! so, Happy Birthday Madras, aka Chennai !

may the celebration reach greater heights in the years to come !

ofcourse, as i write this, chennai would have already seen the first rays of August 23rd, and the curtains would be drawn today on the weeklong celebrations....

visit this site for more details on the Madras Day

Friday, 14 August 2009

The fountains of Bellagio - Las Vegas, Nevada

this is a video of the Bellagio fountains that i took on our recent vegas trip :

the fountains outside the Bellagio hotel & casino come to life and sway and dance to music every evening....easily the most beautiful sight to behold, in all of vegas - and, like most good things in life, is free !

the video is quite shaky though, since i had to keep holding the camera above the heads of the people in front !

video

another one - nice, albeit a very short one !

video

and the one below is a view of the fountains from the top of the Eiffel tower at the Paris-las vegas, which is right opposite the Bellagio. This one is in daylight....but then again, the video quality may not be very good, as the camera had to be kept between the small gaps in a cage-like structure !

video

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

more sunsets....

i had made a post last year on sunsets, with some pics that i had taken.... just thought of adding some more, which i took a couple of days back....

this was quite an unusual sight, only the top half of the trees being lit up by the light of the setting sun....



the stark contrast in the colours can be seen more closer ...


and our apartment building with a golden glow...

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Monday, 22 June 2009

new, but not necessarily improved !

well, i just thought i would try out a new template on my blog.... the old one was just fine, but was just a little 'blah' ! - so just thought that i would step up the look a little bit....
will have to wait and see how i like it in the days to come, and if it doesn't go down well with me, might try to change it again...
well, when i have nothing worthwhile to write about, what to do but fiddle around with these cosmetic changes ?!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

gaga over zoozoo !


i'm almost always late in catching up with things....and more so if it has the faintest connection with cricket - which maybe the reason why i was ignorant till a few days back about the existence of zoozoos - those creepy yet cute characters which seem to have taken the indian ad world by storm....
i had missed seeing the vodafone ads as i prefer not be in the vicinity of a cricket match, even though every IPL match was running on our TV screen (thanks to K ,who, like most other indian guys, is a walking Wisden when it comes to cricket ! ).
coming back to zoozoos, i found out and saw these ads on youtube (when you miss something on tv, where else to catch it but on youtube ! ) after my cousin enlightened me....

one can't help admiring the innovative concept behind these characters....within 25 seconds, and without any dialogues or eye catching locations, the ads convey the message with such an impact that its impossible to forget them for a long time to come.... no wonder they have such a huge following - with thousands of fans in facebook and orkut...

zoozoo, vodafone, vodafone india, hutch, vodafone ad, indian ads

O&M, the agency behind the ads, really deserves appreciation for creating the campaign - the mobile phone industry in india is a huge one with much more potential for growth in the coming years, and the popularity of cricket in the country of course needs no explanation - so what better idea than to launch the campaign during the IPL season... and the ads seem to have caught on much more rapidly than the proverbial house on fire....the concept of the characters, seperate ads for each value added service, the crisp and effective presentation that takes home the message, all deserve to be lauded - and not to forget the fact that the characters are not graphics, but real people in costumes !

well, i guess vodafone always strikes the right chords when it comes to ads - who can forget the endearing Pug puppy and the cute kids in the ads when Vodafone was still Hutch ? (personally, i think i still like them more than the zoozoo series :) )
of course, whether the fan following for the ads are any indicators of increased revenue is something to wait and watch, i guess....

(image source :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zoozoo-vodafone-1.jpg )

Friday, 1 May 2009

spring is in the air....

when winter comes....


can spring be far behind...?


- the view outside my window - first pic taken around jan end, the second in end of april ....

Thursday, 23 April 2009

going paperless...

somedays back we decided that it was high time that we took a back up of my husband's laptop...as the files were getting transferred to an external hard disk, i realised that the photos we had accumulated over the past three years alone amounted to some 4GB (it would have been more, had not our camera broken down for the second half of 2008, when we made some very good trips) ...
and out of this, we have taken prints of hardly 10 photos...hmmm.... a far cry from the days when i didn't have a digital camera and would impatiently wait for the photo studio to deliver my prints, after grudgingly shelling out close to a couple of hundred bucks - and open them in the studio itself, since i could'nt wait to see how my pics turned out :)

now, i have hundreds of pics for even a small weekend getaway, but no prints or albums to flip through - which is one of the easiest ways to brighten up a dull evening - sipping tea and going through old snaps, recollecting memories...

while maybe it is a good thing that so much of paper is saved, i wonder if something else is getting lost...little things that we used to treasure, things that would remind us of good times when the going was not so good...

a few weeks back, when my cousin's wife gave me a card, it made me happy to actually get a card after so many years....i have a whole stack of cards which i had received over the years carefully preserved back at my mom's house...and going through them brings back a lot of memories of times gone by, of friends whom i haven't seen in ages....hmmm...

getting prints of a few snaps from each trip is a project that i'm hoping that i'll get around to, someday.... till then, i guess i'll have to rely on my memory and that of the hard disk's :)

Friday, 27 March 2009

yummm !!

yesterday was PBM nite, after a long time... i love Paneer so much that a paneer dish is a must-have when i go to a restuarant that serves north-indian food...

and paneer butter masala is one of those things which bring you one step closer to heaven :)

when i made it yesterday, i simply couldn't resist taking a pic of it...cottage cheese with tomato and onion purees, cooked in butter...hmmm...pure poetry :)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

a holi mess !

personally, i've never been a big fan of holi, and the idea of getting my face and clothes smeared with chemical colours that refuse to budge for the next few days has, for some reason, never appealed to me !
but last weekend, we happened to go to a (pre)holi bash organised by my husband's colleagues...it was a get-together of around 15 -20 indian families, and we had a good time, with lunch, music, and a little bit of fun and games :)
and the interesting part - both my husband and i did something we normally don't - my husband tried to shake his legs and joined in the dancing (or atleast attempted to dance !) with his colleagues,
and i let myself get my face smeared with colour ! - of course, i kept telling everyone "only a little bit, on the face..." but when close to forty people get their own "little bits", its nowhere close to little ! but everyone was kind enough to let me off without a smear on my dress, which was all i wanted !
well, it was good fun, and a great start to the weekend... especially as we generally don't get a chance to unwind as often as we would like...
as to the colours - well, wet wipes, some cleansing milk, and a good face scrub as soon as we got home took care of that :)

Thursday, 5 March 2009

In sync with time !

I remembered a couple of days back that we had already stepped into March, and in a few days, it would be time to adjust our clocks for daylight saving.
As I checked the internet to confirm the date, I was amused by the thought that I don’t have a wall-clock hanging anywhere in my house, and most of the devices I use to tell time are not actually meant to be clocks !

Mankind has come a long way, from the days of the sundial to the fancy Tag Heuers, Omegas and Cartiers…
My life now, however, doesn’t seem to need any of these… I don’t even remember where the humble Titan I used to possess is now lying.
There are only four spots in my house between which the majority of my time is now divided – My bed, in front of the computer, in the kitchen, and in front of the TV.
My bedside clock/alarm/other-features-that-I-don’t-use comes in handy only when I get into or out of the bed – I take a look at it and groan that either I’ve been up for so long, or that its already time to get up, depending on what time it is…
The rest of the day, I use three things to tell time –

when I am in the kitchen, it is the microwave – I use the clock feature of the microwave more than I use the microwave itself… and since its right above the stove top, it is of great assistance to my not so punctual self to finish cooking lunch before it becomes too late call it lunch time...

when I’m in front of the pc, of course, it is the clock at the right hand corner of the monitor that reminds me that I have spent too much time reading through the Indian news sites, uselessly getting myself worked up about lawless lawyers and politicians playing petty politics…

in the evenings I usually leave the TV on…and more often than not, I go about doing my work around the house to the accompaniment of its sound – the time that I actually spend sitting in front of the TV is very less !
As I go about putting away the laundry, preparing for dinner or doing the ironing, I keep track of the time as the shows change! I know what time it is depending on what show it is !

Considering the fact that until a few years back I used to feel irritated and incomplete on the days I forgot my watch at home, hmmm… time changes, and the times change... !

Friday, 27 February 2009

Resul, Rahman and Gulzar - congrats ! Rest of India - why the hoopla ?

I am not by any means a movie buff – I watch movies only occasionally and invariably, only when the trailers impress me enough to take the effort needed to go and sit through a movie in a theatre…
And for someone like me who doesn’t care or know much about movies, a movie awards night is not likely to be cause for much excitement….
Last sunday, however, it was slightly different… expectation, and a slight excitement made me sit through and watch the Academy awards, and I was almost squealing myself hoarse when first Resul pookutty, and later A R Rahman walked onto to the stage to receive their Oscars – a proud moment, definitely, for both of them personally and the whole country as well.

Resul was overcome with emotion, and was almost gasping, and could barely utter his acceptance speech – only understandably so. It definitely must have been a great moment for the physics graduate who decided to get into sound effects in cinema – more so because one cannot deny the fact that in the Indian film industry, the technical aspects and the technicians are not given the importance or recognition they deserve.
Well, one has to thank god that Resul didn’t decide to make a profession out of the law degree he started to do… instead of sitting at home and boycotting courts, his decision has now taken him to great heights and put an Oscar in his hands – way to go Resul, we are proud :)

Rahman – the man who has his fans raving and a whole country swaying to his music, is not new to awards – he has been picking them up right from his first film, and has won so many by now that he doesn’t really need an award anymore to prove his worth – but this one of course, must have been very special – one of the most famous awards of the movie industry, bestowed not just once but twice on the same day.
I was quite excited seeing him win the award twice, and his acceptance speech, with the simplicity known to be characteristic of him, was graceful and crisp.
To the man whose music has been working its magic on his fans long before it reached the ears of the Oscar committee – Congrats - Great job, just as always !

Gulzar – My understanding, and hence, appreciation, of Hindi is limited, but I do know that he is a veteran who has worked with the greatest music directors in the Indian film industry, from the Burmans(both SD & RD !) to Rahman and that awards are nothing new to him – from the Sahitya Akademi to various film awards, he has seen them all. Congrats to him for adding this latest feather to his cap, and of course, its quite unfortunate that he couldn’t make it to LA to receive his award in person.

Rest of India
- Why is it that since Sunday, the media has been making much ado over slumdog millionaire ?
Why don’t we bear in mind that it is just an English film, which had a storyline set in an Indian city and that the cast and some of the crew were Indian. It is by no means an ‘Indian’ movie, and I think we can restrict ourselves to being proud about Resul, Rehman and Gulzar, and offering our congratulations to the film makers.

Friday, 13 February 2009

back after a break....

ok...here i am, trying to resume scribbling after quite a long break... hiatus, hibernation... could be called anything... there was no big reason other than that we spent almost three months in chennai, from end october 08 to mid jan 09...

nothing significant to write about the trip, except that i got to spend around 10-15 days (in bits and pieces!) with my mom, and got to be there at my best friend's wedding...

when we left from US around oct end, the major topic of discussion on every channel for a month had been the Lehman Bros bankruptcy and the aftermath of the chain of reactions triggered by it on the economy...
by the time we left India in jan,Satyam computers and Ramalinga Raju had hogged the limelite,with probably india's biggest corporate scandal so far...am sure politicians must be feeling a trifle threatened, with such unexpected competition from the private sector...

well, two countries, two companies, two events that sent the indices of stock exchanges plumetting and resulted in economic mayhem...a bad ending to one year and a bad beginning of the next...
hmmm....lets hope that as the year progresses, it has better things in store...

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