Monday, December 31, 2012

Story of Curly

I was born with springy, twisted curly hair. As a kid, I longed to have the Rasna girl hair cut with neat bangs on my forehead and a bob-cut. That, I felt, would complete my life.

My hair is stubbornly curly and refuses to be tamed by hair gel, shampoo, hair-dryers, or flat-irons. It has a mind and life of its own.

Around two years ago, I had an epiphany. It was around the time that everyone was going through the re-bonding process. Poker straight hair was in vogue. I remember a girl in my office with dry, frizzy, curly hair who came in one day with her hair looking smooth, and silky. I was so tempted to re-bond my hair. I would get my Rasna girl haircut! I would finally have smooth manageable hair!

I had just brought myself a flat iron and was straightening my hair. It wasn’t working so well for me. My hair was a disaster, it had stopped growing, it was limp and dull, and falling out. I had to wash it nearly every day to keep it from being lank. I was sick of it.

And so came my epiphany. I decided that I didn’t care if my hair was straight or curly; all I wanted was healthy hair.

Whenever faced with any problem, I do a lot of reading. I read on the internet, books, articles, magazines, whatever came my way. And I began working on it.

Getting healthier hair wasn’t easy, it has taken over two-three years. But the more difficult thing is accepting my hair. I have curly hair, and it is crazy on some days. But that’s okay. On the days it behaves, it looks pretty. On the days it doesn’t, well, that’s what buns and scrunchies are for!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A fish shaped building

This is based on a true story.

This is what happens when you tell jokes to software developers.

And for reference, this is the afore-mentioned fish-shaped building. It's the National Fisheries office in Hyderabad.

And here's another photo for the curious.

( Also, joke credits: Sudarshan )

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A semi-tragic tale with a happy ending

I completed a year as a wedded women recently, and to celebrate this triumph, I decided to bake a cake. I have baked a total number of once before. I made gingerbread. Which was okay.And which I ended up eating mostly by myself.

So I wanted to be careful this time. I decided to bake a simple chocolate cake.

At the beginning of this year, I was browsing Kroma and acquired myself an OTG(Oven-Toaster-Grill). It took me a day to discover that this despicable machine is neither a good oven, nor a decent toaster nor is it a respectable grill. It is a beautiful, curved, chrome and steel contraption which can do nothing well. But since I have brought it, I insist on using it.

So I did bake the cake. It was doing well for itself, rising beautifully till I decided to open the oven and have a better look. The cake could not take this behavior and it collapsed into itself. So now I had a depression in the middle of my cake, like a moon crater.

When I finally took it out, I discovered it had a dark burnt layer at the top as well as the bottom. the reason, I had used normal sugar instead of powdered, which sunk to the bottom of the cake and made a caramel base to my cake. The top layer? Well, I can't explain that.

Despite of this, my cake tasted alright actually. And we all ate it with ice-cream and milk. After all what can go wrong if there is chocolate in it?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

lazy sunday

I had a good weekend and am all ready for the Monday blues. I am in an experimental mood today, so I made pancakes.

They were nice, but the next time I make some, I have improvements.

But they were still delicious.

I also lazed on the sofa and made a little drawing and painted it

Drawing and pancakes, that's a recipe for a satisfying weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In which I eat my words

This is a picture of me eating my words.

So I recently read a book. Its a little book of short stories called 'The Habit of Love' by an author called Namita Gokhale. And its terribly hard for me to admit; I liked it.

To get over this, I watched 'Almost Famous'. And no, I didn't like it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why I don't read indian authors

I confess, I am not a big fan of Indian writing in English.

I once tried to analyse why. I read to escape reality, not to face it. Indian fiction makes me strangely uncomfortable, for instance Arvind Adiga's 'White Tiger' made me queasy.

Similarly, I didn't finish 'God of Small Things', it seemed incestous and therefore, unpleasant. I started off by enjoying 'Field of Poppies' but was traumatised by a scene in which a man has sex with a horse.

I see poverty, hunger, violence, abuse around me on a regular basis. And in many cases, I am helpless and can't do anything about it. Do I need to be reminded about it in my books? No thanks.

Let me curl up with my book containing light hearted characters and happy endings. I don't need any more stress in my life.

On the other hand, books like 'Five Point Someone', 'Only for you Ma'am' etc. annoy the hell out of me and I don't want to put myself  through that either!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Books I am reading

High Fidelity
This is a story of a thirty-five year old guy whose girlfriend breaks up with him. If I am annoyed, I would say this book is about nothing, if I am in a good mood, I will say that its a story about a turning point in your life. Where you doubt everything about yourself; you wonder if your life amounts to anything at all.
Basically, this is the story of Rob, a music-obssessed record-store owner whose lawyer girl friend breaks up with him. The plot traces his sadness over the break-up, his short fling with an American singer, and his relationship with his employees at his faltering record-store. The book is well-written in the sense, that while you can't identify with Rob, you get  him. You empathise with him, and in my case, kind of have a crush on him.

Hunger Games
This was a much hyped book, and I was reluctant to read it. I loathed the Twilight series and the Vampire Diaries series with a vengence. I can't believe that such utter horrible writing exists, and is actually popular.
Anyway, (taking a deep calming breath) Hunger Games had me pleasantly surprised. I loved it. I adored it. It was a fine piece of writing, with a heroine who can actually take care of herself, as well as others. It's well-constructed, gripping, and draws you in.
This is the story of Karniss, who lives in District 12 of a repressed society ruled by the tyrranical Capitol. Every year, two "tributes", one girl and one boy under the age of 18 are forced to fight in the reality show like Hunger Games. The twenty-four participants, two from each district, fight each other to death. The last survivor is showered with gifts and money and lives a life of luxury.
I can't wait to watch the movie, and just to clarify, I am Team Gale!!

The Immortals of Meluha
I am glad this book is borrowed, and that I didn't spend money on it. But someone else did, and I feel for that person. Apart from the mildly interesting book cover, there is nothing about this book which appeals to me.
Imagine, if Ramanand Sagar wrote a book about Shiva. That's how this book is like.
The author definitely knows his dictionary well. Infact, I am sure he got a full score in the verbal section of his GRE and GMAT exams.
This is supposed to be a modern retelling of the story of Shiva. But none of the characters are well written. You see the hard work that has gone into researching that book, the historical fact-checking and meticulous plot-line. But it somehow remains blah. Everything about Ram-rajya is glorified, even the fact that babies are separated from their families, and that there is a caste-system firmly in place. Everyone is too happy, there is no discontent. There are 'evil' Chandravanshis, but their 'cruelty' is unconvincing. Shiva is supposed to be the saviour(from what?), but he somehow reminds me of Shahrukh Khan trying to play a village bumpkin.
When I picked the book, I thought this would be a refreshingly modern look at Shiva. But here Shiva is 'modernised' by giving him dialogues like 'Shit! Why did I say that' and 'What is the big deal about my blessed blue throat' which only makes it tacky, not modern.
I am so disappointed in this book that I have abandoned it half-way.

Friday, March 23, 2012

attempts at kannada speaking

I am in a cab. Here's my chance to practice Kannada! I spend ten minutes trying to come up with an appropriate sentence.

Me: "Bangalore tumba bisi ideyaa?"
Cab driver: "Yes, madam. Very hot. Thirty-eight degrees."

The conversation then proceeds in English.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: Another Chance

The first line of the blurb says 
"This is the story of a depressingly gorgeous woman, Ruheen Oberoi."

This line itself should have warned me. But I am nothing if a dedicated bookworm, so I plunged into the book anyway.

Its a slim book of 217 pages, and it should not have taken me more than a day to read this book. But guess what, it took me the entire seven days to plough through savour this book.

So without further ado, this is a story of star-crossed lovers Ruheen and Aditya. If  Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam met Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and produced a book, it would be this one. There is an abundance of beautiful characters with perfect bodies, hair and lips. No one in Another Chance is fat or ugly or squint-eyed, has a paunch or receding hairlines. People are always travelling to Amsterdam and England and Paris to fall in love, celebrate anniversaries, and win back lovers. So, essentially its chick-lit.

Now, I like chick-lit, infact, when authors sit down to write their romantic stories, I am sure they are writing for someone exactly like me. Ask my husband, friends or any of my family members.

But I digress again. So Ruheen. She meets Aditya in college, where he is a dedicated MBA student and she is a rich spoilt heiress who loves partying. All four of their parents are very conveniently dead.(See how cleverly the author has avoided parental conflict? Just kill 'em, I say) 

Anways, he has a crush on her for two years before he finally makes a move, and she instantly jumps his bones. Then there is a stalker who threatens Ruheen that he would kill Aditya if she meets him again. So Ruheen leaves the city without saying good-bye. Aditya is heart-broken.

She goes to Delhi, meets a good-time party guy and marries him. They move to England. He mistreats her. She runs away to Amsterdam and becomes a waitress. She meets Aditya in Amsterdam, and they fall in love again. He persuades her to move to Mumbai with him. She does, he helps her start her own baking business which thrives. 

Then Ruheen gets pregnant. Unfortunately Aditya has started doing really well at his workplace. And he has no TIME to tell Ruheen how beautiful she is and take her on exotic vacations and go clubbing with her. Naturally, they start drifting away from each other. 

And then, twist in the tale (did you ever expect it?), Ruheen miscarries in the most dramatic way. A lot of pages are spent describing their coldness to each other and how they blame each other for the loss of their baby. They decide to take a vacation to Maldives to sort things out and make sweet crazy love.

And then, right on cue, her sole living relative, her Nanaji has a third heart-attack. She goes to Shimla to be with him, where he takes his time dying for six months. There she meets her childhood crush, Varun. Varun and Ruheen began spending more and more time together, while Aditya, poor ass, is working and trying to get time to fly down to Shimla. 

After a lot of long drives with Varun, and a few stolen kisses and longing glances, Ruheen has realized that she is the 'love who you are with' sort of person that she needs to be with Varun, and not with Aditya. Because Aditya is working so bludy hard that he cannot spend more than a weekend with her. Clearly, his workplace is a prison-camp run by whip-wielding jailers.

Then comes the kicker. She flies down to Mumbai and sits down with Aditya. Then she looks at him with her beautiful eyes brimming with tears, and her long curly hair falling down her shoulders and says,

"I love you, Aditya, but I am no longer in love with you."
Oh wow, that is SO cliched it is such a perfect reason to dump someone. 

So, Ruheen leaves Mumbai, right into the arms of Varun. Aditya on the other hand loses it. He quits his job, tries to freelance and fails. Then, he suddenly goes to a remote village and starts a school.

There, Goaded encouraged by an old villager, Aditya decides to get Ruheen back. In the meantime, Varun has also decided to propose to Ruheen. Then...

Wait, I can't tell you that. That's the climax. But rest assured, its as predictable as the rest of the book.

I know its just a book, and not a very good one at that, but it provoked a few questions. Like, what if Ruheen was fat, and ugly? What if she was strong and independent? What is she was less self-centred and whiny? Would that make her less appealing? 

And finally considering that this book was written by a man (and a well educated, well travelled sort of guy), is Ruheen actually the kind of girl guys like? 

(My hatred for female type-casting is well-known; Women of Bollywood)

This review is a part of the  Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Monday, January 23, 2012

More about food

As long time readers know I am a bit of a foodie, and during my culinary internet reading i have discovered this nice little website called Bon Apetit. I have used a few recipes from this website; this one using green beans was particularly delicious, and now I will never use beans in any other way.

Scrolling through the site, searching for chickpeas, I discovered this wonderful article, which led me to this blog by the author, Molly Wizenberg, The Orangette. This blog sucessfully combine my two favourite things; writing and food. Delicious.

Reading through an entry about Scotland has waken a insatiable urge to eat haggis with neeps and taties. I mean, Robert Burns even wrote a poem about Haggis. Doesn't that just convince you it will be delicious?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Stack of cookbooks

When I got married, my mother gave me two classic Marathi cookbooks; one for daily cooking, and one for party cooking.
As I explored Bangalore, I came upon bookshops and interesting cookbooks. I find cookbooks as good reading material. I see them more as a DIY kind of book.

I bought two more books after this photo was taken. Then I went ahead and painted a little picture of my cookboks in a nice little pile.

 And then I noticed that, not only do I collect cookbooks, but I am also drawn to books about food or with food names in their titles.

Hm, not sure what to make of that.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Harbart- A review

Nabarun Bhattacharya
Translated by Arunava Sinha

Books evoke emotion, they make you feel satisfied, like you have eaten a big cream cake or depressed, like you have just fought with a good friend.

What emotion does this book evoke?

The most overwhelming emotion is pity, with a dash of helplessness. After getting so involved with Harbart, and his short unhappy life, you are bound to think to yourself, “why didn’t someone do  something?”
But that’s the thing about real-life too right? You see people digging themselves into a hole, but you merely watch. It is only in stories that good angels come and rescue people.

Now, to give a synopsis, (be warned there might be spoilers ahead), this is the story of Harbart. Poor Harbart is an orphan, who lives with his mad uncle, rough but caring aunt, and a gaggle of ill-natured cousins and nephews. Harbart is not very educated but loves books. He reads, over and over again some books left to him by his late father. One of this books is about the afterworld and how to communicate with ghosts. Poor Harbart in his naivety believes it as the gospel truth.

When Harbart is in his twenties, his nephew Binu comes to Calcutta to study. Binu is the only person who treats Harbart with some amount of respect. Harbart forms a deep and affectionate connection with his nephew. Binu is also a Communist, and actively participates in their meetings. During an agitation, Binu gets shot. On his deathbed, he calls Harbart and tells him to retrieve his diary from its hiding place. Harbart is so overcome by grief and fear that he supresses this memory entirely. Two years later, triggered by the visit of Binu’s father, he dreams about Binu giving him the same instructions through a flock of crows.

That is the turning point of the novel. Harbart decides to start his own business of communicating with the dead. The young unemployed men of the community flock around him for free booze and cigarettes, praising him because he now has a little bit of money. But Harbart is no con-man or businessman. He lives in constant fear of being exposed as a fraud.

This book is an art movie waiting to be made. The visuals of old lanes of Calcutta are so stunning, you can almost imagine living in the house with Harbart. You see Calcutta in its decay and debauchery. There is also a smattering of sexuality. Harbart’s short crushes are all at once innocent, yet lustful in their own way.
Also, a few lines about the translation; it’s really well-done. Having suffered through terrible translations of Parineeta and other Bengali short stories, I can now fully appreciate the skill of a good translator. You get the writer; you get what he is trying to say. Perhaps the true test of a good translation is that you forget it is one.

Overall, this book is for serious reading, and I would recommend it to people who prefer reading about the reality of life.

This review is a part of the  Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!