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Sunday, December 18, 2011

A smile from June 2011

I walked into the Yam store with a tune in my head, finally I had given my 21 year old classic to be restrung. I did not remember a thing except for “Every good boy does fine “, a mnemonic to remember EGBDF and FACE, the notes on the frets. But I was happy, as a child I was too flighty, today I felt surer of myself, more stable you know.


Jimmy was sitting facing the wall and playing somebody else’s guitar. He was the sales guy who was fixing it for me, by night he played at bars or taught a few unfortunate few. Oh no his music was not bad or so I figured from that little bit of interaction. It’s just that he loved to talk and fleece you off money. God , who would pay 100 bucks for re-stringing a guitar and have to listen about his five sisters, a Nepali distant cousin who looked like me, his stint with music and his stay at Bangalore. Well I do not look like a Nepali from any angle if you ask me, but well for a nice cup of tea, I would go to any extent of nodding my head.

And then he walked in, just so out of character from everyone in that store. Have you seen an Indian priest, well that is how he was dressed. A white kurta, dhoti, nammam on his forehead and the sacred thread. Well I imagined the thread. The only thing incongruous were the neat pair of Nike floaters he was wearing. He walked in and gave me this huge grin as if he knew for like a thousand years. I smiled back, anyone would have. Then I followed Jimmy man to the back of the store to pick up my guitar and all that while I could feel his shiny diamond eyes bear into my back. Jimmy got the guitar out and asked me to check. I turned to find a place to sit and try my hand at strumming and there he was smiling down on me. He turned to go and then turned back again at me and smiled. I smiled and he was gone.

I could not decipher the smile that day or the week after that.

Leaves

It was a cold autumn evening, if it can be termed autumn in india. It was more like the few days before spring began and winter ended. Her soul felt empty as empty as the road next to her. Not a soul was around, nothing could be heard except maybe the occasional rustle of the leaves on the trees on the footpath. She walked aimlessly, had no where to go really, no one was waiting back home. She had all the time in the world and nothing to do besides kicking stones around.
She started chasing a tiny bluish grey pebble, which flew from one point to another creating a racket, a racket that only a tiny pebble can. Her skin seemed to have got back some color with every leap the pebble took and suddenly it fell into a heap of leaves. You should have seen the dismay on her face. She fell down on her knees and started raking up the leaves.

“Anna, where are you? Can’t you answer young lady”. She could hear a faint yell, but the leaves, the musty moist leaves smelled divine and more importantly she had lost her a tiny brooch somewhere there. She would have to find it before she answered that yell or she would have to really sleep in the tiny store room tonight. It was getting dark and she really could not see much. “Ouch” she cried. Something had pierced her palm and warm blood trickled out of her palm which she quickly licked away after pulling out what belonged to her. “Coming” she screamed back!

Ah, she touched something cold and smooth and pulled it out with a grin. She did not want to kick it any more. She was going to take it home with her, slide it into the aquarium. No, she would put it in the sole flower pot in her balcony along with the others. Oh well, she strained her ears harder, but could not hear a sound. If only she had come back home early that day, if only she had left the medicines within her reach, Mamma would have been up and about, baking Anna's birthday cake.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beetroot, tam style... and my own twist

Well this was way back when I ate it, the taste just lingered on. We had gone for a holiday to Kodai, my parents, bro, sis and me. I had just finished my 11th exams and ofcourse had faired pretty badly. Well if you expect a teenager to be interested in her studies, you must be out of your mind! Somebody please remind me when my son reaches that milestone.

We stayed in this lovely guesthouse of Mahindra's with fruit trees all around. It had an awesome library, so between studying, sight-seeing and eating absolutely yummy food, I would read my road to heaven. Well I was almost there, among the clouds atleast.

Oh but I am forgetting the objective of this blog. You know I hate beetroot, well normally I do. Dad used to force down slices of beetroot sprinkled with lime juice into my throat. But for this one dish, thank the whole tam community for this, it almost made me fall in love with beety roots!

From what I have tasted, this is what I have conjured, I am sure I am missing a few ingredients and adding stuff that I like, but I manage to get the taste and more, nevertheless... my Recipe for your tired tongue :-)

Ingredients
Grate beetroot, could be just 1 big one. Grate or grind half a coconut to get say 1 or half a cup.
Wash a handful of curry leaves and keep them ready, you never know who might just chew them up.
Chop a little piece of ginger into very tiny pieces as an ode to Hopkins and his fetish for fingers!
I love peanuts, so I will add these as well, 1/4 cup is good. You could skip this if you are not pro-peanuts or peanuts symbolize something else alltogether. We would need some mustard and pepper corns too for the seasoning. You could use a green chilli or more to spice it up. A little oil and a tbspn of ghee would just clinch it.

Action time
Now pull out that battered yet shining warrior, well frying pan of yours. Pour some oil, don't overdo it as you are going to anyways mix in some ghee later. Once that heats up throw in the seeds, mustard and peppercorns, gently I mean. Toss in the curry leaves, ginger, sliced green chillies and peanuts and wait for a minute or more for them to turn a little crisp. You can then place the grated beetroot in the pan and fry for a bit. Now is a good time to add that tbsp. of ghee. Well while you are at it and in a slight hurry, add most of the grated coconut as well, keep a little for garnishing it at the end.

From here, its all about frying upto the point you think you can deal with it, longer the wait and the stirring, the crispier it gets. Just before taking it off the pan you have to add the left over coconut shavings and mix it in along with some salt. If you want you could add a teeny weeny bit of ghee again to light up your belly.

Well I am done explaining, let me know if you do take on beetroots my way. And if you have any wisecracks coming my way, spit them out. The next time, if I am upto it,  I will write about how they cook beans in Ooty, but for that I will have to get the beans from there specifically.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A simple recipe for Pork Roast

To make some absolutely yummy pork roast with minimal effort, here is how you would do it.
Wash the boneless pork clean and then marinate it with ginger garlic paste so that its evenly spread over all of the pork. Add some dark vinegar to it. For instance to 0.5 kg pork you would add 2 tbsp. of vinegar. I also add a pinch of turmeric powder for its antiseptic properties.
Once you are done with your marination, which could be for 20 mins to a couple of hours you could start cooking.

Put in a little oil in a heavy bottomed pan or a pressure cooker. Pork has enough fat to keep it going so watch out on the oil you pour. You could choose sesame oil for this dish or stick to the oil you have at home.
Start by adding a tsp or more of sesame seeds, again depending on the meat you intend to cook, sliced green chillies to tingle your taste buds, strips of ginger and some garlic pods if you have them around. Play around with ginger and garlic depending on the flavor you like more. I prefer ginger for this dish.

All right you are all set, go ahead and add the pork and chopped onions and start frying. If its a cooker you are using, after frying it for say 10-15 minutes you could add the Soy sauce of your choice. I prefer the Indonesian soy sauce with pork. It adds to the sweetness of the meat.

Well after that all you got to do is add like a quarter cup water and cook for some time by closing the cooker lid. After 1 or 2 whistles, get it to cool down. Fry the pork further until dry, without the lid ofcourse by adding some salt and black pepper. Umm can you smell the pork or what!

We are done really and all you have to do is place it in a nice bowl for serving. This could be part of a main course or just picked upon with some nice poison of your choice.

If you are the herby kind, then there is a slight deviation here -
Use red wine vinegar instead of the ordinary dark one and go for rosemary...oregano too if you like it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Down the corner there is but a tiny trying lane

If the story be told,
He was a very happy man,
He was famous, he had riches,
He had family and friends and what is coveted most,
A love so deep, there was no need to defend.

But like history always has it way,
Sorrow must seep into the brightest of all days.
He lost his love, that being the smallest of all his miseries
The sunny soul just decided to stop everything and lose its ray
It was not even a gamble one could blame it on
A mirror with a crack to continue it may

While the body hovers around for comfort like a new born
Down the corner there is but a tiny trying lane
The only escape, with much pain
But for that the lost needs to be sane.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And I could have been more aware of the world I was born into

I envy the life of prostitute more than anyone else's. Atleast she knows what she is getting into.
It starts right from religions that preach, do it right or God will screw your happiness by throwing you into hell. Go into any group and you better kiss the leader's or his lieutenant's arse or you will get humped really bad!

You know you really can't live on this earth as an individual contributor having nothing to do with the social hierarchy that has been built by the animal group that you genetically if not anything else, belong to. You have to subscribe somewhere and you have to choose a role. You can either be the leader or you can choose to bend your backside. And even if you choose to be the leader, to get to the top there is lot of bending to be done.

So who do you think is better off, you and me who are not aware until we give in the first and the nth time or the whore in Charlotte street who chose to be there?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Black and White must merge and break

I just watched Black Swan yesterday a much hyped better than average movie. I just could not get the point, blame it on restricted intelligence. Anways here I am trying to prove my case and not detract from it.
A girl wanting to do extremely well in her exams to the point of committing suicide or paying for leaked papers. Or a very good actor with no contacts ready to jump into the director's bed. Yes the pain, the struggle to want something so bad is quite a story. How many of us go through that absolute madness and finally lose ourselves. With that understood, the story needs some spice, after all ballet is not everyone's idea of a raunchy sight. Bring in Dr. Freud, a single possessive mother and lo behold frigidity is explained through the lesbian world. And nothing better to fantasize with something that you are comfortable with to break the spell and turn yourself to the knight! Pun intended. And while we are redoing one of the greatest pieces of work "Swan lake" how can we resist a slip of drama that only red can break, into the dawn!
Now that I am saturated with insulting the movie, I do think Portman deserves the best actor award. She has done a fabulous job. Also the picturization if I may call it that, is exquisite, right from the wing like folds of the old instructor's skin, to the arousing tattoo on Lily's, to the ugly wings that sprout out of Nina. All said and done perfection is not a walk in the park, even with your tutu on. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Today

Turned the radio to 100.1 to let in some awesome Carnatic music to fill the car while I zipped out of home. The first thing that caught my eye was these 2 really old women walking across and chatting so animatedly.They were bengali for sure thanks to the expressions and the saris draped around them. Just that moment I wanted my camera so bad. And then I drove on smiling at the usual traffic policeman.

And then on the route somewhere I saw this woman standing in her balcony wearing hell I don't
remember but could have been a nightie for all I care. The interesting thing though was she had
her goggles on and her hair left open and she did not look as if she was going anywhere. For a
moment I was disgusted, what a phony! But then I relented, that is what her life might just be
about. And it was allright to dress up and wait for nothing at all, all day long!

on a note that knows no dip

when i am just a little high
and i am listening to Oh sweet me

there is this beautiful sweet pine
for a voice that doesn't exist
but in my mind and somewhere deep in my heart
which would just for a moment blur the sign

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Something about the lives of security guys

I drove right through the kuccha road and into the back yard of my client's office or so to speak. I have tried and tested this route to enter the place without having to go through too many painful security checks for an hour's meeting. But today as I settled myself a young security guy, an East Indian for sure, accosted me. Told him to come to the other side of the window and talk to me. He was like I really needed to get in  from the main gate. I laughed and told him not to take it seriously and anyways I was not going to be there for more than an hour. He tried hard to convince me, told me he would be in trouble if I didn't go and register. I told him to chill and nothing would happen. Poor guy left, he was too well mannered to shout at me.
And then I thought to myself, here I was coming in the way of someone's honest efforts at work. Its a thankless job you know, a security guy comes out as a pain to deal with, trying to push you to follow a process. But that's his job really.
So I did my bit and felt so good watching him smile when I turned around and went to the main gate!

Monday, February 7, 2011

When I went to meet the sea

When I went to meet the sea
He caroused me gently
Teased me, lifting my skirt up suddenly

And while I was enjoying the moment
He roughly pulled me onto him
And hurt me with his sandy skin

When I tried to stop him
A spoilt brat, he tossed me out
Back to where I came from
As if to say there are many more that will come my way
And I knew they would and so they did

But I know had my moment of love
Unshared with anyone else
The sea, he flaunted some of his many treasures
A beautiful monstrous sea snake, a dead multicoloured fish that reminded me of a piranha

Skins of other beings and a variety of mussels and crabs scuttling about in the sand
And while I stood mesmerised
An old women prayed with fire and coconut shells
To that haughty love of mine

I smiled to myself, and folded a page in my head
I would open it again when I have much aged
To reminisce this salty divine.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

And this is how I blew the colors of the sky away on a Monday!

There I was stuck in a jam for an entire stretch, early on a Monday morning right upto the last traffic signal. The fact that I was blue, that my arms ached thanks to balancing a machine I hadn't since a long time back did not help. And I was worried sick lest I be accosted by one of the eunuchs standing in line to rip a passer's bye off her money... And then suddenly everything just came alive with Lenny Kravitz. I raised the volume to my favorite song and saw this little kid going to work in a light blue t-shirt that had Playboy marked on it. With a green bag in one hand and a yellow and pick wristband on the other, he was dancing his way to work with his mum or aunt heading the same way. Somehow got my mood swinging and I raised the volume to "Are you gonna go my way"! And then right from the opposite side came my favorite silver Merc spinning out some more sunshine into my day. The lights turned green and I was all charged up to push the blue and color my blood back to red ignoring what Nike had to say!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dhobi ghat

Brilliant movie. Ended so well, without an ending and yet a bleak light to where it would lead!
So many different lives, so many ways people try their hand at living, so many ways to escape grief.
Smita Patil's son looks so much like her! He does get his expressions right, looking forward to seeing more of his work. Liked the way the artist's persona was approached, dried and cut, nothing fancy in the way he carried himself, just another human being.... The famed Dhobi ghats, rodent killing, a whiff of Sidhant Dhanvant Sanghvi there.
Life in Mumbai is so damn mechanical, wouldn't ever want to live there. A holiday maybe. Oh and beautiful rain cascading down to add to the sea and its secrets divine.
Oh and I could do with some more wine....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The girl with the dragon tattoo

Read an awesome crime book after a very long time! Love the way it has been written.
It brings out a number of things right from disregard of women in Sweden, to journalists solving crimes interwoven with facts from the author's own life.
I really like the way he manages to bring out concurrent incidents in time through a book
There is a poignant moment where Lisbeth is being raped by her guardian and at the same time Mikael is making love to Cecilia. The amount of emotion and detail Stieg captures in two tiny paragraphs just blows you away. On one side you are feeling the pain and suffering that Lisbeth is going through and on the other side you want to relish the pure pleasure of devouring Cecilia or well Mikael and you are not able to do either.
But the end is somehow very carelessly captured, the author seems to have suddenly lost interest in the fag end or maybe that's just my perception.