Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Flying the nest

While in India its not really common for kids to fly the nest after they say turn 18 like in the western world. So after spending about 23 years of my life with my folks, i think i first "flew the nest" when i was transferred on my job to Chennai as a trainee..

I still remember landing in Chennai and calling from a PCO phone brother said "Deepa its like someone died here. NO one is talking to each other" I realised how my folks were taking it. VERY badly. We are a very close knit family. Always there for each other. You can say i almost had a very protected life.

I was excited about a new city. New life. But the idea that my folks are so upset, only drove home the point that we haven't accepted this in our head yet.

After about 18 months in Chennai, i was transferred to Hong Kong. I do remember coming home on "home leave" during the 3 years I was in HKG..i used to be a little awkward about using the wardrobe, cupboards etc..And my mom sensed it(intuitive that she is) and asked me if i am feeling a bit awkward..She re-assurd me, this was, is and will always be your home. NO need to behave like a guest. Its kinda odd why i felt like that.

being repatriated back to India. i stayed at my parents home again. Got used to the idea.

And then Bangalore in 2005 end, and Kolkata in 2007-2008.

We are painting our home in Mumbai. One of the things that touched me most is my brother calling me up and asking me what should we paint our room :) OUR room used to always be called "pink room" because i used to fight and say i want it pink. And now i said paint it blue. And my brother asked me "don't u want pink ? " I think Blue is a nice shade.

The idea that there is still a place i call home, inspite of my gypsy wanderings, is truly a comfort. Home is where the heart is. Yes, A/4, Anand Nagar, will always be home to me.

Retail Therapy and summers

Ever wonder why shopping makes one feel good ? it seems like a girlie pass time am sure, am yet to hear a Man talk well about shopping...There are times i would walk from store to store and still not BUY anything. Just window shop. A sport perfected by women, and feared by men.

Buying a new lipstick, or gloss, or just a handbag(my latest fetish) and clothes that change per season.. I usually scourge during a sale and get some of the best bargains.. prefer buying stuff that looks luxe and doesn't really hurt that wallet that much.

Yes summer is here..time to get all the cottons out..Usually FAB INDIA has some good stuff..but usually after a few washes, the clothes start resembling dustcloth. Guess its not meant for wear and tear after all. Well a few classic shades of salwars(either Dhoti or Patiala), or Chudidars in Whites, beige, Black usually combine well for most Kurtis.

Biba also has a good collection of Cotton Kurtis. One of my favorite store is in Delhi and in Bom Jaipur Cottons. Some very delicate feminine cotton Kurtis goes well for formal or casual chick as well. The brand called JOLE which retails in Shoppers stop and i think also Lifestyle usually has a good collection. But there are times their embroidery just bleeds. I remember buying an expensive cotton set, which didn't have instructions to dry clean and the colours just ran. Anyway i have now salvaged that particular dress. JOLE do have some good patterns in cottons/linen which is worth a try.

Must also get my Cotton Sarees out..well starched and crisp. Super. Right from Kolkata cottons to south cotton and good old Sungadee.

Summer fragrances like Tommy Girl, DKNY, Clinique Happy Heart are light and subtle and certainly mood elevators.

And of course open toe sandals, and bumble bee type sunglasses(remember Jackie O) are just good stuff to have in scorching Indian Summers.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Even been in a mode when you dont know why you are in a funk ?nothing works..snapping at people who matter..

One things for sure..after every depression/funk mood, there is usually something to uplift the some good news or so..its like the law of nature. When u feel there is no going down, cause you have reached the bottom, there is no way, but to move above..

So yes, i had some interesting news over the weekend. I will be moving to Chennai..

This seems to happen every birthday..last birthday i got a letter to move to Kolkata from Bangalore.. and this year to Chennai..

Thanks to a support system of friends and family who have been there for me during this funk..

And yes, Yipeeee its Monday :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

If Thursday is here, can Friday be far behind

Yes its been another of those days. Am wallowing in self pity. Ever had one of those days, when the Pity party just starts..and once it does, a GOOD cry actually makes you feel better ? Well it worked for me. So whats bothering me ?
Well Am quite close to the finish line for something I have been craving..
Will I get it ?
I dont know.
Is it Good for me ?
I Think so.
SO who says it is good for me ?
Some little picture in my head....

Is it what I need ? or what i want ? ... hmmmmm

Am also in a situation where am being strong to tide thro a lot of people going through such a a challenge of not being able to talk to people at home. Might be a possible redundancy. What does that mean ?

Well for most, who are like me, a feeling of loss. The instituition which all of us have been associated with it a sense of Belonging, sense of Pride, A sense of identification. Most of us were of opinion that this is our first and last job. Analysed as being in love with the company more than a job.

So yes today i snapped at my best bud. Cried on my brothers shoulders. Calmed down a friend who was doing worse than i was. Almost "left for the day" at 12:00 hours.

The only thing that keeps me calm is the constant influx of work. And ofcourse support from friends and loved ones. Everythings gonna be allrite they say. And i believe it too.

So here is what one of my best buds sent me. How true.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centred. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is about you. It was never about them anyway.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekends, home beauty remedies

Well it was a lovely weekend. Relaxed. My weekend usually means some hair pack and some face back and chatting with friends.

Some home made beauty remedies. Of the things that really gets neglected is hair. With travel, hard water etc etc my hair is usually a mess and ends up falling a lot.

  1. A good oil massage. Take a mixture of castor oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. Warm in a cheenchatt(small wok)i, or irumbu karandee(iron Spoon) add 4-5 camphor tablets and close. The camphor melts in the oil and the aroma tells you the oil is ready. use a cotton and dab in every parting of the hair. Let the scalp feel it. Then massage gently. Cover the head with a shower cap, or even cling film. After half an hour or so, wash off.
  2. Curd/Lemon/Egg/Butter : I know some people are averse to eggs. then just use the curd and lemon mix. Add a spoon of home made butter and apply to the hair and scalp. This is one of the best conditioners. When hair is washed you can actually see the light reflects on the hair. Quite effective.
  3. Hairloss also happens due to excessive body heat so its important to stay cool. two ingredients that work : Methi seeds(vendiyam), and Henna(Maradani) Soak some methi over night and grind to a paste. Add on hair and scalp. Wash off after half and hour. This really works. Ensure to rinse thoroughly tho.
    Henna, should be made paste with avala powder and some of the Thali podi from a kerala store or even Meera herbal Avala powder types. Wash off after an hour.
  4. For face the thing that works : A paste of Besan(gram flour) and raw turmeric(kasturi manjal) works. Why i even did it this morning. And nothing works better than Besan.
  5. Do try the Kerala Ayurveda's Neelibringadee oil. Very very cool and calming. Also arrests hair loss and is a sure fire cure for insomnia.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dance Classes

Have always been fond of dancing. Having started at the age of 4 with Bharatnatyam at an age where i barely knew if this is what i want to do :) We had a superb and very passionate teacher Lata akka(Lataka). She used to work at Canara Bank at that time. Her smile, her exuberance and her dedication to dance is unmatched. 

I can still hear her rhythmic Taiyya Tai, which she made you do to perfection. If you don't practice you steps, Lataka would know. Don't ask how. She just knew it. A perfectionist and a hard task master. IF we had any stage performance, Lataka would train us like her life depended on it. 

I still remember one dance-drama called Tulasi Mahatmayam, in which i played one of the kids who were friends with Krishna and helped him to steal butter. She played Narada. I can still remember her Dance to Dhanya Naney..Lata akka's stage performances like when she does the Krish Nee beganney baaro, you can be sure, that baby Krishna does come to dance with her, its so touching

We did a number of small stage performances-right from the Guruvayoor Ambala Nadatil(which is still fresh in my mind) to Kamakshi. As I learnt under her tutelage, right from Allarippu, to Shabdam, i used to be torn between my friends who were playing every evening and I had to go to Dance Class. I don't know why, i slowly started being averse to it. The pressure was too much for my young self. I was more interested in academics and had at that time felt(all at the age of 9) that maybe this is not what i want to do.

My family eventually moved from Santa Cruz to Dahisar. The commute was tough. And somehow was difficult to continue classes. I moved on. But used to always read the newspapers to read news about Latakka's performance at Shanmukhananda hall or the other, and feel quite proud to be associated with her. Yes, I also saw the interview in which she appeared with Aishwarya Rai on TV, having taught her as well. She certains lights up any stage or screen - our Latakka. 

I had returned on "home leave" from Hong Kong a few years ago and met her in the local train. I introduced myself, and took updates about all my fellow dance mates who I knew at that time. The same spirit, the same infectious laughter, I bid her good bye as my station arrived.

I still think fondly of her and those magical days of Bharatanatyam classes.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Have always had a liking for incenses and essential oils. Whether each one is a mood developer or not, cannot be proved, but it certainly makes me feel good.

My perennial favorite are the essential oils from Blossom Kochar or those one finds in Health and flow. Affordable and quite “pure”. love burning oils like citronella/lemon grass mix(for a Zen Spa like ambience), or just a Geranium, or a Ylang Ylang simply superb.

As for incense sticks, cones, I prefer the Auroville Range- The Simply Auroville Store in Chennai, Khadar Nawaz Khan road is my favorite place.

Their Maroma range incense cones/sticks are super. 'Into the Night', “Sand dunes” Rose, and the longer sticks(with 2 ½ hours bruning time) I prefer the Surya Rose.

The Veda range has longer incense cones : The Veda cones come in the 5 fragrances of the Vedas: Aditi, Agni, Amritam, Swar, and Usha. Each cone box contains 10 incense cones with a star shaped cone burner. I prefer the Agni and Usha range.

Encens d'Auroville Perfume Sachets softly exude all the varied fragrant moods of nature. Gentle, subtle, or quietly exuberant, they can be used almost anywhere, in little corners, on shelves or between linens. Use them as personal memo under a pillow, in suitcases or tucked inside a greeting card. These little treasures are blended with natural essential oils that are infused into fine sandalwood powder then packaged in handmade paper pouches.
I usually keep them in my closet or in my suitcases..super J

The Auroville website is as follows :

Friday, March 7, 2008

Shortcut cooking

One of the things about living on your own, is cooking ! Its so much easier to just buy/order takeaway. The flip side the added pounds on the waist and then additional to be paid at the Gym for weight loss. Tsk tsk .
If you are anything like me, and look for shortcuts in the kitchen, then here are a few tips :

  1. Have a good breakfast. I would recommend Oatmeal. Two tablespoons of Oatmeal, with a teaspoon of wheat bran and Wheat germ to be cooked. You can add, milk or yogurt as u please. I prefer drinking this off a glass. SO its less messy and feels very “on –the-go”. Research has proved that having a good and heavy breakfast(not just aloo paratha types) keeps hunger pangs at bay and avoids binge eating, therefore leading to weight loss!

  2. Now some ready made foods : When you get home from work, put in some rice in the cooker. And pressure cook. There is a brand called 777 foods, who prepare some kickass home made Puliyodare mix, Vetha Kozahmbu, Pepper Rasam, Poondu(garlic) rasam, Tomato rice mix etc. EG. One teaspoon of Puliogare mix can be added to a cup of cooked rice to make yummy Tamarind Rice, similarly, one teaspoon of this rasam mix in a glass of hot water makes tasty home made style rasam. Their website is .

  3. If Idly batter is available in your local store buy and store for a week. Makes for healthy idli or homemade(non-stic tava, less oil) dosas. Healthy and soul food

  4. Rice Sevai : MTR/ANIL/Dragon Sevai etc make good Rice Sevai.
    Lemon Sevai : Just take adequate quantity and boil in water. In the side, take a pan and sputter some mustard seeds in oil, add udad seeds, and hing. Toss in Turmeric powder and a greenc hilly. Take the cooked/strained rice sevai and add to this pan. When done, squeeze the juice of a lime
    Tomato Sevai : Another variation can be by chopping in two tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilly and salt..add to the oil in which mustard seeds have been sputtering..and cook the tomato mixture. Add the rice Sevai. And tomato sevai ready :)

  5. Along the lines of Tomatao/Lemon sevai one can substitute the sevai for steamed rice and have lemon rice/tomato rice etc

  6. UPMA : Another easy to do food is vegetable Rawa Upma. Boil a cup of vegetables. Roast and dry the RAWA as required. Add some oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and one green chilly/ginger. Add the vegetables and some water. In this water, slowly stir in the RAWA. And close the pan to let it slow cook, by stirring continuously. When the Rawa is cooked the Upma is ready. A Similar upma can be made of Cracked wheat(or Dalia) This only takes a little longer to cook, and needs more stirring. Buy yummy and worth it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New thro my Mobile

Have been taking regular pictures of everyday life esp. in Kolkata...have started this recently
Used to pack a picnice lunch of idlis and Pulyodarai, and go to the Botanical garden with my mom. Enjoy the solitude and the lovely nature..sitting by the pond and just hearing the sounds of nature is so refreshing..

Soul food and easy recipes

Now for a list of favorite and soul food that I can prepare.

Bisi Bele Bhat : (Serves two)

1 cup rice soaked and washed
1 cup mixed dals (tur/moong, chana) soaked and washed
2 onions
Some Green chillies, red chillies,
A bowl of chopped assorted vegetables : ladies finger, white turnip(mooli), potato, tomato, yellow/white melon,
2 teaspoons teaspoon sambhar powder
1 tablespoon grated coconut(dessicated powder also will do)
A half cup of tamarind pulp
1 teaspoon, mustard seeds, udad dal
Appropriate amount of : Turmeric, Asafetida(hing), salt,
Curry Leaves.

In a rice cooker, add 2 teaspoons of ghee. Add mustard seeds and allow to sputter. Add udad dal..let it brown.
Add some Hing, and add onions and sauté.
Add tomatoes and the chillies.
Now add the remaining vegetables and the Tamarind pulp. Boil till the tamarind is cooked.
Now add Turmeric, curry leaves, sambhar powder and grated Coconut
Add the Rice and Dals.
Add appropriate water
And Pressure cook.

After 3-4 “whistles”
Switch off the gas. After 15 minutes open and add ghee.
Serve hot with papadams, or even masala wafers J

Goes very well with my next recipe roasted potatoes

Fried Potatoes (serves 2)
Half a kilo Baby potatoes or even normal sized potatoes
Boil in a Pressure cooker.
Remove the skin and keep aside.

In a pan add some oil.
Add mustard seeds and wait till it sputters.
Add one Chopped onion, one teaspoon of grated ginger and two red chillies.
Add salt, turmeric, hing and curry leaves to taste.
Add the potatoes and shallow fry.

When done, add two heaped teaspoons of Sambhar Powder and stir.
Goes very well with Sambhat rice, or any rice items.

The above dish can be prepared even with various Yams (Suran/Arvi) as well.

Vazha Pindi/Vazha Tandu Curry(Banana Stem)
This is one of my most favorite vegetables and most favorite preparations.

One medium sized Banana Stem.
Take off the outer rind until the inner smooth rind is seen.
Cut it horizonally in circles. Take of the excess fibre/threads that form
And now chop finely.
Store this in water in which a half a lime has been added, or a teaspoon of yoghurt has been added. (this stops the oxidization of the stem)

Now take a cup of moongdal and soak.
Chop a green chilly
Grate a cup of coconut
Curry leaves, salt, Hing, turmeric as required
Mustard seeds, udad dal

Take some oil in a pan.
Sputter some mustard seeds. Add some udad dal to it
Now add the soaked moong dal(yellow) and cook in a little water
After it cooks in 15 minutes, add the chopped banana stem
Add salt, hing, turmeric and cook.
Grind the grated coconut and the green chilly coarsely.
The banana stem is cooked within 15-20 minutes. Don’t overcook if you want to retain the CRUNCH :)
Add the grated coconut mixture and serve.

The banana stem provides a lot of fibre and would be a good idea to add it to ones diet.

Am such a fan of this vegetable, that one day on my return from Cochin, my friends mother lovingly took in a few stems from her garden and packed it for me. Imagine the challenge I had at the Airport security. They wondered if I was carrying a missile. When I opened my bag the airport security guys were laughing their heads off. They wondered why would anyone take such an abundantly available humble thing in their baggage :) I had to add that its not that easily available where I live :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

My most favorite inspiration

If you think you're beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't;
If you'd like to win, but think, you can't It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you will lose, you're lost;
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will,
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are;
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to hustle beforeYou can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always goTo the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins Is the one who thinks he can.

-Walter D. Wintle, "The Man Who Thinks He Can"
* I used to have this printed out from a magazine and pasted on my wall, during school/college. Now i have this on my wall at work.
Yes its been one of those kinds of Mondays. Something i was expecting today, didnt happen..anyway...tomorrow is another day....*

Fondest childhood Memories.

Was reminiscing about my fondest childhood Memories.

  1. One of mine would be visits to my grandparents in Chennai during holidays. Waking up at 05:30 in the morning, and cycling with my grandpa. We used to reach marina beach and watch the sun rise.
    There is nothing more beautiful than sunrise. the waves, the sea gulls, the fishing nets, the little crabs running all over..was very happy times.
    Then breakfast at Ratna cafe. Idli sambhar and coffee. Very quaint, very affordable. It is my happy place
  2. Then there is Lions Garden in Santacruz where my mom used to take me and my brother in the evenings. We used to get into this Air India aeroplane model and always yearn to fly. Its another thing that being so close to the airport, we could. actually read the names of the airlines as they flew so close. My brother liked channa while I flavoured peanuts. We were probably the only kids who used to say say “NO” when some balloon vendor or the other tried to sell us his wares. Smart kids :)
  3. I have one that involves my grandma..and that is dancing to the tune of "nirma washing powder" on was really cute. It used to apparently play at 07:30 every morning and we both used to come from which ever place we were to dance to this jingle..[am getting senti writing i miss her..]
  4. The first day at Kindergarden I do remember parts of it yes. And some of the memories are my grandma dropping me to school. The first day at school all the kids were crying. I was just one of those kids, who used to comfort the other kids saying don’t cry your mom will come to pick you up” :-) I used to cry n weekends that I want to go to school My mother used to take me there(Rose Buds Kindergarden) and ask the gate security to tell me that the school is indeed closed :-)
  5. Vacations : Some of the best ones were when i used to write long letters to my class mate Shilpi Sinha(i was in chennai on holiday and she in jamshedpur) It was fun...i think the chennai heat wasnt so unbearable then...In fact i used to long for the ice candy in the afternoon..superb candy..Then there was diwali holidays, which was most fun in chennai due to the endless amount of ‘pataas”(firecrackers) Strange how diwali is no longer as much fun...
  6. More grandma stories : I used to be quite "padips"(read nerdy) at school/college etc.. my granny tried to tell me that i shd also learn housework..she said they used to do that as a kid.. I said," onga time le elocution competition laam irrikale."(I said you never had elocution contests in your time) she asked me what it was. I said "speech laam kudukanam"(I said one needs to prepare a speech and deliver in front of the whole school)

She started " Dear Friends, on the occassion of Mother DAy, we would like to give our sincerest wishes...etc etc etc" and narrated a full speech she gave during her convent School MOTHER's DAY..she must have been 10 years old then. I was shocked and humbled that she remembered her speech even after so many years.. a lesson learnt..i can never forget that

Gosh such nostalgia..

Cool things i have done ?

Was thinking over the weekend to make a list of "Cool things" that i have done(Ys feel good lists are the best)

1) Passing out with with flying colurs in my post grad *cough*

2) Rescued stray animals. Even nursed some knowing they would die. Oh yes, there was also a bat that strayed into the house *on another note, i do remember having a lot of good luck thereafter*

3) Abseiling : have now done this at least 4 times. Every time, i think i wont do it again!!!

4) Dived from a 14 foot diving board into a swimming pool. I cant swim.

5) Walked on fire. ok ok walked on coals actually, which started as a fire. was cool! gives you an "I am invincible feeling"

6) Living on my own. Was very difficult at first owing to a very protective childhood/home.

7) Winning elections at school and college * i knew i have the makings of a politician *

8) Stood up for my colleagues even at the risk of getting a back lash. The issue was a form of sexual harassment that a few people had confided in me. Must say, it felt very good for setting it right. Also stood up for Bullying and helped colleague get over the fear of a "Bully Boss"

9) The recent cool thing was when one of my team members really improved n a period of 3 months. I didnt need to motivate the person . i just needed to STOP demotivating!

10) On winning a prize in a competition, a person, said that "someone else deserved it". I took the challenge and won the same prize for 3 years in a row * eat this * what can i say, i'm a nice girl untill i'm provoked*

11) The most recent one was for my domestic help. She was being overworked by neighbours(worked for 5 hours at the same price as she did for 2 hours that she worked with mer). I helped her see that she could probably earn more by doing smaller jobs in two-three places and opposed to this place. The neighours were angry that they lost such cheap labour. They retalisted by complaining to the building management that the maid should NOT be allowed in the building. Writing a counter letter to the buiding mangement, I had mentioned that I have no reason to mistrust her integrity and that she be "allowed in the building". Gave her a raise and best of all courage that she is indeed within her rights, to ask for shorter working hours.