Showing posts from April, 2014

A trip to BR Hills - The monsoon edition

There are some places which one can never have enough of in just one trip. And every time one makes the journey along the same roads to the same place, there appear newer and newer facets that were mysteriously hidden or overlooked in the previous visits. BR Hills is one such place. I have been twice to BR Hills and yet I crave for more. 

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it (my selection):

“The Biligiriranga Hills, commonly called BR Hills, is a hill range situated in south-eastern Karnataka. The area is called Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or simply BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. Being at the confluence of the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, the sanctuary is home to eco-systems that are unique to both the mountain ranges. The forests form an important wildlife corridor between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, linking the largest populations of Asian Elephants and tigers in southern India. The site was declared a Tiger Reserve in December 2010.

The hills are …

My Desi Spicy Chicken Roast

A few weeks ago I saw the very delectable Jamie Oliver cook up an Indian storm in his oven. He called it his Empire Roast Chicken. It looked deliciously succulent and charred with tendrils of smoke arising as Jamie sliced through it. I was ready to reach out for a drumstick when he placed the chicken pieces on a board. I knew then that I just had to make this Indian roast chicken for Sunday lunch. 

Thus, I set the husband in motion on a Saturday evening. He dutifully brought home a whole bird which I planned to marinate overnight.  As I was about to get my spices ready for the marinade, I looked up Jamie’s recipe for the roast on the net.  And just like that, I changed my mind. I am sure his Empire Roast Chicken would have tasted so much better, but my inability to follow recipes made me decide to roast my chicken in my own desi style. Perhaps my experience with cooking the herb-roasted chicken would come handy!

Later, as I went about toasting and grinding spices, adding a bit of thi…

A letter to my son...

Dear son,

Mamma wants to confess a few things to you today.

It was your Annual Day function a few days back in school. You were supposed to be a chef and dance to the tunes of ‘Hot Potato’ along with your pre-nursery classmates. As all your friends danced onstage, cheered on by their parents, you sat playing in a corner with a wooden egg and a spoon, oblivious to everything around you. Your chef’s hat that I had painstakingly made the previous evening lay ignored on the floor. I choked down bitter tears of disappointment as other parents clapped and clicked away pictures of their children. My own camera remained unused.

Later, that day, your Koka-Aita (grandparents) and Mahi (aunt) berated me over the phone.

“He is just two and half years, how can you expect him to go up on stage and perform?”

“Do you remember performing anything at his age?”

“Maybe he doesn’t like all that dance and music. Maybe he is like you guys, more in tune with nature and birds and animals. You take him out to …

Birding in Nandi Hills

The first time I went to Nandi Hills in 2011 I almost swore not to go back again. We had lost our way horribly and reached the top at around 11.30 am. A terrible time to be in Nandi Hills, as we realized later. Picnic parties were in full swing with the area choc-a-bloc with cars parked bumper to bumper. There were monkeys swinging down from every branch and twig, snatching and begging for food. Chaos reigned supreme. Nandi Hills definitely was not my type of place, I surmised. 

Imagine my surprise when I read article after article on the thriving bird life there. And not just your usual birds but birds that were found in the Niligiri biosphere. We had gone searching for those birds in far flung places like Coorg and apparently they were there in Nandi Hills itself. Really? Amongst the madding crowd? The pictures on blogs said so. Maybe it was time for us to look at Nandi Hills with different glasses.Or binoculars.

That decided, we landed there one morning at 7.30 am with the whole fa…