Showing posts from November, 2014

My magical time travel machine

Memories are strange things. They pop up when you least expect them. Take today morning, for example. We were happily yapping away on our WhatsApp group, comprising cousins and aunts, when my brother posted an old picture of us playing cards. It immediately opened a floodgate of memories and emotions and my mom found herself in tears. 

“You have all grown up so fast,” she sobbed over the phone. “How I wish I could go back to those days.”

I wished the same, too. If only I had a magical time travel machine.

I was shaken out of my reverie as a little hand tugged at my dress.

“Mamma, story please.”

A pair of liquid brown eyes looked up at me, pointing at my laptop. I sighed as I switched on the computer – oh the travails of a modern mother. I had grown up reading fairy tales and other stories the conventional way, but now it is the computer that my son recognizes as a story book. 

As I browsed through the stories on youtube, the little guy pointed at a thumbnail excitedly.

“Mamma, pigs, pigs!”

I …

A hope for a new generation

A few days back, Aditi had tagged me to write a post on how we think we can eliminate classroom hunger so that no child would go hungry and an entire generation is educated. It was an initiative taken up by blogadda in association with Akshaya Patra, an organization promoting mid-day meals in schools. Unfortunately, the whole week was a turbulent one with office work threatening to eliminate my sanity instead. Yet, the thought of ‘food for education’, played intermittently in the back of my mind. Somewhere, a memory was tugging at my heartstrings. It would surface vaguely and go away even before I could take cognition of it.

Finally, it dawned upon me when I opened Akshaya Patra’s website a few minutes back. My eyes instinctively went to a young girl wearing mekhala chadar, the traditional dress of Assam. Her name was Krishna and she belonged to a remote village at Chandrapur block in Assam, a place which still does not have electricity connection fully. Krishna walked 10 km every day …

Secrets of Goa: Beyond the Sun and the Sea

(Caution: Long post ahead!)

My first memory of Goa was as a wide-eyed kid, squealing with delight as the waves took away the sands under my feet, way back in 1989. The wonder of this small coastal state remained with me and I continued to visit it repeatedly in the subsequent years, sometimes with family, a few times with office colleagues and once with my cousin and her friends. And yet, each time I ended up seeing the same things over and over again. So much so that Goa became synonymous only with beaches, shacks, churches, clubs and port wine.

Finally, the trip in October 2014, the ninth one in the series, cracked this belief. Goa was a revelation as we explored a side away from the beaches, the non-touristy circuit, a facet so rich and diverse in its ecosystem and culture that it took our breath away. 

Come along with me and I will show you what I did this time that was different from the other trips and was so fulfilling. Here’s what I did:

1.Went bird-watching: Of the winged variety…

Hungarian Chicken - our style!

We have recently formed a WhatsApp group among our cousins, scattered through the globe with different time zones. My mom and aunt are also a part of it. It’s a lovely place to reminisce about past memories (“remember the time we went to Pondy” to “remember the time M sat on T’s lap”) and we mostly end up talking about food. And cats, for some reason. 

These days, I wake up to images of breakfast spreads and discuss about what to cook for lunch and dinner. The most common question is “What’s cooking today?” And then we steer the conversation towards cats, thanks to my cat-loving cousin and cat-unloving sister.

Yesterday, while chatting with our cousin Julie Baidew (baidew for elder sis), I suddenly recalled a dish she had taught us years back – Hungarian Chicken! There was a bunch of us who had learnt that from her, one of our first continental chicken recipes at that time, and we went ballistic over it. So much so that Jil Da, her brother in US who had missed out on the dish, had to as…

Book review: God is a Gamer

Of late, I am being introduced to a whole new world of Indian thrillers, who were always there while I was too busy looking elsewhere. I now realize that I had actually been missing out on a lot. These thrillers have plots that span across the globe and read quite like their foreign counterparts.

A case in point is Ravi Subramanian’s novel God is a Gamer. Being a banker himself his stories revolve around the banking industry and his past books reflect that. I know this is embarrassing, but while everyone is acquainted with his other books, God is a Gamer is my first. I love receiving autographed books and Ravi’s ‘Keep smiling!’ autograph with a smiley doodle really brought out a smile on my face.

I took some time finishing the book as I had two hectic travels ensconced in between. Blame it on my travels, but I did have to go back and forth trying to establish or remember the characters and storyline a bit.

Here is my take on God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian:

The story is based on the pr…

Staying with the Amarals at Cancio's House, Goa

I had first read about Cancio’s House in Shivya’s blog while she was visiting Goa last year and stayed with the Amarals. When I won the Kissan contest, India Untravelled offered me a number of choices, spread through the country. All the locations looked equally inviting and I took some time to arrive at my decision. Finally, I chose Goa and Cancio’s House. It promised me a life beyond the beaches and the art of practicing susegad(Portuguese for contented). I deliberately refrained from reading TripAdvisor reviews about the place, lest it filled my mind with pre-conceived notions. I was determined to enjoy my vacation and my prize, you see. *Grin*
We were scheduled to spend 3 nights with our hosts, the Amarals, during the Diwali holidays. Since we wanted our son, my muse for the winning post, to enjoy his first tryst with sand and sea, we booked into a beach resort near Anjuna/Vagator for a night. By the time we reached Roberto Amaral’s house in the late afternoon the next day, we were…

A special road trip: Bangalore to Goa!

We had been planning a road trip to Goa from Bangalore since the past 4 years. Each time the husband brought it up, a cynical me would somewhat dismiss it saying “Not possible. That too in our little car.”

And then one fine day I unexpectedly won a contest which offered me the choice of several offbeat travel getaways all across the country, right from the Kumaon Hills in the north to Wayanad in the south, the itinerary prepared by India Untravelled. We had visited most of the southern locations and the northern ones seemed difficult, given our tight office schedule. 

Finally, we zeroed in on Goa. 

“Possible?” I asked the husband warily.

“Possible!” The husband confirmed emphatically.

So, Goa it was. A distance of almost 650 km door-to-door, from our home in Bangalore to the resort in Goa that we had booked for the night. The rest of the stay would be in the homestay arranged by India Untravelled.

We decided to follow the Bangalore-Tumkur-Hubli-Belgaum-Chorla Ghats-Goa route and this was fu…