Wednesday, July 29, 2009

& the girl is super thrilled.

I was busy chatting when automatically I looked into the balcony and here is what I found.
Yesss.. on the very first day..

I dont know many birds by name. Is this one dove? The first thought when i spotted it was'shit I am not wearing glasses and the camera is on the floor. If I get up from the couch, will the bird fly away??' So I sat quietly without moving for a minute coz it was looking here and there to ensure there is no trap and the last thing I wanted to happen was it to fly back getting scared right then.

After some time, when i found the bird sitting comfortably, I lifted off the laptop in slow motion, picked up the camera and went to the glass door in order to take a pic. The brave bird didnt move.. I cant believe that it kept sitting there for total 15 minutes. The pictures i clicked have time stamp which tells me so.

She ate from the tray first and then picked up somethings from the soil into the beak. When it started fiddling with the table rose leaves, i told myself i wont let it do that in the second visit. But for today anything n everything was fine.

So you can see how thrilled I am... now only if I had a better camera.. sigh!

some simple pleasures..

--> Watching the buds of peace lily every morning, one of which is half opened already. (pic on the right is taken form google)

--> Waiting for this week to pass by and hoping to see some life this time. Because as per the suggestions, soaked coriander seeds have been put in soil and the pot has been safely moved to the unreachable dark corner of the kitchen cupboard which wasnt being used for anything else.

--> & last but not the least, I am at regular intervals watching the bird feeder that I have set on the balcony wall. With some brown bread crumbs, water and trays of table rose on both sides of it.. Couple of birds flew past it but are yet to sit there. Maybe I will replace the bread with some sunflower seeds coz birds seem to like that more as per content on the net.

I am not expecting a variety of birds to visit me in this hot sand land anyways, just about anyone getting its thirst quenched would make me glad..

A moment of posing for my camera is all I want in return :)

Sometimes when we are busy running to catch a bus or train every morning for those 'then most important' deadlines at work, we miss so much that continues to take place around us. We either take them for granted or just dont notice.

I will leave you will a super interesting thing that I just found while browsing for some information on bird feeding. A LIVE CAM VIEW OF A BIRD NEST, WITH SOUND.. click here to see that site.

Friday, July 24, 2009

why is my cilantro not germinating???

What the hell! I am sad to see that my second effort at growing some coriander also didn't bear fruit :( what am i not doing well? dunno.. I think I dont trust the soil we get in dubai. Its nothing but the husk of coconut and some organic components.. but I want to keep trying..

I remember growing coriander, spinach, lady finger, brinjals, tomato, chilli, garlic, onions, corns etc when we had a ground floor house for few years during our stay in a small station "Kalpi' in Ambala.. It was a huge house with even bigger area around it. There was an enclosed backyard with mango tree, a guava tree in the front and so much space to make small beds for all of these veggies. The mango tree helped three gourd climbers bear fruit (Turai, karela and lauki). There were times when we had loads of roases, canna lilies of diff color, yellow and orange daisy, marigold around the walkway.

When dad was alloted that house everbody told him not to take it coz the house had been ignored and deserted by the previous family staying there. With garbage, trash, empty bottles etc scattered just when you step out in the backyard. Now I wonder how can someone like to stay like that. But my dad took the house. We got some repair, cleaning and painting done before moving in. My sister loved doing indoor setting up and I was the opposite. Mom would find me in the garden at 5 or sometimes earlier in mornings, with my gardening tools and many evenings were spent watering it, walking around, weeding or just looking at different plants around.

By the time we left that house, it was green enough to make ppl eye on it during their evening walks.. Coz, not many ppl had their garden arbor covered with a lush green climber of red hibiscus..

I am so attached to those things that inspite of having a tough time parting with my plants while relocating and then deciding not to collect any more here, I have, within 6 months collected quite a few again.. and I want to keep trying to grow our own coriander one day(hopefully)

There are also memories of finding snakes under the spare gas cylinder's trolley or the door handle that led to the kitchen garden on back side.

Of pigeons laying eggs and making noise in the veranda.

Of parrots throwing the sweetest but half eaten guavas down.

It was here that we had our first pet parrot and lured one more into its cage so we had a couple :)

Also, Of spreading our trap to catch squirrels. using a big plate, small pencil, long rope and some nuts..

and of the foggy winters when it used to rain so most of the time was spent sitting around the fireplace eating jaggery and groundnuts.

& many more...

While its good to look forward or making the best of 'now', isn't it wonderful to sit reminiscing at times..

Thursday, July 16, 2009

big laughter dose

if you can watch rgv ki aag in the multiplex you can almost watch anything.

This is what I told myself before downloading yday's episode of this program. Actually I read so many bloggers talking about it so couldn't resist. and what a girl!!! she did not disappoint me at all.. :D :D

At the moment, she is in total fix. In love with all of these last few guys in the show.. Toronto in a second, near Ganges in the other, discussing jalebi dhaba on the GT road with one and making dinner for the other in their panchsheel house as husband and wife in the other minute. I can't stop laughing.... she is equally committed with each one. no body is perfect she says, but everyone has something special in him so finds difficult to decide whose hand she finally wants to hold...What an innocent sounding romantic girl she is.. you have to watch yday's episode my dear.. to get what i mean.. I had a hearty laugh along with my lunch today, watching her.. she seem to be standing for what she is.. she seem to be knowing herself well, confident and self respecting but hilarious all the way..

"jab tak ki ghar waley nahi kehte(ladke ke) I wont marry, chahe main us ladke pe phida hi kyu na ho jaun.." her words. The way she ripped off that marriage consultant guy- Ashwin for asking her questions that pissed her and said "main Hindustan ki saari aurato ki awaaz hun.. " The host had no words to interrupt. "jaha phool hai wahape bhoura to ayega.. mujhe aise-aise propose aye hain(during her struggle in the industry) lekin mainey unhein bhayankar handle kiya hai.. chappal dikha ke!!" o my my.. i love this lady. n then there is her jeejus. You will love her too, provided(incase you are a guy) u dont get offended when she says 'mere swayambar ke zariye main chahti hu ki saare aadmi zaat sudhar jayein'. In what context? Go watch the episode for that.

I am her fan, once again (after big boss) and before I hear being called "crazy" and get rotten eggs my way, i better run.... to watch the rest of it... where else? i did this post in the middle of watching an episode.. is that a one hour thing???

you know, what amazes me is all these guys who(I cant believe,) are competing to marry her! but then, i guess we have no business judging them or her.. if it leads someone to such a laughter blaster of a wife ;)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My best gift to me...

~Disclaimer: Nothing in this note be pls considered as words of flattery towards anyone, by any means!

I will only be honest if I say that I love the idea of gifts. Whoever started it :) must be a nice soul.

Preeti’s post got me into thinking of all the gifts given or recd by me and what a lovely subject to think about so I decided to write a post on it.

`An online friend from Germany sent me a postcard and handwritten letter and a cute little teddy bear and her photo.

`Another online friend sent me a courier with a pretty dress material, a nice handwritten letter and some roli–chandan that has significance in Hindu rituals, as a wedding present. Her name happens to be Roli too.

In both the above cases, we have never met in person.. isn’t that out of the ordinary and special.

`A friend by name ‘gita’ presented me with ‘bhagwatgita’ the book.

Some gift ideas are very close to my heart. 3 such gifts (which I have given too) are

`a fish bowl

`an indoor plant in a chinaware

`travelling to another state for a single day to spend the birthday together, the first bday of spouse after we met. The gifting started there and is just going on. Sometimes the thoughts behind it is what makes it special, sometimes the shine of stones in the gift :P and sometimes the freshness and fragrance of those flowers coming in, in the middle of a night.

It doesn’t take me long however, to realize that the best gift that I can think of is what I gave myself. i.e. to get involved in the lookout for the guy I would marry, by making a profile on an online matrimonial site leading me to find the best for me..

Some time back, we were discussing ‘how marriages happen in India’ in a group with girls from India as well as places like Brazil and America. The concept of arranged marriages made them drop their jaws. They said they had heard of it but could never believe. Even the matrimonial sites they said was something new for them. Do they exist only in India? It was funny when we tried explaining them how all the criterion and filters are put in place in your profile. You get contacted by ppl who like ‘your profile’ and then things move further and one finds the partner n gets married.. Its weird and scary for them. But that’s how it happened for me. And the process was fun and full of experiences. While I met the guys suggested by family and their friends, I also got to know of many guys looking seriously for someone, through the net. The one I got married to within 6 months of having met through JS made the search and the time spent totally worthwhile. Not because he is perfect or I was. Because we are.. and life is beautiful with him.. Sounds cliché and how I wish he would not read this!! or maybe I should add something just in case he is reading it..

PS: only if he would not start singing n doing emotional atyachar at 10 every night to force me into switching off the laptop in order to sleep... ok, 10 is exaggeration make it 11, 12 or whatever!!!!

He says there is no point in moving into a bigger apartment coz he likes it how I am always around and to be seen in this studio. Smart ass ;)

God, bless us!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tales of the cook in me.. (...again )

In my kitchen I am the cook. Infact that is the only place where I could be accepted as someone close to a cook!! Where I make the rules, I create the recipes, I decide the ingredients and I sometimes put my legs up and simply say "I am not cooking today!!" I never cooked when staying with mom and the idea of cooking never interested me till I started cooking :) so now when i stir up something and it turns out good, i feel like framing that moment forever in memory. Choosing what to cook for the day doesnt come easy to me, and that is the reason I thought of recording some of the stuff up here. My cooking starts with looking up in google and then checking into my kitchen and doing my own version of the both. This pretty much also applies to the husband who loves to cook as well as eat. Thank you for stopping by.. Pls cheer me up with your kind words in the comment space!!

This is the write up I was to put for another blog which if i started would record recipes randomly.. for my own reference more than anothing else, because deciding what to cook really doesnt come to me naturally. I need ideas.

So sunday afternoon i was all set to start another blog. The blog name, the title and i even collected matter for the first post too.. Some interesting quotes about cooking. But then something happened and the technically not too sound me dropped the idea. I think i will continue to write them here with the tag "hungry?" as i did so far.

Chicken curry

mushroom malai matar

palak paneer

grilled fish

veg dum biryani & aloo fry(by amit) with raita & green chutney

beetroot veggie

capsicum potato with soya nuggets(small ones)

spinach soup

salad without readymade dressing (cucumber,onion,tomato,lettuce or napa cabbage, corn & beans sautéed in olive oil)

different daal combo for lunch or dinner

omlette by amit in breakfast

This is what i remember having dished out in our kitchen last wk.. I have ample of time at hand these days(which i guess is evident from this blog) and I am actually enjoying cooking. The only thing I dont like much is I end up repeating some stuff. Last time I told mom that its kaddu(pumpkin) for dinner, dad jumped in the conversation and asked me 'if there is excess of pumpkin available in dubai'. its one of the veggie he cannot eat at all but i recently have developed a taste for it. We even make soup out of it often. & Maybe the dinner tonight is also going to be kaddu, though i should not tell mom about it..

When I go out buying vegetables next time, I will try to pickup things other than listed above. subject to availability/their freshness/prices etc.. Lets see.. but like what?? wait, lemme write some..okra, couliflower, eggplant, beans, carrot, radish, turai, karela, methi leaves, broccoli(i dont like), asparagus (we have never tried).. wow! i didn't realize but there are many options...

anyways, pls be kind and tell me what did YOU have in the last night meal, pls?

thanks :)

Reading Speed - Update

Its an update on my reading speed i wrote about last week here

I don't know if any of those who read/commented there took the test also and what their speed was; but 149wpm to me sounded too less. Because its another matter when u are intentionally reading slow to enjoy the content, i was knowingly doing a speed test and the popup saying i am a slow reader was like a slap on me :o .. a light one though :P

Just by reading on the reason why one reads slow helped to begin with. I downloaded a 10 day trial software and like one plays games on the computer, i did some 'flash', 'group' and 'speed' reading.

Yday night I took the timed test again and the result was-
247wpm with 86%comprehension. (n thats after averaging 10 tests taken at one go.)

up by almost 100 wpm, just by knowing the reasons why we read slow usually and around 20 min reading exercise for 3 days in a wk.. wat say?? Can I take it upto 500wpm.. If i can do that, comprehension gaya tel lene..

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fishing for some cheer..

Amit is enjoying his book lying on the couch and i am almost stretched flat on my chair with legs up on another chair across the dining table, trying to keep my head straight and eyes on the laptop screen.. That after savouring a recipe i did for the first time.. "grilled fish in a customised sauce" and some cocktail made by him in an effort to fulfill my wish of getting drunk once in life. Its not often that i take pleasure in drinks, because of the smell and taste but its my wish to get talli once.. and today as he says, he can see that i have got that surur :) and i am enjoying the feeling.. you see, trying hard to keep myself positioned on the chair while I type this post..

I must thank GM for it was her suggestion to try the recipe. And the fish was special coz it was the harvest of a friend's fishing..

So today was a lazy friday for us. Amit worked from home. I slept almost the whole day. Something that i usually dont do as I kind of hate sleeping.. but when I sleep I am kumbhkaran's rishtedar!! In the evening, I played some songs devoting them to husband while he stepped into a loving avtar helping his wife and got into doing the dishes.. He cannot do the 'boring' household work if there is no good music on. After a while I got bored surfing the net and started my cleaning drive. We didn't realise but it was around 8pm when we both were done with our stuff..

The friend couple called that they are passing by to hand over a part of their fishing yield. P's husband had gone fishing to Fujairah some time back with office colleagues and got some big catches.

With nothing planned for dinner, I thought of GM's idea and put the fish out for dinner.

Here is the recipe: (quantities are all by estimate based on the fish size)
For the Sauce -
olive oil (extra virgin)
mustard sauce
ginger garlic paste
lemon juice
dried mint, kasuri methi and basil (i dont go by any rule usually, anything that I lay my eyes on is ok to be included in the experiment)
salt, pepper
fresh coriander, chopped.

Mix them all and put the cleaned fish into it.

Put the fish properly layered with the sauce on a foil.
Top it up with chopped onion and capsicum cut into thin long pieces.
(I rolled the onion n capsicum into the left over sauce in the bowl before putting it over the fish)

sprinkle some oregano over it, a lil bit of honey here and there and put it into preheated oven.
(my oven doesnt have temperature mentioned on the knob, which means i need to get an over thermometer, but till then, i am working in estimation. It has option to heat the oven from top and bottom both, but i use the top heating option as of now)

After 10-15 min of grilling (I dont know much difference between grilling and baking in practical terms btw) I checked it with a toothpick. Turned over the fish pieces and let it grill for 10 more minutes to avoid it being uncooked.

When I finally pulled it out, let me tell you it smelled devine. Even the insides of the pieces did not taste bland.. It was real good and without any side dish, we felt quite satistied.

It turned out to be just apt for our appetite. What a lovely feeling when your experiment results are good. It cheers you up.. or is it the magic of the drink ;)

PS: cannot think of any better title, its the surur i guess... :P

Thursday, July 9, 2009

good morning..

After the usual morning chores I switched on the laptop at around 9. Opened few news sites, the updated blogs and my mailbox but before starting to read anything, i felt like listening to a morning song.. I typed vande mataram in 'you tube' and played the first link that popped up.

It was so soothing.. While listening to it, I carried on with my reading, replying, chatting, commenting etc.. I shared the video link with a few friends online as well coz I wanted them to hear it too..just like that... :) I am sure everyone has heard it before and liked it too. When I was a kid, this song used to be played every morning as the first thing when the transmission started on the Indian TV... ah! those days.

Back to today. After almost 2 hours I finally saw the picturization in this video.. it was playing in loops till then as I was busy reading other stuff... Its shot in mumbai.. of things that happen before the sun is up.. at local train stations and bus stops, of boiling tea & breakfast stalls, kids selling bunches of jasmine, the petrol pump, vegetables being stocked for the day's sale etc... and of the banner saying "mera bharat mahan" ... Its obvious that I liked the video as much as the song.

Let me just put it up here incase you want to listen to it and watch it too :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

this is for all you avid readers..

but its about ebooks!!! so if you prefer to read with the feel of paper, this is not for you :(

a mail that i recd from a friend today-


Dear Friends,

Every year in July, the World eBook Library, Project Gutenberg , The World Public Library , other sponsors will team up and provide free access for one month to download any ebooks from their Libraries.This year the Fourth annual World eBook Fair was launched on July 4th,so in this one month i.e from July 4th to August 4th you can download ebooks for free. So visit or, click on Browse tab and startDownloading ebooks of your choice .According to world ebook fair in this one month(7/04/09 to 8/04/09. ) we can download 2.5 million ebooks for free.

Enjoy Downloading & Reading!


deseo aprender español

And that means 'i want to learn spanish', one of the 'to do' list items, a language that sounds very romantic to me.

We saw "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" few days back at home and I loved it when they played this soundtrack. The movie is in english but one of the characters loves to talk in spanish. She is the most loved character in the movie and also a winner of Oscar for best supporting actress in the movie.. as part of her thank you words on the stage, she says "Art in any form is, has been and will always be our universal language and we should do everything we can to protect its survival!" which is so true and a lovely statement.

In VCB, I loved the way the-only-word-i-understood i.e Barcelona, is being repeated in the song.. and it increased my urge to learn the language...

Thats all I know as of now but want to learn more, soon...

PS: I used language translator for the title :D

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I read only 149wpm

when I took a reading speed test today(
I took 7 min 59 sec to read 1187 words... and the calculated speed of reading was 149 words per min. when i looked up in google to check what a decent reading speed usually is, i was not surprised. I knew i am a slow reader but i get a feeling today that i am pathetically slow :(

The average college student reads between 250 and 350 words per minute on fiction and non-technical materials. A "good" reading speed is around 500 to 700 words per minute, but some people can read 1000 words per minute or more on these materials.

Factors that Reduce Reading Rate (picked from
1.Limited perceptual span (word-by-word reading)
2.Slow perceptual reaction time (slow recognition and response to the material)
3.Vocalization (reading aloud)
4.Faulty eye movements (ncluding inaccuracy in placement of the page, in return sweep, in rhythm and regularity of movement, etc.)
5.Regression (needless or unconscious re-reading)
6.Faulty habits of attention and concentration (including simple inattention during the reading act and faulty processes of retention)
7.Lack of practice in reading—use it or lose it!
8.Fear of losing comprehension, causing the person to deliberately read more slowly
9.Habitual slow reading, in which the person cannot read faster because he or she has always read slowly
10.Poor evaluation of which aspects are important and which are unimportant
11.The effort to remember everything rather than to remember selectively

Just before finishing this post, I took one more test attempts and here is the result- 172wpm with 73% comprehension. This means while the comprehension is not bad, the speed is too less.

A little more about reading profiles as picked frm
110 wpm, slow reader, but you have many possibilities for improvement.
240 wpm, oral reader. You may rapidly and significantly progress by suppressing subvocalization.
400 wpm, auditory reader.
1000 wpm, visual reader. Your reading speed is the gem of your CV.

I am gonna work on it!
Will be back in a week with my new results..

Thursday, July 2, 2009



A woman, renewing her driver's license at the Motor Registration office,
was asked by the counter clerk to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

'What I mean is,' explained the counter clerk,
'do you have a job or are you just a ..?'

'Of course I have a job,' snapped the woman.
'I'm a Mum.'

'We don't list 'Mum' as an occupation,

'housewife' covers it,'
Said the clerk emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Medicare office.

The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like,
'Official Interrogator' or 'Town Registrar.'

'What is your occupation?' she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know.

The words simply popped out.
'I'm a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations.'

The clerk paused , ball-point pen frozen in midair and
looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

'Might I ask,' said the clerk with new interest,
'just what you do in your field?'

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
'I have a continuing program of research,
(what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
and already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are
more of a satisfaction rather than just money.'

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career,
I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than 'just another Mum.' Motherhood!

What a glorious career!
Especially when there's a title on the door.

Does this make
'Senior Research associates in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations'
great grandmothers
'Executive Senior Research Associates?'
I think so!!!

I also think it makes Aunts
'Associate Research Assistants.'

(An email forward that I couldnt resist but post, for all those mothers out there!)