Monday, October 23, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

That old neighbour

She danced, she sang, she loved and lived life
She probably still does, I wouldn't know
She was my neighbour
Not anymore
She was my friend
Not anymore

Her first kiss
I was the first one who knew
My first boy - friendship
She was the first one who knew
We read books together
We read out poems to each other
We drew together
We spent countless hours giggling
Like little girls do
At random things that made no sense to the outside world

She did have other friends
I had other friends

Be we had something special.
We were neighbors as well
Easiest to access

We got each other through the most difficult year of our lives
We have seen each other as we had all our pieces shattered

That shattered what we had
I think we started to remind each other of the sadness
Maybe we didn't want to remember that
Maybe we didn't know how to face each other after that
Maybe we just needed fresh starts

With that crescendo,
Eight years of close friendship disappeared
Like the whisp of smoke from a candle who's flame has been snuffed out

Now we follow each other on social media
I occasionally think about her
Or the fun we used to have
Send an extremely occasional text

Sometimes I wonder about who she is now
I wonder if she does too

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Preethi's Turbo Chop - A Review

My boyfriend lives with some room mates, and they take about an hour and a half to cook every proper meal. Of which, 45 minutes is spent cutting vegetables. I spend about 10 minutes cutting, when I have to.
I like cooking, even love it many times, but I hate the preparation!

Some are lucky enough to be able to cut and cook really fast. I have never been for them. Luckily for people like us, they have choppers in the market!

I bought a manual chopper from HomeCentre about a year back, it’s great for uniform small sized dicing. However, the handle broke after 20 to 25 uses. One carrot murdered it you see. I went back to the old school knife-wielding methods for a while, till I chanced upon Preethi’s Turbo Charger.

I’ve been using it for a month now, and it has really saved me a lot of time!
My review of the product:


Design:

Simple and efficient.

It’s got 4 parts: The wired motor, A separator (plastic layer between motor and the bowl), The blade, and the Bowl/ bottom container.
It’s got a plastic body, which looks durable. I dropped the bowl once, and it didn’t break. However, it is plastic, and it could break.

However, it’s easy individual part design makes it very very easy to clean! And since the bowl can be emptied quite comfortably with a spatula, we don’t even have to wash it in between cutting different vegetables for the same cook – which is not the case for mixer grinders.

The separator is very clever, leaving the motor completely clean even after multiple rounds.
The blade is quite sharp – so handle with care.

Size: It can cut 2 to 3 medium sized onion at a time. So you’d need to go a few more rounds if you’re cooking for a bigger group. It’ll still save you time, so worth the effort.


Chopping Quality:

Pros: It cuts really fast, no matter what the veggie is. It cruised through the carrots without a hitch. It’s great for carrots, onions and so on. You can stop mid way for a coarse finish, and go a bit longer for a fine finish.

I loved the coarse finish I was able to get for my fresh chili + ginger + garlic mix.
Cons: It’s not a chopper exactly. It’s more of a grinder. Especially with the softer veggies like tomato and cucumber – it completely purees it. So, when you’re looking for a puree maker, it’s perfect.
The first time, I was trying to cut tomatoes for a salad and I was sourly disappointed.  However, when I was helping my dad with the curry, the puree consistency was perfect! Was better even that chopped tomatoes!


Power Consumption:

Very negligible. It does the work in minutes, so it probably takes up far lesser energy than our Mixies.


Overall:

It’s a small, easy to store and handle, great product that would really help with everyday kitchen use.
Priced around the 2K range, it’s easy on the pocket and a great gadget. I would especially recommend it for amateur cooks as it saves a lot of time with recipes that need chopping.




Monday, September 11, 2017

Three Ladoos

Occasionally, I go to office on my scooter.  A couple of those times, at a Subway close to my home, I’ve spotted this really wrinkly old man – pushing his rickety old cart up. The first time I saw him, he was struggling to push his cart. Despite his cart being mostly empty, he is old and mostly bones, and was really putting all of his might into it, and yet moving only a few feet per minute.

The first time I saw him, after a brief internal discussion, I turned left at the signal (instead of going straight) parked my scooter, and went (walking against the traffic) to help him drag his cart up. The entire time I was pulling (he was pushing from the other side) he kept saying “Paravalla ma” “Naa pathikraen ma” and “Thanks ma”


Sometimes, when I stop to help someone, or even see someone like this, I wonder; It’s their job, they choose to do it, so maybe they should be fine? They probably won’t find someone to help every time, so why help occasionally – it probably doesn’t make a difference anyway!

Like once, my boyfriend and I spotted and old man looking obviously lost on the street, with 2 big bags. We helped him get in the car after asking him where to go. “The big gate, near the turning, at the corner” were his directions. We took him right to the corner, found the big gate, helped him get off. As we – a very satisfied couple, turned the car, he was still standing outside staring at the gate. We asked him what was up and he looked even more confused than before, and said, that doesn’t look like the right gate. Worried now, we helped him get in again, and turned out that the gate he was looking for was a mere metres from where we’d picked him up. Close to the turning we were supposed to take. He’d mentioned corner, and we’d assumed corner of the road we were on. Since then, I’ve been a bit wary of helping old people especially. They’re not the clearest when articulating what they want sometimes.

Last Wednesday, I saw him again. This time, his cart was overflowing, and he was panting and his toothpick sized legs were really struggling. If he’d moved feet earlier, this time, he was moving inches. He had hardly come up 1/3rd the bridge through three traffic cycles. So, I parked my bike again, and went to help him haul it up. This time, there was no protest from his side. He was obviously too tired and glad to have any help. This time when we reached up and turned left, he gave the happiest wrinkliest smile ever, and told me a “Romba Thanks ma”. I was glad that the decision of my internal discussion was to stop and help him, even though I’d been hungry.

I realized then that it doesn’t matter if it’s their job. Or, if they may not find someone to help them everyday. Maybe God sends us along to help them when they need that extra boost.

Today, on my way to work, on my scooter again, I was crossing a bus stop, when a lady waved me to stop and said “Please drop me at the end of the road” (in Tamil) The road is on my way, and a good 3 km stretch. I stopped, she handed me a plastic bag and requested I keep it in front – I hung in on the little storage holder hooks provided in scooters. When it was time to get off, I gave her the plastic bag back. She opened the plastic bag and asked me to pick one of the little pouches inside. “My daughter is getting married” she said with pure pride and happiness that only parents can express. “These are sweets for that.” She beamed and hurried away. Sputtering out a congratulations, I looked happily at the pouch with three ladoos in my hand. My Monday was made!



Monday, August 28, 2017

How to put a baby to sleep

Once upon a time,
In a land far far away
There lived many little babies and their mommy.
Luckily for her, she knew how to put them to sleep - so she too could sleep peacefully at night.

This would probably be a fairy tale that many of my girl friends would weep over - happy tear, tears of hope.

I'm going to share a secret here. One that is actually quite well known, and practiced widely worldwide. How to put your baby to sleep.
How did it all come about? Being one of the youngest among my cousins, I have many nieces and nephews. One December, cousins who had just entered parenthood a few months ago, brought with them their 5-month-old baby girl. That trip was the first "vacation" for that little thing, but having come from a cooler place, not to mention random people poking at her and carrying her, she struggled. My cousins were tired, 5 months of little to no sleep can do that to people. Luckily for them, I knew the secret that isn't quite a secret - How to put a baby to sleep.

The Secret?

Read to him/ her. 

Sounds too simple to be true? Well, it is though. 

It's not the story or the adventure that puts them to sleep, it's the rhythm
Read a bed time story softly, slowly and with a constant pace, you'll have the baby sleeping in no time. It's almost like an easier lullaby for those who are tone deaf 😉
This is also much less stressful and tiring than trying to rock your baby to sleep or other means. 

Another essential Characteristic of Bed Time stories is how they begin
Have you noticed that so many fairy tales begin with "Once Upon a Time"
Did you think that all writers in that era started their stories with those four words? Nah. It was edited into the story by the fairy tale book publishers. 
Why though? Conditioning. 
Conditioning is not a negative thing. It can be just a comfortable pattern that our brain gets used to sometimes. When a child hears "Once upon a time" or when a baby hears the tone with which you say those words, and that particular pattern on sounds, after a few repetitions of this event, they'll know it's sleep time. 

It doesn't have to be a fairy tale for a baby. When my niece was crying, I used to read her articles from a magazine that was available! You can read the news! Just start it with Once Upon a Time.

Disclaimer: Of course there has to be one! 😉
If your baby is crying because of hunger/illness, this method won't work.
It most other situations of unrest, this will at least calm babies down, if not put them to sleep completely.

Try it, and let me know if it works! :)
Sweet dreams!



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My Love affair with notebooks

I love food and I announce it often times, proud and loud.
However, that I love notebooks is a quieter thing that very few know
I am in a way ashamed of it even
Not ashamed that I love notebooks,
But that I don't love them right

I could be compared to a cruel man
Who collects gorgeous women
And keeps them locked away
Cruel, not because he doesn't love them
But because he collects them believing he would love them right at some point
And never feels any moment is special enough
For that amazing occasion

One souvenir I get myself
From almost every country I visit
Is a notebook, (or two, more like - just in case, you know?)

I have notebooks of all kinds
Tall ones, fat ones, tiny ones
Ruled...unruled
Locked, easy to open
In a box
Hard bound, spiral bound
Many pretty pretty ones

I keep them safe and neat
In my cupboard
Often finding an old one,
And spending a moment smiling at how beautiful it is
Promising it that one day, I will write something very special in it
But I become like a protective father then
Like no man is good enough
No occasion special enough to start them

I have used many notebooks
Bought them for specific purposes
And left them forgotten

So all these heartbreaking realizations later
Earlier this month,
I made a very difficult decision
I decided not to buy myself anymore notebooks
(Yes that's the sound of my heart cracking)
I followed it up with an even more difficult decision
That I would start using my notebooks
Before I get another new one
(Crushed to pieces, that's my heart)

I've even started clearing my table
Cleaning it, so only the special notebook can sit there proudly
I came to terms with not buying new notebooks for a long time

Last night,
My dad came home
he tossed a really pretty notebook right next to me
My hands itched to touch them
My eyes were analyzing them already
It however felt like a cruel joke
Like being taunted with that carrot you don't deserve
"Take it. I don't think I'll use it" He said
"Why thank you, I really appreciate it"
I let out the breath I hadn't realized I was holding in.
It all felt right again.







Monday, July 3, 2017

Dialogue in the Dark : A review

If there was one sense that I would never want to lose - that would be sight.
Yet, my experience in complete darkness was eye opening. Pun intended.

Let's rewind, and give some context to all of this.

Dialogue in the Dark is an establishment where you can experience a safe version of a completely dark world. Have you ever wondered how would it feel like to be blind? to be unable to see what is right in front of you? To have to rely on all your other senses for the visual input we so easily take for granted? Dialogue in the dark is the place for you. Even if you've never wondered any of those things, I would still encourage you to go there.

As soon as we went, before we entered, they gave us lockers and asked us to keep all our things in it. Including mobile phones and watches that may emit light. We keep the keys, and the things are quite safe there.

We were then given guiding sticks, and instructions to keep it close to the body, below knee level, and to use it to only feel the ground.

When you enter the actual space - darkness is an understatement. I realized then that even when we have our eyes closed, we don't actually experience real darkness. The kind where there is absolutely NO LIGHT. Be ready for a minute or two of your eyes trying really hard to find some semblance of light from anywhere.

We (4 of us) had a guide who took us around the place. It is designed to enhance the experience of all your other senses.

I'm not going to spoil your experience by breaking the surprise here - but I must tell you this;
Being in the complete dark is scary. At least in the beginning. And every new experience they give us, there is always fear in getting into it. But trust me (I can vouch for it :) ) It is safe, and worth every minute of it. And no animals are kept inside there (that is one information I would have appreciated in advance :P )  

We even got to play games in the dark. Relying only on our ears then.

I can't repeat enough about how heightened your other senses become. Hearing, touch, smell - even with touch - textures, temperatures, so much it's beyond wonderous.

The cherry on the cake is the eating experience.

We were playing the game, and we knew we were close to food as we could smell it so strongly. My favorite part about eating was that after being in the dark for around half an hour, we already seemed to be a bit comfortable with the food. Feeling it slightly to get a sense of the temperature, then eating it. there was a moment when I was biting at some foil, without a clue of what it was - but I figured it out.

Do go and try it out! Highly recomended!




Some additional info from the organization itself:

About Dialogue in the Dark:

Dialogue in the Dark is a global organization that champions diversity and social inclusion of the Differently abled worldwide. Dialogue in the Dark’s mission is to sensitize the sighted world about the abilities of the differently abled so as to include and mainstream disabled people and eventually empower them economically. Dialogue in the Dark uses real life experiences to convey a very powerful social message on diversity and social inclusion. Dialogue in the Dark has been present worldwide in 43 countries in 130 cities visited by 10 million visitors. In India, Dialogue in the Dark is present in Hyderabad, Bangalore & Chennai

About Exhibition Tour - Walk through experience

Dialogue in the Dark is an internationally acclaimed unique exhibition experience that takes place in complete darkness. The exhibition experience puts you in real life situations such as playing cricket, shopping at the supermarket, having a quick bite in a cafe and lots more - but in complete darkness, awakening the other 4 senses, and deepening self awareness. Dialogue in the Dark exhibition incorporates an optimum mix of fun, adventure & learning in the most unique way possible. 

Duration: 40 minutes

Cost per head: Rs. 250 

About Dialogue in the Dark - Taste of Darkness:

Dialogue in the Dark - Taste of Darkness is India's only concept restaurant where the guests dine in complete darkness for the very first time. The guests deposit their belongings such as phones, watches or any thing which emits light in the locker provided to them in the lobby as even a tiny bit of light could dilute the experience. To make the experience more interesting, we do not disclose the menu to the guests and we keep it a surprise. The menu changes everyday and we take the preference of the guests as to whether they are vegetarians or non vegetarians and serve them accordingly. 

The ideology behind this concept is to awaken the other 4 senses which helps them explore, relish and understand every bit of their food rather than just hogging them and most importantly, enable visitors connect with people without any distraction because, these days, people are either glued to their phones or they watch TV in a restaurant. Taste of Darkness aims to put people through a very immersive dining experience which will make them realise how it is important to focus and enjoy the food while dining. What sets the experience apart is that the dining guides are visually impaired. This unique dining concept was introduced in Chennai on March 18th 2017 and the restaurant is located at the 3rd floor of Express Avenue Mall (opp. to escape cinemas).
Duration: 50 minutes

Cost per head: Rs. 349 plus taxes (for both veg & non veg)