Category Archives: memories

Liver Curry and silly stories

Shibani cooked a yummilicious liver and kidney curry last night.
Apu insisted we all wear bandanas while having dinner, so we could be pirates – Since I had only 2, Shibani got stuck with the ‘nappy bandana’ (he he)

Here are some pics from the evening – I’m telling Apu something about my childhood that he found hilarious… 

Unfortunately, there is no record of Shibani in his nappy bandana, as he took all the pictures.

{this moment}

Inspired by http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/2010/10/this-moment.html:

{this moment} – A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Opposites Attract

So FoozeMonkey’s response to my ‘Something to chew on blog’ made me think of the old adage – ‘Opposites Attract’

Here’s what he had to say:

Yeah .. food memories can swing either way. Some aren’t so appetising;
1. Piping hot dum aloo and puris at Kharagpur station at 3 am :: Dysentery at Bhubaneswar station at 8 am. Exploding ass on rickshaw at 8.10 am. Met my Watery-loo at 8.45, 9.20, 9.21, 10.20 and 11.45 am. Loose dehydrated skin checked – at 1 pm. Intravenous infusion at 2 pm. Avoidance of ‘Hot piping dum aloo and puri’s at Kharagpur station’. Permanent.
2. Hard candy stolen Shankara, the perenially drunk resident push-cart guy at Stewart School :: Hard ass-kicking and assorted bad-mouthing from Shankara with various allusions to illicit liaisons of female family members – with monkeys, dogs and other interesting members of the local fauna.
3. Ampro biscuit for Rs. 1.15 :: That was my lunch for roughly 2 years. Haven’t had a single Energy-giving glucose biscuit since. Then the folks slipped up, got lazy and made the mistake of giving me the Rs. 1.15. It was at that point that I stopped stealing from Shankara and we were very matey after that. Learnt a thing or two about (the uppers and downers of) life – apart from eating junk that still makes my stomach stand anything that germs or the wife can dish out. Bring it on!!
4. Coconut Chicken Curry at Case de Cha / The cutlets at Gene Aunty’s :: The sources of sustenance, the life-giving interstices to the largely liquid regimen during the two years of my P.G.D.M.
5. French Toast and Ashok Garg :: The marwari guy who ate my french toast for half a term, till it dawned on him to ask him what it’s made of. For a long time I didn’t understand why he chased me from the Basketball park to the princi’s office. Apparently, for his family, it was akin to a daughter having issues with her tissue, but never mind. If I ever meet him again, I might ask him to try Texas Potato Skins. Hee Haw!!
6. A ‘white egg curry’ that a certain somebody made for me and my friends :: I knew I had good friends who ate every bit of the masala-eggs-in-a-litre-of-milk and then said, ‘Yep, she’s the one for you.’ Then again were they good friends…HEY?!!

Apart from being an extremely eloquent and fun write up (You need to start writing – FMonkey – Move you’re butt! What are you waiting for??), reading this post made me think about how very different we are as people – I would NEVER have any memories even remotely like these…

FMonkey – Short(!), cute, messy, multi colored, proudly ‘colloquial’, bad snacking habits, laid back and dreamy…
Me – Tall, gawky, tending towards OBD, black and white, squeaky urban (or stuck up according to FMonkey), striving to be healthy, edgy with 102 things to be done NOW!

After seven years of marriage, we still drive each other up the wall… But I like to think that we have found some sort of method to the madness that enables us to move through life without ripping each other to shreds. (most of the time)

Here are some things that well for us:
– Love for pork AND dried fish – Although we have not yet tried combining the two (Fish fried in pork fat – ref Tiger Hills)
– Chick flicks (Psst – One of FMonkey’s all time favorites is Legally Blond)
– Preference for the sea (Goa) rather than hills / forests
– SMS / IM / e-mail and now blog (Any asynchronous form of communication)
– Unspoken decision not to keep lava lamps, plastic framed mirrors and dogs at home
– Many many food agreements
– My appreciation of good music – now translated to FMonkey as well
– Our mutual love for books (Though my books do get a biased placement)

I’m not even going to get into writing about what DOESN’T work for us… That will have to wait for the day I decide to write my book…

Something to chew on…

A couple of days ago, I was reading a Noddy book to my 3 year old… As with most Enid Blyton’s, this one was also peppered with multiple mouth watering food descriptions –

“What shall I buy for my supper? I’ll get a big jammy bun and a big ice cream.”

“Look, here’s a hot cup of cocoa and a biscuit. We’ll each have one and then..”

‘So to Noddy’s great surprise, his cell door was opened, and he was taken out very kindly by the policeman and given a big cup of hot coffee and an enormous slice of ginger cake.’

And the excerpt de resistance – ‘There was a big feast prepared in the market place for Noddy, Big Ears and all their friends! My goodness, you should have seen the jellies shivering in their dishes, the plates of sandwiches, the great big chocolate cakes, the buns and biscuits. It really was a wonderful sight!’

Of course, this style of literature resulted in a rollicking tantrum for chocolate cake just before dinner L

The chocolate cake in question is a cake I’ve been baking since high school – a recipe handed down from my grandma (Recipe posted at – http://scatterthebatter.com/2010/07/24/1917-chocolate-cake-by-muthu-naniah/)

When I bake, Apu enjoys licking the batter from the mixing bowl as much as I did as a kid (and adult :-) when A happens to be out of home when I bake cake)

The look on his face, makes me think of the importance of creating and maintaining fun routines and traditions in the lives of our children. Enjoyed but probably taken for granted as kids, these routines become cherished memories when we think back about them as adults.

Here are some of my childhood routines that evoke a warm sun-shiney sense of happiness when I remember them:

– Sunday morning masala dosa’s

– The surprise ‘first’ strawberry from my grandma’s garden hidden below my breakfast cup.

– 4 00 p m banana milkshake in my ‘Start each day in a happy way’ mug

– Birthday’s celebrated with Hot Chocolate Fudge with Mint Sauce at Corner House (Served in glass goblets – not plastic)

(Um.. Are my memories food centric?)

– Taking the crowded train to Mysore every summer holiday

– Bleach moustache time with grandma (We sat at the sofa near the window chatting and waiting for it to be time to wash off the bleach)

– Making the ‘Kauveri’ out of sticks and flowers for Kauveri Shankramana every year

– Eating ‘maddu puttu’ payasa once every year and then waiting in anticipation for the red ‘evidence’ the next day

– Sunday evening trip to Cubbon park with my friend Sharon – For cotton candy, ‘butta’ and ‘toy train’ (We fought to not sit next to the car window with the glass that didn’t roll down fully)

– Annual school sports day (always rainy) and all the associated goodies – Orange lolly’s, Gold Spot, Rolls…

Book Memories

I love reading. I can’t imagine a world without books. (Horrors!)
At any given point of time, I have about four books waiting to be read on my bedside table – My online library (yes! they door deliver), my office library, my dear friend and inexhaustible book source Ayesha…

Occasionally the luxury of surfing and getting the books I want at the click of a button – http://www.blossombookhouse.com/ And sometimes I go on a book binge – To Crosswords if it is with my husband… or to Blossoms if I am on my own…

The result of the buying (vs. borrowing) is a (several paces faster than) slow and definitely steady build up of books that now line most walls and shelves of our study.

I can trace my first books back to the time I was 4 years old and living in Mysore with my grandparents… There was one bookshop in town – Going into town was a big deal those days – the planning, the dressing up for the ‘town visit’, the list of canned stuff and other goodies to be bought from the big store in town, and the anticipation of the book store stop… I don’t remember the name of the shop, but I do remember it was just next to the big ‘Bata’ shoe shop – I still have all the books I was bought – And now read them to my son.

Little Mistress Magpie - Book cover

Little Mistress Magpie - An inside page

Although the same authors and characters are available at stores today, the reprints are just not the same. Besides the illustrative style and the paper and print quality, there is something invaluable and beautiful about the old books – the discolored paper, the smell, the name, date and other details neatly written on the first page, the memories that go with each book…

Doctor Powderpill - Book cover

When I was a child, I also got a lot of books that were my mom’s when she was young – I eagerly scratched my name below her’s on the first page – to make the book mine. I did not really feel a sense of pride at that young age – to be getting a book that my mom once owned and enjoyed as a girl – but now I definitely do – especially when I give the same book to my son and write his name third on the list – below my mom’s and mine.
These books are even more special, as I never see them any more in the stores – Some of the same ‘type’ of book may surface occasionally in Blossoms – but for the most part, these books are not accessible any more to this generation of children.

Another beautiful book memory I have is receiving two beautifully illustrated hard bound books from an aunt – The compiled works of Hans Christian Anderson and The Grimm’s Brothers. The water color illustrations in these books brought the stories alive for me – I cried when I was read ‘The Little Mermaid’… Laughed at the silly pictures in the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’… Was enchanted and drawn into the saga of the ‘Snow Queen’

Kids growing up in Bangalore and Mysore of the early 80’s also had access to beautiful Russian and other ‘iron curtain country’ books… Today, some of my son’s favorite stories are from these books. Although he is too small to read and many of these books have no pictures and a lot of text, they have captivated him.

The love for reading is one of the most precious gifts a parent can give to a child. If it hadn’t been for my early and easy access to these wonderful books, I may not have really got pulled into and discovered the wonderful and alternate reality of the written word…

Here are some books that I loved as a child, and am now reading to my son:

  • Doctor Powderpill – Published in 1978.. A beautifully illustrated story written poetically.. (‘In the scorching Kalahari, Up on Mount Fernando-Po, Where the grumpy Hippo-Po, Roams the mighty Limpopo…
  • Hans Christian Anderson (Fairy Tales)
  • Grimms Brothers (Fairy Tales)
  • Happy Days – A collection of short stories awritten around the main character – A little Russian boy Vanya. 
  • Jolly Family – The title page says ‘Soviet literature for young people’ – and the book contains several captivating stories like ‘Kolya Sinitsin’s Diary’, ‘Mishka’s Porridge’ and ‘The Pistol’ (My three year old’s current favorite)
  • Little Mistress Magpie – A beautiful pop -up book about a magpie family who ‘earn’ their share of mistress magpie’s porridge…
  • Floppy – Another poetic book about a naughty pup… (‘All are out so do not knock. On the door there hangs a lock. With the family away, Floppy’s all alone today.’)

These books or books like these may be available at second hand book stores like Blossom or the small book store outside the Airlines hotel… Kids Kouch in Indiranagar sometimes has book sales of second hand books – I think you can subscribe to their e-mail news letter.
I am always on the look out for beautiful old kids books – So it would be lovely if you add your personal favorite sources to this post…