Friday, 18 December, 2009

Fried rice with leftover chicken...


Yesterday afternoon I made fried rice with the leftover honey chicken. Well there was not enough honey chicken left, so added some onions, gralic, green, red and yellow pepper, one tomato, shredded fried eggs and shrimps to the rice as well.

First fried two eggs, while they were being fried, shredded them. Then kept the eggs aside, fried some diced onion, garlic and the peppers. Tossed in some soya sauce, a little vinegar, a little sugar, salt to taste and lots of pepper and the tomato pieces. Then added the shrimps and the rice. Cook the whole thing for 5 minutes and the fried rice is ready. Before serving garnish the rice with the fried eggs.

From my experience I have learnt that if you add a tomato to your fried rice, it adds a tangy taste and helps in retaining the moisture in the rice.

Since I had leftover chicken and rice, the whole thing took me 10 minutes including the chopping and after cooking cleaning, to make this dish. It looked pretty colourful and was nice to taste as well.

Thursday, 17 December, 2009

And dinner is ready....

After yesterday's horrible dinner of pasta in bacon and cheese sauce (how will I know that the sauce has no flavour whatsoever and is so bland that it makes you want to cry?), I decided to make something special today. Have been meaning to make honey chicken for ages. So today I finally made that honey chicken with roasted seasame seeds. In chinese resturants of India, this is usually server as starter. But I made it for dinner to go with rice.

Wednesday, 16 December, 2009

Sushi says hi...

Dear readers,

Sushi is very pleased with the fact that you all like her and have shown interest in her. She was really interested to you who all liked her and what were your names, what do you do, what kind of clothes do you wear, where do you shop, which brand of  cosmetics do you use, which soaps do you watch etc etc etc. So I encouraged her to get to know you.

The idea of meeting a gaggle of strangers who seem to know her, has made our Sushi uncharacteristically tongue tied. So she decided to leave a short message for you here.

'Hiya all, my name is Sushi (with a big wave and bigger smile). S tells me that you all like me, (blush, blush) which is good. No I mean really terrific, no, no actually really, really superb, no....oh anyway leave it. What I mean is... this is the first time anyone has been interested in me...this is making me very excited (and when excited, Sushi can be a bit incoherent, but I am sure you will excuse her). Usually the people I talk to are my husband, my parents, my sister, her boring husband and her cry baby, my brother, his horrid wife, my uncle and aunt and their awful dog, my cousins (the bitches and the shrews), my in-laws and my friends (Lilly, Molly and sometimes Polly when she is in between husbands). Apart from that I know a couple of shop assistants and store managers. Oh well yes I also know my hair dresser Suzie and my neighbour Mrs Dracula, ooops sorry Mrs Braganza (giggles). And all the stars of xxx soap, I mean I do not know know them, but I watch them every evening and the rerun every afternoon so I kind of feel like I know them. 


(With big, saucer like eyes) Did you know x is going to have a baby by y and his wife z has got to know. Yesterday the soap ended just when the wife got to know and I was sooo disappointed when the credits started rolling. Imagine having to wait for 24 long hours before I can get to know what she will do. I was so excited that I could not sleep yesterday night, I kept walking up and down in our bedroom talking to Lilly and Molly about it on the phone, finally Snow, my husband, asked me to calm down. Only he can say that...imagine the excitement....ohhhhh I cannot wait for today evening. If I were the wife, I would......


Oh sorry I was introducing myself to you guys,...... I am Sushi and I am 27 years old and married to this nice man Snow. Funny name for a man, isn't it? Well his mom told me that he was born just when the snow started falling, hence the name. I quiet like it, but then he is my husband, I have to like his name. No, I really like his name. Sometimes when we go out in the summer time, I intentionally call out his name loudly and people think that I am mad. And my husband turns red which makes me giggle loudly. Isn't it funny? Oh it always makes me laugh and Snow hates it.


Anyways Snow is a mathematician and is almost always lost in some paper, theory or some such. You must be wondering, why is such a clever man married to someone like me. Well my Snow says that I am clever too, in my own way. If you ever need advice on shopping, make up, what to wear, which mag to read, update on xxx soap  you ask me. With all his cleverness, Snow is no good in all such things. In fact Polly says I am the best when it comes to hiding puffy eyes (you know from excess drinks, last time when Polly got married, we drank a little too much vodka just before the ceremony and Polly was looking a sight which gave us all a fright, I had to work on her with five different eye concealers for an hour before she became presentable, that fifth husband of hers was almost on the verge of leaving without getting married, imagine what an impatient fellow), Molly says I give amazing advice on what shoes to buy and Dolly, Molly's sister says I am the best when it comes to what not to wear. And.....are you getting bored by any chance? Oh ok, you see I am not that good at giving a lecture, not that I am actually giving a lecture, just showing my appreciation for you liking me. Wait....hold on for a second.....does this by any chance mean that you all have become my fan???? Ohhhhhhhhhhhh how lovely. Next time you all can get your fan books and I will autograph each and every book. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh soooooooooooooooooo exciting.(bouncing up and down on her seat) Don't worry I will not autograph in that bad handwriting, from now on I shall practice my handwriting and make it better. I also need a nice signature. Will consult Lilly and Molly about it. I have an idea, Eureka, we could even go signature shopping, I am sure nice, sexy ones would be on sale in some mall.


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh I am soooo excited. I feel like a movie star. Thank you, thank you. Muah. Muah. Sushi loves you all.


Next time you want some tips on shopping, make up etc don't hesitate to consult me. Its free, no charges for my fans and  if you feel like a drink, you could give me a buzz too. But only if you live near by, Snow doesn't like me to drive to the next town just to get a drink. You know after that awful accident that I got into. But that day it was not my fault. I know I had more drinks than I should have, still that driver should have seen where he was going. Anyways that is long forgotten. Never mind, where ever you live, just give me a buzz.


Ok, so long (time for my soap), ciao. Muah.


Loads of hugs, buckets of kisses and plenty love,


Sushi.'

(Hey S, did I do right? I mean I was not nervous or anything, but still you know....)

Monday, 14 December, 2009

A moment of calm....


Picked up this Twingings assorted tea called 'a moment of calm'. The flavours included are:
  • Camomile & Spiced Apple (this makes you feel like you are having an apple pie, the smell is exactly the same);
  • Orange, mango and cinnamon;
  • Camomile, honey & vanilla;
  • African Rooibos, strawberry & vanilla;
  • African Honeybush, mandarin & orange.
I know they are a little offbeat but the taste is so amazing I cannot tell you. I just love each and everyone of the flavours and can drink cuppas of them.  If you come across them, you could try. Even ID, the maha traditional and skeptical when it comes to tea, liked the vanilla flavour.

If you like experimenting with your tea, go for it.

Sabu Dana Khichddi....

You must be thinking 'aree bhai yeah Sushi ke beech main sabu kaha se aa gaya'! Dear reader have patience, just cos I am writing about Sushi and her adventures, doesn't mean that I have no life of my own. I have my life, a full, hatta katta, happening (ok, not so happening at the moment) life, thank you very much. And in that life I made sabu (sago) dana khichddi for Sunday lunch. Waise to I love sabu dana khichddi, but was hesitating cos was not sure how hubby darling would take to it. During one conversation got to know hubby loves sabu, that too in milk. Wham and bham, if someone likes sabu in milk (yuccckkkkkk), then I am sure he would also like sabu with salt. So main chal pari sabu banane.

But before the sabu, a little sabu history, if you do not mind please. All credit of introducing me to the joys of sabu dana khichddi goes to my ex roomie Ms J. During the navratra of 2007, Ms J would make herself sabu dana khichiddi and I would wait for her invitation to dig in. Ms. J told me that Maharastrians do not put onion in it cos it is a vrat ka khan and the pious Ms. J who thought fasting for navratra was a superb way to loose weight used to make sabu very religiously and deliciously indeed.

We shifted home and Ms. A  became our third roomie in our barasti where the terrace was bigger than the house. Ms. J somehow lost the art of sabu making. But by then I had got into the habit of eating it, so I had to make it myself. It mostly used to be our breakfast and I still remember A, J and me (strictly in alphabetical order) sitting in our terrace and eating the sabu, while Ms. J would put the potatoes aside (weight watching you know) while Ms. A and me, the ones who truly need to weight watch would snatch Ms. J's discarded potatoes and demolish them too.

Ok, history over, recipe time. It is soooper easy. Get some sago (if you are e buying from e grocery please do not go for too fine grains), soak about one big cup of sago overnight.

You will need two boiled potatoes, a little cumin seeds, a green chilli, some red chilly powder and salt and of course loads and loads of peanuts.

Fry the boiled potatoes with the cumin seens, throw in the chilly diced into small pieces, add the red chilly powder and salt and then add the sago/sabu and cook till all of it is nicely mixed and the sago becomes soft.

Bas sabu ready...add loads of peanuts (best is roasted and salted) and add some coriander to garnish.

Serve it with yogurt and can sprinkle some bhujiya on it.



Enjoy!

Sunday, 13 December, 2009

Sushi goes shopping....

Tell me can grocery shopping be called real shopping? I mean come on...grocery shopping is like so much a chore while real shopping (you know where you get to spend money to buy the latest of different brands) is such a sumblime pleasure. But how to explain this to an impatient husband who has never permitted himself the pleasure of shopping???

Sushi sighs with the unfairness of it all. Men. All she had asked was some money to get some essential stuff for her wardrobe...you know the latest Gucci bag and that cute belt that Ms. X wore last week in xxx. But no, he said there is no money, her credit card bills are pending and she has to do grocery! There is nothing to eat at home and he is tired of eating take outs. He was planning to do grocery himself, but he has a deadline to meet, so since she is going out, could she do it please. Grocery...Nescafe and Nestle being replaced by belts and shoes. Only a man can be insensitive enough to suggest it.

Since Sushi was already dressed (cute pink tank top which said 'kiss me', matching low waist pink pants and pink stilettos with multicoloured rhinestones) she decided to indulge husband and go grocery shopping.

When Sushi hit the mall the first thing she noticed was the nail parlour. OMG she had forgotten all about this nail place. Good thing she came here today. So she trots into the shop.  No, Sushi says sadly she doesn't have an appointment, the assistant says that if Sushi could kindly wait for half an hour then he could do her nails. Oh well half an hour in a mall is no big deal. So Sushi goes out, a perfume shop, a footwear shop and a Levis showroom beckon her. The perfume shop with its new stock sign wins the race and Sushi enters. For the next forty minutes Sushi spends a very pleasurable time smelling perfumes and deciding on the merits and demerits of each one with the nice assistant. Suddenly she remembers her nail appointment and grabs the last perfume she had tested.

With an Anna Sui in her bag, Sushi goes nail painting. Of course her nails have to be pink, now for the decorations, mmmmm well glitters, sparkles, rhinestones, gem stones....she goes for rhinestones to match her shoes. Muah....her nails look lovely and the assistant deserved a big tip for calling her pretty.

By the time the nails are done, Sushi is hungry, with an exclamation Sushi realises that she has missed lunch. No wonder she is feeling all hollow inside. She goes to the food court and orders a Caesar salad with extra dressing and a plate of garlic bread with extra cheese and after an after thought french fries and of course a big Diet Coke. Sushi loves sitting in the food court, she grabs a seat in the centre and spends the next hour eating and watching her fellow shoppers. The mother daughter arguing over purchase of a red leather jacket, the wife showing her husband her purchases while the husband is buys eating, the gang of teenage girls giggling over something, boys most probably. Sushi sighs with pleasure, feeling completely at home and dreaming about her shopping wishlist.

Late lunch over Sushi heads for the grocery shop. After grabbing a cart, she heads for the magazine stand, a dozen or so mags land in her cart, then the chocolate section. Two hours later Sushi emerges with bulging grocery bags. Once she has hit the road, she remembers that she has forgotten the eggs and the milk, oh the bread too...Never mind she has taken lots of microwave dinners, chocolates, frozen desserts, a couple of wine bottles which almost covers all the essential food for survival. Whatever rest her husband needs he can go and get them himself.

In fact in a condescending mood she plans to cook dinner for her husband tonight. Poor man, he does work too hard. Once in a while he should be taken care of. So tonight he will get fresh dinner cooked by his loving wife.

Watch out for the special dinner that Sushi plans to cook for her husband.

Who is this Sushi?????????

Yeah Sushi is bored. In fact very bored and doesn't know what to do with herself.

Hold on, I know I have been talking about Sushi on and of for sometime now. But who is this Sushi exactly? Oh well she is no Japanese edible or of any other nation for that matter. She is a girl, no a lady (no that sounds rather aged) so  shall we say that she is a woman. Yes she is a 20 something woman who is a little silly, very lazy, little cute, some sweet, lots sour, trifle bitchy and hugely moody. She is married to this rather lost soul swimming in the world of mathematics and looks rather startled whenever Sushi addresses him.

Sushi wears pink hair curlers, a pink dressing gown, has her feet encased in satiny pink flip flops, propped up on the coffee table, while she lazily flicks the television remote with one hand while with the other she sips a big Diet Coke and digs into buttered pop corn. Her nails are painted magnetta and her lips a luscious hot pink or that is at least what the lip stick advertisement promised. She is a member of the tribe who gave rise to the term 'couch potato'. But day in and day out of this life bores Sushi. Can you blame her? How much television can you watch? Or Diet Coke can you sip or nails can you paint?

Sushi lives in a modest two bedroom house in the suburb. She has a cat who is more interested in roaming the neighbourhood than being in her house. Sometime back when in the grip of interior decoration Sushi had got indoor plants to give her house a green look. Oh well she meant to look after them and water them. Oh dear though her intentions were honest, she never got around to it. So most of the plants have wilted, but still are left around the house. There are polyester curtains of pink and blue bobby print, oh well only those which Sushi have been able to hang, rest are lying on the dinning table. Never mind Sushi would hang them when the time comes. Some photographs (Marilyn Monroe and a baby poster) which Sushi had given to be framed are back, but yet to be hanged. Sushi will hang them when the time comes, never you worry.

Sushi is lazy but not much. She means to get a job, just when the recession receeds, the market gets better and companies come upto her and beg her to come and join them. Till then she has lots to do. She has to file her nails, repaint them, talk on the phone, watch television, read the latest gossip in the movie mags, go and buy ready to eat meals and micro them as well. It is a tough world you know.

Sushi is always on diet...her regular diet comprises of Diet Coke, lean meat burgers, low fat desserts and pop corn. Only on weekends does she truly indulges herself with big brunches and expensive dinners in fancy restaurants. She plans to exercise, but not right now...maybe she will start tomorrow, or next week or next month. But it is on her agenda and she has collected all the brochures of all the happening gyms in 5 km radius including the one in which Ms X of famed soap xxxx exercises. Not only that she has  shopped for the latest Nike gym shoes and hot pink track pants. Talk about being organised.

Sushi has a facination with the colour pink.  The walls in her bedroom are pink, her bathroom tiles are pink, most of her wardrobe consists of pink clothes, her cosmetics are pink, even her hair is treaked pink. Oh but you cannot call her boring, she goes for all shades of pink-- baby to magnetta and throw in the hot and the fuschika in between.

Sushi has loads of hobbies-- she loves shopping, knows all about the latest discounts, goes gaga over soft toys and collects all kinds of  cuddly teddy bears...she watches all the movies, can rattle off all the gossips and reading...oh yes she reads all those mags...she has even read two whole pages of one of the best sellers but books kind of put her to sleep. So she restricts her literally endeavors to mags. Once or twice she even write to these mags but they never ever published her. Life is so unfair.

So Sushi our heroine, is just like you and me. And sometimes she cooks, sometimes she applies for jobs or does something creative like interior decoration. Whenever she does something blog worthy I will report that here. So watch out for Sushi and her adventures.

Friday, 11 December, 2009

The View from Garden City....

Just finished reading 'The View from Garden City: A Novel' by Carolyn Baugh. The novel is about a young American student's life in Cairo where she goes to study Arabic. She encounters Egyptian women and tells their tales of love, agony, pain, waiting, mothering.....the list goes on. In fact this book is more about these women than the narrator. The narrator just by being American seems to be mundane and not so exotic and the more exotic bunch (read Egyptian women) take over and fight for space in the book.

At the end of the book the author very clearly states her position. The stories of these women in no way is a reflection of Islam, rather is drawn from the tradition and culture within which these women function. Her narrating style is  gentle and she makes special effort to be non judgemental.

For a non Egyptian, the book beckoned. Being interested in Egypt ever since those history lessons long back in school, a fascination for the country grips me. When I started reading the book, I was ready for a flavour of Egypt and its foreign and exotic culture. In my eagerness I was ready with stereotype visualizations of a sexy belly dancer, smell of shesha, the hustle of a busy souq and of course those eternal pyramids shrouded in mystery. I was seeking the exotic, I found the known.

The stories of these women span emotions, relationships, experiences and   sufferings. First the positive bits-- the mother-daughter and the father-daughter relationships abound in the book, the love and care lavished on the young sometimes to the point of suffocation, over protective parents, the family support system, the humour and the rebellion. The author seamlessly weaves them into Cairo and its various landscapes, the nooks and the crannies and those inhabiting these spaces. The city provides a wonderful backdrop with its unique nuances-- the hustle, the bustle, the fights,  the colour, the smells and of course the chaos and the confusion. Now the sufferings of the women-- poverty, early marriage, the desperate pressure of marriage on young women and the eventual bowing down to a compromised loveless marriage, subsequent acceptance of the marriage as the 'ideal', female genital mutilation, inability to have children, miscarriages,  infant mortality, multiple marriages, domestic violence etc. But these women are in no way pitiful, they are feisty ladies who have long ago maneuvered the art of independence within their constricted spaces. The have the key to the mystery of being happy in the face of loss and sufferings. In their own way they scorn the Western, bemoaning their lack of caring for their young. Soon my glee of knowing about Egypt vanishes and I meet realities and oppression of my own culture.

Replace a few things here and there, take away the genital mutilation, introduce dowry deaths and Egypt gets replaced by India, Cairo becomes Delhi or Kolkata all too vividly. Suffering of women across cultures, traditions, patriarchies, religions and countries are so similar that they take one's breathe away.

These sufferings are nothing new, women have been inflicted by these for ages. In fact the more old a civilization (read patriarchy) is, more polished is its mechanisms of inflicting torture on women. Even at the risk of adding fuel to the smug sneer to those who oppose any kind of feminist thought, it is the women who perpetuate and perfect these tortures in name of tradition. To my surprise the scenario is exactly the same in Cairo. It is the mother who goes mad when the marriageable daughter is not married off, it is she who ushers in unsuitable suitors, who approves of lame men. Why you ask yourself? Why does she do it? Why is she forcing her daughter towards the same compromise that she succumbed to so many years ago? The fathers look on helplessly, fleeing their shrews of wives. Why, why are these men helpless? Are they not part of patriarchy, the ones who oil the system and lays down the sweeping dos and do nots?

I answer my own question. I think the great thing about patriarchy is that it is omnipotent, it lays down the same rules for all men, if men weaken, or grow sensitive, they automatically fall out of the system, new men are eager to take their place. And women they are the biggest catalysts in the hands of patriarchy. The work on these women start early in their lives, they are made to learn the rules, all rebellion is carefully got rid off, the victim is carefully branded as the criminal, fears of society's derision is strongly implanted. Little by little generations and generations of women are perfected by the machinery to convert younger women, to nip their rebellion, to mutilate their genitals, to need them at home, to feed them less than the sons, to withhold love and affection, to stop them from going to schools, to demand dowries, to kill women if need be for more dowries, to torture the daughter-in-law, to pressurize for a male heir, to force female infanticide................. These women, are more convincing then then men when they say ' Years ago I had to do what I am asking you to do today. This is life!'. In fact these women in my mind resemble the militia in a dictatorship. Their skills have been honed to perfection, and never having known any better alternative, they think the reality is the best option and fear that if the order of the day passes then whatever little power they have been able to accumulate over the years would slip away.

I grew up in an India where stories of dowry death were dime a dozen. Being from the east my parents would sigh with relief that such things do not happen in our part of the country. But just because Bengalis were progressive enough not to take dowries, do not mean that there is no patriarchy and its other instruments of torture like domestic violence,  torturing mother-in-law, no pressure to produce a male heir, no random violence, no rape.

Women are speaking out, taking on the mighty patriarchy...but the perfect order is far too far way. There are still millions of women being crushed...

Thursday, 10 December, 2009

Finally Biriyani....

After eating flavourless, very insipid biriyanis from some of the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi takeouts here in Oxford we realised that if we want to eat biriyani just like we get it in Bedouin/Shiraj/Amenia/Zeeshan/Ar Salan etc etc in Kolkata we will have to cook it ourselves.

To deviate a little which is your favourite biriyani place in Kolkata? I was loyal to Nandi Street Bedouin for almost 15 years. Now my brother has converted me into an Ar Salan fan. So now a days whenever we want to eat biriyani at home, we trudge all the way to Park Circus. And if we are very lucky Ma makes it.

To get back to my biriyani. So after getting the recipie from Ma, I decided to brave it. Went to Covered Market and got some goat meat. The meat was not too good... the first time we bought the meat it was very fresh but somehow after that the meant has turned out rather disappointing.

Anyways after marinating the meat overnight, then steaming it, using the water to make the rice, frying the onions, potatos and the meat seperately and then finally the grand mixing.

And here is the biriyani. Just the way we drool over it in Kolkata. With a big succulent potato. They also put in eggs, didn't this time, maybe the next. The onions are not usually found in these biriyani shop biriyanis but they are a regular in the biriyanis made by the caterers like Bijali Grill, Ayojon etc. My mom adds the onion which makes the biriyani more tasty. So I added them to.



Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, 9 December, 2009

Wake Up Sid

Finally watched Wake Up Sid. The release  of this movie clashed with our leaving India and in the pre-deperture tumult never made it to a movie hall.

The promos of this movie were really interesting with the unconventional casting of Ranbir Kapoor and Konkna Sen Sharma. I guess that is what hooked me to this movie. Anyways the first thing that I want to say is that the director Ayan Mukerji should get a huge hug for rescuing Konkona from having rats and closet gays as her boy friends in movies. By the time I saw Luck By Chance this formula has been repeated in so many movies that it was kind of expected. So it was a nice surprise that in this movie Konkona has not been duped by a boy friend. Instead she has dates with the handsome hunk Rahul Khanna (whom she says no to herself) and finally Ranbir Kapoor. Wowie and what a relief!

Ok the movie. It is compltely understated, no drama, no Bollywood largese, no sudden song and dance sequence in the Swiss Alps or Australia and very realistic and believable. I loved the pace, superb direction, photography, art direction, editing and all the works. Many of the character artists look new and very normal. Even the clothes and make up in the movie is so non filmy that it is amazing. A big thank you to the director for giving such a smart and realistic movie and also to Karan Johar to be able to produce this without any creative interference. You are right when you think that the Indian audience are ready for such movie. We so are!

Anil Mehta's art direction deserves special mention. The office of 'Mumbai Beat' where Konkona and Ranbir work looks like every one's dream office. Konkona's flat also looks great and not over the top for a struggler in Mumbai. So are her clothes. I am tired of watching struggling career women being immaculately dressed in designer clothes and shoes,diamonds sparkling, perfect hair and make up all the time in Hindi movies. It gives birth to deep inferiority complex to the real ones, you know.

Back to the movie yet again, I really like the music. It is peppy and young. Iktara is nice and melodious, just the way I like them. And playing snatches of Hemanta Mukherjee in the movie was so nice.

The story is nothing new, but the presentation is. We all go through such phases of confusion and refusing to grow up and take responsibility in our lives. Konkona's character is very well fleshed out. She is exactly how we modern Indian women are-- in search of independence yet seeking love. Konkona's look is different in the movie. Her performance was a little on the low. Maybe we are so used to her stealing the show in however bad a movie is, that this time we were way over expecting or the director had thought of Aisha just like the way she performed. Dont know...but still a small but lingers. Ranbir's character was also very well fleshed out and even during his spoiled brat act he managed to look so innocent and guileless that it was endearing. One small jarring note, I don't think that men become  tidy just because their roomies suddenly loose their temper one night! Nah in real life it is not that easy. Really loved little touches in Spriya Pathak's role (her need to speak English, leaving mangoes for her son).

I want to end this piece by talking about the blog that these guys have of the movie. Konkona writes really well, somehow I expected that. I was disappointed that the director's note is still coming. When bhai? Having read so much about the director in Konkona, Ranbir and Karan Johar's writings, I was all ready to read what this smart young chap has to say.

Anyways, those who have not seen the movie, watch it and have fun.

Breakfast...


Tuesday, 8 December, 2009

Clumsiness....

My husband says that he suffers from 'composed clumsiness'. He can be really composed yet be very clumsy. I too have my fair share of clumsiness.

Here is a clumsy list....

I think the first one would be trying to eat without dropping food on your clothes. And if you are wearing white or light coloured clothes, then it is the birth right of the food to be dropped onto your clothes before reaching your mouth. Remember those occasions while having lunch when a blob of gravy, rich in haldi would fall on your shirt, just when you have an important meeting soon after and you spend your lunchtime trying to rub that stain off and failing miserably???? Or when during a formal evening you drop gravy on your mom's favourite sari and then try dabbling at it with a napkin and the paper napkin instead of wiping the gravy, just dissolves into the sari leaving  paper pieces and adding onto the mess? Those are the times I so wish that I could eat wearing a bib and an apron!

The second would be trying to sip and instead of your mouth the beverage would hit your shirt. Coffee, tea, orange juice, wine, coke-- all the stains are equally bad. Not only is a huge stain left, you are covered in foam and sugar and it feels really yucky. It is horrible whenever it happens but usually it is worse when it happens first thing in the morning. It specially happens to me when I grab a coffee on the go and try drinking it while walking. I do not know how millions of people manage it just so expertly, I never could. I buy a cup of coffee to wake myself up and before I know it the hot coffee is all over me and I have to do serious damage control. By the time I can wipe the stain off, the coffee had gone stone cold and my day has started horribly.  My experience has been so frustrating that I have stopped trying to have drinks on the go.

After this I think would come trying to pour drinks, especially hot beverage onto wobbly styrofoam cups. In my experience, either the beverage gets poured just outside the cup, or the cup topples just when the beverage starts being poured and starts tickling down the table top. This has happened many times with me, but now thankfully I have perfected the art. Oh well almost!

Hey how do you fare when you try to carry way too many things? In order to save work, I always try and carry way too much, piling things up till they become wobbly and hope against hope that they would just dangeously wobble and not fall down. But no such luck, invariably they all crash and then my work usually doubles picking them up. If they are clothes, after picking them I have to refold them. I hate it the most when the cds I carry fall, invariably the jackets have to fly open into two parts, the cds have to pop out and roll under the bed or equally inaccessible place and then I go searching for them. I have had bad experiences carrying almost everything. The trick to avoid this is to accept that I am not an expert juggler and be realistic in the load I can carry.

Hey what about kitchen clumsiness? I am great at various kitchen mishaps due to clumsiness. Pouring oil onto the stove instead of the pan, plates slipping out of hands, spoons flying to the moon or rather hitting the wall and splattering the wall with whatever was there in that spoon, gravy all over the kitchen wall, sauces falling on the floor etc etc etc.

The last one is the most heartbreaking for me. It is me trying to walk in high heels. I know many women march past in stilletos (Not only in Sex and the City, I see women in real life too). I am so clumsy when I try walking in high heels. I sway from side to side, sprain my left ankle and them my right, by then whoever I am walking with gets really irritated and impatient, by then my feet start killing me and another wasted attempt trying to look tall and garious. I know some people are just not meant to do some things. This is what I console myself with!

Ok enough about me, what about your list of clumsiness? Do share. Come on now....

Another Sunday Walk...


Wednesday, 2 December, 2009

OSARCC Tin Shake



Saturday afternoon I participated in a fundraising tin shake for Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC). You can find more about the organisation and the work they do here. This was held in Abingdon market square, which is about 20 minutes bus ride away from Oxford.

It was the first time that I have participated in direct fundraising. Being an institutional fundraiser, used to writing proposals and concept notes and meeting donors in their offices, this was a novel experience indeed. I had elected for the 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. slot. I reached around 12.15 and by mistake went to the Amnesty International display table and soon was soliciting help to the prisoners in Nicaragua, when I remembered that I was supposed to be fundraising myself. The OSARCC display table was situated  in the opposite side of the square. There were some volunteers already busy collecting funds. I was placed with an experience volunteer. She to my amazement went upto people, engaged them in conversations giving information about the organisation and its work and kept collecting funds. For a first time wannabe this was a pretty intimidating act to follow. I stood around helplessly for sometime, listening to her conversation and thinking that my box would remain empty even after two hours and what a shame that would be. Suddenly in the middle of my self pity, someone came upto me and dropped some coins in my box. What a confidence booster that was. I squared my shoulders and decided to go for it. I positioned myself opposite a bakery and a gift shop and tentatively started smiling at people, some smiled back and came forward and others went their way. One lady who was waiting outside the gift shop, came upto me with a few coins and some kind words.

Being a Saturday, the square was filled with people shopping for Christmas, families out for lunch and friends hanging around. When a few more people came upto me, I decided to be bolder and make eye contact with people and try and get their attention as unintrusively as possible. All kinds of people came to drop coins. Some who did not have any change to spare had a smile or a kind word, got some winks too. Slowly the box started to feel heavy. But I must say that the children were the best. They were the ones who were really enthused about dropping coins. They came forward with shy smiles and really loved it when I offered them  stickers. Even the kids who were being hurried by their parents, often smiled or waved.

I was warned that I may encounter some rudeness. Thankfully I did not.

There were other charities fundraising in the square, one group was playing lively music. I had a small chat with a lady from one of the other charities. Other OSARCC volunteers were hopping by asking how I was doing, offering tea and encouragement. I got the chance to chat with some of them.

By the time my two hours were up, my box felt really heavy and I felt good because I was doing something worthwhile for a good cause and I met some really nice people and some cute kids.

One more Delhi thing...


Aren't these socks lovely? I picked them up last year from a Himachali stall in Dilli Haat. I love the colours and it pretty warm too.

Sunday, 29 November, 2009

Christmas Lights

Last Friday evening Oxford celebrated an evening of Christmas lights. A huge tree was set up in the Broad Street and also some kind of musical performance was happening. Did not get to see because of huge crowd. The a procession of school children and their parents came and they went all the way to the Oxford Castle.

As it is Cornmarket Street always looks like there is a festival going on, what with big crowds and musicians playing lively music. That evening even Broad Street looked very festive and so was nearby Cornmarket Street. It seemed like a fair with balloons and lights and other toys being sold. Thankfully it was not very cold. Some photographs of the evening.


Walks...

Remember I had mentioned that I was walking around in Oxford a bit. Last to last Sunday, since my husband was away the whole day in a conference and the sun was shinning I decided to explore the walking trails. Just behind our house there is the Walton Well Road which leads to a meadow. It is used to walking, excercising dogs and grazing cows and horses.

This meadow leads to several other walking trails. That Sunday I went straight. Next Thursday, my husband and me, we went to explore the Fiddler's Island, which is on the left of the same meadow. Some photographs of my Sunday walk.




Oxford Philomusica

Last Thursday, we went to hear symphony orchestra played by Oxford Philomusica. They were playing in the Sheldonian Theater. Since we had the cheapest tickets, we sat way up at the top. Another day I regret not carrying my camera. Though I was feeling a little dizzy looking all the way down, the seats at the top were amazing. We were able to sit on a snug on the right side (the center snug was the most coveted but I loved the right snug, will tell you why in a little while). Just above us was Sheldonian Theater's  ceiling with an amazing fresco. If you want to read about about the fresco you can do it here. I must say the theater has a lot of atmosphere and sweeps you off your feet.

I am not in any way an expert on western classical music, I go along with my husband because I like listening. But in no way can I  claim to understand it. That evening first Brahms Violin Concerto in D, Op.77 was played. Alissa Margulis was the solo violonist and Marios Papadopoulos the conductor. Since we were sitting on the right, Alissa Margulis played her violin with her face towards us most of the time towards us. I must say initially I was more enthralled to see the utter concentration on her face than the music. Then the music has a way to drawing you in and taking you through its own glory.

After that Brahms Symphony No.4 in E minor, Op.98 was played. I loved the last part which is called Allegro Energico Passionato- Piu Allegro. As an amateur, as I found the music very lively and sweeping. My husband who understands music much better than I do, found it enthralling. Since our tickets were really cheap he thought that it would be students playing. He was thrilled to discover that it was the University of Oxford's residential professional symphony orchestra playing.

Then we discovered that for giving cheap tickets to the students (and their spouses) the events make an approximate loss of 10,000 pounds per concert. That made us feel all the more privileged for being able to listen to the music.

Waving girls...

I was walking down the street, lost in my own thoughts. Suddenly I look up, a double decker bus probably from London, making its way slowly through Oxford, goes  past me. As is my habit I look up on top to see what people are upto there. The upper section of a double decker bus holds immense romance for me. Anyways I see this young girl sitting right at the end. Our eyes meet and she smiles, I was a bit surprised. Then I smile back. Soon the girl starts waving. Again I was surprised. Oh what fun. I wave back too. Soon two more girls materialise and they all start waving. The bus keeps going ahead, so the girls rush to the rear and then when the bus stops and I pass it, they come to the side, waving all the time. I see that some other passers by are also waving at them. There is something infectious about waving and it makes you smile!
I wish I had taken their photograph, they looked lovely waving from up there.

Wednesday, 25 November, 2009

Pretense...

The frail heart tries its best to...

Forget people,
Surpress emotions,
Blur passions,
Smudge incidents,
Or we pretend to at least.

We pretend to live,
Pretend to love,
Pretend to smile,
To act busy,
And to be happy...

I am done with pretending,
Now is the time to live,
To love,
To face,
To fight,
To write...
And be happy!

Travel...

We travel...
Distances, emotions, spaces,
Sometimes we talk,
Sometimes we walk,
Most times we cry,
Sometimes we sit,
Sometimes we run.

But travel we do...
Sometimes to forget,
Sometimes to discover,
Sometimes to heal,
Sometimes to contemplate,
And sometimes to save...


Travel has its fun,
Travel has its weariness,
Travel has its satisfaction,
Travel has its rewards,
Travel has its loss...

But travel we must,
Along life's roads...

Life...

Found this in one of the books I was reading.

We fill the craters left by the bombs
And once again we sing
And once again we sow
Because life never surrenders.

Anonymous Vietnamese poem, picked from Gioconda Belli's 'The Country Under My Skin'.

Tuesday, 24 November, 2009

Oxford Diaries: Oxford Botanical Garden


We have reached the fag end of autumn here but still the colours are awesome. I have been out walking a bit. Discovered a walking meadow behind our house which is beautiful. Also last Sunday went to Oxford Botanical Garden. It is a lovely garden, not very big but just beautiful. Right now still filled with gorgeous autumn leaves.
 
Last weekend was pretty hectic. A friend had come visiting, so we did all touristy things with her like a tour of all the Oxford colleges, visiting some of the old pubs and cafes etc. I haven't posted for quiet sometime so I wanted to just say hi.Enjoy some of the photographs from the botanical garden.





Saturday, 14 November, 2009

sEttLinG dOwN

Almost everyone I talk to now a days ask me whether I have settled down here in the UK. It made me think, what actually is settling down? How do you know that you are settled?
Here is what I did with myself to aid my settling down, week by week...

1st week: Still jet lagged, a little euphoric....it is actually a wonder that we have at all landed up in the UK, considering the visa problems we had. Settle the house, unpack, start filling up cupboards, closets...remember the stuff that was forgotten or could not be bought due to insufficient luggage allowance...cruse the airlines company five times a day..get international calling card....call home....get connected to internet....eat out and plastic spoons, paper plates and ketchup from the take aways start piling up...digest that fact that reaching civilization from our home involves a 20 minute trudge...

2nd week: Stop eating burgers and chips.....cannot have them anymore....yeh Bangali wants bhaat...so go grocery....google maps is the new best friend...go round and round the city center to realize through aching feet that the city center is actually pretty small...it was just that we kept going round in circles....

3rd week: Go laundry adventure...phew dont have the necessary coins...man last time i.e. my first laundry  time in Canada I faced the same problem (then I was smarter, landed up to do laundry without soap, that is another story for another day)...berate myself for not learning from previous experience...excursions to city center continues...internet usage drastically increases...

4th week: New hobby....getting cheap deals in everything...haunt Sainsbury, Primark, M&S and every other store offering 10% student discount...got myself membership in the public library....now have stacks of MBs to read...

5th week: Diwali knocking....homesickness sets in....just want my mummy and my daddy....and want to go home.....nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.... missing India big, big, big time....

6th week: Bored to my skull....left alone to my own devices...encouraged by husband started tentative job search...

7th week: Start applications, browse job sites....fill up endless forms in these sites...get depressed....eat  eat ice cream...spend inordinately long time on Facebook...get depressed agsin...sulk...get pampered by husband...Halloween comes...do not like dressing up like dracula or whatever...

8th week: Couple of applications I made, came back with rejections...down in dumps...ah my job back home, where are you? my heart bleeds for you...cheer up cousels a mashi who has lived here for 7/8 years...you have to make 50 to 70 applications to get a job...you made how many....gulp two...gulp three...oh ok....so 67 more....straight back to depression...on my way pick up a large bowl of ice cream...

This is what life is...do'nt know whether I am settled...but yes I know it is cheaper to buy vegetables in Covered Market than in Sainsbury...M&S makes great croissant....know the shops on the High Street...going to watch fireworks in November is a badddddd idea...I would do diwali any day...mail comes in cute little Royal Mail trucks...finally discovered a convenient bus to the city center...how to apply for NI no...where the nearest surgery is (doctor's chambers)........

Next month I would be more Oxford wise I guess. Hopefully will get a job and hopefully before long...then one day can counsel whoever comes to UK fresh from desh about the ways and rules...life sure goes on settling and unsettling us :)

Wednesday, 11 November, 2009

Spooky November...

I look outside the window...
The world is shrouded in mist...
All grey and sombre...
A gull flies past,
A flash of brilliant white...
The trees, shillouetted, looks eerie,
The bridge, a little distance away, looks swathed in mystery...
An occasional passerby, huddled in coat, muffler and cap...
Quickly walks by, eager to be home...
No wonder they celebrate spooky Halloween around this time...
Following the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain...

My imagination takes a flying leap...
This is the ideal time...
For Count Dracula to come out of his castle...
Or the Wicked Witch of the West to cast her spell...
Or the Devil to land on earth...
I am sure they are taking advantage of the mist and the grey...
To do their evil deeds...
I shudder from my own thoughts...
I shake my head to clear my silly thoughts...

Nah I tell myself, this  is just how the weather is,
In this Island...
With smaller days,
Less light...
Chilly wind and cold rain...
This is November...
With promises of December...
Of colder days...
Chillier winds...
But December has its own story...
Of Christmas and joy...
It is November which is spooky...
And which I enjoy...

Thursday, 5 November, 2009

I walked in the rain...

Yesterday I walked in the rain...
I walked and walked...
Just when people ran inside shops, hurried back home, stood under shades..
Side walks were filled with people waiting out the rain...
With hoods down, caps and hats on, snuggling a little closer inside their coats...
A couple of umbrellas were bobbing up and down ahead of me...
I walked along...hair flapping in the wind...the rain on my face...
People sitting inside cosy cafes, sipping hot drinks gave me curious looks...
But I loved the walking...
I changed directions, discarded the short cut and walked along a long winding street...
It was so refreshing to be out in the rain with the wind in my face...
To look up and see the dull grey sky....
Birds were huddled against roofs...feathers all ruffled...
The spires looked slippery and rusty...
The brownstone houses looked drenched...
Stone buildings looked unmoved...
Trees were swaying in the wind...
Nodding their heads in a secret rhyme...
A chruch bell tolled far away...
Flags, wet from the rain, looked half mast as if in mourning...
Little puddles of water were everywhere...
Faint wiff of cigarette drifted in...
I tried to find the warmth of my tropical rain in this chilly English afternoon...

The rain stopped...
Clouds cleared and as if by magic the sun came out...
Hoods fell back, caps and hats were removed...
Umbrellas were folded and carried in hand...
People poured into the streets from all corners...
Briskly they resumed their walking...
Streets filled up...shops got a little empty...
I looked ridiculous all wet in the sunshine...
Birds shrugged off the excess water and got back into the business of flying...
Trees looked relieved and sucked in the faint sunshine...
Brownstone houses dried up...
Stone buildings still looked impassive...
Puddles turned into mud...
Spires glittered catching the sunrays...
This sunshine is a weak cousin of my tropical sunshine...
But it is sunshine no less....
And it made me smile....

Tuesday, 3 November, 2009

Mornings....

Spring is in the air,
I wake up in excitement,
Today is Val Day...
Will I get a card or not???
A cuckoo is singing somewhere...
Getting ready for school...
No mean feat for a teenager,
That too on such a special day...
Spring is in the step...
Excitement in the heart...
In search of eternal love, Archies card and heart shaped chocolates...
Ah to be fourteen again!

I remember waking up in the crisp winter morning to see sunshine streaming through the window....
I would snuggle into my blanket and refuse to open my eyes...
Ma would come and hurry me up...
She would throw me a sweater and say 'wear this or you will catch the cold'...
My toes would tingle the moment it would touch with the cold floor...
My slippers would be found and thrust under my feet...
Ushered to the bathroom...blue bloob of toothpaste...I still remember the smell and the minty taste...
Breakfast would have something orangey-- either the fruit or marmalade...
And then of you are lucky and in the middle of winter vacation, you could play...
There would be promises of circus or a trip to the zoo with Amit and Rima...
Ah those lovely winter mornings of the my childhood....

Excitement wakes me up early...
Examinations over and holidays have started....
Infinitely long days, with not a single homework...
I cannot help but smile...
Days of playing with Rima and Amit to heart's content...
Lazy afternoons of chinese checker games with Ma....
Mangoes in great abundance...
Eat as much as you can...
When you dont want the fruit, have the puddings, milkshakes, ice creams...

Go to sleep lulled by the sound of rain...
Wake up to the incessant sound of rain...
Feel snug and warm...
Realise dad has at some point put the fan's regulator down...
Smile at this gesture of love...
Kakoli comes with the tea, sets it down...
Sip the tea, while staring out of the window...
Not many people around...
A few children braving it to school...
The lone office goer trying to balance the bag, the umbrella and failing miserably...
Some cars and bikes dash by...
Stare at the fat angry rain drops...
Look upto the sky...
It looks dark grey, omniuos and threatening...
Occassional thunder streaks the sky...
Blinding me momentarily...
The city seems to be in a standstill, waiting for the rain to cease...
The houses look washed and forlon...
The trees look like they have had enough...
They seem to be telling the rain, 'oh stop we have had enough, now we are feeling cold...'
But who cares, Rain God has decreed rain that day...
So the little army of rain drops march on, bravely pours over the city and rushes into the drains...
I watch on, secure in the knowledge that I am not going out that day...

Wake up to the distant sound of music....
It is floating by from somewhere...
Ah it is Mahalaya today...
So the 4 a.m. programme has started on the radio...
Yahooooo pujo is just seven days away...
Much, much later, warm smell wakes me up...
Special breakfast for Mahalaya...
Come on hurry up if you do not want the kochuri and the jilipi to get cold...
Laughter and plans for pujo,
Everyone in good spirits...
Some last minute shopping,
Ma suggests,
Baba cringes...,
The sky outside is blue with fluffy white clouds floating by,
I fee safe and warm and excited..

Super Lasy....

8.30 a.m. husband dashes off to work. I am barely up, somehow mumble a bye bye to him. Sleep hazy, go and sit in front of the computer. Long habits die hard i Suppose. Click around, nothing interesting, not a single email of interest...just some recruitment agency telling me that I might consider taking home economics course. Dude what do you think being homemaker is all about?????? Hhhhmmmmmppppphhhhh....nothing in Orkut or Facebook  either....no one wrote a scrap, nor did anyone float a spicy status update, just some photographs of people dressed like Dracula for Halloween.....

Yawn....waking up  is a real waste....so back to bed...yesterday night started a book called 'Sunday at Tiffany's'. Start reading it as a prelude to sleep. Oh I love this going to bed soon after waking up ritual. Not many people in this earth are entitled to such luxuries. Only the super lazy (like me) or the super sick or the super old and frail or the super unemployed (again like me) can get to do it.

The book is interesting, easy to read,  incredibly romantic, written by a man to boot and talks way too much about chocolate sundaes. Not fair, not fair at all....the greedy me had to feel greedy. So I had to get up and start eating the lone chocolate and mint lolly which I had left for husband once upon a time, out of deep love. This husband of mine never eats his portion of the goodies and then days later when I finish those, he suddenly has to remember and make a hue and cry about it. Anyways grumbling husband ceases to be of interest, the story is interesting. Aw so the lonely heroine who ate (just like me) to forget her woes and always had a secret stash of ores met her man long last. But.....now that she has met her man, she gets off food.....Hold on a minute...I sit up, I have met my man, married him and currently have a yummy husband (who occasionally snores and complains and grumbles, but never mind)...how come I have never got off food??? These romantic writers I tell you...fibbing to hook readers. Ah but you cant fib to me anymore. Once upon a time, the single pudgy me used to believe the moment I would meet my prince charming I would get off all unhealthy food. But truth to be told I never did. So the married pudgy me dont belive it anymore. Somehow after that the story lost its charm and anyways I had finished it.

I yawn and stretch myself. Clock shows quarter past noon...oh shit...I had promised Indranil that I would apply for jobs today.  Sit down to write apps...

God I hate writing these apps. How I wish I could just write my blog...but no duty calls. So half heartedly I start writing...oooppppps no....dressing  myself up for the ball (read the grind please)....After some uninspired and demotivated efforts, enlightment strikes.... a chore is a chore and what needs to be done, needs to be done. So I square my shoulders and get into the spirit of the thing.

I dress myself up in a stunning gown of efficiency silk, trimmed with multitasking lace, do my hair with little pearls of wisdom (hopefully some would ooze into my brain too).I take out my  crown of glittering dedication to flaunt. I twist and twirl....mmmmm no I still look too bare, need some more touches. Ah I just know the thing.... add a taira of responsibility, it looks pretty but just a moment.... the head looks triffle over done and the neck looks empty...I rummage through my storage of precious skills, looking for a choke of vast expereince. Damn it has not yet been passed to me. Not one to give up easily, I quickly retrive a necklace of positive attitude. I marvel at myself, this necklace is going very well with the earrings of honesty. Now for a little make-up. I lightly apply some friendly lipstick, add a dash of approachable rouge, some focused mascara and line my eyes with passionate kohl and spray a special perfume of graduate degrees and good communication skills ......I take my special decision making purse, throw the matching trouble shooting stole over my shoulder and wear the event management shoes. Ah now I think I am ready for the show. Come on ladies and gentlemen, give me a hand and send me some interviews please. Ms Sushi is ready to grace you with her excellence, brilliance and charm.

I take several small breaks...day dreams breaks...FB and Orkut checking breaks and Mafia War playing breaks....finally manage to finish the app by 5 ish. Before I could cringe in embarassment over my superlative talents and multiple skills and delete the entire thing, I quickly send off  the app.

Ah now I can blog. The photographs of Covered Market take a damnably long time to upload....time to wash yesterday's dishes and cook. I realise with a start except for that ice cream, a cup o noodle and some chocolate I have not had anything else. Oh poor me....But do not feel like cooking, so call up husband who is going to get the food. Husband comes laden with Chinese takeaway...entertains with stories of whole day and then washes all the piled up dishes.

Now is'nt this a super lazy day in the super lazy life of the super lazy Sushi????

Oxford Diary: Saturday at the Covered Market


Ever since we have come to Oxford, we have heard about the Covered Market. This Saturday we ventured there. Kolkatans would find covered market very similar to our dear old New Market. There are several entrances of this market in the High Street, while a back entrance opening to the Market Street. Indranil and my, our condition was like that of two kids taken to a fair. We just loved about everything....we went around with eyes round and popping in excitmenet. I wanted to buy the flowers, the pretty dresses, adorable dolls, silver earrings, aromatic candles, perfumed soaps, the fancy shoes, the tea set, the handbags....eat all those chocolates, demolish the cakes.....the list went on and on. Indranil wanted the sweaters, the shirts, the expensive suits, the exhorbitant silk tie,  the tee shirts with slogans (Jesus loves you, but not like a gay), the boots, running shoes (though he never runs), the miniature army sets, silver cufflinks and last but not the least guns etc etc etc. Sadly we are kids no longer and did not go with our parents. If we did, I am sure I would not have come back at least without one small gift. We two mature, poor, unemployed people on tight budget, just oohhhed and ahhhhed and window shopped. Bought some food and that was it. At one point wanted to buy a house plant (more long lasting and economical than flowers, also every window has a plant in this town, so I also want one, never mind that no one can see our window sill), but could not come to decision as to which one to buy. Decided to postpone the purchase, go home do google homework and come back.  Inspite of all the heartbreak we loved our time there, so would you when you see these photographs. Enjoy.



Entrance to the market with wall murals and bright lights.

One of the wall murals.

Now comes the window shopping part. Peeping into a shop's window selling china stuff...tea sets, coffee mugs et al.

Now a toy shop's window. I want this doll. Nowwwwwww.....

I never knew handknit sweaters can be this expensive.

Is'nt this flower shop lovely?

Yes you are right, those lovely violet bunches hanging are nothing less than English lavender....all fresh and smelling heavenly.

At least this is one thing I didnt want to buy. Me wearing hats....ummmm, a little difficult even to imagine, is'nt it?  But the hats sure were lovely. Now it I were richer, slimmer, taller, (in my mind's eye I am seeing Demi Moore or Julia Roberst) could carry off hats, went for horse racing/ derbies or regularly have tea with the queen or maybe even a duke or a duchess....maybe, just maybe....but with my present life style....nah I dont think so.....happy with my silk saris and chuky gold jwellery....ala Indian style.

Ah shop selling Indian handicrafts. Strangely it is named Kashmiri dragon, strange I thought dragon was a Chinese thingy....

Peeping into the shop opposite, this had a name with opium.

Now this is what I call a wise ol' postcard that needs to be sent to mom so that she stops hinting about finishing half done Ph.D.

Ok, now for some food and none less than organic meat. We picked up goat meat from one of the butchers. Almost 400 gm came for three pounds. I was a little skeptical. I used to hate eating those frozen goat meat in Canada, however well cooked it was. But this meat was surprisngly fresh and not smelly, oh well a wee lil bit. But as Indranil says I have high smell/odour detecting genes, so moi can  be excused. If you are like Indranil, maybe you will not smell any smell and just enjoy the meat.

Now for some fishy fish. We picked up for ready to eat makarel. Will eat and duly report.

Fruits....pears, peaches, grapes, apples, oranges, bananas...

Check out these curious cabbages!

These artists work for a confectionary called the Cake Shop. They prepare heavenly piece of cakes. Some are given below. I will make a seperate post on their wedding cake selection. If I had one of their cake for my wedding, I can assure you that I would just be eating the cake and not getting married.



Filled with goodies for Christmas.

The bakery had closed, but I just loved this notice stuck outside the shop.

One of the cheeky signposts for sale.

Ok, this hazy photograph is a shop called Ben's Cookies. Since we could not afford to buy any stuff, we decided to sample everything, or almost everything edible. Since there were long queues outside this shop we also joined the line. If you like me have lived in Canada for a year you are no stranger to cookies. But omg this Ben fellow or shop makes cookies completely differently. For started they are not thin, but flakey and fat, and are sold by their weight. Indranil had a white chocolate chip cookie and I have a peacan cookie. But were fat, thick, sweet, crammer with stuff inside, crisp, and oh melted right on our tongue without us making the slightest efforts. Now we got why people queue up for Ben's cookies. We sure would next time we are there.

Another shop in the market which had a long queue. This is none other than this pink shop named moo-moos. Oh well they sell milk shakes and every teenager in Oxford is their fan and had queued up that Saturday aftertoon. Indranil, belligerent after being not able to buy the two hundred pound navy sweater, queued right up behind the last teenager. Me, feeling slightly more grown up and way more mature, took position leaning against the boot shop. It was a long wait and I soon grew restless. But Indranil was not budging without a milkshake for a chilly October afternoon.  Finally after twenty minutes wait, he got his mango milkshake, took one sip, closed his eyes and floated into dreamland. Curious to see him behaving in such a juveline manner, I disdainfully took the cup and decided to take a sip. You know just to prove to him that it is milkshake and no need to over react. But man oh man, it was the best milk shake I have ever tasted. It was creamy, forthy, not too sweet and just about heavenly. Two people, deeply in love, floating in milkshake heaven, wandered into the chilly October evening too busy savouring the milkshake to talk.