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.