June 30, 2009

Identity call

Identity: The individual characteristics by which a thing or person is recognized or known.

There is some innate desire by people to be able to identify with someone/something at all times. Ever noticed how the minute you meet someone new and have the slightest information about them, you are trying to associate something or the other with them? Common people from the same school/college/university/work place? Once this is established, it changes nothing unless the middle person is a close friend of the both of you in which case you would have heard about one another in any case. Otherwise, you just speak about this common person for a few short minutes fueling the conversation and that’s about it. What is it then that makes us seek out this connection? You just feel closer, more connected to this new acquaintance for however long you’re going to see them. It’s totally weird and yet totally true. And it's almost always one of the first things to be discussed in context. It probably gives one a sense of familiarity and increases the appeal of the person to be associated with someone we like. On the other hand, we are wary of those associated with people we don't like. It acts as a mental filter of sorts and lets us set our guard at the level we deem appropriate.

Bafflingly though, it's easier perhaps to form an association with someone you have absolutely no one or nothing in common with. This helps you to finally be able to judge them as they are for what they are worth with your own standards with no inputs from any past experiences. And it gives everyone a fresh slate to start with. And almost everyone deserves that. And if they didn't, it's bound to show up soon. Like Ron (Harry Potter character) sagely says, poisonous toodstools don't change their spots.

June 29, 2009


This is a scientific fact and there is evidence to back it up - if you fixate upon something, it is likely to amplify. Like you know how you think that you are hearing some noise and for some reason no one else can hear it but you are sure as hell that there is something and it's as loud as cathedral bells to your ears? That's not a figment of your imagination. Your brain really does amplify those sounds in your ear so that you can hear them clearly. It thinks it's trying to help you out. Here's the news item.

On the other hand, here's how everything manifests itself in our day-to-day lives. Anything and everything we fixate upon is likely to give us more agony than if we didn't. Some unforeseen symptoms... unresolved issues...unreceived calls and even the simplest things are bound to cause us unnecessary anguish. They don't say for nothing that a watched pot seldom boils. The key to giving yourself some peace is to stop over-analyzing things and give it a rest at least for sometime. And not seeking desperate measures for closure - like calling someone for the 20th time incapable of waiting for them to return the call they said that they would, or popping multiple pills for a seemingly simple headache. This compounds the issues rather than resolving the problem. While time especially crawls when you are watching the clock, it goes by much faster when you're occupied even with the most mundane chores of everyday life. They don't say for nothing that time will heal. This too shall pass. Wait it out.

June 27, 2009

The forgotten girl

The big problem in having many guy friends is that in due time they forget that you are a girl. Especially if your personality is anything like mine... where you don't cringe at the first bad word or the first cheap slander (rather you might join in and take a potshot yourself), when your wavelengths are perfectly meshed, blah. Wow.. sounds like a whole lot of physics mumbo-jumbo. And almost always, we girls are the tomboys of the gang and are seldom associated with any dainty behaviour typical of girls, which we also ridicule sometimes alongside the boys. So big surprise then, that the girlfriends that these guys end up with are a bit wary of us at least till they know that as far as their 'guys' are concerned, we are just other guys masquerading as girls. We are the genre of forgotten girls.

That being said, somehow when we are with "the guy", we suddenly develop all the feminity that ever was and want to be treated as any girl should be treated. And the fact that we have so many guy friends is not a bargaining chip for being treated any lesser as a girl, especially by our significant other. As long as that doesn't happen, being the forgotten girl may not be as bad as it sounds.

June 26, 2009

Animal love unleashed

Tribute: May Michael Jackson rest in peace. The King of Pop truly defined western music in our hearts.

Note: This post may sound absurd to most of you.

Seen a dog on leash? What am I talking about, of course you have. Most dogs as pets are on leashes when they're taken out for walks or basically when they're taken out. Normally this hasn't affected me much. I mean the dogs I've normally seen are the frisky playful varieties who pretty much control their leashes and totter along happily with their owners at their heels or vice versa. Yesterday I saw an older dog. He was leashed to a dustbin outside a bank, presumably to wait while the owner finished some business on the inside. And the dog might have had no complaint for he sat there, spine straight and impassive, patiently waiting. But I did. I felt unreasonably disturbed, and got very irked with the insensitive owner. No, the garbage wasn't full and the place wasn't stinking. Yes, it was open air and the leash was reasonably long. I couldn't place what was troubling me. Till I could. It was about the visible and invisible shackles. It was about that leash. I knew I'd have had lesser trouble with a pet dog just waiting by himself on the outside than one that was forcibly chained to a dustbin. But here was the thing. That owner inside probably took good care of his dog... fed him, entertained him, took him to the vet, kept him happy and all of that. But it was the whole concept of the leash. How we as the thinking animal have assumed superiority over every other species and condemned them to a life of captivity (or domestication) to get what we wanted from them, be it company or food. No, I don't know what dogs would do if we didn't "domesticate" them and keep them as pets. I know they don't live in the "wild". As a matter of fact, I don't know what I want to be done with them. I bet you're saying to yourself - I don't know why she wrote this post anyways. But I guess my point is, when humans were put on leashes (Abu Ghraib torture), it created mass upheavals of protests as it should but it's perfectly okay for animals. And isn't around the neck a pretty cruel place to put a leash (I know the leash is cruel indeed, but the belly might hurt lesser albeit be less controllable)? And it's mostly just the poor dogs. The rest of the animals seem to get away with it (cats, rabbits, etc are gingerly carried around in cages - which is not so comfy either but it's just during transportation). While pet owners truly care for the welfare of their animals, I don't know where the cut-off is between providing food and shelter for an animal and then subjecting it to a leash. For all I know, the animal isn't bothered so much about the leash as I am. Like I said in the beginning, this post may sound absurd to most of you.

June 24, 2009

The virtuous life

PS: This post is in good humour. I would rather that everyone lead happy and 'virtuous' lives.

Remember those college days? Or even in the University? When everyone was single and life's main concerns were if you were seeing a movie that night or going bowling with friends? Oh and of course all those night stays where you could dissect every little detail of some conversations with some special someone, bitch about the others and generally think you were in the best phase of life? Fast forward a few years later when you are married and have a trickle of single friends remaining... none of whom is doing anything remotely unconventional... if they're dating, they're hoping for marriage and if they're not, they're still hoping for marriage, all in good time. Doesn't it suck when everyone's leading virtuous lives? It leaves nothing to talk about.

June 23, 2009

The truth about your Thesis

Courtesy: Some forwarded mail.

Scene: It's a fine sunny day in the forest, and a rabbit is sitting outside his burrow, tippy-tapping on his typewriter. Along comes a fox, out for a walk.

Fox: What are you working on?
Rabbit: My thesis.
Fox: Hmmm. What's it about?
Rabbit: Oh, I'm writing about how rabbits eat foxes. (incredulous pause)
Fox: That's ridiculous! Any fool knows that rabbits don't eat foxes.
Rabbit: Sure they do, and I can prove it. Come with me.

They both disappear into the rabbit's burrow. After a few minutes, the rabbit returns, alone, to his typewriter and resumes typing. Soon, a wolf comes along and stops to watch the hardworking rabbit.

Wolf: What's that you're writing?
Rabbit: I'm doing a thesis on how rabbits eat wolves (loud guffaws)
Wolf: You don't expect to get such rubbish published, do you?
Rabbit: No problem. Do you want to see why?

The rabbit and the wolf go into the burrow, and again the rabbit returns by himself, after a few minutes, and goes back to typing.

Scene inside the rabbit's burrow: In one corner, there is a pile of fox bones. In another corner, a pile of wolf bones. On the other side of the room, a huge lion is belching and picking his teeth.

Moral: It doesn't matter what you choose for a thesis subject. It doesn't matter what you use for data. What does matter is who you have for a thesis advisor.

Hail Professors!

June 22, 2009

Stereotypically yours...

Stereotype: A conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image; a person who is regarded as embodying or conforming to a set image or type.

Stereotypical: Banal, commonplace and clichéd because of overuse.
Courtesy: Wictionary.

After over an year of marriage, a few 100 male friends, I think I know enough to safely say that men don't analyze/think about something 10% as much as women do. Now, that's a classic example of stereotyping. But this post isn't about who/what we brand stereotypical for a whole variety of reasons. It's more to do with the kinds of stereotyping - some that we love to hate and some others that we accept graciously. Now, let's examine the old-fashioned domestic household scheme - man's the breadwinner, woman's the homemaker... both such important roles, yet the man's as the "breadwinner" has taken the pedestal on this one for eons. Of course we women hate this stereotype, which in this day n age make no sense whatsoever. We contribute to the household income too and yet, we are left with plenty to do at home as well. That said, the increasing contribution in domestic chores by the modern man stands truly appreciated. It's always, "I help her clean... I help her take care of the baby", blah, like it's a share of someone else's primary responsibility, you know what I mean.

On the other hand, some of the stereotypes that women continue to appreciate are how the men are expected to be the forward ones - whether it's in a romantic overture or in coming up with an investment plan. And these stereotypes like everything else has been nurtured in us from when we're very little. All the movies, the books and anything and everything we've had the opportunity to associate with will tell you the one common thing - the man proposes to the woman, for instance. No wonder then, even with the woman equaling the man stride for stride in this day, most women still want that sparkling fairytale romance where the man goes down on one knee. Weirdly, the men just don't get that. Associating the modern woman's strength of character and her individuality with a sort of breezy independence, most men seem to take it for granted to do away with all of the textbook romance. And no, that's not ok. No, women don't want flowers for everything... but that doesn't mean you don't give her flowers for anything. See what I mean? Another set of grey areas in the entire relationship game. Another one where the man spends a tonne of time figuring out exactly what the woman wants. And I don't blame them much... the women don't want some stereotypes, yet love to be a part of some others. Good luck, men.

June 18, 2009

Tofu burji (scrambled tofu)

Of course you knew I had some tofu lying around after making them skewers… So I wanted to try something a bit common yet different and so I ended up scrambling them, much like scrambled eggs/paneer. Turns out, it came out great!
The normally bland tofu really took on the spices and tasted refreshingly different from it’s normal rubbery self. I’m not going to give a recipe here coz it’s just too darned simple. I’ve used 1 large onion, 1 mid-sized capsicum, green chilli and tomato each, 1 whole garlic and 3/4 slab of tofu sautéed in 1 spoon of grapeseed oil for the dish, spiced with salt a hint of garam masala and coloured with turmeric. And I garnished it with a dash of spring onion greens.
We had it by itself as a simple meal, served with a glass of red Chateâu Rochebelle ‘89. Perfect. What's more it's a wholesome protein powerhouse and with the least oil going into it makes for a light, filling and healthy dinner.

Bon Appétit!

June 17, 2009

Parisian fashion faux pas

Not that I am some fashion diva or something, but there are certain things that you notice on people and you just know that that’s not the way it should be. Even in one of the fashion capitals of the world, Paris, people sometimes commit the ultimate crime – fashion faux pas.

Here’s my list of not-so-hot witnessed on the everyday Parisian fashion scene (for the list of very hot read this post):

1. Skinny jeans and bulky shoes: Skinny jeans are very in out here.. And I assumed one of the main reasons was that so many people, men and women alike, are so slender. And it looks great on them. Just not when they mess it up and pair it with oversized sneakers. It looks very unsightly and is particularly effective in grabbing the wrong kind of attention.

2. Goop-up: Remember how we talked about how most women here were to choose one eye-makeup essential, it’d be mascara ? Rightly applied, it can be a major boost to those skimpy lashes. But maybe it’s a fashion key I am missing out on, but so many people here put oodles of the stuff on their lashes so much that it forms tiny globules at the tips. Not appealing at all.

3. Legally wrong: So a gorgeous woman’s walking towards you. Tall, slender and what’s she wearing? A long shirt and… oh, wait a minute, that’s it! I think this one started out when truly some woman forgot to wear pants/skirt before stepping out of her house. And she was probably bold enough to pretend that that was exactly what she wanted. And it became a fashion statement. But without sheer stockings at the least or leggings, this outfit looks vastly unsettling. Many women pair up a long shirt with tall heels. A very handy way to show off long legs, not that any men are complaining. It’s sexy in a very bedroom way. Maybe a tad weird for the conventional me. And seriously, it’s one of those things that you can barely contain an incredulous reaction from. Go figure!

4. Boot-strapped: Ah them boots again… they look great with most things… slim pants, short skirts, dresses and the like. But just coz you have a pair or two doesn’t mean you wear them with everything whether it goes or not! Bulky jeans stuffed into tapering boots isn’t a sight to behold.. and even full-length skirts look strange with boots. At least this one is not so bad.

5. Pierced: This is not even the women I’m talking about. Almost no woman I’ve seen has any weird piercings in places visible to the eye. But it’s some of the men. And no, I have no issues with eyebrow piercings or anything of the sort. But on the nose? For a man? That’s hard for any Indian girl to digest. Eeks!

Aah there are so many more things I’d love to say.. but I didn’t wanna be overly bitchy. And given that I am no Jeniffer Aniston, I thought I’d stop short of sounding like a fashionista with a job at Dior.

Until later…….

June 15, 2009

Chatpata veggie skewers (kababs)

Well, the word kabab doesn’t really mean much to a Vegetarian. So the word skewer is probably more appropriate in this case. For the uninitiated, a skewer is just a bamboo stick into which one can thread meat/veggies to be roasted/grilled or barbecued. So this is just a simple appetizer for those unhurried days which doubles up as a viable option for those barbecue picnics when all we can do is watch the meat-eaters otherwise. Here’s a glimpse.
Intrigued? It’s really a very simple thing that the seasoned chefs wouldn’t even bother blogging but amateurs like me take pleasure in filling the gaps. So, if you’re interested…
What you need:
Veggies: Anything that you can find. I’ve used – cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, spring onions, capsicum and tofu blocks.
For the marinade:
Curd 1 cup
Water 1 cup
Turmeric, red chilli powder, dhaniya-jeera powder, asfoetida and salt 1 pinch each
Garlic 5-6 pods finely chopped/crushed
Ginger 1/4 inch piece chopped
Fresh coriander leaves 1/2 sprig finely chopped
Marinate: For the marinade, mix all the ingredients well. Soak the veggies in the marinade for at least a half hour before grilling them.
Tip: Use a skewer to bore holes into each of your veggies so that the marinade really gets deep into them.
Next, thread them on the skewers, alternating by color for prettier appearance :D
Here’s one more look..
Then, just grill 'em! At 350°F (166°C) for 20 minutes. Preferably, turn the veggies after half the time to grill them evenly on all sides. Serve piping hot with a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice (and some chaat masala if you're into it).

Don't let the sparkly fresh exterior fool you. After 20 minutes, they were well-done and had absorbed the marinade wonderfully. Yumm yumm. I served it as an appetizer to a predominantly Chinese pasta (if you want to know what that is, drop me a line). Dinner is served.
Bon Appétit!

The big list of wedding don'ts...

Note: The scenarios discussed here are probably more in tune with Indian weddings rather than Western ones.

Having witnessed quite a few weddings over the past couple of years, I've made a mental note of all the things that should best be avoided on your big day. And now, I've decided to make that knowledge public. Here's a list of things you'd rather stay away from when planning the biggest night (or in our case 3 days) of your life.

Match game
Avoid: It's totally 1970s Bollywood song style to wear matching clothes with your fiancé(e). Complementing one another is one thing. But matching in color exactly is entirely different and is a rather big test on one's gag reflex. I think the worst I've seen is a theme wedding where the decorations were in blue and beige. And the bride and groom wore blue and beige clothes. While you're at it, please make sure your cake isn't designed as per theme as well! No, it's not cute or cool.. it's just gag-worthy.
Instead: Do it in style. The groom wearing a tie the exact color of the bride's sari/dress is very classic and subtle. Take a hint or two from Katie Holmes who dresses Tom Cruise to match her in the most of tasteful of ways. One time his tie matched her eye shadow. That subtle.

Avoid: I think the worst I've seen is the groom in a smart dress jacket... accompanied by sports shoes. I don't think anything could've stuck out more like a sore toe. It's completely taboo.
Instead: Go all the way. If you've picked out the clothes you want to wear, how hard can it be to accessorize appropriately without looking like a cave person (or an athlete for the case-in-point)? And women, the "less is more" concept totally sells. If your sari is pretty heavy on the zari or the embroidery, it won't be so bad to keep the jewelry light and tasteful rather than go all out and look like a Prince jewelry advertisement. Both looks may work for you. Get the advise of trusted friends on what goes best. One last piece of advise: Don't wear ridiculous jewelry... no matter how much others tell you it "suits" you.

Environment friendly
Avoid: Plastic cups on the podium. No I don't mean when you're standing on the reception dias and stealing a few sips of pineapple juice from a disposable cup between well-wishers from the long snaking queue waiting to wish you and then rush to the dining hall. I mean when you're toasting your day as it has become common these days. For crying out loud, do not "toast" your wedding cheers with plastic cups.
Instead: Please please invest in crystal or atleast good old glass for the occasion. This isn't the place to scrimp.

Avoid: Heavy make-up and very heavy jewelry especially in sweaty Chennai. Not many things can be worse than sweating out your makeup on your brand-new clothes under the sweltering spotlight. And many people end up looking extra-powdered to perhaps combat the oncoming heat.
Instead: Most people are very concerned on how they look in their pictures. After all, that's what lasts to keep the memories fresh forever. Fortunately in this day and age, it's very simple to rid that concern. Get a friend to click a few pictures of you once you're ready on a digicam. It's a fool-proof way of telling if you're overly madeup or if you've missed some important detail overall.

And finally, remember to smile and express all that happiness that you're feeling inside. Everyone's on your side and everyone wants to make you feel just as special as you do on your big day. Leave the inhibitions behind and enjoy the day(s) for what they truly mean - one of the most precious events in your life.

PS: If you're a wedding invitee, your only concern should be not to dress down the bride. As tempting as it maybe to wear your own fabulous reception sari (if you're already married), make sure to find out if the bride is going to be wearing something more stunning. Nothing irks a bride than being showed down on her big day. ;)

June 12, 2009


When it comes to clothes and accessories, I am more a quantity trumps quality person. I know that this might make me sound trashy.. but honestly I'd rather have a large variety of things to wear rather than one good branded thing. So back in the US, my clothes shopping was all Charlotte Russe and Sears. To me, it makes perfect sense. To others, it may seem a tad stingy. But it works for me... after all it tends to revitalize my wardrobe ever so often. However the point of this post wasn't about that. It was about those select few clothes that made it to the favorite list. For most stages in my wardrobe life cycle, I've had one pair of perfect jeans. The length, the fit, the flare... everything came together on one piece of garment and it becomes my signature jeans for the time it lasts. In UC it was this pair that PT used to love on me.. she used to call them 'woh-wala' (those) jeans. Every time I pondered on what to wear, she would suggest the 'woh-wala' pair. Of course each of these pairs wore out leading to me seek alternate replacements appropriately. Just recently while scouring through my entire wardrobe, I realized not only had I run out of a favorite pair, I'd run out of everything wearable with respect to jeans. Either they were too loose or too drab or just too worn, and you get the point. Here's one instance where it didn't help - all that quantity and no quality to speak of. Time to shop! This time I should probably get some quality to go along with the quantity. Sounds grownup? It does to me.

June 10, 2009

Hip hop safety information

How many of us are thoroughly bored by the good old flight safety instructions on the plane when you board. Here's a nice little twist - the hip-hopping flight attendant. He rocks!


I bet you can't resist rapping along :D

June 7, 2009

Arachnoid experiences

The occurrence- I was innocently watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy sitting on my sofa while my peripheral vision detected some movement at the exterior. A quick scan confirmed my fears. A medium-sized spider had wandered into the middle of the hall.

Me– Holy crap! What was I supposed to do? I hurriedly called the husband never taking my eyes off of the 8-legged uninvited ‘guest’. He asked me to remain calm – “It’s just a spider. Watch where it goes.. I’ll be there soon and get rid of it”. Just a spider? I made a mental note to remember that when the situation demanded it. But for now, it made sense right? Watch where it went and tell on it as soon as S got home. I left the sofa to stand in one of the corners giving me and the spider about 3 feet of clearance – enough I assumed for me to bolt if required. For about an eternity the spider that hurriedly scampered out from nowhere didn’t move. It must’ve been a minute when it made a sudden lunge for under the dining table. Oh no.. not the kitchen! I hurried right behind it to try and close the kitchen door. The spider hurried faster. I managed to shut the door. As I hurried over, I realized that was not where the spider was headed at all. It darted under the dining table. I stood there dancing on my toes (what if it sprang on to me with some unforeseen prowess?) trying to keep my eyes on it’s whereabouts. I spotted it scampering beneath the table to beneath the sofa. I figured that that was it. The dark recess under the sofa would be where the spider sought solace. Wrong again. In a few seconds I saw it run along the corner towards the TV. Basically it was running around the perimeter of the room. Unsure of what to do next, I kept hovering expecting the spider to run out all over again. To my horror, I realized that the bedroom door was open. I couldn’t deal with a spider when I was awake.. how was I ever going to sleep if it got into the bedroom? Fear forgotten for half a second, I darted to shut the door. My sudden movement jolted the spider who headed straight for me. I hopped, skipped and jumped with squeals and successfully avoided it while it finally made it’s way to the kitchen. Damn! Nothing I could do now. I grabbed my keys and left the house.

The repercussions for the spider- Oops… If only I’d known that that vent was into the bathroom of a house and not to the outside! Ok, now I am in the middle of some room and there’s a HUGE creature that’s dancing around, obviously to kill me. Got to find a way out! Lemme run around the room looking for an exit. That table place seems about right to start. No.. nothing… Under the sofa? Nope not there either… near the TV? Holy crap.. the creature is closing in on me! Now what? Let me shock it by running into it. Ok here goes… Runnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn… and I made it! Ah there’s a vent in the kitchen. Go for it. Whoosh, I’m out of the house.

What transpired next – I keep glancing back behind my shoulder sulking all over for the next 3 hours jumping at every shadow… suspecting every movement to be an 8-legged thing. I am finally convinced that a spider that couldn’t sit still for 2 minutes when I spotted it could barely lurk around for 3 hours and not show itself. It must’ve gone.

Talk about irrational fears, especially when it comes to creepy-crawlies.

June 4, 2009

Mini mushroom quiches

Living in France and being vegetarian means one would have to have had a quiche (pronounced kee-sh) at least once out here. A quiche is just an open pie containing eggs that can be baked with/without a crust and with any ingredients that one is willing to put. I recently bought a set of ramekins hoping to make créme brulée sometime. But before that I thought I’d make an attempt at a mini quiche. For the uninitiated, here’s what a mini-quiche looks like -
Yes, yes i made that… Like what you see? Here’s how to make it -
Ingredients (to make 6 mid-sized mini-quiches)
1. Eggs – 3 medium
2. Egg whites – 2 medium
3. Milk – 2 tablespoons
4. Mushrooms – 3 large button mushrooms finely chopped
5. Garlic – 1 small one chopped fine
6. Seasoning – salt to taste, garam masala to taste
7. Garnishing – fresh coriander to sprinkle
8. Oil – 1 tsp
9. Baking spray if you have it
1. Whisk the eggs, egg whites and the milk together and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet. Once it’s hot, put in the garlic and cook till golden brown.
3. Add the mushrooms and cook till tender. You have the option of adding onions here if you want. I wasn’t in the onion-cutting mood. So, I skipped it.
4. Stir in the salt and garam masala to taste. Turn off and let it cool briefly.
1. I used ramekins because I didn’t have a muffin pan. If you do, that’s your best option. Spray it with baking spray so that the quiche doesn’t stick to the edges when it gets done.
2. Divide the egg ‘batter"’ equally in all cups/ramekins. Meanwhile start to preheat the oven to 325°F ( approx 165°C).
3. Spoon in a heapful of the mushroom mixture into each of the ramekins.
4. Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes. The egg starts bubbling and a toothpick that’s inserted should come out clean (as in all baking cases). This should be the visible transformation -
Garnish with fresh coriander after spooning out the quiches which should pop out pretty easily. It's light and absolutely delicious and almost like finger food at this size.
When to eat it
A quiche is a normal appetizer here in France. If you choose to put in some sweet stuff and refrigerator, it doubles as a dessert. I prefer to have quiche as a mid-day snack.. a filler of sorts for the grumbling tummy. Tonight of course, it serves as an appetizer for dinner.
Larger quiches are made in pie pans and usually have a pie-crust underneath. I read something on the food network recently and had the irrepressible urge to try out a mini-quiche (also to use my brand-new ramekins). So here I leave you with a final tempting shot.
Bon Appétit!

Reflections of the other kind

I have no clue if Newton realized it when he proposed it back then, but his third law - Every action has an equal and opposite reaction has a whole new dimension now - not just motion. It's practical existence in everyday life. People often react off something with or without realizing it. We're the perfect canvases to study emotion objectively. It's almost basic instinct to check your reflection whilst walking past a shiny window, for instance ... if your hair's okay... you're lipgloss isn't smudged, blah. But I guess what I am talking about is not just the shallow aspects of it. Most people tend to react off the reactions from others about many things. And more often than not, these are pure reflections of what's given to them. Like you're generally nice to a person who's being nice to you... and if not, soon patience wears thin and you end up being just as ungracious to them as they are to you (unless you are saintly - which I most certainly am not). Simple tit for tat. Similarly, a negative feedback about anything can rob the charm about it that made you do/buy/act that way. For example, a new dress that you loved and bought receives lukewarm response from your friends which robs your intial excitement from the whole experience. There's a rare person who can wear the devil-may-care skin and still be happy with their original choice. You can live with it for sure, but you end up second guessing a lot of times. The same analogy can be translated to actions, behaviour or relationships with varying degrees of importance and depths of responses, of course. Ever notice how your reactions are mirrored in the other person and vice versa? I just consciously started to . It's fascinating.

June 3, 2009

The perfect tomato soup

Ever made tomato soup and had that one tiny complaint about it? Texture? Flavor? Color? Thanks to Priya, I found the perfect, yes, perfect tomato soup recipe. And with this one, it’s hard to go wrong.
Look for the recipe here.
I did make a few changes, nothing too dramatic – I used 5 tomatoes, a whole garlic, a very large green chili, 2 small carrots, 1/2 a beetroot and 1 mid-sized white onion. For seasoning, the only extra thing I used was 1 tsp my new-found sweet Chinese chili sauce. The procedure is all exactly as she’s said it is. And the taste, the flavor, the smell and texture is totally divine.
Here’s why you should try this soup -
1. It’s healthier because of the extra veggies that go into it.
2. It’s perfect for a light lunch/dinner paired with salad or bread.
3. If you’re a tomato soup fan, believe me you want to brag about making this one :D.
Kudos to Tastypalettes.(Her pics are way better than mine… but I had to brag about making it :D)
Bon Appétit!

Curl Girlz

Another one just for the girlz. Sorry guys! This post is not for those gifted people with naturally wavy hair with softly curled ends. It's for the genre of women 'blessed' with pure curls and just curls. Hint: Does your hair look like a springy mass once you've washed it? This one's for you.

If you're anything like me, you've hated your mass of curls at some point or the other and been perpetually jealous of your friends/foes or bystanders with straight, silky and shiny hair which they just can't seem to stop flaunting in front of you. You've looked up to the skies, cursed about life being unfair, tried a whole variety of products on the market from expensive conditioners to curl crunchers to the variety of all new brushes designed to 'enhance' your curls. After years of discontent though, I've discovered that hating your hair only makes it work against you. Work with it and all of a sudden, there's so much potential waiting to be tapped to make you look and feel better about those dense curls.. Here are some well-waited out tips -

Find your length: Long, short or medium, every hair type has it's critical length at which it is at it's best. Too long and the hair at the ends maybe thinning or splitting... Too short and you've got a semi-electrified look. But hey, some things work better on some people than some others. My hair tends to straighten out a bit beyond it's critical length. While on the surface this may seem to be good, soon unable to deal with it's own weight, my hair starts breaking. Ergo -> haircut. So go for whatever length you find easiest to maintain and what you think looks good on you.

Condition: Curly hair and frizz go hand in hand and seldom have I seen people with just pure curls and no frizz without any products... Finding the right hair-care product then becomes a challenge to combat the unruly ones. I'm no dame at taming it, but I find that regularly conditioning your hair does work eventually. And really, there's no need to wash your hair more than twice a week. That's one of the advantages of having curls.. they don't get oily/sticky a couple of days after the hair wash. In fact mine are at their best right before I need to wash them again.

Tame (an option): Absolutely weird as it may sound, sometimes using a curler on your hair can help regularize your curls to a more standard shape that suits you than leaving them natural. For instance I like to soften my tremendously tight curls into a more rounded form when I have the time. The downside? If you want it to stay just a couple of hours, there are none. Else, expect your hair to regain it's shape in a few hours and even sooner if you're headed to someplace humid. On the bright side, all styles look good ultimately even though you may not think so.

Damn the gel! News flash - gel sucks. Even the ones that they say don't stick end up making your hair seem like crunchy cotton candy. Not worth it at all. Along with the gel, throw away all hair crunchers, curl scrunchers and whatever other weird products out there.

Recognize the green side: With curls, there's no day you have to worry about hair being flat or lacking volume or being 'oily'. In fact once you realize that the grass is greener on the other side and that the chicks with the straight hair want your curls, things begin to look up. Liking your hair and oozing confidence about it's looks works wonders in other people's eyes as well. Always.. always remember that. Love 'em and have your fun...

Chips for lunch

So, it was a busy morning last week. I was running late… hunting my shoes down, was on the phone with PB who was visiting Paris. All the while at the back of my head, I remembered that I had to put something in my bag. Something that I had to take to school. And so I put it in, zapped out of the house and caught the right train n stuff and got to school at the right time. Phew! And then I dug into my bag to retrieve my lunch, which is what I was supposed to put into my bag in the morning. And so I look in. No lunch. Just my brand-new laptop. What was I expecting to eat? Chips? LOL moment.

June 2, 2009

Broccoli-spring onion soup

And here’s how I pretend to be a health-nut… by disguising ingredients I am not too fond of in a delicious medley and calling it soup! This one is a broccoli-spring onion soup inspired by the remnants in my fridge. But it turned out to be as delicious as anything I’ve tried and healthier than most things I’ve tried.
Here’s what you need
1. Broccoli – 1/3 broken in florets
2. Spring onion – 1/2 a sprig, the onion coarsely chopped and it’s leaves finely chopped
3. Carrot – 1 diced coarsely
4. Garlic – 1 small, diced fine
5. Vegetable broth – 1/2 cup
6. Milk – 1/4 cup
7. Oil – 1 tsp (I used grape-seed oil ‘coz I read somewhere that it has the best ‘required’ fatty acids and a marginally lower calorie content)
8. Salt, pepper n spices – to taste. I used a bit of Chinese sweet chili sauce
Make it
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic until golden brown.
2. Toss in the spring onion bulbs and half of the leaves and mix them in and allow to cook in salt.
3. The carrot and the broccoli go in next. Close the saucepan and cook on medium-high for 5 minutes. Add a bit of chili-garlic sauce if you desire (do try – the flavor is great!)
4. Stir in the vegetable broth and the milk next and allow to simmer for a few more minutes.
5. Set aside till cooled down and give it a spin in the mixer with a bit of water/milk to get your soup. Alternately, you can cut all the pieces really fine and the enjoy it as a stew.
6. Garnish with the remaining spring onion greens, a pinch salt and pepper.
Voilà.. very filling, very tasty and absolutely healthy! Bon Appétit!

The forbidden fruit

Ahhh so many of us have been faced with this at some point or the other. The minute someone tells you that you can't have something, it becomes pretty irresistible to you. Sounds immature, childish even, but it holds good for a lot of things. And while sometimes it can be a motivating force to achieve something called the 'impossible', some other times it's plain irritating. I often like to challenge my own 'will-power' so to speak by trying to forbid myself from doing things. Top amongst this list are nail-biting and unnecessary shopping.. While these I can manage if I truly want to, some other restrictions are harder to go by. Like eating something. If I tell myself that I shouldn't eat chocolate on some day, that's all that I can think about the whole day. And the funny fact that goes with the territory is that if I hadn't made that 'resolution', I probably wouldn't have had chocolate by myself in the first place. But placing it on the forbidden pedestal makes it nearly impossible to resist unless the day in itself was so busy that there was no idle time to think about it. But if the day had been busy, I wouldn't have found time to make useless resolutions in the first place and hence it's a vicious circle. And funnily this is not even one of those cases where someone else imposed a restriction on you. It was done by me on me and yet I found it hard to keep up. Sounds fickle? Just shows that the resolution wasn't important enough to keep up.
Moral of the story: Make resolutions you want to keep rather than the ones you think you should. There's a big difference.