Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Indianism... South Indianism. Understand? Good.

After reading this from a link sent by a pathologically English language-savvy friend, I thought it is but necessary to conserve those things about the language that make it more endearing than most. Every other language has a few styles, dialects, accents and slang and I'm sure you know how they all come about, but English is like Rajinikanth. Everybody may speak all other languages, but English. speaks. You. Him. Her. Everybody! Mind it. Here is my small ode to the holy matrimony of Tamil and English-  as can be spoken only by the convent-going altaaps of Chennai. All those who have had their initiation to this particular form of Tanglish may please play the dialogues in their own voices, adding the necessary pauses, exclamations and such other embellishments. For the uninitiated, nevertheless Tamil speaking readers, please transliterate every one of these dialogues into Tamil. (For example, an exasperated, "Podi! Evalavudhaan naanum poruthu poruthu paakaradhu?" would become an equally exasperated, "Go ya! How much time I should also wait and wait and see, huh?" Yes, we are really simple that way) 

Kindly revert. Will be thrilled to receive ideas on other models of invaluably eccentric forms of this mother of all funny languages. Here goes:-

D: Hallo? A? I am D this side..
A: Hey hi D! Long time no?? How are you men?
D: I am fine ya... Just passed out of medical college. I heard you're out of station, but I still just wanted to see if you've come back. I'm in Chennai only now.
A: Hey really? Where are you putting up?
D: At Anna Nagar, just backside of Iyyappan temple. I and my mother and my brother and my father have settled here for the next three months. I said to you sometime back no, that my father was transferring because of his job? My brother's exams also preponed. So my mother said to me, "Do one thing, you also come be with us only. Three months don't work. Then we'll search. Okay?" So I said, wokay.. Nice no? Full holidays only..
A: Hey niiiice... Nowadays and all which parent will tell like that you tell me! I also have no, my parents... hmm (snorts)
D: Hey don't talk bad about your parents okay.. I know your mother and all will nev-ver say anything to not do. And your father is so soft and so cute and..
A: Hullo... he's my father ok... So don't put line for him!
D: Ah, okay okay...
A: Okay, tell me one thing.. How is P and G and that L? There were also two A's no, in our twelth standard, who came to your college with you? What are they all doing?
D: P got chucked out
A: Why?
D: Why because he was drinking cigarettes in class itself. In front of the teacher that too!
A: Oh God! That boy is so brainless! You remember when I used to mind the class in school, he used to always tease me. Pah!! At least in college I thought he should have gotten some brains...
D: He studies well only ya.. He should have been rank holder also! But I think so some problem in his house.. What to do? His friends are also like that only, rowdy gang, all full of them!
A: Oho.. Okay, so what about the others?
D: Wait, I am wearing a new jean... It is tight fitting. I've inserted my shirt. Now it is hurting.. Ah....! ok, now it's loosed.. So...... that's what ya. That G and L are now going to abroad for their MD. Both the A's, I don't know I've not seen them since I think our passing out days from school.
A: Just now only I was watching our farewell album men... How much small we all look you know? Hey you remember BC ah? That Chemistry teacher who took English for us! "Bangles, CRYstal bangles!" ha hahahahaha... Who only put her for teaching English I can't understand.. "bangles CRYstal bangles" it seems...! Ha hahahahaha
D: Ha hahahahahahah yes ya... Ayyoo she was so scaring! Always shouted at that poor fellow F for nothing.
A: I told you to not to say nothing to her.. You only very bigly went and told F did not do anything wrong. Then see what happened... She nicely gave you one with that long stick of hers!
D: Ah, don't remind! Now also it hurts!
A: Hahaha... That and all was one golden time men!  Now and all will we get back those times? Ok, when are you giving treat?? Gold medal and all!
D: Huh, that and all I don't know pa! I only know with how much difficulty I managed to get sometime from home to call my friends. Treat I believe.. Treat all will come only after I get a job. Now for three months housework and family time only.
A: What child? You'll not even give treat ah? Wait wait, I will only talk to Aunty and get the treat. What is this..!!
D: Okay okay do what you like.. Hey what's the time?
A: Four o clock.
D: Four ah! Now I'll keep the phone... don't mistake okay? Some important call must be coming for my Dad he said, after four o clock. If the phone is busy, that's all! We will nicely get it from him! I will call you like this maybe tomorrow okay?
A: Hey no problem ya.. Bye! Call to me after six okay? Bye!
D: Bye-bye..

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Speak foul, sweetly

Short, colour streaked, dirt rolled legs come into view. One small hand wound back at the hip, smeared with black-green patches holds a bunch of pens too large to be mere sketching pens. Other hand obeying the slightly tilted head that is fully concentrated on embellishing it's strokes and scratches on the canvas up it's front. And the canvas- my washing machine.  "Oi! Don't!! Put.That.Marker.Down." No response. "Skanda!! Here's your drawing book. Don't scribble everywhere else!" Never mind answering. Let me go and pull that hand away "HEY! (Turns around. Big frown, beady eyed stare and a pouted mouth ) "I-was-just-drawing-that-bear!" (Has so far managed what looks like scattered bear-fur) "Bear my foot. Come away now, you little monkey!" "YOU'RE a donkey!" "you're a goose!" "you're a duck" "you're a piglet" "you're a zebra" "you're a nut!" "you're a cashewnut!" "walnut" "coconut" "Mango" "Papaya" "Strawberry" "Banana" "Babycorn" "you're a... (looks around at the posters on the wall. There's a picture of a fruit-bowl) Apple!" "orange" "Grapefruit" "Kiwi fruit" "Hmmm...? You Potato!" "you tomato!" "you carrot!" "beetroot" "Pum'kin!" "Chilli" "capsicum"..... now we run out of fruits and vegetables.... then it dawns... "you're a Ben-10!" (dunno what's the big hype about it but 'm afraid he may not know a Popeye or a Scooby-Doo... maybe when he'll grow up to do a thesis on archaic cartoons...) "yay! you called me BEN? That's a HEEERO!! If I'm Ben, you're a Gwen!" (goes on to explain that Gwen is Ben's female sidekick... never 'foul' mouth a modern day superhero (or super cartoon) worshipping kid without doin' your homework on them first. :P ) Happily exhausted we both abandon the colors and the drawing book and gang up to watch tv. All that 'foul' mouthing sure helped. I'll never snatch things from his hands again nor will he ever draw on my washing machine once more (maybe next time it'll be the wall he'll be trying his artistry on, but let's face it when it comes :D)

It was a nice little lesson on de-worming myself of abuses I could normally hurl when angry. Maybe next time I'll remember more of "blistering barnacles" than "bloody b*%#@!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"you do good karma, get good karma madam!"- the spirit of the Mumbaikar

Coming back alone from the deserted streets of Mahabalipuram in the late evenings can be a little unnerving when you are only just getting to know the place. Every man recognizes a new face and wants to know where you are from, how long you are staying, where are you staying, etc.  Intrusive and annoying, I'd put it. I mean, can't a man or a woman roaming the streets of a beautiful place be left to their own business?? What rights does anybody have to intrude upon their privacy like this? "Oh... and it's okay to tumble down into a township by the truckloads, scatter into the deep pockets of the neighborhood and invade upon the everyday lives of the hundreds of families living there, eh?" retorts an ear-worm from within. Ok, we'll keep that talk for later. 

Along comes an auto-rickshaw whose driver (surprisingly gently) asks, "Where to madam?" Equally surprisingly he quotes a reasonable fare and the journey begins. Some drivers can get chatty, and the darker it is outside, the more bravado they show. And when I say "bravado" it goes to show how little we think of these people and their professions (no thanks to one or two really shady elbow benders that we each is fated to meet at some point or another), cob-webbed into our own little world of low standards. He asks the usual questions, "where" "what" and "where are you from" and has a ready comment for each answer I give (characteristic of these men; to show how much they know their pettai) I humor him, and ask him questions; with a chatterbox like this one, you can switch-off for long spells, merely tossing question upon question (of course, you'd know the trick..) This guy is from Mumbai, but speaks fluent Tamil.

"I know Russian, Marathi, Hindi, Tamil and English Madam" he says proudly. Russian? I'm impressed. "I've been here several years now. Had a tough time convincing my wife's parents to let me marry her. They thought I'd run away, but they did not understand; I didn't give a serious thought to marrying her until I saw her kids. That's when I felt like I really wanted them to be my family." Raju was merely making ends meet for his family, and also blowing up a little cash on the usual small things, until he decided to marry. Marrying a widow who already has children from her previous marriage is..... Is that common yet where you come from O' reader? We Indians would rather die than bring such disgrace upon our ancestry. Sometimes I feel, we are bent upon reinforcing the fact that we are, in fact, the oldest civilization that lived; always will be..

Everyday Raju and his wife work in different places to fend for their family. Their relations with their parents and siblings are distant, though cordial. Expending all their energy into managing a household of five can be gruelling and sometimes they fight. "Lekin jab apne bacchon ko dekhta hoon, sara tension bhool jata hoon." A new-found respect brims up within for the man, just for the kind of responsibility he shows when talking about his children. "Life mein paise kabhi bhi kama sakte hain, rishtey nahi" How many times I would have listened to that phrase and yet it seldom fails to captivate me when someone says it with utmost sincerity. We chat throughout the ten kilometre journey and there unfurls the spirit of a Mumbaikar- an expressive and entertaining character- one who is always ready to give a helping hand to the stranger passing by, one who will donate even when he's barely got enough for himself, one who cares for you genuinely even though you may be a stranger and not likely to meet again, one who has immense respect for education, one whose partiality and biases are most often restricted only to home cooked food, one who is happy and contented with what he's got and blesses, instead of praying for more.

Who is this archetypal Mumbaikar? He (or she) is that vegetable vendor, the sandwich stall keeper, the autorickshaw driver, the security guard... the kind of people you meet on the roadside, thrown out of their dwellings by repeated slum demolishing drives, thronging the pavements of the uber city, but it's easy to notice that they are the most chirpy, optimistic individuals that you will be likely to meet. A picture that stays finely imprinted in memory. Aye Dil Hai Mushkil Na Hona Wahaan; Zara Hatke, Zara Bachke, Woh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan! Even though I'm taking a huge liberty with the beautiful verses of ...wait, was it Jan Nisar Akhtar, or S.H. Bihari, or Majrooh Sultanpuri?... Anyway, to have tweaked the lyrics of this endearing number is to have spoken what this heart beats for in yearning, no matter what I do. Living a good thousand five hundred kilometres away  from there for at least twenty years now, we used to tease my mother for: (a) her extraordinary readiness to befriend any Marathi speaking person; (b) when in the short few minutes that the TV remote remained with her and she would tune into a Marathi channel and (c) never was a plateful of chaat spared of that inescapable (although ever so slightly so) look of dismissal in comparison to Mumbai's roadside treats of my mother's teenage years. Six months out after a mere two year stint in that city and today I find it hard not to make a reference to it (the city) every now and then.

I love everything about the city, and it may well be because of my noveau fascination for it. But in the face of an alarming sense of insecurity among people  everywhere and an ever ready vigil everyone seems to keep to face the worst, I feel responsible somehow for shouting off the rooftops about the friendliness and safety that Mumbai offered me. And it all came not from having relatives or influential friends to put me at ease, but from that stranger who chatted with me for half an hour waiting for a bus I did not which, the guys who sold t-shirts at Colaba and on Hill Road (Bandra), the fruit-shop fellows who served up a healthy drink with some real and substantial fruit, the sandwich-maker who loaded my hungry stomach with humble but fresh and healthy vegetables, the auto-rickshaw driver who returned one rupee after taking exactly 13 rupees as his metre showed, the ladies in the jam packed local train compartment who told me which was the best place to procure glass bangles and walked up to the market with me lest I lose my way, and the list only keeps getting bigger.

If I were the President of India, I would give the common man of Mumbai a Bharat Ratna for keeping alive the flame of integrity and selflessness. The city is a thing of joy, it touches your heart in a way that no other place can do.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Time to go all out

War-cries and fireworks thunder everywhere from the galleries appearing on the TV screen to the living room  and spill over to the streets all over the neighborhood. The Battle's Won! There are the Prime Ministers of both the nations, sitting side by side, each one wearing an unbearably straight face, trying in desperation to tie all their freaking emotions into a tight bundle and stowing it all away. Oh, PM Gilani makes an urgent exit right after the last ball.

There's Sonia and Rahul, having a remarkably gala time on the stands "with the crowds". After hours of sitting through the game with a slightly "I'm-actually-a-little-lost-but-who'd-know" kinda look, in the last over Sonia does the maternal act, pallu firmly tied to her waist, waving and cheering  as if  it was Rahul himself who was playing out there. There's Aamir Khan, Preity Zinta, Venkatesh and the other film stars rising, trembling with excitement (or throbbing joints) after balancing themselves in their chairs at that precise  run-scoring, wicket-winning angle (talk about superstitions) throughout the match, just like everyone else. One thing's for sure today; if you ain't bleeding  blue, you are just.. sick.. atheist even! Many a cricketing oracle had already flashed a card for the Srilankan Team during their semi-finals with "Srilanka! Meet you in the Finals!" or something like that. What seemed audacious then now seems prophetic. Forget taking home the Cup-- We Have Arrived (Did you just note the royal 'we'? Of course, it's applicable only when "we" win).. defeating our "arch rivals".. saving face on the home ground..

Cricket has seldom been one of my pastimes. It's huge with most everybody at home. I remember my sage paternal grandad positioning himself in the living room sitting close yet far and detached from the howling and swearing of all the boys of the house (and their very many friends. God! Our house did turn into a mini theatre during the cricket season). My mother and grandmother can even today be woken up several times late night in a day and night match with the roar following every important run or wicket. Though I imagine they would have loved to be left alone during these few hours for some much needed rest (especially after an extra busy day in the kitchen feeding an ever hungry bunch of men with fries and snacks shoveled down with the aid of buckets of coffee), they do not seem to mind it and join in the cheer for a while taking a break from  beauty sleep. On the one or two occasions that I spent time at my maternal grandparents' home around the time of the matches, funnily my grandad always supported the opponent team while my uncle raged furious arguments with him in favour of the Indian team. My grandmom and aunt were (are) both fans of cricket of the top order and even prayed away silently for India's victory. Even my little sisters can really appreciate a good innings or speculate intelligently over the chances of winning  or losing a match.

In a pathetic attempt to "connect" with my family in a different way I tried watching the IT game along with the house a year or two ago. It just bombed. I simply couldn't stop wondering What could possibly be SO engrossing about a bunch of guys flinging a bat and a ball over and over again? Neither did I understand the rules of LBW or how can a match actually end when it's 'declared', nor was I any the wiser about their little insider jokes about the players. This left me a little jealous, but I could live with it. 

On the other hand, I've never really understood politics either. Just what is it about the Government and it's hundreds of ministries and thousands of departments that were finding it so difficult to please the minds of those early morning newspaper readers that always had a ready spat just waiting to explode should the characters (! What? to me they were nothing more) jump out of paper? I considered my folks to be quite extraordinarily intelligent (and influential) because they simply knew anybody and everybody that was being mentioned in these papers and they knew every little dirty scheme they played. I never quite made an attempt to understand these phantasmagoric phenomena.

Until I did. Now even I can't  but betray that there is a real charm about hitting a good ball and also about getting a hang of what people are talking about. There is no escape from the discomforting sense of being lost to a nice little chat. The point is, no other excuse can hold well against initial fears of rejection and ignorance except for some genuine interest in the game for the sake of the game itself. Where I live, this is the season of big games and World Cup Cricket is just the first of them. With the elections coming right after, there's a buzz all over the place that is simply impossible to miss. Whether a cricketing fan or politics-savvy, this sure is the time to go all out and paint the world with your hue. What say?

Monday, March 28, 2011


When was the last time you ENJOYED work lunch? Like, really savored the sight and smell and the texture... "you're kidding right?" you ask.
 A, the nice and friendly fellow with a cabin on the first floor became a proud father recently. As is the custom in our workplace, he has organized for a treat in the canteen today. Now celebrations come and celebrations go, but it's only the Arun Ice-cream served at the end of lunch that every once that keeps up it's reputation. Maybe this is the first time that our canteen is serving to toast  to a new-born, I don't know, but they have put together a spread which is slightly (huh? a little more than 'slightly') different from the usual fare. The vegetable stew and sauteed cauliflower-peas curry are warm, crunchy and finely spiced, and go beautifully well with the toasty phulkas and rice. Wait.... What really takes the cake is...... (drumroll) ta da! Chakkarai Pongal!!! Coming from a clan that regards this mother-of-all-ceremonial-desserts with the keenest regard, it would have been a disaster on the tongue if one was taken for a fickle ride. Usually one look at the grains is enough to determine whether the dish would be peck-worthy or not. This one has the look; a thick and drying sheet of dark honey brown and underneath the surface, caving in like lava at the slightest prick, lays the shimmering golden rice pudding. Quite a few sneaky cashew nuts give themselves away, all roasted to a hearty brown. Ice-cream arrives. I pause. Chakkarai Pongal on the one hand. Ice-cream and chocolate sauce on the other. Eyes dangle from one plate to the other. Golden brown. Fluffy white. Warm and gooey. Cold and creamy. Lip-smacking. Mmmmmmmm....
In a small eatery that serves Burmese food, I was once served Kownimo- a dessert made of white sticky rice, drenched in coconut milk and chocolate sauce, with a dollop of ice-cream, all laid on a banana leaf bed. Going with the flow, by now I don't have tell you the obvious about how it tasted. Now the sight of these two plates reminds me of that delectable treat and I'm all set to go an a gastronomic skiing trip. The first spoonful feels like an avalanche, melting with almost a whisper of promise, "this is just the beginning..."
Instead of my gobbling up the lot, this time it is the food that has devoured me... I'm had..... Buuuurrrp!
Welcome baby K. Here's wishing you all goodness and sunshine. Live long and merrily dine!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This happens if the newly appointed staff in your college happens to be younger and more nervous than you.

She is that quiet one (at least she seems so) who has come to stay in our hostel. We exchange smiles when we cross each other on my way to or from the hostel, but our camaraderie ends there. With that tiny backpack permanently hung over her large shoulder and a somewhat lost look on her face she can easily be taken for a student.

My friends and I were taking our usual evening walk under the beautiful open skies in the neighboring colony, and were plotting a mischief on D, chief chaos creator among our lot. These last few days are going to be far more fun than I thought. When we neared the local supermarket, we saw a big figure walking toward us,  wearing a backpack and carelessly chomping on popcorn by the handfuls. So concentrated was her focus that she didn't even take her eyes off that packet until we came up-close, face to face. She paused abruptly and stared, stuffed mouth and all. The look on her face..... priceless! We could only do so much to suppress a cackle, but before we actually burst it, she mustered up an awkward smile and hastened away.

Now this is what the journal entry of that student must look like, who caught me outside the supermarket with my bag of popcorn earlier this evening. :P

Friday, March 25, 2011

Farewell already

We're just back from another treat, courtesy of S. Munching on his bag of cheetos he says, "I think I've finally created a stir at you-know-where-we-work. People are gonna gossip about it for a day or two." Yeah  that's right, some recognition at last. It's not as if he'd had much of a chance in these few days he hung around here. He put in his papers today. It was coming since the day we joined and for many a day we've been joking about it. In all fairness, this wasn't exactly his dream job.

All day he was busy meeting one person or another explaining, submitting, wrapping up and the works.The moment he stepped into the room, we both chimed "treat!" and yes, we made good of his hospitality by wolfing down a couple of bars of five-star, an ice-cream or two, wafers, cookies... what! you're not interested?

"I was just waiting for one of you to ask" says he, "would I disappoint my sisters?" he puts on his cheeriest smile. We talk about his upcoming marriage, his prospectives speculating his weight over their first telephone chats with him, and we try to get him spill the beans about his next move, as he seems all too excited about it. He refuses to budge with an enigmatic, "ah, you'll know soon" and moves on. We move on too and continue having a gag about all things in general.

I will miss S. It took an R and an S to bring about laughter and a sense of belonging to an otherwise silent work environment. With one of them gone and the other actively looking to go any moment, it just doesn't feel the same.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just another day at work

So, the story about this afternoon was to strictly be about the hangover (if you can call it that) of last night's party, the graduation photo shoot of my students' and the spontaneous treat that R treated S and me to. Cut to the treat, 'coz what pleases the stomach, takes the pie (er... what are the idioms that do NOT involve the mentioning of food?)

Losing a ring that has a sentimental value would sure break your heart, and finding it after you almost lost it to the earth must make you feel like a billion bucks. Maybe that's why R decided to share her fortunes with us today! Happy are the folks that trot alongside their fair host to toast to the safety of their rings with a bar of mango ice-cream, fries, a bar of chocolate, some chocolate chip cookies, a double-decker sandwich, black currant smoothie, okay I exaggerate.. The ice-cream and fries were flushed down with a cool drink alright. Simple folks, enjoying their little moment of fun, out of their dreary work-spaces before winding up for the day. When you have colleagues like these, where's the time to rue?

Introducing Les Personnages

R and S are my colleagues. And they are leagues ahead of me in their respective careers, so I'm already thankful that I even get to share my workspace with them. I guess whether you are a newbie or a veteran, it always helps to bond with each other when you're all new kids on the block. Even better when you share a particularly evolved (ahem ahem) palate, and not less when you share the same disgust for the excuse that calls itself (your) hair, sticking on to your scalp in that funny fashion. Moreover, who can resist two people who are always bringing on that easy fit of laughter every now and then? I for one will always keep longing for just one more of their antics!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Zoom in 'Awesome'

Chancing upon this blog after reading about Neil Pasricha in the Reader's Digest today, I'm relieved that we're not alone in this world that can sometimes be Too Sane to handle.  Behold the community of isolated souls who go after little bubbles with the hope of catching them whole, and follow a falling kite, running past neighborhoods and barging into any random gate and scrambling up the stairs of somebody else's home just for the pleasure of taking home a free kite. Though it is sometimes difficult to swallow my mother's matter-of-fact quip, "Life is too beautiful to be wasted in malice and sadness", now it just reminds me of the little-big boy I once 'encountered' in a village. He bumped into us when we were out on a visit and caught hold of my hand motioning me to see what he was about to do. Moving past that initial feeling of unpleasant surprise, it was plain to see that he couldn't speak, and must probably suffer from a certain degree of mental retardation. He smiled a smile so charming, it disarmed us. Then he released a spinning top from the string he held on his left hand. The top spun perfectly and long on its axis, making him shout out and punch in the air with utter glee. However, the loudest laughter and the most awestruck stares were those of ours, who watched our long lost favorite toy come alive and how!

And then there was the day I woke up on hearing the chatter of a handful of monkeys in my hostel-room balcony. It would've been a pleasing moment by itself, had it not been for the dozens of clothes (and underwear) that I'd left to dry just the night before. By the time I was fully awake I could hear my neighbors go tap-tap-tap with sticks on their back doors too, neither able to open the doors for fear of a full-scale monkey rampage inside of their rooms, nor keep quiet as the monkeys pawed and examined and dirtied our clothes. Desperate to get them distracted, we went downstairs and ran a jet of water on them. They peed right back on us. Furious, we did what a bunch of hassled monkey-chasers would do- plonk on the sofa and  pray that the little monsters would go. Go they did, but not before choosing their favorite t-shirts and panties to match, which they dragged over our roof (to try them on and show off to each other I bet). Sigh, so much for harmonious co-existence.

While this story took some time for us to have a laugh over it, you know what's awesome? When a colleague offers up their share of ice-cream at lunch for you to gorge on! (it helps when you've just finished yours and  are still licking your lips)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A tease

What can be better than extremely deliciously cooked food? Super smart plating and some imaginative photography I think. "Food is just not about the act of eating. Great food appeals to all of our senses" said a wise man. I'd vouch for it. I am your usual gazer at dishes which contain any thing remotely edible, but this one blog had me literally ogle to my heart's content. "Feed your eyes"- that phrase kinda tickles your gluttony bone before pulling you into the heights of visual fantasy- what colours, what healthy reds and glazed golden browns and refreshing blues and greens do they treat you to! I think savvy food bloggers have truly mastered the art of "presenting" their work, which makes them nothing short of Artistes bestowed with a rich palate, keen eyes and nimble fingers all dusted with magic powders. Take a look. I heart!

Now that's what I call Hot Chocolate!

So my friends, my long, pan Indian quest for the perfect cup of Hot Chocolate saw a bright silver (or should I say, a sparkling brown) lining in the tantalizingly near horizon in... oohh, just an hour ago! Thank you, thank you for the applause, but I really owe it to the likes of Nigella Lawson, Kylie Kwong, the dudes hosting Highway On My Plate, Man Vs. Food, Take Home Chef, Hell's Kitchen, and Top Chef. If not for their having me go green with jealousy at their ability to get their hands on food exactly the way they imagine it should be, I would probably have remained just a hungry street rat, scavenging for food in just about any food joint without really being sure of where I can safely give an order, assured of a worthy eating experience!

Much to my mother's annoyance I have been increasingly eating out for(ever or, in other words) a couple of years now. Hunting for the best paranthas, the best coffee, the most scrumptious breads and cakes, the most sinful desserts, the most delectable quick bites, are just the beginning of what I know is going to be my life-long hobby. Since it fulfils my urge to loiter on the streets and discover new places even within familiar grounds, it is like a total package of recreation!

Being a big fan of the cold coffees, my interest in learning about the brews of all related varieties of beverages started about two years ago, when my daily wanderings became largely a one-woman affair with an unfamiliar city. As visits to cafes big and small increased, and the dining time elongated, they kept me 'informed' through the snippets in their menu cards. Sometimes, in smaller places, I'd chat up with the chai-wala uncle to know what goes into his cup of tea, coffee, or whatever it was that he was going to give me.

Soon it was quite clear that in most places, the brews were not half as exciting on the tongue as they appeared on paper. In the normal course of things, one should have taken the signal and started spending more time in one's own kitchen (like my mom would rather have me be), or looked out for something else to do, rather than punish your stomach with more of the same stuff. But punish is exactly what I did continue to do, as my interest became a hobby, and went till the brink of becoming an obsession barely kept in tethers by an anxious mother, a spartan sister, and several friends with varying degrees of patience towards this idiosyncrasy.

On the up side, well, what more, I chanced upon a fine cup of Hot Chocolate after months of hard labour, trial and error, and a bit of clever (even if I say so myself) investigation! So at the precise moment when I took a swig of the thick, sweet and dark brown, cup of Hot Choc tonight, I relished it with no less than the jubilance of Columbus!


On this lazy afternoon at work when being tied to one's desk and devoid of Facebook and Youtube to boot, reading 25 ways to fit creativity into your busy life does not seem to be of much help except.... Maybe, just maybe it is finally dawning on me that it is more of a need to write a blog now than I pretend to care about it.

All these wonderful blogs that we will discuss about on this one have been supplying tirelessly to satiate my enormous thirst for entertainment in the last three years. Never realized that the everyday details of somebody else's life could be so interesting for a person sitting on the other side of the world.

Most of all, what I like the best about this whole idea of blogging is that- it's as if one can simply say Hi! like two neighbors greeting from across their balconies. It doesn't matter where you're from or what you do but hey, hullo there!