Friday, September 30, 2011

Navarathiri 2011 - My First Golu in life( Part - 1 )

             Navarathiri was limited to Quarterly exams till my school days and study holidays in college days. At work it was just a Ethinic wear before the computers and a visit to Chandra Mouli's grand golu and his moms prasadam.. Arrangement of dolls was not a part of my life until I got married. My Mother-in-law (MIL) loves celebrating Navarathiri with Golu  and rejoice the glory of Goddess  Durga. This year 2011 I am also a part of the Golu arrangement along with my MIL ( helper, learner, assistant.. How ever you can comprehend!! ). I have started this post on the third day of Navarathiri. Who knows when I will finish it. But I am determined to bolg and preserve all the memories of my first Golu. May be I will have many parts for this post. With all this in mind, I am going through the gallery of snaps that I have taken from the day one.

            After a great struggle with the helpers whom we hired, we brought down the dolls or Bommais from the attic. All the dolls were wrapped carefully last year and stored in boxes. I was amazed to see my MIL's collection and love towards her dolls. She had more joy and pride seeing the dolls. I was only able to observe a grubby shapeless old newspaper covered things all around . I understood her emotions only when I unpacked each doll from the wrap. That's the bond between my MIL and her Dolls. She was able to see beyond the wrap when we brought  them down. Slowly we had to unpack each doll and carefully place them. meanwhile our helpers screwed the rack in a stepwise fashion.

Covered with with cloth.

Marapachi Bommai
                       There came the right day and time to start our arrangement. Malya ammavasai is auspicious to start of the arrangement. Meanwhile I was busy Googling about Navarathiri and stuff to know more. By the way we have our Granny who is magnificent than Google. I came across many contest and previous year prize winners arrangement. Mind-blowing ladies of chennai have lots of creativity. So I decided to be out of contest this year ( Beginners should only observe). I dusted all the rack that is arranged and selected the right place and tables to be arranged and wiped then and started covering them with a white cloth. As expected unable to do alone.( tired of running around the rack with a white cloth) patiently waited till my MIL arrive from office, curious to see what is inside each wrap. Googling to get more ideas. Concluded with an idea to set a village. Go green was also in mind. This time its limited to Village set up. Aaha Aaha evening came, MIL arrived. We both wrapped the 5 step metal stand with a white cloth. and MIL was ready with the Kalasam and Marapachi Bommai which has to be kept first. I will not miss out to mention about the small readymade kalasam that Granny and me were searching for the whole day. May be this year an authentic kalasam with mango leaf and rice was a special start. My Happy hours starts now. I quietly settled down to unwrap one by one while my MIL stood near the rack to place them accordingly. It was delightful to look at each doll as I passed on to my ecstatic MIL to spot the right place for it. We had Marapachi Bommai in the first row and a crowded Marriage set above that. Vinayak with different musical instrument beside it. the most attractive one was the Rasalila Krishna and the Crawling Baby Krishna. Perumal and Thayar, Astalaksmi and Hanuman with the Sanjeevi moutain was also placed in the top step. Krishna dancing on the five head snake was the highlight. The Rama set, Annapoorani, Andal, Annamalaiyaar, Ranganadhar, Laksmi, Saraswathi were all in different steps. Dhashaavatharam was set right after a bit of surfing. ladies with ammikal, aattukal was in the second row along with Chettiar and his wife. It was late for dinner and we ended the day with 90% of arrangement. All this while granny sowed Navadhaniyum ( 9 seeds ) in  two bowls.

MIL busy arranging the Golu.
Ramar and Astalaksmi.

Dancing Krishna.


Marriage Set.

Vinayak with Different musical instrument.
Golu 2011
                   Day1 : Happy Navarathiri. We are all getting ready for our pooja and prasadam. We had Lime rice in the morning and Sundal in the evening. Mil was busy decorating the Golu each day. My village set in still in mind, with my MIL's permission reserved a place and table for my village and gathered few dolls from the collection and preserved it. We did not forget to water Navadhaniyam. I started my work for the village set up. Wrapped the wooden table which is of low height and wider frame with news paper and plastic, spread soil all over it. MIL had many sets, one of them was villagers celebrating Pongal. Siol was wet as I picked it up from my pot. I placed the house and laid a road and placed cars in it. Coconut trees and Cattles. Pongal set was neat and pleasant.? I was asking for Raggi seeds for paddy feild. and serial light to decorate the whole Golu. ( only this much for shopping ). We had colour kolam everyday in front of the Golu which added more colours to the view. I was always busy clicking fpr photos from all sides. Days were filled with more joy with the Golu in House.

A closer view of our Village.

Elevated Golu
Day2 : Today's prasadam is tamarind rice and Kadala for morning and evening. Happy about having different items on my plate. Started inviting Family and relatives to have a visit. Just noticed my neighbor who's window is adjacent to our house peeping into our hall. With a warm smile I greeted Hi Hello and we both exchanged invitations to each others house for Navarathiri and she was amazed to see our Golu.(Just before that day I was complaining about that lady to my MIL for her harsh and raspy voice which almost spoils my mood every morning.) Evening Chiky arrived from office with a pleasant surprise. Guess what!!! Serial Light... Serial Light.. Serial Light.. Wow.. Just then My MIL with the Raagi seeds. How blessed am I??? My shopping list is all done. In a Jiffy we started sticking the lights in the corners of each step and lighted the Golu. I was busy sowing the raggi in the village soil and watering it. Atlast the day came to an end with the light decoration. While dinner we had a hearty laugh for this thought of mine. "What will happen if all the dolls and Divine beings get life and start to talk and walk. Each one had an expression and couldnot stop laughing aloud. I said "I will get into the Sanjeevi Mountain on the hands of Hanuman and see whats inside". Granny with all smiles said " This Huge crawling Krishna will craw our hall" . My MIL was thinking about the Marriage set. Day ended with all smiles and happiness.
                             This post will end with Day2. Snaps and updates of rest of the days will be in my next post. Hope you too enjoyed my very Firt Golu. Suggestions and views are welcomed. See you soon with Lots of Prasadams and snaps. Enjoy Navarathiri!!!  


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tracking evolution...Part 2

                      Change is the only thing that's constant in this world. So, its time to change the avatar for this coffee blog. I take the pleasure of modifying it, this time. Now its the season of Navarathiri and Weddings bells will soon ring for two of our friends. So I will choose a festival mood tones and colors and brighten up the blog. Lets a chat with this virtual coffee blog filled with all lots of marriage gossips and festival feast.

A tip for variety of VARIETY RICE

                              This tip is originated from my Mother. Later I fond that her Mother gave her this tip when she was struggling to satisfy my greedy sister who always complained about her Lunch box. My sister is a college-goer and she is bored and blased of the same stuff everytime. My mom also feels its time-stacking for her to wake up in the morning to prepare a palatable dish. Now with this innovation all the warfare came to an end as it consumes less time for my sweet mom and my sissy is happy that her Lunch boxex turned delectable, luscious, pleasant-tasting, scrumptious, toothsome, yummy all of a sudden. So, I am posting this multipurpose recipe as it will be expedient to each one of you.

                         First  we need to prepare a powder, which can be preserved in a air tight container for a month or so. For the measurement you can use large spoon, cup, glass, any measurement equipment. With the measuring aid take one measurement of Sesame seeds, Bengal Gram Lentils, Black Gram Lentils,half measurement of Black Peppercorns. Roast each of them separately in a dry kadai. Powder them together and store.
                          We always prefer our plate to be hot and spicy but  Lunch boxes are usually cold and dried by the time we consume it. This recipe is so tasty as we suppress the fact that its cold and its not routine everyday. All you have to do is to get ready with the boiled rice that we regularly do for the whole family ( or the left over rice is also  fine) and Vegetables for your own choice. You can pick out  a mixture of veggies from your fridge. You can go with single vegetable or combination of it. Chop them accordingly.

                     Take a Wok, add oil mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions, chillies. Fry till the onions are transparent and add the chopped vegetable of yo choice. Fry till its cooked, add rice, salt, jeera powder.Once its mixed properly. Add 2 tbsp of Miracle Powder that we prepared (You can prepare the powder for a month. No need to grind it everyday ). Mix well and turn off the stove in 5 mins. Cool it before packing the Lunch box. The aroma of the powder will be appetizing. Since we have veggies in the recipe, Its good for health too. Boondhi , cucumber or onion raita will be a perfect combination.      
Hope its useful for many who are in a  hurry to pack Lunch Boxes every morning !!!     


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's on your mind?

                 Most of you are thinking that you have seen this title in day to day life. Yes, it's true. We come across this question in all social networking websites. We keep answering them when ever we have a decent thought to be shared. Of course all that is in mind cannot be shared in social networking. This post is dedicated for all that is running in my mind. What's on my mind?

                With the blessing of our families Chiky and I have come together to live a peaceful life. Thanking God for all the support. I wonder how fast I could forget Mehta nagar hostel life, Slash work, roaming with friends, bulk sms, Hotel saapadu. Marriage life is different than what I thought. It has added more responsibility to my shoulder. I am experimenting cooking, lifestyle, living with different people. The lessons I learnt are many for the past few months. Many be I can preserve the Topic "Lessons learnt" for my next post. 
 What's on your mind? : Chiky and I have somehow sailed the rough sea together!!! Happy !!
                         My greatest passion in life is FOOooooooooooooOOD. I have always spoke about cooking with my best friend Raji who spents a lot of time with me. We almost spoke about all the dishes that we know and visited all the websites that we came across. As I was in hostel for ten years I had no facility or time to cook. The happiest thing I felt when I came to Chiky's home is the Kitchen. I try dishes that satisfy the whole family. I am yet to get into a full time cooking administrator as there are many constraints. ( I don't wake up early. I don't accept bad feedback. I love my MIL's Cooking )
 What's on your mind? : Sowshee .. the Great cook or Sowshee .. the Great eater
                        When I Joined college for UG. I had to move to chennai and to my college hostel. That's when my family bought a Pet for them.(It's not a replacement for me though.. lol) I was not a pet lover that time. When I came for Holidays My dog named Lyka used to treat me as its guest. soon it understood that I was also a part of the family. Her love and affection swept me. I was totally in love with my Lyka. We were so attached with Lyka as it was involved in every activity. Even Lyka will be my next coming post. I was away from blogging for these months as I was suffering for fever... sorry.. I dont know.. many be This post will be a Platform for my second innings in blogging. What's on your mind? : I miss you Sweetheart.. Lyka
What's on your mind? : Your Blog account will be deleted by Raji. If there are no

                         We spent a lovely time in Singapore for our Honeymoon. Chiky and I fell in love with the place. The neatness, development, food, respect for foreigners, climate, culture all that impressed us a lot. It was a dream place to make a living. I enjoy travel a lot. My next destination is Vijayawada and Hyderabad for Raji and Sudi marriage. Hoping for a cool trip. Finally all my friends are married. I am busy with phone calls from both the Brides who are busy with make-ups, shopping, planning for the D-day (asking me tips on all these as I am
 What's on your mind? : VR SUPR KDS fb staus Married ;-)

                         October comes with the joy of Navarathiri. My Mil Just started dusting her dolls and racks for the Dolls arrangement. Golu season is ON. We are having a lovely time with Navarathiri. For me especially with my Mil's parasaadam(Twice a day!!). Guess what you are correct . Golu also is my next upcoming post. I am ready with thesnaps of stage wise formation of our Golu.
What's on your mind? : Navarathiri is ON !! Prasaadam is ON!! :-D 

 Now that I feel like closing this post with 5 different What's on my mind? I am really happy that I have learnt there are many things that I can sit and blog.
What's on your mind? : I am into blogging again!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Counting Happiness!

And here comes the most difficult question that I asked myself since morning today..."Raji, Can you think of 25 things that made you happy in your recent memories????" 
Dammmnn.... It has been 6 hours since then and my mind is restless and still thinking (What a sad life! :() 
But then, I am not an unhappy bitter soul, it is just that my definition of happiness differs from every one else... I was explaining to Sowshee yesterday - "Happiness is just a matter of perception" (my original quote, however un-original the idea may be). I see a bit of difference between "Content" and "Happiness". (Could be that I am weird, but then that’s me!). Happiness to me is the small things that make my day; it could be kind words, gracious actions, old memories, an amazing song at just the right time etc., whereas content is what over all life is like! People often complain they are not happy, I will say think about it again!

So, I thought why not just write down some “happy” memories and let’s see if they reach the target 25!! They are in the order of how I can remember them, and nothing else.
1.        After I-don’t-know-how-many years, I heard my dad singing last week with an orchestra (He is an amazing singer and he used to do it much more frequently than now). And now, that was pure joy / happiness!
2.        Yes, the saree attire I wore for a colleague’s party didn’t fit me in 2010. (I was definitely depressed about it,) But for a fluke, I tried it again on April 1st 2011, and voila! It fit me well and yes, it made me happy!!!
3.         Been a while since I posted pics in Flickr, however, I am getting some comments and friend requests even now, in this period of absence (of over 4 weeks). I feel great!
4.         Flowers and the color Pink are a lethal combination to make Raji happyJ. I don’t have to explain beyond that!!
5.        I know I have written an entire blog on this, but still the airport scene on 25th Dec 2010 brings a smile on my face. The wait was worth it!
6.         There are 2 separate plans to meet 2 of my closest friends in new places, which I never saw before. Wow!! The very thought of that makes me excited. Let’s see however, how far these plans go ahead.
7.        I speak to dad and mom every single night, especially since 2011 begun, it just got too habitual. The first time they went to Andhra, I was alone that night, not knowing of what to do, getting bored. Dad then called me from Andhra and confessed he was equally bored and missed me. And mom also confirmed that not talking to me was something very different to them. I don’t know how peacefully I slept that night!
8.         I had made a list of items to buy in 2010. A camera, a smart phone, the Bose earphones and a Car. The day I completed my loan for the car (in December 2010 itself) was yet another happy memory I will always cherish!
9.        Praise that I get for my work obviously cheers me up. I can’t get boisterous about that, but I cannot count how many times it has uplifted meJ.
10.      Not wanting to sound materialistic ;) but my Versace sun-glasses and the formal pants that I just got in the recent past simply cheer me up!!

Now, that’s great! I actually completed 10 of them… in the span of 25 minutes... That’s not bad... let’s count more. I will not be upset if I cannot reach 25… still let’s count!

11.      Practice makes a man perfect! Witnessing that in my Yoga class, that my teacher spends more time with others and less (actually now nil) with me is just awesome…At least something to look forward for Mondays!
12.      Oh! The weather here has been off late very depressing and amounting to loads of mood offs and bouts of lethargy. And at this time, my colleagues stopped greeting me “good morning Raji” and started “Hello Sunshine!!” Sunshine? Me? Really?? Wait, Why not??
13.      The bread pakodas and the aaloo parathas that just turned out great last weekend – OMG!! Nothing like a well made dinner J and a satisfied co-diner!
14.      I am often confused when am I more happy – when I reach office on time? Or when I reach office at my usual 5 minutes delay, only to find out that I still get a front row to park and other people are coming after me? Well, previous one I guess, esp. when I am on time for the meetings!
15.      A couple of times, I haven’t really worked on my photos, no edits and post in Flickr as such! Now those are the days when every thing seems perfect!
16.      Every time my comments appear on Times of India...I know it isn’t a big deal, but it looks good to have a comment published in the newspaper with our opinion on it and other people commenting that they are happy to see intelligent people around!!
17.      It was raining today morning, I was driving, I was having masala chai while on the way to office and the Ipod started playing “Taal se taal mila”, the volume was a little on higher side than regular, now that was a good drive!
18.      Fighting with Sowshee, on how wrong she is on everything almost everyday, but I still look forward to it everyday...ha ha!!
19.      It might be a bit old, almost about 10 months now, but the memories are just fresh. There was a night, when AR Rahman was standing / performing right in front of me! June 18th 2010 - What a night!!
20.     There was a day when I won almost 90% of all the contests that I participated on Flickr! Yayy!!!

Okay this one took me 1 hour… damn!! But not bad, I still recollected memories that have really boosted my mood now!

21.      Silly… Silly chats that I have with friends (and I also save them) and read them when I am bored! I even got into a fight once to prove how technically Mountain Dew and Coffee are different!
22.      Oh! did I tell you that Rajdeep Sardesai interviewed me on the current affairs of India and actually said I make a very valid and important point! (Does it matter if it was my dream?) I woke up happier than ever! FYI – I was on a panel with Dhoni!! LOL…
23.      I have often surprised people with things they like especially on the unexpected times, whether sarees on my mom’s door steps or a local chocolate showroom for a chocolate lover. Expressions are usually priceless and it doesn’t get better!
24.     My colleagues are right now eating donuts and cakes... and I am not tempted… Whoa!!
25.     I wrote this blog and recounted some great times and memories… See life’s not that bad after all…Digging deep in to the memories and forcing yourself to smile is not a bad thing after all... may be we should keep an account of all funny things that we do or say everyday! I am sure they will help us a lot!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Indian Grape Trifle

April 3rd 2011, its Ugadhi today. As weekend and Ugadhi lined up together. I came home after two months. Since I continue the same pattern of sleep on weekends also, was awake all night and made Dal Makani and Jheera rice yesterday. Which came out very well. Today was planning for a dessert kind of receipy.
I started searching for required ingredients in the kitchen. Rather was planning the receipy with the available ingredients. Finally came to an decision and started for it.

Let me give you the method :
* Black & Green Grapes seedless cut into half - one cup each

* Attukulu - one cup

* Milk - 2 cups

* Roasted Peanuts - one cup

* Ellachi - 2

* yogurt - one cup

* Any fruit - sapota 6

* Ice cubes

* sugar

* honey

Method :
This receipy is made by layering the preparations one by one in a glass or a cup.
First layer - In the bottom of the glass arrange grapes which are half cut. Top it with few drops of honey.
Second layer - In a mixer add ice cubes, scooped sapota, yogurt, sugar and prepare a smootie. Cover it over the first layer.
Third layer - top the second layer with green grapes and honey the same way.
Fourth layer : Boil milk, add attukulu, sugar, elachi, powdered roasted peanuts. Make its a think paste. Add this layer on the top .

Decorate with grapes and honey on the top.

Finally keep it in the freezer and serve chill.
Hmmm now time to name it.... I thought of naming it as Fruit payasam.. Pinged Raji for her input .. She named it as Indian Grape Trifle.. Friends you can give your thoughts also......


Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Bat and Ball Emotions

What a splendid 30th March 2011 it was? It doesn't get bigger than that..What else can stop the heartbeats of a sub-continent? Yes the media created a hype and the match lived up to its expectations. Every single ball of both the innings was a 'hope' to people from both the countries and it did not end there... people all across the world from the cricket-aware nations witnessed the true emotions that run in our blood and the drama the match unfolded.

Congratulations  to India for winning the semi-finals and lets see if we can keep the cup in our home but Kudos to Pakistan for having put up that show. It wasn't an easy win.. it wasn't a cake walk for India and the sheer awesomeness of that match was seen in the dignity maintained by the players - giving the match a definition of what it means to be called "gentleman's game".

But what makes me write this blog is the lump I felt down my throat as I read the comments on Times of India (my favorite newspaper which I love to hate everyday!). Obviously the newspapers got their fodder for the rest of the week to write and talk about. The comments written by the Pakistani nationals on Times of India, congratulating us brings tears in my eyes and smile on face. Seriously how matured we are? It shows peace is there in the air which surrounds common man, (but not on the political heads). Here are some of the comments I thought I would share - which really raised my goosebumps.




The following are some of the comments which came on an article which stated Shahid Afridi's daughter cried. (Honestly, Why was that journalist talking to children? By asking such questions you only instigate anger in them... useless journos!)





And the best of all comments - 


I can't insist how happy I was after reading some of the above comments... We have grown up to resolve our problems... we always wanted peace.. and after yesterday's match, watching the reactions... for once, I felt at peace.. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 25th December, 2010 that it was!!

Sometimes we wait for some event or occasion so hard that it is humanly impossible to enjoy the moments when it has actually arrived, because you already start visualizing the end of it!! That is exactly what happened to me a month ago, on 25th December, 2010 (when the world was celebrating Christmas of 2010). A sort of miracle was to take place that day, I was about to meet my friends from college after 4 long years. 

And boy, things changed since the 4 years. Some newer developments were - Me and Sowshee started talking to each other after a stupid fall out (but thanks to Sow, who chose to keep her ego aside), UP got married and now has a 2 year old lovely doll named Dhanya (who by the way was enjoying her first time out from her mom), Vinu and Sowmya got married (very recently and they do not have kids yet), Sowshee got engaged, what did not change much was our dear friend Sudi's slow motion lifestyle (who still takes longer than everyone to start talking and reacting to some situation). Sudi and me are the only happy spinsters left in the batch (as of today.. some one please update if otherwise!)

In 2003 April, on a hot Sunday, after not so happy meal at the St. Joseph's ladies hostel in Chennai, just before taking the afternoon nap, "6 of us" (remember from the earlier posts?) started worrying how will we ever meet after the college gets over and bloody hell, we do not even have a single snap of ours to share with someone, huh!! So, we decided to go on a trip - Delhi and surroundings and the Himalayas - in the summer time and enjoy every moment of it and take some stunning photos which will remind us of our times for the rest of our lives!! Immediately a hand raised and rejected the proposal - Miss. VP (then Miss. and now Mrs.) was way too confident that she will never ever be able to make to the trip, which we understood. So we thought lest, 5 of us should meet!! What we did not realize was that, it might as well take a whole 7 years for that plan to work out.  

Coming to the present, here I was waiting in the Terminal 1 of Delhi IG airport anxiously (while revisiting the hostel days in mind) to see the rest of the 5 (as VP was in US). The new addition to this group was Ammu, Sow's kid sister (her actual name is Chandni, which I did not remember till I saw her). Ammu and Sow were coming from Chennai and the Hyderabadis were coming together and all of them were supposed to reach Delhi by 10 00 AM. Delhi is a bad, and I mean very bad place in winters but since, time did not permit us in a more appropriate way, we were meeting in winters (at its peek) in Delhi. We had plans to go to Jaipur, Agra and Mussorie (which I was not as interested because there wasn't anything new in snow to me).  Anyways, the coming 5 days were going to be exciting to me by all means, because I myself never ever had an outing in the past 4 months, life was dragging slow and with no desi colleagues back in Warsaw, I was actually alone!! Oh, did I mention the work was also getting stressful by each passing day (which was something new and rare for me although!!)

At 10 30 AM, a phone call killed a part of the enthusiasm, the Hyderabadi flight had reached Jaipur and at 11 AM, I learnt that Chennai-ites were in Ahmedabad (believe me after this, I was not even interested in meeting them..just wanted to run away from the cold airport) Now, whatever happened in the respective delayed flights is something that should be narrated first hand (but I would definitely say, the Chennai air hostesses had the most pathetic flight experience, if I can recount correctly!). Also, guess whom I saw in the Airport - Nitin Gadkari (the BJP guy and that instantly reminded me of funny men Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijayakar, who never ever leave a single opportunity to make fun of him.. hahaha). After one of my longest waits of life, came the Hyderabadi flight from Jaipur at 1 00 PM ( I was in the airport since 9 in the morning :( ) and as I waited further, the Ahmadabadis also arrived at 2 00 PM, I told the Chennai / Ahmadabad batch to come out of the door and turn left and I am right there in front of the door. As me and Sudi waited, waited and waited, suddenly I noticed something. Someone in a bright yellow kurta and brighter yellow sandals with brightest Red Santa Cap was walking right opposite to what I had mentioned, which helped in figuring my dear, dearer, dearest Sowshee had arrived!!! 

As soon as I shouted and asked her to turn back, all of a sudden, there was warm wind blowing, with Sow running in slo-mo towards me and "Dil Chahta Hai" paying aloud in the background, which ended with a thunderous hug, shouting names and unbelievably weird expressions of love. I can't cherish the rest of the journey as much as those moments when I first saw my friends after 4 years in their new avatars. An instant rush of happiness and bewilderment overtook the restlessness which had occupied since morning!! 
Life was good for those 5 days, with some events which told me nothing had quite changed amongst us!! We were still the same as we used to be in 2003 (after that there was a hiatus in relations, which is why 2003 was the last time we spent some unforgettable moments!!)

I will update the rest of the trip later when time and mood permits, but as I sat down to do some work and noticed that it was the 25th of Jan, I could not believe that already a month had passed since I met my friends. Not sure when again we will get a chance to meet, while we are all back to the routine, it was definitely a breather into our lives!!