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Showing posts from 2012

2012, in Books!

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A super-good year for books... I touched a number that I only dreamt about touching.
Reading 120 books in 12 months is a big deal, especially to me.
That means an average of -
10 books per month
2.5 books per week
a bookevery 2 days
All this combined with a very demanding job, and another demanding hobby... well, I felt like I ran past the finish line of a marathon as I closed my 120th book earlier today. [Do check out my book list by clicking on the pic above]It was indeed like a marathon. I started off with great gusto, I grew disillusioned in the middle, I told myself that number doesn't matter(which didn't till I finished my 100th book, after which it was merely a challenge I threw to myself to see if I could touch 120!), I drew inspiration from other readers, my elbows ached with all the book/Kindle-holding I did, and when the finish line was visible there was exhilaration and excitement, and when I finally reached the magic number after some huffing and puffing, I was overj…

2012–the Year that was…

Oh, it has been a good year. A very good year, indeed.
I read a lot, enough to compensate for the very less travelling I did, cooked quite a bit, learnt a bit more about photography and learnt how to knit. Travel: There has not been a lot of travel, thanks to the very colliding holiday schedule both I and the husband kept this year. Right when I would be free from work, he would be swamped with it, and when I would be busy, he had some free time. In spite of this killing schedule, we went out twice... Delhi-Agra and a week long trip to Coorg, which was essentially a reading holiday, where we both did nothing but read in our respective corners in the charming little homestay we stayed at. And I went for a short holiday to Goa with friends where I did nothing but eat mangoes in the comfort of our hotel room, take a couple of long bike rides and squirm as usual at the thought of sitting in the beach.Blog: No, am not talking about this one. Am talking about The Meal Algorithm, which is wh…

Tough decisions…

Yep, only when you have to make them do you realize that you are indeed a grown-up. And that life is not how it was when you were Daddy’s little girl, you’d run to Daddy and tell him the problem and expect it to be solved in the next minute. Or pick up the phone and talk it out with Mommy, and expect her to solve it for you. Well, when you grow up, more often than not, you discover you cannot even discuss many of your dilemmas with your parents. That’s the downside of being a grown-up, I feel.I will take a slight digression and mull on how much watching Gilmore Girls again made me miss my Mommy. And how many times in the middle of an episode, I would pick up the phone and talk some random stuff with Mom, not the usual, how are you doing, did you take your meds, no, I cannot visit you this weekend etc. Yeah, I realized that watching the show made me grow closer to my Mom, reminisce all the moments I spent talking to Mom when I was staying at home, and how we are still close, except tha…

Mango!

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Nothing says summer like the arrival of mangoes and watermelons to the markets. And of course, the sweet songs of the cuckoos in the mornings, the power cuts and the hot afternoons. And yes, the reminder that I've indeed grown up, and so I do not have summer vacations anymore. No more running around grandparents' houses with cousins without a care in the world.
No more sitting by the todu and squeezing the mangoes out of the last drop of their pulp.
No more competitions on whose mango seed flies the longest, and who will hide from the rest of the cousins the longest.
No more of those very expensive put-a-hole-through-cousins-pocket gad-bad ice-creams.
None of the pelakkai gattis, mango rasayanas , tandoorlis and kukku bajjis.
No more summer exhibitions where you would meet all the people you've ever known , all in the span of just one evening.
No more of just-cut-me-a-mango-Mom all three meals a day.
No more sleeping on the terrace till the sun tans you to the darkest shade…

1Q84 – A World, a journey and an experience…

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Wandering , I was lost in the big almost-bad , never-ending world of books, YA novels and some dumb series , fluttering from book to book, wondering where in my book-journey I lost a purpose and where I had forgotten all about my favourite style of writing and the worlds I'd live to get lost in and worrying about what my next book would be like and telling myself that quantity is never better than quality but still piling on the number of books I read per month and questioning my own attention span ... And that is when Murakami happened. Almost every time he happened, he managed to fill my head with unimaginable worlds and beautiful paired sentences and aptly used words... Thus showing me what the joy of reading is all about!Like how they say that when you are in love, every step you take in your life is so that it might take you closer to your love (am refraining to use a reference from the book here, something which Aomame does towards the end of the book), every book I read thi…

Books… the impact!

Needless to say, books impact our lives a lot. I also believe that books shape us, our characters and a lot on how we think about many aspects around us. That is why being well-read was a very important trait for me. The ONE thing I was particular about my life-partner even as a young girl was that the boy I would marry would be well-read and should be able to talk and hold conversations on books. If not anything else, we’d at least never run out of topics to talk about.. :)I am a huge fan of Haruki Murakami, his books, his style of writing (with due credit to his translator)  and the world he weaves in his stories. I’ve learned a lot and read up a lot after finishing each of his books because of the many references he gives to many topics in his books, all those that he likes or he draws his inspirations from. So when his 1Q84 was due for release last year, there were a lot of articles on him, his living, his books and his inspiration for 1Q84 itself and the various things in the boo…

Those 30-Days…

are going to be one heck of a challenge…Inspired by my friend who introduced me to Try Something New for 30 Days, which I shall now call as The 30-Day Challenge, by virtue of this awesome TED talk, I have decided to start something new in the month of March.I started off by trying to ape this friend, and not eat any dessert for the next 30 days. I must say that the start was indeed good, but it waned as the days passed by. I lived through a family get-together and one office party when everyone on the table ordered a dessert and I was by myself smiling and gloating away to glory at not having been lured into the Dessert-trap. Since I could do it, I also thought I’ll mark this month as No-Junk-Food month, which means I will not eat anything fried , or anything that I can buy from a roadside stall.Well, that didn’t go on all that well. Brunch with friends happened on Sunday, where I saw an array of desserts. I asked myself the reasons for challenging myself to not eat desserts, and the …

Ines, of my soul…

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There is something about the way the Latin American writers write. Its like this – they want to tell a good story, with all elements in it. They want you to remember it well. They also want you to be aware of your surroundings. And they want you to do it all without putting down the book. Of course, this applies to all the writers out there. But only a few can accomplish all this, and much more. Only some write stories that will stay with you forever. Only some can hold the power on your heart to not want to finish a book. Only some can weave poetry into prose and still tell a good story. And very few can actually make you stay in this world, and yet transport you into a different one, a magical one. And very very few can actually sketch down to the smallest detail, all the aspects of the world they create for you, and all in a few words. Doubtlessly, Marquez is President of Great Story-Teller Country, and the Minister of Awesome Writers Guild, if there is one. Only he can tell a beau…

Of Lahiris and Namesakes…

Am tired of Lahiri, her same old premises, and similar characters. And I've begun to notice that her stories all have a depressing undertone, and are extremely verbose. Where other authors beautifully express the predicament, situation or scene in 5-10 beautiful magical sentences, Lahiri takes an entire page for them, and they are still not awesome. I might not be worthy of a reviewer to give such a rating to one of the most famous woman authors from Indian origin, but I am beginning to wonder how and why her stories get popular?
All of them are based on a Bengali couple living in the US, and are struggling to keep their children still in touch with their Bong routes, and the kids are doing everything in their might to shrug away from them, their cultures and their parents. And at the end of every story, the off-spring eventually realizes his/her roots and gets back to them.
Its like Lahiri is reading from her own life and experiences and is not doing anything to take the reader to…

New Home, and some Thanksgiving!

Yep, for me, Thanksgiving has come a little early. :-D There is a long list of people I have to thank for something big on this blog!Did you notice the URL of my food blog – www.themealalgorithm.com? Yes… I bought the domain – TheMealAlgorithm.com, mainly because I wanted to know how it feels to have your own domain, what with everyone having one of their own, and I having no clue on how to go about it. Well, for starters, it feels great. :-D Its been two days and I haven’t been able to get over it till now. :-)There was some major confusion, cluelessness and mayhem before I actually bought the domain. I wasn’t sure how to start about it, and what to do and all. GoDaddy.com was recommended by everyone, but when I actually was about to buy the domain off it, there was some problem with the payment options, and I had to cancel my order. Then I asked Nags of Edible Garden [which you should totally check out if you want to understand the nuances of food photography. Check out her blog for…

A Doll’s House - Review

Oh.My.GOD!
What a beautiful play!
In just under 100 pages, the concept of marriage and sacrifice are dealt and boundaries of love, admiration, friendship and desperation are treaded upon.Its a wonder that a play as good as this was written in the late 1800s, when being a woman meant something totally different from now. Yet again, this book proves that feminism, what it means to be a woman, what it is to have self-respect and not let anyone take you for granted have not changed in the past century, and women continue to face situations like how Nora has faced.Just as the reader admires Torvald's love for Nora and the adorable names he calls her, and still wondering why it feels so saccharine to me, the sudden jolt of the letter is felt, and Nora's strong personality is opened up. I was literally praying that the play turns the way I want it to , in my mind, and doesn't make Nora into a weakling for love. This book is a forever favourite, and I recommend every woman to read …

We weren’t lovers like that

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It is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all, they say. But those who have loved and lost will tell you a different story, and more often than not , it will be that its better to not love at all than to lose a loved one. Losing a loved one to death would probably be much easier in one angle. You at least know that they were yours in living. But losing a loved one due to circumstances and situations, well.. that could be painful. You know the other person is living, and is not yours, and you will be in a quagmire of 'what-ifs'. But then, if you ask me, I’d say the person rather be living somewhere than be mine and dead. He/She is at least alive, but that’s a purely personal opinion. Aftab , the main protagonist of this book is an example of this. The pain a person goes through at having lost a loved one due to circumstances. Most of them created by himself because of his weak character. And as he is making the long train journey from Delhi to Haridwar, he i…

Inscrutable Americans

I was looking through some old blog posts in my other blogs, and saw what went through my head after I had finished reading this book. I don’t just have a review of this book, I also have an example of how I felt after I read it…
Here is one half of that blog post. The other half is all about how this is just a passable read etc, but this part is my favourite. Written 6 years ago, I LOLed again as I read this…
Dear Brother,
My respects to our Respectable Parents! I am doing fine here. And I am thinking that you are also doing fine there. Or is somebody fining you for what you are doing? Hahahaha... I am joking only of course. I am hoping you are not minding this.

Tell our parents that I am doing only prayers and office work and not doing anything that they asked me not to do. Also please inform Mother that I am feeling well and eating well too. I am not eating in any of the outside hotels because I am getting scared that the cooks there are not Brahmins. Dearest loving Mother asked me…

Fortune?

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So who will read my fortune from this? :)

After being in the limbo of will-drink-some-day, the teas that I bought from Teavana store in Bellevue Square Mall are finally seeing the light of the day.
These are the remains of the Raspberry Riot Lemon Mate, a very tart, sweetish tea. Loved it!

Before I fall

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Before I fall By Lauren Oliver - Goodreads Link - HereThough it starts off as being a bookish version of Mean Girls, this book is anything but that, or may be it is. The way you look at it, that is.I loved what the author tried doing with this book, by spinning 7 different versions of the same situations, and showing how one small action by Sam can change the course of action of the entire situation, something like The Butterfly Effect. And how one should treasure the people that matter to them and the memories associated with them.I totally loved how Sam's character evolves with each day, and how her relationship with Kent changes with each day, so much so that, by the end of the book, Kent and Sam left a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart, something that resembles to seeing two people you really like falling in love, and you being aware of each detail of it. Another important angle in this book is perspective. We all are right in our stories, and we are the heroes in our stories, b…

Bookfessions

It feels good to know that there are thousands of people like us, bibliophiles, who’d rather be reading a book than be with people, who’d rather have a beautiful story in an imaginary world they spun than be in this world full of lies, and who love their books more than they love their clothes and shoes!For Bookfessions, refer to this Tumblr. Brilliant blog!Bookfessions – LinkSome of my confessions - - I was once caught reading a book which was hidden in a bigger text book in the middle of a class, not by the teacher who was in the class, but by the headmistress who was on her morning rounds. Guess, what happened next goes without saying. :-)- When we met the first time, the minute husband said that he reads books, and that he loves Godfather, I had a good feeling about us. Well, he was one of the first men I met who had read and loved Godfather as much as I had. And oh yes, apparently, I was the first girl he met who had liked Godfather as much as he did. It goes without saying that …

My first love…

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is this – My mortar and pestle. After having gotten over the excitement of having this awesome looking pitcher, am back to being in love with this… :-DWhat’s yours?[Also cross posted at my food blog, The Meal Algorithm here]

Am from Shivalli…

Ideally, that is how I would like to introduce myself when anyone asks me where I am from. I generally resort to saying am from Karnataka or from Mangalore depending on whether am in a mood for a deeper conversation on that day. And then I smile and listen to how the other person says I don’t look like a South Indian at all. If it is someone who is familiar with how women from Konkan region look like, they will then admit that I look like someone they know, someone from Mangalore or Belgaum. But more often than not, people immediately say, I look like a Punjabi , because of my loud voice. Or a Gujarati because of the name. Or a Telugu, because of the surname. And then cringe in my mind. Why? Why don’t I look like a South Indian? Each of these attributes are because I am a Mangalorean. To be precise, a Shivalli Brahmin. Well, not many have even heard of this community.Am missing home. And by home, I don’t mean my parent’s place or my own place here in Hyderabad. I am definitely missing…

For the sake of colours…

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This is originally posted at the Flickr page, and should actually be at the Food Blog, but I love this pic for all the colours in it. And hence, here it is… For the May be a 365 tag. :)

What I miss…

Next month, I and the husband hit our 6th wedding anniversary.
Its nice being married this long, especially when you have not thought you’d do it yourselves. More so, when you both knew it was a gamble you were taking on and had even told that to yourselves and each other. Being as different as chalk and cheese apart, sustaining a marriage this long with serious full time careers, pursuing independent hobbies, having enough space between each other, and still finding time to spend with each other is a big deal. At least for those of us who are commitment-phoebes even after having being married, i.e.., the two of us in this household.
Also, any two people who have no reason to be together except that they want to be and hence are.Well, now you can now imagine how elated I feel every time we hit an anniversary. We made it to another year. With our head and heart intact. And sane too. A big big big deal! Like I said, its nice being married this long. You would’ve shared all stories you’v…

The cynic thinks…

Trust me, being cynical about things suits me. Or being highly philosophical , for that matter. A great deal.
I don't have to worry about the end result. I don't have to deal with anxieties or cold feet or worries. I only have to do my share of the work. And leave the rest to destiny/Karma/Universe. Things will work out the way they were designed to be.But you know what I miss the most about being this way ? The ability to feel. To cry. To fret on things/people. To possess. To desperately want something. Well, I am not a saint. I do feel all the above. But only for an extremely small fleeting second, and the practical self kicks in. And all these feelings vanish. Just like that. Kinda boring, no? :-)

True love… huh?

I was listening to Lana Del Ray’s songs and the whole discussion about true-love started in my mind between the eternal-cynic and the once-sentimental selves about what true love is, if it exists and if it really is over-rated. That’s when I remembered an old post of mine. Something I wrote back in 2008, when the song The Reason was on my playlist non-stop. Am pleasantly surprised to know that my thoughts about love have not changed much. Some excerpts from the original post… Does this kind of love exist?
I know love is beautiful, and its the best thing to happen to a person and all that jazz. I know you feel completed when you are in love, and I also know that its lucky to find love.
But this kind of love, the one mentioned in the song, like how you feel like holding the tears, how you can never ever forgive for giving her some pain... this one is beyond me.Either I forgot how it is to be in love, that fresh feeling, or I never felt that kind of an emotion, both of which are okay. Coz …

The Language of Baklava

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If you love food, you must read this book. If you loved the family meals, and stories shared during those meals, you must read this book. Diana talks about all the meals she has shared with her family cooked by her Dad, Bud over a number of years. There are stories which talk about comfort food, food to impress people, food when some family members got angry, and food to cure your soul. Its a long recipe book with personal stories for each of the recipes. All of them in exquisite detail in terms of the story and the recipe, both. If you are a foodie, you will even find yourself drooling as you read some of these recipes. If you want to understand the Jordanian way of living, eating and existing, you must read this book. There are elaborate stories about stays in Jordan, dwelling into the way the Bedouins live, the food natives eat, and their gregarious method of eating.
If you are an Asian, you will find yourself smiling at most of these, and even tell yourself with a little reproachi…

Closer…

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To God. That’s what I felt when I saw these places. Breath-taking is not the word I am looking for.
Feeling closer to God.
Being one with Nature.
Beauty so magnificent that no amount of photography can capture it.
Tongue-tied because you are Mesmerized by the surroundings.
That moment when you feel you’ve seen everything in your life, and you don’t mind if it ends. Right there.
That moment in time when you don’t want to share with anyone, and also want to share with everyone you love.
You know fully well that you can never describe how you feel about this moment.
Your own particular place of worship. Your Zen.
Unending peace.
A time so beautiful that you almost choke with emotion.
A place and time when you lose track of yourself and everything around you. What I am looking for is one word which will sum all these feelings. I felt all these, and so much more. So much that these places will always have a special place in my heart. And create an yearning to go back there again.
The first tim…

The year, 2011…

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Has been good, I must say. For travel, friends, books, food, work and life in general. Some friendships which I know will last my entire life have happened this year… Smart , intelligent women who will continue to matter a lot … I couldn’t have asked for more this year in terms of friendships. Visits to and from friends who don’t stay in Hyderabad have happened this year, strengthening the bond we share… This post sums it all! Cooking, baking and shooting the stuff that’s made, all of this has taken a new level altogether this year. I’ve become more serious about what I cook and how I shoot it, which is a good sign. It might be that one thing that really interests me, even if it is for the moment. More focus on healthy eating, and getting in all the vitals into the food has been taken this year, and with the cook being around for help, kitchen is not an area am scared of anymore! All this is documented on the food blog, and pics are on the Flickr page.
The Meal Algorithm
The Photo Exper…