Definitely back…umm…at least I guess so…

Life goes on..Hair grows on..

Believe it or not, the hair on my head after the devastating haircut seems to have had a direct effect on my blogging skills. I didn’t feel motivated to come back to this space and write about the same old life, but I found myself constantly looking into the mirror to see if my hair is any better. I was also looking for shoulders to cry on about the hair cut and was seriously looking for some audible comments than just sympathy and plain confused looks. Finally comments like, “Hey.new hair cut???….ahaaa…” changed to “Hey..you look cute in this new hair cut”, making me believe that I am back to my old self (Additional source: Comments on my facebook page). In other ways, it could be just that people now are used to seeing me like this and the comments mean that the hair is better than the day before. (Improvement…. definitely..good)

So a lot of things happened while I was away from this space. Another round of brutal-real-life story won the blog-a-ton. Bloggers these days (or in general, people) don’t seem to be having an appetite for happy stories and happy endings. More hard core your story is, more closer you are to winning the people choice awards. (On a side note, I really didn’t think AB should be winning those awards for Paa.). Anyways, next time, even if the topic is “A Happy Life”, I am going to write about a low class family with paralyzed father, TB infected mother, widowed elder daughter, jobless son and unmarried-yet-pregnant younger daughter (In true bollywood ishytle…).

Third anniversary, already. After the heavy gambling we did for the second one (at Vegas), I noticed that life played some major gamblings back on us. Hence, this time, we decided to play it safe and escaped to ‘Sequoia National Park’ for a quite (literally…very quite) weekend. The brightest thing in the trip (again literally) was the yellow car.

Hiked Mission Peak..The famous…Its the highest and also the toughest mountain hike in the bay area. To add our touch to the hike, we hiked up on one trail, reached the summit, came back another trail, only to find that our car is parked some where else. As I always do, I had again wished if only there were auto-rickshaws in America. But…..nope.So add to our already 4 + 2.5 miles hike, we had to walk another 3 miles to get to our car. 9.5 miles, 255 minutes and 1400 calories, my activity monitor burned full bright. (Marking the first time ever I achieved my target.)

Also please note, no body really pays attention when you put your thumbs up on the road side and ask for a ride. (Hmm..Now I wonder may be the other finger could have helped…:) )

Little Niece (aka The Nemo) said that she doesn’t love me anymore. I didn’t really torture her about anything nor I refused to give her a chocolate, I just said that we could build our virtual beach-sand-castle on the bed rather than on the carpet. Kids these days, I tell you, you never know what offends them. Little Swami was not available for comments or clarifications on this issue. His PRO (read mom) said that he is busy with his half-yearly exams (Last time I checked, when a kid in India is in KG, he was only supposed to be 5 years old. I hope its still the same.)

Checked out many good (also claiming to be award winning books) from the library and dutifully returned them back without ever bothering to go beyond the third page. I am gladly back to the murder mysteries that I always love.

Played pictionary for the first time and hated it (Coz..I lost..). Had wonderful (really wonderful) outing with gals. Had so much fun that we all kinda wished that we didn’t have to go back home. Also did I mention that the halwa I made received top honors from the family? Owing to my cooking skills, this achievement is definitely bloggable.

And as hair grows back, life goes on. Prepping for the next blog-a-ton (Time travel..I am thinking about the most brutal place one can go to..) and ofcourse a full week ahead.

What If….

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 7; the seventh edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

The air in the room was very hot. Asha sat quietly, looking down. She was feeling weak. She knew her mom was still looking at her,talking to her and still crying a bit. Asha didn’t say anything. She didnt have anything to say. She told her already what ever she could. Yet mom was crying.

‘They never understand the new generations thoughts’, Asha thought.

“Are you feeling tired? Do you want to eat something?”, Lakshmi stopped crying and asked.

“Mom, You gave me enough food already.”

“Hmm..Okay..go and get some sleep then. We will talk later”

There was no point saying no to her. It would only hurt her more. And besides she said it isn’t over. Lakshmi left the room without saying anything.

Lying down on the bed, Asha recollected what she did today. Something that she wanted to do from along time. From the time she knew her blood belonged to a rare group O Negative, she wanted to donate blood. She knew mom if she did that. Mom would think it will cause some kind of ill-health if we give away blood. She was superstitious too. Asha knew it wasn’t true. Blood donation is a great way to help others in need. And that’s why she decided to visit the local blood camp and donate her blood. She had motivated all her friends to do it too. She was sure the blood she had donated today would reach someone in need.

****

“Excuse me. I am here to collect blood”, Ajay spoke hurriedly to the lab technician. Lab technician looked around to see who it was. Ajay was looking at him, wishing that he would get the blood as soon as possible. He was tensed, worried and scared. His head felt very heavy and eyes very tired. And why not? he hasn’t slept in 20 hours. Since the time he learned about the accident his younger sister, Anu, was involved in, he was hardly able to breathe. He loved her. Losing parents at a very early age, he was everything to her and she was more than everything to him. He adored her, loved her, not letting anything go wrong with her. And still it happened today. A reckless car driver, trying to take a wrong turn, losing control of the car and running into a bunch of people. His heart almost stopped when he heard that Anu was the most injured.

18 hours later doctors told him what he was dreading. They need more blood. He feared this moment knowing that Anu’s blood group was O Negative, a rare group. He panicked not knowing what to do. At the time, a nurse told him about a lady donating blood yesterday to the donation center she knew of. She asked him to hurry and book the blood. And now here he was, waiting eagerly.Looking at Ajay, lab technician acted fast. He verified all the details and issued blood to Ajay.

****

“This is too expensive. I am going to buy 1 kilo. Give me another rate “, Asha sighed seeing her mom demanding a better price. ‘She always does that’, Asha thought and smiled.

“What are you smiling at?”, Lakshmi shot back, “You better learn how to do these things. You will need tomorrow when you are married and doing this shopping on your own.”

Asha noticed the smile on her mom’s face, when she mentioned the marriage.

“Sure mom.”, Asha said,”But first lets just find a decent guy..”

“Hmmm”, Lakshmi’s smile faded.”I will never understand what you mean by that decent”, she started walking towards another fruit-seller.

“Hihihi.. Okay ma..I gotto go…You go home. I will see you in the evening”, Asha tried to walk away from her mom. She knew that, otherwise, its going to the same-old, repeated talks.

Lakshmi figured out Asha was running away. “Dont be late”, she shouted.

Thinking about how to get her daughter pick a guy, Lakshmi finished her shopping. It was time to go home. It was just 15 minutes walk home. As the thoughts continued, she didn’t notice a large truck coming her way. She was too occupied to notice that the truck driver was immersed in an argument over phone that he wasn’t even caring that he was driving close to the pedestrian path. When Lakshmi lifted her head to look at the roaring noise approaching her, she saw the truck. Before she could do anything, she felt scared and dizzy at the sight of the huge vehicle. And as she was about to fall to the ground, a hand very quickly pushed her away from the platform.

Lakshmi’s shoulder struck on the wall and she fainted when she saw the truck coming to a screeching halt and a young man approaching towards her.

Ajay hurried towards the old lady, hoping that she wasn’t hurt much.

****

They sat next to each other looking at the sunset. It was beautiful. More beautiful when you know that you are watching it with some one who you love the most.

Asha turned and looked at Ajay. ‘Just 24 more days to the wedding’, she thought.

“You know something? What if I had never donated that blood?”

Ajay smiled. “And what if I wasn’t going to your home to thank you that day?”

They both smiled. They knew the answer. They wouldn’t be enjoying this perfect moment together. They felt happy they did that. They knew they would be happy, for ever together.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Anddddddddd Cut!

I know that English is not my native language. I also understand that so is the case with you. Anyone can envisage how interesting the situation is going to be when two non-native English speakers are communicating in a totally different accent.

Knowing this, I used short and crisp words to communicate with you. I used fewer words. I communicated visually, knowing that a sentence longer than 10 words would go unheard.

And yet, You did it the way you wanted to, leaving me and my thick black hair in utter shock. Unlike other Indian usage of English words, I didn’t even repeat the word ‘short’ twice. I knew that words in this case are very precious. Minimal the better. And unfortunately you behaved as if I said ‘Short Short’.

Now my hair is so short that I look like a boy.

Here are some of the comments I received…

Happy Husband (And I wonder why) : “Hihihih..You look like a boy..”

Happier Husband (hmmm) : “No no..you don’t look like  boy. Although I guess most of the boys started looking like you these days.”

Mom: “Ohh..Even Barbie doll has such a hair cuts.”

(Talking to my niece…)

Me:  Hey..we both have similar hair cuts.

Her: But I have a girl’s hair cut.

(On chat with cousin)

Me: Hey..On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the max, how bad is my hair cut?

Him: Do I have to answer it?

(Yahoo astrology)

You’ll cure bad hair days forever when you check your daily BeautyScope!

And so goes the list (and its not even 12 hours). This weekend I am escaping to snow mountains where no body would know how beautiful I was and how funny I look now. And I am already dreading returning to work on Monday.

Do you know of any fast track to hair growth..like in…48 hours? I need it.

How Not To Cook – Coconut Burfi

Does the name ‘Coconut Burfi’ remind you of the tasty, delicious yummy sweet? Well..sorry folks…This space is about how not to make them.

You see there are two ways of cooking. One is my way and the other is the right way. If you make things the right way, you will end up with a tasty item to eat. But if you make them my way, you will become very knowledgeable. I know..I know..What you are thinking..that yummy food is better than gaining knowledge. Believe me people, 100 years from now, people will remember you only for all the creative ways you tried ….Not for being the conventional cooker..err..I mean cook.

So stop cooking the conventional style and do it my way…

Here is my cooking in iShhhhtyleee recipe for Coconut Burfi.

Now, no matter how you plan to ruin the ‘Item Under Test’ , you have to pick the right ingredients. Of course spoiling the item with the wrong ingredients is also a way, but its only for advanced Un-Cookers like me. And not many people are there yet.

So you will need..

  • Coconut (No Prizes for guessing that. Stop reading and leave me a comment if you were not expecting coconut. You need a separate blog space.)
  • Sugar
  • Nuts (No..no..Not the nuts types like me..ok..Lets be specific..say…cashew)

Step  #1 : Un-cooking Sugar Syrup

The main binding element of the Item Under Test made with combining equal amounts of water and sugar (ideally, according to the legend as passed along by my mom). But in the case of un-cooking, no matter how much sugar you add to the water, the liquid doesn’t thicken at all. You try and try, keep boiling on high and low flames, but it doesn’t get any sticky. Then you add some more sugar. As soon as you add, you think that syrup is gonna get more sweeter. So you add more water. And finally when you have more sugar and water mix than you need, not sticky as it should be, the first step is complete and successfully ruined. Good job.

Step  #2 : Un-cooking Syrup and grated coconut.

If you are lucky enough to get hold of a grated coconut packet, you are blessed and one step closer to the Burfi. You see, less number of things you have to do, lesser number of mistakes you can make (Assuming that we are all so incapable of getting one task done right). And what you have to do next is add the grated coconut to the water….err…sugar syrup. Mix it and add the nuts to the syrup. (Please don’t fry the nuts in oil or even worse…salted butter..Are you thinking who does that? Let me tell you. I did…)

Step  #3 : Un-cooking the burfi

Ok..What we have now is a mixture with sugar, water and grated coconut. Now looking at the diluted mixture, you would think that probably you should add more coconut to at least make the mixture thicker. If you were alone at home doing this, you are fine. But if someone called dear-husband is standing next and throws a free advice that it should be that way, you are doomed. I did take that advice and subsequently took a special detour into a cycle of how-not-to-cook activities; Which BTW made me write this post, so you see, the art of un-cooking is not that bad.

So you decide to leave the mixture as-it-is and proceed onto the next step (bummerrrrr)

Step  #4 : Stabilizing the burfi

‘This is gone’, your mind tells you. Yet you go ahead. Pour the mixture onto a plate. And what can go wrong here? We have more liquid to pour and as fate would determine, we would choose a small plate. Now we think. We think enough of this non-sense. Its time to set things right. In my case, before I could think of something, another free advice came my way. ‘Why don’t we freeze it overnight?’. As you might have felt now, at the moment, even I felt it was appropriate. So I carefully moved the overflowing plate to the freezer and bid my burfi good night. And when I said sleep tight, I meant it.

Step  #5 : Over-Stabilizing the burfi

Though eating sweet is not the first thing most of us do in the mornings (I know few do), We go check eagerly on the burfi. Hmm..Nothing yet. Apparently Burfi didn’t sleep well, though it appears like it might have had a little nap. So we decide to let it rest and take off.

Step  #6 : Stabilized burfi

24 more hours and here it is. Our burfi is ready to eat. Not as thick as it should be, but definitely better.But there is a problem…very small problem….itssss…cold…may be very cold..like soo cold that you cant even hold it in your hands, leave alone eating it. You look alternatively at the burfi and at the dear-husband who gave you the free advice. You decide to blog on it. And while you were thinking, this is what happens.

Step  #7 : The Last Straw

Time passes as the matter sinks in and by the time Burfi is absolutely back to its original shape. We sigh and make up our mind to move on, mean while grabbing a spoon to taste a kind of Halwa.

There…did you see? That’s our first creation. Did any one ever think of Coconut Halwa? Thats where we land on when we try new things.

So people, go ahead, try new things in a newest way and let me know how it goes.

Best Cooking Tip Ever: Need a secret tip for best tasting food items? One secret ingredient? Here it is…

Sit on the couch. Watch you favorite show or just browse TV or read a book. Ask the other person in your house to cook. Is any one at home listening?

The Sick Cow

He kept dreaming. That was the last question in the exam. One more question and he is done with his quarterly exams. Just one more and he gets to play all the time without ever going back to school (or at least he thought so. The five year old doesn’t yet know that his mom tricks him everyday saying something like this).

He read the question again..

“W r i t e    y o u r    n a m e  ”

He thought and thought again. With a grinning smile on his face, he wrote

” C – O – W – S – I – C – K”

That’s how he started the modern Mahabharata. With just seven letters, he involved his parents, his grand parents, his teachers, his school’s head mistress and his aunt, uncle(us) into the war.

Each of the involved had the same thoughts. Should we praise him for his dare act or punish him? If it’s not his mistake, who is to blame?

His dad seems to think that the school is not up to the standard.

School’s headmistress thinks that the teachers are not taking enough care.

Teacher seems to be thinking that the mother should stop her own school of teaching at home.

Mom thinks … (Never mind….You get the point…)

My dear KOUSIK, no matter what they think about you, I pray that you retain your creativity skills for ever. That’s something most of the folks wish for.

Arastradero Open Space

If you live in the bay area, and had stayed home on a sunny day, you have committed an unforgivable sin. Dont do it again. Go ahead and explore any of the open spaces. Hike, walk or bike, you name it. You have it.

This open space is also one of my favorites. Though many trails were closed because it’s still winter time and some parts of the trail still muddy from the last weeks rain, we had a good hike.

Here is how the day looked today. Bright and shine. A little cold.

And who said no roads in USA are muddy? Look at this..

And of course, the above picture also depicts immense picture-taking capabilities of my husband. 🙂

The series of rains we had last week did cause these mud pools. Folks here have confirmed that haven’t seen this much rain in the last 10 years. Its 4 or 5 mini storms, each day and a week of unstoppable rain. No body has named the storm this time. So I go ahead and name it ‘Storm Dillie’ (Yes..its the same storm that cause the fog in Delhi last time). Look what Dillie did to a nice tree.

We hiked for almost 2 hours and it was a decent hike given the climate and our schedule last few days. And before we end the post, one more beautiful picture from today. (Half way through the hike, I thought I am extremely talented and that’s why I am shooting great pictures, but later realized that it’s just a beautiful day 🙂 )