Random Ramblings

#174 : Me Time @ 11PM

The clock struck 11 as I entered my bedroom. It was one hectic day filled with tons of technical discussions which made me want to pull my hair apart. On the home front, the husband wanted some help with his project work. The in law wanted me to help her with some grocery shopping. All of that was finally done! Looking back, I realized I had hardly spent time for myself in the entire day. I woke up at 6AM and I’ve probably spent all of 1 hour to wash, eat and dress! My in-laws are asleep and the love of my life is snoring softly already.

Finally! It was time to clear my head out and un-wind for the day! I sat down with the journal and began penning down my thoughts randomly. I lost the habit of journal keeping after my school days. Engineering and a business degree didn’t give me the luxury to write, nor did incessant travelling to remote factories. Marriage however, seems to have made me find the time to write. I know this isn’t going to last with plans for raising a family soon on the cards. Ought to enjoy while I can!

30 minutes down and I felt relaxed. The feel of a rich ink pen gliding over a smooth paper when words flow like there is not tomorrow is unparalleled. Just as I shut the journal, I heard a weird rumbling noise. I burst out laughing as I realized the origin of the sound – It’s was my own tummy! The husband stirred a bit on hearing the noise. I decided it’s time to raid the cupboard! Mid-Night snack it was.

It’s been ages since I ate something post 11PM. I used to sneak about and munch on biscuits while studying in the wee hours, during my college days. I grew up and my sleep cycle changed. Plus to manage weight, I started cutting down on anything other than vegetables, fruits and nuts! My stomach rumbled again as I tip-toed to the kitchen caring not to wake up the people.

I slowly opened the lower rack of the shelf. That shelf contained all snacks. I wasn’t much of a snack person. That was my husband’s forte. He stocked the snacks for the week. This week, much to my surprise, I found a couple of packets of Kurkure!  It was unlike of him to buy any form of chips, that’s of course partly because of me. I tend to binge eat any fried form of potato. He swears by fried grams, puffed rice and peanuts. Kurkure was a complete surprise. I was craving for something tangy. There was one pack of Lime Pickle triangle and one pack of Masala Munch. The choice was easy! Lime Pickle triangle it was.

I slowly opened the pack ensuring not to make any noise. A tangy citrus smell filled my nostrils. I slowly popped in one triangle into my mouth and savored the flavor. Yum! Just the tangy taste and right amount of crispness like I wanted. I tip-toed back to the bedroom, munching away my perfect mid-night snack. Just as I took another bite, I suddenly remembered the video that had gone viral some time ago. It had been something about Kurkure burning and containing some form of plastics. Must be some competitor at work I mused. After all, my really picky husband wasn’t going to stock a snack which was rumored to have plastics. While eating I got a distincttaste of corn.

 I turned the packet and read the contents just as I always did. Being from the manufacturing services industry it intrigues me to no end to know what it takes to manufacture something. It read just the basic ingredients as does for any other traditional snack. I couldn’t find one chemical name or a preservative. I decided to fire up my tab and do some Googling. What I found thoroughly surprised me. It was common knowledge that anything which contained a form of carbohydrate when combined with high quantity of oxygen can burn if ignited. The traditional kurkure is light and puffy. Evidently, Kurkure contains Corn, dal and rice. All the three ingredients are high on carbohydrate. Thus when ignited, it burned. This didn’t imply that it contained plastics. I also found a good video of their manufacturing process. Given it’s my own domain, I decided to dig deeper. I found out a very basic outline of the process which goes as follows,

1. The raw material – Corn, Dal and rice, is first cleaned, ground and mixed in a specific proportion.

2.  It is then sent via an extruder to bring in a shape.

3. It is fried in oil and then seasoned with spices in a rolling drum for uniform coating.

Having never worked in the FMCG domain before, all this interested me a lot. I powered off the tab and went back to munching the snack. With my mid night pang satiated, I slipped into the bed, thinking about how I could come up with such a formulation and prepare my own snack. One can dream to achieve greater things. After all, for all we know the snack I just had would have been one such formulation!

Random Ramblings

#172 : To my long lost Best friend – A letter

Dear Best Friend,

I’m not sure if I can call you that any more – It degraded from being a best friend to friend to a nobody now. You were the one person I reached out to, in times of happiness or melancholy or peril. You were my rock solid pillar who stood by me and put me together when I lost faith in myself. Together, we enjoyed reading, writing and talking about food. We achieved new heights in whatever we did as a single unit, until one day it all came tumbling down like a set of dominoes. I choose to believe that the chips were pushed by a mutual ill-wisher. It took me ages to realize that the force wasn’t external. That realization shattered my heart to pieces. The shards kept picking and wrecking my brain until I decided to sit down and work backward. Working backward has always been my strength. It didn’t come tumbling down in a day. In fact, I realized it was a grand illusion I was trapped in.

When I reached the first important milestone in my life, I really needed your support. I was anxious, you decoded my anxiousness as show off and almost quit talking to me. You shut me out completely and I felt lost. Then some how we patched up and went about as if nothing happened. Life went on, we both found love and got jobs. Life turned serious all of a sudden. That’s when I decided to escape reality for a while by doing what I always did. I wanted you to be the partner in crime just like old times. Things moved in a break neck pace. That’s when the second misunderstanding happened. We fell apart. This time it hurt me more. I missed those endless conversations we had. I missed being us. What happened next shattered me totally. Social media interactions aggravated my depression. Snide remarks, indirect statuses, stream of people asking me what was wrong with me and our relationship in general. Worst of it all, a lot people simply moved away from my life without notice. I never understood why, nor did I bother to find out. We again some how patched up. Or so I kept cheating myself. Little did I realize, it was jealousy that crept in. Right from the start it was jealousy. The snide remarks never died down. The indirect taunting never went away. I felt boxed and suffocated. You always picked me up at my lowest, but sadly you were the cause this time. I was such an idiot that I didn’t even realize that. To me, you were incapable of causing me any grief. Yet, I was still depressed and our relationship was still bitter, sugar coated bitter though. How long would this last? Too many things were a reminder of the good times we had. I gave up on activities I loved doing the most because it was a bitter reminder of what I lost.

I had other people who picked me up from my misery and tried their best to put me together. I’m truly lucky to have found them. However, all of them were of a consensus that I am the only person who can pick up myself and get going. As a matter of fact, they made me realize that every time life gave me lemons, it was me who managed to make a lemonade out of it. I am the only person who can find my own happiness. I can either choose to move out completely ignoring all the taunting and mind games or confront sit down and talk it out. What would the latter yield? A broken mirror can never bit put back. At the risk of this sounding cliched, our relationship is like that mirror. A relationship built on a myriad of lies would never last. The lies had finally manifested. I choose to move on and come out of the delusion that I was in.

If you decode this letter to be my attempt in salvaging my name and garnering sympathy, think again. You’ve  always complemented me for my thick head. I am thick headed. The name or the sympathy never mattered to me and it will remain to be so. I needed to get that toxicity out of system. That’s just about it.

I have to thank you for teaching me the most valuable lesson of my life and making me a better person.

Hope you find all the happiness you’ve ever wanted. I bow out.

Best,

A person who once believed was your friend

Note : Is this a work of fiction? If this my life story? Is this the story of someone whom I know? Some things are best left unsaid. This is one such thing. For all you know, this might have been your story too.

Random Ramblings

#169 : Milk Delight!

With Diwali around the corner, it’s high time one experiments with sample recipe so as to perfect making them during the actual festival. Preethi appliances gave me one such opportunity. I got to attend their very informative blog jam event last month which was conducted to introduce their new range of Wet Grinders which brought back the traditional mechanism of wet grinding. Apart from the introduction, there were two other informative sessions – One on SEO by the famous food blogger – Archana of Archana’s Kitchen and the other by Chef Umshankar Dhanapal on Food Styling. The company also introduced their range of choppers including the Turbo Chopper.

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The Turbo Chopper is one kitchen appliance that I swear by. I’ve been using this chopper long before I went to the event. In fact, it was one appliance that my mother personally gifted me for my wedding. Given my very limited chopping skills, I would probably take eons to chop one onion and in the process would also probably cut my fingers. Onions and my eyes don’t really go well. I’m ultra sensitive to strong fumes and tend to water up at the slight exposure. She wanted to make sure I didn’t shed tears. Literally.

It’s compact, it’s easy to use and it gets the job done very quickly without much effort. Peel off the skin, slice into half, dump it into to the chopper, press the motor and voila, you have finely chopped onions without shedding tears. This is one appliance that every woman needs in her kitchen.

This chopper is essentially a cross between a full fledged mixer grinder and a traditional vegetable chopper. However, this appliance is not as versatile as a chopper, but serves the purpose it is intended for rather well. Here are the tech specs

  1. A 450 Watt motor as the head. You need to gently press the motor to operate it.
  2. Stainless Steel blade ( 2 wings)
  3. An adapter to interface the container with the motor
  4. A sturdy container with level graduations

Here is a little tutorial I found online just in case you are in doubt as to how to operate this simple yet very efficient machine – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkBlp8ClK1w

I’ve been using the chopper extensively for chopping onions, making tomato/steamed carrot puree apart from the occasional chopping of cabbage. This time around, I used it to chop nuts for the experimental recipe – Basundi.

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What you need :

  1. A heavy bottomed pan
  2. A liter of Full Fat Milk
  3. One Tin of Sweetened Condensed milk
  4.  Nuts – Pistachio, Badam and Cashew – Not chopped too finely.
  5. Strands of Saffron – Optional
  6. A lot patience!

The method :

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  1. Boil the milk well over the heavy bottomed pan.
  2. Keep stirring over the edges initially so that the milk solid doesn’t stick to the pan
  3. Keep stirring a bit more
  4. Stir a little more – Gently there!
  5. Yeah, you need patience for this.
  6. Now add the condensed milk.
  7. Give it a quick stir and let it settle.
  8. Now add the nuts/Saffron. Here is where the chopper comes handy. Chopping nuts can drive you nuts. Throw them into the chopper and press gently to chop coarsely.
  9. Finally you are done 😀

You can slurp away all the milk goodness once you’ve transferred the contents to a nice bowl and refrigerated it. A milk delight truly this dish!

Note : Thanks to my colleague and friend Ramakrishnan! You know for what I’m thanking you 😀

 

Random Ramblings

#168 : #FaveFridays – Fave Five Book to TV Series/Movie Adaptations

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I’m not much of a movie/TV series person, but I always sit up and take interest in if they are adapted from books I’ve enjoyed. Curiosity gets the better out me and I end up matching my visualisation from reading the book to the visuals from the movie/TV series.

  1. Heidi – The cartoon – This is my earliest memory of enjoying an adaptation. The cartoon is simply delightful and totally mind- blowing. The creators of this show have done quite enough justice to the book. Though I have read only an abridged version, I intend to read the unabridged version in German. I also intend to learn German for this very purpose. Heidi_zpsyauojrqs.jpg
  2. Sherlock – BBC TV Series – Benedict Cumberbatch – Need I mention more? Though the makers have tweaked the story a bit to adapt to the devices of new generation, that thrill of having read a good mystery is there upon watching the series.
  3. Harry Potter Series – We’ve all whined enough as to how the movie adaptation doesn’t do enough justice to the book, but on the retrospect, is it even possible to reproduce visually something as grand as the original book. I think not.
  4. Game of Thrones – I’ve just started reading the book. The TV series is actually way too good. It’s always been the other way round with me – I’ve always read the book before I watched the series. This is the first time I picked up the book after watching the show till date.
  5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – Tom Hanks totally suits my image of Robert Langdon, Sir Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing was also very convincing. Of course, as expected, the movie makers didn’t do enough justice to Dan Brown’s writing.

https://www.inlinkz.com/cs.php?id=733965

Random Ramblings

#167 : #FaveFive – Book Siblings

When I was in my kindergarten, I used to bug my parents to bring home a baby so that I could play with her. Yes, I was that specific. I wanted a sister. A brother would be too difficult to handle, I reasoned apparently. My mother still laughs about it till date. God answered my prayers and I was sent a perfect package in the form a tall and witty human being – my sister. She is younger than me by 8 years, but that never translated to a mature relationship. We’ve fought just like any other pair of siblings, but at the end of the day, we are thick as thieves and  I miss her dearly.

The books I read during my childhood, upon me the kind of relationship I ought to have with my sister. Here are some of my favourite book siblings

  1. Jack Trent And Lucy-Ann from Enid Blyton’s Adventure series : My first exposure to fictional siblings. Lucy-Ann cannot just stay away from her brother and he doesn’t mind her tagging along wherever he goes. The beauty of an innocent relationship between siblings when they are young – This series and this pair of character would be the perfect example.
  2. Fred and George Weasley from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter Series – The quintessential example for siblings who just stick to each other no matter what. It is worth pondering if this nature of theirs can be attributed to the fact that they are identical twins. The need to elaborate about this pair diminishes from the very mention of their names.
  3. Thor and Loki from Norse Mythology– Loki is Thor’s adoptive brother and also is the trouble maker out of the pair. Reading Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology changed my perspective about the brothers. They are the perfect example of how not to behave with your siblings!
  4. Anjini, Binodini, Chandralekha, Debjani and Eshwari from Anuja Chauhan’s Those Pricey Thakur Girls – This is one relationship I wish to read upon. I read the sequel to this book – The House that BJ Built. These girls sound like fun and typically Indian. I ought to have the first book before reading the second.
  5. Mycroft And Sherlock Holmes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Works – Sibling rivalry at it’s best. ‘The Final Problem’ would my favourite work where Mycroft is featured.

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Random Ramblings

#166 : The search #MondayMusings

This weekend, the plan was to sort out a few things – The electrical wiring in my home, the bookshelf, my to read pile and my finances.

The Electrical writing – God bless my electrician to have sorted out the mess of a wiring some other harebrained electrician did. Can’t possibly thank them enough for giving me time to finish off Erich Segal’s Love story.  The frequent toggling of electricity had made it impossible for me finish off the work I carried from office. I was in no mood to do it on Sunday. However, the mess he left behind took up most of my time. I spent a good hour picking up cut wires, sweeping and moping off all the dust accumulated.

The Bookshelf – I still hadn’t arranged the pile of book I brought back from my mom’s place. I haven’t emptied my book shelf there yet. It’s been 8 months since I’ve been married and a piece of me still can’t believe that I ought to move everything here. I’ve left behind enough clothes, books and some of my accessories too. These books finally found a place below my tiny side table.

The To Read Pile – I have this habit of taking screenshots/pictures of books other people read and talk about. My social media feed is filled with posts about books. I had accumulated about 78 such photos. I decided to sit down and write it all down in my journal so that I can actually look up, buy and read. I had debated between making a note via Evernote and writing it down. Writing won hands down. The prospecting of using the beautiful ink pen and feeling it glide over the perfect journal I own seemed way too much enticing to give up on.

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The Finances – My mother has this habit of maintaining a journal to keep track of all our family’s investment. However, long gone are the times when she used to keep track of daily expenses. It’s become too tiresome to keep track of cash and card bills seperately. Her habit has rubbed off to me and given that I’ve been employed for the past 5 years, I decided to sit down and check my finances. I concluded that I needed an App or some way to track my money. Here are some features which I wish were available

  1. Picking up expenses from SMS alerts – I own an iPhone, iOS wont allow apps to read message texts unless I’ve jail-broken the iOS and installed the app as a system app. I do not want to connect my bank accounts by giving out my net banking credentials.
  2. Multiple account tracking – I need all my money in one place. Not that I own much, but I need to see what little amount is left cumulatively.
  3. Cash Expense – I need to track expenses into two categories – Digital expenditure and Cash expenditure. Having multiple categories like grocery, movies, food, fuel etc will really help.
  4. Receipt management – I have this habit of stashing away all receipts into my wallet. Would be nice to store them as photos before trashing them.
  5. Expense Report – Money in, Money out – Just numbers will do. Fancy charts would be a plus.
  6. Budget controls – I would like the data to shout out to me if I exceed the budget!
  7. Multiple users – It’s just essential if your partner is also working and you split the expenses.

If you look closely, I’ve not mentioned savings tracking to the list. Thank god for my financial adviser Mr.C Ravikumar to have partnered with an app development company to come out with the perfect savings tracking app. That app can help track SIPs, Insurance. stocks, Bonds. PPFs. RDs, FDs and what not! You name it, the app has it! He updates all the paper work done to invest on the app very regularly along with reminders to renew. I’d probably be all lost and confused trying to track complicated funds.

I couldn’t find a single FREE app for iOS which satisfied all this criteria! If you know of any, please do let me know!

PS. Thanks to Corinne @ Write Tribe/ Every Day Gyaan for inspiring me to write today 🙂

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Random Ramblings

#165 : #FridayReflections – Of Reading Books and Elitist Behavior

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Beautiful photographs with books as subject seems to be the fad these days. Instagram particularly, is abuzz with ‘book lovers’ uploading ‘styled’ photographs of books. These photos typically center books with pretty covers processed along with rich looking fabrics or props or even merchandise like candles, key chains and Funko Pop. Long gone are the time when the adage – Never judge the book by its cover made sense. These days, the prettier the cover, the more the book sells or so its fast becoming. Then there are these PR events in the name of book launches which specifically happen in one part of the country as that part is known to have a hip crowd, which can potentially make the event go viral with live videos, funky selfies and what not.

As a matter of fact, it has become fashionable to carry around and read books. It has also become fashionable to put up a picture or status about the same. Eventually, that thread will contain a lot of comments which gush at books or probably some full blown argument will happen criticizing/favoring the book.

The direction at which the whole business of books and literature is heading, seems dangerously  elitist. Even the publishing houses prefect that very segment of people who are online and can increase their visibility. At the end of the day, it’s just another business where everyone wants to mint money.

Fair enough, but what of the experience of reading a good book? All this feels like gas inside a helium balloon. The balloon which stays afloat as long as the gas is still in there. It is err to stereotype that the beautiful cover, the promotions and the pictures are for books which aren’t that good, however, the point is that, not all people can be a part of this group. This is where the elitist behavior creeps in. If one hasn’t purchased or read a certain famous book or even a classic for that matter, they are looked upon with a tinge of mockery. It’s hard to differentiate between the pretenders and genuine bibliophile these days. Some people read for the sake of it while others, read to click pictures and boast about it.

The purpose of reading or writing or any other form of art of that matter, is to satiate the soul. That was how it was looked upon earlier. Unfortunate people who don’t belong to this borderline elitist group often wilt under the pressure and try hard to belong, thereby losing the very purpose of reading a book. Reading is not like eating, one cannot possibly acquire a certain taste over night. It takes time to read certain genres of books. It is okay to not have read a certain popular book. It is okay to read books which drives you into a different world. A world, one truly likes.

Note : This write was inspired by an article I read and a discussion that happened on Facebook. I’ve chosen to be superficial for the sake of leading a peaceful life.