Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lapse of the 30-day challenge, and hello, home post.

The 30 day challenge is getting royally screwed up with such changes in life. I started the thirty day story on a frustrated, 'i-am-feeling-lonely' afternoon after a messed up lunch. Whoever would have thought that in 15 days, things would radically change and I would be typing across sitting in my swing :) Oh, I love this swing - will take a picture of it.

There are very few things I do not love about my home. Everything else,from my small room to the guava tree with a 100 fruits, I love it all. We live in an apartment where I have birds to wake me up to. No big royal kerala palace house, or even a city place I live in. But a real simple place to sleep and eat. As a matter, that is the only thing I do here.

In a matter of two weeks, things moved so fast - an interview, an offer, papers, tests and last minute tickets. Absolute no time for shopping, and certainly none for treatment. Sitting with a cold in India is like traveling all the way to Disneyland and then getting a leg sprain! After a bout of antibiotics, the cold refuses to leave. The fever is just bidding a bye.

Honestly, with such pampering and hour-to-hour meals, except if one had return tickets, none would leave. I will have to, coming weekend :(

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day Eight - Rajni Mania and some India :)

Last minute tickets to India - Expensive. Frenzy shopping with a fever - Chaos. Morning rides to airport - Tiresome. A Rajni Fan as a Driver - Awesomeness :)

It is one part of the news that I am in India, it is another that I had a Rajni fan driving me. And here is the tail piece, our man is a Malay born, Philippines raised young man. The conversation started with him asking why Mumbai is often attacked and on why Indian women like fair skin. And then our convo shifted to movies - it went something like this.

TG - " I like one man in India.His name is Rajni. He is a philanthropist"

SM - Hmmm (mindvoice - is that all he is? Aha)

TG - He is from South India.

SM - Me too, I am from Chennai

TG - (turns back, looks at me with wide eyes) you see Rajni'ah?

SM - ( now wakeful me) - Yeah, I do see. He lives in Chennai, not close to my place but I know where he is.

TG - Oh, very good. He..very nice man..i likes his movies, the dance (!), the style..All very good. If you see Rajni, then I see you , tht is like I am seeing Rajni'ah! He is very dark, but Indians like that man.

SM - (actually smiling wide) yea, we love him. you saw his recent movie ROBO?

TG - 3 times la. He, better than Aishwarya!

SM - (WOW)

Never did I think a ride would get this peppy. I quietly slipped out my headphones, played Kilimanjaro and spent the rest of the ride thanking stars :) It is no big news he spoke on million other things, dropped me off at Changi, charged me 20 cents less and helped to offload luggage and wished me luck!

TG - Taxi Guy. SM - Sleepy Me (@6.30 am)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day Six - What to eat when in South India :)

P.S: Click on image to view larger!

I found this image when I was doing some random browsing, over a year ago. After various futile attempts on trying to taste all the vegetarian dishes on the list, here comes my 'tasted' list from it. We will go by the states, for easier navigation!

South India - The Food Connoisseur's heaven

Tamilnadu - Obviously, done. Aapam, Dosa, Idli, Sambar and Rasam. Live a day in chennai and you will have all of that, except may be aapam!

Kerala - I have had the best sadya meals for onam with friends. Ente Keralam also serves an amazing Sadya meal. Dont miss it, if you like mallu land food. Avial is a part of sadya.Parotas- the malabar thattukada ones are to die for. The most authentic place in chennai is kumarkom, to my knowledge. Payasam, their vella-paripu ones, though not my favourite is also tasted.

Karnataka - Bisibele Bhaat, Kesari Bhaat, Mysore Pak and Chirotis - Done! Infact, I have made my own chirotis. They are a very unique tasting, semi-sweet dish, not really my favourite. Dharwad Peda, i have no clue on what it is!

Pondicherry - Vendakkai Patchaddy is not really from Pondy! So yea, I have done it.

Andhra Pradesh - The Biriyani, an authentic dum version from a wedding kitchen was once ransacked by me. I almost sat in the kitchen and licked it up, yum! I did not know Mirchi ka Salan is Andhra special, but yea tasted it somewhere. Gongurra pickle, licked it as well!

I am skipping Goa, bcos it has got nothing for the herbivore in me. Goa is not exactly SI too:)

Check here on Central India here. North, East and Rest next week or whenever :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day Four - The Rava Dosa Story

Dear peepls,

My excuse post should also explain I was voraciously hungry, having missed lunch! The kid who wrote that tromped her way to catch lunch-dinner at Anjappar.

I am never a fan of this place, especially because of the wait area and the continous plates of chicken flowing out. But, you see the finicky nose has a stomach and it does feel hungry. So, after an expert's ( more on the expert later) view - ordered a rava dosa and a ginger tea. With specific instructions to bring the tea after the dosa.

6 minutes later ( one time of Usure Poguthey) later, the tea arrived. It was truly ginger tea - with only ginger and no sugar. I politely asked for sugar with my 'i-am-not-mad smile" and added it. My already tired mind decided to stop the debate to wait for the dosa or not, and gulped the tea down.

7 minutes later ( one time on of Kilimanjaro later), the dosa arrives. By now, I am done with Aishwarya Rai and literally start drooling at Rava Dosa ( the comparison, I know is the result of a hungry tummy). Now, imagine the song goes on slow mood and changes to some soga illayaraaja song when I notice there are no chutneys in the plate. One kara kuzhumbu. One veg gravy! What kind of a combination is that!

The decent 'i am in singapore' part of me called the waiter and explained how I cannot fathom the idea of having dosa with kaara kuzhumbu and silently hinting that they should stop calling themselves chettinaad. The violent ' hey, i am from chennai ' part of me jumped up when he said, "Sorry madam, you never asked" ! WOW, are we in Uganda to ask for chutney with dosa, or is this a Chowmein place?

Horridness apart, I returned the dosa. I did bite into two've two crisp pieces ( thts a secret, bcos I DO NOT know if he gave it to someone else) and paid for my tea. Had this been chennai, I would have got the manager, spoken to the chef and given a lecture on the importance of customer service. AND NOT PAID FOR THE TEA!

I simply was not up for a fight! I see a lot of non-indian folks eating there. Dear Peepls, This is not how Indian food is. Visit a better place, or better yet ask me. I will tell you where to go :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day Three - The American/Indian Dream!

Day Three is an absolute blah day. I am lethargic and tired, and too mentally unstable to write on amazing videos, but simply cant miss this one.

The video on how India is exciting, and how opportunities and jobs are burgeoning in India is so wonderful to wake up to. I so really do not want to make this a serious post, and here are some absolute tit-for-tat things we can do for this situation! Some of these are inspired from a FB post. Check the video out - " Top American Graduates heading to India for Employment "

- Serve upmas only for breakfast. I am aghast at the idea of waking up to orange juice, so yes folks - time for some kaafeee.

- Teach Indian History in international schools. I can already hear the kids talk on Jalianwalla bagh, in that firangi accent.

- Have at least five different visas. Make people wait for it and issue only limited numbers.

- Create problems for people who want to bring spouses. Tell them to show the wedding photo, the ring, the gown, have testaments from three non-related guests and also submit copies of certificates.

- India can have PR Ration Cards. This is a real WOW. I mean, how awesome it would be to have two people fight for a pink cover, or a yellow cover.

- Say it is ZED. And not ZEE

- Have talk shows on the great American Brain Drain!

This post could be slightly over the board, but honestly I am personally feeling elated at this turn around of situations. As Narayana Murthy aptly points out in the video - people will flock and congregate wherever there are economic opportunities, irrespective of power outages, monsoons and screaming dogs. Hey, you guys do have spoilt teens and horrible lifestyles!

It is time to let go of certain dreams, to look for places unexplored and set foot. I have all due respects for the millions of Indians who have set foot bravely outside and created a global identity, but this trend means a pay off for such efforts.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day Two - The unique'st dish I have cooked - Murukku Sandwich

has to be Murukku Sandwich. I heard this first during a conversation with my MOP friends. I imagined it to be a stuffing of murukku inside two slices of bread, but on one of the 100 visits to sowcarpet, knew it was a sandwich of two murukkus! How awesome, I say. Sowcarpet is the most innovative shopping place I ever know of. The people there, are naturally gifted to convert the most ordinary of things to exotic items - food, clothes, accesories!

These murukus are unique to sowcarpet and are small, very crispy and spicy. A thin layer of red chutney, a piece of cucumber, a tiny onion and a tomato followed by a thin layer of green chutney makes the sandwich. It is served on a plate with ten pieces, topped with lots of sev and coriander. The tomato can also be replaced with a piece of boiled potato. Clearly, I was out of cucumber when this was made!

Now, sowcarpet is a place I go to SHOP and cant really eat much. So, we usually buy two packets of murukku and make these at home. This was the last dish I cooked, before I came to Singapore. Amma's most favourite with tea!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day One - The things I cant do..

I give up, in entirety to do these things in my life. I mean, they are seemingly simple that anyone raises an eyebrow when I struggle but honestly put, I can solve math than doing these.

The biggest and the most embarrassing is my inborn inability to open a simple plastic cover. The ones that come in rolls and are kept at supermarket vegetable aisles and expect us to tear along the perforation - I cant do it. I do most shopping alone, and it is highly annoying to be not able to do this. With a bag of onions in hand ( prepacked, thankfully), I sometimes sigh in exasperation to do this! Honestly, who ever invented such things? Why cant they just kept torn covers? Or, like my good old hometown, have stores where people will pack it after I ONLY pick it up! The whole idea of being called a 'super' market, with me having to do all the picking, packing, weighing is outrageous to me. Hail local veggie shops in India! Free curry leaves, too!

The next most toughest thing to the idiot in me is to poke a straw in a plastic takeaway cup. I prefer paper cups, tins and what else! This is a wonderful idea to carry a milo into a meeting, but I simply cannot poke it unless i spend 20 full seconds developing a strategy to attack it. The reality is that I simply dont care and flip the lid open to sip!

Temme, what fun is it to simplify things and make it so difficult? I know I probably have a queer disease, but simply my fingers are better solving valuations :) using excel!

P.S : And this my friends, is the first post of the 30 day blogger challenge. To make myself snap out of the 'head blogger'