If We Were Having Coffee…

… I’d tell you of how I have started taking little, baby steps towards better health. I have been brushing certain health issues under the carpet for quite long. I haven’t been going for regular check-ups. Also, post-baby, my eating habits have been quite bad – I have not been eating healthy at all. I’ve been giving in to cravings all the time. I haven’t been exercising regularly, and am quite, quite overweight. Guilt over all of this has been keeping me up in the nights often, as a result of which I have been tired in the mornings and unable to go for a walk or exercise. Such a vicious downward spiral! I had to break it somewhere, right? I took the first step towards breaking the cycle by getting a complete health check-up, recently. The results haven’t been bad, but some stuff isn’t great either. I know just what to do to improve, now. When all the figures are before me, in black and white, on a piece of paper, it pushes you just enough to exercise and figure out ways to improve your lifestyle. I did myself a huge favour by going for that check-up. It did need a whole lot of guts to go for it, too, so, yes, I’m patting myself on the back for it.

… I’d tell you of how we have still not zeroed in on a school for Bubboo. We do have a couple of schools in mind, but haven’t finalised anything. It is freaking me out a bit more every single day. We have to step up on this, and soon.

… I’d tell you of how a few places have been calling out to me. Madurai and Madras, basically. I want to explore these places thoroughly, discover the little and big secrets their streets have been hiding. Why these two places now? I don’t really know. I think places, like books, call out to you when you are ready for them. I hope they will make the trip happen, too.

… I’d tell you of how Paati, my paternal grandmother, hasn’t been doing well. For over a year now, she’s been entirely bed-ridden, not even getting up from the bed to walk to the living room or the washroom. I can see her weakening, day by day, and it is saddening to see her like that. Every time I visit, she tells me of how she wants God to send for her now.. I don’t know what to say. Thankfully, Amma takes good care of her – having someone by your side, to help you, to care for you, in old age, is a luxury that not everyone can boast of these days.

… I’d tell you of how I started reading this book called The Art Of Hearing Heartbeats, with great expectations. Sadly, though, the book is super-disappointing. I can’t wait for it to end, so I can get on with reading something better. Sigh!

… I’d tell you of how I have just been unable to write. I mean, I can write book reviews and stuff about food, but nothing that really, really moves me. Nothing comes even when I try to keep my mind open, and sit with the keyboard and a blank document on the ready, waiting for the words. I feel blocked in that sense. I so want this to change!

… I’d tell you of how Bubboo amazes me every day, with all her questions, all the stories she conjures up, all the things she soaks up from her day-to-day life. It feels like just yesterday when she was a tiny, mewling, breast-feeding baby. She’s now a little girl, ready to go out into the world. Will I ever get used to just how fast she’s growing?

… I’d tell you of how, on the foodie front, I am continuing to do experiments in my kitchen. I’m trying to walk the fine line between ‘being a foodie’ and ‘eating healthy’. 🙂 There are some lovely recipes that I can’t wait to put out on the blog. Wait and watch!

… I’d tell you of how, lately, I have been thinking a lot about Bubboo’s growing-up years. I mean, when she is nine or 10. I’m sure parenting then won’t be just about feeding her the right food, bathing her, getting her to bed on time, or making sure she gets enough physical exercise. It is going to get a whole lot more complicated, and that is scaring the living daylights out of me! The book that I am reading now, a yet-to-be-released one called Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland, is causing this feeling, largely. I hope we do a decent job of parenting Bubboo through the years!

… I’d tell you of how the OH and I recently celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We had a simple, homely celebration, that included a lovely lunch at Nasi And Mee. He got me some little things I wanted to experiment with (read: soaps, chocolates and some other foodie stuff). I’m yet to get him his gift. Boring, eh? But we had fun! 🙂

… I’d tell you of how all my days feel like a blur. I don’t really know what I’m doing all day long, but the time seems to pass really, really quickly. At the end of the day, I am amazed that the day is actually over! I so want to add some meaning, some more charm to my days. I don’t want them to pass, just like that!

… I’d also ask after you and your loved ones. How has life been treating you lately? What have you been up to?

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For Weekend Coffee Share, an interesting meme here. Do check it out!

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The 2016 Year-End Meme

It is the end of the year, and I am in introspection mode. Hence, this post.

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? 
  • I took up a short meditation class with The Art Of Living group. I haven’t been following anything they told me to follow, post the class, but it sure gave me an insight into yoga and meditation. I hope to go deeper into this in 2017!
  • I delved deeper into the world of food blogging. I began to understand different types of ingredients and cooking processes better, started experimenting a lot more. I started attending various food-related events, and started getting to know the food bloggers’ community in Bangalore a bit better.
  • We celebrated the kid’s second birthday.
  • I experimented with a part-time job, quit after a short stint, and became a full-time stay-at-home mother.
  • We visited Calcutta, a place I had always dreamt of visiting! We got to be a part of the Kali Pooja celebrations there, something that I will always cherish.
  • We visited the Sai Baba temple at Shirdi, another place that I had always wanted to visit.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next?

The only two ‘sort of’ resolutions I had as 2016 began were: To lose weight and begin to lead a healthier lifestyle, and to figure out what I wanted to do with my time post baby.

I would say I haven’t succeeded at all, with respect to the first resolution. Today, I am even more heavy than I was at the start of 2016. 😦

With respect to the second resolution, I have been moderately successful. I still haven’t figured out exactly what I should do, but I can say I am on the way. 2016 saw me experimenting with a few different things, trying to understand myself better as a person. May 2017 make me see light in this regard!

Now, for 2017, I have the same two resolutions plus three new ones.

1. I want to seriously lose weight and move on to a healthier lifestyle (which is at odds with the food blogging that I do, to be honest).

2. I also want to delve deeper into myself and find out something that would keep me satisfied and productively occupied, without having to compromise on my time with Bubboo.

3. Moreover, I want to devote time, money, energy and attention to fulfilling those little dreams of mine, like travelling to a place on my bucket list or buying something that has always been on my mind.

4. I want to work on bringing Bubboo up really, really well – do what it takes for that. Not that I am not doing that already, but that is a large life area I’d like to dedicate more focus on in 2017.

5. Finish all those pending tasks that I desperately need to get around to doing. They have been pending for ever. Create a passport for Bubboo, for example, and get Aadhaar cards for us done, things of that sort. Hopefully, the house and our lives should run more smoothly once we get around to doing this.

3. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I would say there are a whole lot of moments from 2016 that will stay in my memory forever. Little moments doing silly things with Bubboo, for instance, or attending my first event as a food blogger.

4. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

I began to accept myself the way I am, began getting comfortable with myself, began understanding myself a whole lot better.

5. What was your biggest failure? 

I failed at keeping stress at bay. I failed at keeping mommy guilt at bay. I failed at keeping my weight under control. I We failed at maintaining a spic-and-span house.

6. Did you suffer illness? 

Yes, I did, off and on. Let’s just say 2016 wasn’t my best year, as far as health was concerned. In fact, I have been appalled at just how vulnerable my health is, in 2016.

7. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? 

To be honest, my family’s. We were at loggerheads through most of the year. This is one thing I hope will improve in 2017.

8. Where did most of your money go? 

Baby stuff, the running of the house

9. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 

Nothing really, really, really excites me these days – there is always something or the other on my mind, things/events have been happening at the last minute, and I have been unable to really soak in the feeling that I am about to do something exciting.

That said, I was happy about attending the food-related events I attended, celebrating the bub’s second birthday, and visiting Calcutta.

10. What song will always remind you of 2016?

This song. I loved the wealth of meaning in it. And, yes, I heard this song only in 2016!

11. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? 

I think I am at the same level.

12. What do you wish you’d done more of? 

Been more mindful of the voice of my heart, maintained a better home, maintained my weight, and paid more attention to my health in general.

13. What do you wish you’d done less of? 

Eat junk food.

12. Did you fall in love in 2016? 

Yes. I began to love myself more in 2016, I would say.

13. What/Who was your greatest musical discovery? 

To be honest, we haven’t been listening to much music at all. There has hardly been any music playing at home for the last 2 years, which does make me really sad. I can’t say I made any new musical discovery in 2016, except for the Mohabbat Hai Yeh, Jee Huzoori Nahin song I mentioned earlier.

14. What did you want and get? 

Time at home, with the bub.

15. What did you want and not get?

Peace of mind

16. What was your favourite film of this year? 

I didn’t watch many movies in 2016, but I caught up with some good ones that I had missed while living under a rock after childbirth. 🙂 Of these, I loved PK, Ki & Ka, and Piku.

17. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 

I turned 34 this year. I had a mostly blah birthday – I got my periods the same day, I remember, and the hubby was working. The OH and I fought over some silly thing. We then went out for an Italian dinner, and the bub behaved – that was the only bright spot of the day. Oh, and my mom made me some awesome gajar ka halwa, just like the old days, and that totally, totally cheered me up!

18. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? 

Losing weight, for sure.

19. What kept you sane?

Blogging and cooking.

20. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. 

I’ll tell you more than one!

  • If you love something about yourself, your life or the people around you, acknowledge it. Be grateful.
  • Keep doing the things that nurture you.
  • It is okay to put yourself first, if you aren’t harming anyone else in the process, that is.
  • Believe in yourself before you try to get others to believe in you.
  • Acceptance is important, but make sure you aren’t complacent. If there’s something about your situation that you would like to change, work on it.

21. Which new places did you visit in 2016? 

Shirdi. Calcutta. I saw Madras with new eyes, too.

22. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Dil dhoondhta hai phir wahi fursat ke raat din

That’s it for now, folks!

How has 2016 been for you? Do take up this meme and reflect on the year gone by!

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This is not the first time I have taken up this end-of-year introspective meme. Check out my previous versions of the very same survey.

In 2012

In 2013

10 Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me This Year

Christmas is just 10 days away, can you believe it?! I can’t. Really. I know I say that every year, but this year was waaaaayyyy too fast in flying by. Anyways, the fact remains that it is going to be Christmas very soon (I am yet to get into the festive mood, though!). So, here is a list of 10 books that I want to get my hands on very soon, which I wouldn’t mind Santa bringing me.

This list is an attempt to try to break out of the reading slump that I have been in lately. I just haven’t been able to find anything I read interesting, for about the last five or six months. I have quit making lists of books I dream about, and just pick up my reads at random, and that is one reason for the slump. Moreover, there has been a whole lot going on in life, and I haven’t really been focusedly reading. I have read just about 22 books this year so far, which is about 12 books too low as compared to my usual. I haven’t been liking this slump – it isn’t a normal phase for me to not be excited about books. This list is, therefore, a beginning at trying to get back my reading mojo.

I’m putting it out here just before Christmas, so if any of you want to gift me this festive season, you know exactly what to get me. Shouting out to the universe and all that! 🙂 I’m going to be real mean and send this list to the in-house Santa as well, because he doesn’t seem to be taking an effort these days to pick up thoughtful gifts for me.

So, here we go!

  1. Come Into My Kitchen – Ranveer Brar

This book has been on my mind ever since I met Chef Ranveer Brar at the Go Cheese gourmet cheese tasting event, recently. He sounded like such a humble, interesting person, and I would love to get to know him better through this memoir of his.

Apparently, Chef Brar loves fusion recipes – Indo-Chinese, Indo-European, that kind of stuff. I’m looking forward to getting a whole lot of interesting recipe ideas from his book, too.

2. Tiffin: Memories And Recipes Of Indian Vegetarian Food – Rukmini Srinivas

I heard about this memoir recently, and it sounds very simple, very Indian and very homely. I think I might like reading this one. Another foodie memoir cum cookbook!

3. Butterflies In November – Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

I love, love, love the premise of this book. It sounds like a light, but thought-provoking read, just perfect for this time of the year.

4. Five Morsels Of Love – Archana Pidathala

This book has been on my TBR list for quite long now. It is available for sale only via the author’s personal website, and much as I would love to pick it up, it is priced quite high, which is what has restricted me. But then, considering that it is Christmas time and all, I am allowed to be a little extravagant in my dreams. And nothing is too expensive for Santa, of course!

5. Crumbs!: Bread Stories And Recipes For The Indian Kitchen – Saee Koranne-Khandekar

This is another cookbook-memoir that I got to know of recently, and loved the sound of. I have been scandalised by yeast for as long as I can remember, and haven’t gotten around to baking my own bread, much as I would like to. This book sounds like a sensible point to start that journey from.

6. Tales From Tavanti: An American Woman’s Mid-Life Adventure In Italy – Rebecca Bricker

Considering that I am a big fan of stories set in Italy (well, most of them anyways!), this book made it to my TBR list recently. I like the premise of the book – that of a middle-aged woman setting off on a journey of her own, after all her kids have flown the nest. Should be good!

7. Double Cup Love: On The Trail Of Family, Food, And Broken Hearts In China – Eddie Huang

I just love the sound of this book. It is about going back to one’s roots, trying to figure out what your homeland means to you, trying to discover yourself in the process. Plus, there’s a whole lot of food in it!

8. Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest To Raise An Adventurous Eater – Matthew Amster-Burton

I am a big-time foodie, if you haven’t figured that out for yourself by now. And I do want my daughter to love food the way I do. This, therefore, sounds like just the perfect read for me.

9. The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris – Evie Gaughan

This time of the year, I usually curl up with a cosy read that makes me travel to far-off places in my head, put me in the festive spirit, and gear me up for the coming year. This book, I think, has all the elements that I need in such a book.

10. The Persian Pickle Club – Sandra Dallas

I was sold the minute I heard the name of this book! It is about a quilting club, friendships among women and how they help you survive the ups and downs of life. The setting of the book is Southern. I might like this one, I think.

Well, that is my list for now. What are the books that you are waiting to pick up in the near future?

 

Of A Liebster Award And A Meme

A while ago, this girl passed on the Liebster Award to me, which was a happy and humbling moment, as it always is. Thank you, dearie, for reading me so patiently!

The award comes with a set of questions that I should answer as best as I can. These questions, framed by Babushka herself, are lovely – they made me look within myself a whole lot, and I am happy about that.

Without further ado, here we go with my responses.

  1. What does writing mean to you?

Writing, to me, means speaking my mind. Considering that I am a hardcore introvert, I find it easier to express myself using the written word, as against the spoken word. Words flow much more easier for me when I write, rather than when I speak.

Writing, for me, is also a means of discovering myself. Often, I discover myself in the process of writing. While writing, I find out what I really and truly like and want.

Writing is also therapy, for me. It is uncluttering of the mind. It is the freeing up of mind space. It is unloading my burdens so as to feel lighter.

Writing is also connecting. It has helped me connect with like-minded people, and figure out that all human beings are ultimately that – human. It has helped me realise that I am not alone with my fears, doubts, joys and thoughts.

2. How do you break a writer’s block down?

By letting go and just writing. Whenever I feel blocked, I just let go and write my heart out. I don’t care, then, whether my writing is good or bad. I persist at this for a while, and when I am ready, I am out of the block.

I also think reading something evocative or listening to some music that will make you feel, helps. Clearing out your head via a long walk or long conversations with those you love help as well.

3. What is your idea of a good piece of writing?

Writing that is from the heart, which speaks to you of the author’s real state of mind, as opposed to formulaic writing.

Writing that provokes you to feel and think.

Writing that is evocative, which makes you imagine words and shapes and colours and places and smells in your mind.

It doesn’t necessarily have to have a beginning, middle and end.

4. What are some of the things you look out for when you travel?

Always, experiences that I will remember, which will go on to define our trip. It could be as simple as a conversation with the keeper of the home stay we are staying at, tasting a certain cuisine for the first-ever time, or trying out something that we have never done before. Travel, to me, is not just checking off places off a list – thankfully, both the husband and I don’t work that way. To us, travel is to see and feel a place as best as we can and, in the process, find ourselves, render ourselves transformed.

I also look for unwinding, relaxation, a break from the routine while travelling. I get enough stressed out in our day-to-day lives and, so, a holiday means de-stressing and an unfollowing of timetables – it is not a holiday if it is any other way.

5. What is/who is your favourite/best travel companion?

I haven’t travelled much without the husband – I really began travelling only after I met him, actually. Both of us think we make for perfect travel companions. Neither of us has enjoyed trips we have made without each other, with other travellers. We are just too different a sort of traveller.

6. When was the last time you were mesmerized, and by what?

By the charms of this little being, I think.

7. Describe happiness in a picture.

Tough question, because the definition of happiness keeps changing for me, every now and then. At the moment, happiness is a bowl of gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Via Malaysia Ramen at The Fatty Bao. We visited the place a few months ago, and I was charmed by this dish. I’d be thrilled if I could get my hands on it some time soon (Husband of mine, are you listening? 😉 )

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8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would love to be less of an introvert, but then I’m working on it. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

9. If you could give one thing about yourself to someone, what would it be?

My ability to put my best into the things I do. I don’t do things by half-measures, which is both a boon as well as a curse. I can do very few things in a day that way, and that often frustrates people around me. But then, that is an essential part of who I am.

10. What is your go-to stress-buster?

Talking to the husband. Playing with the little one. Reading. Writing. Music. Cooking. Going out for a walk. Going out exploring the world around me. Lounging around the house and doing absolutely nothing. Gazing out from the balcony, uninterrupted. Being in the midst of nature without a timetable.

11. Where do you go to to find peace?

Home. Family. Inward. In the midst of nature.

Not necessarily in the same order.

Thank you so much for this, Babushka! I had a lovely, introspective time taking up this meme!

 

3 – 3- 1, A Time And Space Experiment

I will start out by explaining what 3 – 3 – 1 is. ‘3 – 3 – 1’ stands for ‘Three people, three places, one time’. It is a time and space experiment of sorts. It goes like this – three people living in three different places click a picture at the same time of the day, agreed upon beforehand. These pictures (along with a short introduction to them) would show just how different the lives of people can be, in spite of existing in the same world at the same time.

The idea of this experiment was born some time ago, when two bloggers known to me were discussing about a picture one of them posted. The two bloggers got fascinated by the idea that two people can be leading such completely different lives, at exactly the same time. Out of their discussion was born the idea of doing such an experiment. Both of them agreed to click a picture at the same time of day (one lives in Bangkok, Thailand, and the other in Lafayette, Indiana).

The first installment of this experiment was successfully posted here, a while ago. There were two people doing the experiment, so it was called 2 – 2- 1 (two people, two places, one time). Recently, a 3 – 3 – 1 was concluded here, the second installment of the experiment. And, now, here I am, with the third installment, a 3 – 3 – 1 this time around. The time agreed upon was last Saturday, 5.30 PM India time, and I am a contestant too.

I hope you enjoy reading all about it! Here you go. The time agreed upon

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The first photo is by Norm, who blogs at Classical Gasbag, and lives in Lafayette, Indiana, USA.

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I went downtown to take my picture for this edition of 3-3-1. From the time I left the house to the time I parked my car, the day turned from a bright sunny morning to an overcast morning. I hope that it isn’t a portent.

I had a wide variety of subject matter for the picture. I could have chosen a number of wall art subjects, or a sculpture on the courthouse square, or a busy farmer’s market a block away from this site. In fact, I was heading to the farmer’s market (the first of the year) when the clock in the courthouse tower started chiming 8 a.m. So I quickly took a picture of Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. Commonly known in the U.S. as Lafayette. Lafayette, Indiana was named for him.

He was a French nobleman who came to the U.S. and became a Revolutionary War hero in our battle for independence from the British crown. He also was an important figure in the French Revolution. But I’ll let you Google him if you want more information.

I once attended a wedding that was held when the fountain was running. It was a small event. The happy groom was a probationer in the court system, his inamorata was a bubbly lass, and the ceremony was officiated by the judge who had originally sentenced the fellow. A good time was had by all.

The next photo is by the author of This Labyrinth I Roam, who lives in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Being in Bangkok, unfortunately, means getting caught in the inevitable clutches of an extremely fast-paced city life. No matter how much you say you will walk your own pace, you will end up being caught in the undertow. It’s for that reason that the concrete jungle sometimes rubs me the wrong way. I miss the chilled pace of life in Bangalore, and the giant trees under which unsuspecting chai-drinking aunties rest.
But then, there are moments, in this city, when you can open your window and watch the full glory of a passing sunset. Transforming from divine golden hues to rose gold in a matter of seconds, the whole process of settling down for the night seems otherworldly. I love those moments because they allow you a rare chance to catch your breath and actually watch time in motion – you can see the slow change, you can taste its inevitability, and you can feel how much a part of this planet you are, however insignificant. It is in these moments that you can finally look at the big picture outside of corporate stress and everyday human struggles and see that life, it’s good!
And then, there’s me with my picture!
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At 5.30 PM last Saturday, which was the time chosen for this experiment, I found myself in the bylanes surrounding the posh HSR Layout in Bangalore. The hustle and bustle of the evening hadn’t started yet, but the sky was getting cloudy and darkness had already started to settle in. I was walking around with my camera aimlessly, because I hadn’t planned on what I would click – I wanted this to be spontaneous. I spotted this chaat cart, and knew immediately that this was what I wanted to snap.
This cart is one of the many ‘Mumbai Chaat‘ outlets that have set up shop in Bangalore. They have a distinct style of making chaat, that is different from the usual South Indian-style chaats found in the city commonly. This particular guy was just getting read for the evening ahead when I passed by, laying out plates and chopping vegetables. Maybe he was anticipating a huge crowd later in the evening, considering it was a Saturday? I wonder how he fared that day.
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Did you like reading through this post? Do let me know in your comments!
If you’d like to be a part of the experiment the next time we do this, do feel free to get in touch.

The Best Books I Read In 2015

This week’s prompt over at Top Ten Tuesday is ‘Top 10 best books I read in 2015’. I love the prompt because it gives me a chance to reflect on the kind of reading I have done in the year that has almost gone by entirely.

Well, in 2015, I haven’t done much reading. The total number of books I have read this year, so far, is much less than what I would usually do in a year. But then, I am not complaining. I have had a lot of other things to do, like bringing up a child, house shifting, travelling, and trying to build up a social life. 🙂 Also, most authors I read this year have been new to me, there haven’t been many repeat authors. All the books I have read this year were chosen because they appealed to me, after a lot of thought. I had limited time to read, so better carefully choose what to read, eh? Consequently, there was much less mindless reading this year, and more of deliberate reading. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have any disappointments, though – I had quite a few!

Without further ado, let me get to the books that I was happy to read in 2015. I liked these books quite a lot, and would love to continue their thread in the coming year as well. Here goes.

  1. Taste: A Love Story

I so enjoyed reading this book! Though it was a typical chick-lit formula book, there were a lot of things that elevated it to a very interesting read for me. I loved the warm romance in the book, especially, not to forget the parts about the food and conscientious farming.

2. The Art Of Baking Blind

This is Sarah Vaughan’s debut book, and what a debut it was! This book had so much going for it – promising writing, realistic characteristics, food, and the backdrop of a cooking competition!  This can be called a chick-lit, too, yes, but there were a lot of factors that made this book more than a mere, dumb chick-lit, for me.

3. The House At Tyneford

This one was historical fiction, and a very likeable one at that. The characters and the setting were charming, and were based on the author’s real-life memories. This was the first Natasha Solomons book that I read, and it is certainly not going to be the last.

4. Following Fish

I read very few Indian authors and when I do, most of the times, the books fall extremely short on my expectations. This book by an Indian author was different, though. It is a beautifully written travelogue with a very different angle to it – fish, across the various states of India. I loved the way the author has ‘followed fish’ throughout the country! This was the first time I read Samanth Subramanian, and am I glad I did?!

5. Eating India: An Odyssey Into The Food And Culture Of The Land Of Spices

This is another Indian author I read for the first time this year. In fact, this is the book that I started out reading first in 2015. This is a sort of travelogue as well, outlining the author’s experiences as she went about tasting indigenous foods across the states of India. This is a beautifully written book that I absolutely enjoyed.

6. The Cherry Cola Book Club

This one is about a small town in the US of A, a state-funded library that is dying, and a spunky librarian who is willing to do all she can to save it. It is also about the eccentric characters who happen to live in the small town. All in all, it made for a very entertaining read!

7.The Dirty Life

This was the first farm memoir I read, and this is the book that got me hooked to the ‘farm memoir’ genre. Written by Kristin Kimball, a journalist who visits a farm for a newspaper story who ended up falling in love with the farmer and the farming life, this one captured my heart. This is a very well-written book that exposed me to what farm life really is all about.

8. Important Artifacts And Personal Property From The Collection Of Lenore Doolan And Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, And Jewelry

Considering how much I love books that are unique, it was no wonder I fell for this book. The storyline isn’t much, but the presentation of the story makes all the difference. The story is narrated in the form of an auction catalogue – can you beat that?!

9. A Berlin Kitchen

I so loved this food memoir! It is so sensitively written, and strongly brings forth the power of food in one’s life, the way food creates associations and memories.

10. The Hour Of The Goddess

Another book by Chitrita Banerji (author of Eating India) makes it to this list! This one is a foodie memoir, about the author’s growing-up years in Kolkata and the kinds of foods that she grew up eating. It is more personal than Eating India, very well written, and a pleasure to read.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts about them?

What were your best books in 2015? Tell me all about them!

Sisterhood Of The World Q&A

A while back, Perspectives And Prejudices tagged me to participate in the Sisterhood Of The World Q&A. This meme consists of five questions, which I needed to answer.

Well, here I am, with my answers!

  1. One beauty product you would recommend to all your girlfriends?

I am not a very beauty-product-friendly person. I hardly use any beauty products, though I do shop for them off and on, thinking I should use them. My beauty-product-buying is pretty basic, though, limited to stuff like soaps, fragrances, lip balms, moisturisers, and, maybe, some eye liner.

If I had to choose one great product to recommend, I would suggest Himalaya’s Foot Care Cream. This is one product that I have always loved, on the few-and-far-between times that I have actually used it. It is apparently made with all-natural ingredients, and I love how my feet feel oh-so-soft after I leave it on overnight. I don’t care for my feet as much as they deserve to be cared for (considering that I am on my feet a whole lot every day – but then, I don’t think I take care of all of my body very well either. No, this is not something I am proud of. Just saying.), so when I do apply this cream on my feet every once in a while, I feel happy from within, because my feet are finally getting some much-needed pampering. I love the fact that the cream is absolutely non-greasy, and doesn’t make my feet slippery after application.

2. Three books everyone must read?

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller – I think this is one of the most sensitive books ever written. I read this one quite a few years back, but I still remember the way it made me feel. I haven’t re-read it for fear of losing that magic. It is that special to me. If you haven’t read it already, please do so now!

Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes – This is one of my absolute favourite books of all times. I think it was one of the first books to inculcate the love of slow and deliberate living in me, a book that taught me to appreciate the simple as well as the fine things in life.

The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble – This is yet another all-time favourite book. It is all about the stories of seemingly ordinary people who live right next door to you. I loved this book and found it inspiring for a number of reasons. If you do get around to reading this book, don’t forget to tell me your thoughts about that beautiful character in it called Violet.

3. Favourite online shopping site?

I am not a big online shopper. I love touching and feeling things before I buy them, and the whole experience of wandering through markets and supermarket aisles and finding something unique or something I have always wanted to buy. That said, I do sometimes resort to online shopping for the convenience that it offers. Sometimes, online shopping works out more economically than buying something in a brick-and-mortar store. On such occasions, Amazon is the site that I turn to first. I have been happy with our shopping experiences at Amazon so far, and they seem to have absolutely everything one could need. So, there!

4. Favourite phone app?

Again, I am not a very app-friendly person. I do own a smartphone, but I am not smart enough to make frequent use of all the apps that can be downloaded on it. At the most, I use it to check e-mails when I am on the move. If I had to choose the app that I use most often on my phone, I would say Pacer. It counts the number of steps I walk every time I am out of home, and tells me the exact number of calories I have burnt. I like the way it motivates me to walk more and use the car or bike lesser.

5. One dish that you are really good at making and the recipe?

The OH says I have quite a few signature dishes that I make really well, and that he can’t bear to have anywhere else. *patting myself on the back*

However, I think my Farmhouse Grilled Sandwiches go down really well with all of our family. That is the dish I would choose for this question. Here is the recipe.

There you go!

Thank you for this tag, Perspectives & Prejudices! I had fun thinking about the answers. 🙂

As always, I am not tagging anyone. If you think you would like to take this meme up, please feel free!

The Quote Challenge Post#3/3

Hello, people!

Today is Day 3 of the Quote Challenge, and I am here with a quote that I love, love, love. I can’t tell you how much this one resonates with me.

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom.

— Anaïs Nin

Isn’t that simple but eloquent and brilliant?

I was a shrinking violet myself, once upon a time. Still am, but to a relatively lesser extent, I like to believe. Along came a day when the risk to remain tight in a bud and fade away into oblivion was something I just couldn’t bear to take. I learnt how painful it was to blossom, but how it was also oh-so-very-beautiful. And I decided to do the latter. I am still a work-in-progress, but at least I am that.

Well. that’s that. Curtains closed on the Challenge. 🙂

If you find the Challenge interesting, please feel free to take it up!

The Quote Challenge Post#2/3

It is time to put up my second post for the Quote Challenge and, this time around, it is a quote about travel, something that is near and dear to me.

Here goes:

If you are 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how people live and eat and cook. Learn from them wherever you go.

~Anthony Bourdain

I couldn’t agree more. I believe people should travel whenever and wherever they can. And I think everyone can. Travel does not have to be to the most exotic of places, to some unheard-of valley or in a country where no one speaks your language. Travel can be as simple as just getting out of your house and walking through that small lane just two streets away from your place. It can be as simple as taking a day trip to a park in your city. It could even mean travelling to a distant relative’s place to attend a baby shower or a pooja. It could also be hopping over to a new restaurant in your neighbourhood to try out the fare there, if you dine at home every day. The idea, according to me, is to get out of your rut, the mental and physical threads that bind you, to look at new things out of your comfort zone, to experiment with things that are new to you, to expose yourself to new tastes and smells and sounds, to observe how people out of your home behave. I am sure it will add a whole new perspective to your thoughts, and a whole new layer to your personality. The farther you go in life – in terms of travel – the more you see, the more you get to learn, yes, but it doesn’t have to be that elaborate. Not always.

I hope Bubboo grows to be a backpacker. I hope she is as curious about the world as her parents are. I hope she would love to explore the world with us. I look forward to the day when she will begin actively travelling with us. I can’t wait for the day when we can begin to see the world through her fresh, child’s eyes. That is one of the best gifts we can give our child – a sackful of beautiful memories through travel and a whole lot of things to ponder over.

As always, I will not tag anyone on this post. If you find the Challenge interesting, do go ahead and take it up!

The Quote Challenge Post#1/3

Bogglehead tagged me for The Quote Challenge some time back. I am, finally, here with the first post for the Challenge. 🙂

What is the 3-Day Quote Challenge about?

1. Post one of your favorite quotes on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own. (You must post 3 different quotes in all)
2. Nominate 3 bloggers each day to challenge them.
3. Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

Thank you, Bogglehead! This gave me a chance to reflect on a few of my favourite quotes. I have been procrastinating a bit on this Challenge, because I have loads of favourite quotes and it is difficult to choose just three. Secondly, I do not keep track of the quotes that I love, and they get lost. Parts of them are retained in my memory, and I have to look them up frantically, trying to find the exact words and who said it. Anyways, I am ready for my first post for the Challenge now.

This is one of my favourite quotes of all times. I read it somewhere as a young adult, and it resonated with something inside me. I have kept it in mind since. This is something I strongly, strongly, strongly believe in.

Here goes:

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

~ Jim Rohn

This is something that runs through my mind as I grapple with difficult times, trying to fight against circumstances, making the most of the lemons that life hands me at times. I must say it has held me in good stead.

I will not tag anyone here, but if the Challenge sounds interesting to you, please do take it up!