Monthly Archives: May 2018

My staff of life

I am from a part of the world, in which, rice is the staple food, stuff of dreams etc. We eat rice differently from the rest of the rice eating world.  While the rest largely eat plain cooked rice with sides of vegetables and meat, or precooked variously flavoured rice, we add plain cooked rice on our plate, dump various forms of gravies with names like sambar, dal, kuzmbu, rasam, koottu, thuvayal etc., over the rice, mix it in on the plate with our fingers and eat it.

Over the past decades, rice has got way too much bad rap in the world – that it is the sole cause of obesity, of metabolic syndrome diseases, diabetes in particular etc.  I don’t know how far that is right, because as I see it, the Japanese eat a lot of rice, but are not riddled with these maladies, of course they also walk at least 7000 steps every day  Still, it is sad that I often feel guilty when I eat rice, especially for dinner, although in truth, I’d marry rice if I could.

When I lived abroad briefly, I was introduced to other forms/styles of rice – plain white bland rice, with sides of vegetables (no meat for me, I used to be a strict vegetarian, now I am a vegetarian by choice, and I relent now and then, if situation demands), Spanish rice, Chinese fried rice, brown rice, dirty rice, red rice, cold rice, etc.   I’ve enjoyed all of them.

Only about a year ago, I was introduced to an interesting form of rice; rice rolled in  seaweed and embedded with a piece of avacado or cucumber, in the place of the customary raw salmon or tuna, which I am not bold enough to try – the sushi, in short.  These rolls were served as an appetizer with a side of pickled ginger (oh my) and a dash of hot meso paste   wasabi (mmmm).  The first sushi roll was, interesting, but not really as exciting as I had expected it to be.  However, something drew me to the roll every time we visited the Japanese restaurant, which has been at least once every fortnight for the past year, and I can’t decide if it is the flavour of Nori or the blandness of the rice with the unexpected crunch of the cucumber.  Today, I had eight sushi rolls and craved for more before the better half drew me out of the restaurant with promises of apple pie icecream.  I had the apple pie icecream as well, and although I am the human representation of a python that has just ingested an elephant, I continue to crave sushi.

My rice love is now complete.

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Sharing my world

Cee’s Share Your World

If you were to pack a basket for picnic lunch, what would be in your basket?

Nothing.  I would just buy stuff along the way.  I am sick and and tired of packing food for travel.  If I had to pack another basket of idly at 4 AM for travel, I’d scream.

There is a plan to take my father to a hill-temple in a couple of days, because it has been his long time desire — said temple being our “clan deity”. I’ve been putting it off for decades because I don’t travel well, and traveling up and down a hill is nothing short of torture to me.  But lately I’ve been feeling that as he ages, it would become more difficult and if I am unable to take him to the temple before he exits the world, I might regret it.  I am not excited at the prospect of car travel; the very thought makes me nauseous.  But I feel that this is something I ought to get done with before it is too late.

The connection to the question is that I told my dad that he can forget about me packing food for the trip.  Either we eat enroute, or we starve until we return.

On a vacation what you would require in any place that you sleep?

A clean floor/blanket/pillow, mosquito-free room, clean toilet with running water and adequate ventilation and breeze.  I also need a bottle of water.  It would be nice if the surroundings were silent and dark.  And private – I am not an elegant sleeper and I’d rather not be conscious of alien eyes on me.

If you were to buy a new house/apartment what is the top three items on your wish list?

Adequate natural light, adequate natural ventilation and a garden that would thrive despite my black thumb.  The first two I have in my current house, and the third is not possible in this world.

Mishmash Monday

After a long time, I got to eat home food cooked by someone else, in a house that is not mine, and didn’t need me to clean like a maniac because there were going to be guests. We were invited for lunch to the better half’s friend’s house, to leave the offspring over for a slumber-party with their teenage daughter.  The lunch, which was nothing fancy, just a home cooked regular meal, tasted good, unlike my daily fare, and I ate like a tapeworm off a diet.  What impressed me more was how comfortable everybody seem in their skin, in their homes, in their thoughts and speech.  In contrast, I am always sitting on thorns – both inside my body and outside, constantly looking out for my faults and mistakes and constantly in some form of pain/physical discomfort – right now as I type this , within the comfort of my own house, whatever the heck the word “comfort” means,  I can feel the start of a headache, the nagging pain of my wound that hasn’t fully healed yet, the sweltering summer afternoon, augmented by my ideal of not adding to the carbon footprint through conditioning of the air and  a mild anxiety about what to cook for dinner (we just had lunch, for God’s sake) – in effect, a feeling of “I want to go home and rest, you know”.  That’s when  I had a small light-bulb moment — that home is not a place but a state of mind, and I would never find my home, ever.  It’s probably unfortunate, but heck, at least I can stop searching for that elusive place of repose in my life — it does not exist inside my head.

The kid’s school starts next week. I am excited about her going to school, but certainly not about the kitchen routine that would set in.  I thought my new kitchen would mitigate my hatred for the chore of cooking, but that is not to be, it seems.  I hate cooking with as much vehemence as before.

This week also resumes my “work” work; the silver lining, so to speak.

Have a good week, folks.

 

 

 

GDPR

A lot of people in my reader are talking about  General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.   I am not sure what this is,  I suspect it is about me protecting the data about my visitors and commenters.  Maybe I am wrong.

Rest assured,  your data is safe with me, if I know where the data is.  Or even what that data is. I know some of my visitors here in person, some not so much. Some of you go under pseudonyms, some not so much.  I have never searched or stalked, beyond what I read directly as your words, and am in no other form of social media to make correlations and cross references.  I never go to the back end of WP to check stuff..for all I know my spam mailbox is overflowing and the reader stats plummetting, but my thing now is to just write, read, comment, respond and move on.

If there is something else I need to do to protect my blog and its visitors, I am sure I will learn in due course.  If you think there is something I should do, please educate me.

The unsocial medium

I have never been a social media person.  When Facebook was on beta test, I was invited to try it because I was a prolific email user – I am known to have sent megabytes of written mails to a lot of people – this was the pre-blog era, remember. I got on FB, the beta version, in which you could throw sheep at people, if I remember right – does that still exist? – for a couple of months before I found out that it was not my style at all.  I needed more verbose articulation,and somehow the FB ecosystem didn’t encourage it.   Since then I did get on and off on FB, every time quitting within a few weeks for the same reason.   I stopped vacillating a decade ago, and have not been to Fb since.

When the concept of blogging came about, I was one of the first entrants -I’ve been blogging for nearly 15 years now, although most of my blog posts from the first decade have been deleted for some reason or the other.  In fact, I see another wipe out coming up soon, I have a compulsive need to, umm…obliviate (Thanks, Rowling) my verbal existence and start afresh every few years.

I tried Tumblr, didn’t like the interface.  Tried twitter, didn’t like the need to compress thoughts into a predetermined word count.  Resisted whatsapp, because everyone I knew was on it, and I am not particularly adept at conversation.  Then I buckled because people found it easier to be on touch using whatsapp because it was cheaper than sms.  I had been on whatsapp for nearly two years, the longest I’ve been on any form of social media.  I started off being skeptical, and then dived in, because my best friends from America were on whatsapp, and I could reach out to them at all hours of day and night.

Yesterday, I got out of whatsapp.  The reason I gave my contacts was that my neck, eyes and back are strained and I need to stop using the phone so much.  Which is partly true.  The true reason is as follows, and it takes courage to write about it, because I come out a goat.

A couple of days ago, I was a little disturbed about a bit of a domestic squabble.  While I was sulking, I listlessly opened whatsapp, and found a question from one of my contacts.  I contacted another person also on WA, got the answer and conveyed it to the first person.  Meanwhile, both person A (the questioner) and B (the one I sought answers from) where chatting with me, and I alternated between the two.  Somewhere along the line, person B said something that person A was not supposed to know, and somehow, I typed out the reply in the wrong chat – in person A’s chat.  It was too late by the time I realised it, and the situation got terribly messy – I doubt if person A would ever talk to me again.

While that in itself is a bad thing – I like A, she is an inspiration to me, what bothered me was the inattention I was giving to both people while chatting.  I also realised that in the past few months, I have become very inattentive to details.  I have, in the past years, done a lot of research on social media and its outcomes, both at the personal and social levels, when I was writing for a tech company, and I am aware of the debatable idea of engagement in social media shortening attention span.

I noticed another problem.  I have four very close friends – they are from different periods of my life, and are my emotional pillars.  All four are on WA.  I noticed that lately, any small mental disturbance, or problem  I have, I bellyache to them, so much so that when I go back and look at the history of conversation, I am whiny as hell.  While my best friends are my best friends because they listen to me without judging, and more importantly, without offering solutions, I believe that the presence of a “mommy” to run to for every boo-boo, robs me of my self-management skills, and complaining about every tiny hiccup avalanches into a full negativity mode, which, I believe is a new discovery I’ve made.

There is a third issue – the forwards.  I am tired of people forwarding things to me.  Every time I complained to my friend about the forwards that people sent, he always advised me to ignore them.  I can’t.  I have a compulsive need to read every written word I come across – this is a disease, and I end up wasting time reading stuff that are useless, or worse, aggravate me to no end – the religious bigotry, the pseudoscience, the sensationalism, the gossip and the emotional blackmail.

Right now, as a cauterizing measure, I’ve deleted all smart-activities from my phone, and turned off data.  Once the infection heals, I’ll open up data again and get back to using the smart services that the fourth generation of digital communication offers.  I am not sure I’ll get back on whatsapp; people who matter to me, and to whom I matter, I’d rather talk or visit when time permits us all.

It’s ok to miss out.  I shall overcome the fear.

 

 

Sharing my world

From Cee.

What household chore do you absolutely enjoy doing? (can be indoor or outdoor)

Yard work.  Cleaning the garden patch, watering, digging, fertilizing….I could be at it all day. Not that it would make a difference to the plants, per se, it just keeps me happy.

Create a sentence with the words “neon green” and train”.

I don’t want to create a sentence with the words “neon green” and “train” but heck, I just did.

Other than your cell phone what can you always be found with?

When I am out, my hand bag with IDs and stuff and a bit of money.  These days a bottle of water as well. Damn it’s hot.

Mishmash and more

When I was in high school, I sang in a musical called “Prodigal son”, and I remember having written about this earlier, so bear with me if it is an umpteenth repetition.  One particular song that the protagonist – the prodigal son – sings hit me between my eyebrows because I realized that she (all-girl’s school, remember?) was describing my existence.  A part of the song that struck me most was this (and I have mentioned this earlier ):

There seem to be several people, Locked up inside of me

Fighting a constant battle, For my identity

Sometimes they keep me prisoner, Sometimes they set me free

Is one of them my true being?  Is one of them really me?

This song has been bellowing inside my head this past weekend.   I met with my high-school prodigal friends over lunch, and spent a rowdy couple of hours with them. As I walked back home, I felt that this person, who laughed non-stop at jokes about sagging breasts, and other sexual innuendos (which were often times not really innuendos,given that one of the gang tied the knot just recently — second innings, so to speak), was poles different from the person that would be once I reached home.  The home would see a woman trying hard to be a grown-up and failing miserably, and feeling terrible about it, rather than the riotous girl who was happy with her juvenility in equally juvenile company.  Also different is the other person, who talks to her grown-up friends about parenting woes, or plays the reluctant counselor to an ageing father, or the one who bares her soul out here in any written word.

Who really am I?  When I am each of the above, I feel that is me, but I realise that each is merely a garment that I slip on as the situation warrants, and I wonder if there is a naked person beneath these garments at all? Or am I just a collection of these garments, and once each of these is removed from my life, I would cease to exist?

Whoa, that got pretty existentialistic, didn’t it?  I’ll just take Carol’s comment for the earlier similar, if not identical, post of “You ARE” and move on.

**

I’ve been listening to a lot of TED talks during cooking times, to make me want less to gouge my eyes out at the chore.  Some of the talks are very entertaining/informative/interesting, some more meh…

I have a question.  Lately, I notice that a lot of Americans pronounce any word that ends with “ing” as “een” – e.g. I was listeneen to music, I was talkeen to someone.  Why is this?   The first time I heard it, I thought it was a speech impediment, or specific to people of certain race/gender, but I’ve heard way too many people do it, and it is independent of race and gender, that I think not.  I’ve heard people drop the g, and say “lisnin, talkin and so on, but never listneen, during the brief time I lived in the US, a decade and half ago, so this is certainly a new thing.  (or should I say, new theen?).

The speech idiosyncrasy that I noticed in the US, 15 years ago, was the inflection at the end of sentences (technically called upspeak, uptalk, rising inflection, moronic interrogative, or high rising intonation (HRI)), such that even statements sounded like questions.  I wonder if that is still on.

**

Have a good week folks.