The Scorpios

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Friday, May 29, 2009

A Day in Dhaka

I was lucky that I went to Dhaka on a day the rain had washed and cleaned the city. The city looked like a combo of Bangalore in some parts - where the diplomats lived and our good old Kolkatta in other parts. The surprise was the abundance of CNG booths.
My uncle had mentioned jokingly that even the saesperson in a store would expect a tip for directing you to the right section!
And I assure you, he wasn't joking- I realised belatedly though.
As I landed in Dhaka, I realised, to my shock that I had forgotten to activate international roaming! The immigration officer kindly lended his mobile for me to make a call to the partner working the market with our company, to pick me up. As luck would have it, he was waiting at terminal 2 while I was standing on terminal 1. A porter kindly lended me his mobile phone to call the partner again and then would not leave my side - expecting a bakhshish! Since I was going back in the afternoon, I had not exchanged my dollars and he waited around until the partner could tip him!
And oh, I am no longer leading a donkey's life- I have sat inside Toyota Gaya with a sun roof! They tell me there are only 2 of those cars in entire Dhaka! Yay! An awesome experience- if only I coulld have stood on the seat and waved at the crowd around, my life would have been complete!
This is Dhaka city for you taken from my mobile phone - if you peer closely you might see a flight in take off and radisson below that with red roofs! Try try!

The auto rickshaws are queer- the driver sits completely caged for security of the driver. Below is a funny 3 wheeler- very tiny and seemingly uncomfortable

The magnificient parliament building... awesome!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What All Can Go Wrong or Right in a Trip?

A quick update before detailed ones follow
1. Cyclone Aila chooses to strike the day you choose to fly to Dhaka via Kolkatta.
2. You leave early morning from Chennai only to spend the entire day at the airport- reading, eating and waiting for the airline to arrange for the cabs which are in short supply due to the flight delays
3. The 2 books you bring along with you are nearing completion
4. You panic and plug inthe laptop to conserve the book to last you for the next 2 days, only to find the net not connecting
5. You call up reliance and they refuse to respond unless you manage to dream up the initial they have affixed to your name for fun- you call them arse h0les much to your great satisfaction when they ask you to go home, get the bill to check the initials and come back and complain(like I could)...(you call again and this time the nice guy at the other end takes your complain and restores your connection in the next 2 hours)
6. You live from one sandwich to the next as the airport (International that too) has a hole in the wall snack bar and the coffee days are in the arrival section (poor fellow, hardly any business)
7. You arrive at a shady sounding hotel and are pleasantly surprised to get upgraded to a suite - but you have no husband to romp in the huge bed with you
8. You get to eat divine fish fry and tough mutton - and the staff hold a meeting to solve the problem of the mutton and then insist you order the same dish the next day even if you are going out for dinner
9. You have to catch the flight to Dhaka the next morning which means you miss the complimentary breakfast and eat that nasty sandwich in the airport again
10. There is ankle deep water stagnant in front of the hotel and you borrow gumboots to reach the car without getting wet
11. You buy 3 books at the airport to last you the entire trip
12. You realize you do not have international roaming once you touch down Dhaka
13. You realize that the agent who has to pick you up has no way to contact you as you have called him from the immigration officers phone and you have no idea which section of the airport he is waiting
14, A nice porter gives you his phone and then hounds you for bakhshish (the uncle was right- even for telling you the price of an item in the store- they expect a bribe)
15. You have an extremely good meeting and divine lunch on the 12th floor
16. You come back to Kolkatta and meet the Sue & Dipali & SRE but miss meeting Eve's Lungs
17. You realise next afternoon that The Pregnant King has 44 pages missing
18. You buy mangoes and lichi (slurp)
19 Your flight is delayed
20. You are stuck in traffic
21. You get hold of the bookseller and he doesn't have a replacement
22. You had to buy a different book in exchange (blessing or disguise)
23. You reach home at 3 am!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nalas on a Naala

How could I forgot to post about the dinner at Nalas done almost a month back - I had been groping to get ideas for posts and here this review was sitting right at the back of my head and I was doing nothing about it. ah well, here it is - read about the yummy food we had at this place - when apron strings loosened and we commited the blasphemy of eating a large tandoori chicken. And take my word for it- the tandoori chicken was awesome- delicious, juicy, fleshy and copious- the most important aspect of any food- has to be in plenty- total value for money- if only we didn't have to cross the toll on OMR to get there.
We took their biriyani which came with a combo of miniature chicken 65 pieces. And a chicken masala curry which was awful for which we got a full refund.
A dear little place with plants on the windows overlooking the OMR road- off course it did not matter that our seat was situated right on top of a manhole and I was feeling that it might open up any moment with the pressure of my feet!
My suggestion- take the tandoori chicken- the rest of the menu is standard!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Street Food on my Dining Table

Sinfully deep fried samosas...made my Mom's way- not perfected in terms of measures but still tasty when hot
The outer
Mix thoroughly 2 - 3 tbsp ghee in 3 cups maida- take a fist ful of maida in your palm and try to make it into a laddu. If it holds together- the consistency is ok or else add more ghee. Add salt, ajowain and black jeera (mangrella). Make into a really stiff dough.

The Filling
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add peanuts and fry. Add half- 1 lemon juice, 1/2 spoon turmeric, 1 spoon coriander powder, 1-2 green chillies, 1/2 tsp ginger paste and mix well. Add boiled poatoes and mix them well. Cover and cook on medium flame for 5-7 minutes

Making the samosa
Take a small ball of the dough and roll it into a thin round. Cut the round piece into half- into 2 semicircles.
With the index finger rub a little water on half of the straight edge of the semi circle. Fold the semicircle and join the straight edges and make a cone. Fill the stuffing, close the open edges and deep fry on medium - low flame.
You could also make yummy samosa chaat using left over ones!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Flowers Galore

The pretty palm tree flowers form a lovely bouquet- and I am told they are hardy to.

Thanks Ma for the idea you are the best. They look nice and enticing too- the kids love to break off the bobbles and scatter them on the floor and sweep them right off.
The garden flower rangoli.. the plastic flowers are stained though but the genda phool are irresistible

Friday, May 22, 2009

First Icecream Parlour Visit

We took Ojas & Tejas out for their first icecream parlour visit. A trip to just have icecream. I am not saying the visit was a complete hit as the kids were not particularly interested in the icecream that particular day- evident from their expression.
As Ojas proclaims on the T-shirt- Mamma loves chocolate... I took my favourite chocolate truffle as I officially do not love icecreams so much that I buy a bowl of the same for myself and prefer cake infinitely more. We went to the recently renovated Shakes & Creams on SP road. Renovations or not, this place will not change- the waiters will still look anywhere but towards your direction, the service will be slow, the AC will be not working and the fruit salad with iceceam and Chicken curry pizza (ordered for old times sake) will be delicious and value for money.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The wooden puzzles from Pondicherry that we all love so much...

A 20 piece & 26 piece set of shapes that form these birds...Ojas & Tejas have finally managed to piece them together by themselves. Not an easy cake, I end up frustrated at times and have to refer to the handy pic on my mobile for solving it quickly at crisis occassions.
I love the way they call out the parts as they piece them together- No foot, now tail, now the piece that is similar to the piece on the lion jigsaw and so on...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just Like Old Times

A very dear friend and ex-colleague surprised me with a call that she is in town and would love to meet up.
Considering the fact that we have not spoken for quite some time and not seen each other for more than 2 years, I was worried about the awkward pauses and that perhaps now that we do not work for the same organisation, we may have nothing to talk about.
My fears were proved to be false because-
a) I underestimated my nonstop nonsense talking capacity
b) I forgot that she is a very nice and tolerant girl who has immense patience and has always indulged me and my useless chatter
c) With old friends there cannot be awkward pauses. As I like to stay, one can always begin from where they left and there is enough ground to cover and at the end of it all you still feel as if there was a lot unsaid.
d) Kids, husband, common friends, work, aspirations in life, weight, weddings... it's never ending...
As we chatted into the night over coffee/ sandwiches, I was loathe to look at the watch - the moral police for moms!
At the end of it all I left home with a happy, contended feeling and an overall feel-good spirit!

Only to promptly go back the next day to meet IBH over coffee and sandwiches! A much awaited unwind session which was getting postponed for an inordinate duration of time!
PS- At the rate I meet the girl friends in Indira Nagar Coffee Day they ought to provide me with priviledged customer benefits

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Nest is Empty

The bulbul family has flown the nest, and I get a chance to check out their construction. A string on the left reinforces the nest and is used to tie the nest to the branch. Proud Parents PreenPapa bird is annoyed...the baby bird is not bothered to fly

baby bird stays back on the palm and the rest of the family fly off as I approach with the camera

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Denial

Tejas throws a plate at mausi's laptop and breaks a key
Mausi- kyon tooti kiya?
Tejas- tum kyon laya laptop. office mein rakho (why did u bring your laptop home. you should have left it in office)...this admonishment goes on for a long time late into the night.

Next morning
Mamma- did you break Mausi's laptop/
Tejas- no. Ojas did it
Tejas- Mamma open this (munch pops choc) for me
Mamma- You ate yours in the morning naa? this is Ojas' naa?
Tejas- toh Ojas share karega naa (But Ojas will share naa?)

Ojas grabs at the mouthfreshener served at the end of the meal.
Dadda- wait I will give you, you don't grab
Dadda places 4 grains of anise on Ojas' palm.
Ojas- sarcastically- what is this?
proceeds to grab a handful of anise for himself.
Ojas/ Tejas- see see I have got fish
2 boys (neighbours)- where where (thinking they have live fish)
O/T- proudly show their plastic squeezie fish

Friday, May 15, 2009

I am in the mood for chicklit

Chasing Harry Winston is one such chiklit that goes on and on...small print 288 pages...a story of 3 women at 30 so I can identify with the target group. What? I am still closer to 30 in age even if I have crossed that mark and most certainly don't feel very far away from it mentally and emotionally.
So as I was saying, these 3 women at 30 set about making a resoultion to change their outlook to life, attitude and way of living diametrically opposite. A good backdrop to start with and what is good about the plot is that the women are succesful in their careers... So a total feel good book.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Begonias Bloom

Finally after 5 months- I had almost given up hope when one evening I noted a pink flower in bloom and multiple buds. (what a relief this one is also not purple).

And this is the 9 o' clock that I caught blooming - I usually miss it as I am mostly not around when the rays of the sun hit the buds.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Confessions of A Shopholic

No its not about me. It's about the movie we both saw. A totally feel good escape of 2 hours at Satyam theatres. Bright colours, funny punches and a storyline that says- totally me. Based on the book Confessions of a shopoholic and no it is not exactly like the book. It's different. You know what's going to happen but well, it's not exactly the same and it's not all from the same book. Bits and parts have been picked out from the other books in the series too. Go for it if you have read the book and even if you haven't.
I must mention that I had gone to Satyam after ages... the place itself has a feel good factor. Ease of parking, the snack joints and the fun time sprinkling the seasonings on the popcorn...mmmmm.
The movie followed by a sumptious lunch of kebabs and mutton curry at Copper Chimmney at Citi Centre (yes it's open even at 3 pm while the one on Cathedral road closes at 3 pm) and rounding off with window shopping and our just desserts- icecream/ chocolate truffle-perfect recipe for a hot afternoon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Disaster Shopping Trip

So here I define the recipe for a disaster shopping trip...
1. The husband proclaims that "my wife will take you (client) for shopping- she knows everything about shopping"
2. The husband indicates vaguely that they want to buy modern Indo-western boutique type dresses - which I translate to smart short kurtas (Indian naa)- like the ones I buy from my secret boutique in Gurgaon
3. I do a broad game plan on where I am going to take them (the firangs) - which means which direction we will go that's all
4. They ask me what is the plan- like a detailed one. I don't have any detailed one offcourse- it's going to be played by the ear
5. I don my marketing hat- which means I know nothing and am going to ask you to tell me everything right now and decide on the spot the solution- I ask them what they want to buy- They indicate 2 above and say they don't want to go to the westsides and fab Indias and all.
6. Marketing hat donned again- grope grope for some clue- even say that the best boutiques for Indian clothes are in Delhi so as to not raise their hopes too high, until they mention Amethyst and casually drop in some designer names...
7. Bell rings and I curse myself for not doing my homework on designer stores and for never frequenting designer stores for that matter
8. Madly recalls the few designer stores she knows Evoluzione, Silkworm, Rehane (that I happened to notice a day ago and knew what it is as had attended a seminar in which she was one of the panelists) and Ritu Kumar and acts ultra-knowledgable of the happening designer boutiques in Chennai
9. As we go in to the stores, rapidly scans the in-store magazines for ads/ reports of other designer boutiques and gets to know of a few more like Collage- and act even more knowledgeable
10. Gets into Titanic as they wanted to buy something for the kids and ends up spending more than them on 3 bags which she doesn't really need but buys them all the same as they are at a discount and from hidesign (salsa).
11. Goes to Spencer's mall as they want to buy some specific teas. They don't find the tea, but I stumble on the escalator as Ojas wouldn't move out of the escalator and therefore broke my sandals and ended up buying a sandal I don't really need desperately.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Fuzzy" Logic

Tejas- Mamma what is this? (pointing to my legs)
Mamma- shamelessly- hair
Tejas- tum Dadda ban gaya? (have you become Dadda?)

Mamma- Shall I give (present) this (new) bag to Mausi?
Tejas- who had taken a fascination for that bag- No, mausi has her own bag naa?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Music for the Sleepyheads

Isn't it a little too profound for Ojas & Tejas to like to listen to songs from Life in a Metro every night at bedtime?
And even more profound when they sing together...baatein kuch ankahi see moment of pride...*kala tikka*
(I know I know I am responsible as these were the only songs pre-loaded on my mobile.) Apart from these,
they love to laugh together with Masakalli
They believe that Baby I love you is sung especially for them
And Marjaani is the current favourite dance number
And off course pride comes before a fall when they are singing with great gusto a certain song that talks of what games one can play when the Dad & Mom are not at home!
And when they say- Mamma tum nahi sing karo (mamma you don't sing) when I try to sing along with the songs!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Horn Ok Please

Not having a horn in your car is such a humbling experience
...and irritating to the boot.
When you have to simply wait until that bike right in the centre of the fast lane deigns to shift towards the left
Or when the bus is right justified on the middle lane and you are like me, too chicken to overtake the bus that may just veer towrds its right any moment
Or perhaps you are reduced to a state of needing to lower the window and tap on the car in front to make the driver move forward a bit, when you are trying to overtake on the narrow left side ..

And oh off course the husband feels that whatever dents you have got on your car is because you do not have a horn on you.

Ah, getting your horn back is so liberating..
Back off you trolls...
Back off you slowcoaches...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Domestic Horror in 80 clicks

The venerable Dipali tagged me on this one and I come up with my own domestic horror stories- the first is a fridge horror story-
1. New year's eve of 2004...I noticed an odour near my washbasin which was something like wet matted dog + it's urine, faaart, dead rat, spoiled food. Now being the self- appointed nose of the house, I took it upon myself to hunt for the source of the smell. And lo and behold, I peeked behind the fridge to see the outlet of the fridge ejecting droplets of something completely yucky and lots and lots of green stuff and maggots and other assorted animal kingdom members swimming and multiplying in that fluid even as I looked at it.
New year's eve, on a friday night- which means the next 2 days one cannot get someone to clean the fridge. So yours truly and husband dear take on the mammoth task of pushing the fridge till the balcony, tilting it and washing the hell out of it!
I believe it was a milk spill that found it's way out of the outlet
2. Gas horror story- Diwali day, a friend had got married few days ago and because of that I had quite a few coconuts collected as return favours.
I decided to display my culinary skills and make coconut burfi. All went well and I removed the coconut mix from the gas. Found it to be too watery and not morphing into laddus no matter whatever I did. So I took my cooker and put the mix back into it and left it on (low?) flame and went away going about my other business. Horrors- a roasted, burnt smell came percolating to my nose and I rushed back and found that I had left the gas on high flame and as a result had a charcoal black scene awaiting for me.
Fast forward a few tearful moments and I ended up spending Diwali evening cleaning the cooker partly leaving the major part for the maid next day.
And to my chagrin- the maid refused to clean it beyond a point.
I had to cook mutton the next day in that cooker and no way I was going to have coconut + charcoal smell contaminating the taste. So I brandished my metal scrubber and spent a good hour scrubbing away the finest of stains until I got my cooker ready to cook mutton the next day!
I tag
Monika, Ansh
Moppet's mom

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Long Overdue Blogmeet Report!

Crazymum has done a great job of this so I wouldn't dwell on details...Just that a promised play date morphed into a blogmeet and a delightful one indeed.

and left me wondering whether the playdate was for the kids or the moms!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Purple Glory

Purple periwinkles and this tiny purple flower (someone tell me the name) in a small cutglass container form a flower rangoli to brighten up a corner.