Friday, 29 January 2010

How to clean a Microwave oven

Welcome to my 'how to series'. I know all of you are waiting with bated breath for my pearls of wisdom.  We have already covered 'How to make cottage cheese' some days back. Today you will learn tricks on 'How to clean your Microwave’.

If you don't have a microwave, go and buy one, you 18th century dweller!

How can you live without one? foot is in my mouth, as usual.

After being domesticated for nearly a decade, I now have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to tackle with grimy tasks.

As newly married dutiful wife, I used to keep up with cleaning routine of the entire house. Scrub, polish, dust and all those domestic activities. But after a while, unpaid and thankless activities like these do make you think twice and you start to procrastinate. I thought let me have some entertainment at least. So, I devised a plan to see how long I can go without cleaning certain appliances till, Hubs noticed the stink coming from the fridge or the clothes came out still dirty from the washing machine and did something about it.

If you know men and how they will be men, so acutely observed by Smita at books, life and more , this plan sadly backfired and here is my sorry tale.

Yesterday, I went to heat my coffee in the microwave and the mug refused to detach from the glass plate. The glass plate was like a Petri dish waiting to be observed under the electron microscope. It looked like an experiment by a mad scientist on speed. I had to soak it for two hours and scrub it with hot soapy water after which it resembled something I could have bought.

The interior of the microwave was a mélange of colors. I went to search the user manual; I had no idea that we had bought a designer microwave. I was excited and shared the good news with hubs. He gave me a quizzical look and said 'Ahem!  Sweetie....I think it was white when we bought it'. The user manual said the same. I was adamant;’ they must have given us the wrong user manual'.

I decided to get to the bottom of this mystery. I sprayed the interior with a cleaning solution and started gently scraping the interior. The 'gentle' part was a mistake. I had to throw myself in with full gusto and scrubbed till my fingers cramped. At one point, I was just short of using the chisel and hammer to get through the hardened crust. The result was that my designer microwave was just plain white...sob! And I am now left with knobby bits of nails on my right paw.

The moral of the story is:

1) Don't procrastinate when it comes to cleaning microwaves (you will pay dearly, with no nails).

2) Do not use a chisel and hammer. Soak the glass dish. It usually works. For cleaning the interior you can use this trick.

3) Men will be men and will not notice funky smells, dirty appliances, unwashed clothes....ohhh the list is endless.

Or, you can simply do this
Click on the chart to enlarge

Copyright Credit: Project sidewalk

P.S.: People who have had food at my place are still alive. All their major organs are intact as far as I know. I have not been sued yet, for 'intention to cause bodily harm'.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Holocaust Memorial Day

Friends, today I would like to pay my respects to those brave souls who faced the brutal regime of Nazis in their concentration camps. Today, 27th January - Holocaust Memorial Day. – marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. On this day, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is challenging everyone across the UK to become part of a Legacy of Hope.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2010: The Legacy of Hope

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2010 – 27th January – we are asking everyone across the UK to pause for a few moments. Pause to remember the victims of Nazi persecution and those who were murdered under exclusionary policies in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. Pause to honour the survivors of those genocides. Most importantly, we are asking you all to become part of The Legacy of Hope. We’re asking everyone to grasp the opportunity to listen to the voices of all who suffered in the Holocaust and under Nazi persecution, and to make the hopes of the survivors part of our shared, safer future – a future that is free from the dangers of exclusion and persecution.

Useful Information

· Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place annually on the 27 January, the date of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau – the largest Nazi Concentration Camp.

Entrance to Auschwitz Concentration Camp

On HMD we remember the victims and honour the survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution and those from subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and during the ongoing atrocities in Darfur.

· HMD is about learning from the past to build a better future; it is about promoting equality, respect and understanding.

· By learning from the past and reflecting on the lessons we learn, we can better understand how to react to issues that affect our society today.

· HMD isn’t just learning about history. It’s learning from history. We want to encourage people to think about what action they can take after HMD which will have a positive impact on their community.

· HMD is a day for everyone. The messages of HMD are relevant to us all, regardless of our background, religion, race or community. We can use HMD to celebrate the differences between us and create a safer, better future for us all.

· Visit to find out how you can become part of The Legacy of Hope.

HMD 2010

· This year’s HMD marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

· The number of Holocaust survivors who have built their lives, communities and families in the UK are inevitably diminishing, and, as they become frail, their thoughts are turning to their future remembrance and the preservation of their memory. On HMD 2010, we all have an opportunity to become part of their Legacy of Hope.

· It’s our responsibility to remember those who were persecuted and murdered, because their lives were wasted. Our challenge is to make the experience and words of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides a meaningful part of our future. · We hope the words and experience of victims and survivors will help people to think about their own attitudes, behaviour and choices, the way they vote, the way they interact with others and the way they respect and celebrate differences.

· On HMD 2010, we hope people will think about how they can make a difference in their own communities, asking themselves what they can do today to build a safer, stronger society so that the risk of the building blocks of genocide ever being laid is removed.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Nauseous and Cautious

Has it ever happened to you?

You badly need to go, you rush into a public toilet, do your deed and find out there is no toilet paper or water? What will you do in this situation?

Interesting ideas are popping in my mind.

Slow Down, 'gross idea' alert. People with a queasy stomach proceed with caution.

1) Call for help.

2) Cry your eyes out.

3) Clean yourself with the single handkerchief/tissue you carry i.e. if you carry one.

4) Just pull up your pants, walk out and run home to take a hot shower. Dump the clothes in the waste bin.

5) Just pull up your pants and walk out. Spend the entire day in the same clothes and wonder why people are running away from you like crazy loons.

6) Wait a sufficient amount of time for the mess to have dried out, shake your backside vigorously, wait till everything just crumbles and falls off. Pull up your pants and walk off.

(I hope, you haven't chucked up your food, I warned ya....)

What is it about public toilets? The twins, nauseous and cautious become our best pals.
Have you ever confidently walked into a public loo and came out all pleased with a smile on your face?

Well, the smile could be, if you have been holding it in for quite a while and just made it in time, a blissful sigh of relief is quite natural.

I am talking of a situation in which there is no urgency, you are not in a do or die situation. What then?

Ack! I hate to use public toilets but, when you gotta go you gotta go. You will mostly find one or all of the below in a public restroom.

1) The floor of the toilet stall will be always wet with some type of mysterious liquid (I am hoping water).

2) Someone with no toilet training has used it before you.

3) The toilet seat is wet and sometimes spotted with unidentified gunk.

4) Balls of toilet paper are strewn around with mysterious stains. Wyack.....

5) The bin is overflowing and it is nearly touching the toilet seat.

6) The person before you did not have the sense to flush the toilet, after using it.

7) A weird mixture of smells, mostly unpleasant and mixed with that of a room freshener, makes you want to throw up even more.

Most will just walk away without washing their hands and spread their germs around. Some people will take the efforts to wash and will not bother to shut the tap and let precious water go to waste. What is with such people??

My personal policy is to duck into empty stalls and find out the relatively cleaner one. If this is not an option then papering the entire toilet seat (yah yah...I know not very environment friendly). Hey! A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Most people need to be taught 'How to use public toilet's properly' as a part of school curriculum.

Don't even start me about public toilets in India. Firstly, they are hardly ever there and if they are then its better to do your business under the wide blue sky surrounded by fields of grass.

Well then, gotta rush now....nature calls, this call cannot go unanswered.

Friday, 22 January 2010

I could get sued!!!

Gotcha ! I know you are rubbing your hands gleefully right now.

Calm down, the word to remember is 'COULD'.

I am not getting sued by anyone right now, but I might after I become a really famous blogger.

The past few weeks, I have been in cyberspace so much that I have forgotten what life is. I swear, ask hubs. Just today, I was about to throw a vase at him thinking him to be a burglar. It had been so long, I actually had forgotten his face.

Jokes apart. To be a blogger is tough. Everyday you need to think of new posts to torment your readers. You also want them to come back and get tormented over and over again so, you need to be constantly evolving. I started blogging just as a hobby but am now caught hook, line and sinker. Its addictive, because readers like you, motivate me to write.

The world of Blogging is full of bumps, potholes and stop signs. Words like link referrals, tweet backs, SEO and track backs are thrown at you at surprising speed. Most of the time, I am trying to find the meaning of all this. These jargon's make my head spin. Its tough, I tell you.

My first few posts on this blog were read by my friends and they promptly commented on it. They congratulated me on my writing skills. Puffed up by their love, I started writing quite frequently. The comments from friends faded and some posts lay loveless in Blogosphere. I needed to do something, pronto. I started shamelessly advertising my blog posts (I am still doing it...teehee hee). I put it on facebook, orkut, twitter, stumbleupon and whatnot.

I started harassing friends to read my blogposts. Coaxing them to spread the word around (word of mouth -the old fashioned way). If I continue this harassment anymore, I am bound to get sued by one of them.

We are not amused!!!
moar funny pictures

So, dear readers, I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my BLOG.

Your tweets errrr... comments makes all these efforts worthwhile.

One Woman and her Dog

Hey Sweetypie, come here my babyyyy...I love you a lot.

Hey pumpkin, come on...I know you are listening, give me a kiss...mwaah...mwah

He opens one eyelid and gives me a look of disdain, which says 'O Lord.. She is calling me again, give me a break, I have a life too'.

I raise my hand and this catches his attention. I have his favorite treat in my hand. He gets up and eats it from my hands.

BTW, this is not a conversation between Hubs and me, if you are wondering...

It is hard to raise a dog from a puppy. The first few months are similar to raising a baby (Ouch!!! stop, all you hurt, you know). Well, not so much like a baby...there is no diaper changing and feeding involved but the 'feeding every 4 hours' and 'pooping after every meal' are similar. All the growing pains are just compressed when it comes to dogs.

There are different breeds of dogs that were bred to perform different roles to aide humans, like 'Alsatians' were bred as guard dogs and 'Sheepdogs' for herding animals. A sheep dog helps the farmer to herd the sheep with the help of commands or whistle blasts from the farmer who is at a far of distance. It is amazing to see these working dogs perform.

Inspired by 'Animal Planet', I took it as a challenge to get Buddy trained. I had great many expectations from him. The first few sessions with the trainer were a success. He could give a high five, shake hands and sit when asked to. Pumped up with that success, I had grandiose plans for my brilliant dog. I had already imagined him as a 'Guide Dog’, a dog who could sniff out cancer or a dog with his own TV show (Man, was I hallucinating or what).


Dogs are amazing animals. They are called 'man's best friend' because of their loyalty and unconditional love. I think its all bull. One look at Buddy and people would have agreed with me.
He is a cheeky devil who made hubs and me dance to his barks. His dictionary never had this word 'Unconditional Love'. His motto was 'If you give me Ice cream, I love you', 'If you give me dry dog food, do I know you?’ Hell, this sound exactly like a teenager, the know-it all attitude and who bargain for love with their parents.

Buddy refused to get molded as per my dreams. I started doubting my upbringing, did I do something wrong? Was I a bad dog owner? I watched episodes after episodes of 'The Dog Whisperer' (Cesar Milan-The magic man) to figure out where I had failed in my lofty ambitions.

Jumping onto our bed, sleeping like a human, eating spicy and fried food, whining for attention, begging for ice cream, not listening to us, tearing up his bed and chewing through dozens and dozens of rubber balls. This was 'Buddy's Grand Life' (I always had a serious doubt that, he was a human in dogs clothing).

I wish I had a yummy bone!!
moar funny pictures

I am reminiscing. Buddy turned 5 years old in November. I had a love, hate and love relationship with the cutest pooch in the world. I know, I know, I have blogged about him before here and here. 'Buddy' was the inspiration for this blog; he was a big part of my life and will always be.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Revenge of the Harassed!

You are in the shower, happily scrubbing away the grime and cleaning your pores. You are covered in soap and at that moment, the phone rings (Why does it always ring when you are in the loo or shower?). You scramble to grab a towel, come out of the bathroom dripping wet and shivering with cold. You take these efforts, so that you do not miss a call from a friend or family. You rush and pick up the phone to hear a debt management agency on the call. You feel like reaching inside the phone and socking the guy on his face.

Not that, I do not acknowledge the fact that the telemarketers are just doing their job. But unsolicited calls can actually cheese you off. Most are selling stuff you will never buy. The enthusiastic way in which they try to sell you things which you don't need, can really grate on your nerves. Plus, the wasted time attending such calls can exhaust anyone.

A few days back I had a really weird chat with a telemarketer, that too an Indian with a fake British accent.

The phone rings

Me: Hello

Telecaller (TC): Hello is this 01524*****?

Me: Yes, it is.

TC: Does Mrs. XYZ live here?

Me: No, no one by that name.

TC: Ma'am, I am calling from ABC Debt management agency. As per the new court ruling we can cancel all your debts legally.

Me: OK, but I am not interested. Thanks.

TC: Ma'am. Do you have any debt?

Me: No I don't have any debt?

TC: No credit cards?

Me: I hate credit cards.

TC: Any mortgage?

Me: No mortgage.

TC: Any Personal Loans?

Me: No nothing. Thank you and I am not interested. I am going to put the phone now. (By this time, I was impatient. Even my father had never asked me such questions)

TC: Ma’am How is it possible that you do not have any debt?

Me: It seems you are unhappy that I am debt free (I had lost it by this time).

TC: No, I mean, how is it possible? I think you are lying.

Me: This is too much. You called me and now are accusing me of lying. Don't ever call me. (My temper had risen to dangerous levels)

And I banged the phone down.

Hubs on the other hand likes to toy with these people. He can converse with telemarketers and pull their leg. He in fact enjoys it.

The best way to tackle these people would be to give it back to them, the way they do it to us.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Makeup-Shakeup Hai Rabba

I first heard the word 'makeup' while reading novels. The sentences in the novels 'expertly applied makeup' or 'flawless makeup' always intrigued me. While growing up, my mother had a 'solitary' lipstick, which she promptly forgot to use. That lipstick was used on my elder sister and me as a 'rouge'(hideous blobs of red) to stain our cheeks and also as a lipstick. This was the makeup for the many school plays and dances, in which we participated.

My first brush with actual makeup was, when I saw my eldest sister using a compact, lipstick, kohl pencil and mascara. I was not fascinated by it so much...just thought it as a natural part of being a grown up (I still had some catching up to do). That indifference slowly waned as I grew a bit older and started going to college. That time, my elder sis and I shared whatever bits and pieces of makeup we could buy. We shared our lipsticks and nail polishes. Having a separate arsenal was not viable as makeup was expensive and also it was used only on special occasions.

My makeup regime mostly follows this pattern:

1) Foundation: My flawless skin does not need foundation. Hmpffff.... (Frankly till now I have not been able to figure out which shade to use).

2) Lipstick: Scrunch up your lips and scrub a tube of lipstick around your mouth and hope that the aftermath does not make you look like a circus escapee.

Did u say Lip liner? Huh? What’s that? Aha, the pencil thingy to line your lips, right?
If you have the patience, go ahead. I don't.

Toss the Lip gloss, it makes your lips unnaturally heavy and makes even the flying dust particles stick to your lips.

3) Eyeliner: Close your eyelid, hold up the liner and move it across swiftly across the top lip of the lid. Pray to god, the line is somewhat close to where it is supposed to be and open your eyes.
If you see that you missed the mark at many odd spots then try to repeat the process on the same eye. Yes, you might break out in cold sweat and might start hyperventilating. Cursing at the bad lighting and screaming at the husband will also vent some of the frustration.

If you have missed the mark by a long shot, then its better to go dressed as a punk rocker or Goth. Nothing else will salvage your look.

4) Mascara: Run the mascara brush over your top lashes and lower lashes. If you have been patient and your eyes have not flickered then you have won the battle.

If the whole process makes you look like a druggie or a raccoon in full bloom, you need to scrape of the goop from your eyes and go masacaraless.

5) Rouge: Shudder shudder, a wrong brush stroke and you end up looking like a scary doll. Use it at your own discretion. My rosy cheeks never needed it.

6) Eye shadow: I choose a neutral shade so that any mess I make is not glaringly bad. A ish mash of few colours, applied on your eyelid is all I can manage.

Times have changed now; having your own makeup is no biggie. Women and even some men use makeup as an everyday ritual, just like brushing your teeth. I think it needs practice and patience. The need to look good is the real motivator. There was a time when I could put liner on my eyes in 50 seconds flat. Now, it seems a waste of time. I just put on a lipstick and am all dressed.

What have been your makeup secrets and faux pas?

Saturday, 16 January 2010

A Woman's Right to Nag

The other day, I asked hubs a question.

Me: Sweety, do I nag a lot?

Hubs: (A perplexed expression on his face) I am sure, I caught him off guard. I tend to do that most of the times. Not being a novice himself, he recovered quickly and said not at all dear.

To tell you the truth, I was just doing live research for the post...ha

In a relationship between any man and woman, we have already set our stereotypes. A beer drinking, football watching man, who does not give any heed to the woman. A harridan, whose main pleasure is to scream at the man to do chores. We do come across such people in our lives but there are people who have some tricks up their sleeves and do not have to convert their home & hearth into a battleground.

You come to know of each other's likes and dislikes after living together for some years. You might on occasion want to escape from the mountain of housework and chores both of you are putting off. The problem happens when one of the parties has a different idea and timeline for the chore at hand than the other. Usually, it’s the woman who wants the work to be done as soon as possible and the man does not think it is urgent enough. And most of it surrounds housework.
I have experienced it myself, the frantic need to complete the housework as if I was participating in 'Housework Olympics'. I still have remnants of that disease but am slowly getting cured. I think, it’s a natural reaction, as we get over trained by our mothers at a young age ('Beti sasural jaake humari naak mat kat dena, tumko sab kaam aana chahiye'). We have seen our mothers do it and we take it as our Mantra.

Men, on the other hand think we are 'cuckoo' exhibiting such idiosyncrasies. They think it’s a waste of time and energy doing the same things over an over again. Also, they are clueless about our obsession with chores. Folding and putting away washed clothes in a drawer, neatly stacking washed and dried cutlery, folding of bedcovers are such few examples.

Mostly, women have been associated with the term nagging. Why do we Nag?, the following situation will make it clear.

A man and woman are watching TV. A man gets up and goes to the kitchen to make some popcorn. He is not a least bit conscious about the condition of the kitchen platform, the dirty dishes in the sink, and the toys on the floor. He will grab a bag of popcorn, put it in the microwave, pop it and afterwards dump it in a Bowl. He will leave the empty bag on the countertop and come back to the living room. For him, anything other than popcorn is irrelevant at that time.

Now, the woman goes to get a glass of water. She will see the bag of popcorn on the counter, put it trash, she will pick up the toys and put them in their place. Clean up the dirty dishes, wipe the counter clean, by that time, her anger has reached dangerous levels. She thinks the man noticed the dirty dishes and still did not clean them. He saw the mess in the kitchen but avoided doing all the chores. She comes out and starts a verbal clash with the man. She feels that she is the one doing all the chores and feels unappreciated. She feels he deliberately has not done the chores. She starts nagging him to help her around the house.

The man is left confused, he does not understand the reason, why the woman is so upset? She just went to get a glass of water, right? Then why is she screaming at me?

Another complaint most women have, Men don't listen!!! The reason could be this....

Me: I have invited, X, Y & Z to the party.

Hubs: Hmmm....(busy watching BBC news)

Me: X & Y have confirmed.

Hubs: ok...good

Me: I spoke to Y, she said she just got a call from Z.

Hubs: So is Z coming?

Me: Actually Y said, Z is having some problem with the car and needs to show it to the mechanic. The mechanic will check and let her know what the problem is. Her car is quite old so she needs to get it repaired often.

Hubs: Hmmm...(Channel surfing)

Me: Y said it would be better if she trades it in for a newer model. What do you think?

Hubs: Whaaa? Oh, ok right right...

Me: We should giver Z the number of the Car place we saw the other day.

Hubs: zzzzzzz...already half asleep

Me: You are not even listening to me, you don't love me anymore.

Hubs: Something clicks in his brain. No sweety...I heard everything you said and I love you a lot. So is Z coming?

Me: I dunno, Y said Z will call me and let me know.

So are we at fault or Men actually don't listen?

There have been many scientific studies on this, men not listening, women talking too much and blah blah...

The bottom line is, we are as different as chalk and cheese. Our communications will always be filled with sugar and spice. The unfathomable gap will always remain...only thing we need to do is, that women try to simply their communications with men and men show their appreciation and support for the women.

Do let me know your interesting experiences about nagging and the men in your life not listening to you.

I am ready for your Bouquets and Brickbats people.....

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Tips for Indians, travelling to the U.K.

For all you globetrotters, here are a few pointers for people planning to travel to the queen's country. Each country has its own peculiarities. For e.g. India is a vibrant throbbing mass of humanity. It is exploding with colors, customs and smells. Travelers to India have to deal with a lot of customs they find curious. Similarly, if you are coming to UK you need to keep some things in mind.

1) Language: Yes, they do speak English here, you've heard right. There will be times though when you will shake your head and start feeling little bit like a blockhead. The local accent colors the language and makes it sound nothing like the 'Queen's' English. The farther you go away from London, the weirder the accent. God only will help you with the Scottish and Irish Accents.

Do not get offended and bash someone up because they called you 'Lov' or 'Lovey'. This is not eve teasing. These are just terms of endearment used by people.

2) Cities: London is not the only city in this country. People habituate other parts as well. As in India we have Kanpur, Nagpur, and Badlapur (Other than Mumbai and Delhi) so does UK have other cities like Chester, Lancaster and Manchester.

3) Weather: People here are obsessed with the weather. It’s the best conversation starter. Do feel for the people who see rains all 12 months. As in India, please do not predict the weather after looking at the sky. The clear blue sky can shake your predictions by turning into a sudden downpour.

4) Dress: You can dress any way you want. Brits are curious folks who will bundle up in the daytime in the freezing winters and the same people can shed everything the moment the clock strikes the hour of 'Clubbing'. At that time, dress becomes optional. You can follow the lead and wear as little as possible. If you are a woman, you can just wear a top, which is as airy as possible which is just barely covering your bare essentials. If you are a Man, a nice summery half sleeves shirt with your jeans resting as low as possible on your behind, without actually dropping down is the right dress code. Be sure to tank up on Alcohol before you plan to dress this way to brave the cold night air.

5) PDA (Public Display of Affection): Due to Hindi movies PDA is not so shocking anymore, but it sure can jolt you when you see it live, a few feet away from where you are standing. Do not stare with your mouth open. Shut your trap before you slobber and embarrass yourself. You can also give PDA a shot, with your companion. No need to check if people are looking. No one gives two hoots about it. No need to find a 'Jhadi' (private corner) as in India. '. Khullam Khulla Pyar Karenge Hum Dono' is the motto here.

6) Food: 'Curry' is now a British word and 'Chicken Tikka Masala' the favourite Indian dish of Britons. You will find ample curry restaurants which serve Indian food. If you are adventurous, give British food a try. It takes time to appreciate bland food where Potato is the main ingredient. You will get there eventually.
The further away you are from London the lesser Indian Food will be like authentic Indian Food. Don't be surprised to find coconut in your Butter Chicken. And food items will have different name too, like 'Naan' is called 'Naanbread' and Papad is called 'Poppadum'.

7) Shopping: There are many good places to shop where you will pay triple the cost for what you could buy in India. Most clothes, toys and trinkets will be made in India, Vietnam, China or Eastern Europe. Buying electronics, chocolates, cameras and perfumes here makes more sense.

8) Customs: Brits are known worldwide for their 'stiff upper lip' and they truly are that way. Don't get confused with polite smiles as an invitation to chat and pour out your heart and expect the same from them. Such familiarity will not be appreciated. Learn to use 'Sorry' and 'Thank you' as frequently as you breathe. It would be considered impolite if you fail to utter these words at the appropriate times.

9) Sports: Just like Cricket is a religion in India similarly, people in Britain eat and breathe Football. If you are a fan of 'Premier League', you will fit right in.

10) Alcohol: Brits drink copious amounts of Alcohol. It’s a national pastime. You will find countless pubs, bars and bistros in every city. There is no set time for drinking. If you get cravings for a beer in the afternoon, you can go and chug it without feeling guilty.

Now you are all set to make a visit to this country. Just make sure to have plenty of fun.
If you need any more pointers, do let me know.

Cheers! Lov

P.S: These tips are based on my observations. There is no intention of offending anyone. It's all in good humour.

Gift Of Gab

The pain was unbearable. It was coursing like a knife through her and all she could do was bite her lips and endure it. She kept waiting for relief and prayed feverishly for the end. Suddenly she saw a figure dressed in white moving towards her and she closed her eyes waiting for Salvation. She knew the end was near and was glad for it to get over.

And suddenly the figure spoke 'please open wide', she heard a wrenching sound, blood gushed out and finally the rotten tooth was out.

This is how one feels during a visit to the dentist.

I have a love-hate relationship with the breed called Doctors. Not that I despise them, maybe hate is a strong word. Let's say I am unnerved by them. They are peculiar creatures, if you ask me. I have a strong doubt that along-with medicine they teach doctors, 'How to push the patient over the edge by giving blank expressions, after they ask you questions about your illness'.

Very few people can shake a Doctor to his core and my Mom is one of them. My mother is a talkative lady and she can yap nineteen to dozen without taking a breather. She can shake up any doctor she visits for consultation. She hammers the doctor with so many questions that the poor chap is left perplexed. Her usual conversation goes something like this:

Mom: Doctor I have a sore throat and a bad cold.


Mom: You know I had made that 'Shrikhand' (Sweet Dish) from the left over yoghurt. What to do, it would have gone waste I ate some of that. Is the sore throat because of that?

Doc: Let me see your throat. Shining the torch he inspects her throat, raises his eyebrows a bit and takes his stethoscope.

Mom: I hope it’s nothing serious. I always take care but this time I don't know what happened. I was actually not going to eat but well I ate some...

Doc: Take a deep breath...

Mom: Actually, my ribcage pains if I take deep it normal?

Doc: Mrs. Apte....please could you be quiet for some time. Just breathe normally.

Doc: Hmm...Since you are here, let’s check your blood pressure

Mom: Accha, I wanted to know, if the pain in the rib cage is normal, I get really worried. I do this Yoga of 'Baba Ramdev' and he says we have to take deep breaths. If you think it’s not fine then I will stop doing the exercises.

Doc: Let me finish the check-up first.

He starts putting the blood pressure cuff on her arm.

Mom: My B.P. is always normal. I suffer from Insomnia...oh you already know that na....does it affect BP? I think too I cannot’s been there for years. To cure that I am doing that Yoga.

Doc: Yes, what were you saying Mrs. Apte? (He had the Stethoscope in his ears the full time my Mom was talking and was saved the ordeal)

Mom: I was saying, whether insomnia affects my B.P. and also about my Yoga?

After a sigh passes his mouth, he gears up to tackle all my mothers’ questions.

Doc: Mrs. Apte, you are in perfect health, there is nothing wrong with you and keep doing that yoga but take short breaths.

Mom: Accha... All is fine na? Do I need to do any more tests? It's always better to be careful, right?

Doc: No need to take any tests. Just gargle with warm salty water and have hot drinks. You will be perfectly fine in a few days.

Mom: OK, if you say so. But, I will come back if I don't feel all right in a few days.

All through the check up the Doctor was quiet but definitely rattled with so many questions from my mother. Her 'Gift of Gab' always manages to do the trick. None of the doctors can withstand the downpour of her questions.

I am sure; he must pray to god for her quick recovery, to escape another interrogation.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Cooking Tips for the Unintiated 1

I know most of you will raise your eyebrow looking at the title. After all, you know of my fiascoes with Cooking 1 & 2. In spite of many years of cooking (palatable food), I still am uninitiated and clueless about a lot of cooking skills.

It so happened that nearly a litre of milk had survived near the expiration date and something needed to be done to finish it fast. I keep getting pearls of wisdom from friends who are excellent cooks and know all the tricks to make excellent food. One of them is my eldest sis and she suggested that I make Cottage Cheese (Paneer) from the milk.

Here are the tips for the Recipe (For Disaster):

1) Firstly never ever go for suggestions from great cooks. My sister made it sound as if it's a 'game for my left hand'. I, in the heat of the moment actually started believing this nonsense and took up the challenge.

2) Always use a thick saucepan which is deep enough to hold the milk and leave an inch or two of empty space for the milk to boil. I paid a heavy price for over confidence and being a smart-ass by choosing a small pan. The aftermath was not pretty at all.

3) My sister had told me to squeeze some lemon in the boiling milk for it to curdle. Always make sure is it 'some lemon' or 'a lemon'. These doubts could kill your recipe.

4) Have patience, everything takes its own time. Cursing and giving black looks to the task at hand will not make the dish hasten and appear magically.

5) Do not assume that all muslin cloths/cheese cloths are of the same density. You use them to separate the curdled cheese from the whey (watery liquid). My muslin cloth was stubborn enough to retain the whey and the struggle to separate the cheese from the whey would have reminded one of Moses parting the Read sea.

After sweating buckets and being on tenterhooks, finally I was able to coax the milk to curdle and Voilà.....Folks, here is my Cottage Cheese.

All throughout the process, I had sudden urges to dump the whole mess in the sink and get it over with. But my pride stood in the way, as I had boasted to hubs about expanding my culinary skills. I even had evil thoughts of opening the store bought Cottage cheese and grating it and presenting it proudly to hubs. In the end Thomas Edison inspired me to finish the task just as he had struggled to make a light bulb work.

"Thomas Edison, said, "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have
successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.

Ice Ice Baby

Hubs and I made a short trip today afternoon to a town called Penrith in the county of Cumbria. It was a spur of the moment thing. Penrith is an hour away from Lancaster. We saw some spectacular views of snow covered terrain and mountains on the way.

Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.

Misty Mountains

The Journey

Highway Paradise

Vanilla Ice

Intriguing Ruins

Please do appreciate the fact that I have clicked all these pictures from a car moving at 80 Mph.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Battle of Chores

We all hate chores, but like all adults we cannot run away from them. We have to behave like dutiful adults but all this pretence definitely gets tiring after a while. I am dropping my guard and ranting about it with passion.

I am bad at doing some stuff around the house and I have to holler for hubs to rescue me from the mess I make. You can call me a nerd, opening a can of soup gives me heart palpitations. Same with pouring stuff like sugar in storage cans. Without fail, every time, I manage to drop half of it on the kitchen counter. Oops Clumsy me.

As a child, I always ran away from chores to be done around the kitchen. It still gives me the heebie jeebies when I have to chop onions. I hate it from the bottom of my heart. My entire day is ruined, the day I cannot rope in hubs to chop them. My eyes are blood shot and I look like someone with a massive hangover.

Give me cleaning the loo any day over ironing. Another dreaded housework. Who likes it anyway? Its pointless...a few minutes after you wear freshly ironed clothes, you ruin them. I can bet, 90% of you think its a waste of time but still keep doing it. I am so thankful for winters, now I can cover up a crushed/crumpled top with a nice jumper and still go to work with my head held high.

Cleaning the loo is like Zen for me. The scrubbing and the mopping really helps me lose any pent up frustration or anger. And the damn thing is done and over with for a week. Plus, the pleasure of using a clean loo is fantastic. I know most of you hate doing it but I say, its your poop and you gotta clean it.

Walking the dog in the Indian Monsoons at night is another yucky chore. I am an ardent dog lover, but believe me its not fun to be sloshing around and getting dragged by the pooch through squishy mud and praying to god that you don't step into any dog poop. Inevitably, my dog used to take his own sweet time to relieve himself and in the whole process I used to start looking like 'something the cat dragged in'.

I don't mind doing the dishes or folding clothes. They get over quickly and you get the satisfaction of finishing up a chore.

I know all of us hate chores and everybody says that as a grown up do your chores with a smile. I prefer to crib and still do them. Gives me a chance to throw out all the negative energy.

Do let me know, which chores you love to hate and which you don't mind doing.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Booze and some more

Alcohol, this is the hot topic in news these days after a recent report published by the House of Commons health select committee about Binge Drinking.

Binge drinking is defined by as :the consumption of dangerously large quantities of alcoholic beverages in one session.

UK has one of the highest Binge drinking rates in Europe according to the Euro-barometer survey of 2007. It has now become one of the most serious health concerns of the country.

This country is immersed in Alcohol. You get booze right from supermarkets, newsagents and not to forget the innumerable pubs, clubs and restaurants which are scattered in every nook and cranny in this country. Plus, Britons love their drink. You will often find British people with a drink in their hands.Even the University, where Hubs did his MBA has around 7-8 pubs on the campus.

I have often wondered with this country's obsession with Alcohol. It is an intricate part of the national culture akin to Jam and scones and talking about the weather. Alcohol is served as a part of celebration, to unwind or as a part of being socially accepted. Briton is the birthplace of the pubbing culture, where earlier it was the working man who stopped by for a drink on the way back home from work. Now, it is just a way to Party and get drunk.

The rise in under age drinking has become a matter of serious concern. The rate of teenage drunkenness are higher amongst children of people who drink to excess and of those who abstain completely. It is important for parents to set an example and also talk to their children about Alcohol and its effects.

There has been a call for the minimum pricing of Alcohol. Also, the report recommends a major change in the regulation of Alcohol Industry.It calls for severe restrictions in Alcohol marketing and has asked for banning liquor ads from Social networking websites.

I feel that educating the public is the best way to control this situation. Any changes in Advertising or pricing will definitely help, but it will not nip the problem in the bud.

I am not against drinking. I myself enjoy a few glasses of white wine on occasion. But, the idea of getting hammered, lying on the road and getting alcohol poisoning is not my idea of fun.

Cheers! Mate, have a pint....hic...hic

Leaving you with this video of Booze Britain.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Bedroom Brawls

For some, sleeping is a way to restore body and mind. For others it is a means to escape from the reality called life. When I was younger, it was a much loved pastime. My mother had a hard time waking me up in the morning. 'Just 10 minutes more, mom' used to be my slogan. I tested her patience each morning. I bet, she used be just short of yanking my covers and throwing a glass of cold water in my face to wake me up.

As a child, I had a habit of rolling in my sleep. I was ace at jumping hurdles in the form of sleeping humans and do a crash landing on the floor. Be it at home or in a fast moving train (you know, I am permanently brain damaged because of those jumps). In an attempt to stop further damage, my mom used to build a fort of pillows around my mattress every night. Even that was not a deterrent for me.

Life after marriage is totally unimagined. After marriage, the entire concept of sleep, changes. I bet, you are holding your breath now and waiting for me to out some juicy details.

After marriage, you share your sleeping arena with another human being whose sleep patterns and style are totally alien to you. One day you are happily hogging the bed and second day, a block of person with his own practiced acrobatics is shimmying next to you. You are rudely awakened by strange snorting noises coming from the other side of the bed. You grab the table lamp to defend yourself and suddenly realise that it is the love of your life and he is performing new dance moves with sound effects in the throes of a dream/nightmare.

There are other aspects too, the size of the bed, I mean (don't raise your hopes up, people). As I told you earlier of my habit, I do need a fairly bigger bed to be more comfortable. I always wonder why people in UK usually sleep in teeny weeny beds. It’s damn uncomfortable. We have a queen size bed and believe me it’s a war zone every night. I am jostling for space and elbowing hubby as if I am in a Mumbai local train. A few times, my passion for rolling around has pushed hubs over the edge and dropped him smack on his ass on the floor. To top it, its cold most of the year here and sharing a duvet is not a very pleasant idea and there is no place for two separate ones.

Every night, the battle lines are drawn and careful demarcation is done. Only thing we have yet to use, is a measuring tape to draw a vertical line across the bed. There is a tug of war to get a bigger part of the duvet and bitter accusations are flying around. After much jousting , we reach a truce. We drift off to sleep and are then free to dance and sing to our own practiced tunes.

Now, unclench you buttocks and take a deep breath. Cleanse yourself of impure thoughts. Tch Tch....I expected better from you. people.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Paperback Heroes

Well, Hello! Welcome to the New Year. I am sure you all had a great time on New Year’s Eve. I certainly did. There must be burst of New Year resolutions, new do's and don'ts and that entire hullabaloo. Resolutions are made to be broken, so I never waste my energy on them. Pleasantries over, now let's move on...

One of my hobbies is reading. Even though I have kept it as a safely guarded secret on the blog, I read every day before I fall asleep. I started by reading ‘Enid Blyton’ when I was in school, a personal favourite even now. Progressed to ‘Sidney Sheldon’ and got most of the info about 'Birds and Bees' from his books. During my Sidney Sheldon phase, many of the girls my age were devouring 'Mills and Boons' with voracious appetites. I read a couple of them and vowed never to touch them again.

'John Grisham' is a wonderful author. His books are a window into the world of American law and class action lawsuits. I have read and re-read his books and still love them. The victory of the underdog has always been the central theme of his books and I am all for the victory of the underdog.

I read a variety of authors at that time. From Ayn Rand, Alistair Maclean to Michael Crichton and Richard Bach. Those were the days of drinking in as much as knowledge as possible. Things were simpler then and life was not fraught with so many responsibilities. It was easier for me to digest all the intellectual wisdom thrown at my brain.

With my cup of cynicism overflowing with each passing year, I have moved on to books and stories with realistic characters and stories. Nowadays, I like my books to be believable and the heroes to be human and not superheroes. I do venture out sometimes from my comfort zone and experiment with different authors only if, I read a good book review.

My current favourite authors are 'Jonathan Kellerman'(JK) and 'Michael Connelly'(MC). They belong to the crime thriller genre. Harry Bosch, a MC character is as realistic as they come. He is a homicide detective in LAPD. Harry Bosch is a loner. He is tenacious and dedicated to solve a murder and plays by his own rules. He is a Vietnam veteran and suffers from insomnia caused because of the war.

The 'Alex Delaware' series from Jonathan Kellerman is another of my favourites. Alex Delaware is a child psychologist who later works as a forensic psychologist. A rich guy, who teams up with his friend 'Milo Sturgis', a gay LAPD detective to solve crimes. He is shown as a sensitive, passionate and caring person. He goes about his work with empathy for people and his patients.

Even though these books are not intellectual fodder. I enjoy them a lot. There is no confusion as to what the author wants to state; neither there are concepts too heavy for the brain. I can curl up with them and nod off without getting too distracted. Plus 'Harry' and 'Alex' are really great guys to get involved with even if through books.

If you have not heard of these authors, I would suggest you to take a peek in their world and decide for yourselves.

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