Ugadi Subhakankshalu!

First things first – I’m going home for the holidays!!!
Result: I’m way too excited to fix the critical bugs in my queue (I’ve always wondered what’s with the spelling of ‘queue’!!!).

Second things second – I’m going home for the holidays flying Air Deccan (for the first time, mind you).
Result: I’ve heard contradictory things about flying Air Deccan. Most said it’s ok, nothing to worry about. One said it’s really dangerous ‘coz their flights are under-maintained and some dont even have a licence to fly! Well, I’ll know by midnight today (when I’m supposed to land in Chennai). I’m tempted to write something crappy like ‘If I don’t make it: It’s been a great journey on this blogging circuit, thanks guys for making it so good!” – but I refrain from making pessimistic comments before I travel. Wish me bon voyage, would ya?!

Third things third – I’m going home for the holidays flying Air Deccan to meet my folks on Ugadi!
Result: Happy Ugadi everyone!!!

Fourth things fourth – We watched Bluffmaster yesterday and I fell in love with Abhishek Bachchan. But Aishwarya Rai can rest in peace ‘coz I’m married to a wonderful guy already. 🙂
Result: Everyone, if you haven’t watched it yet, go watch ‘Bluffmaster’. And hey, Priyanka Chopra was ok too. Boman Irani rocked. And, Nana Patekar! My god, when did we have such good actors all at the same time in Indian cinema (excluding Mohanlal movies – they always have big stars)!

Now to the main topic of this post – Ugadi! Also, Yugadi – Yuga + Adi – Beginning of a new age. (Celebrated this year on March 30)

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Have I told you I like Ugadi more than Diwali or Sankranti? Yep, me loves it. Me loves the Ugadi Pachchadi and the mangoes and the yummy things that Mum makes at home. Me loves going to the Telugu Samiti programmes in the evening, spend an evening entirely surrounded by Telugu – it was a big deal then ‘coz we were in Trichy surrounded by Tamil!

The Ugadi Pachchadi I made turned out sweet last year! 🙂 So was my year, actually (touch wood). There is a belief that the way the pachchadi turns out is how your year would turn out to be. So..for all those interested (I don’t believe there would be many, but still…) here’s how you make the Ugadi Pachchadi.

Ingredients
Raw Mango – 1/2 of a medium size mango. Julienne or chopped to small pieces.
Tamarind
Black Pepper (coarsely ground)
Banana
Jaggery
Neem flowers (yep, you need ’em for sure! No replacements!)

Optional Ingredients
Honey
Other fruits

Process:
Soak the tamarind in water for 10-15 mins. As to the quantity of tamarind, a rough estimate would be 1/4th of the size of a golf ball. (I bet this recipe is one of its kind if it expects you to have seen how big a golf ball is!). Add the jaggery to this and mix properly so the jaggery melts completely in the tamarind water (remove tamarind pieces after extracting all the juice). Add the mango pieces, fruits, sprinkle black pepper, neem flowers and mix. The consistency can be thick like a chutney (add more banana and less water to the tamarind) or not-so-thick like payasam (more water with tamarind).

Ugadi Pachchadi ready! 🙂

Simple, wasn’t it? It’s not mandatory to use all the above ingredients or use the above only. I’ll tell you the significance of each and you can ‘experiment’ with it! The predominant tastes are sweet (theepi – jaggery, banana), sour (pulupu – tamarind), hot (kaaram – pepper) and bitter (chedhu – neem flowers). (I think I’m missing a flavor – is it vagaru? Telugu folks out there, inputs please!) The importance of Mango lies in the fact that this is that time of the year when you start to get cute green mangoes on most mango trees. You should probably know, this is also the time of the year when the neem tree starts to flower! So..its a mix of all the new things that come up around you and all the tastes symbolizing all the different emotions you go through in a new year.

There are lots of other things that come with Ugadi – Panchanga Shravanam (listening to the panchangam to see how the year would be for each zodiac sign), singing ‘Maa telugu talli ki’ (that’s like the anthem of Telugu!), having umpteen flavors of the same ugadi pachchadi at a different friend/neighbor’s place – it’s such a cute festival, isn’t it? No big brouhaha like Diwali or Sankranti!

So me off to Chennai to eat my Ammamma’s Ugadi Pachchadi (among other yummies!)

And before I go –

Andhariki naa hardika Nutana Samvatsara Subhakankshalu! 🙂

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year, folks! May you all have a great year ahead filled with all the best things life has to offer!

P.S: If you actually tried out the Ugadi Pachchadi, tell me how it turned out! 🙂

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Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat

Had the best Sunday ever! Well, if you exclude the sermon at church (it was a sermon in the true sense – all of 1.5 hours!), it was the best Sunday in a long long time. And the reason is ‘Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat’. And what the heck is that? **wicked smile** You’ll see…

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What you see above is a dream come true. Yep, my very own Calvin and Hobbes tome with two complimentary Jujube sticks!

Been postponing a trip to the bookseller for eternity (I know! That’s so pathetic!) . Went yesterday and blew a thousand bucks on books. It was totally worth it, though. And when we were paying the bill, Hubby Dear found these cute jujube things and picked that up (along with some mint – I hate mint! It’s like eating toothpaste!!).

Came home, bugged him to take some pics so I can show-off here in front of you guys. Yes, I’m a meanie, so? You’re just jealous, so I don’t care. 😉

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And then spent an hour reading it and laughing my head off. The jujubes were yummy too.

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So…that’s one down, a million more to go. I intend to own every book of Calvin n Hobbes ever published. Even if it means me working for 2 years more than I intend to – the books are not that cheap, you know. I blew around 500 bucks for this one. I was not so sure about it, but Arun was totally for it and said, ‘If you dont take it, I will. Later don’t complain you’ve read them already.’. He’s so sweet, isn’t he? **blush blush**

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I actually thought of takin’ the day off and sitting at home to read this one. But had to come to finish some important work @ work. 😦 Some things in life don’t change – like Mondays.

I got one more jujube stick at home, for tonight. 🙂

Photographs courtesy: Husband (Thaaaaaaaaaaaaanks honey!) 🙂

Priya is…

Idea Source: From one of the interesting pages on Yahoo 360.

Very simple – google for your name, like “priya is” (including the quotes) and write down the first 10 results as it is. This is what I got –

(Notes in () are by yours truly)

1. Priya is a seasoned, award winning reporter, producer and host. (Yeah, I got awards!)

2. Priya is configured for each. (each what, may I ask?!!)

3. Priya is eligible for her refund of 10 question points, but not until she locks her query. (refund, as in money? cool)

4. Priya is unenthusiastic; Raj reminds her they have no other choice. (Raj?)

5. Priya is the premier warehouse management system in use today. (**stumped**)

6. Priya is the sister of four brutal elder brothers. (for the record, me has just one younger bro and he’s a genuine darling)

7. Priya is a 13 year old girl who lives in Roshan Colony in Karachi. (I’m only 13! Yippie!!)

8. Priya is a secret. (Tell me about it!)

9. Priya is now known as Moksha Yoga Center. (No comments, really.)

10. Priya is a Client-Server real-time perpetual inventory and warehouse. (And what in the world is that supposed to mean!!)

Ah well..what’s in a name they say!

Thanks to whoever had this ‘brilliant’ idea – got some much needed laughs! 😀

Random scribbles

I got a whole bunch of absolutely random things to talk about, I mean, write about.

First: I got my Google Page Creator account today and was a bit excited about it for no specific reason. Thought of trying it out – my first impression, if you’re used to Blogger or Y! 360, this is not exactly something you would like. More so because it’s a page, not a blog! For people like me who prefer writing than doing the entire web-designing thingie, it’s not a big deal. But, I’m not gonna leave it like that. Will try it out when I have more patience (I’m running short of that these days!). I did see a teeny weeny box that said ‘Upload File’!! Gotto try that out for sure.

Second: I hate all songs by Himmesh Reshammiya! Dear God, I hate ’em. I hate the voice, I hate the noise and they are sooooo monotonous! It’s the same music in all of his songs! I had to (yes, had to!!) listen to all this new numbers like ‘Aashiq Banaya’, ‘Aap ka Suroor’ and ‘Jhalak dhikla ja’ and it’s a wonder how I didn’t become deaf or lose my faith in music completely! Man, it’s a waste of time and money (if you’re crazy enough to go buy the CDs). I’m pretty sure they’ll all fade away into oblivion soon enough. End result: I think I appreciate ARR a bit more than I did before I heard the above songs. On the same note about songs – I think my hubby and I have watched ‘Right here Right now’ from Bluffmaster more times than even Aishwarya Rai! AB Jr is soooooo cool in that! It was a drool fest for me! 😉

Third: I’m a fan of Takeshi’s Castle on Pogo! It’s awesome – imagine a skinny dude trying to pole vault his way from one place to another across slush..he comes running, puts the pole into the slush and slides down the pole into the slush – STRAIGHT!! And man, Javed Jaffery is amazing in his commentary. And these folks who actually take part – my god, where do they come from??!!! If you haven’t seen it yet, see it. Almost as good as ‘Just for laughs – Gags’. 🙂

Fourth: 5 back to back shows I watched on Sunday – well, watched as in didn’t change the channel for like 2.5 hrs (which is a long time watching the same channel right?). So started with ‘Parkinson’ – cool show. All the guests have such an amazing sense of humor! Enjoyed it. Then came Oprah Primetime – interview with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (for those who don’t know, they are hubby-wifey and both do shows together). Seemingly simple folks, seemingly very much in love…add to that the ever-screaming audience of an Oprah show! This is what happens if you put like 340 women in one room and give out freebies. 😉

Then came Rendezvous with Simi Garewal. That’s about the time I became temporarily blind due to all the white. Also had to strain my ears to understand all the whisperings. Followed by my fav, Desperate Housewives! Lynette spills hot coffee onto her boss’s lap so she can go back to her desk to watch her son at his first day at school. Bree packs off her MIL (amazing woman, that Bree). Ok guys, stop yawning – I get the hint.

Last show was ‘Lost’ – its a mini series about an aircraft that crash lands on an isolated island – an island nobody even knows where! There is an escaped convict among them and all assorted kind of people. There’s trust, faith, betrayal, pain…its a different kind of thing – exact opposite of Desperate Housewives, maybe. 😉

Fifth: One of my favorite pics –

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Source

And so she scribbled..

100 not out

Do not think, ‘Oh, why does she boast?’
Writing was something I’ve wanted to do most,
So, went the whole hog,
And got myself a blog –
Welcome, people, to my one hundredth post!

I did it! No big deal in a cosmic sense, but for little earth people like me – sure made my day to see that magical 3 digit number on my blog. Is it weird that it feels like an achievement of sorts? Maybe because it amazes me that I was (am?) committed to the blogging cause for so long – I rarely do that, you know.

What started as a trivial thing I did to get over my homesickness when I was in the US has now, to put it mildly, become a part of my life. It does sound lame (ofcourse it is lame – it’s a blog, for godsakes!), but then, there isn’t much avenue to do something creative in my profession, so this is how I make it up. I’m glad I didnt take up writing full time though – would have been a disaster – I cannot imagine doing this for my daily idli (not a big fan of bread, so…)!

Seems such a long way from the ’50 not out’, but here I am! 🙂

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So..here’s to me and my blog! 🙂 Yes, I can be this self-centered at times – actually, most times. I was born this way.

Image Source

The storm

The sea was far from calm. There seemed to be a strange turmoil in its depths. God knows what those deep blue depths hid. But for Majid, the waves were the loving arms of his mother, the sea. Majid did not know any other mother. From the time he could remember, he was always in her lap – playing running & catching with the waves, building sand castles, even venturing into the open sea with the other fishermen in the village. It was in his blood, the sea and its salt.

But today the sea scared him. For the first time, he felt her rage. He was worried for his friends who had gone out for fishing that morning. Majid was just recovering from a bout of viral fever and had not gone. He still felt the taste of the antibiotics in his mouth – thanks to the missionary hospital near his village, he hadn’t suffered with the fever. Dr.Ramesh had told him he’ll be fine in a week. That was 4 days ago. Majid felt fine, just a lingering tiredness in his limbs due to the dehydration and lack of nutrition.

He stood at the shore, the waves lapping at his feet. The air was laden with rain – he could have sworn he felt electricity in the air. The sky was an angry grey and a rumble ripped it every now and then, with the occasional flash of lightening. Storms were not new to Majid, but this would not be an ordinary storm. He could feel it in his bones.

The evening breeze had turned into a forceful wind. He found himself shivering inspite of his blanket. He turned to go back to his hut when he thought he saw something bob up and down in the water just ahead. He couldn’t be sure what it was, till a flash of lightening appeared. His heart leapt to his throat when he realized it was a human. Someone was drowning!!

It was more of a reflex that Majid rushed into the waters to save the poor fellow. The waves were not in a mind to let him save anyone – the harder he tried, the harder they pushed him back. Majid let out a groan of anger and surged ahead. He caught a hand and pulled with all his might. Only after reaching the shore did Majid realize that it was a girl. But wait..it couldn’t be a girl. It couldn’t even be a human being!

She was beautiful – strangely, angelic. But her body, how could it be, thought Majid. Where legs should have been, Majid found a tail fin! She was half fish! Majid stood rooted on the spot, unable to move or take his eyes off her. He didn’t know if she understood his language. Hell, he didnt know if she could be dangerous! He went nearer, cautiously though.

She sensed him and looked up. Majid felt his heart skip a beat, she was beautiful! She extended her hand towards him, calling him to come closer. As if in a trance, Majid moved closer and touched her hand.

It was instantaneous – there was a loud clap of thunder and Majid woke up in a sweat. He was in his hut, his blanket twisted around him. The broken watch on his hand showed 6:30. It was just evening. He rushed out of his hut, expecting to be met by the half-fish girl. He found no one outside. He wrapped his blanket around and walked to the sea and stood there, feeling the waves on his feet. The evening breeze had turned into a forceful wind. He found himself shivering inspite of his blanket. He turned to go back to his hut when he thought he saw something bob up and down in the water just ahead.