23 November 2019

"Ek Garam Chai ki Pyali Ho" - Saga of a cup of tea!!!

While amma wants a cup of hot tea in the morning, appa needs the piping hot south Indian filter coffee(I don't remember anybody at home calling it Kaapi though) twice a day. But I always stayed away from caffeines, even during exams. Might be it was amma's thought of not putting me into addiction or me who didn't like it, but I never ended into that vicious circle of the thought, waking up fresh only with caffeine. 

When I got married and moved to a Mumbai settled family, I realized how Bollywood had influenced its people and parents too believed in "Ek Garam Chai Ki Pyali Ho, Aur Usko Pilane Wali Ho" when they were getting their boys married, or was it Salman Khan who was trying to portrait Mumbaikars? that's secondary. So, there she was my MIL, who not only expected me to cook perfect phulke and boil perfect tea like Mumbai ki Maushi, but also perfect akki rotti like kannada girl and perfect chole bhature like new Punjabi bride. Guess what she had the perfect recipe for tea, 1 cup of water, 1 spoon tea powder, 1 spoon sugar, boiled for 3mins(yes she has a clock in her kitchen just for this) and add perfect amount of milk to adjust that perfect brown look of the tea and that she believes the perfect tea. My tea always ended up in a mess even when I went perfectly with all her steps(too many perfect words, that was deliberate enough, to portrait so called by perfect MIL). Forget it, I had better things to do, I thought. But I was never let to be so, that ended me hate tea, cooking and kitchen so much that, most of my days for the next 2 years in Dubai, ended up at Bhavana Restaurant (this food joint in Bur Dubai is vegetarian's delight, especially for their monthly tiffin service). Only to start back cooking regularly after my daughter was born, when I knew there was no one around to judge  how imperfect my dishes were. Must say today, my daughter's tiffins throughout the week are home cooked by me. Maggi, pasta, burger, pizza don't enter my kitchen on weekdays, so do processed food, still both hubby and daughter cherish my food. But my hate for that chai patthi wala chai continues even today. While I prepare tea for guests, hubby has now learnt to boil that maa ke haath ka types tea in last 13 years of marriage(guess what, its our 13th wedding anniversary today), and I haven't sipped milk tea in these years. 

Today, I write this post sipping this cup of herbal tea(lemongrass and tulsi grown in my kitchen garden). As Bawa says in one of the chapters of this book "Ready Study Go", its your choice to be happy/miserable doing something.
Why hate Maths, when you can easily hate the Math teacher.😜😎😜

PS: For all those Mom-in-Laws, remember you were a new bride few decades back when you entered your husband's life. Give the new girl enough time to settle, before you tear off the relation so badly that, you don't get to tie it back.

31 October 2019

With Love for you Amma, on your last day at Work!!!

It's amma's last day at work, she is retiring from her Banking Job after serving for last 33 years..
Here's for you amma.. 

Missing appa when he moved to Saudi, and the little me in your lap, 
you knew you didn't want to let go the time just like that ruining you!!
To fuel your desire was your aunt, who was gold medalist in M.Sc and 
already was with BSNL to motivate you!!

Long talks, heaps of books, she made you job ready 
till you got the written through!!
When the banking industry was full of Accountants and Economists
you proved Mathematicians could rule too!!

You withdrew your promotions just to make Pavan and me career ready!!
Else am sure you could have been GM already!!
While your appa stood for you always, your amma no less a warrior,
was your emotional, spiritual, financial adviser and a stress buster 
with whom you shared everything always!!

I still remember the days when appa and you drove to work 
together on 2 wheeler 10 km one way!!
Am sure you enjoyed that lone time together on the highway, 
which you never got at home in a family of six anyway!!

Driving in sun and rains together then brought much fun for you, 
than any long drive in car today can bring for you!!

Its last day of your's today at Corp Bank which bought bread, 
butter and light in our home all these year!!
Am sure the days to come for you and appa will be 
merrier, merrier and more MERRIER!!

Happy Last day of work Amma and thanks for being what you are for us!!

29 October 2019

Odave Gantu!!!

Brought up around Hassanamba temple, we were always fond of this place... Of late the popularity during Deepavali has grown so much that we often skip visiting the temple during Deepavali, for the heavy crowd.. Do check my detailed post about Hasanamba temple and Deepavali
Nandi Kolu 

Nandi idol on Nandi Kolu

Siddeshwara swamy procession on Balipadyami was one big night out for us, still remember my uncle was one of those very few who knew how to balance and dance with Nandi kolu. The Nandi kolu is a long pole with idol of Nandi at the bottom and an orange flag at the top. Its an art in itself to balance such long, heavy pole. Shaking the pole in a rhythm generates the music of the bells attached to the pole. Nandi kolu Kunitha(dance) used to be part of Veeragase troop who narrated the story of Daksha Yagna through dance. The procession used to start by 10 at night on Padya and end next morning back at temple.

Odave gantu procession on bidige(next day of Balipadyami) was something we always waited for. Just before the temple is closed for the year, the jewelry (odave) offered to goddess is tied in a cloth(gantu) and taken to the pandith's house to offer aarti and taken back to the temple premises.. The jewelry is then kept in govt treasury at District Commisioner's office, only to be brought back next year during Deepavali.. This procession was always considered very auspicious and madi(couldn't be touched by others) which included only brahmin purohiths in wet cloths.. The procession used to walk through the raj beedi(main street) and most of the devotees offered offerings on the way.
As kids, only if we had holiday on bidige we waited since morning for this procession.. Today somehow I squeezed myself into the temple premises to watch the procession, to relive my childhood days..

Balipadyami, the offerings and celebrations !!!

 I recently read somewhere, how rangoli was drawn with rice flour in ancient days to feed the ants, insects and birds.. This is Balipadyami rangoli - cowdung ball, decorated with flowers maize, ragi sticks with a piece of pumpkin in front of  neighbor's house.. Rice flour has been replaced by white sand these days, but grains n pumpkin still adds to the reason why rangoli would have been started... While karthika Padya is celebrated as Bali Padiyami, its also Govardhan Pooja on this day. While the cowdung ball with flowers signifies the welcoming of King Bali to earth, it also signifies the Govardhan Hill/Parvat with the flourished flowers and grains topping it. 
Asura King Bali was one of the seven Chiranjivis(immortals). Bali had the blessing by Vishnu of being immortal, and he was equally charitable. His arrogance and vainglorious made other gods to request Vishnu to get rid of him. Vishnu in this incarnation as Vamana a dwarf saint visit Bali and asks for charity. Bali promises him to give anything he wished for. Vamana ask 3 footstep ground for himself. Bali accepts his request looking at the small boy's foot. Vamana soon turn into a giant, while he cover Swarga lokha(heaven) and bhoo lokha(earth) in his first 2 steps, Bali offer his own head for the third step. Vamana stamp Bali to Pathala Lokha covering the third step. Bali is said to return to his kingdom on earth once in a year on this day of Balipadyami, where people of his kingdom welcome him through celebrations.

Kajjaya/Adhirasam is one dish, which is not missed in any homes in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Bali Padyami. Made of rice flour and jaggery, the sweet is freshly prepared the same morning. Call is Indian donuts, the soft, juicy rings are topped with white sesame to make them more nutritious. 

7 June 2019

Habibi Falafel Koramangala

Looking for a pure vegetarian Arabic food option in Bengaluru, then don't miss Habibi Falafel. Being tried Arabic dishes in Dubai, I should say their dishes are authentic and taste like any Arabic restaurants of Middle East Asia. The menu includes mouth watering Baklavas, Falafel Plates, Pita Pockets and more. You can customize your plates with the toppings and fillings of your choice. Its a small cozy ambiance, economical and also offer vegan options. 

Falafel plate includes falafel, pita bread, hummus, salad, potato wedges
Location - They also have their branches in Indiranagar, JP Nagar, Kammanahalli, Karle Town and Hongasandra. 

25 May 2019

Tower Hill, Wayanad

 Tower Hill is located in the heart of the hills of Wayanad. Narrow road with eight hairpin curves, reach you to the resort. They offer exquisitely furnished villas, dormitories and tents as option of stay. The resort houses a kitchen and the food is prepared fresh on order or you can as well cook your own food. The resort gives almost 300deg view of the mountains of Wayanad and morning mist makes the view even serene. They offer indoor, outdoor games along with trekking option to Kurumbalakotta peak. 

Do checkout the itinerary of 4 days travel from Bengaluru to Wayanad on our Wayanad Chronicles series. 

23 March 2019

Wayanad Chronicles - Day 4 - Kuruva Dweepa and Nagarahole

This was the last day of our trip and we wanted to cover Kuruva Dweepa, before we could head back to Hassan Via Nagarahole. On the Kuruva Dweepa road, is this Valmeekam Tribal Museum which has the personal collection of Mr. Georgekutty which includes mud sculptures and his art gallery on the first floor. His paintings are available for sale too.

Kuruva is a small island(Dweep) formed on Kabini river. While the island is open to public, but after the recent Kerala floods, the island was mostly destroyed and the authorities have stopped tourist from entering the island, though they still offer the boat ride till the island. The boat rides offered here is a must to experience. There are many ropes tied between the two banks of the river and a person rows the boat by pulling the rope.

Since we were not lucky enough to spot any wild during our drive to Wayand through Bandipur, we thought of trying our luck and planned to drive back through Nagarahole. Yet another reason for us to drive through Nagarahole was the spotting of elephants which participate in Mysore Dasara. When checked with the forest officials, we were told the elephants were brought to Balle a check post next to Kabini river everyday by 4 in the evening for giving bath and food. If you are planning to drive through Nagarahole and want to spot these Dasara elephants, plan accordingly. The balle check post is just after a small tributary of Kabini river and can easily be traced, it also has a temple and forest officer quarters. Many people gather here everyday by 4, to catch a glimpse of these elephants. The drive through Nagarahole turned out to be really lucky, were we spotted wild elephants grazing in the woods.

The 4 day trip to Wayanad ended with the lovely memories of wild, nature, art forms, good food. 

9 March 2019

Wayanad Chronicles - Day 3 - Kurumbalakotta and Banasura

Our day 3 was for Kurumbalakotta view peak and few places around Venniyod. Kurumbalakotta is at the confluence of Western and Eastern ghat and offers beautiful sunrise view. The trek was really steep and tough for a first timer like me. There was not fixed rout and you definitely need to be accompanied by a local.  We started trekking through the coffee plantation with our mobile torch on. Around half way through, the trek really gets steeper, I literally gave up, but hubby and cousin gave all the motivation and I had no option as well to get back without them. I guess, I was the last to reach the peak. You should be lucky enough to get the sun rise view, as most of the winter mornings are foggy. Though we missed the sun rise, the view of the mountain range from above the clouds made up to all the efforts. There is enough place for campers, and few trek up the hill in the evening, camp there, enjoy the sun rise and trek back in the morning. With the number of tourists visiting the place, there are small tea stalls set up by the local at the peak, which will refresh you after the tiring trek. The down hill is still more scary, for we get to view the steep cliff, while walking on the edge on the hill. 

After relaxing and done with brunch we started off for the places around Venniyod. Few minutes drive gave us the beautiful view of Banasura hill range and we headed to Banasura Dam. Built on river kabini, this is largest earth dam in India and second largest dam of Asia. There are water games at the reservoir backwaters and adventure activities like zip line. You can find zip line at many places around Vythiri, where tea estates offer zip line through the tea plantations, but this at Banasura Dam is one of the longest. You can plan your visit in the evening, if you wish to take up water games. It was too hot in the afternoon for water games, we just did zip line and drove to Meenmutty waterfall. 
Reservoir backwaters

Reservoir backwaters
The water fall is amidst Banasura hill range, and you need to trek around half a km to reach the water fall. There are different views of the fall from different points on the Banasura range. Depending on your trekking ability you can get on with different view points. The dense forest, with chilled fresh water stream is very relaxing and the trek too doesn't tire you at all. There are many souvenir and medicinal herbs stalls put up on the way to the fall. Fresh raw turmeric and vinegar pickles are something you can pick from here. You can easily spend time and relax in water.

12 January 2019

Wayanad Chronicles - Day 2 - Vythiri

Being a week day, whole family was busy with their routine and we planned to start for the day. We were joined by hubby's cousin and we wanted to have Vythiri tour for day 2. Vythiri is known for its tea estates and contribute to most of Wayand's tea market. The plantation is so beautiful that you just want to get down at each estate you come across and go on clicking the pics. Yet HML Tea Museum with estate is some thing you can plan to visit, if you want to get deeper about tea or have a tea tasting session. The museum has a collection of old tea making machines, photographs of tea processing, type of tea and much more. If you have enough time, you can take a tour of the estate as well. Lunch for the day was at Aryabhavan Mess Food. This mess on Wayand - Kozhikode Road serves pure veg sadhya style lunch on banana leaf. One of the very few pure vegetarian homely food to find in Wayand. Don't look for hygiene, but the food is authentic and tasty.

With all their lush green tea estates, this region also houses most of the resorts of Wayanad. Enjoyed the lush green tea estates and headed to Lakkidi view point, the point which gives the beautiful view of the Thamarassery ghat. While returning back we stopped at Chain tree to hear about the monument and the story of Karinthandan. Its said Karinthandan was killed by British officers and chained to the tree. Since then the chain has been growing with the growing tree.
Lakkidi view point

Chain tree

Pookot lake
Just few kms from Chain tree is Pookot lake, which is surrounded by the mountain range and offers boat ride.

Wayanad Chronicles - Day 3 next on the series