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Touching but Exasperating!!!!

Monday, February 01, 2010

I'm a hot tempered woman with a very short fuse.Add to that the fact that The Almighty forgot to fit a silencer in my voice box----my voice rings out embarrassingly loud---ALWAYS!!!Besides this I'm a person blessed with very little Patience---a precious virtue I cannot lay claim to at all.What does all this add up to????
I have been used to multi-tasking since I was a young housewife---concentrating on just the one thing is impossible for any housewife---so many things need immediate attention!!!The worst is when you're alone at home---- both the Phone and the Doorbell ring simulteneously----rushing to answer both at the same time is a real balancing act!!!!Cleaning out the 'Fridge is another pet peeve---the day I decide to clean out the damn thing and polish off the Left-Overs is the day Hubby decides to come home to Lunch----"Is this all there is?????" accompanied by such a disgruntled expression that it makes me want to dance the "Taandav" (Lord Shiva's dance of destruction)in rage!!!I just put whatever's available in front of him with an apologetic smile and ask------couldn't he have informed me earlier about his coming home????The next time he surprises me---- he comes home laden with Restaurant fare----"I don't like unpleasant surprises" he says-----and there's tons of Food freshly cooked at home that day!!!!He's totally unrepentant---"how was I to know?????"
My domestic Staff is the very base of my home.Hardworking and transparently honest I'm very lucky to have them.These ladies(Chhaaya Bai and Vanita) have been working for me for 20 and 10 years respectively---they are my lifeline---they keep my home running on well oiled wheels!!!Last year in February they were holding the fort for me while I was hospital after my Heart Attack and Angioplasty for 8 days.We're all very familiar and comfortable with each other.I have given them standing instructions about the Left-Overs---unless specified by me-----are to be carried home daily.Do they????NO.I'm told "Tai(older sister) there was so much left over I thought having to make fresh tomorrow would be a waste----so I left it here."Arrey baba---don't think---just follow instructions---I'll be eternally grateful!!!All my plans for the Menu of the day come to nought----we eat Left-Overs for Lunch and cook fresh Food for Dinner!!!
Imagine how I must be coping---constantly on a slow boil!!These days these two ladies leave to go home ONLY after Sudhir gets home---they're scared that if I need help and I'm all alone ---how'll I cope???So I'm constantly under a microscope---I'm getting totally disenchanted with this!!!I understand all the love and devotion but they have homes and families too----it makes me feel guilty as hell that I deprive them of their free time---but they brush me off as if I was a pesky gnat!!!
Honestly speaking I'm lucky to recieve so much love from people who are not my family----I don't know whether or not I deserve it---but God has seen fit to have blessed me with it and I DO count my blessings---truly!!!!
THANK YOU GOD!!!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALYAS 2/1/2010 1:37PM

    Wow.. Execellent Blog. The first part of it showed me who i am. I am a replica of what you talked... Only difference is i am trying to multi-task with work life, deadlines, meetings, with Home life- Kids, schools, PTA's , music lessons, swimming and our wonderful cooking

I am right now a bombshell ready to explode... But it just opened my eyes for what i can be thankful of...



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ATMANI 2/1/2010 12:35PM

    Such an honest blog!

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/1/2010 12:26PM

    I'm going to start threatening my husband with Lord Shiva's Dance of Destruction. Please send details of how to do it. Oh, never mind... I can just improvise, he'll never know the difference!

Komal, you write with such sweetness, who would have guessed you have a hot temper and a short fuse! I myself am awful at multi- tasking... it makes me literally feel like I'm losing my mind, and I get so deep in thought concentrating on anything creative that if you break into my thoughts and bring me back to reality, I just snap at you in the rudest voice! The more things I'm trying to juggle, especially if I'm running late, the shorter my fuse. I'm also one of those who "can dish it out, but can't take it" as we say in the US!
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SAASHA17 2/1/2010 11:46AM

    Loved ur blog...hehe...My mom can totally relate to what ur saying...When i was a kid I wud always tell my dad ,"mom's life is so easy , she sleeps while u are at work and i am at school"..but my mom always had to play both roles as my dad was away on ship 6months at a time..she would take me to skating and swimming at 4am, then make lunch and , leave for her own teaching job, come back, make dinner, take me for skating again at 5pm and stay there and cheer me on and also handle all the bills, bank stuff...etc etc...and i remember those days when I wud sit at the back of her "kinetic honda" and zip to all these places....finally she even sacrificed her job to be there 24/7 as one parent was away most of the time....I always say "homemakers" have the toughest job....Man Komal ur blogs always remind me of my mom dad...i wanna go home:(....

Have a nice day:)

Manasa

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ZANNACHAN 2/1/2010 11:15AM

    You are lucky to have people who care for you like that! I'm glad to know that you have people like that looking out for you.



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SRITHI97 2/1/2010 7:27AM

    Truly Amazing! it's hard to find people who really care for other. you are very Lucky.

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Kolhapuri Days 2

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sorry about the abrupt ending yesterday---I'm not usually so emotional!!Coming back to where I left off,my Summer Vacations there resumed after our marriage.
By this time our Uncle Shyamkaka/Mama had turned hotelier and started a residential hotel
with two of his friends as partners.They changed the location and name from Hotel Rainbow in Tarabai Park to Hotel Opal on the Mumbai-Bangalore Highway where it still stands today.This was in an old Mansion----with a large Dining Room for the Restaurant.This Restaurant is still a very big hit with the locals because the Food served has always been top grade---since it's inception.The Menu lists all the traditional Specialities and these are even now prepared fresh for that wholesome old time goodness of taste.
Almost 28-29 years back it was still a small place---the basement was the Restaurant and the Ground and First floors(USA first & second floors) were residential---our favourite rooms were Nos.6 and 7 on the first floor.These had huge Terraces attached to them and we slept in the open air at night---with Mosquito coils burning in5-6 spots to ward off the pesky pests!!!
The beauty of the open starlit sky stretching over us---I have always loved to stargaze---ever since I can remember!!!The Moonlit nights were an added bonus---the Moonlight would gild everything with Silver and ordinary objects would look magical!!!The two of us,two daughters and two Dogs---this used to be our family unit.I told the girls stories-----my childhood---Brothers Grimm---Hans Andersen--Panchatantra--Jataka---the list was endless!!!The dogs too loved the place---loads of place to romp about.
This Hotel had a homely feel---the staff knew us well--the kids were safe anywhere 'coz there were loads of people to look out for them and the Food was just AWESOME!!!We all gained weight there---fresh clean Air---freshly cooked hot nourishing tasty Food--and nothing to do---just complete relaxation!!There'd be trips of course---to the historic Panhala Fort,the town of Belgaum just 112 miles away--a little further down to Khanapur where there was this lovely old Daak Bungalow with a friendly caretaker who knew ShyamKaka well.My Shashi Kaki(Shyam Kaka's wife) would cook us a meal early in the morning and by 10 o'clock we'd be on our way with the huge Tiffin packed with goodies----my children adored this couple and Opal!!We'd visit a place called 'Aamba' on the way to Ratnagiri or just spread our "Chataees"---Grass Mats under the trees and enjoy a pic nic.My children came close to Nature because of this and though they lived in a city learnt really well about the simple pleasures of Life too.Both my daughters were pampered by our cousins and the kids too had a ball in the old house where they'd spend a lot of time with the family.This also gave them a chance to interact more with my paternal Grandma Akka---who was no stranger 'coz she'd stay for a month or so in Mumbai during the year.
Even today both Lotta and Sayali turn nostalgic for Kolhapur---the freshly churned Butter slathered on thick slices of warm Bread fresh from the Bakery,Kolhapuri Mutton with Bhakris---Shashi Kaki's chapaties---soft and melting---Misal-Paav---the fantastic Ice Creams at Imperial Ice Cream Parlour---the Rice from the family farm--fragrant and yummy!!!So many things---a neverending list.
The Flora and Fauna and the feathered Fraternity---the natural habitat of all of these was something that the girls enjoyed.Here they experienced the sudden Summer Storms sometimes bringing Hail with them---the pleasure of getting wet while gathering these and later eating it----just indescribable!!!Evening drives through the University,walks on the Promenade of Rankaala Lake,visits to the New Palace Museum,sitting under the trees of Shalini Palace now a hotel-----all these things are almost unchanged even today.Life still is very much the same -----a timelessness prevails here!!!
Today the Terraces have been converted into more Rooms to meet the demand and the old place extended by adding more Rooms to fit in more people---though the facade is still the same.My Shyam Kaka is 86---he still goes there twice a day-----tastes the Food to ensure that taste is still the same and he and his other partner sit in the lawn enjoying the breeze every evening.The third partner passed away three years back.A framed photograph of all three of them hangs in their Office---a sad reminder!!!
Today the partners are now in their sons----the second generation is going strong in taking up the mantle and their pride in their joint venture shows in the way they're forging ahead.The third generation is being groomed with degrees in related Studies all is geared towards keeping the Flag flying high.

  
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ZANNACHAN 1/31/2010 12:06PM

    As always, lovely. It must have been wonderful to sleep out on the terrace like that. Your family was lucky to have a place like that to vacation to, away from the city. Best of both worlds, in many ways.

Though for some reasons your posts often make me hungry! *grin*

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ATMANI 1/31/2010 12:02PM

    Nice.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 1/31/2010 10:05AM

    Your account of sleeping out on the terrace brought back memories for me. When I was 12 we moved to a house with a balcony across the whole front, accessed from the two front bedrooms. When my sister went to college and I was 15, I was forced to give up my own bedroom at the back of the house to my little brother, along with the canopy bed I had always dreamed of and had only had for 3 years. I had my sister's room, with plain twin beds, to myself except when she was home from school on breaks. The consolation was that her room led onto the balcony, so in the summer, I could set up a lawn chaise lounge and sleep out there. They still used to spray DDT back then so the mosquitos were not a problem until they discovered the harm of it. I was always a fanciful girl living out stories in my head. So instead of imagining myself a princess in my canopy bed, I imagined, like Romeo & Juliet, some gentle, wonderful boy would pass by, see me, and we'd fall in love!
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Kolhapuri Days--1

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Our hometown Kolhapur is a quiet beautiful place---very verdantly green and situated on top of the Deccan Plateau.Blessed with a dry climate plenty of Water and fertile loamy black soil it is every farmers dream---lush and verdant!!!
This town is imprinted on my DNA---the umbilical cord of my roots goes down really deep.My grandfather was the Diwan of Kolhapur during the reigns of both Shahu Maharaj and Rajaram Maharaj.The State of Kolhapur was awarded a salute of 21 guns by the British----the State joined the Union Of India in 1947----and became a part of today's India.
My Summer Vacations of 1965 and 1968 were spent here----a period very close to my heart.The large famiily home was near the beautiful Pancha Ganga River----it was our favourite haunt in the evenings.There is a small hillock there overlooking the River called Brahmapuri---today there is a beautiful garden here----it has beautiful views of the Sun both rising and setting on the horizon over the River.From there the road goes towards Ratnagiri in the Konkan,the Temple of Jyotiba and the historic Panhala Fort.Surrounded by Sugar Cane farms the greenery is refreshing to the eyes.
The old house is no longer ours---our Uncle Shyam Kaka/Mama sold it last year with a heavy heart----we agree with his decision----the house was full of old memories.Playing hooky in the attic---we'd wait for all the elders to leave and creep stealthily into the dusty and dark attics and open up old trunks and wooden chests looking for treasure.One day my aunt Shashi Kaki caught us creeping about!!! She promised not to tell if we promised never to go there ever again---we were so scared of being scolded we just promised her everything!!!The reason for it being forbidden territory was that there very easily could have been Cobras lurking about in the shadows---we were lucky to get off lightly----I shudder to think otherwise!!!
Kolhapur is famous for it's "Kandi Pedhas" or small sweet balls made from Solidified Milk--addictively yummy.Our Grandma Akka would go daily to the Temple and on the way fetch fresh Pedhas for us as Prasad or the blessings of the Deity---being very heavy on the stomach these were rationed---she'd get fresh ones daily---but we loved these too much to eat them in moderation!!!We constantly devised means and methods to do each other out to garner the lion's share---selfish but true!!!Milk products like Ice Cream also are the town's speciality.Milk is thickened by reducing it to a certain consistency.It is then churned by hand in an old fashioned Ice Cream Churn with crushed Ice and Salt cooling it till it solidifies into Ice Cream.This tastes so heavenly that I think it's the purest and the best Ice Cream in the world.
My grandma Akka was a fantastic cook who cooked on coal fires.She'd sit by the "Choolah" fired with coal dressed in a white nineyard sari and would get up four hours later without a single spot staining her sari---I wear an apron to prevent spots on my clothes today!!!She had no Pressure Cooker and the spices were ground by hand---on a stone grinder---really muscle building activity---I too had to learn the technique as a child!!!The food would be served on the dot---we never had to wait for our meals--ever!!She had one rule though---the menu was never based on anyone's likes or dislikes---everything cooked that day would be served to everyone----nothing was to be left uneaten in anyone's plate!!Whatever was cooked was served as a first helping had to be eaten----no second helpings if one didn't like the dish----the first helping HAD to be finished------otherwise it was an insult to God!!"Anna hey poorna Brahma" is what she firmly believed----Food is a manifestation of God!!!She'd say "Never insult Food---it is one of the best gifts given by God to Mankind."
The afternoon was supposed to be siesta time-----but was spent being obnoxious as only children can be---playing Carrom---Cards----or just swinging on the huge Shisham Swing in the ground floor Hall singing on the top of our voices-----making a thorough nuisance of ourselves!! This swing was so huge that it would make a Queen sized Bed today---it was hung on thick Brass links from two Brass rings fixed in the ceiling.The shining Brass links were so thick and heavy that it needed two hefty men to hang the Swing back after it's weekly polishing!!!
We'd buy fresh Greens on the banks of the River for Dinner---our evening activity also included stealing into the Samadhi complex on the banks of the River---there were commemorative Temples or Samadhis erected to all the Maharajas and their Consorts there---including those Consorts who had committed 'Sati'!!!Later at night all these things would haunt us while we told ghost stories-----scaring ourselves so much that we'd huddle up and sleep----shivering in fear but not admitting it!!!The next day we'd be back at our activities again---total Ghouls!!
Evenings meant getting spruced up and going out for walks---by the beautiful Rankaala Lake,eating Bhel there---hot and spicy----strolling under the trees of the Shalini Palace Gardens which is next to it,or just maybe gorging on various Ice Creams at Solanki's or Imperial's Ice Cream Parlours.Sometimes we'd go see films-----looking very sophisticated(so we thought then)among the 'rustics' there!!!Those halycyon days are a bond which joins all of us together to the past and the old house----too emotional to write more!!!
More later.

  
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ATMANI 1/30/2010 8:10PM

    emoticonfor sharing great memories.

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ZANNACHAN 1/30/2010 1:39PM

    Lovely memories. Though I confess I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about cobras in my attic!

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Pancha Ganga

Friday, January 29, 2010

I belong to the town of Kolhapur----my father's town.We try to go there as often as we can---since it was our common Grandpa's house we both loved going there.This year things will be a little different.The old house has been sold----not ours any more!!!!
Our old house was built near the river Pancha Ganga.This beautiful river flows through this fertile land----it floods each year and overflows and while receding deposits rich Silt on its banks---adding to the fertility.This is an ancient town having both-----historic and Mythological importance.
The Temple of Shri Mahalakshmi(Shri Amba Bai)is situated here.Said to have been built overnight by the divine architect Vishvakarma, the Temple Complex is huge and contains around 64 small Temples.This complex forms the centre of the old Town----a huge fortified Stone wall surrounds it.The legend has it that Shri Mahalaxmi descended here after a tiff with Lord Vishnu Her Consort.He followed and stayed on the hills surroundng Kolhapur in the form of Shri Jyotiba---another ancient Temple Complex.It is said that a huge pair of brand new footwear is left out for Him each night----it is scratched and worn out in the morning after His nocturnal visit to His Consort!!!
Kolhapur is famous as the Pilgrimage Centre---devout worshippers visit the Shri Mahalaxmi Temple before going on to visit the Tirupati Shrine near Chennai.They return to salute Her once again to complete their Pilgrimage before returning home.The town has been infinitely blessed for having Her as it's presiding Diety.The Temple Complex is huge and ancient---the Temple facades are richly carved----it must a minimum of 2000-3000 years old.
Kolhapur is also famous for Jaggery and Sugar and has many Jaggery Centres and sugar Factories in the vicinity.It is also renowned for it's tiny fiery Red Chilli known as "Lavangi Mirchi"or "Clove Chilli".The Spicy mix known as Kolhapuri Chutney Masala is a by product----hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth!!! Another produce is Milk and Milk products.This town produces some of the best Ice Cream in the World---totally eggless!!!The Chappal(Sandal)making Industry too is famous the World over---the famous Kolhapuri chappal hails from here.
This town became the hub of activity after it ws chosen as Tara Rani's capital in early 1700s after the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.It's strategic location on the top of the Western Ghats with the Deccan Plateau spread before it made it ideal to hold and consolidate.Royal patronage ensured it's growth and progress and today it is one of the richest towns in India---BMWs,Mercedes and such mingle with the Cattle there!!!
The lifestyle is still simple there---it retains it's old world charm---for how long---only Time can tell!!!!

  
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ZANNACHAN 1/29/2010 1:12PM

    Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

It must be incredible living in a place with roots that deep. Here, "old" means Victorian or more rarely Civil War--mid to late 19th century.

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ATMANI 1/29/2010 9:47AM

    Wonderful recap.

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CHANDHANARAO 1/29/2010 8:36AM

  Hi,

This is an excellent article.
Though i have not been lucky enough to vist The Mahalkshmi temple on Kolhapur.
I had been tremendously blessed to be brought up in Tirupathi.
I visited the Tirupathi temple countless number of times.

Thanks a lot for the superb post... will try to visit the temple soon...

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Vasai Waalahs

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blogging about Jaya made me nostalgic---there are some more old regulars----with whom too my association goes back almost as long!!These folks are Fruit and Vegetable Vendors in the Market----they sit on the pavement in the open air with their wares spread out before them!!!The old timers amongst these are from a suburb near Mumbai---Vasai.
Original Bombay(named by the Portuguese)was gifted to King Charles the Second of England by the Portuguese as a Wedding gift when he married their Princess----funny isn't it???X gifts Y to Z---both the donor and the reciever totally unconnected to the region in question!!!Vasai was the other Port in the area that they captured.A verdant place it still has an enviable green cover---which though disappearing slowly------can still be arrested Vasai or Bassein as the Portuguese called it-----is an ancient tiny seaside town an hour and a half away from Mumbai---but it's like being a whole world away!!
It has Palmyra and Coconut Groves, Banana Plantations and large Vegetable Gardens---this area produces some of the best variety of Bananas and Vegetables.The fertile land is watered by the Vaitarna River and grows "Rajaali" or long Pink Bananas,medium and tiny Sweet Bananas called"Velchi" or "Ilaichi" Keli(Bananas)The tiny bananas grown here are really tiny---as big as your pinkie finger---and have an addictive honeyed Taste.
The Rajaali Keli are prized for their sweet taste---these are cooking Bananas and used for making different delicacies like Puddings and Fritters.These are also used for cooking "Sattvik" or "pure" Food during our Fasts and are favourites as offerings during various Pujas.The owners of these Plantations and Gardens travel daily to Mumbai by Train to sell their wares.
My regulars among these are Mama(Uncle),Dilip and Santosh.These guys have the freshest Vegetables for sale in the Market.It is a joy to go there and take in the multiude of choices offered by them----specially during the colder season.Green Eggplants,different Variety of Beans---both cooking Beans and tender Seeds,rich red Tomatoes, fresh Bottle Gourds, Calabashes,Ivy Gourds and Bitter Gourds, Cucumbers, Cabbages and Cauliflowers----makes my mouth water to just see the variety available!!There are tender green Jackfruits and Banana Flowers(My mother loved these)Lemons and Green Mangoes---all laid out so beautifully together----very refreshingly eye pleasing!!!There are also the Palm Tree Fruits called "Taad-Goley"------small Coconut type fleshy Fruits having a delicate taste-----each filled with a mouthful of a sweet juice.These are sold during the Winter---when these are really tender---and disappear around May-June when the Season ends.Thirst quenching, the uncut Fruit looks a lot like the Eggplant but is subdivided into tiny sections----2"across!!
Then there's the South Indian "Flower Anna"----he has beautiful Flowers---the Yellow "Chhaaphaa" and beautiful garlands made of a variety of Jasmines---Bakuli, Chameli, Sayali,Zaaee,Zuee,Mogra,Mallika, Malavika----and sometimes Surangi(Orange Blossom)---I just go mad---no perfume---however expensive----can ever match to the natural fragrances of these Flowers----this is what I miss most about India abroad!!!
Then the "Vasaicha Keli Waalah" or Banana Seller from Vasai---he keeps the choicest tiny Bananas for me----forbidden-----but this is a hundred times healthier than any other sweet!!!The large variety of Fruits coming from Vasai are also it's biggest attraction---the Mangosteen(Kokum) is another prized product.This Fruit has a sweet-sour taste and contains beautiful pink coloured Juice.We use these ripe Fruits to make "Amrut Kokum" a sweet Sherbet which acts as a coolant of the body in Summer.We also use the dried skins instead of Tamarind in our preparations.Mangosteen also produces a waxy Oil which has wonderful medicinal and moisturising qualities on dry skin and cracked heels.I love my Mumbai for it's warmth and colour but I just HATE the Traffic and the crowds----this city is wound up so tight----never gives up and never sleeps!!!

  
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ANGEL0507 1/29/2010 2:01AM

    is this really the description of Mumbai?? or anything about it..... i guess its you who make it sound so good.... being from Delhi i am still to like this place....or for that matter people ...they are so cold!!!!!!! and in a way barbaric..... too many rules...too many divisions ............. is it really an Indian "metropolitan city"..... or may be i expected too much from "the Mumbai" ... or may be it is victim of its own success and lost its "humanity"

sorry for being so judgmental..........but that's what i have experienced here emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 1/28/2010 12:25PM

    Now I'm hungry... *grin*

What a beautiful description of the venders! We only have seasonal farmers markets here, but when it's summer I love buying fruits and vegetables straight from the farmers. So many of the fruits you described though are ones I've never even heard of, but they sound delicious!

I love big cities for the diversity and activities and options available, but I'm with you on the crowds.

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ATMANI 1/28/2010 9:56AM

    Thanks for taking me back to beautiful Mumbai!

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