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My Childhood---1!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Since early Childhood I've always been quite content to be with just me for company---I'm not a Loner---far from it---but I enjoy my own company too!!Growing up in a World famous City while it grew from a tiny Street into many more gradually gave me the opportunity to live amongst really beautiful Surroundings----and I learnt to appreciate themvery early in Life.Today those Memories seem incredible---because the World has progressed so fast---that the Environment of my childhood sounds like a Fairytale today!!!I did not grow up among too many modern Conveniences---in a fledgeling City the nearest Doctor was 40 miles away---till our General Hospital was built---and then too it was just functional at first.Today Chandigarh boasts of the PGI Institute---equipped with the best Apparatus available and manned by World Class Doctors and Nurses!!
Those days everybody knew everybody---and Social Life was pretty hectic!!My mother read Dr. Spock----and raised the three of us accordingly---- helped by our "Pahadi" Nanny nicknamed "Amma" by me.Between these two our Food and other needs were mapped out and implemented accordingly.After the birth of my sister Mekhala(Mikki) on 15th.November 1957---a Blue baby----I was left mostly to my own devices as the focus shifted totally to her.To be frank I positively hated her for the upset she caused in my easy going Life---but as I grew older,I learnt to accept the situation with help from Amma---and gradually first began to tolerate her---and then as she grew older we sort of bonded---and an uneasy Truce prevailed between us----the Situation still remains the same!!
Just behind our Bungalow in Sector 16 was a large Park.It was home to a host of Wildlife in those early days.Many a times have we seen Peacocks strutting along there---as well as Foxes, Jackals and Mungoose---not to mention the plenty of Chameleons and Snakes of many varieties!!I learnt very early in life to leave these Wild Creatures alone---and developed a healthy respect and fascinated distaste for the creepy crawlies---mainly Snakes and Chameleons!!During the Monsoons these Snakes would enter our home---to be killed by a concentrated Gang consisting of the Cook,Peon, Bearer,Daddy and the Gardner----while we cowered in Fear --standing atop any piece of Furniture available!!What I remember the most was the Funeral given to the dead Snakes---specially the Cobras---I'd watch with fascinated horror---despite myself!!A small pile of Wooden sticks would be made topped with crumpled News Papers---and the dead Snake laid on it.Then Daddy would light a fire from the Sun's Rays using a Magnifying Glass.The crumpled Paper would catch fire and slowly it would spread to the Wood---finally the Snake would be reduced to Ashes!!It is a belief that Snakes are Brahmins---and therefore are awarded great respect---specially in Death!!
I have always been very aware of Nature and attuned to it's Moods and Nuances since babyhood---I have caught wild Parrots---beautiful birds and caged them---for which I feel sorry today-----danced with the Peacocks(truly) each time the Sky became Black with thundering Clouds---with spears of Lightning flashing in their depths----and I have sat for hours on the wide Window sill watching the heavy Rain pelting down thick and fast from the Heavens!!I began to enjoy my own company---and turned to the hazy,misty Mountains and my Books----both of these became my Confidantes and Best Friends.Those days Movies were Magic---being unaware of the process we believed all we saw on Screen---and the Radio was a Magic Box---connecting us to various spots on Earth!!!Today I miss those simple Pleasures we enjoyed----it took very little to satisfy us---today's children are jaded with so many choices and do not value the benefits they get!!
Those days Science was still dreaming of Space and the Planets---Daddy would regularly fetch me the "How and Why" books---relating to Outer Space and spotting a Russian Sputnik in the Midnight Blue night Sky was a favourite pastime in Summer--for we slept out in the open on the Terrace unfolding and tucking in our Mosquito Nets around our Cots just before we slept!!The Radio would also be a part of our nocturnal routine--- kept in the Verandah adjoining the Terrace in case we experienced sudden Summer Showers during the night----and Daddy would fiddle for hours with the Aerial to catch the clearest reception of our favourite Stations on Short Wave.Finally I'd fall asleep with beautiful Hindi or English Songs playing in the Background---the Memory is still a very soothing one---and I use it to help me Sleep even today---on the rare nights whenever I have a problem falling asleep!!

  
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BOVEY63 2/18/2011 1:04PM

    I hope you are keeping copies of your blogs - what a treasure they would be for your children, grandchildren...

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RATIONAL_EATER 2/18/2011 1:42AM

    as good as walking the lanes by myself..beautiful!!

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PARM01 2/18/2011 1:30AM

  Wow---love your blogs!!!! You take us on a journey in your time machine to offer us glimpses of the good old days!!!! Thank you for your present of the past!!! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/18/2011 3:31:20 AM

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The You Tube----and Memories!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

These days I'm addicted to You Tube---specially the old Songs---English,Hindi and Marathi----getting to hear so many of my old favourites----these no longer play on the radio nor are the cds available---literally almost forgotten today!!!Each of these beautiful Songs has a Memory attached----therefore nowadays I'm living in Nostalgia Land!!!
When I went to the 9th.Grade in School we were asked to practice writing fast and a quite a copious amount too.Those days we were supposed to write really long Answers running into 2-3 sides of Foolscap Paper----a necessary Evil to procure good marks!!So to get practice in that Daddy suggested that I copy down the Words when my favourite Songs played on the Radio in my spare time---he felt that it would help me to polish up my Memory and increase my speed as well!!Initially it was very frustrating-----before I could get the first line down of the first Stanza---the song would've gone onto the second one----but by concentrating on the Words I began retaining the them---one task accomplished successfully!!Very slowly my Speed too increased---from just a few lines I progressed to 40% then 60% and finally onto copying the full Song in the 3 minutes it played!!The result of this was that I became even more addicted to Words---singing the Hindi and Marathi Songs was a hit and miss thing!!Funniest thing was that I was in the School Choir---and the Nuns were very hard Taskmasters---but I always got to sing the Lead Solos---but with the Indian Songs I was a freak---on my good days I managed to sing passably---on the bad days I croaked!!
After just 1 year of Pre-University in College I married Sudhir at age 17 years----and again the entire spectrum changed.Sudhir is a marvelous Singer---untaught but naturally talented and listening to him became my favourite pastime.I'd copy the words of the Songs and since he has Musical memory the Tune was no problem!!All he needed to do was polish up each Song!!I continued to sing my favourite English Songs---and was very popular with my neices----they'd all gather in my Bedroom with their personal requests!!After the birth of my daughters these became their Lullabyes---specially" Old Lang Syne","The Sound of Music" and "Edelweiss"from The Movie "Sound of Music","Chim Chimney" and "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins, and last but not least "Tonight" and "I'm so Pretty" from the "West Side story"!
Both our daughters are Musically inclined and sing beautifully!!Lotta is very conscious so sings very rarely in public--Sayali on the other hand is extremely confident----a very good Singer,Dancer and Mimic!!During their childhood they learnt most of the English Songs in School---and perfected a collection of medleys---from the "Sound Of Music" there was "Maria',"My Favourite Things","Sound of Music" and from "Mary Poppins" almost all the Songs were there---"Feed the Birds" was turned into a Masterpiece---blending their voices superbly together in tandem with each other!!Sayali also loves to Dance---and being extremely graceful she'd dance on any type of Music---even the Signature Tune of our News Channel "Door Darshan" whenever it came on!!During the Ganesh Festival and Navratri---it was very amusing to see start dancing at the first stroke of the "Dhol" an Indian Percussion Instrument---rhythmic and extremely popular with all Indian States!!!
It was her favourite pastime during her lunch hour in School to imitate mostly Marilyn Monroe and she'd languidly float down the stairs singing her songs---for example-- "The River of No Return"----much to the amusement of her pretty large group of friends!!!This is how her English Teacher Ms. Bose and Music Teacher Ms.Omar caught her one day---and insisted she take part in the Inter School singing Competition---where she bagged the First prize!!Sayali's repertoire includes many things---Western and Indian Dances---including the vigorous Marathi Folk Dances---- she's the favourite family entertainer when all of us get together!!In the old days--Babu(Milind's son) and she were a laugh Riot together!!He's a fantastic Mimic who manages to present perfect impersonations of his subjects---and Sayali can emote and dance untiringly for hours to the corniest of corny Songs!!Is there any wonder that I'm living in Nostalgia Land these days???

  
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BOVEY63 2/17/2011 12:34PM

    It is wonderful that your family shares the love of music. I loved reading about your dad's suggestion to write the lyrics and the impact music has had in your life. Music has been a big part of my life and my children's - none of us can sing worth a lick but both boys play trombone. None-the-less, we listen to music in the car, the house, during exercise and on the boombox when working outdoor. I love it when a song brings back a wonderful memory.
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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/17/2011 12:18PM

    I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in your houses to get to see all the entertainment going on. I love most of the songs and can sing along because my Mom bought us record albums of the musicals we saw and a favorite pastime of mine was to get lost in them, imagining myself performing each person's role, male and female. Not with great talent, but with a full heart! I didn't have an audience, which is probably a good thing, LOL! My daughter loved to put on shows for me and I enjoyed them all. Even if I don't know any of the children performing, when I see a children's choir, I always seem to tear up!
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SAASHA17 2/17/2011 11:50AM

    :)

u can check out www.indianscreen.com to get hindi songs:) My fav site.

Manasa

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DRASADAF 2/17/2011 7:15AM

    Hmm so a musical momy can make a musical family....so nice!!!hope u r f9 n in the best of health....wish u good health always...take care!!

Comment edited on: 2/17/2011 7:16:23 AM

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PARM01 2/17/2011 5:03AM

  Wow------You have a very talented family!!!! emoticon

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Pickled Pork----Himachali Style!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On my childhood Treks with Daddy and Jeanneret Uncle,we used to stop at this tiny little hole in the Wall Shop just outside Kalka---the place was called Dhalli!!This little shop sold various varieties of Meat Pickles---one could buy this Pickle made with Goat,Lamb,Pork,Venison,Chicken or Partridge Meat----the Recipe remained the same--taste differed according to the Flavour of the Meat used.We'd buy loaves of warm,fresh Bread at Kalka Station and this Pickle in an Earthenware Container---and eat it sitting on boulders next to a bubbling Brook under a Pine Tree---in the open air!!!The taste of the warm crusty Bread and this Pickle cooked in aromatic Mustard Oil and Malt Vinegar---is one of my most treasured childhood Memories!!
This is one of my favourite Recipes---cooked by our Cook Narayan Singh---who taught Mummy to make this.Whenever she made this we'd wait impatiently for it to assimilate---then gorge it at every given opportunity!!!Once she made this and realised that she didn't have sufficient Vinegar at home to pickle it.So Daddy and she went to the Market to buy some--leaving the prepared Meat to cool in the meanwhile----forgetting that the three of us little Hogs were at home!!By the time they returned we'd finished the Meat in the Curry---all that remained was just the Gravy!!!They had to go back to get fresh Meat to add to the Curry---was Mummy livid!!!
I have scaled down the quantity of Oil used---those days it would literally drown in Oil!!I'm giving the Recipe below.

MEAT PICKLE

CALORIES: 427.3
FAT: Fat:26.5 g. ,Saturated Fat: 3.3 g.,Polyunsaturated Fat:6.5 g,Monounsaturated Fat:15 g.,
CHOLESTROL:50mg.,SODIUM:655 mg.POTASSIUM: 935.1 mg.,
TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE:31.1 g.,Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g.,Sugars:1.7g.,
PROTEINS:22.7 g.
INGREDIENTS:
1 kg. Lean,Boneless Pork
750gms.Shallots
200 gms.Ginger Garlic Paste
250 ml.Mustard Oil/Rice Bran Oil/Canola Oil
250 ml.Cider/Wine/Malt Vinegar
100gms.Coriander Seeds
75 gms.Cumin Seeds
50gms.Black Pepper Powder
Red Chillie Powder to taste--I use 5 tbsps.If so desired leave it out.
Salt to taste
PREPARATION
Cut Pork into Cubes.Wash and season with Salt,a little Black Pepper Powder and 2-3 tbsps.Vinegar.Marinate for 15 minutes.
Grate the Shallots coarsely.
Grind the Ginger-Garlic together to a medium coarse Paste adding a little Vinegar as a thinning agent.No Water can be used.
Dry roast the Coriander and Cumin Seeds separately till lightly toasted.Grind together to a slightly coarse Powder.
Powder the Black Pepper Corns coarsely.
METHOD
In a Pressure Pan add the marinated Pork and 1 tbsp.Oil.
Close lid and Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
When Steam subsides,open lid and cook on high heat till all the Juice in the Meat dries up.
Reduce flame to low and saute the Pork till it is lightly browned.
Set aside to cool.
Heat Oil in a non-stick Wok and fry the grated Shallots till crisp and golden.Add the Ginger-Garlic Paste and fry till Oil floats on top.
Reduce flame and add the Coriander-Cumin Powder.
Fry on low flame till the mixture turns aromatic.
Add the Red Chillie and Black Pepper Powders and continue sauteeing on low flame for 2-3 minutes more.
Add the browned Meat and fry all the Ingredients together on low flame for 2-3 minutes.
Cover and simmer on low flame for 8-10 minutes for all the flavours to assimilate.
Remove from Flame,remove the Lid and cover with a Steel Net Cover.
This allows the Steam to escape from the prepared Meat Mixture without it condensing into the Preparation.
Cool to Room temperature.
When cool,add the remaining Vinegar and mix well.
Cover with Lid and leave covered for 24 hours to allow the Vinegar to be fully absorbed by the Meat.
Bottle in a bone dry Glass Jar and keep.Serve with an absolutely dry Spoon to prevent Spoilage.
In cold weather it lasts for 15 days on the Shelf.
In hot and humid Mumbai,I refrigerate it.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MESSENE 2/13/2011 9:12AM

    emoticonYummy! Thanks for sharing! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BOVEY63 2/12/2011 12:09PM

    That sounds yummy!
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Isn't it great how smells can bring back so many wonderful memories.

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PARM01 2/11/2011 1:07AM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MILLISMA 2/10/2011 7:16PM

    This sounds delicious. I love all the seasonings that are used. It reminds me of something my grandmother use to make with pork and we'd spread it on homemade bread. Ah, memories. Aren't they wonderful!

hugs...Mary Anne

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SAASHA17 2/10/2011 11:52AM

    Sounds yum. Maybe I could give it a shot with Lamb. Seems like it would taste good.

thanks
Manasa

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Cricket Memories!!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Cricket Season approaches---what with the World Cup coming up fast---and India hosts it this time!!Indians are crazy about this Game---and Street Cricket is the bane of many a Motorist during the Season---as roads turn into pitches!!!Each young lad imagines himself to be some Cricketing Hero of the time and then tries to emulate him---the Street Team entertains all the Locals as they watch from their Balconies and shout unwanted Advice and Tips---much to the irritation of the Players!!Cricket brings back a lot of memories---all revolving around that dratted Game!!
Cricket is a passion in our home----both Sudhir and Milind have adored it tremendously!!!In the old days the Radio Commentary would be on all day----each Room as well as the Passage and Bathrooms in the old house in Cumballa Hill had a Speaker connected to the Radio---and thus that Commentary could be heard all over the house----in full volume so as not to miss any of it!!!When these two were kids,they'd play in the Passage during the hot Summer days----this was possible because it was a joint family---and there were 8 boys in the house itself!!!Each would take on a name of a famous Player and act accordingly!!Their mothers would be scolding them all the time--because the Passage had to be traversed umpteen number of times during the day and that meant laying themselves open to the Boys' complaining long and loud each time Play was interrupted!!Not just that---afternoon Siestas for the beleagured mothers also suffered!!
Later Baba and his brothers were separated by their mother---she firmly believed that Distance maintained the harmony---and so each one lived in the vicinity---separate but united still!!!Visiting each other was common----thus the children would troop over to spend time with each other---they missed the bonhomie and camaraderie of living together---and since the whole lot went to the same School their bond was very strong!!Evenings were spent in the "Maidan" or Park nearby---there used to be Matches between different neighbourhood Teams----our Team being better equipped because our Family owned the entire set of Cricketing gear !!I remember attending these Matches ---specially in June 1957-February 1958-----because Mummy was having a lot of problems during her preganancy---this was when Mikki was born---and so had been brought to Bombay for the Delivery.I never understood that silly game----but if these fellows didn't let me join them there'd be Hell to pay!!!The resposibility of keeping me entertained was theirs so I would be stationed on the periphery of the "Maidan" doing fielding---feeling a part of it all---though they ensured that very little came my way!!!
Matches played abroad were a great nuisance---the two brothers would wake up at unearthly hours to listen to the Commentary on Radio!!Radios became a necessity--specially the Short Wave---and there would be lots of People on the Streets hanging around the Irani Tea Shops---listening to the Commentary!!!Later when Transistors became available it was a common sight to see Pedestrians walking by with Transistors glued to their ears----answering tersely to the enquiries of other enthusiasts!!Thanks to this craze,Sudhir has burnt many of his clothes while Ironing them!!!Though we've always had a "Dhobi" doing our ironing for us,creases form when the Clothes are folded---and this Sudhir hates!!!He even today irons out the creases before wearing the Clothing--- and besides he just loves to Iron Clothes----and those days many a time he'd do this while listening to the Commentary---forgetting to keep the Iron on the Stand each time he applauded a Stroke or a Catch---the result?Burnt Shirts and Pants---it was the Synthetic Fabric Era then!!He even burnt a beautiful new Sari of mine---just a week after our Wedding---a Silk Tye & Dye Bordered Peach coloured 644 Fabric---one which I hadn't even worn----an entire triangular piece came out from the "Pallu" or outer drape!!!
After Sudhir and I got married this became the Bone of Contention in the Cricketing Season---mainly during the Bombay Matches.Both Sudhir and Milind along with our nephew Aamod(Kunda's son) would get Tickets for all 5 days of the Match---and even after these Matches were Telecast on T.V. they'd continue to attend them---much to my chagrin!!!After the Girls started full day School---I insisted on going along---though I understood nothing of the Game it was a great feeling to be the part of a Crowd---cheering when others did!!!Today I can understand the Basics---but the finer nuances are beyond me!!Though these happen much more frequently the Craze continues unabated!!!

  
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BOVEY63 2/9/2011 4:22PM

    We didn't play cricket but your blog brought back memories of the street games we played.
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ANITAS66 2/9/2011 4:01PM

    Komal ji, you stirred up some old memories. I never liked to watch the game, but have played plenty of them in our street. emoticon

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MAGIK0731 2/9/2011 3:59PM

    With each passing game I am learning more and more.

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SAASHA17 2/9/2011 11:39AM

    I agree with Paramjit..those were the days...I would sit with all my boy cousins and watch the reruns and enjoy every bowl, over, etc etc.

I have 18 boy cousins and 7 girl cousins. The girls would always play with dolls, set up kitchen and blah blah, while I would slip out and play with the guys. I was the umpire or the fielder. Hehehe. Even though not the best part of it, but still a part of the game:)

Nowadays I dont even know if kids play at all. All the time they hurry to some tutoring or some other stuff. Boring!!!

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ATMANI 2/9/2011 10:35AM

    emoticon emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/9/2011 8:53AM

    Takes me back to our games of street tennis and my brother's street hockey. We had a big grassy area adjacent to each different house we owned, but those games required pavement. I can still hear the all important call of "Car!", which stopped play while we all stepped aside. Nowadays, do little girls get to play cricket, too?

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PARM01 2/9/2011 2:55AM

  emoticonNawab of Pataudi, Chandu Borde, Farookh Engineer-Sunil Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Surti---those were the days==Cricket, defined by some as a game played by 22 fools and watched by 22 million bigger fools--(I beg to disagree--I am one of the fools)
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Spring Cleaning----Out of Necessity!!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Just last week the entire House turned upside down---Reason???The regular Major Repairs Work is going on---both inside and out----internal Columns and Beams were checked for Cracks and loose Plaster---and wherever a problem was spotted---it was noted!!!Given Mumbai's hot and humid Weather---not to mention the heavy Rainy season---Buildings suffer a great deal of Damage.These require regular Repairs every 8-10 years---and so one can't help but agree do the needful!!
For the entire last Week the whole house has been topsy turvy----those workers would come at 9.30 a.m. each morning---and each room had some cracks or the other---except the Drawing Room----so all the excess stuff was shoved in there to facillitate the workers' movements!!!Now these guys work in outfits of 4-5 each----one outfit comes tobreak down the Plaster and remove the rubble---another one comes to coat the exposed RCC Columns and Beams with Anti Rust one day,and Polymer the next----left on for 24 hours---and then finally the last Outfit comes to finish the Work of replastering!!!!Tedious and very tiring----during this activity the whole house is engulfed with clouds of Dust and Cement---not to forget the strong smell of the Chemicals used!!!
The work ended totally on Saturday----and I just let Sunday go by---too tired to even contemplate doing any cleaning---specially not when the Lord and Master is hovering around---poking his nose in where it most certainly ain't needed!!!So today the cleaning began in real earnest!!!That's when I actually realised all the bloody Rubbish I've accumulated over the years!!!I'm definitely glad now that this brought everything out into the open---all the unnecessary Stuff has already begun being ditched---Hira Bai carried away the first instalment an hour back!!But then that was just the tip of the Iceberg---this will take me atleast 10 days to get rid of it all!!Realised one thing though----how much Stuff comes into the Home on impulsive Buys----when really not needed!!!Wish me Luck Guys---going to need it real bad---to stick to my Resolution of getting rid of the surplus Stuff---or in a weak moment could end up keeping most of it!!!
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PARM01 2/9/2011 2:41AM

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BOVEY63 2/8/2011 12:56PM

    Best of luck! My house needs some major decluttering and just don't know when I'll get to it.


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ANITAS66 2/7/2011 3:08PM

    emoticon

TIP: Vinegar, put in open bowls set in the rooms out of the traffic area helps absorb odor of the chemicals

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SAASHA17 2/7/2011 11:43AM

    I hear ya...One of these I need to do a clean up a thorough one I mean. I might have to soon though as I cant find my camera charger:D

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/7/2011 9:35AM

    Getting rid of stuff can be painful, but not as bad as crews of workers day after day. Thank goodness, you lived to tell about it. I wish we had crews...Lloyd is in the midst of painting and we have plastic over doorways and drop cloths and stuff moved to other rooms, and this could go on a month. I told him I am hosting two groups of women in early March, so it had better be back to normal before then.

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REKHAKAKR 2/7/2011 7:23AM

    All the best Komal ji... One need to have great will power to get rid of such stuff emoticon

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