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Ageing?Guess So!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Summer is over and so is the Vacation but this year has been different from the others---this year after a long,long time the house was filled withEnergy and Life---Song and Laughter---our younger daughter spent the Summer with us---in India!!While it was the best Summer in years it also brought home to me how the Time had slipped by and how while doing so had left it's mark on me---so imperceptibly that I never realised how I was gradually aging---it's really odd but I never felt the difference at all!!
It is a very different experience---after the children grow up and then return for visits with their Spouses the balance shifts a little imperceptibly but one somehow reverts to the old pattern----that of Parent and Child.I forgot that Sayali was now in her mid 30s---to me she changed into my child all over again and packing nutritious Lunches for her to eat in Office was just a part of the old programming buried deep in my psyche that came alive with a jolt!!
Without realising it I turned into the nosy,old,interfering Mummy----something that I deliberately keep at bay when I visit them in their respective homes---but here I guess it was MY Territory---so maybe the old "ME" emerged in every minute detail!!I was clucking all around both Sayali and Kartik like a fussy Mother Hen---if my Mummy would've done that to me I'd have been livid!!It was swelteringly hot---but despite all the humidity and sultry heat I enjoyed cooking them all their favourite Dishes---even though this left me limp as a wrung out Dish Rag---the Pleasure I got was reward enough----and so were the fulsome Compliments I recieved!!
Sudhir and I have turned into bores---that's what I realised during this Summer---we're definitely old and set in our ways!!I don't know when this happened---by 9p.m. I fall asleep--Sudhir follows suit a couple of hours later---we don't even know what Mumbai looks like after 7.30p.m. 'coz we never go out!!Both Sayali and Kartik were appalled---but then they still have the energy to venture out after having worked a full day!!It was from them that we came to know that we have something called the "Gold Class" in our Movie Theatres where they serve you your pre-ordered Dinner at your Seat--speaking of which--the Seat reclines to 160 degree angle and has a footrest too----for you to put your feet up as well!!Reason for stating this?For both of us were total Movie Buffs till maybe 20 years ago----so taken up with the Movies that we could spend the entire day in the Theatres---from the Morning Show till late Night one!!Sayali wanted us to accompany them to a Night Show---but I refused---reason?I'd rather sleep comfortably in my own Bed---Thank You!!
Now for the moot question---am I sorry?Now for the absolutely,brutally honest Answer---NO.The reason for this is that this Summer also brought home to me very clearly how I too have changed----my way of thinking and the way I percieve Life today is absolutely and completely different from my earlier days---those days I was busy rushing around getting things done--- sketching out and fulfilling Ideas,Plans and Aspirations.Today I'm doing things I enjoy and want to do---I am living the Life I want----without Peer Pressure,Deadlines and the need to Prove a point to my Companions or to Achieve certain Goals!!!I have been there and done that---now is my turn in Time to sit back and watch the World go by!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAIN454 6/17/2011 2:49PM

    Komal, let me tell you something about sleeping in by 930...most the ppl my age sleep at that time...i am the exact opposite because I am a night owl...lol...but ive noticed younger ppl these days are homebodies and there's nothing old about that...i think home is just more comforting these days...why step out when you have all the luxuries right below your own two feet :) and its FREE!! ... (more or less... lol)
The Gold Class seats sound like something i Would love! We have something similar here where they serve u while u watch the movie...i love it...but I gotta persuade them to start adding the footrest!!! That would totally rock!! :)
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SAASHA17 6/17/2011 11:57AM

    u are never old till u feel it...my mom says "im young at heart"...Hehehe..but i do hear the "mom" thing...hehehe...But frankly I love it..esp when its like 2-3months in a year or two....its wonderful but yes some things can be annoying..lol...

Its hard for me to perceive my parents as old...when I do, it will come as a shock....

take care
Manasa

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RAJASHREE108 6/17/2011 11:22AM

    Oh Komal, it rings so true for me. My boys get annoyed at me when I still want to play 'mom' and I don't understand that. Yet they enjoy all the comfort food. My mother-in-law still does that when I go to India and I enjoy it. My children want to remind me they are grown ups. They want me to get out, do this and that the way I always did. They feel that mom is acting 'old' for her age.. now I see I just need to listen to myself and enjoy putting my feet up. Just taking care of my body and exercising is enough outing for the day sometimes.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 6/17/2011 9:51AM

    Your blog was well timed for me. It made me realize that the pressures I am putting on myself and the deadlines I am trying to meet are not necessary. I have been so afraid to lose customers that I say yes to every request and push to get things done more quickly than i am comfortable working. My quality of life is suffering and you make me realize I want to risk losing some jobs in the interest of still being able to smell the roses! Thanks for the wake up call!

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Bygone Days--Memories!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Frontier Mail then

Today called The Golden Temple Mail

The Interior of First Class Air Conditioned Compartment---many Memories of Summer Vacations with the Girls are linked to this!!

This is a "Coupe" in AC First Class---one Sudhir and I usually take when we travel without the Children
Today we met Sayali's In Laws for Lunch---so it was the six of us---Gita and Suresh,Sayali and Kartik and Sudhir and me---all true blue Foodies!!We were discussing various types of Culinary Recipes when the topic of Railway Food cropped up!!!The British brought the Railways to India and along with it emerged a new Cuisine"Railway Recipes"---mainly Food that was cooked in the Train Kitchens and in the Railway Canteens at various Stations.
As expected Lunch turned out to be deliciously heavy and an afternoon Siesta was a must---given the sultry pre-Monsoon Heat---and that was when I dreamt of the old days---when Trains was the way to travel!!My father was allowed a subsidised Pass for the First Class as a Government Servant of the Category he belonged to-----and those days the entire Bogey would be at our disposal.The Bogey had four wide Leather Berths---stuffed with Horsehair---and two similarly stuffed Leather Sofas,two straight backed Chairs and a Marble topped Table---all of these screwed to the floor to keep them steady in the swaying Train---with a large well equipped attached Bathroom as well!!During the Summer Months the Railways would provide us with huge Iron Boxes with Ice Blocks in it---placed directly under the Fans overhead to cool the Air in the Bogey.I loved sitting next to the Windows watching my Country changing as the Train traversed through different Terrains-----the stark shale Hills or the "Bihad" of The Chambal in Central India being most thrilling---because way back then it was Dacoit (Outlaw)Territory and Trains being looted during their Passage through it was a common occurence!!!Luckily we escaped unscathed---but an element of lurking danger was omnipresent!!
Each Train had it's own Kitchen Car----and the Food served was unique to the Railway Style.Their Mutton Curry called "The Railway Mutton" always tasted exactly the same---a simplistic mix of Onions,Ginger-Garlic Paste,Tomato Puree and Turmeric,Coriander-Cumin and Red Chilli Powders being the only Spices used along with Ghee and Salt---but the taste still lingers on my tongue!!We'd be served at certain Stations--- crisply uniformed Bearers carrying Napkin covered Trays to each Bogey along with Bone China Crockery and Silver Plated Cutlery.They'd set out our Meal on the Marble topped Table and and we'd eat in style---feeling like Royalty!!Breakfast would be scrumptous too---Eggs,Bacon,Sausages or Ham as well as Porridge,Toast and Jam---accompanied by freshly brewed Pots of Tea and glasses of Fresh Milk----Heaven would be just a sigh away!!The Railways also offered fabulous Roasts---Lamb,Goat,Duck or Chicken--literally cooked to perfection with fresh Vegetables and freshly baked Bread and pats of Butter----fresh supplies were picked a couple of Stations earlier and cooked to keep the Meals tasting wonderfully appetising and wholesome---besides it always was Organic Produce---and that added to the taste!!All this Food would be cooked on Coal Fired Agas----the wonderful British Cooking Range----and perhaps that added a further smoky flavour to the Cuisine!!
As we progressed from entire Bogeys to Compartments we also got through Trains with Dining Cars---accessible even when the Train was in motion.The Food and the Taste however remained constant--only Gas Ranges replaced the Coal Fires!!This brought along further hazards of Fire spreading in the Train---the danger of Gas leaks led to many fatal accidents---finally closing the Kitchen Compartments on the Trains---leading to an extinction of tasty fresh Food for the Passengers!!Since our Girls were young we've either been carrying our own Pic Nic baskets----if not that, then ordering and eating Food that gets loaded at certain Stations----and if our Luck holds that Food turns out to be good!!!The last time I travelled by Train was in 1997----since then i've heard that the situation is 'comme ci comme ca" neither here nor there----and the finger licking taste of the British Raj has finally been wiped out of the Railway Kitchens forever!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MESSENE 6/13/2011 9:31PM

    emoticonmemories emoticonThe food sounds so yummy too! emoticonAlways love your blogs! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PARM01 5/28/2011 12:49AM

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/24/2011 10:39AM

    Since I was a child and saw people in those train compartments with the fold down beds in movies, it has been a dream of mine to try traveling that way just once. When I was little, in the summer we'd go to sleep to the sound of our window fan, and I would pretend it was instead the sound of a train and I was snug in a bed in a train compartment. Just last week I asked Lloyd if he would want to do a little train trip with me!

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BOVEY63 5/23/2011 4:59PM

    More great memories to read about - enjoyed the blog!
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The Western Ghats of India 2--Photos

Sunday, May 22, 2011




Views on way to Bhushi Dam


Khandala Hill Station
Sunset at Rajmachi Point

Again Rajmachi Point
Mahabaleshwar

Again Mahabaleshwar

The Venna Lake,Mahabaleshwar

  
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PARM01 5/28/2011 12:50AM

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BOVEY63 5/23/2011 5:01PM

    Thanks for sharing these pictures (in your last blog too) - beautiful!

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JADEALEXANDRIA 5/22/2011 10:38AM

  emoticon good memories of Mahabaleshwar when I was a little kid!

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GOOSIEMOON 5/22/2011 8:18AM

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The Western Ghats of India 1--Photos

Sunday, May 22, 2011


The Bhimashankar Cliffs in the Sahyadris

The Hills surrounding Pune in Summer--dry and yellow with a few Trees.

Rajmachi Point at Khandala
The Hilly Road called "Bhor Ghat" or "Khandala Ghat"leading to the Hill Station of Khandala

The beautiful steep Western Ghats of India also called The Sahyadris

The Rains make these Hills bloom with beautiful Flora and Fauna


The Sahyadris wet and misty in the Rains during Monsoon

This is "Duke's Nose" so named after the Duke of Wellington's aristocratic nose!!!The Indian name is "Naag Phani" or The Cobra's Hood!!

View on way to Bhushi Dam in Lonavala Hill Station in the Rains
This how Lonavala looks today---over crowded with Hotels,People and Cars!!Gone is the sleepy little Hill Station of 30 years ago!!!

  
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PARM01 5/28/2011 12:51AM

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My Food Culture

Monday, May 16, 2011

I grew up with a Food Culture that was unique---a strange hotch-potch of various Culinary Streams!!!My first Meal when I started Solid Food was "Khimti" made from a powdered mix of washed,dried and then dry roasted till lightly browned and crisp Dal(Pulses) and Rice---cooked to a paste with Water,1 tsp.of Ghee and pinches of Salt and Black Pepper Powder.This was the common Culture of the Maharashtrian Community--both "Ghaati" and "Konkani" alike!!!Both my Grandmas were awesome Cooks--with different styles of Cooking---my "Ghaati" Grandma Akka cooked with fiery hot "Sankeshwari" and "Lavangi" brand of Red Chillies---relying on various types of Dals and Sprouts,seasonal Vegetables,bowls of thick home made Yoghurt,Steamed Rice and Whole Wheat Bread for Lunch----Dinner would be Green Leafy Vegetables,bowls of Yoghurt, Millet Bread and Steamed Rice.Everything would be prepared fresh from scratch noon and night-- while Non- Vegetarian Food would be served on Wednesdays,Fridays and Sundays.I loved the freshness of these Preparations--and also imbibed the subtle mixing of various Spices to form Akka's famous "Bottle" and Fresh Masala---learning the authentic Method from my Grandma herself--as well as grinding it fine on the flat board of Stone Pestle and cylindrically shaped Stone Mortar called the "Paataa-Varvantaa"!!!In "Ghaati " Cuisine we'd use mostly the Dried Coconut or "Kopra" to thicken our Gravies---besides the Fish used would be mainly Fresh Water River Fish or Dried Sea Fish---the Dried Fish would be procured from Mumbai or Ratnagiri in large quantities---hoarded and preserved in large Earthern Ware Jars!!Usage of Fresh Coconut was limited---and then too it would mainly be used as a garnish in Vegetables and Dal Curries!!The Copper or Brass Thaalies would gleam in the Lamplight----adding to the magic and mystery in Akka's Kitchen---a raftered Room with huge Coal fired "Chulhas" or Stoves,with a lofty Ceiling and Cow Dung smeared Floors ---cool and soothing to the touch of our bare feet!!
My "Konkani" Grandma Aaji used the Fresh Coconut liberally----typically running through almost a dozen of these given the size of the Family!!Luckily the Family owned many large Coconut Groves in Sawant Waadi!!The Sea Fish Curries were a staple in the Home--cooked daily using various species of fresh Sea Fish and using different Spices freshly ground----no two of her Curries tasted the same---they each had a distinct Taste and Flavour!!Fresh Coconut would be ground so fine in the Stone Pestle and Mortar called the "Ragda"---a huge Stone Bowl with a hollowed middle and an elongated Stone set in it----this needs expertise to grind evenly and fast-----and ground so fine that if a spoonful of the ground Mixture was dropped in a small bowl of Water it would dissolve completely--leaving no residue!!!While Dry Coconut was used the emphasis was more on the Fresh ones---and instead of Buttermilk we drank the "Sol Kadhi" made from freshly extracted Coconut Milk!!!Meat and Chicken Dishes would be accompanied by deep fried "Vadaas" made from a mixture of Millet and Urad Dal (Black Gram) and there would be 3 different Spice Pastes used in cooking the Meat!!The Fish would be fried in Coconut Oil and Rice would be boiled and drained of all it's Starch just before we sat down to eat---each Mealtime steaming hot,fluffy Rice would be served in our huge Thaalies(Plates)----made of Brass or Copper---later Stainless Steel.
However I took like a Duck to Water to the North Indian Cuisine that was served at the Table---because we lived in Chandigarh,North India(erstwhile Punjab) and our Cooks were North Indians!!Not just that there would be regular British Fare---adapted to suit Indian Tastebuds by the "Khaansaamaas" as those Cooks were called!!The third taste I learnt to eat and love was the "Pahadi" Style of Cooking with Black Bean Dal,Maize Bread,Mushrooms called "Gucchi" and lots of Green Leafy Vegetables cooked in Butter with lots of Garlic and Green Chillies.Of all the various Cuisines I grew up with I guess the North Indian and The Raj style of cooking appeals to me the most---may be because I associate my Childhood with it---besides I prefer simple Food---these Curries are easier to cook because they need mainly Basic Ingredients---unlike the elaborate and precisely measured Ingredients needed for both styles of Maharashtrian Cooking--ensuring that one spends hours in the Kitchen---specially awful in the sweltering Summer!!
Today if I was to state what my comfort Food was it would either be "Khichadi" cooked with Vegetables and lashings of Ghee---the more the better-----or the thick hearty Scotch Broth made with Lamb Shank Bones,Vegetables and Barley with thick chunks of home made Bread!!!But no---I guess the best would be tall Glasses of cold Fresh Creamy Milk or chilled plain Homemade Butter Milk----my "pick-me-up" fix of Ambrosia whenever I'm down!!!

  
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PARM01 5/28/2011 12:53AM

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BOVEY63 5/16/2011 12:02PM

    It is so interesting to learn more about your culture - I find it so fascinating.

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MAGIK0731 5/16/2011 10:25AM

    Your blogs always give me more insight to the Indian world and I like that. When I read your blogs, I try and picture what I would see and although in this particular blog I thought about my grandmother's kitchen, Italian grandmother at that, I just changed her laminant floors to cow dung and her gas stove to coal. I had to do some tweaking after all. :o)

When we ate at my grandparents, it was always Italian since that is all what my grandmothers knew. My mother would cook both Italian and American it wasn't until I was able to cook that I brought different cultures to the table. I've made Italian, American (whatever American is), Indian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, you name it. I guess you can say that I have expaned my boyfriend's palate as well as his roommates. As a matter of fact, we just had quesadillas this past Friday. Of course I had to put an Italian flair on that but nonetheless, food always brings people to the table and helps creates memories regardless of where the recipe came from.

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*MADHU* 5/16/2011 9:18AM

    Loved reading this...btw Khichdi is my favourite too :)

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