Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Come Walk with Me

i just feel gr8 for the monsoon finally bringing the heat down in Delhi. A stroll in the morning with my babies around me looking greener and healthier and sprouting perfect new limbs, growing stronger and healthier can be a very relaxing and calming experience. And today i wish for company because although my babies make me feel happy i cannot help but miss my loved one who is no more with me. Today i want to share my walk...my happiness and my pining heart for Precious.

Coming out of the main door...thinking also about the WHO who created you before i adopted you my dearest ones...i first look towards your appearance.

Admiring you and thanking you, blessing you, wishing you well, whispering silently to survive against all odds i walk along spaces that could not restrict you from spreading joy to one and all.

My babies who have made me famous...people come and show lots of appreciation for you...express their respects to the mother who adopted them and is taking excellent care and their numbers are now gradually growing... of strangers who want to be friends.
i am now known through you and because of you. That sometimes makes me feel wanted and other times infuses some pride.
But will they ever be able to feel that i deeply miss one among or rather few among you who left me this summer? Can they sense the guilt...the anger...the frustration...the loneliness/emptiness/the sorrow that one feels even when others are around ??? But Darlings the moment i see you i get respite and feel optimistic once again. Trying all that i can...feeding you, grooming you, watching you grow from strength to strength i quickly forget all my pain, anger, frustrations...

Sometimes you play truant and cause me worry when you don't look your own cheery self.

But a lot many times you only delight me and pleasantly surprise me when you introduce me to your new friends.

The Bulbuls and sparrows friends of yours are restless and fly away or rather shy away after a quick greeting but this Mr Gold -triangle- in- the- wings was very patient and kind. We sure did exchange a few notes. Thank you dears for sharing your fun times with me. But will you please invite that butterfly again who got startled as soon as i approached to say hello. Will you tell the butterfly not to be afraid and linger a bit longer? i would love to know it's name.

Come walk with me...from that passage to the lift...and lets remember Precious and company fondly...
The mere sight of whom would bring words into the mouth of even the most quiet one, banish all boredom, start conversations and even startle the moving feet to glued stillness...as one was stunned by it's elegance and regalia. Some strangers would just come all the way to the top floor just to take pictures.
i wish well for you my babies but can't help missing my Precious. 
Is Precious precious because Precious is no more with us now? i guess not.
Succumbing to the heat wave and languishing slowly as i tried my best to revive it. Was there something i needed to know...something that i missed...of some fatal infection draining the life out of my Precious... ignorance about it's weaning, it's delicate body which needed special care... the oppressive, suffocating heat wave... what was it...???
Feeling anxious about you always especially when i am away not trusting the help who might ignore you completely or upon being reprimanded over the phone overfeed you and make you fatally sick. Do you know dears that it's in a mom's intrinsic nature to worry about the well being of her kids? 
Are you missing Precious too and all your other buddies who were too delicate to survive the odds?
i mean all your colorful friends...
Perhaps they suffered doubly... with heat burns and latent grief for Precious. 
Do not grieve my darlings...
 Precious and company will always be in our hearts.
i know i know...all of you love talking about Precious and the others as they say-"Absence makes the heart grow fonder".
Let's talk as i walk for not only do i prize your gentle, innocent, beautiful  presence around me but YOU my lovely ones remind me again and again of that which often slips out of the conscious... 
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
                                                                 --- Kahlil Gibran
N.B: Keep walking with me as we shall in my next post reveal more of Precious...

Thank you Varun

Finally it's raining since morning in the hot and sultry Dilli of mine. And it being a Tuesday all i can think about is food. More so as i have willingly and happily subscribed to what is called Mangalwaari ( Tuesday fast). i tried to feel religious about the whole fast thing but as one can deduce from the introduction i am more than happy and satisfied to consider my Mangalwaari as the day of detoxifying the accumulated junk that could've accumulated over the week. It being my day off from the kitchen too as there's got to be no cooking till evening. Sure i look forward eagerly to an evening of simple dal roti and methi aloo.

Obviously! i thought it better to share some food news instead of anything else.

Quite recently i had been to Singapore and acted like a stubborn kid who wanted to eat her fish and chips only. i pestered my son to take me to that joint in the University campus where i had had my last yummy fish and chips, something called Megabytes in the Science Forum area of the National University of Singapore. But the best buddy of my son suggested a place quite near to my hotel explaining briefly why the place was a delight not only for fish and chips maniacs but also THE place for seafood lovers. i took his advice seriously and boy! am i glad !

This place is called Fish & Co.
i don't know how many branches they have but since i was put up in Orchard Road this particular one was in the shopping mall called Paragon very close to my hotel. This information about a swell joint so near to my lodging was also imparted by the same good soul. Jauntily and all a go we set out for this very convenient walk from my hotel to this joint. Hardly took 5 minutes to reach our destination.

The neon proclaims and the cooks in the kitchen remain honest and true to the proclamation.What i ordered was a seafood platter and it sure was served to me straight from the fire in a saucepan. Food served hot and fresh in a typical Mediterranean style.

The one i had selected from a tempting menu of quite an array was this Seafood Platter for 1. My picture does not show clearly the bountiful and scrumptiously delicious spread just enough to satisfy the craving palate and delight the rest of the gastronomical senses. That of an amazing sight and the aroma that makes one drool. Maybe the tiger prawns and calamari are visible here but let me share the entire rich and very satisfying meal that i ever had. My meal consisted of tiger prawns, calamari, dori fillet served on a bed of paella rice and chips. Not that i want to spoil anybody's appetite but just because i remember that cute Blue Tang/ Regal Tang- Dory in Finding Nemo...i guess Dory is another cute Piscean species in the already created food chain.

Here is another borrowed pic from the internet that shows all of the delightfully enjoyed by me platter. The Dori fillet is neatly tucked in the side next to the chips on one side bordered by a disciplined line-up against the wall tiger prawns on the other side. The bed of Paella brilliantly colored peeping between calamari rings and the tiger prawns. As the good soul had explained i loved the creamy layering/ stuffing of the prawns and the dori fillet with just the correct hint of aromatic herbs used.

 Although i was less adventurous in choosing my meal i have no doubt that the rest of the array-11 platters to be precise would be a gourmet's delight too. (i had counted the variety in the platter menu as well as those of just fish and chips which was about 8 kinds served that day- the 8 best from around the world).

Actually i loved everything about the place. The subdued yet distinct nautical theme which exuded a warm and cheery ambiance, the casual, inviting yet relaxed wall less dining area...the courteous Ferdie who not only understood just what would please me but was surprisingly very patient to all my dilly dallying while choosing my platter and oh yes his adorable and  unforgettable naughty smile...the  wooden fish design coasters...the anatomy of Salmon which was hand drawn on the black board with handy tips about the best way to prepare it and also to preserve the freshness, and last but not the least the freshness of the place itself in spite of it being a seafood joint. There was not a hint of that overpowering seafood odor that sometimes may dull and drive the hungry appetite away.

i had one meal a day everyday for the next consecutive couple of the remaining days and regretted not knowing of the place beforehand. For i was there for about a week and this one meal a day at Fish&Co would've introduced me to a lot many of that which i have never tried...to name a few like oysters, mussels, Atlantic cod, pollock, whole sea bass, swordfish, stingray... .
Although in those 2 days i had exhausted my cravings for fish and chips i was eager to introduce my exploratory palate to a lot more. Especially one that i had noticed on my neighbor diner's table. When i asked what that colorful, attractive looking dish was, Ferdie had to spell out rather show the dish in the menu. It was called Seafood Bouillabaise introduced recently into their menu. i don't even remember now how to pronounce it correctly. All i remember is that it was a special dish that is not served with any side dish unlike many others as it is fulfillingly delightful by itself. Maybe next time i will remember not to dilly dally and day one should see me ordering this Seafood Bouillabaise.

Before i forget although i could not try Teryaki sauce or the French styled tomato coulis i relished their sauces as well which were way above the ones i had tasted before. Be it the most commonly used for most fish fingerlings tarter sauce or something unique of Fish&Co itself the very famous garlic lemon butter sauce.

Yeah i have promises to keep for all those called tomato coulis, miso, teryaki for the next time along with many other main dishes... and i cannot quit without fondly thinking and missing that buddy of my son in whom i see all traits of a banking- on- for- all -great- informations- buddy of mine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Initially i was uncaring but just recently when i was gheraoed ( sort of mobbed) by strangers in a upmarket beauty salon including the chief hair stylist i thought that it was time that i shared the secret to the world.

 i had accompanied a friend of mine who had an appointment there and the moment i sat with a glamour magazine waiting for the coffee to arrive i was approached by not one but 3 pretty done up young ladies who wanted to know which brand of hair color i use and what the name of the color is.
i was hesitant and doubtful and felt like lying at first and i actually did when i just fumbled-'' Errrr! actually it is but natural."
How could i go on to explain the whole story. But while i had uttered my lie i realized that the heavily booked for the week hairstylist with whom my friend had fixed an appointment a month earlier had meandered in with some more and all her gadgets hanging around and the goddess of all hair thing proclaimed looking at me straight in the eye-" Oh! this is that new henna Javed thing but let me tell you this -you should try what we have here...the latest with NO AMMONIA... ." i felt like laughing but tried to control. She sounded so fake trying to imitate Penelope Cruz and i also wondered if imitation is another sort of marketing strategy and if that's what helps her sell then it was wierdly funny.

i wish i could reproduce that look...the presumptuous, bossy, i- know- it- all look through my narration but am incapable of reproducing the next look either which was even better when i lied again-" No trust me Ms Hair Expert!, sry i don't know your name but my hair is natural although i do treat it in my own special way and sure i do use henna as the main ingredient."
i don't know if it was my way of speaking or the curiosity to know that Ms Hair Expert sobered down and expressed a sincere desire that i share with her and the rest my recipe for that color.

Of course i had to narrate it all but it was in pure honesty and the complete truth. But the admiration i got later sure warmed me because i had underestimated the power of household handy tips with the added bonus of the newly forged friendship right there and then itself.
My friend who was a bit irritated for having been stood up looked towards me and winked that wink wink which gave me the added courage and pleasure of sticking to my lie because she knew my secret.
She knew that my white lie had an iota of truth in it after all.
Oh i shall be more than happy to discuss the truth. But first my true recipe and the procedure.

Recipe for Hair Color :
1.Fresh Henna leaves-and if you can't get fresh leaves then the dry henna powder can be used.
2. A handful of Red Hibiscus flowers-but if you can't get the flowers then even the leaves of the hibiscus shrub are good enough.
3. Beetroot juice (Depending on the length of your tresses-big, medium sized or small- 1 beetroot to be grated and the juice squeezed out. Don't throw away the leftover-use it for cooking anything-soups, raitha, or mix it for vegetable cutlets)
4. If you are using dry henna powder then some tea decoction for the paste.
5. 1 tbsp of coffee powder preferably fresh ground coffee bean and if that is not available then instant Bru or Nescafe coffee powder should suffice.

Henna Leaves


Coffee beans
Procedure: The entire ingredients are mixed in a blender which makes a sticky paste. Finally apply it in your hair and leave it for minimum half an hour and wash off with just plain water. Do not shampoo your hair the day you apply this henna paste. At night give your hair a nice warm oil massage and shampoo your hair the following day. In order to get the best results you will have to repeat the procedure every week once. In about a months time your hair will not only look beautiful but also feel rich with all it's body and bounce.

Advice: If you are susceptible to cold, sinus, asthma then this may not be suitable for you.

Finally the iota of truth in my lie is that in order to get the exact hue that my mane has you need to have dull, dry, lifeless, light colored, malnutrition-ed original hair. Something that looks like straw,( hay colored).
Maybe one might have a richer color like this and may lack the body and bounce. Even then i feel that my henna paste may add to its richness so far as color, body and bounce is concerned.

 Trust me on this. Hair that has no body nor bounce. Hair that stands in it's place refusing to settle down unless the hand is used to press it down.
The hue that my hair has and the body and bounce that it supports now is all because of this magical paste which is a part of my weekly routine once every week unless i am traveling.
i do feel good about the feel and the compliments my hair gets me but the added bonus is how a bonhomie, a kind of sisterhood is forged all because of something that i was not happy about and something that i decided to change for the better.

Bereft now of my bungalow and my henna and hibiscus shrubs i have still been following my regime religiously substituting the ingredients with dry henna powder and adding some conditioning agent like egg white as just dry henna powder dries the hair still further. You can add the yolk which is best if you can tolerate the smell. No i did not try any of the ready made expensive mixes-Shahnaz , Blossom Kocchar's or even Javed Habib's which is lesser priced... but an year back i saw the commercial of one Godrej Nupur Henna powder. The mix claims of my ingredients and more. i make a paste of it with tea decoction and beetroot juice. i am very satisfied and it has worked just fine for me. As you can see.

That's it for the time being. Presumably will be back soon with more...Although cannot quit without an afterthought. If i can change and feel happy about my hair then i think i have the potential to change more...

Image Courtesy: images of Hibiscus, Henna Leaves, Beetroot, Coffee Beans and of the crowning glory beautiful wondering lady and also the beautiful lady upset with her hair lady from the Internet.