Friday, February 28, 2014

A day I missed

I had an off today. I didn't know what for but was later informed that it is MahaShivratri. This year, I had made some plans of fasting today and visiting the beautiful Someshwar temple near Baner. Instead, I had no clue that the day had crept up so silently. So I slept, watched some stuff on YouTube (an interview of the man who authored 'The $100 Start-up' was good), and went for yoga.

The yoga instructor, who is a really good teacher from Alaska, told the class that we are making progress. However, I don't think so. I think that there are so many postures that I can't even begin to get right. But, I suppose if I just stayed the course, things will improve.

Anyway, I walked back home after class through a beautiful, cool night. It was nearly ten o'clock by the time I got done. Some frugal rations had to be bought (end of month scenario going on at the moment). But I did spend on the last few hundreds on items that were not really necessary -like a chilled Red Bull that I wanted to enjoy in my balcony, a large packet of oats which had a delectable strawberry on it, and a few lemons. Pune's getting hotter now and sweet, chilled lime water with some pepper is quite lovely! Speaking of lovely beverages, there's a Masala Cola that served at Mast Kalandar that I love! A colleague called it 'Hajmola on fizz' as if it's a bad thing. That is exactly what it is and it's yummy!

Anyway, I got home and wanted to make something really simple. There was some daal and a beans and peas sabzi. I boiled a couple of potatoes with skin. Then I halved them, put a thick pat of butter on each half, and finished off with a screw of salt, pepper, and chaat masala. It was just so good.

A couple of friends have now moved to Gurgaon. Gurgaon, as of tonight, was enjoying scrumptious weather. Rains, fast winds, and from what my friend described, lots of chimes across the sprawling complexes going off together like some acoustic Mexican wave. Over the phone, I heard some delicious howling of the wind and splatter of rain. It made me deeply wish that Gurgaon was 3 hours from Pune.

I made some tea and here I am posting this. Day is gone but it was nice.

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why this Sunday was so n-I-c-e

1. It began early.  Had made plans with a colleague to go to Koregaon Park today at 10.30. She was on time, which was wonderful! So, we were out the door into the cool, crisp Sunday morning with delay.

2. The traffic was a dream!  The drive was like a motorized spa treatment.  We chatted about the different cities we'd lived in, thd different spaces in those cities, and the gloriousness of just 'being'.

3. A shopping spree at one of my favorite places, BusyBee in Lane 7 for some cute tops, dresses,  and summer jackets. And then in one of hers, Naksha, on the main North Main Road, near Lane 5. Very pretty, colourful cotton skirts and wispy, chic kurtis in pop oranges, pinks, yellows,  and greens. Sale currently on in both places but even at full price, good stuff.

4. Leisurely brunch (my absolutely most favorite meal) at Terrtulia. Friend had a very tempting Eggs Florentine with beer, I had a large Belgian waffle with a strawberry Margarita mocktail followed by coffee.

5. A scrumptious walk all around KP to walk off the meal. Under the shaded trees and through tiny lanes and past massive, beautiful houses witn large, lawns, counting innumerable banyan trees, spotting bougainvillaes with unusually colored flowers...so restorative it was.

6. A lovely coffee and lemon cheesecake break at Darios. We sat outside in the midst of loads of happy chompers, good music in the background, listening to birdsongs. Sunshine got mellow, conversation got deeper.

7. A visit to the Nature's Basket where I spotted where my next salary will get spent...on little jars of fig preserves, packets of miso soup,  peppered cream cheese, and a large bottle of non-alcoholic pomegranate sparkler.

8. Finished reading 'Recipe for Love' by Betty Fforde. Light read. Romance.  Not spectacular but entertaining enough. Has a cooking competition as a theme. British set up so found the use of certain phrases charming: Sorry, that was a little previous of me; Women are moody when they are pupped...Also, learnt about and longing for dessert treats like croquembouche and pancakes with a custard made with white chocolate.

So good, today was. Just so good.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sweet Valentine's Day

The weather is terrific. Mellow sunshine that is bright and yolk-y but also warm on the shoulders and back. Feels so good. But also cold wind that makes you glad you wore that scarf even though it was afternoon. You wish for a lake and a bank and a sunny glen to read.

At work, someone loaned me Maus. It's a graphic novel I have been waiting to read for a long time. Someone else brought in candied fruits from Singapore. Papaya flavors were especially tasty.

Roses that are dyed blue look sad, scary, tacky. Somethings, like a peculiar hair colour, a rose can't pull of. It has much to learn from a carnation - the ditzy, slightly unbearable lightness of being.

The day is pretty. Shines with a sheen of a bubble. Will float away like one too.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

The one who writes

Just finished reading Moor's Last Sigh. It was a longer, more disturbing, at time even tedious. But the book is magical in thd way it brings out the desecration of Bombay after the Ayodhya matter...how a delicious city now has all the appeal of stale food. How wanting our love for the city has been. And yet what remains maybe is what Moor calls a defeated love. And yet, through even that, might come a deep sleep and an awakening into a new world.

Many times, I am asked or I wonder why Salman Rushdie is so special to me. Maybe its his writing. Maybe its his imagination or the way he draws out history in a way that it collapses in the now. But mostly, his books always feel like stories he is telling only me. And he tells me these tales, at least in my head, when I ask, "You know what I mean?" And through his books, he says, "Yes...let me tell you a story..."

Also, yes, his deep understanding of the way love, and occasionally Bombay works...making myths and migrants of us all.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Such irritation

Of being trapped at work when there is the last 140 pages of a novel to complete. 

A night such as childhood

Tonight, a friend stayed over. We had a simple fare of parathas, mixed vegetables,  and a spicy, cooked salad of rajma, chanaa, and soya granules. On a whim, then, we went to Peter Donuts to bring back hazelnut cappuccino and custard-filled donuts. He stopped elsewhere for chilled Coke.

Then we sat in the balcony, shivering a little in our thin cotton clothes. Slender plumes of smoke climbed away from his cigarette to the moon. We spoke of the time when we were children; when much of our world was crossed barefeet. We spoke when youth so young clogged our pores. Somewhere we laughed at some of our ideas that carried the thumbprints of a naive past. Even as we snickered,  we somewhere knew that those ideas were true.

Another cigarette was lit. Smoke again snaked towards the sky. I looked beyond at a tree top that seemed to anchor two tiny stars and a muddled moon. That little patch of a busy sky could have been anywhere. It could have been anyone's.  Yet, I saw it as childhood sat between us...barefeet. 

Do we ever grow up?

Despite everything we do. Yet, despite everything we don't.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One of those days

I woke up early today. It was still dark and cold. My friend, Gia, was pottering about in the kitchen. She is on a General Motors diet and has decided to cook her own food. That really is the best way to stay on a diet, I suppose: plan your meals and cook them yourself. Sounds of shuffling feet (mine) and steady snips of parsley (hers) fill up the kitchen. She offers to make me tea. I agree and sink into the sofa. I reach for my phone and check a few messages. Then I flip through a Vogue, looking at an incandescent Katrina Kaif wearing a pale pink feather gown applying shell-pink gloss to her lips. Her eyes are smudged with a soft grey eyeliner and a bounteous curl frames her face. She reminds me of something very fragile and fleeting - like the really fine slices of Japanese ginger Terrtulia adds in one of their pear and ginger martinis.

Terrtulia. With the wooden board that says, "Eat, Drink, Love."

It's a restaurant in Koregaon Park that I really like. Sometimes, the food is outstanding. And I do mean otustanding. Other times, it's very good. I don't imbibe and am a vegetarian. As a result, I don't find many Italian or Continental restaurants interesting anymore. Their menus are not for those like me. There is very little thought given to adults who choose to not drink or eat meats. Usually, the vegetarian options use heavy, cream or cheese sauces and the non-alcoholic beverages use a cream or sweet.

Not Terrtulia. I absolutely love their fruit Margaritas without liquor, especially the Kiwi Margarita. It's tart and spunky with fresh kiwi slivers lining up the glass. In food, they have a Spinach and corn quiche which is a baked treasure. And their pizza with rucola leaves. This, I think, must be in every order whether one is a vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The way those leaves are cooked - it's a study in perfection. The pizza base is thin and lightly coated with a herbed tomato sauce. There are few slices of pepper and olives and a few of these leaves are just coarsely plucked and placed on the top. It's all dusted off with a little cheese. That pizza is really a masterful piece of work.

Speaking of masterful pieces of work, I attended the Kala Ghoda festival the other day. It is so delightful this year - all bright colours, some really nice stalls (I loved the long, asymmetrical linen dresses and draped kurtis by this brand called 'K' or 'Kaveri'.) There were street sellers peddling neon green and pink pin-wheels that added a burst of freshness in the bright afternoon light. There are some quirky, cheeky installations that catch the light of the Mumbai afternoon sun. A conglomeration of large shards of glass caught splintered images of strangers. Three large postboxes were spray-painted with pictures of movie-stars and tied together with ropes. I didn’t get the point but the hot pinks and charcoal black worked their magic. There was a large canvas, ripped and perforated. It was supposed to represent the changing light of the Bombay sun, the shifting moods of the Arabian Sea. Right at the end of the Kala Ghoda exhibition strip, there was a large canvas shaped like a tree. Large mosaic wheels composed in the form of a tree were displayed and these wheels themselves were pieces depicting something of the city - dinky autorickshaws, huts, stripsof roads, people. 

But I think my favorite part of the art exhibition was what happened outside the exhibition. A seller had a huge stack of beautiful rings arranged on a large slab of glass. There was an infinity ring studded with two diamonds and had very interesting detailing. If you looked at it from a distance, it looked like an owl. Only on a closer look could you see the infinity motif. There was a stunning scorpio ring in green and black stones,  a thick python one in aqua and yellow stones with garnet-splinters for eyes and fangs. There was a simple silver one that looked like a ghungroo. And one really exquisite piece in some kind of black, onyx like stone that was cut like a champagne flute. It was so delectable! 

In any case, most of these were under 400 rupees and lay neatly on a large slab of greenish glass. There was some jostling when a crowd moved past the seller, the slab fell from his hands, and it shattered. Suddenly, there were these shards of green everywhere and dozens of glittery and oxidized jewelry. What really was artistic, though, was how the seller went about remedying the situation. Instead of just clumping back the jewelry somewhere, he simply rearranged the shards irregularly and positioned some jewelry on each fragment. It was so lovely! To see him fashion a pedestrian showroom for stuff right there!

There's art, there are memories, and there's the road on which both things happens. Some days I think of that.