September 16, 2014

Something french

I walked in and looked about. 

Everything looked just about the same. The blue walls, the water coolers, the small garden patch with the benches. It did bring a smile to my face. 

Turning a corner had me walking towards a chattering group and the familiar faces made me the silent spectator as always. 

And then I spotted the coffee brown polo neck and tan corduroy jacket. 

'Hello Sir, how have you been?' 

We started to walk to the playground as he was headed out for his lunch break duty. And I dutifully tagged along speaking about work, travel and all. 

My was smiling all through and seeing him again brought back so many memories or studying and doing things just to have him smile! 

'Amma... wake up.. the sun is OUT! It is day.'

Oh well, there are some dreams and some thoughts which are better off in dreams.  

I opened my eyes smiling, and thought that was the kind of crush high school physics teachers were entitled to :) They last through years and years, 15 years to be precise :)

As I thought back, I was quite surprised by the extend I remember about his dressing style, his goatee, his smile, and the seriousness with which he prepared his classes, and the interruptions which he did not entertain. I still have a vivid picture in my head about how he walked about with his box of chalks and textbooks.

Seems like ages back.

I have an immense liking for french beards, or goatees, or whatever it is called. And when I say immense, I quite mean it.


I believe that is something which I have loved since school, and this teacher being one to sport is so well with his jeans, polo neck and corduroy jackets, had me ( and many more girls) listening raptly to vectors and forces and speed and pressure issues.

 A shaggy look, beard is something I will swoon over, any day, over the clean shaven or mustache. There is a mystery, a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever I see men as above. And that is also the reason, one of my all time favourite men in Bollywood has been Kunal Kapoor. It is as obscure a choice, I have been told, but that is the truth.


My fascination with a goatee is to such an extend that I have asked B to attempt a goatee in lieu of any gifts for birthday or anything for the entire year. But, he anyhow picked to give gifts that have an 'itchy beard' ! I believe that there is sure to be a period of irritation, especially when the hair lengths are different, but once trimmed and the threshold is crossed, it would be wonderful. Or so, I believe. I still plan on repeating the request, he might just have that bout of overflowing love wherein he might attempt it one more time.

Fingers crossed!

September 3, 2014

Book Review: Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar (Translated by Jerry Pinto)

A book with 2 chapters. A book with just 6 charachters. A book which makes you think of love very differently.

A paying guest with a free spirit in a house where a family of 4 resides. A son who falls in love with the paying guest and the daughter also follows suit. But the daughter being more feisty, decides to run away with the man and live a life away from the eyes of parents and society. But, alas, only to be left stranded and in need of counselling to get back her life and goals in order.

The son is distraught and does not even know what has happened. But he fathoms the impossible when he realizes his sister is back, and his love and sister had run off. No one understands the son, he goes into depression, and that too is not even accepted by his parents who are only fussing about the daughter, getting her fine and marrying her off. There is a certain pathos which has been shown on the side of the parents, in their dealings with the children. Society and expectations mould the behaviour of parents towards adult children. They are expected to understand and comply to keep with the traditions, and to the extend that they do not see what is blatant enough, but not the norm.

This book left me with a feeling of unknown. It did not end, per say. I felt there was a closure required, which was lacking, in my respect. But, the work was beautiful in seeing the feelings coursing through love, despair and rejection. It was beautifully portrayed.

Rating: 3/5

August 17, 2014

Book Review: Sessiv Ev (Silent House) by Orhan Pamuk

 Sessis Ev, or Silent House is the second novel by Orhan Pamuk originally written in turkish and later translated into English. His first novel being a turkish book called Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları (Cevdet Bey and His Sons), which I believe was not translated to English. So, for all practical purposes of the Bingo Reading challenge, where I am to read a first book by a favourite author, this book fits the bill. And at the onset I should also add that this book did nothing for me as My name is Red did. That was a different setting and maybe more complex and intertwined to my taste. This was something I picked up, and read through, without really feeling anything much.

Set in a small town outside Istanbul, and revolving around how 3 grandchildren come to visit their ailing grandmother and her help about the house, a dwarf. As we proceed through the book, we see how the past plays out and how the many people in the small town are related yet believes to be unrelated.

 Eldest drinks and binges all through his stay and wonders about his ex-wife and how she enjoys life. He is shown to be someone who wallows in misery and drinks till sleep overbears. Sister lives a life analyzing the communist era and trying to be there for eldest through the rough patch. She aims to spend time with the grandmom though the grandmom does not really believe so. Youngest, with money in his pockets, from private tutoring classes, wishes to woo and live life with the party crowd in this sleepy beach town. He seems to believe he is in love with a girl and it is interesting to see how he misread her intentions, and almost forces himself on him, before taking control of the situation and rethinking what he is going to do. 

One of the characteristic things which I liked when reading My Name is Red was how every chapter would be in the first person narrative of each charachter in the book. This was something new for me, but this book also had the same method of narration. But, when I look at this book, the method seems to be a little more ineffective, or something which he has not mastered to that extend. This book was a good  20 years before My Name is Red, so I believe its safe to believe he was testing out strategies long before the master piece.

Overall the book was not as thrilling as My Name is Red, the plot was not that gripping either. The story was told mostly about thoughts and what each charachter felt as the summer proceeded and how things pan out for each. It was a little slow and also did not really evoke much feelings neither in terms of story or language.

Rating: 2.5/5

July 25, 2014

Banana bread infused with rum soaked sultanas

Been a while since I did some baking, and when I saw a banana bread recipe on Nigella Lawson's website, I thought this would be perfect for a weekend! And I had some rum sitting about too which I was thinking of using up lest I start using it in other ways ;) Also, added to that I had some bananas which no one seemed to be interested in consuming!

Banana chocolate bread with rum soaked sultanas

So, that was what pretty much lead to this bread, and the chocolate was something I added just to on a whim, which I thought would be the perfect combination for the liquor.
Banana chocolate bread with rum soaked sultanas

Sultanas - 2/3 cup
Dark rum - 5 tbsp
Flour - 1 1/4 cup
Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Cocoa powder - 1 tbsp
Unsalted butter (melted)- 9 tbsp
Superfine sugar - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 2
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Very ripe banana (mashed) - 2 large
Chopped walnuts (optional) - 1/3 cup

  1. Pour the rum over the sultanas in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from fire and keep covered for about an hour. This helps the sultanas soak in all the rum and distend a little. After an hour, drain the remaining rum and keep aside the sultanas.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170 C.
  3. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt together. 
  4. In a separate bowl, melt the butter, add sugar and beat well. Add eggs and vanilla extract to this mixture. Next add the mashed bananas and then the soaked raisins, followed by the chopped walnuts.
  5. Add the sifted flour mixture to the wet ingredients and fold it in.
  6. Pour this mixture into a greased loaf tin  and bake at 170 C for about 40-60 mins. A tester will come clean, on being completely baked.
If you do plan to make it, I must add, it tastes heavenly, and the rum is not that over powering that you would think of opting out. Try it... its a great flavour!