Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hand of God

My cousin brother, who lives with my parents, sent me this picture the other day; with the email subject – Guess who? Who in the world cannot identify the hands of their parents; those hands that held you first time you were born, ones that taught you how to walk, ones that held you all through your growing years and will forever!
"Hand of God"

I replied right away that it was my mother’s hand.  As obvious as is her saree in the back…I still instantly recognized her hands, the particular shape of her nails, the wrinkles she lately has developed..all through her physical hard work. She is a working woman, working both at home and at the bank! In the recent months when I lived with her during the birth and early days of my son, I noticed how she is busy at home all the time. Always cleaning something, furniture, grains/lentils, kitchen, vegetables or cooking. Of course she does watch TV, her favorite Marathi serials. But in these times when life is so easy and quick she still does a lot of things the old way. My husband those days once said, “How much your mom keeps working. Every room she leaves is neat and clean”.

As we had a couple of chain mails on this picture, I remembered a phrase ‘Hand of God’. Sometime ago it was someone’s email password, I don’t remember who. That’s how I know this phrase. I thought it was a perfect caption for the picture.

I googled the phrase just to see where does it come from; came across Soccer’s Deigo video – Hand of god where he made a goal with his hand and won the world cup for Argentina!  I further googled to see if it had any mythological reference. Well it has in Jewish and Christian culture.

To me, the caption brought deeper levels of interpretation of this simple picture. J

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Double standard

Facebook is full of Sachin’s retirement.
“Sachin retired...people cried, disappointed blah blah. I know it’s such a loss to watching cricket now...I am a great fan too. I have enjoyed tons of matches watching him play. But somewhere it crosses my mind, as to how much we Indians are attached to public personalities! Everybody retires, OUR PARENTS retire, but don't ever see posts of the same! Nobody mentions how their parents felt when they retired. I spoke to my Father 3 months ago when he retired and how empty he felt that day. That he choked thrice at work while saying goodbye to the 'other' family he had for 30+ years! Cricketers, actors, politicians - they play such important roles in our life! We forget they are doing a job! Jai Hind!”
I posted this today on my Facebook. Very few had the same views and liked it; as most of them as still in the agony of the GREAT RETRIREMENT! Why do we have such double standards? Why don’t we see jobs as jobs! Actors are doing a job, politicians, sportsmen…all the same!
A couple years ago when YSR…Andra Pradesh politician died in a helicopter accident, I read about how one or more people committed ‘suicide’ because of the loss of a great politician! REALLY??? So for these people, their parents come later..beyond these money raking public personalities? We never read a news that a son committed suicide after his parent’s death! Why are we so obsessed with public figures? At the end of the day, Sachin did his job of playing cricket for the country, yes we are proud of his achievements as an individual and as a country, and yes he had to retire some day, so another Sachin has a chance…that Sachin could be one of our sons!
The hypocrisy behind loving him and hating…until last year people were fed up of him…openly saying why doesn’t he retire already? And when he finally does, people want to cry and miss him and tweet and compose a song! Truly, I wonder what Sachin thinks of all this!
My father-in-law retired in 2011 and we (my husband, me and my brother-in-law) has flown in to town to surprise him on his last day of work! I feel sorry that my father did not have this moment of joy, as I and my brother both are here in the US. But I did make it a point to talk to my father and enquire on his last day. He did seem very down, like a lost battle. But it ain’t that bad as he got an extension and started his work the next following day. Point is my father and mother are idols to me, and yes their retirement bothers me much than Sachin’s!
Some of the over dramatic posts on Facebook were –

Life se ek question khatam ho gaya ................."Tendulkar ne kitne banaye?"

There is nothing left in Cricket now, time to start following other sports.

Can FB/ twitter release stats? How much posts were there for Sachin's retirement? I bet more than Obama winning the polls

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baking..I've got the tools!

It’s been a busy cooking time for me….for a while now! Diwali was simple this year for us…thanks to a 7 month baby at home who crawls all over the place following me, which makes cooking quite a task! Last year during my pregnancy I managed to make 4-5 items for Diwali in Bangalore; this year my husband asked me to avoid getting into any elaborate cooking. Still I decided to make Obbat …puran poli in Marathi.

My Oster hand  mixer
Since I got the baking craze in my mind, I had been looking for an electric mixer. The cool branded ones cost about $350-400 which is way too much to cater my new found hobby. I looked online for used mixer which still cost about $250. I was ready to shell out some $50 max. After a lot of research and review reading online, I shortlisted Oster’s clean start hand mixer. Typically baking mixers have 3 attachments – dough hooks, whisk, beater. I was looking for a hand mixer that came with all these attachments. My idea was that if I can’t afford the expensive mixers at least the hand-held mixer should have the attachments. And then identifying the features and speeds eventually brought me to Oster’s clean start mixer. Another reason I trusted the brand is because I have a regular cooking kitchen mixer/blender of the same brand which works well for my needs of dosa/idli batter, sambar, Aarav’s food purees etc.

I take part in online surveys that give some money; I had mentioned this in my recent post. I was waiting for my first paycheck of about $40, which would cover my hand mixer costing $29.92. I was eager to earn this mixer! Well by the time my paycheck came, it was Diwali time. We were in Walmart for some shopping and I just wanted to see if the mixer is available in store, coz it is available online. Searching through the appliances aisle, we found it! So my husband forced me to buy it off then itself than delaying it for my paycheck. And then came Diwali Padwa..for which I thankfully accepted this hand mixer as a gift.
Cake rusk for tea time

So the first item I made using the hand mixer was cake rusk; I realized that the Biscotti I made before was more dense than the store bought rusk, which lead me to realize they are slightly different. So I followed the cake rusk recipe, and in 10mins I had the cake ready and then getting the pieces roasted took some 30mins…but it was all so easy and they got over in 2 days…straight! So now I will make a bigger batch!
Off late I keep watching only cooking videos, especially breads! I have been watching Croissant making for a long time now; I am just too lazy to kick start as it’s a 2 day process. In the mean time I saw simpler recipes of banana bread, zucchini bread, sponge cake etc.

First ever Banana Bread
So after a long wait I finally was all ready to make my first banana bread yesterday. Ready in the sense you need really ripe bananas, which generally isn’t the case! Luckily the recipe I followed didnt need an electric mixer. So once I put Aarav to his nap, I started off with a spatula and whisk. Two hours later the bread was ready. I had never eaten one, so I was too eager to taste it; didn’t bother to wait until my husband returned from work. I was busy taking pictures of it when my husband called, right when I was thinking of him. He was excited to know it’s done and ready! So quick!

Slice of the nutty choco chip banana bread

Next week my husband has a potluck at work (meaning everyone bring a food item to share with all). So my plan was that if he likes this bread, I’ll make the same for his colleagues. When we lived in Spokane 5 years ago, one of his American colleague’s wife would sent baked goodies to work and he’d mention it then. I would wonder back then that I can’t make any baking dishes; the least I could do is Indian sweets like Gulab Jamuns…serving that to American colleagues would be a task with the sticky syrup and cups and spoons..I never sent any back then!
Now I am excited I can share some food that I can make and they can eat easily..and most importantly, they’ll like it!
One of these days I have to actually take up making croissants; I love them! Same goes with puff pastry, I never knew I could make our Indian khari using puff pastry – thanks to no baking knowledge!

This week I got to know about Tarla Dalal’s death. I never knew she had a cooking show of her own. I searched for her on youtube; watched how to make jalebi and rasgulla…never knew rasgullas where SOOO EASY to make! At least that’s how it looked in the video. I have never followed her cook books or recipes; but from her video she reminds you of your grandma, the way she talks so sweetly and convincing you that nothing is difficult to do! I might watch more of her videos to learn some of the very basic Indian food delicacies! RIP Tarla Aunty.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Spine of the home..Yes we are!

I came across this article on facebook. It literally points down every single minute of my life..and of course of all other women! It's pleasing to see a man pen it down voluntarily!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Best Buy …indeed the best buy!

My laptop adapter was living its last moments since a while now. You know how the adapters are ….the point close to the laptop where they crack and eventually the power supply cuts off one day..leaving you aghast (in my case the battery is dead long ago…which is mostly everyone’s case too I believe). Yeah, so aghast that now there is NO-WAY to switch on your laptop!!!
Moreover not all laptops have the same adapters, so there is a rare chance you can use or borrow other’s adapter! I am not an online shopper; somehow I feel there is a high chance of cheating online as I will never see the product I buy until I pay for it and it reaches to my door. Being Indian, we are used to the ‘No exchange policy’ all through our lifetime shopping in India. That’s why I am not an online shopper. I might as well go to a shop and buy what I see and like!
So here I was at a point where I had to buy an adapter ONLINE! I googled all website that were selling, chatted with a DELL rep for the actual adapter; they apparently are quite costly…around $70ish. That’s a lot of money for an adapter…which die every now and then. I checked with my brother who lives here in the US for a long time now. He suggested me ebay, best buy; ebay had some really cheap ones like for $8-10..but they were unbranded. So we were not sure to buy and then have it blast the moment we plug it in! Eventually I decided to go with Ebay. I placed an order for Denaq DQ-PA-12-7450 adapter ($25 including $2.99 shipping charges) which is compatible with my Dell Inspiron 1545! I ordered it on Nov 5th Tuesday and the website said it would be shipped by Nov 15th. So I was mentally prepared to wait for it to reach in 10 days. But to my surprise it reached in 2 days, Nov 7th! How fast is that, totally unexpected!
I totally loved this online purchase for the speedy delivery; moreover its working fine unlike some website reviews that said the adapter didn’t work or burnt etc! Here I am posting from my laptop using the new adapter! The joy of using your own laptop is so amazing; I had my husband’s official laptop for last 2 days..but it’s not the same. After all it’s for official purpose and I feel guilty using it to watch cooking videos or a couple of Marathi serials!
I take part in online surveys of yet to release products or already released products. These days quite often I see a question – which of the following activities have you done; they have options like ‘complained about a product to the company’, ‘posted a review about a company on a blog, social network’. Now I can choose the review option for my online purchase on Best buy! 
I am surprised as to why dell adapters are expensive here in the US. We bought one this January, in Pune from a DELL outlet on MG road and it cost us 1600/- which is approx. $25-30. Pretty much what I paid for this Denaq adapter!
While we are on adapters, I wish there was only one kind of adapter that goes into all the laptops. Life would have been so much easier eh! Well I think it’s just another marketing idea; the more different adapter models, more are the sale and hence greater business!