Poem: Shopping

five people standing against wall

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Who amongst us does not love the thrill that only comes from finding the perfect pair of shoes, that dress or even a bag! And if you managed to find it on sale, the thrill is doubled or even tripled.

grocery cart with item

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

The Rush that is Shopping

You enter the mall with anticipation
Fingering your cards, feeling just a bit maudlin

You have big plans for the day, waiting to jump into the fray
You walk around, checking out shops, sizing up your prey

Then when you have found the perfect dress you were looking for,
That’s when you rush towards it, find your heart starting to soar

Eyes sharp as an eagle, ears keen as a owl
Like a predator on the prowl

When the dress is in your hands, you breathe a sigh of relief
Then its the delicious excitement of making sure it fits and does not give you grief

Then you pay for it and take it home
Now you wait to twirl in it, maybe do a roam?

That’s the fun of shopping, it gives you that burst of adrenaline
The rush that comes from it, makes you shine

 

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2018 Secondary 3 Week 39 Update

We’re counting down to the end of this school year and it’s exam season for BB & GG.

They are super busy these days because the year-end exams are ongoing. BB’s school exam timetable is fairly straightforward with continuous exams daily this whole week. GG’s school on the other hand, has exams for two days and then three days of normal school curriculum and then exams again. This means her exams end three days after BB’s.

Once exams are over, they go back to school for some weeks for CCA and some learning activities. School ends on the last Friday of October. And then it’s the start of the countdown to their O levels. Both BB & GG have to go back to school for a week or so after the holidays start for an O level head start. This will probably mean they get holiday homework to work on.

Have a blessed Sunday.

2018 Secondary 3 Week 37 Update

Today GG & BB turn 15! Happy birthday to my babies! I can’t believe that those children who barely fit in the crook of my arm 15 years back now tower over me.

Yesterday was their Hindi year-end exams and while BB was blase as usual, GG was very stressed. I had to text her between her exams to take a deep breath and write the next exam with a more calm and collected mind. When she is stressed, she tends to second-guess herself and as we know when you do that, you are bound to make more mistakes. That’s exactly what happened to her during her PSLE and we all know what happened then. I am now slightly panicking about her O level exams next year. Hope I can research more on how to help her.

Later today, some of their friends are coming over. Since this will probably be the last birthday they can celebrate on the actual day during their schooling years (Next year this time, they will be in intensive prep for the O Levels and I don’t think they will be able to get friends to come over). The cakes and pizzas have been ordered and I will fry some samosas and spring rolls later when the kids come. The drinks and chips have been brought and all that’s left is to clean the house a bit and then have fun!

Exams start in two weeks time and so the next few updates should  be all about it.

Have a satisfying weekend folks and I’ll  come back with the party updates tomorrow.

Recipes: Palak Paneer

I had been craving for some Palak Paneer for a few weeks now when I chanced upon this recipe on Facebook from Chef Sanjyot Keer of Your Food Lab. The recipe was intriguing enough to tempt me and when I chanced upon some spinach over the weekend, I knew it was time to try this recipe. This is very different from the usual recipe that I make which is inspired by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe which is very simple. This one is slightly more complicated, but was super delicious and was a hit at home!

Palak Paneer

Ingredients:

  • 2 big bunches spinach or palak, chopped
  • 1 big cup frozen paneer (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes)
  • 1 big pod of garlic, grated or chopped finely
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and then sliced vertically
  • 4-5 green chillies
  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup beaten yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp black or pink salt
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

  • Take a large pan and boil water in it. When the water is boiling, blanch the spinach in it for 2-3 minutes and remove. Soak it in a large bowl of iced water for a  few minutes before removing and draining the water. This preserves the lovely green colour of the spinach.
  • When the spinach is cool, blend it with the green chillies and coriander leaves into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • In another pan, heat the ghee and when warm, add the cumin seeds and let it splutter.
  • Then add the chopped or grated garlic and let it saute for a few minutes.
  • Next, add the sliced onions and let the onions slightly brown.
  • When the onions start to brown, add the cumin powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder and mix well. Then add the black or pink salt and season with salt.
  • Now add the beaten yoghurt and mix well. Let the masala cook well and the ghee start to leave the sides of the pan.
  • Then add the spinach puree and let the palak cook well. When the spinach starts to bubble, add the paneer pieces and let it cook for a few more minutes.
  • Now gently sprinkle the wholewheat flour a bit by bit and let it get absorbed into the gravy. This is to thicken the gravy.
  • Lastly, sprinkle the garam masala and the lemon juice and switch off the gas. Serve hot with Indian flatbreads or jeera rice.
  • You can also add fresh cream as the last step before adding the garam masala and the lemon juice as well as a  garnish. I didn’t have cream at home and omitted this step.

 

Train Journeys

indian-railways-2_660_090318041827I’ve always loved travelling by train. I love the feel of the wind against my face and seeing the landscape rush past me!

My first memory of travelling by train is to Delhi. I must have been around 3-4 years old and I remember travelling in a kind of a coupe for that journey. We were four of us then (my parents, my sister and me) and it was this closed kind of a room that we were in. That’s all I remember of this journey.

The next journey I really remember was when I was around 6 years old on a trip down south. We were supposed to go first to Mysore (as it was then known), then a trip to Bangalore and then finally Chennai to attend a family wedding. Those days, there was no direct train from Mumbai to Bangalore and Mysore and so we took probably a Chennai train and got down in a station in Andhra Pradesh called Guntakal and then changed from the broad gauge line to a narrow gauge line which took us to Bangalore. Then another change of train, most likely a commuter train from Bangalore to Mysore. The trip must have taken around 30-32 hours from Mumbai to Mysore with two transits. Then we came back to Bangalore and then took the Brindavan Express which used to be a double-decker train those days to Chennai. I remember standing on my seat trying to look out of the window since we were seated on the lower level and the windows were higher up.

280920132461Around the time I turned 9/10 years old, my paternal grandparents moved to Bangalore for their retirement years and we started travelling there every year on a train that was introduced then: Udyan Express. The first few years, the train left Mumbai around 8 pm and reached Bangalore 24 hours later with the return journey leaving Bangalore at 8 am in the morning and reaching Mumbai at 8 am the next day. After that, they switched the train timings with the train leaving Mumbai in the morning and leaving Bangalore in the evening.

Those were the days before the internet and smartphones were probably just a far-fetched idea in someone’s head. What we had for entertainment was the company of our co-passengers. We spoke and became friends with the eight people in the same bay, shared food and sometimes found common acquaintances and even relatives. Some of these friendships went on to become deeper and stood the test of time, while others were as transient as the train journey. We also couldn’t track the train in real time and relied on our own memory and the ever-present railway timetable to figure out if our train was late or not (more often late than not as it turned out). Frequent passengers knew which station the train would or rather should reach for meal times and what is special about that station. I remember drinking and eating special food at various stations on the way to Bangalore and the frequent cries of the tea vendors during the run at night.

But a train journey was not always nice and rosy. You also had instances of passengers molesting young and vulnerable female passengers, especially at night and of frequent cases of luggage being stolen, especially in the middle of the night. We were also exhorted not to eat or drink anything that a stranger gave you since it could be laced with sedatives and they would then strip you of your belongings when you fell unconscious.

Then when Bangalore was sighted and Bangalore East station was near, it used to be a big rush to gather all our belongings and as soon as the train left Bangalore East station to go and station ourselves near the door. We used to get down at Bangalore Cantt station and it used to be a big rush because the train stopped there just for 3-5 minutes. As soon as the train stopped, we would see our grandparents waiting for us. Then quickly get down and get home for a month-long holiday!

I really enjoyed writing this post and it brought back so many memories of our summer holiday trips to Bangalore. This post was actually triggered when I tried using google maps to chart out the Bombay-Bangalore route and couldn’t find the train and the various stations we used to be so familiar with. I haven’t taken a train ride in a very long time and I am sure any experience today will be significantly different from what I used to experience and have written above. I do hope that one day soon when holidays are no longer rushed, I can once again take the train and relive my childhood and teen years.