Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sun, surf, smiles

A big Aloha to all from Hawaii! Perhaps this happens to be the most hurried vacation plan we have ever hatched, almost at the stroke of midnight sometime last week. But it couldn't have happened at a more perfect time. We badly needed (or rather deserved) a break, what with the continuous spell of gloomy weather and the upcoming 'moving to India' chaos pushing us to the edge with each passing day.

Just a handful of days of tourist websites hunting, list making and rushed shopping and here we are in the heart of Hawaii - the enchanting island of Oahu. What seemed like a flight of forever was well rewarded by the welcoming vista of swaying palms, fragrant plumerias, plump hibiscuses and the multicolored crotons. And yes, the gulmohars are in bloom too! Although at such a distance, but the warm coastal breeze and the flora remind me so much of home and our tiny tropical gardens. Of course we don't have spectacular, turquoise beaches like these. Not for nothing it's called paradise!

So bye-bye rain and crabbiness, and Aloha sunshine and smiles.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday biryani

The heavenly aroma of saffron and mint swirls around the apartment as I write this hurried post. Tender chunks of yogurt-herb marinated chicken tucked inside layers of fragrant basmati. The sweet crunch of caramelized red onions. The juicy tang of tomatoes. All cooked, layered and baked to perfection. And of course garnished with love. Chicken biryani. True, it's a lot of work for just one dish, but it's totally worth it. More so when teamed with cool cucumber raita.
That's our grand plan for a dark, gloomy Saturday. That and Netflix!

Happy weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Vintage signs

"O, for a draught of vintage!" had sighed Keats once, the poet who would melt my heart like a toasty marshmallow when I was eighteen. Eleven years later, nothing much has changed. I might not yearn for a Provencal swig like him, but anything and everything vintage does quench my thirst. When most of the world digs for Indian antiques and colonial treasures, I pine for anything that is even remotely European. Let's just say I was born in the wrong century and obviously in the wrong continent!

It's hardly a surprise then that the cozy little Bavarian village of Leavenworth is one of our most frequented jaunts. Just a couple hours drive from home, be it the towering Cascades in the backdrop or the never-ending rows of antique shops, the place is a sheer delight. It is a world in its own, where timelessness and the bustle of tourists create a colourful palette together.
However what strikes me the most are the cutesy, dangling shop signs, each unique in its own and with oodles of vintage character. Even good old Subway couldn't escape a hint of the old world in this charming village.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To love

"i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)..."

~ e.e. cummings

Happy Valentine's Day. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Yes, I'm bug bitten! A nasty, mean cold bug it is, that has reduced me to a somewhat non-human like form - a head as heavy as a boulder, eyes droopy like a flower's wilting petals and a glacial meltdown for a nose. Try imagining that for a face!

Thank god for the small comforts though that a cold brings with it. My most faithful masala chai (ginger-clove-cinnamon-pepper) which is a panacea for all kinds of wear and tear, a snug blue woolly scarf and the good old Vicks VapoRub.
To read I have Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, although it is a tad difficult to do so with a blurred, watery vision. But the old world setting put together with the rolling English countryside is compelling enough to make me trudge on through the pages of this great piece of literature. Even though the butler's unwavering emotional self-restraint makes me quite uneasy at times, despite all that grand Englishness there is to his character. Even though I can't help sneezing through most of Ishiguro's brilliance. Achoo!! There I go again...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bright and blue

"And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth,
'You owe me.'
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky."

~ Rumi

A medley of blue skies and peeping cotton clouds. A welcoming bounciness in the air. The dizzy dance of patterns as the sun creeps in through the windows. Light and shade. Tiger lilies basking in the sun. A happy coincidence of colours. The yak bone Buddha girdled by a dear Tibetan necklace. Some fond memories of two newlyweds. Despite times and places, the piney scent of Darjeeling lingers on. Spring sure must be somewhere near. Very near.

So the first week of February actually brought a spell of sun. Hurrah!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Old market

Nothing perks me up more than an unintended visit to the Pike Place Market, a great place to get lost in for hours. The fresh produce, the local art and craft, the background street music, the touristy smiles and most of all the roar of the traffic by the contrasting calm of the Elliott bay; each so different but when put together they create the most perfect and harmonious collage. A hint of color here and a dash of charm there, as far as your eyes can see; something that beckons one for a visit to the old market, again and again.

There are a few corners in the market where I'm pulled to as if by magic, somewhat like a moth to a flame; the fishmongers' stall where frozen fish heads gape angrily at you; antiques and trinkets; ceramics and pottery; the chocolate coated dried cherries; and the obvious of all, the dewy flowers. And this time the market is at its colorful best, for the tulips have arrived. As if spring herself whispered in your ears, "Be patient, I'm on my way!"

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cookie comfort

What can be more comforting than a dozen homemade cookies. Stacked neatly and surrounded by the smiling chocolate eyes. Their faint yet stirring aroma lingering in the house, somewhat like the memories of long lost days. Baking sure does me good, every time.

February rains, go take a hike.

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