Of dreams and Dreams

I was woken up by a stupid flop action movie style nightmare. I could hear AB snoring. I was facing him but the snore noise was coming from behind me. My heart decided that it needed to beat extra fast and my throat went dry. Shit I left the window open. Did somebody climb in? Why would they cuddle with us on the bed? Unless it is a non human entity. Like a cat. Or maybe… a ghost..? I opened my eyes wide and quickly turned around. There was nobody behind me. My brain switched the direction that the snore came from and it was now coming from AB. Who needs Conjuring 2 if their sleepy brains can play such games?!

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I was in my previous job and extremely unhappy and stressed out. For some time I knew I was still there only out of a habit. Just being comfortably unhappy. One night I saw a dream.  My pet fish flew out of the tank and its little fins became fluttering wings. I was both amazed and scared. I quickly trapped it with the net and put it back in the tank and it swam around. Every time I opened the tank it would want to fly. Every time it flew, I got worried for it. One day it flew outside the window. I threw a fit. What if a bird gets it? What if a truck hits it? The little fish does not know the outside world. It only knows the tank. AB consoled me by saying that if the fish wants to fly, I should let it fly. I should not restrict what the fish can be, based on what it has always been. The little fish will learn quick enough how to strive, he said. I woke up as though enlightened. It was a Saturday morning. I prepared a CV and a cover letter and started applying. On Monday I got an interview call. On Wednesday I gave an interview that was supposed to go for an hour but lasted 4 hours. I had the job at the end of it. A completely new area in my field, plenty of opportunity to learn new skills. The fish was now flying after all!

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When I decided to pursue my Dream of learning classical music, I met this Greek woman. She was a Bharatnatyam dancer and she did arangetrams all over the world. I was in awe of her – her beauty, her dance and her passion for anything Indian. She learnt Bharatnatyam in London, in a school called Bharti Vidya Bhavan. Everything she said about the school sounded amazing. I wanted to enrol myself there for classical music but I chickened out. One, it was too far away. Two, I was overwhelmed, given my age. This was 6 years ago. I am now enrolled there. Beginners Hindustani Vocals. The teacher scolds us, gives us homework and sings like a charm. Living the Dream!

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It is not a secret that I have been trying to challenge myself to run and the ultimate dream has been to run for a good cause, a charity. That dream, my friends, is coming true soon. I will be running a 5K this month for The Gynaecological Cancer Fund. The donations I am collecting will go towards creating more awareness of gynaecological cancers like breast and ovarian cancer.  It will also help the research that is being carried out to devise precise medication based on the patient’s DNA. I have collected £100 so far! Can you believe it? I cannot explain how warm and gooey it makes me feel inside. Of course the mother and the husband have a key role to play in this, but to my pleasant surprise, people actually believe in the cause to go as far as donating. I am touched. I have set up a Just Giving account for the first time. It is amazing how easy it all was.

If you wish to sponsor me, or support the cause, please let me know as I don’t want to give my Just Giving page out here in public. I will email you the link. I am protective of whatever anonymity that’s left in this blog, which is not much anyway. The details of the event can be found here:
https://ladygarden5k.splashthat.com

Dream away people – some dreams become Dreams. And when you make them come true, the sky looks like it’s rainbow hued all over!

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Last weekend

I was up at 4 am on Saturday. I was beginning to get ready rather gloomily. In fact, since Friday I was upset and had this undescribable sinking feeling. I left home as the daylight creeped in and my nerves were getting the best of me. My breakfast was a blueberry muffin – just enough to last me the next harrowing 3 hours.

Attempt 5. Manual car. Driving test. UK standards. This time I passed! My test time was 9 am that day and I decided to meet my instructor at 7 just to drive around. I hadn’t taken any lessons for almost a month. My morale was at rock bottom. I thought of happier times in India when the driving test was a joke.

Ten years ago in Mumbai, the examiner was more interested in how I got my things sorted to go to London than my driving. His son was in third year engineering and he wanted to be prepared. This examiner was the ‘strict’ one. We were supposed to suddenly memorise signs and symbols 5 minutes before the test. While everyone sweated around me, 4 years in engineering had prepared me just for this moment. When I met the examiner, we just had a lovely chat after all and I did not have to prove my memorising skills.

Back to the present, when I met my examiner on Saturday, my heart sank some more. She was the same one who had failed me twice before. It did not help that she recognised me in front of everyone and they looked at me with wonder. I was so embarrassed that I just wanted to become invisible. The test began and we started talking. I asked her about her days off and she explained that working on Saturdays was just doing overtime. She then asked me if I had plans for Valentines and if I had a Valentine. I asked her about hers and the topic drifted to food, sales, shopping and Debenhams. I went through big roundabouts, 40mph roads, narrow lanes, did a turn in the road maneuver, and so much more, happily chatting away. Soon, it was the end of the test and she let me know that I have passed, just like they do in reality shows – with a lot of drama to have me believe that I had failed at first.

I screamed, I was ecstatic. After she left, I hugged my instructor so many times and posed for a picture with my passing certificate. I called and texted everyone I know. I played a prank on the mother that I can also drive small planes. She even fell for it. The celebrations had to begin.

AB was at work and I had no patience to wait for him. I went to a Sri Lankan salon and got a facial. It was now almost 11 and my stomach grumbled. I went to the little cafe near home to treat myself with a full English breakfast.

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I finished it all off except one triangle of the toast. Even writing about it makes me hungry.

On Sunday I attended a Christening in a church. We all then went to a pub for a few drinks. I loved my dressing for the event – can’t wait to flaunt the ensemble again when the weather is more appropriate. White fitting Zara trousers, shimmery fauschia blouse, black ankle boots with high heels, black blazer with a leather trim, fauschia suede clutch, hair tied up in a messy bun.

I am slowly getting accustomed to driving on my own. Hopefully, it doesn’t take long! Any tips on solo driving mental prep post passing the test?

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An early morning dream

It is a beautiful summer day. I am on my way to checkout our new home. We have finally bought a house, and it is now ready to move in. AB is in there already and I call him on my way. I get confused with the similar looking streets so he guides me with the directions. At one point I am very near but lost. So he asks me to stay where I am to come and get me. I see him walking towards me wearing a dhoti-style trousers and a t-shirt. He has his guitar in his hand.

Seeing the guitar, I assume he was unpacking and putting it away. A couple of guys there comment how beautiful it is and start chatting with AB. Before long, he plays some standard basic notes to them. My jaw physically drops and I am too shocked to say or ask anything. When did he learn to play the guitar!?

We reach home. It looks bright and spacious without any furniture. As I sit on an unopened box, he sits on another one and plays the Bone Shaker – the bit before the vocals kick in. It doesn’t sound like Coke Studio exactly, but it is a beautiful version nevertheless. At the end he says with moist eyes,
“I learnt this song just for you as a house warming present. This new abode, our home, is going to be all about us. I love you and we will make time for each other here better than we ever did. Our life together, our time, us, comes before anything else.”.

Of course I am really touched and I cry. I ignore a slight worry that I cannot compete with this amount of romance in my entire life and he thus becomes, unbeatably, the emperor of romance between us. I ask him,
“When did you learn all this? Can you play other songs?”.
He laughs and says,
“No way silly! I know just this song because so-and-so taught me on my days off. You’d be at work and I could practise at home easily. It took me a year or so.”.

I woke up right then, a smile plastered on my face, sleepy eyes moist, I turned AB to face me and kissed him. I continued to sleep cuddling and content. I cannot explain or put in words how loved I felt then.

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We bought this beautiful blue guitar 3 years ago so he could play it for me, but with work and life imbalance, it is sitting in a corner waiting for AB to learn. Recently I gave him another lovely gift – beginner’s lessons on motorbike maintenance, especially since he loves his motorbike more than any other thing he owns. That course got cancelled and another attempt to rekindle hobbies and passions has gone down the drain. That has pretty much become our lives now – a lot of passions, silly somethings and tiny unopened boxes of joys collecting dust because we don’t have the time for it.

It is noteworthy how romance changes meaning as life goes on. At one stage it was him writing my name with his new pen. Now it is something as ordinary as him packing my lunch. I suppose romance is a constant quest, an evolving concept. Bone Shaker has been playing on loop constantly since the dream, that too is romance I suppose.

I hope this dream comes true one day. I love this dream so much especially because this is something AB is totally capable of doing. He is such a mushy romantic at heart. Maybe not playing the Bone Shaker, but I would definitely like to see the contentment, the happiness and the improved priorities taking shape. Who am I kidding, Bone Shaker too! Fingers crossed!

YouTube link to the song

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Is it a losing battle?

So a woman decides to wear something that happens to show her 69 year old cleavage. Susan Sarandon, in case you didn’t know.

She is a fine actor, a gorgeous looking woman. You’d think that would stop people from passing inappropriate remarks about her.

The people having such opinions come from a background and a society where showing cleavage is not an uncommon thing. There were other women dressed in a similar fashion there, even if a lot younger. You’d think that would stop people from passing inappropriate remarks about her.

She happens to be a human, wearing whatever she wanted to, not encroaching on other’s rights, privileges or space. You’d think that would stop people from passing inappropriate comments about her.

The inappropriateness is not in her clothes, or in the combination of her age with her clothes, but it in fact lies in the comments. You’d think that would stop people from passing inappropriate comments about her.

Of course celebrities are subjected to judgement. However, whatever is being said says more about the person saying it than about the person it is directed at. Comments and statements are about the commenter’s perspective more than the subject matter. You’d think that would stop people passing inappropriate comments about her.

On one end people voice their opinion on getting rid of hijabs, on the other end, a 69 year old is ‘rack’diculed on her choice of clothes. Two sides of the same coin, despite looking so different. You’d think that would stop people passing inappropriate comments about her.

What a woman wears or not, shows or not, hides or not, shaves or not, colours or not – is her personal choice. Your acceptance of it is a reflection of your state and size of mind. When are people going to stop from policing what can and cannot women wear – be it subtle mocking or extreme reinforcement? It is 2016 already, I really hope to live to see the day where people just mind their own happy businesses.

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Blogathon ends and the weekend that was

Friday was mental. Work and more work. It helps we have 2 work pet dogs. One of them is a cuddle monster and she is absolutely adorable. She keeps everyone sane with her insanity I suppose.

We all went for some drinks after work which was perfect. I love going out with colleagues for drinks. Silly laughs and bonding is always good.

On Saturday I transformed into a cleaning maniac. I worked non stop for 5 hours and I like the place better now. It feels like two humans live here.

For dinner on Saturday I made a lovely Methi Malai Murg, Dal Fry and had it with tortillas. These tortillas were wholemeal with linseed and tasted lovely.

Today, I transformed into a clerical maniac. Accounts, budget, savings, credit cards, statements – you get the picture. I am now exhausted mentally. It’s like there’s no brain juice left.

I am planning to make a simple vermicelli pulav for dinner. Or order in. I don’t know.

I am glad this blogathon is over. The great thing about the blogathon was that it forced me into writing so often that it forced out the writer’s block. Now I can get back to normal blogging I think. I haven’t replied to the comments, but that’s going to happen in a day or two. Well done to fellow bloggers who stayed committed this month. High fives!

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Weekday breakfasts – Dosa lab

I make dosas out of everything. Sometimes I mix up whatever I can find in the morning. You’ll see loads of variations coming up here. It’s quick, it’s easy and given my years of experience making it, I can make it with one eye closed and trying to catch some more sleep in the morning.

This one is a healthy mix of ragi flour, half of that of rice flour and some rava to give it a crunch. The measures are not rigid. Chop in some onions and green chillies (sometimes I chop extra the previous night while making dinner), curry leaves, coriander, whatever you want based on how aware you are.

I make this dosa with just the tiniest drop of ghee. I prefer ghee over oil for breakfasts. We have this with podi, yoghurt, and in the rare occasion a chutney that’s a leftover from a previous day. Ideally, I would want to have this with some sundal(I need to not snooze for that). If you have a banana straight after the dosa, food heaven in 2 seconds, happier mood, more energy and no hunger till lunch.

The side dish in this picture is what I call Dolabola. Mother used to make this tomato dish as a quick side for everything and I never complained as I love tomatoes. Do a tadka of mustard seeds, cumin and hing. To that add urud dal, tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Cook till it becomes a shapeless runny thing (hence Dolabola). Add besan paste to thicken it. Coriander at the end, done!

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Türkiye

Have you ever seen lightning below you? The flight to Turkey was an adventurous one. There was lightning below us and on the sides. It is scarier than seeing lightning above you. Flying through a thunderstorm – check.

Rolling mountain slopes and white houses stacked on them looking like lego.

Dense trees on some slopes with every shade of green added in. A few dots of pink and white blossoms scattered carelessly for contrast.

Landscapes so surreal that you wouldn’t want to paint it fearing it would be called flawed.

Clouds kissing mountain peaks and teasing the sea’s horizon.

Pamukkale looking picturesque.  Dalton tombs full of mystery. Ephesus ruins and stories so wonderful! 

We had like 500 varieties of kebabs there. The other Turkish dishes were mind blowing too. The locals were nice and friendly including the stray cats and dogs. We made friends with a tiny juice shop owner’s dogs – Phako and Yeje. I can’t believe I still remember their names!

We did some Turkish dancing, singing and belly dancing too!

Of course some pictures here –

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Pamukkale

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Dalyan tombs

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Ephesus ruins

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Weekday breakfasts – Rava idli

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I love recipes that don’t need monitoring in the morning. It has to be a quick one. If it’s a slow one, it shouldn’t need me to stir and fuss around it.

This is made from a Rava idli mix. Mixed it with yoghurt for soft Idlis. Podi is made by my mum. I love her version and I have no clue how it’s made. I guess I don’t ever want to learn. She makes rava idli from scratch without any baking soda and it turns out great. She makes rava dosa with only rava and no rice flour and that turns out great too. No clue how all that works.

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