Monday, April 30, 2007
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - Sister of my heart
A very engaging story of two girl friends almost brought up as sisters. Anju and Sudha join my unforgettable characters list. The mothers, the aunt, the early Calcutta life described are all so realistic. The sudden but deep relationship of Sudha and Ashok felt so bollywoodish and the unnecessary Sudha-Sunil angle was a dampener(especially after the cute first encounter between Anju and Sunil)! Can be made into a nice mega serial (especially because of the portrayal of Sudha's MIL!). After reading this, I went on a Chitra D. B. novels reading spree but none of them were as good as this one.
Samina Ali - Madras on rainy days
Ofcourse, it was Madras on the title which made me pick the book in the first place. Even though the story's significant turning point(supposedly, even though one can sense it all along!)happens in Madras, I was disappointed because of my expectation from the title! The story is quite unusual in the sense that it is about an American bred Indian girl getting (arranged) married to a Hyderabadi guy. Inspite of having lived in India for quarter century, the life of Hyderabadi Muslims portrayed in the story was as foreign as the life of Afghans as described in Kite Runner. Anyway, it was quite different and serious natured than I had expected.
Laura Fitzgerald - Veil of roses
The gist at the back cover got me interested in this book. It is about an Iranian woman who comes to visit her sister in the US with the intention of finding a suitor to marry and settle in the states. The story started of very interesting that I found it hard to put down the book. But as the story progressed, it began to feel like Mills and Boon novel! Tamila Soroush, the main character of the novel didn't seem to have any depth even though there were some affecting bits about Iranian life(like that of Tami's parents who send both their daughters away to the US hoping for a better life for them inspite of the fact that they would never ever get to see them or the little freedoms like music, friends, strolls that one cannot enjoy in Iran). Timepass!
Pearl Buck - The Good Earth
A pulitzer award winning novel! It is the story of a Chinese farmer in the turn of the century. I was surprised at how culturally similar Chinese life was to that of Indian. The story reminded me of old b/w melo-dramatic Indian movies! The description of the life of farmers depending on nature once again brought back the plight of our farmers and all farmers around the world!
Friday, April 27, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
(Eggless) Banana Bread
1 and 1/3 cups Flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 and 1/4 cup mashed banana
1 tsp oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 tsp vanilla essense (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F
Grease with butter (or use non-stick spray) a 9 x 5 inch Loaf pan
Mix dry ingredients
To mashed bananas, add oil, buttermilk & vanilla
Pour mixture into dry ingredients & mix
Add walnuts & stir
Pour batter into prepared pan
Bake 45-55 mins
P.S. - Wish I was an illusionist(very much enjoyed it!)! Should atleast try & learn some photo tricks!
Friday, April 13, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
On further analysis I found that every trio has a level-head(Clifford, Sid, Chandler, Monica, my friends R/J/R), a show-off(Cleo, Akash, Ross, Rachel, my friends S/P/V/G) and a silly-simple joker(T-Bone, Sameer, Joey, Phoebe, my friends S/P). There always will be clashes between the level head and the show off with the joker[me (too) in most cases!] caught in between unsure as to who to support! The idea to this post came about when, continuing in the tradition, my daughter recently declared that Kayla and Kyrene are her best friends in school!! Now I will continue the tradition of prompting everyone who visits us to ask her about her friends!
Friday, April 06, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
Plastic entered our lives through soap boxes, mugs, buckets and graduated to milk packets, biscuits etc. as far as I can remember. But the recycle 'rajas' and 'ranis' that we are(were?) every smelly milk cover was collected and sold to the plastic-paper-karan(?) and we lived guilt-free. Atleast a majority of my life in India, one had to carry their own bag to vegetable and grocery stores or risk carry the items in newspaper packets. Even by the time, every 'potti kadai' began generously giving out polythene bags(one cannot find tinier bags than those!) I hardly knew about the non bio-degradability of plastics and its effect on the environment. My first jolt came when cattle consuming these polythene bags from the rubbish bins made news!
When I moved abroad, the use and throw mentality was so hard to digest, me from the 'recycle kingdom' and all!! When we first moved, my husband couldn't believe his eyes at the mound of grocery bags, the yogurt cans that I had hoarded(which were eventually trashed much to my dismay)!! Later I found recycle bins in our community and just when I was laying back satisfied in doing my bit, came the crashing news that the community could no longer support recylcing!! It took another few months for me to find about the recycle center in our town and took another few months to locate it only to find that it needed membership!
After all the setbacks, I decided to carry my own bags wherever I went and not use the plastic bags. From my India trip, I had got special jute bags for that reason! My husband walked a safe 10 feet away from me whenever I was with my gunny bag! And he preferred waiting in the car when I stood in the billing counter ready to rattle the cashiers who are used to the 'scan-drop in bag' routine with my 'no bags, please' cry! Even my friends who came to visit, scared to listen to my 'green' lecture, hid plastic bags in their cars and hand carried all their items!
Then, we moved again! This time we found ourselves short of plastic bags during the packing process and my husband was so satisfied to have got the chance to hit back at me for the state I had brought the house to! Then, I began resusing the bags by carrying old bags back to the store which didn't seem like a good idea as people began to suspect I was trying to shop-lift(though once the cashier paid me 3 c for each bag for reusing and it happened infront of my in-laws!!)!
It's not just plastic bags, I am equally averse to storing/heating food in plastic containers after being scared by articles like these! I have a collection of tiny stainless steel containers which I use to store food, send lunch to my daughter etc. After a few weeks, my daughter's teacher suggested that I buy lunch boxes available in stores as there was not enough room for my containers in their lunch table(and it was then that I saw that most kids got lunch in disposable brown bags and ziploc bags)!!
To encourage my daughter to drink more water, all sources point to keeping a water bottle in a prominent place which will tempt/remind about drinking water from time to time. I, as usual, was at the mercy of the internet to research about any 'safe plastic' bottles to store water in. The debate about plastic safety still going strong, I am now wondering if water from plastic bottle is better than no water at all... Any ideas?