Monday, April 30, 2007

Books Roundup!

My recent fascination for cross-culture/multi-culture stories led me to read quite a few books. Interestingly, only after starting this post I realised that all in my listing were written by female authors!

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

FM - 'குயில்'

குயிலே - கவிக்குயில்

குயிலே குயிலே - ஆண் பாவம்

குயில் பாட்டு - என் ராசாவின் மனசிலே

குயிலே குயிலே - என் பொம்முக்குட்டி அம்மாவுக்கு

குயிலுக்கு - Friends

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Any(thing)body out there???

New 'super-Earth' found in space

Astronomers have found the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date, a world which could have water running on its surface.

Read more

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Like Mother,

Like Daughter!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

FM - "மீன்"

"மீனம்மா" - ஆசை

"மீனம்மா"- ராஜாதி ராஜா

"மீன்கொடி தேரில்" - கரும்பு வில்

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


On imse's anbu thollai, I've succumbed to the temptation of doing a recipe post!

(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

FM - "காடு"!!

காட்டுக்குள்ளே பாட்டு - இதயத்தை திருடாதே

காட்டுக்குயில் - சின்ன மாப்பிள்ளை

காட்டுக்குயிலு - தளபதி

காட்டு வழி - மலையூர் மம்பட்டியான்

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I remember vividly in my KG days how all visitors to our house would ask(or prompted to ask!), "who are your friends at school?" and every time I would proudly answer, "Shanta Kumari and Mary Vasanthi!"(I hardly remember anything about SK now but I vaguely remember visiting MV's house which was at walking distance from my home). Thinking in those lines, I realised that I've had 2 close friends at all stages of my life making us the mumurthi'gal' gangs. The other day I was watching 'Clifford the big red dog' (along with my daughter, ofcourse) and I realised how Clifford too has 2 doggie pals, T Bone and Cleo. 'Dil chahta hai' was about 3 friends, 'Friends' serial had 3 male and 3 female friends.

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

FM - "மயில்"

மயில் பொல - பாரதி

மயிலே மயிலே - கடவுள் அமைத்த மேடை

மயிலிறகே - அன்பே ஆருயிரே

(தோகை இள)மயில் - பயணங்கள் முடிவதில்லை

Monday, April 02, 2007

(Pla)sticky Matter

Plastic bags ban!

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?