Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All's fair in love and war

Recently I noticed a very curious phenomenon that has baffled the liver cells and the pancreatic juices out of me.

After a girl breaks up with a boy leaving him 'heartbroken', the boy invariably spouts a stubble in a day or two, which proceeds to grow into an unkempt beard. The beard grows uninhibitedly until it reaches about an inch or two in length and then it magically remains that way until the lad has given up hope to get back with the girl or meets and falls in love with a new lass, setting the stage for the process to begin all over again.

Now I have a few been privy to a few related incidents that I would like to share.

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away, when Sharon broke up with Aaron because he was like the corset around her torso that didn't give her space and didn't let her breathe, Aaron was heartbroken and he just couldn't come to terms with her betrayal. So he stood outside the moat surrounding Sharon's home day after night after day just to catch a glimpse of her. But Sharon had decided to 'Stop the workout and join the party', and was too busy doing the Zumba inside and didn't bother to step out. But guess who ran into Aaron when she was on her way to pick roses for her hair? Me! And guess what I thought when I saw Aaron with his forlorn eyes and scraggly beard? 'Oh look at him! He looks like he hasn't shaved in days. He must be miserable.'

Once upon another time, in a kingdom close by, lived Annie and Rodney and when Annie broke up with Rodney because her parents thought that Rodney was too lowbrow for Annie, he called me up sobbing his heart out, and in pidgin English, told me what happened and then said, "You understanding, Dizzy Lizzie. I not shaving for many days now. My beard - long as Nile water. Long as the Niagara falls. Long as I am when I eat..." "That's enough, Rodney. I get it."

And I did get it. He was heartbroken. And the length of his beard just dimensionalized the heart break.

But really. When I think about it, it doesn't even make sense.

Is the boy taking advantage of the stereotype of a stubble symbolizing a broken heart that has stopped caring about the world and himself, all else except the girl, to convey to her that he is nothing without her?

Does he think that the grubby beard speaks to women in a way that words never do?

 Are men trying to confuse women by using 'beard' metaphors, knowing that women can never grow a long enough beard to use that as a weapon. (And even if they could, I don't think that facial hair on a woman is ever going to convince a man to come back to her!)

Ironically, immediately after she is dumped, a woman's prerogative is to 'save face' and show the man how well she is doing and how awesome she is without him, just so that he will want to come back to her.

And the title of my next book is 'Why men grow a beard and women shave their legs.' Reserve your copies now. It promises to be a knockout. ;)

Monday, May 30, 2011

The doctor calling the tooth fairy

I am a doctor's daughter, and as a doctor's daughter who has lived inside a doctor for 9 months and with a doctor for 26 years, I have conferred upon myself the right to self medicate. And this has always worked well for me because as you can see, I am hale and healthy, and also for my parents because they don't have to spend money on doctors to treat me when I am sick. I also help my friends by telling them what medicines to eat and they are all hale and healthy too. (Actually, I can teach you too. Your ammunition is Panadol, Benadryl, Voveran Gel, Amoxicillin and Ciprofloxacin.) So as you can see, I am just a degree short of being a doc actually.

But today, I looked in my medicine box and I realized that I had yet again finished my bottle of 100 tabs of pain killer. And for what do I compulsively eat pain killer? Tooth pain. Bloody unbearable, kick in the gut, wanna kill myself kinda tooth pain. And I mean bloody literally. My gums really do bleed! (Oh, woe is me!)

So I decided to be responsible and dragged myself to my dentist, who after 15 minutes of trying to convert me to his Christian cult while he took 7 X - Rays, told me that I needed 6 cavities to be filled, 1 root canal treatment and 1 tooth to be extracted, out of the 30 teeth that I had left. (2 have already been extracted.) He also told me that I have bleeding gums, an enamelless tooth, a bluish coloured tooth and multiple holes between my teeth. 

My mother just stood there next to me, shaking her head in disbelief, blue with shame for my absolute lack of self interest and care. (It was kinda funny. I get a warm fuzzy feeling and a special brand of kick out of disappointing my care-givers.)

So after the government of India awards me a Doctorate degree in Medicine, I think a 'Exemplary Achievement in Procrastination' award is in order. Wouldn't you acquiesce?

And I sincerely, genuinely need all of your prayers, wishes, wishbones, eyelashes, guardian angels and tooth fairies to help me endure the pain that I am sure will ensue. I am even considering joining my doctor's cult if he promised to drug me senseless in return. 

Don't judge me!!!

Unless you have wiser ideas that is. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A tail from today

I was driving down the street today with a Bohemian Rhapsody in my head when in the distance I saw a big black cat with the greenest eyes standing by the side of the road gazing into eternity. I slammed on the brakes and turned of the ignition in a huff. I couldn't let this wily little creature cross my path and either ruin the rest of my day or make me go back home and begin my journey from the start. I started the car and started to inch forward. We had around fifty meters of hostility, fear and loathing to cover in between us. Our eyes locked; we cracked our knuckles and gave each other the upward nod as we inched closer to each other and to our destiny. The cat's steely gaze locked with my icy one and we courageously took up on each other's unspoken challenge. Come what may, we were going to meet head on. She stayed rooted to her spot as I got closer to her, but all the while taunting me with her power. I was ten meters away. And she had stood there, cold and unmoving, as if she had been reduced to stone by Medusa's gaze. My bravado was fast receding and had now puddled up as timidity and pleas of mercy around my ankles. But I couldn't let her see my terror, lest she mistake it for weakness and failing. My car had almost slowed to a crawl and my spirits flagged as I got closer to the most decisive moment there ever was. Will she or will she not, that is the question. And I almost crossed the danger zone when she gave me her most insidious smirk and darted across the road that lay ahead of me. And a split second later, I crossed the very same spot. The cat had won! I turned back to look at my formidable opponent in my rear view mirror. And there she stood staring back at me, her green eyes glinting with malevolence, a crooked sneer playing on her lips. They say that dogs believe they are human but cats believe they are God. In this case, maybe that is how the cat sealed my fate. 

Words that I commonly misspell because I in-un-ci-ate in my head as I write

1. Mat-ter-ess
2. Des-per-ete
3. Inc-i-dent-ly
4. Cal-en-der
5. Main-tan-nance
6. Twel-vth
7. Ce-met-ary
8. Ma-nou-vre
9. San-del
10. De-fe-nite
11. In-de-pen-dant
12. De-ve-lope-ment

Wi-erd huh?

Six reasons why today should go to Mount Etna when it is active and jump into the crater

1. Because I experienced 'that moment' in between a sordid argument when I realized that I was wrong right from the start.

2. Because I let out a loud ugly snort right between a laugh and I was standing right behind a microphone and was also being videotaped.

3. Because I realized that wearing anything feminine or pretty only accentuates my Hulk Hogan shoulders and Arnold Schwarzenegger upper arms even more than usual. 

It is the biggest irony of my life right now - that feminine clothes make me look masculine and I am forced to wear masculine clothes because that's the only way to look feminine.

4. Because right at the bottom of the tall glass of milk that I devoured with delight was a cracked and empty cockroach egg. 

(And my first thought was 'Damn! I killed a cockroach baby!')

5. Because I did Tracy Anderson's 'Dance Cardio' workout in my living room today for 45 minutes and I saw myself in the mirror only towards the end of it. 

It was only then that I realized that it was no dance that I was doing, but just the unbecoming act of springing sideways and up, with flabby body parts jiggling back and forth.

My mother might have been video taping me and I might end up on youtube in the goofy section.

Tracy Anderson might see this and might not choose me as one of her back up dancers. (And I had almost mastered half of the first of her seventeen choreographies!)

What a colossal waste.

6. Because I got a zit inside my nose (gross!).

And because it hurts when I breathe through my nose, I look like a pug with my tongue hanging out and breathing heavily all the time.

All in a day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush.
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

- Mary Elizabeth Frye



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Squint, the adrenaline junkie

When I saw 'Toys' as the photography prompt on Kristi's awesome blog 'life through the lens', I screamed in joy. Because I actually have a toy that I want to give its fair due and feature here but haven't been able to in a long time.

Now you all know me. I am a very mature and serious person and hence, not the kind who would typically own or play with toys. But Squint is an exception. And I know that Shakespeare said 'Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows', but Squint looked so forlorn as he sat on my bookshelf when he first came over that I had to take him in. That's the only reason he sleeps in my arms every night. 

Oh who am I kidding! I love toys! I am a 26 year old 6 year old. And I might end up as a 62 year old 6 year old. And I am proud of it. I am proud of the 16 Barbies that I had as a child and still do. I am proud of the 2 storeyed doll house that they still live in. I am proud of Snickers - the pug, Lucy - the chimpanzee with super long arms that go around my neck, Sunshine - the Tweety bird, Walter - the seal, Black Bark - the terrier,  Cotton and Candy - the twin teddy bears and Chin, Chan, Cho, Chow and Chum - the 5 mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I am proud of the play - doh in my vanity case and the Lego set in my chest of drawers. And I am super duper proud of Squint - my kind and unfailing albeit slightly misshapen looking teddy bear. 

Here he is, hanging from his monkey bar, a.k.a the balcony railing, feeling the wind in his body hair, the adrenaline pumping through his cotton strand innards. 

Nice work, Squint. And hang in there! ;)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Surviving India - Vol. 2

This is part of an educational series intended to familiarize the unacquainted with the ways, the whiles, the perils and the pleasures of surviving in this strange and wonderful country. And while India might not in reality be the mystical land of snake charmers, wicked witches and soothsaying cattle as it is purported to be, it is a land where we burst into song and dance on any whim and fancy.

For instance, when it starts raining, we start crooning.

When it stops raining after a flood, we do the tango.

To call in the rain after a severe drought, we sing the 'Amruthavarshini' or the 'Malhar' and when the clouds burst, we sing in praise and jive in thanksgiving.

When the dashing hero rescues the damsel in distress from the dastardly villain, she has to sing a song of sycophancy clothed in love and lust to him.

When the twins who were separated at birth get reunited post a lifetime of strife and sin, they have to do a jiggy wiggy to celebrate that.

It's the done thing here - the way of life.

And because Indian cinema is as real as disease, drought, dusky damsels in distress and dastardly brutes are,  you just need to look at our films in any of the 24 Indian languages in which films are made, to get proof of this phenomenon for yourself.

Cinema is real. Cinema is true. Cinema is honest. Cinema guides my conduct. In cinema I lay my trust.

So my point is thus: Don't even think of coming to India without learning to groove like this.

And if you ever get really into the political and administrative scene here and decide to become a cop, don't even think about enlisting yourself before you are able to do the below with adequate accuracy and panache.

If you don't believe me that this country is one ginormous Von Trapp family, check out any Indian film and see for yourself.

The End.

Correlation and Causation

Tirunelveli, the heartland of hinterland Tamil Nadu, is where I was last week.

Now Tamil Nadu is God's own country if 'country' is defined by the people it makes up. (Kerala has bestowed upon itself the moniker 'God's own country' in reference to its natural beauty, but unfortunately this does not find any reflection in the niceness of the people here.) But I have always maintained that the nicest people in the world are Tamilians. I have come to this conclusion after extensive quantitative and qualitative research on the Indians, the United States of Americans (Wouldn't 'Americans' have to include all North and South Americans? I have had no interaction with Argentinians, Mexicans or Bolivians. Hence I specify that I am talking about the 'United States of Americans'.), the Canadians, the English people, the Germans, the Italians, the French, the Arabs, the Pakistanis, the Taiwanese, the Australians and the Ching Chongs. And my conclusion is open to contention. 

And guess who else is from Tamil Nadu... my dear departed doggie Leo. 

Oh. And Thom. He is also from Tamil Nadu, Tirunelveli to be precise. 

Mother Teresa is probably the nicest person ever but she is not from Tamil Nadu. (Hence proved that correlation does not imply causation. Or something like that. I am in no way fit to talk about smart things.)

So Thom's sister got married last Friday and I went there to attend her wedding, meet his insane extended family and also extend an olive branch to his immediate family with whom I had not spoken to since I kinda called off Version 1 of our wedding (intended to happen in Nov 2010).

And now I have a few equations for you that will bring clarity to this whole thing. 

No wedding happening in the family = Thom and me fighting + Thom's parents and me fighting + Thom and my parents fighting + Thom and his parents fighting + my parents and me fighting.

The cheer and spirit surrounding a wedding = No fighting. 

And like I said earlier, because correlation implies causation, (Or maybe I stated the reverse, but like I have always maintained, nothing is permanent but change.) I am inclined to conclude that weddings can make everything alright. I thought it would take a miracle for Thom's family to ever smile at me again, but I was wrong. All it took was a wedding. Now I'll just have to ensure that I produce enough offspring to have a wedding every two years after 18 years for the next 60 years. (How many kids would that be?) Until then, I'll just go live in Corfu away from everyone. 

And I am officially writing a sequel to Gerald Durrell's 'My family and other animals'. It will be called 'Our families and other animals' and you can very well guess what I will be writing about. 

Happy Camping! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The long shortlist

So of late, I've been researching quite a bit online about messages to engrave on Thom's wedding band and the ones that met my scrupulous standards and have reached the 'short' list are as follows.

1. 'Resistance is futile' - This would be fruitful on 2 counts - one, as the obvious message to Thom, and the other, as a reminder to me right before I hand over the ring and along with it, my singledom, that to resist it would be futile. I can't say that I would never need that last boost of courage (especially considering that a swig of whiskey right before the deed would be disallowed at church.), considering that I have been known to have a slight case clammy feet regarding getting married.

2. 'No more diets for me!' - Because that would truly be my overriding thought post the wedding.

3. 'Pull my ring finger' - If you cant convince them, confuse them.

4. 'For Whither Thou Goest I Will Follow' - As a tribute to what I am absolutely top class at: Stalking.

5. 'Love, honour, obey' - Because this one's really funny. Obey... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

6. 'Take me' - Take me to the mall. Also, take me to Madagascar.

7. 'The best things are free' - Thank God you're there to buy me everything else.

8. 'Yours truly, pepperoni pizza' - Because pepperoni pizza is Thom's favourite food after a rump steak and I refuse to call myself a rump steak. If I call myself something more becoming, like muffin or sugar plum, these would be way below in his favourite food list and the purpose would be vitiated.

9. 'You are my water' - Refer the above point.

10. 'Worth the wait' - At least, it better be! Because sometimes you need to say it to see it. (Refer to 'The Secret' or to the upper right hand corner of this blog where the 'Notes from the Universe' keeps popping up.

11. Shine and gravity - Because that describes me : Shiny skin from frantically working sebaceous glands and excess gravitational pull due to increased weight. (At least I am self aware!)

12. 'Don't even think about it' - You know why, right? Because you need to take the ring off to read this and you better not be takin' it off! (Sorry. Some people need it elucidated. Not you, some other people.)

13. 'My one & only home run' - Because I suck at sports, this one would actually be 100% accurate. I like accuracy, truthfulness, straightforwardness and transparency, but you know that already.

14. 'You are so beautiful' - Oh yes you are. Oh yes you are. No, you are. No, you are. Oh yes I am.

15. 'Remember, I've broken most of my bones. I can break yours too.' - Oh yes I can.

16. 'Mine, mine, all mine' - 'Because possession is the ultimate thrill.

17. 'Wuv woo wots' - Because I am cute. Oh yes I am.

18. 'I'm diggin' me diggin' you' - Now beat that!

19. 'She walks in beauty' - Yep, that's me. Walking in beauty.

20. 'To have and to hold, to save and to scold' - I swear, I made this one up myself. Appropriate, if nothing else.

21. 'Through thick and thicker' - Literally and figuratively.

22. 'Have you lost it yet?' - Because it is encouraging to know that you have come so far and nice to know that there is someone who understands the difficulty of it all.

I also read somewhere that you could engrave a quote from the first movie that you saw together. Proceed with caution regarding this. If the first movie you saw together was Kill Bill (like us), you most definitely wouldn't want to be engraving this:

The Bride: It was not my intention to do this in front of you. For that I'm sorry. But you can take my word for it, your mother had it comin'. When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I'll be waiting.

Or this.

The Bride: When do you want to die? Tomorrow? The day after tomorrow? 

Or this.

The Bride: Go home to your mother! 

Or this.

The Bride: Hard part's over. Now let's get these other piggies wiggling. 

Actually, I kind of like the last one. Which one do you think I should choose?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What's in a name?

Communication, for me, is very simple. There are words I like to say and words I don't. And I say ONLY the words that I like to say.

For instance, you will never get me to say 'ensemble'. This is because whenever I try to to say it, I sound either awfully and pitifully wrong or way too sophisticated for my own good, and disproportionately so. I am not a sophisticate. I wear my pearl necklaces around my ankles and my diamond brooch holds my purse zip in place. For that matter, 'brooch' is another word you'll never hear me say. In fact, it's been so long since I said it that I don't even remember how it's meant to be pronounced anymore. I just call it 'the thing that holds my purse together' or better yet, just point to it.

Another word that I will never say is 'somnambulism'. This word should be taken off the dictionary for being such a hideously ugly word. 'Buenos Aires', 'escargots', 'titillating', 'corpuscles', 'faucet' and 'fiancée' all fall under the category of words I will never say.

I also hate saying certain names, such as 'Albert' and 'Louis' and 'Pierre' and 'Jean'.

And now can I tell you a secret? The name I hate saying the most is 'Richard'. And guess whose name that is! My 'fiancée's'! Can you believe it? That's why I call him Thom (for Thomas, his second name), which is my absolute favorite name for a guy (at least that's what I told Thom right after I told him how much I hate his name.)

Whew! I'm glad I got that off my chest! Tea, anyone?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Foresight exemplified

I am ashamed to admit how much this pictured delighted me, but the answer is 'very', not because I have any sort of contempt or disdain towards William, Kate or the royal family, but simply because things like this don't happen too often! I mean come on! Cinderella, of all the fairy tales in the world!

And I really wonder what was with Princess Beatrice's hat! It made the whole wedding worthwhile if you ask me. 

Like cold november rain

If you have wondered why I change the appearance and signature traits of my blog so often even at the risk of vitiating all the precious branding that I have done for it, it is only to teach you and get you intimate with the ephemeral nature of things. This is the purpose of this blog and my life, as it is that of the life of Guns and Roses. (Remember what they said? 'Nothing lasts forever, even cold November Rain.' Teary beautiful, this.)

And it is definitely not because I'm flaky, indecisive or constantly getting bored of everything around me that this happens every other week.

Having clarified this, I rest in peace.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The angry young woman

I never went through an angry teenager phase. I was pretty cheery and well adjusted and content with all that I had and not embarrassed about how uncool my parents were (maybe 'coz they were and still are way cooler than me!). But I think I've totally turned into an angry adult in the last month or so.

I am angry about a lot of things including the chemical structure of my hair, the political structure of my country, the size of my feet, how the tissues in my house all smell of this ridiculous Arabic perfume called 'Oud', Osama Bin Laden's life and death, the end of 24, Prison Break and Lost (all pretty much at the same time, that too!), my mother's need to control my driving, my father constantly cancelling his trips to India, Thom not buying me slinky red boots and my brother giving me an almost permanent silent treatment.

There are plenty more things that I am angry about (read stark, raving, red hot fury, spewing fire mad!). But most of them are deep dark secrets that would blow your mind if you heard them and also make you want to worship me for being so brave and persevering and not turning mental till now. And because I get shy and blushy with too much praise and adoration, I will not divulge these dirty dark secrets at this juncture. But I'm planning to come out with a tell-all book soon and I'll send y'all copies, post which I plan to disappear into thin air to a villa in Ibiza.

But when I get so angry that I  feel like my brain has started frying from the increased number of electrical impulses circuiting through it, I take out a math text book and work through the chapters. It's my new meditation technique. I wish I had discovered this when I was in school and struggling to pass math. But then again, because I wasn't an angry teenager, it probably wouldn't have made much of a difference. This trick works like such a charm that within a few hours my pulse rate goes back to 72 beats per minute and the noradrenaline starts to kick in.

So for all you parents who are fretting bout your child's refusal to study, I have a very obvious solution for you: Turn them into angry children - be as unfair to them as you possibly can, take away all their privileges and rights and give them all your duties. The deed will be done before you know it because as you know, children have a short fuse. And then offer them the solution for it in the form of their math textbooks. Tell them that they will experience peace with it like none other. You can even show them this post for proof if they don't buy your proposed solution.

As always, thank you for listening and not judging!

Dizzy Lizzie

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How my ex best friend (current frenemy) wrangled a wedding invite out of me

Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from from Natasha after a hiatus of around half a year and this is how it went.

Natasha: Hi babe! How are you doing? I heard you were getting married! Congrats babe! That's awesome news. 

Me (quite pleased that she had even bothered to wish me): Thanks Natasha. I'm doing good. How are you doing? How's your job and stuff?

Natasha: I'm doing awesome. But listen. I gotta tell you something. I won't be able to come for your wedding. I will be busy that entire week. So sorry babe. I feel really horrible. 

Me (relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with the awkwardness of her realizing that she wasn't invited and then having to deal with a confrontation regarding that): Oh really, Natasha? I was really hoping you would come. Damn it! Why did you have to be busy that same week. So sad!

Natasha: Of course I'm kidding, babe! I wouldn't miss your wedding for the world. Thanks for inviting me. Be sure to send me the invite though. I tend to forget these things. Ciao! 

Too stunned to even think, much less muster a reply, all that resounded and echoed for a while after was the click on the telephone that signaled that the conversation had really occurred. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Betty bought some butter....

Isn't it absolutely ingenious of God to make cream in such a way that if you shake it around in a mason jar for about 15 minutes wildly, you get butter? And the cherry on top - its a comforting process that yields comfort food. Butter really can make everything right.


Good work as always, God!!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

When life hands you lemons....

David Lebovitz has become something of a legend these days. He is a super chef extraordinaire turned super author extraordinaire and he now lives 'the sweet life in Paris', which incidentally is the name of a book he has written. Ever since I first came across his website, I have been eying a coupling of recipes of his and wanting to make it and one of them is his 'Whole Lemon Bars'. Choosing a recipe that I would want to make out of the millions on any food website is relatively easy for me. The fact that I live way out in the country and have no access whatsoever to ANYTHING fancy, including cooking chocolate, mint extract or even fresh cream on most days eliminates MOST recipes. And the whole lemon bars were one of the simpler ones on David Lebovitz's site.

You start with the crust in this case, but first things first. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Take an 8" square pan and either cover the insides with foil so that you can lift off the lemon bars neatly once it's done or you can just butter up the dish and leave it as it is.

(The dish was so pretty, I had to allow it its moment in the sun! Also, at my house, we use spoons instead of knifes to portion desserts and we usually eat directly from the dish, which means that it does not need to be cut into bars before serving or storing. I am aware that this is hardly model behavior and I urge you do not be this way!)

The cast of characters is thus: Flour, sugar, unsalted melted butter, salt and vanilla extract.

Mix and stir until it is well combined and then using your fingers or a spatula, smooth the dough onto the bottom of your baking dish.

'Bake the crust for 25 minutes until it becomes a deep golden brown', is what David Lebovitz says, but definitely do not use 'until a burnt smell emanates' as a sign to turn off the oven like I did.

In the mean time, proceed to make the lemon topping. 

At this juncture, I feel compelled to say something. Practically speaking, I don't know what the difference between a lemon and a lime is. In India, we get something which we alternately use the name lemon and lime for and it makes no difference to anyone here. But sometimes it does make it difficult to gauge the requirements for a non Indian recipe and substitute accordingly. That is why I faltered when I saw that the recipe called for 'whole' lemons to be chopped up and added in the topping mixture. I definitely didn't want whole lemon bars that were way too bitter or sour from using a whole lime instead of a whole lemon. So I just used the rind and the juice of it, rather than the whole thing.

Other than that, the process is the same. Blend the eggs, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, lemon rind and melted butter.

Do not be alarmed if you find that the mixture is too liquidy. It will set on baking.

I have to say that my left arm is so daft that it can hardly do anything, much less take stellar photographs of what I am cooking whilst cooking with my right hand. It is as dysfunctional as my left brain, which is weird because the left brain is intended to work better for staunchly right handed people like me. But my left brain doesn't work, my left hand is spazzy and my left foot is a size smaller than my right one. (My left eye is also smaller and sometimes when I don't sleep enough it gets really tiny and creepy. That's the only time I like how my eyes look though!) Now that I have made a full confession of my debilitations, I feel peaceful enough to get back to the recipe. So shall we?

When the crust is baked and out of the oven, pour the lemon filling on top of the crust.

Reduce the heat to 150º C and bake for 25 minutes until the lemon topping stops jiggling and is barely set. Remove from the oven and cool completely before you cut into squares or begin scarfing it down as is.

I found that the flavour is much better when it cools, but unfortunately, I had finished eating most of the lemon bars before it even reached 80º C. DO NOT repeat above mentioned behaviour. You will live to regret it if you do. 

And David says that the bars will keep for a month frozen or for 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature. But I will not be able to validate that unfortunately - the bars lasted 3 hours in my house. 

Here is the link to the actual recipe on David's website. I meditated over pasting it here and then linking it to his site for about 3 hours but then I decided against it because it seemed quite redundant to do that, especially since I wasn't planning to adapt the recipe even 'slightly' just for the sake of it (Hello! It's a David Lebovitz recipe!)  

Also, you should definitely go check out his site as often as possible and stay as long as possible because.... IT. IS. AWESOME. It's the closest I can get to actually going to Paris and that's good enough reason for me. 

Enjoy maadi. (as they say in Bangalore, where I just came from.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Surviving India - Vol. 1

If you intend to do an overnight journey by train in the summer in a non AC compartment, make sure that you travel only on the lower berth with the windows entirely open.

This might put you at risk of robbed at knife point by those standing on platforms at train stations when the train halts, but closing the windows puts you at a greater threat to yourself because you will begin to indulge thoughts of flinging yourself out of the train or possibly jumping onto the roof to dance in the wind, just to feel a blast of cold air in place of the wretched heat. This would not be a desirable option as there is also an additional risk of being electrocuted by the electricity wires on the roof of the train or of being eaten by wild wolves when you finally land on the ground after your tryst with train roof dancing or jumping off the train with wild abandon..

However, if you do in fact end up in the middle or upper berth, do one of the above mentioned. Life is not worth undergoing the painful agony of death by dehydration through perspiration.

But as if the situation is not bad enough, there is another issue that complicates the matter, especially if you are a woman. Usually, the train is filled with creeps who will stare at anything that moves. For instance, while I was on the train from Bangalore to Chennai sweating my cerebral fluid out while lying in the dark in the middle berth, I realized that the person sleeping on the berth opposite to me was staring at me intently. I found this really ludicrous because the train was so dark that the only thing that he could have seen of me is the tip of my nose that gleams because of overzealous functioning of my sebaceous glands. In such a situation, the only armor you have, if you do not want to resort to pepper spray or the Swiss Army knife, is a single bed sheet. Just cover yourself tightly like a Mummy and visualize that you are doing voodoo on the man. And needless to say, it would be much easier to concentrate if you weren't distracted by the heat.

Long moral short, learn visualization techniques and voodoo before you come to India and on a train, sleep on the lower berth with your window open but covered completely by a bed sheet.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Agony and Ecstasy

I just got back from a long and much needed break from my life in Trivandrum (which is a break from my life in Bombay where I was working). Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, haven't you heard? They were talking about my life in Trivandrum when they said that. So I went to metropolitan cities Madras and Bangalore to visit my aunt and 3 of my very very good best friends for 2 days.

Ah, the thrill of big cities! There is nothing like the shiver that goes up your spine when you are almost hit by a bus when you attempt to cross a road and as you dodge it and breathe a sigh of relief, you are almost converted into roadkill by a flashy red BMW. (In Trivandrum, the roads are usually so empty that you can pull up a lounge chair and perform sun worship at leisure.)

And the pollution! One of the most awesome things in life is to be able to take a deep clean breath after being smothered and suffocated by a seemingly unending puff of sleek black smoke from a sleeker black Porsche.

That elusive and much awaited breath... that is the breath of life, I tell you. Few things ever feel so good. (In Trivandrum, there are so many more trees than there are vehicles and all the CO2 gets photosynthesized before they even come out of the sleek black Porsches.)

And the malls! Oh the pretty pretty malls! (There are no malls in Trivandrum, only shopping complexes. And there is nothing complex about these two shops at the most buildings.)

As soon as I landed in Madras, I dropped off my bags and went to the mall and the sight just took my breath away and the handsome security guard had to resuscitate me to bring me back to life. And then I went and ate junk food from 5 different places, namely McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and this ice cream place called Milky Way. (We don't get no junk food in Trivandrum. Y'all know that. We have to make junk food if we want to eat it. Otherwise, our diet consists of grass and grains, much like that of cows actually.)

After my body was sufficiently filled with crap and I felt a much missed bout of lethargy and sloth, I went to a few clothes stores and bought stuff to wear when I become size 0. (Fantasizing is my favourite hobby and indulging in it is my favourite sport.) Then I went to Landmark, the biggest chain bookstore in India, and read diet books and travel books for 5 hours. What a wasteful and redundant day! It was awesome.

The next few days showed an uncanny resemblance to the first day and my heart soared higher and higher each day. City living just replenishes me, as you can see. I love my life.

Now I would post photos of my beyond fantastic trip and the people that were in it, but I just can't find my USB cord. Do you also find yourself looking for the same things over and over again and you just cant seem to keep them in a place that you will remember? Do you also misplace your USB cord more often than you misplace your keys? Well, then you know the agony of it!

That's all for now folks! Ill catch you later! :)