Do Visit my very own 'Food' Blog' for delicious meals

Monday, 29 March 2010

Classic Shopping

Last week I went with my NRI guest to a private fashion designer to see her new range of private collection. She had suits, kurtis and saris, all artistically embroidered with colorful stones, crystals and gold/silver cords and lace. The workmanship was quite neat, so was her price. Each suit was not less than seven grand and some as high as twenty to thirty grand. She showed us the collection of about ten different items, of which my guest bought one sari, one suit and one embroidered blouse. She spent total of forty-five grand.

This week I went with another NRI guest for shopping. We went to Palliadium, the new mall at Pheonix mills at Parel. The mall reeks of luxury, shiny floors and sparkling windows. But where are the shoppers? This is the new mall which will house branded fashion designers. Should I quote the price? Ah! I entered one store and liked one sari but after seeing the price tag, I decided I don’t like it. I would never be able to afford two hundred grand for a sari/suit which I would not have an occasion to wear more than once. Who has spoilt our Indian market? Blame it on NRI’s. Only women with Dollars/Euros will be able to afford such luxury. But wait a minute; I did see few Indians too. They went into the stores, studied the designs and I presumed that they were the fashion designers who would clone these designs and sell it at cheaper price from their private garage.

In Mumbai, there are many such women who work from home. All they need is good tailors, good collection of fashion catalogues, a nice camera to capture the designs when the salesman is not watching and few friends who can spread the word around for them. My friend tells me that latest trends can be copied from popular TV serials. But, to my knowledge, all the clothes that are worn by actors in TV serials are freely available in those common markets at Santa Cruz, Bandra, Breach Candy and Dadar.

But real trendy and latest designs can only be found in designer studios or in private homes.

This week we went to many designer studios and my guest splurges at every store and spends ninety grand in one day! Her shopping included just one sari, few suits, footwear, and two branded purses. Wow!

I blessed my stars for not having such expensive taste. Actually, expensive stuff doesn’t suit me.

I just wear a smile.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Tofu..I seem to like it

It is soft.

Well, it depends on the type I am having right now, but it is much, much better than paneer, actually I don't like paneer and I eat it only when I have to...that is when it is too rude to refuse.

Therefore I was happy to get some great tips on getting a perfect bite

and even more happy when another friend willing shared her recipe of tofu with bell pepper with me

Ah! It is easy to go veggie when there is no competition.

When you visit me next time, remind me to cook tofu for you. Of course it will be different, and better, *wink* my estyle....Nobody can beat my cooking estyle, for that I am sure. *giving you a happy grin*

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Boarders at war

Early morning while brushing my teeth, my boarder says “What time can you be free? I want to talk to you”

Now, I am at home most time of the day, from Mondays to Fridays, unless I have some important errands to do. Nobody needs any appointment to talk to me.

I tell her “Shoot, I am all ears.”

“No, first you get free then I have to tell you something.” She says and she disappears into her room.

I quickly rinse my mouth, wash my face, towel it and walk into her room.

“What is it?” I ask

“Is there no discipline in this house? Don’t you have any rules for your boarders?” she says.

I do have rules for the boarders who occupy my spare room. There are only three main rules which I expect my boarders to follow: Tidy up the kitchen after use, be back home before 12 midnight and none of their visitors are allowed inside my house.

I looked at her in askance on introducing some more rules.

“I am unhappy with my room mate” she says, “She is watching TV late nights, sometimes up to 2am, continuously shifting channels. I cannot sleep with flickering lights. Is there no discipline in this house? I think you should introduce strict hours for watching TV. I suggest that there should be no TV after 11pm.”

Just then her room mate emerges from bathroom and enters the room.

“Look, here is complain, your room mate is unhappy about your late night TV hours” I tell her

“And I am too,” she says.

“Now, what complain do you have?” I ask her

“I am uncomfortable because she is too lazy and keeps her part of the area too untidy. I don’t like clutter in this room but she won’t listen.”

I look around and I understand what she means. The bed-sheet is wrinkled; the dressing table is cluttered with books, water-bottles, combs, creams, medicines, etc.

“Cluttered room is cluttered mind’” I tell her, “Lets make a deal. You keep your room clean and she will put off TV by 11p.m”

Then follows the argument for next ten minutes: insensitivity towards each other’s comfort (you don’t understand my problems), lack of communication (why didn’t you tell me first?), compromise (I will do it your way only if you do it mine)

Today, their room was clean and tidy, the lights have gone off at 11pm.


Friday, 19 March 2010

She is a graceful lady

“Can you give me a print-out of that photograph that you just click of me?” said Mrs Tara peeping into my digital camera.

I looked closely at the picture. I was complimenting myself for my photography skills. The deep lines on her face were clearly etched, the silver of her hair and her smile matched ditto to her real self. She looked very beautiful and her smile was an added attraction

“Sure! How many copies do you want?” I asked

“Just give me only one, if you can enlarge it for me, I would be very grateful to you.” She said

“You see,” she continued, “I want to frame it and keep it with other things. When I die I don’t want people to keep ugly pictures of me. I know lots of people and they all might come for my funeral, it will look good if I have this picture smiling at my friends. I have kept aside all the things that will be required to dress me up: one sari, one slipper, one hair buckle and the money required for my cremation, only I didn’t have a good snap of me. If I die suddenly, then I don’t want to trouble my people looking for things for me therefore I have made all the arrangements”

I was impressed by her independence and her self reliant attitude. Mrs Tara has glow on her face. She is fair, short, wrinkled and must be about 75 years (my wild guess) but she is very talented. She is an artist.

Some months ago, I have visited her home and her house was filled up with oil paintings, every area of her small room was clustered with paintings. Proudly, she showed me each and every painting in her room, relating a story behind each one. She lives alone in her small apartment and tutors young people during her free time, conducting painting classes.

Every Wednesday and Thursday, she comes to school to teach mentally challenged children to draw and paint, (free of charge), travelling in public bus and walking the rest of the distance.

Always ready to help, she is very patient with children. I have known many other women of her age, but they have retired years ago, visiting temples instead. Many women, half her age complain of aches and pains and their inability to perform any task gracefully, but this is one lady who never complains. I admire her strength.

I strive to be as active as she is when I reach her age. She is my unsung hero.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Travel bug beckons

I have never been to Canada although I have admired Niagara falls for umpteenth time. I have envied the people who have worn those fancy transparent raincoats and sailed through the stream, wiping of the droplets of water sprays from their face. I wonder if I will ever see it or experience it in this life time.

Until I saw this

Now I am glad that there is similar experience can be witness in India as well.
I would love to see this

And this
I don't even have to sail in any boat, I can just watch it from a distance...lovely!!

Yeah…This breath taking natural picturesque splendor located at a road distance of 65 Kms from Trichur (Kerala) & 60 Kms from Cochin International airport! Must, must go and see it...

I have asked my family to plan a trip to south India..we could go down right up to the tip at Kanyakumari. India is so beautiful, there is really no need to travel abroad.

Monday, 8 March 2010


Some weeks ago, I decided to take a boat from Mora Village to Mazgoan docks. This is the shortest route to come to South Mumbai, which would otherwise take more than two hours, While I waited for the boat to arrive, I was watching the fisher-women at the docks and was amazed with the hard work that they put in. Mumbai, being a coastal region, fishermen go to the seas for fishing (sometimes for days) while women help in selling the fish. The work is shared equally by them and they are quite cheerful and happy to help each other.

My friend, who was with me, was attracted by the freshness of the fish (some of fishes were still wriggling in her basket) and prawns. She wanted to buy the fresh prawns but the women quoted very high rates (Rs300 for half kg of king size prawns). She refused to bring down her prices claiming that if she went back the next day to south Mumbai, she would get good price. While she sorted her catch, her man went and brought large chunk of ice, broke it into smaller pieces and helped her pack the fish so that it would remain fresh the next day. She told us that she would wake up early morning at 5am and make her journey towards town to sell her fish.

Some of them go to the market to sell the fish while others go from door to door. Women who come from far off suburbs use local train (luggage compartment) for commuting. Some of them have formed their own society and rent a transport (a tempo or a truck) to reach their market.

It was evening time and the man looked quite tired but he continued to help her.

“Your man works quite hard, I must say” I said, impressed by the efficiency of his work.

“He is not my man” she said, “We work as a community, we normally live as mixed groups where there is team work involved. The work is divided equally but it is never reversed. We don’t go for fishing at the seas nor do the men look after the house and babies”.

Although fisherwomen traditionally do not go out to sea, ancillary activities as critical as fishing itself - fish processing, vending, marketing, net-making, and so on - are primarily in women's hands.

“Don’t you think that your prawns are overpriced? Why are you selling it so expensive?” I asked her

She was quite annoyed with my queries and complained that there were no more fishes in the sea.

I did not believe when she said that there were no more fishes in the sea. How could that be?

But on googling I understood what she meant.

The current market-friendly reforms aimed at opening up India's coasts to large-scale commercial exploitation have posed a grave danger to the survival of these communities.

The fall in fish stocks as a result of indiscriminate mechanized trawling is the single-most worrying factor for the fishing community, and its impact on women is direct and brutal. The government has opened the coast to foreign trawlers that harvest all the fish. Private companies have taken over their traditional occupations, like net-making and fish processing. As a result they are sometimes left without fish and without work. Fisherwomen - who earlier sold the catch that the community's men brought in from the sea - are now forced to buy fish from large contractors.

With fish disappearing from the seas, fishermen face a loss of productive activity. In frustration, they turn to alcoholism. They borrow money for gambling. Their bitterness is an additional burden for fisherwomen, who struggle to hold their families together and cope with increased wife-beating and desertion.

So, what does the woman do? She was here now, almost 7pm in the evening, packing her basket for the next day. She would go home, cook dinner for her family, clean her house, put her family to sleep and would wake up 4am in the morning to go to town to sell to fish and bring some cash.

And here I was cribbing about the price of prawns not understanding the problems of a common fisherwoman, who though not educated, knew how to survive, balancing the home life and her working hours and wanting to handle the likes of me with grace.

Here we were, my friend and I, haggling about the price when we would buy the same without any fuss at the market place.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Hindu festivals often see large number of devotees throng towards religious places and there are many such place in India.

But have you ever seen three million women celebrating a festival together with a small plane hovering above the crowd showering flowers over them?? This is the Kerala Festival for women

I am thinking whether the God attending to their prayers is male or female?


When a woman stretches to straighten her spine, to break off the chains from her body and mind, she is no longer an admirable bride.

The need to be accepted by the society is so strong, that she sells off her self respect and her genuine smile in the market of false pretentions.

And this is true in some influential families too. Dhristi was one such woman.

Dhristi laughed heartily at every joke that her husband made, showing her pleasure, or rather faking it. She catered to his every need. Her world revolved around him. She was a good wife. She was timid, patient and ever-ready to his demands.

“He is a dog” she once told me “a lusty dog, he has sucked the life out of me, if you have a choice don’t ever enter into a loveless marriage. I hate him.”

“If it is so bad then why don’t you just walk out?” I said

“I cannot. I won’t bring shame to my family”.

And she stuck on. There would be bruises on her body. Sometimes she would lift her dress to show me the dark brown circles on her thighs, on her tummy, on her back and sometimes on her breast

“These are not love bites, mind you, when he is drunk and I resist, he punishes me” she said “it hurts too much, especially when it bleeds.”

“Maybe, things will change after you have a child” I said, consoling her

“I wish I could, but my hubby hates kids.” She said

Thus, lonely she was, caged in the glittering world.

If she wasn’t a close friend I would never have known her sadness and her pain. But help, I could not. How do you preach freedom to a person who is deaf to the reasons?

She wore a mask.

At every party, women admired her jewels, her branded clothes and her impeccable etiquettes. They wished they could trade places with her, until the day, when I saw the shocked expressions on their face. I heard one of them call her ‘ungrateful’

‘Ungrateful’ for what?

At last, the peace envelops her as she lies in her coffin, dressed as a bride.

Perhaps, the world will never know.

Featured post

The Year That It Was - 2015

I have poor memory therefore I tend to forget the good and the bad times easily. What is past is forgotten, each day I try my best that my ...

"I shall seize the fate by its throat....

"I shall seize the fate by its throat....
"I shall seize the fate by its throat....It shall certainly not bend nor crush me completely"

Out of Box


Related Posts with Thumbnails