27 October 2008

~Happy Deepavali~

diwali Comments
Wish you a very very Happy Deepavali!

आप सब को दीपावली की हर्थिंक शुभकामनाएं

தீபாவளி வாழுதுகள்

02 October 2008

Not 2 but 3 Visits, Lotsa Food, and Clarke Quay

"The most uncomplicated love is the love of food."

So back home, back to work, back to gym, back to swimming, back to Such's fab salads and life is going pretty. Only cloud on the horizon is our office moving from my beloved Ngee Ann City to Fusionopolis in Singaporean boondocks, but before that I have 2 social and 1 official visit to look forward to.

The first visit was from my cousin and her husband from Pune. They arrived on Thursday 11 July via KL on Thursday late afternoon. We hugged, we clapped, we jumped up and down in joy, got ready and hit Cafe Iguana on Clarke Quay. Mexican food, margaritas, Singapore river - nice. Food over, it was dancy time across the Read bridge to the other side.

We settled in Cuba Libre but Pune cousin and I being complete Bollywood music lovvers I had to show her Rupee Room and do a little bit of झूम बराबर झूम। The place was empty (not that I ever mind that) and so they music was all ours! The DJ, with no one else to play to, was really sweet and played everything we wanted. And we danced and danced full दिल खोल के (with abandon) till the search party came looking for us and we were dragged home.

Back in office bright and early next morning and I finished off as much work as possible. Met cousins for lunch in Food Republic, where we lagaoed Thai food consisting of:
  • Phat Thai (Flat noodles)
  • Kaeng Khiew Wan Mangsawirat (Green curry with vegetables)
  • Fragrant Thai Rice
  • Ruby Red

Then we walked around Lucky Plaza, Tangs, and Far East. I was bribed to bunk office and go off with them to Chinatown but being the conscientious person that I am, loserly, I went back to work.

Evening time saw us in our collective favorite Cafe BluJaz on Bali Lane. Belly dancing, sotong sambal, chicken fireballs, hunk burger, chimichanga, Arab street walk, drinks, and many many hours of live jazz music later we were happy to be back home.

Next morning Cee made us pancakes for breakfast over which we sat for hours over till it was time for Pune cousins to catch bus back to KL.

The next visitors came a week later on Friday, 18 July. This time it was another cousin and a sis-in-law cousin both from Chennai. Again super excited, we did Cafe Iguana again, we did Cuba Libre, we did BluJaz but more than all this we did so much shopping! Unfortunately I was in office during most of these shopping trips but if there were ever in Orchard I did not miss the opportunity to join in the fun. More on that in a bit.

Between these 2 weekends there was a week - as there usually is, otherwise we’d all be happy troopers. The week saw my boss in Singapore. It was the first time I was meeting her and there was the usual round of meetings and outings. Mwah the meetings and let’s get on with the outings. We did Sushi Tae sushi and Sashimi one day, Taka basement food court another, and then we decided we needed to do a nice fancy lunch. So my colleagues booked a table @ a popular local seafood joint, Jumbo Seafood. I went along not very sure what to expect but hey I love seafood, so how bad can it be? What I had blew my mind away.

For the first time tasted the following signature Singaporean dishes:
  • Singapore Chilli Crab, which is a Sri Lankan King Crab smothered in Sweet Chilly sauce. OMG so good!
  • Fried Bread - tiny morsels of sweet salty perfection especially great with the crabs. Yum yum!
  • Steamed fish - full full with head, tail, scales, what have you) but once those were removed from my sight, you could not remove my chopsticks from it. Verrrry good. Really very good.
  • Kang Kong in Oyster sauce was love at first bite! This is the BEST ever green veggie I've ever ever ever tasted. This is stupendous and beyond!
We had other sundry things, but I don't want to dilute the flavour, so to speak. Now I am a convert. New standards have been set. Currently nothing compares, nottthing compares to this (naturally to be sung to the tune of "Nothing compares to you"). Jumbo Seafood Restaurant and these signature dishes have become my Singaporean introduction meal to all visitors.

Other than Jumbo, two other distinct culinary high points were hit with the cousin and sis-in-law cousin. One was lunch @ Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, an amazing Taiwanese place in Paragon B2. Oooh ooooh ooooh the food! Mmm! Yumm. Public, what-A food, what-A dumplings. Solpa what-A price also. I generally tend to go porcine but IMHO you must have these items:
  • Steamed pork dumplings
  • Steamed shrimp and pork dumplings
  • Steamed green vegetable and pork dumplings
  • Noodle soup with shrimps sliced bamboo shoot and green vegetable
  • Egg Fried Rice
  • Baby Kai Lan
The third was Red House Seafood Restaurant on Robertson Quay. As old as me (Oh God now why did I write that?) this place is a very close contender to Jumbo when it comes to Seafood. I would go so far as to say it might even be better than Jumbo. (The only reason I end up going to Jumbo more often is because of its vicinity to Clarke Quay where all the &#!$%^*@ want to go all the time.)

Back to Red House, the service is exemplary, the food, perfect! Beyond perfect. Everything we ordered was great. The decor is so Chinese dark red and black lacquer - and NO am so not sick of dark red and black lacquer Chinese decor. In fact one sees hardly any trace of it in Singapore, so its almost comforting to find a place where they still have it. There are tables along the river, and being a much quiter part of the river, its more river and less people, in a word charming. Fantastic, awesome food, awesome service. Love you guys. Will be back soon.

With the cousins and in-law we also did a lazy Sunday afternoon in Sentosa. Louging in Km8 in Tanjong beach, drinking beer by the buckets (they serve pint bottles in a bucket of ice, hence bucket of beer :D), lunch, snooze, and watching the sun go down. Sadly we got heavily poured out of a Jazz concert on Upper Deck but it was a lovely day nevertheless.

All too soon their holiday came to an end and a new chapter in my life began - I moved into my apartment! More on the move soon...

25 August 2008

Last few days in my native land

After all this eating and meeting I had to do some shopping. Comm Street ki Jai ho! No Orchard Street can compare to Indian market experience. Be it Commercial St in Bangalore, Lajpat Nagar in Delhi, Laxmi Road in Pune, T-Nagar in Chennai, Gariahat in Kolkatta, or any other market in any other city in the native land. The colours, the noise, the people, the smells, the prices, the deals, the merchandise, the merchants, the people, the food, ... (Never ignore the food in an Indian market).

Indian markets are like a bhelpuri of all aforementioned things - the good and the bad - all mixed, tossed, and served up with dhania and sev on top. थोड़ा खट्टा, थोड़ा मीठा, थोड़ा crunchy and थोड़ा chewy. Am lovving it!

So on Thrusday I shopped in beloved Comm St buying 100 rupee to 2000 rupee chappals all morning. In fact I got so carried away with my chappals that shopkeepers started offering me business deals - they thought I buying all these chappals to set up a shop abroad! Aghast, I quickly dived into Shiv Sagar to lagao a juice and चाट and restore my composure.

Did Dalam or pomegranate juice (which is YUM there) and decided to do one chat... which somehow got followed by the Shiv Sagar Thali. Replete with all this I rolled off next door to visit Mecca Stores - a book library, a ladies fancy item shop, and a household fancy items shop - all in one. This place has been around for ages, ‘cause everyone remembers it being there for as long as they can remember. It’s not changed an iota, expect for the sorry demise of the elderly gent presiding over the shop, but his son is running the show and its business as usual.

The ladies fancy item section (1/2 part of the entrance), according to me, has the best collection of earrings, hair clips, hair bands, and other sundry ladies fancy items, in all of Commercial Street. Their general fancy store section (one wall and 1/4 of the entrance) has an inexpensive fast moving collection of ceramic vases, cookie jar sets, flower vases, and other time pass glass and ceramic items. Bought my essential earrings, hair bands, scrunchies, a vase, a jar, borrowed a few books, chitted and chatted a bit, and this is what being in Bangalore for me is all about.

Next stop was to the temple of creativity. A visit to my best friend in Comm St. namely Vijay - my trusted and much harassed tailor. Pleaded with him to make time for me and make me some new apparels, the moment he gave in, off I rushed to Pooja Collections, Shoba Collection, New Choice Collections, Lal's Collection, Mysore Udyog Collections etc. to collect materials for skirts, tops, dresses and dumped it all on Vijay for him to do his magic and to turn them into wonderful creations, which I must say, he miraculously does.

The sun was beginning to set and it was time for the Bangalore Night to take over. The spot for this night was a very घर पे बना हुआ place; it was such a made-at-home a place that I've even forgotten its name. Its a karaoke bar, very Bangalore Cantt owners, very Bangalore Cantt crowd - which should have been really charming and fun and hospitable but... Anyway we were in a mood to belt out songs and had a pretty decent time but made it an early night as the food was just about passable, the management nasty, and the service god-awful.

The next day I had pretty much the same schedule, took one last look into all the shops to ensure I'd not missed anything. Lunch was with Chint at Tiger Bay, which I must say, does a very decent Non-Veg Thali for lunch. Of course, the added bonus to eating in Tiger Bay is that one needs no excuse to browse through Bombay Stores. While I am the most ardent believer of retail therapy, and practice it most religiously, shopping in Bombay Stores is a double therapy. One, which of course is retail, the other is an almost Zen-like soothing and relaxing atmosphere of the shop. Browsing through their multi-mid-level floors, little niches, very pretty desi uber chi-chi merchandise, quite ambience, and nearly empty shop (yikes! not a good thing for them is it?) I feel as great a calm as having done half hours mediation. Rested, refreshed, and completely at peace. Bombay Stores - you ought to bottle and sell this!

Dinner was at friend's favorite restaurant - Paparazzi. Allegedly, 'One of the World's 82 Best' restaurants. Set on top of Central Park Hotel (now called Royal Orchid Central, I think) it offers nice food and a great view of Cubbon Road. Must have is the 'Bread Basket with Multiple Dips' I totally love it. The rest is kinda pendulum type - the chef can be very good to disappointing, the service can range from very attentive to I'm-so-totally-ignoring-you. Royal Orchid Central people - you've really got something good going - please be consistent, stock up your bar, your cellar, or wine cooler, or whatever and train your staff. I'd love to patronize you more, give me a little more reason.

Saturday, my last weekend started with breakfast at Vidhyarthi Bhawan - really nice dosas, but everyone complains that they were better - well I didn't find anything missing. Post dosa went to pay my respects to Dodda Ganesha and Dodda Basavanna at the Bull Temple.

Basavanagudi is super quaint and charming. With shops selling pooja samagri, snacks like congress kadle, ready-to-cook food like fresh hand-made idiappams, a huge vegetable market, and traditional Indian flower shops selling loose flowers and elaborate flower garlands. All this right in a austral heart of cosmopolitan, almost-metropolitan Bangalore. Travellers, if you want to see the 'real' old Hindu Bangalore, do make a visit here. After making one full round from VB to Bull Temple, to all the shops and back, we were ready for one more dosa at VB. Glutton, that me! Finished that off perfectly with a post breakfast snooze.....Zzzzz....

Saturday night I was lucky to attend a very dear friend's father's 65th birthday bash. As with everything uncle does, this was also in grand style. Lovely Manglorean people, with their great food, and their great music, fun and laughter. One of the most hospitable people and man do they like to party! It was a great ending to a lovely Bangalore holiday.

Sunday was spent with mom and dad, eating (again!) home food, chatting, finishing packing, weighting the suitcase a 100 times, removing stuff, weighting again, adding stuff, weighing again and you get the drift. All that done, I chilled in my room in Bangalore for one last time, for a long time to come. Come evening I was off to the airport.

Ah! another update on the airport, so it was well organised, there are weighting machines to weight your luggage outside so you can remove stuff from your bag if it’s too heavy and give it to the relatives who have come to see you off, the terminals were well lit and everything looked clean and tidy. But then there were 4 terminals for check-in and only 2 working, resulting a long and serpentine queue. There were not enough seats for people/kids to sit, and the loo had the most MAJOR surly cleaner who refused to speak in any language and resisted all entreaties' to be even remotely helpful. Also, considering there was no seating space outside, people occupied the toilet seats and refused to vacate! No! I am serious.

All this endured, there was some time left for a little browsing in the few upgraded duty free stores, got a beer at the sports bar, munched on the goodies mommy packed for the flight. Boarded the flight at 12; a 4-hour-flight-that-seemed-like-10-hours, no sleep, and landed bright and early on the shores of Singapura Monday morning and am sure I don't need to spell out the hue of this Monday morning blue.

13 August 2008

Friends, Food, & Nagarjuna

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ii pals I met for lunch on Wed 2 July @ the love-of-my-life-restaurant 'Nagarjuna'. Shee and I met downstairs and our usual enthusiasm, kick-ass-chick-fun, and bonhomie started:

Shee:"Aye, what ya Singapore you've settled off in aa? Chumma why you went off only I don't know."
Me:"Shut up ok Shee, what you're going off to UK no?"
Shee:"Aye no ya, I don't want to go only ya.."
Me:"Aye your mad aa? Why you don't want to go mein?"
Shee:"Go ya... who'll go so far. You also come back yaa…"

We reach upstairs and keep talking while the waiter is standing with a pained expression on his face; quickly I tell him a table for four.

Shee:"Aye listen ya..."
Me:"Shee you saw the look he gave us aa? Heheheh"
Shee:"Heheheh. Poor fellow ya, why you trouble him like this mein"
Me:"Me aa? You're the one who is going on and on, ok"
Shee:"Shut up ok, I've not said a word."
Me:"Yappa! What a lie! You were always a liar only Shee."
Shee:"Shut up okkkay". Aye, where we going ya?"

Meanwhile the ಚತ್ತ್ರಿ (clever? chalu? wily?) waiter has led us to the last table at the end of the world. Shee and I see the table and collapse into another fit of "hehehes" and the waiter makes his escape. While were are happily "you shut up ya, you shut up ya-ing" the waiter throws the menus at us and runs away to hide again.

Menu in hand and we have instant focus:
"Biryani or meals?... Which (which) chicken?... Chilly chicken is too spicy ya! No ya, I will die if I don't eat it, okay.... Aye you have Sholay Kebab ma, lovely it is. Is it?...... If it's not nice no... Aye it's nice ya, very nice, I am telling no? No fish aa?........ Aye I won't eat without fish ok?! Yappa!!! Who is saying no to fish ya......? Get fish no... Nobody wants prawns aa...?

Just then सबसे नज़रें चुरा के [hiding from all eyes] the boys arrive and ask us to spare them, the rest of the fellow eaters, and humanity is general, and stop our non-stop high-pitched jabbering। So we "shut up okkayyy" the boys in chorus and and hush up.

The order is placed and while the food arrives we catch up with each others news - about Venk's wedding, about Shee's job hunt, about VJ's study plans, about my time in Singapore. In our enthu to hear all and tell all, naturally the tempo of the jabber rises again. This time the boys join in too and as much as they would like to deny it, we are all going full throttle. The food arrives to save the day and us from the tempers of fellow eaters). Appearance of food on the scene has a magical effect on us, its like someone suddenly used the mute button on us.

The food, as usual, is lovely and we consume and consume and order more and consume. All in all, this is ordered and consumed:

- 1 Chicken Chilly
- 1 Chicken Sholay Kebab
- 1 Prawn Sholay Kebab
- 2 Fish Fry
- 4 Buttermilk
- 2 Meals
- 2 Chicken Biryanis
- 2 after Biryani Meals

Thus we spent over 2 hrs chatting, eating, and laughing. What's really sweet is that it's a week day and everyone except me is working and has very sweetly made time for this long ".com" type lunch break. Ah! Love my friends. Long live my friends! (If any of my friends' managers' is reading this, errr... free meal courtesy me @ Nagarjuna for you).

After polishing off Nagarjuna's day's supply for provisions we rolled down. Of course no meal in Nagarjuna is complete without a desert from Corner House aptly situated below. So we do 2 by 4 desert and sit around for another hour and finally I make my replete way back home with sole intention of sleeping off the food.

10 mints later:
~Beep-beep beep-beep~ [SMS tone]
Shee: Aye, how much we've eaten ya, I can't stay awake only, how am going to work?
Me: Roll-eye, ignore, and sleep.

1 min later:
~Beep-beep beep-beep~
Shee: You sleeping aa loafer? Am sitting in office and you are sleeping. Aye wake up ya, I can't stay awake only.
I succumb and reply:
Go home and sleep no Shee. Why you troubling me?

20 secs later:
~Beep-beep beep-beep~
Shee: No ya I got work to do, can't go home. You sleep ya, what for you. Its holiday no for you.
Me: Small evil smile for full happiness (no strength for bigger smile) and sleep.

10 sec later:
~Beep-beep beep-beep~

Shee:You've gone to sleep aa loafer? Heheh

I have a feeling that this is going to take an ugly turn so I pre-empt my clever friend, turn off the offending phone and अपनी आँखें मूँद लीं [died in peace].

God bless Nagarjuna, their chef, their food, and most of all, my friends.

Mind(less) over Matter

Succumbing to incessant and painful nagging from the parents I (re)started one of the more unfruitful almost-ritualistic chore, which has become a part of my home-going for the past 6 months or so. It is 'Mindless Relocation' and this is what it involves:

  1. Go through all the stuff packed in cardboard boxes, remove each piece, decide that I still want it, and put it aside. (Aside mind you, not back in the box)
  2. Follow this procedure till all the cardboard boxes are empty or mom calls for lunch.
  3. Eat lunch, feel sleepy and fall asleep.
  4. Wake up and mom look @ the disapproving looks on parent's faces and get ear bruised by mom's incessant complaining about how I've ruined the running of the house by making a mess of the cardboard room. And how I've always started things and never finished them, how I've always been like this, how I will never change, how this will be the ruin of my life, ending with my dad chanting that it's all about 'Mind Over Matter'.
  5. Getting close to the one straw short of a haystack stage, I go back and repack all the objects in a new 'order' as dictated by the parents. The theme time it was 'what-you-want-preserved-for-short-term' and 'what-you-want-preserved-for-long-term'.
  6. By the time this is over I am making frantic calls to all my friends and acquaintances to meet up for dinner, drinks, movies – anything to get me outta home!

The logic behind it has always baffled me, but I always give in as it seems to set the old folks minds @ rest and hence like the dutiful daughter I am, I have indulged them the following times:

  1. When I left Bangalore for Chennai
  2. When I came from Chennai to Bangalore for a vacation
  3. When I moved back to from Chennai to Bangalore
  4. Before I moved from Bangalore to Singapore

    And now,

  5. I came for a vacation from Singapore to Bangalore

And I am this close to losing my mind! One more time and it's a padded cell for me. So, to do me good and to preserve you all from my madness, you are not going to see me in India for a long long time to come.

But I also have a memory of a dog… so I will forget all about this and walk right back into the trap – again. Till then, see ya around folks!

21 July 2008

Still in Bangalore

Another week @ home and in Bangalore! Yippee! So many friends to meet, so many places to eat, so many things to do!

Monday, 30 June

Breakfast was Adigas Delicacy's Chow Chow Bhaat. Uff how I love the chow chow bhaat from Adigas! For lunch it was more of mom's yummy cooking. Then chai and chat with Chint who strolled down from his office.

Tuesday, 1 July was mom's birthday!

Went to ISKCON did bhajne and ate a lovely breakfast! Nothing like भगवान् का प्रसाद। What-A it was!
Came back and off we were to Samarkhand for lunch. This has long been our favorite Kebab place. We had:
  • Mutton Sheekh Kebab
  • Fish Tikka
  • Galauti Kebab
  • Black Daal
  • Assorted Roti's
  • Ghost Dum Biryani
Mom got gifts from Singapore, 3 vases of flowers, and lovely weather. It was a rainy rainy evening which found us (Mom, Dad, and me) sitting on the marble drinking Jasmine Tea and enjoying the weather.

Dinner was with the HP gang

I walked to the newly opened Lido Mall where we were to dine @ Spaghetti Kitchen. I met with Varada first, who insisted on favouring me with his most glamorous poses.

Have you seen anyone more glamorous?

The first pose

More drama

Yet more drama

Who is this now?

Then there were the rest of us mere mortals:

Gmanj with his ever present beer

Hems with his fruit punch

KC is hiding something with that smile, wat? ;-)

Nish - The Lady Who Knows Too Much

Ever photogenic me :-p

The loving (?) couple

We ate lots of stuff but there were the usuals:

  • potato and fruit punch for hemu
  • meat and beer for gmanj
  • meat and whiskey for me
  • vegetarian for Nish, KC and Varada

So there was all the above in the following:

  • pastas
  • pizzas
  • brushettas
  • and what not

But for once the focus was less on the food and more on the conversation. Surprised? Don't be! 'Cause there ain't a funnier gang than us. When we are just being normal we are hilarious, when we set out to be funny we are out-of-the-world! We laughed so much we had no appetite left for food.

There was Gmanj killing us with his talking about Barrels in Pajamas, KC and her high power liquor and stronger stuff 'hush-hush' business, Nish the bearer of everyone's secrets - The Girl Who Knew Too Much, and Mr.Glamorous Himself! Of course cautious Hems did nothing but giggle the evening through and didn't give anything away.

We reminisced on the good old Embassy Icon days - days filled with some work and lots of tea and laughs on the balcony, Nisarga, Eden Park, Aura, Sweet Chariot, Egg sandwiches from Food World, Masala Corn and how can I not mention Casa Picola which served us so well! (I think all of us have lost weight since we've stopped eating there)

As usual we could not stop chatting and stood in a light drizzle chatting on and on. And this was a week day mind, which means work for everyone except me, the next day! Finally we parted laughing hysterically on some joke or the other, our laughter ringing in the almost silent Bangalore night air.

Till we meet again amigos!

14 July 2008

Gugi in Bangalore on 27-29 June

My sweety company gave me a 9 day rajja (holiday in Bangalore slang) and off I flew back to nest i.e. Bangalore. What a maja has been had, sufficient words are not available in my repertoire to tell. Main things that were done were:

1.Spending time with parents
2.Meeting with friends

Flew budget airlines Tiger and reached off on Friday night itself. Tiger is not switching off cabin lights so sleep was non-existent. Colleague and I have chatted incessantly to entertain ourselves and not let fellow passenger also sleep (hehehe evil laugh) who had the bad luck of having the middle seat. But don't feel too bad for him okay, he is one of those people who does not turn off his mobile phone in the plane! When I asked him turn it off he turned to me, gave a dramatic sigh and said, "I have made you happy but you have made me sad" and turned it off (I did wonder if that sigh and line was for my poor Kannada)

Landed in new swanky Bengalooru airport which is standard issue international airport located behind the back of beyond. Nothing pretty, but large and (seemed) efficient. Fatafat immigration, luggage etc has happened and I've run to mommy who has come to pick daughter up.

While I have narrated to her my story of two months in Singapore (she's not reading my blog looks like) and she has updated me on current life history of my whole khandaan M.G. Road has eventually arrived. Out of car and woke up daddy and showered him with gifts - its usually mommy who gets all the gifts while daddy gets token gift - but this time the gifts were all for daddy. He got a Compaq laptop (see guys am still an HP girl at heart), he got a 100 or more cigars, and some misc other things. Mom got handbags, and other misc. items she has wanted from Singapore. Was too excited to sleep and eventually drifted off at around 4 A.M.

Woke up bright and early on Saturday morning @ 8 A.M. Spent the day chatting with mom, and being lazy. The weather was awesome Bangalore-rainy-cloudy-weather and it felt so good to be back home. Ate yum scrum favourite home food (mediya korumbu, beans parpu usli, vendekai, lemon rasam, and cucumber pachadi. Did a long session with Chint post lunch with tea and bajji’s and lots of chatting. Met Poo and Mu for dinner @ Baluchi, Ashoka Hotel. Recommend their Mutton Sheekh Kebab.

Sunday was Limelite Spa, Vittal Mallya Road (not recommend) and Kaya, M.G.Road (recommend). The evening was spent with mom and dad and and dinner was my favourite

Nagarjuna Chicken Biryani and Chicken Sholay Kebab

Ending the weekend on a scrumptious note

26 June 2008

The Cook is Back

Somehow I find it's always 10 days between my posts, just as well. Nothing much to report other than:

1.I've become a ACAD Level 2 user (same to you too)
2.I've started cooking again

The first is not worth the paper the certificate is printed on so I shall say nothing more about it. But the second thing has some meat, more like vegetable, in it. So as it happened, I was frittering away my time eating here and there, this and that (as stated in previous posts) till one day I just HAD to eat home food.

Cooking is like swimming I guess, once you know it, you don't forget. With that in mind, I raided the Taka basement, avoided aisle after aisle overflowing with un-readable Japanese wares, and found some good old potatoes, onions, and chilles, which according to me, is the basis of north Indian cooking.

Cut to kitchen and it was

1.Potato Pulao with Tomato chutney on evening one.

This having turned out fairly decently (rice got a bit mashed up), the next day I made a big batch (who's going to cook daily mien?) of

2.Aalu Mattar

This batch was the base recipe without too much मिर्ची as my pulao burnt a hole in Cee's palette. Aalu mattar was eaten with readymade roti's (sold frozen in supermarkets) which was alright considering I didn't have to लगाऊ आता, गूंदो, बेलो and सको the rotis.

Buoyed by this aalu mattar success, I got a bag of frozen

3. chopped veggies and began tossing it daily with पाँच पोरोन which is this fragrant mix of सबूत spices like fennel, मेथी, cumin, mustard seeds, कलौंजी, ஒம்மம் or अज्वैन and எல்லே and very Bengali.

I have also gone on to make
4.peas curry,
6.lemon rice,
7.moong dal,
8.stir fried vegetables with पञ्च पोरोन,
9. Indian style vegetable and egg fried rice.

In fact I've cooked every day since then. So all of you who are planning to visit me now and in future, rejoice and raise a toast that the Cook Is Back! (err not Steven Segal)

16 June 2008

The past ten days

A door opens to me. I go in and am faced with a hundred closed doors. ~ Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943

The past 10 days have been a flurry of house hunting activity. I've seen so many houses am ready to live in a boat for the rest of my life. But as things stand there is no boat in sight either... such is luck. Sadly the housing market in Singapore is at its least renter friendly and I am facing the brunt full-on. But as they say, "उम्मीद पे दुनिया कायम है" और हम भी।

To cheer myself up I shopped @ Dorothy Perkins, bless the woman she has a full range of sizes. I totalled 6 tops - grass green, tourqoise blue, dark chocolate brown, petunia purple, black, white - and a black formal skirt.

I also did the blessed act of introducing an Indian colleague to Murugan Idli Kadai - World Famous in Chennai (and Madurai, and Singapore, and wherever else they open am sure). Predictably I also suffered the consequences, I was dragged there (willingly) 3 times last week. I managed to make a pact with her and the 3rd dinner we did at super delicious Raj. What a lovely food I say, मज़ा आ गया! If you promise not to tell anyone, I will tell you what all we ate:

  1. Mili Jhuli Subzi
  2. Chola
  3. Raita
  4. Garlic Naan
  5. Missi Roti
  6. Kashmiri Roti (thankfully this was not the Bangalore version with tutti fruiti etc)
  7. Jeera Chawal

Right through dinner we were in heaven; a few... err... many digestive hours later we slowly and reluctantly floated back to mortal land.

Talking of food

  1. I ate eel for the first time. It was in a sushi (yeah sushi time again) @ Sushi Tei. Eel has a lovely texture (bit like pork fat) but has a strong fishy aftertaste; will be trying it again.
  2. Also managed to get कड़ी चावल @ a Kopitiam near Dhoby Ghaut with another bunch of colleagues; passably good.
  3. Did the Saturday night ritual of BluJaz and Chimichanga.
  4. Surprisingly did a desert of Banana Crêpe with Butterscotch and Ice Cream @ Brussel Sprouts which was rather good after the

Sunday was spent reading The Golden Compass, which I thoroughly enjoyed and swimming which am getting stronger at. Bicycle is still in shed thank you. Gym का रास्ता भूल ही गए हूँ और salad किसे कहते है मुझे कुछ याद नही। Come back Such!

06 June 2008

Tooth hurty

Q. When is the best time to go to a dentist?
A. Tooth hurty
(PJ contributed by FJ)

Hehe, a horrid tooth ache deserves a horrid PJ. Tooth ache has been the lief motif of the past weekend and this entire week. Never thought gaining wisdom would be a physically painful thing.

So weekend was spent nursing tooth and window shopping (how can anything ever stop me from that?) and the week spent alternately trying to howl in pain and trying to ignore the pain and lead normal life (read eat normal food).

Nothing much was consumed, okay huge quantities were not consumed, during this time.

There was the usual:
- Chicken rice
Then Suchi's glorious creations:
- Chicken satay salad
- Butter nut squash soup
- Prawn salad
- Orange chicken salad
- Carrot and ginger soup
And some timepass other stuff like
- Chilli crab puff
- Chicken bun
- Thai green curry and rice
all eaten OVER A WEEK and in SMALL quantities.

Finally after the main bulk of the tooth induced suffering was over, on Thursday 6 June, my medical insurance came through. Immediately I fixed an appointment with the dentist, and @ the same instant the pain started receding. How predictable. How childish. How bleeding irritating !~@#$%">!~@#$%^&*.

Unbelievably, the appointment was at tooth hurty (how bizarre can this get?) So I cross Orchard Road over to chi-chi Paragon Towers opposite Takashimaya where the dentist is on the 19th floor.

Floor to ceiling glass windows with a panoramic view, fancy schamsy art on walls, discreet sound of waterfall, comfy-funky couches, coffee tables and chairs with accompanying coffee and coffee table books greet my senses as I enter. If there was any pain left in my tooth this was the moment it completely vanished. The sight of such an opulently, luxuriously, pretty and calming dentist office was a medicine in itself. Sigh.....

Then doctor looked at tooth, hmmed and hawwed, and took a monstrous looking x-ray of full set of teeth on very cool x-ray machine. I had to wear a heavily lined outfit, more like an amour, so that the x-ray is not absorbed by my body or some such. And said okay let’s get the wisdom out. Jolly good and all that but will my insurance cover it? Of course it will except for the anesthetic cost, (oh!) and that will be about S$900. CrAsH! (Gugi fainted on floor of doctor's chamber).

Cut to: Hello Mustafa travels? Yes, I'd like to book a ticket for India please.
(So look for me in India around the end of June)

30 May 2008

Gugi's (restrained) shopping and food exploits

Monday 26 May to Tuesday 3 June

Items bought over the 8 days, average of 1.25 items per day:

  1. MotoRazr V9 with a 2 year connection

  2. 2 Mobile charms for V9

  3. 2 watches - red and white

  4. Espirit top in black

  5. Emphasis handbag in white

  6. 3 bling hairclips

  7. Tangerine lip balm by Cotton on Body

  8. White hakoba top by Cotton on Body

  9. 3-fold umberella

  10. 3 tops in black, white and grey

Food consumed over the week:

  1. Pumpkin curry soup by Such

  2. Bean and veggie salad by Such

  3. Chicken and cheese burrito by Such

  4. Carrot and ginger soup by Such

  5. Chicken Pepper Rice by Pepper Pot, Takashimaya

  6. Prata by Lucky Prata in Lucky Plaza

  7. Padh Thai chicken noodles in Food Republic, Wisma Atria

  8. Chicken Rice

  9. Sausage rolls by Bread Talk

  10. Crispy soft shell crab by Indochine, Clark Quay

  11. Pasta with veggies and chicken by Such

  12. Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Ice Cream with Marshmellows and Graham Cracker Swirl
  13. KFC chicken popcorn

  14. Murugan Idli

  15. Banana Leaf Appolo Sapaad

  16. Mutton Murtabak

  17. Pasta Pesto with Veggies by Such
  18. enuf aa?

28 May 2008

Three times lucky

Luck never made a man wise. ~ Seneca, Letters to Lucilius

(And am I a living example of that. Read on to know more.)

Friday 23 May, was a landmark day. It was the day that 3 things happened, 3 important things, 3 good things. Listed in order of importance, they are:

  1. My salary got credited
  2. The Singapore Shopping Festival started
  3. The Singapore Arts Festival started

Friday saw me back in the folds of River Valley Road, Such and Cee. Back to office and back to breakfast with my colleagues @ The Coffee Bean and The Leaf Tea. Ah! That's the life. Taste-o-Treat in my tummy and a large cup of English Breakfast nestling in my hand, lying back in one of a winged sofas. Replete with breakfast and a gossipy chat with my colleague, who fills me in on all the latest to-dos in office while I've been in training, we get to the ATM to check my financial status.

As we were walking to the ATM I am surprised to see a bunch of people waiting for the Takashimaya SC to open. I've never seen anyone wait for a shop to open! Banks yes, shops no. Usually, shops open and wait for people. Laughing and admiring the zest with which Singaporeans and tourists in Singapore shop, I reach the ATM and voila! The money is in. I hardly need a reason to start spending now but as I turn around I am smacked with the BIGGEST reason to spend - the GREAT SINGAPORE SALE 2008, my friends, was starting that very moment!

The shop doors glide open and people walk straight to their favorite aisles to pick up what they've been waiting for the sale to pick up. Everything is on sale. Unable to resist, being a shopaholic, and this being my first (earning) time during the shopping festival, I walk in determined to get a bargain. My very restrained first day, first hour purchases were:

  1. 2 pairs of shorts – hey EVERYONE wears them here, why should I be left out?
  2. 2 KAPPA tops, in pale lemon and dark pink with diamonds
  3. 6 pairs of ankle socks (Darsh you were right, I need more socks)

The whole day is spent finishing an assignment at work and running downstairs (read talking the lift downstairs) from 13 floor to shop floor to cull out more bargains and see everything on display. There are softer than soft towels with the most delicate embroidery, bed sheet sets, there are jewellery cases, toys, house hold items, pots and pans and kettles and the works! I know I'm yet to check 4 more floors. At 7 P.M I call it a day and head back home.

I step in and Such has obviously been waiting for me, I have 10 mins to get ready she says, Cee is waiting. I quickly get ready, donning my new dark pink Kappa top, Such looks fetching in a black and black ensemble. In the honour of the occasion we take taxi to Fullerton and it looks like the river is celebrated my return! It is crowded and everyone is expectantly waiting. Bursting with curiosity; I stroll over and find a nice spot to oversee the happenings on the river. Welcome to the opening of the Singapore Arts Festival floats a voice over the river. And then the action begins.

The opening act of the festival is a water theater played out on the Singapore river neat Boat Quay. The reflection of burning boats on water was rather pretty but the fireworks was the highlight of the evening for me. Here is a YouTube on the opening act:

And one more on the final fireworks act:

We dined at an Indonesian restaurant Bayang in Clark Quay on our way back; dinner consisted of the following:

  • Gado gado – a salad with tempura
  • Chicken in pandan leaves
  • Chicken and beef satay
  • Duck roast
  • Coconut rice with chicken gravy
  • Roast chicken (7*s so good this was! Succulent chicken with crisp skin. YUM!)
  • Wine and beer

The night ended at Cee's favorite bar in Clark Quay, Cuba Libre. A live band performing South American music and lots of rum-based alco. (None of which I had thank you, cause the heat is just not getting me in the drinking mood; silly I know but what to do?)

Saturday 24 May, breakfast was @ Epicurious on Robertson Quay (yeah we live on one Quay or the other like some sort of expat fishing family). Next on agenda was Vivo Mall. On the way to Vivo Mall we took a bridge to cross the river and lo and behold what did we see! The whole bridge was covered with rafts – all student-made, hand-made, home-made (ghar pe bana hua), and seemed like they used recycled materials. I was so impressed with these school/college kids, and obviously they were having a good time doing all this. It was such a vibrant and expectant atmosphere there like everything was waiting for the "water test" the next day.

There were all kinds of rafts - some all done up, some coming undone, some real basic, some others were totally tricked out – butterflies, water rat, lobster, tortoise family – very darling. There was also a section for slipper rafts (never got to see if anyone could float it on water and actually manage to stand on it, didn't look like it was possible!). The best of all were the F1 rafts designed to look like, what else, F1 cars. All this was for the River Rating Competition being held the next day I found out. Sunday for us, I realised, was booked.

Vivo mall is 3 stations away from Clark Quay MRT. The biggest mall in Singapore – naturally there are loads of shops and there is tons of stuff. Loafed and loafed and loafed and bought 1 croc chappals. Had lunch @ 6 @ Brotzeit German Bier Bar and Restaurant – beer, sausages, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut. With a view out into the little stretch of sea separating us from Sentosa island, it was a peaceful and reflective break after a crowded mall.

Back home and it was time for a quick nap. Woke up and met Laks @ Takashimaya where she was making the most of the Great Singapore Sale. Loafed a bit with her, saw Paragon mall across the road from Taka mall and headed out to Blu Jaz! Had their famous Chimichanga and washed it down with a large Jasmine tea. And then it was all socializing with the owners (the owners are the sweetest people), servers (so much fun), musicians (oodles of talent there) – man has that place has got it right! A great let-your-hair-down atmosphere, three floors of party space, each with its unique theme and genre of music, a vibrant crowd, and a dias for amazing musicians - the place is 1000 watts of happiness and energy. We sat there till 2 P.M. listening to musicians jamming and when they shut shop we made our weary way back home.

Sunday 25 May, was supposed to start @ 9:30 to watch the first of the River Raft Races. But as things turned out, we opened our eyes @ 12. Ouch. Cee made us Amsterdam cheese and sundried tomato pancakes which were superlicious and with sustenance in our tummy off we went to watch, what was left, of the raft races. We managed to catch a nice shaded spot on the river edge and saw a few races that were left. And were they fun.

Of all the rafts we saw yesterday, we really could not say if they would even float. Looked like most of them managed to float but there were serious crew issues. Some rafts only moved in circles, not ahead or backward, just round and round, some went forward but only diagonally. It was a riot! Some kids were super competitive the others obviously looked like they were there for the fun of it. Lots of rowing (naturally), a few splashes into the water (hehehe) and overall a great time had by me. We meandered back home with a quick stop in Brussel Sprouts to quench our thirst.

After this I became all serious and ironed my clothes from 5 to 6:45! Time for a serious treat and Such and I headed out to Little India for Murugan Idli Kadai – yes my friends, they have a branch in our own piece of India in Singapore. Have to confess that Little India on a Sunday evening is like Gariahat during Durga Puja, Delhi on Holi, Ahemdabad during Navratri, Tirupathi during a festival, and Gateway of India during weekends all rolled into ONE! In other words utter ROWDY nightmare! But what I will not do for Murugan Idli. Lovely dovely idli was consumed and with a full tummy, a happy heart and a sated soul the weekend was over.

And also all the money in my account, thank you. There's luck for you!

27 May 2008

Training and a book or 3

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, ''Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." - Muhammad Ali

Well I'm not gunning on being a champion anytime soon, but to a training I did go. And since there was no internet access, I actually ended up learning quite a bit!

My office has a mandatory training on its product that most employees must attend. This is the FIRST time EVER a company has actually spent money, time, and resource training me on the product that I am going to work on and for this alone I really respect my company right now. They’ve got to screw up real bad for me to dislike them after this.

So I am in Semei, living @ Bit's with his wife and baby and attending trainings from 9-6 everyday. Product training is, I have to admit, a dull and tedious affair, especially if you have never worked on the product before or on anything similar to it. And it eats up brain cells faster than anything else I know!

So to replenish the grey matter, I got into a routine of devouring 3 Mills & Boons a day. My timing, between 6PM to 9AM the next morning, with enough time for sleep so I can actually learn something in the training. Thanks to Bit’s wife, who is going through a “Mills & Boons” phase as she calls it (and my good luck as I call it) my routine @ their abode runs thus:

Wake up after too little sleep because of having stayed up reading M&B’s. Put the kettle to boil and start a new Mills & Boons. Enter Bit with horror on his face, “Oh God Gugi, this is the limit, please don’t tell me you read this trash first thing in the morning!” I need to explain that Bit is the closest thing I have to an older brother and he takes his 'being the older brother' job seriously.

“One man’s meat Bit, is another man’s poison”, I reply. “There is a time and place for everything”, is his retort. Dredging up some semblence of intelligence from a sleep and M&B numbed brain, I go into attack mode, “Bit, don’t stop someone from reading, reading expands the mind, and gives wing to imagination, don’t try to stifle it.” I can see it in his face that he’s got a good come back taking shape in his brain, when a horrid crashing-cymbals-drums-and all-the-pots-and-pans-in-rathna-yever-silver-store kinda "music" booms across the living room heralding the morning news.

Bit while arguing with me has done what he naturally does every time he enters the living room - turned on the TV. So what could have been an all morning session between Bit and me (if I could have fired up my brain sufficiently) is nipped in the bud by Bit’s “healthy” habit of watching TV incessantly. So he leaves me blissfully alone to keep abreast of the minute-to-minute details of the Indian Hulk Hogan's every step in Ropad and Bhatinda, and to soak up other stale news of last night with a few more “mock” controversies sprinkled on like dhania patta on last week's subzi.

Since the class begins @ 9 and I take the bus, I reluctantly leave my book and rush through getting ready, eating breakfast, and running to the bus stop. Endure brain-numbing education and am home by 6.30, ready to be seduced... by the Mills & Boons hero, hello?

Plop I go on the sofa, with Bit’s wife on the opposite sofa across and we give each other a knowing smile – of comradeship. Of two drunkards, if you must, recognizing each other and sympathizing with each other. A approving and condoning look. We might be in the same room 5 feet away from each other but we are lost in 2 different worlds created by the highly successful publishers, Mills & Boons.

Morning book completed, I come up for a quick breath and quickly drown again in another M&B. This harmonic peace continues till it is shattered by Bit’s return from office. Guiltily I jump up and start talking rapid fire to him (lest he complain that my reading makes me unsocial). He’s not fooled. His soliloquies (on the evils of M&B’s and the degeneration of our bodies and minds in reading them incessantly, while sleeping on a couch) would put Macbeth to shame. We are not listening.

So we sit to watch TV with him. Oh so healthy I remark and suggest that he take up reading M&B's, he does not dignify my suggestion with an answer. Thankfully in approximately 10 seconds he is no longer aware of our presence. I do not lose the chance to immerse myself again into my book. So while he’s watching TV and the baby running around playing, I manage to finish the 2nd book of the day.

Dinner time and thanks to Bit’s wife’s cooking everyone is a little too full to do anything but vegetate. Am clock watching, I need to yawn and head to bed @ a decent time. Too early and Bit’s will worry me to death about running away and ignoring family to read books. Too late and I’ll barely get any sleep. So as the clock strikes 10 and Bit’s involved in yettanother IPL match, I bid my adieus for the night and the 3rd book begins!

Happy endings!

26 May 2008

So much to say

(As all you clever fellows might have guessed this post was supposed to be ready and up on 24 May 2008)

GAAK! It's been 10 days since my last post… how did that happen?! I'll tell you how it happened, it's been a hectic 10 days, that's how it's happened and yes, not all of it was work. So here the summary:

Thus 15 May 2008 – The honeymoon time in office is over and am loving the work here (?). Dinner was another beautiful salad creation by Such devoured with cold cuts and asparagus soup (awesome stuff!). Again no pics am afraid L

Friday 16 May 2008 – Hard work junkie Cee decided to dedicate this Friday and Saturday to work on a construction work project for Habitat for Humanity. Back breaking real-deal construction work of digging pits, wheel barrowing construction materials, and hand mixing cement, among other hard working construction site things, the girls decided his hard work deserved a party. So that's what Such, Lak (a friend) and your's truly did, all in the name of Cee (while Cee was still in construction camp hehehe).

And off went the beauties to Brussel Sprouts. Have I mentioned Brussel Sprouts? No, well it's this lovely Belgian beer place on Robertson Quay (Quay pronounced "key" don't ask me why) that Such and Cee love to go to. And with good reason! The setting is alfresco, the view is of the river, the staff is very friendly (I think that's cause of Such and Cee are so outgoingly friendly) and the beer – specialty. I have never seen such a long menu for beer, man its longer than most wine lists I've seen in my life! Two tightly packed columns of an A4 sheet, that's how much the choice is. Your's truly had an beer that is brewed by monks in a romantic far-off monastery, and the others has equally exotic stuff. It was a balmy night, with lovely company and some good cheese croquets.

Saturday 17 May 2008

  1. House hunting - Depressing
  2. I become an official member of the bus users - Ecstatic

Started the day @ 9.30 with a house in Tiong Bahru. Awful! Am coming back to India. Did some retail therapy in Great World City mall to cheer self up. Lunch was courtesy Such – a lovely vegetable and pasta toss-up. Faith in humanity restored, I went the next appointment in Bukit Batok – a much better house, but a little too far from office right now and not quite hitting the note. Cheered myself up with a pedicure, in an all Chinese place, where I didn't speak any Chinese (surprise!) and they didn't speak any English. It was comic to say the least, with customers pitching in to translate both ways! That's when I decided to get more local.

First step I walked over to the bus stop to puzzle out the hitherto untried SMRT buses. After staring @ the route maps for 5 mints and projecting my famous i-really-am-lost girl look, which I am devastated to say had absolutely NO effect on any of the locals (but did attract the pity of 2-3 desis, so sweet), I got the lay of the land and the rest my dear friends is history. So to Outram Park (a little tidbid of history my friend pointed me to) it was from Bukit Batok and while the location and price of the place was great, and the building was in good condition, the flat itself was not satisfactory. From there it was another bus to the nearest point to home and a 10 min uphill trek on Killiney to get home.

Such and Cee (back after his back-breaking-in-a-totally-nice-and-bittersweet-way construction site duty) took me to Blu Jaz in Arab quarter. They both need a post dedicated to just them, and I will do that soon, so watch out for Blu Jaz (you can check out their blog for some info) and the Arab quarter. For now all I will say that the food and my large Jasmine tea hit the spot; a perfect remedy to a stressful and not-so-successful day.

Sunday 18 May 2008 – Woke up @ godforsaken 8 AM and made breakfast for me and a friend, gobbled it up and ran (read: took a taxi) to Kallang river to go learn Dragon Boating. Well it was either a wrong place or wrong time but we never found our trainer and the team. So we went cycling instead. My friend Lak, decided I should see the Central Business District, so that's where we went.

I have to say that Sunday mornings are the best time to get introduced to the CBD, it was empty and cycling, I imagine, would otherwise be a non-insurable activity around that area. Tall buildings and so many of them and so close to each other that like a rain forest floor the sun does not manage to reach the road @ places. As with most things in Singapore the buildings are built with a aesthetic eye, the hawker center in the middle of CBD is slightly more up market but with all the essential hawker center characteristics, the footpaths are wide and clean and there is a sense of understated opulence about the place. The CBD area description cannot be complete without a mention of the Fullerton Hotel. It is a colonial style impressive building occupies a pretty spot next to the river in the edge of the CBD and forms a distant background for the Merlion.

The sun was out and I hadn't cycled for a long time and not for this long, so I got home and was out like a light! Slept and slept and then woke up with Indian food hunger pangs. Rushed (via bus if you please) to Little India, packed a rice and curry meal and came home to eat with TV.

Monday 19 May 2008 – Holiday! Woke up @ 12 and Such and Cee had invited friends over for a Champagne breakfast. AWESOME breakkie consisting of the following was consumed by all of us:

  1. Champagne Moet (brought by guests)
  2. Scrambled eggs
  3. Cold cuts – beef, chicken and salmon
  4. Chorizo sausages
  5. Greek salad
  6. Freshly baked whole meal rolls, blue berry rolls, and bread with soft butter
  7. Cheese – Old Amsterdam
  8. Yogurt – Strawberry, Blueberry, Peach
  9. Orange juice
  10. Coffee/Tea

We saw Such and Cee's wedding album, saw a few familiar faces (15 yrs younger) while digesting the spread. And then to the pool (swimming) it was! Played a hectic water throw ball, did a few laps, soaked up the sun a bit and off I was to Semei. Home cooked Indian food @ Bit's place to start a three day training starting tomorrow.

14 May 2008

My first "true blue" rains

My room, temporary room as I've been asked to call it, faces east. So most mornings I am woken up by the sun shining into my face. Which, I have to say, is not my favorite way to wake up. To expand on the subject, listed in ascending order of preference, are the ways I do like to wake up:

  1. Open eyes and realize it's a party day (includes picnics, lunches, offsites, holiday travel start day, etc)
  2. Wake up on my own when my eyes open and I feel I've had enough sleep
  3. By mommy knocking on my door
  4. Long-chat-phone-call from a friend
  5. A knock heralding the arrival of a yummy breakfast

But that is neither here nor there. Getting back to the point, I woke up today and my eyes were delighted to face a blue sky with grey undertones and - no sun! Now some people might consider this awful, but I LOVE IT! True blue skies give me a peachy pink mood, making it feel like a party day!

Even before I moved to Singapore, everyone's been telling me about how it rains daily here, and how the skies are almost always cloudy. So imagine my disappointment when we've been having the driest 2 weeks of weather! My luck so totally changed for the better today with my (almost) first true blue Singapore rains.

So although it's a working day, and I cannot really see the skies outside from where I am sitting in office, am still HAPPY thanks to the rains. In half an hour I break for lunch and then I sneak a peek outside and enjoy the rain with a cuppa of Jasmine Teh. I really wish I could post a pic of the view outside, but no digi cam as yet! Anyone wishing to sponsor a digi cam, feel free to contact me.

So, heh, am back from lunch, which was from the "Whats your Prata?" counter at Food Republic in Wisma Mall and consisted of 2 Pratas ($1.2 each), Potato veg ($1.2 small), Dhall (free with Prata), Nasi Biryani with Fried Chicken ($5.5). Replete with that, I took a cuppa and walked over to one of the entrances of Takashimaya and enjoyed the Teh while watching the softly falling rain. Orchard wore a decidedly wilted look in the rain but to me personally I think it made it more endearing.

Things to procure and soon:

  1. Hat Umbrella
  2. Digital Camera
  3. Chinese teapot and cup
  4. Nice walking cum fancy rain-resistant shoes

12 May 2008

W, Th, F & wknd

It has been a week and no posts from me.

Why you ask? (If you don't ask !@#$%^&*)

Ahem, yeah so anyway.

One week delay because I have again caught the "curse of the drinking classes". No? Didn't get that? WORK!

(Work is the curse of the drinking classes - Oscar Wilde)

Works been hectic, no time to play. Evening life has been even more hectic - no its not what you think heh heh - been busy exercising! Yes, since, last Tuesday was it? I've gymmed, swum and biked - (bicycle biked not motorcycle, hello?) and eaten salads.. for dinner that is. Dear cousin Such (pron: सुच) makes the most awesome salads :) Well 'cept for the weekend, but more about weekend later.

Wed, Thus were okay...

High Points: Found a new place to go eat breakfast (a lovely bakery! YUMM!), found new places in the food court to go eat lunch, made a few friends in office and heard a lot of gossip from them :) Been walking daily to office, down to 3 a day...

Low Points: Not bothering remembering or recounting them.

Friday went thus:
At work the laptop got a lot of much-needed attention by the IT personnel. It feels better, I feel better. So..... since lappy was outta commission, guess who went to play? C'est moi! I loafed in Takashimaya for 3 solid hours with a colleague and was pleasantly wiped out. Of course my Singaporean colleague was dismayed at my performance, she tells me that I really need to build my stamina for the Singapore Shoppin Festival. Well, what else am I exercising for? Heheh. Am sure I covered barely 20% (maybe am being optimistic here) of the shopping space there (Taks is insane!).

Then it was back home by 6 P.M. At 6.30 P.M. two of my colleagues call me to Orchard Road for a bite and a chat - who can resist that! So off I went (read walked - 20 to 30 mins) back to Orchard Street. I have to say Orchard really blooms in the evenings, there are street performers playing lovely music, there are painters, and then there are malls with soft lighting, neon lighting, stalls, and the most important thing - people! Lots of people and great vibes all over the place. Went to Cedele for the bite and chat. Sorry no pics but soon I promise. Had a decent clam chowder, med sandwich, and Teh (tea)!

The skies finally broke and the weather was awesome (first time in bleeding 2 weeks I say). Suj was in from KL so chatted with her and did lunch @ Great World City mall with Suj and Such @ Cedele again! (No I did not like it so much that I had to go back the next day). Back from lunch @ 4 and hey I had to get my beauty sleep. That over we got ready for the evening and did a nice but oh-so-bloody-expensive-that-i-am-missing-1-arm-now kinda Italian place called Trattoria Lafiandra al Museo and this was how I expected it to be but this is how I ended up feeling (well, really, maybe not that much angst). Ate the Capriccioso (I think) basically parma ham and cheese pizza, some free kotre phenyl brushetta... NO ALCO.

Then Cee and I went off to Chijmes and heard some good music, shook a leg and off we went to Cuba Libre on Clarke Quay. Back home @ 2. Have to confess C who is 20 years my senior, seriously partied me under the table! OH the SHAME of it!

Work up later than late @ 12! (I LOVE such Sundays). I was just picking up my handbag to step out to Little India for a Masala Dosa, C made Such and me a breakfast (?) of scrambled eggs, toast and yummy sausages. Washed it down with Green tea scented with Jasmine (heheh thats so ME). Such planned an Indian dinner for some friends and off we went to Cold Storage to shop and shop. Back home and into the kitchen we went and I was the official chopper! (not a helicopter re but a chef's assistant wala chopper, subzi choppper) 4 tomatos, 3 large onions, 2 packets bhindi (vendakai/ladies finger/okra/M-W-A-H), 1 green chilly, 8 cloves of garlic, 4 inches of ginger - chopped, minced, sliced, slit. And I was good!

Apart from making breakfast, Cee also very sweetly fixed up a bicycle for me and took me on a ride. Knowing him I was sure it was going to be up and up and up hill and I was not disappointed (cannot blame him too much Singapore is up-hill down-hill country). Huffing and puffing (that was me, yeah) and after, as he puts it, narrowly escaping with my life, we came back home to begin entertaining.

Sunday dinner menu
Lamb in curry masala
Manglorean style prawns
Bhindi fry
Tomato pachidi
Coconut rice

And it was YUM! Should have taken pictures of the food and table.

The guests were a couple, the man a Scotsman brought up in Australia teaching popular music in a college in Singapore, the lady a Japanese event organizer. Lovely {couple, hosts, lovely, wine, conversation} made for a all in all lovely end to a hectic week.

06 May 2008

Terrible "Tuesday" and other nightmares

All my coolness and urban-ness disregarding, I have this strange distrust of Tuesdays. Do you feel this irrational distrust about something that may really not have particularly done you any harm? Well not more than anything else has anyways.

Well the scientific reason behind my fear of Tuesdays is that all things I consider a nuisance, like conference calls - early morning or late night, leaving home with the house key safely locked inside the house or locking my car key safely in the car, tearing my pants (once), forgetting the office laptop at home and remembering just as I am stepping into the office, chipped nail polish and so on always seem to happen to me with a vengeance on "Tuesdays"! (I wonder if it because I notice such things on Tuesdays or perhaps I psyche myself into being a klutz! OMG what a eerie thought!)

Well today is a Tuesday but thankfully nothing of the above has happened, in fact nothing really bothersome happened at all today but still I feel the day could have exerted itself a bit more for me and made itself a little more happy (its not like I ask much of it on normal days except to have my own way in everything, hello?). BUT it did not. Minor irritations like a 8 am meeting IN OFFICE, 6 restarts on a determinedly hanging computer, climbing up and down the stairs 10 times (thankfully not more than 2 floors) for errands that just didn't seem to get done, useless meetings, and other misc. things, things have been pretty much okay this side of the globe for me.

In its defense I must add that today I found a shorter route to office :D
Which also means that I have NO excuse to take the taxi anymore :(
Unless it rains (big EVIL smile!) Hehehe!

Talking of rains, Singaporeans, like everyone else living in tropical climates, have been complaining how this summer is the hottest ever and how it has not been this hot ever before, how its never not rained, and how the overcompensation of rain in Mynnamar, ruining life there as a result, is really our rain thats lost its way and made a complete menace of itself there! That is, half of the rain legitimately belongs here, over us, where we would have welcomed it! Which would have left both Mynnamar and us in happy spirits, while this inequality has left both of us unequally miserable. (Disclaimer: Please understand that the situation in Mynnamar is horribly tragic and in no manner I am making a jest of it).

In other newses, cousin and her husband are back and I can sell horses and sleep. Dunno why but I can never sleep peacefully in someone else's house if I am the only one in it. I hear noises, creaks, groans, knocks on doors of empty rooms, footfalls, glass crashing noises and all manner of such spine-and-marrow chilling nightmare-on-elm-street-like things and yes, rarely, very rarely, I have even seen shadows. (I don't know why I am doing this to myself as I am home alone right now!) In fact even if the house owners step out to buy groceries I can hear crockery smashing noises every once now and then and am never quite 'it' till they are safely back within their walls, whereupon I am immune to all such hogwash and nonsense. So, the horses have been gleefully sold last evening and as long as someone is @ home with me, the horses stay in someone else paddock.

In other positive newses, a gym routine has begun today, which cousin and I hope to uphold to the best of our honour. Yeah... will let u know... Swimming is soon to be added to the routine to make the routine (or is it us?) feel less like a routine... will let you know about this too... My convictions on such things are as strong as the next person's but usually the next person's convictions are not really strong to begin with.... maybe cousin will be strong, for both of us. At least I hope so!

Office is office, nothing to write home or blog about (apart from everything that has already been said and blogged). So I say, ok, ta-ta, bye bye!