Friday, May 08, 2009

Travel in a city

I do love traveling around Mumbai in an auto. Autos are just the perfect height above the ground to see the dust flying when a humid breeze blows. I can look either way to catch everyday scenes of this city I've learnt to love.
From either side I see pan-stained sidewalks, but if I just hunch the littlest bit, I can see gorgeous mannequins under neon lights. Close enough to count the ribs of panting stray dogs and to see the glistening skins of mangoes stacked high on fruit sellers' carts. Close enough to see brightly coloured polythene bags clogging open gutters and the red high heeled shoes of the woman in Chanel sunglasses waiting for the valet to bring her car.
Fast enough that I feel weightless while we race down a flyover, narrowly avoiding potholes, yet slow enough for me to read all the billboards.

25 things about me

I've been tagged with this particular meme several times, and today, finally decided to respond. While I'm hardly reserved about myself on this blog, here's a list of things I might not have mentioned about myself in the past three years. By the end of the exercise I realised, it's hard to come up with 25 remotely interesting things about oneself. While I'm not tagging anyone in particular with this meme, if you're reading this, do feel free to consider yourself tagged.1. I dislike stuffed toys. I find them pointless. I'd much rather have a real pup warm and wriggling in my hands, instead of felt ones with cotton insides and plastic eyes.
2. I don't really like listening to much music. I find it distracting. I obsess over a few songs and listen to just them over and over again, driving everyone around me nuts. I add only about 15 new songs a year to my playlist.
3. I'm never bored if I have pen and paper in hand.
4. I used to read prodigiously. Since coming to IIT though, I don't anymore.
5. I've trained for several years in classical dance and I thoroughly enjoy dancing. Sometimes I tap my feet under the table, because I can't keep them still.
6. I absolutely love baking and plan to study pastry sometime in my life.
7. I get into my own head far too often for my own liking. I try to observe myself from different points of view and find myself an endlessly fascinating subject.
8. I'm rather self-obsessed.
9. I publicly declared my hatred for poetry, but I can still cry over a good poem.
10. I sometimes cry over poetry, songs and books, but only very rarely and in private.
11. I'm a closet drama queen. I love drama, but constantly suppress that side of myself, although it sometimes sneaks out.
12. I dislike children and don't intend to have any of my own.
13. I will however make a smashing aunt.
14. I'm a master procrastinator. If any job can be postponed, I will postpone it. I'm not proud of this habit of mine and intend to make a push to break it, someday soon.
15. I very rarely get into arguments with people. I'm not quite sure why.
16. I find it hard to not smile at people- even perfect strangers- when I pass them on the street.
17. As a child I wanted my hair so long that I would trip on it as I walked. Now, I only crave hair so short that I'd never have to comb it.
18. I've recently discovered that I really like shopping.
19. I love blogging, but constantly wonder if I'm crossing the line between honest and too personal.
20. I love making caramel and spinning shapes with sugar. I can play with burning, boiling sugar for hours on end.
21. I used to be a rather mean kid- always looking down her nose at people. I really hope I've changed.
22. I dislike puns. I've met very few puns that I thought funny. I think them pretentious.
23. I used to have the disagreeable habit of humming to myself under my breath all the time. I only stopped when one day on the bus, a lady asked me why I was crying.
24. I'm usually attracted to older men.
25. I have a horror of settling down.Maybe my views will change as I grow older but permanence or commitment of any sort frightens me.

image from

Sunday, May 03, 2009


I am notoriously fickle when it comes to picking my favourite fruit. My favourites change with the seasons, in winter I favour crisp apples with ruddy skins and faint green veins running through their flesh, but before they have time to wrinkle at the approach of spring, I will have shifted to green, bursting grapes. But year after year, as the grapes grow brown and slowly fade away from the bamboo basket of my favourite seller, I scarcely spare a moment to mourn the loss, because mangoes will finally be in season.

Gloriously yellow flesh with the sweetest smell imaginable, through the months of May and June mangoes hold prime position in my heart. I've eaten all kinds of mangoes in every way possible. Giant golden ones eaten while sitting on newspapers so I won't get the floor dirty in Perimma's house, with the juice trickling down my arms, tiny green ones from Atthai's garden to get at which I would gobble down my curd rice with scarcely a chew, sliced into translucent pieces and eaten with a fork at formal lunches, or sliced into giant wedges and eaten leisurely during long and heated post-dinner conversations on the best way to cut mangoes, with the family.
After hearing Appa reminesce about his favourite cafe in Pune where they would serve giant bowls of mango pulp every summer to hungry young cadets, I made my first mango pulp. It was possibly the first dessert I ever made, filled with lumpy mangoes inexpertly peeled and a giant mound of garish tuitty-fruity on top for decoration. Appa, bless his heart, praised it to the skies. Since then I've experimented more and more daringly with this versatile fruit and have always been rewarded. I bake mangoes into buttery pies topped with crystallized sugar, a scoop of ice cream and my trusty toffee sauce. I cream them into souffles, light as air. I stew them into spicy jams that will make pretty sandwich cookies. And with every dish and every day, I fall a little more in love with this glorious fruit.

(Photo courtesy