Of Egg Benedicts & Cappuccino Mornings

It’s a cold cold Friday morning. The air outside is fogged out partially. But good enough to see the silhouettes of the trees and the sprawling locality facing the dining area window. I peer out of the misty window pane. Yesss! It’s Friday again. Another weekend. And I have a breakfast date with my 18-year-old daughter-friend. 

I jump into the shower and thereafter spruce myself up in the brightest Jaipuri jacket, with patterns of magenta, purple, green, blue and black! Well, the sun hasn’t yet peered out, from behind the clouds and I need to brighten up the day with my vibrant look. I toss in a blue beret alongside. Daughter dearest sports her feathery downs jacket and we are ready to go. Our chatter merges with the background music playing from her phone in my Figos Aux cable. We talk about life, friendships, love and so much more. It’s one of those rare moments when we get to connect one on one and bond heart and soul. Well, she is in college now and tomorrow she goes back to campus after a month-long break. It will once again be the DH, the 8-year-old angel brat and moi. And oh yes, our two furry girls and sweet help, Shilpa. We will miss her once again, only to be reassured that she will be back on some weekends atleast. 

Wondelgem

 

The glass pane gets mildly fogged out, and we continue our chatter oblivious to the interruption. In between, I pull out the cloth and wipe off the mist, but we continue to make conversation. Before we know it, we have reached our favourite breakfast place, DiGhent. It’s just 9:15 am and the temperature is still at a freezing 8 degrees outside. We are the first people at the cafe, and the bright, warm Dutch lady at the counter (or is she German? We still haven’t figured out yet) gives us a broad smile. We make ourselves comfortable and order our favourite, runny Egg Benedict Wondelgem with Smoked Salmon, Asparagus and Bernaise sauce. A bit of sweet and savoury. Just the ideal breakfast. We both love the same stuff mostly when it comes to food. Though off and on she has been leaning towards turning a vegan. I love my meats way too much to give up. We relish our breakfast, chat some more, I sipping into my hug in a mug, cappuccino and she her ginger-lemon-honey tea. 

These moments are way too precious. I want to hold on to them, and not let them go. As we drive back home, we have so much to talk, share and exchange. It’s really fun being a mother to an adult teenager. You can have mature conversations, and at the same time be there for each other. And on many occasions a shoulder to cry on. Yes, we have our share of cat fights too. My adult-teenager has always been a friend to me. She used to dispense advice to me even at 14. And I really have a lot of faith in those words. Well, she’s an old soul. A mother at heart. And a daughter at the same time. Nurturing, caring, all-encompassing. 

 

7 Things About Nature that Makes You Thankful #ThankfulThursdays

Post Alert: Slightly longish post. My love for nature had me pouring out to my heart’s content. But I do promise, that you will not regret reading this piece.

 

I pen these words sitting in the luxurious lap of nature. We are blessed to be living in a condominium which has sprawling lush lawns surrounded by Frangipani, Gulmohar, Palms, Malti creepers, Hibiscus, Jasmine bushes; and so many others. Every winter the landscape morphs into radiant hues, as the ice flowers, nasturtiums, pansies, gerberas, chrysanthemums burst into a colourful dance. Though the Frangipani has taken a backseat now, sitting silently and reclaiming itself as a bud, as it readies to flower in the upcoming spring.

It’s still very cold here in Gurugram with the mercury dipping to 2 degrees on many nights. Yet the flora continues to stand strong and blossom beautifully, revealing to us that not with standing any circumstances we must continue to smile and strive harder. The days are cold yet bright and sunny. So after a dark, chili, night the sun doesn’t fail to rise upon us each morning, braving the thick cloak of fog. Another beautiful lesson in resilience.

I have lived in the lap of nature for almost 18 years of my life till I moved to metropolises.
We lived in a university campus where we ate nothing but organic produce cultivated in our backyards. We frolicked with butterflies, bumble-bees and dragon flys in our lawns where poppies, nasturtiums, lilies, dog flowers nodded their heads in deep joy. We played to our heart’s content with unbridled abandon surrounded by the rolling verdant land. We knew the joys of climbing the mango trees to pluck raw and sometimes ripe juicy mangoes, that we would squeeze into our mouths as the juices would dribble down our chins and hands. Our mothers made Guava jam from the freshly plucked, fragrant guavas from our kitchen garden. Ketchup was prepared straight from the fresh produce of tomatoes. And we played hide and seek in the paddy and wheat fields while sucking on newly formed kernels. Creeping into the sugarcane fields and stealing sugarcanes while the chowkidaar wouldn’t be around, gave us thrills. So much to be thankful for, cradled in the arms of Mother nature.
Being bitten by the golden-yellow wasps was a ritual none of us could escape. It took a while to pull the sting out and rub the affected area with iron to ease the pain. What followed was a painful, swollen bump and itching body part, that subsided, but the pain remained etched in our memories. Right next to our campus was the forest of Uttarakhand. We went for many a nature walks and picnics, looking out for the creatures of the wild. Jackals roamed freely and howled in the nights within the university locales and it wasn’t surprising when we would once in a blue moon hear the Tiger roar.  There was a boa constrictor that had swallowed almost an entire deer but had died because its horns had thrust into his belly. It lay preserved in the Zoology lab of the campus. Once my mother found a King Cobra in her wardrobe!!!

Many such stories of adventure and fun, as we regaled and made merry with nature, have been the prominent highlight of my life. They will always remain engraved in my heart and locked in the treasure trove of my memories.

Today I live in a city, yet feel an immense sense of gratitude to be living in a locality which has an opulent cover of green. Mynahs, humming birds, sparrows, Bulbuls, Warblers, Peacocks, Wagtails and even a lone kingfisher can be spotted here. We sometimes wake up to the loud call of the peacocks. And yes, Pigeons have over-populated the city high risers, and despite being a nuisance to our terrace flora of vegetables and seedlings, and dirtying the balconies with their excreta; it’s still a happy feeling to see them lay an egg or two that hatch to scrawny little baby fledglings.

These have been my one on one experiences with nature and as a kid, I always dreamt of living by the sea or the forest and work with animals. Well, my interest in Science waned way too fast (Thanks to Chemistry and Physics),  so did not end up taking the Forest Services exam. I still think of the shows on Discovery, National Geographic and Animal Planet and I when I read stories of people like Jane Goodall who works with Chimpanzees or the Lion Man, Kevin Richardson; I aspire to go and do my wee bit too.

Now, to the 7 things about Nature that makes me Thankful

(Scroll down Please)

 

  1. Nature has taught me resilience and perseverance. Despite the harshest of climates all beings of nature stand strong, withstanding the cold, the storm, the rain. Yes some of them do crumble, like the way we do at times. But the incredible thing is that even a tree that has been uprooted in the storm grows back into another tree slowly but surely, if some of the roots remain. Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said, “Adopt the pace of nature, the secret is patience.”
  2. Winter always turns into Spring: Yes, it does. These beautiful lines from Nichiren Daishonin are so motivating for me. Have we heard of Winter turning to Autumn? No, right.  Spring does arrive with all its glory, despite a cold, harsh, snowed out winter and the trees blossom and the cold recedes. Similarly, we must remember even though we might be in the midst of a harsh winter in life, there is no doubt that we will usher in the spring of life underscored by victory. Things will get better and brighter. So we must never give up hope.
  3. The sun has taught me to keep shining my light, every single day: Just like the sun that rises each morning without fail, I believe we must start our day afresh with renewed promises and new beginnings, and to make the best of what comes our way. Just like the sun, that gets blurred by the clouds or the fog during the course of the day, we must strive to shine back with renewed commitment, despite the darkness that might come our way, ever single day, unfailingly.
  4. Grounding: Each time my energies are out of sync or balance, I go and walk barefoot in the grass. It’s the best way to ground oneself and be one with mother nature. I imagine roots growing out of my feet and establishing them in the soil beneath me. The moment I do that, I become not just one with nature, but also myself. A sense of calm envelopes me in no time.
  5. Silence, Calm, and Peace: Nature has taught me the beauty of experiencing bliss, calm and peace. I wish I was a mermaid who lived by the sea and by the laws of the sea. A mermaid who swam in the sometimes tranquil waters, and sometimes turbulent waters, yet continued to flow with the process of life. On my scuba diving expeditions, I have experienced so much serenity and silence being one with the creatures of the sea.
  6. To Never Give Up: There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away. ” – Sarah Kay I love the sea and can spend hours sitting by the shore watching the waves crash by, back and forth. I have spent many holidays meditating or running barefoot by the sea. And the mammoth sea, despite its enormity has such a wondrous calming effect on my mind and soul. The waves teach me to keep trying and trying, come what may.
  7. Care, Nurture & Co-Exist: Nature teaches me to care and nurture not just myself, but every single person that I come in contact with. Birds, bees, animals all fiercely guard and protect themselves and their loved ones. Nature has also taught me to take care of myself because without that I won’t be in a position to take care of others. Nature has imparted the lesson of co-existing with each person, despite our differences. A cherry tree only blooms cherry blossoms, a peach tree peach flowers, similarly all of us human beings are dramatically different yet it’s essential to celebrate our differences, accept each other for who we are and live with love and acceptance. Just like these trees.

Such are the magical lessons that nature mystically and joyously imparts upon us.

Being one with nature I am able to free my soul and live life through my inner child.

Written for and linking up with #ThankfulThursdays hosted by Amrita http://healthwealthbridge.com and Tina http://www.tinabasu.com

10 Day “You” Challenge: One Picture of Yourself

#ALLABOUTME #BLOGCHALLENGE #10DAYYOUCHALLENGE

The final day of the Challenge. This picture aptly describes me. My lust for adventure, my quest for happiness and living each moment to the hilt. This adventure is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more that will follow.

Soaring with a Smile

 

 

Mayuri http://sirimiri.in This has been such a fun write-thon. Thanks to your impetus and guidance, I’m back to writing sincerely after almost 14 years. Much Gratitude.

Wordy Wednesday # 3 – Early Riser

This Week: Sentence Prompts

Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder.
– Nikita Khrushchev

Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.
– Henry David Thoreau

Basic guidelines:

Use the prompt in your posts.
Write a minimum of 100 words on the prompt.

4:45 AM. Freddie Mercury was crooning “I want to Ride my Bicycle”. The enticing, green locales of Aravalis awaited me, so the thought of pressing the snooze button was quickly dismissed. In ten minutes I was ready and on the saddle, inhaling the fresh morning air.

I reached the summit of the little hill, as the glorious golden sun quietly emerged from behind the trees and a lone peacock, spread its majestic wings and crooned a welcome morning song.

Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.
– Henry David Thoreau

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Credits: This is a picture of Princey, the gorgeous peacock who visits my dear Friend, Malavika Di https://www.facebook.com/malavika.srivastava each morning for his breakfast and brings in a very special morning, by the rising sun for Malavika di and her family. Picture credit: Malavika Srivastava

This post is written for Wordy Wednesday # 3– January 2017 #BARWoWe

10 Day “You” Challenge: Two Songs

#ALLABOUTME #BLOGCHALLENGE #10DAYYOUCHALLENGE

2 SONGS

Another of the tough task to list just two favourite songs, but then a challenge is a challenge so here I go. Will do justice to both English and Hindi music.

  1. Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill. This was one of the earlier songs dedicated to me by the DH, when we were dating. It’s such a heart-rending song. My heart still skips a beat when I hear it. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IATz8ZVTALo)
  2. Iktaara from Wake up Sid: Love the soulful, positivity in the melody and lyrics. And both the versions by Kavita Seth-Amitabh Bhattacharya (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSS_R91Nimw) and Tochi Raina and Amitabh Bhattacharya (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eA2XU022yY are just soul-stirring.

 

Penultimate day of the challenge. Though I had to take a few pit stops due to travel and other related stuff. But this has been fun. Thanks to Mayuri http://sirimiri.in, my incredible friend for the tip off and this amazing start to the year. xoxo

 

#FridayFotoFiction: #Week8 -“Barren”

#FridayFotoFiction: #Week8

BARREN

A vacuous air of silence had enveloped Deerwood drive. The benches were lying barren. Not a bird in sight, let alone people.

A disaster had befallen upon this lovely clearing. A bunch of cold hearted miscreants had ruthlessly massacred the visitors of this park-octogenarians, children, lovers, joggers, dogs and their walkers and many others. This ironically happened on a bright, sunny day. Now all that remained was a crestfallen, silent and deserted Autumn patch. No gleeful children, no chattering old Uncles, no playful-barking dogs, no joggers pounding the ground. Just leaves that seemed to have formed a burial ground.

Linking up this post for Week #8 of the http://ultimateblogchallenge.com Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Writing this 100 word post for the prompt #FridayFotoFiction #Week8 and linking it to  Mayuri http://www.sirimiri.in and Tina’s http://tinabasu.com blog.

10 Day “You” Challenge: 3 Films

 

#ALLABOUTME #BLOGCHALLENGE #10DAYYOUCHALLENGE

3 Films

This is surely another big challenge to just name 3 favourite films, as the list again is endless. Tough call, but I’ll try to do justices to it.

  1. Music & Lyrics: Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore sure did a brilliant job of transporting us into the world of love, romance, comedy, and music with their wonderful renditions and powerful acting. It was a very endearing watch and I have seen it several times and even after 10 years still hooked to the music.
  2. It’s a tie between Kal Ho Na Ho and Dil Chataa Hai. One is a sappy family love drama the other one of requited friendship and love. Both make for heartwarming watches with their brilliant music and great acting.
  3. Sound Of Music: Who can forget this timeless classic we all grew up to. This will always remain an all time favourite. We grew up to ” I am 16…” , “These are a Few of My Favourite things…” and “Do Re Me..”, Captain Von Trapp, Maria and the wonderful children. I hope I can go see their home in Salzburg one day and revisit the saga.

Mayuri http://www.sirimiri.in and Shalini http://www.shalzmojo.in which are yours?

 

10 Day “You” Challenge: 4 Books

#ALLABOUTME #BLOGCHALLENGE #10DAYYOUCHALLENGE

4 BOOKS

  1. The Prophet-Khalil Gibran. This has been my bedside bible for years and years now. I can keep re-visiting this awe-inspiring piece of writing over and over again and learn so much each time. The lessons are a reminder of each aspect of life, be it marriage, love, children, pain, friendship, sorrow and so on so forth. I never cease to stop learning from this incredible book by the Khalil Gibran who died so young, yet left his wisdom etched deep in our hearts.
  2. The Kite Runner- Khalid Hosseni This is yet another saga of life and love in the midst of war-torn Afghanistan. One can never tire reading this book. Khalid Hosseni sure has a way with words and he transports you to his world with so much ease.
  3. Ruskin Bond I won’t name any of his books here as it won’t be doing justice to his heart-warming writing. Every composition of his is like poetry in motion – the characters, the birds, the trees, the woods, the furniture. Everything comes alive when Ruskin Bond pens his incredible stories set in Mussourie, England and Deharadoon.
  4. The Five-Find-Outer series and Malory Towers by Enid Blyton I swore by these books when I was growing up. I still do. But seems my girls never took to them. Sigh! Guess they are content with Roald Dahl, who I love to bits too.

Four Books is not enough to list the best ever read book by me. Oh there are so many of them and the list really is pretty endless and exhaustive. But then, will need to stick to the rules. 🙂

 

Wordy Wednesday # 2 : Back To Basics

This week: phrase prompt

Badge of Honour

Back to Basics

Between a rock and a hard place

Born with a silver spoon

Use the prompt in your posts.
Write a minimum of 100 words on the prompt.

She clinked her champagne glass against his and looked at him seductively through her kohl rimmed, smokey eyes. Her stilettos and slinky, black dress clad body towered over his short frame. He was her muse; or was she his?

Next afternoon Sunaina sat on the floor cross-legged, clad in a frayed, old salwar kameez dunking her fingers into her mother’s special Kadhi Chawal. She licked her fingers and smacked her lips as she also bit into the mango pickle and raw onions.
She loved this dual life wherein she went back to the basics by day and was an escort by night.

This post is written for Wordy Wednesday # 2– January 2017 #BARWoWe

Thanks Mayuri  http://www.sirimiri.in for being my impetus, into the world of blogging.  https://blogarhythmblog.wordpress.com these prompts are fun. Danke.

10 Day “You” Challenge: 5 Foods

#ALLABOUTME #BLOGCHALLENGE

5 FOODS

I am a die-hard foodie. I guess it’s the Bengali genes. But then the Bihari DH loves food as much as I do. Food makes me happy, food perks me up on a gloomy day, food is elixir to my soul. On some days I think to myself if I was not such a foodie, I would be so slim and svelte. But then, I believe, life is meant to be savoured and enjoyed; and what better way to do so than seeking comfort in the company of some fascinating food.

  1. My favourite foods are, hold your breath, yes; Salads and Soups. Yes, I totally love them. But no, unfortunately, I don’t just live them. I love salads of all kinds-the leafy, the fruity varities, the colourful warm ones, drizzled with some nice homemade dressings and nuts. Soups warm my soul and my being, and I feel no better time to seek solace from a piping hot bowl than a cold winter evening. Yet, I savour my soups happily in summers too!
  2. South Indian cuisine- The soft, melt in the mouth idlis and crunchy masala dosas with an assortment of chutneys like coconut, peanut and tomatoes; and a bowl of sambhar that has a medley of veggies. I swear by Kerela cuisine too and appams and stews. The varied variety of fish delicacies and the coconut based preparations.
  3. And yes I’m not forgetting my roots. The good old Bengali cuisine. Macher jhaal, macher jhol, posto alu, chorchori, kosha mangsho, iilish macher paturi, maach bhaja, begun bhaaja; to name just a few.
  4. I also love the Thai fare-Som tam, Pad Thai, Tom Yum soup, Sweet chilli prawns and yes my favourite Singaporean Laksa. Since I’m allowed to list just 5 foods, I’m going to add the Mediterranean foods to the list too- Mutton Tagine, Pita, Couscous, Hummus, Moussaka etc.
  5. Last but oh, not the least at all, I H.E.A.R.T. desserts of all kinds. My favourites are again quite a few, Caramel pudding, Tiramisu, Cakes-no not the chocolatey variety, but sponge, orange, lemon cakes. And Indian sweets like Mishti Doi, Rasmalai, Laddus, Bengali sweets like Sondesh, Rosogolla and so on so forth. My palate has a wide range of taste for sweets, so It’s kind of difficult to list all of them here. But my biggest sin is my sweet tooth. But then what the heck, “It’s better to sin and be happy than to have lived a bland life.”

Thank you Mayuri http://www.sirimiri.in for initiating me to this interesting challenge. Now that I have listed down all my favourite foods, you can see how difficult it has been for me to not write exactly five of them, but to elaborate on the cuisines instead. I have missed out on mentioning my favourite beverage-Filter Kappi. Well, by the way that’s me, the incorrigible foodie!