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An eagerly awaited Easter March 27, 2012

Posted by Jeena in Behaviors, Festivities, Food.
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DH and I are strict non-vegetarians. We need seafood or meat for our meals – all three, if possible. If we run out of fish in our freezer, we order chicken or pork for home delivery!

My parents never observed the lent while I was living with them – it wasn’t part of our religious belief. I’ve admired a friend of mine who went veggie for a year and remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to last 10 days!

There wasn’t a conscious decision to observe this year’s lent. A mate at work said she’d gone veg from the Sunday and it led to a discussion about fasting formally beginning on Ash Wednesday. A suggestion to DH clinched it when he said he’d go veggie with me!

DH’s support lasted for about 20 to 25 days but those initial days would have been tough for me otherwise. DH lost 5 kgs in 2 weeks. The vegetarian fare didn’t hold his interest and the portions reduced even though I’ve tried to be creative in some of the dishes. Sadly, my weight has remained constant but that would be because of the choco bars and the cadburys that seem to find a way into my stomach when the craving for meat hits a peak.

One would think that the images of burgers or grilled chicken leg from KFC would go away after the initial period. Unfortunately, the temptation comes when I least expect them. The weekends are the worst. Needless to say, other “non-fasters” have found multiple occasions to celebrate by dining out and I’ve had to pass chicken stews, fish cutlets, prawn curry, grilled meat, etc.

There are only 11 more days to go! It’s 35 days over!! WOW!! Thank you Lord!


Christmas magic January 19, 2012

Posted by Jeena in Books, Festivities.
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I got my Christmas gift in the new year – a book called Christmas Magic by Cathy Kelly from my secret Santa. My getting it late was no fault of my friend. I just decided to take a long Christmas break.


Woo-hoo … the new Ho-ho-ho December 14, 2011

Posted by Jeena in Bangalore, Behaviors, Festivities, Songs.
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I’m pretty excited about the Xmas coming up. The only sign of it being the merry season is the shops with the tinsel hanging all over! Last weekend, DH got the tree out. Out came the cover storing the lights and ornaments. One hour later and the tree is in its glory!


I celebrated that with taking pics and sharing it with mates at work. Next what? I need a star to hang outside! It’s in the ‘we’ll get around to doing it’ list.

But we didn’t need the guiding light to bring in the carol singers after all. Our house-owner called up and said that their merry band will be dropping by! It was not at all like the revelry in Kerala where their intention is to get money for the booze!!! Total strangers (except our landlord) came into our home and sang along to the guitar, quite enthusiastically!

DH, not knowing the lyrics, volunteered as the cameraman of this adhoc event!! What fun this evening turned out to be. For once, a festivity is not remembered by the foods we have gorged ourselves on! I just wished we could serve them a bit of wine and brandy-soaked-fruit-cake to make the singers merrier!  Tralala-tralala-la-la-la-la

Mark this milestone babe July 27, 2010

Posted by Jeena in Festivities.
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It’s truly wonderful how a birthday converts an ordinary day to something special. When I turned 10 from 9 and 11 from 10 and upwards, there was a realization as my awareness increased. It looks like the reversal begins at this age.

Scientists may disagree but the age at which people get hypertension and diabetes is lowering, so why not senility! I am quite glad I have Rashmi as company (more…)

…and a partridge on a pear tree December 26, 2009

Posted by Jeena in Behaviors, Festivities, Food, People, Siya.
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Another Christmas has come … and it’s not a forgettable one. DH got out the tree to decorate and then both of us hunted high and low for last year’s lights and decorations. All the dust disturbed, discovered the location of other stuff, but lights and decorations never revealed themselves from their hiding! It’s packed up properly and lying unknown somewhere – after our shifting the house earlier this year.

So we buy another set of lights and some more bells and beads to put up on the tree. DH haphazardly wound the lights on the tree. And the multi-colored bulbs looked good. Except, all the wire was exposed. Well, I don’t have the patience to do it neatly, says DH on hearing my observation.

I patiently unwound all the lights while Siya looked on interestedly. Only DH’s presence prevents her from latching onto those wires and playing ‘tug’. Lights are back on and the tree looks beautiful with the lights.

Christmas arrives and we invite some folks for lunch – friends and colleagues from work. The day before the menu is fixed: chicken, duck, pork and fish; mebbe a veggie dish or two. DH confirms that there is sufficient gas in the cylinder for the all-out cooking – by lifting the cylinder.

First tragedy strikes after the two types of rice, chicken stew, duck curry, cauliflower appetizer and custard for dessert are done. The gas gets over and the back-up single cylinder hasn’t been refilled. Considering that DH confirmed that there is sufficient fuel, I refuse to think up a plan B.

The gas agency is closed for Christmas so a replacement cylinder is out. DH is sent out to refill the single cylinder (small one). And we get Roopa’s Elf cylinder for the cooking – she was really sweet to lend it to us considering that she is the fiancee of our friend Jean and hadn’t met her at all!

So it’s now 1 pm and the chicken, veggie and fish is set on the fire. I delegate the fish fry to Roopa and slowly begin to lose it. Last dish on the fire and Roopa ‘n’ I start cutting the fruit for the fruit salad. Meanwhile, Sangy and Ullas are lost somewhere after following directions on the google maps printout.

Tragedy strikes again after the first whistle on the pressure pan cooking the pork. Gas gets over. Jean gets upset with his fiancee – she’d assured him that there’d be sufficient fuel too. Later, I asked Jean whether he did the weight testing too to confirm that the cylinder was full. But hey, without all four burners alight from that second cylinder, all those other stuff would be cooked!

The pork is transferred to the single burner cylinder and all is well again. Sangy and Ullas finally arrive. Siya is happy to see Sangy again – but her hackles are up and she barks angrily at Ullas; DH is not able to control her and she doesn’t seem to hear him. Siya doesn’t like the smell of Lucky on Ullas (Lucky is Ullas’ dog).

Cauli is too spicy and left alone. Somebody asks for water, I give the glass to someone else (I realize I am losing my mind). Then Sameer starts sniffling when they start digging in; damn, I hadn’t toned down the spice as much as I thought I had. They all assured me that the food was good – but I don’t feel good about it. I couldn’t even enjoy the food I’d cooked.

Later, over a ripe banana, Ullas wins over Siya. And all’s well between them. Then she proceeds to lick off all of Sangi’s moisturiser from her bare arms. I heard that Lucky was pretty miffed with the two of them when they got home.

After everyone left, I just hit the sack. The good thing – all those left over food implies no cooking the next day! YAY!

Merry Christmas y’all!!!

Deepest blue December 19, 2009

Posted by Jeena in Behaviors, Festivities, People.
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Despite a lot of things going wrong recently , I’ve managed to keep myself upbeat. October and November were those drudgy periods but I have blogged a lot of humorous incidents, generally accepting things.

But after a fantastic trip and vacation, the mind seems to be falling into a vacuum. My feet are dragging and I can’t bring myself to jump out of bed when the alarm rings on a weekday. I force myself to get going by 6.45 so that I can catch the cab at 7.45 am. At work, things appear listless, and I have no will to work.

Both my cronies are hard at work quite enthusiastically, but I don’t have the will. Perhaps the golden boy’s departure just brings to light how things have been pretty unfair lately. Even arriving Christmas and New Year holidays fail to revive some cheer in my soul!

Am I turning into the Grinch? Oh no!! HELP!!!

Phht…wheeezz… Christmas December 17, 2009

Posted by Jeena in Bangalore, Behaviors, Festivities, Food, People, Songs.
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The festive season is picking up in Bangalore. There’s a nice little nip in the evenings and a good chill at night – reminiscent of Bangalore when it was actually the ‘Garden City’.

Guitar Banging

Over a week, there’s been a huge build-up for the Christmas celebrations in office. All over, there’ve been posters of Santa with an electric guitar! I guess Santa’s catching up with the times and was tuning up the guitar over at the North Pole this past year.

So yesterday, the plans were revealed. There would be a live band (not the banned live bands of Bangalore and Mumbai with the dancing girls) and carol singing across the floors.

Also, an email arrived in our inbox from the REC (recreation) Club too – a 40 min celebration with judging for the best dressed dude and dudette. Theme would be red and green.

Today, when I reached our cozy cachement area (I sometimes think of our tucked off corner as the quarantined ward), I am greeted by 2 Christmas Trees! Getting one is difficult, but 2!! Wow.

Then I see a little feller stuck on my PC. Wait a minute – so does everyone; little soft toys in different shapes: bunny (pink), frog (green), monkey (light brown), lion (with a brown plume), a moose which might have been a giraffe (spotted with antlers)! There was a big discussion and googling trying to make out these cute and soft toys. I bet Google Images had a huge hit from 40 people on the floor (alright, well exclude the bunny owners, but 30?).

Everyone’s wearing either green or red – more of red shirts, come to think of it. But the guy who eventually won the Best Dressed Guy prize was dressed in a Red Shirt, Green Trousers and Green Shoes!! And oh yes, the red Santa cap too!

But then the festivities just fizzled out. The live band was not enjoyed by the majority of the non-Christians. There were no Carol singing on the floor. But we did get a cake – though it was the Blueberry Birthday cake and not the Christmassy fruit cake.

I just hope that the new boss visiting us from Melbourne remembers to bring that cake I asked for during the team meeting – you know, the one with alcohol in it! I pin my hopes on that one 😀

A Christmas Tree December 5, 2009

Posted by Jeena in Festivities, Travel.
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December has only begun but in London, the stores are urging you to buy their stuff so that you will be done with your Christmas gifts. The tree is already up at the Hilton. Carols and songs about the Christmas are played in stores. So this is the regular tree at the Hilton.

Christmas Tree @Hilton

But the Queen’s Gallery has got a tree with a difference.

Christmas Tree @Queen's Gallery

Muse: are these reused every year? Do they have excellent storage that prevents the velvet on these tinsels from being damaged? Probably I should come back next year to find out whether fashion dictates a change!

One of those crowns

Cluck cluck…cluckety cluck November 25, 2009

Posted by Jeena in Festivities, Food, People.
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Thanksgiving is coming up in US but Aussies don’t do it; so no holidays for those on the other side of the ocean until Christmas. Many bloggers are talking about the turkey and dishes they will be preparing for the day, for their families and friends.

Some of these blogs are quite educational. This particular blogger says:

… these turkeys have been bred for one thing and one thing only… meat. These are dumb animals. These birds see a large predator (aka me or Edwina, the wayfaring farm dog) and think to themselves, “Hey let’s all go check that out! Guys come over here! Look a predator! Let’s all go say hi!” Needless to say they would not last long in the wild. Unfortunately they also don’t last that long on the farm. One turkey randomly had a heart attack one day and became dinner. It seems they are looking for ways to die. Apparently it is not really true that turkeys can drown from looking up at the rain, but they’re so dumb it seem plausible.

The actual preparations for Thanksgiving appear not to be too different from any other festivities, eg Onam. The woman spends her time cutting, chopping, baking, cleaning… and looks the most wilted of the gathering. Then think of the pile of unwashed dishes, messy kitchen, overflowing garbage, lack of dishes to refrigerate the leftovers… who is giving thanks now? Only the invitees!

I’d like to eat some turkey now but I am too broke to head to Subway and get a Turkey sub. I still remember the live turkey that someone gave us when I was a kid, back in Nigeria. It lived in the small spare room noone used. And pecked at the grains we fed it. The person who loaned it to us didn’t want it back. So my father killed it, my brother and I joined in cleaning it and mom baked it; the aromas were mouthwatering. Unfortunately, it tasted like the breast meat of a chicken – I am not too fond of that chewy piece of meat. And there weren’t succulent bony pieces. Sigh!

Maybe I haven’t tasted authentic baked/ roasted turkey. Anyone care to invite me?

A day with a difference October 19, 2009

Posted by Jeena in Festivities.
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Diwali this year was very eventful and quite fulfilling. It started at around 9.30 am when I woke up on Saturday. Rashmi calls up to tell me that she’s visiting a friend in e-city, would I like to join. I declined thinking of the long journey back and forth. Then she asks,”Guess who’s joining me to visit Sumaya?”

I make a few incorrect guesses – wrong sex too – before I give up and she says Malini! I am so thrilled to hear that she’s in town. When can we meet, when is she going back, etc. Finally, after a lot of calls, decisions making and decisions unmaking, we decide the next day would be best. After seven years, Malini and I are gonna meet!

The kids in the neighbourhood have started bursting crackers. The child in my dearest husband (DH) woke up.

“Why don’t we burst a cracker in Lakshmi’s room and scare her?”, says DH.

After watching the videos of mischief in America’s Funniest Videos (AFV) and miscellaneous videos in FB, the idea is fascinating and it takes root.

I get the mobile ready in video mode, DH borrows a cracker from the neighbour’s kid and Siya tied up. Unfortunately, instead of the jump-out-of-bed-shouting we were expecting, once the cracker burst right under her bed, Lakshmi blinks, rolls over, sits up and peers at the remnants on the floor.

“I just cleaned my room last night,” she wails at our cackling selfs.

Once the furor dies down, it’s back to cooking and cleaning for me. It’s around 4.15 pm when I get out of the kitchen after making aviyal (that’s for dinner, not Diwali special). Lakshmi has already gone out to meet friends and DH goes out to meet people.

It’s 6pm and it’s getting dark. Conscientious neighbours have already lit their diyas and the fire crackers/fireworks bursting are fully fledged. By the time I am ready, DH and then Lakshmi arrive. Then our diyas are lit and we enjoy a very unpolluted Diwali, at least in our house. The neighbours’ arsenal of firecrackers and fireworks is deafening for us and frightening for Siya. But this being Siya’ first Diwali, she conducted herself quite well. She didn’t cower under the bed, just barked at some of the noisy crackers.

The highlight of this Diwali was watching the fireworks in the Muslim family a few houses across the street. Diwali is an important festival among Hindus and seeing a Muslim family celebrating a Hindu festival was heartening. The kids in that house seemed to enjoy the handheld sparklers. A lovely day it was.