Life in the times of the coronavirus

The weather is beautiful. It is bright and sunny. Spring has sprung. I am feeling better as I am on two weeks of annual leave. Not in isolation; I had to take the leave or let it go waste.

So here I am at home cooking meals twice a day, putting up freshly cooked food on the table, for the husband and son who are also at home.

Last week has seen me go out every day for a walk. My 60 minutes of exercise. The benefits of this exercise as clear. It has lifted the fog off my mind. Walking outdoors is so much better. After the first few minutes of getting adjusted to the cold air, breeze, I can feel the freshness of the air. I can feel the muscles in my leg working, my breath deepening.

I notice things along the canal. The daffodils have bloomed. The ducks have braved their way out of the water and are relaxing on the pathway. The crocuses – oh the lovely crocuses all vibrant in their violets, yellows and whites!








In my mind, am singing songs. The first one, although a beautiful song, is a sad old tune. By the time I am on my way back home, I have this bouncy uplifting tune in my head. I haven’t thought about this one in a long time. It brings back memories of when I first heard it, when my grandmother explained it to me meaning and tune all. There’s a spring in my step and a smile on my lips.

My son is alright through this whole things, I hope. He watches the news, is concerned. I try to create a routine for him but nothing sticks. I wish he would come out with me on the walk but he prefers playing at home. On the second day of homeschooling, he tells me he want to go back to school. He has taken an active interest in cooking.

Social media has been the source of relief and agony. There is everything from fake news to lists of activities to do at home. Loads of resources to try at home – learning, art, crafts, cooking, exercising. Information overload. It is an exercise in itself.

When I wake up in the morning, the day is open with possibilities. I can go for a walk, I can cook, I can spend a few hours reading the new book. I can write my letters, binge watch TV, do the things I always wanted to do. I have the time to do the extra things.

I have spoken to friends I wasn’t in touch with for long. I have texted and called and emailed. I have written letters.

The future is uncertain, uncharted. Now is the time to reflect. It is time to think, how big we are as a human race, what our actions have been and the impact we have had on this planet. Nature has put us in this spot now. We didn’t ask for it, we didn’t volunteer, we just had to stop. In the coming months, we shall establish a new way of life, a new normal which shall make us think before acting. When we get on the other side of it, we will hopefully emerge stronger and more reflective of our actions.

In Scarlett O Hara’s words, I won’t think about it today. I will think about it tomorrow. After all tomorrow is another day.

Day 4: Driving through the lochs in Scotland


Saturday morning, we decided to go on a long drive. Initially we thought let’s go up to Loch Lomond and then see…. but eventually we ended up driving through these five gorgeous lochs. The winter sky was nice and clear and we had amazing views of the sunkissed snowcapped mountains. Much as I loved the lochs – I have realised fully that my heart lies in the majestic mountains! Sharing with you all some of the views



This is the view from the Duck Bay – located at the start of Loch Lomond – restaurant where we stopped for lunch… we even saw a floatplane take off from the loch!
The photos aren’t good enough for the view – after a point I stopped clicking and started soaking in the views!
This is the view from The Drovers Inn – located at the top of Loch Lomond.

IMG_3493 IMG_3496 IMG_3497 IMG_3503 IMG_3508 IMG_3516


Driving back it was almost dark but we had the almost full moon for company. 🙂

Surrounded by mundane

I haven’t updated this blog in a long time. I posted a couple of times but nothing concrete. There isn’t anything major happening in life to write about. Well almost everything and nothing. I can write loads but wouldn’t wish a few readers of this blog to read it.

Anyway, not to sound too bleak, life has been going on as usual. Autumn’s gone and there’s a chill in the weather. There are a few trees in the neighbourhood that are bright red but they will lose the leaves too. Autumn was long and wonderful. We collected a few leaves of different colours from bright yellow to dark maroon.

The kiddo has settled nicely into his routine. Although I think he spends far more time in school than I had wished for. Lunch in school is a big change and the other day he told me, “I don’t get to see you for a long time for four days in a week. We don’t get to eat lunch together.” There was an open day at school a couple of months ago and we got to see his classroom and some of his work. His classroom is so much fun – there a number of different play areas – book corners, art tables, house corner, charts, and many other things that make it attractive even to the adults. No wonder kids are happy and wish to go to school everyday. No boring brown benches! His teacher is lovely, warm and very open. This is such an opposite from the schools in India, where teachers are dreaded and feared.

Life has settled into a routine once again. I wake up early to make breakfasts and lunch boxes and it is all a blur until I drop him off at school. The school is just at a 10 minute walk from our house. All students are made to stand in a queue outside in the playground before school bell and I am amazed at how good the primary 1 kids are at lining up. They don’t cut lines and are prepared to wait their turn.

Leaving aside all the family drama and heart breaks, I have quite a few firang friends here now. Their approach and perspective is quite refreshing. I recently tried to explain what “ghee” means to a firang friend and calling it “clarified butter” made me wince. Clarified butter – in now conveys the deliciousness, warmth and homeliness as “ghee” does. Explaining jaggery was even more difficult. I finally ended up saying – imagine a slab of thick hard cheese but only sweet! Another friend and I discussed the varieties and brands of coconut milk available here. This friend and his wife have just opened a delicatessen and they were introducing some Eastern food dishes. He couldn’t understand how we made coconut milk at home. All these conversations are so much more interesting than the emotional and heartbreaking family dramas. I love the fact that I can indulge as much or as little as I want and walk away unscathed.

I recently watched a play – The Mousetrap – written by the famous Agatha Christie. I remember my grandma introduced her novels to me when I was in college and thus began my love for reading whodunits and books. I had already read the book so there was no mystery to this whodunit for me. It was nostalgic to watch this play and I feel like I am now part of history. When I read those books during my teenage years, I never imagined I would live places and neighbourhoods similar to those described in her books. Having lived in the UK for 4 years now, I can now better understand and internalize her plots and circumstances and I have a whole new love for her books. The play was warm and cosy and atmospheric and felt like hot chocolate on a Christmas night. I can’t wait to discuss it with my grandma.

There are good days and there are bad days but am trying to overcome the bad with the good. Distraction is the only solution for situations beyond your control. Nothing lasts forever and perhaps it’s true. Writing is difficult but there are days like today when it just flows. The saving grace are my husband and my son who live through it all and continue to support me. So hopefully there will be more blog posts.

Life right now…

…is messy.

Rant alert—————

What’s the downside of marriage? – you have to take into consideration your spouse’s opinion on all matters! Especially if he’s a nosy one who likes to provide advice on matters unasked. What do you do when you don’t wish to let him down and don’t want to do what he says either. Well, for me I do as per his wishes and then regret for not standing firm on my opinion and giving in. This all results in passive aggressive anger which blows things out of proportion at some later event.

I hate it when people have different standards for everyone. Why can’t they judge a situation with the same standards. I don’t understand how a different justification is applied to a loved one and a different rule is applied to another relative. Why the hypocrisy? In the end it’s all about lying to oneself. You keep your conscience clean by attaching yourself to different rules/principles/standards in different situations. You don’t take the ownership of your fault and hide under some shammy principle that you are ready to ignore in other situations. To hell with all such people!

And what is with this patronizing attitude? You want a thing done, you get it done on your own merit. Stop putting guns on another’s shoulder. He/she may not want what you want or may not wish to do it. But stop pressuring and patronizing the person just because you can and just because you know you can.

———-rant over!

Jalapeno peppers, apparently are the best remedy for sinuses problem. When you have tried everything to stop the headache (it’s been four days now), you are ready to do anything that even remotely sounds like a cure. After having this prolonged headache from Monday, (self diagnosis says it’s a sinuses thingy) I didn’t know what to do. Read somewhere today that spicy food helps relieve sinus headaches. No harm in trying out. Apart from the tangy, hot, sweet flavour lingering in my mouth, nothing happened. But I realised how desperate I had been. Then, I tried the steam. I know I should have done it the first time that nerve started ticking, but the lazy bum that I am, I waited four head splitting days. And yet, after 15 minutes of holding my head over boiling water, nothing happened.

The gardening bug

The gardening bug bit me in early April and this is what I have been trying to grow for the past few months.



coriander seeds sprouting

more coriander sprouts in early May
Chilli took a long time to show up


meanwhile, mint was growing roots
mint in pots
finally mint is transported to pot


coriander has a growth spurt


and some more


and finally there are the coriander leaves
and look who’s here… after about a month, I see chilli leaves


Coriander flourishes
and more….enough to make chutney!


and it keeps coming more everyday
mint spreads its roots and is scrambling all over inside the pot


pepper plant
some real growth of the chilli plant


this is the latest pic from a few days ago. Chilli has come a long way and soon there will be flowers!






















Mint multiplied over summer and its runners were all over the small pot so I had to transfer it to a bigger pot. Now it’s happy and contained in my balcony!

Over the weekend and then some

Belated Happy Holi everyone! From the photos around the blogosphere and on FB and whatsapp, it seems almost everyone I know had a colourful time this year. Not for us. A sunny weekend for us should usually suffice!

On Saturday I was busy slogging in the kitchen preparing this

Chicken Biryani

It’s a fairly simple recipe and gets cooked in less than 2 hours!

But that’s not what I was really slogging at. It was this

Puran Poli
Puran Poli

My first attempt at Puranpoli! It’s a classical Maharashtrian dish prepared on the auspicious occasion of Holi and Padwa. It may appear to look like a roti but it’s very sweet and very different from a normal roti or chapati. To describe it to a firang here, I would rather call it sweet tortilla! 🙂

It’s made from split yellow gram, jaggery and rava. Only 3 ingredients… sounds simple but the procedure is lengthy and hard.

In short, cook the yellow gram and drain out all the water, add jaggery to it and cook on low flame till it’s soft and dry.
Make a soft dough of rava by mixing water and oil in it and soak it in oil till it becomes soft and stretchy.
When the stuffing has cooled down, the poli is ready to be rolled out.
Grease a butter paper with enough oil so that the dough doesn’t stick to it. Take a small ball of dough and flatten it out into a small circle, place a small ball of stuffing at the centre and wrap the dough around the stuffing to make it into a ball.
Roll out the puran poli taking care that the stuffing doesn’t come out of the dough while rolling it.
Heat a non stick pan and grease it with oil.
Hold the butter paper upside down and hold the edge of the poli on the pan and peal away the butter paper. (!)
Cook it over low to medium heat and flip it once.

Phew… all these things just right and you might get a full whole unbroken puranpoli!

Chicken biryani and Puranpoli done on Saturday! Time to rest for the next month or so.

Yeah right!


No, on Sunday Hubby and I went to dance! Yeah you read it right.

Scotland’s national centre for dance – Dance Base – had an Open Day on Sunday to encourage new dancers to join the thrill. Bone tired we dragged ourselves to the Grass market where the centre is located and danced our feet out for a one whole hour to Elvis Presley’s c’mon everybody! After the one hour, we were drenched in sweat for the first time in Edinburgh. I experienced my heavy lethargic leaden legs turn light, supple and brisk. I had a spring in my step. Thanks to hubby dearest for pushing me off my ass and getting me on my feet quite literally. (On a negative note, don’t you just hate it when husbands come up with the most rational and practical answers/solutions to some of the most persistent long time problems you have had? Once you listen to their talk, you hit yourself mentally and wonder why you didn’t think of it!)

So after grudgingly admitting to having a great time dancing, we lingered on walking down the pubs at Grass market and that’s when we came across the armchair book shop – a quaint, cosy little place. Anyway, am not committing myself to a weekly dance class yet but yes, in an ideal world I would do it just to get my agility back. When you can’t do a 2 minute simple dance sequence you realise how dull and heavy your body is. And to think there was a time (another world, another lifetime) when over the weekend I used to dance for 3 hours and then swim for an hour!

About swimming, I can’t swim even a lap now. So much for the bragging. Anyway the brat is all nervous and turns into a cry baby when it comes to his swimming lessons. (yeah, we decided to start him early, though we think it’s late – but that’s the normal parenting anxiety). All was well for the first couple of weeks but then he suddenly developed this anxiety about swimming. Now every time we reach the centre I can the tension building on his face, the anxiety making its way up from his stomach to his face. Love, anger, threats, treats – nothing works. But I appreciate his guts to enter the pool even when he has cried copious amounts. Last week he just held the bar for the entire class duration. Today, he cried and cried and then cried some more. It started when we entered the changing rooms. His coach has been very patient with him so far, giving him time and not forcing him to do anything against his wish. But today she nudged him and pushed him and enticed him with sharks, ducks and fish toys and made him swim! (thank you God) He seemed to be okay with it. Keeping fingers crossed for the next week.


Embarrassing your kids is a totally different high! I have only just experienced it. My dad still does it and I still get upset and embarrassed. I take kiddo to a music class every Monday where they are taught instruments, notes and rhythm. At the start of the session, we all stand in a circle and dance to the routine intro song. Most of the times the steps are the same but sometimes the instructor switches them (patting your head instead of your knees etc). So this Monday, we all were standing in a nice big circle and at a point, she changed the steps. I had tuned out and kept doing the wrong step. The brat noticed this and kept nudging me. When I realised what I was doing, I kept doing it and went a step further and did a funny little step complete with facial expressions and hand movements (think Joey’s dance in Friends). The horrified expression on the brat’s face was priceless. There was disbelief and then anger. For me though it was hilarious. Nothing more pleasing than making your kid uncomfortable with a little funny stuff. 🙂 Now I know how my dad feels.

At the bookfest this year

I had been closely following the edbookfest site and had even marked out the programmes and events I wished to attend. Unfortunately I missed the start date for booking tickets online by just one day and most of the events had been sold out. I still managed to attend a few. Here are the highlights from my visit to the fest.








Missed his talk about Satanic Verses and the fatwa but made to his book signing event.



That says it all 🙂

Margaret Atwood with Naomi Alderman and Valerie Martin



Couldn’t get tickets to her talk on The Blind Assassin but attended her panel discussion on “Writing under the influence” 🙂


I splurged… a lot and got these books for Shantanu!

We even made it to Julia Donaldson’s signing! 🙂


Shantanu was not too keen to taking a picture... so
Shantanu was not too keen to taking a picture… so

Another bright day

It’s so bright and sunny that I want to put on my sunglasses even when am indoors. It hurts to look outside.

View from our living room

The photo doesn’t do justice to the weather outside. People are sunbathing, reading, lying down and barbecuing in the garden.  It’s a feast. Shantanu isn’t accustomed to sweating and is wondering how come there’s “water in hair” when he hasn’t even taken a shower!



A day well spent