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…..do 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.

Se7en and Awards!

First Award!! Yayyyy!!!

*Drum rolls*


“I’ve tagged you”, said she, Zainab, my new friend in the Blogosphere. I was overly joyed as this was the first time that someone had officially tagged me. Usually I lifted tags that I found interesting and did them myself.

As I visited her site and checked the tag I almost fell off my chair reading it. Not only was I just tagged, but I was given awards as well!! I am so honoured to receive them.

With hubby at the office and the kiddo sleeping peacefully in the other room, I wanted to jump up and down and do the headless chicken dance. But from fear of waking up the kiddo and wondering if the spell would break, I danced in my head and the world spinned for some time.

Well, that’s not just it. Some rules of acceptance of the award:

1. Thank those who loved you enough to bestow this gift.
2. Share seven (7) things about yourself.
3. Bestow this honor onto 10 newly discovered or followed bloggers – in no particular order – who are fantastic in some way.

I had already done this 10 secrets tag a long time back, but now let me add some more to it.

1. I used to hate Pizzas. I never had a pizza until I got married. Almost after a year of marriage hubby introduced me to pizzas and I took it up like a fish to swimming. Wonder now why I wasted so many years not eating it.

2. I am scared of lizards and spiders. They give me shudders. They make me feel creepy. Yuk.

3. At one time, I was a farily good dancer. I have learnt Kathak. But now, even a five minute dance makes me sweat and puts me out of breath.

4. I think I have the most unruly hair in the world. Some girls can manage to look absolutely stunning and comfortable with their hair down. But not me. If I let my hair loose, it somehow turns into a huge ball of mess and looks weird. I wanted long hair for myself, but that’s never happening. It’s the genes I think.

5. I love dogs. Of any kind. I even find stray dogs cute. My dad had promised to get me a puppy when he retired and I was happy that one day I would have my own pet dog. Little did I realise that I would be married by the time he retired. 😦

6. I believe in reincarnation and life after death.

7. I am not comfortable with high heels. I can’t walk straight and I tend to stumble and fall down. No, not even platforms.

And now to tag 10 people for this award and meme:
1. Garima
2. Leonnyes
3. Blessen
4. Smita
5. Sharell

Well, I could come up with only 5 and hence the tag is modified. 🙂

The cruise connection – part 2

I have been meaning to write for quite some time now, but haven’t been able to find time, nor the topic. Coz, so much has happened since I came here, I do not know how to choose what to write about. Well, I better continue with the cruise episode.

After winning at the Yoga Laughter, we were quite excited. We then stayed back at the deck for Line dancing with the cruise staff. It wasn’t that great but quite exhausting. It got us on our toes, made us sweat but refreshed us nevertheless. Some Chinese and Malay people were also there and after completing this dance we danced with them. It was very interesting.

We went on the top deck after this dance. Hubby wanted to give that famous Titanic pose, but the spot was beyond limits and we weren’t allowed to go that very far end of the ship. We headed for the Jacuzzi. The hot water jets massaged our aching bodies after the laughter yoga and the dance. FIL could also massage his paining knee which he later told was quite relieving. We didn’t stay long in the tub and headed straight for the pool. The water wasn’t good really, some dust and particles had fallen in the swimming pool and we weren’t so sure about staying in there for long time. We had a few laps and the sun was also scorching coz it was well past 12:30. To avoid getting tanned (am very colour conscious, specially mine) and to be able to have some lunch left at the Buffet, we hurried out of the pool, changed and went straight for our food.

We lunched at Mariner’s Buffet, same place, where we had our breakfast. But lunch was a better treat. Soon after we reached there, the waiter told us that they are closing the buffet in some time, so we might fill up our plates beforehand. So we did just that, we filled our plates with delicacies and more delicacies; cakes, muffins, ice creams, fruits, salads etc. We just hogged. Instead of having the routine dishes for lunch, we ate variety of side dishes and lots and lots of sweets. Where else would we get to taste such a lot of varieties at one time?

There was a Latin dance class scheduled in the afternoon. So after a quick nap, we went to the Stardust Lounge where the class had already started. I was elated after doing the Latin dance, although I couldn’t make out much difference between the Line Dance and this one. We also did Cha Cha Cha afterwards. But both dances were feminine and artistic. After watching my own dance video, I found it was aesthetically very pleasing.

We then went to the souvenir shop and just roamed around the cruise looking at the Diners, restaurants and buffets. At the top deck there was this huge Basketball court. We got the ball and played basketball. It was exhilarating. I had never ever played before but the first time that the ball went through the basket, made my heart swell. Girls can play basketball after all!!! There was some music playing nearby and we danced Cha Cha Cha on that. What more, I even tried to teach my MIL and SIL how to do it. 🙂 Then we came across a group of Tai Chi students. They were teaching each other how to do that. Hubby tried to learn it from them. Even FIL tried it. We had an early dinner at the Spices Restaurant.

We then went to the top deck for the Tropical Hawaiin Party. But this one was slightly different from what we call a party. It was a competition and a very weird one. First it was for the men. 4-5 guys had assembled on the stage, my hubby being one of them. They were given skirts made from bamboo shoots which looked like thin straws or stirrers. The skirts were tied to their waist. Their shirts were raised to their chests and tied in a knot which looked like the blouse that Dimple Kapadia wore in Bobby (u get the picture now!). One by one each participant was made to dance on music. Hubby turn was second. He did dance like some freak, jumping on the podium of the stage to where I was sitting, moving his hips and legs. The crowd gave him a loud applaud and absolutely loved it. The rest of the participants also did well but hubby’s was the best, no, no, am not being biased but am telling absolute truth. After all of them finished, the crowd was asked to decide, who danced the best and hubby won hands down. He got a gold medal with Star Aquarius written on it. It was very uplifting.

Then we had the girls’ competition. I too participated. I had thought this would again be some kind of a dance competition, but I couldn’t be more wrong. It was a competition, no doubt but what were we supposed to do. Here’s what, each one of us was supposed to do a ramp walk, walk down to the centre of the stage, then walk to one side (where there was  a pole), do some kind of a sexy pose/step/walk, then go to the other side and do the same. Finally come back to the centre of the stage and take up a sexy pose! Wow, how on earth was I going to do that? That too in front of such a huge, especially Indian crowd. Hubby had already set some high standards and I had to stand up to that. The worst thing was I was the first participant. I didn’t have any time to think. The host asked me whether I was ready, I said a shaky no. The music turned on and I don’t know what got into me. I tried to do a cat walk kind of thing and reached the centre of the stage. I went to the left, tried to do some kind of a pose, the crowd applauded and I thought it must have looked good. I then walked to the right and gave a flying kiss to hubby. I then turned and came back to the centre of the stage. Luckily, I had a jacket on me. I had a sudden thought, I took off my jacket and threw it at hubby and stood taking a pose. There was a huge applaud from the crowd. The other participants were very awkward in doing such a thing and hence they couldn’t perform as freely or as effectively. But I didn’t get the prize. There was an aunty who had participated and she won it just for her spirit and age. But I was just excited that I did something so outrageous and out of character.

The entire day had been just that for me, totally atypical and uncharacteristic. That had itself thrilled me to the core. And now the most interesting part. We (hubby+SIL+BIL and I of course) went to this show called Fantasy. It was a Las Vegas style Topless show for adults. I do not know whether I will ever go to Las Vegas, furthermore whether I will ever watch those shows there. So, here I had this opportunity and went for it. It lasted for around 45 minutes. And it’s an experience, I must say. Should watch it once in your life at least.

The Cruise Connection – 1

I know it’s a cliche title but I couldn’t think any better right now. Am still sailing on the Star Cruise Aquarius. Yes, that’s right! We (me+hubby+in-laws) went on Star Cruise for 3 days and 2 nights on Friday.

I had been on such cruise before but hadn’t freaked out so much last time. We boarded the cruise on Friday evening. Didn’t do much that evening, just roamed through the cruise, checking out the restaurants, swimming pool, entertainment stuff, the activities and got ourselves acquainted with the cruise. Had dinner at the Spices Restaurant which was no less than a 5 star hotel with lots of Indian food on menu.

Saturday began early in the morning. Since they had fixed time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you cannot afford to be late otherwise the meal is over and buffet rapped up. After a typical American breakfast (chicken sausages, omelet, bread, tea/coffee/juice), we went for the first activity for the day. We went for Laughter Yoga with the cruise staff. The activity made us laugh till our stomach ached. The concept of laughter yoga is developed by an Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria. It’s a combination of yoga breathing with laughter. The concept being based on a fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. The physiological and psychological benefits and effects are the same.

Enough gyan. So we did this laughter yoga. After basic yoga steps, we were taught different types of laugh, the motorcycle laugh, the witch laugh, the dog laugh and finally the Star Cruise Aquarius laugh. It was a very relaxing session and a stress-buster. In the end we were asked to come up with our own kind of laugh. We formed groups and everyone had to perform their laugh, at the end of which a winner would be declared. We came up with the Indian Fisherman’s laugh. We did the typical fisherman dance steps and laughed to its tune. And we won!!!

The party

I had mentioned about this party in a previous post. Now here’s an elaborate version. I wasn’t thinking much about the party as I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to meet my friends (whom I would have met after a really long time, more than a year or so).  However, I thought since there is no way that am going to meet with my friends, I might as well try and enjoy this party. On Saturday, I decided upon with sari to wear with matching accessories, jewellery and all that.

Sunday, started on a gloomy note, with rain pouring down and leaving the roads dirty with muddy water. I settled on wearing a salwar suit, as my new sari would no doubt be spoilt. I always had a feeling that I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as the monsoons made me feel sad, lonely, with winter and spring making me the happiest. Winters always made sleepy most of the time. Maybe it was because of the cold weather. Once, when I was all alone in the house and wasn’t waking up after repeated ringing of bells and telephone calls, my uncle had thrown water into the bedroom through a garden watering pipe to wake me up. Aaarrrhhh…but that’s another story. I digress.

So we were all ready to go to the venue. It was a birthday party of one of my husband’s niece. The entire family was invited. We must be around 150 odd people. The hall was well decorated with doll paintings on the walls, blue and red balloons sticking out from the roofs and along the pillars, and the bright lights and AC (yea, you need it even when it rains) making the hall very pleasant as against the dull climate outside. We wished the birthday girl and mingled with everyone around before taking comfortable seats and sticking to it.

A DJ was arranged. Though I do not have much experience being at discos and DJ parties, I can say this one was very good. The songs, the bass, the volume level, they were all in the right mode at the right level. The songs could definitely not be categorised as children’s songs, the children were still dancing to its tunes. Soon the games started. They were good ones including song and dance, couples (parent and child of course) and some group games.

Mostly the games were for kids and their parents. But soon even the elders were joining them in this gala song and dance and games. At one side, sat a man drawing tattoos on kids’ hands, face, cheeks, and where not. One by one each kid lined up for tattoos and were soon flaunting them to other kids. They were having the best time in the world. Then a huge cake was brought by the waiters and all family and friends gathered around the baby to cut it, all the while singing Happy Birthday of course!
Everyone then dispersed and sat on their chairs making way for the juggler, who came on one cycle tyre, to perform his tricks with rings, balls and sticks. That performance lasted for not less than half an hour. I had heard many stories from my husband that the people in his family really freak out when it comes to enjoying at parties. But this time, I had a live example in front of me. Apart from the kids, the elders were soon losing themselves in the music and dancing. My FIL and MIL also danced and they gave one funky performance at that. Everyone had lost their inhibitions and were dancing and twisting in their own sweet way without a care.

After a considerable amount of time, the group again dispersed, (I think they all were a bit tired physically but were still in high spirits). It so happened that just my two sisters-in-law and I were there on the dance floor at that time. The DJ had run out of songs, I think, and was playing some boring numbers or fillers. Finally, the song Kajara re.. started and the three of us started dancing.

My one sister-in-law has been a professional at dancing and all in the family are aware of her dancing feats. I had never danced in front of my in-laws, though they knew that I had learned dance. Let’s just say, I was inspired with the people around and gave it a shot. Soon, there were three Aishwaryas dancing in their own fashion and method. Slowly everybody sat down around us and watched. We had an audience. People were clapping, there was some major cheering, shouts, whistles, photo clicks and video shoots.

That was very exhausting and refreshing at the same time and it was an experience. What struck me most was the fact that everyone, elders and children had jelled together so well that it was difficult to make out which person belonged to which family. It looked like a huge bunch of people merrily dancing together.

Casting a web

Just when you think that things are settling down! This time it was the Internet that boggled me down. I had a long weekend planned. Things were looking bright. Then my office mail server started behaving weirdly and didn’t give me access to my email. For some reasons, it was of utmost importance to me that my email works, I had to send and receive many important mails during these days. But no, for the entire day the mail didn’t work.

Initially, I left it alone, thought it would work out on its own, since this problem had been a recurring one. The net in our office has a mind of its own. It will function as per its will. And when you want it desperately to work, it will lie dead. This time I was the victim.

Anyway, I had a blast this weekend. I had to attend a party in the family. The party was good with all friends and family. Though, on the same day, another get together was arranged by some of my very close friends. I had no choice but to attend this family function; which turned out to be very good. A DJ party was arranged. All youngsters and elders danced their hearts out. We were on the roll. I danced after a long long time and my body made me realise that later by giving me aching limbs and joints.

So coming back to my Internet and mail problem. I thought that I would check the mail from home (at my in-law’s place). But then the PC turned against me by refusing to start up. The entire weekend went without connecting to the net, leave aside the mails.

Coming to office today morning, I thought my problem would be resolved. But the problem still persisted. I spent almost the entire day talking with the IT guys, god, we even had a conference call! But still no solution. I was so very frustrated. I narrated the entire episode to my colleague including the dialogues shared between me and the IT guys. They said then had done a million changes and it should work fine within some time. When I told him all this, he said that this reminded him of one of the scenes in Matrix Reloaded. The one where Neo meets the Architect. Neo asks the architect, “Why am I here?” The architect gives him a long bhashan explaining him the complexities and problems in the different Matrix versions prior to this. Then Neo says, “That still doesn’t answer my question”. I felt exactly the same. Agreed, the IT guys must have done the required changes. But still I was facing the same problem and it wasn’t a solution of my issue.

I came back home (to my parent’s place) dejected. But then I cheered up, thinking, I would check the mail from home. But the Internet connection was out. The modem had no lights blinking and it was staring back at me blankly. Now suddenly, it has started working. I feel scared. If the modem and CPU become aware that they are working in perfect harmony, then they might stop and before they do, I want to post this up.