Category: Thankful Thursdays

Food on my mind

Food on my mind

I like food – most kinds, as long as it is vegetarian, since I gave up meat over a decade ago. So basically I am grateful for all kinds of food, home-made, store-bought, gourmet, roadside all of it. I am someone who can binge even on plain paranthas and pickle, roti and baingan bharta or dal and rice.

Choosing a favourite food is like choosing a favourite from among your children. Click To Tweet

However, that won’t quite do since in this post here, I am trying to narrow down my preferences to three foods I am grateful for, just three. I’m giving you this background only so that you appreciate the effort as I try to pare down my list.

Here goes:

Food for the taste buds

My first pick is a treat purely for the taste buds. If you’re not from Lucknow you’d probably only have heard of paan ki gilauri. And that, dear friends, is gross injustice, to this decadent dessert special to my hometown – the malai gilauri or the malai paan.

What is it?

This delectable sweet has a thin layer of malai, folded like a paan (betel leaf) holding within it the most delicious filling, topped off with chandi ka vark. As the soft layer of malai begins to melt in your mouth you get the crunch of mishri and dry fruits along with a delicate flavour of kewra, rose-water and saffron. It is way more sophisticated than the regular khoa- sugar sweets, truly Nawabi, just like the city, a party of textures and flavours in the mouth. Each time I take a bite of it I am grateful for a little piece of my hometown that cannot be replicated.

Food for the soul

Here’s another one from my childhood. Meet tehri – my comfort food. It isn’t a pulao, it isn’t a biryani and it isn’t masala rice. It is just tehri.

What is it?

A rice dish flavoured with whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves) cooked together with salt, turmeric and vegetables like onions, cauliflower and peas. One of my happiest childhood memories is of winter days when our high-ceiling house would get just too cold and we would pile our plates with tehri and step out to eat in the garden with the warm sun for company. The best thing ever about this one is its utter simplicity. Anyone, just about anyone, including me, can get it right and it cooks in a jiffy. I even taught the husband to make it and that is saying something. Since I became a mom the days I come home tired and hungry I am grateful for this simple flexible dish and it always comes to my rescue – my go-to meal when I want something delicious super fast!

Food for the (peace of) mind

Lastly, I pick this universal favourite, one that I’ve learnt to be eternally grateful for specially since the twins came along. Chocolate. If only you’d have seen the storms this one has averted – it has calmed screaming children, sorted fights, wiped tears, expressed love, cheered up the saddest souls and don’t you dare bring in that whole spiel about bribes and children. Sometimes one needs a bite of happiness to keep one’s sanity. Cakes, cookies, pastries, mousse, doughnuts or plain simple bars – chocolate has never failed me. So yes I am and shall always remain grateful to chocolate in all its myriad avatars.

Note: Re-reading my post I know why I have never been able to kick off the weight and am almost tempted to go back and change at least one of them to a soup or a salad but that would be dishonest of course, not to say grossly unfair to my true loves.



Linking up with Amrita, TinaDeepa and Mayuri. for #ThankfulThursdays.

Random acts of kindness

Random acts of kindness

For a few years I lived in a small town of Central India. We had a house on top of a picturesque hill with a lake at the bottom of it. The downside, however, was that the area was deserted. A half a kilometre walk got you to one of the most famous heritage hotels of the city and that’s where you could hope for any kind of public transport.

I rarely minded the walk except during the summer when the sun beat down relentlessly and the sweat ran down your face and back in incessant rivulets making a ragamuffin of you no matter how much care you’d taken to dress up.

One such summer day as I was walking down the deserted path a car stopped by me. The windows rolled down and I found a bunch of AfroAmerican girls staring out. ‘Do you want a lift?’ asked one of them.

I have to stop here to explain that a ‘lift’ was unheard of those days and all my mom’s warnings about talking to strangers rang out loud and clear in my head. However the sun was so very hot that, apprehensive as I was, I got into the car. I think the girls sensed my apprehension and one of them remarked – I hope you’re not thinking we’re going to kidnap you or anything.

That completely freaked me out. I poised myself to spring out of the car at the slightest hint of danger. As it turned out they were simply doing me a good turn, they dropped me off at the hotel and drove away. I was so relieved I couldn’t even thank them properly.

It’s been almost two decades and I have not forgotten either their kindness or my fear.

Each time an unexpected act of kindness visits us, we look upon it with suspicion. Click To Tweet

Sad, isn’t it?

And then another time..

My sister and I had to catch a local train in Bombay. We heard the whistle of the train even as we were struggling down a rather steep flight of stairs with a huge bag which we held between us. Along came a man in a checked lungi and a vest. Before we knew it he had taken the bag from us and was almost running down the steps, his slippers flapping on the ground. We ran after him worried and apprehensive, but all he did was put the bag down on the platform. Then he disappeared into the crowd. He didn’t wait for any kind of acknowledgement, no thank yous, nothing. Just walked off.

Random acts of kindness, such as this one can make someone’s day.

Then again..

The other day I was coming home staggering under the weight of multiple shopping bags with all my monthly shopping when an old lady offered to help. She took some bags from my hand and walked with me to the lift. A small act I know, but the strange bit was that up until that moment I had always dismissed her as a rather unpleasant old woman going by the way she yelled at the children for making a noise in the building lobby.

The man who stops his car on the road to let you cross, the person in the supermarket queue who gives you his place because you had just one thing to buy, the young girl who gives up her seat for you on the bus – small, simple acts of kindness can bring a smile. It really doesn’t take much  – a word, a smile, two minutes of your life – can make a difference.

Kindness is one of the most underrated virtues - the easiest to give and receive. Click To Tweet

All we need to do is open our eyes and hearts and be ready for it.

Have you ever received kindness from strangers? Would love to hear from you.


Linking up with Amrita for #ThankfulThursdays.

Of friends and friendships

Of friends and friendships

Really, writing a post on friends and friendship is so very hard. Not because one doesn’t have much to say but because everything that one would say has already been said, over and over again, till all that remains is a bunch of tired clichés.

I’ve written about it often enough too. Friends have helped me become less judgemental, more accepting. They’ve helped me try out new things, offered a shoulder to cry on, heard out my rants and made me stick to resolutions.

As you grow older you move on from having a single all-purpose BFF, so to say, to a vast category of friends. As I try to write about some of them I’ll go with those that are top of my mind now.

It’s been a week since I got back from my hometown but I’m still a bit hungover so School Friends are bound to top the list. They are the best kind, aren’t they? I mean how can you not be friends with the girl whose plait got yanked by the teacher along with yours? Quite like Krishna yanked the reins of those horses in the battlefield of  Kurukshetra. School friends have been witness to the ultimate insults heaped upon you and not believed a single one of them. They are the ones who’ve known you from the time you were a plump tween battling the bulge and, if you are lucky, they are still with you as you turn into a middle age woman battling the bulge.

The thing is – to them it doesn’t matter.

They only remember you as the girl whose mum made the most smashing tiffin, the one who made a Bollywood parody out of Macbeth, or the one who could touch her tongue to her nose or one who couldn’t stop laughing even when she was sent out of class.

Those are the things that matter to them and that’s why they are special.

Neighbourhood friends were an integral part of my childhood but then as I grew and got caught up in academics and work I thought I’d didn’t need them at all, where was the time? Life seems to have come a full circle and I cannot imagine what I’d do without them.


Neighbours might not all be the sexy kind but they’re still a blessing

They are the ones who host you the time the door bangs shut just as you step out to put the trash. They also give you the number of the keymaker and assure you, you looked just fine in your frumpy faded nightdress. They take your couriers when you’re not around and even hand over the COD amount.
 They make rangolis at your doorstep and light diyas for you when you’re out for Diwali.
They’re the ones who hear/see your Taraka avatar with the children. They not only keep your secret but also keep loving you despite that.

How did I ever do without them!

And finally my very favourite kind – the Slightly Crazy-so-not-my-type of friends. This one is a bit of a peculiarity because you are pretty much poles apart and yet you connect at some strange level – the level headedness of one balancing the craziness of the other, mixing excitement and caution for a perfect cocktail that keeps you high but holds you back from going over the edge. These are the friends who got me to do things I’d never have done on my own. Things I would have wished I had done but never actually gone out and taken the plunge. But for them I would never have trekked to a fort with zero level of fitness, run a marathon (not a full one, just a baby one but id did get me walking), bought dangerously high heels or joined a Zumba class. What fun all of that turned out to be. I might soon be heading to Spanish class rather than slogging it out on Youtube as I’d originally planned.

Life would drab and dull without these crazy ones.

There, those are the friends I am grateful for today. Which are the friends you cherish most?

Linking up with Amrita for #ThankfulThursdays. Thank you for a fabulous prompt Amrita.



Also linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle Blog Hop. Do click on the link and head on over.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

The Bluest Eye #BookReview

The Bluest Eye #BookReview

Book: The Bluest EyeAuthor: Toni Morrison 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove believes she’s ugly. And nothing can change that. Nothing at all. Unless … unless she could trade in her eyes for beautiful blue ones. Now if she had those blue eyes, things would be different; because then, everyone would love her.