Saturday, July 27, 2013

Some time

Hello! After a long time.....!No, there is no special reason for my silence... ah. there is! I find it hard to find some time these days... anyway, here I am...

My neighbour has a papaya tree and every time I open my backdoor,I am greeted by well shaped, healthy green papayas, some 30- 40 in number. (i.e. if the neighbour is not in her balcony. If she is there she sees to it that my attention is not diverted from her.) A dear friend that she is she keeps passing ripe papayas over the wall to keep my evil eye away!
One day I asked her to give me a raw papaya (not ripe), said 'my sister makes lovely sweet-hot chutney and I would like to try making it.It is difficult to get unripe papayas you know! It is better you give me on a  week end  when I may have 'some time' at my disposal. The sweet lady promptly called my mother on  the next Saturday morning and gave a hard green papaya that weighed 2 kilos, to pass on to me. I was prompt enough to find 'some time'. I called my sister and asked her for the recipe.  "Go to my blog 'rasakavala'  and you will get it" my computer savvy sister replied. So in my 'some time' I opened the blog, found the recipe and followed it to produce 4 bottles of golden yellow, spicy, sweet-sour chutney. My son was all praise for it and my father loved it and my mother gave the chef's certificate and I filled a small bottle with the chutney and passed it on to the neighbour over the wall. She in turn passed it on to her next-door neighbour over the wall.

Well, all is well that ends.......wait a minute! I was in my school that Saturday when my friend called. "Vidya, I am going to Bangalore for 3-4 days. Please keep an eye on the house. And I thought you may have 'some time' during the week end and make some chutney. So I have given a papaya to your mother. After I come back I will come and collect the recipe. I have to pass it on to my neighbour and my sister and.................." And there went my 'some time' of that week end.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Ganapathi habba is just over. One more session of collecting money,road blocks, processions, blaring microphones, same old film songs ending with a vote of thanks in an artificial, extra polite,sugar dripping voice followed by the orchestra anthem - "mathdalli melyavudo.. kuladalli keelyavudo".
But something has gone missing. On the day of the festival my friend, I, and our mothers went back in our time machine....
*public Ganapathis never existed. In the whole of Mysore two places drew everyone's attention- 101 Ganapathi in Agrahara attracted devotees and 8th cross Ganapathi in Vontikoppal attracted music lovers. The 'orchestras' have overtaken them!
*Kids went from house to house, inquiring,"Ree, Ganapathi ittiddira?" (have you kept Ganapathi?)There would be a competition among groups of children as to who visited the most number of Ganapathis. People happily tolerated them as they barged inside,put akshathe and prostrated in front of the deity. Some of them would observe the decorations and even comment.
*All doors would be open and lights switched on, expecting visitors.
*The tinkling of bells at around 9 would indicate that the Ganapathi is being given a send off.
*Some would keep the Ganapathi for 3,5, or 7 days or till Anantha Chathurdashi and immerse him in Kukkarahalli tank or in a neighbour's well.
Kukkarahalli tank in those days used to be a deserted place . But it would come alive during this season.People carrying torches and lanterns would go there in large groups immerse Ganapathi , eat puliogare and mosaranna and come home with a feeling of achievement.
*It was a chance for the artistically minded to exhibit their talents in building the mantaps for the god.The mantaps would be made using materials ranging from wood,coconut fronds, pith,injection bottles to sugar candies!The garlands made from cotton. Rangoli designs, lamps,serial lights..... everything had to be special and different!
All that is gone now!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I went shopping in the UK! It is a miracle that I came out with my brain intact! or....?
I have learned over the years that men create things to make their life more comfortable. So the English, who take off their shirts when the thermometer records 12degrees and declare that the summer has set in, built houses with fire places, carpeted the floor, used spoons and forks to eat, and toilet paper in the wash rooms. Their inventions did not stop there and went on to create the more......
  • Morning tea- you have a pair of small tongs to squeeze the tea bag.
  • You use tea powder? you have mugs fitted with perforated place the tea leaves, pour boiling water and after a few minutes of brewing,lift and take them away.
  • Breakfast-a stand to keep the toasted bread slices.
  • A small cup shaped like half an egg shell to keep the boiled egg.
  • Oh! why two different pieces? here is a bread slice holder with an egg cup attached.
  • Do you want poached egg? we have a small perforated cup to hold the contents of one egg that you can dip in water to poach.
  • The steel ones are no good. china wear breaks. So we have silicone cups.
  • The silicone cups are too flexible - difficult to lift with tongs. too hot to lift with fingers. so we made 2-3 holes near the edges and a special tongs-stick like-that go into the holes .
  • Knives-different types for cutting, slicing, paring scooping, chopping,smearing and one for meat, one for vegetables one for fruits and one for bread.
  • This gadget here is for removing the fiber from the sides of beans and it also slices it. It is called bean stringer.
  • This is for squeezing lemon(like the one we have here), and this is for crushing garlic pods!
  • This one here is for cutting the pizza.
  • This spade like thing is for lifting and serving cake - shaped like a wedge
  • Look at this-it is a pair of tongs, shaped like a cake put it around the cake like a lasso and lift.
  • Your child wants to take bananas to school. it gets crushed or if you put it in a box it sweats. so put it in this special box shaped like a banana with breathing holes.
  • We have differently shaped boxes for keeping onions and garlic in the refrigerators.
  • The last straw-I found a stand shaped like our palm,fingers separated-that is to keep your glove to dry!
If you have doubts, go on the net and search for bean stringer and egg poacher. Tell me if you don't get them!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

UK Kathe

It is just 48 hours since I landed here in Reading, UK, in my sister's house. But it seems a long time ago that I entered Bangalore airport - a little tense, a little worried - about how I would manage all check-in procedures, waiting for the announcements and walking to the plane, boarding etc. etc. etc....all alone! My son K1 accompanied me to the airport and hovered around outside till I completed the formalities and waved to him before entering the waiting lounge. To my surprise I was absolutely comfortable and at ease... so much so that others came to me for help!
I had a huge suitcase as check in luggage and a big keyboard for my cabin luggage and my hand bag with me. the girl at the check-in counter said the keyboard was too big and could not fit into the overhead cabin. I had to get it packed and check that in too. Though I had to shell out some money, I was very free with no weight to carry around.
Then the plane landed and I switched on my mobile and immediately received a call from A, my sister who was waiting outside. The helpline on the flight had said that I should follow the yellow boards, to reach immigration and baggage collection and it was so easy and fast that I was out in 20 minutes! I called A , who asked me to come out, where she was standing near a pillar. I did as I was told and landed in the car park while she was still in the lounge! one or two more calls and finally we met right in the same hall where I had made the first call!. :) and we drove home.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teacher -2

I underwent my teacher's training in the 'Regional College of Education' (now called Regional Institute of Education) and I just did not know how those ten months flew. I enjoyed every moment of the college days.There was a lot of freedom, but no one misused it, there were strict teachers but we were not scared of them, we made blunders and no one laughed at us, the teachers glared at us and we grinned, and occasionally they shouted at us, and you know, we learned our lesson.

The practical training for us was in Udupi, a place in Dakshina Kannada district, known for the Krishna temple and AshTa maTha's -and we stayed in the place for a month serving in a school like full fledged teachers.

One of the first few lessons in practice teaching was - "If you are demonstrating an experiment,try it once before you enter the class. Don't make a fool of yourself in front of the students."
Now I was teaching class 9, the preparation and properties of ammonia. The process was simple, 'easy', I thought.There was this spectacular 'fountain experiment' where a red litmus solution would rise like a jet into the upturned flask,and turn blue as it fell into the flask. Ignoring the advice of the teacher, I collected all the apparatus and chemicals and walked into the class like a soldier, sure of victory.I set up the apparatus as I explained and started the preparation......and ..............nothing happened! The gas did not form, did not collect, did not rise nor turn the red liquid blue. I could feel the blood draining my face and the knees turning into jelly, because I saw from the corner of my eye my Chemistry professor Mr.T frowning and pursing his lips. I collected my wits and said the chemicals were old! and saw the the professor's face turning red!!!!!!!!!!!
That evening in the review class I dared not raise my head and look at him . Finally when my name was called, I looked at him with a silly smile and he started......"Do you know what you have done? How many times have I told you to conduct the experiment before entering the class? Did you do it? No!...Not only did you disappoint the children, but you also put wrong concepts into their head! Old chemicals I suppose! !@#$%^&*.....Now , this is what you are going to do. Tomorrow, go to the class with preparation, apologize to the class, tell them what went wrong and demonstrate the experiment once again! old chemicals! Blah!" he stormed out mumbling about our carelessness, callousness and what not! I looked at all my friends and grinned... We all had learned a lesson!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Children have opinions too!

We lived in the beautiful malnad town- Shimoga, where my father taught in a college. He was transferred to Mysore, an equally beautiful place. I was 6years 6months old, and was in 4th year of school. As I have mentioned in my earlier post, we were considered 'bright' and were given double promotion, which was why I was in 4th , and not 2nd standard where I should have been.
It was first of January when we reached Mysore and my parents had to find a school for me to spend the next 3 months. After consulting the friends and relatives, they learnt that the government school nearby was good and took me there the next morning. One look at the school, and I halted in my path like a stubborn horse, refusing to move. No amount of coaxing and cajoling made me change my mind. I said I didn't want to go there!
It was an old house with absolutely no colour that could beused to describe it, with long narrow windows and rusty iron bars. The whole structure had not seen any paint in its life. Through the window I could see a teacher desperately trying to make the children keep quiet and listen to her by banging a ruler on the table.( The 'ruler doNNe', as it was called used to be a smooth, polished wooden baton, 3-4 cms thick and half a meter long used to draw lines or to beat children!?)One wall of the school was completely covered with dung cakes. obviously it was the work of the 'koppal' women. Koppal, incidentally, was a rural pocket in the city of Mysore which was totally unaffected by the developments or the culture of the city around it. A woman
sat under the tree, selling groundnuts and guavas. Looking at my parents' plight she volunteered and said, "vogavvaaa, madammavru vollevru", meaning, 'go, the teacher is good' But it had no effect on me.
Finally I was taken away and admitted in another neighbourhood school.
Today when I imagine the whole situation, I find it comical. Two distraught parents, a kid with overflowing cheeks and sad eyes, her two plaits as crooked and stubborn as its owner, standing at an angle defying gravity(symbolic of her character?), the dirty looking school and the ground nut vendor under the tree! It could have been a beautiful R.K. Lakshman's cartoon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gangothri is beautiful! No, I am not talking about the place in the Himalayas where river Ganga takes birth. For the information of those who do not know Mysore, I am talking about Manasa Gangothri, the university campus that houses the post graduate departments. Again, I am not talking about the departments, the students and the professors! Mysoreans would think there must be something very wrong with me! I'm telling you about the wealth of nature outside the buildings.
March ! and the place is a riot of colours! The bougainvilla in front of the guest house is full of bright pink,orange and muave flowers. On the other side are two trees- I dont know the names- one with white flowers that look like flowers of guava( or still better like pannerale ), the other one with delicate bunches of purple flowers belonging to the leguminous family. Further you see rows and rows of leafless tabebuia trees covered with bright yellow flowers. Behind the guest house is the same kind of flowers in a lovely pink!
The mango trees are so laden with flowers that the ground is oily and sticky with their nectar.Looks like we will have a bumper crop of mangoes this year!
The bayan tree? What we call fruits, are actually the flowers.They attract a variety of birds - crows, mynas and pied horn bills.
Then the mahagoni trees.You can see three varieties: one which have bright copper leaves ready to be shed, those that have shed all the leaves- bare-displaying woody, conical fruits and a lonely crow's nest and those with lovely light green leaves. You may see the fruits opening from the base to let the winged seeds float in the air. The sweet fragrance indicates that there are flowers, but you cant see them! They are tiny, pale, greenish yellow flowers that can be seen only when they fall to the ground forming a soft carpet.
There are purple jacuranda, Seetha ashoka with yellow orange flowers, another tree with bunches of deep purple flowers and so on and on..... Gangothri is beautiful!