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In which I bitch about the improper drinking of tea

5 Apr

For a person who doesn’t have a daily tea (or coffee) habit, I sure do have strong feelings on the subject!

I just read a beautifully designed blog post on the tradition of drinking tea, illustrated with famous pieces of art depicting tea or tea drinking. There was also a section on the hour long formal tea ceremonies of China. This led me to think the author was a tea connoisseur. The post, however, ends with her talking about her favourite cup of tea. This involves.

A teabag.

A heaping spoonful of sugar.

And milk.

It’s the quantity of sugar that upsets me the most. Anybody who puts a heaping spoonful of sugar in a cup of tea isn’t drinking tea, they are drinking sharbat, and should say so.




Batti Jal Gayi moment

28 Mar

TIL that Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon are different people. I had registered the ‘Jimmy’ and ‘talk show host’ bits and wondered why Jimmy looked so different sometimes.

This is in stark contrast to the time in senior school when I knew one of my batchmates (in a different section, not mine) played competitive football but wondered why his friends sometimes called him A and sometimes H. A year later I realised they were two different people. In my defense- they were identical twins.

Some gratuitous Park Street Photos

21 Feb



Street Art acknowledging Arathoon Stephen: rich Armenian dude and builder of things. And flute man.


Park Mansions: Home of Alliance Francaise, Goethe Bhavan, miscellaneous offices and 36 residential units


Also, the doors and windows are painted red, yellow, blue, violet

A shoutout to the Inspiron 1525 circa 2008

8 Feb

I recently read an opinion piece by a technology expert that advised people to keep hard copies of all their digital data-writings, photographs, everything. Why? Because technology changes at such a rapid rate that there is a real risk that you could lose your data several times in one lifetime as the form in which you store everything WILL become obsolete every few years. You would still have it-your floppy disks, your CDs, your DVDs, your external hard disks-but there won’t be anything in the market that will allow you to read the data on it.

This technological obsolescence is a pain in the behind. I object to how frequently it happens, and because it happens for no good reason, as I see it. I have a Windows phone and I LOVE it! The User Interface is fantastic, it is more secure than android phones (when you download an app, it doesn’t ask for permission to access irrelevant things on your phone like your contacts, photographs etc.), stable etc etc. And yet Windows phones have been discontinued, meaning sooner or later I will have to say bye bye to my perfectly functional Lumia 535. Why were they discontinued? Because there wasn’t enough demand. Why didn’t people want Windows phones? One of the biggest reasons seemed to be the lesser variety of apps in the market (Android has a free for all thing going-anybody can upload an app in Google play store. Windows had a screening process of sorts I hear) and app developers not updating the Windows version of apps. The death of Windows phones did not come about because of poor design or performance, but because enough people did not take to it because app developers did not devote sufficient time to it because enough people did not use it. Kind of circular, that logic.

And again, Windows Vista. People panned it almost as soon as it came out; it was supposed to be far too heavy. My experience with it was fantastic and it remains my favourite version of Windows till date. Ofcourse, my laptop had a processor that was equal to it (a core 2 duo! 2Ghz!TXXXX top of the line in 2008!); running it on a dual core processor that I tried in a repair shop some months back was a different story. Windows has moved on, and now not one internet browser supports Vista any more. So my old spring green Inspiron 1525 (top of the line! 2008!) had to be retired ONLY because I can’t access the internet on it anymore or run an antivirus on it (no internet, no updates).

Which is a pity because my Inspiron 1525 still out performs many contemporary laptops. That machine came with one heck of a motherboard. Dell doesn’t do ’em like that any more. Nor do other companies building mid-range laptops. In terms of design, colour, PERFORMANCE and fancypantsness, it beats my present computer hollow (an older machine abandoned by my brother, which is several years newer than my 1525).

I switched on the Inspiron 1525 today after several months, full of trepidation, afraid that it would have died on me out of lack of use. But it sprang back to life as if I’d used it just yesterday, and booted in better time than my present laptop! That only amplified the regrets I already have about not being able to use it for all my needs. I mean! It had one of the last non-chicklet keyboards on laptops. I dislike chicklet keyboards, although I have no complaints about Chicklets themselves.

Technology, I don’t like you man. You change for the sake of change. Such a poser you are!

***Gets off the soapbox***




20 Jan

A question prompted by a quote read today morning:

(“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention”)

Is prayer an act?


9 Dec

Always a risky business. Step in to have an inch off and you’ll leave without six, as the jokes go.

I like to have fun with my hair. In the last three years I’ve worn my hair waist length, then chopped it off to a pixie, then grown it out into a bob, then shaved it all off and now I’m growing it out again. Growing out hair is a long process and the part that I’m beginning to dislike is the the once a year snipping process in order to bring some control to the follicular growth. Very few hairdressers are good with (women’s) short hair. I’ve been going to one person for ten years, and he started out by managing my hair quite well. This time though? He was a bit too trigger happy with the ‘thinning out’ scissors and I’ve come out looking like a boy. Sigh.


Additional thoughts

23 Oct

*I feel I was a bit hasty in forming my opinion on #metoo. It seems to have provided an outlet that wasn’t seen to exist before. I withdraw my reservations about it.

*I am deeply fond of soft, creamy cheeses but they are hard to find in India. Brie and Camembert are still found in fancy shops, but what I really give my heart to is frishkaese, which was wonderfully cheap in Germany, especially if you bought an in-house brand. For around Rs.35 I’d have a 200gm tub of herbed frishkaese, which is a fraction of the price of Amul cheese.

The Germans also make a variety of soft cheeses that taste similar to Brie and Camembert, all for under Euros 2. I love Germany, have I mentioned? 😉

Cheese is not a viable thing to ingest in the hot climates of either Delhi or Calcutta, the two cities that are home to me. So most of the time the lack of availability or expensive imports don’t bother me. Besides, Philadelphia cream cheese isn’t, in my opinion, half as tasty as your average frishkaese.

Sometimes though, the craving hits, and in winters it is permissible to indulge. It was with great delight that I discovered this year that a home-made substitute exists that is very close to the taste I am seeking. And that is a hung-curd dip that my mother makes. When you hang curd long enough it assumes a texture and taste quite like frishkaese, and when you add in whatever additions appeal to you, like garlic, chopped coriander etc etc, it becomes suitably elevated to divine! A bonus: this is actually healthy and good for all weather consumption.

*Salt and vinegar chips are rather yummy. INOX makes a brand of kettle-cooked chips which delivers this flavour at Rs.40 for 50 gms. It’s quite good, though the chips aren’t as tongue-curlingly sour as I’d like. I am, however, not paying ridiculous prices to try the other brands that offer this in India. When I’m not PhDing, (which seems to be always these days!) I begin to fantasize about making these at home, without the maltodextrin.

*I discovered English Breakfast tea in December 2011, in the panic of MPhil coursework exams. I’ve loved it ever since, but haven’t ever had it with milk, because I prefer my tea without milk and sugar. Today I was craving a milky drink and found it tastes as good, maybe even better, with milk.

*The fridge went kaput yesterday and I will be fridgeless for a week until we buy a new one. I’ve never lived without a fridge, ever. I’m very dependent on it, a reflection of my extreme privilege ofcourse, given how monstrously expensive those things are!, and I’m driven to near panic at the thought of existing without one. (I’m almost as dependent on washing machines.) My neighbours are very, very nice and they will keep my cooked food for me whilst I woman up to the challenge of planning my meals without the cushion of storageability.

*This post is almost entirely about food.