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Showing posts from May, 2010

Adventures in the Kitchen

Like most people, I didn't spend much time in the kitchen before I was married.  I loved eating out, but when it came to cooking, I'd have happily lived on tea and sandwiches if no one was around to cook.  When I came to India, and got married to Yash, I just got busy having babies for a few years.  My mother-in-law was very active and on top of things in those days, and  more than was more than happy to keep things in control where the kitchen was concerned.  But by the time I'd been here about seven years, I was sick and tired of being told what a saint she was and how lucky I was.  I'd been brought up with the value that if someone puts food in front of you you should shut up and eat it.  No complaints please and remember your gratitude.  After a while you get fed up being grateful.  Not to mention having no right to complain.

It's not that Indian cooking is difficult, but it is what you might call an acquired skill.  Someone can tell you how to do it, but until…

How Did This Happen?

When I was a single girl, I always swore, that should marriage happen to me, I would never be one of those 'smug married' types.  As a single woman whose boyfriend was living in a different continent, I didn't get the opportunity to flaunt my status as others were doing.  St. Valentines Day was particularly tedious as I had to put up with the girls in my office flaunting their roses and Valentine cards.  I wouldn't like to be a person who would put another poor soul through that type of misery.

Well, I couldn't have done it even if I wanted to.  My husband Yash has never showered me with roses nor Valentine cards.  If I ever complain about this matter he says "at least you have me!"  Flawless logic, I suppose.

One of the Hindu marriage symbols is 'sindoor' or red/maroon/orange powder worn in the hair parting (maang).  This is usually applied for the first time on the wife by the husband  during the marriage ceremony.  But to tell the truth, I only…

Unselfish Trees

I read somewhere once that the Garden of Eden was full of perfect luscious fruits.  I also read somewhere else that the most perfect diet for mankind is a fruit diet.  Well I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't lived in India.  My country of origin, Ireland, is wonderful in many ways, but not for fruit.  Most of the fruit I grew up eating was imported. Apples, oranges and bananas were always in abundant supply in my home, thanks to my wonderful mother.  But yes, all imported.

But in India it is a different story.  We have wonderful melons and mangoes at this time of the year. These fruits are so wonderful, that I would happily live on them.  I never thought I would say anything like that before I came to live here.   Our locally grown mangoes don't seem to be quite ready yet, but maybe that's just me.  I mightn't have encountered them yet.  And if they are yet expensive in the market, my household members will not purchase them.

Our back to back neighbours have …

Unexpected News

Yesterday, in the early afternoon, the servant of Mrs. Suman Sharma, a neighbourhood friend of mine, came to the gate and invited me to a 'Shanti Path' in Suman's house at 5 pm in the evening.  I told him I would be there.

Now, a 'Shanti Path' is a religious ceremony performed in a home when someone has died.  I was a little embarrassed to ask the servant who had passed away.  I'm a friend, I should know.  My mother in law advised me to just go, and find out when I got there.

I didn't reach Suman's house, a large house standing in its own land a few hundred yards away from my own house, until around 6 o'clock, but the ceremony was only beginning.  I quickly took in what was going on, and realised that the deceased was none other than Suman's father-in-law, a wonderful old gentleman who had enjoyed good health right up to the very end of his life.  What a peaceful death.

Suman's late father in law was a very nice person.  He was a doctor and …

Back In Time...

When I came out to India in 1994, I had to spend long hours alone as my husband was out for most of the day, on his daily commute to the next city.  I spent a lot of time in the company of my two nephews, Praveen and Prabhat, who were about six and four years old respectively.

Praveen and Prabhat found it fascinating that I didn't speak Hindi and spoke only in English.  They had lots of opportunities to practise their English with me, as they were learning it in school.  I found it very amusing the way they used the language.

Like all kids, they loved to tease.  One day, they were in a very giddy mood, laughing a lot.

"Maria aunty is fat girl," I heard them calling out, laughing loudly.

"Boys!  What are you saying?" I asked them, pretending to frown and show a bit of annoyance.  I decided to play along with this.  Of course I knew I wasn't fat, but they had figured out that the best way to annoy a lady is to make remarks about how fat she is.  Yes, they we…

Wedding (Night) Album

Surekha passed me a photograph album as we were drinking coffee.

"Have you seen my wedding night photographs?" she asked casually.
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I nearly choked on the biscuit I was eating.  Was she serious?

"Umm.....no!  Don't think so," I mumbled.  Had I misheard?  Where I come from that means only one thing.  And it is not an occasion for taking photographs.  Was she mad?

Then the light dawned.  I smiled.  Of course!  Most Hindu weddings take place during the night.

"You mean the photos of the night you got married.  Right?"

"No!  I mean the first night I spent with my husband after we got married," she replied.

The woman was determined to be difficult.  I braced myself for what was coming next.

"Emm....it sounds like a very private occasion..." I ventured.  "Are you sure you want to share them?"

"Of course!  Why not?  They're very nice.  Here, take a look."

I needn't have worried.  They were so innocent.  A ph…