Three Six Six

Yeay!!

Three hundred and sixty six days ago I published my first post on this blog ! Yes! that’s just my way to tell you my blog just turned one !

Last year this time , I was typing in my very first post and I had butterflies in my stomach. I was so nervous! I knew that I wanted to explore the blogging world to connect with people and also to find my own voice among many. I did not have any purpose or agenda in mind and no direction where I wanted to take this blog…… a mommy-blog, an opinion blog , a faith blog or something else all together. I was overwhelmed by the idea of creating my audience, creating my brand and may be one day – one day gain some monetary benefit. I did not know how long I would be able to sustain it. (confession- I had started my first blog in 2008 and wrote only a few posts and never went back to it)

I did not know much but this I knew that Life is a beautiful journey not only in its ups but also in its downs and even in the plateaus  when we think nothing much is happening. I was stuck on a plateau myself. My maternity leave had ended and I did not have a job to go back to. I was looking for community and an creative outlet and in the blogging world I found both. As I have realized in the last year, blogging is more about connecting with persons individually more than a mass audience. I also realized that I don’t necessarily have to divide my self into tiny fragments, my work, my opinions, my crafting/drawing effort, my mommy-ing are all part of me and that is what my blog is all about- The journey of life and all the everyday, common , mundane pieces that hold it all together and make it worthwhile.

Mine is a still a small blog and I have got a lot to learn but this journey has been every bit enjoyable!

To those of you who have written wonderful, beautiful, stylish, inspiring and lovely blogs themselves- Thank you – You have been an motivation & set the bar high.

To those of you who followed this blog and to those who stopped by and left a comment- Shukriya, karam, Meherbaanee!! (thank you,  your favor and grace on me!)

GREAT THOUGHTS

After all that is what matters!!

All of March – I have asked my friends to join me on this ride and I will be sharing some of their work with you in a series of guest blog features. So Keep tuned in!

Phir Milenge!!

Advertisements

It’s Bubbling!!

They say you can never learn to swim by standing ashore. Even though I have been in the water, I never ventured deep enough to really swim. The only one time I was in deep waters, I was clutching on to my  life-vest and my husband who was swimming besides me. Even as a young girl I quit cycling when the time came to remove the training wheels. Something deep inside me is afraid of getting hurt. I came across the term ‘catastrophic Imagination’ on the blogosphere somewhere. It eludes to imagining the worst possible outcome of any given situation.

I cannot tell you how many things I backed out from once I realized there was one small chance of failure. Some failed attempts s where I did try something new and go out of my comfort zone continue to discourage me more than the encouragement some successes could provide. As such I have been most happy in my own shell, although the desire to go beyond keeps popping its head. I loved doodling and creating since childhood and thought well of myself.  When I studying architecture, I was blessed to be in the company of very talented bunch of  students and professors, yet instead of learning from them I increasingly shrunk into my own shell. I saw their work, immense talent that they had and felt very very small. I felt I was no good. I wish I had not done that.

You can imagine , how much emotional energy I would have wasted before I started this blog. But this journey has been worthwhile. With every post, even though I questioned myself and doubted my efforts I became better. I realized somethings that hold a lot of value to me may not mean anything to others but that should not stop me from trying. Here on this blog, I have been able to share some drawings and poems online that I would have otherwise considered too silly to share.

Once again , I am bubbling with small new ideas of things I want to do and even if my fears are pulling me back , I am making a few strides forward. I shared sometime ago that I have been working on some drawings , So I thought I will share one of those with you.

Peter sinks

Time will tell how far my little drawing project will go. Hopefully I will share the details with you soon.

Phir Milenge!!

Post 31: Taking stock

Almost everyone makes a list at the year end – Every tv channel , magazine, newpapers make lists of one kind or the other – even me; and otherwise list-hater. My husband is often surprised that we get our grocery shopping done in our once-a-week grocery run without a shopping list.

Every year- end I look at all the picture from the year to remind myself of the happenings of the year. Not just what I can remember from the top of my head but small things that have been recorded photographically but I have otherwise forgotten. I look at last year’s calendars for major events and even new clothes I bought. I like doing this kind of memory recap at the end of every year especially since I got married.

In 2012, I had another record of sorts to look through, my blog archives. This is not my first attempt at blogging. I started a blog in 2008 but It was abandoned after a few post and despite my attempts at reviving it, I gave up. This blog however has been different because I was able to find an online community of like minded people, inspiring writers and artists who have kept my interest in blogging alive. I also realized that I had a lot more things I wanted to say and I had the time to sort out my thoughts and write them. My aim at starting the blog was to not only to journal my life’s experiences but also to grow and learn. As a stay at home mom , blogging provided me an opportunity to connect to people from with in the comfort of my own home and in between feedings and diaper changes.

In this year I published 125 posts, almost 5400 views and 90+ followers. I have to say I never thought my blog would ever be read by anyone beyond my immediate families. So Thank you to all of you who stuck around. I have also started to follow many blogs and I have learnt so much from those artists, travellers, thinkers, adventurers, writers, and cooking aficionados than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for broadening my horizons and letting me be a part of things I haven’t done, places I haven’t seen or food I haven’t yet cooked/eaten. Your words have been a doorway to newer experiences.

This post also coincides with the completion of my project- Sententia 31 which I started specifically to keep my self on track, Improve the quality of my posts and to keep my self encouraged. So here is a snapshot of how I fared.

photo-28

 

I hope the coming year would bring you refreshment, reenergize you and renew your hopes and goals.

Phir Milenge!!

Post 24: Chutney

One thing I have realized since the time I have been blogging is that I would not make a good food blogger. The reason is simple. I forget to take pictures while cooking and whenever I go dining else where, I cannot resist the urge to jump on the food before taking pretty pictures of presentation. Most of the recipes that have been handed down from my mother do not come with standard measurements and have to be based on what you see and taste while cooking. so why another food post? – Blogging about food has been a good way to chronicle some of the recipes that I have learnt.

The word ‘Chutney’ or ‘chutnee’ (pronounced CHətnē ) refers to a condiment made of fruits or vegetables, usually savoury with some tangy flavours thrown in. The chutney is very often ground to a paste like consistency (a barring a few recipes that are chunky in texture). The chutney is usually tangier or spicier than the food itself since it is supposed to enhance the favours of plain dishes. Here are two of the chutney’s I have learnt from my mother-in-law as they happen to be my husband’s favourite condiments to go with idli’s or dosa. Whoever said ” the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach”, knew what she was talking about.

Tomato chutney

You’ll need:

Shallots- a handful

Green chillies- to taste

Tomatoes- 2 medium sized, diced

Garlic -6-7 cloves

Mustard seed- 1/2 tsp.

Curry leaves

oil

salt to taste

Grind together the garlic cloves, green chillies, tomatoes and chopped shallots or mini onions (you can use onions if you want but choose the one that is not sweet) to a fine paste. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the tomato-garlic paste, salt and let it cook till the chutney thickens to a desired consistency.photo 1-1

You would know the taste is right when you can taste the tang from the tomatoes and a slight flavour of garlic. This chutney serves as a good marinade for chicken and will remain in the fridge for upto a week. I often use it as a base for curries when I am slightly pressed for time.

Ridge Gourd Chutney:

Ridge gourd or turai or beerakai is a common vegetable in India. You might know it as Luffa. yes , Luffa…the bathing loofah is made of this vegetable once dried. You may find different regional variations of the ridge-gourd chutney online but the recipe I have learnt only uses the outer skin of the vegetable.

ridge+gourd

Image via.
You’ll need:

One medium sized ridgegourd- peel the skin(or the first few millimetres with a paring knife)

Garlic cloves-5-6

green chillies,

salt to taste

mustard seeds and urad daal – 1/2 tsp.

tamarind- 2 marble sized (Soak in water and extract the pulp)

Curry leavesphoto 2-1Heat Oil. Add mustard seeds, urad daal and curry leaves followed by the ridge gourd skins, green chillies and garlic. Cook till the skins start to soften. Add salt and cook some more.

Let it cool and grind with the tamarind pulp. add the tamarind pulp in small portions , taste often to check that the sourness does not overpower the flavour. A good chutney would have a balance of spicy and tangy.

The remaining vegetable can be cut into chunks and used in sambhar or mixed vegetable preparations.

Phir Milenge!!

Post 5: when technology gets the better of you

You have all reason to doubt my mathematical skills….after all four comes after three not before and five follows four not three. In this case however, I am safe to say that technology got the better of me. Seeing how much I have been lagging behind in meeting my blogging goals, I decided to jump ahead by creating a day four post and put in it auto-publish mode with a date. But my day three post took so long in the making that by the time I pushed the publish button, the post four had already hit the bolgosphere. (lesson learnt- keep sufficient time between the post being worked on and one of auto-publish!)
This is not the first time I have been overwhelmed and outwitted by technology though. I must confess I am not a self learner when it comes to gadgetry and computers. My younger sis however, learns to master these with in few minutes of laying her hands on them. Growing up in India in the 80’s has meant that I have been able to live in the radio age , the black & white tv era and then transitioned to computers and lived to witness the current technological revolution. I was super excited when my parents bought home a color television with a remote , it was a big deal ….. That meant my sister and I didn’t have to be the remote. Our neighbor’s telephone was our first number – india was like that (big grin) …… It was a matter of pride for our neighbors to share. they would happily call uncle jee from next door when his relatives called from out of town And a tea session ensued while uncle jee waited for his relative to call back. It was a big community builder, I must say. Our first telephone connection took more than 6 months to come by, and then we were on tea duty as well, but soon enough phones became more common place and the sharing caring spirit of the neighborhood was limited to winter knitting sessions of Aunty-jees and morning walk/yoga sessions in the park.( even those are becoming rarer by the day).

I still remember my unpleasant first date with our automatic washing machine. It looked fancy with all it’s buttons but it made such noise on it spin cycle that I almost ran out screaming ( I actually did run out screaming) and then there were video games ( sorry Mario , I could not rescue your girlfriend or for that matter proceed beyond world 1) I think the hand held controller was my undoing and you can very well imagine my shock and awe when I saw the current Xbox and play station controllers for the first time, it had controls on sides; it’s back ; almost everywhere ( I bow to young kids who are already the masters over these). And then came the Internet which took me so long to understand. As I said , I am not a self-learner when in comes to all the new technical stuff, but I did well under structured instruction in learning the softwares that were needed for work. My current nemesis is my DSLR camera, and I am struggling with the manual settings( which I assumed I would be ok with because it’s manual), I guess the auto setting were created for people like me . I think I am An old grandma in a young(-ish) mom’s body when it comes to all things technical and all gadgets.
I am glad the companies that make these products are making them easier to understand and operate. That gives me hope for the future!

Phir mileage!!!