Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Bakasuri (The demoness who eats a lot)

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Ever since I changed my way of eating to include a lot more veggies and protein in every meal, eating at restaurants has often led to much unintentional hilarity. Evidence: this lunch time conversation at the cash register of a university canteen in a vegetarian traveler's paradise (India, that is).

Me (to the bored cashier who is more mechanical than a robot):
One order phulka ...
Cashier (in an elevated voice): One order phulka, (his unseeing eyes looking up, more from practice than any need to really see the customer)
Me: Two orders channa masala,
Cashier: 2 order channa masala (his eyes come up for air again)
Me: One order ...
Cashier (looking up now and actually seeing): Parcel a? (want it to go?)
Me (shifting my weight, slightly uncomfortable at the implication): Illai inga saapda thaan. (Erm.. no just to eat here...)
Me: One order palak paneer, One ord...
Cashier (now in a louder voice than before and miming the action of carrying a tiffin carrier): Saappaadu konduvandirukkeengala? (Have you brought food with you?)
Me (stopping mid order wondering why anyone would buy food if they already have food: <blink>
Cashier (helpfully, because, obviously, I am from some other planet): Illai ellaam sides-a irukkae? (because it's all side dishes here).
Me (suppressing a sheepish grin): Ippdi thaan naanga saapduvome! (This is how we eat).
Long silence.
Me (disregarding the stunned pause and resolutely finishing my order): One order kadai vegetable.
Silence that I will not qualify with cliches like "that you could cut with a knife".
Me (looking up because my order was not parroted back at me): <blink>
Cashier (looking at the cashier-in-waiting standing next to him, his jaw still unhinged): <blink?>
Cashier-in-waiting (wide eyed, shrugging his shoulders, flaring his hands and trying not to burst out laughing): <blink!!>

I look expectantly at the two.  The two look expectantly at me. No one moves. Then, as if snapping out of a trance, the Cashier recovers.

Cashier: 230.

In my defense, this was for two people and I still only got 3 molecules of chickpeas, 5.6 molecules of veggies and an ocean of gravy!

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

A No-dig Garden

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Made this garden in just a few hours. I have been looking for things that are pretty to look at and that I can grow in the front yard where the deer and groundhogs and rabbits have free reign. I bought a few things that were considered deer resistant: yarrow and sages. They looked beautiful, until one day, I came back to see them chewed to a nub. Now I am not sure who ate them, but both GH and the deer were supposed to be uninterested in these. So finally it looked the only thing I can grow there are grasses. Thankfully, they seem to not touch them. So far.

So, here is my little island garden featuring Japanese bloodgrass that bought on ebay.

I laid out the 4 Japanese bloodgrass plants the way I wanted them and ended it with a fountain grass plant.

I laid out some cardboard packaging in the area as a base layer. I used old shipping boxes for this.

Then I threw in a lot of soil which I bought in bags. Although, if I were feeling up for more hard labor, I would have ordered some from a garden center and then shoveled them in place. Although in the end, I did not have enough soil and I decided to use the mulch I had had delivered a year ago and which had mostly become soil, with very fat and well fed looking earthworms growing in them.

Placed the plants where they needed to go.

And voila my garden was ready! Felt like an HGTV star!

And to see these Japanese bloodgrass in awesome sunlight! Aaah! Makes everything worthwhile:

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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Evil Clown Pumpkin

This guy was the second shell I created in December 2010. The first one is here. I kept changing my mind about wanted this one was going to be.  I liked the shape so much, I even toyed with the idea of just leaving him be a pumpkin. Finally I decided on making him an evil clown.

I started building him in 2011, but never got around to finishing him.

As you can see, I could not quite make up my mind on where his features should go and what he should look like.

I stopped here in 2011:

I think I like his back better!

I managed to give him a nose in 2012, but that's about it:

The claying began again in earnest this year:

He looks pretty happy that he is finally getting some attention.

Some more finishing touches and some paint later:
 And then he got some colors.

Not sure if I would exactly call him evil...

May be from some angles

All that remains is to "finish him off" with some sealant!

Let me know what you think? Do you like him? Is he evil? Is he just trying to be look evil?

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Saturday, 12 October 2013

Golu 2013 -- The Story Unfolds

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I welcome you to our Golu this year. As they say in Tamizh, "Manjal kunkumam vaangikka vaango" (please come over to accept turmeric and vermillion"!

Let's start with the flowers:

The marrying folks, got married

.. and the Rajasthani quintet played along, while the displaced bricklayer, continued to be displaced!

On the other side of town, the Rajasthani immigrant couple had set themselves us nicely with a Chettiar store (yes, they are aware of the contradictions)
Meanwhile in the rural areas, it was business as usual:

with farmers ploughing the field

Cowherds, herding their cow:

More farmers plying their trade

Last year's harvest was so good, they even pitched in and bought a Spanish bull called Picasso

The hope was that the bull will prove useful in the fields.

But the bull turned out to only be interested in prancing, playing and dancing the tango!

You can see him hear, dancing behind the percussionists for the karagaattakkara troupe!

Although the karagattakkaras danced as per usual

the recent budget cuts meant that the props department was not functioning to full strength. The child artistes were not pleased.

Meanwhile.. in the nearby forest, the tribal folk had run out of most deer and were considering entering into trade agreements with the village folk

 The town cricket championship was planned as per last year (see here), but last minute glitches implied that they had to play on some artificial turf. The match was proceeding well and in fact, a Bahamian Jazz duo were called in for the half time show

but... completely out of the blue, a disgruntled member of the football team from the nearby town, invaded the pitch and declared himself the winner of the match. 

Imagine that! A football player the winner of a cricket match?? No amount of persuasion would make him sea reason. 

All he would repeat was: You talkin' to me?

Most players were too stunned to say anything, but lay dazed, except for the bowler, who was literally too cut up about it!

The town folk decided that it will either have to be natural turf or nothing all, form next year on!

While all this commotion was going in the town cricket pitch, the ManEater of the local forest sauntered out of his lair and wondered: Now, which one should I pick for dinner tonight?

Watching all this, with Zen-like nonchalance was the main attractions, themselves:

Now, please partake of the goodies and see you all next year for the same festivities! Happy Navarathri!!

For 2012 Golu set up, go here:
For ways to grow grass for your Golu, which is a very popular post every year just before Navarathri, go here:

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Friday, 30 August 2013

And...., its all gone!

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Just a couple of posts ago I was raving about my accidental veggie patch.
This patch produced a pumpkin plant, an unknown (to me, that is) creeping squash-esque plant and one potato plant.

The pumpkin plant was flowering profusely, but only producing male flowers.

Then one fine day, this happened

Whoopi-doo! A female plant.

And then, THIS happened

This picture is remarkable, for what you don't see. You don't see all those lovely pumpkins you saw in the earlier post.

Mr (I hope it's not Mrs) Groundhog has found the plant.

Bye, bye pumpkin dreams!

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