Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers' Day

"A father
is a banker
provided by nature."

The one liner may be funny,
but its not
in jest.

A father is the one who,
when you are packing for a trip
and the mother is busy packing things to eat
secretly tucks
some extra money
in your backpack
for you to find later.

When you ask a father
what he wants
for a birthday, anniversary, or Father's Day
the answer is usually "Nothing."

When people think of
unconditional love
they think of mother
and miss out
on fathers
smiling gently
as the family
narrates a picnic
or a day of vacation
well spent
while they toiled
at their work place.

To fathers
who invest
their time, involvement and love
in nurturing a child.
While also working
to provide..

Happy Fathers' Day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

10 day itinerary in Switzerland for Indians

1. You do not need 10 days in Switzerland if you are from India. If you want to see Jungfrau and Titlis, go to Eastern Himachal. If you want to see the rest of Swiss, to go Western Himachal or southern reaches of JnK.


2. Book EVERYTHING directly. Not through a travel agent. This includes insurance, ticket, visa and stay. The Swiss Airlines website offers insurance. Just take that. Everything else is a breeze. The VFS website for visa was more helpful than our stupid agent.


3. The place is one painting after another. There is good architecture and everything is overpriced.


4. Don't stay in a hotel. Use AirBnb and book an apartment. Europe has no concept of service. Better to at least get a good space for yourself.


5. Do not stay at the following places:
https://www.agoda.com/en-gb/schwizi-s-apartments/hotel/ringgenberg-ch.html?cid=-208


6. Buy a first class Swiss pass. It is better than the DB pass for Germany in that it covers all forms of travel within Swiss and gives you flexibility.


7. Do NOT buy cuckoo clocks or anything else. Everything from the same brands is available in India much cheaper.


Will share the itinerary etc. soon. But basically, we are bored to death on the 7th day.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

How to lose your advantage

In a country of 22 recognised languages and 2400 dialects, 90% of our reading is in English. Most of us cannot even read in an Indian language fluently.


Its not tragic for the languages. Its tragic for us. Our entire thought process is limited to what one language can offer. Its like being born in a university, and choosing to spend your life in a pre school.

Today's Gratitude

2 awesome things happened today..


1. I opened the balcony and heard the unmistakable sound of a.. lizard. Needless to add, there was a frantic Where-is-it search. After a while, I realised, the sound was coming, not from the vicinity, but from the green patch in front of the balcony. And its not a lizard.. its the sound of crickets in the forest. I have not stopped smiling since!


2. My son was trying to go play, and was wondering when his friends will reach the park. Suddenly, the doorbell rings, and I hear the loudest "Where are you, my friend? I am here!" - The entire gang was here!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The flora of Sikkim


Sikkim is a botanist's dream come true.
I am not a botanist, but the sheer variety or plants and leaves leaves one speechless.

So this trip, I tried to find out more about the local flora of Sikkim. To my utter dismay, while there were articles on the internet, not one of them referred to the local names of the plants. They had weird Latin names and some description. But the thing is, the people who live in these places have had a long standing relationship with these plants. They have names, and uses and truly a deep connect. Why is that knowledge not being captured anywhere?

So this is a different sort of feature on Sikkim flora. The next day, I took my driver with us as a guide, and requested him to tell me anything he could about the plants we found on our way. The Sikkim zoo is amazing for plant varieties, so that's where this is from.

The names are mostly Nepali, though some day I would love to go back and do the same thing with a Lepcha guide too.





Brush. About 1.5 meters in height. Red flowers in Feb-March.

Flowering shrub

सिंघानी - goat fodder

लांकूर - Timber. The leaves are dark, and roughly the size of mango leaves.

Cow fodder only.

This one is simply called red flower. Flowering shrub

सातो कावला - Tall, sturdy stem used for timber




पतले कातूस - used for timber


लाल चन्दन - USED FOR TIMBER

Jungle Patti. Used as cow fodder.

चुलात्रो  - only used for cow fodder

सांप का मकई - No particular use, and not a plant the locals are very fond of.

सांप की मकई leaves. The leaves have a gentle magenta outline and veins.

धूपी  - All conifer leaves are burnt in the gompa/ stupa for incense. And the smell is truly heavenly. Since they are used for Dhoop, hence the name Dhoopi.

तुसारे is a flowering shrub. No other use.

लालू पत्ती - flowering shrub


शिष्नु - edible leafy vegetable

Punjabi Bhuna masala



My mother was right. If you cook the masala gently over a low flame, it will reward you with amazing color and texture. 


Many years ago:

 Me: But how will i know when the masala is ready? 


 

She: When it is ready, it will automatically stop sticking to everything. It will let go of the pan that held it and the ladle that drove it.

Applies also, i think, to people. When we are ready, we spontaneously let go.


The Punjabi bhuna masala - the way it is made at home. No artificial color added.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A dream...

One of my bucket list dreams is to create the next Ceaser or Capitalism Labs out of India. Does anyone else share the same dream?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Personal Credo

Why I never have an answer to those " 5 year plan" type questions? I live by this:
Today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today.


That's all.

On Mother's Day..

I honestly did try to look for a Mother's Day pic with my mom, Ishaan's paternal grandmother, my bhabi, and the other awesome moms i know.. then realised.. there are so few, because the mothers are the ones taking the pictures!
The mother is not in the picture, because she is the one creating it.
Happy Mother's Day, dear moms of my life.