Stepping into 2014

Aaah soon another year is about to end. Its celebration time throughout the world - letting go the year that created so many memories and welcoming the fresh new year that'll carry with it the unkowns.

2013 for me has been good. Travelling to places, meeting new faces, plentiful adventures, amidst crazy people and more.

The year has beautiful bag of memories that will be cherished down the years.

I had a twist for each of the festival celebrated this year - Be it the cusine or the decoration or dressing up for the occasion , I wanted it to be different in a way by itself still maintaining the authenticity of the festival in the right spirits.

So with joy I welcome the new year saying a sweet GoodBye for a wonderful year 2013 has been.




Traffic Masti.

Traffic masti!
There were days when people asked about the "weather" when we meet in the mornings maybe at the
lounge or while walking up the stairs or say while making hot coffee up there in the pantry. Now the subject seem to have moved to "Bangalore Traffic". I walk into the office premise, the security man asks "madam, aaj itna late.. Traffic zyaada kya?"["Madam, you're late today. Was the traffic so bad?"]. I give him a nod and a sheepish smile sticks to my face. Next a colleague greets with a sweaty hand and says " Oh pathetic roads and damn the growing traffic." Remember, I have the smile still stuck to my face. Hence only exchange of morning greetings continue.

I read this somewhere.

Man1: Sir , I guess you have a Honda City.
Man2: Yes thats right I have the super class car but no roads to drive on.
Man1 and Man2 : ***Smiles***

That is so true!!!

There have been too many cartoon strips on Bangalore traffic. Each one is hilarious than the
other.
Definitely I picked these up from the web.



Hope there is some light shown towards this problem. If only people can start using Public transport things will drastically change. But they don't , I dont understand the reason why.. Do you?

The festival of lights.

It was an awesome zone of having so much happening around, my head constantly buzzing and
my heart so filled with joy and life.

I would not make an attempt to re-iterate the details of what Deepavali(or the festival of lights) is about. Instead I'd present the celebrations I got involved in.

The office floor was so full of noise the day before the festival. The HR team had organised a couple of events .. which is a business as usual. I was nominated for the Diya painting competition without my knowing. In order to keep the spirits high, I agreed. No ideas and no preparation , packed the paints and brush in a bag and bought the Diyas from a nearby store. Festivities call for a traditional gathering and I dont miss a chance of clinging on to my sarees. To beat that I travel in the local buses. I painted the Diyas with fabric and glitter paints Thanks for the help of a colleague, I had completed the event on time and bagged the 2nd place.

Diya's getting decorated.


Several teams of 6 each were participating in the rangoli competition. Here's how they looked at the end. I and a talented friend of mine, kind of jumped to the rescue of a team of 6 guys who had all the required colors and equipments. We came up with an impromptu theme and design and here is how it looked. This did not get a prize though it fit exactly right to the theme of lights. Amen to the final judgment.





And the Rangoli is here : 


With the zest and fervor to be continued for the next four vacation days, it was an awesome feeling to head back home that evening.Festivals come along with a lot of calories too. Forget about them for the rest of the read as its definitely going to drool you of the mentioned eateries. In south India we prepare sweet dish made of rice flour and jaggery deep fried in ghee - called as kajjaya. I was making this for the first time and it turned out good, was sweeped off in a go. Thankfully I clicked a picture before they vanished.  Other mouth watering dishes served was Semiya kheer, paneer curry, ridge gourd pakodas, dal vadas and more.


I had a rangoli spread in the house as well. Painted a few more Diyas and lighted them up welcoming goddess Lakshmi.

A few sparkling crackers to mark the brightness of our future was lit. I loved clicking a few moments of the entire journey this Deepavali. And here is my favourite one.






What the heck did you do this year for Deepavali.?

Restaurant vists-cum-adventures in the last few weeks.

Me, a sub-unit of this well known Silicon-World called MNC’s, working in one of the IT giants located in a major business hub in Bangalore, its plain and simple to go munch on a well-spread-buffet in a nearby restaurant as often as it may be.

If there is to be a definition to the frequency of such kinds of visits then probably a random algorithm best fits in. No specific day, no specific reason, we are hungry - we head out to the nearest eat-out.

It’s not that easy as it sounds. For those specific hygiene freaks, the options nail down to a very few restaurants that stand up to their standards, but for the happy-go-lucky-ones like me even a golgoppa wala[Indian Street chats] on the road would be more than fine to substitute a light meal.

There is a Cafeteria stationed in almost every premise but hell with their quaality of food and their high rates. Who would want to eat the dry-tasteless Rotis [Indian breads] with “Yelloooooooooooooooooooooow” Dal [I am exaggerating for sure but the amount of turmeric that goes into it every day is really way too much] and a Garlicy-manchurian [I pity those who have no other option].

The mantra goes like this - you get what you pay for.

So having said all that let me introduce you to the new flavors I've tasted in the recent times. A small eat-out typically a kind of a Mess called the "Krishna Punjabi" has been a huge hit among my office group who flaunt on desi phulkas, dal and sabji. With these sky-rocketing rates of veggies the 'bhaiyya' there cheerfully [pun intended] gives an onion salad to balance the thali to the perfection. He has recently introduced a green chatni (" a little chilli - a little tangy "). The lassi after the super-desi meal is a great treat and I love this part the best of the entire lunch. The whole meal is not heavy on the pocket and you are more than satisfied with the quality.

Next, I cannot forget mentioning the "4 seasons" restaurant which opened roughly about a year ago. The first visit here, we had no reservation and the guy in the reception made us wait and wait and wait….for close to an hour with his simple statement everytime we ask for the status of our table - "paanch min sir/madam"[Five min Sir/Madam]. About one hour up, his paanch [5] minutes had come to an end. Finally!! We laid our asses on a well cushioned new sofa and I could hear our tummies calling out for food. Next minute, I see everyone around the center table where the spread was laid. Food was good. I don’t rate it the best but a normal should be okay for the standards and the variety. Hygienic freaks -- this is for you, as you get no normal water served on table. It is a mandate to buy bottled water for a rate of 35 bucks each to quench your thirst. I really don’t know why it is so. Next time I go there [May be not in the next six months], will have to inquire about the spiked rates.

I love soft Rotis that melt in the mouth [as shown in some of these commercials to promote their company's wheat flour].So the stop point am going to discuss here next is a newly opened hang out called " Happy Singh". First thing I noticed as I read this name - A smile on my face. That very moment I made it a point to visit this restaurant if I'd get a chance. The day arrived and as usual the office group reached right on time to get a table for 4. Order placed. Waiting for the makki ka roti, sarson ka saag[Authentic Punjabi spread with bread and curry] felt like hours. The place is new and so are the guys employed there. Next visit to this place is going to be after a few weeks, hoping by then they are on their feet running from one customer to the other, serving at the speed of light. A lip smacking lassi with a hint of Rooh-afza made it a complete meal. I loved the essence of ghee in the saag.[In actual I dont like ghee, but here was an exception]. A panner starter was excellent in taste but not worth the money in terms of quantity. Overall I would mark this an "okay to visit once in a quarter" :).


Recently a day out on a weekend had been to a well known mall in the city.

Are you the one who counts on calories on your diet? Do you love flavoured yogurt? And are berries your favourite? Then yougurberry is the stuff for you. It’s easy simple and yummy too. As soon as I saw this yogurberry counter the first thing I was reminded of was a fat Punjabi foodie chef who had given out certain tips on making your morning cereal a bit of interesting using yogurt and berry concentrate. On indulging this parfait at yogurberry, I bet to try something similar at home very soon. A low on fat and low on calories, exactly what I was looking for. My choice of parfait came with one premium topping - and 5 regular toppings with a cereal and yogurt of my choice. Aaah this was the best part. I could customize this yummy stuff but for a cost of 205/- I think that was a little on the higher side.

Late in the afternoon, I happened to munch on some quality Italian food. Basil, dry tomatoes, olive oil, and thyme - the aroma still lingers on. The queen of the day was a bite of Waffles dipped in a low-sweet maple syrup. A sweet day, indeed it was!


Signing off on a sweet note for now with the semi-sweet-soft waffles from Cafe-Noir.

A general Rant and lot of following up.

Its been a long time escape from my blog. MIA mainly because of the technical glitches. Okay now to get to the fact lets see whats happening on my side of the world that I have to share. I've been busy with home, work and other miscellaneous activities.

A lot of shopping, a lot of cooking, and some time spent on painting - Time is just wading away. With Nagpanchami marking the start on the festivals in India have been busy with a lot of fun filled activities.

Some highlights to mention from the missing period:

1. Participation in Painting competition in Office and winning of course. Here is a glimpse of what I painted.

2. Participating in pookalam(Rangoli with Flowers) for the Onam celebrations - A team effort shown below.
Bad luck as this did not win the prize though got a special mention by a lot of co-workers.:(


At home have been cooking and baking a lot of things. You can visit my food blog for some updates.

I have not forgotten my other hobbies - photography, painting and nail art. Have been able to spend some time here and there doing the best I can. Here are stuff to prove that am still on my toes doing things that interests me. I am making all the effort to revive the same enthusiasm and energy into my blogging activity. Wish me luck on this innings too.









Meanwhile I thank all those readers who have been sending in emails to check on me. Everything is fine on my side. Just that had been lazy to turn attention here and also a part of blame goes to all the technical glitch preventing me to get into my blog.

Please excuse me if I haven't visited your blog in a long time. I have too much to catch up on and will definitely do so here on.

ರಂಗೋಲಿ!


ತಂಪಾದ ಮುಂಜಾನೆ
ಮಂಜು ಬೀಳೋ ಸದ್ದಿನಲಿ
ಕೇಳಿಸಿದೆ ನನ್ನಯ ಹೆಸರು
ನಿನ್ನದೇ ದನಿಯಲಿ

ಪಿಸುಗುಡುತ ಮಾತೊಂದ
ಕಿವಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಇಟ್ಟ ಹಾಗೆ
ಇಬ್ಬನಿಯ ಒಂದು ಹನಿ
ಎಲೆಯ ಮಡಿಲ ಸೇರಿದೆ

ಮಲ್ಲಿಗೆಯ ಗಿಡದಲ್ಲಿ
ಬಿಳಿ ಹಾಸಿಗೆ ಚೆಲ್ಲಿದ ಹಾಗೆ
ಮನವು ಶುಬ್ರ
ಬಿಳಿಯ ಹಾಳೆಯಾಗಿದೆ

ರಂಗು ರಂಗಿನ ರಂಗೋಲಿ
ದಿನಕರನಿಗೆ ಉದಯ ಹಾಡಿರಲು
ಹಕ್ಕಿಯ ಗುನುಗಿನ ಚಿಲಿಪಿಲಿಯಲಿ
ಹೊಸ ರಾಗ ಹುಟ್ಟಿದೆ

ಭತ್ತದ ತೆನೆ ಮೇಲೆ
ಚಿನ್ನದ ಕಿರಣ ನಲಿಯುತಿರಲು
ನನ್ನ ಕಣ್ಣು ತೆರೆದಾಗ
ಸಂತೋಷದ ಸಾಗರ ಹರಿದಿದೆ

- ಅಶ್ವಿನಿ

3 cups of Coffee and 3 budding Photographers!!

That describes all the fun "we" had at Wayanad. Here Wayanad I come again.

It was Unplanned,not forseen, a never-dreamt of event.A friend DB had made a vague reservation at a wild resort in Wayanad - "Coffe Acres". I shall not forget to mention that it was YD's elaborate research on the resorts that really helped. Yo!! 3 Cheers. She will be the official research specialist henceforth when we plan a trip. You hearing?
 A couple from chennai(DB & DK),a couple from Hyderabad(MB & RJ) and a couple from Bangalore(AN & SV) + YD consititue "We".

DB & DK reached Bangalore early Saturday morning. The Chennai mail got them here by 5. As always the religious, loyal and reliable Indian railways, one of the trains had to be late. This time it was the one from Hyderabad. The train was delayed by an hour.


The always lazy YD, had taken the initiative this time to make this trip possible. All of us needed this well deserved break from the stiff, congested and lifeless urban crawl. It was undoubtedly lovely and exciting.

The whatsapp exchanges, phone calls and the wait to meet college friends was not just nostalgic but more to that. The plan was to start by 6:30 AM hoping to reach the destination by noon. Now, with the lazy bumbs around do you think it is ever possible. Excuse me! Two facts to be noted here:
a) We were meeting after a long time - High priority to catch up on all lost talks.
b) The hyderabad train was delayed. Oooh!

Mr Prakash, driver for the trip was waiting at the railway station in Bangalore to pick up the couples from Chennai and Hyderabad. Poor chap he had made it there by 6 AM in his super Innova. Simple and silent describes all of him.

YD, me and SV were waiting for the rest at my place. And they arrive. Sipping hot ginger tea was a great start for the fresh morning. We finally set for the trip still not sure of the destination. Coorg, Bandipur, Mysore.. options popped up. But it was good we stuck to the intial plan - Wayanad.

Finally we start...
Crossing RVCE brought all the memories back in a flash ~ DL(Dreamland), Kool Corner, IT department, Canteen, Samadhi(yeah we have one in the campus)!!

Stop! Stop! Stop!
Hungry folks - Hogged at Janapada loka - Buffet Breakfast [Kotte Idli,Masala Dosa, Akki rotti, Upma, Kesari bath , Jilebi, Jackfruit appam, medu-vada.] Guys am I missing on something.. Yes fruit
juice and fresh fruits for the health-freaks. Cracked the same old Pj's(poor jokes) from college. We never get bored of them.

YD's dad had given us a great idea of visitng Kokkare Bellur. Having started late , we thought a little detouring should not cost much. This indeed turned a major highlight of our trip. We found pelicans - lot of them this season. The shutterfreaks went mad photographing them in all possible modes.


Hmmmph! A bright sun over the head was dehydrating all of us. A break for lunch at mysore - We could have had 3 meals in the time they took to serve us a couple of rotis , dal and curd rice. Service can be adjectivized as a superlative of poor. Crazy YD and DB ordered a plate of green salad. Oh that was just a few slices of tomatoes cut in a hapazard way with a dash of onions and cucumber. It looked like the server literally threw it on their face. Thank god they did not order the Maharani Salad which was on the menu.

Enroute to Coffee Acres on the main road of the jungle we spot a couple of deers, stags and elephants. The weather turned pleasant as we entered the streets of Wayanad. RJ's GPS directed us to Coffee Acres.

Cottages amidst the green coffee plantations drifted us to a different world altogether.  An expensive dinner in a homely style coupled with lot of fun brought the evening to an end. Another young group of all boys - danced to the tunes of local music around the bonfire.

High hopes of waking up for an early safari next morning went for a toss. Cameras clicked the morning dews, surrounding greens and a few romantic portraits of the couples.
Plan changes ~ Edkal caves to be visited before the Safari at 3pm.
Oh that cave expedition did not happen!! ~ short of time. We made it till the entrance though. :(








Safari was no good either. Only a sight of a bison that almost resembled a huge Jersy cow on the streets of Bangalore is what we got to see. The trees were dry, the season and the timing was not apt for a safari. Bad luck!



Hunger pricks. "No good hotel nearby" - Says Mr Prakash. Atlast Nanjangud is where we had our lunch-cum-evening snacks. A beautiful Mysore Palace stood even more serene with all the lights lit on a sunday evening. I was dumbstruck with what I saw - Tiny bulbs around the castle reminded me of the fairy tales watched on cartoon network. No wonder it still stands as a beauty of the state.


3 hours of more fun and tiredness brought us back to Bangalore.

This was a long pending post drafted in February 2013.

Z - Zillion Thanks

I would to thank a zillion times for all those who visit here and see what I have in store. Its been a pleasure taking part in this A-Z series. I am doing this for the first time and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here's a photo that carries the zest of cheerful life.



I'd love to hear from all of you following this A-Z series on my blog. 

Y - Yellow

Random Shades of Yellow. Lovely yellow flowers from the wild. Hope you love them.




X - The X factor

There is something extra and unique of this cat that makes it the king of its surroundings. I call it the X factor of his that makes him favourite in the household.


 

W - Window

I had a fantasy of capturing various windows. Some from my collection are put up here.








V - Vada

Oh how can go without mentioning the medhu vada's on this series. They are Indian donuts. Not sweet and made of rice and black gram with a little spice twist and salt. The chutney that accompanies it makes a wonderful snack.

So here is Vada's for you!

 

U - Umbrella Tree

To be precise Queensland Umbrella tree as it is commonly known was a new tree for me. I had never seen this species until recently and I was so amused by the fact of its shape. Resembles the umbrella spikes very clearly. Scientifically it is known as Schefflera actinophylla. It is an evergreen tree and a native to tropical forests and Gallery forests of Australia.



T - Tree in Sepia

A tree and the path in Sepia to get to the good old days when color photography was still to boom.
I love this photo for its simplicity and the beauty it carries.

S - Sculptures

India is a land of heritage. We have very old scuptures that are seen in many historic places
(scattered in almost all parts of India).

A few of them are captured and displayed to give you a glimpse.



R - Rejoicing

Happiness makes anyone cheerful. Here's one such monkey that's rejoicing to the fullest.


Q - Quiet

Peaceful and quiet is a place I love. Silence and quite depicts the capture below.
What you think?


P - Pepper

The black pepper corns when raw - Have you seen them? The spice known world wide and used in many recepies is grown in abundance in the south tropical region in India. I happened to click this picture while I was visiting Coorg(in Karnataka India) a while ago.


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