Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The First Winter Blossoms

Yes, they are out.... the first winter blossoms of the season, just in time for Christmas. :)

It is amazing how these pretty Nasturtium blooms gladden my heart every time they bloom. Their bright, cheery faces are nothing less than food for the soul.

Here is wishing all my readers a merry, merry x-mas and a fabulous, exciting new year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Migration

Witnessed this bi-annual migration yesterday from my living room. These nomads, probably native to Rajasthan, can be seen moving from one location to another once during the onset of summers, and again when the winters start.

Their belongings aren't many.... both the children and their cots fit in very well on the donkey's back. But you have to see the number of sheep that they take around with themselves! What the picture shows is just nothing. They had a huge herd that seemed to go on and on. Certainly not a sight that you can hope to see in a big city!

Meanwhile we are also contemplating a migration. Sometimes the time comes when you just have to let go, and go with the flow instead. So while there aren't any decisions yet, the thought is definitely in our heads. Let us see what Time makes of it....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eco-Friendly Diwali

We celebrated an eco-friendly Diwali this year with no crackers.

Not that it made us inhale any less smoke, given that we had neighbours who went berserk! But our decorations were all kept natural and floral...

Including the pooja decorations.

After all it is the festival of lights....

Not one of sound and pollution!

Hope better sense prevails next year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Diwali

Wishing my readers a very happy and prosperous Diwali.

May the festival of lights bring joy, happiness, warmth, love and peace into your lives.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Festive Hangover

It has been more than a week since Durga Puja got over but we still can't seem to get over the yummy 'bhog' that is served as community lunch at all pandals. So I cooked up some traditional puja food this weekend, and it turned out awesome! :)

At least one day during the pujas you are bound to be served khichuri (rice & lentils boiled together) or the erstwhile khichri, pronounced differently, along with laabra (mixed veg preparation using five different veggies, cooked in musard oil) and tomato chutney. The taste of this hot combo is so typical of the pujas.... guess the autumnal air has something to do with it.

Mmmm, the taste still lingers in my mouth.... but the good thing is that since I've successfully tried it once, I can now cook it up whenever I want. Wanna come over?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New House Guests

Last Sunday when the skies opened up right since morning, we had a couple of new house guests. Had seen them around the neighbourhood before but never at such close quarters.

Wet and dripping, as they made themselves comfortable in the kids' balcony (much to the kids' delight), we did a frantic Google search to figure out their names. Meet the drongos - fork tailed and square tailed.

They are racuous creatures, constantly chattering away! By the second day they were so taken in by our premises that they fought and drove away the regular visitors, the mynahs. The fork-tailed drongo even allowed me to go pretty close.

And their faith in us was evident when by next evening they had already invited friends over to join them! :)

Meanwhile the other balcony had a house guest of quite another sort.

I'm still confused about his identity - whether he is a locust or a grasshopper remains open to debate. The fellow should thank his stars though that the drongos didn't spot him; he surely would've made a sumptuous dinner.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Awash In Pink

Our front sit-out is awash in shades of pink, all thanks to the monsoon.

The varieties of pink portulaca look awesome against the dark monsoon skies.

Who says too much of a good thing is bad? At least my garden is happy! :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

One For Bird Lovers

The urban pigeon holes (read apartments) that most of us live in barely allow room, and open space is almost a luxury. But living in one such I realized that there are things one can consciously do to attract our feathered friends. So here is my list of tips for all bird lovers wanting to catch a glimpse of wings in their balconies and decks.

Firstly, go out and green your open space. Even if you don't have the proverbial green thumb, there are some perennials and evergreens with which you just cannot go wrong. Get hold of a 'maali' (gardener) or befriend a nursery chap who can give you fully grown plants. For starters, try jade, asparagus and lily varieties. Don't just stick to boring pots and planters, get some hanging containers as well.

And invest in some seasonal blooms in spring; then watch the magic unfold!

Birds like all sorts of perches, so any kind of projection is a good idea. When we were getting our trellis done for security reasons, we had no idea it would lead to such wonderful bird watching opportunities! Just see for yourself...

Lastly, add a birdbath. You don't need something fancy, a regular terracotta one works fine and gets them to visit. If you place this at the same spot everyday, over a period of time you'll notice a steady set of visitors who return frequently, and get friends along. I placed mine outside the kitchen window; gives me lots of stuff to look out for while pottering around. :)

Hope this helps you attract the chirps and tweets!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Curio Cupboard

It has been ages since I posted anything about the 'inside' of our house! :)

As I looked through old pictures, I realized how I have this tendency to turn every available space into a curio cupboard. So I decided to share snippets from one such cupboard; mind you, officially this is supposed to be a book-case but never mind....

So you have the most random things displayed together. Like this pair of coffee mugs I picked up from a dollar store in Denver...

...Displayed alongside this pair of marble elephants collected on a trip to Agra.

...Sharing space with this lil' hand-painted bottle that holds treasures collected by my son on a walk.

Alongwith this basket of potpourri.

But now they all sit (and fit) together snugly! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blossom Time Again

Finally they are blossoming again. I had thought the portulacas were too upset with my negligence of them during summer, and so were getting back by keeping away the flowers!

But rainwater has made them happy and they are blossoming again. :)

Small flowers but to me they bring big cheer. No wonder they say rain = rejuvenation.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spotting Water Birds

I'm learning that it is after all pretty good to remain part submerged in the rains. Know why? Because apart from the croaking cacophony of a froggy colony, you also get to witness some unexpected avian arrivals.

An area of land ahead of our house that has a largish expanse of stagnant rainwater has turned into an unlikely lake-of-sorts. Egrets, herons, ducks and mallards are seen aplenty floating around or pecking at the insects and froggies.

And of course, yours truly is forever angling on the balcony with a dangling digicam, trying to capture the water birds! :)

Hope you enjoy the results.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Garden, Interrupted

While I was away from home for two months during summer, the intense heat and the sparse watering did most of my plants in. I came back to a browned, burnt, and ruined garden that left me totally depressed.

Of all my pots, only some varieties showed some signs of life, and have since revived. I thought it would be good to share with you all the names of all those toughies who pulled through the summer despite adverse circumstances. For the record, the survivors are: Jade, Portulaca varieties, Lily varieties, and Aloe Vera. One big hurrah for them! :)

While the rains brought on fresh blooms all around, my distressed plants were still languishing... and I was losing all hope of seeing any blooms this season. Till this past weekend, when my day lilies sprout forth! And now the portulaca is budding. :)

Hope floats now, once again!! :D

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monsoon Visitor

Spotted this rainy day visitor crawling up the pipes behind our master bedroom.

My first reaction: "EEEKS!!!"

My second reaction: "Quick, get the camera." Never seen such a colourful crawly fella before!

Anyone knows what exactly his name is?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Submerged Comeback

After being away from my home (and this blog) for the summers, I returned last week bringing the rains along. Ever since we got home it has rained every single day.

Not that we are complaining (were fed up of the unbearable heat anyway) but it isn't too convenient to remain submerged.

The pictures are from last year but the situation is pretty much the same this year as well (maybe worse!). Are the authorities listening or is it too much to expect?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Remains Of The Day

Thought I'd share with you the remains of my first attempts at kulfi making! :)

Decided to try my hand at this dessert to mark the Bengali New Year Day last week. Despite the power-cuts the end result was rather yummy!

The recipe is easy enough so you can try this out yourself:

  1. Boil full-cream milk on slow heat, and bring it down to less than half of the original quantity.

  2. Add sugar to taste and a spoonful of cornflour for thickening. Remember to stir constantly at this stage else the sugar sticks to the bottom of the pan.

  3. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.

  4. Add grated cashews and cardamoms to the thickened milk.

  5. Soak pistachios and almonds for half an hour. Meanwhile churn the thickened milk for 2-3 mins in a blender or mixer.

  6. Now set the thickened milk to freeze after garnishing with chopped pistachios and almonds.

Hope this kulfi helps you keep cool through the scorching days! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fairy Queen Express

My second post on trainspotting is special because it brings you the oldest running steam engine in the world! :) Bringing you the original chug-chug train from yore, the Fairy Queen Express that runs between Delhi Cantonment and Alwar stations.

Read more about this historic train here.

The Fairy Queen locomotive was created way back in 1855, and this was one of the first exhibits of the National Rail Museum.

Our advantage: being located close to the Western Railway track helps sight such vintage beauties as they go by, blowing blue smoke quaintly through its chimney, and hooting away in a shrill shriek that is very distinct from the whistles of modern-day engines.

This special train operates every year between October to March. Pity that this year's last trip was scheduled for 27March, which is when we managed to click the above pictures. So you have to wait till October before catching a glimpse of the Fairy Queen Express chugging away again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


We just completed a whole year of living in this house so guess can't call it new anymore! :)

As the months went by, the seasons changed, the garden changed, and the house itself went through its own quiet metamorphosis.

Here is a pictorial journey to celebrate the year gone by through some of my favourite shots in the house.

Of cool, dreamy mornings...

Ending in fiery, brilliant evenings...

Our children enjoying in their splash pool in the summers.

My jade plant against the blue monsoon sky with wisps of clouds gently floating.

The Buddha bathed in the orange glow of the setting sun adds to the charm of an autumn evening.

Interesting shadows thrown up by the sharp winter sun.

Finally, precious spring blossoms bringing the year full circle!

Hope you enjoyed our journey through the year as much as we did! And looking forward to many more such years...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our Special Neighbours - VI : Feathered Friends

One of the joys of living in suburban areas is the sheer variety of birds you get to spot everyday. Some roam around the neighbourhood while some actually visit us daily.

Today I'll introduce you to the ones I've seen around the neighbourhood. The actual visitors coming home will be covered in a later post.

I don't even know all their names but let us go and meet them one by one. And you can let me know if one of them looks familiar, or I've identified it incorrectly.

Red Vented Bulbuls

Unknown Bird (Finch?)

Green Bee Eater

Brown Rock Chat



Rufous Treepie




Indian Robin

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