Monday, December 28, 2015

The last letter

Remembering you on your birthday.................

My pen friendship with Papa started after my marriage when I was living away from the pink city. On my first birthday in the silicon valley, I was terrified to be alone. But as the birthday started approaching I got so many cards for my birthday and there were some very special ones from Papa for the first time in my life. He started writing me letters too. His letters were always very long, warm and full of insights about life.

That was the good part of being away from my family and making a new family of my own. Papa started writing very regularly and our bond grew stronger with the time. His writing was as if beads were sewn on a silky thread, very precise, neat and impeccable. I could always imagine him sitting at his table and writing with his ink pen and then waiting for the ink to dry and start to write again on the back of the page. His letter heads were always printed and of a relatively thick paper so that you don't see the writing on the back and vice verse. He always had an eye to see the little things.

I got a call from Mummy saying that she had found some cards and a letter for me written from him. I freaked out so much hearing that. She wanted to post them but then I said take photos of all of them, in case they get lost. I requested her that she sent them by registered post, because if I lost them, I could regret for the rest of my life and never get anything so precious as a hand written letter from him.

 If any event like my birthday, R`s birthday, Diwali or the girls birthday would be approaching, he would always go to the Archie store and get tonnes of cards. He never send just one card, be it a birthday or a Diwali and the messages written on them was always like from his heart. Such precise choice of cards he always had. I am glad I have so many from him. His envelope would always be a bit heavy and very special because unlike you and me, he would always use the given envelope for the card and if he was sending five cards, there will be five envelopes for each one of them and all of them will be in one thick khaki coloured envelope. Before sealing the main envelope, he would always put a piece of rectangular paper and then seal it, so that the cards do not get stuck on to the envelope. It was always done like that. I haven't seen anyone posting cards in such a precise manner and always registered post.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Shabby Chic is the way to go.

At the moment Shabby Chic is the thing for me. I have been doing some projects with this technique and this one is quite special for me. I got this bookshelf from my very lovable and special old neighbour. She was a 88 year old very nice woman. She used to tell me stories from her times when back in those days she and her husband used to travel a lot, they even went to Italy on the Vespa. How she and her husband made their house with their very own hands. How she had to boil her linens to make them white and then iron all of them. How they had to eat very dry bread for many days and so on and so forth. 

It was always nice to speak to her and get a perspective on those days and whenever I would be in a complaining mood, after speaking to her I would also come back to the humble earth and for a couple of days stay calm and not complain about how I have to do so much always.....I am not that much of a nag but sometimes, everyone is allowed, right!

She always enjoyed my Indian Thali, especially the use of the spices, she has tasted Indian food just with me and she loved it. I must say she was quite an open person, What a pleasure it was to feed her.

She gave me her very old book shelf and I wanted to cherish it for ever. The colour was a dark brown but I wanted something fresher so I decided to get Shabby Chicky and took a roller and a spray in my hand. This is what I did.

Things for the makeover:

- A sunny day
- old newspapers or a big plastic sheet
- pair of gloves
- sand paper (thin and medium grid one)
- primer
- white base coat
- golden or silver spray paint of your choice
- colour of your choice
- small roller
- paint tray
- small brush for those corners you cant reach with the roller
. lots of chilled ice tee to drink :)


1. First of all line the surface where you want to work with either old newspaper or a plastic sheet. Take the piece of furniture here, clean it with an old rag.

2. Sand the whole furniture with a thin grid sandpaper inside and out. Dust it well and then wipe it with a wet cloth. Let it sun dry for an hour or so.

3. Now in my furniture I had some beautiful carvings, so firstly I sprayed gold on all the carvings and let it dry for half an hour again.

4. Then I primed the whole thing with a primer, inside and out. I didn't do very smooth moves, as I was going for a used Shabby chic look.

5. Let it dry again for an hour.

6. Now again spray gold on the carvings and a bit on the edges at the top, the bottom and a bit on the shelve edges as well, it will give a nice look later. Let it dry again for half an hour.

7. Now do the white base coat everywhere once the primer is dried.

8. Let it dry for a couple of hours or if the day is quite sunny then an hour will do.

9. Now the magical moment comes, paint the whole piece from outside in the colour you have chosen. I left the insides white, as I preferred that but that's entirely a personal choice.

10. Let it dry again for an hour and then go for the second and the final round. Now let it dry very well, either overnight or a couple of hours.

11. Take the middle grid sandpaper and start sanding the edges where you sprayed gold. As now the gold is covered in white and green, so we want to take it out by sanding these two colours out.

12. Work with feeling and once its done, dust it well again and wax it with an old rag to seal it.

13. Voila` there you have a brand new Shabby Chic shelf.

The Shelf before

After the primer

My colour was this minty green 

A bit of gold, I love gold.

After the first green coat. 

The shelf.....After.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Over the Hedge

That south Indian delicacy sure tasted good, but I don't really remember the name of the dish. Anyways I will ask Niti Auntie when I will return her bowl (Katori) back. I cannot give her the empty bowl, I guess a bowl of Tikki-Chole (potato cutlet topped with chickpea curry) would be nice to bring her katori back. I can hardly speak any Kannada (local language from Bangalore) she barely broken Hindi but we have some level of English to communicate and in our every meeting she picks up a few words of Hindi and me barely a little bit of Kannada. Its not an easy language, the script is different then English or Devanagari (Hindi) even the damn bus and the electricity and water bills are in Kannada ONLY. We had no idea which bus came and went and which bill we were paying. So again the neighbours came to the rescue. 

Its a weekend and its raining like cats and dogs, the house is smelling of chole-tikki and I am all ready to bring her the crispy tikki topped with chole and a tangy tamarind chutney. R was not very begistered with the idea but you know me. There I went. They were just having their dinner, I was glad they didn't finish it. I barged in with a steaming bowl in my hand with my big black grandpa umbrella which I hated. I always wanted one with flowers which I have seen the Japanese tourists carry. Anyways,  Nitie auntie was very happy to see me and started putting thousands questions about the dish. She has tried it somewhere in a restaurant. I just said enjoy it now and if you like we can exchange the recipes later over a cup of filter coffee. Now the best filter coffee you get in the silicon valley is in these little tiny kannadige restaurants. Their are these coffee vendors too who have small coffee tanks/thermos on their bikes and they sell it in the parks and gardens. What a luxury that was, Me and R loved it, to have a bhutta (roasted corn, smeared with hot green chutney) and filter coffee.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bachchan verses Papa

Papa gave a stern kick on his Rajdoot and without any hesitation it got into action. Me and my brother sat on the back seats and off we went to see my first movie ever on the 70 mm big screen to Premprakash theater. As soon as we reached the theater, I was super excited but I felt so little in front of the big cinema hall, a bit scared, nervous and immensely happy. I was  going to see the first movie of my life in the cinema Hall, It was huge deal. The movie was of the most famous angry young man from Amitabh Bachchan and it was:  "Mukadar ka Sikandar" It went on to become a cult movie from Bachchan. In the beginning there was a small documentary then various advertisements and stuff and I remember asking my brother every other second if the movie started. I couldn't get that. He was the clever one, always kept saying.... abhi nahi (not now), I will tell you when it happens.

Finally the movie started. It was a very special and overwhelming sight to see a movie on the 70 mm screen and when the song Rote hue aate hai sab... came showing Bachchan on the big screen, I was blown away. He looked so good, Bombay looked so beautiful. That is the only thing left in my memory from that movie and then a little faded bits and pieces. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

One man`s junk is another man`s Treasure

Is that not true: One man`s Junk is another man`s Treasure!

Every single Woman was super excited to be there. We were trying Jackets, blouses, bags and belts. You were fortunate if you could get a little glimpse in the tall mirror to check how the outfit is looking on you, if its cocealing your not so good areas or not. I don't know is it with me or everyone feels this way. Whenever I try a new garment, I am super excited to look in the mirror and I feel this time my tyre at the tummy will not be seen. OK, sometimes if the top is made with some gathers in the front, it does cover it up but if its too many gathers then often I get this: bist du schwanger? No, I am not pregnat! I have two grown ups. I think this is the time to stop coloring my hair, or my be not.

Anyways back to the room full of excited and nervous Women including moi. The atmosphere was electric and energetic. We talked to each other and gave inputs without anyone asking for it. R came with me for a while but within 3 minutes he said, I think you will be here for a while and made a quiet exit.

I had my usual leggings with a long white top and black boots. This was one super busy day, with our frühlings markt and a 60th birhtday party in the afternoon with a trip to the bird park and then me trying to sell our two bikes(we sold one and bought one too, for M`). So I didn't give much thought of what to wear, but his time it all worked. I could try different blouses to wear on the leggings, a spring green jacket, a black burrberry one too. Yup, this time I got really lucky. This was one shopping day even R didn't mind at all. This day I literally went without a purse of a card to shop, just some change for a glass of prosecco and a berry cake.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Joys of Moving

In my mind I thought that everything is going under control and I was pretty much sure it will be too. Until now we have done this drill so many times and that too in so many different countries and if the same countries then different geogrophical locations. This time it will be just over the street, to be precise about 25 mts from the previous home.

My plan was to start moving the cellars first as it was just over the street and I did it too. First the down cellar which was the smallest. It was finished in no time and was over 80% vacated. Some bigger things were left for the movers. Then came the monster attic which contained the very precious but very many drawings of the girls among various other things, since they were in kindergarten and now in University and Secondary school. I know we are quite collectors of good art and really those cute little drawings are awesome! Over the years I had planned a thousand times for all of us to go up and try and sort them out. I neither had the heart nor the courage to throw them or even recycle them and neither did anyone else. So just in the blink of an eye we had the collection of 15 years which started from very precious arts, drawings to kindergarten stuff and then we had boxes full of basic German, french, maths and Hindi copies too. But every thing else seems to have progressed on the papers as I was going through the cartoon boxes but somehow the Hindi copies from each and every year of summer holidays spent in India were still at अ आ इ ई उ ऊ ए............or may be a couple of little lines of राम घर चल। पानी भर। छत पर मत चढ़। (Ram, go home, fill the water, dont go on the terrace) or मेरा नाम........ है (my name is....)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Story of a 7 Drawer Cabinet

And just then they found all the place for their little tiny creations which were so special and important to them. I was getting tired finding places to store them. When this seven drawer cabinet from a good friend of mine was offered to me from the girls, I accepted it graciously. This Swiss red color Cabinet was not one of your favourite pieces of furniture. It landed in my girls play room. It used to be jam packed with little paper cuttings from magazines and newspapers, beads, play dough, Polly pocket, Lego's, puzzles, small little key chains, colours, diddle papers, little slices of pizza made with cardboard's and thousand other things. After writing this I realised how things have changed and what today's kids play, every child almost has an electronic toy. World is definitely changing. 

Anyways so they used this cabinet for years then slowly the little things were taking less and less place in their rooms and now we needed more book shelves because the girls were into reading! Not they were not earlier, M was and always has been a book worm and now T joined the gang too. So now the toys were mostly books.