Holi-then and now

Let’s begin this post dramatically.

I hate Holi.

I hate it from the bottom of my heart. Of the gazillions of festivals in this county, it’s the only festival I don’t like and therefore never celebrate. I cannot understand the joy behind colouring each other in multiple hues, throwing water and generally making a royal mess. And then spending gallons of water and loads of time and energy to clean up the royal mess. The food is a high point of the festival I admit, but other than that tell me one good thing about the festival.

When I walk down memory lane, I can recall playing Holi exactly twice in my lifetime and hating it on both occasions. Once when I was little and was visiting my grandparents the neighbourhood kids and my grandparents were extremely keen on getting me involved in the whole Holi hullabaloo. I was happy sitting in the comforts of the house watching other’s play but my grandmother wanted me to “be a child” and “have fun”. Being a child was something I couldn’t help and “fun” was subjective concept. In my understanding Holi as I had witnessed it on a few occasions earlier was not fun. Inspite of all the protesting and pouting, I was pushed out of the house. Four hours later I came back- wet, tired, silver and unhappy. I had wanted to escape right on the 12th minute of leaving home but the other children wouldn’t let me go. “Aunty has asked us to make you play” they said. And as aunty was as old as their grandmother, disobeying her was out of the question. Thus whether I liked it or not I was officially a part of the under 12 Holi gang. They had adopted me and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.  The under 12 Holi gang interacted with other Holi gangs, most of them over 12 years of age and on some kind of festive high. I tried to hang back, let the other members of my gang take centre stage but they wouldn’t let me. Aunty’s instructions must have been strict or sacrosanct or both. When all strategies of escaping and not playing failed, I resigned to my fate. Which essentially met I let other pour colour and water and coloured water over me. At the end of the “fun” festival I was annoyed, exhausted and yucky looking. The silver colour wouldn’t go easily and I rubbed my face to a bright pink in my ardent effort to get rid of it. Ditto for the red on my feet, the green on my arms and the purple on my palms. For me the festival was a real let down. It wasn’t fun in the least bit.  I am sure grandmother dearest was, in all her good intentions, trying to help turn me into an extrovert, bubbly, chatty kid so I don’t really blame her for throwing to at the mercy of the “fun loving” kids. But good intentions aside, I hated the festival. I ended up a bit like she wanted me to but more as a course of natural progression and not as a result of participating in horrid Holi celebrations.

Episode 2 of Holi happened around age 14. It wasn’t as traumatic as the first one but it wasn’t fun either. I mean I went out with a sane group of people who indulged in a mild version of the festival that has gone kinda berserk if you have bothered to noticed, but I dint enjoy it. Where was the fun element in spending all morning painting faces in attractive shades of reds, yellows and blues?? There must be something wrong with me because everyone else seemed to be really enjoying themselves. I find Diwali more exciting than this. Anyway, that was the last time I ever played Holi. I usually stay at home on Holi, lock the door and don’t entertain any neighbourhood kids. They look so sweet and innocent I tell you, but they are little devils in the garb of angels. The year we moved to Bombay innocent looking cute kiddos knocked on our door bright and early in the morning. Idiots that we are we opened it wide enough for an elephant to get through. A few seconds later the kids had covered us completely  in gulal, much to their delight and out shock. Since then I have adopted a closed door policy for the morning half of the day.

I walked to my gym last evening carefully sidling along the edge of the pavement and walking under the cover of tree wherever available. I was being extra cautious with the devil in the garb of angles.  Thwack! A water balloon hit me precisely on the neck. Good thing it didn’t burst, just bounced off and fell to the ground and exploded. I have a strange neck  I think-water balloons don’t burst, they bounce off! I spotted the little devil who had threwn the balloon and went after him. I couldn’t catch him- smartpants ran into the building and before he could I gave him a piece of my mind. Not that he cared, but I told him (and other kids who were hanging around indulging in an early round of Holi) that what he did was not fun. It was in fact dangerous.

This is the part of Holi that I strongly dislike. Playing Holi can be fun if it is within sensible, rational limits. But playing in a manner that harms others is just not done. Parents who let their young kids play unsupervised (as that group of balloon attackers were) at putting their own kids and others at risk. Festivals aren’t supposed to hurt or injure. They are happy times and we shouldn’t be doing anything that takes even the smallest part of that happiness away.

But anyway, I am sure you won’t let me put a damper on your festive sprits. So while I hide at home  and  read Calvin, all you enthu cutlets have a happy and safe Holi.

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 Edited to add: Abha’s comment forced me to add this strip. I had left it out earlier thinking it was clutttering the post. Here is it now, all thanks to Abha!:)

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CnH to the rescue

Work is a tad slow today. I am keeping myself entertained by reading C&H on one window and doing important insignificant marginally significant work on the other two. Multi-tasking is a skill, my friends. Not everyone can do it. 😛

Found this cartoon strip that reminded me of Roop’s post. Thought I’d put it up. I could write a long, never ending scroll on my relationship with the subject. But I dont think anyone would be keen on reading that,so I shall refrain.

PS:Just in case you have a teenie-weenie bit of interest in my relation with maths, lemme know. I may edit this post to add stuff about it.

PPS: Please tell me you want to know every minute detail about my rocking relationship with the subject. I have time on my hands people and little to do!!

 Edited to add:

Now that I have coerced everyone into asking  me about my rocking relationship with mathematics, its only fair that I write in adequate depth about the subject at hand.

To begin with, I didn’t always detest the subject. In fact, I sort of liked it, at least till class 8. I wasn’t fabulous at it and it undoubtedly needed more effort on my part than other subjects, but it wasn’t an insurmountable task either.  If I tried hard enough, I managed to clear my exams with decent marks. But I never really enjoyed the subject the way I enjoyed History and English and Home Science. My mom helped me out with the daily lessons till class 7  I think, after which she declared it was too much for her to do and passed on the task of teaching the subject to my dad. Now dad’s style of teaching and my style of learning didn’t match. So as a teacher-student duo we flopped royally.  During   the summer vacations, my grandfather would try to teach me but by the time I was in the tenth, my interest in the subject had dwindled to nothing. Left with no options, my mother found a maths tutor for me in the tenth class (granddad dint live in the same city, mom couldn’t teach the subject at all and dad and I dint get along too well on the teaching-learning front).  So thrice a week, I would cycle down to this lady’s house and spend an hour and a half cracking maths problems.

Most people find maths logical, I find it illogical. I have asked some of the silliest questions in class. For example, in the ninth we had a question in geometry that I though was utterly ridiculous. It had two parallel lines intersected with a diagonal line and we were to prove that the two parallel lines were parallel indeed.  I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I needed to prove the lines parallel when I could see they were parallel.  It was as plain as the nose on my face that the lines were parallel so why would I dig out some formula, apply it to the diagram and then prove that the lines were really parallel. It made no sense. The teacher, I am sure thought, I made no sense. Hmmph.

 Despite the subject being as illogical as I found it to be, I managed to clear the tenth board exams with decent marks. My battle with the subject taught me that it would be in my best interest to drop the subject all together in the eleventh. And I did just that. My parents were totally ok with this but I think my grandfather died a hundred deaths on hearing my decision.  He had been promoting maths as “the king of all subjects” since the day I entered school. He was sure that since he was marvellous at the subject and all his children were just as good, his grandchildren would be so too. He tried hard to explain to me the great possibilities that the subject would open up to me.  He made it sound as if my life would change if I took up that subject. Actually it would have – it would have ensured that I was the only child in the entire family who flunked her class 12 exams !! Fortunately all the advice and explanation fell on deaf ears. Eventually I did drop the subject and I haven’t repented my decision a single day.

It’s not as if I haven’t had to use maths anywhere after the tenth.  Obviously I have, but I have basic concepts in place and can carry out commonly needed mathematical operations. I still can’t figure why my granddad insisted on studying the subject throughout school. I would probably have chosen a different profession and been a different person all together had I studied maths. I am just very glad I dint!!

 

For the love of red

There are somethings in life you just cant get rid of.

A few years back, as a student I went to a tiny tribal village and spent a week there getting acquainted to rural life. It was one of those compulsory study tours one needed to undertake. Just a day before we were to head back home, we were allowed to wonder around a near by town to buy nick-nacks to take back as souvenirs.The town had one highly recommended smallish, family-run shop that traded in fabric. I don’t know if the shop was highly recommended because it was really that good or because there was no other shop to recommend! Since no one wanted to go back home empty handed and this was the only shop available to us, all 30 of us descended on it. The shop keeper wasn’t used to such crowds and catering to a flock of over-excited twenty-somethings was proving to be too difficult a task for him. He therefore thought it best to give us a free hand and let us explore his shop on our own. And explore we did. People were all over his place- draping fabrics, calling out to friends asking for opinions, rummaging through of multi-coloured piles trying to find the “best” gift to take back home. I was a little lost in the chaos and dint know how to shop in such a lot of noise and confusion, but at the same time,I was hell bent to take back something . So as others were paying their bills and filing out of the shop, I hurriedly picked out a sari and dress materials for my mom and myself. The sari was a nice sea-green cotton one with a floral pattern running along its length. The dress materials were a contrast to the sari- one red and the other magenta. Between mom and me, we’d pick whichever we’d decide who gets which fabric, I thought. There was hardly anything for men there, so my poor dad had to go without any gift.

When I showed my mother what I had bought back, she smiled a gentle smile and said she loved everything. The sari she wore a few times but the dress materials remained neatly folded at the bottom of the cupboard. A few months later they were shifted to the bed box where they kept sundry household items company. They remained there, peacefully, till one day I suddenly remembered those brightly coloured fabrics and enquired about them. Not wanting to hurt my sentiments, I had,after all thought of her in that far-away village and had carted her gift all the way to Mumbai, my mom said ” those red and magenta fabrics are really nice…ummmm… but I’m not too sure I want to wear such bright colours. Why dont you chose the colour you want first and I will take the remaining one. You get it stitched, it will look nice on you.” I pulled out the fabrics from the bed box and to my horror realised just how bright those colours looked. No wonder mom had stashed them away. We mutually decided that whenever some wedding/engagement come up in the family , we will get those beautiful bright clothes stitched till then they will remain safely in the bed box. They were too bright to wear anywhere else. So back they went, nicely folded and encased in a plastic bag (we, like all good Indians believe plastic bags are the answer to all storage issues). For the next 2.75 years nobody in the family got engaged or married. Naturally with passing time, the fabrics that were once at the top of the pile, descended to the bottom of the pile and got thoroughly squashed under the weight of old books, daris, odd piece of never used silverware. They suffocated that way, till about four weeks back. That’s when I realised that I was in desperate need of adding a few more clothes to my rapidly diminishing wardrobe. I thought it made sense to use material already at home instead of stepping out to buy more. So out came the red and magenta fabrics. Mom and I spend an entire weekend trying to figure out a fair way to decide who should get to wear which colour . You see, this wasn’t a situation in which either of us wanted to voluntarily choose one colour over the other. After much thought, I settled for the red. Got it stitched, added a black dupatta to tone down the red, but didn’t gather the guts to wear it too work. I was sure it was too red.

A random conversation with my colleague B brought out the topic of the red dress. She thought I was doing too much “drama” over something trivial. “Wear your red dress tomorrow and if you want I’ll wear one of my red dresses to give you company.Its a new dress and I havent had the chance to wear it . ” she said in the bus yesterday evening. With her encouragement, I gathered the courage to put on the dress in the morning. My eyes popped out when I met B today morning. Looking at her was like looking at a mirror. Save for the pattern on the kurta, our dresses were identical. There was so much similarity in what we were wearing and our accesspories, that you could have taken a check list and ticked off stuff on it- Black chappals- check, red churidar-kurta – check, black dupatta-check, black handbag-check, hair tied in a loose pony tail-check, wrist watch- check, no bangles-check. We looked like twins. May be twins look cute when you dress them up identically as children but in the adult world when you do that, you just end up looking idiotic! We were a source of entertainment for quite a few people at work.Some of those couldn’t hide their surprise- they looked at me, then at her, and then back at me to make very sure they were looking at two different people!

Keep aside the high-drama cause by the identical dresses, most people though the ridiculous red dress looked good on me. I don’t know if they were just being polite. But then why would six different people, want to just be polite? Now when everyone is telling me the dress looks good, I don’t have a good reason to put away a perfectly good, new dress. I would just have to wear it now, wouldn’t I? Red is not my favourite colour and never will be, but like I said, some things you just can’t get rid of.

PS:In my defense I must mention that a- I was in a hurry when I purchased those fabrics. My choise isnt that bad usually. b-at that moment buying contrasting colours did seem like a god idea and c- I was surrounded by friends who were useless at shopping. It wasn’t my fault!! And as a parting shot, let me reiterate- I don’t like red!!

Edited to add: With such a fabulous response to such a pointless post, I just had to publish the pictures. They are taken with a shaky mobile phone camera during the bus ride back home. The setting sun didn’t help the situation either. Therefore the “quality” of the pictures should please be pardoned.The initial plan was to get someone to click our full-length picture in office. But we were getting enough unwanted attention and we basically chickened out.

The kurtas- one with zig zag lines and the other with straight lines and tiny flowers.The latter one’s mine.

The black bags. sadly the matching black chappals couldn’t fit into the frame.

Its a dog’s world

My bloggy buddy Lax re-surfaced after what seemed like ages on googlechat last night. As usual, she  come up with some gems retreived from the deep recesses of the magical world wide web. This one helps you find out what kind of dog breed you are.

I think by now most people know that I am extremely fond of dogs. I have never ever owned one but have always had neighbours who had a few. I think thats where my love for dogs stemmed from. When you have neighbours with dogs, you get to have all the fun with none of the responsibility! Since no one in my family has ever shown even the slightest inclination towards owning pets, I think I can safely credit my love for four-legged animals to all my neighbours.  I think the only pets we have had so far have been a bunch of colourful fish and a parrot. The parrot was gifted to me by an aunt (if I remember correctly)  to me as a child. We must have kept it with us for a few weeks and then set it free. A free flying bird captured in a cage just didn’t feel right. The fish came into our lives twice- once when I was really small and once sometime in college. The first time around, my poor dad was wholly and solely responsible for the care and upkeep of the fish tank. After sometime, he decided that someone needed to share the responsibility or the fish had to go. So the fish went. The second time around, the fish tank was bought on my insistence. Naturally, I shouldered my share of the responsibility.  I was good at buying new fish to add to the tank but for some unfathomable reason, when I was in charge of looking after the fish, they died with shocking frequency. My dad was travelling extensively at that time so my mom tried her best to help out  with the fish but that wasn’t good enoough. Soon we decided to give back the remaining fish to the aquarium-n-fish shop and give away the tank too. That was the end of my experiments with keeping pets. I must be one of those people who are good at playing and interacting with pets but are awful at caring for them. How tragic. Sigh. Big Sigh.

Anyway, back to the point,I have digressed enough  for one post I think. Like I was saying there is this interesting  website that lets you find out what dog breed you are. According to the ten-point quiz, I am a labrador retreiver! 😀 This is what the detailed result says about me-

You are a Labrador Retriever!
Your family is what makes you tick, and you never “flea” from an opportunity to hang out with the whole gang. A family picnic complete with hot dogs, deviled eggs and a refreshing swim in the lake is hard for you to stray from. Yourdagjpg.gif sparky temperament and dogged intelligence mean you are not only a blast to hang out with, but great to work with as well. Your close pals appreciate your patience and forgiveness, knowing you’d rather let sleeping dogs lie than dwell on the mishaps of the past. Your dashing good looks may one day lead to a modelling career, if only you can tame the unfortunate clumsiness that sometimes causes you to go flailing from the catwalk.

Famous Labrador Retreivers-Bill Cosby, Jackie Onassis, Dr.Phil, David Beckam.  Likely professions: Doctor,sales executive and teacher.

I haven’t highlighted any of my attributes mentioned in the quiz results. It came written that way, I promise!:P

Its a fun, TP kinda quizz.Give it a shot I say!

Why I watch TV

For the ads.

Honestly, that’s the only thing worthwhile on TV these days. Not that I have been watching a lot of TV lately. I must have switched on the idiot box after three months or so yesterday, only to discover nothing much had changed. The weird, meaningless K serials are still on. If anything, they seem to have proliferated- I noticed a few new channels. Incredibly they are telecasting programmes on the same lines as the K serials. Apparently there are many takers for daily doses of trash. My neighbours, for instance, thrive on these serials. The news channels are still over focusing on issues of no relatively less importance like Sanjay Dutt’s third wedding. I have noticed that the Hindi ones are much worse than their English counterparts.  The status of these channels seems to have remained unchanged during my extended absence.  The movie channels-HBO, Star and Zee Movies are still playing re-runs of movies I have already seen, either in parts or in entirety.  Discovery, Animal Planet, Discovery Travel and Living and History Channel are undoubtedly far superior than the rest. But for some reason they weren’t able to catch my attention. As much as I love animals, I can’t see any more of them on TV than I already have.   Travel and Living is fabulous but I can’t cook most of the stuff they show( sadly, I am a vegetarian and they don’t do too much to cater to people like me) and I can’t live in the houses they do up and I certainly can’t participate in any of their swap/ make over programmes. The music channels are still playing more ads than music, which is actually good cause like the radio channels they seem to play on Bollywood songs.At least it seems that way to me. Everytime I switch on MTV or Channel V, I find either Hindi movie songs or interviews of actors and actresses (are we still using the word “actoresses” or is everyone called an actor now?). I have nothing against the film industry, but an over dose of anything is not good, right? So in short, when I plonked myself on the sofa last evening, I had great plans of spending time relaxing and unwinding but ended up frusterated and disappointed having surfed… and surfed….and surfed, finding nothing worthwhile to watch.

Sigh. I think I should stop trying to find anything good on TV. I should resign to my fate of being a world class surfer, something that annoys my family members a great deal. Based on the amount of surfing I do whenever I watch TV think,I think  they  now believe  I am fickle minded and possess the attention span of a house fly (!). But you see, I am an optimistic surfer. A surfer, who spends not more than 2 minutes per channel, goes through channel 1 to 56 in the vain hope of finding something interesting to watch, finds none and simply re- starts from channel1. Persistence is a personality trait that I have developed especially for TV watching.  
After spending more than an hour and a half surfing yesterday, I have discovered that if one finds absolutely nothing on TV  to watch(which in my case if often), this is what one should do:

  • Find a cannel that plays songs, especially Bollywood ones. Turn off the volume and then watch top actors and actresses make absolute fools of themselves prancing around. Entertainment guaranteed.
  • Find a regional language channel, preferably chose a language you don’t understand a syllable of. Watch any of the programmes running and try to decipher the general plot and the dialogues. If you have someone else watching TV with you, get him/her involved in trying to figure out the dialogues. In fact, try to spontaneously provide Hindi/English dialogues as the characters on TV speak.
  • Watch the ads. They have become pretty classy and smart these days. In addition to being smartly executed, intelligent and classy, they are also brief, which is wonderful for people who have “the attention of a house fly”.

Towards the end of my surfing spree yesterday I come across the new (ok, may be not new but new for me!) AirTel ad and I loved it! Loved everything about it- the kids, the music, the message.  In fact, I was so impressed with the ad that I brought it up in conversation over tea in office today morning. My colleagues weren’t too kicked about the ad mainly because they had seen it many times over, so couldn’t understand why I was so excited about it, but they did agree that the ad was well made.  

Though I love the present day ads and think ad making in India has come along way, some of the simpler ads I saw as a kid on DD still stand out in my memory. May be these have stayed in my memory for all these years because TV channels were very few back then (just DD1 and later DD2) and ads were fewer still, so what you saw, you remembered.  Who can forget the Nirma ad with the girl in the frock or the Hamara Bajaj ad? Or the Ek-Anek animation on national integration, for that matter.

Nope. No matter how slick the AirTel and other ads are, there is no way they can replace the older ones! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Fun times with Dad

Now this is a blog entry I have thinking of making since a long time. There is so much to write that I don’t know where to begin!  To keep this entry within a sensible word limit, let me mention here only very prominent memories, events and behaviours.

Earliest memories of my dad are actually not of dad! They are in fact of his green coloured Bajaj Chetak. Our family’s only means of transportation for a good number of years. A loyal, sturdy mode of getting around Delhi, it served our tiny family of three well for a good number of years.  We went everywhere on that scooter-lodhi gardens, the zoo, rail museum, INA market. We even turned up at elaborate weddings of stinking rich relatives, wind blown and slightly dishevelled after a ride on our faithful scooter.

When I got a little older and began going to school, dad’s role as the official driver underwent a change. He was now the official “helper” in the kitchen. He would more often than not be the first person to wake up in the morning and would very enthusiastically participate in the early morning processes of preparing breakfast and tiffin /lunch. He had( and still has) a peculiar habit of waking up early , taking bath and getting all dressed up even if there is a lot of time before he needs to leave for work. You can wake up at 6.00 am and find him all suited-booted, kneading dough in the kitchen! It makes quite a sight!!  He loves pitching in in the kitchen- an act my grandfather finds completely incomprehensible. My granddad has never even peeped inside the kitchen so he cant for the life of him figure why his son would be so keen on helping his wife in the cooking in the morning and the evening. Mom and dad would at times get caught in these minor tiffs about the “quality” of the help extended- the dough was too sticky, four onions had been chopped instead of the stipulated one, the kitchen towel was never used, instead every other piece of fabric that wasn’t supposed to be used, was used to wipe hands. Innumerable minor insignificant tiffs that made the mornings oh-so-interesting!

In class seven, mom handed over teaching/supervising learning of Maths to dad. She didn’t like the subject too much and it was not her area of expertise. Studying maths with dad was an adventure. Firstly, studying would happen only on weekends, for obvious reasons. Secondly, the methodology adopted by him to teach was, well, uniquely innovative. He would recline on the bed, take the book in his hand and orally “explain” the subject to me!! If I told him I dint like his methodology he would say “But I always studied maths like this! And I did very well in the subject! The explaining part can be done without a notebook and pencil, beta.” To begin with  I couldn’t follow the subject. Doing it orally didn’t make the subject any simpler. I finally decided to ditch dad and crack the subject myself! (Eventually a time did come when dad would teach me maths using a pen and paper and sitting on a desk. But it took a lot of coaxing from my mom to make him change his supposedly foolproof methodology)

Besides loving mental/oral maths, my dad also loved planes.  He was an aero-modelling fanatic who would make long distance trips to Hobby Centre in CP to buy aero-modelling kits. Once a new kit was brought home, the world ceased to exist- it was just dad, a set of tools and a whole lot of Balsam wood! Tedious hours would be spent of bent over the bed-turned-workshop constructing the plane. But the real struggle was not the construction. The actual flying of the plane that was the litmus test- a test that dad’s beloved planes didn’t always pass. He would fix a tiny motor on the plane and then spend another couple of weekends to set a radio control for the plane. That done, he would invite all of us for the grand event of the aeroplane taking off on its maiden flight. But invariably one of the following would occur- a) the plane would  fly for very short distance b) it would  go out of the range of the radio control c) or in the worst condition,  a nose dive right after take off which would bring the flight to an abrupt and unfortunate end. The tragic fate of the first flight wouldn’t deter him, he would tell his bored and disinterested audience (Sincerely folks, at age 8 I wasn’t able to appreciate the planes that don’t take off. To me these were boring experiments that didn’t work, and so were not fun!) how he knew exactly what had gone wrong and would fix it ASAP. And so he would go back to his makeshift workshop and get back to work.

Similar experiments were conducted in the field of electronics as well. But I thought those experiments were even more boring. Absolutely nothing happened in them! Dad would sit with his favourite Electronics For You magazine, a bunch of tiny, multicoloured transistors with strange marking on them and his soldering iron and make God knows what! I could never really figured that out. The only thing I liked about electronics was the soldering iron. If you would melt a little metal wire and give the iron a firm shake, the metal would fall on the floor making a small star. That was the coolest part of the electronics obsession , for me at least!!

The other thing I strongly associate with dad are tools. Tool of all kinds, shapes, sizes were a part of his proud collection. He didn’t only collect them, he put them to good use. He could fix anything and that I used to find very impressive 😀 Give him anything broken and he will give it back to you guaranteed to have a few missing screws but in perfect working condition nevertheless. Whatever little fixing I can do, is because of observational learning while watching dad at work.

I have already written over a thousand words and I could write some more but I think I will stop at this point. May be I will come up with part 2 of this post  😛 .I guess I am just missing my dad terribly. Its time he took a break from work and flew back home.

Bean there, done that…

Of all the things I could write about, I chose to write about coffee today. Strange topic, I know, but since the coffee breaks have been the high point of an otherwise going -downhill-day, I though its only fair that we assign a small space to the day’s saviour. Its needless to mention here that today has been worse than yesterday. I was hoping that after the terrible day yesterday, things will start sorting themselves out and the day will turn out well. Sadly, Murphy rules the world and he had different ideas. Looks like this ‘bad day’ business is not a one off event, it’s gonna be the trend for the entire week.

 My relationship with coffee goes back a long way. Initially issues regarding coffee drinking almost always met with long drawn arguments with family members. As a ten year old I was always told that coffee was something I should substitute with Bournvita (ok, tolerable, but not the best choice) or worse, Horlicks (yuck!! Why do parents even suggest something that tastes so awful??). Flavours available in both these drinks were limited to chocolate and elaichi. I liked neither. Chocolate wasn’t chocolate-y enough and elaichi was rather bland. It didn’t matter if both manufacturing companies and elders in the family claimed them to be ‘healthy’. The bottom line was that they didn’t taste good. And in no way did they enhance the already bordering-on-yucky flavour of milk. Naturally I tried to explain to the people at home, how nice it would be if they added a teenie weenie bit of coffee to the milk.  It would make the tall glass (yes, the glass was always tall especially if my grandmother served it. She didn’t understand why anyone would serve a kid less than 500 ml of milk at one time. So 500ml it was. Whether you liked it or not. No arguments. ) so much more tolerable.  It would taste better, smell better and would make the process of drinking it so much less distressful. I assured them that the time spent on each glass of milk would be reduced from 30 minutes to 10 minutes (Please refrain from expressing shock. You already know how non-fussy and easy I was as a kid when it came to food). Try as I might, no one would listen. ‘Coffee isn’t good for kids’ was the prevalent belief and so in keeping with that, I was served with any of the following options:
*milk with bournvita
*milk with horlicks
* tea flavoured milk( it sounds strange but tastes pretty good)
*plain milk, sometimes with a hint of crushed elaichi.
*cold milk with roohafzah (remember that bright red, sweet, viscous liquid that smelt a bit like rose?) 
If the raving and ranting went on for long enough, or if someone in the house was in a benevolent mood, I would be treated to a dash of coffee. Oh how I loved that!! Unfortunately, these treats were few and far between. On regular days I just had to find strategies to gulp down the weird smelling light brown coloured liquid.  Summer vacations were a relief. I stayed away from my parents and I discovered at a young age how to get on my grand mom’s good side and to badger her into doing what I liked! I would get her to make me cold coffee with lots of ice and a little bit of coffee. So what if I had a sensitive throat and would routinely get a sore throat? Cold coffee was fun! If you let the glass stand on the table for a few minutes, you could see tiny droplets of water appearing. Then, you could use your index finger and write your name on the surface. What fun!  

As I grew older getting access to coffee got easier. As a family we continue to believe that bourvita/ horlicks/ proteinex /drinking chocolate are superior options but we are also more tolerant to personal preference now. So if you want coffee, you get coffee.:) No questions asked. Who said there were no benefits in growing up!!? The Baristas, Qwiky’s and Café Coffee Days are to be given due credit here.  the last few years coffee drinking has become the thing to do.  With so many cafes sprouting all over the city , you are bound to walk into one someday. And if you like what they serve, you will be compelled to visit again. (It hardly matters that my dad’s main motivation to go to a place like barista is the calorie loaded sweets available. He believes black coffee goes very well with a wedge of chocolate cake dipped in chocolate sauce!) 

I am the kind who likes my coffee with a reasonable quantity of sugar and milk. Black coffee is not for me.  There are many ways in which coffee can be prepared. But below is one of the easiest, quickest and tastiest preparations known to me.  Since this is a drink I make with approximation and change depending on my mood, I do not have exact measures. So you may need to make a few alterations of your own. The recipe makes three cups.( three is an odd no. I know, but I have a family of three!)

Ingredients:
*3 heaped teaspoons of sugar
*1.5-2 teaspoons of instant coffee (any will do. Nescafe is what I generally use)
*1.5 cups of water
*1.5 cups of milk 

Method:
*Take the coffee and sugar is a mug. Warm about a tablespoon of milk and add. Using a spoon, beat this mixture still it changes colour from dark brown to light brown and become light and fluffy. Sometimes this may take a little while (up to 15 mins.), so alternate hands to avoid overtiring one hand. Or pass on part of the work to someone else, if that’s possible!
* Mix the water and milk and being to a boil.
* Divide the coffee and sugar mixture into three equal portions and put each portion into a mug( you should get about 1.5 tsps per mug).
*Pour hot milk in each mug, stirring continuously and your aromatic, frothy hot cuppa coffee is ready! The home made version sure beats the coffee machine one any day! 

My version doesn’t exactly look like this, but you get the idea na!

Btw, visit http://www.horlicks.co.uk/.%20Pretty Pretty cool.

I realise that the title of this post doesn’t quite make sense. But I got the ‘bean’ from coffee beans and I just thought the title sounded so cool! Couldn’t resist using it !:D