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Death - The Real Deal

 I can't start 2021 without paying obeisance to my father in law, who passed away on December 28th 2020 due to kidney failure. He passed away at a ripe old age of 90, almost 91. I knew him only in his twilight years, as I married S only when Uncle was 81. He was a distinguished man with his precise words and genial attitude which acted like a magnet to the people around him.  I remember him narrating interesting stories about their family during the 1900s and about the city with its myriad transformations. What made chatting with him so enduring is his remarkable memory and his choice of words. One could get a picture of the city or of his life at that time without the poetic exuberance. Every word spoken was measured yet descriptive.  When my own father passed away in 2008 rather unexpectedly, my grief was limited to myself with no knowledge of what was happening to my once alive father. My brothers and other male relatives conducted the last rites as per our customs and I just go

Best Movies Watched Online in 2020

It's the last month of this trying year and a round up of my favourite movies that had helped me limp through 2020 is in order.  Below is a list of multi lingual movies that I enjoyed watching on Amazon Prime and Disney+ Hotstar this year. Gotta warn you though, that some of the movies are old. Best Movies Watched Online in 2020 Patakha (2018)  1. Patakha (2018) - If like me you have somehow missed watching this movie in 2018, then do stream it on Amazon Prime and enjoy the tussle between two, might I say, patakha sisters. Vishal Baradwaj has directed this gritty comedy of two warring sisters who in their hurry for one up manship exasperate their loved ones and each other. Sanya Malhotra and Radhika Madan have delivered stellar performances which is aptly supported by Vijay Raaz and Sunil Grover. Must watch. Haraamkhor (2015) 2. Haraamkhor (2015) - Yes, I know I am listing movies this old, but the pickings are pretty slim among 2019 especially and 2020 movies in Hindi language. H

Straddling Two Jobs - Homemaker and Working Woman

Three years ago when Ana kutti was starting Montessori and we parents were getting to know each other, I remember speaking to two other mothers on a warm, sunny morning. When asked what we did for a living, two of us promptly replied that we were working. I remember the third one had an impassive face as she looked back at our polite questioning glances. She replied that oh no, she didn't go for work, and that she was a housewife. I remember now how a short, sharp judgmental arrow shot through me. She didn't work.  Unfiltered thoughts crept up of news articles and visuals of a modern day woman, who generally was a smart business woman or a competent mid level employee, a surgeon or a cook. She not only juggled her job with her house but was also this wonder woman who was supposedly doing all this with a smile on her face. The modern working woman was kicking ass more than the limpid home maker. Of course my social grace came  over me and I nodded with a smile and a ready wor

Tasty and Healthy - Beetroot Cutlets

Beetroot - I can't believe I managed to live a large portion of my life never having eaten it...thanks to my mother, I guess. She never made beetroot at home when I was growing up. Maybe coz dad hadn't liked it or perhaps  mum never knew how to cook it. The way that veggie leaked colour was not appealing to anyone in the family and to date I am sure my brothers too don't eat it at home. Fast forward to 2020 and after marriage to Mr. vegetarian, S, I have come to like this deep purple root vegetable. S had a way of making you try out things...he made it look so appealing on his plate or got it made often times by the Cook that ultimately one is forced to try out the same.  Every Tuesday out came the beetroot cutlets to grace his plate after a day long fast. At first I ignored them...beetroot...yuck, beetroot cutlets... slightly better but why did they look so dreadful?  And then when I got around to making them and found myself popping a piece in my mouth to test the texture

Love Thy Neighbours

A year ago, new neighbours moved into the flat on our floor. The ones who had lived there had to shift to another city; they were good neighbours - available in times of need, would happily baby sit Ana kutti or allow her to see their aquarium; share some yummy snacks during festivals, bond a bit in the evenings and so on. Like other neighbours in other neighbourhood do perhaps. :). In their case, S and I were the newbies...when we moved into our flat in the apartments, these guys were already there. We got to know our neighbours incidentally , over lift rides or chance meetings in the corridors or when I was walking Anakutti around the building. And though the process took time, we got around to establishing the rapport we do with them now. But the neighbours who had moved in, last year, in their place were a different lot. After some active shifting of stuff and getting everything probably organized, the mother, father and their 23 year old son knocked on the door of the person oppo

TV Series to Watch During Lockdown

So we in Chennai have almost completed our lockdown 5.0 and we have received news that it is going to be extended strictly until July 5 after which it will be a relaxed lockdown. Oh ho here we go. If the number of cases had come down courtesy this lockdown, at least we would feel a bit better, but that doesn't seem to be the case as of now. The numbers are as high as 3900+ cases in Tamil Nadu and above 2000+ in Chennai today. People we know are talking about people they know who are getting affected by covid virus. It is a scary situation...yes; and the best possible step would seem to be to sit tight at home and wait for the worst to blow over. My biggest concern presently is the non-availability of beds and ventillators in hospitals and hence not a great time to fall sick with corona virus. God save us all from this pandemic. Sitting tight at home might not be a viable option for many. Concerns over finances, work, regular chores etc could be eating us up. But this seems to

Caramel Vanilla Tea Cake

This cake didn't even have a name, in fact I made up that name just now. But this sparked the fire to bake in me. Baking this cake is a trip down memory lane for me. Every single special occasion had this one gracing the table. I remember mum baking this cake the day before Eid, so that on the special day it was ready to be shared with neighbours and friends. Usually the youngest is in charge of delivering the goodies in a decorative plate to neighbours in our building. Since I was the youngest, I was entrusted this task and I took it up with elan. :) Now Anakutti is getting trained to do this bit.  For every one of our birthdays too this cake was made. The same, when mum took a fancy to bake a simple, tea cake. This cake has had plenty of fans over the years. It's attraction was its simplicity in taste and looks - there was no need for icing at all and the caramel sauce that was added to it gave the cake a nice sharp flavour and colour that is quite unlike any other