Sunday, November 20, 2011

right now...

sunday evening.
van halen's 'right now' plays softly in the background...
Nice article about being a Locavore.
...another one here.

Eat local. Eat Seasonal.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Birds from my window...

...and the antics they get upto by Ranjit Lal is a book I picked up for my daughter but haven't parted with it ever since.

I can't call myself a hard-core bird-watcher but like Ranjit Lal describes in this book, one can enjoy the antics of the birds even from a wide open window. I belong to the category of humans who marvel at the various birds with a big mug of hot chai in one hand and Salim Ali's book in the other trying to identify the bird.

Ever since we moved into our present home which has a terrace, we spend many hours gazing at the skyscapes at different hours of the day and the birds form an integral part of the routine.

I think I got deeply involved in bird-watching a few months back when a pair of Scaly-breasted Munia ( identified by Salim Ali's book) built their grass nest on our potted Ficus tree in the terrace. Watching the super active tiny birds flutter in and out of the nest in the morning and running up at dusk to see them return home became something of an unsaid ritual.

When I saw this book, it just seemed too familiar not to pick up.

The illustrations are by Prabha Mallya.

Looking at the dark clouds at a distance I wrap my bright Fuchsia shawl tightly around myself and settle down to read how the Magpie Robin who sang sweetly in the morning lost it's voice in the evening....

Enjoy your day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

we lingered...

After a hectic festive Dusshera season we were looking at a quick getaway to recharge our tired selves (cells?)

Tripadvisor came in handy and off we went to Linger at Balur Estate, a serene plantation in the Mudigere District of Chikmagalur.
There is something very comforting about road trips, those excited high-pitched conversations, those stopovers for hot chai and breakfast, the super-saturated greens in paddy fields, the roadside mounds of just harvested golden corn, those "Please stop stop, I need to click" to Mr. Husband....

A good 6 hours later with two super quick stopovers, we reached Linger at Balur Estate tucked amidst deep green coffee plantations. The byline at the plantation says 'Just do nothing'.

Excited at the prospect of doing just nothing we entered this 150 year-old colonial bungalow with cool terracotta tiles under our feet.

Lovely huge windows that seem to be framing the beauty of the plantation and also an easy outlet for my daughter to sneak a few pieces of biscuits to the friendly estate dog~ Raja and his unnamed furry friend.


Raja waiting for biscuits under the window...

Beauty in what remains;-)

Bulbuls, barbets, drongos, swifts seem to be welcoming us with their musical chirps. It did take me a while to tone down my city-bread high frequency to a more nature inspired one, but I did get there soon:-)

A lovely cupboard filled with books...

We had the whole place to ourselves with Ratnamma, the hospitable lady cooking us simple home-ly meals, she could have been your ever smiling relative in your ancestral home with whom you would hang around in the kitchen helping her cut vegetables or learn the local recipes. Only here she spoke to me fluently in Kannada assuming I would reciprocate with enthusiastic Kannada jargons. Enthusiasm intact I struggled with my spoken Kannada, with few words of Telugu, Tamil, English thrown in and a good measure of sign language!

...and we communicated.

She made us cups and glasses of chai while we read, watched & dreamed...

The ever smiling caretaker Amza who is called Azma due to a spelling mistake. The Kannada speaking Nepali watchman Prem Bahadur, the dog, Raja who took the 'Just do nothing' byline of the estate too seriously. All of them played a part in making our stay at the estate an enjoyable one.

A few breath-taking frames from the 400-acres of the estate and what little we did at the estate...

Our morning plantation walk path...

There are many streams criss-crossing the estate...

Fresh green pepper vines...


Balur Estate Bungalow at a distance...

Glistening dew drop...

Coffee berries...

Wild ferns...
I am not much into nature or macro photography but the place was so beautiful my camera seemed to gravitate towards these treasures of nature :-)

My daughter with a beautiful flower...



With cold hilly stream caressing our bare feet we decided to return to the estate soon....

Friday, September 23, 2011

taste of madurai...

Madurai, entices your senses with it's multi-hued palette of colours, smells and taste....

Food is God, Madurai is heaven. A medley of cuisines are served up in this city starting from the wee hours of the morning to late into the night.
At dusk the street food eateries come alive...

Heavy duty 'Parotta'

Inquisitive foodies like me and my husband read up on the various restaurants and eateries, made lists, compared notes, struck some off and pursued some like our life depended on it:-)

Here are some places we ate, drank, saw and clicked...
Anna Meenakshi Hotel comes highly recommended for evening snacks...

...and Filter kaapi.


Simple vegetarian meals are served on banana leaves at The Modern Restaurant. Very delicious I must add:-)

Our morning breakfast at Heritage Madurai had to be idlis with chutnies and sambar...

...and paper thin masala dosas!

We came across an interesting drink called Bovonto by Kalimark that is very popular in Madurai.

Filter Coffee is very popular in Madurai and as we walked past the various streets leading to the Meenakshi Temple, we got a whiff of roasting coffee beans and sure there was this coffee store with a delightful mascot:-)


Mr Narayana?

The one drink that really caught our attention was a sweet concoction called 'Jil Jil Jigarthada' which means 'cool cool heart cooler';-)

The drink is made using Milk, China grass, Nannari Syrup (Sarsaparila) and Vanilla Ice Cream.

Nannari Syrup sold in glass bottles near the Meenakshi Temple.

The Nannari Syrup is mixed with water too and served as a refreshing drink. Do give it a shot if you are in Madurai...

(Images by Arch)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

madurai malligai...

From aqua blues of the Andamans to fragrant 'mogras' of Madurai. Pardon me if I keep oscillating between a couple of destinations that we travelled to while away from my blog.

Madurai is famous for it's big, fragrant variety of 'Malligai' or Mogra

Fragrant 'Malligai' on well-oiled hair is a common sight in southern India and especially in Madurai

Adorn and sell.

The 'Malligai' buds being woven into a neat garland.

Freshly woven garlands wait for customers in the evening.

~Thomas Moore

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Elephant Beach, Havelock Islands...

During our stay at the resort, Barefoot Scuba had organized a snorkeling trip for us in the aqua waters near the Elephant Beach. What we saw and experienced was something out of the world.
Never, never seen blue like that before, either in the water or the sky.

Not having carried my camera during that trip, we decided to do some exploring on our own. From the Havelock port there are many privately operated motorboats & speed boats to the Elephant Beach.
We decided to take one such motorboat to the Elephant Beach...
Gorgeous shades of blue and loved the weather beaten anchor...
Intertwined Cross and pendant of Goddess Kali dangling in the boat...
Elephant Beach...
Collected shells on my husband's slippers....
During the Tsunami that hit Andamans, loads of trees got uprooted...
These photographs don't do justice to the beauty that we were engulfed in....

Do visit Andamans at least once in your life. It's worth it!