Monday, March 26, 2007

The wonderous smell of baking

Whenever we had unplanned guests, my mother would hop into the kitchen and bake a cake in a jiffy. Though she has never been interested in cooking in general and we have grown up healthy thanks to never over-eating because of a series of terrible cooks .. baking was something my mom liked and we looked forward to .. fighting over the little bit of batter which could not be scrapped into the baking dish (which never ceases to amaze me because there is no other way I'd ever have raw eggs!).. the smell and anticipation of the end result.. and finally the awesome cakes. I always thought that when I grow up I'd bake every week and there would always ben home made cake at home. It never happened with the series of bad oven houses we lived in.. and ofcourse the general lack of enthusiasm.

Till a few weeks back. When our current oven stopped working and the landlord replaced it with a swanky new oven with lots of nice features we have no idea how to use. It was a lot of hard work dealing with the delivery people and the builder ...but finally it was installed and we figured out how to use the absolute basic manual mode. Since then, baking mania has hit me. In two weeks I have tried a cake, brownies, muffins and today got back early from work and tried yet another cake. Well, part of the enthusiasm is from the absolute frustration of not getting it right. Especially when till last year I could atleast bake a cake! It's always been so simple, but am just messing up on the cakes not rising or it becoming too sweet..I can't get a hang of the ingredients here .. and so far its been a series of experiments. For a novice who is messing up I have extreme confidence, and called some friends for a muffin breakfast. Well the muffins never rose.. but good ingredients taste nice anyway. . and baking usually smells good. So the experiments continue.. and when I finally manage..I shall post a picture. Till then, let me sit back and take the nice smell .. since I have no idea what its going to be like this time!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Pester power works! I didn't really believe I could convince B into buying me the Complete Calvin and Hobbes. While I had fallen in love with this version the day I saw it in the book-store two years ago, there didn't seem a strong enough case for it since over the years I had collected nearly all the individual books. I nearly beat up B for once suggesting that I could give away my existing collection and get this.. ofcourse not..those cannot go anywhere. They include the first one which I bought a long long time back when I went to the shop for an entire month and stared at it trying to overcome the temptation of spending 500 rupees on a comic book (that was my mothers version!). Finally the two years of nagging, tears, celebration gave way to B ordering the book from Amazon. (Was quite happy at my little victory ..since my parents seemed to be made of stone when it came to pester power and I never believed it actually worked).

Finally it arrived. I kept staring at it not believing it is really there. It now sits on the bookshelf where my earlier Calvin's were. And the entire old collection has come to the bedroom. B still cannot believe that we have two sets of the same 'comics' in our tiny flat. But its quite useful .. since the new collection is really heavy, the old individual ones are handy to take on a holiday or read in bed. Its all worked out.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thought for the day

Overheard on the train today on my way back from work.

A group from the same company but different offices are having this unnecessarily loud conversation . A snippet -

So how many people are there in your office?

You mean people or lawyers?

So am wondering lawyers are not people then, wonder where they are from?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rediscovering evening

In two weeks, the new job has made me aware of how scarce time has become. Weekdays with the 6am - 9pm routine is becoming crazy. While the train journey has been nice in terms of looking at the nice country-side and catching up on reading, it has stretched each day to the limit.

Today started with just everything going wrong. The fuse tripped and the entire house was in darkness. B got late trying to fix it (its in the loft above a room accessible only with a ladder which is kept in the store room downstairs!) while I tried to help and rush around not to miss my train. Warm sunny weather gave way to horrible foggy cold as soon as we left London..and I froze the entire day. To make matters worse I started feeling quite ill in the afternoon. By 4pm I was fed up and ready to come home. I reasoned that I would carry my laptop and work on the train and at home to make up for leaving office early. Well, I did work on the train but lost the enthu as soon as I got home. Partly because as soon I stepped in I was magically feeling better (its amazing how being home has these super healing powers!) and after ages I have been able to catch up on everyone's blogs, write a post, treat myself to a cup of coffee. . and it's only 7! The thought of helping B by doing the washing up (dishes are his responsibility) has crossed my mind.. but when the warm duvet and good book beckons, love will just have to wait for another day.

Friday, March 09, 2007

End of week one

The one predominant feeling - Am so so tired!

A week of of four and a half of commuting has been much more tiring than I expected. Finally its weekend. I don't have to wake up in darkness, leave when its barely morning and the most important thing of my life is getting the 7:13 train (..deja vu feeling of Bombay locals.) Its been so tiring and weekend couldn't have come sooner. B is out tonight for a stag dinner with some friends .. and I am enjoying a glass of Riesling, U2 playing the background and writing. And by the time I complete this post, my take-away Indian food should have arrived and I will be watching the long overdue Amelie.

Work and getting used to a new place has been a mixed experience. It is very different from my earlier work place or any other before it. The place is massive and thousands of people work in the office.. its like a self sufficient island in the middle of nowhere - literally! Also, unlike my earlier job where in two months I became great friends with the girl sitting across my board (those dividers in open plan offices) who was my age and we gossiped about everything and am now going to her wedding.. the person across the board here is a someone atleast 10 years older than me, 6 feet tall and talks of school admission (not exactly a topic I have much to contribute on ..except this article I read recently which shocked me about the whole primary school admission mania!). He is very representative of the typical profile, 6 feet tall men in black suits .. even with heels I feel tiny.. I now understand why all the women wear those totteringly high heels. (There's supposed to be something about height and confidence .. should have paid more attention in organization Behaviour class.) Which brings me to dressing .. everyone is so well dressed. My two year collection of ragged jeans and other college clothes need to be replaced asap. I am still trying to get a hang on all that fall into the category of formal women's wear. . totally beats me.

The biggest upside is that I am sure I didn't make a mistake accepting this job. There's lot I can learn about the industry and hopefully in the future move onto more interesting functions. Not a bad start.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

For Women's Day

A great ad ... and an important message!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

An end, a long weekend and time for a new begining

February flew past, much faster than I expected it to.. and my last day at the current job came pretty soon. It was quite an anticlimax and somehow didn't even feel like the last day. There was the usual tension with a presentation I needed to finish and a rush with some other things to wrap up and that was it. Short bye-byes to people I've worked with and I left .. none of the magical rush I quite expected. At some tiny level I even felt a little bad. Though its been only two months I've made a few friends, got into a routine and was settled. Am just terrible at dealing with change, even when its something I want.

Everything was soon forgotten as we headed off to Chester the next day. Packing was left for 6 in the morning since we got back too late and too drunk to pack the night before. We finally got to Chester without forgetting too many things. What was supposed to be long lazy weekend turned out to be lots and lots of walking. I still can't figure out how we walked so much is a city which has a perimeter of 2 miles! But by the end of the three days I am certain we should have walked atleast 20 km. The most interesting was the walk on the walls which surround the city centre. We did this walk quite a few times at different times of the day. The city centre was also interesting. There was an attractive market where we came across a there was a delightful cheese shop. It was fascinating, the variety of cheese they had and we ended up buying enough to get bulk discount. The other highlight of the trip was the pubs. With B&B's stuffing you enough for two meals, our pit stops were at the local pubs .. including fruitfully using the half hour we got before our train back. Sadly yesterday was the maximum of our walking and we were just too tired to step out again to see the lunar eclipse. . instead we stayed in our room and ordered a pizza and had it with wine we had carried while watching some trashy action flick on cable TV. This is a usual on our holidays and is one of the most fun evenings. Today we came across a bookshop just before leaving where we got a lovely hardbound, illustrated copy of the complete Sherlock Holmes - its gorgeous!

And now we are back. The reality of starting a new job tomorrow has not sunk in. I still cannot believe that I will be travelling nearly 70miles each way and will be leaving home earlier than I have ever woken up. Fingers crossed, hope all goes well ..and soon you'll hear of what the new place is like. Till then, here are some pictures of the lovely Chester.

The typical black and white Tudor houses of Chester

The city walls, its a lovely walk on the walls.

Cute houses along the river Dee

Walkway along the river

A really cute little pub. Loved the fireplace with the 'real fire'.

Albion Inn, an interesting place, supposed to be one of the few unspoilt pubs

Chester by night