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"To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect." - Oscar Wilde

Sunday, 29 September 2019

The Two Sons


I love old folk tales. Simple tales. Tales from childhood, that warm your heart. 
There is this one tale, I've never forgotten, one my mother used to narrate.
I don't know if this is the original tale or there is another version, there well may be. Maybe you've heard it before, still hear it again. I'll share it just the way my mum did years ago.


Folk Tale


The Two Sons

Once upon a time, there lived a farmer in a small village. He had worked hard all his life to build up a good fortune with a large farmhouse, lots of cattle and acres of land.
His wife had passed away a few years ago and now he was sure his old frail body wouldn't be around much longer.
The farmer had two sons, Ajay and Vijay. He loved them both dearly and they in turn revered him. The father wanted to ensure all his property was equally divided between the two sons. 
The farmer came up with a plan. Early one morning he called Ajay and Vijay. Looking at their curious faces he explained, "Ajay and Vijay, you know I am getting very old, I don't think I'll be around much longer. Before I leave to join your mother, I have divided the cattle, the land and the money. Only this house remains. I'll be giving you two a little test. Based on the result, the winner will get the house, it it alright with you two?" 
The obedient sons nodded respectfully with downcast faces. They really loved their father.

The father continued, "You know we have the two identical, tiny, empty rooms on the upper floor? Here, take this," he said, giving them each a hundred rupees and continued,"Now I want you both to listen carefully to what I say. With the money I gave you, I want you each to buy whatever you can think of and fill up the room. That is all. I will decide the winner based on what I see. Now go on both of you, you have till today evening." The sons were puzzled with this strange test, but nevertheless set out to fulfill the task.

Ajay was sure he would win the task. He knew exactly what to buy, his father would be proud of him for having filled the tiny room the best.
Vijay was thoughtful on his way to the market. He thought hard. A hundred rupees to fill a room...yes he needed to think harder.
It was evening. Both the sons and the father went up to the first floor. The two rooms were on opposite sides of the staircase with a long corridor in between. Ajay and Vijay were both eager to show their rooms to their father. 
"Ajay since you are the elder, we'll see your room first," said the farmer.
Ajay was beaming with pride as he led them to the room. He was sure his father would applaud his efforts.
With some difficulty, Ajay opened the door to the room. It was dark and filthy. A cascade of dry hay fell on them. Ajay had spent his money on buying bundles of cheap hay and stuffed every inch of the room, from top to bottom with it.
The father looked stunned. No doubt, his elder offspring had passed the test, the room was certainly filled to the brim.
Next the three headed to the door on the opposite side of the corridor, Vijay's room.
Vijay unlocked the door and invited his father and Ajay to come in.
The room was neatly swept and was filled with the divine fragrance of incense and jasmine flowers. Placed against the wall opposite the door, there was a beautiful framed image of the smiling Lord Krishna adorned with a jasmine garland. The room had a warm glow from a small lamp lit in front of the frame and incense sticks were wafting the soothing fragrance. Vijay handed his father a bill of all the things he had purchased with the hundred rupees.
The old farmer's eyes filled with happiness. He hugged Vijay. 
The winner of the test was obvious, wasn't it? 

The elder son's untidy, unthinking, hasty choice of hay to fill up the room reflect his inherent nature. 
The younger son's thoughtful, neat, pleasing to the senses and careful choice of the God's picture frame along with the lamp, incense and fragrant flowers to fill up the room reflect his inherent nature. 





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Friday, 27 September 2019

7 Tips on Choosing the right Interior designer for your home


I am often asked by friends and people I meet, "How do we choose the right interior designer for our home?"
With the wide range of professionals and firms advertising complete home makeovers, it is confusing how to select the right one for your home. 
Doing up home interiors is not something you do very frequently, since it is a tedious, time consuming and expensive process. 
Therefore you need to put in thought and time before you select a professional Interior Designer to do your home interiors.
Before you proceed with this post, you should read this: 


Being in the Interior Designing field myself, let me share a few tips on, 
Choosing the right Interior designer for your home
Choosing Interior Designer

1) Online research, Word of Mouth, Trusted references
The first refuge to source out any kind of requirement today is to google. There are a large number of individual professionals and firms offering turn-key interior design services. You need to go through their website properly, check testimonials. Also make sure you meet the design team face-to-face and check out their authenticity, maybe even visit sites they have executed.
Despite almost everything being online today, many people are still old school especially when it concerns their homes. However grandly a designer may advertise and market, people are more likely to go with a tried and tested one. One whose work they have seen and one who comes recommended by people they themselves know well. 
It makes sense therefore to ask around in your circles for good references and also verify the glowing recommendations by seeing the executed work yourself. What looks beautiful to one person, may look garish to another!

2) Credentials, Work Portfolio, Testimonials
Once you've narrowed down on a few designers, make a point to personally meet them. You may or may not decide after meeting just one. Ask for his qualifications if they are not already mentioned, a qualification from a good institution does add weight. An Interior Designer may or may not be an architect. But he should have adequate knowledge of the structural implications for an interior project...like he should know the load-bearing columns, beams before undertaking massive renovations.
Have a good look at previous work portfolio and seek testimonials of previous clients. You may even ask for contact numbers to verify the same. 
Don't be biased about hiring only experienced Designers, you'll be surprised to discover many new designers doing better work at far lesser cost.
Over and above all these above points, make a point to observe if the Designer is eager to spend time understanding your needs and vision to create a dream house for you. The designer's attitude should be one you are comfortable with. Most importantly ask questions, a good designer should be open to answering them. He should be able to communicate his vision for your home clearly.
Also remember, a chatty or friendly designer may not necessarily deliver all he promises while a subdued designer may deliver beyond expectations. 

3) Identify your needs 
The first question any designer will ask you is, what are your expectations, what do want to get done?
I would consider identifying and tallying your needs to be the most important aspect when you start looking for a professional to do up your space. Most people have little or no idea about visualizing a look for their homes other than what they are seeing. 
In this case, note down a list of your aspirations for your home. For instance, you could make a room-wise list like this:

Living Room
1. False ceiling 
2. Seating area - mix of formal and informal seating
3. No TV in living room
4. Shoe-rack
5. Display unit
Bedroom
1. Light and open look
2. Large storage - 3/4/5 door wardrobe
3. Walk in wardrobe (dream)
4. Dressing area
5. Projector TV
Kitchen
1. Mediterranean theme
2. Pull outs
3. Height of kitchen platform to be higher
4. Chimney - Yes/No
5. Washing machine, Dishwasher space
6. Puja area 

You could make the list as specific as you want/can. Save different folders of reference images to share, as they can give the designer a better understanding of the image in your mind. 
Identify your needs, however wild or improbable they may seem and share them with the designer, it is upto them now to creatively incorporate them where possible. 

4) Infrastructure 
Check out all you can on the infrastructure the designer has at his disposal. Most designers today offer you a 2D Autocad or similar software designed plan. Detailed 3-D view or walk-through of their proposed design may be at an additional cost. This greatly helps you to get a better understanding of the designer's plan for your home. 
An interior designer may be a freelancer or part of a larger architectural firm. Sometimes big names may not necessarily translate into a great experience. A larger firm could mean less time dedicated to a single client. On the other hand, a free lancer may not have the requisite team to handle turn-key projects. Usually it is easier if the designer has his own team of civil, electrical, plumbing, carpentry contractors because he will have a better say and co-ordination with them.

5) Understanding the monetary aspect
In tandem with your needs, you need to fix an overall budget that you are ready to spend on the entire exercise. Conveying this to the designer is very important. A designer should ideally be able to work around your budget or else clearly state otherwise. Most designers will give you an all inclusive (material, labor, supervision) Estimated Project Cost based on the scope of work and finishes selected. You could ask for further breakups in the costing. 
The costing may vary greatly depending on the cost of materials you finally select, the finishes (for furniture), fittings, paints etc. you select. The Estimate will give you a fairly good idea of what to expect based on standard materials which you may change if you do not like them. For example, the estimate may have vitrified floor tiles all over and you may opt for Italian marble or wooden flooring, so these additions will increase your budget.
The Designer may include his charges within the projected cost or separately charge a percentage (ranging anywhere from 5-15%) of entire project cost as his designing and execution fees. 
If the Estimate figures scare you too much, you may ask for Design Only services and settle to carry out the execution part yourself if you have the time and capability to handle it.

6) Compare 
When in doubt always go for a second or third opinion. No harm in comparing proposals, estimates, work ethics of two or more designers. The more homework you do before you settle for the final designer, the better.

7) Your Home, Your Space
Ideally designers input your visions to create personalized spaces that reflect your desires and likes. But there are many out there who force their trademark styles on your home. For instance, a family that is more at home with a traditional or rustic setting may become a modern haven of black-white-chrome because the designer convinced the clients of it. 
Be open to new ideas but don't get swayed to the extent that your home looks like someone else's! 

I hope these tips will help you narrow down your search for the right Interior Designer for your home. Do connect with me by commenting below if you have further queries, I'll try my best to help you out!

Beautiful Homes, Happy Homes!

Best,
Kala Ravi

You could check out lots more home and decor related posts by me here:
Home-N-Interiors






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Monday, 23 September 2019

Yours Generously


"Mama, porum, porum, enough, please stop, I don't want so much!" I shriek in protest to the server ladling out large spoonfuls of ghee atop the rice on my elai1. Sitting next to me, dear Mami is chuckling away. She contentedly accepts a couple of spoonfuls of ghee and asks the server to bring her extra helping of payasam2. As the gleeful server moves ahead to press his hospitality on a mama seated further long, she whispers conspiratorially, "Urar veetu neiye, pondati kaiyu!"


Any major Tamilian function, say like an engagement, wedding, upanayanam, sashithiabdhapoorthi etc. is usually conducted in halls or mandapams with catering by professional caterers.
If you've ever observed, you'd have seen that functions catered by reputed and successful caterers will always have the benign presence of the owner of the enterprise, the chamayal3 contractor. He is hard to miss - Typically clad in pristine white shirt and pant with immaculate vibhuti4and chandanam kumkumam5  on his forehead. He wouldn't be actively involved in the service or directing his staff, he has delegated all that work. Still he will be there, overseeing the proceedings while making small talk with the host mama & mami, enquiring if everything is to their satisfaction. 

This wise gentleman, has a deep understanding of this oft quoted Tamil proverb or pazhamuzhi,
 ஊரார் வீட்டு நெய்யே , என் பொண்சாதி கையே
Urar veetu neiye, en pondati kaiyu", (literally translates to: Someone else's ghee and my wife's generous ladling). 
The Hindi equivalent would be, "Muft ka chandan, ghis mere nandan (literally translates to: It's free sandalwood, use/rub away my son).  
The English interpretation would be, 
"Using liberally or generously of, what is free to you. Being generous with what is not yours."

So what is this proverb all about, how did it come into being?

Mami informs me that traditionally aatu neiye or homemade ghee was an essential and important constituent of all meals in households. Homemade ghee was the norm for every family and making it was akin a ritual. 
The top layer of thick cream from home set curd was collected for about 2-3 days. This was then hand churned to yield white butter. The butter was rinsed with water and stored along with fresh water and kept in a cool place. The freshly prepared butter was added to the previous collection. Once a week, the entire butter was heated in a heavy bottomed pan with constant stirring to yield fragrant, rich ghee that cooled down to a beautiful grainy texture. 

The ghee so painstakingly extracted was a prized possession of every homemaker. So the mami of the house dispensed it with a lot of love and care to her family during all meals. She offered a second helping of this practically divine ingredient while serving special guests. Young children always got at least 2-3 spoonfuls of it in their paruppa sadamwhile mama looked forward to a generous dollop of neiye with jaggery to accompany his evening tiffin of adai.

The homemade ghee was often not enough to meet the needs of large households and hence sparingly used. Additional store-bought ghee or kadai neiye would have to purchased to supplement the stocks. This kadai neiye wasn't held in very high esteem by most mamis but nevertheless they'd use it to make their sweet and savoury bakshanams and tiffins. 
Never would a mami be caught dead serving her beloved husband even a spoonful of the kadai neiye with his afternoon lunch. 

All the same when the same mami and family went to someone else's home for lunch, matters changed. Mami would go into the kitchen to help during food serving time. 
If she chanced on the coveted neiye jadi - ghee jar then she'd ensure she served it to her husband seated in the pandi7....more liberally than at their home, 2-3 spoons at least, no holds barred...it isn't her neiye after all! 
So now you know, how the proverb "Urar veetu neiye, en pondati kaiyu" came into being!

Coming back to our catering contractor, this gentleman knows all about waiters going overly generous with the serving. They have nothing to lose, while he has everything to lose with the unwarranted generosity. And so, he keeps a hawk's eye on waywardly generous waiters and cooks pouring in reckless quantities of expensive ingredients like our favourite neiye and dryfruits, if he is to make his venture profitable while seeming to be magnanimous!

He calls out a waiter and instructs him to pack manga urgayu8, avial and sambar (basically perishables) for the hostess mami to carry back home. And when he eyes mami looking longingly at the luscious jangiri, he tells him to pack those too - they wouldn't last through the day in any case!


****************


Trivia: The Brahmin custom of Parisheshanam before starting a meal by the the male members (those who've had their upanayanam) involves invoking certain Sanskrit mantras once rice and ghee is served on their plate by the lady of the house and only then partaking of the food, morsel by morsel chanting further mantras and then proceeding to totally dig in with gusto!



GLOSSARY:

1 Elai - banana leaf
2 payasam - sweet dessert or pudding made in south India
3 chamayal - cooking
4 vibhuti - holy ash applied on forehead
5 chandanam kumkumam - sandalwood and red sindoor powder applied on forehead
6 paruppu sadam - dal rice (baby food)
7 pandi - seating of diners
8 manga urugayu - mango pickle

Some things are more precious because they don't last long


Enjoyed this post? Read more southern-spiced pieces,

The Mami Saga:

1) Common-place Curd Rice


2) Kaapi-ready

3) Of Dangling Drumsticks, Wily Vadus and more


4) Idli Seria Vanduda?

5) Mamievolution


6) Buzz Fuss

7) Yours Generously



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Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Where's my GPS?


It's an hour and I am still driving to reach the venue. Didn't I see, Destination - 2 mins away about 20 mins ago on google maps? Oh dear, I'll have to ask someone for directions or worse, call up the husband! 
Let me clarify, it's nothing of an ego issue asking for directions. The problem lies elsewhere. 
My reluctance to self-drive to uncharted new territories, out of syllabus areas, stems from a systemic error in my brain - it is GPS deprived, no effing compass in my body!

Like a felon released on parole, fitted with a movement tracker, when I am beyond my normal comfort radius of say, 7-10 km, the buzzer in my head sends out warning signals - LOST, LOST, LOST! I have absolutely no clue where I am - geographical directions-wise, landmark-wise, nada, total blank on all counts. The corollary to this deficiency is, ineptitude in interpreting verbal or pictorial instructions. 
GPS RelaxNRave
Every time I embark on an adventure to visit a new place, the better-half does his best to graphically describe the landmarks I'll need to look out for. But a few minutes of listening to: over the flyover, under the bridge, before the signal, after the circle, take the third left...my mind goes totally numb and the ears tune out the said directions as white noise. Same goes for helpful directions from the Google Maps lady. 
So, basically me reaching a new venue on time, all by myself is purely, "Ram bharose"!
At times when I am driving around in circles, I've actually given up the idea of finding the way myself, parked the car in a fairly safe-looking locality and scooted into an auto rickshaw to the designated venue with a prayer that I'd remember how to get back to my car. 

I haven't yet researched this peculiar affliction but I believe it could be a genetic predisposition. My mum and her sisters are reknown for their equal or greater proficiency in "the art of getting lost". I recollect several instances of these dear women getting lost in their immediate neighbourhood, in malls, and group tours. Needless to say, this clan of women, yours truly included never takes on treasure-hunts, nature treks or other such mindless pursuits that are way beyond our scope. We are of course discussing these situations occurring in broad daylight. Night-time navigation is a whole other ball game when all roads look the same! None of us ventures out alone after dark. We love ourselves and our loved ones too much to take on such gambles!
When I see the flabbergasted responses of folks when I announce that I got lost...again, I realize, it isn't a very common thing to get lost in familiar territory. 
Before you cast snarky aspersions that this is a female thing or age-related, let me assure you we have a good many men and even teens members in this elite club.

And then there are people who have photographic memories. They can deftly find their way through convoluted routes they've visited in their childhood. Ugh...showoffs!

I am rather happy with the advent of Ola, Uber and other travel services. Obviously they are convenient, offering you recourse from having to strain your energies driving and focusing on traffic manoeuvers. 
Older cabs did you the same service. However, some crafty old-timer cabbies conned you the minute they got a whiff of your cluelessness of your whereabouts and you'd be taken on a ride, literally, a long roundabout ride with the meter racing away merrily.

For me the biggest draw to Ola, Uber is that they come with navigation feature and more importantly, they possess drivers who understand how to interpret it!
Unlike the taxi drivers of yore who knew the city, its every nook, gallikaccha rastas and shortcuts like the back of their hands, most cab drivers of these latest services have little or no clue of the route they need to follow to reach the passenger's destination. They simply follow the route map provided by the navigation service requisitioned by their brand. 

Do you remember the Grimm fairytale of Hansel and Gretel? The wicked step-mother plans to abandon the two children in the forest. When the children overhear her plan, Hansel leaves out a trail of bread crumbs to follow back. So clever, isn't it? But the crumbs are eaten up by birds and Hansel and Gretel are unable to find their way back home and are lost in the big bad forest. 
Whenever I try to mark landmarks in my mind's eye on the way to a new destination, these markers are snatched away like those bread crumbs and I am left with no directions to proceed!
I can also relate to Abhimanyu's dilemma in the Chakravyuha, in situations where I am lost in a new terrain and have no clue how to head back where I started from!

Looking at the brighter side, this peculiar trait is kind of like an art, one that develops over the years and one that not everyone possesses. An art that saves you the time and effort of explaining routes to other people or being expected to lead an expedition!

Anybody else out there with whom this post strikes a chord? Do let me know...we can share notes on the Art of getting Lost!





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Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Amazing Family Shows to watch on Amazon Prime India


For unfathomable reasons, I have the tendency to either go overboard over matters I take an interest in or be totally indifferent to most things. When the former happens to productive ventures, the outcome is generally very promising. 
And when I happen to take in interest in something like this...

Someone had gifted us with an Amazon Firestick. Out of curiosity I ventured to set it up and to my utter delight, I single-handedly managed to do so! I even managed to enable a blue-tooth speaker connection! (You'll have to read this post to know why I consider this to be a feat worth bragging.)
So, it started with a few random shows on Amazon Prime. You know...just once in a while when we decided to patronize the new gizmo - Firestick working on our lame MTNL wi-fi connection, alternating it with our staid cable connection with a gazillion channels.
Enter TRAI regulations, the cable guy gets all finicky charging us 5 times what we paid him earlier. 
Result: We resolve to get a better wi-fi connection and instead of the over-priced cable channels, pursue entertainment via the Firestick. 

The rest as they say is history. I can honestly say, I have no clue where 6 months, no wait, it's over a year actually, of my life disappeared!😲😰 
Well, maybe my thoroughly squashed comfy TV viewing armchair knows!
The ad and break-free viewing on Amazon Prime is a major draw that tempts you to binge watch series upon series!

Suffice it to say, I am a rather conversant guide on Amazon Prime Movies and Shows.
Sharing reviews of a few feel-good shows I watched with the rest of my family...yes, the sofa in our TV room is due for overhauling.🙄


The Middle season 5
I cannot think of a better show to watch with the family! Trust me, I know best, after all I watched the whole 9 Seasons (24 episodes each), twice! The show ran from 2009-2018, so you'll literally be watching the cast growing up/older through the seasons!
The show is about the struggles, highs and lows of a lower middle-class American family of five living in Orson, Indiana. The characters of the Heck family: Father - Mike (Neil Flynn) a steady, solid yet dry personality, mother -Frankie (Patricia Heaton) mostly hysterical, emotional and totally adorable, eldest son - Axl (Charlie McDermott) a dandy young man, high on sports and low on academics, middle daughter - Sue (Eden Sher) the dorky, clumsy, eternal optimist and the youngest son - Brick (Atticus Shaffer) with his insatiable book reading and eccentric quirks, are simply brilliantly etched! The comic timing, the sublime acting, the script, the dialogues, everything clicks consistently. My whole family was glued to the series and we've practically memorized quite a few iconic dialogues!
Basically I loved everything about the show, all through the 9 seasons. 
A show to watch with the family. Characters that you can totally relate to, rib-tickling dialogues and heart-tugging moments that keep you happily entertained!
You could check the Parent Guide HERE.


The Office RelaxNRave
This series ran from 2005-2013, 9 seasons. The series just kept getting better and better as one connected with all the characters. 
The show is about the everyday work lives of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. You'll fall in love with each and every one of the characters. You have the crazy boss, Regional Manager with a weird sense of humour Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the smart aleck, prankster salesman Jim Halpert (John Kraszinski), the shy, adorable and equally pranky receptionist Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), the hyper ambitious salesman cum beet farm owner, the inimitable Dwight Shrute (Rainn Wilson) along with a host of unforgettable cast comprising the staff at this office. While I didn't really love season 1, I was intrigued enough to go on and was soon hooked! Again, done all the seasons, twice over! 😜
I loved the romance between Jim and Pam and each and every one of  the quirky office staff but most of all enjoyed the Dwight Shrute's outrageously hilarious character. This is one office where the fun never stops!
You could check the Parent Guide HERE.



A British period drama set between 1912-1924, this gorgeous series ran for six seasons between 2010-2015. 
You'll be swept into the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants in Downton Abbey of Yorkshire, even if you haven't the foggiest idea about the British way of life or the social hierarchy of an era gone by.
The cast is simply spectacular and not for a moment do you feel that they are acting their parts, they simply play themselves! My favourite character from the series would undeniably be the Dowager Countess, Lady Violet Crawley played by Maggie Smith with her unmissable pithy dialogues and classic acting! The head butler Mr Carson, played by Jim Carter would come a close second with his flawlessly conscientious work attitude as head of a large staff of a royal household and a heart of gold.
If you have a penchant for the stiff upper lip and classic British humour, a love for opulent royal sets and resplendent costumes, countryside scenes amidst household drama of royal proportions, this is a show you shouldn't miss! Especially since the Downton Abbey film releases on 20th September 2019!
You could check the Parents Guide HERE.

Well, I could rave on quite a bit about the umpteen series I watched by myself through the last one year, but that would have to be on a whole lot of other posts!
Till later, Happy Couch Potato-ing!
Do share your favorite, must-watch shows! 






Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

A view like no other


We were on a family holiday at Coorg, Karnataka. On our sightseeing agenda was the Talakaveri temple in the Brahmagiri hills of Kodagu District. 
Being a non-peak tourist season, a serene temple darshan and visit to the origin of the mighty Kaveri river went off rather quickly.
With time on our hands we wondered what to do next. We spotted steps next to the temple and a lot of people going up and down it. The steps went up the Brahmagiri hill. I looked at the steep incline and the vast number of steps and felt my knees creaking in protest. 
We were debating whether we should do the climb or visit some other spot. Just then we spotted a middle-aged couple coming down the steps. My family looked at me meaningfully with a; 'see if they can do it, you can too' kinda look. 
I stopped them and enquired about the climb. They said it was 407 steps to the top. I asked them what was there to see at the top of the climb. (I'd done 272 steps to the Batu caves in Malaysia years ago and the end of the climb had rewarded us with a marvelous experience of the caves and the shrine within.)
The couple looked at each other briefly, the man smiled and said,"You'll have to find that out yourself, won't you? But it will be totally worth it, let me assure you. Just go for it!" The two of them exchanged secret smiles (Aww, how romantic, I thought) and they went their way.
So now that we had this bit of info, we decided to go for it. The sleeping arithmetician in me kicked in; 407 steps, that's roughly, 20 floors.
The tremendous fitness un-enthusiast in me was breathing strenuously after probably 50 steps. Just 350 more steps, cajoled my family.
Well, huffing and puffing I finally made it to the top after the steep 407 step climb and caught up with the others. I couldn't wait to catch my breath in anticipation of what awaited me there.
There can't be more of an anti-climax than the view from the top of Brahmagiri hills! There is a mediocre view of a surrounding valley, nothing extraordinary. The kind you'd probably not even give a second look if you saw a photograph of. The summit itself has a small platform with railings around. Absolutely nothing else! Probably the climb and the view might have been more rewarding with swirling mists, but we weren't that fortunate.

The smug smiles of the couple we'd met at the bottom came to mind, the couple that'd egged us on to take up the climb.
Yes, they'd undertaken the futile climb themselves, knowingly or unknowingly and wouldn't want to deprive others of the same disappointment that awaited the end of the arduous climb! 
Seriously makes me suspect the intent behind all kinds of reviews...of books, movies, destinations, restaurants and so on. The more the number of stars, the more dubious I get!
That reminds me, I need to do a tripadvisor review of this place. Any guesses how many stars this destination gets from me?? 😈

Anyway, we had a good laugh as we came down the hill, if nothing it was definitely an unforgettable experience! While we were coming down a bunch of college kids was beginning their ascent. My husband called out to them, "Keep your DSLR's ready for the view at the top."😈😈

A nursery rhyme I sang as a kid came back to me. One I've always found pretty silly and futile. I sang it aloud as I trundled down the steps. 
It runs like this,

A bear went over the mountain, 
A bear went over the mountain, 
A bear went over the mountain, 
To see what he could see.

And all that he could see,
And all that he could see,
Was the other side of the mountain.
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
Was all he could see.

You could hear it as well, at least kids today can have some visuals with this aimless rhyme!









Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Sunday, 8 September 2019

When it rains, or it doesn't


During monsoons in Mumbai, all you have to do for a conversation to take off is begin with, "When it rains...," and you'll be bombarded with stereotype responses like,"it pours," or "it's time for chai pakodas," or "you won't believe the water-logging at Hindmata" or "the dams still haven't reached the overflow mark" and a somewhat wistful,"its's time for a non-rainy holiday!"
There is a subtle and ongoing joke, maybe even a trend that happens at least once during the temperamental Mumbai monsoons. It is like this: Every once in a while when the Weather Bureau predicts a terrible downpour and declares a public holiday for safety reasons, we invariably have sunny blue skies and made to order fluffy white clouds on that day!
While school-going kids are thrilled with the prospect of a rain-free holiday, office-goers (of offices that have decided to stay open despite the warnings), mope all day long at work, lamenting the injustice and blaming adulthood that has deprived them of these childish pleasures.
I always wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the Weather Bureau on such occasions. How can their prediction be so off the chart? I wonder in particular about the guy who actually issues the damning statement that is bound to land him in a seriously embarrassing situation!

Maybe this happens...

Dr. WB is at work poring over several maps and printouts on his work-table, comparing various satellite images and reports on his computer screen. 
Hmm, the cloud formation definitely seems threatening. But the wind movements are equally strong, they could buffet the clouds in another direction. After one more intense scrutiny of the entire scene in front of him, Dr. WB is reasonably sure he needn't hit the panic button just yet.
His mobile rings shrilly, the caller tune, a catchy item number song set by his son. He pounces on it to silence the offending sound. 
"Hello, papa? Have you finished the science project I gave you last week? I have to submit it tomorrow you know?"
"Err, what was it about?" mumbles Dr. WB, desperately trying to recollect.
"We had to make an eco-friendly energy model...you haven't done it, have you," accuses the young tyrant and goes on a wail,"Mummmmyyy...."
Enter mummy,"What kind of a scientist are you? You can't even do a 7th standard science project?"
"Papa, you promised you'll do it! Now it will be all your fault if I get a zero tomorrow....mummyyyyy..."
"You better come home with the project or else God save you from me!", is mummy's ultimatum as the phone is slammed down.

Dr. WB stares wanly at the phone and then at all the charts and screens around him.
Yes, the weather Gods would have to save him from the imminent wrath awaiting him at home. Time to hit the panic button.
An official press release and intimation to civic bodies about a serious cyclone warning with heavy rains within the next 24 hours from the Weather Bureau ensues.

The Civic chief's office in turn welcomes the news with silent cheers!
They declare : All schools, educational institutes and offices to remain closed tomorrow due to cyclone warning.
In any case, they've been too harassed with relentless complaints of pot-holed roads and water-logged areas. 
Ek barishonwala break toh banta he!


I am participating in the #WordsMatter Bloghop. The prompt this time was "When it rains..."
I received this tag from Roshan at Godyears. It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Zainab at Slim Expectations. There are 42 of us on this Blog Hop and it will be spread over 3 days – 6, 7, 8 September 2019. Do follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised!


I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter's #MyFriendAlexa



Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Sweet Betrayals


A hard core sweet-toothist's biggest nightmare is to be let down by a promised helping of heaven. It could be a slice of the most decadent looking cake or a crispy yet succulent looking jalebi, that tastes totally contrary to its looks - a bite and miss kind of experience where the cake tastes like bread with stale icing and the jalebi tastes like thermocol dunked in syrup. Being annoyed would probably be stating the feeling it generates, rather optimistically. You wouldn't understand the feeling of utter betrayal when such injustice happens, if you aren't one yourself, I mean a sweet-toothist. 
I've often faced such let downs at lavish hotel buffets that boast an endless variety of desserts. 
A true-blooded sweet lover will begin his meal with desserts, ensuring he tries all of them. He doesn't believe in regional or international biases when it comes to desserts. Tiramisu, baklava, turkish delights, macaroons and souffles are at complete peace with gajar ka halwa, gulab jamuns, pethas, malai pedas, and phirnis
Post this sugar coma inducing appetizer, based on his stomach's capacity for expansion, he will manage to chuck in a few staples with daals, paneers and salads, to ensure a balanced diet. 
(Note: The use of masculine gender in this case may be slightly biased, the author being considerate and completely biased towards the fairer sex.)

Dainty pastries that taste like fluff, light melt-in-the-mouth souffles that are too eggy, halwas that are sugar, ghee and dry fruit deprived, luscious plump gulab jamuns with hard tasteless centers....well, I can keep tirade going, when I am thus stimulated by the atrocities of tasteless wonders and heartbreaking, two-timing sweet finales! In fact the sweet loving community would go to the extent of calling such offences, strikes below the belt, even the unkindest cut of all. And we are not even going down the path of sugar-free desserts, the term itself is an oxymoron.

Leaving behind starry hotels, back home, when the post dinner, "meethe me kya hai" question elicits a tray of cut fruits or raisins or...(shudder) a lump of jaggery, you know it is ghor kalyug.
C'est la vie, where bad desserts allure, tempt and then stab - from the front.
You see, the pastry-chef, the halwai, the lady of the house all do it purposely out of the goodness of their hearts, to save humanity from obesity, diabetes and heart disease! 
(The author, a lady of the house herself may not necessarily subscribe to this line of thought but must issue it out of social health obligations, blah and bleh legal by-laws, and commendable consideration towards bad pastry chefs and their clan.)



You could read some more of my food-ravings here:

1) Common-place Curd-Rice
2) Ghar ki murgi daal barabar?
3) Sweet Temptations
4) Athithi Devo Bhavah, anybody?
5) Kaapi-Ready
6) Idli Seria Vanduda
7) Sweet Betrayals



All through the month of September, I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter's #MyFriendAlexa

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI