Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Chocolate - Lime Juice - Ice Cream - Toffeeyan..

The Hum Aaapke Hain Kaun song lyrics actually continues "Pehle Jaise Ab Mere Shauk Hain Kahan". In my case, its "Pehle se aur shauk hain ab" :-D. Not for lime juice and toffees though. Only for icecreams and chocolates. Oh man!! What icecreams and what chocolates!! This blog post is dedicated to 2 of my favourite indulgences these days :).

Cold Stone Icecream:

(This image is stolen err, taken from the official site of Cold Stone icecream)

The above tag is just so that Cold Stone people don't sue me. A gal has to be careful, you see ;-) :-D.

My love of Cold Stone icecream started sometime after I came to US. In fact, the first icecream I had in US must have been the McDonald's Hot fudge Sundae. Yup nothing beats the vanilla chocolate combination according to me ;-). In Bangalore, I used to love the chocolate dipped softy they sell at Hot Chips :-D. And the scrumptuous icecream at Corner house (Death by chocolate anyone? I shared half of it with a friend once and was almost dead by the end. Its so sinful ;-) :-D). Shucks, sorry for the switch from Lexington to Bangalore, the word "icecream" brings back so many memories {waves all the memories away in an effort to stick to the topic}. Ok back to Cold Stone.

Before he married me, Sri was in US in Phoenix, Arizona and it seems there was a Cold Stone creamery store just below his office!! So thats how he came to love Cold Stone icecream. And he dislikes chocolate by the way :-p. So the first thing he did when one day after I came to US, I made a fuss and shouted "icecream" like a kid, was to find if there was a store here in Lexington. Turned out that there are 3 and one of them was very near our house :). So from then on, I became a fan just like he already was :).

So whats so special about this icecream? After all, you get icecream everywhere and most flavours are available everywhere too. The speciality of Cold Stone is not the flavour, but the flavour you can create ;-) :-D. You may be stunned to know (unless you have already tasted this) that you create your own icecream!! And just how do you do this? Let me go through it step by step.

First you choose a flavour (Banana, Sorbet, White Chocolate Mint, Cheesecake, Sinless, Chocolate, Strawberry, Coffee, Sweet Cream, French Vanilla are just a few) in 3 different sizes (Like it, Love it or Gotta Have it!! - Corny I know :-D). You can even go for a bucket if you want ;-). Then you go in for the mix-ins.

Mix-ins are stuff you can add to the icecream to make your own creation. Mix-ins maybe Candies (Butterfinger, Chocolate Chips, Crunch Bar, Gummi Bears, Heath, Kit Kat, M&M's, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, Snickers, Rainbow Sprinkles, White Chocolate Chips), Nuts (Macadamias, Pecan halves, Roasted or Sliced Almonds, Walnuts), Fruits (Apple Pie Filling, Banana, Black Cherries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherry Pie Filling, Coconut, Pineapple, Raspberries, Strawberries), Baked Goods (Brownies, Oreo Cookies, Graham Cracker Pie Crust, Yellow Cake) and Other mix-ins (Caramel, Cinnamon, Fudge, Honey, Marshmallows, Peanut Butter, Whipped Topping, Cookie Dough). Phew!! Though I stole the combinations again from the official website, I know its tiring to read so many :-D.

You can go for any number of mix-ins, but beware! Only the first mix-in is free. The rest cost about 40 cents each :-D. And these are not already mixed and kept ready. They take a scoop (or how much ever according to the size you ask for) of the flavour you want and take each of the mix-ins you ask for and mix it in front of your eyes. They crush fresh strawberries, cakes, candies into the icecream! And the end-result is amazing. Its an icecream blended with exactly that fresh fruit or extra chocolate you always wished for :). You can opt for a normal cup, or a sugar cone or a waffle cone to eat this mixture in.

The cost is very costly. Very bland statement, but very true. You should definitely not convert the amount into rupees. Or you will probably stop eating the icecream. Nah, nothing can make you stop eating it, though you'll certainly be shocked that a Like-it size costs Rs. 150, i.e about $3.something. Well worth it, but to be honest, I probably wouldn't have paid that kind of money for an icecream, for heaven's sake, had I been in India :-p.

Cold Stone also sell Icecream cakes created with layers of moist cake and icecream and its yummy. Totally irresistible :-D. I had got a Strawberry passion cake for Sri's birthday and what do I say! Simply fabulous!! Its like no other cake/pastry you'd have ever tasted!

My only crib is that they don't have Butter Scotch flavour icecream which is my absolute favourite (I have so much, yet crib for more :-p). But right now, I am absolutely loving the Strawberry flavour + Brownie + almonds + yellow cake like-it/love-it combination :). Oh man!! You have to eat it to believe it :). (Am I making you jealous? Hurray, hurray and more hurray >:-) :-D).

Godiva Chocolates:

(This image is again stolen err, taken from the official site of Godiva Chocolates)

Ok the copyright thingy again just because the Godiva official site looks better than the Cold Stone icecream wale, so they may be on a better watch out for people who steal their photos :-p.

I have always loved chocolate. Since I've come here to US, I've heard a lot about Godiva chocos from cousins, but never really tasted it until about a month ago. I was into Snickers and Hershey's, but was kind of getting tired of them. I had seen Godiva being sold in one of the malls here and so, being the dutiful wife I am ;-), I pestered Sri into buying some for me :-D.

The first Godiva chocos I got were a dark chocolate bar and 2 milk chocolate pieces with whole almonds. As soon as I was out of the mall, one of the pieces was broken and half of it was in my mouth. Ummmmmmmmmmmmhmmmmmmmmm!!! The other piece went into Sri's mouth, though he doesn't like chocolate very much. And he can't even differentiate between dark bitter chocolate and sweet milk chocolate. Sad!! But he does like white chocolate and that was what I got for him (the rest was all for me hehehehee) when we bought Godiva the second time.

The second time I also bought a macademia nut chocolate bar whose I taste I really can't describe, its so wow!! I also have a chocolate covered macaroon which I still haven't tasted and 2 pieces of a choco called "Iconique" which has some hazelnut filling thats crispy and delicious :-D. So as you can make out, this is only my second time at Godivas. But I'm sure they are gonnu get lots more visits from me ;-) :-D.

Cannot really talk about the cost again 'cause the chocolates are all very costly. I guess you have to pay the price for indulging like this ;-). A small bar of Godiva chocolate (any flavour) containing 4 pieces is about $2.75. Thats almost more than 30 rupees per piece!! Sometimes I almost feel guilty of spending that kind of money on a choco, but I get over the guilt in no time at all ;-) :-D. Mostly I have no memory of the guilt once the choco is in my mouth ;-).

Now comes the big question. If I am eating so much of chocos and icecreams, how come I haven't bloated up? Thanks for that has to go to myself, who somehow manages to drag herself to gym 5 days a week for a heavy 1-hour workout :-D. Had it not been for a 10 min warm-up session + 25 min of brisk walking/jogging + 10 min of weights + 15 min of abdomen exercizes each and every day except for a Saturday and a Sunday, I would have been a fat cow by now :-p.

And how does Sri remain slim? God only knows!! The man doesn't exercise, but gains not even a single ounce of weight. Some people are plain lucky, whereas others poor souls have to struggle and struggle. I have been trying to fatten him up to absolutely no avail. But if you ask me to give up chocos and ice cream just to be slimmer than him, all I can say is that you'll get a big fat TENGA :-D :-D :-D.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Four Leaf Clover :)

I know a place where the sun is like gold
and the cherries bloom forth in the snow;
And down underneath is the loveliest place,
Where the four-leaf clovers grow.

One leaf is for FAITH,
And one is for HOPE,
And one is for LOVE you know;
And GOD put another in for LUCK:
If you search you will find where they grow.

But you must have FAITH,
And you must have HOPE,
You must LOVE and be strong and so...
If you work and you wait,
You will find the place
Where the FOUR-LEAF CLOVERS grow!

- Four-leaf Clover Poem by Ella Higginson

The Four-leaf clover is considered a lucky charm everywhere. Which is precisely why I like Metallica's "No leaf clover" so much and have its chorus line as a quote at the footer of my blog. It is the height of pessimism. No leaf clover - no faith, no hope, no love and no luck. Not that I am a pessimist, but sometimes optimists need to be given reminders about pessimism ;-).

So why this poem suddenly? March 17th 2005 was St. Patrick's day. So, you ask, what does it gotta do with me? A colleague of Sriram, David had a party organized on St. Patrick's day. His wife Lisa is of Irish origin and they had invited us. We attended and it was a lot of fun.

Before I talk about the party, let me give an intro to St. Patrick's day (feels like I'm writing an essay :-p).

"What originally started as a day of mourning the death of the patron saint of Ireland on March 17 in 461 A.D. has long since turned into a celebration of everything Irish.

St. Patrick was born as Maewyn in Wales around 385 A.D. At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped by bandits and sold into slavery in Ireland, where he lived for six years, herding sheep and developing a strong faith in God. Upon his escape to Gaul he studied in a monastery for many years, entered the priesthood and later was appointed as second bishop to Ireland—his desire was to return to Ireland and to convert the people there to the Christian faith, a tumultuous mission that lasted 30 years.

St. Patrick did manage to convert thousands of Irish to Christianity; he founded hundreds of churches and, according to lore, "drove the snakes out of Ireland," an act symbolizing the victory of the Christian faith over pagan rituals. In order to explain the idea of the holy trinity to local tribesmen, he used the three-leaf shamrock, its green color signifying renewal and the coming of spring after a long period of winter and "pagan" darkness."

Ok as you can see, I blatantly stole the above history from some website. But what else is Google there for? :-D.

The party history goes like this. We were invited about a fortnight ago. I was pretty apprehensive about it. I mean, Sri doesn't have any Indian colleagues. None at all :-o. Sri thought it'd be a nice experience for me to meet his colleagues and their wives (yeah most of his colleagues are male :-D). I had met a couple of his colleagues previously in our white water rafting trip, but I had met only one woman then. And it was a rafting trip, I was in tops and half-pants, didn't have to worry about dress, make-up etc. But this would be different.

Moreover we were told to wear green. Wearing green, it seems (and lately eating and drinking green things...) commemorates St. Patrick's use of the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Since I didn't have a green top/shirt and I did have a simple green coloured chudidaar which was an Indian party wear, I didn't know how suitable it would be, but it just had to do.

On the party day, I didn't do much makeup, just applied a bit of eye-liner and a touch of lip stick. I did put a bindi on my forehead and was ready. Just as if I was going to an Indian party rather than one with no Indians in it :-D. I did feel self-conscious when I first entered their house, but later felt very comfortable. None of the ladies were dressed in gowns and stuff (thank god!! warna I'd have felt miserable throughout :-p). They were all in casual party tops and pants. Neither too dressy, nor too casual.

David and Lisa had decorated their house with green balloons and irish quotes/blessings stuck on the house walls. I met Jacob, his wife Janet, Joe and Joe's son Joel again (who I had met in the river rafting trip) and it was nice to see them in something other than sports wear :-D. I also met Joe's wife Patricia who hadn't come on the trip. The other people I met were Rob, Michael ( a chinese guy) and Michael's American wife Tracy. There were also David and Lisa's children Michael (too many Michaels :-D) and Zackary. There were some other neighbours of David's and their children that we didn't get introduced to.

As usual, people had lots of trouble pronouncing our names. Sri's colleagues atleast knew him, though they pronounce his name pretty badly. On man, how difficult is it to pronounce Deepthi - Dee as in Thee + p + thi as in thin? But somehow they just can't. Finally I had to resort to asking them to call me "Dip-Tea" or "Dee". After the introductions and some talking, dinner was served.

There was a salad with some Irish dressing, bread and some traditional potato soup. Surprisingly, everything was vegetarian (Sri had told David before that we are vegetarian, but I don't know whether they made the whole thing vegetarian just for our sake. Nope, don't think so :-p). We had dinner conversing with Joe and Patricia. The potato soup was very tasty and so was the salad. But it didn't fill my hungry stomach. But what to do? Sometimes, you have to adjust ;-). Later there was also chocolate cake with whipped cream and chocolate sauce for dessert which was yummy :-D. But again it was too small a piece :-D. After dessert, Irish coffee was served. Now Irish coffee is made of coffee, Irish whiskey, whipped cream and green irish mint (which also has alchohol). So I declined and had a normal coffee.

After dinner, we had nice conversations with Jacob and Janet and later David. Later I also left Sri's side and had a wonderful time talking with Tracy and Lisa, while Lisa showed us their beautiful house which they built themselves. These Americans have the habit of doing everything themselves, so usually they buy a plot and build everything from scratch themselves without any other manual labour whatsoever. They put floor boardings, paint etc themselves. There might be some kind of labour involoved only in kitchen and bathroom accessories. But usually they do those also themselves :). I really don't have an opinion on that, 'cause its kinda nice to do everything on your own, but I am sure it will be very very strenuous.

Anyways we talked a lot and they both liked my outfit very much. I tried telling them its called a "Chudidaar" or a "Salwar-kameez", but as usual they had a very difficult time pronouncing both the words :-D. Lisa is a wonderful painter and she had put up her paintings and sketches all over the house. They were really beautiful and I told her exactly that :). Also, it seems she has never been to Ireland as such, but her maternal grandmother is Irish.

After all the talk and realizing that it was 10:30 PM already, we decided to bid goodbye. Thats when Lisa asked us to read this Irish blessing on their front door:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields
and, Until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand

- An Irish Blessing

Can there be a lovelier way of saying goodbye? :).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

After Death?

After death?

As I was free and had not enough work to do
Weird thoughts flew glibly inside my head..
That was when I wondered and pondered
What would happen to me after I were dead..

Maybe I would become a fierce and scary ghost
Floating wherever and forever in frilly whites..
Haunting anyone, be it enemies or friends
Playing pranks and giving everyone frights..

Maybe I would be made a very pretty angel
And sent into an extremely beautiful heaven..
I would bring happiness, wipe sadness away
I will do good and every life I would enliven..

Maybe I would be sent to a horrifying hell
Somehow I know that it will make me glad..
I would bribe the devil, become a hell supervisor
And make sure others are punished real bad..

Maybe reincarnation is the next logical step
I would choose to be a cockroach, given a choice..
I would eat and eat and not become fat at all,
I would scare a few without even making any noise..

But what if death is an inevitable dead end?
No hell below us or no heaven above at the top..
If so, then I better make sure my life is fun
Before it comes to an abrupt, complete full stop.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Dedicated to the Blank Noise Project. I know I'm late, but I found out about it pretty late too..

"A young girl, 11 years old, all excited about a singing competition..
Travelling in a moderately crowded bus with her group of friends..
Is all smiling, until...
The conductor's hand moves over her chest (the breasts haven't even developed yet)..
Now she's confused. Did he really do that?
He looks alright, he's not of the villain types, he's middle-aged..
'Maybe I got it wrong" she thinks..
He does it again the next time he passes by..
She stops smiling...
Thats the end of her trust in strangers.."

My story, your story, every girl's story. I've read so many such stories in the past 2 days that it has left me reeling. Do I feel embarrassed to write this post? Yes, I do. Because thats the way I have been brought up. Thats the way it has been taught to women. You have to be embarassed for things you are not responsible for. For things done by perverted men!

After that day, I used to dislike travelling in buses. Even if I would, I would try to be in the women crowd in the front of the bus, way away from the men crowd. But the conductor gets to move in the women crowd too. So I'd watch him like a hawk and make sure that I'd not be groped in any way. Most of the times, I would ride my bicycle to school and avoid buses anywhere I could. But sadly this case is not only with the buses..

"Years later, a young woman, 20 years old, would travel to college daily..
On her 2-wheeler..
On a residential road, almost every day, she'd encounter..
A thin man riding in the opposite direction on a luna ..
In the beginning the guy would just whistle looking at her..
She would mutter some scoldings and go on her way..
Then it started becoming obscene words and winks..
She tried ignoring him, thinking then he'd stop..
Later he drove the luna almost as if he'd crash into her vehicle from the opposite direction...
But whenever he would ride with a woman, he would pretend..
Pretend that he was a decent man...
One day, she lost her temper..
She was determined to do something if today the guy came any nearer..
He did and she kicked his vehicle with all her might..
Not caring if she fell off her two-wheeler; And she didnt...
Turning back she saw the guy almost fall..
The smile was back in her face..
After a long time..."

You could ask me why I didn't tell my dad about it. I dunno why. Maybe because I felt embarassed again. Surely dad would come with me one day, the next, but could he do it the 4 years of college study every day? After the incident, I was scared, scared that the guy may bring a gang or something. But I was determined to make a big hue and cry if anything such happened and there was a police station nearby anyways. But from that day on, I never saw even saw the guy whenever I travelled on that road. Looks like he changed his timings or direction :-D.

As for the conductor, I remember his face clearly. I saw him again in another of my bus travels. And this time, I was determined to take all sorts of revenge on him, would he even put a finger on me. But he didn't. He looked suprisingly sober and was treating all the women with respect. Wonder which woman took that revenge for me! Whoever she was, good that she changed atleast one man..

The luna-kicking incident was the only incident where I was brave enough to retaliate. And that retaliation gave me a strange confidence. Thats when I realized that retaliation was better than acceptance in silence. After that, I was a bit more confident in dealing with strange men. Rabble-rousing was/is always better..

Fortunately, I've been one of the women who didn't face more of this kind of harassment. In fact I can recollect only about 3-4 incidents, thats all. Maybe as one of the women say, I had learnt the ways of the world, avoiding all things that would lead to such incidents. After reading all the stories from Mumbai women who travel in trains, wonder how I'd have been, had I been in Mumbai!! Maybe tougher, maybe more cynical, maybe more untrusting..

Surprisingly, I've never faced any kind of harassment in school or colleges by any of the co-students. Most of the times, the-stalking-when-I'm-walking, the-racing-and-slowing-down-when-I'm-on-my-two-wheeler have all been by middle-aged men. These people have daughters, have sisters, have wives, but still behave like this. Is this an educational deficiency or the way they have been brought up? What? I really don't understand the reason. And these are the people who pick up the cudgels when something similar happens to their women. Why do the terms change in case of other women? Why?

Some people have the nerve to say its because of the way a woman dresses. I feel enraged at such ignorant people. Oh really? What do you call the conductor incident then? He must have imagined a 11 year old girl to be a woman in short skirt? Eve-teasing is the only thing that is caste no bar, colour no bar, clothes no bar and looks no bar. Its pure gender biased. And what do you call the Katrina rape incidents? The women and men were in put in a superdome as a rescue mission. Which woman had the strength to dress up in small clothes then? As I mentioned in my Katrina post then, a man is in a life and death situation and all he can think of raping a woman who is in the same situation as him? Just whats the logic behind such despicable behaviour?

I really didn't know whether I'd like to blog about eve-teasing when I read the first few posts. Its difficult to speak about embarassing things and I was not sure that I would want to. But after reading so many posts by women writing their heart out, I felt I had to. Blogging about eve-teasing may not make it go away. After all, all men are not like that. And the men who are like that may never know that a thing like blogging exists. So where's the question of them changing their ways after reading a post? But the many women who are the silent types, might read these posts and if it gives them even a small bit of confidence to face such harrassment with more strength, then the blogathon's purpose is accomplished. If you are speaking about it, then you are doing something about it...

I know I cannot go out and kill such men. All I can do, as many women have said in their blogs, is hope that a time comes when a girl/woman can walk free, without a book protecting her bosom, without a man by her side, head held high and a smile on her face at whatever time, in whatever place, without any concerns whatsoever. For now, I'm going to make sure that if I have a daughter, she's trained in martial arts, she knows the difference between a bad and a good touch and that she's not embarassed about speaking on it. If she ever faces eve-teasing then I'll also be sure never to blame her saying "Its because you wore such clothes" or "Its because you took that particular road" or "Thats why you are not allowed to stay out after 7PM in the night".

On second thoughts, I'll do the same if I have a son. These days, what with sex-changes and same-sex relationships, you never know when the perversion may turn against a young boy...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blog Birthday and a makeover ;-)

When it was born last year i.e 8th March 2005, my blog didn't look like what it is currently. It looked like this:

In fact, till yesterday it looked like this:

So, for its birthday, I decided that I've had enough pink and lets go for a change again :-D. Hence the birthday gift to my blog this year is a makeover :-D. The first change was done on 28th June 2005 here. Then it was just a revamping of the pink. This time, well, you can see it is anything but pink :).

Oh man!! Can't believe its been an year of blogging. In one year, this blog has seen my confusion, my sadness and ofcourse my lots and lots of happiness. I still haven't completed 100 posts (I'm stuck at 77 and I'm not that avid a blogger :-D). Actually thought of completing 100 posts as a birthday gift, but when you want to write posts, the ideas don't ever occur. So lets say, I just washed my hands off the idea :-p.

The pink has been getting to me for sometime and have had this idea of a change since about a month. But I waited basically because I thought it's be a wonderful idea for the blog birthday :). I basically love the black and white combination. Add grey and you have a great one. I really don't know how I got the idea for the title though, it sort of just hit me. The first title my blog had was "Deep Thoughts" kinda based on the "Hitchhiker to the galaxy" by Doughlas Adams. Secondly "Dip Tea" as my friend Ranjini used to call me. Both were generally related to my name. But now its "Like Duck To Water" and I dunno why :-D. I guess the fact that I had all those duck photos surely helped in deciding the title. I am proud to say that they are all taken by yours truly :). I do hope you all like the way my blog looks as much as I do :).

Meanwhile, 1 year of blogging gone, wonder how many years it'll continue. Hope it does until my last breath.

"Dear blog, wishing you a healthy, wealthy (:-D), happy and a long life"....***

*** Sneaky me, the wish is indirectly for myself, kyun ki for the blog to be healthy, wealthy etc, I have to be exactly those and more ;-) :-D...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Mozart Concert :)

I did something last Sunday that I had never done in my life before. I attended a classical symphony - A Mozart Concert. This year is Mozart's 250th birthday, so wherever you can find, there are Mozart concerts going on. And we impulsively decided to go for one. It was free anyways ;-). Yup, it was free, 'cause it was held in the Beaumont Presbyterian Church and most of the choir and orchestra consisted of people who were volunteering.

The concert was at 7 PM and we were wondering whether it will take a long time. But it was beautiful and it was short, which actually left us wanting more. It went on for only about 45 minutes :). The conductor was Adam Luebke and there were 6 compositions of Mozart that were played. I have heard a couple of Mozart compositions, but I had only peeked at 2 of the compostions that were played. The others I did not know, but enjoyed them nevertheless :). There were totally 38 people in the Mozart Choir and Orchestra including the conductor!

The lead singers or Sopranos were all University of Kentucky students and each of them were wonderful. One brought me to tears with her beautiful high pitch, one's voice made me feel joyful and another's made me tremble. It was all in all, very touching somehow. Though I didn't know any of the songs, somehow I could relate to them. At not even a single point of time, did anything they played jarred. For once, I am lost for words while describing an event. Yeah they definitely got the claps they deserved :).

They had a reception after the concert, but we left. While coming back, I was in such enthusiasm, that I kept repeating one or 2 lines of the songs played. Sri asked me whether I'd like to learn classical symphony singing. Hmmm I don't know. I've been kinda playing around with the idea since then. I really don't know how to go about it or whether I really want to learn. Indecisive I am, so lets see :).

Since it was a church, I couldn't take any photos. There was a photographer there, but somehow no photos are available on the net :-p. Guess it was the church photographer..

Meanwhile, next week we are attending another concert. Not a classical one this time, but an altogether different Aerosmith one!! I'm so excited. But sadly, no cameras allowed :(. I'll try to sneak in a couple of pictures from Sri's mobile, but the resolution is pretty bad in it, so I dunno. Anyways, more updates on it next week. Adios till then :)...