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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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Xmas lights :)

Just like halloween, I couldn't resist the Christmas decorations around my neighbourhood. Its almost like our Deepawali. Only no old-fashioned hanathes here :-D. There are lights put up in most houses with different colours, shapes and sizes and its all a delight for the sight :).

Since the decorations were all lights, the photos had to be taken at night and man! Was it freezing when I finally ventured out to do the same!! But anyways I couldn't let go of the wonderful opportunity and so with my freezing hands captured the wonderful decorations. The things I do in the name of blogging!! So what are we waiting for? Lets start off :).

The first one is from a neighbour who I always thought was Indian. We never had a chance to get to know each other (they live about 3 houses away), but they looked Indian somehow. Maybe they are Indian christians, who knows! Their decorations were really good. The best thing is that they had candy canes, Christmas tree, star, Santa Claus and a reindeer - all the main symbols of Christmas :).

The next one somehow impressed me just by the green lights on the tree. It looked really pretty, though it might not really seem so in the photo :).

As the last one did it with green, the next one used red lights to capture my heart. This one was very festive and when I took the photo I could hear the laughter of many people gathered inside the house. That made it all the more special :).

This next porch, you might recognize from my halloween photos. Looks like the people are really fond of decorations and aren't worried about the effort needed to do the same :).

The next one signifies the colour differences in the lights in houses next to each other..

Reindeers were rather a common factor in most lawns. These are mechanized ones which move their heads either up and down or side to side..

The winters are really cold here. And most of the days are dark and gloomy. But the lights somehow made all of it go away and brought a bit of cheer. I guess thats the point :).

Like halloween, the trees were not spared this time too. They took an active part in supporting the lights. Well, they might have actually enjoyed the finery, since they have lost all their leaves now :-p.

Thats it. Thats it? The thing is I took several more photos, but they didn't come out too well, mainly due to the darkness :). Anyways I am happy with the above ones and hopefully they'll bring a bit of cheer to the people who are reading this post :).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Nostalgia :)


It just seems like yesterday
When I learnt first to talk.
Held safely by my parents' hands
When I was taught how to walk..

It just seems like yesterday
When I stepped out of the house.
Studied, played, made new friends
Fights, exams and all such grouse..

It just seems like yesterday
When life turned yet another page.
Crushes, mischief, complex subjects
There was so much to do in college..

It just seems like yesterday
When I first became independent.
Faced my first job and workplace
The first time my money, I spent..

It just seems like yesterday
When I met the man of my dreams
Two years of bliss have flown
Like moments, or so it seems..

It just seems like yesterday
And so it always probably will..
I only hope when I'm old and frail,
It'll all feel like yesterday, still...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Oven chronicles :)

Its been more than 1.5 years since I have come to US. In this long time, every house we've lived in has had an oven (yes, here they come with the house/apartment). And I've never once taken a proper look at it, except for using it to store potatoes in one house ;-) :-D. I was determined that I'd never be one of those who bake their own cakes, biscuits, etc. But curiosity has slowly but surely killed the cat ;-). I started thinking seriously about it some weeks ago. I even got a ready-made veggie pizza and some ready-made samosas which have to be baked, for the initial oven experimentation. Never got around to actually doing it until this weekend :).

I always thought the oven operation would be complicated, maybe the older ones were. But most of the houses here have the most recent models which are not very difficult to operate at all. This I discovered only when I sat and read through the manual :-p. It was as simple as pressing 3 buttons for some previously-wayyy-out-of-understanding-concept called "Pre-heating" :-D and just keeping what needs to be baked inside the oven next for whatever specified time :). Ok that understood, it was time for my first "experiment" :-D.

The oven came with baking pans, so there was no need to buy those. But I did need some oven mitts and aluminium foil. There was aluminium foil left over from our barbeque (vegetatian ofcourse :-D), "experiment" last summer (we enjoyed roasted corn and home-made veggie burgers on the barbeque actually :). Oh, I forgot I could have written a post on that! What a waste! Well, maybe next summer ;-) :-D), so again only thing required was the mitts. But they weren't really necessary for the first time. Any thick cloth to handle the hot baking pans was ok and so the experiment proceeded :).

The first trial was nothing complex and I decided to go with the ready-made samosas I had gotten from the Indian store. I set the oven for preheating and covered the baking pan with aluminium foil. Arranged the samosas on it and put the pan into the oven after the pre-heating was done. After about 15 mins of baking, took the pan out, turned over the samosas and put it in again for 15 more mins of baking. Everything worked fine and the first experiment results were declared successful when the samosas turned out to be delicious. My hubby declared that they could be a bit more roasted, a point which was duely noted :-D. Anyways, I can't really take the credit for making them, but sure for baking them :-D. All this happened with only one itsy-bitsy-miniscule burn on one of my fingers which happened when I was trying to turn over the samosas and mistaken scraped a part of the hot oven. And nope, its definitely not something serious.

Ok, so I was ready to go to the next level immediately. I confess to missing the Indian bakery items here in US, a lot. So yesterday, we went shopping and got a few things required for Veg puffs. I actually made aalu palya (potato curry) puffs and I took the recipe for puff making from here (I made my own potato onion peas curry and I am not going to bore you with the recipe here ;-) :-D). So we bought mitts and Puff Pastry sheets. Puff pastry sheets are actually flour rolled into a sheet in layers (thats one wonderful advantage in US, you get almost anything you want here :-D). And I did everything according to the recipe - thawed the puff pastry sheet, rolled and cut it to 9 equal pieces (not exactly equal, but who cares :-p), made and then cooled my aalu palya, put the palya in the sheet pieces, sealed them, preheated the oven, got the pan ready with the aluminium foil, arranged the puffs on the pan, baked them for 15 min, turned them over and baked again for 15 more minutes. Only one mistake happened in this whole procedure, I didn't seal the puffs properly with water (a point to be noted for next time :-D), but this only meant the palya peeked out of the puffs a little and no way spoiled the taste.

So voila here are the puffs :-D.

Shown are only 4, as the other 5 were gulumed (consumed :-D) by us as soon as they were cool enough to bite into, which was plenty hot, believe me ;-) :-D. They came out really tasty, almost as tasty as the ones available in Bangalore bakeries, little less oily and I'm quite proud of myself. Though puffs might be a very easy and most common thing baked by many people here in US or in India, I'm still happy with myself because I tried something new and it came out good.

The success of the 2nd level of baking, as defined by me :-D, has inspired me to try many further things. I'm already looking at aalu palya buns, khaara biscuits and many more repeats of different kinds of curry puffs :). Moreover baking is really easy and hardly takes any effort :). So, I'm sure that this is the beginning of a new beautiful relationship :).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cinema seen-it-all..

Over the past 5 weekends, we have seen exactly 5 english movies in the multiplexes no less, one for each weekend and not to mention the various hindi and telugu movies we end up watching at home :-p. Though enjoyable, its practically tiring ;-). The 5 english movies is what I'll talk about in this post of mine. Nope I won't be reviewing the movies as such, for that you can refer to the links I'll be providing with each movie. This will just be my opinion of the movie in a few lines. I have included a rating by my standards though. And, no, I'm not going to make this reviewing movies a habit ;-).

{Disclaimer - Start}

I may unwittingly say something about the movie in my post that may/may not be a spoiler to the movie. I advise extreme caution to the reader who's reading and who still hasn't watched the movie. Also if you haven't watched the movie and do want to watch the movie, then clicking on the IMDB links I'll be giving may not be the right thing to do ;-) :-D. I don't want to be the one blamed for spoiling the movie for you ;-).

{Disclaimer - End}

Ok so here goes :).

1) The Departed

They say its a copy of some Hong Kong movie. Well, I can't compare it to anything as I haven't seen the Hong Kong movie anyways. Its just a story about moles, moles and more moles! And the moles trying to find the other side moles :-D. Sounds confusing? Nah, in reality its not!

I loved it. The story, the direction, the acting. And what acting!! I have been a fan of Jack Nicholson since I saw "A few good men" and I see it again and again just to watch him in the end :)). He is so good in this one too. Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio are not far behind. I hadn't seen any Martin Scorsese movies before this one, but this one impressed me so much that I have to take a look at the older ones now :).

2) The Prestige

A movie about two rival magicians? You may ask whats so interesting about that. But when its Christopher Nolan doing the directing, you have to think twice :).

I was blown away when I watched his "Memento" some time ago. I did see "Batman Begins" too and though it was not comparable to "Memento", I thought it was quite good. I mean Batman movies were pretty cheesy before "Batman Begins" and this was quite dark and brooding and impressive somehow :). Anyways, returning to "The Prestige", the movie was shocking to say the least. It showed perfectly the extents men go to achieve something. It was horrifying, yet was extremely fascinating.

I guess both Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman can add me in their fan list :). Also, Christopher Nolan has a fan for life :). And yes, this movie is rated the best of them all :).

3) Casino Royale

I really didn't want to see this one. Somehow it felt like betrayal. Like I was cheating on Pierce Brosnan, hehehe :-D. Though I didn't even watch the earlier 2 Bond movies in theatre, somehow I felt he was James Bond. There was no one to replace him. This thought was obviously shared by lots of people. And boy!! Were they all wrong! Was I wrong!!

Daniel Craig's James Bond is rugged, not afraid to soil his hands and neither does he need the protection of expensive gadgets. The movie tries to do for James Bond, what "Batman Begins" did for batman. "Tries" is the keyword here. The usually untouchable James Bond is vulnerable here. A softer side of Bond anyone? Don't get me wrong, I loved Daniel Craig. I loved the storyline too. But somehow it just didn't seem like a James Bond movie to me. I didn't really miss the Bond babes as there were 2 here ;-) :-D, but I did miss the gadgets, I did miss the style, I did miss the "traditional" Bond movie. But well, these are changing times, I guess I'll just have to "kindly adjust" ;-). Doesn't mean I have forgotten Brosnan though ;-) :-D.

4) Deja Vu

This one receives the least rating from me, but I still believe it is worth one watch. I was actually so impressed with the trailers of this one that I pestered Sri into taking me ;-). I had imagined all sorts of things from the trailers, but it turned out to be a story about time travel. And it was kind of disappointing. Especially after "12 Monkeys"!

I had looked forward to seeing Denzel Washington after "Inside man" last year (man, now that was an unexpectedly great movie!) and he was good as always. The effects were good and the story was innovative to a point. But somehow the ending was disappointing. And my main complaint is that it was a happy ending ;-) :-D. If you have already seen the movie, I recommend reading the IMDB boards. The theories some people come up with are amazing! I also recommend watching "12 Monkeys", if you haven't done so already :).

5) The Fountain

Living each day to its fullest is wayyyy better than trying to fight death. That was the message I personally got from the movie. A man is so involved in trying to discover a cure for his wife's tumour that he doesn't have any time to spend with her. Thats it! Thats it?

I have seen 2 other movies of director Darren Aronofsky. While "Pi" was strange and disturbing to say the least, "Requiem for a Dream" was tragedy at its best. I remember think "it cannot get any sadder" and it did, did and did! God!! Anyways, I think of his movies as abstract paintings. They are full of vivid repeating images, colours, emotions and as somebody said, they make you feel. Its what you take out of the move that matters. You may not totally understand his movies, as they are certainly the opposite of conventional. But they'll strike a chord somewhere, somehow. Something like a poem. The poet writes a poem with one meaning, but the people who read it might interpret it however they want to.

I felt personally that this movie was not as powerful as the previous two and hence the rating. But it had its own merits and is certainly worth one watch. The splash of colours was enjoyable and you could see the typical Aronofsky style everywhere. Though I thought Rachel Weisz was kind of wasted, this movie turned out to be another reason for me to like Hugh Jackman :-D. He is absolutely wonderful and he runs the show from beginning to end :).

OK I'm done :). I basically enjoyed all of the movies, can't say the same for Sri though, 'cause he hates unconventional movies :-D. Right now there are no more movies in the pipeline. No trailers were interesting enough to actually look forward to the movie. Maybe next year, we'll have some stuff to see :-D.

"The End" people :).

Friday, December 01, 2006

Similes for Love :)

Similes For Love

Like a sharp thorn protects a rose,
Like a sting is the armour of a bee..
Like a shell safeguards a turtle,
Your love always looks out for me.

Like water helps the plants thrive,
Like bees survive on sweet honey..
Like little grains that birds peck on,
Your love is the nourishment for me.

Like a kite bound by a thick string,
Like a wind that pushes clouds gently..
Like a tree holding onto its leaves,
Your love lets me fly, yet chains me.

Like a volcano exists because of lava,
Like most humans are after money..
Like breath, food, clothes and shelter,
Your love means the life to me.