The Fruits of Summer

Hell couldn’t be hotter than Delhi in June.  This summer seems to be particularly hot.  Many of my less heat-hardy plants have just dessicated.  Even the Temple Tree is showing signs of heat stress!  I can only pray the monsoon will keep its date with Delhi; if all stays well with the wind systems, it should hit Delhi on June 29.

Mango Lychee dessert

The week has started off well with a sharp shower on Monday morning that brought a seven degree drop in the day temperature, from a scorching 44 degrees Celsius the previous day to a ‘balmy’ 37.  We take our silver linings as they come.  Monday was also my birthday and I was supposed to hit the streets, albeit those of the air-conditioned neighbourhood mall, with my sister, mom, and niecelet, who herself turned all of six years last week.  No, I wasn’t planning to shop till I dropped; it was Mom who needed company to shop.  We spent a pleasant couple of hours telling her what to splurge on.  Nothing beats shopping therapy when it is not even your own money.

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Simbly South!

Malpe Beach

Talk about signing up for more than your fair share!  I am an adjunct faculty for a Grad program at a college nearby but ended up with full-time teaching load this semester.  The work load in the office stayed unchanged which translates into ‘busy’ and is reflected in the woeful frequency of posts here the past two years.  Factor in the absence of any kitchen help and you get the picture.  But there must be a silver lining, surely?

I had made a case last time that I was better off without the ‘help’.  Well, I think the fact that I was able to handle the additional work load was in no small way because I did not have to supervise the cooking and cleaning downstairs. In the past four months we have eaten out no more than we normally do; perhaps, even less.  In fact, the folk at Andhra Bhavan might be wondering if all was well.  We have resorted to a meal of bread-and-butter on very few occasions.  The family has had to compromise on the freshness of their roties since I firmly believe they (roties, not the family) are not worth the trouble of the clean-up involved, twice a day.  I usually cook enough roties for two meals and sometimes, with the right accompanying dishes that are best with rice, the leftovers get stretched into a third meal.  Otherwise, I feel our meals have more variety, are fresher (except for the roties!), and there is less waste as I use up ingredients before they spoil.

Lest you think it has been all work and no play let me tell you that in 2012 we have already managed two holidays!  The last week of January found us in Rajasthan walking the gorgeous dunes of Jaisalmer.  Yes, it was the same group that did that arduous hike to the Valley of Flowers five years ago; a bit older, none the wiser.  It was a bit hectic and we have resolved that the next trip together will be to a spa – a luxurious spa, not one of those detox ones where they near-starve you – and just let our hair hang down.

That is precisely what TH and I did early this month when we visited the son, now in his third year at college.  This year he has opted out of the college hostel and is trying out apartment-living with two classmates.  It is gladdening to watch him deal with the mundane and the interesting aspects of living on one’s own and sharing space with others with different backgrounds.  While A is a carnivore, both his roommates are vegetarian; one will eat eggs while the other is a vegan and an animal-right activist to the extent that even roaches get protection!  I wonder what they think of A and his ways!

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Calling it a year

It has been a mixed bag this year; from the very bad to very good. All years are like that but losing a dear friend earlier this year was a dip that was really low. Even winning Third Place in a National Architectural Design Competition, a rare enough achievement, was tinged with the knowledge that I couldn’t share the news with her, my buddy through those years of design school. We would meet only a few times a year – mostly on birthdays and anniversaries. I am not a phone person so we never had long chats on the phone either. Maybe, it was enough just knowing I could call her if I needed to. Now, I catch myself thinking about her every single day.

UD Studio, 1986

I and my friend, 1986
On the work front, it has been the busiest year for me. The coming year is poised similar. Which is as well (except that it has meant just ten blog posts, if I get this one in, for the whole year!). It means I don’t bother the son, now in his third year of college, with daily phone calls. I usually catch up with him on the weekends though he and his dad chat online more often. Presently, he is home for the holidays and has promised to not game through the nights so that we can see him at lunch and through the rest of the day.

narthagai limes and mango ginger

Narthangai limes and mango ginger for pickling…from a year ago

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Gogji-Nadir (Turnips with Lotus Root)

Winter has set in Delhi. We have had some rain this week which has further brought down the temperatures and I am beginning to regret not airing out the winter wardrobe ahead of time when the days were sunny and bright.  The sun will be back in our winter soon enough and we will be found lazily shelling peanuts outside during breaks from work, or while waiting for transport.  Oh, but there’s a change to that script.  Those of us who have got used to Delhi’s awesome Metro may not be able to indulge in this litter-generating activity.  Imagine, not-littering might become a habit with the denizens of Delhi!  Hope floats!

turnips and lotus root

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