April 2015

Captcha… With age…

imageimageCaptcha! Here I go again. I have heard that age is just a number ad nauseum. What the hell does that mean? I get it. I do get it. Age is only about numbers. Age is right in your eyes when your Polaroid Prada sunglasses smartly covering for your pained, forlorn , over made up eyes are to be removed and replaced with unflattering numbered spectacles to read the items in the menu. Age is just a number when your hair colour is Loreal number 5 black brown and you start sharing it with your mother -in -law and it is part of the grocery list for the grey coverage of the women of the house and not your vanity kit. That’s another story that elderly lady has moved on since then and is colouring her hair red and blue having overcome the age travails and is now enjoying her wrinkled beauty .
Age is just a number when you dress up in your chic blouson with coordinated checkered separates and purposely enter into a conversation with fellow lift companion and prospectively fish for compliments announcing proudly that you are a mother ( expecting “oh you don’t look like a mother!) or that you are a mother of a 17 year old boy and expect (“Oh you don’t look like a mother of a 17 year old.”)and what you hear is “you just have one kid??Slap. Ouch..!!!
So age is a number when the 25 th wedding anniversary celebration invite is that of a friend and not of an auntie.
Age is just a number when the number of spiritual books on your bookshelf start rising and age is just a number when you start listening to soulful numbers and ghazals….
For all my friends…. With due respect to our ageing…..


Santorinian serendipities

Sent from my iPhone

If little white and blue houses could be allegorically called words, then the island of Santorini is a poem. Pastels of blue and white are the only two colours that the entire island of santorini is painted in. I was incredulously dumbstruck as I arrived at my hotel. My senses were unable to soak in this murderous display of natural beauty. They were just so inadequate in proportion to the phenomenal surreality leaving me restless at the expansive and luxuriant sea shore. The rapture stifled my breathing and sent me into a state of delirium caused by extreme ecstasy. Is it where the Dolls actually live? Petit fours served on a white platter. Doll’s houses. A dreamland. Santorini according to legend, gets its name from colloquial pronunciation the word Saint Irene.
The hub of this island is its small centre Oiya ; pronounced Eeya)There are small streets dotted with umpteen shops which stock the most beautiful handcrafted jewellery and other handcrafted cute stuff. Shops look like shacks but stock high street material. Each shop is like a cute little jewellery box glistening with coral stones, scarves, bags and paintings.
Oiya is famous for its sunsets. We saw two sunsets in succession. Both different and unique. When big orange imperious ball goes down, thousands of souls disarmingly take out their gadgets to catch the aura of red halo left behind. Nature at its elegant and royal best.
Santorini is dotted with numerous eateries offering pies and pastries of culinary excellence.

Cafes ooze hospitable warmth which cancels the impact of biting cold. Every third shop is a caffe offering Greek pies and pastries. Before one rests on the chair, they come with their wifi password . And then then it all seems too perfect to be true. But it is real, true and alive in Santorini.Will be writing about gemista, Greek salad and stuff in the next blog..

Sister Act

I thought my stress was all genuine and caused by all the other people in my life, and I was just so right and when it came to brim , as usual, I dialled her number and hyperventilated,” you know, I am done! For no fault of mine, I am getting all this to bear. I cook, I bake, i arrange wardrobes, carry out social commitments, do groceries, edit my poem book, deal with inlaws insecurity and tantrums but no body understands..they think I am some supernatural human…” And she quietly listens and just says,” It seems you have put on some weight. ,That’s the cause of your irritation. Work on it. Go to sleep and it will be all fine.”She nails it . That’s my sister,my alter ego. How come sisters know each other’s mind..?

My two sisters are my life.. My go to girls. I am the eldest of them, yet, they are my parent ego. When I am confused as to which doctor to go to ,one of them sorts it out for me like a counsellor. The surprising part is they don’t even need to know the background of it all.They simply know the solutions. When I feel puzzled about my son’s education, the one in the US forwards me plethora of information and contacts to sort that out. Plus a lot of pep talk.
I still wonder whether I am the same to them. I sometimes feel I am problem and they are the solution. So much so, if I am suffering from overindulgent shopping guilt, the youngest would say..,” don’t worry, I will see if I can fit into them..” They take total download from me..
Once when I coloured my hair all ash bleach out of sheer desire to look different and ended up looking scary and haggard banshee and I called her between streams of tears , she screamed..,” what are the wigs for? Shouldn’t you have first tried and then gone for it? Anyways, what can not be cured, must be endured but what can be cured ,need not be endured. Go undo it..”?
My sisters can see beyond me.. Small or big.. All matters have to travel via them..
They both are, indeed, my querencia.

Of Segway, Syntagma, Spondi and Dogs

Of Segway, spondi and syntagma and dogs…

So syntagma is the nucleus of Athens metro. Despite its super mammoth facade, it did not intimidate us. For,we were already well trained in European system of trains on our touristing at Underground london, Paris, and then of course Eurail. How ironic that I kept wondering to myself as to what would be My Firsts in Greece and the first was the larceny at large in metro. My very first experience of its kind. Busiest Istanbul was much safer and loneliest Iceland more secure.

But Athens cobblestone streets took my breath away..their streets are full with thingummies which can bring forth a child like joy in any tourist. Their hand made leather shoes and bags, their embroidery, their stone jewellery, their graffiti on walls, and their love for music all reflects their in true hedonistic spirit . Superb. It seems Athenians are oblivious of the world .However, one can see a paradox.. Pleasure juxtaposed with penury. the sight of beggars mainly children playing some musical instruments and pleading in Greek baffled me.
Slow food exists with fast food. Slow food is another name for fine dining and we had our epicurean bit at Spondi ( offering to God)) an exclusive French restaurant with two Michelin Stars. Yet, we ordered a cheese platter and a selection of desserts which were made with scientific precision and laid on the table with a designated protocol which was really flattering, indeed.
On the streets, We had our share of Greek food which for my vegetarian palate comprised of Pregnant Peppers and Stuffed wine leaves . I devoured on kalamata olives and feta cheese….Drank their frappe and Greek coffee. Gyros, spinach pies, sweet and savourly crepes are ubiquitous and taste super.

Streets are filled with foodfood, food and more food.Michelin star French restaurant Spondi ( one of the best in the world) ‘s French Restaurant was a true epicurean pleasure. Fine dining at its best.. I am a vegetarian to boot and they did not have chicken
Olives and feta cheese are integral to Greek food and hence all over the place..their sweetmeats remind of Indian til preparations and their desserts are truly divine yoghurts.
Greece is dogged all get the pun , right? Yes too many pet dogs of all possible breeds.
And then ,my another first was riding a Segway under a guided tour. It’s a two wheel pedestrian stick which one rides and manoeuvres through streets. Awesome..
We leave Athens with memories and arrive at Santorini….

Did you eat Fatayer?

We are having a stopover in Dubai enroute to Athens. I had thought that Dubai would not inspire me to write anything as there is nothing in Dubai that people don’t know about. Burj Khalifa, Desert Safari, Dubai Mall, Atlantis on Palm Zumeira, Burj Al Arab, Dancing Fountains, monorail, metro , tram ..people know about everything.
Dubai is a city of plenitude of food, fashion, flamboyance and furtive spirit. It’s infinite, veritable, big and vast.
Food has a Lebanese ubiquitousness characterised by hummus, tabbouleh, fattayas, ( they are our mini samosas with spinach filling) chickpeas,pomegranate molasses,and Muhammara.
Baklava and biscuits of various shapes and fillings are as veritable and abundant as Bollywood songs.
Dubai is a shoppers’ delight. All possible brands on earth are housed by Dubai Mall..
Then something which is all over is sheesha is hukkah… In true Arab tradition..
Al.nafoorah in Emirates tower has some amazing Arabian food and so is souk Al Bahar near Burj khalifa.. I simply loved their pitchers of mint drink. It was refreshing to the core..
The city is so state of the art that one one forgets that one is just 3 hours flight away from out Mumbai and before one gets into complete oblivion . One is reminded that it’s our neighbouring country when your cab driver breads into better Hindi than us and the background music is sheesha ho Ya dil ho aakhir toot jaata hai….

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