Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Beyond Fridge Magnets

“You get to travel a lot, huh?” Every time someone posed this question to me, I would usually respond with an apologetic smile. And then respond that yes, I did get to travel a lot but that I never really got to see the place. You know that t-shirt which says “My friend went to so-and-so place and all he got me was this lousy fridge magnet”? Well, that was the manifestation of my travels. My refrigerator’s upper door was dotted with fridge magnets.  A crab for Maryland, a cactus for Phoenix, a crown for Charlotte (Queen’s City they call it for a reason I am not aware of), a cowboy boot for Dallas… all stereotypical images associated with the places they represent – all magnets on my refrigerator. And then I decided to stop buying fridge magnets. Two reasons: one, I figured they served very little purpose and two, at around 5-7 dollars each, I found them expensive!

It was only a couple of trips ago that I resolved to explore a little bit of the place that I was visiting. Enough was enough. No more spending evenings in my hotel room and watching bits and pieces of movies (actually, there is something to be said for movies that you catch from the middle. You not only wonder what will happen towards the end, but you also wonder what happened in the beginning! Double the suspense, eh?). So I went to the famed Alamo and the river walk in San Antonio. I also visited a lovely church downtown. I thought I had turned a corner. But then, when I was in Chicago, I was back to square one. My desire to visit the famed Navy Pier in the windy city was evenly matched by the unenviable task of either a 90 minute drive to and fro through heavy traffic or a 2 hour train ride. Decision making was very much in the present continuous, and then came the thunderstorm to change the tense. The decision was made. Thunder roared, lightning flashed, rain fell. I didn’t go. The next day, I found out that the rain was largely confined to my part of town. Ouch.

Today, I am at Hartford in Connecticut. As soon as I reached my hotel room, I browsed through a city guide which advertised sights to see. Mark Twain’s house was close by it said. Around 20 miles said my cracked Nexus 5. I didn’t think twice. Hopped back into my car, and drove back 20 miles the way I had originally come. Managed to make it to Mark Twain’s opulent home in time for the last tour. More about it tomorrow.

It was a very short visit, and I would have loved to have stayed a little bit longer. Unfortunately for me, it was closing time. I was happy however. I had done what I had resolved to do. To see more of the place I was in, beyond airports, hotel rooms and fried magnet.  And there’s something immensely satisfying about that.  As there is to writing this blog as well. Because that was another commitment I had made to myself. To start writing daily. Will I be able to keep this second commitment? Well, that’s a daily battle I have to fight for the rest of my life. Today’s just day one. 

Saturday, January 02, 2016

1 Jan 2016

A day when Chinju, Anju, Manju and Jessy chechi got together at Long Island. Sibi and I spent almost the whole time on the couch. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Everyman Resurrected

This took a while, didn't it. Around three years to be precise. Well, not really precise. But three years would be just about right. And as you would have it, a whole lot has happened while I have been away. For starters, I am now in the USA. Yeah, who would have thought it, Everyman in the USA. And yeah, USA as in United States of America. 

It's easy to see why the US is considered the Promised Land for such a lot of us (except those who are not in the US I guess :-) ) Life is convenient here, if you have sufficient money. Lots of space, noiseless roads, much cleaner air, faster internet speed, no power cuts, and almost everything that money can buy. That's why, that part about sufficient money is important. There are poor people here too. And if you go to the city, you can see a few beggars as well. Only, they look much smarter, and they speak with a lot of polish. If you are new, like I was around a year back, it would take you a couple of moments to actually realize that they are asking you to part with your hard-earned pennies. The city has a lot of other sights as well, and those are blogs for another day. I do hope that I am able to write one blog every day now from now on. I just made that resolution right here, right now. As I was typing. I am still grappling with that resolution, and I would like to see this through. You see, I attended this 2 day workshop a couple of weeks back - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (If you were a reader of my blogs before, then you would want to read The Twerp Who Bought The Ferrari. I still hold those views, but this workshop was actually useful.) And one of the things I realized through this workshop was that writing was important to me. 

Writing is something that gives me a lot of satisfaction, and a sense of fulfillment. Granted, this isn't technically writing. That would have required me to be using a pen. I wonder if a lot of us do that any more. Still, let us continue to call this writing. Not many of us may read blogs anymore, and certainly none of us might read Everyman's Diary anymore. Still let me write. There is also a BIG part of me that wants to be read and to be followed, and that isn't possible without me writing in the first place. I have been writing a little on and off - all of it on my company's internal enterprise network. There are a lot of good writers there. And just the other day, there was a blogpost that ended up raking in comments about who the inspiring writers were, and who people liked to read. My name didn't figure in any of them comments :-) Ouch. Truth be said, I am nowhere as regular a writer as a lot of those who were mentioned. So it isn't realistic for me to just wish upon a star and hope someone mentioned my name as well for the odd blog that I put up there. So this is a start from that perspective as well. 

This was rusty, and is not a particularly enticing piece of writing. Neither may I write anything worth reading anytime soon. But here's a start. 



Sunday, July 15, 2012


It's so bloody irritating when things start giving up on you. I can understand people giving up on you. It's not fair to expect them to keep being empathetic I guess. But when it's time for bed, and you are home, and home is Chennai (of all places), you don't want the AC to give up on surely don't. 

I just hope that it's just that the darn thing's remote control is conked, and it's not really some coil or some other such visually insignificant but otherwise so damn important thing. The latter could really pile on some misery. 


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Kolkata Wheels

 I guess this wouldn't be new to any of you who are from or have been to Kolkata. But I was quite fascinated by all these yellow Amby cabs that you get to see in Kolkata. I didn't get to travel in this one, nor in any other yellow cab. Guess I will leave that for my next trip to City of Joy - but these are a welcome sea of color, anytime.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

True Delight

 When was the last time I truly enjoyed myself like this? I really don't remember. Nina though doesn't seem to have a problem. It's so easy when you are a child, to delight in the seemingly simplest of things. Somehow, when we grow up, it takes a lot more than just the feeling of rain. When we are older, it takes all sorts of things. Must be all the baggage we're lugging around.


Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 30, 2012


"Why go out in the hot sun to eat out?...go buy some chicken, some onions and a couple of long will you keep eating from restaurants?" Well, my wife had a point..I had 10 days of bachelorhood with me..she and Nina are now in Kerala. And last night was a meal outside..60 bucks for a masala dosa..Times certainly are changing..I figured that I had to step up and make myself count. After all, how hard could it be? I agreed. 33 years into my ordinary existence, I decided  to cook my first meal. 

The menu was to be rice, chicken curry, a side dish with cabbage, plus the indispensable curd - thank God for at least one off-the-shelf product. I had  the shopping list..and out I went in the hot blazing Chennai sun..

The vegetable shop was a familiar place. Still, I never realized there could be tomatoes in various sizes. She had said 2-3 tomatoes, but she didn't say which ones to buy - the big ones or the small. In the end I chose the big ones..the bigger, the better, right? Thankfully, the chicken and the curd didn't pose as many challenges.

Back in our kitchen, I laid out the tools one by one..cutting board - check, knife -check; drinking water (it was bloody hot, and I was parched) - check; and yes, the indispensable mobile phone - CHECK.

The first step was to wash the chicken. This was something I would have loved to avoid. I'd asked the guy to remove the liver, gullet etc. but he had still left the heart for me.. Euuuwww! I washed, and washed and washed. I wonder if I ever washed myself that thoroughly. Around 15 minutes later, I was done..and so was the chicken..washed that is..

I dialed the helpline, and received the next set of instructions..cutting onions wasn't going to be all that hard..I'd done that one before.still, I was stuck as to how small to slice them. Another call solved that for me. Washing the rice wasn't too hard either..I'd cooked rice once before in my life..10 years back in Delhi..I'd burnt it then :-) But now I was older. This time, I would be double careful.

The rice was safely in the cooker..I had a little tussle with the cooker though..the darn thing wouldn't shut. Once that was done, the cabbage was up next. I rather enjoyed dicing the fellow..but I guess I didn't cut it small enough..It was all long and sinewy, that was not how I remembered the cabbage dish I usually ate.

In the meantime, the chicken was getting restless in the pool of water I had left it in. Another call to my wife, and the onions and spices found their way into the cooking pot..soon to be followed by the chicken. Of course that didn't go without incidents..first, I put in a little too much oil..I was told to put just a little bit..and two, when I started mixing the chicken with them spices and onions, the chicken pieces kept jumping out and I had to pick them and put them right back in. I shut the lid on it before I could make a bigger mess. Now all I had to do was wait. But wait..the cabbage was still lying merely diced..I needed to make a dish out of that as well..another call...instructions were simple..heat oil, sprinkle some mustard, just a pinch of it, and then curry leaves, onions, and then the cabbage. Couldn't be easier..oil, heat, mustard, and then those things started jumping all around..I must have put too much of jumped all around, and yes, onto me as hot pin pricks they were. I quickly put an end to their riot by dousing them with all the cabbage. Again, another lid to keep them quiet. And then came the waiting..

I don't know how long I waited. Every now and then I would open the lids to see how the chicken and the cabbage were doing. They were complaints from either of them. Chinju asked me to check the chicken gravy..that was ok..(no, I hadn't forgotten to sprinkle the salt) things were ok.. In the meantime, I had to take the rice out of the cooker..I was to open the lid, check the condition inside, and then drain the water out...I was a little wary of doing this, but in the end it turned out fine. The rice wasn't burnt at all, and it had boiled just fine.

I had started my endeavour at 12.30 PM with the shopping. At 3 PM, I sat down to eat in front of the TV. I tasted, and saw that it was all good..sure, it wasn't anywhere as good as the chicken curry that Chinju makes, but then, it wasn't all too bad either. I would live to fight another day...

This was, I have the chicken left over for dinner. And I put some rice in the cooker again. It is now time to open the lid and see what's come of it. But now, I know one thing:

Everyman CAN cook :-) with quite a little bit of help from his loving wife :-)