Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Climbing the Social Ladder

On Friday night, as I settled down to watch a marathon of crappy Friday night TV, I got a very unexpected but very welcome message from a girl I knew back in the T Dot. Turns out that she was now in Edinburgh doing her Masters and heard that I was in G Town. Her message mentioned that the city was having their annual "Doors Open" festival over the weekend and if I didn't have anything else planned, that I should drop by.

All thoughts of hair washing were pushed out the window and so I set off the next morning for a day of sightseeing and happy wanderings through churches, graveyards, libraries, castles and random old buildings. (More about that on the travel blog later). Later that evening, I met up with E and we settled down to dinner and pints at lots and lots of chitty chat.

The next day, when I woke up tired and a bit hungover from the night before, Rain Man bounced into the kitchen reminding me that I had promised to cook biryani over the weekend. He'd scooted off to the stores early on and bought all of the ingredients and so there was no backing out. (Crafty Devil!)

And so, we made biryani. Rain Man nominated himself Official Lamb Chopper-Upper Person and went at with a gusto that was just a tad worrying and had me considering if I needed to get myself a lock and bolt for my bedroom door!

I took all the meat (and it was a lot!) that we got off the leg and after adding a little bit of this, that, the other and some more of the first stuff it became:

We had a bit of a challenge with the rice as the recipe called for 1 kg of rice but we didn't have a utensil large enough to cook that. So we had 3 little pots going all at once and desperately tried to monitor all of 'em so that we wouldn't screw up the main part of the biryani. We didn't do too badly (only one dish burnt), but kids, don't try this at home.

About half way though the lamb cooking, we realised that we were desperately late for the basketball game (a bunch of RM's friends were all going) so Rain Man went off and I stayed back to finish off the curry, layer the rice and the meat. All that was left was to let it cook in the oven for about 20 minutes and we were done.

Post game, we headed out for pints... which was followed by more pints and then then someone suggested pub quiz... and since we were all very susceptible to suggestion at that point that's just where we headed.

And best of all, after we were done at the pub quiz got home we popped the biryani into the oven and 20 minutes later we were chowing down on yummy yummy rice and lamb goodness.

This really isn't the best picture of our 3 hours of hard labour, but we didn't actually think about taking pics until we were more than half way done. Judging by how much Rain Man ate, it was finger lickin good.

And so went the weekend. Turns out, I have a semblance of a social life after all!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


It hasn't been easy updating the travel blog. Writing about the vacation is forcing me to think about the time that I spent with Beans, to look at all of the happy carefree pictures we took together. They seem so fake somehow, even though I know that is a real smile that I smiled back then.

Every time I upload a batch of pics onto Flickr through some cruel and ironic twist the very first one on the home page would always be the one of the two of us, arms entwined beaming into the camera. On the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, at the Sea of Galilee, at Shutterbug's wedding, on the beach in Haifa.....

On a whim I counted the number of photographs I had of Beans and I. 59. And those were just the ones I found on Flickr, never mind the hosts of others on my PC.

Last weekend, we went to visit Stirling Castle. We spent almost the whole day together, but it was like being with a ghost. I almost wish I had gone alone. Physically he was there; mentally, emotionally he was leagues away.

I went over today to collect some mail that had come to his house and he told me that he was making a trip back to Ireland. A trip that we had talked about back in July; a trip that was to be my introduction to Ireland - and his family.

Guess that's certainly not happening now. Ah well, I have weekend plans anyway. My hair needs washing or the washroom needs cleaning. Either way, I'm sure I'll be occupied.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I've been so busy with updating the travel blog and getting out job applications that I forgot to show off pics of the my purty new flat. 

There's still a lot of work to be done to get it looking the way I want. But this is a start and I'm so very happy with the place.

And speaking of, now would be a good time to introduce my flatmate, Rain Man. So called because of his inability to watch a movie without shouting out the next line in the dialogue. Or mumbling it after I have given him the So-That-One-More-Time-And-You-Die-A-Long-And-Painful-Death stare. It all started when he got very upset when he tried to do this with Independence Day and lost miserably to me. He then proceeded to sulk for the next 3 days until he beat me in Rain Man. I then made fun of him for knowing all the lines in a Tom Cruise movie. Whatever! You're short! was his witty comeback in reference to the fact that I had to buy a little step to reach the middle and top shelves in the kitchen and (properly) look into the washroom mirror.

And thus was the start of what I hope will be a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Awkward just got Awkwarder

If you've been paying any attention to my sidebars, you'll have noticed that I added a fun little website some time ago that showcases the worst of the What Were They Thinking? pictures for the general amusement of the interwebular world.

Only, I just looked at the recent entries and turns out I KNOW the subjects of today's hilarity.

Do I still giggle? Do I tell them? What if they find out later and then realise that I didn't say anything?

Oh dear. Awkward!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Explore City Chronicles - Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Making the most of the gorgeous Fall weather I took a mosey down to the Botanic Gardens. The only thing I do miss here in my new living quarters is the wee lack of green space around me. Back in Toronto, I had two parks within a 5 minute walk from the house and not to mention a big and beautiful backyard where I could get my nature fix. Here, the green is just a wee bit lacking in the immediate neighbourhood. Still, its nice to know that just down the road, over the hill and around the bend the beautiful expanse and tranquility of the Botanic Gardens await.

Glasgow had been basking in an unexpected warm and dry spell for a while. Very uncharacteristic, but it made for good exploring weather. Apparently, a lot of other Glaswegians had the same thought and every sunny patch of grass had been claimed by a pale Scots.
Mac on the other hand found another comfortable spot, even if it were a bit unusual! I was left wondering what the fine folks at the gardens were feeding their greenery. Hopefully, it wasn't the tourists!
As we rambled (isn't ramble such a lovely word? Reminds me of Enid Blyton books and the likes) along the meandering pathways though the gardens taking in the sights and sounds and delights of a beautiful afternoon.

With all the green around and the warm sun beating down, it was easy enough to be lulled into a false sense of summer. But then we rounded the corner and saw the unmistakable sign of the changing of seasons. And for me, a reminder of home.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pyjama Party

On a whim, I called up VBF and asked her if she wanted to come over on Saturday night and veg out on DVDs, junk food and a bottle of wine. T'will be just like our school days I told her. Well, minus the vino.

So she did, and we had a night of movies (Bollywood of course) and I made dinner. Yes, there was more flexing of culinary muscles - Grilled salmon cooked with sauteed onions and tomatoes with a side of veggies and mashed taters.
And judging by the broad grin, (and the later clean plate) it wasn't half bad either. Course, we followed that rather healthy dinner with a dessert of loads of ice cream and other things that will generally rot your teeth.

We were up till 3 am or thereabouts. We talked, we remembered. We laughed and cried. Ok, so it was mostly me doing the crying but you know what I mean. And then I felt even worse when I realised that she kinda blamed herself for some of this mess with Beans. She figured that if it hadn't been for her wedding we'd never have met and then I wouldn't be in my current sad state.

And although kinda true in a way, it doesn't mean anything. I could have met someone else just as nice and warm and fuzzy which could have later turned from sunshine and bunnies to heartache and tears. There are points where I do fervently wish that I could go back a year and change things. But that would also mean that I wouldn't have a year of fun, of good times, of being loved and in love. After all, isn't it better to have loved and lost....?
It felt nice to just talk. I hadn't realised just how much I missed my T Dot pals and being able to lean on them when things are crappy. The skype phone calls, although nice just don't have the same effect of going down to one of our fav pubs and hashing things over a couppla pints.

Hanging with VBF that night made me remember that even though she was now married and lived over an hours bus ride away, she was still the friend that I grew up with, the friend who had been there for me through all SORTS of crap over the past and who will be sticking around to see me though this new crap as well.
And to prove it, she made me pancakes the next morning. Which ironically is just what Trippy would have made for me if I was back in the T Dot.
So, here's to my friends here and there and everywhere. The very bestest ones a girl could ever ask for and the perfect ones with whom to share a good ol pancake breakfast.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Move Over Martha

In an attempt to refocus my energies into something other than my rapidly deteriorating and rather sad unemployed existence, I felt that it was time to draw upon my inner Martha. I'd already ransacked the surrounding charity and second hand shops for odds and ends for the apartment like spice racks and towel holders and door mats. Then, I managed to locate an Indian store and over a few trips back and forth I stocked up on anything and everything I would possibly need to cook any sort of Indian meal; Garam masalas, ginger garlic pastes, dahnia and jeera powders and of course good 'ol Kashmiri chillies. For some absurd reason there were no moderate sized bags and I was compelled to buy the ginormo industry sized packet. Ah well, guess I was going to be using them chillies in a lot of my cooking whether or not the recipe called for 'em!

Once stocked up, I began with the experiments. Never been one to enjoy the whole cooking and culinary process in general, I figured I had nothing to loose and everything to gain. I'd already done pretty well with the chicken curry and potato tikkis over the weekend, so the next time Beans was over, I tried out Sai Bhaji (spinach in gram dal) paired with Kori Sukka (spicy dried chicken) and served with rice and rotis.

Indian food wasn't the only thing I was trying out. Flexing my culinary skills a little further I attmpted Italian sauces and all sorts of combinations of pastas with beef or chicken. Some of it like the penne with chicken and spinach in cream sauce turned out yum. Others such as the tuna with yellow and red peppers in spicy thai sauce - not so good. Never again!
My Martha-esque persona wasn't limited to the kitchen. I was also trying to shape my habitate to my own specifications. The room as I had inherited it came with some nice and simple furniture, but little character so to speak. There was much to be done to get it away from looking like last year's Ikea catelogue and more like something with a little more me in it. A few weeks and some basic alterations later, it was a we bit better. Not quite there yet, but I'm in no rush.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Defining Commitments

As Beans walked me home from the post game pub on Friday night, we chatted about this that and the other. The evening had been surprising on many fronts; I realised that in time I might actually turn into a real rugby fan. And that perhaps Beans and I had a shot at working out after all.

He came over on Saturday to help me put the apartment in order; putting up the mirror and my photo frames and hooks and the likes. I cooked dinner while he hammered and drilled and did things that handy men do.

The dinner was a success (chicken curry, potato tikkis with mint chutney and rice) and was followed by a movie. Then we had no more excuses. We had to talk.

It wasn't an easy talk. Primarily because Beans just didn't seem keen on the idea. But I had somethings that needed to be said and I needed him to hear some hard truths. Like the fact that he had been a first class jerk over the past few weeks. And the fact that in being a first class jerk had taken me to one of the lowest and most vulnerable points of my life.

I don't know what I wanted. An apology perhaps. Or even an acknowledgement. I got neither. Was this going to be the start of a new chapter of our relationship, or simply the beginning of the end?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Friday Night Lights

When I moved to Scotland, I knew that I had to leave a lot of my old life behind. There were going to be many changes. The coins didn't have a polar bear on them, the streets would not be lined with Maple trees and there was no baseball team to cheer for. Instead, there was football - the soccer kind. And rugby. And when dating Beans. A LOT of rugby. Accordingly, we set off to My First Rugby Game on Friday night along with friends Skippy, Sab and JellyCake to watch Munster take on the Glasgow Warriors. Mac and I were instructed to cheer for the Irish team while Sabs and Skippy were firmly rooting for the local lads. JellyCake had been bribed into cheering for the Paddys with the loan of the infamous Paddywack Hat. Sabs was not impressed with that! It wasn't a very big crowd, but those that were there were cheering with all that they had. Munster was the far superior team on the pitch (is that a rugby term?) but not that night. Shoddy plays and downright stupid moves made the Warriors into kings.

From a virgin viewer's point of view, I saw a bunch of guys (in very
short and tight shorts) run around on a field lovingly embracing the ball and very frequently, each other. Mac made no bones about which side he was supporting. Then again, there wasn't any access to Warrior merchandise! Sabs growled about having to get him some "proper" gear soon. But I'm not sure if rugby jerseys come in a Moose size.

Beans gave me a watery smile for the camera, but we all could tell that he was dying inside at Munster's abysmal performance. Sabs on the other hand had plenty to smile about as his team bull dozered their way to a 29-09 victory.

As I watched the boys play, I wondered why the line out seemed so familiar to me. I had a nagging feeling that I had seen this somewhere before. But where? This was my first rugby game, and I hadn't even watched any on TV. It wasn't until the end of the game that it struck me. Ballet! The line out looked just like a pas de deux in a ballet recital. Don't you think??

Still, that was one observation I kept to myself. I did enjoy my first rugby experience and didn't want to be banned from the sport on my very first time!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Down Discovery Lane

Even after 3 days of being in my new place, the reality still seems a little fuzzy. I can hardly believe that was able to get the apartment that I wanted and relatively easily too! It was finally something good after weeks of drowning in the crap the universe was throwing at me.

And so, I have revelled in my good fortune for these past few days. Taken long walks to get to know the neighbourhood and some of the neighbours as well like the kindly gentleman from the Realtor office downstairs who was nice enough to help with sorting out a leasing agreement. And the guy from the grocery store around the corner who turns out to have an aunt who lives quite near to where I grew up in Bombay and who kindly offered me a cup of tea as we chatted about a city far far away. There's all sorts of interesting little stores along the main street. Butchers, bakers and if I hunt hard enough I'm sure to discover a candlestick maker somewhere nearby as well! Two large grocery stores just down the road and a hop, skip and jump away from the subway, the train station and all sorts of handy dandy bus routes. My local library is a mere 7 minute walk away. 5 if I hurry. Best of all, the neighbourhood seems to have a lovely sense of being a community and not just a random collection of houses and shops all jammed together in one location. Wandering further down the main street, I stumbled upon more good news. Rows and rows of thrift stores run by every single charity foundation imaginable. Which meant loads of opportunities to pick up some very good deals! On just my first round I found table coasters (brand new), a spice rack (only needs a lick of paint), laundry basket and an indoors drying rack. And I haven't even begun to investigate all of the wonderful second hand books I saw in all the stores. Who knows what else is just waiting in there to be discovered.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Meaning of Love

As I contemplate the state of my relationship (if I still have one) and think about all the mistakes I have made where dating and love are concerned, it pleases me to think that in this big world of often false hopes and promises there's one promise that has endured a long long time.

64 years ago a young man told his bride that he would love, honour and respect her for as long as they both shall live. I'll imagine that there were some not so good times in there, some royal tiffs and probably a What have I gotten myself into? at least once over the past years. But more often than that, there was evidence of love. Not a fairy tale romantic sort, rather a quite love that comes from being part of another life for almost as long as each of them has been alive. A love that is demonstrated through backing each other in good times and bad and in recent years, through a lot of sickness. Of night vigils at hospital bedsides and a quite
comfort in each others company in their home.

And so, I'd ask that you dear reader raise your glass in a salute to this love. Happy Anniversary Nana and Papa.

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