Sunday, 21 November 2010

Girl's night in

Now weekends are pretty sacred for V and me, as they are the only days where we can spend “quality” time together; he finishes pending work and I, well, work. To be fair, even if we don’t do anything especially special together, it’s nice to have each other around even if doing mundane stuff. But every once in a while, one of us takes time out to be with our friends doing things we did before tying the knot (which doesn’t include chatting up pretty girls, mind you; as for me, well I have no such predilections).

Today was one such day when V decided to get together with the boys and do stuff boys do when together. I could have gone and met my friends but decided to stay in instead. Reason: I like being by myself sometime. I don’t know if it is a single child thing or a trait peculiar to me or just something some people like doing- but yeah, every now and then I like to spend time with myself and doing things I enjoy.

With the luxury of spending an evening by myself, I decided to treat myself to bit of good ol’ take away, followed by cleaning up my work station, a.k.a as the kitchen and do some hardcore baking, accompanied by photography and making a couple of blog entries.

Dinner was some scrumptious-looking ready-made lasangne I had been eyeing in the supermarket aisle for a while now. With the hubby gone, I decided to indulge myself. Would have loved a glass of wine along with it, but settled for some juice instead. Once dinner was over, it was time to clean up la cucina. If two years back I had foreseen the future where I saw myself deriving pleasure over scrubbing the kitchen slab and sprucing up the fridge’s interiors, I would have begun believing in those alien abduction stories. However, two years from then, and minus extra-terrestrial intervention, I did all that and felt good.

Next on the agenda was baking. Now, I had been craving something sweet and chocolaty since afternoon. So the toss up was between chocolate chip cookies and cake; I opted for brownies instead. But that was not all. A couple of bananas were fast approaching their due by date and were nowhere closer to being eaten in their true form, so I decided to bung them in a bread instead. So came the banana bread. I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out, but I gotta admit the result wasn’t bad, not bad at all. So if you want to make better use of the fruit, try out the recipe here.

If you are wondering why I am not letting the brownie recipe out, well that’s because I took the easy way out and used a pre-mix. The verdict: avoid premixes. Enough said.

Before I got married, I was one of those who thought that post nuptials, you and the spouse have to live in each others pockets. And to be honest, it was never a prospect that appealed to me. Then I thought maybe once I met the right person, I wouldn’t mind spending all my time with him. When V came along and we decided to take the plunge, I was worried about how long I would survive in the cosy twosome; I need not have had. Even though V is someone who loves to have people around all the time, he respects my need for space. We never HAVE to do things together all the time or BE together all the time we are back from office. But when we do spend conscious time together, it is filled with love, laughter, banter, and at times companionable silences. I guess I have nothing to complain about, at least 50% of the time! J

For now, I am content. Happy to be by myself, listening to the world around me go to sleep, waiting too for hubby to return and sample the cake; after which he would tell me how much he likes it and oh-how-he missed me!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Why not to mix reading and walking

I am a huge fan of public transport, and not just for the ease of commute. Till the blue lines and green lines or whatever-the-colour line buses in Delhi began bursting at their seams, I was a regular on them, preferring to sit by the window seat for various pertinent reasons. One of them was the need to experience the sights and sounds of Delhi. Yes believe it or not, Delhi makes for an interesting place to observe - as the bus takes you on bumpy roads through busy lanes, green avenues, collapsing flyovers, historic relics, kitchy shops under the surreal red hues blue/grey skies, while random voices talk in the background about an impending meeting or the dreaded exam or the love tangle, peppered by the bus conductor and driver's colourful exchange over ticket collection…. Sigh.... but as usual I digress.

When not indulging in sight-seeing, I caught up with my reading. However, the best place to diminish the reading backlog, I discovered, was the Delhi Metro, to which I made a move when I changed jobs and the work place existed in the back of beyond. The prolonged use of the blessed Metro rail, made the transition to the London Tube quite easy [and also the fact that when I first got on board the underground train, the announcer (on the Piccadilly line) sounded just like Neeti Ravindran. Don't laugh; when you first move away from all things familiar, these small instances help tide over the homesickness]. In fact, I found it was a better place to catch up on reading for there is no idle chatter to distract you and everyone is busy ignoring everyone else; quite unlike Delhi where most men are busy trying to find ways to familiarize themselves with your anatomy.

I have finished whole novels, while travelling; not in one go of course, no line is long enough. Husband's often commented on how I make for poor company when on the move, so now we travel separately. He thinks this obsession with reading is ridiculous but has to admit I am not as bad as some others who haunt the underground - the true “avid” reader. These souls are ones who are so enchanted by the book they are reading that they read even as they walk.

My first run in with one of them, literally, was on platform 3 at Angel station. With my ears plugged with music, I was on my merry way out when I collided headlong into one of these "avid" readers I mentioned. Not an encounter that left tweeties circling around my noggin, but one that was inconvenient enough. To be fair, the perpetrator was suitably apologetic; not enough to have been cured of her bad habit. For the moment we parted ways, she was back with her nose buried into the book. I shook my head and walked away, recognising a goner when I see one.

At the time I thought it was a one-off chance meeting with the species; I was wrong. I began spying these people every here and there. Noses buried deep into their tomes, they walk mindless of the world around them. Fond of reading, I tried to admire their dedication and came up with a naught. Well, not really; I actually felt quite irritated, and curious.

What exactly was it that they were perusing, also how did they ever mange not to find their way on to the tracks, given the concentration they were devoting to the written word. Or may be not all are lucky. I wonder how many of those “customer under the train” announcements signaled the martyrdom of some champion of reading.

I have read many an interesting book but none ever which would want me to risk life and limb for it or turn myself into a public nuisance. Honestly how much fun can it be reading as you walk, bumping into people every two seconds or being crushed under the wheels of a locomotive. How about you concentrate on getting on that train, read it as you travel or if you want, wait till you get home, get comfortable and then read... it works, I promise. I have tried it many times and I guarantee it'd be worth the wait (not of course if it is on Vampire love stories, they suck wherever they are read). If you think (as I do at times) that u can't wait till you get home, read as you travel, or first park yourself somewhere.

Or if you are merely doing it to ignore human existence while in crowded places, try plugging you ears with music or white noise, whatever you like, instead; works better. At least you would know where you are walking and may even live to read another day.