Why so rude

This post was a long time coming…I had written this quite some time back but was unable to wrap it up. But I finally managed to do so this afternoon!

   In our intricately interconnected and ever-shrinking world, that seems to be coming up with more and more apps to that effect, we seem to be too quick to pass judgments on people we know and on complete strangers, alike.  When did this become a thing?   ‘Rude people have always been around, it’s just that they have social platforms to make that known on a larger scale’ -I can’t remember if I read it somewhere or heard it from someone but I think I agree with it! What happened to if you don’t have something nice to say,  don’t say anything at all? While it may not be possible to adhere to this under all circumstances, I believe it is not always impossible either.

   As an introvert and as someone who has always being a sort of ‘push over’, the fear of being judged has kept me from things that can be difficult to list. Be it social interactions, speaking up for myself, engaging in conversations on debatable issues, choice of attire, sharing photos- the list can go on- have all let me keep things to myself. It’s not simply because I am sort of introvert by nature but it’s also because I have found people to be unkind, unnecessarily (not that we need to be unkind, ever). People talk and talk loud. Just because someone is big it does not mean others decide what that person gets to wear; someone’s skin color should not be a marker in any conversation ever; someone can be Indian and dislike spicy food (FYI- all Indians do not eat or like spicy food and there is A LOT MORE to Indian food than the handful typically found at restaurants outside the country); my neighbor can choose to share 50 photos of her cats and I can choose to share 50 photos of the squirrel that comes to eat cookies on many mornings on our balcony!

   I am fairly new still to this blogging world but I think this is a wonderful arena to share our commonalities and engage in chats that let us know more about each other; it’s a  platform to learn from each other and encourage others to carry on and it’s a front row seat to the viewing gallery of majestic and  hidden natural treasures from around the world; it’s a recipe book containing recipes of grandmas and moms as well as those of professionals; it is lost pages from our childhood that we rediscover through story telling.

   In terms of photos, many of us are amateurs and we get to share our enthusiasm with all. Those photos may be imperfect for many, particularly the professionals, but here’s the thing…we are not professionals and may be we do not really know and hence do not abide by ‘rules’ that may or may not dictate a good photo. I also wonder if art should have rules though. Photos are memories, they tell stories and hold a special place in our hearts. They remind us of moments, of faces and transport us momentarily to an earlier time and place, stirring emotions at times and helping us reminisce.  It’s also a matter of perspective..something that I like in a particular photo might not be appealing to you. And that’s just fine! A lovely person, Manja had an unpleasant experience a few months ago when she shared a few photos (which were beautiful) on a social platform and when I came to know about that it was just baffling. She dealt with it in the most perfect way possible and has moved on since but it’s something that’s becoming more and more common and everyone we know has faced it more than a desirable number of times. And it’s just not right….not once, not ever.

   I applaud Manja again for the way she rose above pettiness and I think it’s a very important lesson too on how to deal with the not-so-nice! This post has been way long overdue but I am glad that I was finally able to finish it. And as I had said, I am sharing some ‘imperfect photos’:)

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This is one of my most favorite photos of all times. We were coming back home from a wonderful trip, our first long distance drive as a family of four and our son was trying to cover the rays of the setting  sun. The sky was brilliant and I am glad I was able to capture this shot. It can be edited to hide the flaws but I choose to keep it this way.

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Not exactly what I was going for but I still like this.

 

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I was trying to take a picture of this bench.

 

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The light was all wrong but I wanted to see how this would turn out.

 

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I thought this looked pretty. It was a special day…we took the little guy out for lunch as our baby girl stayed home with her grandparents.  While he was a little sad for his baby sister, he was very happy at the same time to be able to do ‘grown up’ stuff. Also, we had taken our smaller car, the one we had before our daughter was born, and it brought back memories we have made as a family of three and the little guy loved the car ride and he said that riding in that car made him remember some of the things we used to do before. This photo can be edited too of course but again, everything does not need to be!

 

Let’s look out for each other and thanks for stopping by!

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge- Ignored

   Here is this week’s contribution for the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge, hosted by Snow and Amanda.

   From a once favorite shoe or a snuggly stuffy to objects that we come across when we clean our garages or peek inside storage boxes, objects that catch our attention when on a stroll in the neighborhood and similar things all fit this week’s prompt. As we keep on adding to our needs and wants, this list of ignored objects also, sadly, increases. They are not necessarily forgotten objects always but probably have fallen out of affection at the moment. So I can’t discard them but at the same time since they don’t meet my needs now, (but I hope they might in the future), I keep them aside and continue to ignore them for the time being.

And then, I also sometimes willfully ignore the pile of never ending laundry that needs to be folded but I walk past it and tell myself…some other time;)

 

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A lovely flower… unblemished by the mud

 

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A girl’s bike

 

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A once lovely basil plant, nourished and nurtured by grandfather and grandson…now bare and barren.

 

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A favorite thing at one point, it now lies uncared for as it no longer can fit the taller boy.

 

Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend!

Of light, lamps and load shedding

   The other day I was admiring some lampshades at a store and at the same time thinking about how ‘load-shedding’ (electrical outage/power cut) was fairly a regular occurrence during my early childhood and now as I am typing this, I am wondering why did that thought crop up at that moment! Anyways, I have always had a fondness for lampshades, big or small, contemporary or antique and I absolutely love candles, candle stands and good old fashioned candle holders. We currently live in an apartment with two little ones where there is not much scope for pretty lamps and shades but that doesn’t mean that I can’t admire from a distance. Lighting candles is almost out of the question too but once in a while, when I am cooking, I like to keep one lit in a corner.

   The early years of growing up,  memories of which seem to be getting clearer the more my life gets away from the city I grew up in, were part structured and part whimsical- as I suppose everyone else’s was/is. There was a set routine that we all followed from daybreak till when we hit the bed at night and even the unplanned seemed to follow a pattern at times. Unannounced guests who would be staying for days was normal and so was being reprimanded by the friendly neighbor for breaking his glass panes with a cricket ball. Life went on and we rolled with it. And ‘load shedding‘ (power cut/electrical outage) followed us around!

   Ask anyone who grew up in Calcutta during that time and they will all tell you their load-shedding stories. Be it the sweltering heat of the hot summer days or the humid evenings, load shedding was omnipresent. It could show up any time and play with all the plans that you had made- be it a post lunch siesta or watching that movie on the television you had been waiting for a while or getting ready for the wedding you had been invited to. Or finish that dreaded homework that was due the next day.

   On evenings when we would be vigorously studying (every single household with school going children in Calcutta, if not the whole of India had this in common) for the next day at school and scampering to get some homework done, it would suddenly get all dark and a collective murmur would fill the entire neighborhood- “Aabaar load shedding” (aabar means again in Bengali)! Summer evenings and nights, when it mostly struck, would find adults on the streets chatting and complaining,  kids who had finished their homework hanging around and there would be a sort of almost merriment. Mosquitoes buzzing around, a distant bark of the street dogs, the tinkle of some passer by’s bicycle provided the background score to such sultry nights. But for the likes of me and many I knew, it meant finishing that homework in the light of the candles or lanterns and cursing oneself for not having finished it on time. It used to be insanely hot  and humid and while I kept on going grudging, I remember Ma or Baba would patiently sit with me, with a handheld fan and keep me company, trying to make it less uncomfortable as I toiled in the flickering lights. And it often happened that my brother and I would go to bed and it would still be all dark. Twisting and turning from the mugginess,  we would drift in and out of sleep while also trying to be awake to hear the sudden spinning of the ceiling fan. Gradually, the fever and the fret of the world would  dissolve as Ma Baba would be there right by the bed, with those fans, trying to ease our discomfort.

   Those days of load shedding and hand fans are a matter of the distant past and now I am irked by the slightest change in the settings of the thermostat. Time changes a whole lot of things and it changes people and their perspective. As Ma Baba get older, they continue to hide their discomfort from me, lest I get worried. But unlike those nights, when load shedding made it difficult to sleep, I now am very much aware of their plight that has been shaped with old age, ailments and partial blindness. And I can no longer drift away to sleep in peace. Air conditioning fails to comfort me the way those tiring hands did.

   As I was going through my archive looking for ideas, these stared me at the face and tales from summers long gone, came rushing by.

Does this happen to you? What stirs bittersweet memories in you?

 

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candle and decor

 

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Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely rest of the week.

Pasta Salad

   My good man and I are both enthusiastic and enterprising when it comes to trying food that is different from what we grew up eating back in India ( which is so different from the food that is served in the Indian restaurants outside of the country, all around the world…more on this some other time!). Having lived in this country that has come to become our home, our platters and tummies have gradually added more variety and as a result, English breakfasts,  burritos, casseroles, salads, ramen, donburi, jambalaya, pastas, pies are some of the things that can be found on our dinner menu alongside traditional Bengali and north Indian food.

   While I still occasionally find myself lurking in the recipe book section on a trip to the bookstore- that special smell and feel of books…ahhhhh, what an unparalleled feeling- food blogs from around the world have brought every conceivable cuisine to our smart phones and tablets and that makes ‘whipping up’ something with a difficult name, sound doable by amateurs like us!  Food bloggers share their love and passion, the warmth of their hearth with the rest of us and establish this connection, probably unknowingly, that bridges gaps between languages and cultures and we all become part of this milieu which nourishes and nurtures.

   It has been long since I shared recipes (on a more or less regular basis) and that ends today! After a brief hiatus, we have again started trying out different recipes and I am sharing a simple pasta salad recipe from Pinch of Yum that I recently made for a group of lovely ladies. It is so so easy and I am sure you all have made this many times, without or with alterations to suit your taste buds! No matter which way you make/ have made… I hope you get/got to share it with those close to your heart.

I made this with minute alterations ( which I have noted in red). It was an instant hit and I am sure you will not be disappointed as well🧡

 

 RECIPE FROM PINCH OF YUM

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound uncooked pasta – I like rotini!
  • 3 cupcherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls, cut in half
  • 1 lb. salami or summer sausage, cut into cubes (I did not use this as a couple of my friends were vegetarian)
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup pepperoncini (optional, but do it)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Italian pasta salad dressing:

  • 1 1/2 cupolive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar (white vinegar or red wine vinegar work)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespooncoarse sea salt (yes, tablespoons – see notes!) (I did not have this, so I went with regular salt)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons each dry oregano and dry basil
  • black pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs if you want! sometimes I add fresh parsley, basil, or chives.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook pasta according to package in salted water for more flavor. Allow to cool slightly and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Blend up the dressing, or shake together in a jar.
  3. Toss all ingredients together! I like to use about three-fourths of the dressing, and then I save the rest of the dressing to add to my leftovers.
  4. Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. I think it actually tastes best the day AFTER you make it.

Salt FYI: Please note that the amount written is for COARSE sea salt. If you are using fine table salt, start with 2 teaspoons and add more to taste. The dressing itself will be very salty. Like, too salty for a normal salad. But in this recipe, that’s what we want! That dressing is going to get tossed with an entire pound of plain pasta, as well as a whole lot of fresh unseasoned vegetables, and it will taste delicious once it’s all tossed up.

 

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Hope you give this a try and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Sky

Summer evenings are getting shorter and there’s a slight nip in the air already. Sunsets, though, continue to illuminate the sky in brilliant hues of yellow, purple, orange and grey and I, mesmerized, keep clicking, as my love affair with the sky deepens.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge-Leaves

   ‘Aahaaa’ is, what I believe I said to myself when I saw this week’s prompt! I can’t remember when was the last time I had participated in this dear -to- my- heart photo challenge. A couple of times, like last week Snow’s Tourism and a few weeks before that when Manja’s (hosting for Snow )’Day Trip’ , I had come very close to posting and then before I realized an entire week  zipped past! But this week I was determined to post at the earliest opportunity and here I am! Thanks Amanda for this lovely prompt….it is a subject that I am particularly fond of.

   With Fall around the corner here in North America, and this time it seems it’s going to come a little bit early, leaves are already starting to change colors gradually (up north) and I am looking forward this year to taking pictures I previously have not. I have been gathering ideas from Instagram (accounts of some photographers that I follow) and am hoping I will have some feasible ideas by the time leaves here dazzle in the shades of red, orange and yellow.

   For this challenge hosted weekly by Amanda and Snow, I am re sharing photos that I have posted in other posts of mine before, along with a new one that I took last week. While encouraging to take new photos, I find this challenge (like few others) lets one gather and organize scattered images under one cohesive post!

 

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hanging leaves

 

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Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend!