Monday, December 6, 2010

Melange of emotions !!

Sunshine at Niagara Falls ( 2010 )

 Does any relationship have an expiration date ? Like it happens with so many other perishable things,if one stores love with care to save it for a later time,does it perish or expire,specially if forgetten ? Perhaps,relationships do expire when left unattended.With time,they become enshrouded with mold and start to decay without your knowledge..and suddenly they disappear,leaving us thinking of so many things that could have happened or could have been done with little more attention to details,perhaps !! The expiration of a connection is like the end of an era..although they leave us with a melange of emotions-memories and flashbacks,and lots of dejection....And we always muse if it's truly justified to mourn such an expiration- for such a relationship  perhaps was merely the fruits of one's dream or desire..Things we wanted and how we wanted them to happen..Or maybe there was some history to it but that was all there was to it,and such history had no recent past,present or future-But you held on to them as your own anyways... and mourned them when they eventually happened to vanish...Does just holding on to such history,just by force even if there was not even a silk thread stringing them to the present..and not letting them go,make them rightfully ours ? Loss of something which we had lost a long time ago and whatever has been left of it- having been losing the rest of it  in small doses everyday..doesn't really qualify as a sudden loss or expiration....But still,why do we,humans-crave for something which many a times is not befitting or doesn't rightfully  belong to us ? Why don't we allow the spilled liquid to dry and just accept the stain ??!

Award time..once again !!

I've been very lazy lately..lazy to write anything and busy with other things...My " blog shop " has been closed shut for the last month or so..But that hasn't stopped my lovely blogger friends from showering me with so many awards..They seem to keep coming,one after the other..Recently,I received another award ( my 4th  one precisely ) from Soumya and it was my birthday that day..Thanks a lot Soumya for making the day so special for me ...I would like to share this award with all my blogger friends once make everyone feel special !!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks to Soumya ( check out her lovely blog here HERE ) for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award.I'm really honored...

I would like to share this award with all my fellow bloggers..They all do such great jobs in their blogs..Congratulations to all of you !!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back from a journey and an award !!

Dear friends

These last 3 weeks had been a journey in the true sense of the word for me, and now I'm back..First,I would like to thank Amrita Kalyani ( see here  & here ) for giving me this lovely award..I'm extremely sorry for posting this so late..I was out on the roads for the last 21 days and got back last night only.I am so thankful to her for sharing this award with me.

Now there are some rules -
  • After receiving this award, post it on your blog with the person's name and blog link who has shared this award with you.
  • We have to share the award with 15 other fellow bloggers.
  • Contact the fellow bloggers with whom you are sharing your award to let them know that they have been chosen.
I am sharing this award with the following 15 fellow bloggers,in no specific order :-
Umm Mymoonah - Taste of Pearl City

Sameena Prathap - My Culinary Creations

Kamalikas -Silence Sings

Satya - Super Yummy Recipes

Aipi - US Masala

Sayantani- A Homemaker's diary



Jay-Tasty Appetite

Soumya-Soumya's Kitchen

Ruby Parmar-Punjabi Food Diary

Deepika-Deepika's Corner

Akila-Akila's Kitchen


Deepa- Hamaree Rasoi

Congratulations to all my fellow bloggers who put their heart,soul and minds in their beautiful blogs.This award goes to every one of you whom I couldn't mention in the above list...Keep on blogging !!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Vacation Time !!

For me,visiting new places and meeting new people is a journey of the senses-Apart from taking in the obvious sights,I make it a point not to miss out on the not-so-obvious things which different places has to offer..From the rural to the urban,wherever I go-I seek out the subtleties and thru' them,get a feel of where I am and differentiate it from other places I've been to or will be in the future..I feel an emptiness until I've the tasted the food which characterises a particular town or bought the amber honey from the local apiary if I'm in a rural setting..For,even if you don't get to know people personally,it is through these,you get a glimpse into their daily lives..And for me,no trip is complete,until you have smelled the musty trees,watched how the glinting sun changes the colors of the leaves,listened to the tune of the brook jumping it's way over the stones,identified some flowers,trees or birds,savoured the local-made cheese or farm-grown Shiitakes..And done all these things over and above taking the day tours on a hop-on,hop-off bus...

And I'm about to embark on one such journey of the senses-One of the longest I've taken in a while...
It's time for me to shut down my kitchen,pack some suitcases,jot down some plans ..'coz friends-I'm taking some time off  and going on a vacation..Have fun everyone..See you soon !!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


 Flowers....make me happy....I smile at them, and they seem to smile back at me :)

Growing in bushes and hedges..Lantana is always such a welcome sight...

Our own Hibiscus...from our balcony garden....

Yellow Poinciana is just as pretty as the red ones...

I love the yellow star among all the pink..This is from my Mom's garden.

I just love lilies..With Lilies around, the house always smell so nice  !!

What says " romance " better than Magnolia ?? 

Had to stop on our way to Grand Canyon to take this picture...Absolute burst of colors..

These remind me of my Ma's Cacti collection-She had more than 200 varieties of cactus, many of which bloomed in summer..

One of my favorite shots from Grand Canyon,West Rim

As you can see very well, I had a hard time in selecting only a few from all the shots of different flowers I had.....Hope you like them :)
This is off to SIMPLICITY  ..Thanks for hosting such a " Flower" - y challenge !! 

Friday, October 1, 2010

My First Award

This morning I opened my emails and found out that I've received an award-My 1st one..Oh my god !! I'm so excited- I got my first blog award :-) 
I want to thank Soumya  (Check out her beautiful blog )  for considering me worthy of an award and for sharing her award with me ..This means a lot to me !!

Thanks a lot to all my readers and followers ....Have a nice day and great weekend everyone !!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Well, I wanted to participate in SHUTTER LOVE TUESDAYS ( Check out this beautiful blog and the event !! ) . This week's theme is BLUE..
I had posted a write-up long back,when I started this blog ( My old post ) and soon after we returned from our trip to the Bahamas on BLUE.I wanted to link that up too here,as well as post some new photos from the same trip,which would be my interpretations on this week's theme " BLUE " . 




Thanks to Trendy Treehouse ( ) for this lovely event !!

Out & About

THE BAY DURING SUNSET.....That's my sister-in-law in the pic

I went to visit my brother and sis-in-law in California two years back..During my stay there,we all went to this beautiful Marina Park in Alviso.Alviso is a tiny,quiet-almost sleepy town,with few thousand people and old,wooden houses.The town is surrounded by mud flats,freshwater creeks,bay shallows,sloughs,salt ponds,marshes -with miles and miles of beautiful quiet trails on the levees for walking,jogging & biking..Some of the levees are closed to public to protect the rich wildlife in this area..The trails are dirt-surfaced..which reminded me of rural India.We went during the afternoon,after the sun has mellowed down a bit ..We walked on the trails,encircling the salt ponds and the bay..The wind was very strong,coming all the way across the marshes,miles and miles of it...and picking up the moist,coldness with it on it's way over the bay.It was a beautiful afternoon..There were these structure tucked in the dense growth of reeds and rushes..which we loved..We posed on them and took some pictures ( pic below )..

 The marsh was mostly covered with thickly growing bullrushes,rendering this eerie touch to the entire area,specially as the sun started going down and the gorgeous sunset led to a beautiful twilight,which in turn gradually succumbed  to the oncoming dusk......We basked in the warming touch of the last rays and the cooling kiss of the gale,taking in the sights and sounds of nature,of all the different birds and all that salty,marshy smells...Then for the second time that afternoon,we heard a train whistling by ...We rushed to a clearing nearby and managed not only to see it but also to take a quick picture !! 
       It was an afternoon to remember,an evening well spent ..A beautiful outing with my loved ones !! 


I'm sending this off to " Out & About " photography challenge,hosted by Faith, in her beautiful blog ( See here  ). 

Thanks a lot for such an oppurtunity ~ ~ 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Pujo Journal !!

Kolkata and the suburbs were for vacations and family functions..My brother and I have spent our growing up years,until he went off to being a techie and I got married,in various small towns of West Bengal and Jharkhand.My dad is a Civil Engineer ( now a new retiree since April 2010 ) and we grew up in townships which formed around some Thermal Power Station or Hydroelectric Power Plant,located in the outskirts of some important city..We were detached from many things which normal city life might present on a daily basis-some were disadvantageous and some were a blessing in disguise for us and our parents..

SHIULI from Ma's garden 
During Durga Puja,we almost never went to Kolkata,mainly because Baba almost never got leave from work and we didn't want to spend this time of the year apart..and then also because we got used to the quiet life of  a small town and we wanted to avoid the crowd,sweat and traffic jams of big city Pujo ..And surprisingly,we never missed it-all the big pandals,all those hopping around all night long which our cousins gave vivid descriptions of.Well,maybe Ma missed it..She had spent her entire life in kolkata until she got married ..and when I was in college,she confided in me that when we were younger ( and she was younger as well ), she used to terribly miss Kolkata-all the hustle-bustle,all the sounds,smell,crowd..everything called her home.I feel so bad when I think of all those times when she had to cancel her plans of going because of us !!  

Ma calls this JHUMKO JABA

So,we spent our Puja days in our small township,sitting all day long at our Officer's Club Durga Pujo Pandal or making quick rounds to other mandaps which our township had to offer..Saptami and Ashtami were days reserved for going out-to nearby towns and cities for Pandal Hopping...
Dad was so enthusiastic about all these-We used to look forward to these trips during Puja-sometimes with other families,sometimes just the four of us-we used to go visit pandals in Chittaranjan,Burnpur,Asansol,Durgapur,Raghunathpur,Bankura,Panchet..and so many other small towns and cities surrounding us.And then eating out on these days were also part of the attraction !! 

Sometimes our grandparents visited to spend the puja days with us..sometimes other relatives visited us to experience the small town puja thing ..And if on one hand,they were bored with the not-so grand pandals and almost inaudible sound of the " DHAAK " and blaring microphones..they loved the quietness and less crowded streets for a change on the other !! 

Ma's Garden

        When I was considered fit to be called a grown-up and was eligible to spent some time away from the constant supervision of Maa ( but only when there are Ma's friends present to supervise me in her absence ) - I used get up early ,bathe and Dad used to drop me off at our Officer's Club Pujo Pandal....I brought supply of flowers from our garden-which Dad had picked up even earlier in the morning,when he did his morning puja ..I helped all the Kakima & Kaku in their prepwork for that day's pujo,whatever way I could- That was the first time I cut fruits and the only time before marriage..which was fun-because Mom never allowed me to do anything at home ( And now I know,that cutting fruits is not fun at all-now that I have to do them all the time !! ). Making garlands,chosing perfect " Bel-pata " and " Dubbyo Ghaash " , " Chandan Bata " , making garlands of 108 Hibiscus flowers in the evening of Ashtami,for Sandhi Puja ...And then Dad used to come after about 2 hours to pick me up..I used to go back home,dress up and come back with family for Puspanjali,prasad,chatting,planning for the evening and so much more fun ~ 
 Fun,which meant eating the " Niramish " ( vegetarian ) delicacies Ma was having on Shoshti and Ashtami and then going out and having non-veg food as well ~ wearing new dresses right from Panchami...and even after going through 2-3 changes of clothes on all the 5 days,we had new dresses left for diwali and bhai-phonta..

Lonka Jaba from Ma's garden

Durga Puja was fun..although there were times when we had Half-yearly exams when school reopens,in which case we had to study and then only allowed to go for the Puspanjali..But no matter what happened,the two weeks following Lakshmi Puja ( Kojagori,the one which comes immediately after Durga Puja ) were always set aside for our trips to different parts of India..Dad used to start planning for this trip well ahead of time,specially because tickets had to be booked promptly on the day the reservations opened ( which was typically 2 months ahead of the day you are planning to set out )...Books were brought out from Dad's huge collection,which Dad researched in details..and then when those huge road maps ( Dad has this collection of road maps of entire India ) where ultimately spread out on the living room floor,we knew we are all set ..Although we would travel by train and later on other conveyances,Dad always made it a point to know the names of all the stations we would be crossing,all the roads,junctions,by-lanes and everything a person can possibly want to know..
            I loved this part  when Dad called and pointed to us different things on the maps..we used to run,leaving our homeworks and books aside,because that reminded us of the vacation we are about to go on,very soon !! And throughout our 2-nights journey on the train,I wrote journals and I always knew even if I failed to look at the name of a station we just passed-Dad would know it and he did..He remembered all the stations that we left behind and the ones we are about to pass... 

      Dad planned those trips and Mom looked after the other details-There were always delicious foods for us on the train..we never ate from the pantry car..Mom made such foods which won't go bad in this long journey like Chhatu'r Kochuri ( poori with sattu filling ), Keema,gulab jamun and sorts.........Sometimes Rajasthan, sometimes Madhya Pradesh and at other times- places of Orissa,Uttar Pradesh and other states of India called us and we answered to their callings !! There are so many stories to tell about all those trips....

I feel sad that I'm not able to share any of the photos from all those times..Everything is in albums at Ma-Baba's and I don't have their soft copies.

Those were the days of fun,frolic and enjoyment..So much happens around one festival like Durga Puja for bengalis..So many memories are created to be cherished for days to come...
My hubby and I enjoyed our 1st durga Puja together in Pune.It was another beautiful experience ..wandering around the beautiful city of Pune in our bike..After moving to US, we had a very sad 1st Pujo here...We didn't have a car and couldn't go anywhere...

Pujo in Austin,TX

                   From a small -scale one day pujo at the nearby Hindu not-so-small One and half day pujo - We are now about to celebrate two whole days of  pujo this year ..Our local Bengali Association is getting bigger and better with each passing year.My hubby and I are active members of the Pujo committee this year,which has given us an oppurtunity to experience a lot of things apart from having fun and actually feeling like enjoying Durga Puja to the fullest,maybe for the 1st time outside India. And we are so happy that although like all other years,we are celebrating Pujo on the weekend - this year those dates have coincided with the actual days of Nabami & Dashami ~ ~ 

I'm sending this post off to Pree's " BEYOND 5 DAYS OF DURGA PUJO " event. She has a beautiful space here . Thanks again Pree for this wonderful event..

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beyond Five Days of Durga Pujo EVENT

Durga Pujo..quintessence of Bengali festivities..Like all other bengalis,I've limitless memories,flashing in front of my eyes right now..I was wanting to write about my memories of durga pujo,but then there is so much to write..I have been holding myself back,afraid to run out of space and then leading all my dear readers to boredom.Pree of  PreeOccupied  posted a beautiful article today,inviting everyone to contribute something about Durga Puja-stories,pictures,recipes..And that got me started..
      After so many years,we were in India last year for Durga Puja-I left early from US to arrive just in time for the monsoons leaving the sunny skies and fluffy clouds to do their thing, cute li'l KAASH starting to take their forms in those grassy brushes..Everything smelled of my familiar pujo days...
                    I'll be talking about my memories in a different post..This one's for the photos only..I chose a few, from the pictures I took during my India trip last year..Hope they serve their purpose of telling the story I want them to tell of those beautiful time spent with family,feeling at home...Last but not the least,my brother got married about 2 years back into one of the oldest families of Kolkata-They have been celebrating  Durga Puja and Jagadhhatri Pujo for over 200 years in their home..I had the most unique time during the Durga Puja days last year at my sis-in-law's parental home,starting right from Mahalaya,watching the " PROTIMA ( IDOL ) being molded from clay,being painted,jewelleries being put on the Goddess and so on...I've shared a few pictures from those days too !! 

My Didama's ( maternal grandmom ) daily morning ritual- beautiful pujo arrangements...I have been waking up to her pujo bells ( ghonta ) every morning,whenever we are at her house..

DIDAMA'S PONCHO-PRODIP  which is lighted up every morning and every evening..for AROTI 

Bhaat-Paturi-Mocha'r Ghonto ( Banana flower sabji )- LUNCH on fresh-cut Banana Leaf fro m the garden !!
  Among the myriads of dishes Mom makes everytime I'm home..I managed to take a picture of " ILISH MAACHER PATURI " cooked by her this time ..Pujo holidays and good food,preferably home-made and Mom-made :)

 The roadside splendor of KAASH..on our way to Kolkata from Maithon..The day was " Biswakarma Pujo "

KOLKATA CALLING ..Family,food,fun...Yayyy !! 

 Day of Mahalaya-Jethu ( that's what I call my bro's father-in-law ) called me to let me know that the PROTIMA ( IDOL ) is ready,they are putting the finishing touches on the painting part..Tonight, Maa ( Maa Durga ) will be adorned with the " SAAJ "  ( Jewelleries )..The Goddess is getting ready..I was so happy and grateful to them for giving me an oppurtunity to experience something so beautiful, and captured a few photos..


Freshly bloomed  SHIULI at night

Those five days of pujo came quickly and left even quicker-Spent those days as wonderfully as any Bong would possibly spend - eating out and in,shopping,Pandal Hopping,lazing around on Didama's bed with rest of the family...chatting,having home-made Paan ( beetle leaves ), piping hot darjeeling chai with singara ( samosa )..


 The next couple pictures are from the archives of Girish Bhavan,taken by a relative-Thanks to my Sis-in-law for sharing them with me !!



 Now,my post wouldn't be complete without a few chosen photos of the pandals of Kolkata...And many of them are weirdly taken because of the flood,of people,knocking you out from every directions..It's amazing that I managed to take any pictures at all :)

Here's welcoming this year's Pujo whole-heartedly....
This post is off to Pree's event...Thanks Pree for such an oppurtunity !!