Day 858


One of Saagar’s friends and housemates from second year at Uni writes in his memory book. He mentioned her very fondly very often. Friendships, so precious!


You were such a big part of my Durham family and being in fourth year without you is horrible. Second year in Gladstone Villas was undoubtedly one of the best years of my life and everyday I wish we could turn back the clock and be sitting in the living room all together again.
I wish I had been able to speak at your memorial service today but every time I tried to muster the courage to speak, I just burst into tears. I miss you so much.
We had some fabulous house dinners together and I think my favourite is when you convinced me to use two packs of mince for our dinner for two. This made thirty meatballs and we had to use two pans to cook them all. You impressed me with how many you managed to eat!
I always think of you and imagine you happily looking down. Still wish you were my housemate and in my French classes.
All my love,

Louise. xxxxx

Unforgettable, my darling! That what you are.


Day 852


What completes breakfast is marmalade. What enriches it with tradition is marmalade. What makes breakfast wholesome is marmalade, a source of happy, healthy, tangy carbs.

The origins of this exquisite preserve are controversial but date back to the1500s. The name has its roots in the Portuguese language. It is made from sugar and water boiled with the juice and rind of citrus fruits. Sweet oranges, limes, lemons, mandarins, grapefruits, any other such fruits or combinations of them are used.

Apparently the younger generation of today is more inclined towards smoother spreading jams, chocolate spreads and peanut butter as opposed to the bitty orange spread.

What had me hooked was the homemade version, made with Seville oranges by Si’s mum. Dark, with an intensely rich flavor. As most modern mothers have no time to make marmalade at home, it is not surprising that their kids have no taste for it. They are missing out on a delicious piece of their heritage.

For variation, it can be flavoured with ginger and whiskey as seen in farmer’s markets and gift shops at distilleries. I like them all.

It’s official. Without doubt, I am now ‘old’.
Both, The Telegraph and BBC Radio 4 support this view.
I am not just old, but ‘elderly’.


Day 775

Time to go home. One home to another. Travel. Separation and reunion. Heartbreak and excitement. Holiday over. Leaving. Letting go. Impermanence. Detachment. Being in the moment. Missing. Loving. Longing. Again.

Packing. Lists. Hair bobbles. Slippers. Tooth brush. Weight. Zips. Last minute shopping – pens, refills, stationery, spices. Last day catch-up phone calls. Savouring every morsel of mum’s food – aloo-methi, stuffed bhindi, whole masoor daal and the best carrot halwa in the world. Horse-shoe shaped bean cushions. Chipping nails.

Passports. Flying. Queuing. Security. Sitting. Turbulence. Films. Food. Writing. Reading. Crying babies. Unsettling. Elbows. Water. More sitting. Napping. Tiring. Gaining half a pointless day. Messy hair.

Express train. Tube. Over-ground train. Uphill walk. Home. Blue door. Letters. Disable alarm. Freezing! Cats. Tea. Plants. Watering. Mowing. Unpacking tooth-brush. Slippers. Pens. Laundry.

Sitting on a cold brown leather sofa. Living. Dreaming. Slipping from one moment to the next. Breathing. Being. Loving. Missing. Longing. Again.




Day 748

The tin roofs glittered in the sunlight like confetti as our plane approached the island. We are on our way home now, stopping over for one night in Zanzibar, an ancient trading town off the eastern coast of Africa. Although it is a part of Tanzania, it fancies itself to be autonomous. We were asked to fill in immigration forms on landing at the airport but no one looked at them. Stone town is the perfect confluence of Arabic, African, Indian and European cultures. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The architecture and town planning is predominantly Arabic. Narrow streets lined with two storey houses with long narrow rooms disposed round an open courtyard, reached through a narrow corridor are distinguished externally by elaborately carved double ‘Zanzibar’ doors. These wooden doors are particularly ornate and characteristic features of most houses here. They are one of the main themes of the local art work and memorabilia. The motto here seems to be ‘pole-pole’ which translates to ‘slowly-slowly’. But after our week-long quiet time in Fisheagle Point in the north of Tanga, this place seems hectic.
Zanzibar is infamous for being the last bastion of the slave trade and a major centre for the ivory trade, both of which are considered by many never to have properly ceased. It is well known for its seafood, fruit and spice markets. Walking through the market was an onslaught on the olfactory senses. It was a relief to leave as I couldn’t have taken any more surprise odours.
We did the touristy thing of buying a few t-shirts, fridge magnets and other necessary yet unnecessary things. I missed buying a t-shirt for Saagar. I wanted to cry but I didn’t. Earlier in the day, I had read on someone’s plastic wristband -Life is not fair but it is still good.

Watching kids play football in the narrow streets in the evening was uplifting. Loaded up with passion fruit juice! Happy as can be. 🙂

Day 739

“This is the best daal I have had outside of India” said one of our friends who really does know his food as he runs a vegetarian café and restaurant. I was utterly flattered that he would ask me for the recipe. It was completely ad hoc cooking as most of mine is. Just follow broad principles and keep it simple. Anyway, I jogged my memory and came up with something. Here’s what it is, I think:

Ingredients :

1 cup mixture of 3 daals : 1/3rd each – pink coral, yellow and split yellow with husk
Spinach – about 300 grams.
Chopped onion – 1medium
Chopped ginger – 1 inch piece
Tomatos 2 medium- each cut in 4 pieces
Cumin seeds – 1 and a half teaspoon – coarsely ground
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Fresh curry leaves : 6-7 (optional)
Asafoetida powder -pinch
Coriander powder : 1 and a half table spoon.
Salt, turmeric, 1 green chilly
Tamarind paste : 1 tsp
Lemon juice
Sambar powder -1 tsp (optional)
Desi ghee – 1 tablespoon
Fresh coriander leaves


Wash and boil the daal mix with salt and turmeric. Add spinach when half done.
Heat ghee – splutter mustard seeds, add cumin seeds, asafoetida, coarsely chopped green chilly, curry leaves, ginger and onions – fry till light brown.
Add coriander powder and fry for another minute.
Add the boiled daal and spinach mix, bring to a boil. add tamarind paste and water as required to get the desired consistency.
Then add the chopped tomatoes and sambar powder.
Boil for a few minutes and then add juice of half a lemon just before serving. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Best served with plain basmati rice and bhindi 😉

It is so satisfying to cook a nice meal for friends and family. I miss cooking for Saagar. He loved my Mum’s cooking and rightly so. I was econd best but I was happy to be second best. I would tell him off for licking his plate after meals sometimes and he would say, “It’s a compliment Mamma.” I know. It was.