Day 933

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As if butter wouldn’t melt…

A picture of innocence. Beautiful big eyes.  Gorgeous striations of white and grey. Perfect symmetry. Luxurious fur. Abundant agility.

Instinctively he knows the newest and best piece of furniture in the house. Very soon it belongs to him. If he finds someone else sitting on his chair, he lets them know that he is putting himself through the inconvenience of waiting for them to vacate his seat.

While perfectly capable of using the cat-flap, if we happen to be in the lounge, he expects to be let in by us. He even places his front paws on the French windows, just in-case we hadn’t noticed. I must admit that when we do open the door for him, he always obliges us with his grand entry. As the saying goes, dogs have masters and cat have staff.

One minute he is your best friend and the next he completely ignores you. The next, he goes for your toes as if they were menacing little mice. The next he wants a kiss and a cuddle and the next he claws the very fingers that caress him. Quiet the alpha male, he is often seen bullying other cats in the neighbourhood. In a jiffy he transforms into a cute little fur-ball. He doesn’t like light falling on his eyes and he assumes various shapes to block it out.

After all, cats are  humans too. 

 

 

Day 929

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Loveliest stranger

“Hi.

Whether this will reach you I do not know, whether this will cause you pain I hope not as that is the opposite of my intention! I have hummed and harred over sending this message to you as I am not usually one for publicising my feelings or feeling like I am getting involved in other people’s business but I just wanted to send you a message.

I only learned yesterday of saagars death. A photo came up on my news feed with the quote ‘gone but never forgotten’. I read in to the articles I found on his profile and was instantly shocked and completely saddened by what I read.

First of all my thoughts go out to all of you and your family and friends, I can not begin to imagine how traumatic the last two years have been. I met saagar when I must of been about 16 years old, I was on a train coming back from Exeter and he got on somewhere between there and London. I was at a table with my revision books out, I had my French GCSE exam the next day. He sat opposite me and we instantly started talking. We did not stop talking for the entire 2 hours and we helped each other with French (he later admitted that he has chosen to sit by me because he saw my French books and had the same exam the next day!), he offered me his carrots and humous, we talked about the gym, drumming, his girlfriend at the time, who he’d been to stay with. I can honestly say that he was and still to this day is the loveliest stranger I had ever met. He was gorgeous, funny, talented and charming and we got on incredibly well in such a short space of time. We kept in contact via Facebook and unfortunately lost touch over the years and I never got to physically see him again, but I will never forget meeting him. I am so sorry for your loss and again am sorry if this message upsets you, I just want you to be proud of the amazing man that you brought up and I will forever cherish those few hours that i spent with him x”

(Message from EH on FB Messenger dated 6/8/2016. Discovered yesterday.)

Your message does not upset me E. I have always been proud of him and always will be. Thank you very much for taking the time to write to me.

Day 921

Lady’s fingers

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Naani’s food is the best in the world. Yes. Much better than Mamma’s. That is a fact and Mamma agrees without the slightest reservation. She is happy to continue being Naani’s student forever. Naani’s chicken curry is the bestest ever and she even manages to make vegetables taste yummy!  – These lines would accurately reflect Saagar’s feelings.

Naani is my mother. I am spending some time with my folks back home and life is largely about food.  Mangoes, ice-coffee, fried fish, momos and idlis form a fraction of a vast list that is adding further vastness to my waistline and other lines. Summer offers up only a few vegetables of which ‘bhindi’ or ‘okra’ is a big favourite in our family. The particularly yum preparation is the spicy, stuffed one. Uncooked it looks like the image above.

Here’s how , for 3-4 people:

300 grams of tender okra – cleaned, dried, topped, tailed and slit along the length.

For the stuffing:

Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – half tsp
Red chilly powder – half tsp
Coriander powder – 5 heaped tsp
Dried mango powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Method:
Stuff the okra with the mixture of dried spices above.
Heat 1 tablespoon of mustard oil till lightly smoking. Splutter 1 tsp of cumin seeds in it, add the stuffed okra and cook until soft. Serve hot. Garnish with roasted sesame seeds before serving.

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Saagar loved this dish. We often cooked it together. I prepared the okra and the spice mix and he put them together. We had it with yellow masoor daal and plain basmati rice.

Today, we made bhindi, sending him our love and blessings.
We missed him at the dinner table. A lot.

Day 912

Everything was fun.

As soon as he could walk with support, leaving home in the buggy for a walk in the evening meant, him pushing the buggy, taking it for a walk. Looking into the mirror, playing hide and seek with himself was fun. Kicking a cotton sheet off him with his frantically moving arms and legs was fun. Wearing big sunglasses and shoes was fun. Playing with toys and words was fun. Crawling, walking, running was fun. Dabbling in different kinds of music was fun. The ‘bandana’ phase was fun. Playing and listening to any kind of percussion was fun.

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Going round and round while sitting in one of my mother’s big cooking pots with a convex bottom was fun. On his second birthday, we found him in the balcony with a pot of yogurt, officiously feeding himself and our dog, Caesar, with alternate spoonfuls of the honeyed white stuff. As he grew older, pulling faces was fun. Smurfs and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was fun. The little toy in the occasional Happy Meal at McDonalds was fun. Z-Ball was fun.

Being back here in my parent’s house brings back heart-warming memories of his childhood. He was such good fun!

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Day 908

This is like really hard to like think of like what to write. Some days like I suppose are like that. It’s like totally crazy. Sometimes I wish I was like doing a juice cleanse or doing like some other hippie stuff, like eating kale chips or listening to like Hare Krishna music on a vinyl.

I could like go to Starbucks to get like some inspiration but like I am so upset because like the supermarket ran out of avocados and like my nail lady didn’t have turquoise polish. The coffee at Starbucks is like fake and they like don’t pay tax. So, that’s like totally bad for the whales. I, like don’t want to be like a part of this whole corporate thing.

My therapist has been like super-useful in helping me like think about important things like this. I have decided to become like a pesce-pescetarian. I will only eat fish like that eat other fish. That’s like Buddhism or something. I think that’ll be like good for the planet.

Maybe I could like travel to like help poor people in Papua New Guinea. I don’t think like, they know much about coffee like or Mocha Frappuccino. I could maybe like be useful?

Day 852

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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’.

Ref: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/23/marmalade-preserve-elderly-data-shows/

Day 842

A Psychiatrist recently expressed his point of view- “If I take everyone who tells me they want to end their lives seriously, I would have to admit almost everyone I see to hospital. What we need is for people to be able to verbalise how they feel rather than dash straight to a perceived solution.” I suppose he means it would be helpful if everyone had an emotional vocabulary, a way of describing how they feel – happy, worried, excited, frustrated, scared, wretched, rotten, hopeless, angry…  a process that ideally should start when we’re kids. Just like we learn to identify objects and name them, we should develop the ability to identify our feelings and name them.

“If you’re happy and you know it…clap your hands.”
“If you’re happy and you know it, hug a friend.”
“If you’re sad and you know it, cry a tear – “boo-hoo.”
“If you’re mad and you know it, use your words “I’m mad.”
“If you’re scared and you know it, get some help, “HEEELLLLPPP!”
“If you’re silly and you know it, make a face, “BBBBLLLUUUUHHHH!”

“A large and more complex feeling vocabulary allows children to make finer discriminations between feelings; to better communicate with others about their internal affective states; and to engage in discussions about their personal experiences with the world”
– Centre on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL)

Adults can proactively teach young children to identify their feelings and those of others. Through stories, modelling and role play they can pair an emotion with a coping strategy, for example, taking a deep breath when angry; requesting a break when annoyed, talking to someone when sad. Positive emotions may need to be regulated too.

When I was young, feelings didn’t get much attention. They were often set aside, ignored or suppressed. They didn’t seem to be important. They came and went and changed all the time. So, it was easy to not hang on to them. Doing, behaving, achieving and knowing were important. They were tangible and afforded rewards. So, it was easy to focus on them. I didn’t have an emotional vocabulary. I didn’t know there was such a thing. I didn’t know many people who had it. Now I am learning.

Ref:

The feelings song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsISd1AMNYU

On Monday when it rained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOhwGmxDPl8

http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/modules/module2/handout6.pdf