Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A new food blog

Hi folks, I have started a food blog at .
This has been a dream for long. This does not mean I wont write about food on 'catharasis' but if you are a food lover you can visit the new site for recipes.

Have a nice day.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Pregnant with thoughts

I was with a friend at a hospital in Bangalore recently. She is pregnant and was on her regular check up. She was alone and wanted me to accompany her. I am phobic towards hospital yet I decided to be with her that day.

It always surprises me that I should be phobic because I spent half my life in and around a hospital where my mother was a nurse.Gynaecs and their departments yet, scares the hell out of me. I would rather kiss an iguana than meet a gynaec but thats one place I visit a lot these days. I can't stand women with big tummies around and this particular day I tried pacifying myself that I would not get a full view of my own tummy when I become pregnant. I often fear that pregnant women would fall flat on their tummy and die and I would die in a similar fashion some day, its one of my worst nightmares. Such is the level of my phobia that I chatter non stop in a gynaec clinic.

Nature has been cruel enough to me having given me regular ovulatory dysfunction and I have been in and out of a gynaec clinic all my life. In fact I had done more HCG, pregnancy and ultrasound tests than my pregnant friend. Yet this visit was painful to me. My friend seemed excited and kept chattering about her new health tips and recipes for pregnant women. She was all charged up with doubts and a long list of questions for the doctor which started of with if waxing was safe in pregnancy to how long could she drive to work. Some of her questions did startle me and I felt we were in two different leagues suddenly. A new part of womanhood was being unfolded to me. It was definitely attractive.

At the entrance my friend told me the hospital had a warmth and she felt cool and less intimidated. I silently anticipated the moment I would step into the midst of all those pregnant women in few seconds. To add to my worry as soon as we stepped out of the elevator we saw posters on pregnant women eating strawberries and many more poses which I deciphered was to relax women and show them this was a nine month vacation. I paced around listening to excited women planning about future baby shoot. I soon realised I was the only idiot who had no clue of these facilities. Portfolios of new borns was part of luxurious packages hospitals offered these days. I called up WHO to ask him if he would let me have one and he said no as if he was refusing me a kitkat.

The doctor called us for the appointment after 1 hr of waiting. She told us we were the last patient and she had to leave. She asked my friend to report to her after two weeks and shooed of all her anxieties by asking her to stay cool. She focused more on me who was just there to support my friend. But the doc focussed on my weight, my plans for baby ( luring for the next customer I beleived). I took the name of her rival hospital, told her I was consulting a doc there and she backed off( this strategy works best with banks, insurance agents, mobile phone sales persons and doctors). We must have spoken to her for 5 minutes but the fees was 300 bucks.

My friend proceeded for her scan and I was asked to wait out. The door to the scan room had a wonderfully captivating sticker which read " Killing a girl child is wrong- we do not reveal the sex of the foetus". Before I could feel impressed I saw a certificate beautifully framed on the opposite wall which read " This hospital has been certified to perform medical termination of pregnancy". Paradoxical it seemed at the moment where one wall indicated blooming of life and the other the fact that it could be legally slaughtered.

We left soon after the scan and I felt a lot better outside the intimidating building. I could not stop thinking about a day I would be there soon. Perhaps I need a visit to the pediatric ward the next time to believe my efforts would bring forth sweet returns, and this could help me cope my gynaec phobia.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Animals are beautiful people

Here we welcome our first animal friend in the family - 'Pappy'. He gets his name from daddy dear- Pappachayan Augustine. We are still confused if its a he or she and if it's a Common Musk or Yellow Bellied turtle.

Till now he has not responded to our call to sit, stand, roll or walk. In the water or outside, he just sits comfortably inside his shell, with eyes shut. We are planning to introduce some ice-breakers very soon. Will keep you posted here on the progress.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The gum story

Fevers make me nostalgic. I was recently down with fever. All I could do lying down all the time was read, sleep and regurgitate my childhood days. Poor 'Who' did get bored with my repetitions and finally I decided to write it down here. This is another snippet from my childhood memoirs.

My mom never permitted us to taste chewing gums and her theory was that children who chewed chewing gums often swallowed them and she had seen many kids at hospital who needed surgery to remove the chewing gum that got stuck to their intestine. Nevertheless the urge to taste this forbidden fruit grew stronger in me and as I grew I became more skeptical towards mom's story.

Finally I managed to get hold of a wrigley's gum at home. I guess dad left it, he often chewed them after smoking. It never occurred to me that dad always chewed gum and it never got stuck to his intestine. Well adults were superheroes and miraculously escaped every danger ( how foolish we were try this trick with kids these days and .... :) )

That sultry afternoon with the posession of a chewing gum I felt like a queen. I avoided my siblings who kept pestering me to join them for a game. I had a Cheshire cat's smile on my face which made my sister realize that I had a secret. I resisted all her charms and lucrative offers to guard my secret. I was scared of losing the gum in a tussle with her. She could go to any length to get the gum from me..... even call up mom at work and get me me warned.

My siblings soon lost interest in watching me smile and left for their game. I opened the wrapper underneath my blanket. I came out of the blanket like a turtle from the shell. I wanted to savour every moment, so I licked the gum, it was sweet and had a mint flavour. Mint was something new to me then. I began chewing th gum slowly first a little apprehensively and as time progressed like a pro. I felt so confident after a while, i remember picking up a book and slowing drifting into sleep.

As I woke some time in the evening , I felt the lingering taste of mint in my mouth. After a while I realized that the gum was no more in my mouth. I wanted to believe I had spit it in my sleep so I frantically searched my bed. I realized I had swallowed it but wanted to deny it because I had no idea what the consequences were. I was scared, overwhelmed with guilt. I wanted to talk to mom, apologize for what I had done. I even worried if I would be alive when mom returned. I watched my siblings play , I regretted not having joined them. I would soon leave them all forever. I could not imagine myself in a hospital, undergoing a surgery and dying. I decided to sleep again. Maybe death in sleep was painless or so I assumed.

I must have slept for quite some time because when I woke I heard mom's voice in the kitchen. I walked to her with amazement of being alive. She was her usual self that day so she ignored me for a while and when she did see me she scolded me for oversleeping. I told her my secret adventure with the chewing gum and my miraculous escape. Mom was silent for some time. She did not scold me as I expected but made me promise I would never chew a gum again.

I left the kitchen still confused about my survival, skeptical about mom's logic about chewing gums when mom said " Did you know that maggi caused cancer?" - " You kids should not have them ever".

Till date I hate maggi .

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chronicles of cooking- Part 3

The morning has an air of excitement because we would have been struggling with the heat and parched landscape of Andhra Pradesh the previous day and now, the sight of abundant tress and rivulets revitalizes the spirit; not to miss the never ending sight of Bharatapuzha running parallel to the train endlessly. After one had soaked in the sights and smells like a hungry bear, because we would travel to Kerala only once in two or three years, the next best thing we would wait for, with aching eyes and tongue, is Pazham Pori. The sight of vendors carrying three pieces of them in a thin cellophane cover on the railway stations would make us go weak in the knees. So from very early in the day one would start cajoling the parents to buy us a pack or two and only after having consumed a handful that we feel that the vacations have truly started.

Even today this humble snack brings back the same age old memory every time and makes the tongue tickle with excitement. I have not come across a single malu, age no bar, whose eyes will not twinkle at the mention of Pazham Pori. The wider world has started to experiment with the taste of Banana Fritters and has started going gaga for it but for a malu, like me, it’s like manna from God’s own country.

For those out there who wants to experiment this recipe at home –


Nenthrapazham/ Ethakka/ - a bunch ( these are the same bananas used for making banana chips and sharkara varatti) For non mallus , there are different varieties of bananas but we make pazham poris using ethakkas alone. I don’t know if any other banana can substitute this.

Maida/ All purpose flour - 1 cup
Sugar- if bananas are not too ripe sugar can be added
Food colour- yellow or turmeric powder if you like the fritters deep yellow.


Slit the bananas into halves or quarters. Prepare a batter with maida and water with medium consistency. Add a pinch of salt and sugar to this batter. Add colour as per preference. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the bananas dipped in batter till they turn golden brown. Pazham poris are tea time snacks so goes well with tea or coffee.

Note: The more ripe the bananas are more oil they absorb so for health conscious people out there, always choose medium ripe bananas.