Drummers

The drummers and dancers kept trying several times till the Director got what he was looking for… a perfect shot. Watching a photoshoot makes the time fly.

The sound of the drums seemingly got louder as the sun sank deeper…

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(A) cooking lesson(s)

One Saturday afternoon.
Cooking lessons in progress at home.
Instructor? Your’s truly.
Student? the daughter.

How to boil water was a good lesson.
Pan with water: Check.
Stove: On.
Heat: Medium.
Timer: Check.
Thermometer: Check

Nothing at first.
Except curiosity at its best.
Then…
Pin heads.
Crab eyes.
Bubbles rising to the surface.
Bigger bubbles.
Dragon eyes!
Uncalm surface.
Steam.
160/175/180/200F.

Tell me the temparature by what you see.
No touch.
No feel.
No using a digital IR temperature gauge.
(or an analogue thermometer-one with a red needle and a face)).
Not yet.

Natural progression from this is to brew tea.
To add tea leaves to boiling water and then steep
Or take tea leaves in a cup and add boiling water?
Karak (or Kadak) tea.
Chai tea, maybe?

Coffee comes next.
Dried Ginger coffee.
Turkish coffee, in which the spoon stands tall.
Arabic coffee?
Cardamom.
Dates.
Muscovado? Demerrera?

Turkish coffee story.
Man with his team awaits.
Girl (soon-to-be-bride) makes coffee.
Girl likes Man.
But
Adds salt instead of sugar.

Tense moments pass by.
Man drinks it all without a word.
Asks for more.
Girl happy.
Coz it’s three yes-ses!
Man marries girl.
End of story.
(Whose story?)

Finally, graduating to the perfect, fluffy, non-sticky rice.
Basmati.
Matta.
Ponni.
Chamba.
Rose.
Jasmine.
Sushi.

Cakes (n) are just that.
A cake (v) to bake.
So easy.
Instructor: Use your nose (points to the nose) to ensure the cake is done; not the skewer.
Student: Wont your nose get burned then?
(Ed: Hmmmm… that’s so true)
Instructor: (just grins)
Student: Laughs…

Cookies aint.
Kid was more happy to use the cookie-cutter.

Soda= spreads.
Powder= puffs.
Now the variables.
Sugar helps retain water content.
Butter or shortening.
Long time at low temp
Or
Short while at higher temp.
Crispy or softer.
May be chewy.
Roll, refrigerate and cut
against
flatten using a rolling pin and use a mold.
Eggs or no eggs.
Mix. Whisk. Fold. Add.
Wood.
Silicone.
Hand.
Chilled.
Warm.
Glass bowl.
Steel bowl.

And when the home gets filled with the aroma of cookies…
even the neighbours start to drool.

Cookies never gets to make it to fill the cookie jar.
Ever.

Door bell rings…
Must be the cookie-gang.

Someday she will make an Omelette.
On her own.

Morning view

On a clear day, one can watch the sun rise from behind the Western Ghats mountain chain, from either the bedroom or the balcony…

sunrise

Older than the Himalayas, the mountain chain is recognised as one of the world’s eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity. Appearing in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, at least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats. The Ghats act as a key barrier, intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer. Of the total 325 globally threatened species in the Western Ghats, 129 are classified as Vulnerable, 145 as Endangered and 51 as Critically Endangered. The component parts of this serial property fall under a number of protection regimes, ranging from Tiger Reserves, National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Reserved Forests. All components are owned by the State and are subject to stringent protection under various laws.
(Details courtesy: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1342)

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The Fog

Fog is a rare phenomenon is Bahrain.
Recently, fog descended upon the capital Manama.
While the traffic on the roads and highways resumed as normal, the Bahrain International Airport was closed.
Several flights were either diverted or cancelled.

after

Fog cleared, eventually.

before

The photographs were captured from West 23rd floor of the Bahrain World Trade Centre, Diplomatic Area. The old Manama city is now visible.

Hey, you are back!

Back home, the friendly neighbour owns 3 dogs; a Retriever, a German Shepherd and our beloved hero, a Great Dane.
The German Shepherd is a duty-bound workaholic reporting to his master 24/7. Retriever is a bit friendly even with strangers and quite easy going… I-don’t-want-any-trouble type.
Great Dane has his kennel built next to where our backyard ends. The view from the terrace opens to him.
He could easily scale the high wall on his hind legs. The way he senses my visit home and his reaction when he sees me for the first time after many months is unbelievable.

Here are some of the shots where his curiosity got the better of him…

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Collectibles

Soda, pop, fizzy-drinks.
Cloudy, clear, cola, orange, lemon.
Carbonated drinks were a true luxury during childhood days.
Highly regulated markets many years ago had in fact added to the glamour of these bottled and canned drinks.
Soda bottles are often elevated to the class of collectibles these days.

Nothing will beat the thick, green-glassed bottle with a built-in marble-stopper.

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French Alps

The drive from Grenoble to Annecy was memorable for two reasons. Bright, sunny day made the visibility high and the 360 degrees view of brilliant scenery made driving the winding roads exciting. A short stop once in a while took away precious time-to-destination. Photos such as the one seen here made it worthwhile…

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Early April still saw some snow on the ground. Rain and more snow was on the forecast for the coming days in the higher regions en route Mont Blanc.

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Home grown

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I do not remember exactly who had given me the seed of this Gladiolus.
That was many many years ago.
The bulb resembled an onion.
When the seed was planted, I had no more hope than to see a Lily.
Any kind of Lily.
As the delicate flower bloomed one rainy day morning,
the sight became unforgettable.
Since then, I have seen several blossoms.
None more prettier than that home grown Gladiolus,
whose bulb was given to me
by someone I do not remember.
That was many many years ago.

Coffee in Sudan

When my next door neighbour from Sudan got a new born baby boy, a visit was made to congratulate the parents.
What followed after the visit was not just wonderful but amusing too.
Coffee was served!

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Coffee preparation is an art in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Coffee preparation for guests is a ritual affair, with various spices added to the clay pot in which it is brewed.

The stove with lit charcoals was bought to the living room and coffee beans are first freshly roasted over the small fire. The beans are then crushed by hand in a mortar and pestle. The pots used to make/serve the prepared coffee are of clay with a long neck and spout – the traditional jebenas, as they are called.

The beans are put in the clay container, together with spices, usually a few cardamom pods and some pepper. This is then slowly brewed by the side of the fire – and when done, is poured over a sieve. As the room is filled with the lovely aroma of fresh coffee, the smoke from Frankincense burned rose up creating a magical atmosphere.

Very small cups are then placed on a tray – the cups, too, are traditionally round, small and cute. Coffee cups on the tray are then passed around.

The baby was still asleep.