Nov 29, 2010

Single Serve

Single Serve would be something or anything that can be used only once - for a specific need or purpose. For example tooth picks or tea bags or the single serve butter stick they serve on a plane or a bus ticket you buy when traveling from point A to point B are all single serves. Did you know we also have "Single Serve Friends"?

Classmates, team mates, batch mates, room mates, they serve a purpose in time. There are hundreds we grow up with in the same school, hostel or college but only a rare handful remain in touch through the years. Others - though we have had good times with them - have disappeared.

This prompts me to recall my single serve friends. I was in 8th grade when Papa took us on a family vacation to Delhi. In the same guest house where we stayed was another family who also had a 8th grader. We became quick friends in a day or two, but alas no contact after that. I am sorry to say that I can't even recall her name now.

There was Jeeva who was my junior from college who looked up to me a lot. She took me home for a weekend where her mom made fresh plantain chips for us. I do think of them often but where to track her down I don't have a clue.

Revathy was my room mate - a blind girl - a music teacher - who once suspected me of stealing her Rs. 80; all I could tell her was, "I will pray that you find it before I come back in the evening so that you will know I didn't take it". In the evening when I returned she told me she had found the money and just when I was happy for her, she added, "How is it that I found it just like you told me? May be you put it back..." I was speechless. She definitely was a single serve - I knew that!

But all of those fun loving friends in college hostels Divya Rodriguez from Darjeeling & Sister Rose - both  went on to become doctors, Rachna Mishra from Patna, Sheeja Thomas from Calicut, Nisha Anumol from wherever and the three sisters Jessica, Thanuja and Janet, and of course my favorite Honey Ann Joseph from Ernakulam - it is hard to believe they too were single serve...

Nov 27, 2010

Neither prose nor poetry

Neither prose nor poetry it is just
The way my Grandma made puttu...

Childhood mornings at Grandma's home
Puttu always came from rice
Soak the rice for hours before,
Tiny hands powder the rice
Roast the flour, sprinkle water

Set aside, then scrape coconut
Add some sugar for taste
Off goes Grandma to collect some twigs
And dried coconut leaves
To lit her mud stove from the scratch

Brings a pot of water to boil
Layers flour and coconut in a tube
That fits perfectly on the pot
Quickly Grandma visits her store room
To fetch some ripe plantains and bananas
Before the tube on the pot starts to steam

Now, it is time to remove the tube
Grandma picks up her ladle turns it around
And sticks the stick end into the tube
That gently pushes the puttu out
Steaming hot with great aroma

With watering mouths we kids watch her do
Fill another puttu in the tube
Nicely set on the boiling pot
Off to fetch some plates for us
While we sit in the short kitchen walls & steps
She gives us puttu and some fruits

Yum so yum the puttu tastes
We finish it quickly and wait around
For the next puttu that cooks along
Even after the second round
We still wait around with hopes for more

Neither prose nor poetry it is just
The way my Grandma made puttu...

Nov 26, 2010

What has happened since?

Just a quick glance at earlier posts and updates on what has happend since:

* Remember  my plight looking for the moon in "Honey, where is the moon" ? -  Well, the moon has returned safe and sound and it has been honey moon ever since...

* Also, my Shocking Surprise is now over as the mustache has grown back

* No, couldn't show the butterflies to the star that landed in my Conversation with the Stars, as when I woke up I realized it was all just dream...

* The invitation is still open, you are Welcome to our Kitchen !

* Haven't got another chance to sit down with the Girl in the Mirror

* Some snacks did return to work, but I ended up sharing with the team, everyone said, "Mmm Mmm good! "

* That is right, I still don't LOL

* My Cuckoo clock is doing well.

So, what has happened since at your end?

Nov 25, 2010

To Bikramjit

Nov 24, 2010

From Bikramjit

From My Grandma

Since we are in the middle of Handwritten series I thought it would be a good idea to share a letter from my Grandma from the year 1994. I was doing my MCA staying on campus. Though my Grandma is no longer with us, I can see her love remains; I am so blessed to share in her love and blessings. 

She is the best Grandma ever made! Okay, now that may be a rude statement; how about I say, all Grandmas are made equal?! Please click on the image once to view in full. Translation follows below the image for those who can't read Tamil...

My loving child Queenma, from Grandma who loves you a lot. Are you well? Be well. I pray for you to learn your subjects carefully and to get good grades. Pray everyday, read the Bible. Is your scooter a blessing? No running around places. Only use it to go to college.

May God's grace protect you. Let Him be like a mother bird that protects from front and rear. Write to me in your own hand. I need to see that. Write to me about your situation. Because ever since the scooter came there I feel very afraid. May the Lord protect you from all danger. Pray well. Say Thank you.

Pray for Sweetma to do well in her exams and for little brother's studies, and for your beloved Amma and Pappa. May God bless you. I am not able to write well as my hand is shaking.  Let us praise God who thought about us in our lowliness. May the Lord be with you in all your ways. Glory be to Him only.

Reply me, I will be awaiting. My loving child Queenma, many kisses to you. Hallelujah!

Nov 23, 2010

To Bhawna

Nov 22, 2010

From Bhawna

What's wrong with NRIGirl?

Nothing... really... okay if you insist, it is the hair... Israel's hair. He has been such a well groomed handsome gentleman all along but lately he wants to grow his hair longer. "How long?", when I ask he says "mmm... how about as long as yours?!" Hope he is joking as it gives me jitters already...

When I further insist, he says, "how many hairstyles you have tried over the years, have I said anything? Now I want to give it a try - I always wanted to do it but my Mom never let me, so now I want to just try it once, anyway I have only skipped one cutting, may be will do one or two more, that's it..."

OK his reasoning sounds good, but can't truly understand why he should spoil his looks over a teenage dream? I even showed him Einstein's picture to let him know how his hairstyle looks like now - seriously! He just thought I was joking...

On Sunday as we were pulling in to the Church parking lot, there was another lady with the blinkers on coming from the opposite direction. I had expected Gentleman Israel to give way for her, but he pulled in to the parking lot first. When I commented on that, he said "We had the right of way"

I had to tell him he used to be so nice and gentlemanly as long as his hair was tame, now that it is wild and out of control he is behaving like a ruffian! We had a good laugh. Jokes apart, it really puts me off.

This morning Israel was asking, "There seems to be something bothering you, what is it?" I replied, "Nothing..." He insisted, "Tell me the truth NRIGirl!" and hence this post...

Am I overreacting?

Nov 20, 2010

To Mohan

Dear Readers! Kindly excuse the illegible print. For whatever reason, the script does not come through properly in the scanned copy. Since I tried it at least twice without any improvement decided to post the second one as is... Have to find a good pen next time! You can click on the image below to open it in a new browser and then click once more to view the original size...

Nov 18, 2010

From Mohan

Nov 17, 2010

Pencil memories

Don't know what it is about sharpening the pencils that my kids don't like - they go on and on and on writing with the trace of lead that we can hardly see.

I was way different. I loved to sharpen pencils. I had to have plenty of pencils all sharpened to the finest tip. Even the slightest usage would prompt me to sharpen them again.

Mostly I would do it to make some "food" for my peacock feathers that we "grew" inside our text books. We (kids) had this crazy love for peacock feathers and believed it would grow feeding on pencil shavings... Rarely a feather would split up, taking us to new heights of joy that our treatment worked!

We also believed we can make erasers with pencil shavings - following a certain recipe with tree amber and what not! No, I never got close to collecting the "ingredients" to actually try the recipe.

Oh! I must tell you this, once I poked Papa's leg with a sharp pencil that a drop of blood seeped out. I was horror stricken! Not because Papa was hurt, but because Papa had blood! Till that point in life I was under the assumption men were made of steel and didn't have blood or wouldn't feel the pain...

Now, getting back to sharpening the pencils, I have tried different lures to get a bunch of pencils sharpened by my kids. Nothing has worked so far.

Recently I was in the school for parent teacher meeting and I saw that Joshua's pencils were all blunt. Just to surprise him I sharpened one pencil for him and kept it at his desk with a note, "Mommy loves you!" The next day he was so elated that I had sharpened his pencil and Sharon was upset I didn't do hers.

Sometimes I would gather plenty of pencils around the house and dedicate half an hour or so to sharpen them. Within minutes it will all vanish as children rush to claim them. So it is really not the sharpened pencils they dislike, it is the sharpening they do...

I am thinking of getting some peacock feathers and instilling the idea of feeding them on a regular basis with pencil shavings. May be that will do the trick...

Nov 16, 2010


We had one or two Papaya trees in our backyard which faithfully yielded lots and lots of fruits all year around. Papa loved plucking the fruits from the tree and then cutting it length wise for us to eat. I loved watching Papa plucking it and cleaning it. It is Papa's fingers I admired most more than the fruit itself. Next I loved the glossy seeds, I could easily get lost in them...

We shared Papayas with neighbors at times, but mostly we ate them all as they had their own. Papa would say the fruits have beauty vitamins in them which was enough for me to start.

Once during a summer break my Aunt cut a Papaya while I was sleeping and just when I was getting up she was wrapping the peels and seeds to throw away. Seeing the nice bundle in her hands I asked her what it was. She told me it was a special gift she got for me. I was very excited and opened the bundle expecting to see grapes and to my shame there were Papaya peels and seeds inside.

All my cousins had a hearty laugh and I cried the next hour or so. I am sure my Aunt got her share from my Grandma for doing such a prank and making me cry. I love my Grandma. Even to this day whenever I cut a Papaya the scene spreads in my memory screen...

This incident taught me a very valuable lesson - not to play prank with anyone, especially kids, at least not with food favorites... lest a decade or two later they too may blog about my little prank making me feel so very miserable all over again...

Nov 15, 2010

To Punam

Nov 14, 2010

From Punam

Please click here to check out Punam's blog: Dreamz Forever She has a dedicated one for her paintings and one for her poems/thoughts...

(Please double click on the image to view in new browser and then click once to view bigger)

From @Stranger to @YL

(Please double click on the image to view bigger)

Nov 12, 2010

To @SG

(Kindly excuse the gaudy background - a color of FALL - Please click on the image to view bigger)

Nov 10, 2010

From @YL to @Stranger

To @Stranger

(Please click on the image to view bigger)

Nov 9, 2010

From @Stranger

If you would like to take part in our "Handwritten" series please check out our brainstorming session. Thank you!

Nov 8, 2010

Lost in Translation

Over the years I have lost many friends - in translation. I believe it was to do with something I said or did or something I didn't say or do and hence the term "Lost in translation". They were once dear to me but all of a sudden disappeared without a trace or hint. It wasn't anything on my part, OR was it?

It could be that I meant to say something which came across as something else offending the very same people I was trying to please... May be I wasn't around when they were hurting or that we have different priorities altogether.

Once a dear friend emailed me a very generic message with just her first name and I had to make sure it was the right person, so I asked, "I know three Annies, which Annie are you?", never to hear back from her again. My repeated emails went in vain and I still feel bad about that. May be I should have rephrased my question somewhat differently, but not sure how...

Another long lost friend of mine reached out to me out of the blue that she was visiting Rutgers University to teach. I was overjoyed and wrote, "Wow! That's awesome Monika, I live in NJ, may be we can get together" and she disappeared once again without a word.

Joe once told me he will be my big brother always; but that was some 15 years ago - he was never part of anything in my life as a big brother would have been or even as a good friend.

Another friend had abruptly halted any and all communication with us, without any warning... To the best of my knowledge I couldn't figure out why, but I was very hurt. This past weekend we just stopped by to say hello and continued conversation from where we had left as if nothing had ever happend. It felt awesome!

One down, many to go... I am on a mission to find the friends lost in translation... Should I bother?!

Nov 6, 2010


Dear All: Hope all is well. It's like I have gone completely blank lately. I've been wanting to write something the last few days, anything - but nothing comes to my mind... Does it ever happen to you?

OK, now before I forget this, let's plan out how we want to do the "Handwritten" series. Please share any and all ideas you might have on this.

So far we have, 7 volunteers. @SG & @Doc are forced into it - which makes it 9 and including me we have 10! That's a good number - is it not?!

One idea (though very selfish) is me writing to all of you individually and posting it along with your response on my blog... This way everyone writes only one letter - to me.

Another idea is: Each of us will get an assigned # and then everyone picks one number out of ten and writes to that person in the list. The sender and receiver will both email me their scanned copies, which I can post in my blog; of course you can too. This way, you will end up writing two letters, one to your "pick" and the second as the response to the letter you receive from whoever "picks" you... (have I confused you enough?!)

I am trusting all of you smart people will come up with a fun and exciting way that can be easily implemented. Please share your thoughts... Looking forward to hear from all of you.

Yes, more volunteers are welcome. So jump on board if you have the slightest desire. It's going to be a fun ride...

The ten people are:
1. A
2. Bikramjit
3. Emily, Ruby Slipper Traveller
4. Mohan Jadhav
5. Petty Witter
6. Punam
7. Stanger
8. Doc
9. SG
10. NRIGirl

~ NRIGirl
(nrigirl at hotmail dot com)

Nov 4, 2010

Handwritten - Response

A while ago I had posted a handwritten letter in my blog which was later mailed to one of our fellow bloggers. This week I received the response which is posted below with permission, as promised. 

Now this has initiated a whole new idea in my mind. What if we write letters to one another and post the response in our blogs along with the original letters? Not sure how many of you feel upto it. Even if we have five volunteers it will be fun. If you want to remain anonymous and don't feel comfortable sharing your mailing address, we can play it by email - handwritten and scanned... Who wants to play?

(Clicking on the image below will link you to his/her blog)
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