Dec 21, 2011

It was the night before Christmas

It was the night before Christmas! All was calm and all was well. Or was, it? Not really! Most cities in Israel that night were thriving with passengers and passersby. The streets were packed with travelers and their animals; the side walks overflowing with small shops and eateries. Businesses were in full bloom. Every one was spending. All hotels and motels, and everything in between were fully booked. The scene was almost festive.

Mary and Joseph had just arrived in Bethlehem. They stopped by a few places to see if they can get a room. Most had the sign out: "House Full!", "No Room!". None. Not even one. One man was kind enough to show them his manger saying, "May be you could use this?!" Joseph looked around the place with Mary and sure it wasn't their type. The walls and floors and roof, everything was wrong, but it has to do for now. It is already too late. Mary wanted off that donkey ride. She has had enough. They had traveled far and now they needed to rest!

Joseph gets her down the donkey and helps her in to the cow shed. Sits her down on some hay and quickly sets off to clean the place. The animals were just moved out and so the place was stinking. There is nothing much he can do about it and they have to adjust for the night somehow. May be tomorrow he would set off early to knock at a few more doors to find a better place. For tonight this has to do.

Mary is in no mood to look around her boarding. She is glad the ride is over. It will be a quick night she tells herself; soon it will be day. She was not worried about the baby too. After all if what the angel had told her about this child she was carrying was true, that He was the Savior of the world, then no way she was going to deliver him tonight. Not here, not tonight, not in this dirty stingy manger. The Savior has to be born in a better surrounding in more comfort where she would have maids to attend on her and atleast some warm water and clean clothes at her disposal. So she was least worried about the rest of the night.

Elsewhere in Bethlehem the shepherds had called it a day. They were locals. They had stayed put in their father's homes in their native town which made it convenient as they didn't have to travel like most others did to register their names for the ongoing census.They had gathered their flocks from the mountain sides, plains and valleys, counted them all and were satisfied with the numbers. One of them grew a fire. It was bright and warm against the dark and cold night. Few were resting their heads while the others had a conversation going. Mostly it was about the travelers they talked.

Suddenly an angel appeared before them lighting up the night sky announcing the good news that their Savior has been born! Hosts of more angels joined him singing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Just like how they appeared out of nowhere they disappeared suddenly leaving the shepherds in awe of wonder and the sky still illuminated with the trail of their glow.

Mary had been wrong. The Savior was indeed born! That very night! In the dirty stingy manger! She had to do with some rags she could find here and there. She was in tears looking at the child - the God child - God Himself in human form - smiling back at her! She was blaming herself for not being prepared to receive Him. Joseph was speechless. He felt bad too that inspite of the angel's advance notification about the nature of this Child, how was it that He didn't make arrangements for a better place? It was God Himself in human form, the child he was holding. He couldn't believe his eyes.

If only He had been born at his home, he wouldn't have had to deal with Him first hand. Maids would have cleaned the child up, helped Mary up and he would have made sure the needs of the Mother and Child were met. Here he is all alone with the new born. What was he to do? How was he to care? Could he quickly set out to buy something for Mary? Could she manage while he was gone? Is the Child too cold in the rags? Is the hay too prickly for His back? Is Mary okay? So many thoughts rush through his mind and he is not sure what to do and in which order.

If only he had some company... Sooner than he finished his thoughts loads of shepherds show up at the stall, to salute the King Child. They have brought with them milk, honey and curd and other eatables. They are helping around the place. They know what is best to keep warm for the night. Someone grows a fire. Someone shares his extra blanket with Joseph. Someone warms up some water and roasts some grains for Mary. The Child is lovely. He is their Savior! Sure He is!

This very Child who later gave up His life to redeem the lost world, more importantly me... My Savior whose flesh was torn, whose body was pierced, whose hands were nailed down, whose words were ridiculed, who was mocked at, yelled at, spit at, who was abandoned by all, to the point of death! However, He endured it all and conqured them all! All for me!
Merry Christmas everyone! The Savior is born!

Dec 17, 2011

Please welcome Kate!

An Anonymous reader wrote (on this post):

"Hello my beautiful world!
Hello everyone on this place!
I am Kate."

I was touched by the simplicity and openness these words express!

Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Kate. Hope in the coming days we will get to know a little bit more about Kate. For all we know she may never return but in case she does, let this be a huge welcome for her!

On another note, yes, I got that job; no, I have not decided - at least not yet!

On yet another note, we are traveling to India for Christmas! Actually Christmas for us will begin in London airport and rest in the Emirates Flight and some in Dubai. Not our kind of Christmas but still we are looking forward to it.

In case I don't get to post again before we leave, wishing you all a very blessed time of the year and of course a greater, funner, more prosperous brand new New Year 2012!

Now, please; please freeze that smile! It looks so good on you!

Dec 14, 2011

This is NRIGirl reporting from New York Penn Station!

Here I am in New York wishing I could capture all the scenes around me for you all. Looking around NY Penn Station I notice that almost every one of them is connected - either to their blackberries or iPhone or ipods or plain old newspapers or books or magazines - something!

Since my train is arriving only at 2:35 PM and the time now is 1:59 PM I decided to people watch. Let me first set the stage: The ceiling is fairly tall with huge beams for support. To my left is entrance to tracks 5 & 6 and to my right to 7 & 8. Suspended LED monitors announce train schedules. It is interesting that only when the train pulls into the station you would know which track it is on. As far as I can see there are 21 tracks!

Imagine the rush when they announce which track your train is on. Waves of people would rush to the track without any pushing or pulling. You are always at an elbow's distance from your next person from all sides. OK, elbow's length may be a little exaggeration, I would say touchable distance but not touching.

Now that I have given you a rough overview, let us get back to people watching. People of all sizes and colors and races and styles yet one common thread that connects them all, which is that they are all hard working. Sure you can tell that just from looking at them. No idling or loitering which we might see in a typical city station in India. The voices are kept to a minimum except for the occasional loud speaker announcements to keep watch of our surroundings and report any suspicious activities around.

I see a gentleman with his wife both with golden hair and red coats and gold rimmed glasses. I recall our Carl & Ellie though these look much taller. Opposite to me I see a man resembling Charlie Sheen with a bigger attitude of exasperated animations and hand gestures over his phone conversation. I smile at that as the person on the other end is missing out on the rest of the conversation that is going on.

I see a little girl - probably around 7 years of age - with her parents, or are they grand parents, crying for something in suppressed voices and her guardians bending down to her level and explaining things to her.

Lots of red I see. Coats, sweaters, shawls, scarfs, pullovers, a whole lot of red things. The reason of course is the season. We Americans love to wear colors coordinated around the season. In the fall you will see a lot of different shades of brown and orange and in the winter leading up to Christmas a lot of red and after Christmas navy and green and purple and camel and the like. In Spring of course pastel shades and in the summer barely anything - mostly shorts and tanks with flip flops and pedicured toes.

The beautiful girl (African American) sitting next to me just puts away her navy blue Bible she was reading for quite sometime. I try to recall what I read this morning. My mind skips to connect and then it dawns that it was Song of Songs Chapter 7.

There are a couple of sweepers dressed in crisp uniforms with keen interest on keeping the area clean. Few are lined up in the 'How can we help you?' booth. Someone just opened his water bottle and emptied all it's content - wow he sure was thirsty! Couple of uniformed police officers are on rounds constantly talking in their walkie talkies.

Loads of other people around but none quite interesting as the few I have mentioned here. These 'uninteresting people' I notice are wearing black and connected to an electronic device. Does it say something? May be; but let's move on. The time is 2:16 pm and my train is the next in row only next to the 2:31 train bound to Jersey Ave, North East Corridor.

I haven't been feeling well since morning. Woke up with a sore throat but forced myself to come in. Now I have a mild headache and feel a little feverish too. I am sorry I forgot to tell you why I am here in the first place. I came in for an interview. Traveling to NYC is not something I look forward to on a daily basis but my friends tell me I will sure enjoy the ride if I wind up in NYC. Let's see.

The round trip ticket was $28, the cab was $15 and now the rice bowl from the Mexican place I picked up for lunch was $10.42. Sharon has been asking for chocolate cup cakes and bought some from Bread and Basket which was $17 so you can do the Math as to the cost of my visit. I don't mind spending as long as it is something we enjoy. But to be honest the rice bowl was yucky and the cakes I can only hope it won't go wasted.

Oops! I just looked up at the screen and my train has come on Track 2! I get up and rush with the wave that is moving towards Track 2 entrance. I have made it on time to settle down nice and square in a three seater. I force myself to eat my lunch, couple of scoops later I call it quits. If you can do me a favor please remind me never to pick up rice bowl from a Mexican place next time around. Please...

The train driver just announced the route of the train and lists a whole lot of stations where it will stop - which only means I am in for a longer ride than I'd hoped for and that only means I am going to write more.

I am writing on the reverse side of my resume and notice that it is already three pages long. How am I going to type it all in - worries my mind. We'll see. Yesterday I was helping Sharon typing her History fair project on Adolf Hitler. Why of all the people did she pick him?? It was quite informative though the typing was a little tedious.

It is exactly 2:35 PM and the train is pulling off the station. I too decide to wind down here to rest my eyes. However, few things make it impossible to do that. First thing, this morning I yelled at Sharon for getting late and she didn't answer me back, which was strange for Sharon. This bothers me. Next, as I was walking to the train station there was this lady preaching the Gospel at the street corners, giving out tracts.

Only after I passed a few blocks I got the urge to go and give her something. But I didn't feel like walking all the way back and so continued to walk towards the station. This bothers me. Next I am thinking of the interview and see how I could have given better answers for a few questions. This bothers me. But then that doesn't mean I can go on writing taking advantage of your listening ears. So, I put the papers away and close down the pen...

Thanks to cousin Jacinth for the picture, which was taken last Friday when I was in the City for the first round of interview.

Dec 12, 2011

Carl & Ellie

Dec 8, 2011

We'll begin with a box...

This is hilarious, received in an email from my good friend KP. Enjoyed it and so wanted to share... Couldn't quite figure out the author, however JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 27 Year 1896 has it listed as by The Commonwealth. Whoever wrote it, he/she is worth our applause for compiling it.

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing,
Grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
And in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And in closing..........

If Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop.???

Dec 7, 2011

Can you find me?

Dec 6, 2011

Forget me not

Was it yesterday? Or the day before? Or the day before that? Doesn't really matter. What matters is that my memory is failing. Now, don't get alarmed; not to that extent to have you all worried. But it still concerns me.

Yesterday I was at Joshua's Basketball practice an hour early - all because I had forgotten his team name. Okay, one can argue having three kids in different age group with repeated team names could confuse anybody, but still...

Why no spoon in the lunch bag? Because Mommy forgot! The Thank you letter due to Mrs. Glass for the handy little pool she gave us this past summer, still pending... Where did I scribble down Delightson's new phone number? Who knows! Is Chithapa's birthday on Dec 10th or was it October 10th or could it be April 10th? My mind goes all blank...

These days I am not into any specific details when it comes to any specific things. Ask me what we paid for the new appliances we just bought last week, I wouldn't know the answer. Did Sharon get a B or was it a B+ in History? Don't know. Breakdown of my investment portfolio? Don't know, but who cares? Where did I keep my white dial watch? Don't know! What was the other thing I wanted to add here? Oh! No!

Having doctors and educators and home makers and engineers among my blog world friends thought I would run it by you first before taking it to Israel. He would dismiss it as lack of sleep or something similar and would blame it all on me, unlike you folks; you are very kind. No, I won't take 'aging' for an answer because I know I am NOT! Nice try though...

Dec 4, 2011

The "I" factor

"I" was probably one alphabet we couldn't relate to in our kindergarten class as it often stood for Ice or Igloo or Ink in our times which was all foreign at that age; Ice cream or even India would have been a better choice but not sure why it wasn't widely popular in our early education curriculum.

Interesting how the alphabet "I" took a whole new meaning following i-mac! There is a wide range of market these days for "I" ranging from i-mac, i-pod, i-phone, i-pad, i-touch, i-home, i-bone all the way to i-dog and beyond! I rather not talk much about these but move on...

Here in the US we identify highways with an 'I' in the front such as I-78, I-287 where 'I' stands for Interstate - a highway that connects two or more states. There is a general rule of thumb that the odd number interstates normally run North to South while the even numbers run East to West. Of course there are exceptions to this rule.

In Math too whenever you do a loop you count it from i=0 to 'n' where i stands for the iteration count and 'n' is the total number of iterations; if there are two or more loops you would use 'j' or 'k' reluctantly for the second or further loop; but note the first loop is almost always controlled by 'i'.

Of course you can't deny the importance of "I" in a wedding ceremony. After all, "I do" is what commits a man and woman to their wedding vows thus pronouncing them husband and wife.

Then there is the plain and simple I that stands for none other than the first person singular. This is the I causing much commotion everywhere we turn. All the fuss to keep this I happy and contented and yet one can only hope the magic would work. This I can be defined as a touch-me-not as it can easily be offended and would always defend itself.

Looking at the "I" up close I find it funny how I truly enjoy myself; laughing out loud over some of my own jokes, amusing over some of my own conversations, patting my back over some of my own writings and even loving the way the hair looks when I first roll off the bed! It is like the "I" is the second person the "Me" admires and applauds. Is this pride? I guess not; as the other symptoms include a lighter heart as opposed to a heavier head.

But then there are times this I is in total conflict with the Me like right now and goes ahead and hits the 'Publish' button even when Me thinks it is not worth it... A close up shot now would reveal the "I" grinning from ear to ear while the "Me" is all embarassed with the rosiest cheeks ever; poor thing!

Dec 3, 2011

As promised

Here's presenting our tree! As promised...

Dec 1, 2011

Happy December!

Merry Christmas everyone! Okay, okay it is not Christmas yet; but feels like it already! Everywhere we turn there are lights and trees and bells and wreaths and what not! Our tree is up too; the lights are all on! (I promise to take a picture tonight to share with you!)

The weather is surprisingly beautiful - with plenty of sunshine and temps still in two digits. No one complains about it as everyone needs some day light to put on the lights and stuff. But then if it doesn't start snowing few days before Christmas some faces will be gloomy as everyone - including me - loves a white Christmas. Let's see, how this turns out...

Our town (Jefferson, NJ) spreads more Christmas cheer by sponsoring various activities such as Gingerbread house contest and Christmas in the village. Then there is live nativity at the church and Israel has volunteered to be a shepherd. It is nice to see the community coming together to share in the joy.

Children are a little nervous as they don't see any gifts under the tree. The problem is in the last couple of months anything they asked for and we said wait till Christmas, they would respond, "we want it now and we will not ask for it later". Okay we got it for them. And here we are at Christmas and they are still hoping for something. So the bare tree doesn't seem to induce any cheer in them. What to do? Quick solution is to get something of course but...

In a way it is okay not to give and receive gifts for Christmas as it puts too much pressure on the giver and a whole lot of disappointment at the receiving end. However we try to justify it, giving always brings us joy! Double portion - is it not?!

Gifts or no gifts Christmas is Christmas! Merry Christmas y'all!

Ho Ho Ho!
~ NRIGirl

Nov 30, 2011

Eve's Diary by Mark Twain

Mark Twain (1835-1910) is my most favorite author and I truly enjoy his writing style. Today, Nov 30th 2011 marks his 176th birthday and here's one of his work that I truly cherish - Eve's diary!

I agree it is quite lengthy but then it is quite something too! I especially loved the part where Eve meets "it" for the first time and their first few encounters are hilarious! Eve's reasoning as to why she loves him is quite interesting and her prayer towards the end is very touching. We also get a glimpse of Adam's diary which gives an idea of what he thinks of Eve.

 It's Eve's diary after all and you don't want to miss! If you have some time I invite you to read the rest...

Eve's Diary by Mark Twain

Translated from the Original

SATURDAY.--I am almost a whole day old, now. I arrived yesterday. That is as it seems to me. And it must be so, for if there was a day-before-yesterday I was not there when it happened, or I should remember it. It could be, of course, that it did happen, and that I was not noticing. Very well; I will be very watchful now, and if any day-before-yesterdays happen I will make a note of it. It will be best to start right and not let the record get confused, for some instinct tells me that these details are going to be important to the historian some day. For I feel like an experiment, I feel exactly like an experiment; it would be impossible for a person to feel more like an experiment than I do, and so I am coming to feel convinced that that is what I AM--an experiment; just an experiment, and nothing more.

Then if I am an experiment, am I the whole of it? No, I think not; I think the rest of it is part of it. I am the main part of it, but I think the rest of it has its share in the matter. Is my position assured, or do I have to watch it and take care of it? The latter, perhaps. Some instinct tells me that eternal vigilance is the price of supremacy. [That is a good phrase, I think, for one so young.]

Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition, and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants that the aspects were quite distressing. Noble and beautiful works of art should not be subjected to haste; and this majestic new world is indeed a most noble and beautiful work. And certainly marvelously near to being perfect, notwithstanding the shortness of the time. There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others, but that can be remedied presently, no doubt. The moon got loose last night, and slid down and fell out of the scheme --a very great loss; it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn't another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better. If we can only get it back again-- But of course there is no telling where it went to. And besides, whoever gets it will hide it; I know it because I would do it myself. I believe I can be honest in all other matters, but I already begin to realize that the core and center of my nature is love of the beautiful, a passion for the beautiful, and that it would not be safe to trust me with a moon that belonged to another person and that person didn't know I had it. I could give up a moon that I found in the daytime, because I should be afraid some one was looking; but if I found it in the dark, I am sure I should find some kind of an excuse for not saying anything about it. For I do love moons, they are so pretty and so romantic. I wish we had five or six; I would never go to bed; I should never get tired lying on the moss-bank and looking up at them.

Stars are good, too. I wish I could get some to put in my hair. But I suppose I never can. You would be surprised to find how far off they are, for they do not look it. When they first showed, last night, I tried to knock some down with a pole, but it didn't reach, which astonished me; then I tried clods till I was all tired out, but I never got one. It was because I am left-handed and cannot throw good. Even when I aimed at the one I wasn't after I couldn't hit the other one, though I did make some close shots, for I saw the black blot of the clod sail right into the midst of the golden clusters forty or fifty times, just barely missing them, and if I could have held out a little longer maybe I could have got one.

So I cried a little, which was natural, I suppose, for one of my age, and after I was rested I got a basket and started for a place on the extreme rim of the circle, where the stars were close to the ground and I could get them with my hands, which would be better, anyway, because I could gather them tenderly then, and not break them. But it was farther than I thought, and at last I had to give it up; I was so tired I couldn't drag my feet another step; and besides, they were sore and hurt me very much.

I couldn't get back home; it was too far and turning cold; but I found some tigers and nestled in among them and was most adorably comfortable, and their breath was sweet and pleasant, because they live on strawberries. I had never seen a tiger before, but I knew them in a minute by the stripes. If I could have one of those skins, it would make a lovely gown.

Today I am getting better ideas about distances. I was so eager to get hold of every pretty thing that I giddily grabbed for it, sometimes when it was too far off, and sometimes when it was but six inches away but seemed a foot--alas, with thorns between! I learned a lesson; also I made an axiom, all out of my own head --my very first one; THE SCRATCHED EXPERIMENT SHUNS THE THORN. I think it is a very good one for one so young.

I followed the other Experiment around, yesterday afternoon, at a distance, to see what it might be for, if I could. But I was not able to make out. I think it is a man. I had never seen a man, but it looked like one, and I feel sure that that is what it is. I realize that I feel more curiosity about it than about any of the other reptiles. If it is a reptile, and I suppose it is; for it has frowzy hair and blue eyes, and looks like a reptile. It has no hips; it tapers like a carrot; when it stands, it spreads itself apart like a derrick; so I think it is a reptile, though it may be architecture.

I was afraid of it at first, and started to run every time it turned around, for I thought it was going to chase me; but by and by I found it was only trying to get away, so after that I was not timid any more, but tracked it along, several hours, about twenty yards behind, which made it nervous and unhappy. At last it was a good deal worried, and climbed a tree. I waited a good while, then gave it up and went home.

Today the same thing over. I've got it up the tree again.

SUNDAY.--It is up there yet. Resting, apparently. But that is a subterfuge: Sunday isn't the day of rest; Saturday is appointed for that. It looks to me like a creature that is more interested in resting than in anything else. It would tire me to rest so much. It tires me just to sit around and watch the tree. I do wonder what it is for; I never see it do anything.

They returned the moon last night, and I was SO happy! I think it is very honest of them. It slid down and fell off again, but I was not distressed; there is no need to worry when one has that kind of neighbors; they will fetch it back. I wish I could do something to show my appreciation. I would like to send them some stars, for we have more than we can use. I mean I, not we, for I can see that the reptile cares nothing for such things.

It has low tastes, and is not kind. When I went there yesterday evening in the gloaming it had crept down and was trying to catch the little speckled fishes that play in the pool, and I had to clod it to make it go up the tree again and let them alone. I wonder if THAT is what it is for? Hasn't it any heart? Hasn't it any compassion for those little creature? Can it be that it was designed and manufactured for such ungentle work? It has the look of it. One of the clods took it back of the ear, and it used language. It gave me a thrill, for it was the first time I had ever heard speech, except my own. I did not understand the words, but they seemed expressive.

When I found it could talk I felt a new interest in it, for I love to talk; I talk, all day, and in my sleep, too, and I am very interesting, but if I had another to talk to I could be twice as interesting, and would never stop, if desired.

If this reptile is a man, it isn't an IT, is it? That wouldn't be grammatical, would it? I think it would be HE. I think so. In that case one would parse it thus: nominative, HE; dative, HIM; possessive, HIS'N. Well, I will consider it a man and call it he until it turns out to be something else. This will be handier than having so many uncertainties.

NEXT WEEK SUNDAY.--All the week I tagged around after him and tried to get acquainted. I had to do the talking, because he was shy, but I didn't mind it. He seemed pleased to have me around, and I used the sociable "we" a good deal, because it seemed to flatter him to be included.

WEDNESDAY.--We are getting along very well indeed, now, and getting better and better acquainted. He does not try to avoid me any more, which is a good sign, and shows that he likes to have me with him. That pleases me, and I study to be useful to him in every way I can, so as to increase his regard. During the last day or two I have taken all the work of naming things off his hands, and this has been a great relief to him, for he has no gift in that line, and is evidently very grateful. He can't think of a rational name to save him, but I do not let him see that I am aware of his defect. Whenever a new creature comes along I name it before he has time to expose himself by an awkward silence. In this way I have saved him many embarrassments. I have no defect like this. The minute I set eyes on an animal I know what it is. I don't have to reflect a moment; the right name comes out instantly, just as if it were an inspiration, as no doubt it is, for I am sure it wasn't in me half a minute before. I seem to know just by the shape of the creature and the way it acts what animal it is.

When the dodo came along he thought it was a wildcat--I saw it in his eye. But I saved him. And I was careful not to do it in a way that could hurt his pride. I just spoke up in a quite natural way of pleasing surprise, and not as if I was dreaming of conveying information, and said, "Well, I do declare, if there isn't the dodo!" I explained--without seeming to be explaining --how I know it for a dodo, and although I thought maybe he was a little piqued that I knew the creature when he didn't, it was quite evident that he admired me. That was very agreeable, and I thought of it more than once with gratification before I slept. How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it!

THURSDAY.--my first sorrow. Yesterday he avoided me and seemed to wish I would not talk to him. I could not believe it, and thought there was some mistake, for I loved to be with him, and loved to hear him talk, and so how could it be that he could feel unkind toward me when I had not done anything? But at last it seemed true, so I went away and sat lonely in the place where I first saw him the morning that we were made and I did not know what he was and was indifferent about him; but now it was a mournful place, and every little thing spoke of him, and my heart was very sore. I did not know why very clearly, for it was a new feeling; I had not experienced it before, and it was all a mystery, and I could not make it out.

But when night came I could not bear the lonesomeness, and went to the new shelter which he had built, to ask him what I had done that was wrong and how I could mend it and get back his kindness again; but he put me out in the rain, and it was my first sorrow.

SUNDAY.--It is pleasant again, now, and I am happy; but those were heavy days; I do not think of them when I can help it.

I tried to get him some of those apples, but I cannot learn to throw straight. I failed, but I think the good intention pleased him. They are forbidden, and he says I shall come to harm; but so I come to harm through pleasing him, why shall I care for that harm?

MONDAY.--This morning I told him my name, hoping it would interest him. But he did not care for it. It is strange. If he should tell me his name, I would care. I think it would be pleasanter in my ears than any other sound.

He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright, and is sensitive about it and wishes to conceal it. It is such a pity that he should feel so, for brightness is nothing; it is in the heart that the values lie. I wish I could make him understand that a loving good heart is riches, and riches enough, and that without it intellect is poverty.

Although he talks so little, he has quite a considerable vocabulary. This morning he used a surprisingly good word. He evidently recognized, himself, that it was a good one, for he worked in it twice afterward, casually. It was good casual art, still it showed that he possesses a certain quality of perception. Without a doubt that seed can be made to grow, if cultivated.

Where did he get that word? I do not think I have ever used it.

No, he took no interest in my name. I tried to hide my disappointment, but I suppose I did not succeed. I went away and sat on the moss-bank with my feet in the water. It is where I go when I hunger for companionship, some one to look at, some one to talk to. It is not enough--that lovely white body painted there in the pool --but it is something, and something is better than utter loneliness. It talks when I talk; it is sad when I am sad; it comforts me with its sympathy; it says, "Do not be downhearted, you poor friendless girl; I will be your friend." It IS a good friend to me, and my only one; it is my sister.

That first time that she forsook me! ah, I shall never forget that --never, never. My heart was lead in my body! I said, "She was all I had, and now she is gone!" In my despair I said, "Break, my heart; I cannot bear my life any more!" and hid my face in my hands, and there was no solace for me. And when I took them away, after a little, there she was again, white and shining and beautiful, and I sprang into her arms!

That was perfect happiness; I had known happiness before, but it was not like this, which was ecstasy. I never doubted her afterward. Sometimes she stayed away--maybe an hour, maybe almost the whole day, but I waited and did not doubt; I said, "She is busy, or she is gone on a journey, but she will come." And it was so: she always did. At night she would not come if it was dark, for she was a timid little thing; but if there was a moon she would come. I am not afraid of the dark, but she is younger than I am; she was born after I was. Many and many are the visits I have paid her; she is my comfort and my refuge when my life is hard--and it is mainly that.

TUESDAY.--All the morning I was at work improving the estate; and I purposely kept away from him in the hope that he would get lonely and come. But he did not.

At noon I stopped for the day and took my recreation by flitting all about with the bees and the butterflies and reveling in the flowers, those beautiful creatures that catch the smile of God out of the sky and preserve it! I gathered them, and made them into wreaths and garlands and clothed myself in them while I ate my luncheon --apples, of course; then I sat in the shade and wished and waited. But he did not come.

But no matter. Nothing would have come of it, for he does not care for flowers. He called them rubbish, and cannot tell one from another, and thinks it is superior to feel like that. He does not care for me, he does not care for flowers, he does not care for the painted sky at eventide--is there anything he does care for, except building shacks to coop himself up in from the good clean rain, and thumping the melons, and sampling the grapes, and fingering the fruit on the trees, to see how those properties are coming along?

I laid a dry stick on the ground and tried to bore a hole in it with another one, in order to carry out a scheme that I had, and soon I got an awful fright. A thin, transparent bluish film rose out of the hole, and I dropped everything and ran! I thought it was a spirit, and I WAS so frightened! But I looked back, and it was not coming; so I leaned against a rock and rested and panted, and let my limps go on trembling until they got steady again; then I crept warily back, alert, watching, and ready to fly if there was occasion; and when I was come near, I parted the branches of a rose-bush and peeped through--wishing the man was about, I was looking so cunning and pretty--but the sprite was gone. I went there, and there was a pinch of delicate pink dust in the hole. I put my finger in, to feel it, and said OUCH! and took it out again. It was a cruel pain. I put my finger in my mouth; and by standing first on one foot and then the other, and grunting, I presently eased my misery; then I was full of interest, and began to examine.

I was curious to know what the pink dust was. Suddenly the name of it occurred to me, though I had never heard of it before. It was FIRE! I was as certain of it as a person could be of anything in the world. So without hesitation I named it that--fire.

I had created something that didn't exist before; I had added a new thing to the world's uncountable properties; I realized this, and was proud of my achievement, and was going to run and find him and tell him about it, thinking to raise myself in his esteem --but I reflected, and did not do it. No--he would not care for it. He would ask what it was good for, and what could I answer? for if it was not GOOD for something, but only beautiful, merely beautiful-- So I sighed, and did not go. For it wasn't good for anything; it could not build a shack, it could not improve melons, it could not hurry a fruit crop; it was useless, it was a foolishness and a vanity; he would despise it and say cutting words. But to me it was not despicable; I said, "Oh, you fire, I love you, you dainty pink creature, for you are BEAUTIFUL--and that is enough!" and was going to gather it to my breast. But refrained. Then I made another maxim out of my head, though it was so nearly like the first one that I was afraid it was only a plagiarism: "THE BURNT EXPERIMENT SHUNS THE FIRE."

I wrought again; and when I had made a good deal of fire-dust I emptied it into a handful of dry brown grass, intending to carry it home and keep it always and play with it; but the wind struck it and it sprayed up and spat out at me fiercely, and I dropped it and ran. When I looked back the blue spirit was towering up and stretching and rolling away like a cloud, and instantly I thought of the name of it--SMOKE!--though, upon my word, I had never heard of smoke before.

Soon brilliant yellow and red flares shot up through the smoke, and I named them in an instant--FLAMES--and I was right, too, though these were the very first flames that had ever been in the world. They climbed the trees, then flashed splendidly in and out of the vast and increasing volume of tumbling smoke, and I had to clap my hands and laugh and dance in my rapture, it was so new and strange and so wonderful and so beautiful!

He came running, and stopped and gazed, and said not a word for many minutes. Then he asked what it was. Ah, it was too bad that he should ask such a direct question. I had to answer it, of course, and I did. I said it was fire. If it annoyed him that I should know and he must ask; that was not my fault; I had no desire to annoy him. After a pause he asked:

"How did it come?"

Another direct question, and it also had to have a direct answer.

"I made it."

The fire was traveling farther and farther off. He went to the edge of the burned place and stood looking down, and said:

"What are these?"


He picked up one to examine it, but changed his mind and put it down again. Then he went away. NOTHING interests him.

But I was interested. There were ashes, gray and soft and delicate and pretty--I knew what they were at once. And the embers; I knew the embers, too. I found my apples, and raked them out, and was glad; for I am very young and my appetite is active. But I was disappointed; they were all burst open and spoiled. Spoiled apparently; but it was not so; they were better than raw ones. Fire is beautiful; some day it will be useful, I think.

FRIDAY.--I saw him again, for a moment, last Monday at nightfall, but only for a moment. I was hoping he would praise me for trying to improve the estate, for I had meant well and had worked hard. But he was not pleased, and turned away and left me. He was also displeased on another account: I tried once more to persuade him to stop going over the Falls. That was because the fire had revealed to me a new passion--quite new, and distinctly different from love, grief, and those others which I had already discovered--FEAR. And it is horrible!--I wish I had never discovered it; it gives me dark moments, it spoils my happiness, it makes me shiver and tremble and shudder. But I could not persuade him, for he has not discovered fear yet, and so he could not understand me.

Extract from Adam's Diary

Perhaps I ought to remember that she is very young, a mere girl and make allowances. She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can't speak for delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it and smell it and talk to it, and pour out endearing names upon it. And she is color-mad: brown rocks, yellow sand, gray moss, green foliage, blue sky; the pearl of the dawn, the purple shadows on the mountains, the golden islands floating in crimson seas at sunset, the pallid moon sailing through the shredded cloud-rack, the star-jewels glittering in the wastes of space--none of them is of any practical value, so far as I can see, but because they have color and majesty, that is enough for her, and she loses her mind over them. If she could quiet down and keep still a couple minutes at a time, it would be a reposeful spectacle. In that case I think I could enjoy looking at her; indeed I am sure I could, for I am coming to realize that she is a quite remarkably comely creature --lithe, slender, trim, rounded, shapely, nimble, graceful; and once when she was standing marble-white and sun-drenched on a boulder, with her young head tilted back and her hand shading her eyes, watching the flight of a bird in the sky, I recognized that she was beautiful.

MONDAY NOON.--If there is anything on the planet that she is not interested in it is not in my list. There are animals that I am indifferent to, but it is not so with her. She has no discrimination, she takes to all of them, she thinks they are all treasures, every new one is welcome.

When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity; that is a good sample of the lack of harmony that prevails in our views of things. She wanted to domesticate it, I wanted to make it a present of the homestead and move out. She believed it could be tamed by kind treatment and would be a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet high and eighty-four feet long would be no proper thing to have about the place, because, even with the best intentions and without meaning any harm, it could sit down on the house and mash it, for any one could see by the look of its eye that it was absent-minded.

Still, her heart was set upon having that monster, and she couldn't give it up. She thought we could start a dairy with it, and wanted me to help milk it; but I wouldn't; it was too risky. The sex wasn't right, and we hadn't any ladder anyway. Then she wanted to ride it, and look at the scenery. Thirty or forty feet of its tail was lying on the ground, like a fallen tree, and she thought she could climb it, but she was mistaken; when she got to the steep place it was too slick and down she came, and would have hurt herself but for me.

Was she satisfied now? No. Nothing ever satisfies her but demonstration; untested theories are not in her line, and she won't have them. It is the right spirit, I concede it; it attracts me; I feel the influence of it; if I were with her more I think I should take it up myself. Well, she had one theory remaining about this colossus: she thought that if we could tame it and make him friendly we could stand in the river and use him for a bridge. It turned out that he was already plenty tame enough--at least as far as she was concerned --so she tried her theory, but it failed: every time she got him properly placed in the river and went ashore to cross over him, he came out and followed her around like a pet mountain. Like the other animals. They all do that.

FRIDAY.--Tuesday--Wednesday--Thursday--and today: all without seeing him. It is a long time to be alone; still, it is better to be alone than unwelcome.

I HAD to have company--I was made for it, I think--so I made friends with the animals. They are just charming, and they have the kindest disposition and the politest ways; they never look sour, they never let you feel that you are intruding, they smile at you and wag their tail, if they've got one, and they are always ready for a romp or an excursion or anything you want to propose. I think they are perfect gentlemen. All these days we have had such good times, and it hasn't been lonesome for me, ever. Lonesome! No, I should say not. Why, there's always a swarm of them around --sometimes as much as four or five acres--you can't count them; and when you stand on a rock in the midst and look out over the furry expanse it is so mottled and splashed and gay with color and frisking sheen and sun-flash, and so rippled with stripes, that you might think it was a lake, only you know it isn't; and there's storms of sociable birds, and hurricanes of whirring wings; and when the sun strikes all that feathery commotion, you have a blazing up of all the colors you can think of, enough to put your eyes out.

We have made long excursions, and I have seen a great deal of the world; almost all of it, I think; and so I am the first traveler, and the only one. When we are on the march, it is an imposing sight --there's nothing like it anywhere. For comfort I ride a tiger or a leopard, because it is soft and has a round back that fits me, and because they are such pretty animals; but for long distance or for scenery I ride the elephant. He hoists me up with his trunk, but I can get off myself; when we are ready to camp, he sits and I slide down the back way.

The birds and animals are all friendly to each other, and there are no disputes about anything. They all talk, and they all talk to me, but it must be a foreign language, for I cannot make out a word they say; yet they often understand me when I talk back, particularly the dog and the elephant. It makes me ashamed. It shows that they are brighter than I am, for I want to be the principal Experiment myself--and I intend to be, too.

I have learned a number of things, and am educated, now, but I wasn't at first. I was ignorant at first. At first it used to vex me because, with all my watching, I was never smart enough to be around when the water was running uphill; but now I do not mind it. I have experimented and experimented until now I know it never does run uphill, except in the dark. I know it does in the dark, because the pool never goes dry, which it would, of course, if the water didn't come back in the night. It is best to prove things by actual experiment; then you KNOW; whereas if you depend on guessing and supposing and conjecturing, you never get educated.

Some things you CAN'T find out; but you will never know you can't by guessing and supposing: no, you have to be patient and go on experimenting until you find out that you can't find out. And it is delightful to have it that way, it makes the world so interesting. If there wasn't anything to find out, it would be dull. Even trying to find out and not finding out is just as interesting as trying to find out and finding out, and I don't know but more so. The secret of the water was a treasure until I GOT it; then the excitement all went away, and I recognized a sense of loss.

By experiment I know that wood swims, and dry leaves, and feathers, and plenty of other things; therefore by all that cumulative evidence you know that a rock will swim; but you have to put up with simply knowing it, for there isn't any way to prove it--up to now. But I shall find a way--then THAT excitement will go. Such things make me sad; because by and by when I have found out everything there won't be any more excitements, and I do love excitements so! The other night I couldn't sleep for thinking about it.

At first I couldn't make out what I was made for, but now I think it was to search out the secrets of this wonderful world and be happy and thank the Giver of it all for devising it. I think there are many things to learn yet--I hope so; and by economizing and not hurrying too fast I think they will last weeks and weeks. I hope so. When you cast up a feather it sails away on the air and goes out of sight; then you throw up a clod and it doesn't. It comes down, every time. I have tried it and tried it, and it is always so. I wonder why it is? Of course it DOESN'T come down, but why should it SEEM to? I suppose it is an optical illusion. I mean, one of them is. I don't know which one. It may be the feather, it may be the clod; I can't prove which it is, I can only demonstrate that one or the other is a fake, and let a person take his choice.

By watching, I know that the stars are not going to last. I have seen some of the best ones melt and run down the sky. Since one can melt, they can all melt; since they can all melt, they can all melt the same night. That sorrow will come--I know it. I mean to sit up every night and look at them as long as I can keep awake; and I will impress those sparkling fields on my memory, so that by and by when they are taken away I can by my fancy restore those lovely myriads to the black sky and make them sparkle again, and double them by the blur of my tears.

After the Fall

When I look back, the Garden is a dream to me. It was beautiful, surpassingly beautiful, enchantingly beautiful; and now it is lost, and I shall not see it any more.

The Garden is lost, but I have found HIM, and am content. He loves me as well as he can; I love him with all the strength of my passionate nature, and this, I think, is proper to my youth and sex. If I ask myself why I love him, I find I do not know, and do not really much care to know; so I suppose that this kind of love is not a product of reasoning and statistics, like one's love for other reptiles and animals. I think that this must be so. I love certain birds because of their song; but I do not love Adam on account of his singing--no, it is not that; the more he sings the more I do not get reconciled to it. Yet I ask him to sing, because I wish to learn to like everything he is interested in. I am sure I can learn, because at first I could not stand it, but now I can. It sours the milk, but it doesn't matter; I can get used to that kind of milk.

It is not on account of his brightness that I love him--no, it is not that. He is not to blame for his brightness, such as it is, for he did not make it himself; he is as God make him, and that is sufficient. There was a wise purpose in it, THAT I know. In time it will develop, though I think it will not be sudden; and besides, there is no hurry; he is well enough just as he is.

It is not on account of his gracious and considerate ways and his delicacy that I love him. No, he has lacks in this regard, but he is well enough just so, and is improving.

It is not on account of his industry that I love him--no, it is not that. I think he has it in him, and I do not know why he conceals it from me. It is my only pain. Otherwise he is frank and open with me, now. I am sure he keeps nothing from me but this. It grieves me that he should have a secret from me, and sometimes it spoils my sleep, thinking of it, but I will put it out of my mind; it shall not trouble my happiness, which is otherwise full to overflowing.

It is not on account of his education that I love him--no, it is not that. He is self-educated, and does really know a multitude of things, but they are not so.

It is not on account of his chivalry that I love him--no, it is not that. He told on me, but I do not blame him; it is a peculiarity of sex, I think, and he did not make his sex. Of course I would not have told on him, I would have perished first; but that is a peculiarity of sex, too, and I do not take credit for it, for I did not make my sex.

Then why is it that I love him? MERELY BECAUSE HE IS MASCULINE, I think.

At bottom he is good, and I love him for that, but I could love him without it. If he should beat me and abuse me, I should go on loving him. I know it. It is a matter of sex, I think.

He is strong and handsome, and I love him for that, and I admire him and am proud of him, but I could love him without those qualities. If he were plain, I should love him; if he were a wreck, I should love him; and I would work for him, and slave over him, and pray for him, and watch by his bedside until I died.

Yes, I think I love him merely because he is MINE and is MASCULINE. There is no other reason, I suppose. And so I think it is as I first said: that this kind of love is not a product of reasonings and statistics. It just COMES--none knows whence--and cannot explain itself. And doesn't need to.

It is what I think. But I am only a girl, the first that has examined this matter, and it may turn out that in my ignorance and inexperience I have not got it right.

Forty Years Later

It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together--a longing which shall never perish from the earth, but shall have place in the heart of every wife that loves, until the end of time; and it shall be called by my name.

But if one of us must go first, it is my prayer that it shall be I; for he is strong, I am weak, I am not so necessary to him as he is to me--life without him would not be life; now could I endure it? This prayer is also immortal, and will not cease from being offered up while my race continues. I am the first wife; and in the last wife I shall be repeated.

At Eve's Grave

ADAM: Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden.

Nov 23, 2011


I am happy, very happy, for a couple of reasons! To begin with it's Thanksgiving tomorrow! And for the first time in many years we are invited over for Thanksgiving - not just one but two in a row - yes, both Thursday and Friday! Why am I so excited about that?!

Well, Thanksgiving is one feast we don't prefer to be alone. For many years we have been the host and we enjoyed doing that. However, last year since Israel's Mom suddenly passed away we skipped any and all celebrations but would have definitely preferred some company. Guess what? No one even bothered to call and see how we were faring or what we were doing for Christmas or New year, let alone Thanksgiving!

This broke my heart - actually 'shattered' might be a better word - to million pieces... I was crying at work, homesick, wanted to forever leave America and return to Amma & Co, even wrote a few sad poems in those lines... Israel was helpless and even I was taken aback by my own emotions!

Letting bygones be bygones, here we are at Thanksgiving 2011 with tons of things to be thankful for, plenty of company to cherish and wonderful home cooked meals to enjoy! What more can one ask for?

So, here's wishing all my friends, dear and near ones, those in the States and even those abroad, a hearty Thanksgiving along with many thanks! Yahooooo!!

Nov 21, 2011

The Me I see is the Me I will Be...

My very first blog post was written exactly two years ago on 20-Nov-2009. Hats off to Google Blogger and my blog world friends for making my joy full and my life complete by allowing me to share traces of my past, moments of my present, dreams of my future and joy of my life. Thank you!

Now, here's my very first blog post...

Dear All: Thank you for stopping by! I am all excited as this has been my long time desire to be a blogger and now I am!!

Let me first introduce myself. I am Me and I love being Me. I especially love my name Hephzibah as it means "God's Delight" in Hebrew. I mostly feel that way. I recently came across a saying, "Jesus Loves You; But I am His Favorite". This fits my fancy perfectly...

I love to write and have written few articles in my journal since childhood; though hardly a few eyes have seen it. I love to write letters to friends/family when they least expect it - to cheer them up. I love to read too.

I love the rain, the sun, the stars, the sea, the trees, the butterflies, the doves, the snow, the lilies, most people, all friends, some movies, My God, my Machan, my children, need I say more?! I honestly love the life God has blessed me with. It is beautiful, it is mesmerizing, it is fantastic.... I am an optimist - try to be.

I love the fresh air, the quietness, the colorful birds & the scenic beauty of our back yard. I love lying in our deck looking at the bare summer skies and counting the stars as they come by...

I love the moon when it appears so close that it feels you might stretch your arm and touch it in an instant.

I love the night lights as you drive down a mountain, the chimney smoke as you drive early mornings.

I love the two swans in Lake Denmark and the gentle noise of running water.

I love the thundering Niagara - especially watching it from the huge hot air balloon.

I love chestnuts, persimmons, green dates and jack fruits.

Above all I love the feeling God loves me and I am His Delight! I do not waver my thoughts on other possibilities. I believe truly that the Me I see is the Me I will Be...

Thanks for your time to look at Me.

Nov 19, 2011

Dear Mangala!

Dear Mangala! I am so excited to be writing to you! Let me first wish you a very happy birthday and many happy returns!

I am sure you have made big plans for the day. Whether you are celebrating it with lot of friends or just keeping it to your family, here's wishing you lot of fun and abundance of love around.

It's funny when our kids were little we had come up an unwritten rule that each child gets that many number of gifts according to their birthday number. But now that the older two are in two digits (12 and 10 respectively) we had to add an amendment to our rule that once the birthday becomes two digits they will get only one gift.

Sharon is not happy about it as she is 10 now and Joshua is only 8. She calls it unfair. How so?! She can't explain it. Since it makes her really upset with tears and all, we have decided to wait for Joshua to turn ten to even put that amended rule to practice, so that all will get only one gift. I know it is not fair for Joshua but I don't think he will even take notice.

One thing I insist on giving as well as receiving is number of kisses for each number of birthdays. If they don't lift their lips, it is still counted as one kiss. They will be out of breath by the time they fully deposit all the kisses properly - up to the last count. Little things like this makes life more interesting and keeps the family together.

Interesting how the birthday letter to you took an altogether different form. I guess it's because I write without filtering my thoughts. Okay then! Let me not take up much of your time. Happy birthday once again! May all your fondest wishes come true! God bless.

Friend always,
~ NRIGirl

Nov 18, 2011

Missing Blogger Alert!

Following bloggers are missing for a while. Few like The Stranger and Baili took leave so we can understand their silence; but these just disappeared without trace. If you can reach out to them great! Let them know the whole blogosphere is looking for them. Finders please inform NRIGirl.You will be $rewarded$!

Blogger: Always Happy, UK
Blog: Dil ki Baat, Blog ke saath
Last seen: 5 May 2011
Last post: Hippy Happy Hoppy Day

Blogger: Mrs. Y Livingston, India
Blog: Jesus, my Lord and my God!
Last seen: 24 July 2011
Last post: One greater than the temple

Blogger: Raji, California
Blog: Why
Last seen: 19 August 2011
Last post: Kailowesome

Blogger: Sanand, Delhi
Blog: Accesslegalcorp
Last seen: 7 September 2011
Last post: Delhi high court blast: Why I disagree with the media's blame game

Blogger: Kavita, Assam
Blog: My Room
Last seen: 29 September 2011
Last Post: Sharadiya Navratri in North East India

Nov 16, 2011

Silence of rain

It's raining here! Not the kind you could sing in or dance
Almost like a mother's tears; Ignored by all and silently shed.

No single bird flies by to wipe the drops of tears that silently roll;
Not even the clouds nor winds to share; there stand the trees still and bare.

Could it be the sun that hides his face or was it the moon overnight;
Whoever caused such pain for the rain, please at once plead her mild.

Whatever happened to the joy she brings? Wherever went the child she thrives?
However hard I try to cheer; shuts down my mind on the silence of rain...

Nov 14, 2011

Hard time with hard boiled eggs

Not sure about you but I have always had tough time making hard boiled eggs. I understand it looks so simple and doesn't seem worthy of a blog post... But only I know what it feels like not being able to make the perfectly smooth hard boiled eggs!

Anytime I intend to make it, I am faced with a dilemma: Should I first boil the water then put the eggs, or put the eggs in the cold water and then bring it to a boil. Either way it has failed me...

Mom says "Count to 100". I have tried counting to 100 and even as much as five times that sometimes. But nope, it won't care. I have let it cool in the same pot or immediately rushed it to the sink for a run of cold water. Neither has helped.

Either it comes out undercooked or cracked or too difficult to de-shell. I would end up using spoons, fork, knife etc to pry open the shell which would result in an unsightly uneven egg.

Once for a summer get together I volunteered to bring hard boiled eggs. I thought it would be a breeze than making an elaborate dish. We had bought 5 dozen eggs and cooked it in 3 or 4 pots. This time I was extra cautious and didn't rush through the process. Gave enough time to cook, cool and clean. Believe it or not, not even a single egg came out with smooth surface!! Worse yet, we were two hours late for the get together ...

I was beginning to shun away from recipes that called for hard boiled eggs. We were satisfied scrambling them or frying them as omelets or bulls-eye... Then I found an egg cooker that perfectly made it for a while - seven at a time. These days it is also giving me a hard time.

 Tips for hard boiled eggs anyone?

P.S: This is a repost from August 2010. This is what @A and @Bikram had suggested then.

@A: 1. Take cold water a pan
2. Add salt
3. Add eggs
4. Boil for 20 min

No high flame!

Nov 10, 2011


Happy 11/11/11 everyone! I know, it is not yet 11/11/11 on this part of the world. It is only 7:00 PM on 10th Nov here while folks in the Eastern hemisphere are half way through the day already. It is a beautiful night here with the moon shining bright with no stars for company! Hope you all got a chance to look at yours and enjoyed the breeze it brought along.

The day is special for yet another reason. It is Bikram's birthday!! Timing the post in such a way that it gets published on London time 12:01 AM

Also wishing are Amrit , Punam and many others. Happy Birthday Bikram! Many happy returns! Here's a special order cake for your special day!

Nov 9, 2011

The Substitute

The Substitute is an MTV game show where a "substitute professor" walks into a regular class room and conducts a fun quiz game on the spot to the amusement of the unsuspecting students.

The winner walks away with $5,000.

Recently one of our friends' daughter - Margaret - took the prize in NJIT! We are very happy for her. Margaret has a sweet personality, volunteers as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and has a soft corner for aging seniors in nursing homes. She desires to become a doctor some day. We wish her the best for her dreams to come true!

Now, sit back, relax and enjoy the show! The commercials are a little annoying but hope you will stay thru' it. It is a fun game after all!

Nov 8, 2011

Rest of the journey

And so the journey continued... I was sleeping rest of the way. Actually may be I was drowsy as I remember being very hungry at one time. Every now and then when I opened my eyes there were new people in my compartment (remember I was traveling unreserved). I would soon drift back to sleeping - I am sure it wasn't a good sight but I didn't care for it much.

The next scene I remember was the rather interesting conversation I had with some lovely ladies. They were poor but rich in compassion. One of them kind of waited for me to open my eyes and quickly started a conversation. They inquired if I ate anything and when I nodded no someone gave me a plantain - ripe to the right consistency I like it. I was awake now and so I guess my sleeping was to do with my hunger.

No longer hungry I started answering their questions after questions after questions. They wanted to know why I was traveling alone and why I didn't eat anything and where I was coming from and where I was going etc. Interesting part was that they inquired in Malayalam and I answered in Tamil which was understood by both sides. Soon it was their station to get down and few minutes before that itself one lady started asking if she could adopt me as her own child. Ha ha ha! That was when I fully understood the extent of their compassion for me. Somehow they had concluded I had no family. It took a while to convince them I very well had a Mom and Dad and Brother and Sister who loved me their best. I waved them good bye and continued the rest of the journey amusing over the conversation I had had with them.

I was finally home - more than three days after my departure from Bangalore! When I got refreshed I started sharing about the adventures of the journey with my family and of course I had to start from the very beginning, how just like that my friends decided to leave for home since college was closed and how I too decided to tag along etc etc.

Rolling back to all the way from leaving from hostel I recalled how we took an auto rickshaw to reach the local train station from where we took a train to Bangalore main station. One detail I could have avoided but did not - caused a great deal of eruption from Papa. He was so upset that he started SCREAMING and YELLING and I ended up in tears. What for?!

Well, the auto rickshaw had stopped on the wrong side of the station and we had to cross the railway tracks to go to the other side to board our train. I was dragging my heavy luggage and slowly moving while my friends had already crossed over with their lighter loads.

What I didn't notice nor expected was a train coming on one of the tracks. A man at the platform screamed "TRAIN! TRAIN!" and I turned to see and there it was a MONSTROUS train looming around the bent corner - just a few yards away from where I was!!

I had to act quickly. Not sure which track the train was actually on I ran across all the tracks towards the station still carrying my luggage. My friends looking over in horror and screaming, this man hurrying me with an outstretched arm, the train roaring closer I reached the platform.

Just as the man pulled me off the tracks on to the platform the train thundered down the lane!! Our faces were pale, hearts seemed to have stopped while the limbs went weak and the surroundings appeared frozen that very moment which seemed like eternity. Still!

Gathering up the luggage, finding my sandals, friends to my support, still shaking I thanked the man and he was shaking too! No wonder hearing that Papa was shaking too! If I had been better at narrating the incident, you would be too!!

The End!

Nov 4, 2011

How is he? Where is he? What is he?

The year was 1992. I was a student then traveling unreserved from Bangalore to Tirunelveli via Cochin. I know it is a long route but then it is a story too. I was wearing a beautiful pink chudidhar with grey prints on it with a black bottom and a blacker dhuppattah; I remember it because it was my travel favorite; comfortable, covered and yet stylish! Had very limited funds at hand - barely enough to survive my three days long journey. Three days? From Bangalore to Tirunelveli? Yes, I told you it is a story!

There was a strike going on between Karnataka and TamilNadu and no buses were running between the states; so I decided to take the train via Kerala. Was it a smart idea? Hardly so. First of all, I had never done that before. So had no clue what route it would go, what connections I should take, how long it would take, how much it would cost, none of that. Secondly every one had similar plans it seemed like. Bangalore station was FULL! Full to the rim and overflowing! Only at the station I am deciding which train I should take. Since I didn't know anything, my Cochin friends suggested I go with them upto Cochin and then from there I could go home. Of course, I could if only I knew what was next. Anyways, we went and bought a ticket - upto Tirunelveli, via wherever, who cares; the destination was home!

So where were we? Yes on the train! The journey had started with a lot of company in a very crowded train. It was so packed that we were only sitting on our suitcases for a long time. However soon (may be after 8 hours) we got seats. Sooner it was time to wave off my friends. Here I am all alone in the compartment, with no friends and only scattered passangers. Did I tell you I had limited funds at hand? Actually I was exaggerating. I had no funds at all! My ticket was all paid for but since the journey took a day or two longer than expected my funds at hand had dried up. All I had was a guava; a very memorable guava at that! A very cherished one too. Juicey and crispy just the way I like it. My heart was content.

Don't recall which station the train had stopped at. But I remember it was somewhere in Tamilnadu as the boards and ads were in Tamil. Just as the train pulled off I decided to dig into the guava I had. The train was off the platform and slowly moving. That's when I saw this little boy outside who came running towards the train.

His clothes were dirty and his face only dirtier. He came running to my window and said, "Akka! Akka! Please give me something. I am very hungry. It has been three days since I ate anything". Sure, he looked hungry. I wanted to help him; feed him, clean him up, put him in a school, raise him with us, all these thoughts flashed in my mind. But I didn't have anything to give; told you already!

I felt miserable. I told him, "Sorry! I don't have anything." He persisted, "Akka! Please-ka. Anything ka. Something ka..." I said, "I am honest thambi. I really don't have anything to spare you". For whatever reason the train had stopped at the trailing end, making me more miserable having to argue with a hungry little boy.

He looked sad. I felt even sadder. Looked in my purse, pouch, luggage zipper and everywhere to see if I can find at least some coins to give him. Alas, none! The train was almost moving. I frantically continued my search for a coin, looking under the seats, over the seats, in between the seats to see if I could find one out of nowhere. None! Not even one! Pity!

I was just hoping he would move on to another compartment with "richer" people. He wouldn't budge. I was almost in tears and he seemed so too. Then suddenly he pointed at the guava in my hand and said, "Can I please have it?". I responded, "This? I don't think so. I have bitten it already!" He insisted, "It is okay akka. Please give it akka. Asking you like my own sister akka. Please give it."

I just reluctantly gave it to him the last minute as the train moved on. I could see him eating the guava with such a glee. I kept staring in that direction with tears in my eyes even long after the scene had rolled. After all these years, with life speeding away in such a frenzy, amidst my busy day, I can still recall the scene  as fresh as it was just yesterday.

How is he? Where is he? What is he? My mind ponders. Before it gets heavy again, I tell myself he made it in life - a big man now, loved much, lacking nothing, having his kids in school! I honestly believe so. Wish him so...

P.S: How the hungry me finally reached home, that's a whole another story; I will save it for later!

Nov 2, 2011

At the water cooler

It is a Bible college  in Kerala. She was washing her hands at the water cooler and the guy next to her did not like that. She continued to go about her business ignoring his comments of objection as he kept staring at her. Though she felt a little intimidated she did not show it. He suddenly realized that he actually liked this girl who was apparently fearless. Right away he fell in love with her - head over heels! She cared the least and would not oblige.

He was a Pentecost, handsome, neither of them were married, seemed to have the same calling, parents wouldn't object and there was no apparent reason why she would reject him. He kept asking her to consider him and there seemed no valid answer she could give him. He insistsed she come and meet his friends later that day.

The friends, two young married couples were cheerful, lively and welcome her as one of them. He was very happy, way too nice and seemed full of joy. She wanted to make things straight from the beginning. So she told his friends it was nothing like they imagined and that she was not interested in him. They spoke up for him, recommending him and pleading her to consider him.

Just as she was contemplating what to do next the alarm went off and she woke up with a startle realizing it was all just a dream!

Point to note, she never went to a Bible college, never had such an encounter, never knew these people, never watched/heard of a similar scene in a movie or elsewhere. Why this dream out of the blue she has no clue. Do you?

Nov 1, 2011

New November

There is something about new months that makes me bubbly; not just November, any given month. Here's wishing you all a very happy November 2011! Hard to believe we are in the last lapse of the year 2011.

Yesterday was Halloween. It was fun to see neighborhood kids dressed up as different monsters and animals and fairies come knocking at the door saying, "Trick or Treat!" The cutest was a baby elephant with chocolate smudges all over his/her face. I wish I had taken a picture to show you all.

Halloween is a pagan ritual which is not encouraged in our children's school but they wished to go trick or treating in the last minute. So they made up costumes like pirates and doctor and went knocking at a few doors.

November is unique in NJ in the sense that the old things give way to new. The trees shed their leaves and homes their junk and some their weight to be prepared for the much celebrated Thanksgiving feast. It kind of makes me sad to see the trees become bare but then soon snow covers them to bring back some joy.

This year surprisingly we got the snowfall earlier than expected. We had a heavy downpour over the weekend causing downed trees and power loss across the state. In fact my children's school is closed for the second day in a row. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

Chestnuts are in. It is one snack we look forward to during this time of the year. I have figured out an easy way to roast it in the microwave. All it takes is 2 1/2 minutes for a tempting treat!

Every year we host Thanksgiving - gathering a few friends, roasting a turkey. But this year I am tired of even thinking about it. May be as the day gets closer I might get charged up, but for now it seems impossible.

Soon it will be Christmas and I am not looking forward to it either. I hate to spend Christmas alone by ourselves and I do not feel up to hosting either. The only option it leaves us with is to do some traveling. We are thinking of ideas; let's see how it turns out.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, what else friends are for? Happy November once again! Looking forward to plenty of posts from you all this new month.

Oct 27, 2011

The Affair

He has been busy lately - ever since assuming higher responsibilities under a new role at work. He hardly calls during the day and when she calls he would be to the point. Arriving home, he would quickly change and log back into work and continue till mid night or even beyond.

The occasional moments when he is not in front of his computer, he talks about work and only work. For a week or two she didn't mind it but now that it is about two months she was beginning to be concerned.

When she brought up the subject his crisp answer was, "Lot more to be done to set the process before I can relax." No one is after him or anything. It is just his own process. He can take his time. Why hurry then?

He says if he sets his expectations from the beginning it will be easier to run the team rather than letting them continue what mess they are in and worry about clean up later. Okay good enough; how long it would take for him to set the process? "Until December!", he answered. That made her worry even more.

Life was smooth otherwise - until all of a sudden she thought of the unthinkable. Never before & never after but that day it occurred to her: What if?! Head spinning, heart racing, breath quickening she picked up the phone and speed dialed him.

Him: "Hello Mone!"
Her: "Mmm... hello... are you busy?"
Him: "Yes! just about to get into a meeting. What's up?"
Her: "Nothing..."
Him: "Are you okay?"
Her: "Mmm... Are you having an affair?"
Him: "Yes!" (her heart stops!)
Him: "With you!" (beats again!!)

Sure, that made her day. She went for a fresh walk, came back and cooked some and they lived happily ever after!

Oct 25, 2011

Chocolate & Jack fruit

I found it interesting how a children's book author Pseudonymous Bosch describes chocolate in his book This book is not good for you. Sharing it below...

"Rich, ripe, dark, deep, zippy, zesty, wicked, wonderful, delicious, delightful, delectable, and even electable (if he could vote), vibrant, vivacious, seductive, addictive, oh so very attractive, nourishing, flourishing, rather ravishing, beautiful, buttery, sometimes bittersweet but never bitter, gorgeous and worth gorging on, berry-ish, cherry-ish, meaty yet fruity, elemental yet complex, mellow yet electric, soothing yet energizing, earthly yet heavenly, melt-in-your-mouth pleasure of chocolate."

Let me try to describe one of my favorites - jack fruit:

Ripe, sweet, juicy, huge, dense, thick, thin, delicious, mouth watering, sweet smelling, rich, flavorful, beautiful, crunchy, chewy, crispy, very yummy, tasty, yellow, mellow jack fruit!

Okay I give up! I couldn't think of anything more...

Now how would you describe chocolate or jack fruit or any of your favorites? Give it a try! It will be fun...

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