Life…and the joy it brings…..

24 Oct

Festive Diwali season is just round the corner and I will be getting some time on my hands so decided to get going on my Blog.

I’m less frequent in putting out posts I must confess, but I’m trying to change that. Actually, I’m trying to make a lot of changes like controlling my temper, letting bygones be bygones, trying not to please the entire world and learning to put my foot down and say “NO” when I need to. Another important change I’m making, is going after the things I want. I always wanted to travel more, so I recently took a trip to Pondicherry. I always wanted to have a dog with me in Bangalore and I adopted one a few months back.

OK now, I’m going to dedicate a separate a post to Pondicherry and all the things to do there, but for this post, I’ll dedicate it to Juno- My lovely baby.

So I finally decided that it was time I acted like the person I was meant to me!!!(The dog lady) and went and adopted the most adorable baby ever. Now, I know what you’re thinking…..ADOPTED???? Yes I mean adopted, like not going to a breeder but adopting a pet that really required a loving home.

These days, people buy pure breed, show quality dogs and then think they are some kind of accessory in the house and when they can’t give them the love and affection dogs need they either put them out on the street or abandon them. My Juno was one such dog.

The pic Jessica sent me of Chinnu

The pic Jessica sent me of Chinnu

She is a 1.5 yr old lab and has the prettiest eyes. Her owner didn’t want the trouble of taking care of her and dumped her in a foster care home for animals and when they had kept her too long, the owner took her and shifted her to another home for animals. Apparently, taking care of a dog in your own home is too much trouble. My Juno grew up with the name Chinnu and was shuffled from one foster home to another, never having a permanent home. The last home she was in was called “Jeru’s Loving Vacation Home for Pets”. Its run by this amazing lady called Jessica and Juno (or Chinnu at the time) was pretty happy there. She manages a home for animals like a holiday home where you can drop your pets off if you’re travelling or  on a holiday and can’t take your pets with you. Also, other than this, she also takes in abandoned animals and finds them new forever homes.

The minute I read a message saying there was a dog for adoption, I rushed to see her. And when I got there, I fell in love with Chinnu. She slobbered me with hugs and kisses and refused to let go. The day she came home with me was probably the happiest day of my life so far.

Dogs have a way of bringing joy and happiness in a home and the love they give you is unconditional. She was then renamed Juno suggested by a close friend as it sounded close enough to Chinnu and it was easier for her to adjust to it. She’s been the apple of my eye ever since. She understands every emotion and is never shy of jumping and showering you with licks to brighten up your day.

Having spent most of her puppy life in foster homes, she love people and animals around her, the more the merrier. She’s a joy to have around and will now complete 2 yrs n January and we plan to celebrate. So if you’re in town, give us a buzz and come for the party.

Helping me while I work IMG_1052 IMG_1054

P.S. To all those worried dog lovers, I’ve grown up around dogs, so don’t worry Juno is in good hands 😉

Cupcakes…The Martha Stewart Way!!!

22 Aug

Ok so now I know that all of you guys who know me or who at least frequent my Facebook page would know about my growing interest in baking.I love baking sweets, all of them(*Drooling already*).Now that I have perfected the art of making cakes with and without icing, making oatmeal cookies, the Goan favorite Baath Cake, what I really want to try is cupcakes!!!!Cupcake-Wallpaper7

I’m a big fan of cupcakes especially the choco-chip and date-n-walnut ones that I used to get at a place back in my hometown, Goa called Temptations,Vasco,Goa. But as far as Bangalore is concerned, cupcakes are only available at proper pastry shops.Not the small local bakery shops.So when I saw this easy to make cupcake recipe, I though lets give it a try.Now, knowing that is a recipe from Martha Stewart I was confident that it was going to turn out great if I did everything right.

So here’s how I planned for it.First, I went out and bought my cupcake tins and their linings, my cooking materials(flour, cocoa, nuts etc).And then it was time to begin baking!!!!

Now this recipe is fairly simple so I’m posting it here for you guys to get inspired and try out too!!!!

One Bowl Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil(I used normal vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
  2. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
  3. I went ahead and drizzled molten chocolate over the cupcake once they were cooled down.

I had to snap a few quick pictures from my phone itself, before my brother gobbled up most of them. The picture quality isn’t great but worth showing you how it turned out.

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Hope you guys try out this recipe too and do let me know how it turns out 😉 .

Daddy’s Little Girl

19 Jun

Hello my dearest readers!!! Hope you guys had a great weekend and an even better Father’s Day.This post is all about Father’s Day and dedicated to all the father’s in the world.My Dad is the coolest person I know… and I’m not just saying that for effect,it is in fact true. And I think my friends can vouch for that (atleast the ones that have met him :-)).

Daughters and Fathers share a strange yet rare bond and no matter how young or old you are, a daughter will always remain Daddy’s Little Girl. My dad has helped and nurtured me from the tiny toddler that I was, to the lady I’ve become today. Growing up, my dad was kinda strict and particular about our upbringing. We were never allowed to spend lavishly or even get pocket money for that matter, he always told us: “If you want something, tell me, if its something you really need, I will get it for you”. Also, when we were young we had a maid for the house but he made sure she never did our chores for us. He taught us the value of money and people. Even to this day, if any of us need any advice on our life, career etc., we know we can count on him to give us an honest unbiased opinion. Most of the time even without saying a word, he is truly the strong pillar in the lives of all of his three children.

We were taught to be independent and learnt most things the hard way. At times my sister, my brother and me thought our life was a movie in which he was the bad guy, but today we realize that he was only trying to inculcate the right values in us. Today I can proudly say that I’m a good human being, a good citizen and a kind yet fiercely strong and independent person because of My Dad, My Hero. I love the lyrics of this song called “Fathers and Daughters” by Kristin Chenoweth and I want to dedicate this song to all the fathers and daughters out there.

“Fathers And Daughters”

Well you laughed and told me you really wanted a boy
But you cried first time you held me said you never felt such joy
That’s fathers and daughters

When you took the training wheels right off my bike
That’s the first time I could feel my wings
‘Cause you taught me how to fly
That’s fathers and daughters

When I was a pink ballerina dancing in the kitchen
You held out your hand so I could try my luck at spinning
The world kept turning always thru it all
I knew you would catch me
When I start to fall
That’s fathers and daughters.

When you let me go out on my first date
You waited up and you didn’t tell Mom
Even tho’ I got home late
That’s fathers and daughters

And one day when that boy made my heart break
You told me that’s why God made tears
To wash the hurt away

And I’m still that pink ballerina
Dancing in the kitchen
You hold out your hand
I go right back to the beginning
The world keeps turning always thru it all
You’re still there to catch me
I’m still learning how to fall
That’s fathers… and daughters
And daughters… and fathers

We grow up and discover
No one ever loves each other
Like fathers and daughters.

                                                            

Miss You…

30 May

Hello,hello!! Now I know I haven’t written a post in quite sometime now. The thing is, May has really been a busy and stressful month for me with loads of emotional ups and downs.(Yeah I know what your thinking…Drama Queen!!)

Now, I have been in Bangalore for over two years and all this while I had my Boo by my side.He was there through the rough and jobless days, to the happy and successful days.And now after all this time, he has moved to Mumbai to do his MBA.Initially, I kinda pretended that it was temporary or it wasn’t happening (God what was I thinking!!trying to fool myself).But when the time came for him to actually leave (that happened the last Sunday by the way), my heart sank!!!

Now I’m kinda dealing with the fact and trying to get used to being on my own.At times I feel really good…and at times I just wish he was here.But then I know as well as all of you, that career is very important if you want to be someone and accomplish your dreams.Now I know there are people who will argue that you should do what makes you happy!!!But that doesn’t mean I can shift his college to Bangalore(Oh…how I wish I could!!!!!!) or just pack and leave for Mumbai(I’m too broke to just land up there!!!).Also, I’m on a path in my own career as well and have loads of things to consider….How I hate being a “GROWN UP” I tell you. 😦

So I was sitting and just doodling and scribbling and came up with this kiddish poem, but its still straight from the heart 🙂

P.S.  I know its a bit lame but I like it all the same 😉

MISS YOU

How rarely did I acknowledge how much you mean to me,

Now your miles away and I feel like my life has turned grey

Even though I’m surrounded by people all the time

I miss the voice of that special someone…I know is mine

I know this is something you had to do

But Love!!!All I want to say is “I Miss You

***

Somehow I thought I’d be devastated,

Broken and shattered to a million pieces

But Life goes on, and for that I have to be strong

After all its  just a couple of years

And then we will be together, just as we belong

And yes, I do know this is something you had to do

But Darling!!All I want to say is “I Miss You

This picture was taken at our Christmas party and its one of my favorites

Brownie Fever!!!!

2 May

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz

I love chocolate and love is like chocolate. I don’t think I’ve met a single person till date who hates chocolate. When I was a kid my elder sister Giselle would play this game with me and fooled me each time. My dad would come home from work on salary day and get us each a bar of chocolate (mostly Crackle). My sis would say, “OK Pia, let’s have a competition to see who can eat their chocolate faster and that person wins” and I would literally swallow mine down only to see my sister giving me that evil smile, still only on the first bite of her chocolate. In my house whenever there are any sweets either bought by us or gifted from a relative visiting India from abroad, it would be divided into 5 shares, one for Dad, one for Mum, one for Gis, one for me and one for my younger brother Shawn. This was an unspoken rule always…even till this day. Even if I’m in Bangalore, and foreign chocolates were given by someone, my dad will save my share and stash it away( just in case Shawn or mother get greedy). Everyone in my family has a sweet tooth, so needless to say I love any form of cooking that involves sweets.

Baking sort of came naturally to me. I was gifted an OTG for my last birthday and since then I Google recipes and make them (most come out surprisingly well !!!).I have been experimenting with chocolate quite a lot in my baking experiments. Baking is like therapy for me…along with some good music while I bake.

The past week, my office took the team to lunch at BBQ Nation and for dessert, I ate brownies there. This reminded me that I haven’t baked in a long time…not atleast something involving chocolate . So I decided to try it on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. It a holiday for most people in India I guess. Interestingly, I came across a recipe for brownies on the blog of the famous Maria Goretti. I love reading her blog for the amazing food she makes and the way she writes. Somehow reading her blog makes me smile.

Ok, so back to the brownies!!! I had to try this recipe and I hardly had patience. So I went home from work on Monday and decided to give my first try at baking brownies.Even if it was a fiasco, I could try batch two the next day. So I made myself a drink of whisky and began my “Experiment Brownie”!!! Since the next day was a holiday, I had some friends over for the night to watch the big Man City v/s Man Utd. match. So they too were excited will all the smells from my kitchen. After the brownies were baked n cooled down just a bit (I honestly prefer them hot n gooey) I cut pieces for all of them. One of my friends Mahesh took a bite and had this smile and glow on his face and then said” Wow Pia, they are awesome” and I was in heaven.

So I am re-posting Maria’s recipe here for all you guys who want to try it. Now I made a few minor changes here and there but the basic recipe is still the same.

INGREDIENTS
250 gm- Unsalted butter (I use the normal Amul salted butter itself)
200 gm- Cooking chocolate ( I used some kind of Swiss dark chocolate bars I found at Spar Hypermarket)
50 gm- walnuts optional (I love walnuts so I used 100 gm 🙂 )
80 gm- cocoa powder
65 gm – plain flour 
1 tsp baking powder
360 gm- Castor sugar
4 large eggs..I used 5 because we have normal small eggs…
I added a tsp of cardamom essence because I don’t like the smell of eggs to overpower the dish.

PROCEDURE:

Pre- heat your oven to 175-180 degrees.
Line a 9-10 inch pan with butter paper
Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler..Or then just zap it in a microwave, taking care not to over do it …..Mix it until really smooth and glossy..
In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients , sieve it and add it to the chocolate nut mix, stir it together really well… 
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the brownie mix, mixing really well.Then add the walnuts

Put it in a tray and cook it for about 25-30 minutes, or till the mix does not jiggle in the middle..
Be careful not to over cook this, as they should be a little firm n the outside but gooey in the middle..
Allow it to cool…and then Attack!!!

So I hope you like this one and so till my next baking experiment, Au revoir.

My Identity…My Ink

13 Apr

Alright, now I spoke to a very wise person (Or so he thinks!!) about my blog and he mentioned that it was not so personal and very generic.So today, Friday the 13th, I am going to share something that is very personal with you, that I would not normally do, so please understand that now you are going to know a very private part of me and that is: My Ink.

Why do people get tattoos??The reasons are as varied as they are individuals.In the early ages people would get tattoos to symbolize their tribe and set them apart from other tribes.Some people get tattoos to represent their religion or the people they love, people who are in the military service to symbolize their patriotism, some people get tattoos for the fun of it and others get it as a mistake.

I personally believe you should have a  really strong and substantial reason for getting a tattoo because it will remain and even become a part of you for the rest of your life.Ya I know there are various tattoo removal processes, but those are far too painful.

And also, I don’t believe that tattoos are only for rocks fans, punks and metal heads… that’s just rubbish!!!!Anyone and everyone who wants to get a tattoo should be able to.Though still in many parts of the world people judge you when you have a tattoo or multiple tattoos.

I have two tattoos.the first is a tetragrammaton star and the second one is the wordings “Ever Thine, Ever Mine, Ever Ours”.

Now I have different reasons for getting each of these tattoos.

For the first one, the tetragrammaton star represents the ancient Hebrew language that the Hebrew Scriptures were written in did not have vowels. In the original Hebrew, God’s name is given as “YHWH.” This is known as the tetragrammaton. Because of the lack of vowels, Bible scholars debate how the tetragrammaton “YHWH” was pronounced.Now I got the Star which is one of the portions of this symbol and it is the Pentagram that expresses the dominion of spirit over the elements of nature. This magical sign can dominate the elemental creatures that inhabit the regions of fire, air, water, earth and ether. Before this demons tremble and flee in terror.

Now the reason I got this was because ever since a kid my mum always believed that I was not the “Holy Holy kinds” and maybe I wasn’t.Ya I believed in God, but there were times I questioned a lot of things and tried to find the logic and science in it.As  I finished college and moved away from home and far away from family,I found myself alone and times were tough and sad at times.There would be these specific things that would happen to me, things that I now have termed as God’s little miracles just for me that have made me grow strong in faith and understand God’s power and presence more and more.And for me the Pentagram symbolizes just that.

For the second one, that’s the lines “Ever Thine, Ever Mine, Ever Ours”. I loved the Immortal Beloved Letters by Ludwig van Beethoven. I must admit the first time I heard these lines were in the movie Sex and the City and it really caught my attention. So then I actually got a hold of the love letters of Beethoven. The reason I found these letters beautiful and intriguing was because the recipient’s name was never written nor known.And then later on, after a movement by people close to him they concluded that she was Antoine Brentano. Beethoven fell in love with her after meeting her for the first time in Vienna and she was married at the time.This is what kept them from being together.While she was in Vienna he wrote letters to her.

I fell in love with these words ever since!!So I have inked myself with these beautiful words to remind me of the kind of love that is Immortal and that we rarely find today.I know my love story is more of a friendship-love-fight-love relationship and sometimes it just drives me crazy.But I guess that’s love(atleast for me, coz I’m not the overly mushy,lovey dovey kinda person) and in the end of it all I feel that this is a bond that will be forged in time and will be always Immortal.

And now after getting these two tattoos over a year ago, I’m thinking of getting another tattoo, maybe that will make for another post at another time.But for now I’m happy with these two.

Cheerio!!

Killer Queen-Freddie Mercury

11 Apr

Is this the real LifeFreddie as a baby

Is this just fantasy

Caught in a landslide

No escape from reality-Freddie Mercury

These words are by a very famous singer from the band “Queen” better known to all of us as the great and flamboyant Freddie Mercury with powerful vocals over a four octave range.Now I’m guessing most of you loved his music and still do,I know I do for sure!!!But there are alot of facts that many of us do not know about Freddie Mercury, I for sure didn’t!!

First of all his real name was Farookh Bulsara. And, wait for it…….yes he was a Parsi by birth!!!He was born on 5th September 1946.So ya he was Indian.But interestingly when asked by interviewers about his ethnicity he said he was from Zanzibar and to some other people in the press he said he was Persian.Yes, Parsees are followers of the Zorastrian religion whose ancestors came from Persia

Another interesting fact was that he did his schooling in St. Peters in Panchgani, near Mumbai and when asked he said this was because his father worked for the British Raj in India at the time…This was clearly a lie.

Another truth that Freddie Mercury denied was about being gay. He insisted the way he behaved and dressed was part of an act!!(Ya right!! we believed you dressed in those leotards!!)

Well there was no real reason for him to lie because one look at Freddie Mercury and you could tell he was gay.

Freddie or Farook was also the one who chose the name “Queen” for the band and that is when he also changed his last name to Mercury.In the news he was also mocked by saying”In this age of punk,what is more ridiculous than a Queen toasting his audience with champagne” which was what Freddie did at his concerts.

Some of the famous tracks by Queen are still played at most of the bars today like “We are the Champions”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You”(Though most pubs do not play the original one), “Under Pressure” and “I want to break free”.

Freddie died in London,on November 1991 from HIV/AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia one day after he announced it to the public that he was HIV positive.There was also a tribute concert held in 1992 at the Wembley Stadium, with some of the most famous rock stars of that time.

Even though he lived most of his life as a lie, no one can deny him the greatness that he was, specially in his music that still lives on.

And I will end this post with his mother’s words:”It is because God loved him more, that’s why he was taken away”

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